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Urgent efforts needed to stop Iran’s threats in the Red Sea

Jul 28,2018 - Last updated at Jul 28,2018

The three-year-long Yemeni war is constantly taking wider and more ominous proportions as long as the international community turns a blind eye and lets it continue without proper and just resolution. Recently, two Saudi oil tankers came under attack  by Houthi fire as they sailed through the Red Sea's Bab Al Mandab Strait. One of the ships was hit and sustained some minimal damage. 

Saudi Arabia responded by suspending all shipments though the Bab Al Mandeb Strait, and other Arab gulf nations threatened to follow suit, including Kuwait. Yet, the thought of blocking the free shipment of oil through the Red Sea is the graver damage that could ensue if the Iran-backed Houthis are allowed to escalate their war on the legitimate government of Yemen and its Saudi-backed coalition forces deployed to restore legitimacy to Yemen.

Bab Al Mandeb is only 29 kilometres wide but considered as the most important route for oil tankers carrying crude oil from the Middle East to Europe and beyond. If left free to aid and support the Houthis, Iran can block not only the Bab Al Mandeb, but also the Strait of Hormuz, another strategic shipping route.

True, suspending oil shipments through the Bab Al Mandeb does not mean the  complete halt of oil shipments from the Arab Gulf region to the outside world; still, interfering with the free shipments of crude oil through it would have entail raising the prices of crude oil worldwide. 500,000 to 700,000 oil barrels per day cross the threatened strait and something urgent must be done by the major powers to stop Iran's threats against free trade through the Red Sea.

Better still, the Yemeni war must come to an end, especially when its cost in human life terms has risen to intolerable  proportions in recent months. If all the major powers can pool their resources together to stop the war on a just and legitimate basis, then there could be a glimpse of hope for ending the suffering and loss of life on both sides of the fence sooner than later. Leaving the warring armies to stew in their own juices for much longer would only make life and security for other nations impossible.

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