Ansarallah Intercept Israeli Ships To Aid Palestinian Resistance

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Omar Ahmed

Jumada' al-Akhirah 19, 1445 2024-01-01

News & Analysis

by Omar Ahmed (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 11, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1445)

Image Source - Pixbay Free Content

Yemen’s armed forces, aligned with the Ansarallah movement (commonly known as the Houthis) have intervened in Israel’s war against the Palestinians in Gaza. When Hamas-led Islamic resistance launched operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7, the zionists went berserk. Their aggression against the besieged enclave has so far claimed the lives of more than 20,000 people, mostly women and children, and injured another 54,000.

As an integral component of the Axis of Resistance – “the most risk acceptant member”, according to the Washington Institute, Ansarallah have been resolute and consistent in their support for the Palestinian cause. They have valiantly opposed the zionist aggressors, unlike many neighbouring Arab regimes that have sought or agreed to normalise relations with Tel Aviv.

A mere three days after the launch of Al-Aqsa Storm, Ansarallah leader Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi issued a warning to the US against any attempts to directly join the war, stressing that “There are red lines when it comes to Gaza.”

This was followed by launching drones and missiles at the occupation entity. They were reportedly intercepted by a US warship near the coast of Yemen. Several other similar attacks occurred with conflicting reports about whether they successfully hit their targets.

Nevertheless, the spokesman for Yemeni armed forces, Brigadier-General Yahya Saree vowed that more action would follow, “until the Israeli aggression stops” and the Palestinians are “victorious”.

While targeting Israel’s Red Sea port city of Eilat may not yield the most strategic results, considering the potential for Saudi or US interceptions, Sanaa began to adjust its approach in November. This came after Abdulmalik al-Houthi’s televised announcement on November 14 in which he said: “Our eyes are open to constantly monitor and search for any Israeli ship in the Red Sea, and in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait in particular, and off the Yemeni territorial waters.”

“Our missile and drone attacks against Israel will continue,” he added.

The focus remains on applying pressure on Israel, particularly through increased targeting and seizure of Israeli-linked or destined vessels in the Red Sea and Bab el-Mandeb. In just one week, three Israeli-affiliated oil tankers were seized.

While there have been attempts to frame these developments as a threat to international shipping and the flow of oil, Ansarallah have made it very clear that they are only singling out ships heading to Israel. Major international shipping firms and even oil giant BP have temporarily halted routes through the Red Sea, that account for 12% of global trade.

It didn’t take long for the US to assemble a 10-nation coalition (reportedly with over 20 countries signed on to take part), tasked with countering this perceived threat. This “multinational security initiative,” named Operation Prosperity Guardian, included Britain, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.

Yet this has already faced setbacks before a shot has even been fired, representing a significant political victory for war-torn Yemen. France, Spain and Italy have formally withdrawn their participation from the alliance, refusing to operate under US command. While anti-Yemen coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the UAE have also hindered progress over disagreements on how to address the Red Sea crisis – the former wisely preferring diplomacy while the latter favouring military action.

As far as the Sanaa authorities are concerned, though, this new strategy has imposed a new equation in the war, highlighting that the US and its allies do not in fact enjoy supremacy over the region’s seas. The occupation state for its part, already bogged down in a costly ground invasion of Gaza, engaged in heightened border clashes with Lebanon’s Hizbullah, is confronting a multifaceted challenge. Meanwhile its US security guarantor is facing a surge in attacks on its bases in Iraq and Syria.

Complicating matters further, Israel is now having to grapple with mounting economic realities of Ansarallah’s imposition, by having to bypass the Red Sea and Suez Canal with shipping companies rerouting many of their vessels around southern Africa instead, adding 13,000 kms and 10-14 days to their schedule and hiking up the cost of cargo onboard. Eilat port has also seen an 85% fall in traffic and over 80% lower revenue in a month. Through the Ansarallah-aligned armed forces’ naval blockade, Israel now has to bring in shipments through a land bridge connecting the UAE through Saudi Arabia and to Jordan.

Additionally, there are political pressures on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the dawning realisation that the occupation army will be unable to “eliminate” Hamas as he previously vowed, plus the outstanding issue of Israeli prisoners of war being held in Gaza. In a recent opinion piece in Haaretz, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has even gone so far as to say that the war’s “objectives were baseless, unreal and unattainable from the first.”

“There is no chance of fulfilling the expectations that Bibi created. There won’t be a ‘destruction’ of Hamas,” he added.

There is no doubt that the economic strain caused by Yemen will eventually compel Israel to submit to a ceasefire in this latest round of aggression against the Palestinians. This is especially the case in the absence of any serious multi-task force taking action against Ansarallah. Ultimately, however, Sanaa’s longer-term vision aligns with other members of the Axis of Resistance, in the liberation of Palestine.

While the strategic implications of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza are another discussion, they have acknowledged Ansarallah’s support in the war against the zionist entity. Last month, Hamas praised the movement for its “brave and bold decision,” noting that its action “stands against the zionist-American aggressors that have continued the war of genocide and massacres.”

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) also lauded the Yemeni people, their government and armed forces for their “authentic Arab and Islamic position.”

A prominent member of Hamas in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan reiterated the resistance movement’s appreciation of Yemen, stating: “We confirmed and confirm our appreciation and respect for the courage of our brothers in Yemen and the Yemeni armed forces and their position in preventing ships sailing to zionist ports from passing through the Red Sea.”

Ansarallah’s actions in the Red Sea thus have the endorsement of the resistance factions in Gaza. At the very least, these operations will exert substantial pressure on the occupation state, potentially hastening a ceasefire.

Looking ahead, it is foreseeable that Sanaa will remain a dedicated ally of the armed liberation movement in Palestine, indicating a longer-term commitment to the cause.

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