After Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, fears of a wider Middle East conflict grow

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea stoke fears of a widening Middle East conflict following actions by Israel, Hezbollah, and the US.

Roots of conflict: The war between Israel and Hamas, Hezbollah’s rocket attacks, and American military involvement in the Middle East have escalated tensions.
* Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea.
* The rebels also took credit for launching missiles that obstructed Israeli ships from going through the Red Sea until Israel stopped its military operations in Gaza.

Who are the Houthis: Originating as a rebel group in the late ’80s, the Houthis went into war with the Yemeni government and controlled the capital, Sanaa, by 2014.
* Despite military interventions led by Saudi Arabia, the Houthis have maintained control over large parts of Yemen.
* The UN reports that the ongoing conflict in Yemen has led to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with over 24 million people needing aid and protection.

What Comes Next?: Houthi presence in the Red Sea raises concerns about a broader conflict.
* Houthis have targeted ships, including US naval vessels, in previous years. The US retaliated by launching missiles at radar installations in Houthi territory.
* The group has consistently been demonstrating its power and resistance, seen in their continued control over Yemen despite international pressure.

What are the international implications?: Houthi attacks on international vessels could potentially raise the militia group’s international profile.
* The Houthis seizing of a Japanese cargo ship led to Japan engaging directly with the group.
* Thomas Juneau from the University of Ottawa suggests these actions by the Houthis are part of their strategy to receive international recognition as the ruling authority within Yemen.
View original article on NPR
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