“Prepared To Back Our Words With Actions”, UK PM Warns Of Actions Against Houthi Rebels In Red Sea

The UK requires a massive reduction in tensions in the Red Sea, and the air strikes on Houthi positions in Yemen over the last week were “proportionate,” PM Rishi Sunak said, stating that there was no connection with the Israel-Hamas war. A coalition of nations provided the Houthis with an unambiguous warning about two weeks back, Sunak informed the Parliament on Monday.

The decision not to take action will weaken international security and the rule of law, further damage the freedom of navigation and the global economy, and send out a dangerous message that the British vessels and interests are a fair game, he explained. Sunak was addressing the members of Parliament for the first time since air strikes on the Iran-backed Houthis, amid extensive criticism from a few lawmakers who mentioned that they should have been consulted before military actions. Yet, despite grumbling from the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party about keeping the Parliament informed, the primary opposition Labour Party stated that it supports the move, taking a lot of the political heat out of PM Sunak’s appearance.

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Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, said that the military actions must be underpinned by a precise strategy, adding that the Parliament should ask the appropriate questions, especially if Sunak desires to carry out a sustained campaign. The scrutiny is not the foe of strategy, he mentioned. Because while the forces back the actions taken last week, the strikes still bring risk, they must avoid escalations across the Middle East.

Houthi rebels have been going on attacking merchant vessels in the Red Sea as well as the Gulf of Aden for several weeks in response to the Israeli war in Gaza. These attacks have reportedly disrupted worldwide trade as several vessels have either halted transit via the Red Sea or have decided to sail several thousands of miles around Africa to avoid the risky waters.

Sunak further insisted that the strikes on Houthi targets were in “self-defence” to safeguard the British vessels. The idea is to not fall for the malign narrative that this is all about Gaza and Israel, Sunak added. They target vessels from all over the world. He further said that in Yemen, 13 planned targets had been impaired. On Monday, the UK Maritime Trade Operations, which overlooks the Middle East waters, reported that the missile fire struck a vessel in the Gulf of Aden, nearly 110 miles to the southeast of the border of southern Yemen. Sunak’s spokesperson, Max Blain, told the reporters that the vessel is not a UK-flagged or associated vessel.

The allied air strikes have also prompted concerns that Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas, which Iran backs, is likely to expand into a regional conflict. The UK has said that it spoke to the Houthis and Iran regarding the halting of attacks on vessels. Earlier, UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said there is no precise recipe to determine if the strikes would have deterred the Houthis. Strict monitoring is ongoing to see if there are shipments or whether to detect intelligence and the rest of it, he mentioned on Monday. He informed the BBC that the UK would once again look at further strikes against the group if the attacks in the Red Sea do not halt.

Reference: The Guardian

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Marine Insight News Network is a premier source for up-to-date, comprehensive, and insightful coverage of the maritime industry. Dedicated to offering the latest news, trends, and analyses in shipping, marine technology, regulations, and global maritime affairs, Marine Insight News Network prides itself on delivering accurate, engaging, and relevant information.

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