Over $1 Billion Down the Drain in Failed Fight Against Houthis

(RepublicanNews.org) – The U.S. and U.K. governments have spent more than $1 billion on “Operation Prosperity Guardian” to beat the Houthi threat to international shipping in the Red Sea and Suez Canal area. Despite the high bill and the applied force of both countries’ navies, business-related traffic through the Suez Canal stands at half the usual levels.

The Yemeni Houthi militia began targeting Israeli ships in response to Israel’s military action against Hamas in Gaza. They soon widened their target to include Israel’s allies, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, and now attack a wide range of ships in the Red Sea area. On June 12th, Houthi forces were reported to have attacked a Ukrainian-owned ship, the MV Verbena, which was stocked with Polish goods. Houthis also attacked the MV Tutor, a container ship sailing under a Liberian flag. One man is known to have died in the attacks.

The Houthis’ violence has seen a nearly 80% decrease in the number of dry-bulk carriers passing through the Suez Canal compared to the previous year. Other estimates put the overall drop in shipping traffic at 90%. The extra insurance costs placed upon ships traveling through the Suez Canal, as well as the increased shipping time and costs incurred by those avoiding it, represent a significant issue for international trade. The Red Sea channel usually accounts for between 10% and 15% of global maritime trade. Some companies have reported paying premiums 1000% higher than usual to be insured for the now-treacherous journey through the Red Sea.

The U.S. is said to have struggled to keep up with the quick and easy supply of weapons from Iran to the Houthis, with the American logistics chain being longer and slower. Despite American and British efforts, the Houthis have continued their attacks and have vowed to do so until Israel withdraws from Gaza. The Pentagon’s Gen. Maj. Patrick Ryder, however, claimed that “Operation Prosperity Guardian” has had some success. According to Ryder, the operation was never intended to destroy the terrorist Houthi forces but was designed to provide some defensive measures for merchant shipping. Ryder added that the operation means that the Houthis are facing consequences for their actions, even if they continue to repeat them.

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