A US Navy warship seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat it had stopped in the Arabian Sea as the Trump administration pressures Tehran to curb its activities in the region.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Pentagon confirmed that, on November 25, a US warship found “advanced missile components” on a stateless vessel and an initial investigation indicated the parts were of Iranian origin.
Operational Sentinel patrols the Strait of Hormuz, yet regional rivalries and the international coalition’s makeup could escalate tensions.
By Gregory Clough and Morgan D. Bazilian*
Renewed conflict in the Strait of Hormuz pushed the United States to establish an international coalition for maritime security to ensure safe passage of shipping traffic and guarding against further disruption in oil supplies. While such security coalitions have been successful in the past, applying the same approach in the Middle East may not improve conditions and may even exacerbate tensions.
SEOUL/DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement released three vessels and 16 people it had seized, South Korea’s foreign ministry and a Houthi military source in Yemen said on Wednesday.
The seizure on Sunday was the latest incident at sea around Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed coalition of Arab states against the Houthis, who control the capital and most population centres and have been accused of attacking shipping.
‘Attack’ on ship towing South Korean drilling rig threatens vital shipping routes, Saudi spokesman says.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said Iran-aligned Houthi rebels hijacked a vessel south of the Red Sea.
Saudi Arabia‘s state-run Saudi Press Agency quoted coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki as saying on Monday that Houthis seized the ship while it was towing a South Korean oil drilling rig on Sunday.
MaritimeSecurityNews: This is a significant roll of the dice by al Houthi rebels. As war weariness sets in on both sides, it has been suggested that this incident is an attempt by Houthis to show Saudi Arabia how difficult it can still make life for them. South Korean media outlets have suggested that three vessels were hijacked/seized by Houthi rebels and have dispatched their anti-piracy Cheonghae unit to the region, which will focus minds in Yemen, given their reputation.
Maritime security in the Red Sea remains perilous, with Iran reporting attacks which are unverified independently and the ongoing threat posed by Houthi naval mines and SVBIEDs. A persistent threat to a major shipping lane will not go unchallenged by other countries in the region as well as the USA. I hope the al Houthis appreciate just how risky this gamble may prove to be. Image below via OCEANUSLive.org, who carry the initial UKMTO report.
TOKYO — Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Tuesday informed the United States’ government that Tokyo plans to send defence forces to help safeguard waterways in the Middle East without joining a US-led maritime security coalition, Japanese officials said.
During phone talks between Motegi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the two also pledged close co-operation on Middle East issues so as to ease tensions, which remain high amid a standoff between the US and Iran.
Iran says Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia might be behind the recent “cowardly” attack on its oil tanker in the Red Sea, to which Iran will definitely give a crushing response.
Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said on Wednesday video evidence had provided leads about the incident. “A special committee has been set up to investigate the attack on Sabiti… with two missiles and its report will soon be submitted to the authorities for decision,” Shamkhani noted.