Yesterday, a coalition of governments, led by the U.S., issued a joint statement implicitly threatening military action against the Houthis if they do not stop their attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. Besides the U.S., the statement was signed by Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. “Let our message now be clear: we call for the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews,” the statement concluded. “The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy, and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways. We remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks.”
During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council yesterday, the U.S. extended that warning to Iran. U.S. Deputy Ambassador Christopher Lu told the council that the Houthis have been able to carry out the attacks, because Iran has supplied them with money and advanced weapons systems, including drones, land attack cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles—in violation of UN sanctions, reported AP. “We also know that Iran has been deeply involved in planning operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea,” Lu said.
He said, the United States isn’t seeking a confrontation with Iran, but Tehran has a choice. “It can continue its current course or it can withhold its support without which the Houthis would struggle to effectively track and strike commercial vessels navigating shipping lanes through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.”