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Recently, Yemeni forces identified in international media as Houthis/Houthi rebels, have attacked or otherwise strong-armed commercial vessels to turn back from trying to enter the Red Sea via the Bab Al-Mandab strait. Some example news stories about this:

My question: Has the Supreme Political Council of Yemen, or the Houthi Ansar'ullah movement, issued any specific demands regarding the attacks on ships? i.e. demands such that, were they to be met, ships would no longer be interrupted in their passage of the strait? If so, what are these demands, exactly?

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3 Answers 3

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Yes. They always emphasize these demands in most of their videos (in Arabic). Al-Jazeera reported:

The Iran-aligned group has demanded that Israel allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, which has been reeling from more than two months of Israeli siege and bombardment. The Yemeni group has also called on Israel to end its brutal war on Gaza that has killed over 19,000 Palestinians.

Jurist reported:

Senior Houthi official Mohammed Al-Bukaiti issued a statement Tuesday saying the Houthis would not stop their military operations in the Red Sea unless Israel stops what he referred to as “genocide crimes” in Gaza and allows humanitarian aid to enter Gaza.

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  • Well, the Al-Jazeera report quote talks about two different demands, with only the first one being the condition for allowing unrestricted passage, while the tweet suggests the larger demand is the condition...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 9:21
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    @einpoklum It's really difficult to find another source through Google. Can you find anything in the western media, or have they published any news about this?
    – C.F.G
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 14:01
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    That's the thing, I've had trouble finding good sources on this, hence my question...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 15:18
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    @einpoklum: It's doubtful they'd be more explicit than that. There's an earlier Tweet from Dec 14/15 quoted here (when they took responsibility for attacking a Hong Kong-flagged ship) but it doesn't say much else: "Attacks would continue to "prevent all ships heading to Israeli ports from navigating in the Arab and Red Seas," until medical and food relief was made available in Gaza, Saree said." Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 23:48
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    @Fizz: It doesn't make sense for a navy / military to start a campaign to achieve certain demands, with those demands being vaguely hinted at in a personal tweet.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Dec 29, 2023 at 23:49
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I've found a statement by spokesperson of the Yemeni Armed Forces, which is not quite a statement of the Yemeni (Houthi) government, but is kind of official. It's quoted in a story on Al-Mayadeen (in English even).

It says that:

  1. Interference with ship navigation had been suspended while the Israeli attack was suspended (there was a short cease-fire, as you will recall).
  2. The "decisive battle" (i.e. interference/disruption with shipping) will continue "until the aggression on Gaza comes to an end."

So, the demand is for Israel to stop its military campaign against Gaza.

This statement does not clarify, however, what were to happen if the campaign were to stop but the stringent blockade which accompanies it were to continue.

Thanks goes to @ErelSegalHalevi for pointing me in this direction - even if the Jersualem Post reporting on the matter was not directly helpful.

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In addition to the claimed goal of stopping Israel's war on Gaza,

"A member of the political bureau of the Iran-backed Houthi terrorist movement warned that it would continue its attacks until the "demise of Israel" after they seized the Galaxy Leader merchant ship in the Red Sea on Sunday, in statements to the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV on Monday." (source).

So stopping the war on Gaza is not their final goal.

EDIT: the Houthis recently published a training session in which they train on capturing an Israeli settlement and taking hostages. They say that they are "ready for victory and holy Jihad". This is much more than just a cease-fire in Gaza.

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    1. You're quoting a highly biased source there (as is evidenced by the wording). Can you link to the actual supposed warning? 2. My question is about official statements by official bodies.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jan 10 at 13:34
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    @einpoklum the source is Al-Mayadeen TV, which I do not have access to. If do have access, you can look for their Monday 20/Nov/2023 show, and see how official this speaker is. Commented Jan 10 at 18:04
  • @einpoklum see also this video twitter.com/kann_news/status/1746157820079182268 in which Houthis train on capturing an Israeli settlement and taking hostages. They say that they are "ready for victory and holy Jihad". This is much more than just a cease-fire in Gaza. Of course, the source is biased, but you can watch the video - it is an official statement by the Houthis. Does it answer your question? Commented Feb 3 at 20:21
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    That video does not have bearing on my question.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Feb 3 at 21:02

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