Heightened tensions between the US and Iran has raised concerns that Tehran could organise Houthi attacks on merchant ships passing through strategic trading routes in the Gulf.
“There will be concern over the potential of Iran being in a position to threaten maritime traffic through the Bab el Mandeb,” said Jon Lee, an analyst at Dorian Risk Consulting.
“Tensions between Iran and the US in the Straits of Hormuz are likely to increase. By extension, those tensions are also a concern for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and western nations who rely on the region for energy supplies. Iran could in the near future use the Houthi as surrogates to threaten the Bab el Mandeb as well, giving Tehran the ability to control or influence maritime traffic through two of the most important choke points in the world,” said Mr Lee.
High volumes of petroleum and other products are shipped through the vulnerable, narrow straits, making their protection all the more critical.
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