Saudi Oil Tanker Attacked
On Tuesday July 25th, an attack, carried out by Houthi Rebels targeting a Saudi oil tanker West of Hodeidah port city, was thwarted by the Western-backed Arab coalition forces. The Red Sea port of Hodeidah sits on the strategic passageway of the Bab el-Mandeb strait but currently lies under the control of Houthi rebel forces as they are clashing with Saudi and Emirati military forces for control of the city. The Saudi-led intervention has marked its third year since it first began following the Houthi takeover of the capital Sana’a in 2015.
The oil tanker was reportedly transporting a shipment of around 2 million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia to Egypt when the attack took place in international waters. As such, Houthi rebels only lightly damaged the vessel after firing a missile towards it which averted a natural disaster due to an oil spillage that would have been caused by damages sustained to the tanker. However, the Saudi government announced that it would be suspending all shipments in the Red Sea until the situation returned to normal and it is safe for ships to travel.
Previous attempted attacks against economic targets have also been reported by the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, such as the drone attack on the Abu Dhabi International Airport on July 26th or another drone strike on Saudi Aramco infrastructure on July 18th. Such attacks send shockwaves across the international arena as they can affect international trade by, for example, raising the price of crude oil and depleting stockpiles of oil. Moreover, it is largely believed that the Houthi rebels are supported by Iran, which places the conflict in Yemen at the center of Saudi-Iran tensions that have been on the increase.