War In The Middle East: Global Trade Reroutes

The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza strip has entered a new phase with the entrance of the Houthis rebel group in Yemen. Since November 2023, the armed group has started unprovoked attacks on commercial ships transiting through the Mediterranean Sea. The group which is backed by Iran, are renowned for championing the interest of Yemeni Shia Muslim minority. Both the rebels and their sponsor are sworn enemies of Israel working through the Iranian led “Axis of Resistance” against the Jewish State and its allies. The other members of this axis include Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The group have since stepped-up attacks on commercial ships using armed drones, missiles and speed boats. They claimed they were targeting ships that were Israeli owned, flagged, operated or heading to Israeli Ports. In reality, the attacks had targeted ships outside these categories, especially ships with Western interests. One of the major attacks were carried out on a British-linked tanker.

In response to these attacks, the United States and United Kingdom have carried out air strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen starting from 11th January 2024. These they submitted were in response to trade disruptions, threat to freedom of navigation and protection of global shipping as being caused by the Houthis.

Cumulatively, the attacks have led to huge disruption in trade flow between Europe and Asia owing that the route handles about 15 percent of global seaborne trade. This has prompted major shipping lines to reprogram their East-West schedules and re-route commercial traffic through the Southern Africa route.

See also:

World Trade

Sea Trade Routes