War of Attrition Could Prolong Cape Diversions

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Conflict in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb region could be entering a prolonged period of attrition as coalition forces seek to degrade the Houthi’s military capability with both sides considering a tactical shift in operations, with the failure of the Western military to prevent attacks, reports Container News.

Cape diversions

Security firm Dryad Global reported this week that attacks on commercial vessels have reduced, while strikes against coalition forces have costeadilyady pace. The reduction of strikes on commercial vessels can be attributed to many ships diverting around the Cape.

Corey Ranslem, CEO at Dryad Global, told Container News: “International coalition troops will most likely have to conduct land operations to lessen the Houthi threat if Houthi strikes continue to impede marine channels in the Red Sea.

Houthi Movement tactics may be changing due to the shift of most commercial shipping via the much longer route to Europe from Asia around the African Cape.

“Evidence suggests a move away from full offensive operations and toward a war of attrition strategy by the Houthis,” claimed Ranslem.

However, rather than ending the conflict the current tactics are expected to presage a war of attrition.

The Houthis will continue to attack, said Dryad, as long as they have the weapons to carry out the attacks or until the conflict in Gaza comes to an effective end.

In the meantime, coalition forces are continuing to mount operations against Houthi targets in Yemen.

However, Dryad admits that the calculation of Houthi capabilities is partly based on educated guesses as well as information gathering from both government and non-government sources.

Meanwhile, Dryad is continuing to question the coalition tactics with the implication that the costs may be prohibitive in the longer term.

Houthi attacks, which are assisted by Iran in the Red and Arabian Seas, and the Gulf of Aden, through the provision of ship identification data, advanced drones, anti-ship missiles, sea mines, and booby-trapped vessels, are considerably lower cost and more sustainable.

MV Behshad is a 23,200dwt general cargo vessel capable of handling up to 970 TEU containers, which was built in 1999. VesselsValue AIS currently shows this vessel steaming towards the Gulf of Oman.

Iranian involvement effectively means that eradicating Houthi attacks “will be a long-term effort, depending on whether Iranian weapons continue to be smuggled into Houthi-controlled ports.”

As such Ranslem believes that this costly war for the coalition may require a change of tactics by the coalition too.

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Source: Container News