HOUTHI rebel leaders made an unexpected visit to Moscow on Thursday to discuss increasing “pressure” on the US and Israel to end the war in Gaza.
The Iran-backed militia delegation met with Vladimir Putin’s cronies soon after they held alleged secret terror talks with al-Qaeda to plot intensified attacks against the West.
ReutersThe Houthis travelled to Moscow to hold rare talks with Moscow over the Red Sea crisis[/caption]
GettyPutin taunted the West by flying to his most westerly region of Kaliningrad yesterday while his cronies hosted the Iranian proxy[/caption]
The Houthis, led by spokesman Mohammed Abdel Salam, met with Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to discuss US and UK strikes on the Houthis and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Salam said on X/Twitter that it was a bid to get Russia to increase pressure on the US to “stop the aggression on the Gaza Strip and deliver humanitarian assistance there rather than militarise the Red Sea”.
During the talks, Moscow “strongly condemned” the American and British strikes against Houthi military bases across Yemen.
They blasted the aerial attacks as “capable of destabilising the situation on a regional scale”.
In turn, the Houthis reportedly raised concerns about the Western interventions in the Red Sea and called for closer coordination with Russia to address the situation.
It marks yet another dramatic escalation in the crisis that since November has been threatening to ignite an all-out war across the region, which has become a powder keg due to Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas.
The Houthis form part of Iran’s self-styled “Axis of Resistance” against Israel, with the explicit aim of destroying the Jewish state at all costs and to prevent any attempts by the West to interfere.
Moscow’s decision to host the Houthi delegation could be seen as a provocative move to inflame the West who are battling against the militant group to regain control in the Red Sea.
The dictator, 71, visited Kaliningrad, a western Russian enclave stuffed full of nuclear-capable missiles and wedged between EU countries Poland and Lithuania.
Meanwhile, Russia’s chilling meeting with the Houthis came soon after Yemeni reports that Houthi leaders allegedly held secret terror meetings with al-Qaeda to plot a wave of “suicide attacks” against the West.
At meetings held in both Yemen’s capital Sanaa as well as Hodeidah, the Houthi Red Sea port stronghold, the group reportedly tried to “persuade” their Islamist terrorist allies to join their fight in the Red Sea.
It was part of an apparent bid to convince them to carry out their “legitimate duty” to confront western “aggression” and stage further attacks, Sky News Arabia reported.
The terror talks came after Yemeni government officials accused the militia group of carrying out recent assassinations in the city of Aden alongside members of al-Qaeda.
For over two years, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – which the US classes as the terror group’s most dangerous branch – has been clashing with government forces as its renewed insurgency inside Yemen grows.
The terror group, previously led by Osama Bin Laden and responsible for the 9/11 attacks, appears to now be taking advantage of the escalating crisis in Yemen and across the Red Sea to launch further attacks.
It follows months of indiscriminate maritime assaults by the Houthis, who control most of Yemen, on commercial vessels as well as US and UK navy warships in the Red Sea.
The rebels state their intention is to avenge Israel’s offensive in Gaza against Hamas, but they are targeting ships with little or no link to Israel – turning one of the world’s biggest shipping lanes into an active warzone.
Around 12 percent of all global trade normally passes through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, the now-under-attack 20 mile-wide stretch of Red Sea also known as the “Gate of Tears”.
In a fresh round of Houthi assaults on Wednesday evening, two cargo ships sailing close to the Gulf of Aden came under attack from anti-ship ballistic missiles and the US Navy was forced to intervene.
It appeared to be a direct response to US and UK forces once again targeting Houthi military bases across Yemen in a nighttime blitz on Monday.
Four RAF Typhoon jets unleashed laser-guided bombs to blast eight sites, while US warships, submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets took out other missile storage sites and launches.
It provoked a furious response from the trigger-happy rebels who vowed the attacks “would not go unpunished”.
Foreign Secretary David Cameron said this week’s strikes sent the “clearest possible message”.
He said: “Since we last took action 10 days ago, there have been over 12 attacks on shipping by the Houthis in the Red Sea. These attacks are illegal, they are unacceptable.
“What we have done again is send the clearest possible message that we will continue to degrade their ability to carry out these attacks while sending the clearest possible message that we back our words and our warnings with action.”
The exploding tensions have led to discussions for Britain’s biggest warship to be deployed to the Red Sea to help spearhead strikes on Houthi targets.
Calls are growing for the £3.5billion aircraft carriers, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and its sister HMS Prince of Wales, to enter the crisis and help protect Britain and its allies interests.
On Monday, two US Navy Seals were confirmed as dead after a 10-day search for the pair after they went missing during a mission to seize Iranian arms.
And last week, Washington reclassified the Houthis as a terrorist organisation as they intensified diplomatic and financial pressure on the militia group.
It followed US intelligence claiming that the Houthis were attempting to acquire more weapons to intensify their Red Sea attacks.
The intel revealed the rebels have been carefully curating their plan of attack – pinpointing when the strikes would be ramped up and how they would gather the necessary weapons.
There are concerns the militants will receive even more lethal weapons from Tehran – their long-term partner, sponsor and backer – in the weeks to come.
Who are the Houthi rebels?
THE Houthi rebels are terrorising the Red Sea by launching persistent missile and drone attacks on vessels and warships – but who are they?
The Shia militant group, which now controls most of Yemen, spent over a decade being largely ignored by the world.
However, since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war they sprung from relative obscurity to holding roughly £1trillion of world trade hostage – turning one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes into an active warzone.
Their warped slogan is “Death to America, Death to Israel, curse the Jews and victory to Islam”.
Why are they attacking ships?
The rebel group has been launching relentless drone and missile attacks on any ships – including warships – they deem to be connected with Israel in solidarity with their ally, Hamas.
However, in reality there have been frequent attacks on commercial vessels with little or no link to Israel – forcing global sea traffic to halt operations in the region and sending shipping prices soaring.
The sea assaults have threatened to ignite a full-blown war in the Middle East as intense ripples from Israel’s war in Gaza are felt across the region – with Iran suspected of stoking the chaos.
Houthi attacks in the Red Sea increased 50 per cent between November and December as the rebel group’s chiefs pledged their assaults would continue until Israel stopped its offensive in Gaza.
And despite repeated threats from the West and joint US and UK strikes blitzing their strongholds in Yemen – Iran’s terror proxy appears undeterred.
GettyThe Houthis have been waging war in the Red Sea[/caption]
The militia group has disrupted £1trillion of world trade and sent global shipping prices soaring
The UK is said to be considering deploying its most fearsome warships to the regionLeave a comment