The severe degradation of Yemen’s security, economy and infrastructure has exacerbated a cycle of violence which will likely destabilise the country for years if not decades. This poses a particular risk to the maritime sector, as the deteriorated security situation has reduced the forces available to safely police and secure Yemen’s coastline.
This is a critical risk to the security of the Bab Al Mandeb strait, which has historically been at high risk of piracy and other criminal activity, and through which travels nearly 20% of global shipping.
The deteriorating internal security situation has resulted in the spread of criminal and terrorist groups in the region, and the proliferation of small arms and light weapon systems.
Conflict overspill has resulted in direct and collateral damage to shipping, ports, and trade. Both parties seek to control the sea routes into Yemen, and the critical trade routes through the Gulf of Aden.
Houthi rebels have demonstrated a capacity for ballistic missile launch, WBIED (Water Bourne Improvised Explosive Device) and direct attacks with small arms. Maritime areas within reach of Houthi controlled territory are at risk of attack.
ARX has previously detailed the manner in which a Water Bourne Improvised Explosive Device may be employed against shipping, and the Houthis have the capacity and motivation to employ such tactics as the Civil War continues to turn against them. 2
The Saudi’s coalition willingness to escalate strikes against Houthi strongholds, and the failure of the 2018 peace talks, push the Houthis into a position where asymmetric tactics may pose the most effective method of disrupting Hadi government control.
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