“ALL HANDS ON DECK”
A senior White House official said Tuesday that addressing the ongoing threat by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on commercial vessels in the Red Sea is an “all hands on deck” problem that the US and allies must address together to minimize the impact on the global economy.
“How long this goes on and how bad it gets comes down not just to the decisions of the countries in the coalition that took strikes last week,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said during an appearance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Red Sea attacks have already caused significant disruptions to global trade. Oil prices have edged higher in recent days, though Brent crude futures were down slightly in early trading Tuesday. Tesla last week announced it would temporarily halt most production at its German factory because of attacks in the Red Sea.
HOUTHIS CAN’T HIJACK THE WORLD
Sullivan said it was critical that countries with influence on Tehran and other Middle East capitals make it clear “that the entire world rejects wholesale the idea that a group like the Houthis can basically hijack the world.”
US President Joe Biden’s senior adviser acknowledged that the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea as well as groups allied to Iran carrying out attacks in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen pose concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could escalate even as Israeli officials have indicated a shift in intensity in their military campaign.
“We have to guard against and be vigilant against the possibility that in fact, rather than heading towards de-escalation, we are on a path of escalation that we have to manage,” Sullivan said.
The comments from Sullivan came after Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said during an appearance at the Davos forum that the situation in the Middle East is a “recipe for escalation everywhere.” He said Qatar believes that ending the conflict in Gaza will stop the Houthis and militant groups from launching attacks elsewhere in the region.