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US seeks off-ramp for Yemen's Houthis to end Red Sea attacks

Will anything short of a Gaza cease-fire persuade Yemen’s Houthis to end their Red Sea attacks? Most analysts are doubtful.
Houthi military spokesman Brigadier Yahya Saree delivers a statement during a rally in Sanaa in solidarity with Palestinians on March 15, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Hamas movement.

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WASHINGTON — The United States is searching for "diplomatic off-ramps" to de-escalate the crisis in the Red Sea, where Houthi attacks on maritime shipping have imperiled both global trade and Yemen’s fragile peace process.

The Houthis have launched drone and missile attacks since mid-November on vessels transiting the Red Sea and nearby waters, in what they say is retaliation for Israel’s deadly war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The spate of Houthi attacks on commercial and naval vessels, only some of which have clear links to Israel, have pushed up shipping costs and forced companies to halt or reroute traffic around southern Africa. 

Since January the United States and Britain have sought to restore stability in the Red Sea with a wave of airstrikes on Houthi missile depots and ammunition sites in Yemen. But the military action does not appear to have significantly degraded the Houthis' ability to disrupt global shipping routes and, according to some analysts, may have only emboldened them. 

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