Unanimity was not achieved but this time, no veto came to reject a resolution linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas: the UN Security Council demanded, on Wednesday January 10, the judgment ” immediate” Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

The resolution, prepared by the United States and Japan, was adopted by 11 votes in favor and 4 abstentions (Russia, China, Algeria, Mozambique). It “condemns in the strongest terms the attacks, at least two dozen, against merchant and commercial ships since November 19, 2023.” On that date, Yemeni rebels seized the Galaxy Leader, taking its 25 crew members hostage. The resolution “demands that the Houthis immediately end such attacks, which hamper international trade and undermine navigation rights and freedoms, as well as regional peace and security.” The Council, insisting on respect for international law, “takes note” of the right of member states to defend ships against attack.

Since the start of the war on October 7, 2023, between Israel and Hamas, the Houthi rebels, who control a large part of Yemen, have increased attacks in the Red Sea in order to slow down international maritime traffic there, claiming to act in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

Houthis ‘significantly strengthening their military capabilities,’ UN says

Israel’s first ally, the United States, set up an international coalition in December 2023 to protect maritime traffic from these attacks, in this strategic zone where 12% of world trade passes. A coalition denounced by Russia: “We cannot but be worried about the current situation in the Red Sea (…) but we are worried that the United States and its allies prefer, as they often do, to choose a unilateral solution by force”, said the Russian ambassador, Vassili Nebenzia.

On Tuesday, British and American forces shot down eighteen drones and three missiles, in what is considered “the largest attack to date in the Red Sea by the Iran-backed Houthis,” wrote Wednesday , British Defense Minister Grant Shapps on the social network

The UN resolution also notes “large-scale” violations of the arms embargo targeting the Houthis. It reminds all UN member states to “respect their obligations” in this regard and “condemns the supply of weapons” to the Yemeni rebels, close to Iran.

According to the latest report by experts mandated by the Council to monitor the arms embargo, dated November 2023, the Houthis “are significantly strengthening their land and naval military capabilities, including submarines, as well as their arsenal of missiles and drones, in violation of the embargo.”

Washington denounces Iran’s involvement

The draft resolution finally calls for “addressing the roots” of the situation, “including conflicts contributing to regional tensions.” Russia, whose three amendments to the draft resolution were rejected, wanted to specifically add among these factors “the conflict in the Gaza Strip.” But making this link with Gaza “would have encouraged the Houthis and created a dangerous precedent for the Council by legitimizing these violations of international law”, commented the American ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, attacking the “financial and material” support » from Iran to Yemeni rebels.

“We must not neglect the source of the problem (…). We know that Iran is heavily involved in planning operations against commercial ships in the Red Sea,” she assured, calling on Tehran to make “a choice.”

“We are still very concerned about the situation in the Red Sea, not only about the situation itself, the risks to global trade, the environment and people, but also the risks of escalation of a more serious conflict. wide in the Middle East”, declared for his part Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the UN Secretary General.