Tue. May 28th, 2024

US Official Heads to Bahrain Amid Worries About Iran Ramping Up Red Sea Attacks

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker May16,2024

MIDDLE East minister Lord Ahmad of Windsor is visiting a British naval base in Bahrain today amid concerns that Iran will now increase proxy attacks on Red Sea shipping.

The UK’s Naval Support Facility has been central to supporting operations against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, who have been attacking international shipping in protest to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Iran is expected to revert to “tried and tested” methods of regional pressure through proxies following its decision to ramp down direct attacks against Israel.

This means Iranian commanders in Yemen ordering an increase of Red Sea attacks by Houthi rebels under their command, and an upsurge in attacks by Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.

Azerbaijan, Iran’s northern neighbour, and Jordan are also in Iran’s sights.

Israel’s growing military footprint in Azerbaijan is becoming an increasingly serious issue for Tehran – particularly because it provides Jerusalem with unparalleled intelligence-gathering opportunities.

Azerbaijan is a lynchpin to Iranian plans to form a 10-state “Shi’a crescent”, stretching from Bahrain to Lebanon, which it would control. But the former Soviet republic has been shifting towards Israel, which reportedly gave it weapons for its war with Armenia.

Iran’s Foreign Minister recently pledged that Iran would “take due measures accordingly.”

“There can be no doubt that Iran is making plans to deal with what it considers to be an increasing threat on its own border,” said former Middle East counterterror chief Col Richard Kemp.

Jordan’s decision to help coalition forces to intercept Iranian missiles and drones last weekend has made it a bigger target for Iran, too.

“Tehran is furious, and we should expect it to organise more anti-monarchy protests,” said Col Kemp.

“What Iran wants is to use Jordan to launch attacks into Israel, in the same way it believes Azerbaijan is being used against Iran.”

Both Tehran and Jerusalem have now seemingly stepped back from the precipice of a full-blown war by bringing to an end the exchange of direct missile and drone attacks

Iran’s refusal to acknowledge an Israeli drone strike on Friday, which hit its air bases in Isfahan and Tabriz, is a sign that it doesn’t wish to pursue the tit-for-tat strategy,

Israel’s decision to limit its actions to the launching of a handful of drones at air bases on Isfahan and Tabriz shows that Jerusalem, too, wants to dampen down tensions.

“This deescalation doesn’t mean tensions are over between Israel and Iran – merely that both are, for now, content to revert to their respective comfort zones,” said regional expert Megan Sutcliffe, of the Sibylline strategic risk group

“In Iran’s case, this means we may well see a hiking up of Red Sea attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen, and by well-armed Hezbollah militants on Lebanon.”

Britain has contributed two vessels, HMS Diamond and HMS Richmond, to the US-led maritime coalition Operation Prosperity Guardian. It has also joined with the US in launching military strikes against Houthi positions as part of Operation Poseidon.

Speaking last night, Lord Ahmad said: “At this critical period, we must do all we can – including working with key partners – to strengthen regional stability and security and push for de-escalation.”

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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2 thoughts on “US Official Heads to Bahrain Amid Worries About Iran Ramping Up Red Sea Attacks”
  1. It’s concerning to see the potential escalation of proxy attacks in the Red Sea region by Iran. The international community must remain vigilant and take necessary measures to ensure the safety of shipping routes and stability in the area.

  2. There is a growing concern about Iran’s potential escalation of proxy attacks in the Red Sea region. The actions of Iran-backed Houthi rebels and Hezbollah fighters, under the guidance of Iranian commanders, are alarming. It’s crucial to closely monitor the situation and take necessary measures to ensure the safety of international shipping in the area.

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