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National Security
Reference:

Yemen's Houthis (Ansar Allah): impact of the Iranian proxy force on security in the region (in light of the crisis in the Red Sea)

Gonta Semen Nikolaevich

Student; Department of Theory of Law and State, History and Philosophy; Sochi State University

354000, Russia, Krasnodar Territory, Sochi, ul. Plastunskaya, 94

rudolf.diesel.bmw@gmail.com
Other publications by this author
 

 
Ivanov Nikolai Aleksandrovich

Lecturer, Department of Physical Culture and Sports, Sochi State University

354000, Russia, Krasnodar Territory, Sochi, ul. Plastunskaya, 94

ivanovnik45@yandex.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.7256/2454-0668.2024.1.69629

EDN:

MPIFNN

Received:

19-01-2024


Published:

27-01-2024


Abstract: The article is devoted to the analysis of the activities of the Yemeni pro-iranian rebel group Ansar Allah (also called the Houthis) in the context of the maritime navigation crisis through the Red Sea that emerged at the end of 2023, which continues to this day. The relevance of the study lies in the fact that the activities of the Houthi group to effectively block most of the maritime traffic through the Red Sea have already caused significant economic damage, and the very safety of maritime navigation along the shortest route from Asia to Europe has actually been called into question. The object of the study is the Yemeni movement Ansar Allah (Yemen Houthis movement). The subject of the study is the activities and influence of the Houthi group on the international economy and the safety of maritime navigation through the Red Sea. The research methodology is based on general scientific research methods (content analysis, classification), as well as on special historical methods (narrative, historical-genetic). The scientific novelty of the article lies in a detailed analysis of the events of the crisis in the Red Sea, which began at the end of 2023 and is currently ongoing. The authors' particular contribution to the study is description of the activities of the Houthi movement in the Red Sea in the period from December 2023 to January 2024. Separately, the authors analyze the degree of influence of the crisis on Russia and possible ways to overcome it. In conclusion, the authors conclude that Iran, with the help of its proxy forces, was actually able to block an important sea route for international trade, as well as cause serious economic damage to Western countries and Israel. And the consequences of such damage could ultimately affect the rest of the world.


Keywords:

Yemen, Ansar Allah, Houthis, Red Sea, maritime shipping, terrorism, proxy forces, maritime piracy, international economics, Suez Canal

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Introduction

The relevance of the study lies in the fact that after the beginning of a new round of the Arab-Israeli conflict, after the attack by the militants of the Hamas group in October 2023, the old wound of the Middle East reopened. After Israel's retaliatory actions, namely the conduct of a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip, various terrorist (according to the countries of the collective West) and other Islamic armed groups (Hezbollah, Hamas, Ansar Allah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad* (*terrorist organization) began to intensify their activities throughout the region banned in the Russian Federation), etc.), which in fact represent Iranian proxy forces. This article highlights the activities of the Ansar Allah group (also called the Houthis).

The purpose of the study is to review and analyze the activities of the Yemeni Houthi group (Ansar Allah) in the light of recent events in the Red Sea, namely, the seizure and shelling of civilian vessels and the threat to all maritime navigation in the region. And also to identify the degree of influence of their activities on the safety of one of the most important sea routes for international trade (which is also particularly important for the economy of the Russian Federation). Separately, consider possible options for overcoming, for the Russian Federation, the crisis in the Red Sea.

This article is an attempt by the authors to consider and analyze the activities of the Iranian proxy force in the Red Sea, to identify the degree of influence of this group's activities on security in this region (primarily in terms of maritime navigation).

Materials and methods of research

The methodology of this work is determined directly by its topic and includes both general scientific research methods and special research methods. General scientific research methods: abstract-logical method, structural analysis method, content analysis method (in terms of source analysis) and comparative analysis method (in terms of describing possible ways to overcome the crisis). As well as additional research methods: the narrative method and the historical-genetic method.

The bibliographic base of the article consists of current research by Russian and foreign authors. Also, additional sources are involved in the work, namely: publications in the media, reports from the British Maritime Trade Center (a division of the British Navy), as well as publications of other resources on the Internet.

All illustrations given in this article were taken from the official telegram channel of the Yemeni Ansar Allah movement, as well as from other open sources.

Discussion

Currently, there are no fundamental studies in the Russian scientific community on the Yemeni Ansar Allah movement (Houthis), the consideration of which is mainly presented in an article form. Among these, we will highlight some studies, dividing them into thematic areas:

The works of A. A. Gazovskaya [1], Yu. I. Ilyina [2], D. S. Chichaev [3], A. D. Savateev and T. A. Bokova [4] are devoted to the analysis of external actors in the civil war in Yemen.

The works of A. V. Frolov [5], A. A. Novikov [6], K. K. Jabieva and L. A. Khalilova [7], as well as Sh. D. K. Umirzokova [8] are devoted to the analysis of the topic of the Yemeni Houthi movement as an Iranian proxy force.

Separately, in the context of this study, we will highlight works that, although not directly related to the topic of the Yemeni Houthi movement, are devoted to topics related to the activities of such groups. Namely: an article by A. A. Bartosh [9], which is devoted to the phenomenon of proxy wars in the XXI century, an article by O. V. Tikhanychev [10], devoted to the development of the theory of hybrid confrontations and a monograph by R. V. Arzumanyan [11], which comprehensively examines the strategy of irregular wars, which are so relevant in the modern world.

Also, in the context of this work, it is worth noting the specific military aspects of the activities of the Yemeni Houthis, namely: the use of various drones and kamikaze drones, since the Houthis actively use the experience of recent military conflicts and other groups, using drones in their attacks (including in the events discussed below).

Among such studies, we will highlight: an article by I. A. Solovatov [12], which analyzes the use of military drones in the Libyan civil war, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, etc., a collective study by researchers of the Ryazan Guards Airborne Technical University [13], which examines the military use of commercial drones by Islamic State militants* (*a terrorist organization banned in Russia The Russian Federation) in Syria and ways to counter such homemade military drones, as well as the work of S. N. Gaunt [14], which analyzes the role of civilian drones in modern military conflicts (the Hamas attack on Israel, the civil war in Sudan and a Special Military Operation).

There are also publications in the English-speaking scientific community on the topic of the Ansar Allah movement (Houthis) and the civil war in Yemen. Among these, we highlight the following studies: an article by Tomi Pulkkinen [15], an article by Thomas Juneau [16], works by Michael Knight [17, 18] and Tom Walsh [19].

Separately, we note a large-scale study by a team of authors from the American non-profit corporation RAND [20], which analyzes in detail the formation and development of the Houthi movement (Ansar Allah). As well as the publication of Nicholas Bramfield, an analyst at the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies [21], where he analyzes the activities of the Houthi movement in the context of the modern Arab-Israeli conflict.

The results of the study

A brief background to the events.

The history of Yemen in recent decades has been filled with turbulent political and military events. Being a divided country, Yemen appeared on the map within its modern borders in 1990, when two countries were united the Yemeni Arab Republic and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen).

The emergence of a new, unified Yemen, however, has not brought calm to the region. In 2004, in the north of the country, the Shiite-Zaidi militant group Ansar Allah (Houthis) actually started a civil war, launching an armed uprising against the Yemeni government. In 2010, a truce was concluded between the warring parties, but already in 2011, clashes between Shiite and Sunni Muslims began in Yemen. In 2014, the civil war in Yemen was continued with renewed vigor. The Houthi group, during the clashes, captured more and more territories, as well as important Yemeni cities such as Sanaa and Aden. Since 2015, the Houthi group has effectively become the ruling organization in Yemen, which has been divided into zones of influence between different groups. This state of affairs did not suit Yemen's northern neighbor and the main rival of the Shiites in the region Saudi Arabia, which in the same year 2015, together with other Gulf countries, launched a military intervention in Yemen in order to return power to the legitimate government.

However, the Saudi Coalition failed to achieve significant success. Since about 2019, the military presence of the coalition countries in Yemen has been declining. Also, one of the important factors deterring the coalition was the United States, which in 2021 decided to stop military support from its side. Thus, the Houthis not only remained in a large part of the country, but also strengthened their positions, primarily in the military sphere.

The new round of the Arab-Israeli conflict, which began on October 7, 2023, led to an active military action by Iranian proxy forces (Hamas, Hezbollah [22], Palestinian Islamic Jihad* (* a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation), Ansar Allah, etc. [23]) against the actions of Israel.

It can be argued that the actions of the above-mentioned groups have become a serious threat not only to Israel, but also to the whole world. In the context of this work, it is proposed to consider the activities of the Houthi group, since it has become the most "successful" in terms of pressure on the world community in general and the countries of the collective West in particular.

The threat to the safety of maritime navigation through the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.

Some time after the attack by Hamas militants on Israel, on October 19, 2023, the Yemeni Houthi group openly supported this attack and actually entered the war on the side of the Hamas group. Then, a month later, on November 14, the leader of the Yemeni Houthis, Abdal Malik al-Houthi, made a statement: "Our eyes are open to constantly monitor and search for any Israeli ship in the Red Sea, especially in Bab al-Mandeb and near the territorial waters of Yemen" [Cit. by 24]. The statement was made after the Houthi group began to attempt to attack Israeli territory with kamikaze drones and cruise missiles (but unsuccessfully, since all the objects fired were shot down by Israeli air defense, as well as by the forces of the Western Naval Group in the Red Sea).

Just 5 days after the above statement by the leader of the Yemeni Houthis, the group moved from words to deeds. On November 19, it became known about the armed seizure of a cargo ship (car carrier) belonging to Israeli businessman Avraham Ungar.

The ship was flying the flag of the Bahamas (home port of Nassau) and was flying between Turkey and India. According to various sources, there were from 22 to 25 people on board (with different nationalities). After the capture, the ship was sent to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, controlled by the Houthi group, where it has been moored to date. The Israeli authorities immediately condemned the seizure of the ship and blamed Iran for the actions of the Houthis.

After some time, the footage of the capture of this vessel was posted online by the Houthi group itself, which made the very mechanism of the seizure of the vessel clear. The process of seizing the vessel was very simple, the footage shows how a multi-purpose medium-class helicopter of the Soviet design MI-17 [25, p. 50] flies up to a moving vessel and lands an armed landing party (see Figure 1), and then changes course and flies away.

Figure 1. The armed seizure of the Galaxy Leader truck by the Houthis.

Source: the official telegram channel of the Ansar Allah group.

Disembarked, armed with AK-74 automatic rifles (it can be assumed that these were Chinese copies, approx. the authors), the landing party captured the ship's crew. Later, it became known from Yemen that the Houthis had allowed the captured members of the ship's crew to contact their relatives. As the representative of the movement, Mohammed Abdel Salam, said: "The crew of the detained Israeli ship were treated in accordance with Islamic moral values and humanitarian norms, they were also allowed to contact their families" [Cit. according to 26].

Later, the Houthis made other attempts to attack and capture ships. The seizure of the Galaxy Leader truck can be considered one of the most audacious and demonstrative "actions" in recent times. This event demonstrated to the whole world that international shipping is, in fact, helpless before armed groups and rebel forces. After the hijacking of the vessel, the Houthis said they would continue to block and seize ships with links to Israel. To confirm their intentions, the Houthis published videos showing the contact naval mines "Mersad" at their disposal.

It should be noted that marine contact mines pose a significant threat to civilian vessels, since they do not have any means of detection, and it is physically impossible to notice them. It is also worth noting here that attempts to mine the southern part of the Red Sea [27] and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait [28] (a narrow corridor about 30 km long) were made by the Houthis earlier, civilian vessels also became victims of mining.

In the context of considering the issue of armament, we note that the Houthi group is one of the most armed pro-Iranian forces in the Middle East. And if, for example, the aforementioned Hamas group has mainly light small arms, RPG-type launch systems, homemade ineffective rockets from water pipes [29], etc., then the Houthis possess not only light small arms, but also heavy ones, including tanks, artillery systems, drones, as well as rockets [30, 31]. Most of the heavy weapons have remained since the time of the country's division, when South Yemen actively purchased defense products from the Soviet Union, while the Islamic Republic of Iran is currently providing abundant assistance to the Houthis.

Since the beginning of a new round of the Arab-Israeli conflict in October 2023, the Houthis have become a serious threat in the waters of the southern part of the Red Sea, as well as in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. After the seizure of the Israeli car carrier Galaxy Leader on November 19, the number of dangerous incidents with naval vessels in the southern part of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait increased significantly. Basically, all incidents and suspicious incidents are concentrated just off the coast of Yemen (see Figure 2), which indicates the active activity of the Houthis to block not only Israeli shipping, but also other countries associated with Israel or not at all.

Figure 2. Concentration of incidents involving naval vessels near the coast of Yemen.

Source: UKMTO (British Maritime Trade Center) [32].

As can be seen from the data in the above figure, from the end of November to the present, incidents have increased significantly. Which makes the passage of ships through this region dangerous or even impossible. For a full and objective analysis of the situation, as well as for greater clarity of this article, the authors analyzed the available data (from December 2023 to January 2024) of the British Maritime Trade Center (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations), which contains a report on incidents with ships in the region under consideration. An analysis of incidents involving naval vessels in the southern part of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait is presented in table 1.

Table 1. Incidents involving naval vessels in the southern part of the Red Sea.

Date of the incident report

Location of the incident

Brief description of the incident

December 13, 2023

142819N, 0401011E

An attempt to capture a merchant ship 50 nautical miles west of the port of Hodeidah. The use of small arms, as well as an explosion 200 meters from the stern of the ship.

December 13, 2023

183755N, 0575650E

5-6 light-engine boats with armed men were spotted 90 nautical miles from Al Duqm. Machine guns were also mounted on the boats.

December 15, 2023

133900N, 042300E

50 nautical miles north of the port of Moha (Yemen), a small vessel with 10 armed men on board, on behalf of the Yemeni government, ordered a passing vessel to set course for Yemen.

December 15, 2023

132619N, 0425325E

60 nautical miles southwest of the port of Hodeidah, the ship collided with an unknown object, and there was a fire on board. A possible collision with a contact naval mine of the Houthis (approx. authors).

December 15, 2023

130345N, 0430751E

The captain of the vessel reported an attack 30 nautical miles from the port of Moha (Bab El-Mandeb Strait area). There was an explosion and a fire on board the ship, which was extinguished.

December 18, 2023

124100N, 0431300E

The ship's captain reported an explosion in the water near the side of the ship, 30 nautical miles south of the port of Moha.

December 18, 2023

130906N, 0430307E

24 nautical miles southeast of the port of Moha, a ship with armed men was approaching the vessel, but changed course after a warning fire.

December 18, 2023

122846N, 0433011E

63 nautical miles northwest of Djibouti, 5 boats with armed men approached the ship. The attempted attack was repelled by the forces of the Western Naval Coalition.

December 23, 2023

144142N, 0420442E

Numerous reports have been received about the low flight of an unknown UAV over the vessel, which soon exploded near the vessel. The incident occurred 50 nautical miles west of Al-Hudaydah (Yemen).

December 23, 2023

143500N, 0420300E

The explosion of an unknown UAV 45 nautical miles west of Salif (Yemen). The ship was not damaged.

December 26, 2023

143026N, 0421557E

An explosion occurred 60 nautical miles from Al-Hudaydah, and rockets were also spotted. Later, another explosion occurred near the ship. The ship was not damaged. A possible attempt to fire missiles at the vessel (approx. authors).

December 31, 2023

152245N, 0414647E

60 nautical miles northwest of Al-Hudaydah, the captain reported an attack by 3 boats on the ship, and a firefight occurred. The forces of the Western coalition came to the rescue, the crew was not injured.

January 2, 2024

125720N, 0431134E

An explosion near a ship in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, 33 nautical miles east of Aseba (Eritrea). The ship was not damaged.

January 15, 2024

122300N, 0464900E

95 nautical miles southeast of Aden (Yemen), the captain reported hitting the ship's port side with a missile. The crew was not injured.

Source: compiled by the authors based on data from the UKMTO (British Maritime Trade Center) [32].

From the analysis in the above table, it can be seen that completely different events took place in the water area under consideration. Among them are attempts to directly capture ships, the use of kamikaze drones, and the firing of ships with missiles. The Houthis, having various types of weapons, are already actively using them to destabilize maritime navigation in the region, which can and already causes economic damage, primarily to the EU countries and Israel.

The current costs of maritime navigation through the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait due to the threat of the Houthis.

Some time after the seizure of an Israeli car carrier and the Houthis' threats to further blockade maritime navigation through the region, it became known that the world's main shipping companies began to redirect their vessels [33]. This happened against the background of increased attacks on ships, after which the world's leading shipping companies announced a complete cessation of transit through the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal (see table 2).

Table 2. Global shipping companies redirecting ships due to the Houthi threat.

Company Name

The company's market share (as of November 2020)

Maersk (Denmark)

about 17% of the global container shipping market.

"MSC" (Switzerland)

about 16% of the global container shipping market.

"CMA CGM" (France)

about 12.2% of the global container shipping market.

Hapag Lloyd (Germany)

about 7.2% of the global container shipping market.

COSCO (China)

about 12.5% of the global container shipping market.

Source: compiled by the authors based on LOGIRUS data [34].

From the above table, the first 4 companies completely stopped transit, and the Chinese COSCO announced that it was stopping accepting orders and sending goods to Israel [35], thereby actually fulfilling the Houthis' demand for a naval blockade of Israel. After the decision was made to redirect the ships, they were sent to bypass the problem region along an alternative route through the Cape of Good Hope, skirting the entire African continent (see Figure 3). It should be noted that the sea route from Asia to Europe through the Suez Canal is the main route for the supply of goods (according to various estimates, from 7% to 12% of all maritime trade passes through it, including 30% of container traffic) from these regions.

Figure 3. Suez and African sea routes from Asia to Europe.

Source: ACS Logistics [36].

The alternative route across the African continent is about 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 kilometers) longer, which adds about two more weeks to the transportation time when compared with the route through the Suez Canal. The actions of the Houthis, although not completely, have achieved significant success.

Thus, the redirection of goods through the Cape of Good Hope has already cost 35 billion US dollars in costs for the above-mentioned global shipping companies [37]. The Egyptian economy also suffered, as due to the activities of the Houthis, the revenues of the Suez Canal fell by 40% compared to last year (ship traffic decreased by 30%) [38], and the activity of the only Israeli port in the Red Sea, Eilat, decreased by 85%. Also, it is worth noting here that since November 2023, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which reflects the cost of transportation, has already increased by 310% [39].

All of the above economic consequences will eventually affect the population of almost all countries of the world, since the costs of maritime navigation will be shifted to the end user, which may lead to higher prices for a large range of goods and a surge in inflation.

Russia in the context of the crisis in the Red Sea: possible problems and ways to solve them.

In the context of the crisis in the Red Sea under consideration, it is also worth paying attention to the Russian Federation. Considering the activities of the Houthis in the Red Sea and the subsequent crisis of maritime navigation through the Suez Canal, Russia cannot stand aside, since it, like Western countries, depends on this important sea route to Asia. This is due to the fact that the bulk of Russia's oil exports pass through the sea routes. And if earlier (until 2022) Russian oil exports mainly passed through the Baltic ports [40], then after the introduction of international sanctions and the refusal of European countries to purchase Russian oil, the role of Russia's Black Sea ports for transportation to Asian countries has increased dramatically.

Thus, after the imposition of sanctions against oil from Russia, one of the largest oil consumers in Asia, India, increased its active purchase [41]. And here it is worth noting that the nearest sea route for transporting oil from Russia to India, just passes through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea, where the Yemeni Houthi group is currently operating. Currently, at least two cases of shelling of oil tankers transporting Russian oil near the coast of Yemen are already known [42]. This fact threatens almost all Russian oil exports from the Black Sea ports, which, ultimately, may affect the income of the Russian Federation from the export of hydrocarbons.

And here it is worth noting that Russia has the opportunity to develop an alternative sea route from the European part to Asia this is the northern sea route (see Figure 4).

Figure 4. The route of the Northern Sea Route.

Source: Eurasian Economic Cooperation Organization [43].

This sea route has both advantages and disadvantages. Its advantages include its shorter length compared to alternative routes ("from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok along the Northern Sea Route 14,280 km, through the Suez Canal - 23,200 km, and around the Cape of Good Hope 29,400 km" [44]). And its disadvantages, first of all, include the lack of development and investment in infrastructure, since since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the port and maritime infrastructure has gradually degraded [45]. The need to develop the Northern sea route as an alternative transit route has been repeatedly stated by Russian President Vladimir Putin [46], noting the sufficient level of development of the Russian icebreaking fleet today and broad prospects in the future [47]. Provided that the problems of the northern sea route are properly developed and eliminated, the Russian Federation will be able to offer the world an alternative sea route that will not only be safe, but also the shortest in length. This can significantly strengthen both Russia's influence in the international arena and the economic potential in the Arctic region. It should also be noted that in addition to the Northern Sea Route, Russia can also offer overland supply routes using rail transport. And if oil transportation is more difficult to transfer to railway tracks, then container transportation does not have such problems. Currently, the transportation of containers from Asia to the EU through the territory of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus takes about 7 days. But the problem of such overland transit may be the total capacity of railways, which is limited by a certain volume and does not have the possibility of a sharp increase.

In the context of ensuring the safety of ships with Russian oil in the Yemen area, it is worth noting here one interesting study (according to the authors) by A.V. Kupriyanov and I. A. Kramnik [48], which is devoted to the issue of studying the activities of private naval military companies in the East African region (precisely in the place where the maritime crisis has developed today shipping). Analyzing the issue of security in this region, the authors note that "the current conditions open a window of opportunity for Russia, which is traditionally positively perceived in the states of East Africa and whose presence at the same time does not cause protests from a key player in the region India. It is important that China also treats Russia's presence as a strategic partner in the Indian Ocean region positively, naturally seeing this as an additional guarantee of the security of the trade route to European countries and hydrocarbon supply routes" [48, p. 91].

Further, the authors propose as an alternative option to promote Russian influence and protect the interests of the country the concept of "marine PMCs" that Russia could use in this region.

This article was written in 2021, long before modern events that changed the balance of power in the world (for example: the beginning of a Special Military Operation in 2022, the new Arab-Israeli conflict in 2023, the civil war in Sudan in 2023, etc.). However, it is only now, when a clear threat to maritime navigation through the region under consideration from the Houthi group has become visible, that the concept proposed in the work has become particularly relevant.

Currently, taking into account current events, various options for cooperation between Russia and the countries of the East African region, which overlook the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, can be considered. Among these are: Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia. And if Sudan and Somalia are currently zones of military instability, then, for example, Eritrea and Djibouti can be considered as full-fledged partners for security cooperation.

According to the authors, Eritrea is particularly worth highlighting here, since foreign military bases are already located on the territory of Djibouti (including the United States and China, and negotiations on the construction of a Russian military base ended unsuccessfully [49]). This is also due to the fact that Eritrea is currently taking consistent pro-Russian steps in international politics. For example, it is one of the few countries that voted against an anti-Russian resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning the start of a Special Military Operation [50].

Thus, Eritrea can be considered as an important partner in establishing the safety of maritime navigation through the Red Sea to protect Russian economic interests. Whether to use the concept of "marine PMCs" proposed by A. V. Kupriyanov and I. A. Kramnik or other forms of interaction remains an open question.

It should be noted that at this stage of the development of events, possible ways to overcome the crisis in question for the Russian Federation may lie in the power and diplomatic plane (see table 3).

Table 3. Possible ways to overcome the crisis.

Possible ways to solve the problems of ship transit for the Russian Federation

Description

1.

The creation of private or public structures that would be engaged in the direct protection of ships in the Red Sea.

The creation of its own proxy or direct force in the region to ensure the protection of Russian vessels and vessels with Russian economic interests. Possible partners in this scenario may be the aforementioned East African countries, in particular: Eritrea.

2.

Development of a conditional information exchange system of the "FriendFoe" type.

Creation of a trilateral (Russia-Iran-Ansar Allah) information exchange systems on the issue of ship transit through the Red Sea. This system can help to avoid blocking the transit of Russian ships through the region and generally reduce military tensions.

Source: compiled by the authors.

And if the first option of ensuring the safety of Russian vessels requires significant financial expenses, then the second option seems more promising, since it relates to the information and diplomatic spheres, which does not require large financial investments. Thus, the work on the proposal and development of possible options for ensuring the security of Russian economic interests in the Red Sea requires further study.

Conclusion

Based on the conducted research, it can be concluded that the issue of international security in terms of maritime navigation is most acute. As can be seen from the analysis of the crisis in the Red Sea, Iran, with the help of its proxy force, was able to "cheaply" inflict economic damage on the countries of the collective West, primarily the EU countries and Israel. The example of the Houthis' activities once again demonstrates how one of the tools of hybrid warfare, rebel groups, can have significant success at relatively low cost.

The ongoing crisis also affects the economic interests and national security of the Russian Federation, therefore it requires further analysis and search for ways to overcome it, which may lie in various planes (information, diplomatic, power, etc.).

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First Peer Review

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The subject of the study. Based on the indicated title, it seems possible to conclude that the article should be devoted to the influence of the Yemeni Houthis on the international economy and security in the region (in light of the crisis in the Red Sea). The article partially corresponds to the stated topic, since the first aspect (impact on the international economy) is practically not disclosed. The research methodology is based on the generalization of well-known facts and judgments. It is valuable that the author has included numerous graphic objects in the article, but the tables presented are a statement of known facts, and the drawings are copied from various sources (links in square brackets to which are not presented under the figures). It is recommended to supplement the author's graphic objects, including the results of the study of numerical data characterizing the subject of the study. The relevance of the study of issues related to the assessment of the influence of the Yemeni Houthis on the international economy and security in the region is beyond doubt, as it meets the national interests of a number of countries (including the Russian Federation). At the same time, the potential readership is interested in specific author's estimates of this impact, including those expressed in monetary terms: how much money can countries lose? And at the expense of what? The readership is also interested in ways to solve existing problems: how to minimize this negative impact? The scientific novelty in the material submitted for review has not been revealed, since it is essentially a generalization of facts already reflected in other sources (which the author does not hide by pointing out references). The revision of the article, related to the formation of author's conclusions from these facts, will eliminate this remark. Style, structure, content. The style of presentation is scientific. The structure of the article is built by the author, but does not fully contribute to the disclosure of the stated topic: it is recommended to add blocks revealing the methods and conditions of the study, discussion of the results of the study and specific author's recommendations for solving existing problems. The content of the article needs to be improved from the point of view of the requests of the potential readership (the directions of their interests are indicated above) and the stated headings. For example, the author names one of the points "Russia in the context of the crisis in the Red Sea: risks and prospects", but the text does not identify risks. Also, what is the author talking about the prospects? Prospects for trade communication? Logistics prospects? Or the prospects of what? The bibliographic list consists of 47 sources, which extremely positively characterizes the reviewed scientific article due to the extensive study of scientific literature on the research topic. It is valuable that the author relies not only on domestic, but also on foreign sources. Appeal to opponents. The author researched a large number of sources, but due to the lack of author's judgments and conclusions, there was no subject of discussion with other opponents. Accordingly, during the substantive revision of the article, it is also necessary to discuss the author's results with other authors. Conclusions, the interest of the readership. Taking into account all the above, we draw a number of final conclusions. Firstly, the article has been prepared on an extremely relevant topic, which is currently in great demand from a wide range of people. Secondly, the admissibility of Figures 1-3 presented in the text is questionable (it is recommended to replace them with graphic objects constructed by the author with an analysis of numerical data characterizing the subject of the study: a quantitative assessment of the influence of the Yemeni Houthis on the international economy is very interesting, which is not reflected in the current version of the article). Thirdly, after taking into account the comments expressed in the text of the review, the article can be published.

Second Peer Review

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The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

This article is devoted to one of the most urgent military and political conflicts in the Middle East region, namely the Arab-Israeli conflict, which entered a new round and flared up with renewed vigor in October 2023. In the introduction, the author substantiates the expediency and relevance of the study from the point of view of the actions of various groups and movements in the region, which in the West and in a number of other countries are often characterized as terrorist. At the same time, the author applies the modern concept of proxy force for current social science, which characterizes the participation of some countries in the formation of interstate paramilitary forces and structures. Specifically, this study is devoted to the Yemeni Houthi movement and their impact on the state of security in the region. The purpose of the research in this regard is formulated quite clearly by the author, however, the methodological basis in the formulation of the author of the study seems very abstract and vague, while the article still uses specific methods such as content analysis, discourse analysis of sources, etc. methods of political science analysis, including Event analysis. The list of references is represented by a significant number of sources, including not only fundamental works devoted to the study of the phenomenon of international terrorism, but also empirical sources and analytical articles, reports, electronic sources and sources in English. A significant contribution of the author to the development of the studied problem is the applied analysis of potential threats in the waters of the southern part of the Red Sea and other sea routes, in particular for Israeli and other civilian vessels that are regularly attacked. The author analyzes the danger posed by the actions of Ansar Allah and other proxy forces not only for the State of Israel, but also for the whole world, especially those countries that use parts of the Yemeni coast in their trade activities. The article has a clear structure, is divided into thematic subheadings inside, and is replete with illustrations and tables that make the perception of the research material readable. In general, it should be concluded that the article is absolutely relevant to the research topic of the journal "National Security" and is of considerable interest to the readership of Nota Bene magazines. The theoretical and practical significance of the presented publication is beyond doubt. The author should have focused more on the degree of scientific elaboration of the problems in the domestic political science tradition, but as a practical case and research based, among other things, on event analysis, the article is a fairly complete and coherent study. The article can be recommended for publication without making any significant corrections and additions. Based on the conclusions made by the author, practical recommendations can be developed to eliminate terrorist threats in the Middle East region.