Saudi-led forces today announced that they have captured the Yemeni side of the Baab al-Mandab Strait, saying the move was meant to secure a key route for oil shipments heading to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal in Egypt.
The Shi’ite Houthis have never attacking any shipping vessels around Yemen, however, and the move is likely part of the overall attempt to enforce a harsh naval blockade on Yemen, which is keeping the nation from important basic food and medical supplies.
The Houthis have in recent days begun attacking the warships from the Saudi-led coalition which are enforcing the blocking. The warships have, in addition to stopping food shipments, been used to attack Houthi positions along the coast elsewhere, and to support the pro-Saudi fighters.
Humanitarian shipments into Yemen have come out of Djibouti, across the strait, though since the pro-Saudi forces took over the southern port of Aden, the indication is that the shipments are all but entirely confined to the south, with the Houthi-dominated north receiving comparatively little aid.