Saudi soldiers walk by oil tanker trucks delivered by Saudi authorities to support charities and NGOs in Marib, Yemen January 26, 2018. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser
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Saudi Arabia announced last week it was suspending oil shipments through the Red Sea's Bab al-Mandab strait after Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis attacked two ships in the waterway.The threat to shipping in Bab al-Mandab has been building for some time, with the Houthis targeting Saudi tankers in at least two other attacks this year.Analysts say Saudi Arabia is trying to encourage its Western allies to take more seriously the danger posed by the Houthis and step up support for its war in Yemen, where thousands of airstrikes and a limited ground operation have produced only modest results while deepening the world's worst humanitarian crisis.The suspension of Saudi shipments – with the implied threat of higher oil prices – may also be aimed at pressuring European allies, who have continued to support the nuclear deal with Iran following the U.S. withdrawal in May, to take a stronger stance against Tehran's ballistic missiles program and support for armed groups across the region.During the "tanker war" of the mid-1980s, Gulf waters were mined as Iran and Iraq attacked oil shipments.
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