The straits between Oman and Iran are the key choke point for oil coming out of the Middle East. A third of the world’s sea-borne oil transits the straits.
President Trump also announced that he was sending an additional 1,500 US troops to the region because of Iranian actions in the Middle East.
The Houthis have frequently fired Iranian-supplied missiles into Saudi Arabia during recent years.
Imagine the reaction in the United States if a Chinese-supported militia took over most of Mexico and then fired scores of missiles at Texas cities, and you get an approximation of how the Saudis feel about the Iranian-supported Houthis in Yemen on their southern border.
How might tensions in the Middle East be lowered? A key would be to end the war in Yemen. This would require the United States to lend more of its weight to the United Nations-led peace process in Yemen and to put pressure on the Saudis to agree to some kind of a political settlement in the country.
In exchange, the United States should provide additional intelligence and anti-missile technology to the Saudis to prevent the Houthis from continuing to launch missiles into their kingdom.
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