The future of the Red Sea

Mark Leonard welcomes Cinzia Bianco and Theodore Murphy to discuss the crisis in the Red Sea and its escalation potential

Two weeks ago, the United States and the United Kingdom launched airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the group’s continued attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. While the intervention degraded some of the Houthis’ military capabilities, the airstrikes were insufficient to sustainably secure the Red Sea and encourage a return of international shipping. Meanwhile, the Houthis have vowed to continue with their attacks, claiming to act in solidarity with Gaza.

In this week’s episode, Mark Leonard welcomes visiting fellow Cinzia Bianco, an expert in the Gulf region, and Theodore Murphy, director of ECFR’s Africa programme. Together, they discuss the crisis in the Red Sea and its escalation potential. What are the Houthis’ motivations? How have countries on the Red Sea reacted to the crisis? What makes the Red Sea such a geopolitical tinderbox, and what should Europe’s role be?

This podcast was recorded on 25 January 2024.


Yemen in Crisis: The Road to War | Helen Lackner

To Rule the Waves: How Control of the World’s Oceans Shapes the Fate of the Superpowers | Bruce Jones

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