The Iran-backed Houthi militias' hijacking of a UAE cargo ship off the coast of Yemen's Hodeidah late on Sunday is a reminder of the danger of keeping the coastal province's ports under the control of the terrorists.
Their continued control of the posts is a real threat to marine navigation near one of the world's most vital waterways.
Yemeni observers have no doubt that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had offered the Houthis logistic support in carrying out the hijacking. The Yemeni government, meanwhile, urged the international community to grant the greenlight to seize Hodeidah ports from the Houthis and designate the militias as terrorist.
Yemeni political researcher and academic Fares al-Beel described the hijacking as a "crime" and "damning evidence that the militias have become a threat to international navigation and global trade and regional and international security."
In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he said: "With all the destruction they have left on land and sea, and even in the air, the Houthis have become a mark of shame on the international community and major countries that deal with them as a political side or political bargaining chip in international interests."
The Houthis have become a greater global threat than ISIS and al-Qaeda, he warned. "Efforts must be mobilized to combat them without delay," he demanded.
"Iran, with its direct support and clear hostility is no longer a political regime, but a terrorist organization concealed by a state," he added. It has openly "declared war on the world."
Moreover, Beel noted that the Houthis would not have dared carry out such hostile attacks without complete support and coordination from Iran.
Such attacks will continue as long as the international community turns a blind eye, he warned.
Yemeni political analyst Dr. Abdulmalik al-Yosofi said the Houthis' hijacking of the Rwabee is a "blatant attack on freedom of marine navigation."
According to international agreements, the attack can be considered an act of global terrorism, he told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The persistence of such terrorist attacks will have major repercussions on international marine transport, he warned.
An immediate response is needed to deal with the source of threat and secure the safety of people working in the sector, he demanded.
Yemeni journalist Waddah al-Jaleel remarked that the Houthis spare no effort to practice their illegal acts, demonstrating their terrorist mentality and constant readiness to threaten regional and international security.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Houthis had received orders from Iran to carry out such crimes, adding that they were using Iranian weapons and equipment in their attacks and piracy.
The militias are implementing Iran's expansionist agenda and seeking to transform Yemen into a platform to threaten regional security and blackmail the world, he continued.
With the hijacking, the international community is again confronted with the challenges of facing Iranian threats and the terrorism of its militias, he stated.
They must be confronted before the militias make such criminal acts the norm, al-Jaleel warned.
The response must be immediate and should be real sanctions against the Houthis and Iran, he demanded.