Iran may try to close Strait of Gibraltar if UK attacks Houthis, says Major General Chip Chapman

Iran may try to close Strait of Gibraltar if UK attacks Houthis, says Major General Chip Chapman
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 12/01/2024

- 07:05

Updated: 12/01/2024

- 08:08

The former head of counter-terrorism at the MoD said an attack may mean ‘an elongated campaign’ in the Red Sea

Iran may seek to make good on a threat to close the Strait of Gibraltar if the UK retaliates against the Houthi rebel force for drone and missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea, a military expert has warned.

Major General Chip Chapman, a former head of counter-terrorism at the MoD, told GB News: “One of the things which could be done…if you take the Houthis as one of their proxy forces [Iran], is that they've said that they might close the Strait of Gibraltar.

“You might say they haven't got the capability to do that but they've also got a proxy force with the Polisario Front in Morocco.

“So, although it might seem unlikely, it doesn't mean that it wouldn't happen.”

In a discussion with Jacob Rees-Mogg, he said: “I think we are getting to the stage where, one of the guys that I used to work with was the former Centcom commander General Frank McKenzie has said, using a baseball analogy, that at the moment we're catching, that is catching in a defensive posture with Operation Prosperity Guardian.

“What we'll probably be doing in the future is pitching. That is, we'll have to take offensive action against some of these Houthi aspects and destroy the cruise missiles and the radar sites to try and further deter them.

“Now, the thing which is difficult about that is not the actual kinetic action itself but is this to be a single strike or is it to be an elongated campaign?

“There's always a risk if you go into an elongated campaign, because we've had since 2015 Operation Decisive Storm by Saudi Arabia and the UAE in Yemen, which is neither decisive nor a storm.”

He added: “In essence, this is what the Houthis would say is part of the theatre of war against the Israelis.

“And from both their perspective and the Iranian perspective that is a unity of fronts and a ring of fire around the Israelis.”


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