The Houthi war -- a replay of the 19th century Barbary wars
A U.S.-owned and operated container ship on Monday was struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, according to the U.S. Central Command.The U.S. said via social media that the attack took place at around 4 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET) but the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, known as the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, reported no injuries or significant damage and continued on with its journey. (Google News)
The Barbary Wars were a series of two wars fought by the United States, Sweden, and the Kingdom of Sicily against the Barbary states (including Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli) and Morocco of North Africa in the early 19th century. Sweden had been at war with the Tripolitans since 1800 and was joined by the newly independent US. The First Barbary War extended from 10 May 1801 to 10 June 1805, with the Second Barbary War lasting only three days, ending on 19 June 1815.
The wars were largely a reaction to piracy carried out by the Barbary states. Since the 16th century, North African pirates captured ships and even raided cities across the Mediterranean Sea. By the 19th century, pirate activity had declined, but Barbary pirates continued to demand tribute from American merchant vessels in the Mediterranean. Refusal to pay would result in the capturing of American ships and goods, and often the enslavement or ransoming of crew members.
After Thomas Jefferson became president of the US in March 1801, he sent a US Naval fleet to the Mediterranean to combat the Barbary pirates. The fleet bombarded numerous fortified cities in present-day Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria, ultimately extracting concessions of safe conduct from the Barbary states and ending the first war.
During the War of 1812, with the encouragement of the United Kingdom, the Barbary corsairs resumed their attacks on American vessels. Following the conclusion of the War of 1812 and America's attainment of peace with Britain, James Madison, Jefferson's successor, directed military forces against the Barbary states in the Second Barbary War. Lasting only three days, the second conflict ended the need for further tributes by the United States, granted the U.S. full shipping rights in the Mediterranean Sea, and significantly reduced incidents of piracy in the region.