By FATIMA HUSSEIN
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is encouraging Mideast allies to join the Combined Maritime Forces, a partnership that exists to counter malign action by non-state actors in international waters. The push is in light of increasing attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels against ships in the southern Red Sea. The U.S. has also announced sanctions against 13 people and firms alleged to be providing tens of millions of dollars to the Houthis in Yemen. The White House has also discussed establishing a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea.