WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Monday introduced a brand new partnership to counter the rising variety of assaults by Iranian proxies on industrial ships within the Crimson Sea.
The announcement by Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin got here days after two of the world’s largest transport corporations, Maersk and Hapag-Lloyd, introduced they have been pausing operations within the very important commerce route following repeated drone and ballistic missile strikes launched by Tehran-backed Houthi forces based mostly in Yemen.
“That is a global problem that calls for collective motion,” Austin stated in a press release from Bahrain, including: “The latest escalation in reckless Houthi assaults originating from Yemen threatens the free move of commerce, endangers harmless mariners and violates worldwide legislation.”
The US will likely be joined within the new coalition – dubbed “Operation Prosperity Guardian” by the Pentagon – by the UK, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles and Spain.
Some nations will conduct joint patrols whereas others present intelligence help within the southern Crimson Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Different nations have additionally agreed to be concerned within the operation however don’t need to be publicly named, a protection official informed the Related Press.
The US Navy has already despatched two of its guided-missile destroyers – the USS Carney and USS Mason – to patrol the Crimson Sea, which separates Egypt from Saudi Arabia.
That order adopted a Dec. 3 assault during which Houthis struck three industrial vessels with missiles.
The USS Carney responded to the strikes, capturing down one other three drones dispatched from Yemen within the course of.
“These assaults characterize a direct risk to worldwide commerce and maritime safety,” US Central Command stated in a press release on the time. “They’ve jeopardized the lives of worldwide crews representing a number of nations all over the world.”
Iran-backed militias throughout the Center East have upped the variety of assaults on US ships, overseas and industrial vessels and American army personnel following the start of the Israel-Hamas struggle on Oct. 7.
The US has but to strike again on the Houthis working in Yemen, nor has it focused any of the jihadists’ weapons or different websites.
At a Monday press convention in Tel Aviv, Austin declined to reply when requested why a counterstrike had not taken place.
“That is a global drawback,” he stated, “and it deserves a global response.”