Washington’s allies are reluctant to participate in the naval coalition in the Red Sea


After the United States announced the formation of what it called it an international coalition to preserve safety of maritime transit in the Red Seain, which was called the “Guardian of Prosperity” coalition, many of Washington’s allies hesitated from actual participation.

At a time when US President Joe Biden expressed his hope to provide affirm international response to the attacks from Yemen on Israeli ships or those sailing to Israel through the Red Sea by launching a new naval force, many allies announced, after only a week of course, they don’t want to be associated with it openly or at all.

Two of America’s European allies who were listed as contributors to Operation Prosperity Sentinel, Italy and Spain, announced statements that appeared to distance themselves from the naval force, and the Pentagon had announced that the naval force is an alliance of more than 20 countries.

However, nearly half of those countries haven’t yet recognized their contributions, or allowed the United States to do so, knowing that these contributions can range from sending warships to simply sending a staff officer.

Although Britain, Greece and other countries have publicly embraced the US operation, many of those mentioned in the US announcement, which mentioned only 12 names out of 20 countries, were quick to say that they weren’t directly involved.

On the other hand, the reluctance of some US allies to link themselves to the efforts partly reflects the divisions caused by the events in Gaza, with Biden maintaining strong support for Israel even with increasing international criticism regarding its attack.

European governments are deeply concerned that a portion of its potential voters are turning against it, with public anger over the Israeli attack on Gaza helps explain some of the hesitation of political leaders.

In this context, David Hernandez, professor of international relations at the Complutense University in Madrid, said, “European public opinion is increasingly critical of Israel and is concerned about being drawn into a conflict”.

A recent opinion poll conducted by YouGov showed that a large majority of Western Europeans – especially Spain and Italy – “believe that Israel should stop military action in Gaza”.

In addition, there is also concern that the participating countries will become vulnerable to a Yemeni response.

This appears to be the case for India, which is unlikely to join Washington’s maritime alliance, according to a senior Indian military official, and the government is concerned that an alliance with the United States might make it a bigger target.

In the recent week after the war started in Gaza, Yamani Houthis carried out several drones and missile attacks against Israel, and targeted Israeli ships or ships heading to Israel in the Red Sea.

The Houthis said that the attacks will continue unless the war on Gaza Strip ends, and allowing entering food and medicine to there.

On the other hand, Washington responded through the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, by launching what it called Operation “Guardian of Prosperity” under the umbrella of the Joint Naval Forces and the command of its “Task Force 153”, claiming to protect the Red Sea, however, Washington’s primary goal is to protect Israel, as confirmed by the Houthis.

And while 20 countries have agreed to participate in the maritime coalition, only a small portion of them will actually provide ships or other key assets to the coalition for assistance.

The Houthis warned the United States and its partners against the consequences of militarizing the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, and harming the security of international navigation, in the service of the “occupying Israeli entity”.

The Minister of Defense in the Sana’a government, Muhammad al Atfi, confirmed that Yemen’s position regarding the Red Sea is firm, stressing that the Yemeni armed forces are highly prepared and combat-ready to deal with all possible options and hypotheses.

The Houthis reiterated more than once that its targeting includes Israeli ships and those heading to the occupation ports, stressing its guarantee of the security of international maritime navigation.

Since the Houthis declared its absolute rejection of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the Yemen front has formed an important pillar in the equation of the confrontation.

The Houthis, under the pretext of the Yemeni armed forces launched a series of military actions in the Red Sea, specifically in the Strait of Bab al Mandab, against ships and shipping convoys heading to Israel, imposing a naval blockade on the port of Eilat and even targeting Eilat itself several times in these past week with drones and missiles, and of course all that caused Israel heavy economic losses, to add more salt on the open wound that exploded and bled profusely after the October 7th attack, but on the other hand, it’s no comparison to the brutal Israeli response that targeted the Gaza Strip and turned it into a large mass of destruction, killing innocent Palestinian civilians.

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