Fighters of Houthi militant group | Credits: AFP
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US spearheads global coalition to defend Red Sea shipping from Houthi threats; China’s role raises eyebrows

United States: The US has shown interest in building the “broadest possible” marine coalition to safeguard ships in the Red Sea and send an “important signal” to Yemen’s Houthis that additional assaults would not be allowed, according to the US envoy for Yemen, the reports by Reuters unveiled.

Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza over two months ago, the Iran-aligned Houthis have assaulted vessels in Red Sea commercial routes and launched drones and missiles toward Israel, raising worries of a more significant Middle Eastern battle.

Jake Sullivan’s Insight

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor, told reporters that the United States was in talks with other nations over marine task force to “ensure safe passage of ships in the Red Sea.” However, further details were not revealed.

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor | Credits: AP Photo

On Thursday, Iran warned that such a force would confront “extraordinary problems.”

Tim Lenderking’s Vision

According to Tim Lenderking, US Special Envoy for Yemen, the US wanted the multi-national coalition to convey “an important signal by the international community that Houthi threats to international shipping will not be tolerated.”

The United States intended to extend an existing international naval task force into “an international coalition that is putting some resources into protecting freedom of navigation,” Lenderking said during a conference in Doha this week.

Tim Lenderking, US Special Envoy for Yemen | Credits: Reuters

Combined Task Force 153, the current task force in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden is a 39-country coalition led by the vice-admiral of the United States Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain.

“There’s a very, very active assessment going on in Washington about what are the steps necessary to get the Houthis to de-escalate,” Lenderking said, calling on the Group to release the crew of a ship seized on November 19, the Galaxy Leader.

Lenderking would not disclose which nations or how many more Washington has sought to join the enlarged coalition, but he did say it should be the “broadest possible” Group.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week discussed the threat that Houthi strikes present to maritime security, according to a State Department readout of the phone discussion.

China, which is an active user of the Red Sea route, not being a part of the Current task force and holds sway with Iran, the Houthis main sponsor, according to the report by Reuters.

The Group that dominates much of Yemen claimed that its strikes are in sympathy with Palestinians and has promised to continue until Israel stops hitting the Gaza Strip, which is more than 1,000 miles from Sanaa.

Israeli and US targets have been under attack since the Israel-Hamas conflict began over two months ago by the Houthis and several other Iran-linked groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and several militias in Iraq.

The flow of supplies between Asia and the West was attacked by the Houthi from Yemen, which poses a significant threat to the global economy, Reuters noted.

Escalating shipping costs and high-risk designation

The cost of shipping goods through the Red Sea has increased due to the attacks, which are classified as a high-risk area in the London insurance markets.

Visual Representation | Red Sea shipping | Credits: Wikimedia Commos

Around 23,000 ships sail through the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and then to the Suez Canal, every year.

The Houthi’s attack was part of an effort to put pressure on Washington to get Israel to halt the Gaza Offensive, an objective shared by Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the region, according to Senior sources in Iran- the aligned Group.

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