Major Arab States Stay Out of US Coalition to Defend Red Sea Shipping
The US has announced a coalition of countries who have agreed to carry out patrols in the southern Red Sea to try protect commercial vessels against further attacks by Houthis who control most of the Yemeni coastline. Most Arab states however, have chosen to sit out of the coalition for now.
In a statement, US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said: "The recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks originating from Yemen threatens the free flow of commerce, endangers innocent mariners, and violates international law.
"Operation Prosperity Guardian is bringing together multiple countries to include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain, to jointly address security challenges in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden".
Significantly, leading Arab countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, however, are not present in this coalition which may weaken efforts.
Egypt's absence is can be explained by its proximity to ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and the US' support of the same. It is however interesting that as troubles continue along this major shipping lane the country stands to loose tens of millions of dollars a day in canal revenues.
UAE and Saudi Arabia may have opted out so far due to other considerations across the wider Saudi peninsula, particularly the ongoing political situation in Yemen itself.
Operation Prosperity Guardian aims to ensure the safety of maritime traffic in the Red Sea, Bab al-Mandeb and Gulf of Aden. These areas are vital for the global economy, as they connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal with the Horn of Africa.