United States To Lead International Effort To Protect Red Sea Shipping

The United States announced a mission to defend civilian shipping in the Red Sea following more than a dozen attacks by Houthi rebels in nearby Yemen. The move could result in increased American involvement in the Middle Eastern conflict.

Operation Prosperity Guardian follows 11 companies announcing that they would reroute traffic in the Red Sea due to ongoing attacks.

The United States will lead a coalition of more than a dozen countries to defend traffic through the chokepoint. A number of U.S. Navy vessels have lined up near the important region.

The move comes amid the ongoing civil war in Yemen, which pits the Houthi rebels against the country’s internationally-recognized government. The Houthis control much of the country’s populated western region.

The Pentagon announced the operation earlier this week.

The Department of Defense wrote that the mission occurred due to the “recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks.” The Pentagon wrote that the attacks threatened “the free flow of commerce” and violated international law.

The news comes after a significant escalation of the attacks in the Middle East. Over the weekend, a U.S. Navy vessel shot down more than a dozen attack drones launched from Yemen. A British Royal Navy ship shot down another.

Due to the attacks on foreign shipping, a number of major companies announced the suspension of shipping through the vital strait.

A number of civilian liners have been struck by missiles fired from Yemen. In addition, the Houthis hijacked a ship linked to an Israeli businessman.

The conflict also includes a significant part of the wider Middle Eastern conflict. Beyond the Houthi’s attacks on international shipping, the group is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Its opponents in the civil war are supported by Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, the Houthis declared a state of war between themselves and Israel. It has also launched a number of direct attacks against the Jewish state using missiles and drones. However, none of the projectiles has hit Israel.

Some of the launches resulted in harmless detonations. In one case, an Israeli F-35 fighter jet shot down one of the missiles in October. On several occasions, U.S. Navy vessels have shot down the attacking objects.