Unprotected Red Sea shipping could lead to supply chain crisis as Arab countries are unwilling to do more to protect world’s shipping lane


Important Takeaways:

  • ‘Coalition of the Unwilling’: U.S. Won’t Attack Houthis, Can’t Get Major Arab Countries to Join Effort Openly
  • The “coalition” of countries formed by the U.S. to deter Houthi attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait excludes Israel. It also omits Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two of the other countries directly affected by the threat.
  • The list of participants in “Operation Prosperity Guardian,” as Time magazine notes, includes “Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the Seychelles, and the United Kingdom.” A few are involved in shipping. A few barely have a navy.
  • Kirby cited a “joint statement” that was signed by 44 countries as proof that the U.S. was not “isolated” on the issue. But while the U.S. could summon its allies to sign a piece of paper, it could not convince them to send forces to protect Red Sea shipping. Nor could it muster the will to take out a primitive militia from one of the world’s poorest countries with long supply lines to Iran.
  • Kirby also said that the U.S. is now conducting a “review” about whether to re-designate the Houthis as a terror group, after President Joe Biden delisted them within days of taking office in 2021. Meanwhile, it leads a “coalition of the unwilling.”

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