A new task force starts operation in the Red Sea to foil threats from the Houthi movement.
The US Naval army said that it will form a new task force alongside allies to monitor the Red Sea. Following a string of strikes blamed on Yemen’s Houthi movements along a vital canal for world commerce, the new strategy was enacted.
In his comments to media introducing the task force, Vice Admiral Brad Cooper refrained from openly mentioning the Houthi’s movements as the reason. Cooper is in charge of the Navy’s 5th Fleet, whose mission is in the Middle East.
Yemeni capital has been under the Houthi’s control since eight years ago. A few months after the Houthi’s takeover of Sanaa, a Saudi-led alliance joined the war to support Yemen’s toppled regime. Years of stalemate have driven the poorest Arab country to starvation. For the time being, a cease-fire surrounding a holy Muslim fasting month looks to be working.
In the Red Sea, the Houthi movement has assaulted ships, captured vessels, and fired mines and explosive drones. The sea stretches from Suez Canal in northern Egypt to Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the southern part of the country. Africa and the Arabian Peninsula are separated by this crucial waterway.
“In a macro sense, this region literally and figuratively fuels the world. The area is so vast that we just can’t do it alone so we’re going to be at our best when we partner,” Brad Cooper said asserted in his remarks.
Three task forces under the direction of the Combined Maritime Forces already deal with pirates and security challenges both inside and beyond the region. A group that Cooper leads from a base in Manama includes forces from 34 countries. The group’s achievements in the region have always been under question.
Houthi Movement in Red Sea
The USS Mount Whitney is responsible for the new mission, expected to be authorized today. The USS Mount Whitney is an offshore command ship of the Blue Ridge series that was previously assigned to the Navy’s 6th Fleet in Europe and Africa.
Cooper expressed his expectation that the task team will focus on those smuggling coal, narcotics, guns, and people via the canal. Somalia’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab, has exploited coal smuggling to fuel its assaults. Migrants from African nations also attempt to use soils of Yemen in search of work in Saudi Arabia and abroad.
The Red Sea is an important maritime corridor for freight as well as worldwide energy supply. As a result, any mining in the region poses a threat to the regional nations and global community. Mines can fall into the ocean and be swept away by the Red Sea’s current flow.
The Red Sea has a history of mining attempts. four decades ago, 19 ships reported hitting mines in the area, but only one was ever salvaged and de-mined.
In Yemen’s ongoing conflict, Houthi missiles have gotten dangerously close to an American vessel in the Red Sea. The USS Mason was hit by two missiles from Yemen six years ago, according to the American Army.
The Emirati ship SWIFT-1 had been hit by Houthi missiles a week earlier. The Emirati government claimed the SWIFT-1 was carrying humanitarian assistance, but UN observers later concluded they were skeptical of its truth. The ship had been circling between an Emirati army station in Eritrea and Yemen in the Red Sea.
The swamp of Yemen war for Saudi Arabia and its western partners is lingering over the schedule. The new military policy means to foil the consequences.