In a statement released on Monday, Yemen’s Houthis have claimed to have attacked the US military cargo ship Ocean Jazz in the Gulf of Aden. The Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea stated that the Yemeni Armed Forces continue to retaliate against any American or British aggression towards their country, attacking all sources of threat in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.
Since last November, the Houthi rebel movement Ansar Allah has expressed their intention to attack any Israeli-flagged, Israeli-owned or operated by Israeli companies in the Red Sea. These attacks are increasing, affecting cargo ships and tankers traveling in the Red and Arabian Seas. As a result, shipping companies have been forced to suspend operations in the area or change routes to avoid proximity to the Yemeni coast.
On the other hand, since January 11, The United States and its allies conduct regular attacks against Houthi military facilities in Yemen. The foreign ministers of the European Union are evaluating the possibility of a military mission in the Red Sea to counter Houthi attacks, thus joining the actions of the United States and the United Kingdom.
A consensus was reached among the 27 Member States to establish such a military mission in the Red Sea, with the aim of rejecting Houthi attacks on ships passing through those waters. However, technical details regarding the mission’s capacity, scope, schedule and mandate remain to be defined. Although Spain has stated that it will not participate directly, it is willing to send liaison officers.
Sources from the Italian delegation reported that, although there is consensus, the technical aspects of the mission are not ready and it is possible that its confirmation will not happen until the next Foreign Affairs Council to be held around February 19. The countries that played the main role in organizing the mission were Germany, Italy and France.
The German and French governments have expressed support for launching a European mission in the Red Sea. France, in particular, is the driving force behind the coalition of volunteers that, through the Emasoh Agenor mission, has been patrolling the Strait of Hormuz since 2020, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Iran.
The connection between the future mission in the Red Sea, which will be called Aspis, and the Agenor operation is one of the key aspects to determine the expanded perimeter of the maritime defense mission against the Houthis. This could include monitoring a wide area of the sea that stretches from the Red Sea, through the Gulf of Aden, to the Strait of Hormuz.
(With information from agencies)