Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles announced that Australia has declined a US request to send warships to the Red Sea for the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, citing that the Red Sea is not a strategic priority.
Australia has turned down a request from the United States to send warships to the Red Sea to guard trade amid rising threats by Yemeni Houthi terrorists.
Canberra is largely focused on Asia-Pacific matters, and the Red Sea is not a strategic priority, as stated by Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles.
Although it will not be sending any military surface ships or planes to the Middle East, Australia has promised to provide an additional 11 soldiers to the US-led effort.
Defense Minister Lloyd Austin announced earlier this week a multinational operation known as Operation Prosperity Guardian aimed at preventing Houthi attacks on commercial vessels navigating the Red Sea.
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Due to Tel Aviv’s conflict with Hamas, the Houthis, a Shiite Yemeni group, have escalated their attacks against ships associated with Israel, posing a threat to international trade. In October, Israel declared war on Hamas following the Islamist organization’s deadly assault on Jewish settlements.
A Politico correspondent has reported that the Pentagon has launched Operation Prosperity Guardian, which is a naval coalition to defend the Red Sea Passage.
To stop Hamas, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initiated a massive offensive in Gaza. However, the military operation caused a great deal of civilian casualties, which prompted calls for a ceasefire from around the world. The Houthis declared that they would not stop attacking Israel with naval forces unless it stopped its assault on Gaza.
Following Lloyd’s declaration, the Houthis indicated that they would not abate their attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
“Even if America succeeds in mobilizing the entire world, our military operations will not stop … no matter the sacrifices it costs us,” top Houthi official Mohammed Al-Bukhaiti tweeted on December 19.
Economic analysts are alerting us to the possibility that Houthi attacks on commercial vessels could have a detrimental effect on international trade and logistics. Approximately 10% of seaborne oil and 8% of liquefied natural gas (LNG), as well as 30% of worldwide container traffic—of which 20% is in the Red Sea—pass through the region.
According to shipping giant Kuehne & Nagel, cited by the Guardian, more than 100 container ships have changed their course to avoid the Red Sea-Suez Canal trade corridor. The relocation would lengthen the transit time of products from Asia to Europe by approximately 6,000 nautical miles, or three to four weeks.