US gathers naval coalition off the coast of Iran
With the new idea of the international military coalition made the United States. The main “target” of the alliance, designed to protect commercial shipping off the coast of Iran and Yemen, is of course Tehran, on which the Americans hang responsibility for the recent attacks against tankers in the Persian Gulf.
The idea of an international coalition, according to proposals developed in Washington, is to patrol strategic sea lanes in the Persian Gulf and in the waters between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa.
“We are now with a number of countries considering the possibility of uniting into a coalition that should ensure the freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait,” said General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. According to the American commander, a corresponding plan has been developed at the Pentagon, and within a couple of weeks it will become clear which countries will want to join this project.
The mention of the Strait of Hormuz in the context of American plans is not accidental – after all, it is traditionally promised to be blocked in Tehran in the event of hostile actions against Iran. And on this sea route, one fifth of the oil consumed in the world is transported. As for the narrow Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, about 4 million barrels of oil are transported daily, not to mention other goods. The Americans and Saudis have fears that the ships there may become targets for attacks by Hussite insurgents operating in Yemen, behind whom, it is believed, is Iran.
Speaking with the idea of a coalition, Donald Trump remains true to himself: friendship is friendship, and snuff apart. According to the President of the United States, it would be wrong if only the United States would pay for the safety of sea-going ships, so let international military forces do it. The Americans are ready to provide command and control ships and lead observing efforts, while the allies should allocate ships that will patrol near American command ships and accompany commercial ships under the flags of their states.
The idea of patrolling the sea lanes by joint forces of a number of states in principle does not contain much novelty. Suffice it to recall that the Somali pirates, who were terrified by seafarers in the Horn of Africa, were forced to minimize their activity after warships of various states appeared in the waters there, which not only accompanied commercial ships, but also sometimes took decisive actions against filibusters.
Security is, of course, good. But given the explosiveness of the situation in the Persian Gulf, the military presence of the new coalition will become an additional risk factor. Meanwhile, the United States previously sent a Patriot air defense system and several warships to the region.
Recall that in recent years, relations between Washington and Tehran have dramatically escalated. President Trump insisted that the United States withdraw from the “nuclear deal” with the Islamic Republic. Iran and pro-Iranian forces were accused of organizing attacks on tankers in the Gulf region. And after the Iranians were accused of having “shotguns of the Islamic revolution” shot down an American reconnaissance drone, the matter almost came to retaliation by rocket attacks. Trump first gave the go-ahead to a military action, but then suspended his decision. In Tehran, the hostility demonstrated by Washington responded accordingly – Iran announced that it would no longer adhere to the agreement limits on uranium enrichment.