#ISRAELHAMASWAR. The Red Sea will be the international cornerstone of the conflict in Gaza

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Merchant hijacking is the recurring incipit of those who observe the Red Sea these days. The German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd, whose ship was hit by a Houthi missile on December 15, also announced the cessation of traffic in the Red Sea for the next few days. An updated assessment of the situation will be communicated soon.

Next to abandon the Red Sea route is the shipping company Maersk. British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said on December 16 that the D34 Diamond destroyer intercepted a UAV in the Red Sea launched by the Houthis, who claimed to have hit Eilat. The US Army Central Command in a statement reported that the US destroyer Carney intercepted over 14 UAVs launched by the Houthis from Yemen.

All things considered, on December 16, major global logistics companies such as Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd and ZIM and CMA CGM, one of the largest logistics companies in the world, stopped transit through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Maersk alone accounts for 14.8% of global trade. As large companies stop using the region, the scale of the economic crisis in Israel, especially in the West, will gradually increase.

Israel’s $22 billion trade with Far East Asia was also disrupted and had to bypass the Cape of Good Hope. The 15,000km route between Rotterdam and Singapore via the Suez Canal has now extended to more than 20,000km across the Cape of Good Hope, and the damage is increasing. Yemen’s Houthi-led government is interfering with the West, imposing a global trade embargo and creating a logistical crisis that no one has yet been able to effectively implement.

Coastal Defense Commander of Yemen’s Government of National Salvation: “If we want, we will sink the target ships. If the Israelis do not stop their invasion in the Gaza Strip, a third phase will begin, which will be very difficult for the Israelis.”

Houthi Politburo member Ali al-Kahum gave an interview to the Al-Mayadeen channel, close to Hezbollah, and stressed that “any hostile action against Yemen will have disastrous consequences and a high price.” According to him, they will not give up their support for the Palestinians, despite threats from the United States, Israel and the West. The Houthis have said they will continue their attacks until Israel stops attacking the Gaza Strip.

Starting from December 16th there is talk of launching the Prosperity Guardian operation which actually came into operation on December 19th. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called the operation: “A new international response force designed to counter the Houthi threat in Yemen.” The discussion on Operation Prosperity Guardian was initiated by the United States, Great Britain, France, Albania, Malta and Japan. The Americans, in coordination with Great Britain, are at the same time trying to promote a Security Council resolution condemning the attacks, calling for their cessation and underlining the importance of sea routes.

On December 19, the day the operation began, according to Reuters, an attempted hijacking of a merchant ship was reported about 30 km west of Aden, Yemen. It has not yet been established whether the Houthis or pirates are operating in the area.

Yemen’s first reaction to the creation of a new anti-Houthi coalition was: “Through your stupidity you will discover who Yemen is. Yemen has long-range ballistic missiles that could wipe out Bahrain in an instant.” Also on December 19, the Houthi Spokesperson in an interview with Al Jazeera said: “Every 12 hours we carry out an attack in the Red Sea. The American position will not stop us, we will only attack ships destined to reach Israel.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told her British counterpart David Cameron that measures must be taken to put an end to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea. Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tells reporters: “I have spoken with defense secretaries and senior officials from 43 countries, NATO and the European Union about the growing threat the Houthis pose to maritime security in the Red Sea. . The international community is facing an unprecedented challenge that requires joint action.”

In the meantime, the Houthis have begun to mention sea mines in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and moving from words to deeds. Online photos that demonstrated the mines in contact with the Mersad Sea. Prosperity Guardian risks failing even before getting off to a difficult start engagement networks. Houthis: Americans we will be your new Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Also saying goodbye to the Red Sea was “the Norwegian logistics company Wilhemsen”. The Norwegian Maritime Authority has raised the alert level in the southern Red Sea to the maximum level and urged all Norwegian ships to avoid the area. It is learned that due to threats from the Houthis, 55 ships have already changed course.

At 9pm on December 19, a senior US administration official told Politico: 19 countries have signed up to participate in Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect trade routes in the Red Sea, but most have asked not to make public the own participation. A Sky News military analyst said: “If the West wants to resume sailing in the Red Sea, it has no choice: the US will have to attack Iran.”

Bloomberg reports that the United States is considering a military strike against the Houthis in Yemen, according to four different sources. According to the publication, the Pentagon is expected to offer Biden a “tough” response, recognizing that a multinational force in the Red Sea is not enough to eliminate the threat. It is also reported that no decision has yet been made on this issue and Washington remains interested in resolving it through diplomatic methods. In Yemen the Houthis are training for combat readiness. Popular mobilization has begun in the face of a possible intervention by the American coalition

On December 20, the long-awaited joint statement from NATO, the European Union and the United States arrives condemning the Houthis’ threat to free navigation in the waters surrounding the Arabian Peninsula. The UN Security Council does not comment.

As of December 21, Bloomberg writes that more than 100 container ships have changed course and chosen to bypass the African continent instead of passing through the Bab el-Mandab Strait. COSCO China blocks shipping via the Red Sea.

Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi states in a message: “We are interested in improving our military capabilities to overcome the challenges of our operations. The countries that intercept our missiles and drones in the service of the Israeli enemy are rendering us a service that benefits us. We will not stand by and watch as the Americans increase their participation and attack our country. We will bomb their ships and their interests. We warn other countries not to interfere and not to interfere like the Americans.”

The news of the Houthi naval blockade is also disturbing in Russia. “After the onset of the New World Order, the daily transit of oil from Bab el-Mandeb through the Suez Canal more than doubled to 6.5 million barrels. It is now rapidly falling below its previous level. The oil and natural gas market is becoming increasingly active, and the West’s need to directly source Russian oil is increasing. Russia realizes and reveals its needs more clearly. China is proving that it built the One Belt, One Road project for a reason, establishing a secure trade route there and overland with the help of its warships. Those who look directly at the problem and say that the East is being damaged are wrong, but the East is making the West pay for what it has done.”

Closing the statements were the words of the Supreme Political Council of Yemen: “The United States bears full responsibility for everything that results from its hostile step. Any attack against us or attempt to prevent us from carrying out our duty to support our people in Gaza will be met with a shocking response.” Not only does Ansar Allah accuse Arab countries of weakness: “The Arab-Islamic position at the summits, especially in Saudi Arabia, was weak.” While: “The position of the Axis of Resistance reaches the level of military support for Palestine.”

“Our people have moved militarily in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to prevent the movement of Israeli ships and ships linked to Israel. If America wants to fight Yemen’s position in support of Palestine, it will have to deal with all the Yemeni people, and America will find itself involved in a situation that is more difficult for it than Afghanistan and Vietnam, and we have the patience to face and deal with any aggression.”

Shipping companies are still sailing around the Red Sea and awaiting the results of a U.S.-led military mission about which little is known.

The shipping industry has suffered losses due to Yemeni Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, forcing many ships to bypass the Suez Canal shipping lanes, opting for a route across Africa. This route significantly increases transportation costs and times, which increases the pressure on international shipping every day. This situation risks degenerating into a surge in prices, and with them global inflation, and causing other economic difficulties. A coalition comprising 39 countries and based in Bahrain has been formed against maritime piracy. At the same time, sea carriers criticize the lack of specificity, which does not give confidence in safety.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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