In response to the Yemen Armed Forces (YAF) shutting down major shipping lanes for ships using the Suez Canal to supply the Israeli apartheid regime, the Joe Biden administration announced a joint operation in the Red Sea with Washington’s imperialist allies and client states named “Prosperity Guardian.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced this maneuver Dec. 18 while visiting Israel. “Countries that seek to uphold the foundational principle of freedom of navigation must come together to tackle the challenge posed by this non-state actor [the Ansarallah movement in Yemen],” he said. (@incontextmedia, Dec. 18)
The fleet for this operation will also include Bahrain, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates declined the invitation to join the operation.
Out of solidarity with the Palestinian resistance, the YAF’s actions in the Red Sea have forced some of the world’s largest shipping companies that were bringing goods to and from Israel to stop using the Suez Canal. Those companies to date include the Danish shipping company Maersk; German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd; BP (formerly British Petroleum); China’s OOCL, based in Hong Kong; Norwegian Wilhelmsen shipping and logistics company; and Swiss-Italian MSC, the world’s largest container shipping company. Israel’s Eilat port has been temporarily shut down due to the Yemeni blockade.
Ships are forced to take an alternative route around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern end of Africa. Such a detour can add 10 days to delivery time, say analysts. This interruption of the trade through the Suez Canal results in a combined loss of an estimated $9 billion daily for these corporations.
To date, almost 80% of the world’s shipping companies have delayed deliveries to Israel since Hamas and other Palestinian Resistance organizations opened a new phase of the Intifada against the brutal Israeli occupation on October 7.
The Ansarallah movement has stated that it will continue to use military means to stop all ships from doing business with Israel until: 1. Israel ends its genocidal attack against the Palestinians; and 2. all humanitarian aid is allowed into Gaza to provide food, clean water and other necessities for the besieged population there.
According to the EuroMedHR study on the growing hunger crisis in Gaza: 71% of the people suffer from severe hunger, with 98% unable to consume enough food, 64% eating fruits, wild or raw foods and expired items.
Instead of organizing a fleet to bring vital humanitarian aid to Gaza, this U.S.-led imperialist operation is clearly meant to pose a military threat to Yemen and other sovereign countries in the region, such as Iran.
Resistance remains strong
The people of Yemen, who have come out to the streets in the millions in solidarity with Palestine, and their leaders remain vigilant. Given their statements, the armada has failed to intimidate them.
Yemeni Defense Minister Major General Mohammad al-Atifi declared to the imperialist coalition, “We have what will sink your fleets, your battleships, your submarines and your aircraft carriers, and the Red Sea will be your graveyard. (Resistance Monitor, Dec. 18)
“[U.S.] America recently sought direct communication with the Republic of Yemen in Sana’a, but it was rejected. We take pride in refusing direct communication with a country that kills children in Yemen and Gaza. America is the real terrorism,” said another Yemeni official. (Warfare Analysis, Dec. 18)
In a release, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine stated, “The real goal of forming this coalition is to protect the state of the entity [Israel] and save it from its predicament due to the legendary steadfastness of our people and their resistance, and the qualitative strikes delivered by the Yemeni armed forces against Zionist targets in southern occupied Palestine and in the Red Sea waters.
“This also confirms their [the coalition’s] determination to enhance their presence and capability in the region and control its resources and wealth, posing a challenge and threat to the security of the region and international peace and security.” (Resistance News Network, Dec. 19)
This so-called Prosperity Guardian operation poses a threat not only to Yemen’s right to self-defense, but for the entire region, and especially Iran, which Western imperialism considers the main sovereign state opposition.
Just as the world movement has refused to sit on the sidelines to protest the horrific genocide in Gaza, this same movement cannot remain silent in opposing the potential of a widening regional war propelled by pro-Zionist forces led by U.S. imperialism.