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Buildup of Naval Forces in Red Sea Increases Risk of Clash

Naval ships of all sorts, not just from the navies of U.S.-allied countries, are gathering in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, raising the potential of a military clash, whether by accident or intention. According to a Dec. 21 update by Moscow-based Australian journalist John Helmer, there are Chinese, Iranian and Indian naval vessels in the region as well, though no Russian Navy ships. Clearly, the potential that things could get really sticky is very high.

Helmer reports that Russian oil cargoes are passing through the Red Sea with Iranian and Houthi agreement. “Because these ship movements are defying U.S. and NATO sanctions, it has been decided in Moscow to negotiate safe passage with Iran and Yemen rather than deploy the Russian Navy to protect them. However, the new combined U.S. and NATO operation, targeting the Houthis and their Iranian support and supply systems, increases the possibility of a direct American, allied, or false-flagged attack on a tanker carrying Russian oil,” writes Helmer.

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