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Unanswered Questions About How U.S.-Led Red Sea Security Operation Will Run

SS Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Strike group now in the Gulf of Aden. @NavyLookout X page

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder assured Bloomberg in a phone interview yesterday that the force the U.S. is gathering in the Red Sea will be sufficient to stop the Houthi ship attacks. The force, announced Dec. 18, will patrol “the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to respond to and assist as necessary commercial vessels,” he said. Ryder said he didn’t want to understate the challenge but said the effort will be enough to “reassure global shipping and mariners that they can safely transit the Red Sea area.”

However, there seems to be some confusion about how the task force will operate with some countries refusing to put their ships under yet another military bloc commanded by the U.S. According to a Reuters report posted yesterday, this includes France and Italy. The French said they would keep their ships under French command while the Italians will participate based on existing arrangements. The Spanish said they would only participate in operations led by NATO or the EU, and Prosperity Guardian is neither of those. “We will not participate unilaterally in the Red Sea operation,” the Spanish Defense Ministry said. The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark, meanwhile, are sending a handful of staff officers to Bahrain but no ships.

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