Very high voltage in Red Seathe European mission begins Aspides. The initiative will be launched by February 19th and its aim will be to protect ships from attacks by Houthis. The European naval units will have strictly defensive tasks and will operate in coordination with the US “Prosperity guardian” operation. As regards the forces in the field, there is talk of at least three units. The mission headquarters will likely be in Larissa, IN Greececonfirmed the Minister of Defense Guido Crosetto. “The decision was agreed yesterday between all the defense ministers but it is not yet official because the decision is not made by the defense ministers, who are the technical part, there will then be the meeting of the foreign ministers on the 19th. This should be the final structure of what the European Union is trying to carry forward and on which it has set itself the ambitious objective of bringing all 27 countries, which seems obvious but is not the case for this sector”, his words at the hearing of the Defense Committees of the House and Senate.
Italy offered a ship for the entire duration of the mission, Crosetto underlined that the crisis in the Red Sea threatens not only the safety of navigation but also the economic stability. From a geopolitical point of view, the Houthi threat if prolonged could lead to a marginalization of Mediterranean ports. In other words, a further negative impact on the global economy, European and Italian in particular. The Defense Minister explained that the Red Sea “represents, moreover, a crucial maritime route for connecting the old continent to Asia”. The numbers speak for themselves: one sixth of world trade passes through there, a good portion of hydrocarbon exports and 40% of national maritime trade.
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At this stage the Red Sea is not yet a “classic” theater of war, but it is increasingly taking on one. Hence the decision to undertake the Aspides mission, parallel to the diplomatic action. In the background there remains war in Gaza, Crosetto underlined: “Our intervention must be aimed at avoiding further escalation, always and in any case. Even without a worsening of the situation, the repercussions of the turbulence in the Red Sea are already serious, especially for the protection of our national interests: if we want to avoid serious consequences for the country, especially in this difficult economic situation, we must act quickly and intervene immediately. The stability and security of the Red Sea is a fundamental condition for us, given that we entrust much of our wealth and prosperity to maritime transport.”
While waiting for new details on the EU mission, the latest news from the Red Sea speaks of a attack of rebels against one American ship. Yemeni militants have targeted the Navy destroyer engaged in patrolling to protect maritime traffic. However, the Houthi anti-ship device was destroyed by rapid fire from the Phalanx, a system designed to deal with this type of threat. But not only. The attack claimed by the pro-Iranian movement was accompanied by a second war event: the US in fact conducted preventive raids in Yemen where they neutralized ten kamikaze drones and a control center. Further updates coming soon.
Massimo Balsamo, 1 February 2024
The article Mission in the Red Sea: disrespect to Italy. Here’s who will be in command comes from Nicola Porro.