The Biden administration announced last Tuesday that it had launched an international operation on maritime security to address the ongoing attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, ABC News reported.
State Department officials told ABC News that the goal of Operation Prosperity Garden would be to rein in the drone and missile attacks launched by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks, the Houthis have launched over 100 missiles and drones on commercial ships in the Red Sea.
In announcing the operation on December 18, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Houthi attacks have threatened “the free flow of commerce,” endangered maritime vessels, and in violation of international law.
At the time of Austin’s announcement, the countries of Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, and the United Kingdom had already joined the operation.
By December 21, over twenty nations had signed onto Operation Prosperity Garden, according to Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Ryder told reporters in a press briefing last Thursday that the Houthis are attacking not one country but the international community and the “well-being and prosperity” of the global economy.
In a White House press briefing earlier in the week, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby was asked if the coalition would have a meaningful impact. “Let’s see where it goes,” Kirby said.
According to ABC News, a State Department official said the US has sent multiple communications to the Houthis via diplomatic channels warning them against continuing the attacks. However, the communications have had little impact on the situation.
Since October, the Houthis have targeted at least ten merchant vessels with missile and drone attacks. The Iranian-backed group also seized the Galaxy Leader, a Japanese-chartered vehicle carrier, holding the ship and its crew captive.