US Coalition of the (Un)willing in Yemen is Off to Bad Start – ANALYSIS

(Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Romana Rubeo & Ramzy Baroud

Just one day after the US triumphant announcement regarding the formation of an anti-Ansarallah coalition, problems arose.

In November 2002, then-US President George W. Bush announced his country’s so-called ‘Coalition of the Willing’, a desperate attempt at granting the US invasion of Iraq some kind of international legitimacy. 

Unlike the US-led 1990-91 war coalition, also against Iraq, the latter one received little enthusiasm from traditional US partners, whether in the Middle East, Western Europe, or worldwide. 

The 48-member coalition included small Pacific islands such as the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and Solomon Islands, which have little political independence from Washington. 

The ‘Coalition of the Willing’ was seen as part of the growing US failure to command the same kind of regional and international influence it once had. 

The latest US-led coalition in the Middle East, this time against Yemen, is yet another stark example of the dwindling Washington influence in the region, and beyond it. 

No Food to Gaza, then No Red Sea – Ansarallah in Yemen Just Changed the Rules, again

Why did the US form the new coalition? 

On December 18, the US military announced the creation of a Red Sea coalition that was supposed to combat attacks by the Yemeni Armed Forces affiliated with the Ansarallah group. 

The decision came after an earlier announcement, on December 9, by the Yemeni group, which vowed to target every cargo ship heading to Israel, regardless of its nationality and who operates it.

The group said that the decision is part of its continued solidarity with the Gaza Strip, which is undergoing a genocidal Israeli war that killed and wounded tens of thousands of Palestinians. 

In a statement, the group’s military spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said that “any ships heading to the Zionist entity will be a legitimate target.”

Companies Suspend Transit through Red Sea as Yemen’s Ansarallah Attack Two More Ships

“We announce that ships bound for the Zionist entity will not pass through if food and medicine do not enter the Gaza Strip,” he said.

The group had already translated its warnings into actions. On November 19, it took control of the Israeli ship Galaxy Leader, hauling it and its crew to the Yemeni coast.

This move was followed by a series of operations targeting ships in the Red Sea.

What is ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’? 

Following weeks of negotiations, Washington announced, on December 18, that ten countries had adhered to a naval coalition that was meant to constitute a firm response to the Ansarallah group’s actions. 

The number of countries that had originally agreed to join the alliance, under the title of ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’, allegedly doubled on December 21, when the Pentagon announced that more than 20 countries had decided to participate.

“We’ve had over 20 nations now sign on to participate,” Major General Patrick Ryder was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying. 

“We’ll allow other countries, defer to them to talk about their participation,” Ryder reportedly added.

We are Ready to Confront US-Led Coalition in Red Sea – Yemen’s Ansarallah

Is the US effort to unify the world against Yemen working? 

On December 22, however, just one day after the US triumphant announcement, problems arose. 

“Some countries have not confirmed their participation, however, while others have said their efforts to help protect Red Sea commercial traffic will be as part of existing naval agreements rather than the new US-led operation,” Reuters reported.

Although many countries announced their support in principle, they did not seem determined to translate it into action, at least not according to any US-led plan. 

France, for example, said that “its ships would stay under French command and did not say if it would deploy more naval forces,” according to Reuters.

Italy said that it would send a frigate to the Red Sea to protect its national interests but specified that “this was part of its existing operations and was not part of Operation Prosperity Guardian.”

Spain denied its participation in any unilateral initiative, by stating that “it would only participate in NATO-led missions or EU-coordinated operations”, Reuters reported. 

Israel’s Eilat Port Activity Down 85% Following Red Sea Attacks

For their part, The Netherlands and Norway did not deny their participation but specified that they will only send officers, not ships, to Bahrain. 

The latest announcement came from the African country of Djibouti, which reportedly expressed on Thursday its reluctance to take part in the US-led naval coalition. 

Djibouti’s Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf affirmed that his country does not condemn the Yemeni attacks in the Red Sea, considering them a “legitimate relief for the Palestinians” amid Israel’s war and siege.

“If Palestine does not find relief elsewhere, may God bless the relief provided by the Yemenis,” Youssouf was quoted by Al-Mayadeen as saying. 

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

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