Red Sea on High Alert: EU Deploys Task Force, US Disrupts Iranian Spy Ship

Red Sea Operation Aspides

Tensions in the Red Sea continue to rise as Iranian-backed Houthi rebels launch missile attacks on commercial ships, prompting international responses from both the European Union and the United States.

EU Launches "Operation Aspides"

Seeking to deter further attacks and protect vital maritime trade, the European Union is launching a new naval task force codenamed "Operation Aspides" on Monday, February 19th. Led by Italy and headquartered in Greece, the operation will initially involve Germany, France, and potentially other participating nations.

Unlike the US-led "Operation Prosperity Guardian" which conducts airstrikes against Houthi targets, Aspides will be purely defensive, relying on a combination of ships and aircraft to provide a protective shield for merchant vessels traversing the Red Sea. This approach reflects the EU's desire to de-escalate the situation while ensuring the safe passage of goods through the critical waterway.

US Cyber Attack Targets Iranian Spy Ship

In a separate move, the United States confirmed a cyber attack on the Iranian vessel "M/V Behshad," reportedly used to gather intelligence on shipping activity in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This action, according to US officials, was a response to recent drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and aims to disrupt the Houthis' ability to target commercial ships.

The Behshad, previously identified as a potential target due to its suspected role in providing intelligence for Houthi missile attacks, was crippled by the cyber operation, further escalating tensions in the already volatile region. The US action signifies a potential shift towards targeting Iranian infrastructure deemed to be directly linked to Houthi attacks.

Houthis Remain Undeterred

Despite ongoing efforts to deter them, the Houthi rebels continue to launch missile attacks against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The most recent attack, targeting the "M/V Lycavitos" on February 15th, served as a stark reminder of the ongoing threat to maritime security.

Heightened Security, Uncertain Future

The combined response from the EU and the US underscores the international community's growing concern about the Red Sea's security situation. While both "Operation Aspides" and "Operation Prosperity Guardian" aim to provide critical protection to commercial vessels, the future trajectory of the conflict remains uncertain. Continued vigilance and diplomatic efforts are crucial to de-escalate tensions and ensure the safety of vital maritime trade routes in the Red Sea.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024