Biden’s Red Sea Plan Faces Major Problems

( – Conflicts between Iran and Western allies have amplified amidst the growing tensions throughout the Middle East. Attacks on trade ships moving through the Red Sea have become an increasing concern, and the United States and its partners are finalizing plans to protect their assets. The Houthis, an Islamic militant group based in Yemen that has already turned the Red Sea into a danger zone, has threatened to transform the waterway into a “graveyard” in response to any heightened defenses.

The Department of Defense shared on December 19 that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III traveled to the Middle East to meet with leaders in Israel, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar. His main goal was to come to an agreement on how they might work together to protect allied trade ships that must travel through the region. He also hoped to find ways to de-escalate the conflicts that continue to ravage the Middle East.

Austin announced plans for Operation Prosperity Guardian while he was in Bahrain, where he also joined a virtual meeting with over 40 world leaders and representatives to discuss the threat in the Red Sea and finalize security measures. He explained that up to 15% of the world’s trade routes use the waterway to move their goods between regions, so keeping it safe is essential to protecting both individual company assets and entire countries’ economies. The global impacts have already reportedly been in the billions. The US official offered Qatar special recognition for its help in convincing Hamas to release 110 of its hostages. He also announced an agreement its leaders made to work jointly with the United States to strengthen defenses from both countries.

Newsweek reports that the overall effort will be expensive, with defensive missiles costing taxpayers about $2.5 million a pop and most other participating countries doing little to match the US’ hefty commitment.

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