The Biden White House’s grand idea of an international coalition that would protect 10% of world shipping from a primitive Third World country is on the brink of collapse over the question of American leadership in the operation. Yesterday I reported that France resigned from Operation Prosperity Guardian. This was a US-led multilateral coalition that had the mission to keep the Red Sea and Bab el-Mandeb Strait open for international shipping. Italy and Spain announced that they would not be participating in an operation led by the US.
Operation Prosperity Guardian membership has always been a little suspect. Austin publicly identified ten members in his statement about the formation of this alleged coalition: the United States (as well as the United Kingdom), Bahrain, Canada France Italy, Netherlands Norway Seychelles, and Spain. Pentagon spokesperson USAF Major-General Pat Ryder said the coalition was expanding in a press conference that followed.
Ryder stated that there have been positive results. Ryder noted that more than 20 countries have already signed up to take part. In the coming days, the United States plans to continue consulting closely with its allies and partners that share the freedom of navigation principle. We expect the coalition to continue growing, he added.
Egypt’s refusal to participate, as its revenue from the Suez Canal, depends entirely on Red Sea traffic and the Red Sea is Egypt’s main source of income, was a warning sign that trouble lay ahead. Bahrain was the only Arab country to take part, and around half of those alleged participants refused to be identified publicly.
Original Coalition Members
To make it easier to read, we have placed in italics the names of coalition members who did not send ships.
United Kingdom – The UK will provide one Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond. Operation Prosperity Guardian will not include four other destroyers in the theatre of operations.
Bahrain — No one is quite sure of what Bahrain contributes, if any.
Canada — Canada will be sending three staff officers.
France — Although the multi-role frigate Languedoc is in the operational zone, it remains under French command.
Italy — Italy has sent the Bergamini/FREMM-class frigate Virginio Fasan to “protect its national interests, in response to specific requests made by Italian vessel owners.”
Netherlands — The Netherlands is sending two staff officers.
Norway — Norway is sending ten staff officers.
Seychelles — Seychelles shares information, but does not share physical assets or men.
Spain — Spain will participate only in EU-led or NATO-led missions. It has not sent any ships to the region.
Greece — Greece will send one frigate as part of Operation Prosperity Guardian.
Australia — Australia has been asked to provide naval assets. They are sending 11 staff officers.
Denmark — Denmark will send one staff officer.
The European Union has announced that it will lend a helping hand.
Irresponsible Houthi actions are a threat to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) December 20, 2023
It turns out that EU Naval Force Atalanta focuses on anti-piracy operations in the Horn of Africa. It currently consists of just two ships, one each from Italy and Spain. The Italian ship I mentioned earlier is still there. I’m going to assume that the Spanish ship is still on the Horn of Africa.
This is a participation message with an “X”.
The final box score indicates that 20 members of the coalition will provide a total contribution of two surface combatants.
Michael Gilday, the former chief of naval operations of the US Navy, stated 17 times in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee that “allies and Partners” are vital to the US Navy’s ability to accomplish its missions. Gilday would say that our “allies” and partners would cover any gaps in the Navy’s ability to recruit a sexual menagerie. This was true every time he was criticized for the Navy’s apparent shortcomings. When the chips are down we can see that “allies” and partners have figured out the same thing as the rest of us. The US is erratic, insecure, and unreliable. It will leave you at the drop of a hat. It will do stupid things without second thoughts. The American military leadership has become so feeble that you should think twice before placing your men or ships under American command.
Joe Biden’s “lead-from-behind” strategy has been implemented to the fullest extent, in my opinion. Our military is physically so weak that it cannot do certain missions alone and is perceived to be so incompetent by others that they don’t care to follow us.