Houthi

Red Sea, does Italy go to war against the Houthis? What does the Aspides mission involve

Is Italy going to war against the Houthis? Given the news coming from Brussels, perhaps it would be appropriate to start asking ourselves this question, given that the Aspides mission in the Red Sea to which France and Germany have joined will also contemplate the use of force to defend commercial ships attacked by Yemeni rebels.
“Our Navy is already working to defend our merchant ships, but a new European mission is needed – explained our Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani -.
I hope that it can already be definitively approved in the next Foreign Affairs Council, after a substantial green light in today's meeting.
To then give Defense technicians time to identify the borders, including military ones, of the operation, as well as the rules of engagement".
The details of the Aspides mission and how many warships the deployed fleet will be made up of will soon be known, but it has been leaked from Brussels that in the event of a Houthi attack on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea, our Navy would be authorized to intervene by force.
“Exports represent around 40% of our gross domestic product – added the minister -, we cannot allow an important part of our economy to be threatened due to the aggression of the Houthi rebels”.
Since the Yemeni rebels began their actions against ships transiting the Red Sea, a retaliation towards Israel after the outbreak of the war with Hamas, Italy has in fact been the country most damaged by the decision taken by several shipping companies who are preferring to circumnavigate Africa rather than go through the Suez Canal.
read also Suez crisis, what is happening and risks for Italy Italy at war in the Red Sea? The Houthis have been engaged in a civil war for years where they have been able to resist the bombs dropped by Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, managing to take control of a large part of Yemen – including the capital Sana'a – above all thanks to the support of Iran, Syria and North Korea, with the alliances of these rebels also including Hezbollah and Hamas.
With the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis began to attack commercial ships transiting the Red Sea and headed towards Israel, provoking a harsh reaction from the West with the US and UK having been carrying out raids on the territory for days Yemen controlled by these rebels.
The Houthis have declared that they have no intention of stopping, so much so that they hit a Greek ship with a missile in recent days.
This chaos in the Red Sea adds to the war between Israel and Hamas – without forgetting Ukraine – and to the continuous attacks by Iran, the USA and Israel, in Iraq where various militias operate and there are Western bases.
In this scenario, Italy, France and Germany are in a hurry to start the Aspides mission which will have "defensive tasks" without however excluding the use of force if necessary, with the three countries also inviting other member states to "consider favorably the their participation, with naval means or contributions of personnel".
If everything were to proceed quickly, the operation could start in mid-February.
Does this mean that Italy will soon go to war against the Houthis? Technically not, although much will depend on how the attacks of the US-GB axis against the rebels will evolve and, above all, on the possible involvement of Iran.
The only certain thing is that, as declared by Antonio Tajani, the government "will certainly inform Parliament" about the Aspides mission, even if the contours of this operation launched by Italy, France and Germany are still to be clarified.
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Author: A.W.M.

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