February 28, 2024

Why the European Union and United States are leading ‘parallel’ security operations in the Red Sea

Source: Breaking Defense

Journalist: Agnes Helou

“The primary difference between the two coalitions is the activities. The EU coalition will engage in purely defensive activities — providing maritime domain awareness, accompanying ships, and engaging in defensive military action. Members of Prosperity Guardian have participated or assisted in strikes on Yemen meant to disrupt the Houthi’s ability to launch attacks,” Jonathan Lord, director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security, told Breaking Defense.

But Lord said that doesn’t mean the two coalitions won’t cooperate — especially as each nation in the EU coalition is also in NATO.

“In addition to there being proven technical interoperability with the U.S. military, there’s both an incentive and an inclination towards coordination. Simply put, more friendly military vessels in the region will translate to more capability to neutralize the maritime threat posed by the Houthis, even if some ships are operating under greater restrictions,” he added.


“The Houthis have stumbled onto an immensely powerful coercive tool, and they are going to continue to pull this card long after hostilities in Gaza have ended,” Lord said. “For the Houthis, just being able to continue launching attacks is a powerful message domestically and to the region that it can stand up and defy America’s will. Until US policy includes a way to hold Iranian leaders accountable for the decision to continue to arm the Houthis with the weapons they’re launching into the maritime space, attacks will continue.”

Read the full story and more from Breaking Defense.


  • Jonathan Lord

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Jonathan Lord is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord served as a professional staff member for the House Arme...