The French Navy has abruptly withdrawn support from the Operation Prosperity Guardian, a US-led multinational navy force aimed at combating Yemen’s Pro-Palestine maritime war in the Red Sea.
France’s decision comes in the wake of US leadership facing growing criticism over US ship powers leaving American sailors vulnerable to the Yemeni Armed Forces “without adequate protection.”
According to reports, the French Navy withdrew from the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian after a representative walked out of the operation’s first meeting with US officials. The French, however, have commenced escorting their own counterships including the containerships CMA CGM Pegasus, CMA CGM George Washington and APL Salalah, through the Red Sea. The US on the other hand, have reportedly abandoned their own American-flagged ships stranded in the region, some awaiting an entire week for escort.
It’s still unclear if France will quit the operation entirely or if they will assist after prioritizing their own ships. According to one source acquainted with the French navy, other European ship owners are likely to get secondary priority after French owned ships.
This development marks a significant shift in the geopolitical dynamics of maritime security in one of the world’s most vital shipping lanes. The French decision underscores a growing crisis in shipping that puts national and regional priority ahead of global needs, while the US focuses on protecting all shipping – including ships owned by rivals like China – at the expense of the dwindling fleet of US-flagged merchant ships.
The Operation Prosperity Guardian initially expected widespread participation but only ten nations joined with the Netherlands contributing a few staff offices only. America’s naval allies such as Australia, Japan and South Korea reportedly abstained. The Pentagon claimed that ten additional silent partners had also joined the operation but shipping experts assumed otherwise.
According to media reports, the rather abrasive announcement led to confusion as shipping companies felt uninformed citing that few practical details were known of the coalition.
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