(HorizonPost.com) – The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that it launched an international task force on maritime security to address the Houthis’ attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea, however, only nine other nations have so far confirmed they have joined, ABC News reported.
According to State Department officials, the administration’s goal is to rein in the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels that have launched more than 100 missiles and drones on commercial vessels in the Red Sea.
When announcing the task force, dubbed Operation Prosperity Garden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the US had so far recruited Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
When asked in a press briefing on Tuesday if the coalition would have a meaningful impact, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “Let’s see where it goes.”
A State Department official told ABC News that the US has sent multiple messages to the Iranian-backed Houthis through diplomatic channels to warn them against continuing the attacks. However, the warnings have had little impact and the attacks in the Red Sea continue.
At least ten merchant vessels have been targeted since October and the Houthis also seized the Japanese-chartered vehicle carrier the Galaxy Leader and are holding the ship and its crew captive.
While US Navy destroyers have shot down multiple drones and missiles fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, the Biden administration has so far made no effort to launch a more drastic military response.
Former US CENTCOM leader Gen. Joseph Votel this week told the Washington Examiner that while the Biden administration should continue with diplomatic efforts to reduce the tensions, the Pentagon should be prepared to act if needed.
Votel said Iran is behind the attacks in the Red Sea, noting that the Houthis get the drones and missile systems used in the attacks from the Iranian regime. He said the US should make it clear that we hold Iran responsible for these groups and the United States will hold them “accountable for their actions.”
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