As the US operation against Gaza using Israeli partner continues for two and a half months due to US efforts of shooting down UN resolutions for a ceasefire, Lloyd Austin announced Operation Prosperity Guardian against Houthis in Yemen, attesting to the US unexplained love for war that can be likened to pyromania. It could be a matter of time before the American soldiers from the comfort of their ships and aircraft start lobbing bombs and bullets at impoverished defenseless Yemenis, already in the worst humanitarian disaster, just like Israelis are doing to Palestinians to create a new disaster because the US cannot have enough of war. Lindsey Graham may even arise to state how starting senseless wars that kill people is the best money the US ever spent. This potential second front of the US-led war against the Middle East could have been avoided if the US enforced Gazans’ ‘freedom of navigation’ as Israeli vessels would be sailing freely in the Red Sea. There is growing momentum for war as the Western mainstream media is amplifying Houthi’s actions and their implications on global trade as opposed to showing Houthi’s reasonable demands. Between the 17th and 20th of December, western media ignored Houthi’s condition for the US and Israel to respect international law and allow food and medicine to Gazans. However, CNN only headlined how the US was intercepting Houthi’s drones, disrupting international trade. CNN only casually stated that Houthis claimed that their attacks were meant to pressure Israel to allow food and medicine into Gaza (here). Is it admitting that the US will go to war to prevent food and medicine from reaching Gazans? What happens to freedom of Navigation and international law that the US claims to uphold? One wonders why CNN ignores the reality that these attacks were absent before the US and Israeli slaughter of Gazans, while Americans continue aiding Israel to blockade Gaza, making it impossible for war-ravaged Palestinians to access food and medicine, which has forced Houthis to react. The US now takes Houthi’s action as an excuse to put together a naval coalition it has desired since 2019 (here).
Western-Forced ‘Prosperity’ in the East
Countries participating in the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, including the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, and Spain among others, want to enforce their version of ‘prosperity’ in the region, which does not include freedom for Palestinians and peace for Yemenis. These participants, except Bahrain and Seychelles (both having symbolic roles), are located thousands or hundreds of kilometers away, from the Red Sea, but assume that Yemen has no interest to defend in this sea that washes its shores. Their perspective reveals a colonial viewpoint that justifies awarding control of all resources to Western powers for use to humiliate local groups, as has been the case so far against Palestinians and Yemenis, who have been under attack by the US and its allies (here, and here). Everything that the western-liberal-order needs becomes ‘international rights and freedom’ even as the US continues enabling its allies to deny others of these rights as can be noted in the statement by Lloyd Austin, the US secretary of (war) defense on December 18th, 2023;
The recent escalation in reckless Houthi attacks originating from Yemen threatens the free flow of commerce, endangers innocent mariners, and violates international law. The Red Sea is a critical waterway that has been essential to freedom of navigation and a major commercial corridor that facilitates international trade.
Only non-Palestinian Mariners, and Commerce Matters
As Austin detailed how Houthi’s action endangers the lives of innocent mariners, the free flow of commerce, and international law, he ignored how Israel is violating the three with Palestinians in numerous instances. For instance, in July 2022, five Palestinians in a boat were fired upon by the IDF for fishing along Gaza’s shores (here). Separately, the IDF interrupted Palestinian commerce by sinking vessels that were delivering goods to Gazans, which was against international law (here). Therefore, the US is hypocritically purporting to enforce the safety of mariners and commerce, but enabling the IDF to infringe on similar rights for Palestinians. Palestinians, according to the US’s and UK’s twisted logic, should not enjoy their rights stemming from historical and geographical contact with the Mediterranean Sea, which is illogical. Similarly, the US has also intercepted materials being delivered to Yemenis under the pretext that they were Iranian weapons, while it continued providing Saudi Arabia with bombs and targeting data that killed innocent civilians and school children (here). Therefore, it is clear that the US is not interested in enforcing any international law or freedom of Navigation, but advancing its narrow-minded colonial ends.
The US-led Operation would have been unnecessary if the US had been willing to enforce international law and freedom of navigation for Gazans. Since the beginning of Houthi’s operations entailing seizing and later striking vessels linked to Israel, the Houthis have laid a very simple condition, that food and medicine be delivered to helpless Palestinians in Gaza. The organization would never have imposed these conditions had the US enforced its ‘treasured’ freedom of navigation and international law equally. However, the racist participants of Operation Prosperity Guardian and their vassals’ think that medieval-style blockades are okay if placed against Gazans and Yemenis and are willing to plunge the whole world into a war for their irrational belief.
Hoodwinking the World to Move Narrow-Minded Goals
The UK and the US have a long history of disguising their bigoted goals as the interest of humanity. There is a striking similarity between the current condition in the Red Sea and the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, where the UK and France had driven Israelis to attack Egypt to prevent it from benefiting from its resource; the Suez Canal. The UK would convene an international conference purporting to get countries to defend a canal that Egypt was planning to keep open because 85% of trade passing through it belonged to the UK (here). Currently, the US is hoodwinking the world that Houthi’s attacks are indiscriminate, which is inaccurate as they are primarily aimed at Israel. It hopes to hide a rational option it has of making Israel lift the blockade on Gaza, and Israeli-bound vessels will henceforth sail freely in the Red Sea. Instead, the US and Western powers would rather start a world war than make Israel uphold international law. The enthusiasm with which the US is trying to start another war in the Middle East can only be described as pyromania.
The US establishment, including congressmen and media personalities, repeatedly proposes wars against other countries, when they are not cheering the murder and destruction US causes elsewhere. As the rest of the world awaits with bated breath for a ceasefire in Gaza to avert regrettable loss of life, the US is vetoing every peace process at the UN and Lloyd Austin just announced another military operation. Therefore, the death and destruction in Gaza do not matter to Joe Biden, and In Seldowitz’s words, 4000 babies killed by Israel are not enough (here). One wonders when international law will apply equally for all and US- led senseless wars will hence be unnecessary.
Simon Chege Ndiritu, is a political observer and research analyst from Africa, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”