US-led international mission officially launches in Persian Gulf
The US-led international maritime security mission to protect shipping in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman has officially launched operations this week.
The coalition was formed in response to attacks against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and near the Strait of Hormuz earlier this summer, including nine instances in which Iran or its proxy forces assaulted oil tankers. The United States and the United Kingdom have since increased their security patrols in the region, but they have failed to form a broad coalition. It seems that only seven countries have agreed to join.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks against tankers but there are videos of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces removing an unexploded mine from one tanker.
Bahrain is the host of the US Central Command and has joined the coalition along with Saudi Arabia, and UAE.
Among Western countries, the United Kingdom and Australia have agreed to join the coalition and have deployed battleships to protect shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf. The coalition is to escort ships as they pass through the Persian Gulf, which is the world’s most important oil passageway.
One-third of the world's seaborne crude and fuels pass from the Persian Gulf through the narrow Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf of Oman on its journey to international markets. The Bab el-Mandeb is a bottleneck at the southern tip of the Red Sea for ships sailing to and from the Suez Canal.