Spain, Italy, France decline US Red Sea coalition
France, Spain, and Italy have officially withdrawn their participation from a US-led maritime task force in the Red Sea to protect passage of Israeli-owned and Israel-bound vessels.
The three nations
have explicitly stated their commitment to operating exclusively under the
command of international bodies such as the United Nations, NATO, or the
European Union, choosing not to align with the United States.
The French Defense
Ministry announced in a statement that it supported efforts to secure freedom
of navigation in the Red Sea and surrounding area and said it already operated
in the region.
However, it said its
ships would stay under French command and did not say if it would deploy more
Ministry also said it would send naval frigate Virginio Fasan to the Red Sea to
protect its national interests in response to specific requests made by Italian
It said this was
part of its existing operations, and was not part of the US-led naval coalition
in the waterway.
Defense Ministry said it would only participate in NATO-led missions or
“We will not
participate unilaterally in the Red Sea operation,” it noted.
On Thursday, the
Pentagon said more than 20 countries had now agreed to participate in the
US-led maritime task in the Red Sea, known as so-called Operation Prosperity
The lack of details
and clarity over what countries are doing has added to confusion for shipping
companies, some of which have been re-routing vessels away from the area, amid
a flurry of drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea by Yemeni forces in
retaliation for the Israeli war on Gaza.
Pentagon chief Lloyd
Austin announced the formation of the coalition – including Bahrain, Canada,
France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the Seychelles, Spain and the UK – on
On Thursday, Austin
said Greece and Australia had also joined the grouping, taking it to a total of
20, but added that at least eight countries taking part have declined to be
declared their open support for Palestine’s struggle against the Israeli
occupation since the regime launched a devastating war on Gaza on October 7
after the territory’s Palestinian resistance movements carried out a surprise
retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying
Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed at least 20,258 people, most
of them women and children. Another 53,688 individuals have been wounded.
that Israeli shipping companies have already decided to reroute their vessels
in fear of attacks by Yemeni forces.
Yemeni forces have
also launched missile and drone attacks on targets in the Israeli-occupied
territories of Palestine after the occupying regime’s aggression on Gaza.