U.S. pushing Red Sea into war zone to protect Israeli genocide in Gaza

French shipping and logistics giant CMA CGM becomes one of the latest companies to announce redirecting vessels away from the Red Sea.

French shipping and logistics giant CMA CGM announced on Monday that it would reroute some of its vessels through the Cape of Good Hope in southern Africa due to increased Yemeni operations in the Red Sea.

“The CMA CGM Group remains deeply concerned about the attacks on commercial vessels unfolding in the Red Sea Region … Accordingly, CMA CGM has decided, in accordance with clause 10 of its bill of lading, to reroute some of its vessels currently sailing to and from US, to and from North Europe and to and from Asia or Indian Subcontinent via the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa,” the company said in a press release.

Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen also announced today that it would halt Red Sea transits until further notice. It said re-routing vessels via the Cape of Good Hope would add one to two weeks to voyage durations.

CMA CGM also pointed out that all remaining container ships owned by the company originally planned to traverse the Red Sea had already received directives to reach secure zones and halt their journeys until additional instructions are provided.

In response to the Israeli genocide in Gaza

As of Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza reported that the number of Palestinians martyred due to the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip has risen to 19,453, in addition to 52,286 injuries since October 7. The Media Office in Gaza further reported that 7,000 are still missing, either under the rubble or their fate is unknown, and 70% of them are children and women.

In November, Yemen enforced an equation of targeting all Israeli and Israeli-affiliated vessels in the Red Sea in support of Gaza and in response to the Israeli ongoing genocide against its people, warning that operations will not stop until the war stops and sufficient food and meds are allowed into the besieged Strip.

The Yemeni Armed Forces later expanded the scope of the operations to the Arabian Sea and to include any cargo ship heading to the occupation entity regardless of its nationality. Consequently, several major shipping companies announced redirecting their ships away from the prohibited areas.

However, Sanaa repeatedly reiterated its commitment to the security of global maritime traffic and that the Yemeni army will only target ships headed to Israeli ports. The army also assured all ships commuting to any port in the world – that don’t fall into the category declared by Yemen – will not be harmed and called on them to keep their transponders open.

The Israeli economy suffers mounting blows

Recently, the world’s largest cargo and oil shipping companies have made a similar decision, including British Petroleum BP, Norwegian oil and gas firm Equinor, Belgian oil tanker firm Euronav, Taiwanese container shipping line Evergreen, Norway-based oil tanker group Frontline, German container shipping line Hapag Lloyd, South Korean container shipper HMM, Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), and Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport.

On the other hand, Singaporean shipping company ONE announced ceasing all shipments to the Israeli occupation’s ports, while Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) said it stopped accepting cargo orders to and from the entity until further notice.

The new route would see commercial vessels circling Africa, which would increase delivery time and shipping costs. Additionally, the insurance premiums were hiked on all merchandise making its way to the entity due to rising security risks.

Confirming the impact of the Yemeni ultimatum, Axios highlighted last week that the arrival of merchant ships at the Israeli port of “Eilat” has “almost completely stopped” due to Red Sea operations.

The report noted that ships heading to the Israeli occupation entity from Asia are now taking a longer route around Africa, making the journey three weeks longer and more costly.

Furthermore, the Director General of the Israeli Port of “Eilat”, Gideon Golber, told the Israeli Channel 13 that the Yemeni threats had “disrupted 80% to 85% of the port’s profits.”

According to the outlet, “The volume of imports coming from the East to Israel is estimated at approximately 350 billion shekels, equivalent to 95 billion dollars annually.”

With the newly arising situation, Channel 13 confirmed that “changing the maritime navigation route will raise the prices of imported products by an estimated 3%, which would increase the financial burden on the Israelis by about ten and a half billion shekels, or about 3 billion dollars.”

The Red Sea as a war zone

On Monday, and under the guise of securing international maritime trade routes, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the establishment of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a 10-nation “multinational security initiative under the umbrella of the Combined Maritime Forces and the leadership of its Task Force 153, which focuses on security in the Red Sea.”

Earlier today, mobilizing efforts in the face of the Yemeni forces, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin invited dozens of nations to take steps to address the operation conducted in the Red Sea as he spoke at a defense ministerial to tout a new military operation to secure commerce in the waterway.

“We’re all here because many countries can directly contribute to our common efforts to keep strategic waterways safe,” Austin said, according to prepared remarks.

Calling Yemen’s attacks “reckless”, he described it as “a serious international problem” that needs “a firm international response,” which, as revealed earlier, will bring “together multiple countries to include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press, which cited an unnamed defense official, reported that several other countries have also agreed to be involved in the operation but preferred not to be named.

While the main claimed reason behind establishing the maritime coalition was the Yemeni operations, which focused solely on Israeli ships and interests, the occupation entity was not named in the list of members of the newly created force.

No further details were unveiled regarding the task force or how it will conduct its operations, amid rising concerns that it might turn the Red Sea into a military confrontations zone and that its publicly declared mission is only part of its real objectives in the strategic trade route, but it is expected to become clearer in the coming weeks.

No compromise on Palestine

In response to Western warnings and pressure on Yemen to stop its operations, the head of Sanaa’s negotiating delegation, Mohammad Abdul Salam, affirmed that “the Red Sea is safe for everyone except ships affiliated with the Israeli enemy,” emphasizing that “Yemeni operations have a significant economic impact on Israel.”

Abdul Salam emphasized that “any actions taken by the Yemeni Armed Forces are linked to lifting the blockade on Gaza and halting the aggression against the Strip.”

“The Palestinian cause does not tolerate compromise, and we cannot accept what is happening to the people of Gaza,” he warned. 

Additionally, Ali al-Qahoum, a member of the political bureau of the Yemeni Ansar Allah, echoed last week the same sentiment, underlining that Yemen will not abandon the Palestinian cause no matter what, despite American, Western, and Israeli threats.

The Yemeni official warned that “those who provide protection to Israel should bear the consequences,” stressing that Yemen “will spare no effort or resources in supporting Palestine and Gaza until victory and the eradication of Israel.”

He assured that Yemen possesses all the factors of strength and resilience that qualify it to be pivotal and influential in international equations, with elements of strength that make it steadfast in supporting Palestine.

Elsewhere, al-Qahoum made it clear that Yemen has all the defensive options to respond to any hostile actions by the US, “Israel”, and the West, with surprises that are beyond imagination.

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