The United States says it wants to create a multinational military coalition allies in the coming weeks to safeguard waters around Iran and Yemen.
Gen Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he wanted to “ensure freedom of navigation” in the region, which provides essential trade routes.
Under the plan, the US would provide command ships and lead surveillance efforts for the military coalition in seas off Iran and Yemen. Allies would patrol waters near those US command ships and escort commercial vessels with their nation’s flags.
Gen Dunford said the US was talking to a number of countries with the “political will” to support the plans. He added that the US would “work directly with the militaries to identify the specific capabilities” each country has to support the initiative.
The US has blamed Iran for attacks on six oil tankers between May and June.
The US, as well as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, have long fretted over attacks by Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in the narrow Bab al-Mandab waterway, which connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.
Nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily through the Bab al-Mandab to Europe, the United states and Asia plus commercial goods.