By ARIE EGOZI
Tel Aviv: The US Fifth Fleet with the navies of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have begun a joint naval exercise in the Red Sea on November 11, 2021. This is the first exercise of its kind ever. The exercise will last five days and will include a practice of taking over suspicious ships and conducting search operations and different actions against “suspicions vessels”.
“It’s exciting to see US forces training with regional partners to strengthen joint naval security capabilities,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the United States naval forces Central Command. “Maritime cooperation helps to ensure freedom of navigation and a free flow of goods, which are essential for security and regional stability”.
The exercise takes place after Iran launched this week a large exercise off the coast of the Gulf of Oman, featuring naval, land and air forces. The exercise is underway when the tension in the Gulf and Red Sea has reached a new peak.
In recent weeks the US Navy has its presence in the Red Sea as the Iranians through their Houthi rebels proxy, are increasing their activities in this main waterway mainly by fast boats attacks and mines.
As part of this enhancement two US naval minesweepers “USS Gladiator” (MCM 11) and “USS Sentry” (MCM 3) have already crossed the Bab al-Mandab strait on, October 18. This is the first time in seven years that US naval mine sweepers entered the Red sea.
In recent months many sources claimed that Iran is providing military equipment to the Houthi militia in Yemen, including tens of thousands of mines and naval missiles, in addition to remote-controlled boats carrying explosives.
The Red Sea now sees a much greater presence of Israeli navy’s ships and the number will grow as the Iranian threats to shipping in this waterway also grows. The only danger is posed by Iranian speed boats, manned and unmanned carrying explosives.
The Iranian effort to create a presence in the Red Sea, Gulf and the Atlantic is affecting the deployment of the Israeli navy. Equipped with very advanced SAAR 6 corvettes and Dolphin 2 submarines the Israeli navy according to sources is “deploying its vessels according to very exact intelligence”.
The foreign press claimed that the Israeli navy has at least one submarine in the Gulf. The reports added that this submarine is capable of launching missiles to hit targets in Iran.