Israel joins US coalition in Persian Gulf

Israel has joined an American military coalition to guarantee maritime security for vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz, Israeli foreign minister Yisrael Katz has said.

“It is an Israeli interest to stop Iranian entrenchment in the region and strengthen relationship with Gulf countries. Israel is part of the US-led coalition to protect trade routes in the Persian Gulf”, he said.

Ynet said that the assistance would include intelligence cooperation with the mission, plus other unspecified contributions. 

Israel joins the UK and South Korea in joining the US-led mission, with the latter reportedly planning to send one destroyer to join the patrols. Australia and Japan have said that they are considering requests from the US to join.

Other European countries that were invited have declined, based on their disagreement with the US’s maximum pressure policy for Iran. A European mission is showing no signs of getting off the ground, with the French foreign ministry saying that “we are discussing a European initiative . . . to expand our knowledge of the maritime situation through the deployment of appropriate surveillance methods. The purpose is to facilitate the safe passage of ships in the region”.

French foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnès Von Der Mühll said on July 23rd said that “for us, this initiative is aimed at defusing tensions and facilitating de-escalation. It differs from the American approach of maximum pressure.”

Meanwhile, P&O Cruises has cancelled cruises around Dubai and the Arabian Gulf, citing the increased tensions in the region. The company said it has cancelled its planned programme in the region from October until at least March next year. All guests will be issued a full refund.