Issues with Freedom of Navigation in the Middle East: Roundup on the Four Pillars

Dec 11, 2023News

The US and European states, two of the Pillars, have been facing threats in the Middle East recently from Iranian proxies. The American embassy in Baghdad was, and continues to be, under fire from militant groups. These are semi-coordinated attacks, but it is unclear if it is under direct orders from Iran. It was hit with seven mortars. France intercepted two drones that targeted its ship in the Red Sea, originating from Yemen (read: Houthis). This comes on the back of Houthis attacking American ship USS Mason and making waterways hostile in the region.

The Pillars have been weighing options to address the recent threats to the freedom of navigation. However, the Biden administration is considering to have a more mitigated response, in part for fear of exploding a powder keg in the Middle East, when there is a need to draw back  and focus on Asia-Pacific.

Economically, Apple and other companies continue to move away from China and invest more in India, a Pillar, and other countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. This is important as China becomes more of a risk to invest in, and decoupling continues, in preparing for potential geopolitical confrontations.

French ship FREMM Languedoc