The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)’s government called on the European Union (EU) to launch its own naval operations in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, independent of the United States, targeting Yemen and Iran’s Houthi rebels.
On December 23, Spain’s Ministry of Defense called for a “new specific mission, with its own scope, means and objectives, agreed by the corresponding EU institutions” to “guarantee maritime security” in the Red Sea. .
American warships are already engaged with Houthi forces. Last weekend, U.S. Central Command announced that the USS Laboon had “downed four unmanned drones that were launching from Houthi-held territory in Yemen and flying at the frigate.” The US government claimed that two ballistic missiles were fired into the shipping lane, but the ship was not affected.
The Houthis are Yemen’s de facto government, an ally of Iran, and control 80 percent of the territory. He came to power in 2014 following a popular uprising against Saudi-backed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Hadi was overthrown and fled the country.
The United States and Britain then backed a seven-year intervention by a Saudi-led coalition that left more than 377,000 Yemenis dead, mainly from starvation caused by a deadly blockade. A further 15,000 civilians have died as a result of indiscriminate attacks on civilian homes, markets, hospitals and schools, most of them by European imperialist forces, including fighter jets, missiles, rockets, bombs and tankers. This is due to the weapons provided by.
Spain’s military equipment is essential, and under the right-wing People’s Party (PP) government and the PSOE-Podemos government, the predecessor of today’s PSOE-Sumar government, arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE from 2015 to 2021 amounted to 16 reached over 1 billion euros.
After the genocide initiated by Israel in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis expressed support for the Palestinians. Yemen is home to the largest pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the entire Middle East, with tens of thousands of people protesting every week across the provinces of Saada, Raymah, al-Bayda, Taiz, Marib, Ibb and al-Jawf.
The Houthis subsequently declared a blockade of ships heading to Israel through the geostrategic Gulf of Aden until Tel Aviv halts its onslaught in Gaza. Passing through the Bab el-Mandeb passage.
In November, the Houthis seized some ships while attacking others with drone strikes and ballistic missiles. Since then, activity at Israel’s Eilat port on the Red Sea has fallen by 85 percent. Many of the world’s biggest shipping companies are moving to longer, more expensive routes around southern Africa, adding an additional $2 billion a month to shipping goods bound for Europe.
Spain’s announcement highlights the hypocrisy of the PSOE-Sumar government. Over the past month, the government has taken a stand against Israel’s genocide.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Gaza had “shocked our lives and conscience” and that Israel was “causing intolerable and unacceptable suffering to civilians, which the international community must stop immediately.” Stated.
In a statement Thursday, Cadena SER “It would be extremely hypocritical to act quickly to protect commercial interests,” Deputy Prime Minister and Smar party leader Yolanda Díaz told Spanish Radio. [in the Red Sea] And we must not do so in the face of the killings of girls and boys in Gaza. ”
The fact is that the PSOE-Schmal government is laying the foundations for war by calling for an EU-led mission in the Red Sea, while Israel continues its genocidal campaign in Gaza and the Houthis in the geostrategic Gulf of Aden. It is said that the aim is to be able to suppress sects. against Iran.
The new government will only expand the previous PSOE/Podemos regime’s policies of imperialist wars abroad and harsh attacks on the working class at home. For four years, the PSOE/Podemos government implemented relentless fiscal austerity, including pension cuts that unified the retirement age at 67, below-inflation wage increases, and labor law reforms that reduced legal protections for workers. To stop strikes, it imposed tough minimum service laws on health workers and airline workers, and sent tens of thousands of police to stop strikes by metal workers and truck drivers.
This was accompanied by a large-scale military buildup. According to the Deras Peace Research Center, Spain has doubled the amount it spends on its military 20 years ago. Since 2019, the PSOE-Podemos government has committed military spending of over 82 billion euros. Since January, it has injected more than 22 billion euros.
PSOE-Podemos was particularly interested in strengthening Madrid’s naval capabilities, which could now be deployed to the Red Sea. In August, the Spanish Navy launched the F-111 Bonifaz, the first of five new-generation Bonifaz-class frigates specialized in anti-submarine warfare. Last month, Spain launched the S-81 Isaac Peral, the first of a series of advanced new generation submarines.As a conservative daily life El Confidential Recently, he said, “the Navy has once again grown its fangs and is incorporating forces and systems designed for high-intensity conventional warfare.”
Madrid’s announcement came days after U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin launched Operation Prosperity Guardian, a fleet of about 20 warships headed for the Middle East with two carrier battle groups. . The new naval operation involves major imperialist powers such as Britain and Canada. Germany is also considering participation.
Other imperialist powers have intervened independently of US-led operations. France, which has destroyers in the area, said its ships would remain under French command.Italy’s Ministry of Defense announces dispatch of naval frigate virginio fasan To the Red Sea in response to the request of an Italian shipowner.
Spain’s call for the EU to act independently of the US follows tensions between Madrid and Washington over the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian. Madrid was unhappy that U.S. Secretary of Defense Austin had brought Spain into the operation without prior notice. Spain has been forced to deny involvement and say it will not join the coalition “unilaterally,” although Spain’s Ministry of Defense has clarified that it can join “within the framework of NATO or the European Union.”
When the EU agreed to take part in monitoring the Red Sea through Operation Atalanta, Spain first agreed and then vetoed the decision the next day. Launched in 2008 as an anti-piracy operation, Operation Atalanta’s real objective is to take control of the maritime routes through which much of the trade between Asia and Europe passes. The mission is headquartered in the southern Spanish city of Rota and led by Spanish commander Lieutenant General Ignacio Villanueva.madrid frigate victoria is currently sailing off the coast of Somalia and is the only ship owned by European operations after the withdrawal of the Italian frigate.
The change in direction prompted U.S. President Joe Biden to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday. This was the first meeting with Sanchez since he was elected in November. The government did not mention the Houthis in the statement, but the White House report said the two leaders agreed that “conflicts in the region, including condemning continued Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea,” They discussed the importance of “preventing the spread of the virus.”
On Saturday, Spain’s Defense Ministry requested an EU-led mission to the Red Sea.
The tensions between Madrid and Washington are a stark illustration of the deepening tensions between the imperialist powers amid wars in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, growing economic crises, and escalating international class struggles.
It must be clearly stated that these interventions, whether under the aegis of the United States or under the auspices of imperialist powers, are illegal wars of aggression that violate international law. They are led by imperialist powers that have waged wars across the Middle East for three decades, including interventions that include proxy wars and regime change operations, from Ukraine to Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. , resulting in millions of deaths and tens of millions of people being evacuated.
To successfully oppose the massacre in Gaza and the wider war across the Middle East, we must build a strong anti-war movement of the working class. To fight to build such a movement, build a Marxist and internationalist, i.e. Trotskyist, working class party to counter reactionary capitalist governments such as Spain’s PSOE and the Union of Sumar. It is necessary.