German Cabinet Approves Bundeswehr Mission Against Houthi Threat in Red Sea

EUNAVFOR Aspides is an EU operation aimed at securing crucial trade routes in the Red Sea and protecting against Houthi rebel attacks.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 06:25 AM, February 17, 2024
  • 1358
German Cabinet Approves Bundeswehr Mission Against Houthi Threat in Red Sea
Sachsen-class “Hessen” fires RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile @Bundeswehr

In response to the escalating threats posed by Yemen's Houthi rebels on international shipping in the Red Sea, the German federal cabinet has approved the deployment of Bundeswehr forces to participate in the EU-led armed operation, EUNAVFOR Aspides.

The Bundeswehr's commitment to EUNAVFOR Aspides includes the deployment of up to 700 soldiers and is set to remain in effect until February 28, 2025. The EU had approved the mission on February 8, 2024, with Germany formalizing its participation on February 16th. The German contribution involves personnel at the operation's headquarters in Larissa, Greece, and the deployment of the frigate "Hessen."

The frigate "Hessen" is equipped with anti-aircraft missiles and a radar capable of monitoring an airspace the size of the North Sea. Specifically designed for escort and maritime control, the frigate's weapon systems can engage targets at a distance of up to 160 kilometers.

The decision to deploy Bundeswehr forces comes in light of continued attacks by Houthi militias on international shipping since November 2023, particularly in the southern Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandab Strait. These attacks have led to disruptions in maritime security, resulting in partial standstills in the region's shipping.

Shipping companies, in response to the increased threats, have begun avoiding the Red Sea route and the Suez Canal, opting for detours, such as around the Cape of Good Hope. These alternative routes have caused significant delays, impacting the global economy and stability in the region.

EUNAVFOR Aspides' operational scope encompasses the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, the Strait of Hormuz, and international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Gulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf.

The mission's primary objective is to protect freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the Red Sea, specifically securing merchant ships against Houthi militia attacks. European partners, including Germany with the frigate "Hessen," will deploy warships and airborne early warning systems to fulfill this mission.

The legal basis for EUNAVFOR Aspides lies in the right of self-defense against unlawful attacks on ships and crews. The mission is also aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. A UN Security Council decision on January 10, 2024, urged an immediate halt to Houthi militia attacks.

Following the cabinet decision, the German Bundestag will engage in discussions regarding the mandate in the first reading and subsequently vote on it in the second reading. The decision underscores Germany's commitment to its national security strategy and its role in contributing to the broader EU mission for the security of crucial sea routes.

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