Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday, Aug. 1, that Israel would be there if Iran tried to block the Red Sea’s Bab al-Mandeb Straits. Speaking to Navy ships’ captains course in Haifa, the prime minister said: “Early this week, we witnessed an Iranian proxy trying to interfere with shipping sailing through the Straits of Bab al-Mandeb. I am convinced that an international coalition resolved to prevent this happening awaits Iran. And this coalition will include the State of Israel with all its military arms.” DEBKAfile’s military sources: The coalition Netanyahu referred to was Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel, and he was talking about the Yemeni Houthi missile attack on two Saudi super tankers in the Red Sea.
He was not the first Middle East leader to postulate a regional alliance for taking responsibility, without the US, for defending the region against Iranian aggression. On July 26, the UAE’s Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash, made this comment in London: “The United Arab Emirates is ready to deploy more troops across the Middle East, as it cannot rely on Western allies, including the UK and the US, to police the region.”
DEBKAfile’s sources add that the prime minister’s proposal was his first public response to US President Donald Trump’s initiative to renew bilateral contacts between the US and Iran.
Defense Minister Lieberman who spoke next said: “Of late we are hearing threats to harm Israel’s Red Sea shipping. The IDF stands ready with responses for two simultaneous fronts and also on the Red Sea.”