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A British Royal Navy officer in front of the International Maritime Security Building at the US Naval Base in Manama, Bahrain, November 7, 2019. REUTERS / Hamad I Mohammed

A naval coalition formed by Washington officially launched Thursday, November 7 in Bahrain its operations to protect shipping in the Gulf, essential for the supply of oil on the planet and the scene of attacks on tankers this summer.

Washington had called for the creation of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC) with its regional partners, including Saudi Arabia, after a series of attacks in the Gulf attributed by the Americans to Iran, which denies.

Operation Sentinel, intended to protect the Gulf and the Arabian Sea, is a defensive measure that does not " threaten " anyone, assured Vice-Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the US naval forces in the Middle East, on Thursday, during a ceremony at the IMSC Command Center.

" This operation has no offensive component, other than a commitment to defend each other in the event of an attack, " he said, adding that the US commitment in the region would continue " as long as threat .

Bahrain, the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet for Naval Forces in the Middle East, was the first country to join IMSC in August, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates following suit in September. Like the United States, these three Gulf allies consider Iran a threat.

See also: Securing the Straits of Hormuz: An Impossible Mission?

The United Kingdom and Australia are the major Western countries that have agreed to send warships to escort merchant ships in the Gulf. The newest member, Albania, joined the alliance on 1 November.

The majority of European countries have refused to participate, fearing to undermine their efforts to save the Iranian nuclear deal of 2015, weakened since the US withdrawal in 2018.

(With AFP)