How to make the Persian Gulf safe

The US has asked Germany and France to participate in a naval mission in the Persian Gulf to protect tankers from Iranian acts of aggression. London had initially proposed a European-led mission, but the new Prime Minister Boris Johnson apparently wants to cooperate more closely with Washington. Under what conditions should the various states engage in a mission in the Strait of Hormuz?

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De Morgen (BE) /

Steer clear of provocation

European states must be extremely cautious if they join the mission, De Morgen warns:

“To prevent Iran from seeing such deterrence as a form of provocation we must be very transparent about the fact that what we want is to protect our merchant fleet. So it would be best for the European countries to also seek a mandate from the UN Security Council. Of course, such a resolution is unlikely due to the probable veto by Russia and China, nevertheless we as Europeans would be making it clear that any protective measure is aimed at preventing incidents.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Europe can't manage on its own

London's conclusion that a European mission can only succeed with US backing is a fitting description of the reality of the situation, Deutschlandfunk notes:

“Europe's enthusiasm for taking matters into its own hands without America leading the way is - to put it mildly - not exactly overwhelming. And even if the political will did exist, the next big question remains open: Do Europe's armies have the military capability to act without their transatlantic partner? Some will remember the Libya operation led by the French and the British eight years ago - when the Europeans ran out of bombs after just a few days and America had to step in to help them.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Hot here and cold there

Britain can hardly expect help from a Union it is in the process of leaving, writes diplomat Stefano Stefanini in La Stampa:

“London wants to sail alone in the Atlantic, but in the Persian Gulf it's happy to sail under the European flag. The new PM has left no doubt about his plans to take Britain out of the EU on 31 October no matter what. But the country's top diplomat, who is loyal to him, is still trying to put together a European naval mission for escorting and protecting oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. ... That may seem schizophrenic. But Brexit is at an impasse in which anything goes - from rhetoric and defiance to intransigence and bluffing - apart from common sense.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Join forces against the rogue state

Britain must finally distinguish between its friends and its foes, The Daily Telegraph demands:

“The expected collapse later this week of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) raises the very real prospect of the Western democracies being plunged into a new arms race with Moscow. ... It is Russian missiles, not Brussels bureaucrats, that threaten our well-being, and to deal with this and other threats, Britain must work with close allies such as the US. To this end Mr Raab would be well-advised to join forces with the United States in confronting another rogue state, namely Iran, rather than continuing with Mrs May's ineffectual opposition to Washington on the issue.”