‘Meychelles or whatever’ – Hezbollah mocks US ally
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has derided the US effort to make its Red Sea intervention appear more powerful and international by involving countries such as the Seychelles.
In a televised speech on Friday, the Lebanon-based cleric took aim at ‘Operation Prosperity Guardian’, the effort Washington announced last month to counter the Yemeni blockade of Israeli-linked shipping.
“To make the coalition seem powerful, they added some country, the Seychelles or Meychelles or whatever, and I had to Google what it even was!” Nasrallah said, according to translations by local media outlets. In Arabic, the names sounded like “Sin-shell” and “Min-shell.”
“Turns out it’s some island at the end of the world, with a population of less than 100,000,” he added.
The smallest country in Africa, the Seychelles consist of 115 islands about 1,500 kilometers (800 nautical miles) off the coast of the continent. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listed the former British colony as one of the participants in ‘Prosperity Guardian’ last month, alongside Canada, Bahrain, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, and Spain.
In reality, the island nation said it would limit its participation to “providing and receiving information” to the naval armada, which at this point consists of three US warships and one British destroyer.
Italy and Spain have since backed out of the endeavor entirely, while only Denmark has promised to send a frigate. Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Norway pledged officers, but no ships.
The Houthis of Yemen have repeatedly attacked commercial ships they accused of ties to Israel, as a way of showing support for the Palestinians in Gaza. Most Western shipping companies have responded by rerouting their vessels around Africa, at great expense in time and fuel.
The global shipping giant Maersk had announced on December 24 that it would resume sailing through the Suez Canal due to the presence of the US-led armada. After another of its ships was struck by a Houthi missile on December 31, however, Maersk said it would again divert all vessels around the Cape of Good Hope “for the foreseeable future.”