Managing Security in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden
The Red Sea Council and the Prospect of Multilateralism
Authors: Elin Hellquist and Samuel Neuman Bergenwall (FOI)
Swedish Defence Research Agency
Geopolitical tension is growing around the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden – two of the world’s most strategically important waterways. Not only do conflicts and security threats in the broader region spill over into the maritime sphere, the US, China, and Russia have increased their military presence. Despite the high density of stakeholders and security issues, the region has long lacked a multilateral institution designed to address common challenges and manage diverging interests. However, in February 2020, the eight coastal states signaled a will to claim regional ownership of maritime security by creating the Council of Arab and African States Bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (hereafter: Red Sea Council, RSC).