Spain said that it has decided not to join the US-led coalition aimed at safeguarding Red Sea shipping from attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The Iran-backed Houthis have conducted multiple strikes on Red Sea shipping, citing support for Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

On December 21, the Pentagon announced that 20 countries had joined the coalition initiated by Washington to protect this critical shipping lane. However, Spain, while initially ambivalent, officially declared on December 24 that it would not participate.

Although no specific reasons were provided for Spain's decision, local reports suggest that domestic politics played a role. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is currently working on forming a coalition and requires the support of the radical left party Sumar, known for its opposition to US foreign policy.

The Houthi rebels expressed appreciation for Spain's stance, with deputy foreign minister Hussein al-Ezzi stating, "We highly appreciate Spain’s refusal to be drawn into American and British lies on the issue of maritime navigation."

Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder outlined that coalition forces would function as a "highway patrol" in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, responding to and assisting commercial vessels transiting this vital international waterway.