WASHINGTON — The United Arab Emirates has joined an intentional maritime security coalition to “deter threats to maritime navigation and global trade” in the Arabian Gulf and surrounding waterways, the country’s official news agency reported Thursday.

The UAE joins four other members of the International Maritime Security Construct — the United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain and the United States. The alliance was set up to protect the interests of its members and their merchant ships when passing through maritime corridors, the Emirates News Agency explains. Its area of operation covers the Strait of Hormuz, Bab Al Mandab, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.

The U.S. has maintained a position of defending freedom of navigation in international waters. In mid-June, a Norwegian and a Japanese tanker were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. blames Iran for both events. Iran denied involvement.

"If the Iranians come after U.S. citizens, U.S. assets or U.S. military, we reserve the right to respond with a military action. They need to know that, it needs to be very clear,” U.S. Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a roundtable in June.

But Selva also called for an international response.

“I think there is a military role in defending freedom of navigation,” he said. “The question will be to what extent the international community is behind that effort.”

Jaleah Dortch, a senior majoring in English at Gallaudet University, is a reporting intern for Defense News.

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