Zesou Crisis

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The Zesou Crisis of 1935 was a key flashpoint in the hostile relations between the Pisex Alliance, dominated by Arithia, and the Cordial Alliance.



Declaration of War on Zesou

Arithian intervention

Three days after the Cordial Alliance officially declared war on Zesou, Arithia, in fulfilment of its obligations under the Pisex Treaty, announced the beginning of a series of retaliatory actions, but stopped short of declaring war. The Arithian parliament passed a motion to impose a trade embargo on the members of the Cordial Alliance, and in the subsequent weeks rallied a considerable number of other countries to join in the effort. At the same time, while, by law, the army could not be fully mobilised without an express declaration of war and the consent of parliament, the Arithian army sent part of its rotational always-on forces to the Zesovian capital, Andirs, as an overt warning to potential belligerents.

Blockade of the Issol A'i

The most major of the actions was the closure of the Issol A'i to ships, military or otherwise, belonging to, registered in or flying the flags of the states party to the Alliance, beginning on Dynisis 9. This blockade lasted for almost 11 months, during which the Arithian navy sank 29 merchant ships, as well as 5 military vessels of the Alliance in three separate naval battles, although the politicians of neither side made any move to formalise or suppress hostilities throughout the entirety of the blockade.

The first of these battles took place in Helakis 16, more than a month after the beginning of the blockade. The battle, known by some as the First Battle of the Strait, stemmed from the sinking by the Arithian navy over the previous month of various Alliance civilian vessels that had attempted to pass the Strait from the Denurean Sea using forged Ecyrian passports and documents, and that had further attempted to force their way past the Coast Guard when their trick was exposed. A total of 8 cargo ships had been sunk, and a passenger cruiser (the Okurant) detained, which caused much consternation in Alliance political circles, and the Okurant became the subject of much media debate for more than a week, before she was eventually released, "out of goodwill" (Arithian Prime Minister Jedes Mithakoris), on condition that she turn back to Sarbassy through the Denurean. The passengers had previously been deported to Sarbassy under military detention. On the day of the battle, a Sarbassian destroyer, flanked by two cruisers, tried to pass off as friendly Ritavian vessels on the way to Zesou, and, upon being discovered, promptly fired two torpedoes at passing cargo vessels, sinking one genuinely Ritavian ship and severely damaging the other, Arithian one. The ensuing gun battle killed 36 sailors on both sides, damaging an Arithian frigate and prompting the navy to deploy a submarine to the effort, which ultimately sank the offending destroyer through, according to official sources, a misaimed torpedo which missed the main body of the destroyer but ripped the hull lengthwise before exploding. Eyewitness accounts confirm that the two flanking cruisers fled from the scene after the destroyer was sunk.

The Second Battle of the Strait took place again on the Denurean Sea, this time involving a spyboat from the Aphyschelles, which was discovered 61km off the east Calagian coast at 35:30 (approx. 2:10pm Earth-equivalent) on Nēbes 4, and ordered to halt. Arithian military reports filed indicate that the spyboat had refused to stop and surrender when ordered to, but instead turned to flee, and sporadically fired at the pursuing Arithian Coast Guard, which retaliated and sunk the intruding boat. Arithia broke off diplomatic relations with the Aphyschelles, and the other members of the Pisex Alliance followed suit within days. Arithian Foreign Minister Katrosta Ipsīes warned at the press conference announcing the recall of the Arithian envoy to Carges that any subsequent "hostile action" would trigger "massive retaliation".

The Third Battle of the Strait --

The blockade, like the rest of the punitive motions, was lifted with the conclusion of the Meroclean Treaty on Meroklis 23, and modern historians estimate the cost to the Alliance members to have been between 4 and 7% of GDP.

Cessation of hostilities & the Meroclean Treaty

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