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Thread: Naval drama(s) off Arabia (catch all)

  1. #21
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    To my knowledge enforcing a civil court judgement is rarely the responsibility of a state body. It is plausible that the ship's seizure was an opportunity for the IRGC to enforce a civil court judgement and an opportune time too.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    I'm haven't been to Yemen, and don't claim any expertise on it. It does seem from my limited reading though that Saudi is at a minimum not targeting AQAP, and at worst may be supporting them. If true, this presents a wicked problem for the U.S. when it comes to strategic direction regarding Yemen and of course the larger region. David posted elsewhere that some SOF thought the Houthis killing AQAP was a good thing and we shouldn't interfere, but I didn't see any reporting yet on that happening. There was a time when two our enemies were fighting each other we saw that a positive, at least for the short term.

    You say we don't have a strategy. That may or may not be true, but before you have strategy, at least IMO, you have to have strategic goals/ends/objectives. What do you think they should be?
    One factor that should concern the US and Europe is that the most of the oilfields are in the region from East Saudi Arabia, stretching to Iran.

    Oil still is an important factor to strategic thinking and plan.

    I recall the rationale spelt out in the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

    China is poised to 'capture' CAR oil and the lowering of the oil price is driving Russia into China's warm embrace since China has no qualms in cornering oil from any source.

    China rising is bad news for the US and its global supremacy.

    Therefore, it would be in the interest of the US to calm the badlands of the Middle East, be it through diplomacy, coercion or by sheer military might, even if in a stand off mode.
    Last edited by Ray; 05-03-2015 at 02:01 PM.

  3. #23
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The US to calms the badlands?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    One factor that should concern the US and Europe is that the most of the oilfields are in the region from East Saudi Arabia, stretching to Iran.

    Oil still is an important factor to strategic thinking and plan.

    I recall the rationale spelt out in the Wolfowitz Doctrine.

    China is poised to 'capture' CAR oil and the lowering of the oil price is driving Russia into China's warm embrace since China has no qualms in cornering oil from any source.

    China rising is bad news for the US and its global supremacy.

    Therefore, it would be in the interest of the US to calm the badlands of the Middle East, be it through diplomacy, coercion or by sheer military might, even if in a stand off mode.
    Ray,

    It is hard today to see that US policy in the region has acted to 'calm the badlands'. Until relatively recently few in the USA would openly argue that the Middle East was not a region of national interest, that time maybe coming.

    War weariness is a factor now and a realisation inside "The Beltway" that intervention appears to rarely promote US national interests. Add in the impact of shale oil & gas, so reducing US dependence on oil from the region and so for example "why should we fight (etc) to prop up nasty regimes and secure China's oil supplies?". I just read an interview, a few months old, with DNI James Clapper who pointed out the impact of shale oil & gas.

    If not oil supplies, securing China's oil supplies, propping up kings and those nasty terrorists aplenty - then what keeps the USA in the region?
    One place: Israel.

    IMHO supporting Israel is a domestic political necessity for all likely presidents. Yes there are some advantages to the USA in the relationship it has with the Israeli state; rarely does one hear the contrary view.
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  4. #24
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    Default Calming waters

    Danish shipping company Maersk had insisted on the release of the vessel and its 24 crew members. The IRNA report did not give details on whether a years-old debt case was settled, as demanded by Iran for the release of the ship. Iran’s foreign ministry had said on Wednesday that the negotiations between “the private complainant and the other party were going on”.
    Link:http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...rait-of-hormuz
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  5. #25
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Much Ado about Nothing...

    The Iran's Port and Maritime Organization has menahwile released the ship, stating that, 'the court verdict was against the vessel only, and the crew of the vessel had not been subject to any restrictions from leaving the port or the country'.

    Maersk Tigris is on her way since yesterday.

  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    I have merged the two recent threads on possible naval confrontations off Yemen or in the Persian Gulf - into this one. One thread was in the OEF Horn of Africa forum and was moved to the more appropriate Middle East forum.
    davidbfpo

  7. #27
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    Tehran (AFP) - A senior Iranian commander warned the United States that a "fire might start" over an aid ship bound for Yemen on Wednesday after the Pentagon urged it to change course.

    Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said it was Iran's right to deliver relief supplies to Yemen as a humanitarian ceasefire takes hold and rejected Washington's request that aid be taken instead to a United Nations hub to allay worries the cargo might be military.

    "I should say frankly that Iran's restraint has a limit," Jazayeri, a deputy chief of staff, told Iran's Arab-language Al-Alam television late on Tuesday.
    http://news.yahoo.com/iran-warns-us-...110906555.html
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  8. #28
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Tensions are indeed slowly increasing in the area south-east of the Gulf of Aden, where a group of Egyptian and Saudi warships is maintaining a naval blockade of local ports, while a USN task force is monitoring the approach of an Iranian ship loaded with medical supplies - plus activity of several warships of the Iranian Navy nearby.

    One of the latter had an 'interesting encounter', two days ago, as cited in Iranian report below.

    Note: while some of formulations might appear outright dilletantic, more important is that it airs a similar concern of possible attacks by suicide boats, like that experienced by the USN in Yemen at earlier times (mind USS Cole, back in October 2000):

    Iranian Warship's Missile System Locks on Invading Target in Gulf of Aden
    Iranian destroyer, Alborz, locked its missile systems on an invading vessel in the Gulf of Aden after a high-speed boat left Yemen's coasts and rushed to attack it.

    The Iranian destroyer's missile systems locked on the target after an invading high-speed boat appeared on the monitor screens of the radar systems in Alborz operations room.

    According to reports, the invading vessel changed course and returned to the coast after the Iranian destroyer warned it would target the vessel in seconds.

    "If the terrorists ignored our warning, they would be killed with the first bullets of Alborz," Commodore Hassan Maqsoudlou, the captain of Alborz destroyer, said.

    He underlined that the Iranian Naval forces are prepared at any moment to defend the Islamic Iran's interests.

    The incident took place as Iran's 34th fleet of warships is in the Gulf of Aden on an anti-piracy mission, and as an Iranian cargo ships carrying humanitarian aid is on its way to Yemen and as the naval fleets of the US and some other western countries have several times reduced their distance from the Iranian fleet in violation of the international rules.

    In a last such case, the US and French warships and military aircraft changed their direction in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday night after being warned by an Iranian flotilla to keep distant.

    The US and French reconnaissance planes, helicopters and warships approached the Iranian warships in a provocative move, ignoring the internationally set 5-mile standard distance from Iran's 34th fleet of warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday night.

    The vessels and aircraft then received a warning from Alborz destroyer, apologized and rapidly changed direction.

    Also on May 4, a US warship and military planes changed their direction as they were patrolling in the Gulf of Aden after they came close to an Iranian naval fleet and were warned to move away.

    2 US reconnaissance planes named P3C (Papa 3 Charlie) and US Navy destroyer, DDG81, approached several Iranian warships in the Gulf of Aden.

    The US Navy vessel and planes then received a warning from 'Alborz' and changed direction.

    The Navy's 34th Fleet, comprising Alborz destroyer and Bushehr helicopter-carrier warship, is conducting anti-piracy patrols in the high seas and Gulf of Aden.
    ...

  9. #29
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    A good summary of all the confusion and PRBS related to SS Nejat aka SS Iran Shahed - that Iranian ship with aid for Yemen, movements of which are meanwhile better covered by the media than those of USN's supercarriers:

    Iranian cargo ship to dock directly at Houthi-held port in Yemen
    ...In the case of the Iranian cargo ship, Iran Shahed, some sources claim that the ship is being escorted by Iranian naval vessels. Iran claims the ship contains aid for Yemen including 2,500 tons of flour, rice, canned food, medical supplies, and bottled water, all badly needed in the country. The Military Times says that the Iranian ship is "flanked by two warships". An Iranian source, Fars ,said that the ship was under escort by a foreign frigate that is part of international piracy efforts. Several accounts suggest that whatever ships are escorting the cargo ship were already in the area. The Pentagon talks of two Iranian warships "linking up". Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Steve Warren said that the warships "linked up" with the cargo ship as it passed through an area where the Iranian warships were engaged in counter-piracy operations according to Iran:

    It was not immediately clear whether the warships were now in close proximity of the cargo vessel. A U.S. defence official said the warships were accompanying the cargo ship, broad language that would allow for the ships to simply be in the same general area.

    On the ship there are a number of foreign activists. Two of them told Reuters that the ship was not being escorted by Iranian warships. Christoph Horstel, a German political activist maintained: ""It is a purely humanitarian mission. There is no ship accompanying us - let alone any Iranian warships. As I look at the horizon, there is no ship at all and during the whole trip there was never any warship,"

    " Horstel said that an unidentified plane had circled the ship three times last Monday. The ship is expected to reach the port of Hodeida on Thursday. Iranian news agency Tasmin reports the ship's own captain as claiming that the ship is being escorted now by two Iranian warships. Probably, there are two Iranian naval vessels doing the escorting since both the Pentagon and Iran report this to be the case. The escorting vessels however must be a considerable distance from the ship as those on board report not seeing them. One article even names the Iranian ships as the "Vosper" and "Bandar Abbas".

    A US warship has now begun to "shadow" the Iranian cargo ship. The US is supposedly worried that the ship is carrying arms to the Houthi rebels. The US and perhaps the UN have demanded that the ship dock in Djibouti just across a narrow strait from Hodeida, while the Iranians say they will sail directly to the port. The UN has already delivered aid through the port so there surely would be no problem with a UN inspection team monitoring the cargo as it was unloaded. Indeed the Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said: "The required coordination has been done with relevant authorities in the U.N. for docking of the ship carrying Iran's humanitarian aid for Yemen."

    This whole drama is completely unnecessary. The US and the Saudis want to show who is boss. They simply do not want to allow an Iranian ship to dock in Yemen. Even though it would be much more efficient for the ship to land in Hodeida and unload the aid, showing who is boss is more important and hence the ship must go to Djibouti and then presumably the goods would need to be loaded on another ship. If the ship is just to be inspected in Djibouti and then allowed to go to Hodeida, this would also be quite unnecessary since the inspection by the UN could be done equally as well in Hodeida.
    ...

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