Lot’s of things happening at the same time (UPDATED)

November 04, 2021

Let’s begin with a few headlines:

The first two seem to point to a US realization that war against China and Russia is unwinnable and that the USA simply does not have the means to impose a global world order run by one hegemon.  Some will say “well, good morning USA!” but the importance of these two events is that it appears that the USA has officially come to the realization that the international world order they attempted to impose on the planet is unachievable.  The fact that top US officials admit that is a very positive development and it pushes back the risks of a major, possibly nuclear, war.

The next two are probably a side-effect of the former, that is to say that since the USA cannot simply bully Russia and/or China, they now feel the need to bully Nicaragua and treat it like Cuba and Venezuela.  That is a very bad sign, as it shows that while Uncle Shmuel did have to give up his planetary ambitions, the nutcases in Congress are still bad old imperialists in the worst sense of the word, and they still think that they can, and should, bully smaller nations into submission.

Finally, there is this really weird story in the Gulf of Oman.

What actually took place here is hard for me to tell.  So first, let’s watch the video as filmed by the Iranians:

First, we see what appears to be an unopposed landing of IRGC soliders on an oil tanker.  Next, a number of fast attack craft led by what looks to me as a Shahid Nazeri high speed catamaran appear on the scene.  Then we are shown footage of a USN Arleigh Burke-class destroyer apparently heading in the direction of the IRGC catamaran.  Next, we see the oil tanker surrounded by Iranian fast attack craft which are shown delivering more personnel on the oil tanker.  A quick shot appears to show the Iranian fast attack craft ahead of the USN destroyer.  Then we hear what appears to be an IRGC radio message to the USN destroyer to leave the area and the USN reply that the destroyer is on “routine operations in international waters”.  Next we see close footage of the destroyer which suggests that the IRGC fast craft came very close to it, possibly surrounding it on all sides.  The destroyer’s hull has the number 68 which appears to belong to the USS The Sullivans.  We are also shown another number, 112, which appears to show that the USS Michael Murphy was also involved in the incident.

Next, we see that one of the two USN destroyers appears to be overtaking the tanker, possibly “pushed” away from it by Iranian fast attack craft.  They are then joined by the Iranian catamaran.  The Iranian then get very close to the USS The Sullivans and point their heavy machine guns at it.  Then we see this image:

Unless this picture was doctored we see three undeniable things:

  • The USN destroyed has fully stopped (no wake)
  • The Iranian catamaran is directly in front of the USN destroyer, facing it
  • Several fast attack craft are also in the immediate proximity
  • The USN destroyer is very close to the oil tanker, which begs the question why this destroyer ever got so near the oil tanker if it was “only” conducting “routine operations”?

In this very short shot it appears (at least to my non-trained in naval recognition eyes) that the 2nd USN destroyer is following the USS The Sullivans:

Next we see the tanker leaving the area while the USN destroyed is stopped, surrounded by Iranian vessels.  The Iranian then appear to also leave while escorting the tanker.  Then the various ships appear to be leaving.

The Iranians claim that the USN was trying to seize the tanker in a act of “piracy”.  The US only admits that an “incident” took place, but does not explain why/how its destroyers got so close to the tanker.  I see no evidence at all that any US personnel was on the tanker, yet the Iranians claim that its oil was transferred to another ship.  That makes no sense to me.

But what is undeniable is this: two USN destroyers were extremely close to that tanker and that IRGC forces forced both of these destroyers to first stop and then change course and leave.  That, by itself, is yet another huge slap in the face of what still remains the most powerful navy on the planet.

I would also note that the surface ships from the IRGC we see on the footage is only part of what the forces the Iranians must have had ready should a shooting incident begin: they could have had one, or several submarines nearby, and they certainly had their coastal defense missiles targeted at the USN destroyers.

The key factor here, as always, is that the Iranians were clearly willing to fight and, if needed, die for their country.  The USN personnel not so much 🙂  It is one thing to fire cruise missiles while being comfortably out of range and quite another to, literally, see IRGC soldiers face to face.

So I will let Roger Waters sing the conclusion to this incident:

Hugs and cheers,

Andrei

UPDATE: better video here: 

(thanks Pappagallo!!!)https://www.youtube.com/embed/03xfHVOIgco?feature=oembed

Abortive act of piracy: IRGC Navy foils US attempt to steal Iranian oil in Oman Sea

November 03, 2021

Abortive act of piracy: IRGC Navy foils US attempt to steal Iranian oil in Oman Sea
https://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2021/11/03/669831/IRGC-Navy-thwarts-US-bid-in-Sea-of-Oman-to-steal-take-over-oil-tanker

“The naval forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) have managed to thwart an attempt by the United States to take over a giant oil tanker in the strategic Sea of Oman and moved the vessel to Iranian territorial waters.

The US military confiscated the Iranian tanker loaded with crude oil in the Sea of Oman, which connects the Arabian Sea with the Strait of Hormuz, and intended to unload its shipment to another tanker and direct it to an unknown destination.

Reacting promptly, however, members of the IRGC’s Navy carried out a heliborne operation on the stolen ship’s deck, gained control of the vessel, and directed it back toward Iran’s territorial waters.

US forces then proceeded to chase the tanker using several helicopters and warships, but their attempt at taking over the vessel for a second time was thwarted again by Iranian naval forces.

The tanker is currently in Iranian territorial waters and under the protection of IRGC’s Navy.”

Also relevant these two tweets from Seyed Marandi

My information: The US stole a tanker on its way to Venezuela with Iranian fuel. The captain/crew betrayed Iran & aided the US. The regime stole & sold the Iranian fuel. Now the tanker with the same captain & crew & under US military protection has been seized by the IRGC Navy

Aljazeera Arabic asked me to immediately talk about the events in the Persian Gulf. I agreed & missed an important meeting. I waited for the interview, but no one contacted me or responded. Now they say they must wait for the US regime’s side of the story before they invite me.

https://twitter.com/s_m_marandi/status/1455850105886629889
https://twitter.com/s_m_marandi/status/1455849731855368193

IRG Thwarts US Navy Attempt to Pirate Iranian Oil Tanker

Nov 3, 2021

IRG Thwarts US Navy Attempt to Pirate Iranian Oil Tanker

By Staff, Agencies

Navy Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard [IRG] thwarted the US navy’s attempt to pirate Iranian oil in the Oman Sea.

The recent confrontation follows the unprofessional behavior of the US warship in the southern waters of the country, which was met with a strong reaction from Islamic Revolutionary Guard speedboats, after which, American ship left the scene.

According to the reports, the naval forces of the Islamic Republic Revolution Guard have managed to thwart an attempt by the United States to take over a giant oil tanker in the strategic Sea of Oman and moved the vessel to the Iranian territorial water.

The United States confiscated a tanker carrying Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman and diverted the oil cargo to another tanker and directed it to an unknown destination.

At the same time, IRG Navy forces recaptured the tanker using Heliborne operations on the deck of the tanker and directed it to the territorial waters of Iran.

The US forces then pursued the tanker using several helicopters and warships but failed due to the decisive and authoritative forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

The American forces using some warships tried to block the path of the tanker but again failed. This tanker is currently in the territorial waters of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The IRG has announced that it will shortly release the related video of the US attempted act of piracy.

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ضرب ناقلة النفط الإسرائيلية.. خارج الحسابات

السبت6 اب

الميادين نت

عمرو علان

حتى لو حاول العدو الإسرائيلي الاعتماد على البحرية الأميركية من أجل حماية سفنه التي تَعبُر تلك المنطقة، فلن يكون هذا بالأمر الهيّن، ناهيك بالتكلفة المادية التي ستترتب على إجراءات كهذه.

استُهدِفت يوم الجمعة، 30 تموز/يوليو ناقلة النفط “م/ت ميرسير ستريت”

في محاولة لقراءة ما بين السطور فيما ورد في الصحافة الإسرائيلية، يمكن أن نستنبط عدم توقُّع العدو الصهيوني الهجومَ الأخير على ناقلة النفط الإسرائيلية، من خلال ثلاثة أوجه على الأقل، بحيث تَمَثَّل الوجه الأول بالتِّقْنية المستخدمة، وتجسّد الهدف الثاني في نتيجة الهجوم. أمّا الهدف الثالث والأخير فيكمن في ساحة الاستهداف. ولعل في هذه الأوجه الثلاثة ما يضيف إلى هذه الضربة أبعاداً مغايرة لسابقاتها استهدفت سفناً إسرائيلية، كما سيأتي. وسيتبنى هذا المقال، جدلاً، الرواية الإسرائيلية الأميركية البريطانية، والتي مفادها أن إيران هي التي تقف وراء هذه الضربة الهجومية.

استُهدِفت يوم الجمعة، 30 تموز/يوليو ناقلة النفط “م/ت ميرسير ستريت” ي أثناء مرورها في بحر عُمان خلال رحلتها من تنزانيا إلى الإمارات، وكانت ترفع العَلَم الليبيري، إلاّ أن الشركة التي تتولّى تشغيلها هي شركة “مجموعة زودياك”، المسجلة في مدينة لندن، والتي تعود ملكيتها إلى الملياردير الإسرائيلي إيال عوفر. ونُفِّذ الاستهداف المزدوج بواسطة طائرتين مسيَّرتين انتحاريتين، بحيث ضربت المُسيَّرة الأولى جسم الناقلة، الأمر الذي أدّى إلى أضرار مادية في الناقلة. وبعد الضربة الأولى، جاءت المُسيَّرة الثانية لتضرب برج المراقبة، على نحو مباشر، مُوْقِعَةً قتيلين من طاقم الناقلة.

من هنا، نجد أن الوجه الأول، المتمثّل بتِقْنية الاستهداف، جاء مغايراً، إذ كان ضد هدف بحري متحرِك، وليس ثابتاً. ويلزم المُسيَّرات حتى تتمكن من إصابة هدف، من مثل هذه الشاكلة، أن تكون قابلة للتحكم فيها وتوجيهها بعد إطلاقها، على عكس الأهداف الثابتة التي يكفي معها برمجة المُسيَّرة بإحداثيات الهدف مسبَّقاً، الأمر الذي يكشف امتلاك إيران تِقْنيات تحكُّم في المُسيَّرات وتوجيهٍ لها، وهو لم يكن لدى الكيان الصهيوني والإدارة الأميركية علمٌ به، كما صرّحا عقب الهجوم. وقالا إنهما الآن يعكفان على تحليل طبيعة هذه التقنية المستخدَمة. فهذا الاستهداف الأخير يُرجِّح، إلى حدّ كبير، صحةَ التصريحات الإيرانية بشأن قدرات طهران البحرية الفعلية، بحيث دار جدال بشأن هذه القضية عقب مناورات “الرسول الأعظم 15″، في كانون الثاني/يناير من هذا العام، فجادل تايلر روجوواي، على سبيل المثال، في مقال نُشر في 17 كانون الثاني/يناير 2021، في أن وصول صواريخ “أرض بحر” الإيرانية إلى مسافة 1000 ميل في عمق المحيط الهندي، وسقوطها على مسافة لا تتجاوز 100 ميل من الأسطول البحري لحاملة الطائرات الأميركية “يو أس أس نيميتز” ( USS Nimitz)، لا يتعدى عن كونه استعراضاً إيرانياً فارغ المضمون، بحيث إن مجرد إيصال مقذوف بحري إلى مسافة قريبة من هدف بحري متحرّك، لا يعني مطلقاً امتلاك القدرة الفعلية على إصابة أهداف من هذه الطبيعة، نتيجةً للتعقيدات المرتبطة بتقنيات التحكم والتوجيه.

أمّا الوجه الثاني، فيتمثّل بتعمُّد إسقاط قتلى في الهجوم، أو على أقل تقدير عدم الاكتراث لسقوط قتلى. ففي هذا الهجوم الأخير، استهدفت المُسيَّرة الثانية، على نحو مباشِر، برجَ المراقبة في الناقلة، بينما نجد أن الهجمات المماثلة السابقة كانت تتجنب بصورة واضحة إسقاط قتلى. وفي هذا رفعٌ لمستوى التحدي، ومؤشّر على كون إيران مستعدة للتصعيد إذا أقدم العدو على ردة انتقامية، وهو ما يعني محاولة لتغيير قواعد الاشتباك الراهنة.

ويبقى الوجه الثالث والمتمثّل بساحة الاستهداف، والذي لعلّه مربطَ الفرس في هذه الحادثة، ولاسيما إذا ما قُرِن بالوجه الثاني الآنف الذكر، بحيث يمكن البناء عليه في السياسة. فإدخال بحر عُمان ضمن ساحات الاشتباك كان مفاجئاً للعدو الصهيوني، على نحو واضح، وجغرافياً. فإنّ هذه الساحة تقع ضمن مجال إيران الحيوي، ويسهل عليها العمل فيها، على عكس العدو الصهيوني الذي سيكون من الصعب عليه مواجهة هجمات كهذه بالمُسيَّرات، في تلك المنطقة البحرية. وحتى لو حاول العدو الإسرائيلي الاعتماد على البحرية الأميركية من أجل حماية سفنه التي تَعبُر تلك المنطقة، فلن يكون هذا بالأمر الهيّن، ناهيك بالتكلفة المادية التي ستترتب على إجراءات كهذه، الأمر الذي سيرفع قيمة النقل البحري بصورة ملموسة على الكيان الصهيوني. وتدرك إيران حيوية ممرات النقل البحري هذه للكيان الصهيوني، كون 90% من البضائع المنقولة بحراً له تمرُّ في هذه الممرات المائية، التي باتت ضمن دائرة الاستهداف.

يقرأ البعض هذا الهجوم الأخير في خانة الردّ على العدوان الإسرائيلي، الذي استهدف مطار الضبعة السوري، والذي قالت تقارير غير مؤكَّدة إنه “سقط فيه شهداء لإيران وحزب الله”. وتستنتج هذه القراءة أن إيران قرّرت بدء الرد على الاعتداءات الصهيونية المتكررة على مواقع إيرانية في سوريا، لكن من دون أن تُحمِّل الدولة السورية عبء تبعات هذا الرد، كونه جاء من خارج الأراضي السورية.

لكن، علاوة على هذه القراءة، يمكن وضع هذا الهجوم في سياقٍ أوسع. فلقد تعرّضت في الماضي ناقلات نفط إيرانية لاعتداءات إسرائيلية في أثناء نقلها مشتقات نفطيةً إلى سوريا، الأمر الذي حدا بالبحرية الروسية إلى أن تشرع في تأمين خط هذه الناقلات. أمّا اليوم فأعلن حزب الله، غيرَ مرة، وجودَ أفكار جدية لحل أزمة الوقود اللبنانية، عبر استيراده من إيران، الأمر الذي أثار موجة قلق ورفض لدى الصهيوني ظهرت في معظم التصريحات الصادرة من داخل الكيان. وهنا، إذا أخذنا في الاعتبار طُولَ الفترة الزمنية نسبياً بين الاعتداء على مطار الضبعة السوري والهجومِ على ناقلة النفط الإسرائيلية – علماً بأن توجيه ضربة بحرية كهذه لا يلزمه كثيرٌ من الإعداد، الأمر الذي قد يُطيل مدة الردّ – علاوة على عدم تأكيد سقوط شهداء في العدوان على مطار الضبعة، يصير مستساغاً وضع هذه الهجمة في دائرة الردود على الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية السابقة على ناقلات النفط الإيرانية، في محاولة لتعديل قواعد الاشتباك، وعلى نحو يؤمِّن حماية للسفن الإيرانية المتّجهة إلى سوريا، وأيضاً لتلك المحتمل أن تتوجه إلى لبنان في المستقبل القريب، ولاسيّما أن الروسي لن يكون مهتماً بتقديم الحماية لأي سفن إيرانية متّجهة إلى لبنان.

هذا الهجوم هو الأول من نوعه، من حيث كيفيته ومكانه وطبيعته، التي أسقطت قتلى. وإذا كانت إيران تسعى لإعادة رسم قواعد الاشتباك وتوسيعها، كما جادل هذا المقال، فربما يلزمها القيام بعمليات نوعية أخرى تكون على شاكلة الهجوم الأخير، ولاسيما أن العدو الصهيوني وداعميه الأميركيين لن يسلّموا بقواعد الاشتباك الجديدة بعد أول حادثة، بحيث صرَّحا بأنهما يدرسان الحادثة وكيفية الرد عليها. لكنّ الحاكم في تحديد مآلات هذه الجولة يبقى عدم استعداد كل من الإسرائيلي والأميركي للذهاب إلى صِدام عسكري مباشِر مع إيران ومحور المقاومة. وهذا يُضيِّق، إلى حدّ بعيد، الخيارات المتاحة للصهيوأميركي، بينما يظل لدى محور المقاومة عددٌ من الخطوات التكتيكية التصعيدية، والتي يمكن استخدامها وقت الحاجة.

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Iran Behind Strike on Israeli-Managed Tanker?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is StephenLindmanBW.png

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On July 30, Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime said an attack on the Liberian-flagged Japanese-owned Mercer Street tanker it manages killed two crew members onboard.

The incident occurred in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman.

According to Tehran-based Al-Alam News, attacking the Mercer Street was in response to Israeli aggression on Syria’s Dabaa airport that killed two resistance fighters.

On Friday, Zodiak Maritime said the following:

“Details of the incident are still being established and an investigation into the incident is currently underway.” 

“We continue to work closely with the UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) and other relevant authorities.”

Calling the incident “suspected piracy (sic),” the company said it’s “not aware of harm to any other” crew members.

According to Refinitiv ship tracking, the Israeli-managed tanker was en route to the UAE port city of Fujairah from Tanzania.

It continues to an unnamed location with a US naval escort.

Press TV said the attack came “against a backdrop of the Israeli regime’s various assaults on cargo ships across the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere.”

A statement by Britain’s war ministry said it’s “aware of reports of an attack on a merchant vessel off the coast of Oman.” 

“UK military headquarters in the region are currently conducting investigations.”

Israel’s Ynet News quoted an unnamed Bennett regime official vowing a tough response.

An unnamed Biden regime official called the incident an attack by more than one drone — with no further elaboration.

A report by Dryad Global maritime intelligence said drones in the area were spotted before the attack.

In early June, Iran’s Kharg, its largest warship, mysteriously caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman near the Hormuz Strait.

At the time, Iranian media reported that crew members on board were rescued, dozens injured from the incident.

Around the same time, a large-scale fire occurred at Iran’s Tondgooyan Petrochemical Company.

In April, Israel was believed behind an attack on Iran’s MV Saviz commercial vessel in the Red Sea.

Ahead of the incident, an unnamed Biden regime official said Israel informed the US of a planned attack on the vessel. 

These and other incidents in recent years heightened tensions between Iran, the US, and Israel.

On August 1, interventionist Blinken and his counterpart Yair Lapid discussed a joint Biden/Bennett regime response to the July 30 incident against The Mercer tanker — according to State Department mouthpiece Price.

The incident comes against the backdrop of Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s sharp rebuke of the US and E3 for pressuring, bullying, and blackmailing Iran to accept unacceptable JCPOA changes.

Regional tensions remain heightened at a time of nuclear deadlock.

What Biden regime envoy for Iran Robert Malley falsely called its “unrealistic demands” suggests that the US and E3 intend abandoning the JCPOA if Iran won’t accept what’s unacceptable.

That’s where things appear to be heading.

Years of negotiations for JCPOA agreement in 2015 proved once again that diplomatic outreach to the US-dominated West assures failure even when deals are made.

Israeli Media: Iranians Identified the Israeli Point of Weakness and Attacked to Kill إعلام إسرائيلي: الإيرانيون حددوا نقطة الضعف الإسرائيلية وهاجموا بهدف القتل

Israeli Media: Iranians Identified the Israeli Point of Weakness and Attacked to Kill

July 31, 2021

Source: Israeli media

By Al Mayadeen

Israeli media outlets are talking about an ongoing secret battle in the sea between “Israel” and Iran, highlighting Iran’s ability to identify the Israeli points of weakness.

Israeli Media: It seems the attackers’ intention was to kill

Israeli journalist Amir Bohbot wrote in an article on the Walla website, “the link between all the mysterious events and explosions in the maritime arena that were attributed to foreign reports by Iran and Israel” points to “an ongoing secret battle that mainly involved carrying out strikes and causing damage to ships.”

Bohbot said that despite all that, “the drone attack against a Japanese, Israeli-owned ship, last Thursday, off the shores of Oman, indicates a change in the rules of the game, not because of the method of the attack, but because the attack resulted in two deaths on board.”

Also according to Bohbot, the attack that took place near Oman explains that “it is not about a making a hint or sending a message, but rather about collecting a killing price.”

Bohbot added that the initial reports have mentioned that for the first time ever, “the Iranians attack the ship, in the early morning hours, without success, and then launch a second attack, only this time with an accurate hit… It seems that the attackers’ intention was to kill.”

He continued, “Both sides know that the majority of their operations can be denied and kept it in the dark as long as there are no fatalities. But this time, this was not the case.” 

He explained, “If the reports are accurate and the mysterious explosions are part of the arm-twisting policy between Jerusalem and Tehran… then the reality has turned from a dominating superiority of ‘Israel’ to a major weakness.”

He continued to say, “If the operation evolves in the said direction, with open attacks involving fatalities, then the Israeli policy will face a major challenge, as the US alienates itself from the ongoing events in the Middle East.”

This came in an article Bohbot wrote one day after an Israeli ship was targeted by a “drone” in the Arabian Sea, causing two deaths, according to the Maritime Security website, Dryad.

For his part, Haaretz’s senior intelligence analyst Yossi Melman said, “This is the fourth attack in which Israel is targeted,” noting that “Israel started it all, as it has been involved for the past two and a half years in sabotaging Iranian ships.” 

Melman added, “Israel is playing with fire,” pointing out that 90% of Israeli goods pass through sea routes.


إعلام إسرائيلي: الإيرانيون حددوا نقطة الضعف الإسرائيلية وهاجموا بهدف القتل

المصدر: وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية

الكاتب: الميادين نت

وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية تتحدث عن المعركة السرية في البحر بين “إسرائيل” وإيران، وتشير إلى قدرة إيران على تحديد نقاط الضعف في الجانب الإسرائيلي.

وسائل إعلام إسرائيلية: يبدو أن نية مهاجمي السفينة كانت القتل

كتب الصحافي الإسرائيلي أمير بوحبوط مقالاً في موقع “والاه” قال فيه إن “الربط بين جميع الأحداث الغامضة والانفجارات في الساحة البحرية التي نُسبت لتقارير أجنبية لإيران وإسرائيل” يشير إلى “معركة سرية مستمرة تضمنت بشكل أساسي ضربات وإلحاق أضرار بالسفن”.

وقال بوحبوط، إنه على الرغم من ذلك فإن “هجوم الطائرات المسيرة ضد سفينة يابانية ملكيتها اسرائيلية، يوم الخميس الماضي، قبالة شواطئ عمان، يشير إلى تغيير في قواعد اللعبة، ليس بسبب أسلوب الهجوم وإنما لأن الهجوم انتهى بقتيلين على متنها”.

ويوضح الهجوم الذي وقع بالقرب من عمان، بحسب بوحبوط، إلى أن “الأمر لا يتعلق بتلميح أو إرسال رسالة، بل بجباية ثمن قاتل”.

وأضاف بوحبوط أن التقارير الأولية تذكر أنه وللمرة الأولى “يهاجم الإيرانيون السفينة، في ساعات الصباح، دون نجاح، ثم ينفذون هجوماً ثانياً ويسجلون إصابة دقيقة.. يبدو أن نية المهاجمين كانت القتل”.

وتابع: “يعلم كلا الطرفين أن غالبية عملياتهما يمكن نفيها وإبقاؤها في هامش غموض طالما لا يوجد قتلى. لكن هذه المرة لم يحدث ذلك. إذا كان بالإمكان تحليل أحداث الأشهر الأخيرة”.

وأوضح أنه “إذا كانت التقارير دقيقة والإنفجارات الغامضة تعود إلى لي الأذرع بين القدس وطهران، وفي الخلفية دفع المشروع النووي، والتمركز الإيراني في سوريا، وتمويل الإرهاب في الشرق الأوسط، انقلب الواقع من تفوق هائل لإسرائيل إلى نقطة ضعف كبيرة”. 

وقال: “إذا تطورت العملية في هذا الاتجاه السالف الذكر، مع هجمات علنية تنطوي على قتلى، فإن السياسة الإسرائيلية ستواجه تحدياً كبيراً جداً، بعد أن بدأت الولايات المتحدة في استبعاد نفسها من الأحداث في الشرق الأوسط”. 

ونقل بوحبوط عن مصادر إسرائيلية قولها إن من الواجب “على إسرائيل أن تضع خط صلب يشمل الكثير من العمليات الصغيرة وكشف يحرج الإيرانيين. كل هذا من أجل خلق شعور بالملاحقة”.

ويأتي كلام بوحبوط بعد يوم من استهداف سفينة إسرائيلية بـ”طائرة مسيرة” في بحر العرب، ما تسبب بسقوط قتيلين، وفق ما أفاد موقع “درياد” للأمن البحري.

من جهته، قال محلل الشؤون الأمنية في صحيفة “هآرتس” يوسي ملمان إنَّ “هذه هي المرة الرابعة التي يتم فيها استهدافٌ على صلة بإسرائيل”، مشيراً إلى أن “إسرائيل هي التي بدأت عندما عملت طوال عامين ونصف العام على تخريب سفن إيرانية”.

وأضاف ملمان أنَّ “إسرائيل تلعب بالنار”، معللاً ذلك بأنَّ “90% من البضائع الإسرائيلية تمرُّ عبر مساراتٍ بحرية”. 

فيديوات متعلقة

IRANIAN MISSILES REPORTEDLY HIT ISRAELI-OWNED CARGO SHIP IN ARABIAN SEA (PHOTOS)

South Front

 25.03.2021

Iranian Missiles Reportedly Hit Israeli-Owned Cargo Ship in Arabian Sea (Photos)

On March 25, Iranian missiles hit an Israeli-owned cargo ship as she was sailing in the Arabian Sea, according to the Israeli media.

The ship, identified by some observers as “LORI,” was sailing from Tanzania to India, when she came under attack. The missile strike caused material losses. However, no casualties were reported.

The incident was reported to Israel’s security establishment as well as to the owners of the cargo ship, the Haifa-based XT Management which is chaired by Israeli Udi Angel.

This was not the first alleged attack on an Israeli ship near Iran’s waters. On February 26, the Israeli-owned MV HELIOS RAY experienced a number of explosions while sailing in the Sea of Oman. Israel claimed that the vessel was attacked by Iranian forces. However, Tehran denied these claims.

Later on March 11, an explosion rocked an Iranian-owned ship named SHAHR E KORD off the shores of Syria. Tehran said that the incident was a “terrorist attack”.

The new attack in the Arabian Sea will likely lead to more tensions between Israel and Iran, who appear to be engaged in a covert naval war. A recent report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Israel targeted over a dozen Iranian ships bound for Syria in the last two years. Most of the targeted vessels were carrying oil.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Russian naval presence in Indian Ocean

By Nat South for The Saker Blog

I am interested in the way that narratives that shape individual events are crafted, curated and disseminated, because ultimately there is a tendency to focus mostly on specific events and ignore the wider context. Ultimately, we end up with being presented with a series of disjointed events, not really understanding the history or the detailed framing of these events. One such example would be “Russian ships are prowling around undersea cables”, in the tenor of overstating the Russian threat. Often, the complexity and background of the issue is left completely blank and important facets are blurred. At worst, we are simply presented with a series of ‘soundbites’ such as this stark example: “Russia invaded Crimea”.

The starting point for this naval oriented briefing is the widely reported incident between a U.S. Navy destroyer and a lightly armed Russian navy intelligence reconnaissance ship somewhere in “northern Arabian Sea”. The U.S. Fifth Fleet alleged that on January 9, a Russian Navy ship ‘Ivan Khurs’ (AGI),“aggressively approached” USS Farragut, an Arleigh Burke DDG (guided missile destroyer), “conducting routine operations in the North Arabian Sea”, (in the words of the U.S. Navy press release). Subsequently, Moscow dismissed Washington’s claims.

Note the tone of stating “aggressively approached”, not really a nuanced interpretation of events. What wasn’t mentioned the likelihood that this took place not far from the carrier, ‘USS Harry S. Truman’. No context whatsoever was provided by authorities on this incident. A classic example of a specific event being framed without any further details as to why and how it happened. Nothing mentioned on what took place before the video snippets that don’t make much sense. What is the wider context to this incident? (More on this specific incident later on in this article).

Without getting into details on the well-publicised Iran / U.S. tensions and U.S. naval deployment to the region, I would like to turn to other broader aspects touching upon the Russian naval presence in the region. In January, a series of articles appeared on the geopolitical aspects of the Indian Ocean, such as this on China’s increased presence , “the Russians are coming”, and this that gives an all-round Indian focused overview. Taking an excerpt from the latter:

During the unipolar moment from 1991 till 2010s, Washington still felt comfortable in its position; however, over the last few years, the situation has changed dramatically.”

The most recent element in the turning point that shows the dramatic change would certainly be the late December trilateral naval exercise between Russia, Iran & China. The high-profile, three-day naval exercise took place in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea. Although not a major strategic exercise, the naval drills conveyed a slight political undertone, particularly with the presence of the Chinese Navy. China’s regional policy remains the same, to engage with all countries in a cautious and balanced manner. This is reflected by the fact the PLAN also held joint naval exercises with Saudi Arabia in November 2019, with the practically the same theme of enhancing maritime security.

The Pentagon’s plan for continued domination of the sea lanes of the Indian Ocean as per Mahan Doctrine in a unipolar world, is started to be eroded by the presence of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, (PLAN). On paper, the numbers involved is very small compared to the overall U.S. Navy presence in the region. Yet, Chinese encroachment into a space seen by Washington as their turf is already enough of an issue to warrant increased attention in recent years. So far, this has resulted in the creation of dedicated military structures, namely the Indo-Pacific Command, (USINDOPACOM) in 2018 and the release in June 2019 of a US military strategy report specifically on the region.

On top of all of Washington’s angst, is also the presence of the Russian Navy in the region. So, are the Russians just coming to the region now? No. The only noticeable change of recent is the taking part in multi-national exercises, (in Iran and South Africa) jointly with the Chinese.

The Russian Navy has been an occasional visitor for two decades, limited to one combat ship with two support deploying to either bilateral exercises or simply showing the flag as part of naval diplomacy. Take for example the annual bilateral exercises between Russia with India since 2003, (INDRA), with Pakistan since 2014, (Exercise Arabian Monsoon). Both of which are aimed at: “increasing inter-operability amongst the two navies, developing common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.” Both activities clearly underline the “naval diplomacy” being used by Russia, striking a balance between two significant opposing countries.

What is changing is the nature and format of other newer joint or multilateral exercises. A glimpse of this is the Army International Games “Depth-2019”, competition in July 2017 in Iran. The Black Sea Fleet based rescue tug “Professor Nikolai Muru”, (Project 22870), made a first-ever passage to the Gulf to participate in the event. Insignificant, in the greater scheme of things, probably yes, but interesting the Russian Navy did this.

Lastly let’s not forget that the Russian Navy had infrequently participated in the Horn of Africa anti-piracy missions, probably best remembered by an epic video of the Russian Navy dealing with a pirate boat. Conversely, the PLAN has been a more consistent participant of these types of missions for almost two decades. Nevertheless, as I write this, the Baltic Fleet based ‘Yaroslav Mudry’ is out in the region having recently called in to the Omani port of Salalah. It is in the Gulf of Aden as part of the latest Russian anti-piracy deployment to the Indian Ocean.

A first in the Southern Hemisphere took place in late November 2019 in Cape Town, when Russia and China held their first trilateral naval exercise with South Africa. Exercise ‘Mosi’ was the first time that three countries belonging to BRICS exercised together. Participants included a type 054A frigate Weifang (550) and Slava-class Project 1164 cruiser Marshal Ustinov (055) and the South African Valour class frigate ‘Amatola’.

9th January 2020

Back to the 9th January incident, reminiscent of the era of the Soviet Navy, when there were numerous ‘interactions’ of this kind on and below the waves. Any naval Cold War veteran is able to attest to this. An example of maybe hundreds of incidents and accidents is when the Soviet destroyer ‘Bravyy’ on 9th November 1970, while observing a NATO exercise, collided with the British aircraft-carrier HMS Ark Royal. Other notable incidents were the Black Sea “bumping incidents”, although the context for this was slightly different, taking place in home waters, involving both the USS Caron and the ‘USS Yorktown’, under the activity of “innocent passage and freedom of navigation”. An issue that still provokes intense debate and U.S. FONOP activities, (notably in the South China Sea) as mentioned in a previous article on the Arctic. A snapshot of this rationale for carrying out freedom of navigation voyages can be found in the introduction of a paper presented here.

I had a deja-vu feeling when I heard about this incident. It seems to me practically a re-run of the ‘USS Chancellorsville’ & ‘Admiral Vinogradrov’ incident back in June 2019. I see that many instant experts on Rule 15 have suddenly popped up on social media, hence this specific commentary.  Essentially several things could have done been done to avert this close call situation. The U.S. ship could have speeded up considerably to give the Russian ship more sea room to cross astern with plenty of space. There’s a lot more to this incident than just the videos extracts released by the U.S. Navy. However, this and the June 2019 incident needed to be contrasted with the shenanigans done in 60, 70s and also the 1988 Black Sea bumping incidents. Personally, this is pretty tame stuff in comparison.

The question is why this happens in this manner, (maybe due to saving face or not backing down). The carefully selected excerpts of videos, showing a fraction of the incident in question don’t help to understand the length, context or extent of the incident. The tetchy moments on who had ‘right of way’ (the nautical version of the Road Code – known as COLREGS) regarding the ‘Ivan Khurs’ close encounter with ‘USS Farragut’ can be regarded as just a “braggadocio” event aimed at media sensationalism. Well, not quite. There’s more the story than what it first seems.

As with the June 2019 incident, the U.S. ship was on the port side of the Russian vessel, considered to be a “Constant bearing, decreasing range” (CBDR) situation. Many arguments happened over whether the Ivan Khurs was in crossing situation or overtaking one, (was it 22.5 / 30 degrees angle? Essentially that’s a redundant point given the closeness and the continued CBDR situation, running out of safe sea space). A grey area well-known to mariners, hence the need to be quite clear in intentions from the outset. The video excerpts are equally unhelpful in determining the situation since some time must have passed between the video snippets.

The question that no one asked was why did both sides act early enough to avoid such close approach in the first place. It seems to me, in general one side was blatantly ignoring the CBDR situation and the finer points of Rule 15 or 17 COLREG, while the other won’t try or consider slowing down or bearing away from US ship. Essentially, a total farce where both sides seem to wind each up until the last minute, when finally, the U.S. destroyer actually opens up a bit the throttle. Given that it is a DDG, I’m sure that the USS Farragut has a higher speed than the ‘Ivan Khurs’, so the Russian ship can cross astern safely. Seemingly, neither budged and importantly both sides were basically ignoring parts of Rule 8 which sets out good seamanship practice, well before the Rule 15/17 situation arose, as both had each other on radar and visually for many nautical miles.

The other question is why did this incident occur? Essentially, eyeing each other for intel gathering. Scenario 1: I suspect it is the U.S. ship taking a keen interest, given the ‘Ivan Khurs’ is a probable newcomer to the waters, but was this was close to the area of the U.S. carrier operations. Scenario 2: Possibility of the USS Farragut either wanting to keep the Russian ship away from the U.S. carrier or maybe possibly deploying ASW array.

Of interest to note is the ad hoc presence of Russian AGIs and intelligence reconnaissance ships in the vicinity of U.S. carrier groups. This has been the case elsewhere, in the Eastern Mediterranean particularly, but seemingly a first for the Arabian Sea, (in many decades).

Summary

The Russian Navy is not the Soviet Navy in scope or numbers. As such the remaining current cold war era CCGs & DDGs that visit the region will gradually fade away, to be replaced by a smaller fleet of FFGs & corvettes; yet it will continue to visit the Indian Ocean. Although many pundits see this as a growing Russia’s return to the Indian Ocean as being relatively recent, when in fact it isn’t. So, the muted outcry by Washington of “the Russians are coming” is rather feeble and reveals a deep level of geopolitical insecurity. To paraphrase the Chinese delegate’s question at the Munich Security Conference recently, (see here):

“Do you really think the U.S. Navy presence in the Indian Ocean is so fragile it could be threatened by the occasional visit of Russian and Chinese warships?”

Seemingly yes.

Russia has a new limited strategic presence in the Middle East and Africa and the naval visits are part of the bigger picture. Russian presence will continue given the backdrop of the U.S. public wish for an expansion of a NATO footprint into Gulf & Iraq, adding to the ongoing presence in Afghanistan since 2001.

Russia also has defence-cooperation agreements with about 15 African countries. This is somewhat reflected in the port call make by the ‘Marshal Ustinov’, (en route to South Africa, including Egypt & Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde.

NB:The ‘Marshal Ustinov’ also called into Greece, Cyprus, Turkey (some are NATO countries).

By looking at the Russian Navy’s timid visits, the Indian Ocean is not a high priority regarding Russian maritime presence. Nevertheless, Russia has certainly stepped up its naval diplomacy in the region in different ways, making infrequent regular yearly visits to ports in the region, such as Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka and high-level working visits by heads of navies. Russia is also attentive to maintaining special relationships that it already has with countries like India and Pakistan.

Lastly, I cannot compare the minuscule presence of Russian Navy in region with that of the PLAN which is quickly building a larger force projection capability than the Russian VMF can realistically hope for these days. Let’s be frank, the Chinese PLAN is expanding considerably each year. 2019 alone saw another: 1 aircraft carrier, 1 LDP, 1 LHD & eight 7000t & two 13000t destroyers commissioned) plus 17 corvettes in one year!) The new tonnage must eye watering hard for the West to contemplate.

Further Reading

See this detailed article below I entirely agree with the author, as a civilian ex-mariner.

Who provokes whom and with which goal? https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/us-russian-navy-near-miss-incident-gunter-sch%C3%BCtze

Extra information on the geopolitics of the Indian Ocean:

Indian Ocean: strategic hub or zone of competition? https://uwidata.com/7211-indian-ocean-strategic-hub-or-zone-of-competition/

An visual overview of both recent Chinese and Russian naval port visits in the Indian Ocean is presented on the blog Warvspeace.org


Nat South’s sideline is occasionally commenting on maritime & naval related subjects ,with a special interest in the polar regions.

CHINA-IRAN -RUSSIA ALLIANCE ENDING US UNILATERAL GLOBAL HEGEMONY

Posted on 30/12/2019 by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The “maritime security belt” trilateral four-day drill between Iran, China and Russia in the sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean will mark the Middle East for decades to come. It signals the end of US absolute hegemony and control of the Middle East- and of the world. The joint drills are being carried out at the heart of the zone of US maritime influence. The drills are tactical exercises simulating the rescue of frigates under attack by a mutual enemy over a 17,000 km area. They are not strategic, because China and Russia will not have access to Iranian harbours on an ongoing basis. No common adversary is expected to face Russia, China or Iran together in these waters. The aim of these exercises is for all three countries to send a common message to the US. The maritime ‘message’ addressed to the world this December 2019 realistically is that the period of the global dominance of the USA as the sole and self-elected “policeman of the world” is coming to an end.

It was the first time Iran has held a joint exercise with two major world naval powers on this scale since the “Islamic Republic” in 1979. Iran invited and hosted the trilateral drills, starting from its southeastern port of Chabahar, to challenge the US “maximum pressure” policy. Tehran is sending a message to the world that it is developing its military capabilities in the midst of the harshest ever US sanctions, demonstrating that the US policy of isolating Iran is ineffective. President Donald Trump and his team have  managed to hurt the Iranian population with their unprecedented sanctions and siege: but the government of Tehran has effectively adapted to these punitive measures, countering with a new “budget of Resistance” to limit its dependence on oil exports.

President Donald Trump’s policy is speeding the formation of an alliance between Iran, China and Russia (all affected by US sanctions). These countries, notwithstanding the “maritime security belt” drills, have not actually signed strategic alliances among themselves, but are finding ways to protect themselves while operating in the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean. These drills can be considered a challenge to US sanctions, taking place in the most important worldwide maritime traffic waterway, considered vital to the US with 18.5 million barrels of oil transiting through this area daily.

The US sun is setting. It has shone brightly since 1991 when the cold war ended between Washington and Moscow. This is when President George Bush announced US policy and the vision of “a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law.”

That day marked the beginning, in fact, of an imbalanced world order based on the political, economic and military dominance of the US. It was the beginning of a “destructive-constructive” strategy to crush any country rejecting US hegemony. Iran was at the top of the list.

Under President George W. Bush, Washington decided to surround Iran, China and Russia further and occupied Afghanistan – due to its geopolitical strategic position overlooking at the west of China, middle of Asia and the east of Iran and its richness of Uranium – and then Iraq. The control of Middle Eastern oil was the priority followed by a “new Middle East” plan to break Iran’s alliance with Lebanon (Hezbollah) and the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The US has constantly been looking for ways to divide continents, to rule them and thus prevent the emergence of any threatening alliance. Eurasia, which contains two-thirds of the world’s energy, was under constant close US watch, similar to Iran.

But Iran 2019 is different from Iran in 1979. Following the “war of the tankers” in the Straits of Hormuz, the downing of the most expensive US drone and the targeting and destruction of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities (reducing its export capability by half) with Iranian precision cruise missiles, the US discovered a bitter reality. All US military bases surrounding Iran were easy targets for Iran cruise missiles in the case of a decision by Washington to attack the “Islamic Republic”. Iran didn’t need to bother looking for a US target in far off territories.

Moreover, Iran did not hesitate to intercept and confiscate a British tanker, sending a confrontational message to Great Britain and expressing its readiness for a military skirmish if necessary. Iran signalled its ability to fight on multiple fronts against its enemies. Iranian officials made crystal clear to all surrounding countries’ leaders (Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Iraq, north-east Syria, Israel) that its precision missiles would spare no country where a US base is stationed or used as a starting point for an attack on Iran.

Many elements indicated Iran was ready for the worst-case scenario and was trained for an extreme situation, knowing that the US would not venture into an unpredictable war where victory is far from guaranteedPresident Trump was ready for a few battles here and there, a “battle between wars” Israeli-style rather than a totally destructive war. Trump and his team became aware that the US’s enemies had equipped themselves with enough missiles to be simultaneously engaged on multiple fronts in different Middle Eastern countries.

Trump has sought to avoid human losses during his presence in office. He knows that Iran’s allies will dive into any future confrontation against the “Islamic Republic” and will hit US allies in the Middle Eastern region.

Iran has equipped its strongest and most organised ally in the Middle East, Hezbollah in Lebanon, with tens of thousands of rockets and precision missiles, enough to destroy Israeli targets, already included in its bank of objectives. The Israeli targets are within a few kilometres of Hezbollah bases, not far enough for the Israeli interception missiles to neutralise all missiles and rockets if simultaneously launched. But that is not the real problem: in fact, the Israeli domestic front is far from ready for war, as even Israeli military officials acknowledge.

Hezbollah managed to break the Israeli deterrence policy and succeeded in breaking the will of Israel, as the world observed in the last confrontation. Indeed, Israel chose to abandon for two weeks all positions along 100 kilometres from the Lebanese borders and 5 kilometres deep due to a single threat launched via local television by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. A very strong indication that though Israel can continue verbally threatening Lebanon, war is unlikely for a very long time to come.

Iran’s allies are also present in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, all equipped with precision missiles. The US and its allies are not in a position to ignore this reality and the fact that (notwithstanding the US and Israel’s great destructive power) serious damage can be inflicted on the US camp in case of war.

Another crucially important element, not to be neglected, is the fact that the US is taking further distance from the Middle East. In 2019 I witnessed the US’s clear detachment from the Iraqi selection of a Prime Minister, for the first time since 2003. The US is also, unusually, not intervening in Lebanon’s choice of a Prime Minister. These are two important countries where the US was positioned in the front line to curb Iran’s influence. Likewise, in Syria (where the US is flagrantly stealing Syrian oil), the US seems to have lost its appetite to remain in the Levant and compel Iran’s departure from Syria- to the great discontent of Israel.

Only the weapon of economic sanctions remains for the US, a weapon that soon will be less efficient as countries adapt to their new situation. Trump is sanctioning his friends, enemies and competitors, exhausting US financial power. That is giving an advantage to the countries concerned to prepare themselves for counter-measures in the long-term. The US, despite its attempt at hegemony, is returning to the era before the 1991.

It is true that the US has managed, under President Trump, to sell huge quantities of weapons to Middle Eastern countries. The US military industry has benefitted for a few years but this is coming to an end. These weapons will no longer be used in any future war because the possibility of a military confrontation in the Middle East is fading and all parties and potential belligerents are well equipped and armed with destructive firepower.

Today the US is looking at Russia, China and their allies as sources of danger from highly competitive technology and artificial intelligence developments. There is little room for future military confrontation. The time has finally come for the Middle Eastern countries to solve their domestic and regional problems among themselves without outside interference. 

Proofread by  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content. It shall not be masked by Paywall. I’d like to thank my followers and readers for the confidence and support. If you like it, please don’t feel embarrassed to contribute and help fund it for as little as 1 Euro. Your contribution, however small, will help ensure its continuity. Thank you.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2019

Rouhani: Foreign Forces Main Source of Tension in the Region

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that any presence of foreign forces in the Gulf will only cause even more tension in the region, amid reports that the UK and the US are pushing for a joint force to escort oil tankers as they pass through the Strait of Hormuz off Iran.

Iran makes constant efforts to ensure the Sea of Oman, the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz remain safe passageways for international shipping, Rouhani said during a meeting with visiting Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Sunday.

“The presence of foreign forces wouldn’t help the regional security, and if anything, it would actually be the main source of tension,” he added.

The remarks come as both the UK and the US are leading two sharply different plans for patrols in the Gulf.

Washington has been pushing for a scheme whereby nations protect their own ships but partake in joint operations to monitor the waterways to prevent incidents.

The administration of US President Donald Trump claims that the patrols are needed to protect the ships from threats it says are coming from Iran, following several mysterious attacks that damaged oil tankers and cargo ships in the Sea of Oman over the past weeks.

The US and some of its allies have blamed Iran for the attacks, a claim Tehran has vehemently denied. Iranian officials have warned countries in the region to watch out for false flags by “foreign players.”

The UK, on the other hand, has been trying to put together a European force to protect vessels moving through the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker this month for attempting to flee the scene of a collision with an Iranian fishing boat in violation of international rules.

Tensions flared up between London and Tehran after the UK navy seized Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 in Gibraltar, claiming that it was carrying oil to Syria in violation of the European Union’s sanctions against Damascus.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani told Bin Alawi that London’s move was illegal and would prove “costly” for them.

Rouhani asserted that Iran continues to stand against any breaches of law that endangers the safety of shipping in the Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.

He argued that all of the regional issues were connected and, therefore, every government in the region needed to help maintain peace and stability there.

Reconstructing Syria and paving the way for Syrian refugees to return, ending the Saudi-led war on Yemen and stopping ongoing “Israeli” crimes against the people of Palestine were some of the key issues that he said had to be resolved.

Rouhani reiterated that Tehran has never started tensions in the region, unlike the American officials, whom he accused of causing frictions with their “delusions” and their decision to leave the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Bin Alawi, for his part, said Oman and Iran needed to overcome all challenges and help keep the region secure.

He emphasized that without Iran it was not possible to keep the region safe.

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