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Mar 26, 2007

Envisioning Gulf War III




Given the current standoff involving the British and Iranian navies in the Persian Gulf, I was just interested in the relative perspective of these two current newswire photos.

(The HMS Cornwall, pictured above, is the ship that lost the 15 sailors to the Iranians.) 

Hopefully, everybody had a place to sit.

(image 1: AFP/file. image 2: Essam al-Sudani/AFP.  Via YahooNews)



quelle grande histoire vous avez découverte : ¡bravo!

ce serait hilare, étaient lui pas aussi tragique :-/

Ho Hum
I reviewed multiple MSM reports of the 2004 incident, it received all the hype of this latest one but quietly disappeared and died.
Of course I didn't expect the MSM to report on this or put that incident in context.

"The official IRNA news agency quoted a source as saying an inquiry had found the men had entered Iranian waters by mistake and without hostile intent. Al-Aram reported that weapons and maps were found on board the vessels and suggested the servicemen were special forces
A British military source acknowledged the men may have strayed into Iranian waters in bad weather in confined straits"

"The eight were intercepted after their three patrol boats strayed across the disputed border. British and Iranian officials were still in talks on the timing and details of the release, a British diplomat said last night. The fate of the three patrol vessels, their weaponry and other equipment would have been a serious issue."

MonsieurGonzo, thanks for your insightful comments on Your Turn : Chapel Hill

The post from jtfromBC is something that I had not heard. What a difference between that and the version put out by US media!

I smell a feint by the British with US and Israeli back-up to provoke the Iranians to respond....which they did....also, don't forget that the Iranians have these very powerful torpedoes and small boats which can make mincemeat of big ships. The Western forces should be careful!

My sentiments exactly, MonsieurGonzo. My first thought was this would make a great Monty Python sketch... and probably will be a humorous, absurdist play soon. "No one ever expects the Spanish Inquisition!"

I almost spit up my coffee when I saw these contrasting photos. Thanks BAG, this is a good one.

Now let's hope it all blows over quietly. Thankfully I don't think anybody really believes the Brits were totally innocent in the whole affair.

margaret, for your interest the following I extracted from the Jerusalem post in a 2004 article (if you don't know who Michael Ledeem check)

"Commenting on the interdiction of the British patrol boats and their crews this week in National Review Online, Iran expert Michael Ledeen raised the possibility that the boats and their crews had been interdicted by the Iranians because they were laying ship-detection sensors in the waterway.

This, he explained, is necessary to protect the Iraqi oil terminals in Basra from further sabotage, which has rendered the Iraqi oil industry a virtual hostage to terrorist forces that have repeatedly attacked pipelines and terminals over the past year.

Much of the sabotage, according to Ledeen, has been sponsored by Iran, which has an interest in seeing not only the destabilization of Iraq but a precipitous rise in oil prices before the US presidential elections, in the hopes that such an event will bring about the defeat of President George W. Bush at the polls."

The picture also emphasizes two things, guns and people. The British ship looks like a high tech cruise ship, you could not find all its missile systems and guns unless you knew where to look, and you see no personnel, very innocent looking. Meanwhile on the Iranian patrol vessel you see dark figures brandishing AK-47s almost pirate like.

Last detail are the flags, the first frames the picture, dominating it, the second is so small, it could be from any nation.

The fact is that the Iranian boat featured would be of little or no threat to such a ship as the HMS Cornwall . Beside ist missile and gun armament (as well as mounts for light and heavy machine guns) the frigate ha s helicopters armed with Sea Skua missiles, small anti-ship missiles designed to attack small patrol craft like the one above. But again, you don't get that kind of deatail, even on BBC reports, although they do show the firepower on board from different angles.

Now imagine if this was a military holiday in England (or in the U.S.) and what kind of pictures we would see of these ships (mostly bow shots I imagine).

Kinda like my Jetta upon against that damned gas-guzzling noisy Ford Expedition next door.

Did the Iranians have to call for 'back up'?

I don't think you guys realize what would happen if hostilites were to commence on the seas. The Iranians would send hundreds of these boats out with missiles etc. There's no way the British or Americans for that matter could sink them all before they did real damage to that hulking battleship. The Iranians can't fight in a traditional sense or they'd get obliterated and they know that.

Relax...laden with explosives, yes, with missiles, no. The kind of missiles you need to sink a warship are not small rockets, but much larger, approximately about half a ton to a ton or more. The Iranians do have the capability of closing the Strait of Hormuz for a brief time and sinking such a ship could cause mass casualties, this is not the kind of ship you would use for a missile attack, fishing trawlers and light and medium transports would be the norm, much like the Germans used such ships as commerce raiders in WWI and WWI.

And MG...easy on the irony, please!

quelle grande histoire vous avez découverte : ¡bravo!


Rafael (je pense que vous êtes le seul qui "got it" ;-)

These would be the same small Iranian boats that sank a large proportion of the US fleet (including carriers) during the last Pentagon wargames.

There were hundreds, all moving around randomly... then at a prearranged signal they all headed straight for the ships. Suicide attack by Revolutionary Guards, backed up by shore based anti-ship missiles. All within Iran's capabilities.

The Blue team had no chance to sink them all and the fleet was decimated.

The US general in charge of the Red team resigned in protest after an embarassed Pentagon refloated the fleet, reset the game and banned him from using those tactics again.

Yep - they're the same boats.

Did not mean these ships where not completely harmless, like I said, packed with explosives their a threat, although modern ships are not entirely defenseless against them. And the General in charge of the Red Team, retired Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper.

I wrote a diary on Daily Kos on the subject on August of last year.

You can read it here....

Oh and MG, Laputa may be apt name for what Iraq has become.

The incident didn't directly involve the Cornwall, the Brits were in several small boats, most likely Rigid Raiders, several miles away. The water was apparently too shallow for the Cornwall to sail in.

In terms of the RN opening fire, their ROE is to de-escalate a situation, not start a war.

And, has been mentioned, the Iranians do have the means to strike at multiple ships, let alone one lone late 80s warship based on a 70s design.

This is almost certainly a ploy by the Iranian gov't to give them a bargaining chip with regard to their nuclear program.

Craig Murray (of UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan fame) has written on his blog about this, and he has this article explaining that there is no agreed-upon boundary there:
How I know Blair faked Iran map

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