When is a world power in serious decline? One indication is when neither its leaders, its military or its citizens begin losing the ability to command respect from foreign powers.
Our recent engagement (if you could call it that) with Iran is one shameful indication of such a decline.
The official story out of Washington is that two of our Riverine gunships manned by U.S. Marines somehow accidentally wandered off course into Iranian territory, where one of them broke down. The Iranian IRG naval forces showed up,impounded the two boats and detained our sailors briefly, repaired the damage and after an apology and confession of wrongdoing from the American commanding officer sent them on their way. Much was made of how kindly the Americans were treated by their captors, and how this was a triumph of diplomacy, exactly why the Iran deal needed to be implemented.
Most of the above paragraph is sheer horse manure. Instead, the capture of the two gunboats was deliberately planned and carried out in international waters and designed to send a sharp message the White House, which shamefully collaborated in this farce.
The gunboats were reported taken near Farsi Islands, which is the official naval base for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. According to the White House, these two boats were en route to Kuwait from our base in Bahrain. Since these boats are shallow draft vessels, they could have sailed fairly close to the Arabian side of the Gulf, hugging the shoreline. These are fast boats, and the trip should have taken just over an hour.There was no reason to go anywhere near Iran.
Somehow, these two gunboats wound up 70 miles off course, near an IRG naval base. And captured by what amounts to a couple of small motor boats with a fraction of their armaments and manpower:
Given the advanced radar, GPS systems and skill of the crew, does it seem logical that these two gunboats would err this much? The answer, of course is that they didn't.
Former SEAL Matt Bracken caused a firestorm online with comments on Twitter and Facebook, and what he had to say was corroborated from one of my regular readers who shared his knowledge of these kinds of missions.
For an open-water transit between nations, the course is studied and planned in advance by the leaders of the Riverine Squadron, with specific attention given to staying wide and clear of any hostile nation's claimed territorial waters. The boats are given a complete mechanical check before departure, and they have sufficient fuel to accomplish their mission plus extra. If, for some unexplainable and rare circumstance one boat broke down, the other would tow it, that's why two boats go on these trips and not one! It's called "self-rescue" and it's SOP.
This entire situation is in my area of expertise. I can state with complete confidence that both Iran and our own State Department are lying. The boats did not enter Iranian waters.
What likely happened is that IRG forces intercepted the two gunboats on the normal route between Bahrain and Kuwait, jammed their communications and ordered them back to Farsi Island. The gunboats likely cooperated because they were ordered not to create an incident. And their ROE prohibit them from firing unless they were fired upon by their superiors. It's quite likely the IRG was aware of these rules of engagement.
The IRG stripped the ships of their GPS units and all communications devices and even took the sim cards from the crew's cellphones, so no real record of where the gunboats were actually seized would exist. Then they forced them to pose on their knees, to take pictures that went all over the world. And of course, there was that confession by the captain of violating Iranian waters:
The Iranians made a huge propaganda coup out of this:
A senior Iranian military commander in charge of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps claimed that the 10 U.S. sailors who were recently captured and subsequently released by the Islamic Republic “started crying after [their] arrest,” according to Persian language comments made during military celebrations this weekend.
Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, which is responsible for boarding the U.S. ships and arresting the sailors, claimed in recent remarks, the “American sailors started crying after arrest, but the kindness of our Guard made them feel calm.”
Hossein went on to brag that the incident provides definitive evidence of the Iranian military’s supremacy in the region.
“Since the end of the Second World War, no country has been able to arrest American military personnel,” the commander said, according to an independent translation of his Persian-language remarks made Friday during a “martyrs’ commemoration ceremony” in Isfahan.
“I saw the weakness, cowardice, and fear of American soldiers myself. Despite having all of the weapons and equipment, they surrendered themselves with the first action of the guardians of Islam,” Ahmad Dolabi, an IRGC commander, said in Persian-language remarks at a prayer service in Iran’s Bushehr providence.
“American forces receive the best training and have the most advanced weapons in the world,” he added. “But they did not have the power to confront the Guard due to weakness of faith and belief.”
That aside, why would Iran carry out such a mission just now? President Barack Obama and Secretary Kerry are a walking dream for the Ayatollahs and are literally giving them whatever they want. Why rock the boat and cause trouble for this president, with sanctions relief and billions of dollars on the way?
The Iranians themselves provide the answer. Congress has understandably begun to be revolted by the servile nature of this Iran deal put into play without their oversight, especially with elections upcoming. Bills are pending in congress supporting increased oversight and new sanctions over Iran's violating the deal - or at least what John Kerry tells us the deal is - by testing its ballistic missiles. Obama has alluded before that he would veto such legislation, but after the sailors were captured he made a major point of it, and even worked some positive language about how good this Iran deal was for America into his State of the Union Address. This was simply a quid pro quo, and the Iranians were quite open about it.Official Iranian media announced that the capture and humiliation of US sailors and gunboats was a lesson to “troublemakers” in the U.S. Congress.
The last thing the Iranians wanted to present President Obama with was a full blown hostage crisis. This was merely their way of making sure that the sanctions relief went as scheduled, that the appeasement of Iran continues and to remind our president who is calling the shots.
And Obama is far from alone. The IAEA has certified that Iran has met all requirements to have the sanctions officially removed, something that was trumpeted by the usual suspects. Of course, what they're not telling us is that the IAEA isn't inspecting anything in Iran at all.
Over the weekend, the Iranians received $150 billion in sanctions relief, and five US hostages (there's no real way to describe them otherwise) were released by Iran...by only in exchange for a greater number of Iranian spies and people in jail for violating the sanctions.
The message this sends to Iran's rogue, fascist regime is easy to imagine. They know now that almost any actions they take will be ignored by President Obama, because he's desperate for the Iran deal to be his legacy in what otherwise is an execrable record of failure, lies and deceit, especially in foreign policy.
Rewarding Iran's aggression merely because they are making a show of temporarily cooperating in curtailing their illegal nuclear weapons programs hasn't remotely brought the diplomatic reset between America and Iran that President Obama and John Kerry said it would. It is only encouraging more of the same behavior from Iran, and as long as this president is in office we will see it in increasing doses.
The bill for this sort of appeasement is always paid eventually.Unfortunately, that delay always results in payment with interest. When that costly payment is eventually made, it will be a major part of Barack Hussein Obama's despicable legacy as America's president.