Monday, January 07, 2008

Iran Harasses US Ships In The Strait Of Hormuz

In an incident described by Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman as 'the most serious provocation of this sort that we’ve seen yet,' five Iranian Revolutionary Guards boats harassed three US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz early yesterday, Januarary 6. Apparently things came very close to shots being fired.

The Strait of Hormuz is 34 miles across at its narrowest, but its navigable channel is just two miles wide, augmented by a two-mile buffer zone. It's a key route and choke off point for international oil shipments out of the Persian Gulf.As a US Navy cruiser, destroyer and frigate were patrolling the strategic strait on their way into the Persian Gulf, “Five small boats were acting in a very aggressive way, charging the ships, dropping boxes in the water in front of the ships and causing them to take evasive maneuvers,” according to the Pentagon.

The `boxes' were probably meant to be taken for mines.

According to CNN's report, the Iranians radioed the Americans with a threatening remark. "I am coming at you," the Iranian said, according to military officials cited by CNN. "You will explode in a couple minutes."

The Iranians withdrew just as the US commander was about to open fire.

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe called on Iran to desist from this kind of aggression. "We urge the Iranians to refrain from such provocative actions that could lead to a dangerous incident in the future," he said.

While this is an isolated incident,it's obvious to me that what's really going on is that Iran is marking its territory, so to speak and also letting the American navy know that they feel Iran is quite capable of challenging American naval dominance of the Strait and shutting off the oil flow.I'd be interested to know if our navy has received new orders on rules of engagement in view of the Iranian actions.

With President Bush due to arrive in the Middle East on January 8th, the timing was likely not an accident.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see the US Navy hasn't adopted the British rules of engagement.