Friday, April 25, 2008
US Naval Activities in Middle Eastern Waters
”Defense officials said that typically the guard behaves in a very unprofessional and aggressive manner, using unmarked boats and uniforms, unlike the Iranian Navy.”
It’s never made clear whether the navy-contracted ship was marked as such or not, but I seriously doubt it because that vessel is reported to be a cargo ship in other accounts. Here is CNN’s far less accusatory version of the same story.
Yet a little less than a month ago our navy was engaged in exactly the same behavior that Fox claims “defense officials” have accused the Iranian Guard of and it ended in an innocent man’s death:
US Navy-contracted ship opens fire on boats in the Suez Canal
March 25, 2008
“The victim worked on the small boats selling cigarettes and other products to ships crossing the canal. These waterborne merchants know not to approach military vessels but the Global Patriot looked like an ordinary freighter, said Abdullah Fouad [brother of victim]. ‘Normally we go nowhere near military ships,’ he said.
Hormoz Shayegan, vice president of Global Container Lines Limited, the New York-based company that owns the Global Patriot, said the ship ‘does not have any markings to suggest it is a military ship or anything like that.’ He said the crew on the vessel was unarmed.
Robertson said the Navy team on board took ‘the appropriate steps to take those measured steps to warn the vessels that were getting too close.’
‘We are very conscious of being in heavily trafficked areas and we as professional mariners try to keep people from getting too close,’ she told The Associated Press by phone from Bahrain."
And there was a brief mention of the confrontation with the Iranian vessel last January:
“On Jan. 6, U.S. Navy ships nearly opened fire on armed Iranian speedboats that repeatedly charged their convoy in the cramped waters of the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz.”
And then, at the very end of the article, there is a small description that is quite telling about just how difficult it is to keep a reasonable amount of distance from other ships within the Strait:
”About 7.5 percent of world sea trade passes through the canal, which at its narrowest is 120 meters (yards) wide and is divided into two 60-meter-wide lanes. The canal is a major source of foreign currency for Egypt.”
Apparently, this is a very common occurrence too, as there was another incident in between these two above (believed to be non-lethal). To give you an idea of just how often this happens nowadays:
“The U.S. Defense Department has said there were three confrontations between the U.S. Navy and Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf from December to January. One ended after a U.S. ship fired warning shots to deter the Iranian vessel.”
What is extra disturbing to me is that Iranian officials have denied that a couple of these incidents have ever happened, and have accused the US of building a case against Iran as aggressors. I would say, considering the giant amount of threatening talk coming from US leaders towards Iran (especially over the last couple years), this is a damn good assessment! Let us not forget that the Iranian troublemakers that have been identified (by Intel) and are suspected to have contributed to violence in Iraq are by in large extremists that have defected from Iran and taken refuge in our allied nation of Pakistan.
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