Monday, January 7, 2008

Iran's Dangerous Games & Short Memory

It may well come to pass that the IRGC suicidally provokes a shooting war with the U.S., as they have done once previously. This today from the Washington Post:

On the eve of President Bush's Middle East trip, five Iranian patrol boats charged at three U.S. Navy ships entering the Persian Gulf Sunday in what the Pentagon described as a "serious" provocation.

The high-speed Iranian boats, manned by Revolutionary Guards, dropped "white box-like objects" in the water that the U.S. ships successfully evaded, according to Vice-Admiral Kevin Cosgriff. "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes," a radio transmission from one of the patrol boats warned.

The U.S. ships were preparing to fire at the Iranian vessels when they abruptly turned and sped away, U.S. officials said.

The Bush administration today cautioned Iran about the potential dangers of such actions.

"We would urge Iran to refrain from any provocative actions that could lead to dangerous incidents in the future," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. "There are a number of military as well as commercial vessels that have legitimate passage through the Strait of Hormuz. We believe that should continue."

Iran played down the incident as a "regular and natural issue. . . . That's something normal taking place every now and then for each party and it [the problem] is settled after identification of the two parties," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini told the Iranian News Agency IRNA. Similar incidents in the past were resolved when the two sides identified each other, he said.

But U.S. officials rejected that claim. "This is not something that our vessels encounter on a daily basis," McCormack said. U.S. military officials said Iran would have no question about the identity of U.S. ships. . .

Read the entire article. Perhaps Iran has a short memory. Allah was apparently off the day in 1988 when Iran last tried something of this nature with the U.S. Navy:

Operation Praying Mantis

On 14 April 1988, watchstanders aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) sighted three mines floating approximately one-half mile from the ship. Twenty minutes after the first sighting, as Samuel B. Roberts was backing clear of the minefleld, she struck a submerged mine nearly ripping the warship in half. Working feverishly for seven hours, the crew stabilized the ship. Samuel B. Roberts was sent back to the United States for repair.

Three days after the mine blast, forces of Joint Task Force Middle East executed the American response -- Operation PRAYING MANTIS. During a two-day period, the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force units of Joint Task Force Middle East destroyed two oil platforms being used by Iran to coordinate attacks on merchant shipping, sank or destroyed three Iranian warships and neutralized at least six Iranian speedboats.

Operating in conjunction with USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28) and USS BAGLEY (FF 1069), USS SIMPSON (FFG-56) was assigned to the strike on the Iranian oil platform at Sirri, and shelled the platform. In response, the Iranian Navy missile patrol combatant JOSHAN approached the three U.S. ships. When JOSHAN was warned to stand clear, she responded by firing a Harpoon missile at the group. SIMPSON was the first ship to return fire, striking JOSHAN with the first of four successful missiles she fired that day. After JOSHAN was disabled by missile fire, she was sunk by gunfire. As a result of that action, SIMPSON and her crew were awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Combat Action Ribbon, along with numerous personal awards received by individual crew members.

(H/T Dinah Lord)

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