Can Iran destroy the American fleet in the Persian Gulf?

After years of threats from Iran, the U.S. is taking steps that indicate that these two countries are willing and able to close the Strait of Hormuz. December 24, 2011 Iran began conducting naval exercises "Velayyat-90" (Rule of-90) in the Strait of Hormuz and around it. Exercises were held in the vast area stretching from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

After these exercises began steadily intensifying war of words between Washington and Tehran. But nothing is said and done to date by the Obama administration and the Pentagon did not stop Iran, which continues its naval maneuvers.

Geopolitical Strait of Hormuz

This is not only a major transit point of the world, through which carried a huge amount of energy, and strategically important "bottleneck." If we talk about the Strait of Hormuz and its relationship with Iran, it is necessary here to add another two points. First — this is the geographical position of the Strait of Hormuz. Second — Iran's role in the joint management of the strategic waterway in accordance with international law and its sovereign national rights.

Marine traffic through the Strait of Hormuz is always carried out in collaboration with the naval forces of Iran, which consist primarily of regular Navy and the Navy of the Revolutionary Guard. In fact, Iranian naval forces monitor and maintain order in the Strait of Hormuz with the Sultanate of Oman in the Omani enclave of Musandam. But more important than another. To pass through the Strait of Hormuz, all ships, including the Navy United States must sail on Iranian territorial waters. Almost all entrances into the Persian Gulf are going through Iranian waters and most out of it — through the waters of Oman.

Iran allows foreign ships to use its territorial waters, on a voluntary basis, and pursuant to Part III of the UN Convention on the Law of the transit passage of ships. It states that the Court may pass freely through the Straits of Hormuz, and other bodies of water for the purpose of continuous, expeditious and unobstructed transit of an open port to the open sea and back. Although Tehran generally follows the practice of navigation, adopted in maritime law, by law it is not obliged to do so. Like Washington, Tehran signed this international treaty, but has not ratified it.

US-Iranian tensions in the Persian Gulf

Recently, the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) is re-evaluating the practice of using foreign vessels in the territorial waters of Iran's Strait of Hormuz.

A draft of the law, depriving foreign warships possibility of using Iran's territorial waters to pass through the Strait of Hormuz without Iranian permission. Committee of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy is currently reviewing a bill that defines the official position of Iran. And it will depend on Iranian strategic interests and national security.

December 30, 2011 an American aircraft carrier, "John C. Stennis" has passed through the area in which Iran has conducted its naval exercises. The commander of Iran's regular armed forces, Major General Salehi Ataolla (Ataollah Salehi) recommended the aircraft carrier "John C. Stennis" and other ships of the U.S. Navy not to return to the Persian Gulf as Iran completes its teachings. He stressed that Iran is not used to repeating its warnings. Shortly after a stern warning from Iran Pentagon spokesman issued a statement in reply, which said: "No one in this government does not seek confrontation [with Iran] because of the Strait of Hormuz. It is important to lower the temperature. "

In a real scenario of a military conflict with Iran, it is likely that American carriers will be out of the Persian Gulf, acting from the south to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. If those missiles that Washington deploys in the southern oil emirates of the Persian Gulf, not put into operation, sending a large U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf seems unlikely. The reason for this geographical realities and the defensive capabilities of Iran.

Geography in this case is against the Pentagon: naval power in the Persian Gulf U.S. has its limitations.

U.S. Navy, which includes the Navy and Coast Guard, superior to its power rest of the fleet and naval forces in the world. U.S. submarine fleet and the ocean has no equal, and no naval power can not challenge him. But excellence does not mean invincibility. USN in the Strait of Hormuz will still be vulnerable.

Despite the immense power and force the U.S. Navy, geography literally works against the American fleet in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. The narrowness of the Persian Gulf makes it like a channel, at least in a strategic and military terms. Figuratively speaking, the aircraft carriers and warships of the U.S. are locked in narrow waters of the Persian Gulf and near its coast.

And here come into play modern missiles Iranian armed forces. The Iranian missile and torpedo arsenal can quickly deal with U.S. warships in the waters of the Persian Gulf, where they will have little room to maneuver. That is why the United States has in recent years actively construct a missile defense system on the territory of the Cooperation Council for the Gulf.

Even the small Iranian patrol boats operating in the Gulf, and seem pitiful and insignificant when compared with the U.S. aircraft carriers and destroyers, are a real threat to them. Looks can be deceiving, and these Iranian boats can easily produce a real barrage of missiles capable of inflicting serious damage or even sink large U.S. warships. But the small Iranian patrol boats are very difficult to detect and even harder to destroy.

Iranian forces could also strike at the U.S. Navy just made missile attack from the land on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf. Back in 2008, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Institute for Near East Policy) recognized the seriousness of the threat from Iran's mobile coastal missile batteries, anti-aircraft missile systems and missile boats and small ships. In an asymmetric naval warfare with the Fifth Fleet, U.S. Navy Iran can use drones, hovercraft, mines, group swimmer and a mini-submarine.

Simulation modeling of the Pentagon war also shows that the war with Iran in the Persian Gulf would be disastrous for the United States and the U.S. military. An important example in this respect was the war games in the Persian Gulf, code-named Millennium Challenge 2002 (MCA 2002), which took place from 24 July to 15 August 2002. For their training took almost two years. These colossal teaching became one of the largest and most expensive out of all the Pentagon conducted maneuvers. Teachings of Millennium Challenge 2002 was held shortly after the Pentagon decided to keep the momentum of force on the war in Afghanistan, and take aim at Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and eventually get the trophy in the form of Iran during its massive campaign ensure American dominance in the new millennium.

After the end of the exercise of their "officially" presented as a simulation of a war against Iraq, which at the time was President Saddam Hussein. However, in reality, these studies were directly related to Iran. The United States had already conducted a preliminary assessment of the upcoming Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Moreover, Iraq did not have such a powerful navy, which required the use of such a large-scale U.S. Navy.

Millennium Challenge 2002 was an imitation of the war with Iran, which took place in the script, code-named "red" and was an unknown enemy rogue state in the Middle East in the Persian Gulf. In addition to Iran under the characteristics of the "red" and their armed forces patrol boat and motorcycle units does not match any other country in the Persian Gulf. The exercises were held for the simple reason that after the invasion of Iraq, Washington is planning to attack Iran.

The scenario of "Millennium Challenge 2002" begins with the fact that the United States had the code name "blue", put forward in 2007, Iran ultimatum period of one day, so he surrendered. 2007 in chronological order corresponded to U.S. plans to attack Iran after the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006. According to plans of the military, all this would turn into a full-scale war against Syria. However, the war against Lebanon went not as planned, the U.S. and Israel realized that if the "Hezbollah" is able to challenge them in Lebanon, the major war with Syria and Iran would be a disaster for them.

According to the scenario of Iran in response to U.S. aggression launched massive missile attack, which became a real shock for the U.S., because its result was the destruction of 16 naval ships of the United States — an aircraft carrier, ten cruisers, and five amphibious ships. It is estimated that if it happened in a real situation in the theater of military operations, on the first day after the attack would kill more than 20,000 American troops.

Furthermore, Iran has sent to its small patrol boats — the ones that seem paltry and insignificant in comparison with the U.S. aircraft carrier "John C. Stennis" and other large U.S. warships — and they would have dealt with the rest of the Pentagon's naval forces in the Persian Gulf. The result could be the destruction and sinking of most of the ships of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the defeat of the United States. After the defeat of America's war games began again, but this time the "red" (Iran) had to operate in the face of many hindrances and difficulties, and American troops have made it possible to complete these exercises victoriously. Such an outcome scientists will step aside from the unpleasant fact consists in the fact that in a real war with Iran in the Persian Gulf without the use of nuclear weapons in the U.S. suffer defeat.

Consequently, if it came to war in the Persian Gulf, or even in the Gulf of Oman, impressive naval power of the United States will oppose and prevent a military potential of Iran, and geographical factors. Not being able to operate in the open sea, as in the Indian or Pacific Ocean, the United States will have much less time to spare for the response, and more importantly, they will not be able to fight from a safe (from a military point of view) distance. Thus, the whole arsenal of defensive naval systems in the U.S., designed for combat in open waters at a safe distance, the Persian Gulf is not applicable.

That means we need to turn the Strait of Hormuz in a backup route in order to weaken Iran?

The whole world knows how important Strait of Hormuz, and Washington and its allies are well aware that the Iranians with their military means may close it for a long time. That is why the U.S. is working with the Member States of the Council for GCC (which is Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE) working to redirect their oil pipeline to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, bringing it directly to the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Washington is pushing Iraq to ensure that he and the negotiations with Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia reached an agreement on the construction of alternative routes.

Israel and Turkey are also very interested in this strategic project. Turkey has held talks with Qatar to establish an oil terminal in Turkey, where oil will be supplied through Iraq. The Turkish government is also trying to persuade Baghdad to bind its southern oilfields to transit pipelines running through Turkey, as is already done with the northern oil fields of Iraq. All this is connected with the concept of Ankara to turn Turkey into an energy corridor and an important transit hub.

The purpose of the disposal of oil route in the direction of the Persian Gulf is the elimination of an important element of the strategic advantage that Iran has over Washington and its allies. If successful, the plan significance the Strait of Hormuz will be significantly reduced. This may well be a necessary condition for the start of training and the U.S. war against Iran and its allies.

It is to this end, the United Arab Emirates supported the construction of the pipeline Habshan-Fujairah, also known as Abu Dhabi pipeline, which bypasses the Persian Gulf shipping lanes and the Strait of Hormuz. The construction project was prepared in 2006, the contract was signed in 2007, and the construction of the pipeline began in 2008. The pipeline goes directly from Abu Dhabi to the port of Fujairah, located on the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

In other words, the export oil from the UAE has direct access to the Indian Ocean. This pipeline talk openly as a tool to ensure energy security, which bypasses Hormuz and avoids impact Iran's military machine. Along with the construction of the pipeline in Fujairah had planned to build strategic oil storage to the flow of oil to world markets continued even in the case of overlapping the Strait of Hormuz.

In addition to the pipeline Petroline (Saudi pipeline is from east to west) Saudi Arabia is considering the establishment of alternative transit routes and explore the ports of its southern neighbors in the Arabian Peninsula, such as Oman and Yemen. Most interested in Riyadh Yemeni port of Mukalla, located on the shores of the Gulf of Aden. In 2007, Israeli sources triumphantly trumpeted that a project pipeline that will connect the Saudi oil fields with Fujairah in the UAE, with Muscat in Oman, and, ultimately, to Mukalla in Yemen. Resuming pipeline IPSA (Iraq-Saudi Arabia), which ironically was built by Saddam Hussein in order to avoid threats from the Strait of Hormuz and Iran, this is the question that the Saudis are actively discussing with the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

If Syria and Lebanon have become dependent on the U.S. government, it will be possible to resume the work of the closed pipeline Transarabskogo Tapline and create other alternative routes through the Arabian Peninsula to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Chronologically it also fits into the actions of Washington's defeat of Lebanon and Syria in an attempt to isolate Iran before showdown with Iran.

Iranian naval exercises "Velayyat-90", which took place in close proximity to the entrance to the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden near the territorial waters of Yemen, also took place in front of the coast of the Gulf of Oman, Oman and the eastern coast of the United Arab Emirates. Among other things, these studies were designed to send a signal that Tehran is ready to operate outside of the Persian Gulf and can even strike or block the pipelines that bypass the Strait of Hormuz.

Geography and this time was on the side of Iran. Laying of pipelines bypassing the Strait of Hormuz does not change the fact that most of the oil fields owned by members of the Cooperation Council of the Persian Gulf, is in the Gulf or near its shores, that is, in close proximity to Iran and therefore within his reach. As with the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline, the Iranians could easily stop pumping oil from fields. Tehran can inflict missile or air attack, and send to these areas the army, air force or naval amphibious force. And while it is not necessary to block the Strait of Hormuz, for the main Iranian threat is stopping flow of energy

Cold War America and Iran

Washington leads the offensive against Iran using all available means. Tensions in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf is just one component of a dangerous and multifaceted regional cold war going between Tehran and Washington in the Middle East and its vast surroundings. Beginning in 2001, the Pentagon also restructure its armed forces to wage unconventional wars with enemies like Iran. However, the geography has always opposed the Pentagon, and the United States have not yet found a solution to their naval dilemma in the Persian Gulf. Instead of a conventional war, Washington had to keep a secret, economic and diplomatic war against Iran.

January 16, 2012

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

"Global Research", Canada
Category: War

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