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Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by gf0012-aust, Jul 8, 2014.

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  1. yavar

    yavar Member

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    • Do not post videos / copy whole articles followed by an one-line from you (comments must be longer than that). Further, we do not encourage converting discussion threads into news ribbons. Warning issued.



    Yemen Ansarullah cruise missile strike Saudi Arabia Abha airport
    Saudi Arabia says Iran behind Houthi missile attack on airport

    Do not post videos / copy whole articles followed by an one-line from you (comments must be longer than that). Further, we do not encourage converting discussion threads into news ribbons. Warning issued.

    Ngatimozart
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2019
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  2. spoz

    spoz Active Member

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    No international law prohibits the imposition of sanctions by one government on another; it may be a (recent) convention that it is only done with UN agreement and of course the UN Charter provides the positive authority to do so, but it does not imply the negative. It could even probably be argued that it’s an immoral thing to do, but it’s not “illegal”; which is, in any case, a concept which cannot easily be applied to the actions of nation states unless they are acting in breach of a treaty which the country concerned has ratified.

    In this case there is also the fact that Iran is not necessarily a unitary organisation when it comes to such things; if the IRGC felt that it needed to act it might not bother telling the political groups who theoretically run the country that it was doing so. That said, however, and despite some of the comments coming from the US SecDef and the video, there isn’t any evidence yet in the public arena which proves that it was not one of the other non state actors, or indeed that it was not a third party seeking to act as an agent provocateur; and the argument that it seem to be a stupid thing for Iran to do at this time is certainly valid.
     
  3. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Active Member

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    I don’t disagree with the majority of your commentary but, IMO, it’s been a very long time since the Iranian Regime has held any “moral High Ground”.
     
  4. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I believe in this case it does and I agree it is a rarity.

    As an aside, about 8 or so years a second cousin of mine (both Kiwis) and his now wife bicycled from the PRC through to Greece. Can't understand why myself because that is why the gods gave us Harleys :D. Anyway part of their trek was through Iran and from memory they spent about 3 - 4 months cycling through there. Towards the end they were held up because of a mechanical fault and had to get a part in from Turkey, which involved one of them doing a quick trip to Turkey to acquire the part. As a result their visas was running out and they were still in the middle of the wop wops. So they found a small city, went to the local authorities to apply for an extension to their visas for a couple of weeks. They explained the circumstances, the guy takes their passports & goes away for a while, then comes back with a 3 month visa extension no questions asked and a big smile. They said that everywhere they went in Iran, the people were so open and welcoming, inviting them into their homes for meals, to stay etc. Any interactions that they had with officialdom was always pleasant and non confrontational. Other people who have been there have told me the same as well. Yet I worked for an Iranian who left the country when the revolution happened because he and his family would've been killed on sight. He was a kid at the time and as far as he's concerned he's Persian, not Iranian and only Muslim by conquest, so doesn't practice at all. His favourite meal is roast pork followed by bacon and he's partial to his booze. Great guy too and one of the best people I ever worked for.
     
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  5. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never seen US external credibility at such a low point in the World stage; and no one can afford to believe neo-conservatives without evidence. We’ll have to wait for a drip feed of information by the Pentagon. The Trump administration’s hostility toward the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an important reason for the general lack of trust with American policies and actions. Tehran has complied with the accord; Europe, Russia and China have embraced it; and yet the U.S. repeatedly violated it by depriving Iran of its economic dividends and eventually failed to comply with it when, in May 2018, President Trump withdrew the US from the agreement altogether. At the same time, Iran’s crude exports fell to about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May 2019 from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018, draining Tehran’s main source of revenues and hurting an economy already weakened by years of isolation. Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz, if it is barred from selling oil.
    Yes, this is my concern. The character of warfare is changing, where Iran is expected to employ a blend of conventional and irregular warfare — what is often called 'hybrid warfare’ or ‘operations in the gray zone,’ if it is the IRGC.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  6. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The US will need to consult it’s allies before taking stronger action (see: U.S. focus is to build global consensus after Mideast oil tanker attacks: Shanahan - Reuters) but the drip feed of news by the Pentagon continues to build a case.

    CNN: Iranian boat fired missile at US drone prior to tanker attack, US official says

    (i) It seems that the Iranians spotted a MQ-9 flying overhead and launched a surface-to-air missile at the unmanned aircraft, a US official told CNN. The missile missed the UAV and fell into the water, the official said. Prior to taking fire, the American MQ-9 observed Iranian vessels closing in on the tankers, the official added, though the source did not say whether the unmanned aircraft saw the boats conducting an actual attack. This first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack.

    (ii) As the Japanese-owned tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman this week is being towed to port, American experts are now on board, and have found pieces of the magnet -- which held the limpet mine to the ship -- still stuck to the hull. US Central Command released a timeline of events that officials say show Iranian involvement in the attack along with photos and a video claiming Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy units were responsible for limpet mine attacks on the two ships:
    • Both vessels were in international waters in the Gulf of Oman approximately 10 nautical miles apart at the time of the distress calls. USS Bainbridge was approximately 40 nautical miles away from the M/T Altair at the time of the attack, and immediately began closing the distance.
    • At 8:09 a.m. local time a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair.
    • At 9:12 a.m. local time a U.S. aircraft observes the FAC/FIAC pull a raft from the M/T Altair from the water.
    • At 9:26 a.m. local time the Iranians requested that the motor vessel Hyundai Dubai, which had rescued the sailors from the M/T Altair, to turn the crew over to the Iranian FIACs. The motor vessel Hyundai Dubai complied with the request and transferred the crew of the M/T Altair to the Iranian FIACs.
    • At 11:05 a.m. local time USS Bainbridge approaches the Dutch tug Coastal Ace, which had rescued the crew of twenty-one sailors from the M/T Kokuka Courageous who had abandoned their ship after discovering a probable unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion.
    • While the Hendijan patrol boat appeared to attempt to get to the tug Coastal Ace before USS Bainbridge, the mariners were rescued by USS Bainbridge at the request of the master of the M/T Kokuka Courageous. The rescued sailors are currently aboard USS Bainbridge.
    • At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  7. buffy9

    buffy9 Member

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    Some U.S. Allies Balk at Blaming Iran for Tanker Attack

    It appears a number of key American allies are hesitant to directly blame Iran. Norway and Japan are both reluctant to accuse Iran with the latter's targetted shipping company also going as far as to note that their vessel was struck by a flying object and not a limpet mine, as stated by the US.

    The linked article notes that many countries (with the exception of the UK) may not wish to be seen as jumping too quickly to the US' side considering the high stakes of what is going on in the region and the relatively "loud" nature of US foreign policy in recent times.

    It is a worrying concern to have the US seeking allied support. It could indicate a willingness to undertake strike operations to pre-emptively prevent Iranian strikes on international shipping as having more allies would reduce the damage to the US national/international image as a warmonger. It also could however be a means to possibly reduce Iranian aggression if escort/mine operations are to be taken, as having more allies would make any attack more risky (and ultimately costly) for Iran.

    U.S. and Gulf allies face tough task protecting oil shipping lanes - Reuters

    On a related note there appears to be an ongoing discussion on how to protect international shipping in the Gulf, notably in escorting said shipping as well as minesweeping. This would sure raise tensions in the Gulf, though it is arguable whether Iran will escalate if such a move is taken or whether the USN is willing to risk deploying MFU elements close to Iranian shores. Sounds like it might be a useful operational and tactical role for the LCS, provided they can protect themselves from swarm attacks or ASM strikes.

    On a side note, this is combined with a surge in US (logistical) forces in Europe:

    US to Send 1,000 More Troops to Poland

    Russia says it will respond defensively to U.S. deployment in Poland - Reuters

    And the presence of an Australian submarine in the S. Pacific, allegedly due to medical problems with two onboard personnel:

    Australian submarine makes emergency stop in Solomon Islands

    I see strategic steps on a wide access. However I'll avoid discussing the matter, as it is off topic and only a theory.

    Distrusting Both Iran and U.S., Europe Urges ‘Maximum Restraint’

    Finally, it appears the EU is for the most part apprehensive about supporting the US in the region without strong incentive or trust. As noted it is likely due to the US' "hawkish" actions, though also signals a policy of not getting too involved in the Middle East, particularly in a potential crisis/conflict with Iran. If the US does seek international backing in the Gulf, it will likely come with some cost and a great deal of trustbuilding. Those tariffs on key allies by the US don't seem like a good idea now.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  8. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    But the circumstances are very different” from the 1980s when during the Iran-Iraq war the US Navy escorted US re-flagged but foreign-owned tankers through the Gulf in Operation Ernest Will, and had a number of armed clashes with Iranian forces. In the 1980s, a substantial amount of US oil supply, during that period was from the Persian Gulf.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  9. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Active Member

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    Will be interesting to see what the facts are on the iRCG shoot down of the USN Triton with vastly varying claims on its location when it was shot down. If it were truly in Iranian Airspace, they were well within their rights, if the US can prove it was in international airspace as claimed, the possibility of escalation just jumped dramatically in the Straights.

    There are also unconfirmed reports of a cruise missile attack by Iran into Saudi Arabia against a power plant

    US Navy drone shot down by Iranian missile over Strait of Hormuz in 'unprovoked attack,' central command says


    http://www.rudaw.net/mobile/english/middleeast/iran/20062019
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
  10. Ranger25

    Ranger25 Active Member

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  11. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Apparently it was an MQ-4C Triton that was shot down, and the Iranian claim it was violating their airspace.

    Personally I can't help but wonder what is going on. Iran has been careful not to engage the US and its allies directly, preferring to use proxies around the region. Between the bold US claims and the hesitancy of other countries to back this up, I'm not sure I buy the story. What would Iran have to gain from attacking the tankers or downing a US UAV in international air space? On the flip side, if the US is trying to build a case for invading Iran, scouting out Iranian airspace and air defense capabilities would make total sense. And it's not like this is the first time the US used a flimsy pretext to go to war...

    On the other hand, Iran is not always predictable, and they've been rather successful in the region over the past decade. Perhaps they've gotten too bold for their own good, and think they can do this with impunity? Especially after attacks against the Saudi-led coalition by houthis and likely "houthis", targetting air ports and oil infrastructure... of course it's one thing to hit the Saudis who are a belligerent, and to do so from Yemen. It's another thing to hit tankers under neutral flags, and to do so from Iranian bases.

    Иран сбил американский RQ-4 Global Hawk
     
  12. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Some stray thoughts on the reasons for the low likelihood for American escalation
    1. Yes, Iran was careful when adults were in charge. That all changed in December 2018, when the Trump Administration issued a surprise order to withdraw from Syria and abandoned the Syrian Democratic Forces, America’s local partners. Trump’s order prompted resignations from Secretary of Defense James Mattis and special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk, who were the administration’s two most credible officials on Middle East issues (which are always complex).

    2. Compounding the problem of the administration’s credibility, no one understands what the US wants. If there is no end game in the two scenarios below (and with so much uncertainty on guilt and agendas), who wants to be seen supporting Trump?

    (a) Is America after regime change, hoping the sanctions will collapse the government or spark a revolution? After Iraq and Syria, no one with a capable military wants regime change in Iran, with Trump's cut and run approach, to even a very small footprint. More importantly, the adults are no longer in the room in the Trump Administration.

    or

    (b) Is the U.S. aiming for freedom of the seas? This is directly opposite from the position of Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who  have advocated regime change in Iran.​


    3. Today, the bulk of Persian Gulf oil goes to five countries in Asia, namely, China, Japan, South Korea and India. And none of those five countries have shown any real desire to stop the Iranians from what they are doing. I suspect that under the Trump Administration, protection of Persian Gulf oil supply route is no longer a US responsibility.
    4. IMO, it is predictable for Iran to escalate and demonstrate the impotence of the American Neo-Con rhetoric. The issue is not the capability of the US military. The issue is with the lack of capability of the the American Neo-Cons in the Trump Administration to get support from allies. If the Americans escalate, they have to go it alone.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  13. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The dramatic order to withdraw was followed by.... not withdrawing. And as for abandoning local allies once they're no longer useful... isn't this a tradition by now? Hell, the Kurds are getting it for the second time, or third time if you count Iraqi Kurdistan in 2017.

    I would argue that the US didn't have a great endgame in the Middle East since GW went into Iraq. At best some conflicting goals with unrealistic desired end states, at worst a mess with no real exit. Trump's approach to pull out would actually be an improvement, if it weren't for the fact that his own government isn't letting him pull out where he wants to, and his own self-contradictory stance vis-a-vis Iran.

    You said 5 countries but listed 4, for my education who is the 5th?

    It's not like the US can't kick Iran in the teeth by itself. It doesn't even require a long term plan, just a brief romp intended to cause damage to the Iranian military, and send a message regarding attacks on US assets. Meaning that if the US is telling the truth on the tanker attacks, and the drone downing, Iran is playing a very dangerous game.
     
  14. OPSSG

    OPSSG Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I was thinking of Germany/Europe (sorry forgot to list and should be more careful in my post above).

    In Asia, tied for 5th place, as one of the largest importers in Asia are Singapore, Thailand and Taiwan (depending on how you count the oil imports). Singapore in particular, re-exports the oil in different grades after blending and after the refinery treats them. IMHO, there is no incentive for Singapore to be hostile to Iran (if they do not target Singapore owned and flagged vessels with Singapore crew on board).
    Agreed. CENTCOM can do so and has the drawer plans.
    Not sure what the truth is. But Iran wants to pick a limited fight for domestic politics reasons.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  15. Feanor

    Feanor Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Iran has published footage of the wrecked UAV pieces they pulled out of the straight. They claim the wrecked pieces were in their territorial waters, which is entirely possible, and doesn't necessarily prove an airspace violation.

    В Иране показали обломки американского разведчика

    EDIT: The US claims that the system used for the shoot down was the S-125 (NATO des. SA-3). This raises some questions, since the system has relatively limited range. (I've seen 35 and 32 kms cited) And obviously its effectiveness at maximum or close to maximum range isn't great. It's also a rather old system. We would need a fairly exact location where the US claims the downing took place, and ideally where the nearest S-125 batteries are located in Iran but I wouldn't be surprised if there simply wasn't one in the area.

    Trump calls off planned U.S. Military strikes on Iranian targets in response to downed drone

    EDIT2: FAS claims a range of 25kms for the S-125. Of course the upgraded variants offered by multiple countries (Russia, Poland, Ukraine) may have considerably better performance.

    S-125 SA-3 GOA - Russia / Soviet Nuclear Forces

    Also the US is limiting flights in the area for US civilian aircraft.

    Федеральная авиационная администрация запретила полеты американских самолетов над Персидским заливом
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
  16. hauritz

    hauritz Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if any country would ever go to war over a shot down drone. If not we may well start to see drones being routinely engaged and shot down even if they aren't actually in your airspace. I know with unmanned sea vessels they are technically considered salvage regardless of where you find them.

    Of course this becomes even more complicated if you start fitting these drones with weapons ... even if it is for self protection. Imagine if the had an armed AI drone shooting at a civilian plane or boat ... or even a military one for that matter ... because it felt they represented a threat.
     
  17. Stampede

    Stampede Active Member

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    A very interesting question
    I guess the answer will evolve over time.
    Do unmanned "things" increase of decrease the propensity for conflict?

    Regards S
     
  18. John Fedup

    John Fedup Well-Known Member

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    I would think that "unmanned things" carrying weapons are pretty much the same as manned things. Both are threats and enough repetition of these threats most likely lead to conflict.
     
  19. hauritz

    hauritz Well-Known Member

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    I think there could be an increased risk of conflict. I think that nations would be willing to take risks with drones that they would not do if there were human pilots. Incursions into other countries territories could become more frequent. The information you could get about an enemies air defences could be well worth the loss of a few drones.

    The Chinese may well not want to fire on ships testing their right of passage through the disputed areas in the South China Sea but they might not think twice about shooting down a drone.
     
  20. Blackshoe

    Blackshoe Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Reminding the US of the damage it can inflict to the global oil supply system and to the US, all while staying below a level where the US feels compelled to react with force (eg they hit an unmanned drone after Pompeo mentioned "even one US casualties" as a redline. An objective I'd argue it's achieved spectacularly.
     
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