Archive for the ‘Persian Gulf’ Category

US maintaining naval-air-marine might in Arabian Sea opposite India, Pakistan, Iran

December 1, 2008

Three US aircraft carriers with strike groups, task forces and nuclear submarines have piled up in the waters of the Arabian Sea opposite the shores of India, Pakistan and Iran, and in the Persian Gulf.

DEBKAfile‘s military sources report that the US began massing this formidable array of floating firepower at the outset of the Islamist terrorist attack on the Indian city of Mumbai last Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Tehran responded typically with a threat of retaliation should the Americans decide to use the Mumbai terrorist attack to hit Iran.

It is more likely, according to our military sources, that the Americans are on the ready in case the rising tensions between India and Pakistan over the New Delhi’s charge of Pakistani involvement in the Mumbai atrocity explodes into an armed clash on their border.

This is indicated by the units now deployed:

1. the USS John C. Stennis, which carries 80 fighter-bombers and 3,200 sailors and airmen and leads a strike group..

This carrier joins two already there, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which patrols the northern Arabian Sea, part of whose strike group cruises opposite Iran’s southern coast; and the USS Iwo Jima, which carries a large marine contingent on board.

2. New to these waters, according to DEBKAfile‘s military sources, is the Destroyer Squadron 50/CTF 55, which has two task forces: Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) for strikes against warships and the rapid deployment of marines to flashpoint arenas; and Mine Countermeasures Division 31, which stands ready to prevent New Delhi or Islamabad from mining the Arabian Sea routes connecting their ports. Those routes are vital waterways for US marine traffic supporting the war in Afghanistan.

3. To manage this armada, the command and control vessel, USS Mount Whitney, has been brought over from the Mediterranean.

4. Four nuclear submarines.

The arrival of the southwest Asian marine patrol carrier Stennis and the Mount Whitney to the Arabian Sea opposite Iran’s shores set alarm bells ringing in Tehran. Our Iranian sources note that the Islamic republic’s rulers remember that after al Qaeda’s attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, the Americans did not only invade Afghanistan, but also Iraq and they fear a similar sideswipe.

The Iranian chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Ataoallah Salehi sounded a warning when he stated Sunday, Nov. 30: The “heavy weight” of enemy warships provides the Iranian side with an ideal opportunity for launching successful counter-attacks.

Related:
Iran Holds Military Games Near Hormuz Strait


Above: U.S. Navy operates at sea with allies…

U.S. Navy cruisers carry long range cruise missiles.  Seen here: USS Gettysburg

See the DEPKA file:
http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5747

India and Pakistan: Two Very Dangerous Neighbors

December 1, 2008

The tensions between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai terrorism should serve as a reminder that India and Pakistan are two of the more dangerous neighbors on earth.

Both nuclear-armed, India and Pakistan have fought several wars since Britain left South Asia and the nations were “partitioned” in 1947.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Wikipedia says, “resulted in the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between the two countries. In each case, except the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned East Pakistan, the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir region.”

India sees itself as a rival to another “emerging superpower”: China.  The two have tense relationships.

China has built the largest seaport in the world in Pakistan and provides Pakistan with military hardware, technology and assistance.  But when Pakistan recently needed cash, Hu Jintao’s China turned them away and sent them to the IMF.

The U.S. tries to have friendly and helpful relations with both India and Pakistan.  The U.S. just completed a nuclear technology assistance deal with India and Pakistan’s air force has U.S.-made F-16 aircraft.

China, the U.S., Pakistan and India all want a Navy strong enough to assure security in the Indian Ocean and surrounding sea lanes.  Persian Gulf oil headed to Japan, the U.S., and China all passes through these waters.

File photo of the Indian naval warship INS Tabar. A maritime ... 
The Indian naval warship INS Tabar has been involved in recent anti-piracy missions near Somalia.
AFP/Indian Navy/Ho/File

India has a variety of missiles including the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile, the medium-range Akash, and the supersonic Brahmos. The Agni missiles are the most powerful.

India last year successfully test-fired the Agni-III, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads across much of Asia and the Middle East.

New Delhi says it developed its missile program as a deterrent against neighbors China and Pakistan.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

Pakistan has its own ballistic missiles plus assistance from China on many weapons and projects.

JF-17 testing.jpg

Related:

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

JF-17 “Thunder” Aircraft Join Pakistani Air Force

GhauriMissile.jpg
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.

Related:
Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

Iran Opens New Naval Base in Persian Gulf Port

November 18, 2008

Iran’s official news agency says the country’s Revolutionary Guards have opened a new naval base on the Persian Gulf.

It is the fourth in a string of Revolutionary Guards bases along the waterway. The elite force was put in charge of defending Iran’s Gulf coast in September.

Tension over Iran’s nuclear program prompted the Guards’ commander to threaten in June to seal off a key oil route through the Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz in the event of an attack by Israel or the U.S. Forty percent of the world’s oil transits the passage.

Monday’s IRNA news agency report says the new base is in the port of Assalouyeh. It will control a 190-mile stretch of coastline west of the strait between Kish Island and the port of Dayyer.

–Associated Press

Iraqi prime minister courts Iran with demands on U.S. security deal

November 3, 2008

Iraq’s prime minister is pushing the idea that the U.S. departure is in sight in a bid to sell the security deal with Washington to Iran.

To reinforce the message, the Iraqis are asking for changes to the deal that would effectively rule out extending the U.S. military presence beyond 2011.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his allies also are describing the agreement not as a formula for long-term U.S.-Iraqi security cooperation — the original goal when the talks began this year — but as a way to manage the U.S. withdrawal.

It’s unclear whether this will be enough to win over the Iranians and Iraqi critics — or whether the U.S. will go along with the demands submitted by the Iraqi Cabinet last week.

The Iraqis want expanded Iraqi jurisdiction over U.S. troops and elimination of a clause that could allow the soldiers to stay past a tentative Dec. 31, 2011, deadline.

Iran opposes the agreement, fearing it could lead to U.S. troops remaining in a neighboring country indefinitely.

With Iranian sensitivities in mind, the Iraqis also want a ban on the U.S. using Iraqi territory to attack its neighbors — a demand that was reinforced by last Sunday’s U.S. raid against a suspected al-Qaeda hideout in Syria.

If Washington won’t bend, key Iraqi politicians think the deal will never win parliament’s approval. U.S. diplomats are studying the proposals, and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said a response is expected by Wednesday.

But some U.S. officials have privately expressed doubts about chances to reach an agreement before the U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S. mission expires at the end of next month.

Without an agreement or a new U.N. mandate, the U.S. military would have to suspend all security and assistance operations in Iraq.

Read the rest:
http://www.denverpost.com/ci_10871300?source=rss

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

October 15, 2008

China has realized for years that Pakistan is a neighbor of strategic importance.  India is China’s number one regional revial and pakistan is India’s traditional foe.  China has supported Pakistan in its nuclear ambitions and probably assisted Pakistan in nlang range missile development — often using North Korea as a proxy.  China and akistan are also completing the largest seaport in the world at Gwadar, Pakistan….

Tarique Niazi, The Jamestown Foundation, China Brief

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.Although the Gwadar Port project has been under study since May 2001, the U.S. entrée into Kabul provided an added impetus for its speedy execution. Having set up its bases in Central, South, and West Asian countries, the U.S. virtually brought its military forces at the doorstep of China. Beijing was already wary of the strong U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf, which supplies 60% of its energy needs. It was now alarmed to see the U.S. extend its reach into Asian nations that ring western China. Having no blue water navy to speak of, China feels defenseless in the Persian Gulf against any hostile action to choke off its energy supplies. This vulnerability set Beijing scrambling for alternative safe supply routes for its energy shipments.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart ... 
Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari stand near their respective country’s flags during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing October 15, 2008. Zardari arrived on Tuesday for his first visit to China as president, and has said he wants his four-day trip “to remind the leadership of the world how close our relationship is”. Pakistan is set to usher in a series of agreements with China during the trip, highlighting Islamabad’s hopes that Beijing will help it through economic and diplomatic troubles.REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA)
Read the rest:
http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/2528.html
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JF-17 testing.jpg
Above: JF-17 Thunder jet is a product of Pakistani and Chinese cooperation.  It is now in service in the Pakistani Air Force.

The Chinese do not easily forget old friends and do pardon some indiscretions on the part of the friend. Beijing gratefully remembers that it was Pakistan which facilitated the secret talks between China and the USA leading to establishment of diplomatic relations. Pakistan is also a security frontier for China in more ways than one.   
GhauriMissile.jpg
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

The China-Pak special relations were built by the leaders of the two countries, especially the anti- India disposition of the Pakistani leaders and army, which filted eminently with China’s South Asia strategy with a common cause. 

The periodic Pak-US alliance has been both useful to Beijing and, at times, an irritant. During the Cold War the three formed an anti-Soviet axis. After the demise of the Soviet Union, China saw the US interest in Pakistan detrimental to its security. During his visit to Pakistan in 1996, Chinese President Jiang Zemin clearly indicated that USA should not meddle in South Asia. The message was clear to Pakistan also. 

Even after removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharrif, Gen. Musharraf maintained excellent relationship with China. Following the US attack on Taliban in Afghanistan Musharraf is reported to have made a secret visit to Beijing only for a few hours to consult with the Chinese leaders. 

In a rather surprising, but understandable reaction, the China Radio International (CRI)….

 Shaheen 01.jpg
Pakistan’s Shaheen missile

By Bhasker Roy 

Although the Chinese leaders and policymakers have been forced by India’s economic development and vibrant international relations to acknowledge New Delhi’s position in regional and international platforms, Pakistan continues to remain its main centre in South Asia. 

Beijing has invested its most in Pakistan for very pertinent reasons. China is to refer to North Korea relations as “lips to teeth”. Pakistan was its “time tested ally and friend” and an example of relations between two countries. While these expressions have changed along with new post cold war global alliances and dynamics, the importance of Pakistan to China has not diminished. If fact, it has increased in terms of China’s security calculations including energy security. 

In the last decade, China helped Pakistan as a stand alone nuclear power, invested $ 2.2 billion in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port (GDSP), and helped it in trying to maintain military parity with India. Traditionally, the Chinese military sales have been at “friendship prices” and out right assistance. The Gwader Port is a gift. The F-17 Thunder advanced fighter aircraft being jointly built and produced at Kamra is basically Chinese mode.

Read the rest:
http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers26%5Cpaper2575.html

Persian Gulf Provocations: What To Do?

January 29, 2008

By James Lyons
The Washington Times
January 29, 2008

In the normal course of ships operating at sea, the recognized International Collision Regulations (COLREGS) of 1960 govern ship movements when encountering other ships.
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These rules apply to all vessels upon the high seas and all waters connected to the high seas and navigable by seagoing vessels.
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These rules that previously gained acceptance by all maritime nations were codified into standard regulations by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and adopted Oct. 20, 1972, and entered into force July 15, 1977.
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All signatory countries are obligated to abide….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080129/COMMENTARY/444667562

Pentagon Gives Further Discussion Of Iranian Boat Incident

January 12, 2008
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – Recent clashes between Iranian and U.S. Navy forces in the Persian Gulf reflect Iran‘s shifted military strategy to use its Revolutionary Guard’s fast boats more aggressively in the region, the top U.S. military officer said Friday.

In a confrontation Sunday — captured on a 36-minute video the Pentagon made public Friday — military officials said boxes were thrown into the water by the Iranians, triggering concerns about potential mine threats. And in an incident last month, a U.S. ship fired warning shots at a rapidly approaching Iranian boat.

Admiral William Fallon

While there are lingering questions about the origin of menacing verbal threats heard during the confrontation…

Read the rest:
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080112/ap_on_go_
ca_st_pe/us_iran;_ylt=AtDiluhQytzkA7EafI.
M2CKs0NUE

US admiral says Iran risks Gulf conflict

January 11, 2008
By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press Writer 

CAIRO, Egypt – The top U.S. military commander in the Mideast said Friday that Iran runs the risk of triggering an unintended conflict if its boats continue to harass U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

This image released by the US Navy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, and ...
This image released by the US Navy Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008, and shot Sunday, Jan. 6 from the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, shows a small blue boat, alleged to be Iranian, purportedly racing near the wake of U.S. Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. The incident, which President George W. Bush denounced Tuesday as a ‘provocative act,’ was videotaped by a crew member on the bridge of the destroyer USS Hopper, one of the three ships that faced down five Iranian boats in a flare-up early Sunday.
(AP Photo/U.S. Navy)
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Adm. William J. Fallon, chief of U.S. Central Command, said a threatening radio call heard during an encounter Sunday between U.S. Navy ships and Iranian boats in the Strait of Hormuz was likely connected to Iran’s provocative actions. He said the exact origin of the message was still unknown.

“This kind of behavior, if it happens in the future, is the kind of event that could precipitate a mistake,” Fallon told The Associated Press. “If the boats come closer, at what point does the captain think it is a direct threat to the ship and has to do something to stop it?”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080111/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_us_navy;_ylt=
AjTBdHaQhifYY1K83m.3FQys0NUE

Israel: “Thank God For George Bush”

January 9, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 9, 2008

In a rare moment of praise for President Bush, Israeli President Shimon Peres explained to reporters that it was not polite to praise a person in his own presence.  Then he slipped into Hebrew and said, “Thank God for George Bush.”

President Bush is in Israel on the first stop in his multi-nation Middle East peace mission.

Israel expressed strong gratitude to the United States for its continued support for the peace process.  Both nations again expressed an intention to see a new Palistinian nation in the Middle East near Israel.
President Bush arrives in Israel for his first presidential visit there on Wednesday
President Bush arrives in Israel Wednesday for his first presidential
visit there. (Photo by Christopher Furlong, Getty Images.)

When asked why no three party talks were planned — to include the Palistinian leadership, President Peres said there had been a three-way discussion just a month ago during the Annapolis summit.

“I come as an optimistic person and a realistic person – realistic in my understanding that it’s vital for the world to fight terrorists, to confront those who would murder the innocent to achieve political objectives,” Bush said as he began his first presidential visit to Israel.

But the real news from the press conference today was the heartfelt praise for President Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice by the Israelis.

“Your visit is timely and is very important to encourage the process that you and Secretary Rice helped start in Annapolis a few weeks ago and that we, both sides I believe, are very seriously trying to move forward with now in order to realize the vision of a two-state solution,” said Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

(AP) President Bush, right, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I come with high hopes,” Bush said. “And the role of the United States will be to foster a vision of peace. The role of the Israeli leadership and the Palestinian leadership is going to do the hard work necessary to define a vision.”

President Bush pledged to fully support the peace process.

“Am I nudging them forward? Well, my trip was a pretty significant nudge because yesterday they had a meeting,” he said. And he said he would step in when and if his involvement is needed. “You know me well enough to know I’ll be more than willing to provide it,” Bush said.

When asked about the confrontation at sea Sunday between small boats from Iran and the United States Navy, President Bush reiterated what his National Security Advisor had said in Washington.  “Next time, Iran will have to take responsibility for the consequences.”

President Bush said Iran continues to be a “threat to world peace.”

The president said about the incident in the Persian Gulf, “all options are on the table to secure our assets.” He said serious consequences would follow another Iranian provocation. “My advice to them is don’t do it,” he said.

Iran: U.S. Tapes of Its Boats are Faked

January 9, 2008
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran accused the United States on Wednesday of fabricating video and audio released by the Pentagon showing Iranian boats confronting U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

The video from Sunday’s incident shows small Iranian boats swarming around U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz. In the recording, a man speaking in heavily accented English threatened, “I am coming to you. … You will explode after … minutes.”

“The footage released by the U.S. Navy was compiled using file pictures and the audio has been fabricated,” an official in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying by the state-run English-language channel Press TV.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080109/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_us_navy;_
ylt=Au8zV60EGxVkpVyxrvcmkt2s0NUE

Related:
U.S. Presents Evidence Of Iran’s “Provocation” At Sea