Hat Speech

The Russians, who say they surprised the US with their ballistic missile launch from the Arctic, are being silly.

After launching two Sineva (SS-N-23 SKIFF Mod) submarine-launched ballistic missiles from the North Pole on 15 July, Russia is now reporting that her navy took US intelligence by surprise with the location of the launch.

According to a Russian intelligence source, “The American radars certainly detected the missile launches but their location took them by surprise.” Continue reading “Hat Speech”

Charging the Chokepoints

Iran’s strategy for destablizing the region, and exploiting existing instability, is targeted on globally significant maritime chokepoints. America needs to get a clue.

Anyone who is not convinced of Iran’s aspirations to regional hegemony – or just expansion of power, if you prefer – should read Amir Taheri’s Wall Street Journal piece from Monday on that topic.  Taheri has done American readers the service of collecting in a single piece a summary of Iranian activities to destabilize the US-friendly regimes in Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Kuwait, and Bahrain – the latter two of which host major Persian Gulf bases for American forces.

Revolutionary Iran has engaged in such activities at varying levels over the years in some of these nations (Lebanon, obviously, but Iran has sought to revolutionize Muslims in Morocco for some time as well, and undermine the Western-friendly monarchy there; and Tehran has long supported internal insurgents in Egypt also).  But the last year has seen an unmistakable concatenation of Iranian efforts across all these Arab Muslim nations – efforts that appeared to surge in March 2009, with a sensational Iranian reference in a political speech to the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain as “part of Iran.”  Tehran has been working through militants in Bahrain, as it has in Egypt, where 68 were arrested in December 2008 (four identified as members of Iran’s paramilitary/terrorist Qods force), in what Egyptian leaders described, in their April announcement of the operation, as an Iran-backed plot. Continue reading “Charging the Chokepoints”

Things that Make You Go

Recent reports of Iranian arms carriers being attacked and sunk near Sudan’s ports are not impossible. These are some realistic scenarios.

… Hmmmm

If any navy but the Israeli Sea Corps were in question, I would just dismiss this (after due consideration and analysis, of course).  But if recent reports of Iranian smuggling ships being attacked in Sudanese ports have any validity, it would be because there is an Israeli connection.  The reports are from non-experts and have internal inconsistencies, so skepticism is in order.  But the events they suggest are not impossible.  They are only improbable.  Nothing is lost in a little analysis.

In conjunction with the reporting from March of an air attack on a smuggling convoy in Sudan, attributed to the Israeli Air Force, there was an additional, but little-remarked, report of a ship bearing Iranian cargo being attacked and sunk in the Red Sea. Continue reading “Things that Make You Go”

Eternal Father…

The rescue of merchant Captain Richard Phillips was made possible by a set of American-bred characteristics in the merchant marine and Navy. Obama’s policies tend to discourage formation of those characteristics. We should remember what it takes to be a nation our president only has to give “Yes” or “No” answers to.

… strong to save,

Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep

Its own appointed limits keep –

O hear us when we cry to thee

For those in peril on the sea!

                        The Navy Hymn


I think a lot of his fellow mariners’ hearts were with Captain Richard Phillips on Easter Sunday.  Continue reading “Eternal Father…”

Chokepoint Challenge

The political mess in Somalia, if it is “fixed” to suppress piracy, may well create more trouble for the liberal West, and international shipping in general, down the road.

Somalia is a mess.  The piracy problem won’t be fixed until Somalia ceases being a mess.  The most likely manner of de-messing Somalia will be the imposition of Shari’a rule.  Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda branch of Sunni wahhabism is pushing to lead that effort.  If the “moderate” Shari’a alternative to the more “Qaedist” elements in Somalia wins out, its affiliations with Iran and Saudi Arabia are not substantially more encouraging.  In Somalia, we should be careful what we ask for, because we may get it.

We could leave it at this, but I know interested readers will want to investigate this issue just a little further. Continue reading “Chokepoint Challenge”