U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis

Great big ships.

Reader “Your Opinion Please” posed questions to me on carrier movements at this earlier post, and I am copying the response here (see below) to provide a general update.

There is no change in the U.S. military posture in the Mediterranean or Black Sea.  That’s the basic point to take away.  The activities we’re seeing are routine and predictable.  Because of the geography of the Ukraine problem, no NATO naval power can realistically be brought to bear on it, and any signals sent with naval power will be political, collateral, and temporary.

As mentioned in the previous post, the carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) and her strike group are in the Mediterranean, Continue reading “U.S. Navy assets update in Ukraine crisis”

IDF intercepts deadly Iranian arms shipment in Red Sea

Arms and the age.

On 5 March, Israeli forces stopped and boarded a freighter in the Red Sea, KLOS-C, which was carrying a cargo of battlefield rockets from Iran to Port Sudan.  The crew of the ship doesn’t appear to have known what was loaded in Iran; more on that later.  Sudan has of course served for years as a waypoint for Iranian arms deliveries to Gaza.  (See The Tower on this as well.)

According to the IDF, Israeli intelligence actually observed the rockets in question being transferred from Syria to Iran several months ago.  The rockets are versions of the Syrian-made M-302, the rocket used in a 302mm multiple-rocket launch system (MLRS).   The Assad regime has supplied Continue reading “IDF intercepts deadly Iranian arms shipment in Red Sea”

Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part

The missiles of 2014?

Alternate title: Sink the Kharg!

Intellectual honesty required putting the recent threats issued by Iran in a realistic perspective.  While we should take Iran’s geopolitical posture seriously, it does our own deliberations a disservice to accept absurdities from Iran rather than calling them out.  Someone’s bound to notice eventually, so it’s best to sort the nonsense out up front.

That said, we should be concerned about what Iran has been doing in the last 48-72 hours.  This is not because Iran can make good on threats like those depicted in the truly moronic Lenziran video (see link above); it’s because the Iranian regime has escalated its verbal attacks dramatically.  These aren’t random bursts of rhetoric.  They appear to have a specific purpose. Continue reading “Iran: Now for the not-so-funny part”

Iranian warships take southerly route, head for South Africa

Peace in our time.

The Iranian navy is doing this one the hard way.  The two ships in the “29th Flotilla” task group heading for the Atlantic Ocean will make their transit by the Cape of Good Hope, rather than going through the Mediterranean Sea.

According to Iranian authorities, the ships will stop in South Africa for a port visit on the way to the Atlantic.

They’re “doing it the hard way” because the Iranians don’t have a capability to do underway refueling.   On the African route, Continue reading “Iranian warships take southerly route, head for South Africa”

Great news: Russia, China to hold joint naval exercise in the Med

On the QT…

Russia Today reports that China and Russia agreed this past weekend to hold a joint naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.

Since they’re both there and all.  It will be interesting to see where they hold the exercise.  Presumably they will steer clear of any area in which they would excite the territorial-claims concern of Greece and Turkey.  That may or may not eliminate the waters between Cyprus and Syria.  I suspect the Russians would avoid that area; it would be an “in your face!” gesture at Turkey to have the exercise there: the use of a card Russia doesn’t need to play just yet. Continue reading “Great news: Russia, China to hold joint naval exercise in the Med”