Iran Threatens to Break the Blockade

June 7th, 2010 at 8:28 am | 37 Comments |

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According to a report by AFP today, the Iranian Red Crescent has decided to send two aid ships to Gaza this week in the latest bid to break the maritime blockade by Israel. This follows a report by Reuters yesterday, which quoted Ali Shirazi, representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying that “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities“.

Whether Iran is bluffing is unclear, however this may well be the perfect example of what Hillary Clinton foreshadowed as recently as Sunday, of Iran pulling “some stunt” in the coming days to try to divert pressure for international sanctions over its nuclear program. The timing also conveniently coincides with the one year anniversary of Iran’s widely discredited Presidential elections and subsequent human rights crackdown.

There are also practical difficulties of how exactly the Iranians propose to sail into Gaza, despite the Red Crescent saying they intend to do so “directly”.

Nevertheless, this brazen move should not be dismissed out of hand, especially given reports that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has vowed to personally accompany a future sail to Gaza to break the blockade and the Red Crescent’s previously unsuccessful attempt to break the blockade in December 2008, which was stopped without major incident from reaching Gaza by the Israeli navy.

Given Iran’s previous declarations to wipe Israel off the map and its support of Hamas and Hezbollah, including providing both with weapons, such a reckless and provocative move by Iran would have drastic repercussions and be tantamount to a declaration of war against Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu has already stated that Israel will not allow Gaza to become an ‘Iranian port’.

If Iran does in fact seek to break the blockade, Israel would have no option but to respond militarily, and with that, perhaps also find an opportunity to finally end the impasse over Iran’s nuclear build up.

Let’s hope cooler heads prevail at sea.

Recent Posts by Arsen Ostrovsky



37 Comments so far ↓

  • Smarg

    Muslims on boats challenging Israel?

    C’mon, baby!!!

  • LauraNo

    This is what we should have expected from Israel’s actions lately. A neocon’s fantasy come to life. Frum is probably just as happy as Smarg, he’ll just have the sense to not say it outloud. The rightwing get’s what they want yet again.

  • ottovbvs

    “Frum is probably just as happy as Smarg, he’ll just have the sense to not say it outloud.”

    ……they should be careful what they wish for……a prolonged major war between Iran, a sophisticated nation of 75 million people (inevitably backed by China and Russia) and Israel, a nation of 6 million
    (of whom 1.2 million are Arabs) would probably result in the destruction of the Israeli state………Israel it seems to me bears more than a passing resemblance to pre 1914 Serbia whose recklessness provoked WW 1

  • jagerine

    @ottovbvs // Jun 7, 2010 at 9:35 am

    If it were that simple, Iran would have taken out Israel by now. You know they want to. Iran is not nearly as militarily capable as Israel is.

  • thijsvn

    If Erdogan would actually go on one of these boats, the result could be catastrophic. If he’s serious, the guy is as dangerous as the turkish secular elite make him out to be.

    This thing makes me a little nervous, so I use google… yes google. It’s that easy: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=129306&sectionid=351020204

    “Turkey’s prime minister will not accompany an aid convoy bound for Gaza, says Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, voicing concern over the use of force against Turkish citizens.

    “No. No. No, no, no, no. Prime Minister Erdogan doesn’t have such an intention,” Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with CNN on Sunday. ”

    Come on David, it was even on CNN.

  • ottovbvs

    jagerine // Jun 7, 2010 at 9:47 am

    “If it were that simple, Iran would have taken out Israel by now.You know they want to”

    …….I don’t at all…………Iran isn’t stupid enough to start a war with Israel for a host of reasons…….but if Israel is stupid enough to start one with Iran how long do you think it will take a nation of 75 million and with a land mass of 1,600,000 square km to erode the somewhat, but not massively, superior military capability of a nation of six million with a land mass of 21,000 square km?…..Iran would be delighted for Israel to be the aggressor in a war of attrition

  • ottovbvs

    thijsvn // Jun 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

    ““No. No. No, no, no, no. Prime Minister Erdogan doesn’t have such an intention,”

    ……..of course he doesn’t…….you’d have to have a mental age of 9 to think he had any such intention

  • Stan

    It’s almost a thousand miles between Tehran and Tel Aviv. I can’t see the intervening countries allowing the armed forces of either Iran or Israel to cross its territory, neither country has much in the way of air transport, and neither country has the logistical capability to maintain naval forces at sea for any length of time. Any fighting between Iran and Israel would involve air combat only, and in a war of this type I’d bet on Israel.

  • ottovbvs

    Stan // Jun 7, 2010 at 10:38 am

    “Any fighting between Iran and Israel would involve air combat only, and in a war of this type I’d bet on Israel.”

    …….The range of Iranian ballistic missiles is 2000-3000 km………they have large numbers they have purchased from North Korea and Russia….and they have also developed a substantial indigenous industry much of which is located underground…….of course Israel has similar ballistic missiles and would attempt to destroy Iranian installations on the ground but probably at fairly high cost in pilots and planes both of which would be very hard to replace…….in such a war scenario it’s hard to see Israel being able avoid huge civilian casualties and having it’s offensive capability destroyed in under six months particularly since she would also soon be attacked by Iranian proxies in Lebanon …….Iran is not Egypt

  • medinnus

    Assuming the Big Powers don’t take an active role…

    Hmm… Iran’s navy is small craft and speed-boats, Israel wins the naval engagement.

    Then they prosecute the air/missle war. I don’t have reliable information on Iran’s capabilities, just on what they say they have, which is … problematic. The land war begins as I doubt Hezbollah will just stand by. Israel will be hard-pressed.

    Meanwhile, China will make a boatload of money selling re-stock arms to Iran.

  • ottovbvs

    medinnus // Jun 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    “Assuming the Big Powers don’t take an active role…”

    …….Aside from Diplomacy of course they are not going to any more than they did in 67 or 73…….

    “Hmm… Iran’s navy is small craft and speed-boats, Israel wins the naval engagement.”

    …….Israel has three submarines (German) and about 10-20 motor torpedo boats………Iran has unknown number of submarines, a couple of frigates and hundreds of torpedo boats……so how does Israel win at sea?

    ” I don’t have reliable information on Iran’s capabilities, just on what they say they have, which is … problematic.”

    ……not really…….we know they have bought 100 plus from N Korea and Russia and that was years ago……we also know they have developed a considerable indigenous capability including mobile launching systems……at least equal to Israel’s……..and Israel is an infinitely richer target environment

    “Meanwhile, China will make a boatload of money selling re-stock arms to Iran.”

    …….Actually I don’t think they do because that would open the door to the US supplying military equipment and vice versa of course……once the US starts supplying more F16′s it opens the door to the Russians, Chinese, French etc……this is why in any war that lasts more than a few weeks Israel is screwed because both of them outside of proxies would be on their own and dependant on their indigenous resources, manpower and and international financial clout

  • blowtorch_bob

    This is great news indeed!

    And in a related story scientists have recently announced they have perfected time travel and will be sending a brigade of Israeli commandos to Warsaw circa 1944 to assist the Jewish resistance there in their fight against the Nazis.

  • easton

    yeah Stan, not sure of Ottos point here. Iran couldn’t even beat Iraq under lunatic Hussein. Besides, how the hell is this flotilla supposed to get to the Med. Sea? The aids boats might be allowed passage but no way in hell is Egypt going to allow Iran to send military vessels through the canal and no way in hell is Iran going around Africa for this stunt.

    So, this ain’t going to happen.

  • easton

    I just want to repeat for all the map challenged writers at Frum Forum. Look at a map. There is no way for Iran to get any naval vessels to the Mediterranean sea. They will not be allowed to use the Suez Canal and they do not have the capability to go around Africa. This is PURE FANTASY. The correct response to this “threat” is laughter.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Jun 7, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    “yeah Stan, not sure of Ottos point here…….Iran couldn’t even beat Iraq under lunatic Hussein. ”

    …….Iraq was getting armed by the USA….duh…….it was thirty years ago when Iran was largely equipped with aged American weaponry from the Shah’s regime for which they couldn’t get parts and they had no ballistic weaponry to speak of…..neither did the Iraqis and the US wasn’t going to give it to them so to get at each other they were forced to fight WW 1 style attritional battles that produced well over 1 million fatalities ……Iranian military capability has been transformed since then (I visited both countries while the war was in progress and have since btw)…….they have a huge fairly modern army……..a modern airforce……… a very substantial ballistic missile capability although we don’t know quite how big…..and some light naval forces (which as you say are largely irrelevant since they can’t get at each other)……this would be principally a war of air and ballistic missile exchanges with some ground war activities from proxies…….if you think Israel is going to wipe Iran’s clock in such an attritional war you are sorely misinformed

  • easton

    “if you think Israel is going to wipe Iran’s clock in such an attritional war you are sorely misinformed”
    No, what I am saying is nothing is going to happen. There will be no war. Egypt might allow aid vessels through but not military vessels, and they very well might not allow aid vessels. The Egyptians can simply say give it to us and we will deliver it ourselves. There can then be no possibility for confrontation. If there is no confrontation there is no pretext for war. Hence, this is a whole lotta NOTHING.

  • ottovbvs

    …….From Wiki on Iranian military capability………Israel has substantial air superiority but that’s no good against ballistic missiles aimed at the target rich environment of physically tiny Israel…..nor would I totally dismiss Iran’s naval power because she has a submarine force of unknown size……I don’t think it’s going to happen despite Ostrovsky’s totally misguided enthusiasm because Israel wouldn’t be stupid enough to attack Iran

    “After the Islamic revolution, Iran found itself severely isolated and lacking technological expertise. Because of economic sanctions and a weapons embargo put on Iran by the United States, Iran was forced to rely on its domestic arms industry for weapons and spare parts since there were very few countries willing to do business with Iran.[24] The Islamic Revolutionary Guards were put in charge of creating what is today known as the Iranian military industry. Under their command Iran’s military industry was enormously expanded, and with the Ministry of Defense pouring investment into the missile industry, Iran soon accumulated a vast arsenal of missiles.[20]

    Since 1992, it also has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, radar systems, guided missiles, submarines, military vessels and fighter planes.[25][26]

    In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Fajr-3 (MIRV), Hoot, Kowsar, Fateh-110, Shahab-3 missile systems and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles, at least one of which Israel claims has been used to spy on Israel.[27] In 2006, an Iranian UAV acquired and allegedly tracked the American aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan for 25 minutes without being detected before returning safely to its base.[28]“

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Jun 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    “No, what I am saying is nothing is going to happen. There will be no war. ”

    ……..in which case we agree……but the fact that far right Israeli zealots like Ostrovsky and conservativ idiots like Smarg can’t wait for a war shows how out to lunch these people are on Israel’s vulnerability

  • Churl

    Otto on Iranian armaments: “Israel has substantial air superiority but that’s no good against ballistic missiles aimed at the target rich environment of physically tiny Israel…..nor would I totally dismiss Iran’s naval power because she has a submarine force of unknown size…”

    I don’t know about Otto, but this makes me stop wondering why the government of physically tiny, target rich Israel is a bit nervous about the state whose leader has vowed to wipe Israel off the map.

  • ottovbvs

    Churl // Jun 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    “I don’t know about Otto, but this makes me stop wondering why the government of physically tiny, target rich Israel is a bit nervous about the state whose leader has vowed to wipe Israel off the map.”

    ……Leaving aside the question of whether he’s really the leader the fact is they are not stupid enough to do that because it would give the US the perfect excuse to attack Iran……Conversely, however if Israel launches an aggressive war against Iran, THEY have the perfect excuse to wipe Israel off the map……..Don’t you guys have any conception of game theory or do you just say the first thing that comes into your heads

  • easton

    otto, smarg is a monkey who couldn’t identify the US on a map of the US so ascribing anything higher than simian intelligence is something I am not prepared to do. But you are right about the reaction of Ostrovsky. It is patently ridiculous. If Iran were to claim it will build a moon base and launch aid ships from the moon to Gaza to break the blockade via space would he get hysterical, or laugh hysterically? There is no need to hope cooler heads will prevail when the supposition is preposterous. Iran is striking a ludicrous pose, why in the world would anyone play along with it?

  • jakester

    Easton is making the best points here. The Iranian navy is a joke. It is more hot air designed to rile up their Islamic nutbase. I think that even some of the other hard line Israel hating Arab countries would do all they could to stop them cause they don’t want Iran extending their influence or starting a war they don’t want.

  • ottovbvs

    jakester // Jun 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    “The Iranian navy is a joke”

    ……..Well with due respect to Easton and yourself……you’re wrong …..it depends on the job it has to do……at one time a lot of Americans thought the Viet Cong was a joke……..it’s not going to be fighting fleet actions with the Israeli navy which is even more of a joke in your simplistic terms……..but they have an unknown number of submarines which could be used against Israeli commerce and the Israelis have no substantial anti submarine capability……they also have an armada of hundreds (maybe thousands) of hard and soft hulled torpedo boats that could be used very effectively against civilian or military targets in the narrow waters of the Persian gulf………….the military balance doesn’t depend solely on how much hardware or technology you have or we wouldn’t be getting the run around by a bunch of tribesmen in Afghanistan…….and the greatest Battleship ever built wouldn’t have been crippled by 150 mph bi-plane

  • easton

    otto, where did I say the Iranian navy is a joke? I simply said they lack the capability to project their naval power around the length of Africa into the Med. Sea. I do agree with Jakester that this is propaganda and nothing more.

  • Willems

    Dangerous and troubling situtation. Since the exhaustion of the Iraq War, and the helplessnes of NATO during the Georgian war, the US has lost the aura of a great effective power that makes crazies think hard and long before making trouble. This is a recipe for a very big and terrible war. The US is far more powerful, but Iran and its allies are powerful enough to put up a very bloody protracted fight. I hope sane minds prevail.

  • ottovbvs

    easton // Jun 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    otto, where did I say the Iranian navy is a joke?

    ……..don’t take issue with me, take issue with the guy who misquoted you as in:

    jakester // Jun 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    “Easton is making the best points here. The Iranian navy is a joke.”

  • ottovbvs

    Willems // Jun 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    “the US has lost the aura of a great effective power that makes crazies think hard and long before making trouble.”

    ……..The US has started the last two wars of any significance…….your so called “Georgian War” was a skirmish initiated by Georgia that was of little or no interest to NATO who had no vital interests at stake………and there’s no question of war between Iran and the US except in the fevered imaginations of neocons like Frum and Ostrovsky

  • Willems

    ottovbvs // Jun 7, 2010 at 3:29 pm
    “there’s no question of war between Iran and the US except in the fevered imaginations of neocons like Frum and Ostrovsky”

    You seem to know everyhing.Hope you’re right

  • ottovbvs

    Willems // Jun 7, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    “You seem to know everyhing.Hope you’re right”

    ……not really……but I’d have said the chances are very slight and infinitely less than the neocons would like them to be…… wouldn’t you

  • TerryF98

    “there’s no question of war between Iran and the US except in the fevered imaginations of neocons like Frum and Ostrovsky”

    Unless…… The Neocons ever get back to power, God forbid. If they do then look out.

  • ottovbvs

    TerryF98 // Jun 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    “Unless…… The Neocons ever get back to power, God forbid. If they do then look out.”

    ……they are a useful boogyman I suppose but nah…….even Bush wouldn’t sign off on an Israeli air attack on Iran via US controlled airspace……….so even he had a faint inkling of the dire consequences for US interests

  • Churl

    Otto again, “Don’t you guys have any conception of game theory or do you just say the first thing that comes into your heads”.

    “Game” and “theory” don’t cut it when responding to existential threats from a well armed self-declared enemy who asserts that he wants to wipe your population off the map. Game theory assumes that you understand sufficiently the thinking of all the players in a complex and dangerous situation to forecast their mutually-reinforcing responses in a given set of circumstances. I don’t think there’s enough understanding of the players or situation in the Middle East to place much trust in game theory.

    The Israeli government would be nuts not to be prepared to counter the threats that Iran and others have been making for years, von Neumann’s elegant writings notwithstanding.

  • lucas Paul

    When did the Jew neo cons ever lose power or any neocon. What the hell these folks smoke so early in the day is the reason we are in such deep trouble now. If Irans Navy wants to escort ships it has a right to. Israel is a rogue state and is illigitimate. Keep being undecided until they drop another World Trade center or worse. Iran will I’, sure have some plan and will not walk blindly into a trap. Stop atempting to know the outcome when you can’t even figure out that Israel is not in their right mind and have no business in the Middle East at all. The day has ended when the ignorant language of american idiots will be accepted for anything except insanity. Ant one believing in the rights of Israel in the Middle East is the Enemy of USA we as a people don’t want it never happen. The talk of the day is go back to poland. sounds like the making of a good song.

  • ottovbvs

    Churl // Jun 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    ““Game” and “theory” don’t cut it …….Game theory assumes that you understand sufficiently the thinking of all the players in a complex and dangerous situation to forecast their mutually-reinforcing responses in a given set of circumstances. I don’t think there’s enough understanding of the players or situation in the Middle East to place much trust in game theory.”

    ……game theory doesn’t make any such overarching assumptions……just because it’s mathmatically based doesn’t mean it ignores the existence of imponderables…..there were at least as many unknowns about the Russians in the late forties as there are about the Iranians today…..or the Chinese today for that matter…..probably rather more, since Ahmandinejad’s posturings aside, the Iranian leadership has shown itself both cautious and entirely rational…..much more so than the Israeli leadership of late in fact……sorry you’re either making this up and/or don’t know what you’re talking about…..game theory is a tool used by just about every strategic planning organization in the world….including I’m certain Mossad, to formulate strategies to counter Iranian threats…….and who the heck said they shouldn’t?

  • Mark Rosenthal

    Bring it on. I personally hope that Israel cleans Iran’s clock.

  • ottovbvs

    Mark Rosenthal // Jun 7, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    “Bring it on. I personally hope that Israel cleans Iran’s clock.”

    …..a typically shortsighted desire for war from an Israeli zealot since the clock that is cleaned will almost certainly be Israel’s…..and there will be huge collateral damage to US interests even if we’re not involved in the actual shooting…….but hell what do American concerns matter…..it Israel that counts isn’t it Mr Rosenthal?

  • Right Wing Warrior

    Mr Arsen Ostrovsky

    I would like to thankyou for your strength in Israel’s time of need.

    You are a true advocate for Israel and a true friend.

    You are truly a Prominent Jewish Activist.