Monday, January 07, 2008

A Mine is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Iran has confirmed the incident which I wrote about in my last post, but it hasn't shed any light on what happened.

In addition, Juan Cole now has a post up with some quotes from the Iranian press about what has been going on in the Persian Gulf over the past month or so, which gives some support to my scenero .
We don't really know what happened here, but, given the Bush/Cheney administration's track record, I am more than a bit skeptical that this was really a confrontation initiated by Iran. I am more inclined to see it as Bush/Cheney agitprop designed to grease the wheels as Bush makes his case against Iran during his Middle East trip.

In fact, it is just as likely that the US intentionally wonder into Iranian waters or was intentionally headed toward Iranian water in order to provoke such a confrontation and the radio transmission from the Iranians might have been a warning about the presence of mines rather than a threat and the boxes may have been meant to mark the mines.
and Cole reports that
' IRGC Navy Conducts Final Stages of Persian Gulf Exercises (19 December) - The second and third stages of the Iranian Navy exercise "Courage 86" was carried out over an area of 7,000 nautical miles in the Persian Gulf. An IRGC naval commander, Brig. Gen. Ali Razmjoo, said that the second exercise included pre-emptive defensive and psychological operations, mine-laying operations, night-time tracking of vessels, and deploying frogmen from helicopters into the sea. The third stage included chemical defense, shooting targets at sea, intercepting vessels, and capturing hypothetical targets. Razmjoo said several hundred vessels, missile launchers, destroyers, and mine layers have been involved in a series of IRGC naval exercises in an area between northern Bushehr Province and Asalouyeh over a four-day period (IRNA).
It just might be that rather than trying to provoke a confrontation, the Iranians were trying to upend a disaster.

Finally, Cole notes that

The US says it won't protest the incident, which means that they concur it wasn't an intentional provocation from Tehran.
It may be that Admiral Fallon has kept the crazy Cheneyites in a box.

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