Thursday, January 17, 2013

17-Jan-13: War 'games'

Under the headline 'Iran Navy to deploy 24th fleet to Mediterranean Sea', the Iranian regime yesterday (Wednesday) announced the upcoming assignment of its forces to
"the north of Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Red Sea, Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea... and will even sail as far as southeastern Asian countries."
The reference to Bab-el-Mandeb is to the waters between Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula, Djibouti and Eritrea, north of Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, and connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden.

The Iran government's puppet media outlet, PressTV, underlines the reference to the distant Mediterranean and, with what passes in that country for a straight face, adds
The Islamic Republic has repeatedly assured other nations, especially neighbors, that its military might poses no threat to other countries, insisting that its defense doctrine is based on deterrence. 
Iran has no Mediterranean coast. The "defence doctrine" invoked by its press release writers can only be guessed at.

The plans announced in Iran yesterday involve an area of nearly a million square kilometer swathe from the Strait of Hormuz to the northern Indian Ocean. And there's a context:
Iran has threatened to close the strait over Western sanctions targeting its nuclear program, but has not repeated the threats lately. The strait is the passageway for one-fifth of the world’s oil supply. [Times of Israel]
Navy Commander Habibollah Sayyari is quoted in several places this morning saying Iran’s naval forces will be deployed "as a show of force and to “counter threats” to Iran. In September 2012, he announced that Iran aims to put warships in international waters off the US coast within what he termed "the next few years.” He also said Iran’s navy would be “present anywhere in international waters in order to safeguard the Islamic Republic’s interests,” including near the South Pole.

But he says they pose no threat to anyone, so it's fine.

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