You get enough potentially hostile naval or air forces close enough together and the chance of an incident goes up dramatically. It might be an innocent mistake or miscalculation. On the other hand, someone might be trying to make a point or do something to intimidate opponents. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a ship got sunk or an aircraft got shot down.
When it comes to the Middle East, it’s amazing that there are not more incidents. After all, there are the military units of numerous countries operating in close proximity to each other, and these forces are certainly not all on the same page when it comes to what they are trying to accomplish.
The Iranians and the Americans are obviously two nations not on the same page. When an Iranian missile ship got too close to American vessels and fired a laser at one of our helicopters, it dropped warning flares on that Iranian ship. Hopefully the point was made.
“A U.S. Marine helicopter was targeted with a laser by an Iranian missile boat in the Persian Gulf the week, triggering an automatic response from the aircraft, which fired flares back at the ship.
“The incident took place Tuesday, when a group of two Navy warships and a cargo ship were moving out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz, Fox News reported Thursday. During the encounter, the Iranian warship came within 800 yards of the American ships, a situation that Cmdr. Bill Urban called ‘unsafe and unprofessional.’
“‘The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG 67) and dry cargo ship USNS Washington Chambers (T-AKE-11) were transiting the strait when the Iranian vessel paralleled the U.S. formation, shining a spotlight on Cole,’ Urban wrote in a statement, according to the Washington Examiner.”
The USS Bataan would typically carry heavily reinforced Marines along with all the necessary weapons to land on hostile shores and wreak havoc. And a guided-missile destroyer can sink all sorts of vessels as well as turn loose hell on shore installations.
“Shortly thereafter, the Iranian vessel trained a laser on a CH-53E helicopter that accompanied the formation. The Iranian vessel then proceeded to turn its spotlight on Bataan, scanning the ship from bow to stern and stern to bow before heading outbound from the formation.”
“He noted that ‘(i)lluminating helicopters with lasers at night is dangerous as it creates a navigational hazard that can impair vision and can be disorienting to pilots using night vision goggles.'”
This was just the Iranians making a point. In effect, they were giving the Americans a little poke in the eye just to see what sort of reaction they will get.
“President Donald Trump has made it clear that he’s not going to deal with Iran using the same kidskin gloves that the previous inhabitant of the White House used.
“Whether that means this interaction will have consequences for the Iranians remains to be seen.”
It would have been no problem to send that Iranian warship to the bottom with dispatch. We will have to see what Mr. Trump means by his comments that tolerating Iranian “unprofessional” provocations have come to an end.
When he does, serving on board an Iranian military vessel will likely not be a safe place to be.
Source: Conservative Tribune