Iran warns U.S. carrier not to return to Persian Gulf

Like hornetguy said, there's more carriers being sent there and having sailors make a U-turn or stay there so suddenly is a big kick in the face to them. It isn't fair to have them stay their just because we want to tick off a country a little bit. It's not some battle victory if they stay a few days either.

It's called showing the flag and it's been done for centuries, not just by the U.S. but by any other country securing international straits. The Coast Guard does it with Canada. The Navy did it with Libya.

I can't say how many times we were headed home and diverted for migrants.... and that's just a boat load of Cubans, not an unfriendly nation threatening the United States.

They're floating on a city, please, turning around, a kick in the face? It's what the Navy is there for, unless they've gone soft as a "global force for good". A carrier group running at flank speed? That's prime material for the Iranian government to feed to its people.
We have plenty of assets there. It is a matter of political will and preception. The Tanker War back during the Iran/Iraq conflict demonstrated that you can keep the Strait open, even with damage to Tankers and warships. The Iranians have not forgotten Praying Mantis so you be sure that they will come at us better prepared than last time.

The question is less a military capabilities than a matter of whether we are prepared politically and economically to do what it takes. The Iranians appear to be calculating that the Administration will not go to war, viz., that Obama is Carter (and not Reagan -- remember that the hostages were released as Reagan took office). That calculation could be correct in this election year (oil shocks are bad for the guy in charge) and the Iranians might be motivated to try, as it would give them a big boost in the area. We seem to believe that Iranians won't close the Strait because it would close off their own oil which is the lifeline to their economy. But, they might conclude that if they can't sell oil because of the freeze out of the Iranian central bank, then the best way to change that is to be sure that nobody can sell oil. It seems to me that the whole situation is ripe with huge potential for miscalculation. One thing has changed though. Since the Iran/Iraq tanker war, new pipelines have been built that avoid the Persian Gulf entirely. That helps.

While I can't see the current administration using the military to make a regime change, unfortunately, I could see them taking a 'blue hat' approach to keeping the gulf/straight open after the first attack (clearing radars, missle launchers, boats) from the immediate vicinity under the auspicies of the UN, committing $$$ while "negotiating" a settlement of the issues (i.e. nuclear program) which could take as long as it will take to de-nuke the DPK. Just enough insecurity to spike oil prices (compliments of Lloyds of London).

The only way this strategy works is if we can effectively shut down their central bank and their economy. I think the Chinese and a few other countries will thumb their noses at our banking embargo and contine to buy Iranian oil at an increasingly deep discount (further undermining our economic competitiveness).

Unfortunately, this administration passed on its first opportunity to strenghen the first shoots of the arab spring (well they technically aren't arabs, but close enough) when we didn't support their student protests a couple years back. We could use that help now with this strangulation strategy.

It is easy to take the "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" approach, but I think this country has demonstrated that it still hasn't learned that it is easier to break Humpty Dumpty than to put it back together again (which we will need as the world still continues to need oil for the forseeable future).

The pipeline strategy (when combined with adequate reserves) has definitely improved the leverage we have in the situation, giving us time to stabilize things before inventories get dangerously low, but I think we agree that it is not a 100% substitute for having stability in the gulf/straight sea lane.
Sorry you took it that way. Personally, I feel the same as CC on this one. Just ANOTHER example of a blunder by our current leadership. Is it Obama-bashing? Perhaps. But if it was another leader making just as many mistakes, I'm sure CC would be bashing him as well.

Certainly there are more carriers on there way. Keeping a carrier presence in that region has been a US strategy for quite a while, for very obvious reasons: to demonstrate our commitment to security in that region and to ensure critical lines of communication could never be closed or threatened.

It's now a matter of LEGITMACY on the world stage. By NOT turning the Stennis around and planting our flag rigth back in Iran's face, we have reduced OURS in the region while stregthening theirs (especially to their neighbors). A calculated risk on our part to ignore it, perhaps to stop the inevitable jitters on the world economy if we did ratchet up the threat a little.
The question becomes, was the loss of our legitimacy worth it? Debatable...

"Not Fair" to the sailors who now have to turn around? News flash, sailors, soldiers, airmen, marines, and coasties SERVE their country. Fairness on how they feel about that service NEVER comes before that service. Get used to it, this ain't the first time something like this happened.

Ultimately, and in MY OPINION ONLY, once the Iranians uttered thier threats, the Stennis should have turned arond and waited until the Lincoln and Vinson were on station. You want to negotiate from a position of strength, and usually the best way to do that is with your knee in their chest and your knife at their throat. :thumb:

I'm not sure if the immeditate turn around of the Stennis is the only way to show that we are serious. In fact, I think that action would make us look as reactionary (tit for tat) as they are, which in the war of winning broader world support is not a good thing. The asymmetrical act of going after their money IMHO was (as a 1-time tactic - this could get dangerous if used as a regular weapon against larger enemies) a great way of unifying our allies on an approach that didn't have echos of the past 20 years' methods of dealing with irrational saber-rattling tin-horn dictators.

If we portray the removal of the Stennis as a pre-scheduled event, part of a shoring up of the defenses (2 freshly maintained carriers replacing 1 due for service can certainly be portrayed as showing strength) we say plenty. Showing that we don't need to alter our schedule to accommodate their need for drama broadcasts our confidence in or overwhelming strength.

I'm not here do defend the current administration, but I think the armchair generals here need to relax the partisan political talk and move the discussion to the broader American agenda which includes creating a world view of this country that is the right balance of military respect and political admiration with our friends and competitors.
I definitely can appreciate the different viewpoints on what people believe is appropriate actions. And honestly, nothing offends me, so different opinions simply provide more information to provide discussion for. I do think however calling some people's opinions "Armchair Generals" a little naive and reactionary. Especially considering how much direct military experience is on this forum. With rank structures that go all the way up to O-6. (I don't think we have any generals on this forum). But you don't need to be a general to have an opinion. Especially if you do have military experience.

That being said; one point being made is that the United States has lost a lot of respect by other countries. Not in just the last 3 years either. It goes back before that. Part of the lack of respect has come from our indecisiveness in taking actions. I'm sure some of it is our becoming gun shy over certain matters since 9-11 and the numerous military engagements we've been through and not going quite as planned. But the fact remains, the United States isn't looked upon with the same level of respect that we once were. I don't believe in embargoes. They only hurt the common citizen. They do nothing to change a government's position. I don't believe in freezing assets. Again; the affluent people aren't affected. Just the common citizen.

Iran tries to threaten by saying they'll take their oil of the market. That's a pure bluff. Their oil makes up more than 70% of their total economy. That would hurt them a lot more than anyone else. It's not like they are the only oil producer. Now; if they were to somehow try and BLOCK the Strait of Hormuz from allowing oil to travel through, that's another story. Close to 20% of the traded oil in the world passes through the strait. But again, I don't think Iran has the ability or the support to do that. The question becomes: Would the U.S. do anything about it or to prevent it. The Europeans are prepared to embargo Iran. Unfortunately, I don't think the United States would be proactive about anything. They'll either follow what Europe and the rest do, or they'll be reactionary to an offensive move by the Iranians. Again; I think our country has become gun shy, and because it's a political election year, they are going to downplay everything going on. But I do know, that if Iran can somehow effect middle eastern oil, not just their own, they could have a dramatic effect on the price of oil world wide. And that would be politically disastrous for the current politicians coming up for re-election. Including the president. Gas prices are currently at their lowest in a long time. If it goes in the other direction, re-elections can definitely be at stack.

So if there are some that want to believe that politics, elections, re-elections, etc... aren't a major factor in the middle east, Iran, etc... decisions and responses being made today and in recent days; then they are quite mistaken.
Actually, I don't think Iran has actually threatened to turn of only their own oil spigot. It would be the entire gulf's spigot that they would be threatening.

And yes, I agree that they cannot completely shut down the gulf for long (measured in the hours before their navy is visiting Davy Jones Locker), but a few strategic hit and run attacks against ships will do enough damage to drive our overspeculative markets (that are looking for the next gold to bid up) to create an oil bubble while the tension exists.

And while shipping companies can hire private security and sometimes pay ransoms for ships pirated in the Indian Ocean, the sunken ships with dead crews cost a lot more. And Uncle Sam would become the insurer of all ships passing through the straight because the insurance companies do not like insuring against acts of war.

And as those indeciiveness in actions that get us a bad reputation, this goes back to Korea where our politics led us to playing for a tie (from the guy who made the most difficult war decision of all time - Hiroshima/Nagasaki). Let's face it, when the existence of Western Civilization (especially ours) isn't at stake, the US does not have a good track record of being nasty enough to finish a fight against anything more than a banana republic dictator. Unfortunately, Iran is quite a bit bigger than your average banana republic.

My personal opinion is that while the American voting public likes to win wars, they also want America to be liked around the world. The American voting public also have very little sense of history. It is very true that you can either be liked or feared, but not both. And 95% of the time, Americans want to be liked and only for brief moments do we feel the need to be feared.

This is not necessarily a bad thing in the long run. Ultimately, we must win the peace which requires the world to model its cultures more like ours. This is hard to do under the threat of military force. In fact, we like to point that problem out with many of our adversaries.

There are those who argue that if we just go a little bit farther in fighting our foes militarily that we will come out ahead. Finish the job. This is where I went and used the impolite term "Armchair Generals". Probably not my finest hour here on SAF, and I apologize if I offended. And I probably did given the background of the membership. What I should have criticized is our ability to criticize past policy decisions which is part and parcel of forums like this. I don't feel the need to get political with it because I realize our politics are a function of what we as a nation choose to do through our political process. I play on the American team where we accept the responsibility for our actions including those of the elected leaders we put in office.

Getting back to the argument against those who think we should have taken things "just a little bit further" to get the respect of the world, I'd like to point to the famous notion that George Patton just wanted to keep the tanks rolling east because he could see the bigger threat looming. We probably could have defeated the Soviet Union militarily in a few years at quite a cost both in our own lives and treasure, but more importantly in terms of our ability to be liked around the world. Yes, we left a Soviet menace that to this day drives so much of our military budget. However, the intervening 3/4 of a century has proven that we won (for the most part) the hearts and minds of Europe and much of the far east through being that "liked" power and through that much of the prosperity we enjoy today.

We won Gulf War I militarily and figured out how to lose the peace by trying to exact out the design of the politics of the region. So much of the discussion on this forum is about what we "do" as opposed to what the actual potential of a situation is. I think we all agree that we cannot bring western democratic government to a region that have been tribal societies defined by ethnicity, religious sects, etc. that have not demonstrated an ability to form larger unifying treaties of stabilizing behaviour on a significant scale in centuries. The nations of Europe and the Far East were far more developed from a working treaty arrangements when WWII broke out and hence much easier to set up democratic institiutions in.

In a nutshell, I think many at SAF, given a background in things military, feel an affinity to express familiar solutions to familiar problems and enjoy the affirmation that comes with discussing those solutions with like minded people. While I have a great respect for the military experience of the members here, my favorite example of a military leader was Eisenhower who knew the limits of a military solution and political solutions and was able to be both a solid military leader AND a (although not recognized at the time) very insightful civilian leader. Appreciating the limits of your strenght is probably every bit as important as the strength you have.
That was a quality response, goaliedad. Well said on every point.

The only thing that I think (hope) is also in the works is a bunch of side-deals being struck with other oil producers (e.g., Saudi) to raise production to calm the markets if this turns into a shooting war. This is not just a military operation as you rightly point out. For example, the EU governments voted today to ban Iranian oil, likely at the urging of Hillary.

The other thing I keep thinking about is whether all this fist-pounding is simply rhetoric aimed at quelling the Iranian Green Movement by focusing everyone's attention elsewhere. Well, there's a cost to that.

I agree that your response was well thought out and eloquently said. And I do agree with your conclusion: that the National policy in regards to Iran must consider all elements of our national power vice an exclusive military view of the situation, for the reasons you have metnioned plus a mulittude of others.

But I was looking at this situation form a much smaller scale, not trying to solve the entire end-game in regards to Iran, but rather how we should have repsonded to this particular incident.

Simply stated, our presence there is to ensure these stategic lines of commnication and logistics remain unchallenged. Iran's declaration was a threat to our presence, and ultimately a threat to that security. Only a show from us that this threat to our ability to provide that security would not be tolerated would demonstrate our resolve. Sanctions, diplomatic talks, exchange of words? Yes, they provide a means to engage at the much larger strategic level, and provide a more sensible approach to the overall strategy when we engage with Iran.

But threats to our willingness to provide security for the Straights must be immediately countered with a very visible and determined demonstration on our part in order to prevent any questions on our resolve. Plain and simple. A strategy of "well get back to it later" only hurts that legitimacy.

An analogy, if you will (and most likely, a poor one at that). If some local street gang was to suddenly declare the highway that goes through their neighborhood as "off-limits" to the local police, would a response of "it's shift change, we'll get there later" suffice? Or, would you want the local cops to stay in place as a demonstration that threats to the local community would not be tolerated? We're not talking solving all the social injustices that have created the situation, or all the strategies required to ensure this particular gang will not be a threat to the neighborhood over the next few years. Just a simple demonstration that they will not be allowed to dictate today's terms in regards to securing the neighborhood.

Like I said, probably a poor analogy.

I'm not getting into the political debate here, just a debate on what should have been the proper operational response to this current situation...
We seem to be jumping ahead. "Showing the flag" is having a U.S. ship sail right through the international strait as another country says we can. That's it. Any disputed territorial sea experiences this "flag showing". To turn and run, as President Obama allowed, it is a concession, however brief, that Iran may in fact have a claim, and ability to close down the strait. Will American's believe that. No. But can the inactions of the U.S. be used within Iran to strengthen Iran's next moves? I think so.

I am glad to see you know about current operations. Can you please tell me when the next ships are going through the SOH?

Do you know how often CVNs transit SOH? Do you know how often other U.S. (and coalition) warships transit SOH?

I'm trying to figure out why we need just a CVN to be able to dispute claimed waters that aren't IAW international law of the sea. I get they are a great international instrument, but you don't need to send a CVN in/out of SOH every single time Iran claims they will close the strait down.
Off topic, kind of, but interesting.

A U.S. Navy ship rescued 13 Iranian sailors from pirates in the Arabia Sea, a military spokesman said Friday.
The destroyer USS Kidd responded to calls for help from the Iranian-flagged dhow Al Molai, which had been hijacked by pirates two months ago, Navy Capt. John Kirby said.
A Navy team boarded the ship, took 15 pirates into custody and sent the dhow on its way, Kirby said. A dhow is a type of sailing vessel frequently used for commercial transits in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
The Iranian captain thanked the crew of the Kidd for their help, Kirby said.

Iran obviously did nothing to rescue them, and the USN did.
Yeah, that's us...The Global Force for Good! Interesting though, the last time Iran/Iraq tried to shut down the SOH, they used Dhos's to set anti shipping mines! Messed up a couple of outer hulls on tankers as I recall. Kept the Mine Sweeper Navy in business for more than a year.
Yeah, that's us...The Global Force for Good! .

I would like to see how many Military guys actually think that slogan is anything other than horrible. I never know whether to retch or laugh when I see that tag line. The Salvation Army wouldn't be stuck with that tag- who approved that campaign, Saturday Night Live ? ("Port of Call Bayonne"-"The Navy: It's not just a job it's $96.78/week") Is there anyone in the Navy who doesn't think that is just pathetic?
Yeah, that's us...The Global Force for Good! Interesting though, the last time Iran/Iraq tried to shut down the SOH, they used Dhos's to set anti shipping mines! Messed up a couple of outer hulls on tankers as I recall. Kept the Mine Sweeper Navy in business for more than a year.

It also led to some interesting helicopter operations, and the birth of the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior.

Navy pilots just can't be counted on to do it right! :biggrin:
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I am glad to see you know about current operations. Can you please tell me when the next ships are going through the SOH?

Do you know how often CVNs transit SOH? Do you know how often other U.S. (and coalition) warships transit SOH?

I'm trying to figure out why we need just a CVN to be able to dispute claimed waters that aren't IAW international law of the sea. I get they are a great international instrument, but you don't need to send a CVN in/out of SOH every single time Iran claims they will close the strait down.

No, you don't.... nor do you need to send a ship into the "Sea of Death" when Libya claims it.... but the U.S. Navy did.... and ships pass through ALL THE TIME. Certainly makes more sense than sailing around the world with the "Great White Fleet"....

The question is... why not show some force? We all know the U.S. Navy could take out the Iranian navy.... so why give Iran fodder for the state run media?

Navy's not doing a great job showing why it needs such a big force.... not doing a great job at all.

This will be interesting to watch from afar. Safer certainly. Might hurt alittle.... as premium fuel for a sports car goes. Anyone who's been there or has friends that have been there, knows run ins with Iran are far from uber-rare. What patrol boat CO in the NAG hasn't had that experience? Maybe a few, but also a few that have.
I thought I heard a news report on the way home that the pirates holding the Iranian ship crew who were captured are being held on the Stennis. I wonder if they are going to sail into the Persian Gulf to deliver them to the Iranian authorities for prosecution. :rolleyes: :eek:

Reminds me of those Progressive Insurance insurance commercials where Flo says "Can you say awkward?" :yllol:
These folks don't impress me much...

"Once upon a time..." there I was flying CAP over some tankers...and an Iranian F-4 tagged me and the controller warned me away...

I locked him up (APG-63 did that very nicely)....

And he departed the area rather quickly...:eek:

Missed my chance to paint a silhouette on my jet... :frown:

I have a Lock: "Fox one" "Fox Two" and paint it on the fuselage. Love the up to date video of the Iranian AF with the F-4's. Last time I saw one of those in the air was down at Cherry Point when they were taking them out of mothballs and selling them to third world countries about ten years ago. Iran has some old (thirty year old) Tomcats, Mirage and Mig 29's but maybe not spare parts. The Marianas Turkey Shoot would be nothing on this future engagement.