Last week, 600 activists aboard six ships attempted to run Israel’s blockade of Gaza. IDF commandos stormed the ships 68 miles off the coast of Israel, killing almost of dozen activists in a botched raid. In the aftermath of the raid, both Turkey and Iran Revolutionary Guard (IRC) have proposed sending armed escorts to protect a future flotilla to Gaza. However, few believe either Turkey or the IRC will follow through on their rhetoric and run the Gaza blockade.

However, now it looks like another faction in Iran might try. Today, the head of the Iranian Red Cross (not to be confused with the ICRC), Abdolrauf Adibzadeh, announced on Press TV that Iran is sending two ships with humanitarian supplies and a “Navy hospital ship” to Gaza at the end of this week. I do not know of any Iranian hospital ships, but that is likely besides the point. If true, this sets Iran and Israel to face off in the largest naval confrontation in recent years.




Posted by Christopher Albon in Navy
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  • YNSN

    BLUF: Israel can’t win with their current concept of operations.

    Israel needs to think long and hard with how they are executing their strategy. They are failing left and right in the eyes of the world media. People can huff and puff as much as they want about ‘Israel has the right to defend themself’. But, it won’t change the fact that their enemies are making the efforts of Israel seem like they are a bunch of thugs.

    Israel needs new thinking and a new way of doing things. They cannot continue with their current course of action. They can’t win this way.

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    Absolutely agree YNSN. Israel’s enemies are in a win-win-win situation right now:

    1) Propose blockade running: win support in Arab street.

    2) Propose blockade running, deploy ships, and get stopped by IDF: win support in Arab street with pictures of IDF arresting (or shooting) doctors holding antibiotics. Highlight Israel’s mistreatment of Gazan women and children.

    3) Propose blockade running, deploy ships, and make it to Gaza: win support in Arab street with pictures of Iranian doctors providing medical care to Gazan children. Highlight Israel’s mistreatment of Gazans AND showcase the IDF’s weaknesses.

    On the flip side, Israel loses in all three scenarios.

  • Rick Wilmes

    “Highlight Israel’s mistreatment of Gazan women and children.”

    I think a comparison of how Hamas treats women and children is far worse than anything Israel has done.  In fact, the Muslim religion is notorious  for the subjugation of women.  

    Israel is fighting against a double standard and this post doesn’t help.

    USNI blog readers might take interest in the following.

    http://danielgordis.org/2010/06/03/a-botched-raid-a-vital-embargo-new-york-times-op-ed/

    “Israelis are resigned to the fact that reason will not shake the world’s blatant double standard. Our blockade of Gaza is “criminal”; yet nobody mentions that Egypt has had a blockade of Gaza in place since 2007, and has never hesitated to use lethal force against those trying to break it. Israel’s attempt to enforce a blockade becomes an international crisis, while most of the world shrugs when North Korea sinks a South Korean ship. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his willingness to sit with Fatah leaders any time, anywhere, but they insist on mere “proximity talks,” which they will probably now scuttle, using the flotilla as an excuse.”

  • YNSN

    It doesn’t matter what Hamas might get away with. Israel is still going to look like the jerk. There is one standard for Nation states, and another for these other ‘things’ I still have not heard a good definition for, that Israel is at war with.

    The mantra of ‘they get away with it. Israel is treated unfair.’ is only going to loose Israel this war.

    The double standard needs to be accepted, understood and maneuvered around, for Israel to win.

  • Warrant Diver

    YNSN

    agree, mostly. I liked your last line, but I would modify it to “The double standard needs to be accepted, CONSISTENTLY POINTED OUT AND COMPARED WITH REALITY BY ISRAEL, understood and maneuvered around for Israel to win.” They cannot concede the battle for public opinion to the terrorists. They have to recognize that the double standard exists and consistently point it out in the media while staying one step ahead of the terrorists in the media war. It takes a long time sometimes but bigots and racists when placed under public scrutiny eventually wither and die….witness Helen Thomas finally shooting herself in the foot.

    Israel has not been good at this, neither has the US, although we have gotten better through the years.

  • http://springboarder.blogspot.com Defense Springboard

    Well…if life hands you lemons, can you make lemonade?

    Let’s have some fun with a hypothetical. If the Iranian vessel–due to some avoidable (!) engineering mishap–lost steerage or suffered a significant engineering casualty…or were beset by some marauding pirates (You never know where some pirates might show up these days….)

    And the only vessel nearby to lend a hand was a U.S. ship? Or (gasp!) an Israeli vessel…

    That’d sure change the prevailing storyline a bit.

  • Paul

    If Israel wanted to really mess with the Iranian’s– greet them with open arms at the straits, provide them a military escort all the way up the canal with water cannons blowing streams of water up in the air and proclaim a new era of Israeli-Iranian cooperation. Invite the whack job to greet the ship as it enters the blcokade zone while standing on an Israeli vessel.

    He being there would force him to recognize Israel as a country, and rob him of any propaganda of Israel being the bully in this. Course they’d have to not announce this to ensure that Iran loaded the ship with nothing but hospital supplies otherwise they’d cram that sucker with enough katyusha’s to level Tel Aviv.

    Be nice to get a sound profile and data about Iranian Naval operations in blue water for a while too. Who knows– perhaps as they pass by Somalia “something” might happen…. Lotsa pirates in that area, right?

  • http://warandhealth.com/ Christopher Albon

    Paul, you are a man after my own heart.

  • YNSN

    I agree, helluva idea Paul.

  • Jay

    Paul — Bravo!

    I agree with some previous folks’ comments in URR’s post below.

    Just how do the Iranians intend to get there?

    Deploying Navy assets (quick Wiki search…) to Gulf of Aden is one thing — through Suez (if *allowed* to go through) is another, as is around Africa & through the Med.

    So — the only thing left is commercial assets. If they intend to do that — they should wait until Aug — slow news month & all that…

  • Rick Wilmes

    “If Israel wanted to really mess with the Iranian’s– greet them with open arms at the straits, provide them a military escort all the way up the canal with water cannons blowing streams of water up in the air and proclaim a new era of Israeli-Iranian cooperation. Invite the whack job to greet the ship as it enters the blcokade zone while standing on an Israeli vessel.

    He being there would force him to recognize Israel as a country, and rob him of any propaganda of Israel being the bully in this.”

    This idea would do nothing to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons besides Iran already recognizes Israel as a country it wants to destroy.  This idea is just another example of appeasing the Iranians.

    What is needed is a principled response to Iran and the Islamic Totalitarians.
    Appeasement was the approach President Wilson legitimized after WW1 which did nothing to prevent Germany from rearming. In today’s context, this means that Iran gets one step closer to having nuclear weapons.

    I am reminded of the following.

    http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2007-summer/balm-guilty-conscience.asp

    ” Those moral ideas gained cultural power in the aftermath of World War I. They sapped the will of the British people to oppose Germany when it was possible to do so, and left their leaders unable to take the steps needed to stop Germany from rearming.”

  • Paul

    Thank you all for your kind words!

    Around Africa and through the Med would be really entertaining. What’s the farthest and Iranian Naval vessel has ever sailed? I think we have to assume there will be an armed escort of what, corvettes? The old Olwen class replenishment ship? How far would they get without a major engineering casualty?

    Be fun to take hull shots of the ships in deep water and then leak them to the press. There’d be a line up of western submarines getting practice torpedo runs on them all through the South Atlantic. Just think:

    “Iranian Frigate– June 30th– South Atlantic taken by USS Albany
    Iranian Frigate– July 1st– HMS Triumph
    Iranian Frigate– July 2nd ARA San Juan
    Iranian Frigate– July 3rd S34 Tikuna”

    Another method once it’s at ses for Israel is to say “Oh well, send your ship, big deal, here’s the charts so you don’t run aground…” and not even bother to show up anywhere near the horizon. Hard to have a confrontation when the other side doesn’t bother to come to the party.

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