My jaw dropped when Iran boldly announced that it was sending a Red Crescent flotilla of its own to Gaza. This was going to be a high seas confrontation between Iran and Israel, two bitter enemies. However, the entire time I was thinking about the flotilla, a little voice in the back of my head kept saying: “This is Iran, the masters of inaction, beware”. But I did not listen. The Iranian flotilla was going to happen, and it was going to be a big freaking deal.

Now, it looks like I should have listened to that little voice. The Iranian Red Crescent quietly announced last week that two ships of the flotilla were being delayed due to lack of coordination and a change of cargo with “no definite” date of departure. The third ship of the flotilla seems to have to disappeared entirely, or at least is unworthy of mentioning. The real message is clear: the Iranian flotilla is not happening.

Lastly, there is one interesting sidebar to this story. On June 21st, media outlets reported a fleet of one Israeli and 11 American warships passing south through the Suez Canal. Later that day, Galrahn serendipitously discussed the phantom fleet reports and the power of fleets to change national behavior. Why serendipitously? Because Iran announced the delay of the Red Crescent flotilla on the same day as the phantom fleet’s Suez passage. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Maritime Security, Navy

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  • hass

    Iran may not have sent a flotilla but other countries did, and Iran does continue to support the Palestinians. Not sending a flotilla which would only be confronted and turned back sounds pretty prudent, since it deprives Israel of the opportunity to characterize the flotillas as Iranian conspiracies.

  • Paul

    So wait a sec– a “phantom” fleet scared away either a real or another phantom fleet?

    Let’s really have some fun and start doubling our Navy by simply changing some pennant numbers– worked in WWII with the third and the fifth fleet. the Teddy Roosevelt can become CVN– “Franklin D. Roosevelt” the Nimitz can swap places and become the Halsey, the Stennis can become USS Amanda Garrett, and the George Washington can become the George Washington Carver. Just a bit of paint and bingo– double the fleet.

  • KhakiPants

    It appears Iran is intent on sending at least one ship. Perhaps no longer a flotilla, however.

  • Maybe Iran CAN be rational, after all. I was pleased to read about Russian President Medvedev’s alarm/concern that, according to our CIA, Iran may now have the fissionable material for 2 atom bombs.