February 25, 2015

SHAKING THE SA'UDS:

Fake US aircraft carrier the target in latest Iranian drills (ALI AKBAR DAREINI and ADAM SCHRECK, Feb. 25, 2015, AP) 

With rockets roaring and guns blazing, more than a dozen swarming Iranian speedboats assaulted a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier Wednesday during large-scale naval drills near the strategically vital entrance of the Persian Gulf. [...]

The drill, named "Great Prophet 9," was held near the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world's oil passes. Iran's regular army carried out naval drills near the strait in December.

4 Iranian Threats That Terrorize Saudi Arabia (Alex Vatanka, February 24, 2015, National Interest)

Iran has long threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world's oil shipments pass. No doubt Tehran would suffer as much as the other Persian Gulf states in such a scenario given its reliance on petroleum revenue. Still, in the event of heightened tensions, the Iranians would have both the motive and the ability to significantly disturb, if not entirely stop, sea traffic at this top global chokepoint.

Iran has at its disposal a combination of anti-ship missiles, such as the Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf), mines, midget submarines, and small torpedo boats, which combined can go a long way to disrupting all shipping in the Strait of Hormuz.

As with the Iranian missile arsenal, it is again the IRGC that is set to spearhead Tehran's efforts in such a potential conflict arena. In 1985, the Iranians created a naval unit as part of the IRGC. In 2007, this unit, the IRGCN was given full operational control of the Persian Gulf and Iran's regular navy was given the task of operating on the high seas outside of the Strait of Hormuz.

By now, the IRGCN has become slightly larger in terms of manpower than the regular navy. Not only are the Iranians looking to strengthen their grip on the Strait of Hormuz but public statements by naval officials in Tehran suggest that the goal is to increase the Iranian presence both at the Bab-el-Mandeb and the Suez Canal, other important regional chokepoints vital to Saudi Arabia.

Posted by at February 25, 2015 5:06 PM
  

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