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High Tensions: US Navy Fires on Speedboat in Persian Gulf

Today, the US Navy fired upon a speedboat in the Persian Gulf with a .50 caliber machine gun, apparently killing 1.  While there are still many unanswered questions regarding the situation, what is clear is that the US Navy is not playing games.  The report emphatically indicates that the that Iranians were not involved in the incident.  Luis Martinez of ABC News writes:

A spokesperson for the Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based in nearby Bahrain, said that a security team aboard the oil supply ship U.S.N.S. Rappahannock fired a .50 caliber machine gun at a “small motor vessel after it disregarded warnings and rapidly approached the U.S. ship” off the coast of Jebel Ali, a city approximately 30 miles from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.”

The ABC News report also says that the encounter had nothing to do with terror either.  It is uncertain why the 6 individuals sped towards the Naval vessel, coming uncomfortably close to the U.S.N.S. Rappahannock.  However, since the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole of the coast of Yemen, anytime a vessel conspicuously speeds towards a US Naval ship, that vessel quickly becomes the object of target practice.


The boat was no more than a mere ‘pleasure craft’, and Martinez reports,

…a UAE official told ABC News the it was a fishing boat with four Indians and two Emirates on board. There doesn’t appear to be any indication the incident was terror-related, the UAE official said.”

Martinez further continues to make the situation clear: “I can’t emphasize enough that this has nothing to do with Iran,” the official said.

In a July 4th, 2011 report from WND.com, F. Michael Maloof indicated that Iran would adopt a ‘swarming’ strategy in the event that the US goes to war with Iran:

Sources tell WND that if attacked, Iran will undertake a “swarm” offensive, launching its missiles at various targets and “swarming” hundreds of small hit-and-run speed boats aimed at U.S. warships. These vessels can either carry torpedoes or be loaded with explosives for suicide missions.
“With 50 small boats coming from this direction and 50 from the opposite direction and 50 from yet another direction, there is no way for that warship to escape,” one source associated with the Iranians gesturing with his hands told WND.
The source added “swarming” is a type of asymmetrical warfare tactic that Iran will use against a superior U.S. military force.”

Since the Iranian military threatened to use these asymmetrical warfare tactics, opening fire upon the ‘pleasure craft’ may have been a prudent precautionary move on the part of the US Navy.  Hopefully, this will not be a reoccurring incident.

Posted on 16 Aug 12 by Independent Journal Review


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