Consider the historical irony of what happened yesterday — the United States is sitting at a negotiating table with Iran to discuss a nuclear deal and the Iranians fire on and seize a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship, which is under the security protection agreement of the United States. This happened on a day when President Obama delivered a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Japan — who of course attacked Pearl Harbor while Japanese diplomats were in the United States.
As reported by Reuters, “Iranian forces boarded a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship in the Gulf on Tuesday after patrol boats fired warning shots across its bow and ordered it deeper into Iranian waters, the Pentagon said. U.S. planes and a destroyer were monitoring the situation after the vessel, the MV Maersk Tigris, made a distress call in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important oil shipping channels. Iran’s Tasnim news agency quoted an unidentified source who sought to play down the incident, saying it was a civil matter with no military or political dimension. But the Pentagon described it as an apparent provocation. The incident came as the United States and five other global powers aim to secure a final nuclear deal with Iran by the end of June.”
What was even more incredible was that the Pentagon characterized this action as “inappropriate” — no kidding, Sherlock! The Iranians are well aware that what they just did was a complete affront to the United States of which the Marshall Islands was a territory until 1986. The Islamic regime knows we have a security agreement with the Marshall Islands. So, the turning back of Iranian cargo ships that were heading to Yemen is now forgotten because the ayatollahs have just upped the stakes in this game. Now this ship has been taken into Iranian waters — check. So what does President Obama do?
Here’s my recommendation:
1. End the talks with Iran. To continue sitting at the table with the Iranians at this point is abject insanity. It does nothing more than reinforce — by way of Pavlovian acquiescence — the reward for the most despicable behavior. Iran now holds a cargo ship flagged under U.S. security, as well as four Americans.
2. Establish an ol’ fashioned naval picket line and seal in any Iranian vessel from exiting their waters.
3. Give the Iranians 24 hours to release the ship with its cargo and the crew. Then give the Iranians another 24 hours to release the four American hostages. All the while the picket line remains in place and if after these 48 hours, the demands — and yes, we are demanding — are not met, then there will be consequences.
At the end of this post, I will provide the courses of action — consequences — I would recommend if I were Secretary of Defense to the POTUS.
As Reuters writes, “Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television earlier said an Iranian force fired on and seized a U.S. cargo ship with 34 U.S. sailors on board, and directed it to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. But the Pentagon spokesman said there were no U.S. citizens on board the ship. Reuters tracking data showed the Maersk Tigris, a 65,000-tonne container ship, off the Iranian coast between the islands of Qeshm and Hormuz. It had been listed as sailing from the Saudi port of Jeddah, bound for the United Arab Emirates port of Jebel Ali. Iran’s Fars news agency said the ship was seized at the request of Iran’s ports authority under a court order. But a spokesman for the Singapore-based company that manages the vessel, which usually includes hiring the crew, Rickmers Shipmanagement, said he did not know why Iran had taken action. Spokesman Cor Radings confirmed to Danish TV2 news channel that Iranian forces fired warning shots at the container ship and boarded it, and said the company was concerned for the crew. The vessel had been following a normal commercial route between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he said. A U.S. government official said the ship was intercepted by the Naval force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at 0905 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).”
In other words, the MV Maersk Tigris did nothing provocative and was operating in international waters along a well-transited sea lane of commerce. One of the missions of our Navy is to secure the sea lanes of commerce. Now just as a point of reference, during the Reagan administration, America had some 575 surface warships. Today under the Obama administration, the Navy sits at approximately 283 warships with a goal to go down to 230. I know that progressive socialists believe the seas are rising — which may be somewhat debatable. One thing for certain is that the seas are not shrinking — but our maritime “force for good” is!
“Several reports confirmed that when the warning shots were fired, the Maersk Tigris issued a distress call which was received by U.S. forces operating in the region. However, the closest U.S. warship was more than 60 miles away and the U.S. military instructed destroyer USS Farragut to head towards the cargo ship, which was passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the time.
Here’s what I would recommend if the Iranians did not meet the demands.
It would be a multi-faceted naval assault on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy. I would move the regional Marine Expeditionary Unit — MEU(SOC) — into the area. I would have an Airborne Combat element ready to deploy in order to secure key facilities in Bandar Abbas. Any IRG naval assets seeking to break the picket line would be destroyed. The operation would be focused on Iranian naval assets and would continue with the intended purpose to degrade their capability until the demands are met.
Sadly, none of this will happen — and the Iranians know that. But fellas, your day is coming!