Sometimes what appears to be a small innocuous event or action can be the springboard to a much larger occurrence. That’s been the case quite often in foreign policy and military endeavors. Now, here in the United States, the focus is all on what folks term the “October Surprises” — Wikileaks email dumps on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump sexual accusations. But, could there potentially be a different type of surprise lurking in the wings to which we should be attuned?
As reported by Fox News, “Iran deployed two warships off Yemen threatening to further escalate tensions after the U.S. fired Tomahawk cruise missiles destroying three coastal radar sites in Houthi-controlled territory, a U.S. official confirmed to Fox News on Thursday. Iran sent the ships to the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s most vital shipping routes, “to protect trade vessels from piracy,” Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
Still, analysts warn the move could ratchet up the danger to U.S. forces in the region. U.S. intelligence has linked Iran to the funding of Yemen’s Shiite rebels, who have also waged a series of attacks against Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally. The U.S. official said the Houthis indeed fired missiles targeting American ships twice over just four days. The ships were not hit. The U.S. destroyed the coastal radar sites early Thursday.
Fox News is told one of the Iranian ships carries the same type of anti-ship missiles the Houthis were suspected of firing this week, and the other ship carries a helicopter. White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said the U.S. would not speculate on the Iranians’ intentions. A U.S. official told Fox News a Chinese warship and Russian intelligence ship were in the same region Thursday.
In January, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard captured 10 U.S. Navy sailors after their two boats drifted into Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The Americans were released roughly 16 hours later. The U.S. also accused Iran of engaging in dozens of “unsafe and unprofessional” interactions with the U.S. Navy, including the shadowing of a U.S. patrol ship last month.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said President Barack Obama authorized the strikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. He added that these were limited self-defense strikes conducted to protect U.S. personnel, ships and freedom of navigation. The USS Nitze launched the missiles, Cook added. Meanwhile, the state news agency Saba — under Houthis’ control — quoted an unnamed military official as saying that U.S. accusations that a U.S. destroyer had come under attack from areas under control of Houthis were false.”
Perhaps y’all have forgotten the statement from President Obama back in late 2014 where he touted Yemen as evidence of his successful counter-terrorism strategy. It was also in Sanaa, Yemen where our Marines evacuated but the Obama administration didn’t have them execute the normal NEO (non-combatant operation) procedure. Instead, they departed leaving their dismantled crew-served weapons, and not on U.S. military aircraft, but on civilian aircraft supplied by Oman.
Actions such as these only serve to embolden an enemy to the point that they feel powerful enough to fire missiles at a U.S. warship operating in international waters. Yes, I applaud the strike to take out the radar sites that are the eyes for the missiles, but now what? What will be the greater engagement or conflagration that will ensue?
On top of everything else we have an administration which has supplied billions of dollars to the Iranians, the “sugar daddy” for the Houthi rebels. Even our own Secretary of State John Kerry once shamefully admitted it could be possible the largesse supplied to the Iranians could find its way into the hands of Islamic terrorists — and it has.
The Houthi rebels have solidified their position due to Iran’s strengthened position as a result of our foolish pursuit of an insidious Iranian nuclear agreement. Further, due to our failing foreign policy, Iran now has another “sugar daddy” in Russia, and the Chinese have decided to tag along. We recently shared with you the solid presence of Russia in Syria and that China is also seeking to increase its presence there. And now you say, so what?
Here is the so what: in these final days before our presidential election, where we know Obamacare is falling apart (as we shared yesterday), does the Obama administration want a national security debacle?
Does Hillary Clinton want to explain, or worse, inherit, a major American setback in the Gulf of Aden or the Persian Gulf? Barack Obama made the decision to fire back at those Houthi-controlled radar sites — he had to do that, but I believe it was done reluctantly. And now we have an escalation which favors neither Obama nor the Democrats, but rather Iran and Russia. We’ve already had harassment of our naval vessels by Iran — with no response — and their real objective is to evidence American weakness and embarrass us in the region, which will demoralize our allies.
Back in April 1988, Ronald Reagan initiated Operation Preying Mantis, the largest U.S. naval engagement since World War II. Even John F. Kennedy went eyeball-to-eyeball with the Soviets in the Cuban missile crisis.
I don’t see Barack Obama wanting to ratchet this up and outmaneuver this deadly axis forming. The current political atmosphere has the advantage to the Iranians and Russians — they know that. The Obama and Hillary Clinton line is that the Russians are working with the Trump campaign, and Putin wants to influence the American election. That is far from the case. Putin despises America and simply wants to embarrass us every chance he can get.
This potential engagement in the Gulf of Aden — a very vital sea lane of communications and commerce — may seem trivial at this moment, but it could be the spark that lights up the power keg. And nothing would be more appealing for Russia and the Iranians than to deal Barack Obama and America, a painful blow in the final days of this administration.
It’s not the October surprise we may have seen coming, but then again foreign policy is a fluid issue. I wish I could predict the outcome, but Vladimir Putin, Hasan Rouhani and Ayatollah Khameini are predictable in one thing for sure: their hatred towards America.
I know this isn’t very sexy, sensational or salacious. But this isn’t about tabloid crap; this is about our national security, global standing, and the men and women in uniform standing in harm’s way to protect our way of life.