America’s view of the Middle East today is shaped by our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise and reach of ISIS, a grinding conflict in Syria, the region as a source of wider ranging terrorism and staggering outflows of refugees that are changing the political calculus in Europe. The images that characterize and shape American involvement there are of arid landscapes and rubble from wanton destruction, our soldiers and marines in desert camouflage and videos of surgical airstrikes. However, the image of the beginning of our involvement in the Middle East is a rarely viewed February 1945 photo of President Franklin Roosevelt meeting with Saudi King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy in the Suez Canal. As our strategic role in the Middle East began with a meeting on the water so, too, are consequential changes there taking place at sea – the domain in which the U.S. has enjoyed unfettered access and dominance for over seventy years. Assuming continued uncontested American maritime dominance in that vital region is a grave strategic misstep – key Asian powers have turned to the sea, they understand fully what is at stake, and they have come to play.
Seven Iranian fast boats again harassed an American ship in the Persian Gulf, forcing the USS Navy Firebolt patrol boat to take evasive maneuvers to avoid a collision with one of the fast boats that sped at it head-on.
The guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze (DDG-94) was followed and harassed by four Iranian patrol boats on Tuesday in the Persian Gulf, defense officials confirmed to USNI News.
The destroyer was in the vicinity of the Strait of Hormuz when four Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy high-speed patrol boats came at the ship without responding to hails or warning flares fired from Nitze, according to a video of the incident provided to USNI News. Continue reading
Please see the source for the video as the format is incompatible for posting here.
The incident began when five small fast boats, believed to be manned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy approached the cargo vessel just off the coast of the United Arab Emirates but in international water, the official said.
The Iranian boats fired across the bow, and at that point the cargo vessel turned and escaped by entering into UAE territorial waters, according to initial U.S. military reports of the incident. The UAE sent three of its coast guard boats out to the cargo vessel.
The incident began with the Iranians ordering the ship into Iranian waters. When the ships master refused, the Iranians began to fire in a way to try to disable the ship, not just as warning shots, the U.S. official said.
Several shots hit the cargo ship, but did not disable it. The ship went into UAE waters and the Iranians followed it into those territorial waters, continuing to fire, before breaking off. Continue reading