A logistics base for handling tanks, missile systems, self-propelled artillery and other heavy weaponry bound for Syria and Hizballah is secretly under construction in a section of Port Sudan which Omar al Bashir has leased to Tehran, debkafile reports exclusively from its military sources.
Iranian Revolutionary Guards engineers in civilian dress are overseeing the hundreds of Sudanese workmen laboring flat out to build Iran’s second Red Sea base after Assab in southern Eritrea. Continue reading
Here’s a list of what the US is up against in regards to threats in the Strait of Hormuz and possibly the main reason behind the ‘floating base’ sources have mentioned is being placed in the area.
A hurried decision not to de-commission the USS Ponce helicopter marine carrier after duty in Libya – but to refit it for deployment by May in the Persian Gulf as a floating base for commando teams – was confirmed by the US Pentagon and Navy Sunday, Dec. 29. This transportable floating base will expand the commandos’ range in coastal areas and support counter-measure against mines which Iran has threatened to plant in the Strait of Hormuz in reprisal for the US-EU oil embargo. The SEALs will also take on Iran’s menacing fleet of military speedboats.
DEBKAfile reports Tehran operates four different kinds of these craft in the Persian Gulf:
1. Small, fast vessels, each armed with a small missile for striking tankers and coastal oil targets around the Gulf region, such as export terminals. Earlier this month, Tehran claimed to have developed stealth cruise missiles capable of disabling aircraft carriers with a single shot.
2. Small, extra-fast boats armed with torpedoes. Iranian publications claim several such boats are capable of stealing up on US aircraft carriers and large warships from several directions without being detected and cause serious damage.
3. Floating bombs for kamikaze missions. These fast boats cannot be deflected after locking in on target, whether on sea or shore, and explode on contact.
Iran used these floating missiles piloted by suicide squads to attack oil tankers in the Gulf in November 1987. Since then, their naval tacticians have upgraded this fleet with the technology gained from the British Bladerunner 51, a model of which Iran purchased some years ago.
Since early January, the Pentagon has reported four cases of harassment by Iranian military boats sailing close to American warships in the Persian Gulf.
4. Boats carrying teams of Iranian marine frogmen trained for secret suicide underwater missions: One member of the boat’s three-man crew dives close to the targeted ship and attaches a magnetic bomb to its hull. Iran has scattered hundreds of speedboats of different types around uninhabited islands off the Iranian mainland, tucking them out of sight in well-hidden inlets and bays. The US commando teams based on the Ponce platform will have the task of ferreting out and destroying this fleet.
Continue reading article: US anticipates May as tentative date for clash with Iran. Floating SEALs base for Gulf (DEBKAfile)
America’s defense budget is roughly 90 times bigger than Iran’s. But Iran has a well-honed strategy of asymmetric warfare.
Indeed, Iran can cause immense harm, analysts say, without ever directly facing off against far superior conventional US forces. Even a few incidents – like mines laid in the Gulf, or Iran’s small-boat swarming tactics against oil tankers or a US Navy ship – could raise fears of insecurity to unacceptably high levels.
It could also have far-reaching economic consequences, including a spike in oil prices, since roughly a third of all seaborne oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz – making it the single most important choke point for oil tankers in the world.
“[Iran’s] final aim is not to physically close [the strait] for too long, but to drive up shipping insurance and other costs to astronomical heights – which is just as good, in terms of economic damage, as the physical closing of the strait,” says a former senior European diplomat who recently finished a six-year tour in Tehran.
“If you are not sure whether you will get hit, or if you get hit not by conventional force but some wild boat that might float around in the sea – or a mine or two – that will create far more insecurity than a battle line where the strait is closed,” he says.
And Iranian harassing tactics are just the start, he adds. Other layers include artillery and rockets stationed at the Strait of Hormuz, Kilo submarines, and mini-submarines from which divers can be sent out to damage ships.
Continue reading article: How Iran could beat up on America’s superior military (Christian Science Monitor)