Beyond the Cusp

January 6, 2019

Iran on the Offensive

 

The world thinks nothing about the fact that the United States has at least one naval fleet in every ocean and in some cases there are two. For example, there have been as many as three carrier groups stationed in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean for months at a time, usually two carrier groups in the Pacific Ocean, and two carrier groups covering the Atlantic Ocean with one in the North Atlantic and another usually in the western Mediterranean Sea. Usually the United States fields six carrier groups at any one time with one more in reserve and another being overhauled. These are the huge floating city aircraft carriers with their entire flotilla of escorting vessels. There was the period where President Trump decided to give a small show of force to North Koreas’ Kim Jong-Un with three carrier groups parked off his coast in the Sea of Japan (see image below). Such a group of ships with their compliment of escorting vessels will tend to get one’s attention as a single such carrier could decimate a nation as small as North Korea. They should have had a similar effect when parked in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iran. The problem is they had little if any effect on the rulers of Iran, and their latest announcement could be seen as their response, a response that took around two years or more to come to fruition. Iran recently announced their intentions to send warships into the North Atlantic Ocean, very likely close to the United States eastern seaboard. This should prove to be very interesting.

 

Three United States Aircraft Carriers Dispatched to Sea Of Japan off North Korean Coast

Three United States Aircraft Carriers Dispatched
to Sea Of Japan off North Korean Coast

 

We can all expect that when they arrive, in about three to five months depending on average speed and any requirements to hold their positions while repairs to any of the convoy becomes required. We must point out that Deputy Navy Commander Touraj Hassani stated that the armada would set out for the Atlantic in March and that, “The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months.” We will point out that when Argentina sent troops to the Falkland Islands it took the British flotilla almost three months to sail down and settle matters. The assessment of five months could be realistic and will also depend on which route they plan on taking. They could sail through the Panama Canal after traversing the Indian and Pacific Oceans or pass through the Suez Canal through the Mediterranean and into the Atlantic or, if truly daring, could pass around the southern tip of Africa into the South Atlantic and head north. The one route we would seriously doubt would be passing across the Pacific Ocean and then around the southern tip of the Americas as those are fairly treacherous waters even for modern ships. The main questions are why they are sending these ships, how many are in the convoy, and what is the number of “warships” versus support vessels and what are their nature and kind. The other question is what will be the responding moves from Washington. Our bet is there will be a response of United States warships waiting to greet the Iranian vessels in the Mediterranean Sea if they pass the Suez Canal and definitely in the North Atlantic upon their arrival no matter the route. What might the responding ships from the United States appear to the Iranians? Our guess is the picture below would be the minimal response, a single carrier strike group with normal escort and not the entirety of the Atlantic fleet, which would entail three times the number of surface vessels and possible a second carrier (see image below). The one item we can promise the Iranian fleet is they will not be lonely. What could result which would be interesting and really make Iran appear weak, rather than this being their great show of strength, would be their requiring assistance from the United States Navy should one of their ships require extensive repairs for which they were not prepared. The odd thing is that the United States Navy, after receiving clearance, would offer whatever assistance the Iranian fleet may require to make any repairs to a floundering ship.

 

Carrier Strike Group

Carrier Strike Group

 

What is interesting is that the Iranians are attempting to send vessels beyond their range of ability to service the ships. They have sent warships into the eastern Mediterranean Sea before which they could easily have docked in Beirut or any other Syrian or Lebanese port should they need fuel or repairs and have had parts sent from Iran. In the North Atlantic Ocean, the Iranians would not have a port of call in which they could seek repairs, fuel or anything else they may require. The closest friendly ports would be again in Syria or Lebanon which is quite a distance from the North Atlantic for a floundering or stricken vessel to limp on its own, or worse, be towed by another ship, something which requires additional fuel. This is the most distant attempt to station warships by Iran to date to the best of our knowledge. What their intention may be, beyond a show of presumed strength and an ability to actually stage warships that far from their homeports, is difficult to predict. What is of additionally interest will be the numbers and kinds of escort vessels, as they will require bringing additional fuel and supplies for their fleet. Further, it is not known what their ulterior motives may be. Also, it is known that the Iranians have practiced and have specially adapted merchant type vessels which could also be used as escort ship which are adapted for launching of ballistic missiles with ranges up to and over two-thousand miles. These specially adapted ships are to be utilized for attacking land targets anywhere on the globe from these ships as they can take their launching location anywhere. From the North Atlantic Ocean, such a launch could reach as far into North America to easily reach Chicago and the major cities along the Mississippi River. From well out to sea they could also be a threat to New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and the rest of the Atlantic seaboard. Iranian leaders often make no secret of their intents to one-day replace the United States as the preeminent power of the world. They also regularly chant slogans such as “Death to Israel, Death to America” with the Supreme Leader sometimes joining the chant and at other times simply observing appreciatively.

 

Iranian Fleet on Previous Maneuvers

Iranian Fleet on Previous Maneuvers

 

There can be no mistake that this is intended to pose a threatening image letting the United States know that Iran has the capability to reach its shores with naval forces. The other unknown is how the United States reacts to the Iranian presence in what the United States considers their playground. One can be assured that the North Atlantic is not big enough for two such powers and it is likely that the United States will make such very clear. The unknowns on the United States side will be the number of ships which shadow the Iranians and whether their will also be overflights of the Iranian fleet by United States aircraft, and whether such aircraft will be carrier launched or provided by the Air Force from its bases along the Atlantic coastal regions. All told, there is a third potentiality. That is that the Iranian fleet never does arrive in the Atlantic Ocean at all and returns to Iran after sailing partially to the destination only to be forced to return due to fleet problems forcing their return. It may also be the Iranian intent to merely sail into the Mediterranean Sea, make port in Beirut, and then sail back to Iran, as that is the furthest they have sailed previously, and simply announce that they went into the North Atlantic claiming that all denials are simply foreign propaganda intended to denigrate the capabilities of Iran. That would then be something done for their internal consumption. Never underestimate the power of claims made to impress the masses.

 

What would be the worst-case scenario? I think we all know the answer to that question. The absolute worst-case scenario would be any confrontation between Iranian vessels and those of the United States. Even worse would be the launching of missiles by the Iranians towards the United States targeting cities. What people should have assessed by this time that as Iran has been working towards producing nuclear weapons for over twenty years, it is obvious that they would have produced a number of, at the very least, atomic warheads and potentially thermonuclear warheads to place atop their ballistic missiles. Should they launch multiple ballistic missiles targeting New York and Washington D.C. in sufficient numbers to assure that at a minimum at least a few reach their intended targets, that would be the beginning of World War III. Fortunately, this is an extremely remote possibility, but it cannot be completely ruled out. Should such a turn of events unfold, it will be time for everyone to brace themselves for the worst. At the top of the brace yourself list will be a tie between Israel and Saudi Arabia which both would likely be attacked simultaneously as Iran would know that they would have a very narrow window in which to attack whomever they hold the greatest hatreds before the United States would respond ending their ability to conduct further attacks. The next issue would be if such an attack would draw others into making their moves to be the most powerful nations surviving such a conflict. There are the possibilities for North Korea to move on South Korea, China to move on Taiwan and possibly India, Russia to move on reestablishing its control over many of the former Soviet States and who knows what other nations might decide this was their opportunity. This will most likely not be the result of anything Iran may have in its plans. The leadership of Iran often has made statements that it would be worth having their nation wiped off the map if they could take the United States or Israel, not to mention both, with them. Hopefully that was simply more bluster and not their intentions for some future war they would initiate. The first thing which the world need to witness is Iran actually making it with this fleet to the North Atlantic. Should they accomplish this, that will be a feat in and of itself and something which would not bode well for the future.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

    Like

    Comment by OyiaBrown — January 13, 2019 @ 7:34 AM | Reply


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