Saturday, January 12, 2008

Controversy over Straits of Hormuz Incident

The controversy over the threatening radio transmission heard at the end of the Pentagon tape showing harassing maneuvers by IRGC patrol boats in the Straits of Hormuz continued.

A Bahrain-based US 5th Fleet spokeswoman had said, “We don’t know for sure where they came from. It could have been a shore station.”

Now the Navy Times and a number of blogs are saying that the voice could have come from a locally famous prankster know as the “Filipino Monkey.”

The voice heard was saying “I am coming to you. You will explode in a few minutes.” The video was showing IRGC boats swarming US warships. Without the audio, however, the action did not seem as “threatening” as originally thought so.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said however that the incident show how real Iranian threat is. Adm. Mullen added that, “The problem of Iran is not and should never be considered a purely military problem, but our own military restraint in dealing with that problem should in turn never be confused for a lack of capability.” He continued, “While no shots needed to be fired, there is no doubt in my mind that shots would have been fired had the situation demanded it.”

The Commander of US Central Command, Admiral Fox Fallon, said the threatening radio call heard during an encounter Sunday between US Navy ships and Iranian boats in the Straits of Hormuz “was likely connected to Iran's provocative actions.” Adm. Fallon said the exact origin of the message was still unknown. He continued Iran runs the risk of triggering an unintended conflict if its boats continue to harass US warships in the Persian Gulf.

The radio call was heard over an open frequency often used by mariners to identify themselves and avoid accidents. Admiral Fallon did say that “the voice is very strange. I don't know whether it came from the boats or one of the shore stations. But the timing of it is pretty suspicious. In my mind it is related to the [Iranian] maneuvers.”

Iran has denied that its boats threatened the U.S. vessels and accused the Pentagon of fabricating the video. Iran has released its own video, which appeared to be shot from a small boat bobbing at least 100 yards from the American warships. It was not at all clear whether the Iranian video was related to the incident, however. Iranian patrol boats routinely close in to US warships and ask them to identify themselves.

1 comment:

Mark Pyruz said...

The Pasdaran produced video appears to be standard operating procedure for its naval activities. Previously, the IRGC Navy produced a video detailing the capture of UK sailors in the Persian Gulf. This video remains available on YouTube.

The IRGC Navy appears to be aggressively monitoring foreign military fleet movements in the Persian Gulf. This policy mirrors that of the aggressive monitoring conducted by the United States Navy and Air Force during the Cold War with the USSR. To this day, the United States continues this policy with Russian military movements, most notably T-95 Bear flights approaching US airspace/waters and US military installations. In this case, it is normal for US fighter planes to provide Russian aircraft with a multiple close escort.