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Monday, February 14, 2011

Iranian warships port in Saudi Arabia

In an unprecedented move, two Iranian warships called in the Saudi port of Jeddah last week.
Iranian peace and friendship flotilla have reached Jeddah port to continues navigation activities, ISNA reported.

"Islamic Republic of Iran's navy flotilla arrived in Jeddah port on Sunday to continue mighty presence in high seas with the aim of fostering amicable relations and sending message of peace and friendship to regional countries," said Iranian naval force commander Habibollah Sayyari.

The flotilla involve Islamic Republic of Iran's Khark warship and Alvand destroyer.

He also expressed hope the country can send message of peace and friendship to regional countries through dispatch of Iranian flotilla to strategic Red Sea, Gulf of Aden as well as friend and Muslim countries' ports including Jeddah port in Saudi Arabia.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's navy is determined to continue presence in high seas to protect interest of the country and spread message of peace and security in sensitive northern Indian Ocean," he added.
J.E. Dyer comments:
The two-ship Iranian task force, consisting of two British-built vessels, Vosper Mark V-class frigate Alvand and supply ship Kharg, left Iran on 26 January, according to Iranian news sources. The next day, a senior naval officer announced that the task force, deployed as the 12th Naval Group, “would enter the Red Sea and the Mediterranean waters.” The prospect of a Mediterranean deployment is as unprecedented as the Saudi port visit. There is no guarantee it will actually happen, but the timing is interesting.

While the Mubarak regime was in power, there was little possibility of Egypt permitting an Iranian naval task force to transit the Suez Canal. I’m not convinced any Egyptian authority will agree to such a transit before the country’s political future is sorted out – I certainly don’t think the Iranians know their warships are approaching a Canal that will be opened to them by a specific, expected change in political conditions. But what I do perceive is a bold move by Iran.

The current regime engages in a lot of bluster, but putting warships in the Red Sea port of America’s long-time partner Saudi Arabia is genuine action. For no navy on earth – not even ours – is a naval deployment undertaken easily or lightly. This is a big deal for them. It’s also a big deal for Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been alarmed about revolutionary Iran’s activities for a long time; the chill between the two nations has meant precisely that things like naval port visits don’t happen. The Saudis wouldn’t have accepted this visit if they didn’t perceive their US-backed position as vulnerable and exposed.

What could go wrong?

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At 6:01 PM, Blogger Tom Lavin said...

The U.S. once again showed their lack of support for another long time 30 yr. ally in the case of Egypt. Saudi Arabia cannot be expected to believe or have much confidence in the U.S. after witnessing such behavior.


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