U.S., Iranian Ships Involved In Incidents In Strait Of Hormuz
Iranian ships recently taunted two U.S. Navy vessels as part of escalating tensions in and around the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz.
The incidents in the strait, one of the world's most important oil routes, occurred last week and involved the USS New Orleans, an amphibious transport dock, and the Coast Guard Cutter Adak, the military said Friday in releasing videos of the incidents.
Iranian speed boats are seen in one of the videos approaching the USS New Orleans within about 500 yards last Friday.
"The Iranian boats did not respond to whistle signal or voice queries from the New Orleans, disregarding standard maritime protocols," Central Command said in releasing the videos. In the incident involving the Adak, "communications were established with a larger Iranian ship operating in the area and the speed boats ceased their harassment."
Iran: We'll Bring The War To Israel
Iran is preparing its own answers to the string of assassinations of Iranian scientists, a web site identified with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Thursday – and those responsible had better start staying awake nights, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying.
Naming Israel specifically, the Rajah News website said that Israel wasn't the only country that could undertake long-distance proxy wars. “We too can send our agents to kill people in their sleep,” the site quoted the unnamed official as saying.
“None of those responsible will escape, none of them should feel safe,” the official told the website. “We will take the war beyond the borders of Iran, and beyond the borders of the region.” Israeli commentators said that the statement was an implied threat that Iran could target American Jews in response to what it perceives is a covert war by Israel to halt Iran's nuclear program.
Several months ago, the FBI announced the arrest of a terror gang connected to Iran that had planned to attack synagogues in the U.S., and to blow up the Saudi embassy in Washington.
U.S. Concerned Over Ship Moscow Sent To Syria
WASHINGTON - The United States said on Friday it had raised concerns with Moscow over a Russian-operated ship that has arrived in Syria and which sources said contained a cargo of bullets.
"With regard to the ship we have raised our concerns about this both with Russia and with Cyprus, which was the last port of call for the ship, and we are continuing to seek clarification as to what went down here," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
A Cypriot official said Friday that the ship with a "dangerous cargo" on board was carrying ammunition, as a source at the vessel's St. Petersburg-based firm said it had reached Syria.
Russia has long been a major arms supplier to Syria, where President Bashar Assad is trying to crush a 10-month-old wave of unrest by military force, prompting Western and Arab sanctions against Damascus that Moscow has not joined.
"The ship was carrying a dangerous cargo," the source at St. Petersburg-based Westberg Ltd. said by telephone on condition of anonymity. "It reached Syria on Jan. 11," he said.
U.S. Stations Two Aircraft Carriers Opposite Iran, 15,000 Troops In Kuwait
Contributing to the mounting sense in Washington of an approaching US-Iranian confrontation, the Pentagon is substantially building up its combat power around Iran, stationing nearly 15,000 troops in Kuwait - two Army infantry brigades and a helicopter unit – and keeping two aircraft carriers the region.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly 528 disclosed exclusively on Nov. 25, 2011 that Iran may soon publicize its attainment of a nuclear weapon, a step still being debated intensely at the highest levels of the Islamic regime in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will make the ultimate decision, is very much in favor of facing the world as a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic. He calculates that this fait accompli has a good change of warding off a Western and/or Israeli military attack.
The New York Times wrote Friday under the caption: Dangerous Tension with Iran, "Many officials, experts and commentators increasingly expect some kind of military confrontation."
Obama had similar conversations with other Middle East leaders this week. The and Saudi and Qatari foreign ministers, Prince Saud al-Faisal and Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, spent two days on Jan. 10-11 in Washington talking to the US president. The contents of their talks were kept under tight wraps. Friday, British premier David Cameron suddenly turned up in Riyadh for talks with Saudi King Abdullah and Crown Prince Nayef.
Moscow has consistently spoken out against any foreign intervention in the Syrian conflict – or even tough UN sanctions.
Russia's NATO ambassador Dmitry Rogozin has suggested more than once that the West would use a military adventure in Syria as the jumping-off point for an attack on Iran.
Every day seems to be another step towards war.