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Iran Sending Warships Past Israel’s Coast

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 16, 2011

In a move likely related to the turmoil in some Arab countries, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iran is sending two naval vessels through the Suez Canal on their way to Syria.  That route will take the ships off the coast of Israeli, something Iranian warships have not attempted since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979.  Israel has called Iran’s move a “provocation”.

While the movement of two Iranian military vessels is not a serious military threat to Israel or Arab countries in the Middle East, the timing is not coincidental to the protests occurring in Arab cities.  The Iranians have two motivations.  The first is to flex their muscles during a time of weakness in the Sunni Arab world.  In addition, the Iranians need to create an external threat; i.e. Israel, as they attempt to avoid internal democratic protests that hit Tunisia, Egypt and other countries in the region.



One Response to “Iran Sending Warships Past Israel’s Coast”

  1. Carl Hackert said

    Last week the news media tried to explain differing positions regarding Egypt expressed by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Hillary Clinton’s State Department. This afternoon the new WH Press Secretary made his tentative “debut” and he was asked by a former colleague in the media about the issue of Iranian ships in the Suez. Like his Boss the President when speaking on his own Budget yesterday, Mr. Carney “punted” the question, this time back to the State Department, a State Department that Obama was said to “furious” with just a few days ago concerning Egypt. On such important issues as foreign policy, the President needs to have a position and someone to articulate it. Today’s Q & A exchange below reminds one of those useless and cyclical telephone “help lines”:

    “Reuters’ Jeff Mason: Israel said today that Iranian war ships plan to sail through the Suez canal to Syria. Does the United States view that as a provocation and how should Israel react?

    Carney: Our position on Iran and the right of way is well known and I would refer you on that specifically to the State Department. I don’t have anything for you on the ship in the Suez. There’s been a lot of spread of the unrest in Egypt to other areas in the mid east. The president referred to this issue yesterday and said that leaders of those country need to get out ahead of the change.”

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