US War Plans and the "Strait of Hormuz Incident": Just Who Threatens Whom?
By Michel Chossudovsky
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index
Global Research, January 11, 2008
Instigated by the Pentagon, a bungled media disinformation campaign directed against Iran has unfolded.
Five Iranian patrol boats, visibly with no military capabilities, have been accused of threatening three US war ships in the Strait of Hormuz. According to a Pentagon spokesman:
Coinciding with Bush's Middle East trip, the intent of the Pentagon's propaganda ploy is to present Iran as the aggressor.
The patrol activities of these boats are presented as "a serious threat" and an act of "provocation". The London Times goes even further: in its January 7 morning headlines the Iranian speed boats, barely 30 feet long, were apparently preparing "a suicide attack" against US war ships equipped with advanced state of art weaponary:
What US war vessels are we dealing with?
How do the speedboats compare in size and military capabilities to the US destroyers and frigates, which Iran is allegedly threatening to blow up?
According to the reports there were five Iranian speedboats and three American warships which had entered the Strait of Hormuz:
USS Hopper (DDG-70) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer equipped inter alia with Tomahawk cruise missiles, which could instantly blow the "living day lights" out of the Iranian speed boats.
Tomahawk cruise missile (source: US Navy)
The second vessel threatened by the Iranian suicide speedboats is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Port Royal CG73 which carries a sophisticated weapons arsenal including Tomahawk and Harpoon missiles, a Phalanx CIWS 2, not to mention Sikorsky SH-60 and Seahawk LAMPS III helicopters. Again the threatening speedboats would be destroyed almost instantly.
Harpoon Missile (source: US Navy)
The third vessel threatened by the Iranian patrol boats is frigate USS Ingraham also equiped inter alia with launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes and LAMPS III helicopters
What we are dealing with?
"Iranian speedboats harassed US warships and threatened to blow them up in a radio communication." A naval "suicide attack" in international waters says the Times of London.
But in fact with the exception of alleged verbal abuse on the part of the Iranian coastguard, which Tehran denies in a carefully worded statement, nothing happened other than a routine patrol operation.
Just Who is Threatening Whom?
The incident must be put in a historical perspective.
Realities are turned upside down. Known and documented since 2003, the Pentagon has drawn up detailed and precise plans for U.S. sponsored attacks on both Iran and Syria. Israel and NATO are partners in this military adventure.
Large scale US war games have been conducted.
Numerous acts of provocation directed against Iran have been undertaken.
These war vessels are deployed in the context of US-NATO-Israeli war plans in relation to Iran. The first phase of these war plans was formulated in the immediate wake of the US led Iraq invasion in July 2003, under a scenario entitled "Theater Iran Near Term". (TIRANNT). (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Theater Iran Near Term", Global Research, February 2007)
The alleged Iranian Nuclear Threat
The Pentagon's war plans continue to be based on the justification that Iran is in defiance of the "international community" and is actively involved in developing nuclear weapons.
In a bitter irony, the first phase of these war plans under TIRANNT was formulated at a time when US intelligence confirmed that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
The existence of this Fall 2003 intelligence was made available in the recently released 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE):
This classified 2003 intelligence, declassified four years later in the 2007 was in all likelihood available to the White House and Pentagon in Fall 2003, which suggests that the main justification for US and allied war preparations is based on a big lie. The 2007 NIE report states that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program. There is no concrete evidence to the effect that Iran had a nuclear program.
US Naval Buildup in the Persian Gulf
Let us return to the speedboat incident and examine how realties can be twisted by the Western media. .
There is currently a massive concentration of naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea.
In addition to the three war ships which apparently had been harassed by Iran speedboats, the entire US Fifth Fleet is stationed within proximity of the Strait of Hormuz and the Iranian coastline. The Fifth Fleet is under U.S. Naval Forces Central Command stationed in the Bahrain off the Strait of Hormuz Fleet.