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NATO won't want to know. Nobody was interested in Europe's opinion over the nuclear deal, it's a bit late to snap fingers and expect so allies to fall into line. After all, America doesn't need allies, right?

 

All that said, I'd be delighted to see the regime fall. All we need do is sit back and watch it happen. Piracy or maritime interdiction will change nothing.

Not a NATO issue. Beyond that, Europe doesn't want to know just like they didn't want to know 30 some years ago when Iran was targeting Kuwaiti tankers. Best to let the knuckle draggers form the west side of the Atlantic take care of it.

 

 

 

And once again, completely and totally untrue.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armilla_patrol

The Royal Navy withdrew its forces from the Persian Gulf in 1971 in line with the United Kingdom's general retreat from imperial commitments. However, tensions in the area remained high and Royal Navy ships were still a frequent sight in the area. In 1980, war broke out between Iraq and Iran. In response to the increased danger to British shipping and other British interests, a Royal Navy escort vessel was sent to the Persian Gulf and at least one has remained there ever since. In addition to the surface combatant, the Royal Navy has also maintained an auxiliary of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) in the Persian Gulf.

During the Falklands war, the Royal New Zealand Navy dispatched frigates to carry out the Armilla patrol duties, freeing the British ships on station for service with the Royal Navy task force tasked with freeing the Falkland Islands from the Argentine invasion.

The Armilla patrol was praised by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a call was made in parliament for an Armilla Patrol Medal to go to those serving in the Patrol at the time in 1989.[1] Ships Companies were subsequently awarded the General Service Medal (Gulf) for patrol and escort duties between 17 November 1986 and 31 October 31 October 1988. Mine countermeasures ships were awarded the GSM for service between 1 November 1988 until 28 February 1989.

Typical Armilla patrol deployments lasted for six months or so, with the supporting RFA vessel sometimes spending an aggregate total of over a year in the area. The patrol was reinforced with an aircraft carrier or task group in times of high tension or British involvement in wartime operations or by frigates or destroyers transiting the area for other operations in the Far East or Pacific.

 

 

https://www.csmonitor.com/1987/0825/oholl.html

August 25, 1987

The surprising Dutch pledge to send ships to the Gulf to join American, British, and French ships there in defending oil tankers came late last week after the British publicly had criticized earlier Dutch refusal to do so.

Last Thursday in the Hague, the current WEU chairman, the Netherlands, conducted a one-day meeting on the Gulf of senior diplomats from the member nations of Britain, France, West Germany, Italy, and the Benelux countries.

After the meeting Minister of Foreign Affairs Hans van den Broek said the Netherlands will send naval vessels to the Gulf. Western diplomats see the move in part as a desire by the Dutch to use their WEU chairmanship to reassert the prominent role in Western alliance planning the Netherlands once played, despite its small size.

The Dutch move increases pressure on the reluctant Italians to join the Western flotilla in the Gulf. It does not increase pressure on the West Germans, since the allies are resigned to Bonn's plea of constitutional constraint on use of West German forces outside the immediate NATO area. While the West German Constitution says only that armed forces must be used exclusively for defense, the West German Navy would gladly define as ``defense'' participation in allied excursions outside NATO's immediate waters.

 

 

There is a difference between then and now. Now, none of us really need the oil from the region. There are plenty of places we can get it from. The US is also largely self sufficient in oil. Secondly, its a manufactured crisis. Whilst you can make a convincing case that the original tanker wars were an offshoot of the Iran/Iraq war and thus we were all equally innocent victims of it, this is a much harder sell. The present crisis, which yes, I still place entirely on the Iranian hands, initiated with the US decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal. A decision they took without deciding to consult allies over what would happen next. It was not hard to determine what would happen next. You only have to study a textbook on the history of the region in 1987-88.

 

America first. Quite right. So you go first then.

 

 

Stuart, I don't think King is interested in inconvenient things like facts or reality generally. You're wasting your time.

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So far we know nothing of relevance about who is the perpetrator.

 

What little we know are inconclusive claims, many of them from a party that's KNOWN to be led by serial liars and has been lying relentlessly and extremely about Iran for more than thirty years.

 

 

My personal favourite suspect is Prince Bonesaw in conspiracy with the one trick walrus. They're the one whose intents get advanced by such events.

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Interesting that the general sentiment is reflected in the sources that Stuart posted? Citations about the UK under Lady Thatcher aren't very reflective of European sentiments. Citations about New Zealand being involved is right out (Are the Kiwi's part of the EU now? :rolleyes: )

"The surprising Dutch pledge.."

"The Dutch move increases pressure on the reluctant Italians to join the Western flotilla in the Gulf"

Why was it surprising? Perhaps it's because generally, Europe doesn't generally want to get involved in such actions outside of their own waters.

Banshee's point about 30 mine sweepers is interesting. Ok, yeah, they sent mine sweepers. Any combat ships? Were those mine sweepers armed? Did they engage any Iranian Naval Forces?

Lastly, "manufactured crisis" Seriously?

Edited by rmgill
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To be honest, I think this is the money quote "There is a difference between then and now. Now, none of us really need the oil from the region. There are plenty of places we can get it from. The US is also largely self sufficient in oil." Although Stuart side-stepped the issue of our dependence on Qatari LNG. However, we are already having to diversify our LNG sourcing as Qatar has started to ship to robust energy markets in Asia instead.

 

I think the majority of voters here (the UK and US Western European allies) have had enough of having to go along with various ill-conceived military operations dreamt up by the US. I also think it's reasonable to think that, with their immense wealth and massive and technologically superior arsenals, the Saudis and UAE ought to be able to handle defending shipping in that area from the Iranians. it's equally reasonable for an American to think that Europe could pay for its own defence vs a vastly poorer Russia. Of course we can - especially if we stop wasting our budgets on defending areas of little and decreasing strategic importance to us.

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To be honest, I think this is the money quote "There is a difference between then and now. Now, none of us really need the oil from the region. There are plenty of places we can get it from. The US is also largely self sufficient in oil." Although Stuart side-stepped the issue of our dependence on Qatari LNG. However, we are already having to diversify our LNG sourcing as Qatar has started to ship to robust energy markets in Asia instead.

 

I think the majority of voters here (the UK and US Western European allies) have had enough of having to go along with various ill-conceived military operations dreamt up by the US. I also think it's reasonable to think that, with their immense wealth and massive and technologically superior arsenals, the Saudis and UAE ought to be able to handle defending shipping in that area from the Iranians. it's equally reasonable for an American to think that Europe could pay for its own defence vs a vastly poorer Russia. Of course we can - especially if we stop wasting our budgets on defending areas of little and decreasing strategic importance to us.

 

There is a book in my collection called 'Fighting WW3 from the middle east'. Written by an Israeli historian, it identified British foreign policy in the middle East as trying to maintain imperial influence, long past the point where it had relevence. He identified the Suez canal as part of this policy. Now, since we lost india, we didn't need it anymore. It was wholly irrelevant to our requirements, as Dennis Potter Brilliantly portrayed in 'Lipstick on your collar'.

 

My point is for the the Americans, the Gulf is irrelevant. It Might become relevant if Iran gets nuclear weapons. But we already had a deal for that. Kicking that over led directly to this mess. This is why I cannot embrace this as a vital interest for us, just as the nuclear deal wasn't for America.

 

I don't know why the US feels the need to fight Israeli and Saudis wars for them. But if you want to continue imperial overstretch, you will end up where Britain is. Ridiculed and irrelevant.

So if there is no gain, why do it?

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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Minesweeping might not be a glamourous, but essential and still-hazardous task ("where the fleet goes, we have been", and all that); particularly essential in this case since the "Tanker War" was waged heavily with mines by Iran, and probably at least as dangerous as shooting up the odd Boghammar or landing vessels which made up much of the rest of the Iranian assets.

 

That combination of attributes is probably one reason that the USN has increasingly abandoned the minesweeping mission to allied fleets over the last decades, to the point it's now one of the few fields where it would depend on help by the latter for sustained major operations. LCS was of course intended to have that capability, which I guess would have closed the sexyness gap as successor of the outgoing Avenger-class MCMs, but well ...

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Minesweeping might not be a glamourous, but essential and still-hazardous task ("where the fleet goes, we have been", and all that); particularly essential in this case since the "Tanker War" was waged heavily with mines by Iran, and probably at least as dangerous as shooting up the odd Boghammar or landing vessels which made up much of the rest of the Iranian assets.

That combination of attributes is probably one reason that the USN has increasingly abandoned the minesweeping mission to allied fleets over the last decades, to the point it's now one of the few fields where it would depend on help by the latter for sustained major operations. LCS was of course intended to have that capability, which I guess would have closed the sexyness gap as successor of the outgoing Avenger-class MCMs, but well ...

It is combat in my view. And in the 1980s, the usn had a paucity of them.

 

It's just like Ryan to mock something his own navy forgot. He probably forgot about the Samuel B Roberts and the Iran Ajr.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Samuel_B._Roberts_(FFG-58)

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Ajr

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The necessity of minesweeping in the Gulf became apparent quite a while before Roberts got a hole blown into her.

 

On that very first escort mission, on 24 July 1987, the Kuwaiti oil tanker al-Rekkah, re-flagged as the U.S. tanker MV Bridgeton and accompanied by US navy warships, struck an Iranian underwater mine planted some 20 miles (32 km) west of Farsi Island the night earlier by a Pasdaran special unit, damaging the ship, but causing no injuries. Bridgeton proceeded under her own power to Kuwait, with the U.S. Navy escorts following behind to avoid mines.[1][12]

 

The operation was widely publicized, and American reporters aboard another ship in the convoy immediately issued reports about the incident, claiming it had "played into Iran's plan". Iran's Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi called it an "irreparable blow to America's political and military prestige",[9] and said that it was the "invisible hands [of God]" that hit the US-flagged ship, and expressed hope that the U.S. Congress would put an immediate end to the Administration's plan. The Congress was critical of the re-flagging policy, but still didn't have a united position on the issue.[13]

 

It was an unforeseen development. The commander of the task force admitted that in spite of intelligence warnings, no one had thought it necessary to check the route for naval mines,[14] and it was soon brought out that not only did the U.S. not have any minesweepers in the Persian Gulf, it did not have any easily accessible minesweepers at all, so the escort operation was placed on hold until minesweepers would be available.[8] The Pentagon deployed eight minesweeping Sea Stallion helicopters, five oceangoing minesweepers, and six small coastal minesweepersdramatically increasing U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, and increasing the probability of an IranU.S. confrontation. U.S. Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger indirectly provoked Iran to retaliate.[9]

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Earnest_Will

 

Arguably, the potentially biggest threat in the form of shore-launched anti-ship missiles wasn't even engaged directly, despite warnings by Reagan to that effect. But there was no political will to accept the risk associated with attacking Iranian territory proper, particularly in view of dubious domestic support, a divided Congress etc.

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Minesweeping might not be a glamourous, but essential and still-hazardous task ("where the fleet goes, we have been", and all that); particularly essential in this case since the "Tanker War" was waged heavily with mines by Iran, and probably at least as dangerous as shooting up the odd Boghammar or landing vessels which made up much of the rest of the Iranian assets.

That combination of attributes is probably one reason that the USN has increasingly abandoned the minesweeping mission to allied fleets over the last decades, to the point it's now one of the few fields where it would depend on help by the latter for sustained major operations. LCS was of course intended to have that capability, which I guess would have closed the sexyness gap as successor of the outgoing Avenger-class MCMs, but well ...

It is combat in my view. And in the 1980s, the usn had a paucity of them.

 

It's just like Ryan to mock something his own navy forgot. He probably forgot about the Samuel B Roberts and the Iran Ajr.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Samuel_B._Roberts_(FFG-58)

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Ajr

 

 

Not to speak about Operation Desert Storm

 

USN ships damaged or sunk by SSMs since 1945: 0

USN ships damaged or sunk by torpedoes since 1945: 1

USN ships damaged or sunk by mines since 1945: 14

 

Tell the minesweepers they are not combat ships.

 

Even within the very narrow limits of combat ships used by Ryan, the French sent a battlegroup to the PG: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_aircraft_carrier_Clemenceau_(R98)#Career

 

"In 1987–1988 she participated in Operation Prométhée in the Gulf of Oman during the war between Iraq and Iran. The Promethée battle force (Task Force 623), included Clemenceau, the mine counter-measures support ship Loire, and Durance-class tankers Meuse, Var, and Marne. "

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Europeans weren't so enthusiastic about naval ops in the Persian Gulf during the 80's because they didn't suffer from Iran derangement syndrome and weren't all that eager to help Iraq's clear-cut war of aggression. The French made money with exports to Iraq, the other Europeans thought of the whole Gulf War as a huge tragedy, not some opportunity to bully the Iranians.

 

And you guys know that exactly this desire to bully the Iranians led the Americans there first and foremost. This desire was behind the murderous intent of the USS Vincennes, whose officers in chain of command for AAW meant to murder two Iranian pilots who posed no threat to their ship whatsoever.

 

 

Americans pretending that they're providing free security service to the world while really they're just following their own (all-too often illegitimate) incentives are annoying.

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'Murderous intent'? Get off your soapbox LD.

 

Given the then recent history of Operation Praying Mantis and the ongoing tensions, incoming Iranian military planes would have to be considered threats. Are we know now, the radar contact was unfortunately misidentified.

 

BBC Witness recently had an interview with a USN cameraman filming on the ship during the action: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06c3xx0

 

Look for yourself at the emotions in the faces of the crew. Elation when they deem to have hit the threat, wary and confused when the message arrives about the missing airliner.

Edited by Daan
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They were shooting at a fighter that was known to have no other weapons for attacking a ship than a 20 mm gun. That fighter was flying in a straight line at high altitude. The USN was not at war.

The self-defence myth is not supported by facts.

 

A "loose gun" defence would at most downgrade the crime to manslaughter, for they still intended to kill without having any justification (as opposed to faux "justifications").

It was no more "self-defence" than the repeated wedding party bombings by the USAF where jets capable of flying at very high altitudes turned back to bomb rifle muzzle fires.

 

I know I wade deep into American mythology territory, and Americans stick religiously to such myths. moreover, they have fooled many others into believing them, normalising such behaviour.

 

Practically no American would talk of self defence if some Iranian ship had shot down an airliner off New York in the 1980's. They wouldn't even speak of self-defence if they had shot down an F-16 that was trying to do a very low altitude overflight, and I strongly suppose you know that.

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I didn't think somebody could get one better over the ignorance of minesweeping's importance in the Gulf, but you're reliable in that respect.

 

A warship firing on another nation's warplane is an act of war. If a state of war didn't exist at the point, it exists from that point, unless politics chose not to act on the cause. If the ship's crew didn't act in self-defense, it makes them aggressors, not murderers. Terms of criminal justice don't apply to actions between national forces acting within the rules of warfare, which don't know self-defense in the first place.

 

Now shooting down an airliner full of civilians would clearly be murder, if done knowingly. Equally clearly, a warplane would be a legitimate military target, whether equipped to effectively attack a warship or not.

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Nonsense. Soldiers cannot simply shoot some foreign combatants and thus create a state of war by themselves. That's not how this is working.

 

What you wrote about minesweeping makes no sense whatsoever. I ddin't even mention it, nor did I even only hint at it not happening. You should work on English text comprehension.

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It's just like Ryan to mock something his own navy forgot. He probably forgot about the Samuel B Roberts and the Iran Ajr.

 

1. Go look at the LCS thread. See my points about mine sweepers there.

2. We currently have 11 MCMs. We forgot those did we?

3. We have mine sweeping helicopters too.

 

​

 

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It's just like Ryan to mock something his own navy forgot. He probably forgot about the Samuel B Roberts and the Iran Ajr.

 

1. Go look at the LCS thread. See my points about mine sweepers there.

2. We currently have 11 MCMs. We forgot those did we?

3. We have mine sweeping helicopters too.

 

​

 

 

 

1 No, if you have any points, kindly address them here. Im not going to trawl half of tanknet just to disagree with you.

 

2 Even the impoverished and unloved Royal Navy at present has 12 minesweepers in the fleet. Which kind of illustrates the level of priorities your navy and mine put on the threat.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mine_countermeasure_vessels_of_the_Royal_Navy

We are also leading the way in using robots in mine countermeasures.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5705481/Royal-Navy-reveals-autonomous-robo-minesweeper-scour-sea-explosives.html

 

3 Yes, lets look at that for a moment.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Tripoli_(LPH-10)

In 1990, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein became the focal point of international interest when, on 2 August his troops invaded Kuwait. Over 100 U.S. Naval ships were sent in response, and on 1 December 1990, Tripoli was sent into action once again. Tripoli proceeded into the northern Persian Gulf and assumed duties as flagship for Airborne Mine Countermeasures operations there with HM-14 and Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773 (HMLA-773) deployed aboard. On the morning of 18 February 1991, at 0436 (4:35 a.m.) Tripoli was rocked by a mine explosion on her starboard bow. The explosion ripped a 16 by 20 ft hole in the ship's hull. After 20 hours of damage control, the ship was stabilized and was actually ready to resume operations. However her JP5 fuel tanks were damaged by the mine hit and she was unable to deploy her MH-53E Seadragons due to a lack of fuel. Tripoli remained on station for seven days before finally setting course for Jubail to allow HM-14 to crossdeck to the USS New Orleans (LPH-11) and then to Bahrain's Arabian Ship Repair Yard. After 30 days of quick repairs, Tripoli returned to the Persian Gulf where she spearheaded the U.N. mine sweeping operation to clear the naval mine fields laid down by Iraq.

 

By contrast, how many Royal Navy minesweepers have been damaged by mines since the 1980's? LPH's are certainly a substitute, but on past evidence, not particularly great ones. Anyone looking forward to the USN kicking dust up in the persian gulf really needs to hit the books and reflect what that means. And that means once again pitting the USN against a threat its really not well equipped to deal with. Limpets are another wrinkle as well of course. I dont think thats been a serious threat since the days of Buster Crabbe and the Cockleshell Hero's. Be interesting to see how that is dealt with.

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Nonsense. Soldiers cannot simply shoot some foreign combatants and thus create a state of war by themselves. That's not how this is working.

 

What you wrote about minesweeping makes no sense whatsoever. I ddin't even mention it, nor did I even only hint at it not happening. You should work on English text comprehension.

One military unit shooting at another nation's military unit constitutes an act of war. Whether this leads to a state of war (or in modern parlance, a state of armed conflict) is up to the respective governments, particularly the one of the Nation that got attacked.

 

The US and Iran had arguably been in a state of armed conflict since 1979 after the hostage-taking at the Tehran embassy and the subsequent (failed) use of military force by the US to end it. Forces of both sides had since engaged in firefights on multiple occasions, Samuel B. Roberts had been struck by an Iranian mine, etc. You could argue all day who started it all, and whether either side acted reasonable. There is also no doubt that Vincennes acted against national rules of engagement by pursuing Iranian gunboats into their own territorial waters, which contributed to the tense situation in which she shot down the Airbus; IMO her CO should have been punished, possibly including for manslaughter, rather than commended. But under international rules of armed conflict, she could have been justified to enter Iranian waters and fire at what her crew thought was a hostile warplane.

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Here's a good starting point from which to understand the preparedness and integration of Coalition forces for mine countermeasures operations in the Persian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman: https://www.royalnavy.mod.uk/news-and-latest-activity/news/2019/april/24/190424-minehunters-complete-multi-national-exercise

 

Thank you, thats very informative.

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Incidentally, I bought a few months ago a very good book on the tanker wars called 'America's first clash with Iran'. Its perhaps not light reading, but it covers all the naval actions, the Stark incident, the damage and losses to mines, the countermeasures, and including a eyewitness account by cruise missile attack by the Iranians on the American sea bases that it seems the US Government tried to deny ever happened. There is also a first class discussion of the airbus shootdown and the multiple different causes that led to it. When I started on it, I couldnt put it down. The only negative is its light on coalition support to the USN operations, but in fairness, there was so much in it, its difficult to take fault with it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Americas-First-Clash-Iran-1987-88/dp/1935149369/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=iran+and+america&qid=1560761113&s=gateway&sr=8-1

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Regarding minesweeping:

 

IIRC the MH-53 minesweeping sleds are trouble and not much of a practical and active capability for the mere 30 MH-53s.

I always considered them to be relevant only for rivers and canals.

The minehunting dipped-towed sonar AN/AQS-20 is only available in 10 copies.

 

 

Overall, the USN went a few times quite exotic in minesweeping/minehunting, but never procured any capability in a good quantity post-WW2.

Meanwhile, Europeans developed and maintain sizeable minehunting fleets (with separate search and destruction tethered drones), as it was more in effective range of Soviet conventional subs. Germany has a couple minebreaking drones and Norway invested in minebreaking boats.

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