This bit of inspired reporting from the Lolita of the AP leaves a bit to be desired regarding the Iranian naval threat.
Apr 20, 2:32 PM ED
APNEWSBREAK: US WARSHIP SENT TO BLOCK IRAN WEAPONS OFF YEMEN
BY LOLITA C. BALDOR
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. Navy officials say the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt is steaming toward the waters off Yemen and will join other American ships prepared to intercept any Iranian vessels carrying weapons to the Houthi (HOO'-thee) rebels fighting in Yemen.
The U.S. Navy has been beefing up its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea amid reports that a convoy of Iranian ships may be headed toward Yemen to arm the Houthi.
One would think from all the press reports that we are about to see a major naval display of daring-do between our forces and the Iranian navy. If there is any such, it will be a matter of the Iranians daring and we doing them in with lightning like precision.
The Iranian Navy consists of three relatively capable Russian made diesel-electric submarines and a hand full for old british made corvettes. They are no threat to our navy and could easily be defeated by other, regional navies. In fact some of their latest attempt to deploy force at sea are somewhat comical. As in their fierce attack Boston Whalers.
Or their North Korean based mini-submarines.
The last time the US Navy engaged against the Iranians was in 1988, when we expunged an Iranian Corvette as a sort of live fire exercise. It didn't have a chance. The pride of Iran's fleet are the three remaining examples of that outmatched and now sunken ship.
What we are seeing now may be an attempt by the Mullahs to supply the Houthi's with some weaponry. How these weapons would get ashore is unexplained. In a region where borders are porous just why Teheran feels the need to deliver arms in this obvious and vulnerable way is unclear.
My theory is that the Mullahs have no great love for their own navy and feel free to use it in vainglorious escapades. Iran's navy is the least important of her military arms. Its old officer corps was tainted by a close relationship with the ancient regime of the Shah. Beyond patrolling her coast and making a nuisance of itself in the gulf, the Iranian navy is a drain on already constrained military budget. And as we saw in 1988, the Mullahs are capable of sending Iranian sailors on obvious suicide missions against the Great Satan. This is the corvette Shand after going on such a mission in 1988.
It is therefore possible for Iran to land arms to the Houthies without a friendly port. I must confess that I don't know if the Houthis control any such ports, but given the existence of these landing craft, they needn't.
Iran doesn't need to deliver arms by sea to the Houthis. The Saudi's and others in the region have superior navies. They control the airspace. Therefore, I see this as stunt put forward for their own reasons by Iran's religious leaders to send a message and or provoke a response.
The only danger the Iranian Navy poses to our navy is via those three modern submarines. We probably know where they are or at least can defend against them to a great degree.
As in the case of ISIS, we seem to be engaging an enemy that the regional powers should be able to destroy on their own. Is it in our interest to fight the Saudi Arabian Navy's battles? Have we had a serious discussion of our national interest in the fate of Yemen?
All good questions to ask before we lower the boom on the Iranian Navy again.