Iran confronts US naval aggression!

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Iranian speedboats in the Gulf

THE US is once again flexing its muscles in the Middle East and the Iranian Gulf.

American officials claimed a group of 11 Iranian naval vessels made ‘dangerous and harassing’ manoeuvers near US ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait on Wednesday, in one case passing within 10 yards (metres) of a Coast Guard cutter.
Iranian officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident, which comes after armed men, believed to be from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, boarded and briefly held the Hong Kong-flagged tanker SC Taipei and its Chinese crew before releasing them the previous day, Tuesday.
In a statement, the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said Revolutionary Guard vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of several American ships at close range and high speed.
The American vessels included the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller, a ship that serves as an afloat landing base, and the USCGC Maui. The ships were operating with US Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said.
The ‘dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision … and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,’ the statement said.
The Americans issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, fired five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no immediate response, the statement said. After about an hour, the Iranian vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then manoeuvered away.
The Iranian Fars news agency acknowledged the incident in a report but did not include any comment from Iranian officials.
Tense incidents remain common between Iranian and US forces in the Persian Gulf and its narrow mouth called the Strait of Hormuz, which borders Iran and its major oil terminals, and which has a narrow channel of international waterway through which a fifth of all the world’s oil passes.
Iran seized ships last summer which were sailing too close, and the US is accusing it of attacking tankers in the region amid tensions over President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The US-led ‘International Maritime Security Construct’ acknowledged the incident in a statement late last Wednesday. The group said it ‘assessed no immediate threat to the free flow of shipping in the area.’

  • US forces have reportedly dispatched a convoy carrying logistics supplies from Iraq to Syria’s Kurdish-populated city of Qamishli in the northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the convoy, consisting of 35 vehicles carrying cement blocks and logistic supplies, came from northeast of Hasaka and entered Syria via the al-Walid border crossing point on Saturday, and headed for US bases near Qamishli.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) which is based in London, also reported that nearly 50 US trucks carrying logistical supplies had crossed into Hasakah city, via al-Walid crossing on Iraq’s border to support militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On April 10, the UK-based group reported that a convoy of military reinforcements, including 25 military vehicles and trucks carrying ammunition, had arrived at the US base in al-Shaddadi city, south of Hasaka.
The US has long been providing the SDF with arms and military training, claiming they are a ‘key partner’ in the purported fight against the terrorist group of Daesh.
However, such support has also angered Washington’s NATO ally, Turkey, which views militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the backbone of the SDF – as a terrorist organisation tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been waging an independence war inside Turkey for decades.
The US has also deployed new troops to the Ain al-Asad base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar as well as new Patriot missile systems and Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM)
Sources connected to the SOHR also confirmed last Saturday that Turkish forces had been setting up a large military base on the road between Tal Abyad district and the northern Syrian city of Raqqah.
They destroyed a piece of the border wall opposite Abduki village last Friday, in order to bring in new diggers and earth-moving machines into the Syrian territory.
Turkey’s moves come despite a recent ceasefire deal that Ankara has signed with Moscow to halt the escalation of violence in northern Syria.
A top Syrian official says the Turkish military aggression and deployment of US troops in the country are in violation of UNSC resolutions.
Ankara had earlier deployed nearly 6,000 troops to the de-escalation zones following last month’s ceasefire deal with Russia.
On March 5th, Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, came to an agreement on a ceasefire regime in Idlib, where Turkish aggression against the Syrian government had risked sparking a war.
Under the agreement, joint Russian-Turkish patrols secure a six-kilometre-wide corridor along a highway connecting the two government-held provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

  • On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced Washington for its decision to withdraw funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the midst of the raging pandemic, saying that it has exposed the world to the same criminal policy that had been carried out against Iran.

‘The world is learning what Iran has known and experienced all along – the US regime’s bullying, threatening and vainglorious blathering isn’t just an addiction, it kills people,’ Zarif tweeted.
‘Like “maximum pressure” against Iran, the shameful defunding of the WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy.’
The Iranian government’s request for a $5 billion emergency credit from the International Monetary Fund to support its fight against the coronavirus – the first such request from the country in half a century – has been blocked by Washington, which exercises a de facto veto over the decisions of the IMF’s governing board.
Washington’s provocative operations in the Persian Gulf are unfolding as the US Navy confronts a deepening crisis over the ever-widening spread of the coronavirus among American sailors.
The scope of the problem was first laid bare after the commander of the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, addressed a letter to over 20 senior officers in the Pacific Command demanding that his ship be evacuated and its crew quarantined after dozens of them became sick from the virus.
Crozier’s plea ‘We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,’ earned him the wrath of the White House and the Pentagon for cutting across the militarist objectives of US imperialism and exposing the lie that the government had the pandemic under control.
His summary firing and subsequent denunciation by the acting US Navy secretary before his crew unleashed a political firestorm forced the secretary, Thomas Modly, to resign.
The Navy has since been forced to accede to Crozier’s demand, evacuating and quarantining the ship’s crew in Guam. Some 600 of the ship’s sailors have tested positive and the first of them, a 41-year-old chief petty officer, died from Covid-19 last Monday.
Three other aircraft carriers, the Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan and the Carl Vinson are also being held in port because of sailors testing positive, while a fourth, the Truman, is being kept at sea for fear that its crew will become infected if it comes into port.
Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who held the post from 2009 to 2017, said last Wednesday that the only way to confront the spread of coronavirus is to bring every US Navy ship into port and quarantine the majority of their crews while the vessels are given a deep clean.
‘What I think what they need to do is bring every ship in,’ said Mabus. ‘Offload most of the crew … leave a very skeletal force on board, sanitise the ship, quarantine people for two weeks, make sure nobody’s got Covid.’ After that, he added, crews would have to be kept on the ships indefinitely until the pandemic is mitigated.
Unless such drastic measures are taken, he warned, ‘You’re going to see the situation that played out on the Roosevelt play out over and over again, not just on those big ships, but virtually every ship that we have in the Navy.’
That the Pentagon has no intention of taking such steps to protect rank-and-file sailors, disrupting US imperialism’s aggressive operations worldwide in the process, was made clear by the Trump administration’s Defence Secretary Mark Esper.
Referring to 90 other US warships at sea, Esper stated in an interview last Thursday: ‘They’ve had no problems, completely ready, conducting their wartime mission today.
‘This was a special case. We’re going to get it behind us. And I’m sure that the Theodore Roosevelt will be back to sea soon, performing its important wartime mission.’
Esper offered no explanation as to what war any of these ships are fighting. His use of the phrase ‘wartime mission,’ however, is an indication that no matter how disastrous the impact of the coronavirus upon the US population, Washington has no intention of curtailing its military aggression abroad or halting its preparations for a third world war.THE US is once again flexing its muscles in the Middle East and the Iranian Gulf.
American officials claimed a group of 11 Iranian naval vessels made ‘dangerous and harassing’ manoeuvers near US ships in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait on Wednesday, in one case passing within 10 yards (metres) of a Coast Guard cutter.
Iranian officials did not immediately acknowledge the incident, which comes after armed men, believed to be from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, boarded and briefly held the Hong Kong-flagged tanker SC Taipei and its Chinese crew before releasing them the previous day, Tuesday.
In a statement, the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said Revolutionary Guard vessels repeatedly crossed the bows and sterns of several American ships at close range and high speed.
The American vessels included the USS Paul Hamilton, a Navy destroyer, the USS Lewis B. Puller, a ship that serves as an afloat landing base, and the USCGC Maui. The ships were operating with US Army Apache attack helicopters in international waters, the statement said.
The ‘dangerous and provocative actions increased the risk of miscalculation and collision … and were not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,’ the statement said.
The Americans issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio, fired five short blasts from the ships’ horns and long-range acoustic noise maker devices, but received no immediate response, the statement said. After about an hour, the Iranian vessels responded to the bridge-to-bridge radio queries, then manoeuvered away.
The Iranian Fars news agency acknowledged the incident in a report but did not include any comment from Iranian officials.
Tense incidents remain common between Iranian and US forces in the Persian Gulf and its narrow mouth called the Strait of Hormuz, which borders Iran and its major oil terminals, and which has a narrow channel of international waterway through which a fifth of all the world’s oil passes.
Iran seized ships last summer which were sailing too close, and the US is accusing it of attacking tankers in the region amid tensions over President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrawing America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
The US-led ‘International Maritime Security Construct’ acknowledged the incident in a statement late last Wednesday. The group said it ‘assessed no immediate threat to the free flow of shipping in the area.’

  • US forces have reportedly dispatched a convoy carrying logistics supplies from Iraq to Syria’s Kurdish-populated city of Qamishli in the northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources told Syria’s official news agency SANA that the convoy, consisting of 35 vehicles carrying cement blocks and logistic supplies, came from northeast of Hasaka and entered Syria via the al-Walid border crossing point on Saturday, and headed for US bases near Qamishli.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) which is based in London, also reported that nearly 50 US trucks carrying logistical supplies had crossed into Hasakah city, via al-Walid crossing on Iraq’s border to support militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On April 10, the UK-based group reported that a convoy of military reinforcements, including 25 military vehicles and trucks carrying ammunition, had arrived at the US base in al-Shaddadi city, south of Hasaka.
The US has long been providing the SDF with arms and military training, claiming they are a ‘key partner’ in the purported fight against the terrorist group of Daesh.
However, such support has also angered Washington’s NATO ally, Turkey, which views militants from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the backbone of the SDF – as a terrorist organisation tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been waging an independence war inside Turkey for decades.
The US has also deployed new troops to the Ain al-Asad base in the western Iraqi province of Anbar as well as new Patriot missile systems and Counter Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM)
Sources connected to the SOHR also confirmed last Saturday that Turkish forces had been setting up a large military base on the road between Tal Abyad district and the northern Syrian city of Raqqah.
They destroyed a piece of the border wall opposite Abduki village last Friday, in order to bring in new diggers and earth-moving machines into the Syrian territory.
Turkey’s moves come despite a recent ceasefire deal that Ankara has signed with Moscow to halt the escalation of violence in northern Syria.
A top Syrian official says the Turkish military aggression and deployment of US troops in the country are in violation of UNSC resolutions.
Ankara had earlier deployed nearly 6,000 troops to the de-escalation zones following last month’s ceasefire deal with Russia.
On March 5th, Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, came to an agreement on a ceasefire regime in Idlib, where Turkish aggression against the Syrian government had risked sparking a war.
Under the agreement, joint Russian-Turkish patrols secure a six-kilometre-wide corridor along a highway connecting the two government-held provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

  • On Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced Washington for its decision to withdraw funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the midst of the raging pandemic, saying that it has exposed the world to the same criminal policy that had been carried out against Iran.

‘The world is learning what Iran has known and experienced all along – the US regime’s bullying, threatening and vainglorious blathering isn’t just an addiction, it kills people,’ Zarif tweeted.
‘Like “maximum pressure” against Iran, the shameful defunding of the WHO amid a pandemic will live in infamy.’
The Iranian government’s request for a $5 billion emergency credit from the International Monetary Fund to support its fight against the coronavirus – the first such request from the country in half a century – has been blocked by Washington, which exercises a de facto veto over the decisions of the IMF’s governing board.
Washington’s provocative operations in the Persian Gulf are unfolding as the US Navy confronts a deepening crisis over the ever-widening spread of the coronavirus among American sailors.
The scope of the problem was first laid bare after the commander of the US aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, Capt. Brett Crozier, addressed a letter to over 20 senior officers in the Pacific Command demanding that his ship be evacuated and its crew quarantined after dozens of them became sick from the virus.
Crozier’s plea ‘We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die,’ earned him the wrath of the White House and the Pentagon for cutting across the militarist objectives of US imperialism and exposing the lie that the government had the pandemic under control.
His summary firing and subsequent denunciation by the acting US Navy secretary before his crew unleashed a political firestorm forced the secretary, Thomas Modly, to resign.
The Navy has since been forced to accede to Crozier’s demand, evacuating and quarantining the ship’s crew in Guam. Some 600 of the ship’s sailors have tested positive and the first of them, a 41-year-old chief petty officer, died from Covid-19 last Monday.
Three other aircraft carriers, the Nimitz, the Ronald Reagan and the Carl Vinson are also being held in port because of sailors testing positive, while a fourth, the Truman, is being kept at sea for fear that its crew will become infected if it comes into port.
Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who held the post from 2009 to 2017, said last Wednesday that the only way to confront the spread of coronavirus is to bring every US Navy ship into port and quarantine the majority of their crews while the vessels are given a deep clean.
‘What I think what they need to do is bring every ship in,’ said Mabus. ‘Offload most of the crew … leave a very skeletal force on board, sanitise the ship, quarantine people for two weeks, make sure nobody’s got Covid.’ After that, he added, crews would have to be kept on the ships indefinitely until the pandemic is mitigated.
Unless such drastic measures are taken, he warned, ‘You’re going to see the situation that played out on the Roosevelt play out over and over again, not just on those big ships, but virtually every ship that we have in the Navy.’
That the Pentagon has no intention of taking such steps to protect rank-and-file sailors, disrupting US imperialism’s aggressive operations worldwide in the process, was made clear by the Trump administration’s Defence Secretary Mark Esper.
Referring to 90 other US warships at sea, Esper stated in an interview last Thursday: ‘They’ve had no problems, completely ready, conducting their wartime mission today.
‘This was a special case. We’re going to get it behind us. And I’m sure that the Theodore Roosevelt will be back to sea soon, performing its important wartime mission.’
Esper offered no explanation as to what war any of these ships are fighting. His use of the phrase ‘wartime mission,’ however, is an indication that no matter how disastrous the impact of the coronavirus upon the US population, Washington has no intention of curtailing its military aggression abroad or halting its preparations for a third world war.