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Iran offers pro-Palestinian activists escort through Israeli blockade

And the tensions are ratcheted even higher. Turkey’s PM is talking about visiting the Gaza Strip (one would assume he’d appeal to Egypt for passage into the area rather than trying to run the blockade) and now Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is being offered as an escort to any wanna-be blockade runners.

“The naval wing of the Revolutionary Guard is ready to assist the peace flotilla to Gaza with all its effort and capabilities,” Khamenei’s Revolutionary Guard spokesman Ali Shirazi stated. “If the Supreme Leader issues an order for this then the Revolutionary Guard naval forces will do their best to secure the ships,” Shirazi said. “It is Iran’s duty to defend the innocent people of Gaza.”

A couple of points. This isn’t coming from Ahmadinejad. This is coming from Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (the offer, per Reuters, was made today in an interview). So this should be viewed with much more credibility, since Khamenei is where the real decision making rests with the Iranian regime.

Second point – it wouldn’t at all surprise me if Iran attempted such a thing. It would help their relations with the Arab world, it would divert attention to their favorite external enemy (besides the US) and, if they can provoke violence, further alienate Israel. It might also help them avoid really harmful sanctions. What are the lives of a few Revolutionary Guard naval forces with that sort of beneficial pay-off in the offing?

And make no mistake, Iran would be throwing their lives away. I’m not sure what the Revolutionary Guard thinks they could do alone against the entire IDF (air and naval forces), but my guess is if they opened fire on an Israeli vessel it would end up being a short, nasty and very one-sided battle affair. Having total air dominance of the area where the fight would take place, as the Israelis most likely would, tends to make the outcome almost pre-ordained – and perfect for Iran.

Depending on how the world (and media) views the outcome (and my guess is that in certain parts of the Arab world, the story would be written before the battle was ever waged) Israel might end up winning the kinetic battle handily and losing the broader media and opinion war.

Whether or not such an escort ever comes to pass, I think Iran sees a real win-win for them developing in this situation. Consequently, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them try to mount such an operation.



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47 Responses to Iran offers pro-Palestinian activists escort through Israeli blockade

  • A quick thought or two;

    According to my recollection of the Oslo Accords, Gaza remains under Israeli sovereignty.
    Turkey’s PM would be essentially invading Israel if he attempted to visit Gaza.
    Iran has submarines.
    A naval engagement with Israel would be, perhaps, a pitched battle using modern weaponry.
    The outcome of such an engagement is a known quantity, but there is ONE Israel and LOTS of hostile naval forces.  Israel cannot afford to loose much naval capacity.
    IF this is not for real, the Iranians and Turks are vying for bragging rights over who pushed Obama into pressuring Israel for more regional “stability”…of course, Israel would be the one pushed.

    • What I’m saying is that Iran isn’t particularly concerned with the military outcome. The naval units they’d send would be throw-away units. No need to demonstrate their real capability in a battle that essentially has no meaning or lasting effect, especially in terms of outcome. They actually are better off losing and losing badly trying to “protect peace activists” vs. winning anything (and besides the Iranian subs would have to make a pretty long transit to get in position, right under the noses of the US 6th fleet and Israeli ASW assets – and I’m sure Iran is not willing to lose them over a battle it really doesn’t care if it wins). Iran’s “win” would come after the battle, not during it.

      • Yep.  That is certainly ONE strategy, and I don’t doubt it is the most likely.  I also assert that this isn’t likely to result in ANY actual naval engagement.  It is intended to get THE ONE to pressure Israel to end the blockade, as is the Turkish crap.

    • If they do this, they’re pushing Israel, not getting Obama to push Israel.  Iran has a lot to lose, I think they’d sacrifice symbolic forces rather than really try to fight a naval battle with Israel.   Moreover, this could be bluster to get Israel to back down so they can claim victory — Iran is very good at bluff and bluster.   Iran might also want to provoke a conflict so they can be seen as the victim, sort of a 21st century Prussia.   Israel needs to proactively alter policy in Gaza.  This isn’t working.   They are gaining no security, and giving opponents cover and international support.  However wrong that support may be, it’s real — Israel has to change course.

      • You keep repeating that mantra, but tell me. What the hell else can they do? If they allow free reign into Gaza then they will get the rockets and bombs again, That is intolerable.
        I, of course, being an evil right winger have another solution, but they won’t folow my advice either.
        I would push all of the scum out into Egypt, or into the sea.

        • They won’t follow your advice because you advise an impossible solution, one that probably would assure the destruction of Israel.   It wouldn’t only be evil, it would be a very stupid move.
          But opening Gaza completely isn’t an option either.  Tony Blair’s notion of an internationalization of aid and possible international inspections is probably the best way — Israel could also extract a price (more international support for other efforts) and this could help marginalize Hamas and shift the politics dramatically.

  • Obama has gotten himself into an unbelievable situation.  If you thought the “who lost China” debate was vicious, what until you see a “who lost Israel” debate.  The only chance Obama has of salvaging this situation is to stand side by side with Israel.  All the Obama machinations to date have brought us to this point.  Turkey is not our friend and has not been since at least 2003.  We are seeing Iran and Turkey vying for influence in the Middle East.  Attacking Israel is designed to bolster each of their credentials.  If Obama crumbles, so will the Middle East.  How did we manage to elect such a naive weakling.

    • How did we manage to elect such a naive weakling.

      Lies, liars, and the mimeographic media were a big help.  It was also determinative that he was black, NOT George Bush, had half a billion dollars to spend, and a cipher.

    • Rick CairdObama has gotten himself into an unbelievable situation.  If you thought the “who lost China” debate was vicious, what until you see a “who lost Israel” debate.  The only chance Obama has of salvaging this situation is to stand side by side with Israel.

      As if Imeme or the brain-dead morons and anti-Semites who make up his base will care if he “loses Israel”.  To the contrary, they hate Israel and are almost as eager as Ahmahdinnahjacket to see Israel reduced to a smoking ruin with six million dead Jews in it.

      Rick CairdHow did we manage to elect such a naive weakling?

      Because 53% of us are naive fools who didn’t realize that this sort of thing was EXACTLY the sort of policy he would pursue.

      • Of course, compared to Bush, Obama is a giant.   On both the economic and the military fronts, Bush weakened the country immensely.  To criticize Obama, who is trying to fix that, is a weird kind of political amnesia.  “This guy is really bad…the guy before, well…we don’t remember…”

        • Scott, you don’t say a “giant” what.  I have suggestions, but this is a family blog.
          If you want to talk harm, we can cover the 30% increase in national debt that will take our debt past GDP.  We can talk about forcing through a health care bill that is objected to by a substantial majority of the population.  We can talk about the most inept government executive response of all time to the gulf oil spill.  We can follow that up with policies that increase unemployment and lead to a declining economy while pushing  devastating policies of “green energy” (ask Spain how that is working) and cap and trade.  All that, though, leaves out a foreign policy that “disses” our allies, rewards our enemies, emboldens our enemies, and achieves nothing.  That is truly a “giant” something, but not what you think.

          • A “weird kind of political amnesia”, huh….  I’d add to your amnesia a stunning detachment from reality.  They do  have meds to help with that, and the drug companies (for a while) are working on helping people like you every day.  The part I especially like is when you pretend Obama has done things he TALKED about doing in campaign mode…Bush bashing mode…only to double-down on most all Bush’s policies.  I love that part…   Obama: the Bush legacy polish.

          • Obama couldn’t have done any more on the Gulf spill, you know that.  BP has the expertise and equipment, and their best minds haven’t been able to do more.  The idea that a President could swoop in and somehow “fix” the gulf spill is fantasy.   Obama has done all a President can do.
            The economic problems, and much of the deficit spending, is a result of the last thirty years, and the crisis that hit in 2008.   To blame it on Obama is to show a complete lack of understanding of how the economy works.   And I know you understand enough to recognize you’re giving political talking points there, and that Obama can’t be blamed for the economy, or most of the deficit.    (By the way, if you haven’t read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, you should — it really helps one understand how this happened, even better than “The End of Wall Street” by Lowenstein).    Also, remember that Bush increased deficit spending, deregulated as the bubble went out of control during boom — you don’t deficit spend in a boom.   The only time you should consider it is when the economy is in recession.
            You may be right about the other stimulus spending — yet with a downward spiral, there are strong economic arguments in favor of the spending.  Economists are split.  The truth is that different people have theories fitting their ideology, but we really don’t know how to handle a world recession when both  the public and private sectors are deep in debt across the globe.

          • Yes, Scott, Obama could have done much, much more on the gulf oil spill and you know it.   Just put yourself in Jindal’s place.  You know you need to build a sand berm and you know how to do it.  Obama is completely disengaged and the Army Corp of Engineers tells you they need to do an environmental statement.  Would you consider that to be good executive management?  Would you consider that to “beyond your pay grade”?
            Sheesh Scott.  Have you ever worked outside of an academic environment.  If not, such ignorance is the only excuse for claiming it is all outside of Obama’s control.

        • Um… Obama’s military successes come from the same source that the late term Bush successes came from, Robert Gates as the SecDef.  Since he was a Bush appointee, I’m not sure how much credit Obama can take for that.
          As far as the economic front, you are absolutely correct, the damage that Obama’s Presidency has done to the long term economic health of the US will dwarf everything that happened under Bush.
          We thought we had a really bad President with Bush (who’s biggest problem is that he let Rumsfield and Cheney run the show for too long) and then Obama came along to show/remind us what a really bad President looks like.

    • Since about 2006 the role of the US in the region has been diminished.  I don’t think Obama or the US can do much here, either to support Israel or push Israel.   The US is still important, but not as important as it once was.

      • The US can do lots to support Israel and oppose both Turkey and Iran.  Any role in the region has been diminished because Obama is a dolt who really wishes the whole problem would go away.  Perhaps if he put a “boot on the throat” of Iran and Turkey, he might get some where.

        • Well, given Obama’s success in life on many levels, calling him a “dolt” seems a bit silly.   Obama’s been engaged on multiple levels with different states in the region, with Hilary also very involved.  I don’t think threatening Iran or  Turkey would be at all meaningful, and Europe would undercut such a threat anyway (as would China and Russia).   Also, there is a question of the strategic cost of supporting Israel “no matter what.”  Anthony Cordesman brought that up in a piece this weekend, and the US does have to remember that the government has to do what is best for our country and our economy — and that may not be to support Israel all the time at any cost.  It may be in our interests to work on a different track to solve the problem.

          • No Scottl, Obama has had little success.  This stand off between Turkey, Israel, and Iran lies directly at the feet of Obama.  He has bullied Israel while doing nothing with Iran.  Ergo, they set out to test him some more and he again does nothing.
            I thought someone who studied political science would have some sense of power in the world, how it is acquired and how it is maintained.  You seem to have missed those four years of classes.

        • OK, I’d like to see what you suggest in terms of US actions towards Turkey and Iran.  What exactly does the US have the power to do there?   The Iraq war showed the limits of our military capacity to shape political events, and since 2005 there has been no fear of the US.  Economically the current crisis diminishes our role there.  China, middle powers like Turkey and Brazil, Russia and others can counter anything the US tries unilaterally.   So I’m curious — what am  I missing, what can the US do?

  • Israel should drop the nukes now, avoid trouble down the road.

    • Actually, that would probably assure the destruction of Israel — they’d be blamed for the second holocaust, after all.

      • You know zero about the holocaust.  Did the Jews of Nazi Germany declare war on the reich and make it their stated mission to destroy that nation?

        There’s an immense difference between WAR and ethinc cleansing. One which you obviously either don’t know or don’t care about. I opt for the latter since you’re spectacularly dishonest.

        • It would be as evil as the holocaust, the mass killing of innocents who did nothing.   It would not be war, it would be slaughter.   Israel would face such anger and opposition that it would almost certainly be destroyed.  Of course, the Israelis are too moral to do that, they don’t by your rationalization of evil

          • You mean like the slaughter the Arab nations plan for Israel since minute one, right?

            Here’s the difference, which again – you know but cast aside because you need to do so – if you gave Israel and the Arab states each a button to push to destroy the other, Israel would only push it if they had an imminent existential threat, they prefer peace. The Arabs would fall all over themselves rushing to push that button regardless.

            There is no evil in self-defense.

    • Mass murder “to avoid trouble down the road” is what the Nazis were using as a justification.  But who would they nuke?  The entire Arab world?  Iran?  Turkey?  The occupied territories (which they occupy and which sit alongside their land)?  Would Israel be immune from the fall out?   Do you have any clue what you’re advocating or are you just trying to pretend you’re tough?

      • Did the Jews declare war on the German regime with stated intent to make them extinct? I missed that in history class.

        It’s becoming very clear it’s going to be one or the other out in the mideast. I know who I pull for.

        • It will not one over the other, if you’d study the region you’d realize that neither can eliminate the other — except at the cost of themselves.  And you still don’t say who’ll you’ll nuke and how that would work.   You yearn for some easy deus ex macchina solution, and there is none.  Of course, there also isn’t a declared war on Israel by the civilians that you’d exterminate.   But they’re just parasites, right?

          • Not by “civilians”, just by their governments.

          • Right, the civilians will just dance like drunken sots in the street afterwards to show how angry they are with their government for attacking Israel.
            You really need to stop thinking these people view victory the same way you do.  They view the last foray into the Gaza blockade as a success.  That’s why they give their military and paramilitary units catchy names like “martyrs” brigade because they understand victory to be different than YOU understand victory.  These people would slit your throat in 2 seconds without looking back because they operate under the same moral code YOU do, whatever they think they can get away with.
            And with Man of WaxPaper as our President, they know they can get away with a lot.
            Unable to trade land for time, they need an ally who reacts fast, and fast reaction is not in Imeme’s resume.

  • I suggest the Israelis use a variant of that environmental past time “Shoot, Shovel & Shutup”

  • It’s not a matter of if…but when.

  • I think there is some confusion here over Arabs, Turks, and Persians. From what I understand, they don’t much like each other, other than in the “enemy of my enemy” sort of way.

    Outcome 1: Iran says it will help the “peace flotilla” but actually does nothing. Arabs smile. Turks smile. Iran smiles sheepishly.

    Any other possible outcome leaves one of the three frowning.

  • Very “interesting” observations and comments. HOWEVER:
    Iran has merely -offered- to escort flotillas. No organisation is going to accept/risk being destroyed by the IDF as a result. It’s what’s called a “Symbolic Gesture”. What would people in the Muslim world say if Iran didn’t offer to help its Muslim brothers in Gaza? What could Iran have done, stayed quiet? Or condemned Israel, which is something they do all the time anyway? No, they make an offer that they know aid activists won’t accept.
    But hey, don’t let common sense stop you from espousing the idiocy I see before me.

    • Except weaponry and targeting is more than sophisticated enough to pick of the Iranian boats without touching anyone in the flotilla. Words come and go (just look at this administration) but only action will give them any credence with the Muslim world. Secondly, the flotilla in question, loaded with Muslim Brotherhood activists was about as much a peace organization as Hamas is a legitimate government. Lastly, there could certainly be organized a flotilla which had the express aim of provoking violence (wait, they’ve already done that haven’t they) and further alienating Israel, if that happened to be a mix of activist vessels and IRG boats, the Islamists wouldn’t mind at all (and, frankly, neither would Iran).

  • no one talks about the “occupation ” of parts of Capris by Turkey for the last 40 years and their oppresion of Christians there,A catholic Bsihop was recently murdered there.Where is the Internailnal outrage of Tukish “occupation”? 

  • You might like the YouTube video “We Con the World”. It has 1.5 million viewers and growing, and exposes this latest form of PoliWood.


  • If an Iranian naval vessel approaches the blockade it should be formally hailed and warned and told that consequences will follow if it continues. Those could include boarding and seizing the vessel and taking the crew prisoner, disabling it so that it can’t move under its own power or maneuver, or sinking it. I think boarding and seizing and taking prisoners has the best ring to it, though disabling it might have its own advantages, such as just letting it sit there without having to otherwise touch it. Just sinking it has, of course, a nice traditional appeal. But under no circumstances should it be allowed to breach the blockade.
    The Turks are another matter, and I think that backchannel American intervention there would be preferable, but we don’t have an American administration with American interests in mind. So the Israelis might have to come up with something. I’d work up the ladder to full-scale naval battle, if it comes to it. The Turks have no business being involved in this and using that earlier flotilla as a pretext would screw all sorts of pooches for them, like their NATO standing and their engagement with the EU.
    But that’s an Islamist government in charge there and they might not care about their valuable ties to the West. It’s one thing to jump in on the Hamas side of the propaganda war over the flotilla incident. Quite another to be a NATO member committing acts of war against Israel.

    Whatever happens, all of this is directly attributable to this reprehensible dope in the White House and his idiotic foreign policy. The sharks smell weakness and indifference and act accordingly. If there’s one small, tiny fragment of an argument for Biden somehow being elevated it’s that he has the residual instincts and reflexes not to let a situation like this deteriorate any further. And Hillary Clinton has no idea whatsoever what she is doing, never had even rudimentary qualifications for Secretary of State, and couldn’t figure out what’s going on if she had a thousand years in which to do it.

  • The idea Obama could have gone down there and fixed it is so out of touch with reality, that I have to wonder what planet you’re on, Rick.   There were no easy answers, BP has more expertise than the US government, and they have the equipment to act.   It is a politically inspired lie to say that Obama has been disengaged and unresponsive, all coverage shows the opposite.  You can’t really believe what you’re writing, it’s utterly absurd.    You really think they could have built a sand berm and avoided all this?  Sheesh.   Obama’s been meeting with people in government, at BP, canceling trips abroad, going to the region….and you trot out an indefensible falsehood.   You’re better than that Rick, come on!
    I have challenged you to say what the US could do concerning Turkey and Iran that would be effective and not have negative policy consequences elsewhere.   You are unable to — you’re talking in vague slogans, again, rhetoric designed for domestic political argumentation, but with no substance.    Be precise: what exactly can the US “do” to Iran.  In my blog today I note the dramatic change in the power capacity of the US, citing an essay by W. Russell Mead about Turkey and Iran, and the relatively inability of the US to do much about their behavior.   Yet somehow you make an argument that we really could, but just because Obama is a “dolt” somehow we don’t.   The whiney “it’s all Obama’s fault” effort to blame him for everything that goes wrong is not only absurd, but completely unsupportable.
    Come on, don’t just be a partisan shill, make some kind of real argument!

    • You’ve reached new heights of self-parody, but to cut to the chase, this is the most reprehensible and idiotic presidency in my lifetime. The only thing that would have come close to this disaster would have been if FDR had not replaced Henry Wallace with Truman as his running mate in 1944 and the Soviet sympathizer Wallace had become president on Roosevelt’s death.

      Obama can’t stand America, has contempt for her allies, and admiration for her enemies. He’s as backasswards and mental as you are, Scott, and then some.

      You think of yourself as normal because in your solipsistic narcissism you’re the only thing you know. Now, that’s too bad for people around you, but at least you don’t control the national security apparatus of the United States. It’s far easier for people who are not you to understand what it means to have a jerk like you in that position. But he’s far more of a low-life lunatic than you are and he’s got a 24/7 presidential steroid pump going, on the highest setting.

      • You’re so over the top, Martin, I just have to chuckle.   You self-marginalize, thankfully.

        • Scott, your incessant repetition of “over the top” is the sissified academic’s way of saying “I have nothing to say.” This blog keeps people around who have made an art form of humorously assembling your platitudes and cliches as parody. You know that, don’t you?

          And there is nothing more marginal in this society than a cow-college Leftist poly-sci professor who does not even know his own field and cannot write a coherent paragraph of commentary.

          Here’s what you don’t get, Scott: I know stuff. I am actually a student of the things that interest me. I’ve taken the time not only to learn about those things, but to learn how to express what I know in a clear, precise, and robust manner. You have none of that, and never will.

          “Over the top” for you is anything that isn’t dribbling down over your upper lip from your own nose.