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It’s getting difficult to distinguish between bluster, rhetoric, and potential conflict in the Strait of Hormuz anymore. Perhaps the only thing that’s certain is tensions continue to climb, and there appears to be no resolution in sight.The BBC’s Jonathan Beale was aboard the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln today as it made its way through the Strait of Hormuz and reports that Iranian vessels skirted within two miles of the convoy.
The Lincoln is part of Carrier Strike Group Nine, that consists of the flagship USS Abraham Lincoln, embarked Carrier Air Wing 2, San Diego-based guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George, and the embarked Destroyer Squadron 9.
While it’s unlikely the convoy was in any immediate danger, the announcement by the commander of U.S. naval forces in the Persian Gulf this week must have been on most sailors’ minds.
Speaking at a press conference Sunday, Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox said that Iran has increased its number of subs and attack craft in the area, and packed small attack boats with explosives for use in suicide attacks.
It was a suicide attack from a small craft that blew a hole in the USS Cole at a Yemeni port in 2000, killing 17 American sailors.
Though the International Institute For Strategic Studies (IISS) backs up Fox’s comments, the British think-tank says there is no way Iran can actually close the Strait of Hormuz.
With just six poorly equipped corvettes, IISS says it’s nearly impossible for the Iranians to compete with the U.S. Navy. Their reports says that in the event of attack, however, Iran would employ mines, torpedoes, rockets and anti-ship missiles while trying to avoid direct conflict with U.S. ships.
IISS speculates that the Iranians would bring out their fast attack subs and ships to attack at sea, and use flat-bed trucks to fire anti-ship missiles from land.
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