Ayatollah apologists are always on that part of Iran’s political establishment views the United States as an enemy and believes the main reason for the US military presence in the Persian Gulf is to threaten Iran, Tehran maintains the right to monitor the movement and passage of “enemy ships” and views any restrictions placed on military ships of enemy countries as self-defense.
That kind of thinking can also start a war.
In recent weeks, the IRGC’s Naval component has conducted numerous simulated swarm-attacks against U.S. Navy vessels in the Persian Gulf. In each case, IRGC sailors have ignored radioed warnings from our sailors.
The Iranian revolutionaries — of which the IRGC are the elite honor guard — have a long history of spilling American blood. And in recent years, the IRGC’s navy has been buoyed by new capabilities specifically designed to sink U.S. ships. As such, if IRGC leaders keep pushing without riposte, they are likely to decide that they can strike the U.S. with minimal cost.
The IRGC-Navy’s commanding officer, Ali Fadavi, is a well-known attention seeker, but he would not be in his position without a reputation for anti-American purity.
Consider this hypothetical situation.
A month from now, the IRGC leadership directs a lieutenant to “go rogue” and crash an explosives-laden ship into a U.S. vessel. If the U.S. Navy sinks the lieutenant before he strikes, the IRGC would claim its sailor was murdered by an outrageous act of American aggression. In the aftermath, the Chinese and Russians would condemn the U.S. Navy, the Europeans would stay quiet, and the White House would probably apologize. But if the lieutenant succeeded, the IRGC would claim he was acting in self-defense. Or they’d claim he was overzealous and acting independently.
This may seem like a stretch of the imagination, but it is not.
After all, the IRGC thrives on using “cutout” officers and operations to give its senior leaders deniability. That’s how the IRGC killed hundreds of U.S. military personnel in Iraq (Google “Iran EFP” or “Karbala Raid 2007”), that’s how the IRGC kidnapped Westerners for prisoner exchanges (Google “Peter Moore Khazali”), that’s how they plotted to blow up a packed Washington, D.C., restaurant in 2011 (Google “Quds D.C. restaurant plot”), and that’s how they are turning Iraq into a sectarian puppet state.IRGC leaders are not as cutout-clever as they think, but because the U.S. very rarely calls them on what we know they are directing, it doesn’t matter.
If IRGC leaders believe they can kill American sailors without incurring significant retaliation, they will have no qualms about sending a few Iranian sailors to their deaths in order to do so. The sailors would become heroes of the Revolution; righteous heirs to the defining Shia martyr, Husayn ibn Ali, and proven servants of Ayatollah Khomeini’s theological project.
Or it could redux something from way back...
18 April 1987
On that crazy day, the Sinbad's of Persia actually drew beads and fired on the Great Satan and her navy.
Big mistake. Sparking a naval brawl that raged for 12 hours, Great Satan annihilated over 1.2 billion bucks worth of offshore oil platforms (they were also dual functioning as Revo Guard seaborne missile silos in the Gulf oil tanker war) and pretty much made the term 'Iranian Navy' truly past tense for like a decade. Ken Pollack's "Persian Puzzle" reads like a movie
"The Iranian Navy came out to fight. Light attack, F 4 Phantoms, even Iran's
largest warships sortied from Bandar Abbas to take on the American Forces. The
Iranian missile boat Joshan started the battle by firing an antiship missile at
an American cruiser (it missed) and was immediately sunk in a hail of missiles
Iranian small boats and a pair of F 4's also tried to strike various American ships in the Gulf, and several of the boats were sunk or damaged as were both F-4s. The Iranian frigate Sahand fired on planes from the USS Enterprise, which was providing air support. Enterprise's air wing immediately put two Harpoon missiles and four laser guided bombs into the Sahand, sinking her.
Finally, in a remarkable act of stupidity, the Iranians also sent out the frigate Sabalan, sister ship to the Sahand, late in the day, and it two fired three missiles at a passing American A-6 Intruder. The Intruder promptly put a 500 pound laser guided bomb neatly down Sabalan's smokestack."
Still, it speaks volumes that 44 has not yet issued a sharp public statement authorizing U.S. Navy commanders to proactively defend their crews. The IRGC might not listen, but the current status — America’s commander-in-chief staying quiet as the threat rises — is a signal of unambiguous weakness.
And that silence fuels the IRGC fire.