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Since September 11 unconfirmed reports from the Middle East are worth paying attention to.
Secret agreements may prevent participating governments to issue travel warnings on time. Who is monitoring the situation in regards to safety of tourists and tourism in the region? After all tourism is big business in the Gulf, in Israel and Iran.
More than a million foreigners reside in the region that could be part of an upcoming conflict.
eTN is not confirming any reports. eTN feels obligated to share some blog postings and news reports with our readers.
MESSAGE received by eTN on September 18:
Im still monitoring radio traffic and after three days of trying, finally began monitoring the British Admiralty.
They have a lot of RTTY traffic which leads me to believe they are moving their ships into position.
Even the USN net are also busy lately so they are following the same. With a copy of this report, many nations are NOT taking this lightly.
Their survival depends on the Strait of Hormuz being open to ship movement to move oil.
If something blows, it will involve many nations and it’s not good.
We are dealing with many unknowns so be wary and prepared at the same time.
Any shooting will jack up the price of oil immediately, so everything else.
POSTED ON THE JOEL ROSENBERG BLOG, the and in parts on THE DAILY TELEGRAPH LONDON on September 16
As The Joshua Fund’s 2012 Epicenter Conference comes to an end, evidence continues to mount that war is coming to the epicenter. More reason to pray for peace, but prepare for war.
“Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war,” reports the London Telegraph.
“Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s petroleum traded by sea. A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.
In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise….
The war games are the largest ever undertaken in the region./
The multi-national naval force in the Gulf includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force.
The carriers are supported by at least 12 battleships, including ballistic missile cruisers, frigates, destroyers and assault ships carrying thousand of US Marines and special forces.”
The British component consists of four British minesweepers and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay, a logistics vessel. HMS Diamond, a brand-new £1billion Type 45 destroyer, one of the most powerful ships in the British fleet, will also be operating in the region.
In addition, commanders will also simulate destroying Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.
In the event of war, the main threat to the multi-national force will come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps navy, which is expected to adopt an “access-denial” strategy in the wake of an attack, by directly targeting US warships, attacking merchant shipping and mining vital maritime chokepoints in the Persian Gulf.
Defense sources say that although Iran’s capability may not be technologically sophisticated, it could deliver a series of lethal blows against British and US ships using mini-subs, fast attack boats, mines and shore-based anti-ship missile batteries.
Next month, Iran will stage massive military manoeuvres of its own, to show that it is prepared to defend its nuclear installations against the threat of aerial bombardment.
The exercise is being showcased as the biggest air defence war game in the Islamic Republic’s history, and will be its most visible response yet to the prospect of an Israeli military strike.
Using surface-to-air missiles, unmanned drones and state-of-the-art radar, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and air force will combine to test the defences of 3,600 sensitive locations throughout the country, including oil refineries and uranium enrichment facilities.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya air defense base, told a conference this month that the manoeuvres would “identify vulnerabilities, try out new tactics and practise old ones”.
At the same time as the Western manoeuvres in the Gulf, the British Response Task Forces Group — which includes the carrier HMS Illustrious, equipped with Apache attack helicopters, along with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle – will be conducting a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean. The task force could easily be diverted to the Gulf region via the Suez Canal within a week of being ordered to do so.
The main naval exercise comes as President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, today to discuss the Iranian crisis.
Many within the Obama administration believe that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections, an act which would signal the failure of one of Washington’s key foreign policy objectives.
Both Downing Street and Washington hope that the show of force will demonstrate to Iran that Nato and the West will not allow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, to develop a nuclear armoury or close Hormuz.
Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, reportedly met the Israeli prime minister and Ehud Barak, his defence secretary, two weeks ago in an attempt to avert military action against Iran.
But just last week Mr Netanyahu signalled that time for a negotiated settlement was running out when he said: “The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’
“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
The crisis hinges on Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, which Israel believes is designed to build an atomic weapon. Tehran has long argued that the programme is for civil use only and says it has no plans to an build a nuclear bomb, but that claim has been disputed by the West, with even the head of MI6 stating that the Islamic Republic is on course to develop atomic weapons by 2014.
The Strait of Hormuz has long been disputed territory, with the Iranians claiming control of the region and the entire Persian Gulf.
Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps recently boasted that “any plots of enemies” would be foiled and a heavy price exacted, adding: “We determine the rules of military conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”
But Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, warned that Iranian attempts to exercise control over the Strait of Hormuz could be met with force.
He said: “The Iranians need to understand that the United States and the international community are going to hold them directly responsible for any disruption of shipping in that region — by Iran or, for that matter, by its surrogates.”
Mr Panetta said that the United States was “fully prepared for all contingencies” and added: “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that the Iranian attempt to close down shipping in the Gulf is something that we are going to be able to defeat if they make that decision.”
That announcement was supported by Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who added: “We are determined to work as part of the international community effort to ensure freedom of passage in the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz.”
One defence source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “If it came to war, there would be carnage. The Iranian casualties would be huge but they would be able to inflict severe blows against the US and British.
“The Iranian Republican Guard are well versed in asymmetrical warfare and would use swarm attacks to sink or seriously damage ships. This is a conflict nobody wants, but the rhetoric from Israel is unrelenting.”
MESSAGE RECEIVED ON SEPTEMBER 11- POSTED ON NUMEROUS NEWS BLOGS:
My brother and his family live in Jerusalem – he is a minister – his office is close to one of Israel ‘s largest underground military bases.
He called me last night which is very unusual – usually it is email.
He called to tell me that he is sending his family back to the US immediately due to what he is seeing happen within the last week and what he is being told by his military contacts in both the Israel and US military.
He said he is seeing with his own eyes military movements the likes of which he has never seen in his 20+ years in Israel .
What he called a massive redeployment and protective tactics of forces is underway.
Over the last two days he has seen anti-aircraft missile deployments throughout the Jerusalem area including 3 mobile units that he can see from his office windows.
In addition, he has seen very large Israeli armored columns moving fast toward the Sinia where Egypt has now moved in Armor.
There are reports of the top military leaders meeting with Israel’s Sr. Rabbi which is something that has happened preceding every prior military campaign.
His admonition is to watch carefully and pray for Israel and its people.
He is convinced that barring something extraordinary Israel will attack Iran – with or without the US – and very soon.
It is the belief in Israel that Obama does not stand with Israel but with the Arab countries.
He has told me before that Israel will saber rattle from time to time but that this time is very different from what he is seeing and hearing.
He was at the Wailing Wall 2 days ago and there were hundreds of IDF soldiers there. As he was leaving he passed at least 20 military buses full of soldiers in route to the wall.
He has never seen this before either.
Just thought I would pass this along.
My brother is not an alarmist by any means.
When he talks like this it gets my attention for sure and usually I find he knows more than he shares.
There are reports that Israel is asking Obama to come to Israel immediately but they are being answered with silence.
My opinion is that I see the making of the perfect storm.