“The Iranians are Coming!” Derangement Syndrome over 1 Destroyer in Atlantic

(By Juan Cole)

Today’s headlines in the US were marked by Iran derangement syndrome.

It turns out that Iran has sent “a fleet” of “warships” into the Atlantic Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope. These ships are in international waters, and vessels from all nations ply those waters every day without comment.

It is alleged that they will “near” US coastal waters. But all that means is that they will be in . . . international waters.

The US media is falling for a press release from the Iranian government saying that they are deploying just beyond US coastal waters in response the US aircraft carriers being in the Persian Gulf not far from Iran. (The HQ of the US 5th Fleet is at Manama in Bahrain). Since Iran’s leaders are engaged in serious negotiations with the US and the UN Security Council to make their nuclear enrichment program more transparent, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei feels a need to appease his hard liners in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. So he gives strident speeches denouncing the US even as he lets President Hasan Rouhani negotiate with Washington. And now there is this stunt with the “fleet.” It is political theater aimed at mollifying the hard core militants.

But this is where it gets seriously hilarious. So this fleet. What does it consist of? “…a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship…”

That’s not a “fleet” of “warships”! That’s one destroyer! and a supply ship.

And this destroyer, mind you, is not an aircraft carrier. It is just a dinky little destroyer.

Iran doesn’t have an aircraft carrier or battle group. As for destroyers, how many of those does this fearsome seagoing power have, that is now invading the Atlantic Ocean?

3

It has three destroyers.

Most of its “naval” craft are just little speed boats deployed off the Iranian coast in the Persian Gulf.

But, you might say, surely Iran’s destroyer is state of the art. Maybe. But one of the three is 50 years old and was recently somewhat refurbished. The Bayandor was added to the Iranian “fleet” when the Beatles still wanted to hold your hand.

So you could have had an even more dramatic headline– “Iran sends one third of its destroyers into the Atlantic.”

Iran’s annual military budget had been nearly $8 billion a few years ago, which is tiny and puts it in the league of Norway or Singapore. But with sanctions biting, it has fallen to $5 bn a year! This is Denmark and Belgium territory!

The US annual military budget is around $700 bn. Israel’s is nearly $15 bn. (though this is deceptive because the US gives it stuff). And remember that with each year, a higher budget means an accumulation of hardware and experience.

Someone should do a remake of those old 1960s comedies like the Peter Sellers film, “The Mouse that Roared” and “The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming.” Oh, wait. Someone just did.

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This clip on Iran’s navy is not meant to be satirical, but pay attention to the size of the vessels.

25 Responses

  1. Iran’s military systems (both naval and land -based) are designed to make an attack by the US, Israel and/or Saudi Arabia as costly as possible for the attackers, while costing the Iran military budget as little as possible. That is, Iran gets far more “bang for the buck” than the US, Israel or Saudis do. Because Americans are so enamored with the “high-tech” (and outrageously expensive) US military “war toys,” they fail to understand just how deadly Iran is.

    Those Iranian weapons systems can kill lots of American attackers and destroy lots of US hardware.

    Iran’s military is NOT designed to project power (other than tweak the nose of US “news” organizations), but to defend Iran from US, Israel and/or Saudi attack, for which they are well designed.

  2. It is admirable dramaturgy to expose US right wing lies by sending an old indefensible target vessel. Now if they were granted permission to visit US ports, a fraternal gesture significant to the US right wing, or (heaven forbid) rescued some US mariners, the old vessel could be retired with honors as a tourist attraction.

    If the right wing attacks it, as in the Gulf of Tonkin incident used as a pretext for the Vietnam War escalation, it would expose right wing lies there as well.

  3. Just compare and contrast this Iranian “fleet” of “warships” that carries “some 30 navy academy cadets for training” with at least one and often two US aircraft carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf and the Arabia Sea, in addition to dozens of F-22 and F-15C warplanes that operate out of US bases in the Persian Gulf. Images of US ships in the Persian Gulf link to google.co.uk

    Here is the Wikipedia list of the top 10 military spenders in 2012:
    1. USA ($683 billion = $2,200 per capita)
    2. China ($166 billion = $123 per capita)
    3. Russia ($91 billion = $436 per capita)
    4. United Kingdom ($61 billion = $984 per capita)
    5. Japan ($59 billion = $465 per capita)
    6. France ($59 billion = $908 per capita)
    7. Saudi Arabia ($57 billion = $2,014 per capita)
    8. India ($46 billion = $26 per capita)
    9. Germany ($43 billion = $524 per capita)
    10. Italy ($34 billion = $557 per capita)
    Meanwhile, Iran spent $9.00 billion on its military in 2012, which amounted to about $112 per capita, compared to USA’s $2,200 per population. Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP stood at 1.8% in 2012, which is significantly (28%) below the global average. Israel’s military budget of $14.6 billion accounted for 6.2% of her GDP.

  4. Just compare and contrast this Iranian “fleet” of “warships” that carries “some 30 navy academy cadets for training” with at least one and often two US aircraft carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf and the Arabia Sea, in addition to dozens of F-22 and F-15C warplanes that operate out of US bases in the Persian Gulf. Images of US ships in the Persian Gulf link to google.co.uk

    Here is the Wikipedia list of the top 10 military spenders in 2012:
    1. USA ($683 billion = $2,200 per capita)
    2. China ($166 billion = $123 per capita)
    3. Russia ($91 billion = $436 per capita)
    4. United Kingdom ($61 billion = $984 per capita)
    5. Japan ($59 billion = $465 per capita)
    6. France ($59 billion = $908 per capita)
    7. Saudi Arabia ($57 billion = $2,014 per capita)
    8. India ($46 billion = $26 per capita)
    9. Germany ($43 billion = $524 per capita)
    10. Italy ($34 billion = $557 per capita)
    Meanwhile, Iran spent $9.00 billion on its military in 2012, which amounted to about $112 per capita, compared to USA’s $2,200 per population. Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP stood at 1.8% in 2012, which is significantly (28%) below the global average. Israel’s military budget of $14.6 billion accounted for 6.2% of her GDP.

    Just to see comparative figures, here is the Wikipedia list of the top 10 military spenders in 2012:
    1. USA ($683 billion = $2,200 per capita)
    2. China ($166 billion = $123 per capita)
    3. Russia ($91 billion = $436 per capita)
    4. United Kingdom ($61 billion = $984 per capita)
    5. Japan ($59 billion = $465 per capita)
    6. France ($59 billion = $908 per capita)
    7. Saudi Arabia ($57 billion = $2,014 per capita)
    8. India ($46 billion = $26 per capita)
    9. Germany ($43 billion = $524 per capita)
    10. Italy ($34 billion = $557 per capita)
    Meanwhile, Iran spent $9.00 billion on its military in 2012, which amounted to about $112 per capita, compared to USA’s $2,200 per population. Iran’s military expenditure as a share of GDP stood at 1.8% in 2012, which is significantly (28%) below the global average. Israel’s military budget of $14.6 billion accounted for 6.2% of her GDP.

  5. Iran is preparing for a future bluff. If Iran suddenly pretends that it has a few nuclear devices and at the same time a big Iranian boat is loitering near the US then Obama will not call this bluff.

  6. “But this is where it gets seriously hilarious. So this fleet. What does it consist of? “…a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship…””

    But given the spinmeisters for war on Iran and a predominantly gullible American public there is no telling what could be done with this. This destroyer and a helicopter-carrying supply ship are real, but Saddam Hussein’s WMDs weren’t and look at what happened there. A lot of fearmongering goes a long way.

  7. If it’s any consolation, I literally cannot find this story on any of the news feeds without searching for it specifically.

  8. Yeah, it’s definitely a bizarre story. But watch it with the yucks, Professor Cole. The war hawks have been handed a perfect scenario to re-enact the Gulf of Tonkin incident on the high seas of the Atlantic. It’s too bad Peter Sellers and Stanley Kubrick have passed away. This is right up their alley as an absurd satire. Sellers could have played multiple roles.as he performed so brilliantly in Dr. Strangelove.
    But seriously, it’s the MSM acting as the court stenographer for the powers-that-be inside the bowels of the military.industrial complex and the halls of Congress. Sen. John McCain now must give his standard stump speech and beat his little tin drum for war on the floor of the Senate. After all, he has recently been labeled as a “liberal” by some GOP operatives back in Arizona.. That is just as bizarre as this story you highlighted on your blog.

  9. What if they ask (nicely) lady liberty to hand over her war criminals and crocked bankers and she agreed.
    They would need a few dozen titanic.

  10. “not meant to be satirical”

    Honestly, I’m more impressed by those flying boats and speed boats than by the destroyer tour. Put a thousand of those things on an American task force and now we’re talking.

    The awesome destroyer that can almost steam to the United States as long as it has a supply boat? Not so much.

  11. If anyone has reason to be scared, it’s the crew of those two ships. You can bet that there are all kinds of “assets” aimed at their “asses” and they are no doubt totally aware of that fact. And that their survival time, should the US war machine decide they are too much of an uppity annoyance, would be measured in milliseconds. And one hopes no one commenting here would be thinking “Well hey, all them Muslims are just itching to get martyred and go collect their 76 virgins.”

  12. This so reminds me of “The Mouse That Roared”. Where is the next Tully Bascombe when we need him?

  13. My guess is that the Iranians are also trying to send a message to the government, especially congress and the neocons in it, that they will not hesitate to retaliate heavily if the neocons decide to invade and occupy Iran.
    It’s quite nonsensical of the mainstream media to create another Cold War era hysteria when Iran has already abided by a no first strike doctrine. They’ve said that many times over again, and the Iranians won’t think of breaking it. They know the consequences of doing that, and it would benefit us to trust their doctrine.

  14. This Iranian incursión is excellent news! We clearly need to increase our submarine fleet and its ability to shadow such threats. We need to increase our ability to intercept radio communications between Iranian vessels. We need to enhance our long-range bombers with long-distance cruise missiles. And it would be wise to deploy a Marine amphibious forcé just in case the Iranians attempt to set up a land base somewhere. Perhaps Cuba or Venezuela. Time to set aside the sequester in the name of national security.

  15. Those little boats look pretty ferocious, and they might draw some blood against an attaching naval force. But we don’t do attacks, we bomb from distances and altitudes that are out of harms way. A few tens of thousands of cruise missiles, and smart bombs will do the job, especially with a bit of collateral, “what, me worry?”, damage thrown in.

    Of course, since Iran has no nukes to begin with, “getting the job done” will be measured Israel’s degree of satisfaction, and our collective acceptance of the vital need to really hurt Iran and the Iranians bad (with no shopping interruptions in the homeland) .

  16. Much ado about nothing…Iran simply trying to salvage some national pride, after all it must have been so difficult to comply with many of the conditions set by those negotiating for a peaceful agreement. Let’s look on the bright side; it seems Bibi Netanyahu is once again displaying his war mongering and we can watch with amusement, his rants against this “outrageous” move by Iran, and how much threatening they are to the US.

  17. In the Israeli paper Haaretz, this story is illustrated by a grossly misleading photo of an actual fleet of warships. Shameful distortion.

  18. Will Fox News correctly point out that the explosion of the ball bearing factory in New Hamphsire was only the first shot of the Iranian corvette that is sailing towards the coast of New Hampshire. As this boat gets even closer to North America even more of the USA will come with in range of the secret weapons that are operated by the extrordinary crew of the Iranian corvette the Kontiki.
    Fortunately for the USA not all of the bugs have been worked out of these secret weapons. According to unnamed sources in the Iranian Military Industirial complex, the impact point of this attack was not at all the point that had been targeted. The targeted point was close to Charlestown Maryland but the crew put in the coordinates for Charlestown New Hamphire. Because of an at this time unkown problem the weapon ended up quite far off that target. fox news reporters believe that the number of these long range super weapons to be limted to no more than 5. Charles City Iowa is remored to be high on the target list due to the large concentration of heavy industry in that area.

  19. Wolf Blitzer on CNN is always good for a laugh on stories like this.
    Wolf, a former lobbyist for AIPAC, may as well be working yet for AIPAC.

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