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War Games and Guessing Games in the Persian Gulf

By Debbie Menon


Debbie Menon

The US has begun five-day military manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf, claiming it is preparing for a 'potential confrontation' in the region.


According to a US navy statement issued on Wednesday, the joint war games led by Britain's Royal Navy Commodore Peter Hudson have also brought together vessels from Britain and Bahrain and started Sunday.


Earlier in August, a large armada of US and European naval vessels were reportedly deployed to the Persian Gulf to reinforce the US strike force in the region.


I suppose, those who did not go to school where "school bullies" strutted around the playground looking for or trying to provoke trouble during recess and recreation or sports periods, missed growing up with these kinds of warped personalities.


Teddy Roosevelt called it "Showing the Flag," when he painted the entire US Navy Fleet a glaring white and sent it off on a world tour to intimidate Spain, Japan and a great number of other nations to demonstrate the emerging New Force in the world order.


In Teddy Roosevelt's case, he had no intentions of shooting at or fighting anyone during his magnificent and impressive world-tour-show of flag and force.


No one in his right mind, intending to send his ships into battle, paints them white!


The bullies on the playground did not wear shirts or jackets with bullseyes on them either.


Nor has the US or the UK Fleets painted their ships in any spectacular patterns other than their prescribed colours... not that it would make much difference to the electronic eyes which aim, launch and guide modern naval weapons anyway.


But, the publicity and the advance publicity of the "war games," manoeuvres, Joint Exercises, whatever they call them, all give the game away... they are merely "showing the flag" or, at their worst, pumping up the balloon, or priming the pump, looking for trouble like any schoolyard bully.



When they sail into the Gulf with malintent aforethought, set on conducting warfare, shooting, and getting down and dirty with the game, there will be no fanfare and no publicity, advance or otherwise.  In fact, the world will not hear about it until it has been done and is probably almost over, for Naval Battles in such confined places as the Gulf, in this day of long-legged and fast moving weapons, has no chance of long lasting.  The engagement will be decided one way or another, in a very short time!


So, if I am in Dubai when it happens, I shall look for smoke on the horizon, listen for sounds like thunder, which are the passage of the weapons or, perhaps, one or two of them landing in my garden.


Washington and Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened to launch military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities should the country continue with its uranium enrichment program.


"This is while the UN body responsible for monitoring Iranian nuclear activities has confirmed that Tehran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent."


Tehran has repeatedly warned that if the country comes under attack, it would not hesitate in taking necessary measures to protect its sovereignty, including the closure of the Strait of Hormuz.


Commodore Hudson stated that the war games dubbed 'Goalkeeper' are intended for practicing skills such as 'locating and tracking' vessels in the Persian Gulf and 'handling command and control' operations during a potential confrontation.


Iraq contains perhaps the second largest oil reserves in the world. For US planners, it is imperative that Iraq remain under U.S. control, to the extent possible, as an obedient client state that will also house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world's major energy reserves.

That these were the primary goals of the invasion was always clear enough through the haze of successive pretexts: weapons of mass destruction, Saddam's links with Al-Qaeda, democracy promotion and the war against terrorism, which, as predicted, sharply increased as a result of the invasion.

I find Iranian threats of a "firestorm" if attacked first, to be entirely credible!  If military historians of the future write about a military debacle in Iraq, just wait and see what they call the "Battle of the Hormuz Straits."  It will become one of the greatest Naval disasters of all times.  The Naval equivalent of the Battle of Balaclava!

Half a league, half a league,
   Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
   Rode the six hundred.

--Alfred Tennyson,


It would be quite simple to close the straits, simply by the threat of shore based missiles, a single one of which could destroy one of those jumbo tankers with one hit.  Shore and ship based aircraft and counter missile missiles would not be able to shield shipping directly from attack in such close waters.  For one, warships would have to remain at a significant stand-off distance from the straits to remove themselves from peril.  I doubt that any aircraft carrier would survive very long in the gulf in the event of a shootout.  


I think one of the sure signs to watch for would be the withdrawal of US Naval Forces down into the Indian Ocean, where they could strike and yet be protected somewhat from shore based retaliation.


What I am asking here is whether the tactically unwise and unusually heavy concentration of US Navy battle groups, as nice little sitting ducks in the Persian Gulf, which no right thinking Admiral would tolerate in times of war or battle, is a set-up designed and intended to provide a few sacrificial goats to an Iranian attack which will justify nuking the hell out of Iran, because it is quite obvious the reason why they are there, massed as a convenient target.


What I am suggesting is, what if the Iranians, who are not fools, do not bite?


What then? 


They have wasted a lot of fuel, ship, aircraft and man time in a futile decoy operation which attracted no shooters.  No attack... equals no justification to blow Iran all the way back to beyond the Stone Age.


So, what do they do?


Hey! Why not run the old USS Liberty Op through again?


Attacking an Aircraft Carrier Assault Group, backed up with one or two more of the same might sound intimidating, and it is certainly a dangerous undertaking.  But, the more ships involved, the more targets.  And, in a black flag operation such as this, you don't actually have to score or sink anyone.  All you have to do is make the attack, and disguise the identity of the attackers, permitting the blame to fall on the obvious and, before anyone can ask too many questions, nuke the hell out of them which will destroy any evidence to the fact that it might not have been them in the first place.


The IDF pilots do not have to be briefed on the entire operation, and it will probably suffice to assure them that any planes launched to go after them will be recalled as happened the last time. 


The more I think about it, the more it becomes apparent that this is not a question of "if" any longer.  It is merely a question of "when."




When the time is ripe.... You will first hear about it from the offended and offensive lips of the Commander-in-Chief himself... "This morning, a dastardly attack.... I have already ordered.... and even as I speak, the Capitol City of Tehran has just ceased to exist...." etc.


Bill Fallon was pushed to resign.  Were they afraid that an Admiral of the Navy who had been a career-long embarrassing-question asker might not sign on to such a ploy? 

About the author:
Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. She can be reached at

... Payvand News - 09/04/08 ... --

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