PM warns Iran against blocking Red Sea; Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Forces deploy to Gulf for military drill; Netanyahu: If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the State of Israel and all its arms.
Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Iran against blocking the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, warning the Islamic Republic it would be met by an “international coalition” that would “include the State of Israel and all its arms”.
Iran has deployed hundreds of boats to the Persian Gulf as its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Forces prepare for a major naval drill to demonstrate its blockade capabilities. Media reports claim the drill could start in less than 48 hours, the United States military on high alert.
A spokesman for the US military’s Central Command confirmed the developments, releasing the statement “We are aware of the increase in Iranian naval operations within the Arabian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways.”
Iran threatened to block the Hormuz Bay, a major oil transport route that connects the Persian Gulf with both the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, ahead of increased US sanctions that will go into effect on August 6. The reimposition of sanctions will largely affect Iran’s currency, the rial, which continues to plummet. The Islamic Republic’s currency lost more than half of its value in just a few months and lost 18% of its value since Sunday.
Last week, Iranian military official Mohammad Bagheri referred to Iran as the “dominant power in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz… and guarantor of the security of shipping and the global economy in this vital waterway” warning that it “has the strength to take action against any scheme in this region.” Prior to this, Revolutionary Guard Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned “We will make the enemy understand that either everyone can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one.”
Speaking at an IDF naval ceremony on Wednesday evening, the prime minister boasted on Israel’s naval capabilities, stating “The sea provides us with many opportunities. Above all it increases the small size of the State of Israel and allows us to deploy our vessels above and below the waves across a vast area. This gives the State of Israel considerable power.”
He stated on developments in the Gulf, “Earlier this week, we witnessed a sharp clash with Iran’s proxies who tried to sabotage international shipping in the Straits at the mouth of the Red Sea,” referring to Houthi rebels attack on two Saudi crude carriers that led to Saudi Arabia suspending its oil shipments. Addressing Iran’s deployment of naval forces he warned “If Iran tries to block the Bab-el-Mandeb, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the State of Israel and all its arms.”
The Bab el-Mandeb Strait links the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean and is a significant oil route for Asia, North America and Europe.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman responded to “recent threats to attack Israeli ships on the Red Sea,” on Wednesday, warning that the “IDF is prepared and ready to respond on two fronts simultaneously- also at the Red Sea. Only in such a case will we be less selective and the damage to our enemies will be more difficult. I hope they will take this into account.”
Amir will give a special update on the developing crisis in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf with the unusual Iranian military drill and the start of the new American sanctions next week. Tune in on Sunday, August 5, 2018 at 8:00 pm (Israel time).
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