It's Official: Iran Says It Will Send 2 Warships Through Suez Canal

Tyler Durden's picture

After nothing happened last night, following Egypt's statement that it had not received a request to allow Iranian warships through the canal, PressTV has just announced that an Iran Navy official says the 2 warships are in fact on their way to the Canal and will pass shortly. Per Reuters, "the Iran state TV says Egypt sees nothing wrong with passage of Iranian warships through Suez Canal." The vessels in question are the Alvand frigate and the Kharg, a supply vessel.

Photo of the Alvand:

Look for kneejerk reaction in crude.

Some more perspectives from Information Dissemination:

The two Iranian ships are the corvette Alvand and supply ship Kharg, both pictured in this blog post. The Alvand
is the flagship of the Iranian Navy. Displacing around 1,500 tons, the
ship comes armed with 4 C-802 anti-ship missiles, a 4.5in gun, torpedo
launchers, and various smaller machine guns and mortars. The US Navy has
seen this class of ship before, in battle. During Operation Preying
Mantis in 1988, the Iranian corvette Sabalan was left paralyzed and on fire from a 500 lb bomb from an A-6, while another pair of A-6s crippled the Sahand where she later sunk southwest of Larak Island following a Harpoon strike from the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16). For the sake of symmetry, I'll note the A-6s involved in Operation Preying Mantis that slapped around the sister ships of Alvand were from the VA-95 "Green Lizards" and flown off none other than the USS Enterprise (CVN 65).

The Iranian flagship Alvand
is not a naval threat to anyone in the region, and is not why Israel is
raising concern. The ship has terrible anti-air capabilities that are
no match against the capabilities of the Egyptian Air Force, the Royal
Saudi Air Force, the Israeli Air Force, or Carrier Air Wing One on the
USS Enterprise (CVN 65). While the media portrayal of the Iranian Navy
near the Suez is one of distressing concern, the reality is that
corvette represents the biggest regional target at sea for thousands of
nautical miles. The media may describe the presence of the Iranian
corvette in the context of doubt, fear, and concern; but given Israel's
outrage and tendency to be trigger happy - allow me to suggest the
scariest place to be in the Red Sea today is anywhere near that ship. I
note the irony between how the news narrative represents a complete
disconnect between perception and reality.

Speaking of Israeli concern, assuming it is legitimate and not parochial; it likely has to do with the supply ship Kharg and not the corvette Alvand.

The supply ship Kharg is much more interesting. The Kharg
is the largest ship in the Iranian Navy displacing around 33,000 tons
and is a modified Olwen class fast fleet tanker. This is a big ship, and
with the current tensions between Israel and Hezbollah,
Israel is likely very concerned about what the ship is carrying. As a
Navy ship rather than a commercial ship, the ship will not be searched
for cargo so the concern by the Israeli's is that the ship could carry
weapons to Syria where weapons can be unloaded and sent to Lebanon.
There are rumors that go back several years that the Kharg has been often been observed in the Gulf of Aden delivering weapons from Iran to destinations like Eritrea and the Sudan.

If you follow the Wikileaks cables you will note that this known arms
smuggling connection between Iran and Eritrea was how the Government of
Yemen believed the Houthis were being armed, although the cables
actually reveal that is not how the Houthis are being armed based on
different intelligence.

Are the Israeli's being paranoid? Probably not. The Kharg
is the best choice of vessel to move substantial arms from Iran to
Hezbollah quickly and without harassment. It is around 2,150nm from
Bandar Abbas, Iran to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - where these Iranian ships made port
last week. While I understand that a little corvette might have to make
stops every few thousand nautical miles - even a corvette with the
range of the Alvand - why does a fast fleet tanker like Kharg need a fill up after only a few thousand miles travel?

Probably because the tanker is carrying more than fuel.

What To Do

Israeli's can get trigger happy in a hurry, so I have no idea what they
will do. However, I noted with interest that PJ Crowley described the
US position on the presence of the Iranian ships approaching the Suez
Canal as one of "curiosity." OK, I buy that, I'm certainly curious as
well. But the real question is what if anything should the United States

Well, if you are the US it depends if you think the Israel
will attack the ships. If you do think Israel is going to get trigger
happy, we should do nothing. However, if the US does not believe the
Israeli's are going to attack the Iranian ships, this is what I believe
the US should do.

It is more than a little disturbing to me that a
~1,500 ton Iranian corvette built in 1971 with 4 ASMs and no air
defenses escorted by an old oil tanker can send the price of US oil up 1.8%
for simply sailing on the ocean. Iran just significantly shifted an
economic market in the US with a piece of shit corvette even though the
USS Enterprise (CVN 65) was literally right there. Think about that a

An increase of 1.8% comes to $.67 per bbl of oil, and
the United States uses 21,000,000 bbls of oil per day. That means that
through soft power presence alone the Iranian Navy flagship, which by
every modern naval standard is nothing more than a ~1,500 ton unrated
corvette with a questionably trained crew and supported an old tanker,
and yet the Iranian Navy just sent a $14 million shiver down the spine
of the energy economy of the United States. To add insult to injury,
that bump in oil cost could potentially sustain itself for several days
while the Iranian Navy operates in that region.

How do we
reconcile the ability of an Iranian corvette half way around the world
to influence a US economic market with the rhetoric by the United States
Navy leadership who attempts to link US naval power with US economy?
How can observers not draw the conclusion that investors in this country
have lost all association with American naval power and the
sustainability of regional peace when an Iranian corvette can make this
kind of economic impact while operating right next to a US aircraft
carrier strike group? Investors in the US oil futures market must not
even associate US naval power as a deterrent to economic disruption when
oil shoots up 1.8% based on presence alone, and in this case the US
naval power present is a carrier strike group. Is this a matter of
stupidity or ignorance on the part of the investors, or does this say
something about the US Navy's ability to articulate it's own value to
the nation?

So, clearly the Navy has a communication problem...
How can the US Navy address this? Well, if I was given 5-star rank for a
day I would sail my Arleigh Burke class destroyer along side the
Iranian Navy flagship for a "wave and hello" and take a photograph of
the two ships side by side while underway. I realize that strategic
communication is a forgotten, and perhaps lost art in the US Navy, but
if you put a photograph on with the two warships in near
proximity that illustrates the sheer size difference between the
flagship of the Iranian Navy and a US Navy Arleigh Burke class
destroyer, I will predict that the unofficial PASSEX is worth several
thousand words to a great many reporters and Americans while also being a
photograph worth about $14 million in savings to the US energy economy a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Rodent Freikorps's picture

There are only two types of ships:
Fast Attack submarines, and targets.

papaswamp's picture

Spoken like a true bubblehead..

jeff montanye's picture

i'm not sure what a 688 is, possibly some kind of water craft, but it doesn't much matter.  the u.s. does not have global geostrategic advantage at this point.  any additional trouble of any sort (and the recent double murder of pakistani intelligence officers with the u.s. shooter in their custody doesn't help) will make "our" overextension and lack of strategic reserve more apparent.  see below for if they're sunk in the canal, if iran decides to destabilize iraq (further), or somehow do anything to raise the price of oil (which with parabolic money supply and the growing realization of overstated saudi reserves and pumping capacity wants to go up).  it ain't all "battleship". 

Rodent Freikorps's picture

So, if we just destroy Iran in nuclear fire, problem solved?

Azannoth's picture

No but, It would solve 10x more problems by doing that to Israel

tmosley's picture

1000 more problems created, some of which will be nuclear armed themselves, with submarines.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Only the Soviets mattered. Europe is no longer anything but brown water sailors.

caconhma's picture

You fking Zionists and their American lackeys are driving America to a nuclear Holocaust. Do you really want to see millions of Americans dead? Do you fking idiots think it will be without terrible retributions to America and its people?

It will not be very pretty with nightmarish consequences for you warmongers.

As for Iranians, any military provocation/confrontation against Iran will be welcome by their leaders helping unite Iranian people and squash any internal decent.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

Obama stood around with his thumb in his ass during the Green Revolution, and Iran squashed all dissent, and rather brutally. What's the diff?

Rick Masters's picture

The U.S. controls the world: its oceans, its atmosphere, its resources. The only thing anyone has on us is the Chinese with their geographic luck of sitting on all the world's REEs. We are basically a soft power. If we so desired, we could make the world tremble with absolute fear. The only reason we are overextended is cause of our lack of a conscript army. That can be solved with one executive order.  Peopl forget here and elsewhere that even though we are in debt and have big deficits we also have 10s of trillions in assets. The end is nowhere near. If the economic seas become rougher, and people are deprived of their cable (and I love cable) and other luxuries, and war ensues, We will win. I don't see who could defeat us. Well maybe Chna will send their Navy to invade us. Oh wait they dont have a Navy of any respectable size.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

1. The US Navy is the undisputed lord of its domain. That is @72% of the Earth's surface. And any beach you care to name.

2. Selective Service, Bitches. All y'all who took student loans should remember that.

3. I keep telling folks they would hate it if the US became a real empire.

4. A real empire would kill your armies, take your stuff, AND exact tribute.

kaiten's picture

"US Navy is the undisputed lord of its domain"


Somali pirates didnt get the memo, it seems ...

Rick Masters's picture

Pirates took over a US navy ship! Oh wait no they didn't. Did you ever notice how there has only been one US merchant ship hijacked. Maybe it's cause we killed all the pirates except for one and then sent him to the depths of the federal penal system: probably Florence, Colo. Super Max.

jeff montanye's picture

a draft would be an absolute sure sign of the endgame.  didn't work at all well last time and we were far more naive.  

chumbawamba's picture

Feel free to go fight this war on your own.  I'm sure you'll be happy to offer up any children you managed to conceive as fodder for the cause.  Good luck with it.  We'll maybe put up a memorial of you somewhere.  Perhaps right next to the one we erected for General Custer.

I am Chumbawamba.

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Native americans won the battle at Little Big Horn but lost the war. Was that the point you were trying to make, deadbeat? lulz.

chumbawamba's picture

I guess I was making the point that you're as irrelevant as Ariel Sharon and that your mother was likely a crack whore.  Yep, bingo:

I'd be a sad junkie, too, if I had to fuck your father to conceive you.

I am Chumbawamba.

chumbawamba's picture

P.S. Ask any of the palefaces who spend all day feeding nickels into a slot machine at an Indian casino who won the war.

And by the way, thanks for covering my tax liability.  Are you also going to contribute a dollar towards the general election fund?

I am Chumbawambhahahahahahaha.

chumbawamba's picture

That's all you can do?  Junk me?  Talk about lack of personal empowerment.


I am Chumbawamba.

Arthor Bearing's picture

I really enjoyed all of those posts, but I junked you just for the thrill of it

Internet Tough Guy's picture

You seem upset, flim flam. All those creditor lawsuits and upcoming trials must be wearing on you. Still, I'm touched that you took time away from grifting your creditors to reply to my message. I look forward to many more laughs at your expense, unless they won't let you post from Club Fed. :)

chumbawamba's picture

Seriously, is that all you got?

Internet Tough Guy's picture

Isn't there a game of three card monte somewhere with your name on it, shady?

chumbawamba's picture

Dude, you're a fricking zionist.  What makes you think anything you say matters?

jeff montanye's picture

as the berlin wall's demise was the foreshadow of the ussr's demise, so too the breakup of the middle east autocratic/u.s. petrodollar/zionist entity protectorate.

nicholforest's picture

The US controls:

the world - hmm - no!

the oceans - hmm - no!

the atmosphere - hmm no!

the resources - hmm no!

These are complex, dynamical systems and as such completely out of any control. The desire to control such things is simply a delusion of power and will only hasten the already precipitate decline of the American empire.

Rick Masters's picture

If the U.S. goes back to the Monroe Doctrine, the world would beg us to return and all you have to do is look at who would fill the vacuum: China. How do they behave? Poorly is the answer. Just ask the workers who demanded better wages in Angola and were shot.

Also, to say we don't control the sea is, imho, absurd. You can use some abstract argument that no one can and I get it but we are the world's foremost naval power. So, if it aint us then who? And I meant the atmosphere as in we have the world's best air force. I don't want the U.S. to be an empire by any stratch and BTW, I did try and join the army but i had a medical condition at the time that precluded me from joining. If I was called up, I would serve.

Rusty Shorts's picture

"If the U.S. goes back to the Monroe Doctrine, the world would beg us to return and all you have to do is look at who would fill the vacuum: China"


Beg us to return? NOT.

andybev01's picture

I think that you meant to say that the US controls other nations access to and use of, the seas.

Some people are waaaaaay to literal.

Rick Masters's picture

That is what I meant. I try to add a bit of nuance and flare to my posts and hope that people take sarcasm as sarcasm and take bold statements, like the I made, as having some nuance behind it. I don't mean we own the seas or some such garbage. And yes, the world begs us to do something everythime something bad happens to the poster above. I guess you're not American though. Not saying you're unamerican saying you send like your from a different country by your words.

Rick Masters's picture

That is what I meant. I try to add a bit of nuance and flare to my posts and hope that people take sarcasm as sarcasm and take bold statements, like the I made, as having some nuance behind it. I don't mean we own the seas or some such garbage. And yes, the world begs us to do something everythime something bad happens to the poster above. I guess you're not American though. Not saying you're unamerican saying you send like your from a different country by your words.

Rick Masters's picture

That is what I meant. I try to add a bit of nuance and flare to my posts and hope that people take sarcasm as sarcasm and take bold statements, like the I made, as having some nuance behind it. I don't mean we own the seas or some such garbage. And yes, the world begs us to do something everythime something bad happens to the poster above. I guess you're not American though. Not saying you're unamerican saying you send like your from a different country by your words.

kaiten's picture

"If the U.S. goes back to the Monroe Doctrine, the world would beg us to return...."


So you prefer US bakrupting itself while policing the world. Uhm, yes, that makes sense.

Rick Masters's picture

Did I say that? Uh, no. I didn't. I said the world wouldn't like it and would soon find out they need us more than we need them. But, ys, i think we should trade with other countries and protect our interests where necessary. bases in germany. get rid of em. bases in Djhibouti. keep em.

Pants McPants's picture

Except that this mighty, mighty war machine you speak of is incapable of holding a narrow strip of land in Baghdad.  Not to mention it is bogged down in Afghanistan in another unwinnable situation.

Could the US bomb everyone into obscurity?  Sure.  But what would that solve?  Nothing...outside of giving a few pro-military jackasses on this site a military boner.

Why would any nation fight the US on a traditional battlefield when asymmetric warfare is a proven success?

A tumor named Marla's picture

Mis-assumption -- the incapability you mentioned is not a military issue.

Our issues in Iraq and Afghanistan are the result of trying to force the military to do what it should NOT be doing -- namely, "nation-building" and reconstruction of a war zone.  If we took the gloves off our military and allowed it to do its job (kill people and break things, which leads to domination of the local population), there would be an enforced peace overnight in both sandboxes.

By tying our hands together via political correctness and inappropriate missions, our military has no chance, and the desired outcome has odds greatly stacked against it.

If we allowed the Marines to go kick ass and create some order without having to worry about DC bureaucrats bringing them up on charges, the MidEast changes forever.  Until then, we have a waffling policy that serves no one and unnecessarily exposes our fine military personnel to injury, stress, and death.

Rick Masters's picture

Thank you TMC, those are my sentiments precisely. If we wanted to, we coulda wiped out those insurgents in a flash. But D.C. put shackle on our soldiers and our military.

Pants McPants's picture

LOL. Seriously? 

Does the phrase "cutting off your nose to spite your face" mean anything to you jackasses?

So there's no downside to carpet bombing the Middle East?  (hint: ME contains a valuable resource upon which the US 'economy' depends)

Man if only the bureaurcracy would remove the shackles that prevents the US from killing thousands of people - THEN we'd win the war!

Time for a cold shower, guys.

A tumor named Marla's picture

A.  calling names is juvenile and has no place in serious discussion -- grow up.

B.  no mention was made to downside of carpet bombing anything.  The challenge was to the statement about military ineffectiveness, not the good/bad of being there at all. 

The point is that our failures in Iraq/Afghanistan are not from military weakness or inability to deliver force -- look back at the invasions where we cut through their best defenses like a laser through butter.  If we were to cut all roads, rails, bridges, and airstrips in and out of major cities while bombing the daylights out of the capital and having boots at the borders, the nonsense would stop.

If we're going to be there, we need to flex and conquer.  Being there in our current mode is the reason for the ineffectiveness in your original post.  Frankly, I agree that we shouldn't be there -- should have pulled out long ago.  However, we ARE there, placed by a Republican president and continued by a Democrat president.  To not allow our military to dominate is a crime to all concerned.




Pants McPants's picture

Re-read my earlier comment.  No one is disputing US military superiority.

So...since we're there we "might as well" let the military do what it does: flex and conquer?  But you think the US shouldn't be there?

Sorry, but I don't follow.

A tumor named Marla's picture

Your first statement disputed US military superiority.

Dunno about you, but there have been plenty of situations in my life that "shouldn't have" been present, but the only choice is to work through it and succeed as best you can given the circumstances.  That is the situation we are in in Iraq/Afghanistan -- I disagree strongly that we went in (I will admit to supporting at the time but that is another discussion).  Once we were in, the choice was to either dominate militarily (empire, takeover) or garrison places/people that were not defeated sufficiently in the invasion phase.  The garrison was further hamstrung by Byzantine rule of engagement, UN/DC prosecutions of soldiers, and general media hostility to the entire exercise (whipping up the populace into a false outrage).

Make sense now?  We shouldn't be there.  However we are.  The choices are success (dominate) or failure (status quo); I'll take success, please.

Pants McPants's picture

No, you make no sense.  Hence my calling you a jackass.  

But hey, the "aww shucks" approach to US militarism is all the rage.  What's a few (hundred thousand) dead brown people and a bankrupt empire anyway?  Your ethnocentrism is appalling.

A tumor named Marla's picture

Predictably, the name-calling is back.  See ya.

Snake's picture

To conquer and/or to dominate ... is one thing.  Holding power is different, I think.

A tumor named Marla's picture

Agreed -- I was taking exception to the "our military can't hold a strip of sand" comment.

We cannot realistically hold power at this time because we have not quelled the population and established that we are running the show.  Leadership was handed to the Iraqis before they were ready, and now there is a huge confused mess, with no one really in charge and US soldiers getting snuffed every day.

kaiten's picture

"If we took the gloves off our military and allowed it to do its job (kill people and break things, which leads to domination of the local population), there would be an enforced peace overnight in both sandboxes."


Soviet Union killed people* and broke things and they lost the afghan war. Same for US in Vietnam. What you say is nonsense.


* it´s estimated they killed 1million afghanis

A tumor named Marla's picture

The Soviets lost Afgahnistan partially because they had serious issues with disease breaking out amongst their troops and were never at 100% effective.  At the time, their government was also in the process of beginning to topple over due to their own unmanageable communist society and the US began to spend them into obilivion.

The afghanis did not win that war; the Soviets lost it.

Again, not caused directly by military weakness -- the decimated forces were certainly a factor, but political and economic facets were the reason they lost.

Anytime a nation sets out to invade another for any reason, success requires a clearly stated goal, executed by competent leaders and soldiers, with the support of the citizens and should be undertaken MOST reluctantly, under the idea that there is literally no other option -- war is a horrible event that is nonetheless part of the human condition and is occasionally necessary.  It also tends to backfire badly if not handled correctly -- any history book is filled with examples. 

This business of going in under fuzzy circumstances, around the constitution, with no real plan after the target gov't is toppled, is a lock for confusion and failure.  The military is more than capable of doing its mission; it is the civilian "leadership" and lack of attention and/or misleading information from media sources that cut the legs out from our armed forces.  Worrying about PR in the target country is way down on the list in terms of effectiveness, but it gets placed very high by modern leaders -- bad idea that gets in the way of the business of doing what is necessary.  

The lessons of Viet Nam being ignored is EXACTLY at the heart of this discussion -- another war that the US won from a military standpoint but lost politically due to a lack of will in leadership.  The Soviets didn't heed the lesson and it cost them Afghanistan.  We have never heeded the lesson since, and now we find ourselves entangled in conflicts that we either should stay away from or get in with determination and win.

I think Hiroshima, Berlin, and Paris would all like a word with both of your ID's regarding what happens when someone comes in and whips you so badly that you have no alternative but to bend to their will.

naughtius maximus's picture

If you have no intentions of winning then why fight?