What does this all mean for Israel as the regional power and for the US, as both the backer and enforcer of stability for the region and it trade routes? Commentary’s, Commander J.E. Dyer, offer her insights as to what this all means and on what might happen in the very near future. KGS
[CAIRO — A senior Suez Canal official says two Iranian warships have withdrawn their application to transit the waterway following expressions of concern by Israel over the plans. The official said no reason was given for Thursday’s decision to withdraw the application. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, also said it was not known if the vessels intended to transit the waterway at a later date.]
UDATE II : It’s on! Iran denies cancellation: Warships to cross Suez Canal
Note: Joshuapundit adds: “While the Iranian ships may very well make a stop at Beirut, another likely port of call is Turkey, extending Iran’s perceived reach considerably. And second, those ships are proceeding in spite of US and UN sanctions, and there’s no way to know what they might be carrying in the hold.” Obama admin. has nothing to say about it. Click here.
Iranian Warships Having an Outsize Impact
[…] Avigdor Lieberman announced that the Iranian task force is headed to Syria. Assuming this bears out, the Assad regime will get to have the best of both worlds: a brand-new American ambassador — dispatched in January with vows of “engagement” — and a historic visit from the warships of revolutionanary Iran. As Israeli authorities point out, moreover, Iran stated earlier that the naval task force would spend up to a year in the Mediterranean. Its base of operations is likely to be Syria, but triumphal port visits to Beirut are undoubtedly on Tehran’s to-do list.
The ships themselves are hardly impressive: one frigate with old anti-ship missiles and one barely armed replenishment ship. From that perspective, the reactions of global markets might seem excessive. These ships can’t fight a war. But the reactions are actually quite rational. The big shift here is in political perceptions of power. The important facts are that revolutionary, terror-sponsoring Iran — under U.S., EU, and UN sanctions — feels free to conduct this deployment, and Syria feels free to cooperate in it. Egypt’s interim rulers apparently saw no reason to block the Suez transit, in spite of the Egyptians’ very recent concern over Iranian-backed terrorists and insurgents operating on their territory. Saudi Arabia, for its part, considered it prudent to host the Iranian warships last week — in spite of the Saudis’ own conviction that Iran has been aiding rebel groups that threaten Saudi territory.
The cooperation from the Arab nations should not be misread, however. The Arabs have no desire to see Iran in a position of regional hegemony. The threat of that prospect will raise the stakes for the governmental turmoil in the Arab world. The view is likely to gain momentum that Arabs need to organize as much to counter Iran as to address their own domestic issues. That factor — so inimical to the unforced development of political liberalism — was never going to be dismissible; the Iranian warship deployment makes it inevitable.