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Israeli and American Submarines Sending a Message to Iran

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Israel and the U.S. both decided in mid-December to send similar messages to Iran, showing that they cared enough to send the very best, which meant that only submarines would do. The report on those messages is here.

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An Israeli submarine openly crossed the Suez Canal last week, in a show of force against Iran, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday night.

The move was approved by Egypt, according to the report, which cited Arab intelligence sources.

Israel and Egypt have for years been cooperating in security matters in the Sinai, where assorted Jihadis, including remnants of the Islamic state, and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including those who belong to Hamas, are being fought by Israeli and Egyptian forces. Now Egypt has dramatically demonstrated, by permitting the passage of an Israeli submarine through the Suez Canal, that it also supports the Jewish state in its show of force against the most dangerous of their common enemies: Iran.

The submarine reportedly surfaced [in the Red Sea] and faced the Persian Gulf, which lies on the other side of Saudi Arabia. The intelligence sources said the move was meant to “send a message” to Iran.

The Israel Defense Forces declined to comment, saying it does not respond to “reports of this kind.”

Earlier Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi warned Iran against attacking Israel, saying that the Jewish state will retaliate forcefully against any aggression.

Recently, we have heard increased threats from Iran against the State of Israel. If Iran and its partners, members of the radical axis [Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups], whether in the first circle of states or the second, carry out actions against Israel, they will discover their partnership to be very costly,” Kohavi said at a ceremony honoring exemplary soldiers.

The IDF will forcefully attack anyone who takes part, from near or far, in activities against the State of Israel or Israeli targets. I am saying this plainly and am describing the situation as it is — the response and all the plans have been prepared and practiced,” he added.

Semper Paratus – We Are Always Ready – a motto embraced by the IDF Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, who wants to be sure the Iranians do not misjudge the situation, and take chances they will later regret.

Iran has threatened to attack Israel since the assassination of its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in late November, in a raid blamed on the Jewish state….

The Iranians keep warning about the terrible vengeance they will unleash against Israel, but they have apparently decided on a policy of what they call “strategic patience,” meaning that for now, they ‘re in no mood to take on the Israelis.

The Israeli submarine — a diesel-electric Dolphin class vessel that can carry nuclear missiles (but Israel likes to keep its enemies guessing, and neither confirms nor denies that a particular submarine might have such weapons aboard) — presumably traveled down the Red Sea, around Yemen, and up to the Gulf of Oman to make sure the Iranians got a good look at the submarine that was prepared to rain missiles onto Iran should the need arise. Its appearance reminds Iran that Israel can project its power not only in the air, unopposed, as it has done in hundreds of successful bombing raids on Iranian and Hezbollah sites in Syria, but has some of the most advanced submarines in the world, that can easily be brought right to the Persian Gulf.

Both the Israeli and the American submarines reminded Tehran that its enemies are well aware that Iran’s navy is its weakest military link. The biggest combat ship in the Iranian navy is a small frigate. They have many small vessels that they use in swarm tactics, to harass other ships, including oil tankers, but these tactics would be impossible against a submarine.

Just to be sure that Iran didn’t try to avenge in any serious way the assassination of Qassem Soleimani last January (it did lob 22 missiles against American forces (taking care to warn the Iraqis in advance, so that they in turn could warn the Americans) at Erbil and Ayn al-Asad airbases, but that resulted in no American deaths, with soldiers suffering only mild concussions), the Americans sent not only a submarine through the Straits of Hormuz, where it could keep Iran’s only naval base, at Bandar Abbas, within its sights, but two B-52s (big enough to carry nuclear bombs) flew over the region in December, and the month before that, the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (a supercarrier, one of the largest in the world) passed ominously through the region. The most powerful American aircraft carrier, then the heaviest bombers, possibly armed with nuclear weapons, and then the most advanced nuclear submarine in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Georgia, all delivered the same message.

Judging by Iran’s continued reluctance to adequately respond to the American assassination of Qassem Soleimani, which took place almost a year ago, or to respond in any way to Israel’s assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, despite all the bluster coming from Tehran, that message from the American and Israeli submarines – don’t even try it – had already been well understood. But it’s always good to remind the Iranians. In this case, the medium really was the message.

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