U.S. Navy fires on small vessel in Persian Gulf, is conflict imminent?
Eerily reminiscent of an event that occurred nearly 50 years ago in the Gulf of Tonkin, an incident that drew America into the Vietnam War, a U.S. Navy 5th Fleet ship patrolling waters in the Persian Gulf fired on a small vessel, killing at least one.
“The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel’s operations to turn away from their deliberate approach. When the efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a 50. Caliber machine gun,” according to a statement from the Navy.
Defense officials describe the attack on the vessel that killed one and injured three others as a pleasure-like boat. So far, the U.S. Navy has not been able to locate the vessel or the country of origin, but call the response in line with Navy protocol.
History buffs may remember it was during a questionable Gulf of Tonkin military intelligence gathering operation where the USS Maddox crew says they were fired upon by the North Vietnamese, which prompted a bold U.S. response. President Johnson gave orders to return fire and the Navy responded by firing 14.5-millimeter machine guns at North Vietnamese vessels 28-miles offshore. A short time later and a questionable second attack ensnared Lyndon B. Johnson and the U.S. into the highly controversial Vietnam War.
However, naysayers should remember it was October of 2000 when the USS Cole, while docked in Yemen was attacked by terrorists traveling in a small vessel that ultimately claimed 17 American sailors lives when the explosive-laden vessel crashed into the Navy ship.
It’s also worth noting that the increasing hostilities in Syria and rising tensions with Iran, has prompted the Obama administration to begin a naval build up in the Persian Gulf. The USS John C. Stennis, an aircraft carrier, has been sent to the region four months early to join the USS Eisenhower currently on station in the war torn Middle East.
Nevertheless the incident continues to rattle nerves and spark rising tensions about Israeli and Iranian nuclear weapons. But a Navy official said earlier today, “I can’t emphasize enough that this has nothing to do with Iran.”
Could the Gulf States recent increased purchasing of bonds to hedge their oil wealth, small vessel hostilities, Israeli pressure and the Syrian civil war be a harbinger that a Persian gulf war is imminent?
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