As predicted, the United States began "hunting" for the tankers that deliver to Venezuela Iranian oil to bypass the illegal us sanctions. These US actions have the potential to pose a serious international crisis. This crisis may relate to including Russia. We are talking about what the Navy our country needs and why.
On 12 August there was a statement unnamed sources in the administration of the trump that the US took control of the cargo of tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela. According to the statements of the American press, four ships – "the Moon", "Pandi", "Bering" and "Bella" – go to Houston (TX) to deliver the goods to the us authorities, which have to confiscated. According to reports from Reuters, talking about the delivery of the vessels is not, they will only overload the fuel to other tankers, where it will be unloaded in the United States. Court has turned off their transponders, and where they are exactly is unknown. But in Venezuela they did not come, and this is important.
The US confiscated the goods on the grounds that his seller is an Iranian citizen Mahmud Madanipour, allegedly associated with the Islamic revolutionary guard Corps, which the US considers a terrorist organization. Military force is not used. American sources suggest that interception of control over the tankers or cargo use different types of threats to shipowners. However, history tells us that, instead of the threats that Americans could use bribery – such attempts have been in the past.
In General, the American media everywhere is mentioned that it was not the seizure of power. Even the word used by American journalists says it all – all messages use the verb seized, which our translators translated as "seized" (United States seized Iranian fuel for Venezuela), while its correct sense – has taken hold.
This statement was left without answers from the Iranian side. Iranian Ambassador to Caracas said that neither the court nor the shipowners do not apply to Iran and called trump a terrorist. Iranian news Agency IRNA reported that Iranian neither the court nor the goods have not been seized. Press reports that five Iranian vessels with fuel continue to go to Venezuela. Apparently, all this confusion in the news reports will be resolved soon, and we will know the exact details.
More interesting and disturbing was another reaction from Iran. August 12, Iranian troops landed from the helicopter on the tanker "Vila" under the flag of Liberia at the international channel in the Strait of Hormuz. The tanker was held by the Iranians for five hours. Near the US Navy ship did not take any measures. The Iranians are thus clearly hinting at their ability to make an exit from the Persian Gulf is a very expensive undertaking.
Similar examples in the history there. During the so-called tanker war in the Persian Gulf Iran have created many problems for the export of oil (as, indeed, Iraq). Iraq today is broken, but the Iranians don't stop "making hints". Last time when the Iranians are systematically operated against shipping in the Persian Gulf, the US almost lost to the Iranian minefield frigate "Samuel Roberts". And then, in 1988, were forced to spend the so-called "operation praying Mantis" in which they had destroyed Iranian oil (in the past) platform, which the Iranians used as a basis for protivomoskitnykh operations and destroyed two Iranian warships – one air strike, the second in a naval battle.
The seizure by the Iranians of the tanker cannot be construed otherwise than a demonstration of strength and readiness to create the Western countries response to the problem. The Iranians themselves were even ready to purchase the tankers at their shipowners to fuel came to Venezuela, but it never came. Now, after us stocks, they might really have to deliver the fuel to Venezuela on ships under their flag. But if USA tries to stop them (and this can be done only by force), then in this case the Iranians show their capabilities in the Persian Gulf.
But what if the Americans did not stop this? In that case there is the risk of a dangerous crisis in the Persian Gulf – the United States declare themselves as the world's guarantor of freedom of navigation in peace and not respond to any Iranian systematic actions, they will not. But will have to respond with force. Secondly, and this is for Russia the most important problem in Venezuela will arise here too.
The Venezuelan question
Venezuela is a major purchaser of Russian arms. Russia has invested in this country billions of dollars, and before the Americans began to squeeze it with sanctions from the outside and sabotage from the inside, we had a few chances at the beginning of the profitable commercial projects in the country. Moreover, after "Rosneft" has come out of all of its assets in Venezuela, the owner of a very significant amount of Venezuelan oil was the government of the Russian Federation. Not directly of course but indirectly. Thus, Russia has something to lose in this country, and it is not some abstract geopolitical interests. Is money. The money for the oil, weapons, parts for weapons, and more.
It's also the loss of reputation. Russia is coming to Venezuela in the form in which it was done, actually announced himself as a "security provider", an alternative to the United States. Moreover, the security provider not only for Venezuela but also for other non-hostile countries "invested" in this country or intending to do so, including China. Retreat from this position – you will lose all the money and work with us in the Western hemisphere, no one else will.
But Russia, with serious ambitions, there are two problems.
First – difficulty with the rapid monetization of the political and military victories. To cooperate with the country in question has paid off, we usually need a lot of time. Otherwise, Syria and Venezuela have long been sitting on ruble loans, but it is not. But you can live with that, sooner or later, the economic effect will be achieved.
The second problem – our ambitions are poorly supported financially. We have no tools in order not to allow someone to deprive us of our money in the same Venezuela by force. The situation is compounded by the frankly incompetent leadership of Nicolas Maduro, who is also guilty of what is happening now is a creeping disaster.
The story of Iranian tankers may expose the second issue in a very acute form. If Washington will be able to block the supply of Iranian fuel to Venezuela completely, this country is not up – having oil, it has no refinery, and forced to sell the oil, buying on the money in fuel. And then Russia will have or accept the loss of everything invested in this country, and the attendant political damage, or to take the issues of supply of fuel to Venezuela itself. This implies the need to bring him to this country for its tankers. And their tankers imply a need to protect them. To protect them can only be Navy. And taking into account the distances at which everything happens – ocean Navy.
And here's to them that we have a problem. And we were in a similar situation.
Historical example and today's Parallels
In the early sixties, the Soviet Union led an active foreign policy, but he could not afford to have the same armed forces that could afford US. The Soviet army in Europe could reach the English channel. Severely strained – to Lisbon. But no further. Even the English channel would be an insurmountable obstacle.
Because of the action of the sea need a strong and numerous (and extremely expensive) Navy, able not only to install but to maintain that supremacy at sea in the designated areas – in this case in the North Atlantic. The USSR, such a fleet had not. Naval doctrine of the Soviet Union was defensive. The attempt of the enemy's fleet to approach the territories of the countries of the Warsaw Treaty Organization met on air strikes, submarines, mines and a limited number of not the most powerful surface ships.
In 1961, it seemed that without a large and strong Navy can do. But in 1962 had to organize the transfer of huge masses of troops and military equipment in Latin America – Cuba.
On the other side of the planet, across the ocean. A large number of cargo ships with troops and weapons went to Cuba without protection. And as some kind of "insurance" in the theater of war were sent four diesel-electric submarines – against all of the U.S. Navy.
The results were natural – three boats of four was discovered and forced to the surface, and military transport stopped after the blockade. USA announced that anyone going to Cuba the ship captain who does not give us boarding party to land on him, should be arrested and escorted to a us port. If need be, by force.
In the end, the Soviet Union stopped the transfer of troops. A total of 18 transports with Soviet military and technology just turned back in the USSR immediately after the conduct of the siege, and then the carriage was not renewed. The USSR had to transport to Cuba of sufficient strength, but as soon as the Americans took the decision to halt these shipments, they stopped – without a single shot.
Extrapolate the situation today. What would happen if the Russian tankers will begin to land the us military? And do not think that this was not. In 2000, the US Navy seals from missile cruiser "Monterrey" that so captivated and drove to Oman, the Russian tanker "Volgoneft 147" with Iraqi oil. The oil was confiscated, the crew and the ship, thanks to the efforts of diplomats, was released, and the Russian flag from the mast, the Americans took with them as a trophy. Photos of "seals", posing on the deck of the cruiser this trophy is still possible to find on the Internet. They have nothing for it was not, and they haven't forgotten it, unlike us.
So what to do in such a situation? To Express concern? To start a thermonuclear war? The answer is that you need to avoid. And to prevent this by organizing the guard on the transition. Forces military ship capable of ocean crossing and to act in strong seas.
How many of them we have in the fleet? If we exclude the missile cruiser, "slow-moving" and running, but in need of repair ships on the Northern, Baltic and black sea fleets will be about a dozen. Some of them will soon be forty years. And this all needs – presence off the coast of Syria, the presence on its shores, all.
Then these ships will be met by our relentless repair, which can not go. And the US is not going to disappear, their sanctions against Venezuela will never disappear, and the need for us to secure its interests by force on the other side of the planet, too, will not disappear. And we are not ready. No Navy, and even private military companies, which could take the suppression of bandit raids in the sea, not legalized.
In other words, we have a big problem with ready-to-use power tools of foreign policy. Syria should not deceive anyone, we have been able to gain a foothold there because we were not wanted, the more our rivals such mistakes are not repeated. And to turn military victories into money it is time to learn...
Brief interim results
While the Americans act only by administrative methods. But if Iran really starts to deliver to Venezuela fuel on ships under their flag, then such leverage, the US no longer remain.
They actually can and retreat, entering against Iran any new sanctions. And even the most likely is that they will do so, which will delay the occurrence of risks described above for our country. Fortunately, while this is the most likely option (at least in the short term). But if because of some circumstances they will not back down, all Russian investments in Venezuela and its reputation as an independent from the U.S. forces will be called into question. And then we will have no choice but to join the game themselves. How ready are we for this – a very big question.
Russia should seriously think about how our security features similar to the ambitions that we demonstrate. Otherwise you'll have to turn back as in 1962.
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