Examples of Seapower Seen off Yemen
Seapower, like a game of chess, consists of moves and countermoves. At some point you may think you have your adversary in check, then he does the unexpected and you are in checkmate. A Special Report from the UPI notes such an ongoing duel between warships of Iran and Saudi Arabia off Yemen:
Iran has sent warships to the Gulf of Aden, ostensibly to combat Somali pirates preying on major shipping lanes.
But the deployment, announced Saturday in Tehran, could bring closer the prospect of a confrontation with Saudi Arabia, its regional rival, amid rising tension in the Gulf and Red Sea regions, both vital oil arteries.
The Iranian move coincides with a Saudi naval blockade in the Red Sea to intercept arms shipments allegedly sent by Iran and Eritrea to Shiite rebels fighting Saudi forces in northern Yemen.
Here is how the Iranians skirt the Saudi move, and also how the latter will probably react:
Stratfor says that since the Saudi blockade began, the Iranians are now using a longer route that starts at Asab, a port in southeastern Eritrea, to move the weapons.
The route curls eastward around the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula into the Gulf of Aden, where Iranian naval vessels are now deploying, to Shaqra on Yemen’s southern coast.
From there, Stratfor maintains, the arms are moved north overland to Marib in central Yemen, and then on to the Saada mountains. If that is the case, the Saudis are likely to deploy their own warships in the Gulf of Aden.
I once predicted that the next war at sea would probably be in Asia, and perhaps not involving the United States Navy. According to ongoing events, it does appear that this could happen sooner than later.
Note also the current naval races further over in the Pacific region, which seem to dwarf anything happening in the West. History shows that though major naval clashes are much more scarce than land conflicts, they do occur, at least one or two every generation. The last one, more of an air-sea fight, was the Falklands Island War of 1982, and to an extent the Iran-Iraq War of the same decade. We can only surmise that if growing economies with nationalist tendencies such as Korea, Japan, China, even Australia are producing these nautical technical marvels, at some point they will end up using them.