Friday, April 25, 2008

Westward Venture: American Ship Fires on (Iranian?) Fast Boats

Here we go again. This time in the Persian Gulf.

An American ship, the Westward Venture, was about 50 miles off the coast of Iran yesterday (April 24, 2008). Two "fast boats" come screaming over the horizon, headed for the American ship.

(FAST BOAT 2888 - 'No, mate, this is a fast boat.' Video presented for reference - this is not one of the fast boats that played chicken with Western Venture.)

Fast boats: Very cool, unless they're aimed at the bridge of your nose, near a country that made "death to the Jews! death to the great Satan America!" a global catch-phrase.

To Communicate, You First Must Get the Other Party's Attention

The Westward Venture blew its whistle.

The fast boats didn't turn back.

The Westward Venture fired flares.

The fast boats didn't turn back.

The Westward Venture's Navy security team fired M16 rifles and .50-caliber machine guns toward the boats. The fast boats were within a hundred yards of the ship at that point.

The fast boats turned back.

That Navy security team was on the Westward Venture because the ship's contracted to haul military supplies to Kuwait.

"Bridge-to-bridge communication was established after the shots were fired, with someone claiming to be the Iranian Coast Guard contacting the Westward Venture.

"The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is suspected of being involved in this incident, officials told FOX." ("Navy-Contracted Vessel Fires Warning Shots on Fast Boats" FoxNEWS (April 25, 2008))

Iran Says Did Not!

"In Tehran, an Iranian navy source denied that any confrontation had occurred with a U.S. ship in the Gulf. But the source, quoted by a journalist for Iran's state-owned Arabic Al-Alam TV channel, said any shooting that may have occurred could have targeted a non-Iranian vessel.

"U.S. defense officials said they suspected the boats were Iranian. "We don't have complete confirmation of that but we suspect it," one official said." ("Ship hired by US military fires warning shots in Gulf" Reuters (April 25, 2008))

Western Venture in the News

So far, this incident hasn't made much of a splash in the news: Not entirely unexpected. News services weren't able to report that Americans carelessly killed a cigarette salesman this time. News of this incident is supposed to have raised the price of oil, though. To be fair, America isn't specifically accused of raising the price of oil, and that factoid is relevant to the story.

This run-in with boats that just happened to be near Iran and just happened to identify themselves as Iranian Coast Guard vessels reminded me of the Global Patriot incident, last month. The circumstances aren't exactly the same, but they're similar.

That Global Patriot matter was interesting in quite a few ways:
About the selection of news articles: I'm not slighting CNN. Aside from that blog, all they have on 'Western Venture' is "Columbus: Intrepid explorer or accidental navigator?" CNN (August 4, 2004): an article only remotely connected to the Persian Gulf incident yesterday.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.