The United States military was compelled to take a dangerous step toward a potential armed conflict last week when faced with a perceived threat from one of our nation’s enemies.
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was forced to fire warning shots from a machine gun at several armed Iranian speedboats that rapidly approached a group of U.S. vessels transiting through the narrow Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, The Daily Wire reported.
Warning shots fired
The incident occurred the morning of May 10 and reportedly involved as many as 13 “fast boats” operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), several of which approached as close as 150 yards from the U.S. formation that was escorting the USS Georgia, a guided-missile submarine.
BREAKING: Over a dozen Iranian gunboats harass formation of six U.S. warships including guided-missile submarine Georgia. U.S. Coast Guard cutter fired warning shots in response in Strait of Hormuz: Pentagon
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) May 10, 2021
Reports revealed that two volleys of warning shots, amounting to approximately 30 shots total, were fired from a .50-caliber machine gun on the Coast Guard cutter Maui after other efforts to warn off the Iranian boats — such as air horns and radio communications — failed to dissuade the Iranian boats’ rapid approach.
The Iranian harassment of U.S. warships necessitating the firing of warning shots come as President Joe Biden’s administration is engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran’s Islamic regime on rebooting the failed and scuttled 2015 nuclear deal — which would likely include the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for that nation’s compliance with the terms of limiting its nuclear programs.
“Dangerous, unsafe, and unprofessional”
The May 10 incident in the Strait of Hormuz was confirmed hours later during a Pentagon press briefing with press secretary John Kirby, which he described as “unsafe and unprofessional maneuvers” on the part of the Iranians while adding that the two volleys of warning shots were fired when the Iranian boats reached 300 and 150 yards distance from the U.S. ships.
Kirby further noted that the Strait of Hormuz, which is considered international waters, is exceptionally narrow and acts as a “chokepoint” to limit maneuverability. “So it’s not insignificant that this kind of dangerous, unsafe, and unprofessional incident — behavior occurred there,” he said.
Later in the briefing, the Pentagon spokesman pointed out that U.S. warships have the “right of self-defense” and cautioned that “this kind of activity is the kind of activity that could lead to somebody getting hurt and could lead to a real miscalculation there in the region, and that doesn’t serve anybody’s interests.”
“Not a new phenomenon”
This is the second such incident in the region involving the firing of warning shots in recent weeks after several years of relative calm, at least with regard to the harassment of U.S. ships by Iranian military forces, which Kirby noted is “not a new phenomenon.”
Further, it’s difficult to say for certain whether this or any other similar incident was directly ordered by the Iranian regime, as it is believed that local commanders within the IRGCN have a measure of autonomy when it comes to actions taken and decisions made.
Regardless of whether the incident was ordered from the top or simply an opportunistic act by a local IRGCN commander, it is unacceptable and dangerous — and could have led to an escalation that might have resulted in a full-on armed conflict.