If there is one nation that the US has had a longstanding conflict with, it is Iran. Since the hostage crisis in the 70s US-Iran relations have been tense at best. The new agreement implemented by the Obama Administration has raised eyebrows across the political fence.
It would seem to a Houston maritime attorney that Iran has no interest in following their end of the bargain when it comes to the 2016 agreement. Continually pushing the envelope, from capturing American servicemen and demanding money for their freedom to shooting missiles, one has to ask how much America will take before they stand up to the Iranian government.
Last Monday, rebels backed by the Iranian government launched an illegal attack on a Saudi Arabian naval vessel off the coast of Yemen. Using suicide boats filled with explosives, the rebels did severe damage to both the Saudi Army and to the meager trust that America has in Iran’s claims of peaceful intentions.
Legal scholars dealing in Maritime Law believe that the attack will have significant repercussions on the rules of engagement enacted in the area by US naval operations. With the need to protect our naval ships and personnel, all bets seem to be off since Iran has broken the International Maritime Laws.
In 2016, there was a sharp spike in sea incidents between Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the US Navy. Shots were fired by the US to warn the Iranian fleet that they were breaking the law. Not stopping, the Iran-backed Houthi Rebels have used anti-ship missiles, hitting an Emirati naval vessel and firing upon US Navy ships as recently as October.
Sources have confirmed that the Houthi Rebels are being funded and have the blessing of the Iranian regime, which is in strict opposition to the agreement that they signed with the US. The missiles fired against the US Naval ship were likely supplied directly by Iran. The latest attack against the Saudis may change the way that the US Navy deals with Iran going forward.
There are videos, taken while the missiles were shot, where voices can be heard distinctly saying, “Death to Israel,” “Death to America” and “Death to Jews.” That has given the Pentagon, reason to suspect that although the rebels were firing on a Saudi vessel, the intended target was likely a US Naval Ship.
Although some officials deny the charge, what is unmistakeable is that there have been numerous instances of the US Navy frequently being inundated with fast-attack craft and vessels coming very close. Recently one got to within at least 300 yards of the ship. The Iranians appear to be aggressively pushing every envelope and taunting the US Navy ships to start a confrontation, while Iran continues trying to look innocent.
During the Obama Administration, there were strict rules of engagement that left US Naval ships very few options when attacked or when aggression was shown. The Trump Administration may instill a completely different set of rules. Trump has signaled that he isn’t going to put up with the same aggressive maneuvers that the Obama Administration chose to disregard.
Trump announced while campaigning in Florida that he wasn’t going to play games with Iran anymore. Insisting that if they so much as threaten US Navy ships, he will give the Navy rights to shoot back without fail.
For right now, the US and Saudi government remain allied in the Yemen war. Although there was hope that Trump would reduce America’s presence in the Middle East, with the aggression continually shown by the Iranian government, not standing up or fighting back would be tantamount to cowering.
It is likely that the American image and reputation around the world will soon change. Trump’s plan to build up the military, which has seen a depletion for the last several decades, is only one sign that he isn’t about to deal with imposter attacks under the guise of “rebels.” How far he is willing to go, however, remains to be seen. There is one thing that is for sure: there may be some major foreign relation changes during the Trump Administration.