Posted tagged ‘Israeli Navy’

Iran gains Mediterranean bases in Italy and Syria

September 25, 2016

Iran gains Mediterranean bases in Italy and Syria, DEBKAfile, September 25, 2016

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As part of Iran’s drive to rule the strategic waves of regional waters, Tehran has negotiated a naval exchange deal with Rome for its warships to be berthed in Italian ports, DEBKAfile’s military sources reveal.

In this context, the US Pentagon and Navy chiefs once again urged Israel to update and enlarge its war fleet, which they said was “full of holes” to catch up with the rapidly changing conditions opposite its shores, where Russia, Iran and Egypt are building up armadas of warships that are bigger and more advanced than ever before.

The American warning to Israel was first reported by DEBKAfile Aug. 11 (Urgent Israeli Navy order for new US coastal craft), after Moscow posted its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean, and Egypt took delivery of theAnwar El Sadat, the first of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers bearing 92 choppers, purchased from France. The second, Gamal Abdel Nasser, was handed over on Sept. 16.

Israel’s naval inferiority was further underlined last week when Iran’s Navy commander, Rear-Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, went into action to carry out supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s orders to acquire naval bases in Syria and Italy for establishing a permanent Iranian fleet presence in the Mediterranean.

The admiral moved fast. The Italian Navy chief Rear-Admiral Roberto Chia Marcella visited Tehran on Sept. 5. and Saturday, Sept. 24, the first Italian frigate, Euro, docked at Bandar Abbas, home to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards command.

Until now, the farthest point reached by the Iranian Navy was the Gulf of Aden.

The intervention of the fleets of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the Yemen war pushed the Iranian navy back from its thrust to expand its presence towards the Mediterranean. Their joint action evicted the Iranian navy from Yemen’s Red Sea ports, and prevented Tehran from capturing the strategic islands in the mouth of the Bab-al-Mandab Strait at the entrance to the Red Sea.

Today, DEBKA Weekly’s military sources note, the Iranian Navy is hard put to obey the ayatollah’s orders, lacking the warships and advanced submarines for this new strategic mission. Iran’s warships can certainly not stand up to Egypt’s Mistral-class helicopter carriers or find answers for the Dolphin-class submarines that Germany has sold Israel.

Hence the approach to Rome to extend the Iranian navy’s capacity and range of operations.

The two admirals’ talks in Tehran ended in a vague agreement “to strengthen bilateral ties.”

Iran, however, has the money and the will to invest in new warships, while Italy has the will to build such ships for the Iranian fleet. The Italians are, moreover, not averse to allowing the Iranian fleet to use their Mediterranean bases.

Besides the financial benefits, Italy is additionally motivated by the steady reduction in the number of warships that the US Sixth Fleet maintains at its ports. It has been nearly a year since a US aircraft carrier anchored at an Italian port. Italy’s Defense Ministry and its military command understand that if the US president who succeedsBarack Obama in January continues the policy of withdrawing American forces from the Middle East, Italian naval bases will be emptied of warships.

Rear-Admiral Marcella’s comments during his visit to Tehran are worth noting: He said “In the future, we will witness Italian vessels berthing at (Iran’s) southern harbors falling within the Iranian Navy’s sphere of operation.” He added, “It is certain that these talks and meetings will lead to the development of interaction and cooperation in different military areas between the two countries of Iran and Italy.”

For his part, Iranian Navy Commander Sayyari said “Italy enjoys around 8,000 kilometers (4,970 miles) of maritime border and the Mediterranean is also strategically very significant, given the fact that it connects the important Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar.”

These words served to delineate the waters where Italian-made Iranian warships were likely to operate in the future. The Euro’s arrival at Bandar Abbas Saturday, Sept. 24 lent substance to those words.

Fmr. Israel Navy Chief: A Gaza Seaport Would Be an Iranian Seaport

August 18, 2014

Fmr. Israel Navy Chief: A Gaza Seaport Would Be an Iranian Seaport

VIDEO August 17, 2014 11:29 am

via Fmr. Israel Navy Chief: A Gaza Seaport Would Be an Iranian Seaport VIDEO | Jewish & Israel News Algemeiner.com.

 

F.r Israel Navy chief, Vice Admiral (Ret.)
Eliezer Marom Photo: Wikipedia
 

Allowing Hamas to open a Gaza seaport would only serve to allow Iran direct access to rearm the Islamic terror group, the former chief of the Israeli Navy told Israeli Army radio Sunday.

“Let’s say an Iranian ship docked at Gaza Port for a visit. We know that Iranian military vessels smuggle munitions nearly every time they hoist anchor. But, because this is a military craft, we can’t inspect it,” Vice Admiral (Ret.) Eliezer Marom, stressed.

“And thus, without even noticing, we’ve established an Iranian port two hours away from Ashdod,” Marom said, and pointed out that, “Israel security doctrine is that we are responsible for security on all crossings…”

“The security challenge would be immense, and it would be very difficult for us to keep an eye on things,” he said.

However, Hamas representatives to indirect talks with Israel in Cairo over extending a cease-fire set to end at midnight Monday night, demanded a seaport, “or the talks were off,” Army radio reported.

Noting that the issue of securing such a port has been in discussion for two decades, Marom pointed out that he was in the original team that was tasked with offering the government solutions to the thorny issue, but said at the time that “we had very few answers.”

Also on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet members that “security needs of the State of Israel,” were paramount for representatives at indirect talks with Hamas in Cairo.

“Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings. In the past month Hamas has taken a severe military blow,” the PM said.

“We destroyed its network of tunnels that it took years to dig. We intercepted the rockets that it had massed in order to carry out thousands of deadly strikes against the Israeli home front. And we foiled the terrorist attacks that it tried to perpetrate against Israeli civilians – by land, sea and air,” according to Netanyahu.

Watch a recent interview with Marom, in which he discusses Israel’s chief maritime threats, including from underwater vehicles: