On December 27, Iran will conduct joint war games
with China and with Russia. According to the announcement released by Iranian leadership, this exercise is codenamed Naval Security Belt. The games are scheduled to take place — on land, sea, and air — in the Straits of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean.
Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi of Iran met with Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission, Major General Shao Yuanming, in Iran's capital city Tehran. The two military honchos went over details of the maneuvers. Even before their official meeting the Iranian general had announced that the trilateral games will take place in the Indian Ocean. He said: “The purpose of the war game is to ensure collective security and help strengthen security in the northern region of the Indian Ocean, which is witnessing incidents such as piracy.”
And as early as November, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is quoted saying: "We, the People's Republic of China and Iran are preparing naval drills for fighting terrorists and pirates in this part of the Indian Ocean." The Straits of Hormuz seem to be an add-on.
The link between Iran, China, and Russia is incredibly dangerous. And it is getting stronger. Iran knows this, China knows this, Russia knows it. And they want to make sure that the entire world, especially the Western world, knows it, too. They are sending out the message and then reinforcing the message.
This week Iran made another official announcement. They announced that in December a "joint war game between several countries, whether on land, at sea or in the air, indicates a remarkable expansion of cooperation among them."
These war games are an important move by three expanding powers of the world, countries that set themselves up as a check against the most powerful world power, the United States of America. It is a combined, concerted move aimed at and aimed against U.S. interests.
There is history with this triumvirate of nations hostile to the United States. In November of 2016 Iran and China signed an agreement to mutually advance their naval and security interests. Since then, large numbers of Iranian officers have travelled to China to train at their staff colleges.
Rear Admiral Khanzadi also emphasized that Iran and China are not only joining for war games, they are also jointly engaged in the production of destroyers and submarines. He said, “We will begin manufacturing heavy surface and subsurface equipment in the near future, and are ready for joint operations and the exchange of technical data as well as research capacities with China.”
Secretary of the National Security Council in Iran, Ali Shamkhani, explained why all this is happening. He said, "The countries that have had the biggest share in creating tensions and insecurity in the region and plunged the region into chaos and destruction by waging multiple wars and spreading terrorism have never been after the Persian Gulf's stability and security, and only seek to fulfill their own interests and plunder the region."
This top level Iranian official was pointing his finger at the United States.
Iran believes that the United States is bullying the world. In fact, Iranian Rear Admiral Khanzadi described the U.S. as using "bullying tactics" to "sanction another country's oil by restricting its passage through international waters." Translation: the United States placed sanctions on Iran and any other country doing business with or helping Iran.
He went on to say that the United States needs to be taught a lesson and that, “They need to realize that those countries with common interests have close military cooperation with one another in a bid to achieve a desirable level in their collective security... The war game seeks to deliver this message to the world that any kind of security at sea must include the interests of all concerned countries ... We do not condone the kind of security that only caters to the benefits of one specific country at a specific time and which disregards the security of others.”
"Seas," he explained, which are used as a "platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers."
Iran is justifiably upset by the impact U.S. sanctions have had on their economy, especially the sanctions imposed on Iranian oil. The sanctions have ravaged their economy. Iran believes that their navy must be secure. And they know that there is safety in numbers and that China and Russia would be only too glad to help them take the United States down a notch.
The irony here is that Iran is the culprit. The United States is working valiantly to keep the seas — the Straits of Hormuz and the Indian Ocean — safe for all countries, and it is Iran that has stimulated and sponsored many of these vile elements their own admiral is decrying. And China and Russia don't view that as a problem.
Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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