One has to hand it to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The mullahs are not allowing a simple thing like a worldwide pandemic to get in the way of being a threat to western civilization.
Iran has started to make some very provocative military moves on the theory that the United States is too preoccupied with the coronavirus to respond effectively. President Trump has indicated that the mullahs had better think again on that theory.
First, the AP reports that the Revolutionary Guard, the Iranian version of the Nazi SS, has launched what it terms a “military satellite.”
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched its first satellite into space Wednesday, dramatically revealing what experts described as a secret military space program that could advance its ballistic missile development amid wider tensions between the Islamic Republic and the U.S. Using a mobile launcher at a new launch site, the Guard said it put the Noor, or Light, satellite into a low orbit circling the Earth. While the U.S., Israel, and other countries declined to immediately confirm the satellite reached orbit, their criticism suggested they believed the launch happened.”
What the Noor satellite is doing besides orbiting the Earth has not been revealed, either by Iran or western intelligence agencies. However, the fact remains that the same rocket that can put a satellite into orbit can also deliver a nuclear warhead on – say – Tel Aviv or even New York.
American officials are aware that Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapon has remained unabated by the nuclear weapons deal that was signed by the Obama administration and from which the Trump administration has withdrawn.
The Iranians have also stepped up harassment of United States Navy ships in the Persian Gulf. Iranian fast speed boats are circling larger American ships at high speeds and at dangerously close distances, with weapons unsecured and ready for use at any moment. The behavior was quite enough for President Donald Trump.
According to the National Review, Trump announced on Twitter, “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”
Tensions between the United States have been on the rise ever since Trump ordered the targeted killing of the leader of Iran’s Al Quds force which has been supporting terror operations in Iraq and Syria.
“President Trump in early January ordered the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, following the killing of an American contractor and the harassment of the U.S. embassy in Iraq by Iran-backed militias. Iran responded by launching several ballistic missiles at U.S. positions in Iraq, causing numerous concussions and traumatic brain injuries among American servicemen. Iran then accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet taking off from Tehran International Airport.”
The targeted killing of Soleimani caused considerable criticism by Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media. However, most analysts regard his removal from the board as the rough equivalent of the killing of Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and Al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS. The ability of the Al Quds force to make mischief took a massive hit as other leaders scurried to ground.
Trump exercised forbearance by not responding to the murder of two American servicemen by the Iranian back militia in Iraq. However, the continued and dangerous harassment of American Navy ships, with the clear goal of driving the United States from the Persian Gulf, has caused President Trump to reach the end of his patience.
Iran is in a precarious position to pick a fight with the United States at the moment. The Islamic Republic is reeling from economic sanctions. The coronavirus pandemic is thought to have hit Iran much harder than its government has admitted. Popular discontent at a regime that had concentrated on adventures overseas and repression at home is on the rise.
The next step depends on the Iranians. If they insist on playing games with the United States Navy, they will likely lose their naval assets. The United States Navy decimated the Iranian Navy during the end game of the Tanker War in the 1980s, attacking not only ships but naval bases owned by the Islamic Republic.
President Donald Trump, though he is opposed to further entanglements in the Middle East, does not make idle threats and will, if necessary, carry them out.