An Iranian sea convoy will back up the Turkish campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assured Turkish leaders whom he met in Istanbul Tuesday, June 8 that the vessels due to enter the disputed waters within days will not shrink from a head-on clash with Israel's Navy and Air Force exclusion forces. "We'll breach the Gaza blockade," the Iranian president vowed. The Iranian Red Crescent vessels will carry "volunteer marines" of the Revolutionary Guards "who will teach the Israelis a lesson."
Tehran's "humanitarian convoy" for Gaza will consist of three Iranian vessels flying Red Crescent flags.
debkafile's intelligence sources report that he promised Turkish leaders to attach Iranian warships and submarines to the Red Crescent ships for their voyage through the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean. For some months, one or two Iranian submarines have been deployed in the Mediterranean using Syrian naval port facilities.
The showdown between Turkey and Israel, said Ahmadinejad, "will change many issues in the world and mark the final countdown for Israel's existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague condemned Iran’s plan to send aid boats to Gaza, warning that the move would deliberately aggravate an already tense situation. “It is not helpful, and probably it is not designed to be helpful, he said.
Russian Prime Pinister Vladimir Putin, for his part, promised to join Ankara in bringing the Israeli attack on the Turkish flotilla before the United Nations.
The Iranian and Turkish leaders meeting in Istanbul Monday and Tuesday finalized a plan to synchronize the flotilla's approach to Gaza's shores with the UN Security Council vote on sanctions against Iran, whereupon Turkey, Brazil and Lebanon, who are SC members, will halt the procedure and turn the session around to the unfolding sea battle between Iran and Israel. The sanctions vote will be buried by the sounds of war.
Monday, June 7, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton predicted "Iran would pull some stunt in the next couple of days" to divert attention from the unity within the Security Council.
According to our sources, the Iranian convoy will consist of a cargo ship loaded with food and other essentials, medicines and building materials; the second will carry the "volunteer" marines; and the third will be a floating hospital to be anchored permanently in Egyptian Mediterranean territorial waters opposite the divided Gaza-Egyptian town of Rafah. Small boats will ferry patients between Gaza and the hospital ship.
Tehran calculates that the Israeli navy will not attack boats carrying sick people and will be constrained from venturing into Egyptian territorial waters to hit the floating hospital. By this means, Tehran will dismantle Israel's sea blockade while also gaining a military presence off the shores of Gaza.
AS details of this scheme are drawn up in Istanbul, Israeli leaders are spending hour of hour, day after day, quibbling over the format of an inquiry commission for studying the legal aspects of the hapless commando raid they ordered against the Mavi Marmara on May 31.
Have they formed any plans for countering the Iranian-Turkish scheme to drive Tehran's flotilla through the Gaza blockade? And if so, where will the interception take place? On the Red Sea, where the Iranian Navy has a large presence, at the entrance to the Gulf of Suez or close to Gaza?
An Israel operation against Iranian vessels on any of these sea lanes would pose formidable difficulties.