Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Strait Skinny, Redux
To follow up on a post from yesterday, I found this comment regarding transit passage and the UNCLOS at Eagle Speak:
When I used to teach this to surface officers in the pre-command course (PCO) the points I stressed were "...continuous and expeditious transit..." and "...normal modes..." of operations. Under the later condition radars and sonars may be operated. Moreover, since warships as extensions of US territory have the inherent right of self defense in accordance with the UN Charter guns may be manned and "destructive fire" can be justified if under attack. As for the helicopter it was always my practice to have one airborne during transits of crowded waterways like the SOH as an extension of my shipboard sensors and to provide for safe navigation. The only restriction is that it must be launched and recovered in international waters (except in cases of emergency) and that its passage must be continuous and expeditious as well.
Dr. Arasbiabi has a poor understanding of both naval operations and American history. The Iranians certainly have a right to identify warships passing through the SOH (his term "inspect" connotes something entirely different to me) but they may not impede their passage. "Freedom of the seas" has been a bedrock principle of American foreign policy since our Republic's earliest days.
So maybe we are back to provocative episodes with a CB prankster grafted on top.