US Navy fires on “rapidly approaching” boat near Dubai

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A US Navy security team fired on a small motor boat off the coast of Dubai, United Arab Emirates Monday, after the small vessel “disregarded warnings and rapidly approached”  the US Navy ship, the Rappahonnock, the Pentagon said Monday.

“The U.S. crew repeatedly attempted to warn the vessel’s operators to turn away from their deliberate approach,” the US Navy/Centrall Command said in a press statement sent to Pentagon reporters Monday. “When those efforts failed to deter the approaching vessel, the security team on the Rappahannock fired rounds from a .50-caliber machine gun.”

The incident, near Jebel Ali, UAE,  is under investigation. The nationality of those aboard the motor boat is not yet known or being released, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy Central Command told Al Monitor. “At this time I don’t have that information, the incident is still under investigation,” US Navy spokesman Ltn. Greg Raelson told Al Monitor by email.

ABC News reported that the small motor boat was not from Iran. “I can’t emphasize enough that this has nothing to do with Iran,” an unnamed Navy official told ABC News.

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Slavin: Why Centcom chief really wanted third aircraft carrier in the Gulf

My colleague Barbara Slavin writes:

Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that Gen. James Mattis, the head of US Central Command, unsuccessfully sought permission to send a third US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region in January in an effort to deter Iran from escalating tensions in the Gulf.

 

While I have the utmost respect for Lake’s reporting skills, the story may have misconstrued Mattis’s views when it describes him as a hawk who as Lake puts it, “has often found himself the odd man out — particularly when it comes to Iran.”

 

In fact, Mattis, despite his nickname “Mad Dog Mattis,” is a prudent planner who seeks to prevent any incident with Iran in the Persian Gulf – and to make sure that if one occurs, it does not spiral out of control. Continue reading