Photo Credit: Navy Ensign Sean Ianno
The guided missile destroyer USS Chafee launches a Block V Tomahawk missile during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 1, 2020.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday warned reporters that the Middle East is in its most “dangerous” situation since 1973, seeing as the Biden administration considers retaliation for the drone attack of Iranian proxy-militias that killed three US service members in north-east Jordan on Sunday.

President Joe Biden declared the US would “hold all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner of our choosing,” which wasn’t nearly as impressive as a volley of Tomahawks at the source of the attack would have been.


Of course, to retaliate against Iran’s affiliates would require changing the administration’s religious doctrine that preaches a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic as the key to everlasting peace in the region.

“This is an incredibly volatile time in the Middle East,” Blinken said, standing next to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. “I would argue that we’ve not seen a situation as dangerous as the one we’re facing now across the region since at least 1973, and arguably even before that.”

The 1973 Yom Kippur War saw the largest naval confrontation between the United States Navy and the Soviet Navy during the entire Cold War. On October 9, 1973, the Soviet cultural center in Damascus was damaged by an IAF airstrike, and two days later, the Soviet merchant ship Ilya Mechnikov was sunk by the Israeli Navy during a battle off Syria. There were several recorded instances of Soviet ships exchanging fire with Israeli forces. The Soviet minesweeper Rulevoi and the medium landing ship SDK-137, guarding Soviet transport ships at the Syrian port of Latakia, fired on approaching Israeli jets.

As the United States and Soviet Union supported their respective allies, their fleets in the Mediterranean became increasingly hostile to each other. The Soviet 5th Operational Squadron had 52 ships in the Mediterranean when the war began, including 11 submarines, some of which carried cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. The United States Sixth Fleet had 48, including two aircraft carriers, a helicopter carrier, and amphibious vessels carrying 2,000 marines. As the war continued, both sides reinforced their fleets. The Soviet squadron grew to 97 vessels including 23 submarines, while the US Sixth Fleet grew to 60 vessels including 9 submarines, 2 helicopter carriers, and 3 aircraft carriers. Both fleets made preparations for war, and US aircraft conducted reconnaissance over the Soviet fleet (USS Little Rock Association).

John Kirby, spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said on Monday that Biden had met with his national security team and was “weighing” the US reaction to the Iranian proxy attack.

Blinken said: “We will respond. And that response could be multi-leveled, come in stages, and be sustained over time,” but insisted that the US was committed to preventing a “broader escalation.”

Stoltenberg, for his part, accused Iran of destabilizing the region and backing the Houthis’ attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, expressed his outrage on Tuesday at those baseless attacks.

“The claims raised by the NATO secretary general resemble a bitter irony, because NATO and some of its members, with their dark record of colonialism, plotting and carrying out destructive and interfering policies, as well as military actions in West Asia and other places, are the root cause of instability and insecurity, not only in the region but the whole world,” Kanaani said.

He stressed Iran’s policy of “strong relations with the neighbors on the basis of good neighborliness and mutual respect.”

As I said, a volley of Tomahawks would interject a sense of reality into this charade. 

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