"Britain had to plead with US to take part in Iran flotilla"
This headline from Britain's telegraph newspaper shouldn't shock anyone who has been following the latest developments of the British military.
Yup, both Britian and France apparently insisted on being included in the Pentagon's military task force that is in the Middle East with the aim of discouraging Iran from trying any wild military moves. According to the Telegraph, the Pentagon simply didn't see any need to include the Europeans in the mission to the Middle EAst.
It's easy to see why; the contributions of Western Europe's biggest military powers to the effort is pretty small, each nation supplied a frigate (the Royal Navy sent HMS Argyll, shown above) to join a U.S. carrier battle group. Symbolic.
Keep in mind that there are two American carrier strike groups in or near the Persian Gulf with a third on the way.
One source cited in the article described the Euros' participation in the operation best; "classic willy waving." Neither the French nor British wanted to appear irrelevant so they begged to tag along, according to the Telegraph.
The Here's what the Telegraph has to say:
The disparity in vessel numbers means the British and French presence in the flotilla was of greater diplomatic than military significance.
The question of allied participation in the naval operation is understood to have triggered concern in Whitehall and led to a sudden shift in Britain’s stance.
British ministers initially signalled they would accept the Washington’s conclusion that did not need allies to take part.
But the British position changed after Mr Sazkozy insisted to the US that a French warship must be present in the flotilla.
Sources said that Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, concluded that if the French were sending a ship, Britain must do so too. His decision to was then endorsed by David Cameron, the Prime Minister.
Failing to take part when the French were doing so might have raised questions about the Special Relationship, which has come under doubt during Barack Obama’s presidency. Mr Obama last year described France as America’s closest ally.
A diplomatic source revealed that US commanders originally planned for an all-American naval operation, any only relented after protests from European leaders.
The source said: “The Americans originally planned to do it alone. They were clear that they saw no military advantage in having European ships taking part.
But after the President insisted that France had to be represented, ministers decided that “Britain must participate too, regardless of the military importance.”
The source described the approach of France and Britain as “classic willy-waving”, accusing the two countries of posturing to conceal their military irrelevance to the confrontation with Iran.