A UK frigate and a French destroyer were a part of a US-led flotilla which entered the Arabian Gulf late last month, in defiance of Iranian threats. Today the UK Daily Telegraph reports that the international flavor of the force was, well – forced:
Defence sources have revealed that the Americans only relented and allowed a Royal Navy frigate to join the mission following an intervention from Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
The revelation that US defence chiefs saw little military value in UK participation will raise new questions about Britain’s international clout after Coalition defence cuts.
Amid rising tensions in the region, the Royal Navy last month deployed HMS Argyll, a Type 23 frigate, to the Gulf.
The ship accompanied a US carrier strike group made up of an aircraft carrier with a full complement of fighters, a heavy cruiser and several destroyers.
A French frigate, the La Motte-Picquet, was also part of the flotilla which sailed through the Straits of Hormuz. Iran has staged wargames in the area and threatened to block the straits, a vital supply route for oil exports…
The disparity in vessel numbers means the British and French presence in the flotilla was of greater diplomatic than military significance.
It didn’t feel that way back in 2003, when the ship on which I had the honor to serve upon in the same waters was for a time guarded by a Royal Navy air defense destroyer, and we were right glad to have her.
Times change, I suppose.