An Israeli submarine crossed the Suez Canal last week in a show of force against Iran, according to a report by Kan News 11 reported on Monday night. According to the report, the move was approved by Egypt, which controls the canal. Citing Arab intelligence sources, Kan said that the submarine surfaced and faced the Persian Gulf, which lies on the other side of Saudi Arabia. The intelligence sources said the move was meant to “send a message” to Iran.
Debka File reported that the move was coordinated with the US military which sent the USS Georgia, an Ohio-class nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (SSGN), escorted by the cruisers USS Port Royal and USS Philippine Sea to the Strait of Hormuz on Monday. The USS Georgia is one of four in the Navy’s arsenal and can carry up to 154 Tomahawk missiles. In the video released by the US Navy, the US submarine can be seen with a drydock behind its sail. The drydock is used to deploy commandos from the vessel which can carry 66 special forces soldiers.
Both the Israeli submarine and the US navy are reported to be patrolling the Persian Gulf. It has been eight years since a US missile submarine has been to the Persian Gulf.
“USS Georgia is supporting routine maritime security operations in the region,” said Navy Commander Rebecca Rebarich. “Georgia’s presence in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO) demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s ability to sail and operate wherever international law allows. As an inherently flexible maneuver force, capable of supporting routine and contingency operations, Georgia’s presence demonstrates the United States’ commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities to remain ready to defend against any threat at any time.”
The US and Israel have timed their joint naval maneuver to warn Tehran off being tempted to take advantage of the political uncertainty in its enemies’ capitals to vent its promised revenge. The US is in transition between two presidents until Joe Biden is sworn in on Jan. 20, while Israel is on the brink of a new election in March and will be ruled by a caretaker government in the interim.