The Clock is Ticking on the Iranian Problem but will we Act before they go Nuclear?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 15th, 2012

Week in Review

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stirring up trouble in the Middle East.  Again.  He’s got his eyes on some strategically located islands that just might come in handy in some future plans (see Gulf states schedule special meeting over Iran-UAE island dispute by Alexandra Sandels and Ramin Mostaghim posted 4/13/2012 on the Los Angeles Times).

Foreign ministers of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states are scheduled to meet in the Saudi capital of Riyadh following a visit by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to a disputed island earlier this week in a move that has sparked a diplomatic spat between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iran…

Abu Musa is one of three islands that both Iran and the UAE claim. Iran took control of the islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb — all located near important shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz — back in 1971, as the Gulf emirates gained full independence from Britain and British forces were withdrawn.

GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani has denounced Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu Musa. In a statement, he called it a “clear violation of UAE sovereignty” and said it was “an irresponsible provocation and is not in line with the GCC policy of maintaining good neighborly relations with Iran,” according to media reports.

If you look at a map you can understand why Iran is causing all of this trouble.  Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb are in the shipping lanes proper.  Abu Musa is on the far side of the shipping lanes from Iran.  Ideal islands to have if you’re threatening to blockade the Strait of Hormuz.  Which the Iranians are threatening to do if anyone tries to stop their nuclear program.

Iran is the bully of the Middle East.  Always looking to start trouble.  They were sponsoring attacks on U.S. service personnel in Iraq.  They were inflaming the unrest on Bahrain.  They’re close with the Muslim Brotherhood who is gathering political power in Egypt.  They’re funding Hezbollah and Hamas in their attacks on Israel.  And, of course, they want to remove Israel from the map.  Which is just something their nuclear program can do.  Even the other Arab states are sick and tired of having to deal with Iran.  Who want to be the supreme power in the region.  Just like the British were at one time.  And who the Iranians condemned for it. 

Iran it the greatest threat to stability and peace in the area.  Which is growing ever more instable and less peaceful since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.  We can’t let Iran be a nuclear power.  For they won’t live in peace with any neighbor once they have it.  And threaten nuclear retaliation for any attempts to limit her influence and power in the region.  Or any action they take against Israel.  There is no good way for this to end.  Except, perhaps, the fall of the current Iranian regime.  Which may be the only way to stop it.  But after a decade of war who is going to start another?

There is a parallel to pre-World War II Europe here.  Hitler got away with provocation after provocation because no one wanted a return to war.  Not after World War I.  So we negotiated and dithered.  Even gave Hitler a sovereign nation.  Czechoslovakia.  Anything to appease him and avoid war.  And we know how that ended.  Once he had Czechoslovakia he attacked Poland.  Launching World War II.  Which was far worse than World War I.  And any war Iran starts as a nuclear power will be far worse than the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.  Which means only one thing.  We can’t let Iran become a nuclear power.  But will we?

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In the Face of Force and the Willingness to use that Force the Iranians back off the Hostile Rhetoric

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

The Iranians love diplomacy.  Because they see it as a sign of weakness and don’t respect it.  They respect only one thing.  Force.  And the willingness to use it.  Which they’ve seen of late.  And have backed off of their shutting down the world’s oil supply rhetoric (see After threats, Iran plays down U.S. naval moves by Robin Pomeroy and Hashem Kalantari, Reuters, posted 1/21/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Saturday it considered the likely return of U.S. warships to the Gulf part of routine activity, backing away from previous warnings to Washington not to re-enter the area.

The statement may be seen as an effort to reduce tensions after Washington said it would respond if Iran made good on a threat to block the Strait of Hormuz – the vital shipping lane for oil exports from the Gulf.

The US said say all you want but that carrier will be there.  And it will respond to any hostile acts such as blockading the Strait of Hormuz.  As will their steadfast ally the Brits.  Who sent a serious naval asset to the region.  A Type 45 destroyer.  A single ship that can shoot down anything the Iranians can throw into the air long before hitting any US, UK or other friendly target.  And, of course, with that US carrier and its task force on station as well the response to that failed Iranian attack would have been devastating.  The Iranians would have had their asses handed to them.

They’ll talk until everyone is blue in the face.  To them diplomacy is unmanly and a sign of weakness.  They simply don’t respect it.  But project force and be willing to use that force and they will respect that.  Which is the only thing they will respect.

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Britain sending some Serious Firepower to Prevent the Iranians from Blockading the Strait of Hormuz

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Britain is sending its state of the art destroyer to send a message to the Iranians.  Telling them that they will not stand by and let the Iranians blockade the Strait of Hormuz (see Royal Navy sends its mightiest ship to take on the Iranian show of force in the Gulf by Thomas Harding posted 1/6/2012 on The Telegraph).

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, which served as the conduit for 17 millions barrels of oil every day last year.

Naval commanders believe the deployment of HMS Daring, a Type 45 destroyer, will send a significant message to the Iranians because of the firepower and world-beating technology carried by the warship.

Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, has publicly warned Iran that any blockade of the Strait of Hormuz would be “illegal and unsuccessful”…

Iran completed a 10-day naval exercise in the sensitive waters near the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, staging manouevres which included firing three anti-ship missiles understood to be the Chinese-made C-802.

Yesterday, Tehran said that another exercise would be held in the same area next month. Admiral Ali Fadavi, commander of the naval branch of the Revolutionary Guard, warned that this would be “different” from the most recent one.

Speaking earlier, Mr Hammond said that “our joint naval presence in the Arabian Gulf” was “key to keeping the Strait of Hormuz open for international trade”.

No one likes a recession.  Europe may be limping into another one thanks to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis.  The United States can’t shake off their recession.  Capital is fleeing China because their export markets aren’t buying like they once were.  And if you think these economic times are bad you ain’t seen nothing yet if the Iranians blockade the Strait of Hormuz.  And shut off that Middle East oil.  The life force of the world’s economies.

There will be blood for oil if the Iranians interrupt the flow of oil at market prices.  Because they will put the world now struggling in a world-wide recession into a full-blown depression.  It will be a humanitarian crisis of the first order.  With scenes from the Great Depression in first-world countries.  And worse in the third-world countries.  As they will be utterly on their own.  An easy prey for totalitarian regimes.  Like Iran.  Whose own people will suffer along with the rest of the world.  But Tehran won’t care about that.  As they haven’t yet.

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital British national security interest.  It’s a vital U.S. national security interest. As it is for modern economies everywhere.  Yes, oil is that important.  Because it’s a part of the price of everything we buy today.  And if oil becomes scarce the prices of everything will increase.  From the electronic toys we buy that cross the oceans on ships burning oil.  To the food in our grocery stores that are delivered to market by planes, trains and trucks burning oil.  So whatever happens in the Strait of Hormuz will impact everyone everywhere.  Whether you’re buying a smartphone.  Of the weekly groceries.

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The Iranians threaten to hold the World’s Economy to Ransom by Sealing the Strait of Hormuz

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 31st, 2011

Week in Review

Iran is flexing their muscles in the Persian Gulf region.  Because America helped give them the elbow room to flex their muscles (see Iran to test-fire missiles escalating Strait of Hormuz tensions with US by Adrian Blomfield posted 12/30/2011 on The Telegraph).

Iran will escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf on Saturday by test-firing a barrage of long-range missiles just days after it threatened to hold the world’s economy to ransom by sealing the Strait of Hormuz, a vital energy waterway…

A ten-day naval exercise will culminate in a grandiose display of the Iranian regime’s ballistic arsenal. Senior navy officers boasted that ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, some of which could theoretically be fitted with nuclear warheads, would be tested in the Gulf of Oman at the southern end of the Persian Gulf…

With the situation fast deteriorating, the United States announced on Thursday night that it had completed a deal to sell Saudi Arabia 84 F-15SA fighter jets.

Although the aircraft will not be delivered until 2015, the sale will be seen as evidence of Washington’s determination to shore up its Gulf allies, which are increasingly fretful about Iran’s growing military swagger.

Iran hates Israel.  And America.  They support Hezbollah and Hamas who both wish the destruction of Israel.  Our Gulf allies are worried about the rise of Iran in the area.  Even the ones who aren’t all that fond of Israel.  For an Israel they can tolerate.  But an ascendant Iran they cannot.

Al Qaeda funding for 9/11 came from the Wahhabi region of Saudi Arabia.  The Saudis, however, were reluctant to suppress this funding during the subsequent War on Terror.  For the Saudi royal family was right next to the Americans on the Wahhabi list of things they hate with a white hot burning passion.  If they cracked down on the Wahhabi they could very well start a civil war.  So their reluctance is understandable.  But with the American invasion of Iraq and the prospect of an American failure and an Iranian win, the Saudis quickly changed their minds.  And risked the civil war to prevent the worse evil.  An ascendant Iran.  And put a serious dent into al Qaeda funding.  The good friend and ally that the Saudis are.  Just like Hosni Mubarak was in Egypt.

When the American president told Hosni Mubarak that he had to leave power this did not go over well with our Saudi friends.  And rightly so.  Egypt, like them, helped to maintain peace in the region.  And they were united in their opposition to Iran.  The Saudis didn’t see an Arab Spring.  They saw an Islamist Spring.  With an ascendant Iran.  First the border between Egypt and Hamas-controlled Gaza was thrown open.  And then the Islamist parties showed well in their recent elections.  Good for Iran.  But not good for the United States or its allies in the region.  Hence the sale of the F-15s to the Saudis.

Now Iran is working on a nuclear capability.  The U.S. pulled out of Iraq for what some say were political reasons to shore up the president’s base in the coming 2012 election.  And now the Iranians are holding maneuvers and testing missiles that all can be put to use to “hold the world’s economy to ransom by sealing the Strait of Hormuz.”

American troops will probably then have to return to the Gulf.  And this time it will be blood for oil.  To prevent the second Great Depression.  Which it will be if the Iranians shut off that oil to the world’s economy.

Let’s hope America’s next president does a better job when it comes to foreign policy and American security.

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