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20 April 2006

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Bill

Even at the height of the Iran/Iraq war, the straits were not physically closed. Oil producers have much to gain by respecting the cartel and much to lose by interrupting it. I think in this case the threat of playing the trump is much more valuable than actually using it, the handful of missles adds a heavy long term defensive burden, using them would only increase US public resolve. Iran will have ample opportunity in Iraq to play havoc with "logistics" and no need to engage the US in a frontal assault at the straits. Playing the victim is definitely their suit to bid, its a winning strategy at several levels.

Patrick Henry

I think Iran is Preparing for all of its Options..Strategic and Nationally..

SEEM toFeel Pretty Confident Now..this has been in the Works for Years..STRATEGIC PLANNING..

Just look at the Historical Data..

I'm sure they would prefer POLITICAL Control of the Region..as the DOMINATE Muslim Nation..

Thats Plan One..

Plan two is Preparing for War..through lots of Negotiations..Marketing and Strategically..

I thinks its a Mistake to Focus on Iran alone..But see how the whole Region Shakes Out Strategically..

The US really needs some good Intel and Strategic Planning Right Now..

And they should be Smart enough to Consider the Brain Pool and Expertise and Wisdom of all the "Old School Guys " Like Pat LANG.. Friends and Associates..Military and Civilian..and Like Minded Professionals..

There is NOW to much at Stake..for Egos and Pride and Stupid Stubborness to be getting in the Way..

That Requires TRUE leadership..WISE LEADERSHIP..

TOP....Down..AND

TOP Priority..

Mike Danielson

I am curious as to the minimum depth of water at the narrowest point at the Strait of Horomuz--I did not find this in my search. The mean depth is mentioned (by others) but that is not the most relevant depth.

Just an observation: Since Mr. Rumsfeld is not in any danger of being replaced, this appears to me to indicate that he is involved in deep and difficult planning for some important action.

Does anyone have an idea of the date for the bombing of Iran? Anything you can pin it to?

dan

The Iran-Iraq war never threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz as the business end of the conflict was some 500 miles to the North at the other end of the Gulf. IIRC there was a re-flagging operation for Kuwaiti tankers when the two parties were attacking each other's shipping.

I don't know how much traffic goes through the Straits on a daily basis - I guess that 13mbpd requires a lot of tankers, and for each one that exits another has to enter; and then there's all that "sealift" logistics traffic, bulk carriers and sundry other merchant vessels plying their trade.

At any rate, I wonder what the effect on marine insurance rates will be of a hot war developing along the entire Iranian littoral - that's assuming that cover isn't withdrawn totally.

It would be awfully difficult for the Iranians to avoid targetting US naval platforms in the Gulf - these, after all, will be jumping-off points for US assaults on Iran in the first place.

Seymour Samuels

The problem I addressed is not getting oil out of the Persian Gulf (showing my age) but getting sustainment of tonnage items (e.g., POL and Ammo) to US and other "foreign troops" into the Theater.

Reduced tonnage equals reduced support. As to whether Iran would play that card - who knows. But ask yourselves - why has Iran purchased submarines if they haven't at least a contingency plan for using them. And what is the most vulnerable point for US and other "foreign" forces.

As to the tonage of oil and petroleum products that transits the straits I think the Deparment of Energy has those stats on their web site.

zanzibar

How realistic would it for US military to hold ground along the Gulf and prevent sinking of ships in the straits? From a military supply point of view the key question would be the response from Shiites in Iraq.

Dan, clearly marine insurance rates would skyrocket initially until there is certainty that shipping can pass unhindered.

zanzibar

"The consequences of war in our region are going to be catastrophic," Prince Turki Al-Faisal told the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. "Iran is not going to just sit back and accept being bombed. They're going to strike back."

The best solution to a nuclear threat in the Middle East is for all nations - including both Iran and Israel - to agree to nuclear disarmament. "Our part of the world should be free from weapons of mass destruction, including nukes, and we feel there should be a ban on all weapons of mass destruction, including Israel and Iran," Turki said."

Our "pals" the Saudis are concerned and want a WMD-free Middle East. Is that even conceivable in today's threat environment? Since, Iran does not have any known nukes at this point what Faisal is calling for is Israeli weapons de-nuclearization. How likely is that?

JustPlainDave

Mike,

Judging from this rather murky image of the relevant Admiralty chart and this summary graphic from CIA (originally DMA/NIMA, I'm guessing) it would appear that the shallowest point in the commercial lanes is a smidge under 50 m. It would appear that this could be mitigated somewhat by moving the lanes more towards the south, though there are obviously limits.

I'm somewhat less worried about the isolated gambit of scuttling shipping in the commercial lanes as a tactic to physically impede traffic (50 m seems pretty deep to me, but I do come from a long line of land lubbers -- pls feel free to offer corrective info) than as a gambit to make to bottom topography more difficult to deal with from a mine counter measures point of view.

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