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03 January 2012

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Norbert Salamon

Sir:

A replay of sanctions against Japan in the 1930-early 1940 - to force a war?

It seems that the Geneva Conventions allow the closure of the Strait if the nation is threatened.

Of course, we know that the USA Adminstration, Congress and the MSM Talking Hby the SUeads could not give a hoot for either international law or the Constitution of the United States of America!

Or is it a Tatcheraite Moment by the USA?, economic mess, so lets have a war [Falkland Islands] by the newest imperial forces of the 20th century.

I would suggest that this step is a way for economic suicide for the USA: [and Canada and EU etc!

jonst

I would welcome reasoned speculation on the costs of Iran backing down from this threatened position. I'm not sure I see any external costs. i.e. now that Iran backed down the US will send more ships into the Gulf. The US, my guess is, will do what it already plans on doing...Iranian threat notwithstanding. I'm not sure what other nations in the area will care if Iran backs down. i.e. will Iran backing down change the Saudi's strategic position. No, I'd guess.

So it is likely that any costs to backing down from this near suicidal position will be internal. There calculations, at least by this layman, are much more difficult. And murky.

It all brings me back to the central question of why are the Iranians uttering these kinds of threats that seemingly play into the hands of the US and the forces allied with the US.

Pure irrationality? Miscalculation, as the Col alludes to? Pure bluff? A bluff that we are expected to recognize as such and therefore dismiss?

Many things don't make sense to me. But then again, why should they.

turcopolier

All

NMS is a pain in the A-S. Does he really think that the US deliberately provoked a war with Japan? Does he really think that any country with the means to prevent it would not force open the Strait of Hormuz?

If the US wanted war with Iran we would not have to provoke anything. Public opinion in the US has been so successfully shaped by foreign propaganda that the population would welcome a capitulation to Israeli demands to smash Iran.

I wil say again that if the US was the kind of country that NMS insists it is we would invade Saudi Arabia or Canada and take their assets. It would be much easier than what we have been doing. pl

eakens

Taking is not our problem. Holding is.

Rd.

The Turkish Daily Zaman, had similar heading;

“Iran threatens action if US carrier aircraft returns“

However, in its contend it said;

“We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Salehi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

One should not get too hyped about the hyperbole the MSM promotes..

The posturing by both side is their way of communicating given the nature of their relationship. In this exercise, the US made their stance clear in that the SoH to remain open. The Iranians made their point that any closure of their oil exports will have repercussions .

To assume that the Iranians will close the SoH is naive, despite the rhetoric. However, if there was an actual military engagement, whatever takes place is beyond anyone's imagination or expectations. If in doubt, check the the afghan, Iraq experience x a factor of UN-intended consequences.

In a few weeks the Iranian oil will continue to flow, and the US ships will be back in the Persian Gulf. The question I have (just curious) why did they leave the Persian Gulf?


http://www.todayszaman.com/news-267463-iran-threatens-action-if-us-carrier-aircraft-returns.html

walrus

Does Iran have friends? Is it possible that China or Russia has given Iran a "blank cheque"?

The Chinese appear to have some reasonably nasty mines - the nautical equivalent of the IED, and an interest in mine warfare.

http://www.usnwc.edu/Research---Gaming/China-Maritime-Studies-Institute/Publications/documents/CMS3_Mine-Warfare.aspx

If Iran did close the Straits, what is our response going to be?

steve g

Read a sage at one time who said the US
plays checkers but our geostrategic
opponents/competitors play chess. This looks
like it could be such a moment. Will our
continued bellicosity towards Iran force them
to call our bluff or perhaps checkmate us?
They dont have to attack our fleet but sink
one or more tankers to roil the world markets.
What about the Chinese and Russians? Saudi
Arabia says if will make up the difference of
Iranian oil if they are totally sanctioned. What
would the Repubs plan B entail at this critical
mass moment.?

mo

This was definitely an odd "threat" from a nation who like their games. Its a lose-lose situation even if one thinks that it is aimed at an internal audience. I really don't see what they have to gain from it other than some chest puffing. THe bark trying to hide the lack of bite?

They know the US will send its ships where it wants and they know that there are big influential names agitating for war inside and outside the US.

Are they really relying on the "economy" or do they really want to start a war? Truly, one can only assume that the man was having a bad day and spoke in haste. While we have all expected some action against Iran at some point or another I don't think anyone envisaged the IRanians actually starting it!

turcopolier

steveG

Attacking a tanker would be treated as a causus belli. pl

turcopolier

eakens

IMO this would be altogether a naval and air war. Sink their boats, attack their littoral facilities and shore to sea missiles. in addition we would be likely to go after their nuclear facilities. pl

seydlitz89

Could the Iranians be signaling that they are entertaining the option of striking first, instead of waiting around for an Israeli strike?

Charles I

Everyone seems to forget we act with 15% consciousness and volition.

Surround me - See Adam Silverman's previous map - threaten me, bark at me, attack other states, I'd say nutty stuff. As the younger sibling, I'd continue to taunt my brother as he pounded on me - a brother who, as I deemed him crazy, logically wasn't in control, not really apprehending my rant, let alone amenable to changing his behaviour because of it.

So my rants were pointless, everything to do with me, and not with him. I should have shut up, hope attention waned - or saved my breath to fight harder.

I feel it unlikely they would initiate an attack, whatever anybody says here or there. Nor will they stop blustering: Bloomberg has what, the seventh largest army or somesuch? Pols can't help themselves.

The dogs bark, the caravan passes. Sometimes, something explodes a bit later.

jonst

Walrus wrote: "If Iran did close the Straits, what is our response going to be?".

Image of enraged honey badger (is that redundant?)springs to mind. "Enraged honey badger", with a bad headache actually.

walrus

All Israel needs to do now is to have one of their subs torpedo a tanker in the Gulf and we have an immediate demarche on Iran, followed by an unacceptable ultimatum and a war, led by the U.S.

Such an action would most probably result in European banks going bust and a further flight of capital to the U.S. dollar. That neatly solves the U.S. debt problem this year because over Two trillion in U.S. sovereign debt needs to be rolled over in 2012.

America also receives a little economic stimulus as a result of this action and it would also neutralize the civil liberties lobby for a while longer because "we are now at war". Obama packages himself as a "War President", declares that now is not the time for change and that our only hope is to extinguish the dastardly Iranian menace. He just gets re-elected a la Thatcher.

What is not to like about this scenario in Washington?

Fred

According to the CSM article oil is 60% of Iran's economy (I assume they mean 60% of government revenue). Also "The prospect of sanctions ... for the first time has hit Iran's rial currency, which has fallen by 40 percent against the dollar in the past month." Also note that China is leveraging its oil purchases which also significantly impact Iran's economy.

Based on these reports would the remarks of Iran's Army chief Ataollah Sale be two fold: 1) shore up support amongst the hard core in Iran and 2) drive up oil prices, which would thus counteract some of the loses caused by the fall in their currency. In addition could the satements of the army chief be disavowed by the political leadership?

Pirouz

I'm guessing Iranian intel has picked up that CVNM 74 will not be returning soon to the PG, so this provided the opportunity for public posturing. And they got another ~4% price increase for oil out of it.

Colonel, you keep describing the great advantage of American forepower, but you were in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. The Iranians lost over a half million dead in that conflict, as well as their unfinished nuclear power plant at Bushehr (IrAF strike), their IRIN merchant convoy escort capability (USN strike), a downed commercial jetliner (USN strike), massive destruction of military assets (IrA offensive and failed or costly IRA/IRGC/Basij offensives), terror raids against cities (IrAF and MRBM strikes) for eight long years.

In Iran, this sort of thing is sustained within the context of "sacred defense" and martyrdom. On the other side of the coin, Americans will have to pony up another $2 to $4 a gallon at the pump on a permanant basis, with all the other associated incresed price costs at the supermarket. We're already beginning to see social instability here in the US in the form of OWS protests. It would likely greatly increase as a result of these price increases. And there's no comparable context to the Iranians' in this regard, to maintain such an uptick of material sacrifice for the 99%.

r whitman

How much damage can the Iranians inflict on US assets in the Persian Gulf region if an armed conflict breaks out?? The Iranian thinking might be that no matter how much damage they have to absorb, if they hurt our assets enough, we will leave the area for good as we have in Iraq and are about to do in Afganistan.

turcopolier

Pirouz et al

This would not be that kind of war. This would be a war against materiel and facilities. we are very good at that. The Iranians killed in the process would be incidental to the damage. The idea would be to open the strait and wreck Iranian capabilities to act against us strategically. Life in Iraq would be more dangerous for the "300." The active hostilities would probably speed up our departure from Afghanistan. The spike in oil prices would not last long. There is no oil shortage in the world market and it is fungible. The ups and downs are all market action. Such a war would probably ensure BHO's re-election by giving him a chance to show what a tough guy he is. The Navy and Air Force would be pleased. What "ammunition" for future budget fights! pl

turcopolier

R Whitman

The Iranians could do some damage, but would be smashed in the process. My guess is that they will back away. pl

jdledell

I agree the Iranian bellowing is stupid and dangerous. However, I ask the military pro's in this group what effect will Iran's use of Sunburn class anti-ship missiles have on effectively closing the Straits to oil tanker traffic? There is a lot of Iranian coast to cover, especially if the Iranians mount these missiles on mobile launchers.

Bill

Col., I think you are missing the point. In the event of war with Iran, the carrier(s) would not be IN the Gulf, but just outside it. IN the Gulf is too confined, and Iran has too many platforms (missiles, small boats, subs, rotary and fixed wing craft, mines, etc) that can strike there. In a war, they would throw everything they have at the carrier, and might well suceed in overwhelming its defenses. However, just OUTSIDE the Gulf, Iran's attacking power drops off dramatically, but US carrier aircraft (and land-based aircraft) can still pound the snot out of Iranian targets. Hence, in the recent spat, the US's threatening gesture was LEAVING the Gulf (drawing back to proper standoff attack distance). The US will maintain that distance for a while, to let the Iranian military know it is serious. Thus, Iran is quite confident a carrier will not re-enter the Gulf in the very near future (obviously they will re-enter at some point). Iran's statement is simple tough talk trying to claim credit for something they know is going to happen anyway).

It's meaningless chatter; it's nothing to get upset over and certainly nothing for the US to respond to with a stupid move by sending the Stennis back through the Strait immediately.

The Twisted Genius

I would think a carrier would be more combat effective in the Sea of Oman than in the Persian Gulf in any Strait of Hormuz shooting war. Despite all the talk about littoral combat, our Navy is a blue water navy. Of course, now that Iran has showed its ass by her latest threat, we must show our ass by steaming back into shallow water. It's just part of the ritual of "modern statesmanship."

New Orleans

I can't imagine this as anything more than street theater, for internal political reasons, I suppose. The moment Iran declares the straits closed, the U.S. need do nothing more than send in a squadron to prove the straits are open. If Iran attacks the squadron or shipping, the U.S. begins sinking every Iranian vessel it finds and starts blowing up Iranian oil platforms and other installations. Would we attack their nuclear facilities? I doubt it, but why would the Iranians invite us to do so? Meanwhile, Iran loses the ability to ship its own oil and import gasoline through the straits, so its economy suffers at least as much as does ours.

I recall that Iran tried something similar once before, in 1988, and it didn't benefit them much back then. I don't see why it would work any better now.

turcopolier

New Orleans

"Would we attack their nuclear facilities? I doubt it," Why would we not if active hostilities had begun? pl

turcopolier

TTG and Bill

Yes, yes. We should never have strted putting fleet carriers in the Gulf, but the issue is now as much political as it is a simple calculation of water depths and numbers of little boats. Better by far to keep deep water vessels in the sea of Oman. pl

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