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19 January 2012


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Iran is in a pickle. They have stated they will close down Hormuz if sanctions on their oil exports proceed. The shift in their nuclear policy that is required to avoid sanctions is plainly unacceptable to them.

At the same time the US and Europe have limited their options if Iran does not respond favorably. If a conflict does occur, Israel gets what it has long sought. The war will not be limited to reopening Hormuz. Lots of "other work" will get done. Also, Iranian proxies will weigh in and the regional Sunni-Shiite fracture will erupt. When it does, we will surely see 1) ethnic cleansing 2) unprecedented blood letting and I believe the use of WMD other than nuclear.

Surely, there is a way to get on the off-ramp with this one??!!

Norbert Salamon

Am I mistaken in opining that Iran threatened the closure of the Hormuz Strait if and only if they are prevented from exporting oil?

If I am correct the closure of the strait will not arise, for neither China, nor any of the other major oil importers from IRan have indicated that they will forgo Irani oil - they have their own national interest which demands oil for which their refineries are optimized.

Empty gestures by the USA, as sanctioning a Chinese oil trader [lat week] which does not have any USA connection is useless. It is inconceivable that the USA will sanction any major Chinese/Russian bank. It is also inconceivable that there is sufficient oil production available [net export from the other exporters] to balance the Irani oil.

Closing the Strait after Iran loses all export possiblity can not hurt Irani oil export, for they are prevented from export anyway.

I understand the Colonel's analyses [and that of any others who worry about Isreal doing something stupid], it is possible that there be war.

I fully support Dr. Brenner's analysis as to possible reprecussions both for the world and for USA. Furhter, it is highly likely that the Wahibist [?? spelling} ruling party of Saudi Arabia will pay a large price if there is war.

It is certain that the USA is capable of destroying Iran, whether in time that the Gulf States' oil/gas infrastructure survives or not is questionable. So is the reaction of Russia which did do make some serious noises.

Let us be honest, the USA/Isreal worry is not the nuclear process, which the USA knows is not for weaponization [at present] it is stricktly that IRan is a major power in ME land, and that is an anathema to ISrael to have political competition, whereby they may loose the ability to ride roughshod [bambings] overt their naighbours and the Gaza Strip.


There is no off ramp when Likudniks are involved



Notice how the author Kitfield is playing the propaganda ploy right out of a Tel Aviv playbook regarding Iran, in particular his next to last sentence -- " suspected nuclear weapons program". Kitfield it appears would rather let Tel Aviv think for him instead of thinking for himself regarding the 'suspected' nonsense.

Me guesses that Kitfield is unfamiliar with the Iranian Fatwa prohibition regarding nuke weapons toys.

William R. Cumming

I notice the Saudis and Chinese have executed some sort of nuclear info sharing agreement.

War gamers have long indicated that intake ducts for fresh water desalinization on the Red Sea and Gulf are highly vulnerable. Especially the Emirates and Kuwait. Any open source documents or analysis available?

Is oil the only counter Iran has to sanctions?

FB Ali

Sanctions are not going to lead to war. The Iranian threat about blocking the Hormuz Strait is part of the ongoing 'cold war'. They will not block it unless they are attacked; then they certainly will (along with all the other mayhem they can wreak in the region).

I cannot imagine the US administration would be stupid enough to launch an attack on Iran. So, as Col Lang and Robert Baer said: the madness has to come from those who control Israeli policy.

The world will pay, but so will Israel. Maybe this will cause the world (and especially the West) to realise that they cannot afford to let Israel run wild.


There is nothing Iran could do to prove to Israel that they have no nuclear weapons program. There is already an economic war going against Iran. What sanctions are going to be 'undone' should they comply with the latest demands from Israel?

steve g

You may want to click on his name
and read his bona fides.

Morocco Bama

Obviously, the sanctions are intended to force Iran's hand.....an attempt to manipulate them into doing something, anything, that will justify an attack, be it from Israel or the U.S./NATO, in the court of world public opinion....as if that opinion really matters any longer. Iran has played it well up until this point. I don't think they will do anything stupid or rash....but as we saw in Vietnam (Maddox).....and with Iraq (Yellow Cake), ultimately it doesn't matter how well Iran plays it, The Babe has pointed to the right field wall and that's where the ball is going to end up....in the right field bleachers.

Think ahead twenty years....the year 2032. If Alzheimers hasn't established its grip on you yet, if you are a betting man, would you bet that the Mullahs would still be in power in Iran? I wouldn't take that bet, because the odds are so slim to none, you're sure to lose your shirt. The only way to extricate the Mullahs is by outside physical force. Iran is incapable of another internal revolution that could possibly oust the Mullahs.

So, it's going to happen, it's just a matter when and how (the tactical analysis)....and the various ramifications it will have for the rest of the world, which is a source of interesting conjecture.

FYI, I don't condone any of the above, but that's my assessment. It's irrelevant how I feel about it...because they haven't asked and they never will.


What do you make of Mr. Baer's rumor, "that the Turks are sending weapons to Iraq's Sunnis."
That's practically an act of war.

William R. Cumming

N.B. Still no federal anti-lynching law!


How on earth does the US propose cutting off Iran's oil exports--seizing Chinese tankers as they exit the gulf?

I recently read that China gets c. 13% of its oil from Iran--and Japan and South Korea c. 10%. Japan has asked for an exemption, and while I have no idea if South Korea has, I don't believe either nation would be willing to damage their economies in support of sanctions.

Oh, and Chinese oil imports from Iran are settled in rials and yuan, not dollars.

Mark Logan


Just an addition to your comment: I read in the paper yesterday that India has also decided to not honor the sanctions on oil.


They 'cut off' exports by making it illegal to do business with Iran's central bank.


Yes, I know the illegality comes by doing business with Iran's central bank. But in my mind that still begs the question.

But how does that effectively threaten India or China? What do they care, and what would Uncle Sam impose as penalties? Or for that matter Russia or Venezuela or any other country that ignores the illegality?

Are the US and the EU willing to sanction the rest of the world?

Norbert Salamon

The USa/EU recognized the error of their ways, the abyss is too deep and dangerous, thus they proposed new talks, with thier position to be indicated by Friday.

Anything but war is preferable by the whole world, including all the Sunnies in the Persian Gulf, who would in all propability pay a very sttep price!

Norbert Salamon

Sorry forgot the link:

Norbert Salamon

Imteresting interview with Ambassador John W. Limbert, Presently at the US Navy Academy:


Norbert Salamon

After concentrating on the abyss, this is to give you cheer:

The humility and achievement of a parentless boy would cheer your heart, especially if you enjoy good singing.
Korean, 8:02, if it brings tears to your eyes, you will not be alone.




I thought Paul Sullivan’s comment about fallout was particularly ill-informed - is it not the case that only a nuclear strike rather than a conventional strike on a nuclear site, would cause fallout? There could be some dispersal of nuclides in a conventional strike but wouldn’t that be very limited, especially for buried sites? As for the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment, even a slight seismic shock such as that from a conventional deep penetrator munition would destroy them AFAIK but then they could be rebuilt over time.

I haven’t heard talk of an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran except for the Hail-Mary fringe…all bets would be off if that occurred.


William R. Cumming

Iran has declared war on "barbie dolls" so this is getting serious.


Most interesting discussion, Colonel, thank you for the link. I resonated strongly to Prof. Michael Brenner's analysis. Also agree with you and Bob Baer about Netanyahu.

I've started reading your website again because I'm trying to get the military mind take on this Iran business. It really does put me in mind of the run-up to the Iraq war -- and I can't get over why the population at large doesn't remember that. oh well...

If you have a moment could you answer a question for me: Gen. Martin Dempsey is visiting Israel right now. How common is something like that? That the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would visit an American ally country? Is this something peculiar to the situation in Israel right now, the military threat against Iran?

Also, what about that postponement (cancellation?) of the joint US/Israeli military exercises scheduled for Spring 2012? The US already has 9,000 troops in Israel for that joint exercise I understand. What is the significance of the change of plan? If you have already dealt with this question in another post I would appreciate the link. I couldn't find anything about it.

many thanks



Baer and I are always happy to help Brenner with his analysis. It's a very common thing for CJCS to visit an American ally. Is Israel an American ally? I am unaware of a treaty or protocol of alliance. pl


sorry, poor choice of words on my part.

What would you say about the CJCS visiting a country who is not a friend and ally but relies on getting whatever it wants in the way of military support & materiel through exerting political pressure on the elected representatives of the US government? Is Dempsey there to try to look after US interests as best he can? And is the postponement of the joint US/Israeli military exercise part of that endeavour on his part? Or what?

I hope I'm not asking too much, Colonel. These are the kinds of questions that keep me awake at night.



"Is Dempsey there to try to look after US interests as best he can?" Yes. pl

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