Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iran Threatens The Straits Of Hormuz Again

Iran Threatens The Straits Of Hormuz Again

A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

I sometimes wonder if Iran actually enjoys being a boil on the world’s backside.  They have been a pain in the posterior, most especially of the US, since the decade of the 1970’s. 

America spends millions upon millions of taxpayer’s dollars to patrol the shoreline of Iran in an on-going attempt to keep the oil flowing through the Persian Gulf.  Only a portion of that oil is bound for the US, which means the US is acting, again, as the global police. 

What is it with nations like Iran and North Korea?  They seem to feel they must continuously stir up trouble so the rest of the world won’t forget they are there.  Like a spoiled child “acting out” to get the attention of his parents, these rogue nations will scream and stamp their feet and wail like banshees until somebody notices them.

Recently, Iran has outpaced North Korea with their spoiled brat theatrics.

Once again, Iran is threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz.  Although the Straits are approximately 20 miles wide at the narrowest point, the sea-lanes are only 4-miles wide with a two-mile wide partition between the incoming sea-lane and the outgoing sea-lane. 

Yes, Iran has the capability of closing the Straits.  She can attack oil tankers while they are in the straits, sink them, and create a blockage of the waterway.  But there is little doubt, if any, that the US would strike Iran, with all barrels blazing, if Iran was dumb enough to execute a military strike on unarmed merchant vessels within the straits in a bid to close the Gulf and stop the flow of oil out of those waters through the Straits of Hormuz. 

Some 40 percent of the world’s oil, transported by sea, passes through the Straits of Hormuz.  Thus, effectively closing the Straits would create a worldwide shortage of petrol and petroleum based products… and that is nearly everything.  I don’t think it is really possible, at this point in world history, to estimate the damage to the global economy such an act would cause.

To say there would be an increase in gas prices would be an understatement of enormous proportions.  It would, no doubt, push many of the world’s nations over the brink, upon which they are tottering today, and into the abyss of economic collapse.  There would be chaos on a global scale. 

And there would be war.

There seems little doubt that most of Iran’s naval assets would be destroyed before they ever cast off their lines or hauled in their anchors.  Her submarines, (old Kilo class subs) are of special interest to the US Navy (as are all submarines) and, we suspect, they would be destroyed almost immediately.  Besides, operating a submarine in the shallow waters of the Gulf presents special problems for even the best submariners and, frankly, we have doubts about the proficiency of Iranian sub crews. 

So, what about Iran’s ship killer missiles?  Well, they have them -- and they reportedly are mounted on those so-called “fast attack” boats we became so familiar with during the Iran-Iraq war. The missile is reportedly a hybrid.  They are said to be a cross between the old US Harpoon missile and the old French Exocet missile.  They are made -- you guessed it – in China.

Iran should understand that any unprovoked attack on shipping in the Straits will bring an instantaneous counter attack by the US Navy and, certainly, the navies of other countries whose oil supplies would be severely curtailed or cut-off completely. The advantage to Iran of any such attack is difficult, if not impossible, to discern.

But if, as the theology experts warn us, Iran is determined to pave the way for the return of the 12th Imam, the Madi, which is said to depend upon worldwide chaos, then such an unprovoked attack is certainly within the realm of possibility and, frankly, probability.  In any event, the US -- and the world -- should be prepared.

The other troubling aspect of our current state of relations between the US and Iran is what many Americans define as weak leadership coming from the Office of the President of the United States.  This concern was underlined when our Commander-in-Chief did not order US troops to recover the lost reconnaissance UAV aircraft that, apparently, landed itself in Iran recently.  Even a missile attack on the drone to insure it’s destruction and prevent our top secret intelligence gathering electronics from falling into the hands of Iran, Russia, China, and North Korea, would have been preferable to Obama’s reaction, which was, shamefully, NO action.

The point of all this is simple.  Even though we are celebrating the return from Iraq of US forces this month, and family reunions at Christmastime, we must keep our forces well trained, well equipped, and leaning forward … because we WILL be forced to return to war in the Gulf region soon … very soon.

J. D. Longstreet

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