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Friday, 6 January 2012

Iran far stronger than US would like to admit


Economic Policy Journal
The thinking has always been that Iran wouldn't shut down the Strait of Hormuz because they use it for their own export of oil. But, if the United States [sanctions] makes it impossible for Iran to sell its oil, then a key factor that would stop Iran from blocking the strait would be removed.

Does Iran have the capability to block the Strait of Hormuz? I also put that question to Captain Kline. Here's how I reported it in the EPJ Daily Alert:

    I thought I would ask Kline, who might have a pretty damn good idea, if the Strait could be closed by Iran. His answer was it could. When I asked him how long it would take, he said 3 or 4 days for Iran to position ships and lay mines. He did say that the blockade could eventually be broken, but it would depend upon international co-operation and that it would take "some time". He said that Iran has missiles onshore aimed at the strait that would have to be taken out,and that Iran had other sophisticated equipment in the area including drones that could listen in on ship communications. He said ship mine sweeping can also get "very tricky".

According to AP:

    The [Iranian] navy is in the midst of a 10-day drill in international waters near the strategic oil route. The exercises began Saturday and involve submarines, missile drills, torpedoes and drones. The war games cover a 1,250-mile (2,000-kilometer) stretch of sea off the Strait of Hormuz, northern parts of the Indian Ocean and into the Gulf of Aden near the entrance to the Red Sea as a show of strength and could bring Iranian ships into proximity with U.S. Navy vessels in the area.

Bizarrely, the U.S. has warned Iran that it will not tolerate any disruption of naval traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, that's like stealing a bully's wallet and telling him to shut up and deal with it.

It may not have made any strategic sense for Japan to attack Pearl Harbor, but sometimes you push and push and you get a reaction. The U.S. got a reaction out of Japan. It was Pearl Harbor. The legislation that President Obama is about to sign is a spit in the face of Iran, if it is used to shutdown Iran's ability to sell oil. It may get a reaction out of Iran: The blocking of the Strait of Hormuz.