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Is Iran preparing to close the Straits of Hormuz?

That’s what our intel guys are saying:

U.S. government officials, citing new intelligence, said Iran has developed plans to disrupt international oil trade, including through attacks on oil platforms and tankers.

Officials said the information suggests that Iran could take action against facilities both inside and outside the Persian Gulf, even absent an overt military conflict.

The findings come as American officials closely watch Iran for its reaction to punishing international sanctions and to a drumbeat of Israeli threats to bomb Tehran’s nuclear sites, while talks aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons have slowed.

Now, of course, “developing plans” and actually executing them are entirely different things.  But, as irrational as Iran can be sometimes, the development of such plans has to be taken seriously.

If you’ve been paying attention over the past few months, we’ve been creeping any number of assets closer to Iran.  So obviously we believe where there is smoke we may see fire.

"Iran is very unpredictable," said a senior defense official. "We have been very clear what we as well as the international community find unacceptable."

The latest findings underscore why many military officials continue to focus on Iran as potentially the most serious U.S. national-security concern in the region, even as the crisis in Syria has deepened and other conflicts, as in Libya, have raged.

Defense officials cautioned there is no evidence that Tehran has moved assets in position to disrupt tankers or attack other sites, but stressed that Iran’s intent appears clear.

Iran has a number of proxies, as we all know, none of whom have much use for the US or the rest of the Western world.   What would possibly cause Iran to attempt to strike at outside targets?  The belief that they could get away with it:

But U.S. officials said some Iranians believe they could escape a direct counterattack by striking at other oil facilities, including those outside the Persian Gulf, perhaps by using its elite forces or external proxies.

I’m not sure how one thinks they can escape retribution by such tactics, but it is enough to believe you can.  And apparently there are some in Iran who do.  That’s dangerous, depending on where they sit in the decision making hierarchy.

The officials wouldn’t describe the intelligence or its sources, but analysts said statements in the Iranian press and by lawmakers in Tehran suggest the possibility of more-aggressive action in the Persian Gulf as a response to the new sanctions. Iranian oil sales have dropped and prices have remained low, pinching the government.

So, we wait.  And creep more assets into the area.  And wait.

As an aside to all the arm-chair defense experts who claim we shouldn’t be developing advanced weaponry because all our future wars are likely to be “just like Afghanistan”.



Twitter: @McQandO

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11 Responses to Is Iran preparing to close the Straits of Hormuz?

    Which I thought was very colorful, if nothing else.
    If Iran opens the ball, I hope we have the resolve to dance the last dance.

  • Keep in mind that Iran is allied with Syria where things are at a head.  If Iran wanted to help get international pressure off their allies in Syria then what better way than to mine the Straights of Hormuz?  They don’t have to attack a US carrier group.  Oil tankers are much easier targets.

    • This cuts both ways.   Mining the Straights of Hormuz could be used as an excuse to go into Syria.
      Unlike what Bluto said in “Animal House,” Germany never attacked Pearl Harbor, but the US still declared war on Germany shortly after Pearl Harbor.

      • Actually, no, Hitler resolved that problem for Congress by declaring war on the US in support of his Axis Allies in Japan.

  • “I’m not sure how one thinks they can escape retribution by such tactics, but it is enough to believe you can”

    3 words

    Barrack Hussein Obama.

    • I don’t know about you, but Obama’s most surprising aspect has been his enthusiasm for violence against enemies. Oh, sure he may dither in the beginning or flub the diplomacy, but give him a solid casus belli now and he’d grab it with both hands.

      • No, Obama is a ditherer.  He won’t do anything by himself that could result in serious losses because it would turn public opinion against him.   Not that I wanted us in Libya, but that’s the kind of war he wants to fight.  That’s why even though we have that new shiny R2P responsibility, we aren’t P’ing in Syria or anywhere else that it could get reasonably hot (aside from previous commitments in A’stan and P’stan – Bush’s fault…)
        He doesn’t consider a few men here and there loses, mainly because he can blame the wars on George W. Bush and he’s ‘getting us out’.  He’s a weasley Chicago throw-a-Molotov-cocktail-through-your-window kinda guy, not a call you out on the street and face you down at High Noon kinda guy.
        We’re talking about a guy who couldn’t muster up the intestinal fortitude or common simple leadership ability or sense to show up at Fort Hood ASAP after the terror attack, oh, sorry, right, ‘work place violence’ by Nidal Hasan (spit).   Three days isn’t ASAP when the flight from Washington to Killeen Texas can’t be much more than 4 hours for a plane that can own every inch of air space from wheels up to touchdown.

  • The problem with Iran is that the country is in the hands of people who believe the end of the world is rapidly approaching and that it is a good thing.  Opposing the Soviets or the Chinese was playing chess.  Their strategic moves were careful and deliberate because they knew that the US could destroy them.  The Politburo members did not want a thermonuclear exchange.  They wanted to retire to a Dacha outside Moscow and play with their grandchildren.
    The twelvers in Tehran are different.  They believe that everything is predetermined.  It excuses their errors and forgives their sins.  It’s God’s will.  They refuse to accept responsibility for anything.  Once, in the backseat of an Iranian F4, a friend recovered the aircraft from an out of control condition and flew it back to base.  The Iranian pilot had been screaming “God will save me!”  When the weapon systems officer confronted him that he had save him, the pilot replied, “But God put you there.”
    If the Iranians get a nuke, they will use it on Saudi Arabia.  We cannot allow that to happen.

    • I think the actual leadership is rational and is looking at Arab dictator after Arab dictator falling and wants to manufacture a nice incident or perhaps just a fear of war with America.

  • “I think the actual leadership is rational”

    That is certainly a debatable notion, but even if true it is meaningless. History is full of rational wars and other disasters. Most, if not all, of the countries involved in WWI had rational leadership.