Arlington VA January 4, 2012
Iran seems determined to walk a fine line between simple stupidity and outright idiocy in its current face-off with the US Navy in the Straits of Hormuz. The last time they decided to close the straits by mining it, which resulted in an explosion aboard a US warship, they lost several craft in the return strikes. This time, with their new surface-to-surface missiles, also recently tested, they a giant again, but one with much more advanced firepower.
Iran is backed by China and Russia in their latest silliness, and has already indicated that, in the event of further UN/US sanctions (That is what this is really all about) they will close the straits and prevent oil export. The Straits provide an avenue for export of a significant portion of exports from Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other producers. So, the Iranis believe they have a wild card and have chosen to insult and belittle the US into some kind of confrontation since they have their allies solidly behind them.
But do they?
Russia, in particular, has proved over time to be a blusterous but unfaithful ally to the countries it has tried to stir up against the US and its allies. China wants Irani oil, but will only go so far in supporting Iran. Both countries can veto UN Security Council actions, but do not have the power ro force the Security Council to stop independent actions by member states who choose to go around the UN. An effective stalemate for both countries.
Then there is the ultimate wild card in the area, Israel. it is clear from the dialogues over the past several months that Israel sees Iran as the biggest thorn in their side. The Israeli military would like nothing more than the green light to go in and take out the nuclear sites, and anything else of military value that supports Irani terrorism. So far, they have kept their looming potential below the horizon. That cannot last forever, and they will probably not ask for UN permission if they do decide to strike.
The US, in turn, is improving the arms capabilities of Saudi Arabia and Iraq so that they can defend themselves when needed, and especially if the Irani do decide to construct traffic in the Straits.
Since the Irani Military made it clear that they did not want the USS Stennis back in the straits the navy has announced that not only will the Stennis continue to patrol, but the Abraham Lincoln and another carrier group will join the patrols as well. That represents over 1500 aircraft, ships, and supporting vessels and infrastructure that strike Iran within minutes of any attack. If that eventuality occurs, a lot of people will be visiting with Allah. Let's all hope it doesn't come to that.