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March 07, 2005

Iran To Drop the Oil Bomb?

At least Austin Bay thinks they're threatening it if we take their nuke-building to the UNSC:

The Persian Journal website speculated that Iran was considering closing the Straits of Hormuz. The Straits of Hormuz connect the Persian Gulf to the Indian Ocean.

The Strait is a bottleneck for oil tankers. From 35% to 40% of the world’s crude oil shipments passes through Hormuz. In 1988 Joe Balkoski and I collaborated on a wargame titled “Light Division: The Straits of Hormuz.” 3W (World Wide Wargaming) published the game, and it is now out of print.

The Iranians think we're spread too thin right now, but as Bay points out the Navy isn't tied down much at all, and that there are other countries which depend on the Straights which could be convinced to join a Hormuz-capturing coalition.

I don't want to sound all blustery and eager for another war. Because I genuinely don't want another war; at least not yet, not until our troops have had time to rest.

But in a way, Iran would be doing us a favor by taking this sort of action.

Bay suggests that the mullahs really had better think this one through:

The Iranian people know what’s going on in the world, and the big story (one even the NY Times now appreciates) is the freedom’s surge in the Middle East. Put US troops in Hormuz and presto, Free Iran has a toehold.

Meanwhile... The Bush Administration plans to increase Persian-language broadcasts into Iran.

Those broadcasts will likely not say "Trust Authority" or "Maniac Mullahs 4 Ever."

And... The NYT continues to surprise by actually reporting on developments they don't much like:

The mood around the table in a battered downtown Cairo office veered between humor and trepidation, participants said, as they faced the prospect of fielding presidential candidates in just 75 days. "This is all totally new, and nobody is ready," said Mahmoud Abaza, deputy leader of the Wafd Party, one of Egypt's few viable opposition groups. "Sometimes even if you don't know how to swim you just have to dive into the water and manage. Political life will change fundamentally."

The entire Middle East seems to be entering uncharted political and social territory with a similar mixture of anticipation and dread. Events in Lebanon and Egypt, following a limited vote for municipal councils in Saudi Arabia and landmark elections in Iraq, as well as the Palestinian territories, combined to give the sense, however tentative, that twilight might be descending on authoritarian Arab governments.

A mix of outside pressure and internal shifts has created this moment. Arabs of a younger, more savvy generation appear more willing to take their dissatisfaction directly to the front stoop of repressive leaders.

And even more astonishing:

Arabs differ on the degree to which American influence helped foster the changed mood, but there is no doubt that pressure from the Bush administration played some role.

I could be churlish, I suppose, and point out that this is mentioned beyond the jump. But still.

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posted by Ace at 03:19 AM

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