Iran So Far Away…

Asia Times thinks war is more likely between Israel, the US, and Iran and runs through what such an attack might look like.

Iran has, historically, had two aces in the hole. The first is the assumed ability to close the Straits of Hormuz to shipping traffic. This report suggests that it’s far from a foregone conclusion. The industrialized world has significant strategic petroleum reserves – the US has about 700 million bbls, or enough to cover imports for almost 2 years. Europe has approximately 90 days, and Japan has 583 million bbls, or about 110 days’ supply. It’s an open question whether the US could sweep the Straits of Hormuz within 90 days, though it’s certain that an Iranian blockade would alienate even the Russians and Chinese.

The second ace is the use of terrorism, both by the Hezbollah and Syria client States and by upping the operational tempo of insurgent attacks on US forces in Iraq. The Asia Times article suggests that Syrian assistance for Iran is less than likely, and Iraq has plausible deniability if the Israeli attack transits Saudi airspace, as seems possible. American ally (and 95% Sunni) UAE diplomat endorsed an attack… this is old news, a product of Sunni-Shi’ite animus, but the UAE’s aggressive demand for the islands in the Gulf is new – as is the impending purchase of a THAAD system (Patriot-3 on steroids) to defend against Iranian IRBM’s even as official denials of the refusal to refuel Iranian aircraft are made.

Iran is fragile, and civil unrest continues. In addition to objections to the irregularities which kept Ahmadinejad in power, tax protests and continuing frustration with official corruption continue to simmer. Given that Iran is a net importer of refined products, the combination of a blockade and a few carefully-aimed JDAMs on key refineries could raise frustration beyond the regime’s ability to control. It’s an open question whether an attack would result in an insurrection as the regime’s impotence was made clear, or if it would result in an upsurge of Iranian patriotism.

Could this be an October surprise?

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11 Responses to Iran So Far Away…

  1. Kat says:

    A random link…
    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/18th-century-ship-found-at-trade-center-site/
    I think this is a very interesting find. Just the boat reference made me think of Alan and how I wished he was still here to show this to. At least I hope the other rare readers will enjoy it.

  2. Phil in San Fran says:

    Any possibility we can keep this situation in limbo until 1/21/13?
    It’s great to see you posting, Mr. Galt.

  3. seree says:

    It’s fascinating how timetables are given for war. Asiatimes often has good reviews. “October” has certain logical factors to it [which may not be clear to all], but it isn’t quite the feeling I get in the field, though there is one rule of thumb over here: everything can change within minutes. We were gearing up for the Libyan ‘flotilla’ which ‘diplomatically resolved’ by docking in Egypt. We were gearing up for an ‘intifada flotilla’ promised once the Mondial was over. Perhaps it has been understood that these do not benefit anyone in the long run. The more noise made by once-traditional Iran allies that they will not step in to help, the less noise Iran seems to make about attack. We live in see-saw times.

  4. suze says:

    It seems that October is often the month for foretelling disaster – perhaps because, historically, they have more often occurred in October – at least in the recent past.

  5. G.M. Palmer says:

    Seree/John,

    I can’t see Iran being suicidal enough to go on an attack rampage now, even with Russian support (note, I don’t think Putin is that stupid).

    However, were I an enemy of both Iran and the US, I would do my damndest to fake a terrorist action and force someones hand.

  6. G.M. Palmer says:

    Unless of course, the democratic party wants to look like the party of security. Then we can expect a repeat of the Maine/tonkin.

  7. John Galt says:

    GM, I wondered about that also…seems like empires collapsing with a whimper rather than a bang (as the USSR did) are not always the rule. Adolf Hitler recognized that the USSR was re-arming, and Operation Barbarossa was launched with the hope of conquering Russia to the Urals and forming a separate peace (as was done with Vichy and Occupied France the prior year). One reason the Japanese general staff chose to attack Pearl Harbor was the US’s partial embargo of war materiel to Japan (after the invasion of China, Japan’s withdrawal from the 2nd Naval Disarmament conference, and other provocations). The Japanese saw the US re-arming and felt that they had a closing window of opportunity; they hoped to fight a decisive naval battle and sue for peace, thinking (as bin Laden did) that the US was a paper tiger.

    Similarly, I wonder if Iran sees a window for developing a nuke as closing and want to develop one both as a matter of national pride and to prevent an invasion.

    Finally…I can’t help wondering if “suicidal” isn’t a null concept for a branch of religion that awaits the Mahdi. I’ve heard “serious” pundits claiming that a born-again, Messianic Christian shouldn’t be president of the US for similar reasons.

  8. Danny says:

    Morning John,
    I can see The Øbamanation doing this as an October Surprise, but not for the sake of Israel or the American People, but as a pure political ploy to feather his own foul smelling nest—
    I am willing to pay $20 a gallon for gas for the short term if we save Israel and keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power, but if we don’t get Barry and his ilk out of power, $20 a gallon gas will be a fond memory, Israel will be a smoking hole in the ground and Iran will still have NASA making it feel good…

  9. ligneus says:

    Meanwhile back at the ranch.
    [Click on Operation Sabotage. I hope the link works.]

  10. seree says:

    saboteurs here are called “shoofim” – ‘the transparent ones’; all official details are wiped from all offical gov’t records. They do remarkable work and take amazing risks usually to assure world peace, and I feel so sorry for their families, never knowing….

    October would be a choice that bypasses September; an odd sounding statement, until you take into account that the Jewish calendar this year lines the holiest festivals up with the secular Sept., – New Year and Day of Atonement [Yom Kippur] fall in Sept; and I’ve a hunch that if anyone dared attack on the absolute holiest day of our calendar ever again [as in 1973], they wd be on the receiving end of totally uncurtailed fury, no matter what ANY other ‘world power’ wd advise. So while all kinds of logic point to “October”, there are other facets involved too.

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