Showdown in the Strait of Hormuz

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Given that Iran would most likely initiate hostilities, it would have considerable advantages over U.S. and Western forces. It could opt to mine and blockade the Strait,  then, knowing this to be a “red line” for the West, launch an attack on U.S. ships in the vicinity. Its Kilo subs deployed in the Arabian Sea would attack U.S. carrier groups, which could also be hit by strike aircraft. These could cause significant damage. Once U.S. forces cleared the approaches to Hormuz, they would have to fight their way into the Gulf. They would run a gauntlet of anti-ship missiles and mines, which could be used in swarms to sink or cripple American vessels. Western naval units in the Gulf could come under attack by additional small craft, along with Iran’s force of frigates and strike aircraft. Moreover, if Iran wanted to, it could conduct an airborne and amphibious assault on Hormuz, which is controlled by Oman. This would place Iranian forces on both sides of the Strait, equipped with missiles, and would require U.S. ground forces to be landed to clear them out (similar assaults would have to be made on Qeshm and the other nearby Iranian islands for the same purpose.)

All of this would result in considerable losses in men, aircraft and ships, if the fighting was limited to the vicinity of Hormuz. However, it is unlikely that Iran would do so. It would likely initiate general hostilities throughout the Gulf, using its own forces and proxies to attack Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies (along with attacks on Israel.) As a result, Persian Gulf oil supplies would be severely disrupted. As the GAO report of October 2006 noted, an Iranian embargo alone could cause up to $200 billion in GDP damage to the U.S. economy, while loss of Saudi oil could cause a staggering $832 billion worth. The impact on the global economy would, to say the least, be cataclysmic.

Nor is this the only way Iran could deny the Strait. Iran could wage a war of attrition, mining parts of the channels or launching hit-and-run attacks with missile-armed speedboats against tankers. This would avoid all-out war with the West, while wearing down its resolve to confront Iran on its nuclear program, since oil prices would be forced up.

It is therefore incumbent upon the West, especially the United States, to maintain the utmost vigilance in the region, and to ensure that not only the means, but the stated will, to use force if Iran should block this vital waterway is in no doubt.

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  • treetop

    "……Given that Iran would most likely initiate hostilities…."

    A nd why should oil exporter Iran be interested in sabotaging its sole shipping route?

    Oh yeah, I forgot : They're all crazy for the return of the 12 Immam. LOL

    • hahajid

      Becareful when you make fun of Islam.

      • Islamsucks

        Islam is a joke…started by sheephearders who spent too much time in the sun..

        • carckerjack

          Wrong. Islam was started by merchants who dwelt towns and citys. Judaism was started by goat herders living in tents somwhere in the desert mountains.

          • Snorbak

            Actually you are also wrong, Islam was started by murderous theives that preyed on the merchants who dwelt towns and cities.

      • Snorbak


  • Snorbak

    LOL……What are you 16?
    "Oh yeah, I forgot : They're all crazy for the return of the 12 Immam"
    Ahmadinejad certainly is. You should do a little more research prior to making stupid statements & then thinking its funny.

    • treetop

      And how is blocking ones own vital trade route going to speed up the Immam's return?

      • Snorbak

        Islam teaches that the Mahdi will return at the end of time to judge the world in a similar manner to the teachings of the Bible. However, one of the key differences is that Israel will be destroyed as a nation, the Jews exterminated as a race of people & every nation will be subjegated under a world wide Caliphate.

        What makes Ahmadinejad so dangerous is that he is the leader of a nation pushing for a nuclear capability, a man who has made countless statements calling for the destruction of Israel & belongs to a branch of Islam that believe they can "speed up" this apocalyptic scenario & hasten the return of the Mahdi by instigating the prophesised end times war.

        Ahmadinejad has little concern for the Strait of Hormuz or the millions that would die (including his own people), as a result of any regional/ world wide conflict as he is concentrated on the bigger picture & the end game.

        I have skipped much of the detail but in laymans terms I cant make it any easier to understand.

        • treetop

          Let's get back to the real world. Ahmedinejad, who has just recieved a crushing election defeat, has no authority whatsoever in Iran's military or nuclear decisions. This is not an Iranian presidents function. These matters are decided by the" supreme leader" chamenei and his crew. I personally wouldn't be suprised if Ahmadinejad suffers an "accident" or lands up in jail before to long.

          At the same time, Iranian trade delegations are working closely together with the Indian and Chinese authorities diviseing ways to bypass the Western financial boycott through currency swaps and the likes to keep the oil flowing through the Straights of Hormus. As as we all know: Iran is desperate for curreny at the moment.

          Going by the facts in the real world, closing Hormus must be the last thing on the Iranians mind.

  • Crossbow87

    Pre-emptive strike….haven't seen a juicy opportunity like this in years. By degrading Iran's ability to conduct any of these types of actions itself, we would be saving ourselves the costs associated with a reactive strike.

  • iking

    hey treetop go and have more research, ahmadinejad and the shia clerics ALWAYS invoke the 12th imam whenever and wherever they are babbling.

  • Stan Lee

    It doesn't matter what reason the Iranian Regime would have for inviting its own destruction. If it's the only way they can bring the "12th Imam," they should have their desire.
    What we need to consider is how what they've been doing/what they do affects American policy, which subsequently affects the rest of the industrialized world whether we like it or not.
    The nature of the United States is to be a leader in this world, despite how Obama has strived to reduce us to a 3rd world Socialist nation. The Iranians have been drawing American blood for too long, that regime has gotten away with absolute murder and Obama is too reticent about it because he doesn't love America anyway.
    He just wants reelection because he can't give up the charmed life the moron voters gave him.

  • Stan Lee

    As long as we need to accommodate countries who basically despise our way of life, we are obligated to give them much latitude or suffer the high costs of energy, which if continued will break the USA's treasury!
    This is the result of surrendering to the "environmentalist" lobby of the Democrat Party. They're nuts!
    We have plenty of resources to tap right here at home. It's time we did so!

  • Indioviejo

    War is so unpredictable and horrible, but I am curious. I hope they do start the war, and I hope it is a TOTAL war. I will not forgive Muslims for all their worldwide agression to all of mankind since their appearance on this planet. Shia, Sunni, who cares? There isn't room enough for them on this planet. I know this is just my opinion, but hope springs ethernal.

  • BOB