Our relationship with Iran is getting more and more dangerous. As more and more of that country’s nuclear scientists are getting assassinated–with most people blaming Israel’s spy agency Mossad possibly with the collusion of the CIA–Iranian leaders are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, that narrow gap of water through which much of the world’s oil supply flows. This is in response to a new round of sanctions that would hinder Iran from selling its oil to the West. America has vowed to keep the Strait open, and the navy is mobilizing.
Details from Anne Gearan of the Associated Press:
Tensions rising by the day, the Obama administration said Friday it is warning Iran through public and private channels against any action that threatens the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf.
Spokesmen were vague on what the United States would do about Iran’s threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but military officials have been clear that the U.S. is readying for a possible naval clash.
That prospect is the latest flash point with Iran, and one of the most serious. Although it currently overshadows the threat of war over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, perhaps beginning with an Israeli military strike on Iran’s nuclear structure, both simmering crises raise the possibility of a shooting war this year.
“We have to make sure we are ready for any situation and have all options on the table,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, addressing a soldier’s question Thursday about the overall risk of war with Iran.
For several reasons, the risk of open conflict with Tehran appears higher in this election year than at any point since President Barack Obama took office with a pledge to try to bridge 30 years of enmity. A clash would represent a failure of U.S. policy on several fronts, and vault now-dormant national security concerns into the presidential election contest.
The U.S. still hopes that international pressure will persuade Iran to back down on its disputed nuclear program, but the Islamic regime shows no sign it would willingly give up a project has become a point of national pride. . . .
An escalating covert campaign of sabotage and targeted assassinations highlighted by this week’s killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist may not be enough to head off a larger shooting war and could prod Iran to strike first.
The brazen killing of a young scientist by bombers on motorcycles is almost surely the work of Israel, according to U.S. and other officials speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. The killing on a Tehran street followed the deaths of several other Iranians involved in the nuclear program, a mysterious explosion at an Iranian nuclear site that may have been sabotage and the apparent targeting of the program with an efficient computer virus.Iranian officials accuse both Israel and the U.S. of carrying out the assassination as part of a secret operation to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The killing came a day after Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz was quoted as telling a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a “critical year” for Iran — in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally.” . . .
Obama last month approved new sanctions against Iran that would target its central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad.
The U.S. has delayed implementing the sanctions for at least six months, worried about sending the price of oil higher at a time when the global economy is struggling.
A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard force was recently quoted as saying Tehran’s leadership has decided to order the closure of the Strait of Hormuz if the country’s petroleum exports are blocked due to sanctions.
Panetta linked the two crises Thursday, saying an Iranian nuclear weapon is one “red line” the U.S. will not allow Iran to cross, and a closure of the strait is another. “We must keep all capabilities ready in the event those lines are crossed,” Panetta told troops in Texas.
Critics of the Iraq war said it was all about oil, a questionable claim, since the U.S. did not get oil out of the deal but rather hampered Iraq’s oil capability. This war, if it happens, would be about oil. Is that actually a better reason to fight than ideological reasons?
The story blames the Obama administration for bungling its foreign policy and getting us into this dilemma. Is that fair?
Are you ready for another shooting war in the mideast?