Iranian Mischief

Blog Post
Ever since the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (fake news) dragged us into war in Viet Nam, I have looked at these predicates for war with a very jaundiced eye. You see, there is a tendency among Americans to trust their government, their leaders, and to follow somewhat blindly. So I always urge caution.

You’ve read about it in the news and I don’t have much to offer beyond what is circulating. Two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman by Iran and the crews have been evacuated. .

Imagery showed one ship, the Front Altair, on fire, drifting and in danger of sinking. The other ship is the Kokuka Courageous, which is reported to be drifting.
The US released a video that the US says shows an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) boat alongside the Kokuka Courageous, removing an unexploded limpet mine before the tanker was attacked. 
The US Secretary of State said US intelligence pointed to Iran as being responsible for the attacks. 

“This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication,” Pompeo said.

Assuming the identification of the boat in the video is accurate, this attack was the work of an element of the IRGC.
What should the US do?
Is it ‘our fight’? No American ships, citizens or territory was involved and the oil was headed for Asia. National Security Advisor John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran. But the aggrieved nations are Norway (who leased the ship to a Taiwan firm) and Japan. Japanese Prime Minister was in Teheran holding talks with the Iranian Supreme Leader. Message sent and received.
If Japan wants oil, let them buy it from the USA. The same for Taiwan. We are now exporting energy, you know, and with Canada have by far the largest proven reserves on the planet.
And that applies to all nations that would rather not have their ships damaged/sunk by Iran. Just boycott Iranian oil. Buy from the USA. That will solve the problem and the US doesn’t need to worry about a crazy, costly war.

39 thoughts on “Iranian Mischief

  1. Short of war, perhaps President Trump will emulate President Reagan's Libya message.

  2. It’s apples and oranges.

    Japan, Norway or whomever needs to deal with Iran’s adventures. Why should we spend blood and treasure there?

  3. The question to be asked here is the same one to always ask…..Cui Bono. Who benefits. Who stands to gain from damaging tankers and freighters in this region. Odds of course are that Iran is behind this incident ( and the one in May where 4 ships were damaged). They are hurting from sanctions and may be engaging in a bit of the 'dog in a manger' mentality…. thinking if "WE can't sell and ship oil then NOBODY will be allowed to". There are of course other suspects. The telling bit of evidence is the video of an obviously Iranian powerboat alongside one of the damaged ships removing what is described as a limpett mine from the hull. NOT something undertaken lightly unless you were the ones who planted it. Such devices are designed to be tamper resistant. Removing one without knowing the details is NOT part of a safe and sane workday. That bit of video (obtained from a distance so the Iranians were unaware they were being watched) is pretty damning evidence they are the culprits.
    And yes….Norway and Japan are the aggrieved victims and should be the ones taking actions first and foremost. However this isn't the first time Iran has played fu*k fu*k games with gulf traffic and the US took actions. I suspect we will need to respond somehow in the near future. Failure to respond is ALWAYS seen as a sign of weakness and invariably leads to more piratical actions. Iran has been explicitly at war with the US for more than 40 years. Even if the average American can't/won't accept that reality we are still
    going to be targeted by Iran at every opportunity. This is almost certainly just ONE MORE in a long line of Iranian planned, coordinated and often performed 'kinetic actions' against the west.

  4. You're probably right. However: these attacks are meant to disrupt the shipping lanes, and are not really aimed at the owners of these vessels. The free access of the Straight of Hormuz to international shipping is of national interest to the U.S. This U.S. interest was attacked.

    Suppose a Brazilian ship was damaged by a limpet mine while in the Panama Canal. No sweat off our nose, right? Let Brazil chase down the perps. As long as our ships are OK, we're good?

  5. Because of sanctions in place, there isn’t much more that we can do to punish Iran short of blowing up its oil terminals, and that means war. I’m actually surprised to hear that recommendation from you. Eventually we send infantry.

  6. The attacks increase the cost of insurance, raising the price of oil. Nations with an interest in free navigation of those waters need to send their navies (too) or not complain. The US can lead, but without everyone else being a part of the effort, sorry.

    I have no problem with us turning Iran into a sea of radioactive glass. But in this case it’s not an “American” problem.

  7. This is literally the reason the U.S. Navy exists. There is either free navigation of international waters or there is not. You submit to the Bey of Tripoli or you don't (and yes, I'm looking at you China). Thugs never stop pushing until keneticly dissuaded.

  8. I am not convinced it's Iran, or that it's not Iran.
    Catching those mine removers on video (what are the odds?) and not pursuing?
    What am I missing?
    If Iran is doing this and not taking the credit, how do they benefit directly? It won't influence US sanction policy in a way they'd like.
    It's either a false flag or it's not.
    If it is, the Sauds are behind it and it's understandable why.
    If it isn't, Sauds still benefit and Iran does not.

  9. Gotta say that I am with Ed…there are players who benefit more than Iran on this one…though because of that 'wheels within wheels thing' I wouldn't want to have to make the call on it.
    Straight out Iran for some obscure reason? Saudi false flagging Iran? Iran making it look like the Saudis were false flagging them? A third party wanting the cops (US) to take out both gangs so they can move in on their turf? Fourth party trying to get the US tied up over there instead of over here…(South China Sea??)?

  10. I’m a big fan of mine warfare. Anonymous, we could mine Iranian ports and stop the flow of oil by sea. Of course, they would feel obliged to reciprocate but would that be a plan you’d favor?

  11. The Saudis are too incompetent to false flag anything. Too much bleach in the gene pool. But they could hire somebody competent.

  12. One of the talking heads I heard said Iran would do this to raise world oil prices. Prices didn't skyrocket and he was surprised, but there's no reason for them to. As you say, everyone can buy oil from us and Canada. Basically tell the Mideast to go pound sand.

    I think John Bolton is the only one in the administration that wants us to go to war. I don't think he's going to win this debate. I'd take the bet we won't without something much worse happening.

  13. Again, you're probably right. "..send their navies (too).." We seem to be the navy of the free world, why would Germany, Sweden, Belgium, The Netherlands, etc. send their navies when they know we have always stepped forward, always. It costs big bucks to show up with a destroyer or two, and those big bucks can be better spent on social programs domestically and let Uncle Sam do what it always does….protect all of these mooching 'allies.'

    Don't get me started.

  14. A lot cheaper to let the economy work and make the Persians solve their own problem. Just keep the embargo going and focus on human rights, that will keep the Europeans in the line too.

  15. Buy US oil. Motive. Saudis buy US ordnance. Motive.

    I'm all for the former but not very happy about the latter. Still, if not from us then who else? Less than ideal.

    And while we're in the strategic consultancy pulpit, let's see Hillary LOCKED UP along with the KENYAN.

    Bombs away.

  16. I am of the opinion that it is never a bad idea to deliver some high explosive hate to Iran.

    Left out a word in this comment, which is why I had to delete. I didn't practice what I preach, i.e.: proofread.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  17. Actually it's less a recommendation and more a simple acknowledgment of reality. The people running Iran aren't
    abject morons. They don't want to take on the US head to head.
    But they ARE at war with us even if WE refuse to acknowledge that. Iran is also run by islamists and they have zero qualms
    about the use of violence to support their agenda. Violent people do not respect anything but superior violence. The sad but ugly reality is that sanctions do NOTHING but hinder the Iranians in their quest….NOT stop them. Dealing with Iran will ultimately mean war. They aren't going to give up or surrender. Our choices essentially boil down to dealing with them BEFORE they get viable nuclear warheads and long range missiles or dealing with them AFTER they do so….with the odds being almost 100% that they WILL keep their stated word and attempt to destroy us and Israel. Sanctions haven't worked…and they have been in place in one form or another since they overran our embassy in 1979. Sometimes life hands you a giant shit sandwich….and you must take a bite. Your only choice sometimes is HOW BIG A BITE will that be.

  18. Maybe he’ll send you a few fleas from his beard? Just to show you how much he cares.

  19. Perhaps the official government of Iran wouldn't have a motive (assuming they're rational in the way we think is as rational, but that means little when truly alien cultures are involved), but how much control does the central government actually exert over the IRGC, as a whole or over all factions? Think of the Kwantung Army of Japan, which was a law unto itself. I don't pretend to know the factions and infighting of Iran, but this might not be (entirely) directed from Tehran.

  20. He makes a useful "bad cop", assuming he's on a leash. Trump can be the same. If they both are bad cop at the same time, then it's time to worry. I have no problem with encouraging Israel and others to take action, but right now it's not really our circus, nor our monkeys.

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