Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Is Iran Capable Of Blocking The Strait of Hormuz?

Business Insider: Iran threatened to cut off a key oil shipping waterway — but the US would blow it out of the water

* Iran threatened to respond to economic sanctions against its oil exports imposed by the US with military action to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, but the US would shut it down quickly.
* The Strait of Hormuz sees around 30% of the world's oil supply pass through, so the US and its allies in the Middle East would have it back open in days.
* Iran must know it can't hold the strait, but a former US ambassador told Business Insider it's likely a bluff to try to send a message about oil prices, which Iran could manipulate and use to help break US-imposed sanctions.

Iran threatened to respond to economic sanctions against its oil exports imposed by the US with military action to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the sea passage into the Persian Gulf that sees around 30% of the world's oil supply pass — but if they did, the US would shut them down in days.

"As the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, (Iran) has been the guarantor of the security of shipping and the global economy in this vital waterway and has the strength to take action against any scheme in this region," Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri said, according to Reuters.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Any Iranian attempt to block the Strait of Hormuz will not only result in a U.S. reaction, but every Gulf State that ships oil through the strait will react, as well as every other nation in the world that is dependent on stable oil supplies.


jimbrown said...

They can try.

Anonymous said...

The other Gulf States would be smart to just let the US handle it. Interesting to think, would they really block the oil exports of the the al-Sadr regime?

B.Poster said...

Can a hawk fly? Of course it can!! Can Iran block the Strait of Hormuz? This is a similar question to the other one posed. Of course Iran can do this. While I will read the article time permitting, this says more about the pundit who posed the question than it does the question itself.

The others involved would be happy to just "let the US handle it." After all American lives are expendable and generally seem less valuable than others. As such, let the American people take the Iranian reprisals. Can we prevent Iran from blocking the Strait of Hormuz? Possibly but the casualties in terms of US Naval personnel and ships lost will be extremely high and Iran will likely bring the fight to the American mainland via the proxies and others already here. American casualties all the way around would be quite high.

Now if the US could secure the backing of other countries perhaps this would be to costly for the Iranians to attempt. Securing a stable supply of oil is after all one of the most important things the government of any nation state will ever do.

Iran could have overreached when they threatened the US with the mother of all wars or something to this effect. There were 8 attempts, 8 attempts to try and establish diplomacy with Iran!! While Trump bashing in particular and US bashing in general are great fun, cost nothing, and are generally quite profitable financially and in terms of domestic politics, those "on the inside" in the various governments know the truth about what is really happening as they will access to inside information and in real time. By rebuffing such attempts at diplomacy and then having the arrogance to brag about it they revealed for all to see their true colors.

So the question is, "is Iran capable of blocking the strait of Hormuz?" A better question would be "can America prevent Iran from blocking the strait of Hormuz?" Given Iran's current position of having alienated a number of countries including perhaps Russia as indicated by the recent "Summit" combined with high level meetings between Israeli and Russian officials the answer to this question may just be a resounding "yes!!!" I think this would be a very good thing if we actually are capable of confronting Iran in a conventional fight.

Our Navy has had trouble with navigation. I hope this has been worked out. It seems operating in the Strait of Hormuz will require excellent navigation skills.

B.Poster said...

I read the article. Many assumptions are made. Perhaps they are right. They may not be. Given the track record of the US government in overestimating our capabilities while underestimating those of adversaries and potential adversaries and who is quoted, essentially US government sources, I am inclined to treat their conclusions with extreme skepticism.

The article doesn't bring up the likely response of Iranian proxies already in the US. Given the mess that is US immigration, I think it inconceivable that they are NOT here. I think the article also overestimates what our allies are capable of.

Praying Mantis in 1998 is brought up. The problem with this is it was thirty years ago and is hardly relevant today. 30 years ago!??! If this is going to be a centerpiece to an analysis, we are in real trouble especially if this is the model actual military planners are working off of. Furthermore to assume an aircraft carrier can have a big role against fast attack Iranian speed boats is a dubious assumption at best. Modern military technology makes the utility of these lumbering beasts questionable at best. I think it is equally likely the Iranian speed boats will swarm in, attack, and be gone before an aircraft carrier or its support vessels could even respond.

Maybe I am wrong and I do hope so. Blythe assumptions such as these made in the article are extremely dangerous. Furthermore, in my opinion, referring to an operation of 30 years ago as somehow relevant to today is dubious at best.

Anonymous said...

Probably a typo but praying mantis was in 88, and the only relevant relevance is that Iran still has an entirely antiquated navy on par with 30 years ago. I would say the US has made some slight advances since then...just a guess.

B.Poster said...

I think the speed boats are a new addition. I think it highly likely they would pose a very formidable challenge for the US Navy or any "Western" Navy for that matter.

I'm sure the US Navy has made some advances. I'd expect Iran has as well. Examples of this being the speedboats and abti-ship missile technologies. An advance I hope we've made is mastery of basic navigation. The US Navy has had some problems in this area.

I remember a few years ago when the Iranian Navy captured an American vessel and it's crew. A few years before they did the same to a British vessel and it's crew. Hopefully our people have studied these encounters and made the necessary improvements. Citing an operation of 30 years ago as a centerpiece for the assumptions being made as the article does hardly inspires confidence.

You're right it was a typo. 1998 should have been 1988. Thank you pointing it out. I will endeavor to do better in the future.

Anonymous said...

All this talk about Naval power and not a single mention of the unavoidable air battle that would take place be it air to air or a sea of SAMs

fazman said...

That is the relevance entirely, in fact the gap has grown even wider, even more so in the air.
To suggest that this will be anymore than a one sided turkey shoot is bizarre

Anonymous said...

slow up Poster...make it simple: they can block and we can unblock if we want. You take care of
russia and we will take care of this issue

Anonymous said...


Young Communist said...

Iran has buy supercavitation torpedoes Shkval 2 from Russia. This time the fight can be not so easy, even for a naval superpower.

B.Poster said...

YC: You are correct to point out that these weapons would pose a formidable challenge. With that said I actually think the United States would PROBABLY win such a conflict but I DO NOT think it would be easy and the costs would be EXTREMELY high!! Furthermore, as I pointed out, to use the analysis of what happened in 1988 and to apply it today is invalid. The article makes a number of assumptions with very little to back them up. The assumptions may or may not be valid but to consider tis a serious piece of journalism is being kind at best.

With that said and as I have pointed out on this site a number of times there appears to be strong evidence that suggests that Iran may not be able to rely on Russia as much as it could have in times past. Essentially the rapport that Trump has established with Putin and the high level diplomacy conducted by both team Trump and the Israeli leadership has made such ironclad support that Iran could have counted on in the past problematic at best. The eight attempts made by team Trump to engage the Iranians only to be rebuffed did not exactly help their cause either. Folks are starting to see them for who and what they really are.

It is for these reasons that I think we are actually going to avoid war. Without ironclad support from powerful allies combined with a threat to shut down the strait of Hormuz for no good reason beyond their pettiness and unwillingness to call off their goal of genocide against both the Americans and the Israelis. Shutting down this vital waterway would hurt ALLOT of people.

As such, we are eventually going to get back to the negotiating table and we are going to get deal that respects and acknowledges America's just concerns. Iran will actually be treated with more dignity than they would have or have ever treated Americans with. Even if the US were not inclined to do so, at the end of the day, Iran's allies will see to this part as will the spotlight of the news media.

While much can still go wrong, to date Trump diplomacy has been absolutely brilliant. Getting along with powerful world leaders like Vladimir Putin has huge benefits and no downside. It's a shame that so many in positions of influence in America simply can't or won't grasp such basic logic. Fortunately we have a President who does.

As for the "naval superpower" remark. A peer such as Russia or China could defeat the US navy. As such, the term "superpower" is not valid when describing any portion of the US much less the Navy. It is, however, useful when someone wishes to slander America. In order to justify hatred, it is helpful to make the target out to be much more powerful than it actually is.

B.Poster said...

If the consensus here is correct, meaning America and any allies it has can easily reopen the Strait should Iran try to close it then we should actually want Iran to try this. After all we would be the "good guys" coming to the rescue ensuring people get oil, food, and other items they need. Iran would be the "bad guy" trying to stop this and hurt people all while calling for genocide "mother of all wars" agianst America.

The narrative of "America bad" and "Iran good" has been carefully cultivated. This type of situation would upend that narrative to the point some might even go into meltdown mode trying to cling to the fiction.