The Hormuz Wild Card

Strait of Hormuz

By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 

Iran is threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if more sanctions are installed against it.  Tensions are mounting between the U.S. and other nations as Iran continues to develop a nuclear program.  Most recently, it was reported Iran made its first nuclear fuel rod that it claims is for the peaceful production of energy.  Iran has also made threats against the U.S. Navy and said that it will take action if the aircraft carrier USS Stennis came back into the Persian Gulf after departing at the end of December.  The Pentagon said, today, it will ignore the threats and continue to operate as usual.  Can the Iranians shut down the Strait that 40% of the world’s oil moves through?  Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen says that is “unlikely to happen.”  But, what if only part of the world’s oil is stopped?  What if China doesn’t adhere to new sanctions on Iran’s oil?  China is a major importer of Iranian oil.  Will there be a wider war?  Will the fragile world economy spiral down into a worldwide depression?  The Strait of Hormuz is only about 30 miles wide at its narrowest point.  Does anyone believe an attempt to shut it down will have no effect on oil prices?  How long will the Iranians try to stop or slow traffic? Days?  Weeks?  Months?  Years?  This is the black swan of black swans, and we could all wake up one morning wishing we filled up the car the night before.  Here’s more on the story from these two links:

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/01/03/9910670-iran-warns-us-carrier-to-stay-out-of-persian-gulf

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/pentagon-rejects-threat-from-iran-says-it-will-continue-scheduled-movements-of-us-carriers-on-persian-gulf/2012/01/03/gIQAIZuWYP_story.html

Comments
  1. masterluke

    I do not believe Iran has the ability by itself to shut down the straight. Iran’s Navy is very small by our standards. Some of its achievements include 4-5 frigates (with updated missile capabilities), 3 destroyers held in reserve ( over 50 years old), 42 naval helicopters purchased from Russia, 3 corvettes and several submarines. A quick assault by the US and that navy would be gone. Not to mention some intense bombing of Iran and they would not have the resources to even fire from the side of the Ocean.

    I think the bigger question is how much will oil spike when war breaks out again in the region this spring?

    • Greg

      Thank you Luke, Jay and Stan!!
      Greg

    • RaymondC

      Iran may have a lot of military hardware, but most of it is quite old. As such, if a shooting match develops between Iran and the USA, the Iranian Navy would be put out of business in NO time flat–submarines included! (People forget that the US Navy probably has a complete noise and sonar return profile on the Kilo-class submarine Iran has, since the Kilo class submarines have been around for many years. Those subs will be quickly detected and sunk.)

      Once the Iranian Navy is subdued, then Iran’s oil facilities now become extremely vulnerable to air attack. And the USAF will use the gigantic GBU-57 bomb dropped from B-2 bombers on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and those will be quickly put out of operation.

      In short, a real shooting match would be a really short one.

      • Greg

        RaymondC
        You are correct the Iranian Navy is no match for the U.S. but what if they fight an asymmetrical war? Do you really think it would take that much to at least slow traffic down and spike oil prices? What about China? It has said it would come and help Iran even if it meant WWIII, and then there is Russia. It has just formed a military pact with China. Why do you think they did this? Any war with Iran will not be painless or all that quick. The economic fallout to restricted oil supplies will sink the world economy. How many derivative contracts do you think will default? Just 4 U.S. banks have $235 trillion in derivatives. Please do not kid yourself, war with Iran will be ugly and costly for all involved.
        Greg

    • Vess

      Iran doesn’t have to close the straight militarily. All it needs to do is sink a few tankers in the middle of it. Their carcasses will become a navigational hazard and their example will significantly reduce the willingness of other tanker captains to tempt fate.

      A more important question is whether Iran would be willing to do so. Personally, I do not believe it. It’s just a propaganda war at this stage.

      Now, if Iran is actually attacked by a military force (USA, Israel, or a joint operation) and they feel themselves backed into a corner with nothing to lose – then all best will be off. Iran doesn’t need a working nuclear weapon – it is enough to load all its civilian nuclear fuel onto ballistic missiles and fire them at Jerusalem. There will be no nuclear explosion but the pollution could depopulate large cities just as effectively.

      • Denarius

        Vess says: Iran doesn’t have to close the straight militarily.
        All it needs to do is sink a few tankers …..

        Not even that, imo. Tanker traffic can be brought to a halt
        simply by driving up Tanker Insurance Rates by whatever
        means the raving maniacs in charge (RMIC) choose. Even
        more important, there is a nulification clause in all such
        policies relating to war zones, whether declared or not. No
        merchant ship will sail without a cargo, captain and crew,
        and an Insurance Policy. That is the choke point in this
        situation, not the Strait of Hormuz.

  2. jay

    thanks greg. its a long wait over the weakend to here truth.

  3. Stan

    This is simply business as usual. Talk tough and the price of oil rises and the dictators of the world make millions more per day…

  4. Art Barnes

    Greg, Iran could be used as an excuse for the failing economy as oil prices rise, which it did today and closed over $100. The American administration will continue to be in the gulf and nothing will happen, just more talk. Look, ask yourself who wins every time the little guy in the well rants about Israel, closing the straight, or taking on an aircraft carrier with all its support power. Answer, Iran, Russia, and the Saudis, etc. as prices goes up they get more money for their product. Also, our (American) oil companies make more money as well. Iran has everything to win and nothing to lose by ranting. If it rants enough the world may back off economic sanctions at best or more money for its product whether smuggled or whatever at worst. Its a win win situation for Iran and playing into it just makes its worst. Also, enough ranting could allow them to become a nuclear power as well. Frankly Greg, the little guy in the well has out played the world powers, has us and them in check with very little moves left on the chess board; especially with our esteemed leaders who doesn’t know a knight from a pawn.

    • Denarius

      Art Barnes says: ….. Frankly Greg, the little guy in the well
      has out played the world powers, has us and them in check
      with very little moves left on the chess board; especially with
      our esteemed leader who doesn’t know a knight from a pawn.

      Maybe and maybe not. Review the buildup of sanctions on Japan
      during The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere (大東亜共栄圏)
      in the 1930s, arguably their version of the US’s Manifest Destiny.
      Sanctions were calculated by the UK/US Bankocracy to force Japan’s
      hand to strike, giving cause for U.S. entry into WW-II. That strategy
      worked in Havana Harbor in 1898 to get the Spanish-American War
      started at the cost of “only” one battleship, the Maine. In 1941, the
      cost in Pearl Harbor was an entire fleet. One can only shudder at the
      price of an “entry ticket” into this next WW.

  5. brian

    Greg,
    This is indeed a serious issue. I hope there is a peaceful solution found.At the risk of sounding unpatriotic I am curious why America continues to poke a stick in Iran’s eye.
    1.a spy plane lands in their country…what would we say if that happened to us?
    2. sanctions brought against it. what if that were us
    3. us/uk missiles hit Iranian village day before they start their war games……odd timing?
    4. We drive an aircraft carrier fleet right through Iran’s territory during their war-game tests. hmmmmmm.

    Iran is run by a whacked out extremist but at some point we have to put faith in God…yes i said the God word. We cannot continue to be the worlds police.

    Greg. I did have an unrelated question. do you have any recent articles on what Gold/silver is expected to do this year?
    thanks…keep up the fight. P.S i enjoyed the interview you gave to Alex Jones too.

    • Greg

      Brian,
      Questioning government and free speech are not unpatriotic. Thank you for your comment! I try and not predict prices but precious metals are a must have insurance policy for protecting your wealth.
      Greg

  6. William

    Greg I agree even a atempt to shut it down would cause a spike. One day of a shut down is bad but if it happens once is all it takes, because it then could happen again, and to stop it at that point would bring the tension to a new level. 2012 already becoming very interesting.

  7. Herman Gerbils

    How long do you think it would take the Iranian’s to mine the strait, an afternoon, a couple days? And after what happened to Libya and the mad Colonel Q why would they pull any punches, I think they would try to sink the Stennis and it’s 20+ ship/sub battle group, they have the latest Russian and Chinese ASM’s. What do they have to lose, we are threatening them with tactical nuclear weapons as a first strike not a retaliatory blow. By the way, you killed on Coast to Coast tonight Greg, made most all the points I would have wanted to make 🙂

    • Greg

      Thanbk you Herman. I do not want to sound un-American. I love and respect our military and the country,but I just want people to know how serious this will be. Great stuff on the Chinese weapons. The Russians reportedly have torpedoes that go the speed of sound–UNDERWAETER!
      Greg

  8. George Too

    Obama is Neville Chamberlin reborn

  9. AndyB

    Obama needs a war to distract from both his poor record on the economy and to keep the sheeple from understanding that he now owns an imperial presidency that has put the finishing touches on the total destruction of the Bill of Rights, the only legitimate rationale for American “exceptionalism” that was long evidenced by the words on the Statue of Liberty.

  10. Jeff S.

    Oil is well over $100/barrel just on the threat of Iran trying to shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Doesn’t take an overly active imagination to consider how high the price will shoot if any military action stirs up over this crisis.

    Great job on Coast, last night, Greg!

    • Greg

      Thank you Jeff.
      Greg

  11. ONTIME

    The sabers rattle, Iran provokes and the US and it allies make adjustments to counter. Much of the iranian claims are hot air but I wonder just how much intelligence our sources have gathered to squash a cult zealot nation such as Iran quickly and suddenly to prevent their unleashing a nuke into the equation and limiting collateral damage to all. Iran shows little or no regard for it’s neighbors and bases it government on a intolerant islam religion that sends erratic and hysteric messages to the rest of the world. It participates in keeping terrorism alive and threatening all ooposition, responsibility to act coherently is not yet a part of the Iraniain mindset, yet it has needs from other nations that can improve the lives of it’s citizen which live under the theological oppression a cult religion.

    • Denarius

      You have captured, imo, the precise sentiment of the other side
      of the world toward the current version of the U.S. Not unusual
      that, in any conflict, each side has exactly the same demonized
      view of the other. A case of “It takes one to know one” I reckon.
      As Walt Kelley’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  12. Jon

    wake up people.

    they arent above scuttling one or two of their own ships in the straits

    to shut it down. it might be thirty miles wide but how wide is the navigable channel?

    are you going to volunteer to work on the salvage crew to reopen it?

    thought not.

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