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The Military United States Politics Technology

Tensions Over Hormuz Raise Ugly Possibilities For War 969

Hugh Pickens writes "The high stakes standoff between Iran and the U.S. over the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for one-fifth of the world's oil, escalated this week as Iran's navy claimed to have recorded video of a U.S. aircraft carrier entering the Port of Oman and the deputy chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Hossein Salami rejected U.S. claims that it could prevent Iran from closing the strait. To drive the point home, Iran has started a 10-day naval exercise in the Persian Gulf to show off how it could use small speedboats and a barrage of missiles to combat America's naval armada while in a report for the Naval War College, U.S. Navy Commander Daniel Dolan wrote that Iran has acquired 'thousands of sea mines, wake homing torpedoes, hundreds of advanced cruise missiles (PDF) and possibly more than one thousand small Fast Attack Craft and Fast Inshore Attack Craft.'" (Read more, below.)
Hugh Pickens continues: "The heart of the Iran's arsenal is its 200 small potential-suicide boats — fiberglass motorboats with a heavy machine gun, a multiple rocket-launcher, or a mine — and may also carry heavy explosives, rigged to ram and blow a hole in the hull of a larger ship. These boats will likely employ a strategy of 'swarming' — coming out of nowhere to ambush merchant convoys and American warships in narrow shipping lanes. But the U.S. Navy is not defenseless against kamikaze warfare. The U.S. has put more machine guns and 25-millimeter gyro-stabilized guns on the decks of warships, modified the 5-inch gun to make it more capable of dealing with high-speed boats, and improved the sensor suite of the Aegis computer-integrated combat system aboard destroyers and cruisers. 'We have been preparing for it for a number of years with changes in training and equipment,' says Vice Admiral (ret.) Kevin Cosgriff, former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command."
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Tensions Over Hormuz Raise Ugly Possibilities For War

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2011 @09:48AM (#38547450)

    For a start, read about how our CIA led a coup to overthrow an elected leader who wanted more profits from the oil companies to go to the people. It was called Operation Ajax. We have a history of meddling in nations when leaders nationalize resources we want (Vietnam and Nicaragua, too). In Saudi Arabia we support an oppressive *monarchy* (i.e., NOT a democracy), apparently because we like their oil. Our presence there was a stated motive of Al Qaeda. So it's not so much stealing the oil as it is trying to control the government which gives us a good deal on the oil.

  • by taxman_10m ( 41083 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @09:57AM (#38547508)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/12/washington/12navy.html [nytimes.com]

    In the days since the encounter with five Iranian patrol boats in the Strait of Hormuz, American officers have acknowledged that they have been studying anew the lessons from a startling simulation conducted in August 2002. In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships — an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels — when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

    “The sheer numbers involved overloaded their ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack,” said Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps officer who served in the war game as commander of a Red Team force representing an unnamed Persian Gulf military. “The whole thing was over in 5, maybe 10 minutes.”

  • by rainmouse ( 1784278 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @10:10AM (#38547584)

    "Tensions Over Hormuz Raise Ugly Possibilities For War"

    It's no wonder the Iranians are deeply upset by the sanctions. Surely some people do realise that economic sanctions will likely kill an awful lot of the poorest people in Iran and the sanctions are in themselves, a declaration of war. Theses sanctions worked so very well in Iraq with estimations of up to 1.7 million civilian deaths as a direct result of these sanctions by 1995. http://www.mediamonitors.net/mosaddeq17.html [mediamonitors.net].
    Like with Iraq, there is no direct evidence of a reason for war and we have already seen the political posturing and powers that be, who already have Iraqi blood on their hands are still lying to us with articles such as this http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/ahmadinejad_words.htm [adl.org].

    For people who don't see how sanctions can kill so many people (taken from UNICEF report 1995 (sorry original link to the report is no longer working ) “Sanctions are inhibiting the importation of spare parts, chemicals, reagents, and the means of transportation required to provide water and sanitation services to the civilian population of Iraq... What has become increasingly clear is that no significant movement towards food security can be achieved so long as the embargo remains in place. All vital contributors to food availability - agricultural production, importation of foodstuffs, economic stability and income generation, are dependent on Iraq’s ability to purchase and import those items vital to the survival of the civilian population.”

  • by BrynM ( 217883 ) * on Saturday December 31, 2011 @10:35AM (#38547746) Homepage Journal

    Unfortunately, the US Military didn't listen to him. The first round was over quick, but instead of trying to defeat the scenario, the Millennium Challenge (as the wargame was known) was reset and a predetermined plan of attack was ordered. Gen. Van Riper resigned in disgust.

    After the reset, both sides were ordered to follow predetermined plans of action, leading to allegations that the exercise was scripted and "$250 million was wasted".[3] Due to his concerns about the scripted nature of the new exercise, Van Riper resigned his position in the midst of the war game. Van Riper later expressed concern that the wargame's purpose had shifted to reinforce existing doctrine and notions of infallibility within the U.S. military rather than serve as a learning experience.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002 [wikipedia.org]

  • by deanklear ( 2529024 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @10:46AM (#38547836)

    Perhaps they're remembering the near three decades of the Shah's rule in Iran, marked by murders, torture, SAVAK secret police -- all supported by the United States and Britain? That ended in 1979. Or maybe they're remembering the war we helped create that killed a million Iraqis and Iranians in the 1980s once the Shah fell from power, and we decided to crown Saddam Hussein as our new friend on the block. That ended around 1988.

    But answer this question for me: how many decades would pass before you would forget having your government overthrown, controlled by an outside party, and then being subjected to three decades of a police state followed by an eight year war that wrecked your whole nation? I guess real men can watch their families and society get destroyed and just "get over it."

  • by Coward Anonymous ( 110649 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @11:06AM (#38547984)

    Yup Iranian democracy in the same way Egyptian democracy is unfolding in Egypt. The same kind of democracy that exists in venezuela and in Russia too. Iran's democracy in the 50's is a figment of the modern left's sordid imagination.

  • by Forty Two Tenfold ( 1134125 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @11:58AM (#38548380)

    Iran unquestionably,/b> is working on atomic bombs and has started several wars.

    Bullshit. That's where everyone should stop reading this drivel. Oh, FYI Jews have nukes. Pakistan has nukes. For the sake of MAD balance Iran should as well, but the nukes aren't the problem here. This is. [wikipedia.org]

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @12:16PM (#38548524) Journal

    Name a war that Iran started. Yeah. Didn't think so. Why don't you read something rather than watching fox news?

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @12:45PM (#38548750) Journal

    Yes, we're overpopulated, and the fact that you and at least 6 billion other people on the planet would deny it has no bearing on the fact.

    When you say "we" you should specify, because the world is not overpopulated, only portions of it. Out of 7 billion people on earth, 2 billion are in China, yet China is smaller than the US [dimensionsguide.com] and our 300 million people. So china has 7 times more people and less land than the US. The US isn't growing very fast either, with 100,000 in 1915 and 200,000 in 1968. "We" have a long way to go before we are overpopulated.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @12:51PM (#38548800)

    The U.S. equipped Afghanistan's mujahideen in their war against the Soviet Union which occupied Afghanistan for most of the 80's. It was called Operation Cyclone [wikipedia.org]

    Al Qaeda [wikipedia.org] was formed by Bin Laden and others in a mujahideen camp in 1988 shortly before the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan. Both Al Qaeda and the Taliban were and probably still are extensively supported by Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, which was America's primary partner in Operation Cyclone.

    The U.S. didn't exactly "train" Osama, but is pretty much a fact the U.S. did help equip, develop and nurture the mujahideen movement, a splinter of which would morph in to Al Qaeda. The ISI almost certainly aided Bin Laden throughout his career, which is probably why he was found in the middle of a Pakistani garrison city when he was killed, a few miles from the Pakistani equivalent of West Point.

    Al Qaeda turned on the U.S. during the first Persian Gulf War against Iraq, when the U.S. established bases in Saudi Arabia, and started two decades of extensive military intervention in the Middle East. Al Qaeda was especially incensed at an infidel army camping in the middle of the Muslim holy land, Saudia Arabia.

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @01:12PM (#38549000) Homepage

    All the warnings you need about attacking Iran can be had from geopolitical analyst Dr. Gwynne Dyer, who has to tiredly write another article warning about it being a Bad Idea every couple of years. From the most recent one:

    "The Noor anti-ship missile is a locally built version of the Chinese YJ-82. It has a 200-km. (140-mile) range, enough to cover all the major choke points in the Gulf. It flies at twice the speed of sound just meters above the sea’s surface, and it has a tiny radar profile. Its single-shot kill probability has been put as high as 98 percent.

    Iran’s mountainous coastline extends along the whole northern side of the Gulf, and these missiles have easily concealed mobile launchers. They would sink tankers with ease, and in a few days insurance rates for tankers planning to enter the Gulf would become prohibitive, effectively shutting down the region’s oil exports completely."

    Do they sound a little less "asymmetric" now? Yes, you could bombard the coastline heavily, but some caves can go pretty deep, particularly if the cavers bring mining equipment - 25 years ago. And do you really want to get into a shootin' match with 98% kill probability when they lose a 5-man missile crew and you lose a carrier?

      I also like the point about the "insurance costs". You don't think of wars being one by accountants, but that's the way it goes. The Iranians have absolutely zero need to engage with the mighty US Navy at all; they just have to sink a couple of very fat, very slow oil tankers, just a few, then wait for Lloyd's to react, while the probably-unharmed crew are being fished from the lifeboats. And Lloyd's says to itself, "Can even the US Navy check out every goddamn cave the size of a 2-car garage in 200km of coastline? When the 90% that do not contain actual missiles do contain dummies? No, they cannot. Not this week, month, or, probably, year." And so the price of oil sits there at $250/bbl until everybody calms down.

  • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @01:33PM (#38549162)

    Closing an international waterway is an official act of war. The UN, Russians and Chinese couldn't say a thing if Iran closes the straight because Iran will have committed an official act of war against any nation that uses that straight. Not to mention Oman, Saudi and a dozen all the other nations that have territorial waters or rights that overlap the straight would have a legitimate claim to retaliation.

    Closing the straight would be akin to using a nuclear weapon as it something that's going to be dealt with very harshly. It would give the US and the US Navy a free hand to take Iran down. The US navy already has a operation manual for reopening the straight including an attack strategy that should keep them out of harms way for the majority of the fighting (keep the big ships in the Arabian sea and clear the Iranian coast along the straight of all military emplacements using subs, missiles and attack aircraft, then work up the coast systematically destroying every hostile force, this happens at the same time the US bases in the gulf begin offensive action against the nuclear sites and major military bases). I'm sure at this point the US has mapped the location of every sea worthy vessel in Iran. I wonder if Iran even knows how many attack vessels the US has in the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf. I'd bet there could be as many as a dozen Los Angeles class attack subs sitting on the bottom of the gulf (they can stay submerged for a year) waiting for Iran to do something stupid.

  • by Forty Two Tenfold ( 1134125 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @02:06PM (#38549482)

    The fact that Israel has nuclear weapons isn't a threat to the US or US allies. Hence, it doesn't concern us much. Given Iran's stated policies, Iranian nuclear weapons are a threat to the US and US allies.

    Given Israel's stated policies, Israel having nukes is a threat to Iran, most of Islamic world and Europe AND indirectly — the US. Iran's possession of nukes is a warranty of a zero sum game, otherwise known as M.A.D.

  • by AlienIntelligence ( 1184493 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @02:32PM (#38549720)

    Sunburn. This weapon has a top speed of Mach 3,[1][2] and is considered one of the most lethal anti-ship missiles in the world.[3] The high speed of the missile means a typical response time for the target of only 25 to 30 seconds, giving a target little time to react. Moskit can be armed with a warhead of 320 kg.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS-N-22 [wikipedia.org]

    A Sunburn can destroy a carrier. See also, Mosqit and Silkworm.

    Hypersonic missile threat
    'Carrier killers' could destroy U.S. Navy's supremacy at sea'

    "...there is presently no reliable defence against the much faster next generation of anti-ship missiles. These weapons are designed to travel at hypersonic speeds -- greater than Mach 5, or 6,100 km/h -- and therefore present a much more lethal threat."
    http://bit.ly/sUAeVi [bit.ly]

    "Cosmetic damage", fuck off.

    I see your Sunburn and raise you a Phalanx CIWS.

    Due to the continuing evolution of both threats and computer technology, the Phalanx system has, like most military systems, been developed through a number of different configurations. The basic (original) style is the Block 0, equipped with first generation solid state electronics and with marginal capability against surface targets. The Block 1 (1988) upgrade offered various improvements in radar, ammunition, rate of fire, increasing engagement elevation to +70 degrees, and computing. These improvements were intended to increase the system's capability against emerging Russian supersonic anti-ship missiles. Block 1A introduced a new computer system to counter more maneuverable targets. The Block 1B PSuM (Phalanx Surface Mode, 1999) adds a forward looking infrared (FLIR) sensor to allow the weapon to be used against surface targets.[11] This addition was developed to provide ship defense against small vessel threats and other "floaters" in littoral waters and to improve the weapon's performance against slower low-flying aircraft. The FLIR's capability is also of use against low-observability missiles and can be linked with the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system to increase RAM engagement range and accuracy. The Block 1B also allows for an operator to visually identify and target threats.

    If you ever get a 'rare' opportunity to be around one of those during a test fire,
    lol... do it. FU-UH-KIN IM-PRESSIVE. Feels like someone is doing the Taiko Drums
    on your chest. But then, I do have a crush on the Vulcan Gatling gun.

    And on the same note... "Suicide boat" it is... since they can target waterborne
    craft now as well.


  • by JimCanuck ( 2474366 ) on Saturday December 31, 2011 @03:36PM (#38550240)

    Just that one?

    In 1981 a Canadian diesel submarine managed to sink the USS America (a American aircraft carrier), and another one sunk the U.S.S. Forrestal also a aircraft carrier in NATO's Ocean Venture exercise.

    In 1989 The Royal Netherlands Navy in NATO's Northern Star exercise was also credited with sinking another American aircraft carrier using a submarine.

    In 1996 during RIMPAC 1996, Chile managed to sink the American aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Independence.

    In 1999 again the RN Navy sunk the USS Theodore Roosevelt in JTFEX/TMDI99, as well a Swedish submarine is credited with the sinking of the USS Ronald Reagan in the same exercise.

    In 2000 a couple of Russian fighters decided to test the response time of the USS Kitty Hawk, got the the carrier without being detected and managed to do a few fly overs before the Americans decided to do anything about it. Gen. Anatoly M. Kornukov, the Russian air force's commander in chief. ‘In the pictures, you can clearly see the panic on deck.’

    In 2002 Australian Navy submarine H.M.A.S. Sheehan, took on and defeated the U.S.S. Olympia in another war game.

    In 2003, the Australians in another exercise also got credit for sinking another American aircraft carrier, and they successfully took on 2 Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarines in the exercise as well.

    And well the US Air Force did well against Iraq, regretfully, most of the Western world has time and time again made a mockery of the American Air Force, just as the mockery of the American's battle fleets.

    For the sake of the rest of the world, I hope the American's can learn something from their past before they end up fighting a enemy who wants to fight.

  • by SplashMyBandit ( 1543257 ) on Sunday January 01, 2012 @01:31AM (#38554268)
    Actually, having visited the region, including Israel and Palestinian Territory I have this to say to you (since you seem terribly misinformed and tragically biased). The Israelis live in a rough neighbourhood. They do what any reasonable person would do in a rough area. They are not perfect, for sure. They want to trade land for peace, which is why they *unilaterally* gave Gaza back. Basically the Israelis just want to have a good life and are trying to deal with a troublesome neighbour (although the settlers are bad asses - but the Israeli government is fighting them as they see their action as illegal)

    The Palestians also want to have nice life. However, their political parties are obsessed with destroying Israel and moving all Israelis (even if born there) into the sea. In English they will say they want peace, to get money from the sucker Europeans. Meanwhile in Arabic they will never ever say this, they want to destroy Israel. Basically you are being played and are too misinformed to understand - hence you spread lies about the Israelis. Disappointing bro, don't get played. How about you check these out to get a better picture:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Gzyeo1Z1I4 [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUXTPH5-IPQ [youtube.com]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca48ocpFBiE [youtube.com]

    The Israelis and Israeli Government are not perfect, but they are not the bad guys in the story - not by a long way from what I have seen from going there as a neutral observer. The terrorists (and utlra-othodox settlers) are the bad dudes.

    Don't fall for the same propaganda tactics the Nazis used! and stop with the lies!

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