Tensions Ratchet Up in Straits of Hormuz, U.S. Announces ‘Unprecedented’ War Games in Israel, Thousands of Troops to Be Deployed
A high level Iranian navy officer warned the U.S. not to send the U.S.S. Stennis back to the Straits of Hormuz through which it passed last week. The threat remained unspecified, but the implications were clear. If you return, you do so at your peril. The U.S. government responded defiantly that it would continue patrolling the body of water to ensure the free flow of international commerce:
The U.S. Navy maintains a “constant state of high vigilance” to “ensure the continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce,” George Little, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said…
These are regularly scheduled movements in accordance with our longstanding commitments to the security and stability of the region…
Which is of course a lie since the reason the U.S. navy is there is to intimidate the crap out of the Iranians and enforce an embargo on Iranian oil and other trade. It’s not yet officially come to that, but the Navy can and will place Iran under siege at the first opportunity, I’m certain. Someone will have to explain to me how having almost the entire Fifth Fleet right up Iran’s tuchus ensures the security and stability of the region. If the Chinese sent their new aircraft carrier to patrol off San Francisco would that ensure the security and stability of the region?
The Iranians test-fired a new medium-range missile during recent war games exercises, while the U.S. said it wouldn’t allow Iran to block the Straits. Who knows what the outcome of such a confrontation would be. The U.S. has might, the Iranians are fighting on their home ground. I believe that in any such military confrontation the Iranians could cause us pain.
Everyone knows which way this is going. The U.S. and Israel put the screws to the Iranians, trying to get them to cry “Uncle.” When they don’t, things get worse. Eventually, there will be a war, although how it will start is undetermined.
U.S. officials and hawkish analysts are trumpeting the savage blows caused by the new oil embargo against the Iranian economy. We hear about devaluations of currency and the like. The implication is that the Iranians can’t go on like this forever. That they will finally see the light and see it our way. This is utter nonsense. It’s simply wish-fulfillment and it is terribly naïve and destructive to base foreign policy on illusions as we are in this case.
In a separate development, the U.S. military announced it would hold major war game exercises in Israel during which thousands of U.S. troops would be deployed there. The Jerusalem Post described the size of the operation as “unprecedented.” While I’m not an expert on specific military exercises of this fashion, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of such a large contingent of our troops being based in Israel for such a length of time. This is clearly a warning to Iran not to attack Israel. It also highlights more than almost anything could the symbiotic relationship between our two countries. It isn’t clear whether Israel is our protectorate or whether Israel is actually the tail wagging our dog. But the fact that U.S. troops are stationed now in Israel offers that country the relationship we’ve had with Germany and South Korea for decades.
The difference is that those two countries were always sensitive to the highly flammable nature of relations between the U.S. and its enemies. They strove not to escalate tensions and force the U.S. to clean up the mess they made. Israel is an entirely different matter. Israel will not curb its appetite or perceived interests in order to protect the U.S. from such hostilities. If Israel wants to go to war it will. If it can use the death of U.S. soldiers to manipulate U.S. involvement in such hostilities, it will do that as well. If Israel attacks Iran and the latter retaliates and in doing so kills U.S. troops stationed on Israeli soil, does that become a causus belli? You bet it does in the eyes of national security hawks like Obama.
U.S. troops should not be in Israel. It does not need our troops to defend it. Iran will not attack Israel unless the latter attacks it first. Placing our troops there is yet another escalation on the road to certain war.
Further, the worse this situation becomes the less pressure there will be to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is a good part of Bibi’s political calculation here. While the Israeli PM may half-believe the nonsense he’s peddling about Iran as an existential threat. He far more likely considers ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as an existential threat to the settler-nationalist dream of controlling all of Eretz Yisrael. His highest priority is not stopping Iran from getting a bomb, but maintaining Israeli hegemony over its territorial patrimony (as he defines it).
On a separate note, I wanted to promote a new book by Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and a friend of this blog. Trita is one of the most important voices for moderation and pragmatism in U.S.-Iran relations. His book will be published later this month. You can preorder now and a small portion of your payment will benefit Tikun Olam.
- Parsi: Israeli pressure helped scuttle Obama overtures to Iran (mondoweiss.net)
19 thoughts on “Tensions Ratchet Up in Straits of Hormuz, U.S. Announces ‘Unprecedented’ War Games in Israel, Thousands of Troops to Be Deployed – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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any comment on those web reports that israel issued a warrant for your arrest?
Yeah, bub. About as likely as those little green men on Mars. Why don’t you & yr fraudulent friend Mr. Rotter go take a hike.
You are absolutely right, it’s a lie when US says that troops deployment is to “ensure the continued, safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce,”
This is as good a lie as Iran saying it’s pursuing nuclear energy for medicinal research and power generation.
Everyone knows what these statements mean, don’t they?
It’s “medical” research, not “medicinal.” They are two separate words & not synonyms.
As Iran has not created a bomb and likely never will unless Israel attacks it or the west invades to overthrow the regime, you’ll never know what’s the truth concerning that claim. But it’s already clear as a bell from the thousands of ships, troops & aircraft waiting to pounce that the U.S. presence is not to ensure peace & tranquility, but rather the opposite.
As long as medical doctors use the radio isotopes to cure the sick. The words “medical” or “medicinal” doesn’t have much difference eventhough they are not synonyms.
You say Iran will never likely create a bomb unless Israel invades or attacks it. So you think the bomb will “appear” in their hands just in time when Israel/US attack it?
It is a common status that a number of threshhold nuclear nations maintain, including Japan. They have everything in place to create a bomb at a moment’s notice if necessary. But they do not “have” a bomb.
The IAEA continues to confirm the non-diversion of nuclear materials to non peaceful purposes, the U.S. CIA still says the Irananians haven’t made the decision to pursue nuclear weapons, and everyone knows Iran has a medical isotope reactor that they got from the U.S. in the era of the Shah.
And yet you’re implying that these facts that I’ve just quoted are in the same league as the propaganda about American forces 9,000 miles from the “homeland” being there to ensure global commerce. U.S. troops are in the region of Israel and the Iranian Gulf to pursue regional and global hegemony for the U.S. (and, from the Israeli government’s point of view, for Greater Israel).
I say, I’d rather have the Iranians as American allies than the government of Israel.
You’re attempting sophistry, but it’s not succeeding.
What? The facts are one thing and propaganda another, but the facts will not decide the issue of war, the coming election will and Israel knows that well. They are pulling all stops to force a war on the US and an administration that is not resisting, a war that almost nobody in the US wants but another handful of intellectual snots who respect nothing but power. A coterie of Israeli politicians use American military might like a prothesis, as though it is their own to command. I am ashamed to be an American dictated to by the likes of Netanyahu and cronies.
Yeah, American deaths at the hands of the wayward Iranians. That’s enough for most Americans. But, American deaths at the hands of Israel means nothing, just a “mistake.” Maybe we should remember the Liberty before our Israelness blots out the memory for good. Geez.
I agree completely…..everyone on the U.S. Congress should be familiar with the facts of the IDF attack on the U.S.S Liberty (cf Chapter 7 of “Body of Secrets” by James Bamford…it’s horrifying); one doubts if any in the U.S. Congress except Ron Paul is in fact familiar with the topic.
Maybe what you’re taking issue with in my previous post is the idea that facts should have any bearing on the foreign policy of current and recent U.S. administrations.
This is a very interesting space to watch as Iran is flexing their muscle in a very appropriate manner and has gained considerable geo-political points and support especially from Russia and China.
If truth be told, the US Military presence is overwhelmingly in their self interest economically and otherwise – I therefore agree with Richard with a well written article. I also agree that there is not enough evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon at this time, just as I said that Iran will not be the “Islamic Bomb” even when they decide to build one.
Israel as always is boxing way above its weight class, even so more than ever with “unprecedented” American presence/backing of self serving so-called “right-wing” politicians with no true identity.
It will be a mistake for Israel to launch a pre-emptive strikes against Iran, but in Israeli reality it dictates that when the time comes it (Israel) needs to deal decisively with the threat that exist as evident by Iranian rhetoric by current leaders.
The Arab Revolution is steadily gaining traction and Iran would like to see itself at the pinnacle and to lead the way being a Persian Islamic Nation.
Again, interesting as to what the USA will do….Aircraft carrier…
What is the use of having an enormous and out-sized army if you cannot (and do not) use it? The USA’s M-I-C has arranged that the USA spends an outsized portion of the federal fisc (borrowed from China these days rather than payed fro from taxes, because the rich refuse to be taxed fairly and the Congress are all friends-of-the-rich). OK, so we’ve got the huge army and we sort of pay for it. IN THAT CASE IT IS UNTHINKABLE NOT TO USE IT!
I expect another stupid war, because the people of the USA have no way to restrain the war-party (that is, Dems and Reps).
Unfortunately, I agree with you. Unless Ron Paul gets elected, which is (also unfortunately) unlikely
Wow, this is very hot news. Did you get this info from JP? I don’t see it there, but with all the blinking, pop-ups, pop-downs, etc. it’s hard to find anything on that annoying site.
But this news has been kept very quiet in US MSM. A GlobalReseach article, now two days old, called it one of the most blacked-out stories in the US.
But I don’t think stationing “thousands” of US troops in Israel is or is meant to be a threat to Iran. Tel Aviv is 1000 miles from Terhan, so these troops are no offensive threat to Iran. If you want to intimidate Iran with troop build up, you put the troops in Oman.
As for defensive, well Iran is NEVER going to send troops to Israel. As in N-E-V-E-R. And a thousand pairs of boots has absolutely no effect on incoming Nour missiles.
These troops are in preparation for dealing with Syria. Israel absolutely has to get control of Syria when it implodes. The inevitable meltdown there gives US/Israel the opportunity to go in there and neutralize Hezbollah before turning on Iran.
The only non-clown in the Republican circus is Romney and he remains the strongest contender. He would be the biggest threat to Omama. A “limited” war like going into Syria would be very helpful to Omama’s presidential campaign. For one thing AIPAC would shower him with money, and for another, Americans just hate to switch horses in the middle of a conflict.
The interesting thing will be to see if Paul can get traction with the idea the US should not be involved with Israel monetarily or militarily. That seems to be the argument that’s boosted him these last few weeks. If he gets the American public lined up on his side with that argument, sending troops to Israel could be a real mis-step for Omama.
This is going to be one hell of a year, Mayans or no Mayans.
BTW, Ahmadinejad is in the news again. He has not exactly been shown live, but, according to Haaretz he has been “quoted” by Iranian news. So that’s a relief. At least for his mom.
Apart from the USS Stennis, is there another US aircraft carrier west of the Straits of Hormuz?
I ask this because several posters with military-technology knowledge have indicated that Iran possesses anti-ship missiles for which the US Navy has no defence and if that is correct, then getting a carrier out of harms way may be a prelude to an attack that would involve Iranian retaliation.
For anyone denigrating the deadliness of anti-ship missiles, please be reminded of the necessity of the British navy having to withdraw from the coast of Argentina when they were struck by missiles for which they had no defence.
Having re-read what appears to be the definitive article re the Iranian anti-ship missile capability, I recommend it for its careful analysis:
“… then getting a carrier out of harms way may be a prelude to an attack that would involve Iranian retaliation.”
This is correct. The Persian Gulf is a pond with respect to scales of modern naval warfare. A carrier battle group in the PG is in some sense a hostage. It doesn’t make sense for us to start shooting at them within range of their missiles when we can withdraw out of their range to hit them utterly unscathed, granted with a very much reduced sortie rate, unless we NEED to be in close to execute a feasible war plan.
Attack aircraft sortie rate is dependent, among other things, on distance from target. I’ve no idea what the US Navy has determined to be the optimal attack distance, maximizing sortie rate and minimizing risk to ships. I have no doubt that war plans have been developed for launching attacks both from inside the PG and from the Arabian Sea. It probably greatly depends on how confident the US Navy is that it can quickly neutralize VERY REAL missile and submarine threats.
People shouldn’t judge our senior Navy leadership by the staggering incompetence and corruption of our (broadly speaking) political leadership. Behind closed doors, you can be sure responsible people are taking Iranian capabilities seriously. Unfortunately, those (militarily) responsible people have been thoroughly outmaneuvered in the game of preconditioning the political and military environment for war. We need a man of Admiral Mullen’s caliber as CJCS and we don’t have one.
I don’t have a citation handy, but sometime in the last two years during a relative high in tension, we withdrew a carrier battle group from the Persian Gulf and the US gov’t (can’t remember which element) made a public statement to Iran that the withdrawal was to provide more support to Afghanistan and should not to be construed as prelude to an attack. … that sortie rate/loitering time vs distance thing again.
The Iranians clearly view this as a serious issue, although I think from a detached analytical perspective they are allowing emotional responses to cloud their judgment, which of course is the whole point of the psychological warfare we and the Israelis have been waging. Netanyahu and his faction DESPERATELY want a large scale regional war NOW, while Syria and Egypt are in disarray, to provide ‘security’ justification for large-scale ethnic cleansing of Palestinians into Jordan and elsewhere. The Dagan faction doesn’t think Israel can pull it off and remain viable in the long term.
Pres. Obama just did the dumbest thing possible from the perspective of AMERICAN interests by sending our troops into Israel. Now Netanyahu is absolutely assured that any Israeli attack on Iran will draw us in, which significantly undermines the Dagan faction. This of course rests on the assumption that any Iran will respond to an Israeli attack on its soil with missile attacks on Israeli targets.
Any promises from Netanyahu to forgo an attack in return for American troops in Israel will be broken without a thought, except for maybe a validating recollection of his statement that “America is a thing easily moved.” We have become a nation of frier. Shame on us for being so pathetically weak.
I think that a well reasoned fear is that Iran would export her newly acquired nuclear technology to other countries, same as Pakistan had in the past and North Korea is doing in the present.
It has plenty of nuclear technology that it could export now if it wanted. But it doesn’t. Iran, whatever problems we may have with it, is not North Korea. Pakistan had a rogue nuclear scientist acting with or w/o the connivance of Pakistani authorities. Iran is highly centralized & doesn’t operate that way.
North Korea is highly centralized and does operate that way.