19 thoughts on “Obama Ups Ante for War Against Iran – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Everyone that wants to stop this war, needs to support Ron Paul, including progressive democrats, greens, and socialists. Ron Paul is the lesser evil now. Everyone should be registering republican specifically to vote for him. All the other candidates are war mongering dicks, and they have to be stopped! No progress can happen if they war mongering dicks are allowed to be president. The president clearly has more to say about foreign that domestic policy anyway!

  2. I am a bit confused by this article, Tikun Olam. Its written a little bit neutral for your regular style, I hope I am mistaken as I am quite a fan I must say.
    Anyway the article serves up very important facts, not quite openly published by mainstream American media…but the bottom line remains that the straight of Hormuz is “international waters” isn’t it? Iran, should they block the straight of Hormuz will be in contravention of International Maritime Law, or in this case UN Law of the sea (in my opinion it is controversial and fatally flawed) and such a breach will constitute a “declaration of war”

    On the other hand, Iran is a regional power and geographically, culturally and politically it is the PERSIAN Gulf! It is their right to have a Naval presence and influence with regards to their proximity alone, the US will be severely punished in an initial stage of any type of armed conflict and inevitably Israeli armed conflict will be added to a super fast high-rise regional mess. I hope my guess that Obama will not be such a “stupido idiota” to take on Iran in its front porch and dump the whole world in an Economic Crisis – nukes and all. Times have changed forever…

    1. @Fernando
      No, the straights of Hormuz is not international waters. A large part of it belongs to Iran, a smaller part to Oman. See the map used in the article above, the maritime boundaries are marked there.

      The International Maritime Law and the UN Law of the sea say that in case of a straight the national owners of aterways should give passage. However, neither Iran nor the US signed the UN Law of the sea. Oman signed it, but with the reservation that it will have the right to forbid war ships the passage of the straights in it’s national water.

      So, what would be a logical path for escalation? Iran may construct or build something in it’s national part of the straights of Hormuz. Maybe Iran will be worried for the fishes in it’s national waters in the straights and create a platform to “temporarily” monitor biodiversity in times where ships dump lot’s of waste in the water. Pity, pity, if it’s a bit in the way of some shipping lanes, Iran may say, but the ships may use different lanes through the straights. Of course that’s the right of Iran.

      Ships can than cross the staight in the national waters of Oman. The only problem is that the national waters of Oman don’t have the capacity of bringing through all the international traffic, so the international oil supply would be a bit choked then. Iran would have an interest in choking international oil supply a bit because it would contribute to high oil prices. But Iran could say, that it’s actions are of course not motivated by oil price calculations but by nothing else than a noble cause like preserverving biodiversity in compliance with relevant UN obligations.

      The US has an interest of lo oil prices and therefore wouldn’t like the straights to be “choked a bit”. The US could say Iran is oblieged to keep it’s national part of the straights competely open, so that the complete traffic can go through the straights. Both, Iran and the US, would have a good case to say they have the right on their side.

      And here you have it, a perfect case for the start of WWIII. And that’s what it makes so dangerous.

      1. @ Bandolero…that is perfectly correct, Iran and Oman owns the Straight of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf. The Omani part is a bit on the shallow side and cater for a greatly diminished flow of tanker traffic. As for the Aircraft carrier, it is still a no go and the Iranian threat still stands with deadly military force to back it up.
        As for mainstream American media my case still stands firm, it was a huge surprise to have seen that NYT article.
        Tikum Olam blog is essential to sanity in that regard and in my humble opinion constitute not the “mainstream American media or view”

        Anyway events occur at neckbreak speeds in the Middle East with major players like Russia not sitting duck and Israel, well they are not sleeping right now.
        Let me stay on topic, Iran WILL NOT fire first and Will not want to block that Hormuz Straight for traffic (Except for USS Denis) as to claim their are the real protectors and police of the persian gulf.
        Oil to the proverbial fire will be any Arab involvement against Iran either economically and/or militarily.

        This is indeed a melting pot and again its Tikun Olam (R. Silverstein) that is keeping the focus on such events that have the potential to ignite the world.

        Even nuclear war in the far east will not have the impact that a conventional regional war in the middle east will have on the “world” Controversial but true.

    2. @Fernando: Anyway the article serves up very important facts, not quite openly published by mainstream American media…

      Richard links to yesterday’s NYT article by Bumiller, Schmitt and Shanker. Doesn’t get much more “openly published” than that.

      What is disturbing in the article is that a 2002 simulated war games exercise concluded that the Iranian missile-equipped speedboats would essentially kick the US’s butt in Hormuz. The sheer numbers of speedboats swamped the US ability to retaliate.

      A fight in Hormuz would be like a knife fight in a phone booth, one analyst said.

      A few days ago Richard posted on the Russian-made Iranian anti-ship rockets that travel 50 feet above the waves at 2000 mph. The USS Stennis would be a sitting duck. We’re not talkin’ Somali pirates here.

      I agree that some cowboy in charge of an Iranian speedboat could set off an international conflagration. This would suit Israel just fine. By the time the smoke settled they would no longer be worrying about Iran or Syria.

      But it is precisely this possibility that suggests that Iran cannot be content to merely develop virtual nukes or a break-out approach like Japan, as some have suggested here. Japan is not under open and immediate threat of being attacked by Israel or US, on anyone. Iran has to have a deterrent capability. Any nukes that take days or weeks or months to assemble in this atmosphere would be useless. Even hours.

      Seems to me the US is giving Iran no alternative but to pursue defensive or deterrent nuke capability

      1. Iran doesn’t need nukes for a strong deterrent capacity. Let me rephrase myself from a previous posting, if I may…

        Even Panetta knows, and is willing to say out loud, that Iran isn’t putting together a nuclear weapon. Yes, Iran will be nuclear weapons capable, in terms of knowledge, but they aren’t diverting nuclear fuel nor marrying a real warhead to a delivery system. Nor do they need to.

        It is the increasing sophistication of Iranian ballistic missiles (yes, with technology from Russia) which is slowly changing the military balance of power in the Middle East. Not because Iran can possibly ‘win’, but because its retaliation will be increasingly costly to Israel and the confidence of its people. For one example, Dimona, Israel’s nuclear weapons manufacturing plant, becomes a liability if missiles can get through to hit it.

        Israel isn’t frightened by the alleged nuclear weapons program, although that is the rhetorical leverage it uses, however it is frightened by Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and the ability of Iran to supply missiles to Syria and Hezbollah, as well as Iran’s own missiles.

        The idea of attacking the nuclear sites is as much to determine how Iran will respond, making evident to all its missile emplacements and systems, which will then be seriously attacked and degraded. In that way Israeli military superiority is, for a while, maintained.

        But Israel will have to keep Iranian society and military capabilities degraded, or change the Iranian regime to one subservient to American and Israeli interests, against the history of its own people. The US has been reluctant to commit to this.

        To put this in the larger context, Iran has agreed to accept the decision of the Palestinians. It has been clear about this repeatedly. But Israel would much prefer to provoke a war on Iran with the US as ally than confront its settler population in the occupied territories, or to change its long-held desire for a Greater Israel. In Israel, that’s perceived as no longer a choice to be considered.

        So, personally, I think Israel will succeed in forcing the war, claiming self defense. But it will not have been about WMD, just like the invasion of Iraq was not about WMD.

    3. You got things the wrong way up. The US threatened Iran it would not allow passage of its oil through the Straits of Hormuz. The Iranians threatened back they would close the Straits in front of US Naval ships.

  3. Just one small correction: it was a roadside in Sarajevo, which is in Bosnia and Hercegovina (at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire), not in Serbia (which was a separate country).

  4. Sounds sort of logical, but not sure I follow. . .

    Your assessment is that Iran’s nuclear deterrent is that it’s non-nuclear IBMs can take out Dimona? Well, you might be right about being able to take out Dimona, but unless you’re saying that an Iranian ballistic missile will trigger a nuclear explosion when it hits Dimona, so what?

    A high explosive charge hitting an unarmed nuke warhead is not going to produce a nuclear explosion. If the trigger-mechanism was that easy, the whole world would have had nukes 60 years ago. Hitting Dimona would have absolutely zero effect in the short term of an exchange of missiles.

    If you want to see one of Israel’s many nuke storage sites, plug in these coordinates to your GE: 31.751632° 34.863918° It’s the Tirosh strategic nuclear storage site. They are right out in the open. Wonder why.

    Panetta said Iran is not producing a nuke?? Would love to see that, and his sources. Please provide a link to both. Do you actually believe that Washington or Israel know what is going on under those Iranian mountains?

    You seem pretty sure that: “they [Iran] aren’t diverting nuclear fuel nor marrying a real warhead to a delivery system.” You probably would have believed Ben-Gurion when he claimed that Dimona was a textile factory, too.

    The views on this blog, including mine, are pretty much 1-dimensional with respect to Iran’s enemies. Iran has problems with more than just Israel and its puppet, the US. Please review the false flag article in foreignpolicy.com today. If Pakistan and Iraq can’t keep their Sunnis under control, Iran could be facing threats from multiple sources.

    Sitting on a computer graphic that shows how to finish building a nuke in 6 months would have zero value to Iran. Zero.

    1. I confess I don’t understand your points. Iran is not threatened by Pakistan or Iraq, Sunni or not.

      However, it is the dispersal of radiation which is the downside of Dimona being hit, not a nuclear explosion.

      As to the non-diversion of nuclear fuel, I’m just repeating what the IAEA says (and they have mechanisms in place to measure that) and what the US intelligence gathering agencies confirm.

    2. Sorry Castellio, I thought my previous reply was indented under your reply. Glad you found it.

      I think your point about fallout is interesting, but I’m not sure Dimona is your best example. It sits on the N edge of the Negev desert, surrounded by desert. An easterly wind would carry the fallout 40 mi across empty desert until it came to Gaza. Bibi is not worried about that. A westerly wind would carry it across 15 mi of empty desert and into Jordan. I’m sure Bibi isn’t sweating bullets over that, either.

      I guess one advantage of being a coastal country only 60 mi wide and having your long axis bearing N-S is that your own radioactivity is going to have more effect on your neighbors than you when it gets loose. So I’m not sure Iran would be betting the house on your radioactivity dispersal hypothesis.

      I also do not think it is reasonable to conclude that Iran is going to the trouble/expense to put thousands and thousands of ultra-speed centrifuges thousands of feet underground and to risk the world’s wrath just to purify their uranium to 20% for a research reactor. I’m pretty gullible, but even I have my limits.

      They are doing the same thing Israel did, the same thing N. Korea did, the same thing S. Africa did, the same thing Pakistan and Afghanistan did. They are doing the same thing I would be doing if I were in their position.

      They are hiding the ball until they can get the ball to glow.

      According to Avner Cohen, Ben-Gurion went so far as to build a fake reactor to show the Americans that they weren’t up to anything, not knowing that Kennedy had U-2 photos of everything they were doing.

      This is the same old same old, only Iran has, apparently, suddenly taken control of the modern-day U2’s.

      1. I continue to think that the reason to target Iran is her support for Hamas, Hizbollah and Syria, and I continue to believe that it is not a nuclear warhead which frightens Israel, but the growing capacity for a conventional ballistic deterrence, hence Iron Dome, etc..

        Iran has not contravened the NPT, and really, there is no reason for her to do so.

        This is not as naive as you imagine. To put together the nuclear bomb is to necessarily invite a military campaign against it. Not so with a much improved conventional deterrence.

        How Israel thinks and behaves is not a good indication of how other cultures may think or behave.

        I don’t expect to be able to convince you of that.

  5. Richard,

    You know me, I wouldn’t be back unless I had a really good reason. I really hope you’re going to be big enough to post my comment.

    Remember this little discussion you and I had relating to this article you wrote?:


    Well, get a load of this!:


    So, I was right about the Eilat incident when my instincts told me the attack was carried out by Egyptians NOT Palestinians and it looks very likely that I was right about the individual in that article you wrote, that he wasn’t as innocent as he appeared, and, oh Mossad wouldn’t have met him in Iran as you presumed in brackets in your article. They probably met with him along the Pakistan side of the Iranian border as Jundallah operated out of Pakistan or maybe met him in Morocco like they did with Rigi as claimed by an intelligence officer in the article I posted above.

    Hey, Richard, you know why I believe this stuff was leaked at this time? I think the U.S. wants Iran to think there’s some kind of rift with Israel over the Mossad assassination operations inside Iran so it can have leverage in getting Iran to drop the death penalty against that American/Iranian spy that Iran just convicted. And this may also be connected to the fact that Iran is threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, and U.S. officials might want to open some kind of diplomatic channel in order to avoid a military confrontation? Although Mark Perry the author of the article may have been working on this story for a while and the timing is just coincidental.

    Like Iran is going to fall for this?? Isn’t it odd that Leon Panetta just yesterday blurted out that the U.S. was not involved in that recent assassination but may know who was involed? How ridiculous is that! Of course the U.S. knows! But why admit this now, when so many other assassinations happened previously.

    However, this sudden admission and this story are very interesting developments. Anyway, I’ll leave it to you to parse the article and come up with theories. I just have a hard time believing that the U.S. and Israel are not “as thick as thieves” when it comes to covert operations inside Iran. I imagine that American/Iranian spy had as his mission to manufacture an insurgency for the upcoming Iranian elections. The U.S. is also thinking of removing MEK from the terrorist watch list for crying out loud! So why would the Iranians ever imagine that the U.S. doesn’t approve of what Mossad has been up to all this time??? How naive do they think the Iranians are?

    There’s definitely something fishy about the timeliness of this leak and Panetta’s comments.

  6. I just noticed the NYT graphics, above. Are they saying the range of Iran’s surface-to-ship missiles is, like, 15 mi? WITW are they smoking over there in NYC?

    Richard earlier posted on the Iranian’s terrifying Russian made Mach 3 “Sunburn” missile. This is the Moskit 3M80, referred to by NATO as SS-N-22. Richard’s sources apparently said the Moskit has a range of 100-250 mi., but I believe that should be km. according to globalsecurity — maybe 60 to 150 mi.

    Still, on the NYT graphic, that puts the missile well into Oman.

    The NYT also screwed the scale. It’s 30 miles from the tip of Oman to Jazreh-Ye Qeshm but the scale bar makes it look like about 75 mi. Obviously the NYT is a Mossad operation putting out misinformation, trying to confuse the Iranians.

      1. The Russian anti-ship missiles can super reliably have a range of 100 miles and some domestic missiles that they claim (and I doubt their effectiveness against modern western defenses) 186 miles and Mach 3 speeds…
        NYT is smoking, the narrowest point in the straight is about 34 miles wide….oh la la.

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