Monday, April 03, 2006

Iran Girding For War

While the UN dithers, Iran is preparing for a military showdown with the west. The latest move comes in test firing a new torpedo, conspicuously similar to a 1995 Russian design, that is capable of targeting multiple ships and eluding radar. (Bloomberg: Iran's Navy Says It Successfully Test-Fired High-Speed Torpedo).

Meanwhile, efforts in the UN remain deadlocked with neither China nor Russia supporting any form of sanctions or military threat against the rogue nation. A recent UN resolution calling for Iran to halt efforts to enrich uranium was all but meaningless. It carried about as much weight as a letter to the editor in your local newspaper. Without the support of China and Russia, both nations with veto power, the UN will effectively remain on the sidelines.

The latest developments in Iran push us much closer to a US military response. The new torpedo, which was shown in Iranian media broadcasts this weekend, threatens shipping in the Gulf and would certainly be used as an economic counter measure by Iran once the shooting starts. Iran frequently attacked ships in the gulf during their 1980 conflict with Iraq and had numerous clashes with military warships patrolling those waters. This new torpedo raises the stakes in control of the major oil shipping lanes.

Also problematic is the risk this now poses for the US 5th fleet stationed in the Gulf. Until now, no nation in that region could touch US warships patrolling the gulf or using carriers in that region to launch air assaults against Middle Eastern targets. This torpedo traveling at speeds up to 233 MPH could change all that.

What is clear is that the US cannot afford to wait for the UN to move. Perhaps the best course of action now is to provoke Iran into firing the first shot; a Persian Gulf equivalent to the Gulf of Tomkin. All we lack at the moment is an excuse to take out Iran's military potential. A retaliatory response, unlike a preemptive strike, needs no UN approval to be justified around the world.

However we go about it, 2006 must see action in Iran. Giving them another year to develop nuclear capabilities or increase their defensive and offensive capabilities against US troops both in Iraq and in the Gulf makes absolutely no sense. Forget the UN. Russia and China have blockaded those efforts. The time has come to see which of our allies are willing to take a stand. Either way, unilaterally or with allies, we must address the Iranian problem now.

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2 comments :

Alan Fraser said...

We've heard this rhetoric before and the last time resulted in the deaths of somewhere between thirty thousand and a hundred thousand Iraqis. There was the mention of allies but given the history of Iraq the US is going to be hard-pressed to find any. Credibility once lost can't be recovered. The best thing Bush can do is sit down and be quiet until a real President shows up.

The_Bos'un said...

I agree with you on what you said in your article. And, I respectfully disagree with Alan Fraser's comments.

Tehran claims the high-speed "Hoot" torpedo it tested is capable of speeds of 223 miles per hour and can be used form taking down large warships and submarines according to General Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards' Navy. Fox News indicated that the Hoot torpedo may be three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and possibly comparative to the world's known fastest; the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval. Of course, it is not known if the Hoot is based on the VA-111 Shkval. It should come as no surprise at this latest development as it was already mentioned in Wikipedia.

Do we blink and bow, or do we take action?

We have to ask ourselves, "What may be Iran's real message in their revealing several different weapons tests? Perhaps is Iran is flexing that it has increased ability to hit oil tankers if tension with America turns to outright confrontation. The Strait of Hormuz is the 34-mile-wide entrance to the Gulf through which about two-fifths of the world's oil supplies pass. Are we going to end up being held hostage by Iran and it's lunatic president who has called for the country of Isreal to be disbanded? The next few weeks will prove to be interesting in world of international diplomacy.

There are not many solutions left.