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Thread: A war in the Gulf / Straits of Hormuz: the past and the future

  1. #21
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    CSIS, 21 May 09: Threats, Risks and Vulnerabilities: Terrorism and Asymmetric Warfare
    While much of the world’s attention has focused on Iran’s missile developments and possible nuclear capabilities. Yet this is only one of the risks that threaten the flow of petroleum products from the Gulf – a region with some 60% of the world’s proven conventional oil reserves and 40% of its natural gas. Far more immediate threats have emerged in terms of asymmetric warfare, terrorism, piracy, non-state actors, and other threats.

    This brief looks beyond Gulf waters and examines the problems created by Iran’s ties to other states and non-state actors throughout the region. It highlights Iran’s capabilities for asymmetric warfare, but it also examines the threat from terrorism and the role it can play in nations like Yemen. It looks at the trends in piracy and in the threat in the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, and Indian Ocean.

    The key issues addressed are:
    • Terrorism

    • Asymmetric Warfare

    • Maritime and Border Security

    • Combating Piracy

    • Critical facilities and Infrastructure

    • Role of Chokepoints

    • Role of State and Non-State Actors

  2. #22
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Puzzling links

    An old thread, still a good place for this puzzling Israeli think-tank report on Persian Gulf relationships: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/mal.../iran_e009.pdf

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  3. #23
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    Default Asymmetric war: Iran and the new normal

    Time to update an old thread and hopefully the best place for this comment article by Professor Paul Rogers; opening paragraph:
    The ability of Iran’s military to learn from experience and become adept in irregular warfare echoes that of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also presents the United States with hard choices.
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/paul-ro...and-new-normal
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  4. #24
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    Default AQ-Linked Group Claims Gulf Tanker Attack

    I missed this and hat tip to FP Blog citing a WSJ article:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...googlenews_wsj

    Which opens with:
    An Islamic militant group affiliated with al Qaeda said it attacked a Japanese-owned oil tanker while it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz last week, adding another twist in the mysterious incident and raising fresh worry about the vulnerability of the important oil-supply route.

    (Later)Privately, U.S. officials have expressed skepticism about the al Qaeda-affiliated group's claim of responsibility. They say that while the investigation isn't finished, the visible damage to the tanker hull is more consistent with a collision than a terrorist attack.
    There is a 2008 thread on the Straits of Hormuz and the Iranian small boats threat. This is possibly different and IIRC the last seaborne attack on a tanker was the French-owned Limburg in the Gulf of Aden, in 2002. Background:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_the_Limburg

    For a long time the Straits of Hormuz have been a recognised choke point, with jurisdiction shared between Iran and Oman; with many navies having a presence.
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    Default Something fishy about this

    This whole incident has been quite sketchy. Not only the lack of information (if it was an attack or crash), but several other points. Here's my (very crazy and hypothetical) take.

    I don't think terrorist organizations acted alone on this. First, look at the victim: a Japanese vessel. I understand that the Japanese are often considered to be a "Western" power, but how many times have we seen Islamic terrorism call for violence against Japan? Not much (there have been a few times). I would imagine that an AQ offshoot would rather target a European or American vessel instead of a Japanese. Second, I think that if terrorists are attacking the Strait, then they are being supported by Iran's Qud's Force (The Revolutionary Guard's foreign unit) with weapons, training, and intelligence. Third, I think that the attack's purpose was to send a message. Iran seems to be flexing its muscles by demonstrating how rapidly oil tankers can come under attack. This "attack" was light enough to attract attention, but not heavy enough to cause a massive reaction by the West with force. Simply, with the recent "rush" by Iran to begin the fuel swap, the attempt on Ahmadinejad's life, and the procurement of advanced AA missiles, tensions in the area are tightening. Iran wants to remind everyone how fragile those can be.

    So, that's my take from my crystal ball. I doubt that it is completely correct...hopefully the "attack" was an accident.

  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default An Australian viewpoint

    Which is more general on the Straits of Hormuz:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...ing-about.aspx

    Ends with this pointer to insurance premiums:
    As an aside, there are a number of think tanks looking at the implications to world economies of conflict in the Straits, and while most agree that Iran's ability to close the Straits is limited to a few days, if at all, there has been some interesting work done on the increased insurance premiums (which would be passed on to the consumer) in the event of conflict in the Gulf (based largely on the medium intensity tanker wars mentioned previously). It makes the likely petrol price hike appear very manageable.
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  7. #27
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    Default UAE Coastguard says terrorist attack

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  8. #28
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    Default A war in the Gulf / Straits of Hormuz: the past and the future

    Moderator at work

    Until some merging today there were several threads on related issues:

    From 2006-2010: CSIS Reports on The Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric War
    From 2008: Straits of Hormuz Incident - The Iranian Small Boat Threat
    In 2010: AQ-Linked Group Claims Gulf Tanker Attack

    Obviously any conflict in this 'choke point' is related to the wider policy debate around relations with Iran over nuclear weapons, the international community (principally the west, Gulf states and buyers of oil) and the Israeli factor. Currently there is a principal thread 'Iran, Nukes, Diplomacy and other options:catch all thread 2011':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14500

    There are several threads on a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities (currently locked) and a historical thread 'Observing Iran (catch all historical thread)':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7588
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 12-28-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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  9. #29
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    Default Iran threatens to block Strait of Hormuz oil route

    A BBC News report based on an Iranian political and then naval statements:
    Iran says it may close a vital oil-trade route if the West imposes more sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme.

    Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that "not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz" if sanctions are widened.

    Iran's navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari later said closing the strait would be "easy".
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16344102

    This story prompted this thread's creation. It is a repeating issue and worthy of a watching brief.
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  10. #30
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    Default Small things impact the bigger ones

    International politics can be unpredictable, even more so when small things happen and this story illustrates this rather well, headline and then sub-title:
    'US Navy rescues Iranian fishermen from Somali pirates'
    A US aircraft carrier whose presence in the Persian Gulf last week triggered threats of retribution from Iran was involved in the rescue of 13 Iranian fishermen being held captive by Somali pirates in the nearby Arabian Sea.
    Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...i-pirates.html

    IIRC Iran has deployed warships to combat piracy, under national control. Now for the diplomats to arrange the exchange, although I expect it will be Oman who resolves this.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-06-2012 at 07:37 PM. Reason: Grammar
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  11. #31
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    Be careful what you wish for regarding how other powers react to the latest effort to ratchet up pressure on Iran. Especially when the other power is as potent a competitor as China. China depends on Iran for eleven percent of its imported oil. The idea of joining in a de facto embargo of Iranian oil through ostracism of the Iranian central bank thus naturally discomfits the Chinese. It is still unclear exactly how Beijing will play this one, as it considers how the issue affects both its relations with the United States and the state of its energy-thirsty economy. An obvious response is to work ever harder to shore up China's relations with the other Persian Gulf oil producers. That is largely what Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's current trip to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates is about.
    http://nationalinterest.org/blog/pau...sian-gulf-6374
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    U.S. intelligence agencies are closely watching Saudi Arabia for signs that the oil-rich kingdom will seek to develop nuclear weapons, amid tensions in the region centered on Iran’s nuclear program.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...627123/?page=2
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  13. #33
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    Default Iran's fast attack craft fleet: behind the hyperbole

    A fascinating update and commentary on the naval situation in the Persian Gulf / Straits of Hormuz:http://www.naval-technology.com/feat...ind-hyperbole/

    Curiously Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) has once again taken a leap forward by buying hi-tech equipment, this time from the UK (a story I'd missed) and in the past we had the Swedish Boghammer sale.

    Their goal is to replace their underperforming Chinese and North Korean vessels with indigenously produced FACs to participate in 'swarm attacks,' a tactic in which waves of small vessels attack a larger slow capital target overwhelming it with small arms / RPG / missile fire, or even ramming it in suicide kamikaze-style attacks.
    Oddly the article skims over the positioning of a large number of SSM, one having such a large warhead it would destroy a supertanker's superstructure.
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