Armageddon Knights: The Romney-Netanyahu Friendship

By LUIS R. MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | APRIL 9, 2012

An old friendship that is rooted in 1976 could spell trouble for Iran. Mitt Romney, the leading presidential candidate for the Republican party in the United States has not been shy about his intentions to attack Iran in order to prevent that country from developing a nuclear weapon. In fact, Mr. Romney has been extremely critical of current US president Barack Obama, for not fully supporting an attack on Iranian nuclear sites. Is Tel Aviv, his old pal Benjamin Netanyahu thinks the same way. Opposing views to an attack on Iran, such as that of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, warn that a pre-emptive Jewish attack on Iran will open the door for endless regional warfare between Israel and militia terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, that will work as Iran’s proxy armies.

In addition to Dagan’s warning, no intelligence agency in the world has been able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Iran is either seeking or fabricating a nuclear weapon. According to Dagan, western Iranian foes aren’t even sure how many nuclear sites Iran has and where are they exactly located. Dagan said that Israel and its western partners have at least three years to find common ground with Iran and with this, avoid a military confrontation. The former Israeli spy chief says that should war break out between Iran and Israel, he envisions a very difficult future for this country. He has called on Benjamin Netanyahu to call off any intent to attack Iran.

According to the New York Times, Romney’s friendship with Netanyahu began while both men worked as corporate advisers in Boston, Mass. Their shared work experience in the corporate world made their friendship a very cozy one. Now, these two men could find themselves in opposite sides of the world, holding two of the most powerful offices in the planet while sharing the same goal: attacking Iran. The likelihood of an American, Jewish or a joint attack on Iran is not less likely to happen under Obama, who has not send American troops into harms way due in part to the heavy opposition at home, his poor poll ratings and the bad shape the American economy is in right now. Launching a new war, most likely without the approval from Congress or the American people would mean certain defeat for Obama.

This is why, Mr. Obama publicly, although inadvertently told Benjamin Netanyahu that he — Obama — needed more time to launch the attack, perhaps after his reelection in November. Barack Obama was caught telling Netanyahu that once was elected, he would have more time to plan and work out events such as attack on the Iranians. The gaffe confirmed Obama’s intention to carry out an attack on Iran, just not now. In fact, American war ships have begun leaving the fiery Strait of Hormuz area to their previous homes. Analysts now believe that either Israel or the United States may launch a military strike during the summer of 2013.

According to the Times, the relationship between Romney and Netanyahu has been kept warm by multiple encounters between the men over the years, and even strengthened by numerous mutual friends. This, says the NYT “has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.” Could this mean that these two men have already figured out how to deal with Iran themselves, without any help from allies or even the US government? What is certainly true is that if Mr. Romney becomes US president in November 2012, the Israeli Prime Minister will indeed have a stronger partner should he decide to carry out an attack on Iran. Their friendship has not devolved or faded, not even through the American political campaign, with Mr. Romney giving Netanyahu personal advice on who to talk to in the United States in order to achieve his goal to divest American monies from Iranian investments. Previously, Netanyahu had advised Romney on how to shrink the size of government while the Republican presidential candidate was the governor of Massachusetts.

“Only a few weeks ago, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran,” reports the NYT. This and any other intelligence reporting by Netanyahu may come in handy, given that unless a terrorist attack hits the US between now and the November election, it is very possible that Mitt Romney will be the next US president. “We can almost speak in shorthand,” Mr. Romney has said. “We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.” At the very least, these two men have learned that they agree on how to do things and the methods they may or may not use to solve any problems. “… despite our very different backgrounds, my sense is that we employ similar methods in analyzing problems and coming up with solutions for them,” said Benjamin Netanyahu.

The New York Times implies that the relationship between Netanyahu and Romney stands out because of the unlikelihood that two men of different backgrounds share a friendship that is so strong as theirs, while both have achieved such a relevant political stature. An educated hunch would propose that given the past and vision they share it is very likely that these two men were groomed — as it always happened — once they entered the political arena, to carry out an agenda. Mr. Netanyahu has already achieved his pinnacle, which is to hold the most influential government position in Israel, while Mitt Romney is well on his way to getting into office. The aspect of their relationship that is most worrying is Mr. Romney’s past statements which seem to show a high degree of loyalty towards Benjamin Netanyahu. In multiple occasions, Romney expressed his view that he would not dare make plans for Israel without first consulting his old friend Netanyahu. A similar position was expressed by Barack Obama, who said that he would not wait for the US Congress to make the decisions. Instead, he would act unilaterally and under the authority vested on him by the United Nations.

What Obama’s but most decisively Mitt Romney’s position on Israel’s role in the Middle East could mean is uncertain to this point. However, something that is clearer than ever is that if Mr. Romney gets into the White House in November, the state of Israel would have every door of the White House wide open, perhaps more than ever before. This means that the two most influential men on the planet who share a long and strong friendship would be able to openly discuss what they want to do with Iran in the short term; and with other countries like Syria and Pakistan in the long term. This is the kind of scenario that the world would expect if Mitt Romney gets into office. Similar results are to be expected if Obama wins re-election.

Short of a brokered convention for the Republican ticket in November that results in Mitt Romney not being on the ballot, it seems that two business men will have the future of the Middle East and perhaps the world in their hands come 2013. It is difficult to see how Barack Obama will stay in office after November, unless, as we pointed out before, a false-flag attack on the United States, or a fabricated emergency enables the current US president to remain in office for longer. Either way, war against Iran is inevitable; it is just a matter of when. The timing is very important, because a government preparations for war are not as seen from outside by the public or the media. Many details are taken into account, then they’re finely tuned and finally carefully executed. An attack on Iran by the summer of 2013 seems a likely outcome with either Obama or Romney in the Oval Office. What we still must learn is what instrument or instruments will they use to spark the flame: faulty intelligence, false-flag terrorist attacks, proxy wars, assassinations… The menu is large and diverse.

You may share our original content as long as you respect our copyright policy as shown on our website footer. Please don’t cut articles from The Real Agenda to redistribute by email or post to the web if you don’t follow our policies.

European Union Makes a Push for War

Both the UK and the United States send more warships to the Strait of Hormuz

Russia Today
January 23, 2012

Tensions in the Gulf could reach a breaking point as a senior Iranian official said Iran would “definitely” close the Strait of Hormuz if an EU oil embargo disrupted the export of crude oil, the semi-official Fars news agency reports.

The announcement came in response to a decision by the European Union on Monday to impose an oil embargo on Iran over the country’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

“The pressure of sanctions is designed to try and make sure that Iran takes seriously our request to come to the table,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said.

However, with Washington’s decision to deploy a second carrier strike group in the Gulf, the EU’s attempt to pressure Iran economically could greatly increase the likelihood of all-out war in the region.

The Strait of Hormuz is the vital link between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

It is also one of the most strategic chokepoints in the world when it comes to oil transit.

With world oil output estimated at some 88 million barrels per day in 2011, the US Energy Information Administration estimated that some 17 million of those barrels passed through the Strait.

If economic sanctions sufficiently pressure Iran to retaliate by closing down the Strait, nearly 20 per cent of worldwide oil trade would be impacted, resulting in a massive spike in global energy costs.

With over half a million regular forces and an additional 120,000 personnel in the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard,  analysts believe the consequences of a US-led war against Iran would dwarf recent Western-backed military incursions the Middle East.

Thus far, the US decision to maintain two carrier strike groups in the region has been described as “a routine activity” by Iran.

But the vast US military buildup in the region, which was bolstered when the Pentagon dispatched an additional 15,000 troops to the neighboring nation of Kuwait, was only the latest step in an obvious attempt by Washington to strengthen its military capabilities in the region.

However since 1988, when the United States managed to destroy some 25 per cent of Iran’s larger naval capability during Operation Praying Mantis, Iran has spent the last two decades preparing its Revolutionary Guard naval forces to exploit the vulnerabilities of the United States’ larger conventional forces.

According to Revolutionary Guard commander Brigadier General Jafaari, “The enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called asymmetric warfare methods… our forces are now well prepared for it,” he said, as cited by Global Bearings.

Ultimately,  the latest round of brinkmanship between Iran and the West may force Iran to the negotiating table over its uranium enrichment program.

However, the EU strategy of averting “chaos in the Middle East” by tightening the economic noose around Iran could spark the very conflagration it was ostensibly trying to avert.

Tehran Connects First Blow on Washington

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
January 15, 2012

In what could be called the duel of words, Tehran has handed Washington and Tel Aviv the first blow in the stomach as both countries decided to postpone the military exercise scheduled to take place a couple of weeks from today.

Citing their intention not to further escalate the war of words between Tehran and the west, Israeli defense officials have publicly announced that their war games will not occur as planned. According to HAARETZ, the Israelis want to “avoid causing further tensions in the region after various foreign reports of U.S. and Israeli preparations for strike on Iran.”

The military exercise was considered the largest of a series of joint manuevers aimed to curb Iran’s military escalation in the Persian Gulf, more specifically in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has increased its presence in the region as a response to American and Israeli build ups that intend to avoid a potential blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, the main transit way of millions of liters of oil which western nations in Europe and North American depend on to operate. The closing of this important commerce way, say consultants, would heavily damage the state of the global economy.

Iran has expressed their intention to close the Strait of Hormuz if Tehran determines that Israel and/or the United States are close to attack its nuclear energy sites. Both the United States and Israel have denied they have intentions to carry out an attack over Iranian soil. However, recent history shows that the establishment military industrial complex that controls both the American and Israeli governments are not to be trusted when it comes to their military aggression plans.

The military exercise codenamed Austere Challenge 12, intended to simulate an Iranian attack which would include the launch of  missiles on Israel. According to Israeli military officials, the drill is now scheduled to take place in the summer of 2012.

The Israeli Defense Forces said the military exercise was not a response to the recent threats made by Iranian authorities but that it had been planned a long time ago. The drill “is not in response to any real-world event,” said the IDF in a statement.

Additionally, the Defense Ministry said that the postponement of the drill has not been announced, because the final decision is still being addressed by Israeli and U.S. officials. The entity also asserted that the reason the drill was postponed did not have anything to do with budgetary issues.

Major military exercises between Israel and the United States began to take place in 2009, with both nations holding large joint missile defense exercise. It was those same exercises along with the invasion of Egypt, Libya and Syria by U.S. special forces and CIA agents, what prompted Iran to begin a military escalation in the region which sounded all the war alarms in the Persian Gulf.

The Geo-Politics of the Strait of Hormuz

Could the U.S. Navy be defeated by Iran in the Persian Gulf?

by Mahdi D. Nazemroaya
Global Research
January 10, 2012

After years of U.S. threats, Iran is taking steps which suggest that is both willing and capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz. On December 24, 2011 Iran started its Velayat-90 naval drills in and around the Strait of Hormuz and extending from the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman (Oman Sea) to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.

Since the conduct of these drills, there has been a growing war of words between Washington and Tehran. Nothing the Obama Administration or the Pentagon have done or said so far, however, has deterred Tehran from continuing its naval drills.

The Geo-Political Nature of the Strait of Hormuz

Besides the fact that it is a vital transit point for global energy resources and a strategic chokepoint, two additional issues should be addressed in regards to the Strait of Hormuz and its relationship to Iran. The first concerns the geography of the Strait of Hormuz. The second pertains to the role of Iran in co-managing the strategic strait in accordance with international law and its sovereign national rights.

The maritime traffic that goes through the Strait of Hormuz has always been in contact with Iranian naval forces, which are predominantly composed of the Iranian Regular Force Navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy. In fact, Iranian naval forces monitor and police the Strait of Hormuz along with the Sultanate of Oman via the Omani enclave of Musandam. More importantly, to transit through the Strait of Hormuz all maritime traffic, including the U.S. Navy, must sail through Iranian territorial waters. Almost all entrances into the Persian Gulf are made through Iranian waters and most exits are through Omani waters.

Iran allows foreign ships to use its territorial waters in good faith and on the basis of Part III of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea’s maritime transit passage provisions that stipulate that vessels are free to sail through the Strait of Hormuz and similar bodies of water on the basis of speedy and continuous navigation between an open port and the high seas. Although Tehran in custom follows the navigation practices of the Law of the Sea, Tehran is not legally bound by them. Like Washington, Tehran signed this international treaty, but never ratified it.

American-Iranian Tensions in the Persian Gulf

In recent developments, the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) is re’evaluating the use of Iranian waters at the Strait of Hormuz by foreign vessels.

Legislation is being proposed to block any foreign warships from being able to use Iranian territorial waters to navigate through the Strait of Hormuz without Iranian permission; the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee is currently studying legislation which would establish an official Iranian posture. The latter would hinge upon Iranian strategic interests and national security. [1]

On December 30, 2011, the U.S.S. John C. Stennis carrier passed through the area where Iran was conducting its naval drills. The Commander of the Iranian Regular Forces, Major-General Ataollah Salehi, advised the U.S.S. John C. Stennis and other U.S. Navy vessels not to return to the Persian Gulf while Iran was doing its drills, saying that Iran is not in the habit of repeating a warning twice. [2] Shortly after the stern Iranian warning to Washington, the Pentagon’s press secretary responded by making a statement saying: “No one in this government seeks confrontation [with Iran] over the Strait of Hormuz. It’s important to lower the temperature.” [3]

In an actual scenario of military conflict with Iran,  it is very likely that U.S. aircraft carriers would actually operate from outside of the Persian Gulf and from the southern Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Unless the missile systems that Washington is developing in the petro-sheikhdoms of the southern Persian Gulf are operational, the deployment of large U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf would be unlikely. The reasons for this are tied to geographic realities and the defensive capabilities of Iran.

Geography is against the Pentagon: U.S. Naval Strength has limits in the Persian Gulf

U.S. naval strength, which includes the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, has primacy over all the other navies and maritime forces in the world. Its deep sea or oceanic capabilities are unparalleled and unmatched by any other naval power. Primacy does not mean invincibility. U.S. naval forces in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are nonetheless vulnerable.

Despite its might and shear strength, geography literally works against U.S. naval power in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. The relative narrowness of the Persian Gulf makes it like a channel, at least in a strategic and military context. Figuratively speaking, the aircraft carriers and warships of the U.S. are confined to narrow waters or are closed in within the coastal waters of the Persian Gulf. [See map above]

This is where the Iranian military’s advanced missile capabilities come into play. The Iranian missile and torpedo arsenal would make short work of U.S. naval assets in the waters of the Persian Gulf where U.S. vessels are constricted. This is why the U.S. has been busily erecting a missile shield system in the Persian Gulf amongst the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the last few years.

Even the small Iranian patrol boats in the Persian Gulf, which appear pitiable and insignificant against a U.S. aircraft carrier or destroyer, threaten U.S. warships. Looks can be deceiving; these Iranian patrol boats can easily launch a barrage of missiles that could significantly damage and effectively sink large U.S. warships. Iranian small patrol boats are also hardly detectable and hard to target.

Iranian forces could also attack U.S. naval capabilities merely by launching missile attacks from the Iranian mainland on the northern shores of the Persian Gulf. Even in 2008 the Washington Institute for Near East Policy acknowledged the threat from Iran’s mobile coastal missile batteries, anti-ship missiles, and missile-armed small ships. [4] Other Iranian naval assets like aerial drones, hovercraft, mines, diver teams, and mini-submarines could also be used in asymmetrical naval warfare against the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

Even the Pentagon’s own war simulations have shown that a war in the Persian Gulf with Iran would spell disaster for the United States and its military. One key example is the Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC02) war game in the Persian Gulf, which was conducted from July 24, 2002 to August 15, 2002 and took almost two years to prepare. This mammoth drill was amongst the largest and most expensive war games ever held by the Pentagon.  Millennium Challenge 2002 was held shortly after the Pentagon had decided that it would continue the momentum of the war in Afghanistan by targeting Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and finishing off with the big prize of Iran in a broad military campaign to ensure U.S. primacy in the new millennium.

After Millennium Challenge 2002 was finished, the war game was “officially” presented as a simulation of a war against Iraq under the rule of President Saddam Hussein, but in actuality these war games pertained to Iran.[5] The U.S. had already made assessments for the upcoming Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Moreover, Iraq had no naval capabilities that would merit such large-scale use of the U.S. Navy.

Millennium Challenge 2002 was conducted to simulate a war with Iran, which was codenamed “Red” and referred to an unknown Middle Eastern rogue enemy state in the Persian Gulf. Other than Iran, no other country could meet the perimeters and characteristics of “Red” and its military forces, from the patrol boats to the motorcycle units. The war simulation took place because Washington was planning on attacking Iran soon after invading Iraq in 2003.

The scenario in the 2002 war game started with the U.S., codenamed “Blue,” giving Iran a one-day ultimatum to surrender in the year 2007. The war game’s date of 2007 would chronologically correspond to U.S. plans to attack Iran after the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, which was to extend, according to military plans, into a broader war against Syria. The war against Lebanon, however, did not go as planned and the U.S. and Israel realized that if Hezbollah could challenge them in Lebanon then an expanded war with Syria and Iran would be a disaster.

In Millennium Challenge 2002’s war scenario, Iran would react to U.S. aggression by launching a massive barrage of missiles that would overwhelm the U.S. and destroy sixteen U.S. naval vessels – an aircraft carrier, ten cruisers, and five amphibious ships. It is estimated that if this had happened in real war theatre context, more than 20,000 U.S. servicemen would have been killed in the first day following the attack. [6]

Next, Iran would send its small patrol boats – the ones that look insignificant in comparison to the U.S.S. John C. Stennis and other large U.S. warships – to overwhelm the remainder of the Pentagon’s naval forces in the Persian Gulf, which would result in the damaging and sinking of most of the U.S. Fifth Fleet and the defeat of the United States. After the U.S. defeat, the war games were started over again, but “Red” (Iran) had to operate under the assumption of handicaps and shortcomings, so that U.S. forces would be allowed to emerge victorious from the drill. [7] This outcome of the war games obviated the fact that the U.S. would have been overwhelmed in the context of a real conventional war with Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Hence, the formidable naval power of Washington is handicapped both by geography as well as Iranian military capabilities when it comes to fighting in the Persian Gulf or even in much of the Gulf of Oman. Without open waters, like in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. will have to fight under significantly reduced response times and, more importantly, will not be able to fight from a stand-off (militarily safe) distance. Thus, entire tool boxes of U.S. naval defensive systems, which were designed for combat in open waters using stand-off ranges, are rendered unpractical in the Persian Gulf.

Making the Strait of Hormuz Redundant to Weaken Iran?

The entire world knows the importance of the Strait of Hormuz and Washington and its allies are very well aware that the Iranians can militarily close it for a significant period of time. This is why the U.S. has been working with the GCC countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the U.A.E. – to re-route their oil through pipelines bypassing the Strait of Hormuz and channelling GCC oil directly to the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, or Mediterranean Sea. Washington has also been pushing Iraq to seek alternative routes in talks with Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Both Israel and Turkey have also been very interested in this strategic project. Ankara has had discussions with Qatar about setting up an oil terminal that would reach Turkey via Iraq. The Turkish government has attempted to get Iraq to link its southern oil fields, like Iraq’s northern oil fields, to the transit routes running through Turkey. This is all tied to Turkey’s visions of being an energy corridor and important lynchpin of transit.

The aims of re-routing oil away from the Persian Gulf would remove an important element of strategic leverage Iran has against Washington and its allies. It would effectively reduce the importance of the Strait of Hormuz. It could very well be a prerequisite to war preparations and a war led by the United States against Tehran and its allies.

It is within this framework that the Abu Dhabi Crude Oil Pipeline or the Hashan-Fujairah Oil Pipeline is being fostered by the United Arab Emirates to bypass the maritime route in the Persian Gulf going through the Strait of Hormuz. The project design was put together in 2006, the contract was issued in 2007, and construction was started in 2008. [8] This pipeline goes straight from Abdu Dhabi to the port of Fujairah on the shore of the Gulf of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

In other words, it will give oil exports from the U.A.E. direct access to the Indian Ocean. It has openly been presented as a means to ensure energy security by bypassing Hormuz and attempting to avoid the Iranian military. Along with the construction of this pipeline, the erection of a strategic oil reservoir at Fujairah was also envisaged to also maintain the flow of oil to the international market should the Persian Gulf be closed off. [9]

Aside from the Petroline (East-West Saudi Pipeline), Saudi Arabia has also been looking at alternative transit routes and examining the ports of it southern neighbours in the Arabian Peninsula, Oman and Yemen. The Yemenite port of Mukalla on the shores of the Gulf of Aden has been of particular interest to Riyadh. In 2007, Israeli sources reported with some fanfare that a pipeline project was in the works that would connect the Saudi oil fields with Fujairah in the U.A.E., Muscat in Oman, and finally to Mukalla in Yemen. The reopening of the Iraq-Saudi Arabia Pipeline (IPSA), which was ironically built by Saddam Hussein to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and Iran, has also been a subject of discussion for the Saudis with the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

If Syria and Lebanon were converted into Washington’s clients, then the defunct Trans-Arabian Pipeline (Tapline) could also be reactivated, along with other alternative routes going from the Arabian Peninsula to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea via the Levant. Chronologically, this would also fit into Washington’s efforts to overrun Lebanon and Syria in an attempt to isolate Iran before any possible showdown with Tehran.

The Iranian Velayat-90 naval drills, which extended in close proximity to the entrance of the Red Sea in the Gulf of Aden off the territorial waters of Yemen, also took place in the Gulf of Oman facing the coast of Oman and the eastern shores of the United Arab Emirates. Amongst other things, Velayat-90 should be understood as a signal that Tehran is ready to operate outside of the Persian Gulf and can even strike or block the pipelines trying to bypass the Strait of Hormuz.

Geography again is on Iran’s side in this case too. Bypassing the Strait of Hormuz still does not change the fact that most of the oil fields belonging to GCC countries are located in the Persian Gulf or near its shores, which means they are all situated within close proximity to Iran and therefore within Iranian striking distance. Like in the case of the Hashan-Fujairah Pipeline, the Iranians could easily disable the flow of oil from the point of origin. Tehran could launch missile and aerial attacks or deploy its ground, sea, air, and amphibious forces into these areas as well. It does not necessarily need to block the Strait of Hormuz; after all preventing the flow of energy is the main purpose of the Iranian threats.

The American-Iranian Cold War

Washington has been on the offensive against Iran using all means at its disposal. The tensions over the Strait of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf are just one front in a dangerous multi-front regional cold war between Tehran and Washington in the broader Middle East. Since 2001, the Pentagon has also been restructuring its military to wage unconventional wars with enemies like Iran. [10] Nonetheless, geography has always worked against the Pentagon and the U.S. has not found a solution for its naval dilemma in the Persian Gulf. Instead of a conventional war, Washington has had to resort to waging a covert, economic, and diplomatic war against Iran.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Sociologist and award-winning author. He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. He specializes on the Middle East and Central Asia. He has been a contributor and guest discussing the broader Middle East on numerous programs and international networks such as Al Jazeera, Press TV and Russia Today. Nazemroaya was also a witness to the “Arab Spring” in action in North Africa. While on the ground in Libya during the NATO bombing campaign, he reported out of Tripoli for several media outlets. He sent key field dispatches from Libya for Global Research and was Special Correspondent for Pacifica’s syndicated investigative program Flashpoints, broadcast out of Berkeley, California. His writings have been published in more than ten languages. He also writes for the Strategic Culture Foundation (SCF) in Moscow, Russia.

Notes

[1] Fars News Agency, “Foreign Warships Will Need Irans Permission to Pass through Strait of Hormuz,” January 4, 2011.
[2] Fars News Agency, “
Iran Warns US against Sending Back Aircraft Carrier to Persian Gulf,” January 4, 2011.
[3] Parisa Hafezi, “
Iran threatens U.S Navy as sanctions hit economy,” Reuters, January 4, 2012.
[4] Fariborz Haghshenass, “Iran’s Asymmetric Naval Warfare,” Policy Focus, no.87 (Washington, D.C.: Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, September 2010).
[5] Julian Borger, “
Wake-up call,” The Guardian, September 6, 2002.
[6] Neil R. McCown, Developing Intuitive Decision-Making In Modern Military Leadership (Newport, R.I.: Naval War College, October 27, 2010), p.9.
[7] Sean D. Naylor, “War games rigged? General says Millennium Challenge ‘02 ‘was almost entirely scripted,’” Army Times, April 6, 2002.
[8] Himendra Mohan Kumar, “
Fujairah poised to be become oil export hub,” Gulf News, June 12, 2011.
[9] Ibid.
[10] John Arquilla, “The New Rules of War,” Foreign Policy, 178 (March-April, 2010): pp.60-67.

Iran threatens action if US carrier returns

Reuters
January 3, 2012

Iran will take action if a U.S. aircraft carrier which left the area because of Iranian naval exercises returns to the Gulf, the state news agency quoted army chief Ataollah Salehi as saying on Tuesday.

“Iran will not repeat its warning … the enemy’s carrier has been moved to the Sea of Oman because of our drill. I recommend and emphasise to the American carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf,” Salehi told IRNA.

“I advise, recommend and warn them (the Americans) over the return of this carrier to the Persian Gulf because we are not in the habit of warning more than once,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Salehi as saying.

Salehi did not name the aircraft carrier or give details of the action Iran might take if it returned.

Iran completed 10 days of naval exercises in the Gulf on Monday, and said during the drills that if foreign powers imposed sanctions on its crude exports it could shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world’s traded oil is shipped.

The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said it would not allow shipping to be disrupted in the strait.

Iran said on Monday it had successfully test-fired two long-range missiles during its naval drill, flexing its military muscle in the face of mounting Western pressure over its controversial nuclear programme.

Iran also said it had no intention of closing the Strait of Hormuz but had carried out “mock” exercises on shutting the strategic waterway.

Tehran denies Western accusations that it is secretly trying to build atomic bombs, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy fails to resolve the Islamic state’s nuclear row with the West.

The European Union is considering following the United States in banning imports of Iranian crude oil. U.S. President Barack Obama signed new sanctions against Iran into law on Saturday, stepping up the pressure by adding sanctions on financial institutions that deal with Iran’s central bank.