Moral Outrage
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The Iran Conundrum

The EU oil embargo recently slapped on Iran and the threats voiced by the US and other Western countries to come up with further sanctions against the country led watchers to conclude that an armed conflict between Iran and the West finally became imminent.

The first potential scenario in the context is that the current standoff would eventually escalate into a war. The US forces in the Gulf area currently number 40,000, plus 90,000 are deployed in Afghanistan, just east of Iran, and several thousands of support troops are deployed in various Asian countries.

The Strait of Hormuz which is the maritime chokepoint of the Persian Gulf is regarded as the epicenter of the coming new war. It serves as the avenue for oil supplies from Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, the Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and is therefore being closely monitored by all likely parties to the conflict. According to the US Department of Energy, the 2011 oil transit via the Strait of Hormuz totaled 17 billion barrels, or roughly 20% of the world’s total. Oil prices are projected to increase by 50% if anything disquieting happens in the Strait of Hormuz.

An alternative scenario also deserves attention. The EU sanctions would surely hurt many of the European economies – notably, Greece, Italy, and Spain – by a ricochet. In fact, Spanish diplomacy chief bluntly described the sanctions decision as a sacrifice.

The opposition mounted to the plans underlying the military scenario by China, Russia, and India seems to hold the promise of an alliance of countries seeking to tame the US hegemony and raging unilateralism. Stratfor analysts have a point saying that time is not on the US side, considering that the BRICs countries have some opportunities to influence the situation in the potential conflict zone by launching joint anti-terrorism and anti-piracy maneuvers in the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf etc.

In essence, a war against Iran – up to date a secret war – is underway. The problem the parties involved are trying to resolve is to find a way of prevailing without entering the “hot” phase of the conflict.

[Full article by Leonid Savin]

 

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2 Responses to “The Iran Conundrum”

  1. For more on Stratfor, as referred to in above article:

    On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor.

    The e-mails reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency.

    The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.
    http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/releasedate/2012-03-19.html

  2. According to Antony Loewenstein, a Sydney-based independent freelance journalist:

    US government officials requested that an American private security firm contact Syrian opposition figures in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change,” the CEO of one of these firms told Stratfor in a company email obtained by WikiLeaks and Al-Akhbar.

    James F. Smith, former director of Blackwater, is currently the Chief Executive of SCG International, a private security firm with experience in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. In what appears to be his first email to Stratfor, Smith stated that his “background is CIA” and his company is comprised of “former DOD [Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.”

    “We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection,” he explained to Stratfor. (doc-id5441475)

    In a 13 December 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism Fred Burton, which Burton shared with Stratfor’s briefers, Smith claimed that “[he] and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.”

    Walid Phares, named by the source as part of the “fact finding team,” is a Lebanese-American citizen and currently co-chairs Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group.

    During his involvement with Stratfor, Smith provided intelligence on missing surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) (doc-id 5321612) and allegedly “took part” in the killing of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. (doc-id 3980511)


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