The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz

Interesting times.

Superbad.  An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)
Superbad. An Iranian speedboat and Kayvan patrol boat, the new law in the SOH. (Image: Fars via Uskowi on Iran)

The game of international power dynamics has just shifted in a major way.  It will take a little time for the consequences to be visible to the public eye.  But I don’t think it will take that much time.  We’re talking months, at most, if not weeks.  Iran is getting no pushback from the “international community,” and is moving quickly now.

Two points to take this forward on.  First, the Maersk Tigris, the Marshall Islands-flagged cargo ship detained by Iran on Tuesday, is still being held by Iran.  The situation remains unresolved.

Second, the U.S. Navy will begin accompanying U.S.-flagged commercial ships through the Strait of Hormuz (SOH).  This is not the robust use of force it may seem to be, nor is it a repeat of the tanker-escort operation (Earnest Will)* in 1987-88, during the Iran-Iraq war.  It’s a tacit surrender, in fact. Continue reading “The Maersk Tigris game change: Iran’s big little maneuver in the Strait of Hormuz”

Weird move to put carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt off Yemen

Interesting times.

USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). (Image: Facebook)
USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). (Image: Facebook)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

Iran: Funniest threats ever?

Interesting times.

In Iran's crosshairs.  Sort of.
In Iran’s crosshairs. Sort of.

To begin with, let’s agree that it is not funny that Iran’s making threats.  It’s the way Iran is making threats.  Which – I’m sorry – has me in stitches.

No, really.  It isn’t funny.  It’s just hard not to laugh.

To read a full-length treatment of the latest Iranian trash talk, see this excellent summary from Times of Israel.  I’ll address the two major rhetorical jabs in turn. Continue reading “Iran: Funniest threats ever?”

It’s on: Muslim Brotherhood influence rejected in two nations

They still don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s a little early to predict the exact outcome of the Morsi-military smackdown underway in Egypt.  (Update as this goes to press:  the Egyptian military says Morsi has been removed.)  But one thing is certain: Egyptians are mounting a broad-scale rejection of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar too?

On the same day, the emirate of Qatar, hundreds of miles away in the Persian Gulf, may be doing substantially the same thing.  Unconfirmed reports in Arabic and French-language media indicate that the new emir of Qatar, who took over from his father last week, has ordered Yusuf al-Qaradawi to leave the country.  Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is an Egyptian who has made his home – and operated an Islamist institute – in Qatar for years.  According to the Algerian news site Reporters.dz (link above; my translation): Continue reading “It’s on: Muslim Brotherhood influence rejected in two nations”

State of unreadiness

Degraded.

My Liberty Unyielding colleague Timothy Whiteman highlighted last Thursday the number of Air Force squadrons that will have to cease training later this year because the Air Force doesn’t have funds for the flying hours.  This is real, and it is astounding.  It will mean that, at a certain point in the near future – as early as this fall, if no additional funds become available – the cost of mounting an operation big enough to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons-related installations is likely to be too high.

This is because there will be no force depth to either sustain follow-on operations or overcome the geographic constraints U.S. forces are increasingly likely to face.  Assuming all of the Air Force’s stand-downs and readiness losses do occur, the available front-line forces would be maxed out with a moderately scoped strike package.  To meet the task, they would require the most favorable basing options that could be available in the Persian Gulf under today’s conditions – but which may not be.  If we don’t have those favorable basing options, and the Air Force squadron groundings remain on track, the Iran strike goes from all-but-under-resourced to impossible.

There will not, after all, be two aircraft carriers on station near Iran, Continue reading “State of unreadiness”