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The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of ‘unrelenting force’ against Iran

The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of ‘unrelenting force’ against Iran thumbnail

After what national security adviser John Bolton called “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” the U.S. government said Sunday that it was deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) region.

Centcom’s operational area includes the Middle East and Central Asia, but Bolton’s statement indicated that U.S. attention was primarily focused on one country: Iran.

The move’s intended message, Bolton said, was to send a “clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

It was not immediately clear what prompted concerns over an Iranian attack.

After withdrawing from the 2015 Iran nuclear treaty, the Trump administration has put significantly more pressure on Iran in recent months by imposing sanctions on Iranian oil exports and by blacklisting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.

While Bolton’s strongly worded statement to announce additional measures over the weekend was as unusual as those previous moves, the deployment of additional U.S. resources to the region amid heightening tensions has become a more regular occurrence: The reason is the narrow stretch of water at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz.

Amid threats from abroad, Iran has often been quick to remind the world of its key location along one of the world’s main oil tanker routes. It once again threatened to close that key transport route in recent weeks. When Bahrain, a Persian Gulf nation with a sizable U.S. troops presence, threatened that it would not allow Iran to proceed with such a move, an Iranian official responded: “Mind your small size and do not threaten someone bigger than yourself.”

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most crucial transport routes for oil. About a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic passes through the strait, which is bordered by Iran and Oman. In 2016, 18.5 million barrels of petroleum were shipped through it every day, making it the world’s single most important maritime route for many nations’ oil supplies.

Theoretically, Iran could attempt to cut off the Strait of Hormuz – which connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman – by deploying its naval vessels or laying mines, which could take months to clear. At its narrowest point, the strait’s shipping route is only two miles wide. But the U.S. military has extensive footholds in the region, including the headquarters for the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain.

If theStrait of Hormuz were inaccessible, the world’s supply in shipped daily global oil exports would suddenly drop by about 30 percent, experts predict. Overall oil supplies would drop by about 20 percent, according to numbers compiled before the recent U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports took effect.

Some of the oil may be rerouted via pipelines that have been expanded over fears of an Iranian-Western clash, but those are still limited in capacity and more expensive.

As a result, oil prices would immediately spike, as Arab oil suppliers would lose their market access either entirely or to a large extent. Given the global economic repercussions, the United States and other adversaries of Iran would likely take military action. The United States would not be the only nation interested in resolving a dispute as quickly as possible, however, as the vast majority of supplies are delivered to Asian markets, in particular to Japan, India and China.

Iran has made similar threats before, for instance, in 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2018.

Some of those threats were intended to be rhetorical, at least in the short run. Last July, for instance, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani implied that Iran had the power to severely disrupt the oil trade in the Persian Gulf, which would likely have meant an attempt to blockade the Strait of Hormuz. Rouhani later appeared to repeat his veiled threat and was quoted on his official website as saying: “Mr. Trump! We are the people of dignity and guarantor of security of the waterway of the region throughout the history. Don’t play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it.”

Trump eventually responded on Twitter, writing that Iran “WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” in case it threatened the United States.

But prior incidents have shown how serious both nations take the Strait of Hormuz, and how easily maneuvers could escalate. In 2016, Iranian naval vessels veered close to American warships in the strait, prompting a U.S. warning. “These are incidents that carry a risk of escalation, and we don’t desire any kind of escalation,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook warned Iran at the time.

With more U.S. military assets headed into the region, the likelihood of an escalation has once again inched up.


70 Comments on "The oil route that could be at the center of a U.S. warning of ‘unrelenting force’ against Iran"

  1. Davy is retarded on Tue, 7th May 2019 7:13 am 

    Davy on Tue, 7th May 2019 6:10 am
    Davy on Tue, 7th May 2019 6:36 am

  2. JuanP on Tue, 7th May 2019 7:39 am 

    I posted this as one of my many multiple personalities

    Davy is retarded on Tue, 7th May 2019 7:13 am

  3. joe on Tue, 7th May 2019 8:28 am 

    Closing the straights wouldn’t really do much any more to the oil market. Iranian oil is not the REAL issue. The two biggest pariahs in the middle east are iran and Qatar (bad luck to those who guessed Israel), they also just so happen to be the biggest suppliers of natural gas in the world after Russia. They also happen to need access to Europe since China and India are still mainly burning good clean coal. Europe is the only gas game in town is also a direct threat to the petrodollar. Iran therefore along with Russia must be isolated and ring fenced. Its unlikely that Iran will be overthrown, that would lead to all kinds of unintended consequences. It would for example open up all of Asia to migration directly to Europe since Turkey or Iraq or Syria could not possibly hold millions of people escaping chaos not after the last ten years of Clintbama wars. Thats why the EUSSR is fully committed to the nuclear deal and expects that they will have to in fact support Iran against US oil policy. Irans main weakness is that it is so totally against Israel it cant possibly win a p.r. battle in the US, Saudi Arabia and the other sunni monarchies in the middle east at least have recognised that they have to at least hold their noses and pretend they tolerate Israel. They afterall, are playing the long, generational game. They know that each wave of migration to Europe and the US is a future vote against the future of israel. Shia Muslims don’t have to luxury of time and demographics, which is why it’s not going to take much to topple Iran. Iran though is not Iraq, its fall will be much worse for the world. Ask Europe in the 13th century when they met the Golden Horde who made Iran their base of operations.

  4. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 7th May 2019 8:39 am 

    Take a look comrades:

  5. Robert Inget on Tue, 7th May 2019 9:51 am 

    USD in trouble.

    EU seems to say FU you to Trump

    Giovanni Staunovo

    Follow Follow @staunovo

    and Why would that be?
    Cause of the Russian pipeline all contaminated and all, (One Million p/d) Europe is quickly running
    low. On top of that, Europeans, even on the Right,
    have little respect for WH’s tariff policy.

    Unless Trump and his gang of stupid criminals can be taken down, USD as the world’s exchange currency will be challenged by China.

    On thing more.
    China in order to capture markets for its goods and retain oil supplies have lent well over a trillion dollar$ around Africa, Asia, South America, even North America. China will demand repayment in oil, NG, and Yuan. This ‘long game’ just shortened
    by Trump’s im·pet·u·ous acts.

    If EU decides to overthrow Trump’s USD (he owns it now) There will be chaos.

  6. print baby print on Tue, 7th May 2019 3:19 pm 

    The only way Iran can close the straight is with some original crazy ideas and weapons .For example wooden drone mines delivered by missiles

  7. Robert Inget on Fri, 10th May 2019 11:19 am 

    Bolton and Pompeo are up to some serious ‘wag the dog’ mischief directed at Iran.
    The first round of attacks will be cyber.
    Iran, certainly N. Korea, perhaps China and Russia will respond. Ergo, casus belli.

    It’s my guess B&P are fabricating an excuse for a greater confrontation.

    Finally, after nearly a generation, Russia’s ‘S-400’
    weapons systems will be tested over Iran.

    After years of Israeli objections Iran obtained S-300 and upgraded s-400 anti aircraft super sonic missile system. Check out wikipedia link.

    B&P must believe we can locate these mobil AA’s, destroy them, before a main force of manned bombers, cruise missiles, move on nuclear targets.

    Bombing a nuclear ‘target’ releases radio active elements worldwide. (take your iodine).
    Millions will die, slow painful deaths over the next
    ten years as result.

    Iran has submarines capable of hitting Israeli
    nuclear targets (with SS missiles) adding further to a blanket of death throughout the region.

    Bolton, Pompeo and Trump are fixin to go to WW/3 w/o bothering Congress.

    Will the Pentagon comply with these crazy men?

    I think not. Showing the ‘flag’ is one thing, destroying the planet, quite another.

    My only comfort if the three mental midgets do pull it off, Republicans shielding
    Trump from the US Constitution and lawful actions will live just long enough to see the Hell
    they hath wrought.

    Best case: Iran will not take the bait (cyber attacks) and will respond covertly through third parties like Iraq, China and Yemen.
    Ironically, BOTH Saudi Arabia and Israel are in the most danger.

  8. Cloggie on Fri, 10th May 2019 4:36 pm 

    BBC Newsnight now:

    “the US is the old superpower, China its successor”

  9. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 4:50 pm 

    “BBC Newsnight now:”

    Cloggo, do you have a link, fraudster?

  10. Cloggie on Fri, 10th May 2019 4:52 pm 

    UK has been visiting Iraq and Iceland no less in order to seek for trade replacement for the EU.

    What Britain is doing is ensuring they’ll have a wooden leg at their disposal… before they shoot their own leg off.

  11. Cloggie on Fri, 10th May 2019 5:05 pm 

    Nigel Farage driving Britain into a smashing future:

  12. Cloggie on Fri, 10th May 2019 5:22 pm 

    “Cloggo, do you have a link, fraudster?”

    BBC Newsnight is a news and discussion television program, you punk.

    It will show up in a day or two here:

    So, even your best friends now openly think you are on the way out, which should be fairly obvious to anyone with half a brain, which excludes you.

  13. makati1 on Fri, 10th May 2019 5:43 pm 

    Cloggie, Davy ignores any link that he does not like, which is anything that speaks the truth about the dying US or the rising East.

  14. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 5:51 pm 

    “BBC Newsnight is a news and discussion television program, you punk.”

    see was that so hard to put the link down, pea brain?

  15. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 5:53 pm 

    “Cloggie, Davy ignores any link that he does not like”

    Stupid, cloggo, did not put a link down. Put on your glasses on and be functional then you might be able to follow the thread.

  16. makati1 on Fri, 10th May 2019 6:39 pm 

    Pavlov’s Davy barks again! Just cannot help himself. WOOF!

    GO TRUMP! TRUMP IN 2020! Trump, America’s orange Godzilla.

  17. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 6:46 pm 

    “Can Renewable Portfolio Standards make RE Work?” energy matters

    “yes, you are reducing carbon dioxide emissions, but at several times the cost of the damages those emissions might create. The most striking finding of the study is that the indirect costs of the RPS standards, the items I listed above under Intermittency, Location, and Retirement; appear to represent a majority of the costs for renewable power. This is a highly unfortunate finding, because these items are not very affected by improvements to the technology. At least two of these items, location, and retirement, are unlikely to have easy technological fixes at all. Even intermittency, if it can be fully fixed, will be solved at substantial additional cost. So for those whom Climate Change is a crises, let me say something that should be simple and self-evident – pretending these problems away is positively detrimental to your concerns. While the potential damages from global climate change exist, the cost to fix them matters. We can only spend so much money on reducing our carbon dioxide emissions, and it is incumbent on us to spend that money wisely, to achieve the most we possibly can for each dollar spent. Costly solutions will not be implemented, and hiding the costs doesn’t change the costs.”

  18. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 6:49 pm 


    makato, you are hardly relevant anymore. Have you taken to drinking in your loneliness. This is what your comments reflect.

  19. Davy on Fri, 10th May 2019 7:40 pm 

    Oops, sorry everyone. I was projecting again.

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