Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 30, 2008

The Coming Naval "Dual Use" Blockade of Iran

Moon of Alabama on February 16, 2008: Iran: Next Step - Sea Blockade

Under the justification of the need to prevent smuggling and proliferation of nuclear material, the U.S., the UK and France will establish sea patrols that will interdict all ships from and to Iran and search these for "dual use" material. They will confiscate any "dual use" stuff under a similar flexible definition of "dual use" as was used against Iraq ...

Haaretz on May 21, 2008: Olmert to U.S.: Impose naval blockade on Iran

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed in discussions with the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, that a naval blockade be imposed on Iran as one of several ways to pressure Iran into stopping its uranium enrichment program.

Wall Street Journal on May 28, 2008: Punxsutawney Condi

A month-long naval blockade of Iran's imports of refined gasoline – which accounts for nearly half of its domestic consumption – could clarify for the Iranians just how unacceptable their nuclear program is to the civilized world.

What took them so long?

Anyway - I continue to believe that a complete naval blockade, or a blockade of gasoline, will not happen simply because such a naval blockade is illegal. A Canadian government site explains the law of the sea:

It has become popular for many governments and opinion leaders to call for economic sanctions, including enforced trade sanctions, against a State felt to be in violation of international public order. Such actions were recently used against Iraq and Serbia. However, a naval blockade is, prima facie, a violation of freedom of the [High Seas]. Such efforts constitute a violation of international law if not conducted with the authorization of the United Nations Security Council pursuant to Chapter VII of the Charter.

There needs to be some 'justification', like the prevention of proliferation of (non-existent) Iranian nukes, and there needs to be some coalition of the willing because the U.S. will never get a Chapter VII Security Council vote for a total naval blockade.

There is also the need to keep the spice flowing, i.e. to allow Iran further oil exports, as otherwise a rush to $200-300/barrel would kill off the last tiny bits of GDP growth in the "west".

Still the calls from Israel and the WSJ Ziocon editors do generate some echo. There are signs pointing to the implementation of the 'proliferation prevention' effort I predicted.

Two days ago Bush's national security advisor Stephen Hadley spoke at a meeting on the fifth anniversary of the Proliferation Security Initiative:

Mr. Hadley said he was particularly concerned about terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction. He raised the specter of Iran — which enriches uranium in defiance of three U.N. Security Council resolutions — funneling chemicals, germs, or radioactive material to terrorists.

"Chemicals, germs, or radioactive material" - Fertilizer, meat and hospital stuff - all 'dual use' items which will require 'inspections' and 'confiscation'.

Posted by b on May 30, 2008 at 4:51 UTC | Permalink

Comments

We Have Always Been At Naval War with Iran

While the election season and GWOT are jelly-jam predilections to wallow
in Pol Porn celebrity culture, and pundificate away the hours by the rail,
it wouldn't hurt if once and awhile someone slipped down into the engine
room, to check and see why the credit.con has frozen the wheel, and we're
only making the barest of headway, using our credit-card-debit with a 3%
origination and an 18% carry, and why our captain, oh captain is sluicing
fuel overboard to every swinging bank or broker who's jacob's laddered US,
while the purser is trying to explain we're short of rations, even water.

Yes, I know there's lots of famous people "on board", but they're just
shimmering hologram images, not real, for in essence, they're happily
ensconced safely ashore, wrapped in furs, jewels, far from sea lanes,
far from the war waging overhead, the kamikaze dive bombers, the Pols
just dis-animated radio voices now, soothing over the battle their best
Tokyo Rose pablums, 'keep your head down, keep fighting, we're winning!'

This is Radio Dubai, signing off...

In reality, we're down by the bow, in heavy seas. Bulkheads are snapping.
In reality, the crew already abandoned ship, and is gambling for our robes.
Would anyone care for a game of crib, before mess serves up cabbage soup?
Oh, there's that tune again, how does it go?

Posted by: Lampen Feuerzeug | May 30 2008 5:36 utc | 1

Iran-Syria sign defense pact

Iran and its close ally Syria have signed a new defense cooperation pact, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, just a week after news broke that Israel had begun indirect peace talks with Damascus
.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 30 2008 7:04 utc | 2

to put it this way, a "limited" strike at Qods camps will not be interpreted by Iran as a declaration of war. But any attempt at a blockade will.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 30 2008 7:19 utc | 3

"It has become popular for many governments and opinion leaders to call for economic sanctions, including enforced trade sanctions, against a State felt to be in violation of international public order."

When do we get ours?

Posted by: beq | May 30 2008 11:09 utc | 4

Little publicized (at least on US side of pond) during W's Iraq invasion: Putin positioned battleships in the Gulf, just outside Persian ports... a clear signal that neo-con saber rattling for extending the "liberation" to Iran would not be tolerated.

If anything, Russia's incentive to repeat that action has increased since then... as has their means to back it up.

I'm not so sure, given Junior's proclivity for leaving big messes on his "way out", that should the order come CENTCOM wouldn't just tell him to go fuck himself.

Posted by: jdmckay | May 30 2008 12:22 utc | 5

Mr. Hadley said he was particularly concerned about terrorist groups obtaining weapons of mass destruction
My gawd, that meme always raises my blood pressure -- the Bomb is the ultimate status symbol of gov't power. Gov't's are power and no gov't and most certainly an autocratic gov't is gonna give the crown jewels to "terraists".

It just don't compute -- except as a call to the sheeple to be afraid, be very afraid...

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | May 30 2008 18:12 utc | 6

A naval blockade is an act of war. This is to say that the U.S. naval blockade of Iran is a declaration of war on Iran.

The object here is clear. The blockade aims to force Iran to respond with an attack on the blockading ships. The Iranian counterattack will be publicized here at home. The preemptive American attack on Iran (the blockade) will not. The Iranian counterattack will play on American media as an unprovoked act of aggression by Iran against the United States.

Posted by: Jimmy Montague | May 31 2008 13:06 utc | 7

What is the short term consequences for an Iranian war? To me it seems clear that the price of gas will triple. Global recession will result. The USA is already so far in debt it has to borrow to pay for the current war. Who will finance the continued US aggression? OR could that be done with all the unaccounted $$$ the US has wasted?

I would like to believe that the Neo-cons have it just the way they want it. A revitalized industrial war machine, and a robber baron stock market. Wouldn't one more un-win-able war ruin these "good times" ?

Posted by: gus | May 31 2008 16:37 utc | 8

I wonder if Iran has a nonviolent counter move such as sinking a ship in the straights of Hormuz and blocking tanker traffic? When the blockade ends, we may be permitted to clear the sunk ship.

Besides, what if the ships are under Russian-Chinese flags? Will we sink them? I imagine freedom of the high seas is essential to both nations and they can't allow a precedent for the U.S., given its vast naval superiority, to use blockade successfully.

In fact, what if even an Iranian vessel ignores the blockade? Sink it? There goes your argument that Iran fired first.

Seems to me that blockade offers no advantage to a military strike where at least you have the element of surprise. If they are not prepared to do the latter, then they probably wont do the former.

Posted by: Lysander | May 31 2008 16:43 utc | 9

if the Iranians sink a ship to block traffic. it will probably be one of their own, or they may issue an "advice" warning all tankers out of the Gulf, pending "resolution of imminent hostilities"

either way, oil goes up through the roof

Posted by: jony_b_cool | May 31 2008 17:27 utc | 10

A naval blockade is an act of war. This is to say that the U.S. naval blockade of Iran is a declaration of war on Iran.

Yes - I say so much above. But if the Proliferation Security Initiative acting as a kind of "league of democracies" would decide on "proliferation checks of Iran shipping" how would the press spin that?

What is the short term consequences for an Iranian war? To me it seems clear that the price of gas will triple.

Yes - Bush will not want to risk that (election) before November.

I thought a bit about the Israel version. Would Israel attack Iran? I thought this was possible but it is not.

Think it through (I'll post about this later). Here's my preliminary idea.

How would Americans react to $8-$10/gallon at the pump thanks to Israeli action?

$3 billion a year in free money? More free weapons thanks to the U.S. taxpayer?

Forget about it.

If Israel would instigate higher U.S. gas prices by attacking Iran it would loose its strategic ally.

Bush might try after McCain loses in November. But at that point the the U.S. military might take a stand.

Posted by: b | May 31 2008 19:05 utc | 11

remember the yinhe ?

Posted by: denk | Jun 1 2008 2:04 utc | 12

Putin: Iran not seeking to build nuclear arms

Iran is not trying to acquire nuclear weapons but Tehran should avoid "irritating" its neighbours, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Saturday in an interview with French newspaper Le Monde.

Putin, who was in Paris for two days of meetings with President Nicolas Sarkozy and other French leaders, said there was no indication Iran was building its own nuclear arsenal.

But he admitted that Iran's compliance with investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was still a "point to be resolved."

Asked if Iran was trying to acquire nuclear weapons, Putin replied: "I don't believe so. Nothing indicates it."

"The Iranians are a proud people," he went on. "They want to enjoy their independence and exercise their legitimate right to civil nuclear power.

"I am serious. On a legal level, Iran has infringed nothing at the moment. They have the same right to enrichment (of uranium.) The paperwork says so. Iran is accused of not displaying all its programmes to the IAEA. This point remains to be resolved...."

Posted by: b | Jun 2 2008 17:31 utc | 13

WE ARE ADAMANTLY AGAINST THE RESOLUTION CALLING FOR THE NAVAL BLOCKADE ON IRAN! This resolution is a backdoor provocation of war towards the Iranians! NO! NO! NO!

It is obvious to see that US and Europe are not truly committed to diplomacy with Iran! The AIPAC groups' frequent flyer accounts are full of points as they go across the globe, since they already own the congress and the house of representatives in US, pressuring Europeans, United Nations, and all and all to ensure complete strangulation of Iran! Pressures, bullying, and the absurdity of the whole nuclear situation of Iran is disheartening! And why no one has the courage to stand up to these radicals and neo-cons that are leading the world to a third world war! Now the one thing I would like to know is how do these people sleep at night, knowing the atrocities they committed during the day! Shame on them and mostly on us for sitting quietly and allowing a spoilt brat of a child torment & bully everyone in the schoolyard of the world!

WE ARE ADAMANTLY AGAINST THE RESOLUTION CALLING FOR THE NAVAL BLOCKADE ON IRAN! This resolution is a backdoor provocation of war towards the Iranians! NO! NO! NO!

Posted by: Miriam | Jun 29 2008 6:00 utc | 14

While textual healing is good for me, and quite cathartic. Your preaching to the choir Miri.. w/apologies to Marvin Gaye... ;-)

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 29 2008 10:46 utc | 15

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