Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 11, 2019

Iran Keeps Calm While U.S. And Britain Continue Their Provocations

Great Britain has joined the U.S. pressure and provocation campaign against Iran. It is creating incidents to put Iran into a defensive position and to provoke into a violent reaction.

Early today 'two U.S. officials' spread a scare story about Iran which lead to this CNN headline: Iranian boats attempted to seize a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz

Armed Iranian boats unsuccessfully tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday, according to two US officials with direct knowledge of the incident.

The British Heritage tanker was sailing out of the Persian Gulf and was crossing into the Strait of Hormuz area when it was approached by boats from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The Iranians ordered the tanker to change course and stop in nearby Iranian territorial waters, according to the officials.

The same 'two U.S. officials' briefed ABCNews:

A British warship prevented an apparent attempt by five Iranian small boats to direct a British oil tanker towards Iranian waters on Wednesday, according to two U.S. officials.

Remarkably the official British report came later than the U.S. officials briefing. It showed significant differences:

The UK defence ministry said that "three Iranian vessels attempted to impede the passage of a commercial vessel, British Heritage, through the Strait of Hormuz."

"HMS Montrose was forced to position herself between the Iranian vessels and British Heritage and issue verbal warnings to the Iranian vessels, which then turned away," the ministry statement said.
...
"There has been no confrontation in the last 24 hours with any foreign vessels, including British ones," the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement.

The U.S. officials claimed 5, not 3 boats. They claimed the boats tried to seize the ship, while the Brits just say they probably were getting in the way of the ship. The U.S. officials 'direct knowledge of the incident' seems to be lacking. Iran says that nothing happened at all.

There are reasons to believe that the Iranian statement is the most truthful one.

The BRITISH HERITAGE is a crude oil carrier with an overall length of 274 m, a beam of 49 m and a maximum draft of 17.8 m. How three of the typical 20 feet long fiberglass speedboats of the IRGC could try to 'seize' or even 'impede' such a huge ships is not conceivable.

According to CNN the ship came from Basra, Iraq, had stopped at the Saudi coast and then left the Persian Gulf. It was not carrying any cargo at the time of the incident. That is quite curious as a crude oil carrier is typical loading and not delivering crude to Persian Gulf countries.

Here is a Marine Traffic chart of the last course of the British Heritage.


bigger

Of interest is also that the ship turned off its AIS signal, see the dotted line, during its passage through the Hormuz Strait.

CNN also noted that:

On July 10, the ship turned off its transponders for almost 24 hours, making it undetectable by radars. When it switched on its transponders at around 1pm Eastern Time, it appeared to have sailed through the Persian Gulf escorted by the HMS Montrose.

Turning of the AIS in a high traffic area and especially at night is quite dangerous. The AIS signals a ships type, speed and course and other ships use that data to plan their own course. But even without AIS the ship will still be visible on the Iranian surveillance radars that control the Hormuz Strait. A ship on the radar screen without AIS information would be suspicious.

So why would the British ship do that? Was that an attempt to draw special attention to it from the Iranian coast guard or military?

To me it seems that the empty British crude carrier, which was shadowed by a British frigate, was used as bait. There were probably Royal Marines on board waiting for an Iranian attempt to seize the ship. Iran did not fall for it.

On July 4 the British military in Gibraltar hijacked the tanker GRACE 1 which was carrying Iranian crude oil allegedly to Syria. The ship had planned to receive provisions in Gibraltar. The British controlled enclave changed its local regulations only a day before the ship arrived:

The new regulation, introduced on July 3, allows Gibraltar to designate and detain ‘specified ships’ for up to 72 hours if the chief minister has reasonable grounds to suspect a breach of EU regulations.

Crucially, Grace 1 can be held until any other legal proceedings in other jurisdictions against the owners of the cargo or tanker are settled. The seizure has triggered a diplomatic row between the UK and Iran, amid claims the detention was done at the behest of the US.

Tomasz Wlostowski, a lawyer specialized in EU regulatory affairs, found that there is no legal base in EU sanctions law and regulations to nab the tanker.

Today the police of Gibraltar arrested the captain of the ship:

Gibraltar Chronicle @GibChronicle - 14:45 UTC - 11 Jul 2019

Police in #Gibraltar have arrested the captain and chief officer of the supertanker Grace 1 on suspicion of breaching EU sanctions on Syria, a spokesman for the Royal Gibraltar Police has confirmed.

The spokesman confirmed too that documents and electronic devices have been seized from the ship.

Both men were arrested on Thursday afternoon interviewed under caution. Neither has been charged at this stage and investigations continue.

On July 3 a U.S. military spy plane crossed into Iranian airspace, twice, likely to provoke an reaction. The pirating of the GRACE 1 on July 4 was a U.S. planned provocation of Iran but carried out by the Brits. The passage of the empty BRITISH HERITAGE without AIS but with a military shadow seems to have been an attempt to lure Iran into a revenge action. When that did not work John Bolton strew the scare story about a failed attempt to 'seize' the ship. The Brits say the incident was less serious, and Iran says it never happened. The arrest of the captain of the GRACE 1 is another step on the provocation ladder.

The people who planned these provocation do not understand how Iran acts and reacts. Its military forces are obviously under orders not to react to provocations as such could allow the John Bolton's of this world to escalate towards a war.

Iran will react to these provocations and especially the British seizure of its tanker. But, as we noted in an earlier piece, its responses to such incidents are nearly always asymmetrical and come at an unexpected place and time.

Posted by b on July 11, 2019 at 17:39 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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reply to
farm ecologist
Yes of course, Israel cannot be trusted, but I was implying if IAEA will release any information on this, then it is really bad for Iran.
Posted by: Zanon | Jul 11 2019 19:27 utc | 22

From what I have read, Mossad "found it" at an empty warehouse and alerted the IAEA who have not as yet made a ruling on what they found. My guess is the Mossad "found" what they put there.
I am sure Bibi has a chart ready to go on this.

Posted by: frances | Jul 12 2019 14:05 utc | 101

gzon | Jul 12 2019 13:27 utc | 99

Thank you for this link. It is somewhat soothing
to read that one's own understanding and point of
view are shared in this clarity.

Yes, the world is in its deepest trouble ever, with
completely insane religious freaks calling the shots.
And that has to be the best pun that could ever be
intended.

These freaks are about to shoot up the planet as we
type and watch in disbelief over such utter delusions.

Posted by: nottheonly1 | Jul 12 2019 14:11 utc | 102

If CNN declares tomorrow that America entered WWII to save Israel from Nazi Russia after North Korea bombed Pearl Harbour, what percentage of Amerikastanis will *not* believe it?

Anyone?

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayastha | Jul 12 2019 14:13 utc | 103

sorry... off topic...

Turkey received the first batch of Russia's S-400 missile defence system on Friday, sparking NATO "concern" and risking deepening tensions with the US which has repeatedly warned against the purchase.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D_RRA2eUwAIuHB6.jpg

VIDEO
https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1149639798602125312
https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1149650212761169920
https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1149654272935485449
https://twitter.com/BabakTaghvaee/status/1149664461575208968

Posted by: curious man | Jul 12 2019 14:17 utc | 104

@2 Sally Snyder - Well, yes, a christianity which "might" follow the four gospels - "do unto others...," "turn the other cheek..." and so on. But evangelical christians of all sorts follow the OT more closely, and only the NT when it suits. Not that, as the non-evangelical christians have demonstrated over the centuries, being a predominantly NT or OT follower makes much difference when it comes to slaughtering other peoples when they've got what you want...the Spanish and British invasion and land-grabbing of the Americas makes that abundantly clear.

Posted by: AnneR | Jul 12 2019 14:42 utc | 105

Biswapriya Purkayastha @105 asked: "...what percentage of Amerikastanis will *not* believe it?"

Roughly 60% of Americans would not believe it.

Sounds pretty good, right? But if FOX News and CNN both make the same basic announcement then the percentage of disbelievers will drop to under 20%. This is because there are a certain percentage of Americans who assert "I get my news from ALL sources, both FOX and CNN, and only consider it true if they agree!"

The 20% of disbelievers will be branded by the New York Langley Times and the Washington Bezos Post as conspiracy theorist Putin-bots and dismissed. They will be banned from Twitter and Facebook and their blogs shut down by their service providers. The believers will be convinced that it is only Alex Jones and a few groupies who doubt the revealed truth of Nazi Russia's terrible crimes and the Perfidious Koreans' dastardly deceit.

This might sound like hyperbole, but constant propaganda / brainwashing has rendered most Americans' minds sufficiently "supple" that significant portions of their worldview can be swapped out with new narratives without triggering any cognitive dissonance whatsoever.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 12 2019 14:51 utc | 106

Aren't the USA and the UK building a military presence in the Gulf under the pretext of 'protecting' the navigation to threaten Iran and get ready for an future attack?

Iran must act fast to prevent such a buildup. The question is how? The UK once out of the EU will certainly become more aggressive toward Iran and closer to the USA. Hitting the UK now on its weak area is less dangerous than hitting the US. What are the UK weak area?
I think Iran will try to make use of Qatar's antagonism with the Emirates and Saudi Arabia to respond to the UK and the USA. The USA does not want to spoil its relation with Qatar where US troops are stationed, it will paralyzed.

Posted by: Virgile | Jul 12 2019 15:04 utc | 107

If the goal is to make Iran respond with force, yet not trigger a full scale war, perhaps the return of sanctions is the motivator?

Posted by: bobzibub | Jul 12 2019 15:04 utc | 108

"We in Britain are having the same experience today. The wilder the claims of the insane Brexiters, the more government policy moves towards them, and will include their views in government policy.

"Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 11 2019 20:02 utc | 28"

The decision to leave the EU was made, by a slim majority of the popular vote, in 2016. In the subsequent General Election the two main parties engaged to implement the decision.

It's been very messy since but the possible outcomes, as we see them at present, have been narrowed down to three. 1. Not leaving. 2. Staying close to the EU ("Withdrawal Agreement" arrived at by Mrs May.) 3. Leaving "without a deal" - that is, with few arrangements having been made to avoid disruption of cross channel trade.

Seems at present one of the last two outcomes is the most likely. But the majority for "Brexit" was slim and most of the MP's in the House of Commons are opposed so (1), not leaving at all, must still be reckoned to be on the cards.

It gets messier. There aren't that many MP's wanting Brexit but those who do are mainly neo-con and neoliberal. Hawks and globalists. The Brexit vote was to some extent an anti-establishment vote so we may view the position now as a strongly establishment group of politicians at the helm of a partly anti-establishment movement.

Then there's defence. Since the Brexit vote EU/UK defence integration has speeded up. So the UK may be moving from being maid of all work for the largely neocon American establishment to being a mainstay of the emergent EU neocon establishment.

Personal view - that is bad news. The American political establishment is, however imperfectly, subject to democratic control. The EU isn't. Very bad news for the inhabitants of the Balkans and MENA who could well find themselves subjected to more neocon adventures but this time from the EU/UK and without the check, such as it is, that the American democratic system provides.

But don't worry. Soon as we've got our independence back we'll clear out the present crop of losers and chancers masquerading as politicians in the UK just now and put ourselves on a better course. Please don't comment back and say you've heard that one before. We all have, but there's always the chance that this time it'll be different. Isn't there?

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2019 15:11 utc | 109

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2019 15:11 utc | 111

Incredible that a commenter calls the EU neocon, when you look at what is going on in Britain today.

"The American political establishment is, however imperfectly, subject to democratic control. The EU isn't."

Have you seen anything as unrealistic as that? The imperfections of the US constitution are well known on this blog. The lack of electoral accountability in Britain is less well known but easily described. However like all the wild Brexiters, he leaves rationality behind when describes the EU as not subject to democratic control. We all know the EU has a democratic system, much more thorough than the British one, where as we are seeing, the new British PM is about to be elected by 160,000 elderly haters of anything foreign. English Outsider sounds like the handle of someone like that.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 12 2019 15:38 utc | 110

@ 110 Any direct open conflict between Iran and US et al. is likely to lead to full scale war.

Though the US might obtain snapback sanctions (where a veto is maybe all that is needed for them to take effect see here for explanation route ), further security council resolution allowing use of force against Iran are also likely to be vetoed by members of the security council. This leaves escalation scenarios instead, or a non authorised strike by Israel, to which Iran would likely reply.

Well said @ 111 , a level of accountability should return after Brexit. Unfortunately that adds pressure to the existing timeframe for escalation.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 12 2019 15:46 utc | 111

@ Christian
I can guarantee you that Russia doesn't give a flying F#$k about the US government or anybody else thinks of Crimea. The line from Putin and Lavrov these days is that the US is not agreement capable. I think that is spot on. They know it. China knows it. Iran knows it. There will be no more divide and conquer. That is why Russia backed Syria. Russia will back Iran too if it comes to that. If Iran asks they will bring Russian troops and the S400 into Iran.

Posted by: goldhoarder | Jul 12 2019 15:48 utc | 112

The entire Outlaw US Empire has zero grounds to bitch about the JCPOA. The timeline shows Obama reneged before the ink was even dry

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 11 2019 21:15 utc | 41

Isn't it what USA always do? For example with North Korea twice? Break their part of any deal then try to make the party they just defrauded commit their part of already violated deal?

"agreements incapable"

They said long ago that USA is mafia slowly century to century grown up the state size. Seems it was correct

Posted by: Arioch | Jul 12 2019 17:35 utc | 113

@ Azul | Jul 11 2019 17:56 utc | 3
“I am Muslim
Americans mercilessly kill my people in Afghanistan
Israeli Zionists mercilessly kill my people in Palestine
Indians mercilessly kill my people in Kashmir
Buddhists are mercilessly killing my people in Burma
But still, they call me the terrorist :(
And now they are coming for Iran :'(“

In how many countries are Islamic jihadists busily slaughtering practitioners of non-Islamic faiths by the thousands, along with those who practice “the wrong kind” of Islam? Can you count them?

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jul 12 2019 17:54 utc | 114

So the U.K. has decided to send a secound navy vessel to the Persian Gulf, I would hope that Russia would ‘engage’ now by moving its navy into that area, to protect Iran’s shipping ! Such a message sent would be best for all sides, earning Russia much kudos and power world wide. And preventing the west from further psychotic self-harm !
Iran should give the U.K. a time limit to realese the kidnapped oil tanker or face immediate reprisal on U.K. shipping in the gulf. 2 day’s should do it.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jul 12 2019 17:54 utc | 115

Iran should accelerate the construction of Rasht–Astara railway, the last missing piece of the North–South Corridor. Even if the construction of Chabahar port remains in limbo due to sanctions, the corridor can still start operating through the port of Bandar Abbas. And if Washington imposes a total naval blockade on Iran, the railway connection to Russia will prove to be invaluable.

Posted by: S | Jul 12 2019 17:55 utc | 116

@ Azul | Jul 11 2019 17:56 utc | 3
“I am Muslim
Americans mercilessly kill my people in Afghanistan
Israeli Zionists mercilessly kill my people in Palestine
Indians mercilessly kill my people in Kashmir
Buddhists are mercilessly killing my people in Burma
But still, they call me the terrorist :(
And now they are coming for Iran :'(“

Its the chickens coming home to roots, habibi.

"Before the 16th century, the main line of communication across Eurasia was not maritime, but the chain of steppes and deserts from Sahara to Mongolia," as Arnold Toynbee observed. The reason goes back to 1453 (the fall of Constantinople) and the late fifteenth century when " "ship-rigged" vessels with multiple square sails on each mast appeared and became common for sailing ships". The fall of Constantinople cut off the West's access to the Silk Road and silk and spices from China and India respectively. This was the impetus or "necessity" which was the "mother" which gave birth to the "ship-rigged" vessels which were able to maneuver with more flexibility and were much faster, and hence were able to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, giving rise to the McKinder Heartland/ Ocean Powers dichotomy, and ultimately, to the Anglo domination of the seas and hence of trade. Serves the Turks and Persians right, as this was the chickens coming home to roost on Turkey (for having violated the sovereignty and indeed very existence of Byzantium) and on Iran (for having Islamized the Turks without impressing upon them the fact that such acts of violence and aggression are against the spirit and letter of the sacred law of their newly adopted religion). Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jul 12 2019 18:59 utc | 117

Nuff Sed @119--

Yep, Guns, Germs, and Steel were the technological assets along with naval architectural design combined with the willingness of sailors to risk death often to escape it otherwise. Imagine sailing around the world on a wooden vessel held together with wooden pins and tar knowing that you don't have enough water or fresh food to even make it across the Atlantic!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 12 2019 19:56 utc | 118

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 12 2019 15:38 utc | 112

I don't think Brexit is much to do with "hating". One doesn't "hate" the Russians or the Americans. The reverse in fact. But that doesn't mean one would want to see one's country absorbed by them. Brexit is an attempt to prevent the UK being absorbed into the EU. It's a struggle for independence and the fact that it's in a modern setting should not obscure that fact.

In all struggles for independence there's a split within the country seeking independence. It's a split between those in the country who want independence and those who would prefer to continue with the status quo. To take examples from our own past history, this was the case both with the American struggle for independence and the Indian, though perhaps the example closest to Brexit is the very similar Irish struggle a century ago.

The split's usually pretty acrimonious, with either side disliking or contemptuous of the other. So it's unlikely you and I would come to agreement on most of the issues involved. But I hope you'll agree that my three paragraph summary above of what has happened with Brexit to date is accurate as far as brevity permits.

Back to Iran. That's seriously worrying and we must both hope it doesn't escalate. After all, whatever happens with Brexit there'll be no missile attacks and the way things are going there could well be such with Iran.

Posted by: English Outsider | Jul 12 2019 21:03 utc | 119

Nuff Sed @ 119:

The West cut off their access to the Silk Road through the Islamic lands by indulging in acts of pillage, murder and cannibalism in Constantinople and other parts of Anatolia and the Levant during the so-called Crusades.

While supposedly saving the Byzantine empire from its own incompetence and helplessness from Seljuk Turk invasion, Western crusaders instead carved up Byzantine territory and whatever territory they took from Turks and Arabs alike. Christian as well as Muslim, Jewish and other people in the conquered territories were killed (and sometimes eaten) by the Crusaders and their followers.

The depravities of Western Christians were enough to turn Orthodox Christians away from Rome and to prefer the rule of the Ottoman Turks when Sultan Mehmet and his forces finally entered Constantinople in 1453 and beheld a city that had long been in decline since the last outbreak of bubonic plague, way back in the mid-1300s.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 12 2019 21:22 utc | 120

@120 Don't forget Rum, Sodomy and the Lash.

Posted by: dh | Jul 12 2019 21:53 utc | 121

Jen @122--

So few have eyes to see. One with eyes was Sir Thomas More with his vantage point in England took in the present depravities and learned of those past. With the discovery of the Western Hemisphere, he wrote Utopia contrasting the devil he knew with the angel he hoped existed. Of course, further horrors followed his murder by Henry VIII. Unfortunately, Utopia is seldom used in history courses, although it does get read in English Literature courses, where it's placed out-of-context. In numerous ways, the West is still as barbarian as it's always been.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 12 2019 22:04 utc | 122

As is the rest of humanity.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jul 12 2019 23:03 utc | 123

For those of you who think it it somewhat difficult to waylay an oil tanker with a small boat, read up on Somali pirating. All it requires is a crew of at least 4,outboard engines that can do 30 knots, grapple hooks or similar, small arms and a shitload of willpower...

Posted by: d | Jul 13 2019 7:24 utc | 124

@sallysneider #2 I was reading Barbara Tuchman's book, Bible and Sword, about the background to the Balfour declaration and subsequent support for the Jewish occupation of Palestine. It actually goes back to English identification with the Hebrews in earliest Christianity, but really starts to get interesting with the Puritans' emigration to Holland to escape persecution followed by their emigration to America. She points out that although they called themselves Christians, their focus was almost entirely on the Old Testament, and they identified with the Jews as being a persecuted sect. That, I think, is the point. The Evangelicals don't really pay attention to what Jesus said, they are focused on The Law as revealed in Genesis, Deuteronomy, Judges, and Kings. Which includes massacreing the previous occupants of the Promised Land.

Posted by: Procopius | Jul 13 2019 9:21 utc | 125

Like half of ROW.
Trying to ride it out and hoping for american voters to save our bacon.

Posted by: jared | Jul 13 2019 13:29 utc | 126

@ Posted by: Procopius | Jul 13 2019 9:21 utc | 127

Its not so much the words as how you put them together or how or who interprates them for you and why.

Posted by: jared | Jul 13 2019 13:35 utc | 127

@ Posted by: Procopius | Jul 13 2019 9:21 utc | 127

It would be nice to blame on somebody else or some other sinester group.
But it seems throughout modern history whitey has been attack blacky. They have something and we want it.

Posted by: jared | Jul 13 2019 13:53 utc | 128

With Brexit looming and set to happen in some form, the UK turns to its now supremo Lord and Master, via the special relationship, with the US, for ‘deals’ re. trade and services and more - milit. coop..alignement, etc.

While cutting themselves away from the EU, seeking to revitalise previous empire or what not with India, other ex colonials (won’t work -> see limping Commonwealth, all have regional ties, aims, see also China’s role) the USA is the only succor, so it has to be pandered to, championed in its agressive adventures.

Blair faced some oppo re. the invasion of Iraq — it was actually delayed because of it. Went thru finally.

Now, provocations and aggro towards Iran are *obligatory.* No doubt Brit pols. consider all that rather symbolic at present, or as not necessitating massive support -> milit. - funding, - strong action - etc.

Trump will of course eat GB, a mini-vassal state, alive on trade, and revel in praising the Queen and admiring BoJo and forcing Brits to have greater health care.

Expect discourse like: A review of the management of the NHS has become necessary.

Azul at 3 posted : I am Muslim Americans mercilessly kill my people in Afghanistan Israeli Zionists mercilessly kill my people in Palestine …

azul your cry is heard by me, what can i say ...

Posted by: Noirette | Jul 13 2019 16:01 utc | 129

Noirette @ 132

Precisely. I have also made a similar comment.

Brexit is all about nationalism and sovereignty?


hahahaha.

Not.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jul 13 2019 16:11 utc | 130

Remember the Iranian tanker in Gibraltar? Pre-Epstein? No? Well it seems there has been a development. Jeremy Hunt will release it as long as it doesn't go to Syria. He also says...

"I reassured him our concern was destination, not origin of the oil," he wrote on Twitter, "and that UK would facilitate release if we received guarantees that it would not be going to Syria."

https://www.bbc.com/news/48977093

Posted by: dh | Jul 13 2019 17:50 utc | 131

@Jen #122
@Nuff Sed #119
Actually, I personally see the Council of Chalcedon being the largest factor in the amazingly fast rise of Islam in taking over the Middle East and North Africa. The Council of Chalcedon was in 451 AD - and it is from this date that the Oriental Orthodox church split from the Eastern Orthodox (Byzantine) and Holy Roman church factions. In fact, because of the Council of Chalcedon, the Oriental Orthodox were treated worse than heretics by the mainstream. It isn't all that surprising then that the Oriental Orthodox faithful in Syria, Egypt, Ethipia, etc - basically all of the Middle East and North Africa - didn't fight too hard when the Muslims came.
Under Islam, the Oriental Orthodox are considered "People of the Book" and treated better than under mainstream Christianity.
As for the Silk Road getting cut - I disagree with the assertion that Constantinople was the factor. The Byzantines didn't control anything more than a significant waystation; whether a Turk or a Greek Byzantine levied a transit tax in Constantinople, was largely irrelevant. The real factor was the disintegration of the Mongol Empire. Previously, the Mongol Empire controlled most of the trade routes from East Asia to the Middle East. With its fall, warlords started fighting over who controlled what - which led to a breakdown in security, which allowed bandits (and warlords pretending to be bandits) to proliferate, which in turn made the whole trade not worthwhile anymore. The Middle Eastern tribes and the Byzantines were largely bystanders and victims in this. The deciding factor, IMO, was that the Silk Road actually came back into operation once the Safavids consolidated control over the Central Asian/Persia parts of the Silk Road. So long as there wasn't fighting between the Ottomans and Safavids, the Silk Road operated.
Agreed on the rationale for development of long range ships - Columbus went West while the Portuguese went South to open alternate Silk Road trading routes. I imagine markups were in the 1000%+ range - that's a lot of margin to disintermediate.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 13 2019 18:38 utc | 132

In addition to these operations being deliberate provocations in an attempt to get Iran to do something stupid and thus "justify" a US attack, I believe the immediate goal is to "justify" the presence of more US and allied navy ships in the Gulf. It is also to condition the public to seizures of Iranian oil tankers. We have the one in the Med, then the detaining of one in the Suez Canal. Then we have this British incident where the goal appears to be to bolster the calls for more "escorts".

The end goal would appear to be ramping up an actual blockade of Iranian oil shipments from the Gulf as part of Trump's demand to stop all Iranian oil shipments. This of course would be an act of war and would force Iran to close the Straits of Hormuz. But if it can be spun as a "multinational" effort, then when the war starts, Trump can say he's not to blame, and that Iran "forced his hand" by closing the Straits.

Ninety nine percent of the US public have no clue what is going on and they'll believe anything Rachel Mad-Cow says, so...the Iran war will be on.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Jul 13 2019 21:33 utc | 133

C1ue @ 135:

Western Christendom still did have to operate through Byzantine or other non-Western Christian intermediaries (or in some instances through Jewish intermediaries) to get access to Silk Road goods after the Crusades and after the various Crusader states established in the Levant were defeated by the Mamelukes from Egypt or by Mongols. Most of that trade done with the Byzantines was by Venetians.

The fall of Constantinople in 1453 is significant in its own way because that meant Venetian trade with the Byzantines was disrupted and western Europeans were then forced to deal with a new power they couldn't control and manipulate as they could with the Byzantines. One result among others was that economic power (and potential cultural power) passed from the Republic of Venice or whatever it was in the mid-1400s to Tuscany and other northern Italian states, and this partly explains why Florence, not Venice, became the most influential city then and for decades later. The other result as we know was that western Christian nations were motivated to seek alternate routes to China and India.

By the time the Ottomans and the Safavids agreed on peace and to respect one another's borders (which respect lasted at least until Saddam Hussein decided to invade Iran in 1980), the Portuguese, the English, the Dutch and the Spanish had already reached southern and eastern Asia by sea.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 13 2019 22:27 utc | 134

@Jen #137
Yes, the Venetians had to work through Constantinople, but neither they, nor the Byzantines, nor the Turks were the reasons by trade was interrupted.
There was no reason for them to do so - the trade brought enormous profits all along the Silk Road.
The Venetians, in fact, did a lot of anti-piracy work to ensure their part of the route stayed reliable.
Once again, the main reason the Silk Road was interrupted for a significant period of time was the fall of the Mongol empire. The Asia to Middle East portion was in enormous turmoil as various tribes fought for ascendance over various parts of that leg of the Silk Road - and they couldn't care less about security until ownership was finalized. The Silk Road interruptions started well before the fall of Constantinople.
As one example: Tamerlane. He was supposedly a Turkish/Mongol mix who wished to restore the Mongol empire. His dynasty was late 1300s to mid 1400s - and was one of the larger notable states springing out of the Mongol Ilkhanate dissolution. There were dozens of such entities - waxing and waning - and it was this instability plus the constant fighting that caused the Silk Road to disintegrate.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 14 2019 0:11 utc | 135

The exaggerations of Irans importance as anything but a deliciously rich and helpless victim for cleverer and stronger nations are like comedy. Iraq pushed Irans poop up for ten years - Iraq - and didn't we only lose tanks to the sand and zero to the actions of the people that live in it when we ploughed that wrecked retard hole, twice? Iran is juicy, let's light it up and then take whatevers left as souvenirs. I want the money so I'm voting to #BombIran. We must free the Iranian people from WMDs or something and if that means some must pay the high price of freedom let it be so. Also I like watching it on TV because it looks like fireworks.

Posted by: Piers Peers | Jul 14 2019 4:12 utc | 136

While Iran "goes" to perhaps 5% U235 our "formerly nazi" German brothers cook with >92% illegally? Read the German https://deutsch.rt.com/inland/90214-in-bayern-forschungsreaktor.... (use search machine to complete)

""Bombenbetrieb" in Bayern"

" Munich operates a research reactor with 92.3 percent enriched uranium. According to a legal opinion published last week, the Bavarian government is violating not only operating licenses but also laws."

In other place I have read that the Germans build under contract actual atomic explosive ordnance for France...so much for "NPT"....

Posted by: Walter | Jul 16 2019 11:34 utc | 137

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