https://swarajyamag.com/world/the-geopo ... s-and-iran
Economically, war will be a disaster for the world, and maybe even worse for India. The Indian economy is one of those yet surviving international pressures but that is on the basis of energy prices lower than USD 75 per barrel. The first shot fired in the Gulf and strains of closure of Hormuz will send oil to 150 USD per barrel.
Loss of confidence of the diaspora could lead to annual losses of remittances worth 35-40 billion USD, besides the expenditure required for mass scale repatriation. The sky rocketing price of energy will have a major effect on China, which too imports 80 per cent of its needs. A Chinese economy in free fall will shake the world’s economy.
DUBAI: Four commercial vessels were targeted by "acts of sabotage" near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday morning, the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement amid rising tensions between neighboring Iran and the US.
The statement added the vessels, that were targeted near Fujairah and at a distance of 115 kilometers from Iran, were “civilian trading vessels of various nationalities”, and that the UAE was investigating the incident with local and international bodies.
Rumors about ships inside the port being sabotaged were unfounded, the ministry added.
The port of Fujairah continues to operate as normal and there were no victims of the sabotage incident.
The ministry added that targeting merchant ships and threatening the lives of crew members is a “dangerous development,” and that the government considers the acts of sabotage to be a threat to the safety and security of the UAE.
The country called on the international community to prevent any party from compromising maritime safety and security.
The ministry statement was tweeted by the official news agency WAM.
Bahrain condemned the acts of sabotage, saying it was a "criminal act" that threatened maritime traffic in the region. The kingdom said it stood with the UAE.
Earlier on Sunday, the UAE emirate of Fujairah denied media reports that claimed a series of explosions had rocked its port on Sunday.
Claims from a number of news outlets, which were then shared on social media, said there had been explosions on Sunday morning and that fires had broken out on some of the docked oil tankers in the port.
Fujairah government’s media office tweeted a statement on Sunday denying there had been any explosions and that operations were continuing as normal.
It also called on media organizations to be “accurate” in their reporting and to only publish information once it was “confirmed by official sources.”
The harbor master of Fujairah port, who had been on shift at the time, also confirmed that there was no truth to the reports.
The US is building up forces in the region:
https://news.usni.org/2019/05/09/uss-ab ... rsian-gulf
Carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) is now in the Red Sea earlier than planned at the direction of the White House, USNI News has learned.
The Lincoln Carrier Strike Group left the Mediterranean and transited the Suez Canal on Thursday, officially entering U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. Central Command.
“ABECSG has been conducting operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations for several weeks, but expedited their transit to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) to protect U.S. forces and interests in the region,” the Navy said in a statement published following an earlier version of this post.
“ABECSG will be positioned by CENTCOM where it will best be able to protect U.S. forces and interests in the region and to deter any aggression.”
The move follows a statement earlier this week from the National Security Council that, due to provocative behavior from Iran and new intelligence estimates, the U.S. was repositioning the strike group from the Mediterranean to the Gulf. The Pentagon also deployed a U.S. Air Force bomber detachment that included B-52 Stratofortress bombers to the region.
On Sunday, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton called the move a reaction to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings.”
The assessments prompted CENTCOM Commander Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie to ask for the strike group and the bombers.
Exclusive: Eyeing Iran, U.S. sending more Patriot missiles to Middle East
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran ... SKCN1SG2AS
Meanwhile such articles are being produced, presumably to justify a war.
Iran moving ballistic missiles by boat, US officials say
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/07/politics ... index.html
Intelligence showing that Iran is likely moving short-range ballistic missiles aboard boats in the Persian Gulf was one of the critical reasons the US decided to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, according to several US officials with direct knowledge of the situation.
I say to justify war, because of analysis like this:
https://www.fpri.org/article/2019/05/mi ... -the-gulf/
If these reports are, indeed, accurate, then it worth asking what are Iranian ballistic missiles doing on ships? CNN noted that it was unclear if the missiles were intended to be launched from the vessels or if they were just being transported. While unusual, launching ballistic missiles from surface vessels is feasible. India’s navy operates the ship-launched Prithvi III missile, and South Korea successfully tested a Hyunmoo 2C from what appeared to be a cargo vessel. Indeed, there are some indications that Iran might at least have looked into this possibility in the past. In 2000/2001, researchers from the Malek-Ashtar University of Technology, an institution associated with Iran’s missile program, published a paper in the Iranian Journal for Maritime Engineering outlining their design for a sea-born Scud-B missile launcher. However, as the U.S. learned, launching ballistic missiles from ships is not an easy task, and like most missile-related activities, doing so requires extensive testing. So far, no ship-launches of Iranian ballistic missiles have been observed, and Iran sneakily developing this capability while avoiding the watchful eyes of Western intelligence services seems highly unlikely.
Just as important as technical considerations is Iran’s lack of a regional strategic rationale for basing ballistic missiles on surface vessels. The main advantage of basing ballistic missile on surface ships is the de-facto extension of range. However, range is not an issue when it comes to Iran targeting U.S. forces in the region because the Islamic Republic already operates a large arsenal of missiles with ranges up to 2000km and a particularly impressive force of shorter-range precision-guided solid-fuel missiles. This arsenal puts all major U.S. bases in the region within striking range of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Systems like the Qiam, the Zolfaghar, the Hormuz, and the Khalij-e Fars are not only deployed with the aim of targeting U.S. American military bases in the region, but were also originally designed to do so.
The caveats that apply to range also apply to survivability. A large part of Iran’s missile force is located in deep underground bases, and many of the country’s launch platforms can be disguised as civilian trucks, allowing them to blend in with traffic. It is hard to imagine how in terms of survivability single ships in the Persian Gulf—which is swarming with U.S. naval forces—would offer any advantage over current Iranian basing modes.
What is Iran Really Doing with its Missiles?
With ship-launched ballistic missiles seeming like a highly impractical and unlikely way to target U.S. forces in the region, this leaves the possibility of Iran merely transporting the missiles. Iran could use ships to deploy the missiles to some of its islands in the Persian Gulf, several of which, such as Abu Musa and Qeshm, are already known to house anti-ship missiles. However, yet again, there is little strategic rationale for doing so (except potential signaling). Unlike ballistic missiles, anti-ship missiles tend to have very limited ranges and do not easily pass mountainous terrain. Thus, forward-deploying them to islands makes sense. Basing ballistic missiles on these islands would result in only marginally increased ranges, but there is potential for substantially increased vulnerability when compared to deployment on Iran’s mainland.
All of these considerations makes a smuggling operation to one of Iran’s clients the most likely explanation. Current foreign operators of Iranian-made ballistic missiles include Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthis, the Syrian regime, allegedly Iraqi Shi’a militias, and potentially pro-Iranian armed groups in Syria. Iraq only has a minuscule coastline and can easily be supplied via its long and porous land border with Iran. While Syria and, by extension, Lebanon could be a possible destination, the choice of ships makes it seem highly improbable. According to the Washington Post, the vessels in question are dhows, small traditional wooden boats common to the Gulf area. Dhows are a terrible choice for transporting weapons to Syria, but are a great option for smuggling operations closer to home. There is ample evidence that Iran is using the small and inconspicuous ships to ferry arms to the Houthi movement in Yemen.