Iran: The Path to War
Iran: The Path to War
Earlier this month, British marines seized an Iranian super tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. The tanker carried oil bound for Syria in violation of sanctions the United States and Great Britain had in place. In response, Iranian authorities threatened retaliation. Yesterday, Iran carried through with that threat, seizing two British tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Now the sabers are rattling as we are pushed ever closer to war.
To be fair, Iran warned Britain it would retaliate for the seizure of its super tanker. But that is as much as I can say on the matter of fairness. In a game of semantics, Iran admitted it had seized one tanker, the Stena Impero, but released the second, the Mesdar. Yes, it had stopped the Mesdar, boarded it and held its crew in custody for a period of time. But that wasn’t “seizing” the tanker. Instead, Tehran said the Mesdar was allowed to leave after being warned “over safety and environmental issues.”
The British Foreign Office released the following statement:
We remain deeply concerned about Iran’s unacceptable actions which represent a clear challenge to international freedom of navigation. We have advised UK shipping to stay out of the area for an interim period.
As the Foreign Secretary has said, our response will be considered and robust and there will be serious consequences if the situation is not resolved.
We remain in close contact with our international partners and there will be further meetings over the weekend.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed concern over the events and stated the government is working “to swiftly secure the release of the two vessels.”
It is important to remember that earlier yesterday, Iran denied American claims that U. S. naval forces had shot down an Iranian drone. At the time, Iran said such a claim was not only false but was “intended to increase tensions in the Persian Gulf.” Funny, isn’t it, how the one claiming to be the victim is so quick to prove they are actually the aggressor?
But what did happen to the Stena Impero? According to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, the tanker was taken to an Iranian port for failure to comply with “international maritime laws and regulations.” Conversely, the company that owns the Stena Impero released a statement denying Iran’s claims. In the face of Iran’s earlier threat of seizing British ships, I know who I am more inclined to believe.
The question is how far Britain, or any other nation facing similar circumstances, will respond to Iran. Hunt commented that his country isn’t looking at military options. However, he warned that “there will be serious consequences” if the tanker and its crew isn’t released.
President Trump has even weighed in. (Begins at the 30 second mark)
What these politicians, American and British,need to do is remember their history. Almost 40 years ago, Iranian “students” stormed the American embassy in Tehran. Sixty-six Americans were taken hostage. Of those, 52 were held for 444 days. Diplomatic attempts to free the hostages failed, mainly because the Iranians didn’t fear Jimmy Carter. That fact was driven home when the hostages were released the same day Ronald Reagan took the oath of office.
Speculation ran high at the time Iran had backed down then because they were afraid Reagan wouldn’t hesitate to declare war.
The question now is how far the Iranians are willing to go with Donald Trump in office. Will they push him, or our allies, more than they have already? He isn’t Carter or Obama, more worried about appearances than in protecting American interests. While I don’t agree with certain members of Congress when they claim Trump is forcing us into a war with Iran, I also don’t doubt he’d willingly take us there if he felt it necessary.
This is a time when our media. also needs to remember history After all, the media rode the hostage crisis ratings to the top. Careers were made by the nightly coverage. Many of us still remember the opening to what became Nightline on ABC.
The Iran Crisis—America Held Hostage: Day xxx”
Somehow, I feel the media’s coverage if hostilities continue to escalate will be different from what we saw back then. I doubt we we will see them saying, as Frank Reynolds did, that the Iran crisis was more important than the battle among the Democrats.
Of course, if the media did decide the situation in the Strait of Hormuz was more important than the constant attempts to force Trump from office. . . .
Nah, that’s not going to happen.
It is very possible we are about to enter a reboot of those days. I hope not. I still dream of that day in November 1979, sitting around a table with classmates who were in the Reserves or who had retired from the military. Each of them, angry and determined after hearing about the fall of the embassy, had contacted their commanders or former commanders. To go bags were packed. Weapons had been checked. They were ready to leave for Iran if called to do so. No one took over our embassy and held our people hostage, especially not without a declaration of war.
Perhaps the Iranians think our government will react to what is happening the same way we did to Benghazi. If they do, they need to remember Trump is no Obama and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo is no Hillary Clinton. I, for one, don’t look forward to what might happen if Iran is foolish enough to seize our ships or hold our people.
No one but the Iranian leadership knows what their end game is. At the moment, they seem more than happy to rattle their sabers and start us down the path to war.
Featured image: Strait of Hormuz. Source: “Iran Country Profile” (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iran_country_profile_2009.jpg; detail: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/iran_strait_of_hormuz_2004.jpg), online at Perry Castaneda Online Library, University of Texas http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/iran.html. See copyright statement http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/faq.html#3.html