25 votes

Iran 'seizes British-flagged oil tanker'

21 comments

  1. ubergeek
    Link
    No way! The UK seizes an Iranian tanker, and then the world is shocked! Shocked, I tell you, when Iran seizes a UK tanker... Perhaps the UK should take it's own advice, and not impede...

    No way! The UK seizes an Iranian tanker, and then the world is shocked! Shocked, I tell you, when Iran seizes a UK tanker...

    Perhaps the UK should take it's own advice, and not impede international navigable water?

    And, I'm sure it doesn't help that Trump is poking at the bee's nest with a stick, and a squirt gun... And then everyone is wondering why it's nigh impossible to de-escalate the situation?

    11 votes
  2. [18]
    minimaltyp0s
    Link
    It's hard to write these off as "false flag" distractions right now. My instinct is to observe that both the US political apparatus and the UK political apparatus could really do with a big...

    It's hard to write these off as "false flag" distractions right now.

    My instinct is to observe that both the US political apparatus and the UK political apparatus could really do with a big distraction right about now, and we were being played that distraction with the drone claims and the grainy photos of foreign naval officers up to no good. But with Iran making belligerent noises on the world stage and then - seemingly undeniably - hijacking ships, I have to start to consider that this could genuinely be a case where we're going to have little choice but to intervene and that it would likely be a "just" intervention at that.

    I've seen people on other forums doing spectacular mental gymnastics over this too - seemingly the British are sending in commercial ships as bait to justify a war. Not that the Straights of Hormuz are a generally busy maritime region, just that we're sending in people so that we can "entrap" the Iranians into a war.

    10 votes
    1. [12]
      alyaza
      Link Parent
      let's be clear: any "intervention" will be a war, not an intervention. this isn't libya or syria where you can just lob some airstrikes into the area and call it a day--iran can and will...

      I have to start to consider that this could genuinely be a case where we're going to have little choice but to intervene and that it would likely be a "just" intervention at that.

      let's be clear: any "intervention" will be a war, not an intervention. this isn't libya or syria where you can just lob some airstrikes into the area and call it a day--iran can and will absolutely respond.

      16 votes
      1. [2]
        minimaltyp0s
        Link Parent
        Yes, for sure. I didn't mean to whitewash it with a poor choice of language. Good clarification. Iran seizing international ships is highly provocative, but they are well placed to be able to play...

        Yes, for sure. I didn't mean to whitewash it with a poor choice of language. Good clarification.

        Iran seizing international ships is highly provocative, but they are well placed to be able to play such a high stakes hand because of their retaliatory capability.

        Russia is an interesting wildcard to watch too.

        6 votes
        1. imperialismus
          Link Parent
          Iran seized a British tanker in response to the UK’s seizure of an Iranian tanker two weeks ago. Seems about proportional to the original provocation. This is not a situation that needs to...

          Iran seized a British tanker in response to the UK’s seizure of an Iranian tanker two weeks ago. Seems about proportional to the original provocation. This is not a situation that needs to escalate to war, if both sides are willing to make a good-faith effort to de-escalate. At the moment, neither side appears willing. The sad thing is it seems both sides stand to gain from brinkmanship, but neither side (nor any third parties affected) actually stands to gain from war, although Iran would suffer more. That is a dangerous game to play. Your reference to Russia reminds me: Let’s hope for everyone’s sake we don’t get a Great Game 2.0. Now with nukes!

          9 votes
      2. [9]
        vakieh
        Link Parent
        Eh, it would be a war the same way shock and awe was a war. If the US was smart enough to keep boots off the ground (doubtful) there is no response Iran could conceivably pull off for any sort of...

        Eh, it would be a war the same way shock and awe was a war. If the US was smart enough to keep boots off the ground (doubtful) there is no response Iran could conceivably pull off for any sort of meaningful effect on US forces. And the proximity to the Suez canal (muchas money) would mean the wrong sort of response to the wider area would see their entire country glassed and all major powers being ok with it.

        1. [7]
          alyaza
          Link Parent
          no international power is about to sign off on starting a massive war with iran because the US is throwing a tantrum that iran isn't willing to put up with being at the reactionary whims of...

          And the proximity to the Suez canal (muchas money) would mean the wrong sort of response to the wider area would see their entire country glassed and all major powers being ok with it.

          no international power is about to sign off on starting a massive war with iran because the US is throwing a tantrum that iran isn't willing to put up with being at the reactionary whims of someone with no understanding of foreign policy and is responding to apparent attacks on its sovereignty accordingly, lol. people barely signed off on iraq in the international community, and that was to topple an actual dictator who was a shithead (even if it was for stupid, incorrect reasons).

          5 votes
          1. [6]
            vakieh
            Link Parent
            Any international power would have no choice but to be heavy handed against anything and everything that threatened shipping through the Suez. The global economy would take a GFC scale hit from...

            Any international power would have no choice but to be heavy handed against anything and everything that threatened shipping through the Suez. The global economy would take a GFC scale hit from that shipping lane being disrupted. The amount of goods (including critical goods such as crude oil) that go through there each year is INSANE.

            A US carrier group would be in the Persian Gulf as they always are, and the Iranians have nothing that would come close to threatening one of those - which means they would be using tomahawks and drones to eliminate infrastructure and there would be nothing Iran could do about it. The only response from Iran that would have any meaning would be to involve the surrounding countries such as Iraq or further west, which they can't do because the canal is untouchable. They have no effective response.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              alyaza
              Link Parent
              well, it's a good thing iran isn't going to do fuck all in or near the suez then, considering that iran is separated from the suez by literally hundreds of miles and several countries (and shares...

              Any international power would have no choice but to be heavy handed against anything and everything that threatened shipping through the Suez.

              well, it's a good thing iran isn't going to do fuck all in or near the suez then, considering that iran is separated from the suez by literally hundreds of miles and several countries (and shares no ports which even have access to the red sea and only a few literally zero of which have access to the mediterranean sea, the closest bodies of water to the suez)

              2 votes
              1. vakieh
                Link Parent
                Then their only options are doing something to Afghanistan (what more is there to do?) or try and go up against the US directly. Exactly what response do you think they have? They have buckley's...

                Then their only options are doing something to Afghanistan (what more is there to do?) or try and go up against the US directly. Exactly what response do you think they have? They have buckley's chance of any reasonable direct anti-US action, they will get slapped down hard. The Suez is the only reasonable economic target within their strike capability, but they can't hold it hostage because the rest of the world won't let them. I suppose the other target would be oil fields, but Iran's only strong support network is OPEC, so that's probably out too.

                What deterrent do they actually have?

            2. [3]
              hungariantoast
              Link Parent
              Actually, the US Navy's aircraft carriers aren't nearly as resilient as they seem and there's a decent chance that, in the opening hours of a war, Iran could manage to sink one, costing thousands...

              A US carrier group would be in the Persian Gulf as they always are, and the Iranians have nothing that would come close to threatening one of those

              Actually, the US Navy's aircraft carriers aren't nearly as resilient as they seem and there's a decent chance that, in the opening hours of a war, Iran could manage to sink one, costing thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and an immeasurable hit to moral.

              Exercises in the past have shown that the US Navy's presence in the Persian Gulf actually puts them in quite a delicate position where they become vulnerable to overwhelming strikes launched from the Iranian mainland.

              I really wish I could find something that talks about the exercises that were conducted, but basically, if I'm remembering it correctly, the general who played the part of Iranian command was able to, consecutively, inflict a devastating defeat on the US forces by taking advantage of low-tech attack craft that the Iranians absolutely have an abundance of.

              If these exercises were a prediction of reality, the opening hours of the Iranian War would see more US Navy casualties than the attacks on Pearl Harbor.

              Of course, these exercises were conducted by career US officers that have better training and knowledge of US forces than the Iranians do, but that doesn't nullify the fact that a carrier group in the Persian Gulf is genuinely at risk of being destroyed.

              1. [2]
                vakieh
                Link Parent
                So what you're saying is they've identified the threat? Seems rather likely in that case that they will have developed a strategy for dealing with that threat. Such as undisclosed technology, or...

                So what you're saying is they've identified the threat? Seems rather likely in that case that they will have developed a strategy for dealing with that threat. Such as undisclosed technology, or just parking the boats further away?

                1. hungariantoast
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I am sure that, with the information gained from the exercises, the Navy has something up its sleeve, but the primary issue was that, anywhere inside the Persian Gulf, the fleet was vulnerable to...

                  I am sure that, with the information gained from the exercises, the Navy has something up its sleeve, but the primary issue was that, anywhere inside the Persian Gulf, the fleet was vulnerable to overwhelming attacks from the mainland. So, it wasn't a problem that they couldn't detect drones, boats, or other craft, but rather that Iran could launch so many of them over a period of time that the fleet's ability to sustainably defend itself would gradually erode, guaranteeing heavy casualties unless they withdrew, which they can't.

                  As for what developments might have been made to better defend a carrier group against this kind of opposition, I don't know.

                  Still though, even if I were generous and said that the Navy solved a lot of the problems the exercises revealed, I still wouldn't feel comfortable having an asset as important as an aircraft carrier just sitting in the Persian Gulf, waiting for a suicide ship to sink it.

        2. ubergeek
          Link Parent
          Yeah, there is far too much money to be made on a long, protracted ground war. I mean hell, airstrikes require few, if any, long term contracts.

          If the US was smart enough to keep boots off the ground (doubtful

          Yeah, there is far too much money to be made on a long, protracted ground war. I mean hell, airstrikes require few, if any, long term contracts.

    2. Diet_Coke
      Link Parent
      The Iranians are basically undergoing economic warfare after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal. They are steadily trying to pressure the other signatories of the deal to do something to help...

      The Iranians are basically undergoing economic warfare after the US pulled out of the nuclear deal. They are steadily trying to pressure the other signatories of the deal to do something to help them. This is all just due to the collosal stupidity of the Trump admin.

      10 votes
    3. [4]
      Litmus2336
      Link Parent
      This is one of those scary scenarios where both sides benefit from saber rattling. Iran wants to assert themselves in regards to the nuclear deal, and the US/UK could use a good old war to...

      This is one of those scary scenarios where both sides benefit from saber rattling. Iran wants to assert themselves in regards to the nuclear deal, and the US/UK could use a good old war to distract public opinion from politics.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        sqew
        Link Parent
        I wonder what US homeland opposition to war in Iran would be like. Based on the whisperings of the internet, a whole lot of Americans would be strongly against it.

        I wonder what US homeland opposition to war in Iran would be like. Based on the whisperings of the internet, a whole lot of Americans would be strongly against it.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Litmus2336
          Link Parent
          Eh, even during Kent State 60% of Americans blamed the students fully. Only 10% blamed the soldiers. It wasn't until the 68 Tet Offensive when more people thought the Vietnam war was a mistake...

          Eh, even during Kent State 60% of Americans blamed the students fully. Only 10% blamed the soldiers. It wasn't until the 68 Tet Offensive when more people thought the Vietnam war was a mistake than wasn't. The US had been in Vietnam since '54 at that point, with major combat since '64.

          The bottom line is Nixon's "silent majority" is real, and unfortunately I think a lot of people would strongly support military intervention in Iran.

          3 votes
          1. alyaza
            Link Parent
            color me skeptical. nixon--and every president before obama, honestly--had the benefit of being in a time where negative partisanship was pretty much not a serious factor, while donald is...

            The bottom line is Nixon's "silent majority" is real, and unfortunately I think a lot of people would strongly support military intervention in Iran.

            color me skeptical. nixon--and every president before obama, honestly--had the benefit of being in a time where negative partisanship was pretty much not a serious factor, while donald is basically the poster child of it. he's underwater pretty badly on most foreign policy issues and in all the polling i've actually seen on iran, decently underwater there too (and that's with decent independent support that's probably not sustainable in any protracted war with iran given that we've already spent 17 years fucking everybody around them to nearly no tangible benefit and there's no reason to think iran would be different).

            2 votes
  3. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    A second tanker has also suddenly made a sharp turn towards Iran:...
    7 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      This second tanker wasn't seized: From this article, which has a lot more about the whole situation: Britain says Iran seizes two oil tankers in Gulf, Iran says captured one

      This second tanker wasn't seized:

      Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said the second vessel, the British-operated Mesdar, had not been seized. It said the ship had been allowed to continue its course after being given a warning over safety and environmental issues.

      From this article, which has a lot more about the whole situation: Britain says Iran seizes two oil tankers in Gulf, Iran says captured one

      7 votes