Woolsey suggests blocking Iran's refined oil supplies

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In the midst of worldwide alarm about Iranian nuclear weapons, Ex—CIA chief James Woolsey has suggested a simple solution: blocking Iran's import of refined petroleum supplies.

Iran has plenty of oil and gas, but few refineries. Blockading refined oil products might therefore bring down the regime very rapidly. Presto, change—o, no Islamist nuclear threat to the civilized world. But here are some of the difficulties.

1. Blockading Iran is a formal act of war. It would have to be backed up with force (though perhaps less than striking at Iran's nuclear rush to Armageddon).

2. Iran would retaliate at the very least by stopping its oil exports through the Gulf, which would raise the price of oil and its thousands of by—products.

3. In the face of a blockade, refined gasoline and other products could be smuggled into Iran over land, and across the Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. Russia could (and probably would) refuse to enforce the boycott, as could the "Stans," the Saudis and so on. Not because they want to see nuclear weapons aimed right down their throats, but because they want the hungry crocodile to swallow them last.

4. Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, to retaliate with terrorist strikes, to specifically attack Israel in retaliation (but also just for the heck of it), to attack US troops in Iraq, and so on. Chances are very good that Iran has bought politicians in Europe, the Middle East and the UN as an insurance policy, following in Saddam's footsteps.

All these obstacles could be solved ——— if saner nations could present a unified front. Chances of that are zero unless the Iranians strike out first, perhaps by hitting Saudi refineries.

Which means that Uncle Sam and a few other clear—headed nations may have to take the first steps. That will raise a deafening uproar from the usual suspects, who secretly want the US to suppress the threat but are deathly afraid to say so.

In the upshot, blockading refined oil products would have to come as part of a broader confrontation. The alternative is mad Iranian mullahs dominating the Gulf, with a nuclear—armed missile capacity, able to reach all of the capitals of Europe in less than 15 minutes. Even Paris and Berlin won't enjoy seeing ol' Mahmoud smiling at them down the barrel of a big gun.

Why does the US always have to protect the lazy, self—indulgent, blind, arrogant, fanatical and irresponsible countries in this world?

James Lewis   5 02 06

In the midst of worldwide alarm about Iranian nuclear weapons, Ex—CIA chief James Woolsey has suggested a simple solution: blocking Iran's import of refined petroleum supplies.

Iran has plenty of oil and gas, but few refineries. Blockading refined oil products might therefore bring down the regime very rapidly. Presto, change—o, no Islamist nuclear threat to the civilized world. But here are some of the difficulties.

1. Blockading Iran is a formal act of war. It would have to be backed up with force (though perhaps less than striking at Iran's nuclear rush to Armageddon).

2. Iran would retaliate at the very least by stopping its oil exports through the Gulf, which would raise the price of oil and its thousands of by—products.

3. In the face of a blockade, refined gasoline and other products could be smuggled into Iran over land, and across the Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. Russia could (and probably would) refuse to enforce the boycott, as could the "Stans," the Saudis and so on. Not because they want to see nuclear weapons aimed right down their throats, but because they want the hungry crocodile to swallow them last.

4. Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, to retaliate with terrorist strikes, to specifically attack Israel in retaliation (but also just for the heck of it), to attack US troops in Iraq, and so on. Chances are very good that Iran has bought politicians in Europe, the Middle East and the UN as an insurance policy, following in Saddam's footsteps.

All these obstacles could be solved ——— if saner nations could present a unified front. Chances of that are zero unless the Iranians strike out first, perhaps by hitting Saudi refineries.

Which means that Uncle Sam and a few other clear—headed nations may have to take the first steps. That will raise a deafening uproar from the usual suspects, who secretly want the US to suppress the threat but are deathly afraid to say so.

In the upshot, blockading refined oil products would have to come as part of a broader confrontation. The alternative is mad Iranian mullahs dominating the Gulf, with a nuclear—armed missile capacity, able to reach all of the capitals of Europe in less than 15 minutes. Even Paris and Berlin won't enjoy seeing ol' Mahmoud smiling at them down the barrel of a big gun.

Why does the US always have to protect the lazy, self—indulgent, blind, arrogant, fanatical and irresponsible countries in this world?

James Lewis   5 02 06