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Thread: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

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    Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...tells-cbs.html

    Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS
    By Kathleen Hunter and Viola Gienger
    January 09, 2012 12:00 AM EST

    Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz “for a period of time,” and the U.S. would take action to reopen it, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey said.
    “They’ve invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz,” Dempsey said in an interview aired yesterday on the CBS “Face the Nation” program. “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.”
    Should Iran try to close Hormuz, the U.S. “would take action and reopen” the waterway, said Dempsey, President Barack Obama’s top military adviser.
    Blocking the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic shipping lane linking the Gulf of Oman with the Persian Gulf, would constitute a “red line” for the U.S., as would Iranian efforts to build a nuclear weapon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on the same program.
    The U.S. tightened economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program on Dec. 31, and the European Union is weighing a ban later this month on purchases of Iranian crude.
    The main question here is : what is the period of time that Iran could keep the strait blocked??

    Is this another "days not weeks" thing like we've heard before (where 10 years later there's still a quagmire)??

    Or would they be able to block and suppress the strait for an extended period of time??

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    No comments??
    No disagreements even?

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    I've heard they can block it from 2-4 weeks and possibly longer if they can mine it successfully enough to restrict flow. The problem is we don't have enough mine sweepers. And the worse problem I keep arguing and getting no support on is that the oil and possibly global markets could go wonky. Gas went up .20c a gallon in two days where I live just because of saber rattling.

    Anyway, I think we might find out eventually then it won't be conjecture and I hope I'm wrong.
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    I've heard they can block it from 2-4 weeks and possibly longer if they can mine it successfully enough to restrict flow. The problem is we don't have enough mine sweepers. And the worse problem I keep arguing and getting no support on is that the oil and possibly global markets could go wonky. Gas went up .20c a gallon in two days where I live just because of saber rattling.

    Anyway, I think we might find out eventually then it won't be conjecture and I hope I'm wrong.
    Well, estimates are that if they DID block the straight that oil would shoot up somewhere between 30-100% within 48 hours (depending on how alternate oil producers might compensate).

    Thanks for the response though.

    A secondary question would be : How long would a surge in energy prices (even at the relatively conservative 30% increase) take before completely decimating what's left of the US economy, and / or the european or even the global economy??

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by BmanMcfly View Post
    Iran Able to Block Strait of Hormuz, General Dempsey Says on CBS - Bloomberg



    The main question here is : what is the period of time that Iran could keep the strait blocked??

    Is this another "days not weeks" thing like we've heard before (where 10 years later there's still a quagmire)??

    Or would they be able to block and suppress the strait for an extended period of time??
    Even Iran has a vested interest in keeping the strait open. Their whole economy is based on exporting oil. Unless they know how to export it by train, I'd say they're a paper tiger.
    The devil whispered in my ear, "You cannot withstand the storm." I whispered back, "I am ​the storm."

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by BmanMcfly View Post
    Well, estimates are that if they DID block the straight that oil would shoot up somewhere between 30-100% within 48 hours (depending on how alternate oil producers might compensate).

    Thanks for the response though.

    A secondary question would be : How long would a surge in energy prices (even at the relatively conservative 30% increase) take before completely decimating what's left of the US economy, and / or the european or even the global economy??
    There's no way of knowing that because of how markets are half based on emotion. Ever see anyone lose a lot of it and not get upset? The strategic petroleum reserves would last a month on their own and two if rationed. By then there would be some extra output by other sources easing some of the demand. It's not likely to be a market crashing event, unless there's a destabilizing effect on other forms of assets. Remember oil is sold in dollars and our opposition would love nothing more than to see a run on bonds and the dollar devalued. As the dollar got weaker the oil would keep going higher making it a very expensive commodity and loads of money for some greedy hoarders and market manipulators. Any country or behind the scene players egging that on would ultimately regret the outcome. It could cause a crash and economic, end game scenario worldwide but it would probably occur over a 6 month period. People wouldn't stop buying gas until it hit $50-$100 a gallon.

    If Iran suffers a big enough money drought from our sanctions it won't matter if even 80% of their economy is oil driven they'll have nothing to lose. So it's a dicey game we're all playing.
    Last edited by grip; 01-10-12 at 01:09 AM.
    Einstein, "science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by BmanMcfly View Post
    Iran Able to Block Strait of Hormuz, General Dempsey Says on CBS - Bloomberg



    The main question here is : what is the period of time that Iran could keep the strait blocked??

    Is this another "days not weeks" thing like we've heard before (where 10 years later there's still a quagmire)??

    Or would they be able to block and suppress the strait for an extended period of time??
    They could only keep the straits blocked for as long as it takes for a carrier task force to blow through the blockade. The only way for them to keep the starits blocked for any extended period of time, is if no one lifts a finger to clear them out. IMO, they only have one battle in them and if they go up against and American carrier task force, they will lose that one battle.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieD View Post
    Even Iran has a vested interest in keeping the strait open. Their whole economy is based on exporting oil. Unless they know how to export it by train, I'd say they're a paper tiger.
    Allow me to show you a map of the Caspian Sea.



    Iran has an advantage here.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Allow me to show you a map of the Caspian Sea.



    Iran has an advantage here.
    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    They could only keep the straits blocked for as long as it takes for a carrier task force to blow through the blockade. The only way for them to keep the starits blocked for any extended period of time, is if no one lifts a finger to clear them out. IMO, they only have one battle in them and if they go up against and American carrier task force, they will lose that one battle.
    Firstly you're strategy says nothing about land based missiles, aircraft, ship or sub-borne mines, not to mention the occasional speed boats terrorist. Secondly, Iran doesn't have to completely block the straits to have a massive effect, so lets assume Iran cannot completely block them for even a day. What about 50% blockage, where 50% of the oil tankers which attempt to get through are lost. What about 25%? 10%? 5%? Hell what would a 1% blockade success have on the price of oil?

    On a daily basis roughly 17 million barrels of oil move through the Straits, 1% of that is 170,000 barrels lost on average every day. Someone will take notice of that, because by lost I mean "Ship was destroyed and it and its cargo are burning in the water."

    I never understand why people constantly underestimate our enemies, as if these problems are something so easily solved.

    Now on to your map, its a nice map, very accurate as far as geography is concerned. But you aren't talking geography, you're talking the movement of oil which is logistics. Logistics!?!? Why, that's my field of expertise, hot damn! So let me introduce you to another map: http://chyzmyz.files.wordpress.com/2...d-gas-2001.jpg
    Be aware the image is quite large, but its extremely accurate.

    Now, as you can see quite clearly on the map, there are NO oil pipelines moving out of Iran to the North. Additionally, all of Iran's oil pipelines are designed to move oil North to South, not South to North, is there a difference? Hell yes there is. Its not just the pipe works entirely off gravity, the oil is pumped into it by a special station at one end and pumped out at another end. The thing doesn't work in reverse at the flip of a switch. Also, not only does the pipeline only work in one direction, the entire system flows north to south, Iranian ports on the Caspian are not designed to load oil onto tankers they are designed to pump oil from tankers. Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan use the Caspian sea to transport oil to Iran, so it can be moved via pipeline to the Gulf and through the Straits. That entire system will not simply work backwards at Iran's will.

    And what about capacity? Suppose the entire system will just as easily work in reverse as it does now. How many ships are there in the Caspian Sea that can move oil? What are the capacities of those ships AND the pipelines they will be delivering them too? Can those ships and pipelines handle their entire current load, PLUS everything Iran used to ship through the straits? I haven't done the research, but I seriously doubt the answer is Yes.

    So in conclusion, Iran does not have any advantage via the Caspian Sea.

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    Re: Iran Has Ability to Block Strait of Hormuz, U.S. General Dempsey Tells CBS

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    Allow me to show you a map of the Caspian Sea.



    Iran has an advantage here.
    I said to myself, "Oops. Shoulda' paid more attention in geography class." But as I looked at it, I thought, "Where does the Caspian Sea go?" I'm probably having a blonde moment, but how would they get the oil out of there? I see what Wiseone's posted above, and I'm figuring, then, it's got to be pipelines...but if that post is correct, that's not an option. (Trying to learn here...was your contention that the Caspian Sea allowed them to access pipelines?)

    Here's an interesting take:

    To be clear, Iran could successfully close the Strait of Hormuz if it really wanted to. It doesn't even need its Navy to do it. It could simply sink a few barges in the narrowest parts of the waterway and lay a few mines. That would make the strait impassible to the dozens of supertankers that go in and out of the Persian Gulf everyday.

    But the question is: can Iran afford it? Clearly not. Shutting the straits down in such a crude fashion would not only block supertankers from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq from getting through the strait, but would also block its own super tankers from getting through as well. With the oil trade making up around 60% of Iran's economy, that would be disastrous. Sure, oil could spike as high as $200 a barrel, but if Iran can't get its oil out to market, it won't be able to profit off the chaos it created.

    Shutting down the Persian Gulf would be equivalent to Iran slicing its own wrists. Vital deliveries of food, fuel and other goods from abroad would have no way of reaching the country. The internal chaos created could see a mass revolt in the country where the majority of the population cares more about their quality of life than the Mullah's chess game with Washington.
    Don't expect an Iranian oil crisis - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet
    The devil whispered in my ear, "You cannot withstand the storm." I whispered back, "I am ​the storm."

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