"The might be just a 'one off' incident, or this might get very interesting, very fast. Stay tuned on this one. Another Mid-East flare up might be in the offing."
If you could draw a map of the world, and try to invent a very dire route for many of the world's oil tankers to traverse. it would probably look just like the Straight of Hormuz. Then, just for kicks and giggles, have one of the neighboring countries on the Straight be the number on terror exporter in the world. Yes, that be Iran. Add in some Middle East conflict, and you have one messy route for oil tankers to go through. But what could possibly go wrong?
Maybe a torpedo or two? Hitting a couple of oil tankers? Maybe this could be the start of something very ugly. After all, the Straight is so narrow at it's narrowest point (about 35 miles), launching a torpedo from the safety of your own shore would be no big deal. And if this becomes a practice, where ships are sitting ducks in the Straight, this could really put a hiccup in world oil prices.
How so? According to Google, in 2011 fourteen massive oil tankers would go through the Straight each and every day, heavily laden with Mid-East oil. They would be carrying about 17 million barrels of oil, which is about 35% of all oil shipped by sea. Or putting it another way, about 20% of all oil traded worldwide.
Why would Iran want to sabotage the Straight? Why not? We are sanctioning the heck out of Iran's oil delivery. Outside of war, or an all out embargo, sanctioning is the only arrow in our quiver we can use to punish this rogue regime. So they might be playing a little tit for tat. Especially if they could hit a tanker carrying oil from the hated Saudi Arabia.
The United States Navy is close by. They are assisting the two stricken ships, since the crews abandoned them. What is next? Maybe our Navy will be escorting tankers through the Straight. Then what would our response be if another torpedo was launched from shore? Act of war? The match which would light the fire?
The Straight of Hormuz has been a problem since the oil embargo of 1973. I am sure our Navy has "war gamed" just about every scenario possible in case trouble ever broke out in the Straight. The problem as I see it is this - if a torpedo is launched, and the Navy decides to take out the launcher, it might involve attacking Iran itself.
One more thing. Should the flow of oil become crippled due to strife in the Straight, get ready for a huge hit in gasoline prices this summer. Even though our country is awash in our own supply of oil, the way the world markets work, we would still be affected by the increase in prices of Mid-Eastern oil. It would be a mess, hitting our country at the absolute worse time.
Some ask, why not just get it over with? Iran has been itching for war with us since 1973, and I am sure many in this country feel the same about them. Israel would love it if we could take Iran down a peg or two. Plus, EVERYBODY knows they are still working on a deliverable bomb. Why not get this fight over with now, before they have the bomb? I am sure Saudi Arabia would love to offer us logistic support should we go to war with Iran.
The might be just a "one off" incident this week, or this might get very interesting, very fast. Stay tuned on this one. Another Mid-East flare up might be in the offing.