Gulf States brace for unwanted US-Iran war

SpaceDaily.com reports: “The Arab states that lie just miles across the Gulf from Iran are nervously eyeing the prospects of a war between Tehran and the West that none of them want and all know could devastate their economies.

This very real fear is prompting the oil-rich states to enhance their defences while hoping that diplomacy can rein in Tehran’s regional ambitions and put an end to its worrying nuclear programme.

‘No one in the Gulf States wants war but everyone is preparing for the possibility that it might happen,’ said military analyst Riad Kahwaji.

Tension has escalated as the West continues to squeeze Tehran over its nuclear programme, with the EU threatening a total ban on Iranian oil imports.

Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz — which links the Gulf to the Arabian Sea and through which 20 percent of the world’s sea-transported oil flows — if its petroleum sales are blocked.

The United States, whose navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the Gulf state of Bahrain and which has a military presence in a number of other countries — has told Tehran bluntly that it will not tolerate any such move…” (Ted Koppel reported on Brian Williams program Rock Center that the American embassy housing 17,000 American employees and staff is only 20 miles for Iran’s border. He believes Ahmadinejad will either (A) Go to war. (B) Kill the Americans in the embassy. Or (C) Take control of Iraq’s oil as well as the shipments of oil going through the Straits of Hormuz creating astronomical costs for gas. See also the next two reports.)

Iran plans more military drills in Gulf amid tensions with U.S.

Haaretz reports: “Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that Iran planned to hold more military exercises after a 10-day drill in the Persian Gulf raised tensions with the United States.

‘The maneuver of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would be held soon,’ the ISNA news agency quoted Vahidi as saying after the weekly cabinet meeting. He gave no further details.

The Iranian navy carried out drills near the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened to block the strait, where some 35 per cent of the world’s seaborne oil passes, if the West imposed new sanctions over its disputed nuclear program.

The United States approved sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector, the government’s main source of income, and the European Union will consider similar measures later this month. Iran denies western claims that its nuclear program has a military dimension.

The United States has dismissed a warning by Iran not to return a US aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis left the Gulf on December 27 and a Pentagon spokesman said it would return…”

Legislator Underscores Iran’s Ability to Confront US

The Fars News Agency reports: “A prominent Iranian legislator stressed that the Iranian nation is fully capable of defending the country against US threats.

‘The US should know that the Iranian people are armed with the power of faith and belief in addition to scientific and technical capabilities and can cut its (America’s) breath in the Strait of Hormoz,’ Seyed Mohammad Saddat Ebrahimi said, addressing a parliament session here in Tehran.

The remarks by the Iranian lawmaker came days after US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey acknowledged that Iran is able to close the Strait of Hormoz.

‘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 on the CBSFace the Nation’ program.

Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Navy Rear Admiral Gholam Reza Khadem Biqam said the naval forces are ready to protect the country and repel enemies’ threats whenever and wherever needed.

‘The Navy confronts any threat posed against us toughly no matter in the Strait of Hormoz, the Persian Gulf or in the Oman Sea,’ Khadem Biqam said…”