Iranian nuclear issue bedevils Japan’s oil deal

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Sep 13, 2006.

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  1. the Japanese government, balancing the US and Iran is becoming harder as Washington raises pressure on Tehran over its nuclear programme.

    Tokyo’s warm relationship with Tehran goes back to 1953, when the Japanese tanker Nissho-maru defied a British blockade imposed after Iran’s prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, nationalised the oil industry. Today, Japan is Iran’s biggest export market for crude.

    But the US has been the cornerstone of Japanese postwar foreign policy and is crucial to Tokyo’s hopes of containing the missile and nuclear programme of North Korea.

    Japan has said it would back Washington over sanctions against Iran – while hoping oil exports would be exempt.

    So far, Tokyo has successfully juggled both relationships and there remains the possibility of a breakthrough in the nuclear standoff.

    But Iran has given Inpex, the Japanese oil company, a deadline of Friday to go ahead with developing the huge Azadegan oil field, which has a potential daily output of 400,000 barrels and reserves of 26bn barrels.

    Work has been sluggish since a $2bn deal was signed, against US objections, in 2004. With negligible energy reserves, Japan saw Azadegan as a steady source of crude after it lost in 2000 the Khafji field in the Saudi-Kuwait neutral zone.

    Article in full

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/057fe3ce-42b8-11db-8dc3-0000779e2340.html

    interesting times
     
  2. Well it looks like the public is continuing to be groomed towards accepting Operation Persian Freedom, more and more 'what if' articles in leading Media Publications are appearing.

    The Bush team, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, has done more diplomatic spadework on Iran than on any other project in its 5 1/2 years in office.

    For more than 18 months, Rice has kept the administration's hard-line faction at bay while leading a coalition, which includes four other members of the U.N. Security Council, that is trying to force Tehran to halt its nuclear ambitions.

    Interviews with dozens of experts and government officials in Washington, Tehran and elsewhere in the Middle East paint a sobering picture: Military action against Iran's nuclear facilities would have a decent chance of succeeding, but at a staggering cost.

    And therein lies the excruciating calculus facing the U.S. and its allies: Is the cost of confronting Iran greater than the dangers of living with a nuclear Iran? And can anything short of war persuade Tehran's fundamentalist regime to give up its dangerous game?

    No one is talking about a ground invasion of Iran. Too many U.S. troops are tied down elsewhere to make it possible, and besides, it isn't necessary. If the U.S. goal is simply to stunt Iran's nuclear program, it can be done better and more safely by air.


    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/17/coverstory.tm.iran.tm/index.html

    and

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1535316,00.html
     
  3. Simply put Iran is not Iraq.If Americans are of the expectation that a war with Iran will be won by labels like "shock and awe" they are grossly mistaken.

    It wont be a reality show like last time.Iran is not Iraq.
     
  4. The first message was routine enough: a "Prepare to Deploy Order" sent through Naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two minehunters.

    The orders didn't actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to move by October 1.

    A deployment of minesweepers to the east coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until now largely theoretical, prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran.


    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/17/coverstory.tm.iran.tm/index.html
     
  5. FFS. This had better be a wind-up. TCB had also better not think of sending us to help out his "big mate" 'W' with this one - we're run off our feet enough at the moment as it is.

    /rant.
     
  6. Nothing is going to happen that close to a election. Also Israel, a likely target for retaliation would need a missile shield in place first. If anything is going to happen ,which is still doubtful maybe summer or next fall.

    The ships are just practicing
     
  7. I researched this recently and, for once, think GWB is playing things about as well as anyone could hope for.

    Quite simply, there are no easy answers here. It is obvious to everyone that Iran is determined to develop a nuclear capacity of some kind. Only the most rose tinted of views would disagree with US that there is a weapons angle to this. If Iran didn't want nukes, why did senior Iranian clerics recently announce that using nuclear weapons was not immoral, completely reversing their previous, long standing position? (And they certainly did not say it without government approval!)

    What to do? Assuming diplomatic pressure does not work (and it won't while certain countries put their own interests above world security, ie China, CIS and India), then the military options range from pretty bad to totally bloody awful!

    Taking it that an invasion is not going to happen and assuming that air strikes will be used, it has already been noted that Iran has, (very cleverly), spread their nuclear sites around the country. The media sources I checked were very clear that some of the most important facilities are sited next to, or even in, urban areas. In the event of an air attack,we are talking serious collateral damage here. It wouldn't matter how precise the attack was, you are going to get a lot of leakage, if you follow my meaning. I am led to believe that things nuclear do not behave well when pummelled by thousands of pounds of explosives!

    On top of that, Iran has a pretty capable defence industry that has been turning out some decent kit - missiles and aircraft. The SSMs are pretty serious as they can reach Israel and be made to change trajectory in flight (makes it v diff to hit in flight) and their aircraft are (allegedly - very little info on them) pretty good too. So, the US should not expect a shoo in kind of air attack.

    The population will (IMHO) undoubtedly rally behind the government following the attacks and demand retaliation, demands which said government will be only too happy to satisfy.

    There are several ways it could do this. Firstly, it could launch attacks against Israel (which, whether or not involved, would undoubtedly be blamed by the Iranian government). This would give Iran the satisfaction of being given the excuse of attacking Israel, whilst undoubtedly making the situation even more complex (hard to believe, I know).

    It would almost certainly attack any western bound oil shipping AND any US shipping. It has well rehearsed drills for shore based missile batteries and something it calls 'swarm' attacks on well defended ships, which media sources say the US are treating as a serious threat. This would quickly lead to great economic difficulty. If it was prolonged and evenly only moderately successful, it is difficult to predict its effect, but I don't think calling it 'catastrophic' is exagerating things. Fuel shortages would follow within 1 week, 2 at most.

    Most worryingly, it is pretty much a cert that it would utilise Hezbollah and Hamas to conduct widespread terrorist activity in the West. (Assuming that any oil blockade had not grounded civil air!) This would add to both the western economic downturn and public pressure to find a way out. I doubt that once ready access to fuel for their cars (at least) starts biting, combined with indiscriminate terrorist attacks, the public will not care about saving face - they will just want a way out.

    Any attempts to stop Iran selling oil and gas are A. very difficult to enforce and B. more likely to damage the west, China and India whilst simultaneously benefitting Iran (oil supplies restricted, prices go up, Iran gets stacks more for whatever it gets past any blockade).

    The best hope for military action is (and I do not see this happening) if any such action is UN sanctioned, or at least backed by an international coalition including more than just US/UK/Israel. Personally I do not place any faith in that miracle occuring any time soon.

    Now granted, some of the above (widespread terrorist action and the time fuel shortages would take to to bite) is worst case, but I don't I have exagerated anything terribly. Anyone out there wildly disagree with the above? Or have a winning strategy? Feel free to jump in.
     
  8. "...a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two minehunters. "

    It would take a lot more than that to go to war with Iran. This seems more likely to be a sensible moderate increase in naval forces in the region in case things hot up a bit.
     
  9. If the question is Can the world live with a nuclear Iran ? The answer is yes. What are the consequences of a nuclear Iran ? The answer to that is 64,000 dollar question. If a nuclear Iran uses its power to bully the region,to proliferate nuclear weapons and giving them to terror groups then the future is pretty bleak.

    If the US strikes Iran then there could be a wave of terror attacks. Oil prices would be high for a period of time. A strike will delay Iran's nuclear program not stop it. The only sure way to cripple the Iranian nuclear and conventional weapons programs is to cripple their oil industry. Force them to spend money on oil infrastructure instead of weapons. Hit them where
    it really hurts, in their bank account.
     
  10. maybe the Question is- "Can the World be free without GW Bush"

    I`m sure that He doesn`t think so and the time will come when he will have to give up his office and his power. Unless of course something of Magnitudinal proportions happens that neccessitates a change of law so that he can remain in Power as the "Warrior" President. A war with Iran would fit the bill nicely-After all, Iran has the capability of WMD`s - more so than Iraq ever had - and they`re part of the "Axis of Evil" - and I think that even though they don`t know it - they´re all really crying out for "Western Democracy" - just like GW Bush brought to Iraq.
     
  11. A pretty astute analysis T6, the flip side of the coin is can the world cope without iranian oil? IIRC Iran provides c.5-10% of current global oil production. If a US president hit their oil production and Gasoline hit $4-$5 Gallon (plus the associated increase in inflation and decline in the global economy i.e. less jobs for American workers) would they (or their party) get re-elected?
     
  12. The US doesnt get its oil from Iran. Sure gas might be $4 a gal but if the Iranians get away with nuclear blackmail gas may be $30 a gal and the economy will be in the tank. I will take short term pain any day.
     
  13. Iran sells about 45% of its oil output to Japan and China, China is in the process of constructing a overland pipeline to reduce its exposure to US Navy intervention. Any conflict would cripple Japan and may force it to act outside of US interest.
     
  14. Once again it's amateur hour for US diplomacy. All they are doing with their grandstanding antics is guaranteeing that there will not be any regime change in Iran.

    The simple fact of the matter is that, all other things being equal, the Iranian populace is as pro-Western and pro-American as you are likely to find in the Middle East. The overwhelming majority don't like Ahmedinejad any more than anyone in the US does. However, the sabre-rattling, blustering rhetoric and veiled threats, which everyone knows are utterly incredible for all manner of practical reasons, serves Ahmedinejad's purposes perfectly as it helps rally the country around him.

    The Bush administration is being played like a $2 banjo in order for Ahmedinejad to shore up his position domestically. Remember that the only reason he is there is that most Iranians boycotted the elections when no reformist was permitted to stand.

    Reports have stated that the latest NIE cannot state with any degree of certainty a) that Iran has a nuclear weapons program b) if it does exist, how far advanced it is c) what potential they have for development and d) where the nuclear facilities are located.

    Any strike against Iran is therefore likely to only be an exemplary use of force which will rile up the natives no end. At BEST it will only delay the development of any nuclear weapons program and it will no doubt spur on development at an increased pace- if not for reasons of national survival, then for reasons of national pride- and the Iranian populace for the first time, will sit squarely with Ahmedinejad.
     
  15. Crabtastic, et al

    Excellent points made on this thread.
    I don't believe many people have more contempt for the Iranians than me, but attacking them would be counterproductive.

    You have to take into consideration the Arab doctrine of 'Face-saving', you have to allow a situation whereby you have them under control, but at the same time allowing them to think they have won.

    Remember India and Pakistan are nuclear powers. The Iranians consider it is their right also.

    Also remember that a nuclear device on its own is not particularly effective, you need a good delivery system which could be supplied and monitored.

    The proverbial 'Spanner' is Israel of course, but they are big boys now.