Are we Winning Yet?
Submarines, Iran & Gulf
Somalia, Afghanistan, Palestine
Iranian officials point out that they don’t need a bomb to stop petroleum exports through the Straits of Hormuz. And they say they will, if the US bothers them too much about their nuclear energy program. Iranian sabotage in the Straits of Hormuz could deprive the world of 40 percent of its petroleum. Ouch. And, as the US has discovered in Iraq, stopping sabotage isn’t easy.
As if to illustrate the point, a US nuclear submarine collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the busy, crowded Straits of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf on Monday. While it is not true that a sunken supertanker would block the Straits, it is true that it wouldn’t be so hard to sink some supertankers.
The last National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program predicted it was at least 10 years away even if it was trying and the atmosphere was permissive. Are Cheney’s new appointments intended to alter that NIE?
The US used a navy AC-130 to attack suspected al-Qaeda in Somalia. Those hit are alleged to have played a role in the bombings of US embassies in 1998. But was the price of overthrowing the Islamic Courts Union throwing Somalia back into failed-state status? And might that condition not generate/ give safe harbor to terrorism . . ?
Gen. Pervez Musharraf, the military dictator of Pakistan, is worrying out loud that religious extremists in his country are seeking a confrontation that could drag it into civil war. [Don’t we already have enough of those?]
The bad news: the Karzai government in Afghanistan is rapidly declining in popularity. The good news: people really, really loathe the Taliban, despite their military resurgence.