TANKER WARS // Three terror strikes and Iran is out!

What a messed-up couple of weeks for the Iranian Republican Guard Corps. Their buddy, Ebrahim Raisi, was just elected president, and the IRGC convinced him that they could launch three terror strikes just before he was inaugurated. Raisi would have “plausible deniability” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) about any terror strikes, and the Western nations would be loath to accuse a new head of state of international crimes before their diplomats even had a chance to sit down and start getting to know this new political leader, democratically “elected” by the people of Iran.

Sanctions over Iran’s clandestine nuclear program and not-so-covert support of terrorism have wiped out all Iranian oil exports except to China and Russia. Russia already has more oil than it can sell, so Iran is only useful to Putin as a proxy terror group to stir up panic in the Middle East and drive oil prices back up. Iran is desperate to convince the West to lift sanctions.

But instead of cooperating with the UN, the new regime has decided to force an end to sanctions by intimidating the West. Israel saw the nuclear threat coming a mile away. The recent destruction of its nuclear weapons factories caught Iran completely by surprise. It will take Iran years to repair the damage to its atom bomb program, but there is no money to rebuild or replace the underground nuclear facilities.

That loss of nuclear weapons in the short term meant that only two avenues of intimidation were left open to the clerics. First, Iran could threaten to destroy Israel with the IRGC’s large supply of conventional missiles; second, Iran could threaten to cut off 20 percent of the world’s oil supply by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz to oil tankers from around the world, preferably starting with those tankers owned by Israelis. This could be done by “invisible” strikes from Iran’s newly developed drone force.

If the West issued only a timid response after the first drone attack on an oil tanker, Iran could then escalate its intimidation by seizing other oil tankers and their crews as hostages. Their crews would be released when sanctions were lifted. All three IRGC strikes were planned for a ten-day window around Raisi’s inauguration. The game plan was to give him momentum on the world stage to demand that sanctions be lifted from the peace-loving Iranian people.

It was a risky plan, but it had worked before. There are people who think that it was President Obama who set the precedent for paying $400 million “ransom” to Iran. (Actually, Obama only returned Iranian deposits on American aircraft that were never provided.) But the US government paid millions to Iran for the release of the embassy hostages.

After that, the Iranians believed they could always make money by taking American hostages. That is, as long as their Hezbollah proxies took the blame. Iran was always willing to fight to the last Lebanese. Raisi told them to get the war rolling.
In July, the IRGC gave the order to Hezbollah to see if they could provoke a new war with Israel. A Hezbollah truck loaded with a 20-tube rack of missiles rolled toward southern Lebanon. They would fire a few missiles into Israel, then quickly retreat to another firing point. But they made a ridiculous mistake. They plotted their missile launcher’s escape route through a Druze village.

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