Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Non-news of the day: GOP rhetoric and supposed new threat from Iran

Apparently GOP presidential hopefuls are outraged at President Obama's choice of vacationing in Hawaii at the expense of taxpayers instead of hosting a parade to welcome home troops returning from Iraq, also presumably at tax payer's expense.  According to FOXnews, republican candidate for POTUS and current Texas governor Rick Perry said "It really disturbs me that after 9-years of war in Iraq that this president wouldn't welcome home our many heroes with a simple parade in their honor ... Maybe it's because this war is unpopular with the Democrats, I don't know, but mister president, our soldiers come first."  So far, Iraqi veterans have been welcomed home in local and low-key ceremonies at community centers, schools, and churches.
Satellite image of Strait of Hormuz
According to Reuters and several other western news outlets, Iranian vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, effectively blocking Middle Eastern oil exports, should the EU and United States impose more sanctions on the Islamic republic.  The statement was a minor news item on the Iranian state run media outlet Islamic Republic News Agency's website, most likely because the office of vice president is a mid-level executive position.  The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is Iran's ultimate authority, followed by President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and no less than ten vice presidents.  All final decisions regarding military actions, which is what a closure of the Strait of Hormuz would require, are made by the Supreme Leader.
Iran's highest ranking military officer, Admiral Habibollah Sayari, claimed that closing the Strait would be "really easy -- or as we say (in Iran) easier than drinking a glass of water", according to Yahoo!.  However, the admiral stated "But today, we don't need (to shut) the strait because we have the Sea of Oman under control, and can control the transit".  Australian blogger Ali Omidi did outline in an editorial piece for potential Iranian strategies and use of military hardware to undertake a closure of the valuable shipping lane, though doing so would be the equivalent of self-imposed economic sanctions, not to mention swift military retaliation from Western nations and damage to fragile relations with powerful allies Russia and China.

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