On Dec. 15th the U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which included stiffer sanctions against Iran. The Iran sanctions measure, named the Kirk-Menendez amendment for its sponsors Senator Mark Kirk (R-illinois) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) strengthens existing sanctions and penalizes foreign banks for doing business with Iran. The sanctions are in direct response to reports that Iran has steadily ratcheted up it’s nuclear program towards the manufacturing of weapons that could enable them to wipe Israel off the map and/or start a war in the region that would disrupt oil supplies worldwide.
President Obama could be emboldening Iran even further by his dithering on signing this bill into law that would prevent foreign banks from doing any business with the Central Bank of Iran. The lack of a strong message from the U.S. now has the Iranian Navy doing military exercises in the Straight of Hormuz, which is the transportation route for as much as 1/3 of the oil supply coming out of the region. In an IBT article there is the mention of a possible war right in the title: If Iran Closes Strait of Hormuz, Will It Mean War?
We’ve heard rumblings from Iran before that the ill-eased country might close the Strait of Hormuz. But on Tuesday, Iran’s vice president gave a more meaningful warning, saying his country is ready to close the Strait of Hormuz if Western nations impose sanctions on its oil shipments.
Iran’s top Naval commander also threatened to close the straight on Iran’s English language Press TV Weds. Night, stating, “Closing the Strait of Hormuz for Iran’s armed forces is really easy … or, as Iranians say, it will be easier than drinking a glass of water,” said Commander Habibollah Sayyari. “But right now, we don’t need to shut it as we have the Sea of Oman under control, and we can control the transit.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. 5th fleet which is based in Bahrain countered those statements with a warning that any disruption will not be tolerated. Apparently, the U.S. 5th fleet means business, as today, Dec. 29th, Iran is claiming that the U.S. Aircraft carrier John Stennis and it’s accompanying battle group has, in fact, been spotted in the straight of Hormuz in the exercise zone where the Iranian Navy is currently operating.
In the meantime, President Obama is in Hawaii playing his 90th round of golf during his term as POTUS, while on a 17-day vacation. He could have signed the bill into law before leaving, but expressed reservations and demanded changes to the Iran sanctions amendment. Several changes were added to the bill to give the administration greater flexibility. And then there is this tidbit, that shows just how irrelevant the U.S. Congress has become, at least in the eyes of one Barack Hussein Obama.
The sanctions would not come into effect until six months after the bill is signed, and would allow the president to waive the penalties for national security reasons.
These changes to the Iran sanctions amendment that were demanded by President Obama,and which the U.S. Senate approved, now gives the President the authorization to refuse to enforce the sanctions all together, thereby once again usurping the power of the U.S. Congress and putting it into the hands of the President. Of course that whole conversation becomes moot, as while battleships are squaring off in the straight of Hormuz, threatening a major oil supply route for the entire western world, the NDAA and the Iran sanctions amendment within it… sit on the President’s desk unsigned. And recent polling shows that 47% of American voters today approve of Barack Obama’s dangerous dithering and proven incompetence in running this country. His refusal to take action against Iran, as shown here could very well end up in an interruption of 1/3 of the world’s oil supply, which would result in the “skyrocketing energy prices” he promised Americans when running for President in 2008. To top that off, Obama has now given himself the authority to nullify the Iran sanctions law passed by Congress, thanks to the U.S. Senate.
While Hillary Clinton’s State dept. says Irans threats to close the Straight of Hormuz contain an “element of bluster”, other experts say yes, Iran could very well close off the Strait of Hormuz. Short of all-out war, it’s one of the biggest weapons the country has in its arsenal. And Iran doesn’t appear afraid to use it. Yet war-like tactics would be required to close it, says one expert. Meanwhile Americans await President Obama’s return from his Hawaiian vacation to find out if he can make time to sign the NDAA that contains a strong message to Iran via the sanctions in it. While America needs a decisive President that will take action to prevent a worldwide interruption in oil supplies that will disrupt already distressed economies across the globe, Barack Obama once again seems content with just voting “present” as he mainly did during his short time as a U.S. Senator.