War Drums: Europe Readies A Naval Task Force As Iran Threatens To “Secure” The Strait Of Hormuz

It is funny – for decades we have never had any problems with commercial ships passing through the Persian Gulf, but all of a sudden it has become a major flashpoint.  As you will see below, the Iranians are now warning that they plan to “secure” the Strait of Hormuz, and meanwhile a plan for a European-led naval task force to confront the Iranians is rapidly coming together.  The seizure of a British tanker a few days ago really rattled British officials, and they are determined to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.  Of course the more the Persian Gulf region becomes saturated with military assets, the more likely it is that a “mistake” will happen, and it sure won’t take much of a spark to start World War 3 at this point.

Today, close to 20 percent of all the oil produced in the entire world passes through the Strait of Hormuz, and that makes it an exceedingly important waterway.  U.S. and European officials continue to stress the importance of freedom of navigation through the area, and they appear to be losing patience with the Iranians.

But Iran does not intend to back down one bit.  On Tuesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said that his country “will use its best efforts” to secure the Strait of Hormuz.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

“Iran will use its best efforts to secure the region, particularly the Strait of Hormuz, and will not allow any disturbance in shipping in this sensitive area,” Araqchi told French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, IRNA reported.

So what does that mean exactly?

Do the Iranians plan to keep grabbing oil tankers whenever it suits them?

The seizure of the Stena Impero pushed us dangerously close to war, and the British government is still hoping that negotiations will result in the release of that tanker.

However, the British also plan to flex their military muscles in order to keep such an incident from happening again, and they are calling for other European nations to join them

France, Italy and Denmark gave initial support for a British plan for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz, proposed after Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker, three senior EU diplomats said on Tuesday.

The cautious backing at a meeting of EU envoys in Brussels contrasts sharply with the lukewarm response shown by European allies to a similar American call first voiced at NATO in late June, when countries feared they could make U.S.-Iranian tensions worse.

Could this be the very beginning of a “coalition of the willing”?

According to Reuters, this task force would likely include “aircraft too”, and that is definitely raising some eyebrows…

British foreign ministry and defense officials have also discussed a possible mission, which would likely involve not just ships but aircraft too, directly with their Italian, Spanish, French and German counterparts.

A senior German diplomat in Berlin said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was in close contact with his British and French counterparts, Hunt and Jean-Yves Le Drian, to “contribute to the security” of the Gulf including on maritime security.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is making headlines as well.  In an interview with CBS News, CENTCOM Commander General Kenneth McKenzie claimed that U.S. forces may have actually shot down at least two Iranian drones last week…

The U.S. believes it may have brought down two Iranian drones last week, rather than just the one that has been reported, CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told CBS News’ David Martin in an interview Tuesday aboard the USS Boxer, the ship that took action against the drones. Asked by Martin whether it was “only one drone,” McKenzie revealed that he believed the Boxer had engaged two drones “successfully” and perhaps even more.

“As always it was a complex tactical picture, we believe two drones. We believe two drones were successfully — there may have been more that we are not aware of — those are the two that we engaged successfully,” said McKenzie.

We should be very thankful that there is no more shooting for the moment, but that could change at any time.

And even if things stabilize in the short-term, the truth is that it is going to be exceedingly difficult to stop the countdown to war at this point.  The U.S. and Israel have both made it exceedingly clear that they will never allow the Iranians to develop their nuclear program past a certain level, and the Iranians have been racing to move their program forward ever since the U.S. left Obama’s nuclear agreement.

Unless there is some sort of crazy miracle and another nuclear agreement happens, it appears that war is on the horizon.

Also, I wanted to mention that we just witnessed a very alarming “incident” off the coast of South Korea on Tuesday…

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement claiming they had fired more than 300 warning shots at a Russian A-50 command and control military aircraft early Tuesday morning after it had twice violated the country’s airspace, the first such incident between the countries.

Moscow furiously denied Seoul’s account of the encounter, claiming that South Korean military jets had dangerously intercepted two of its bombers during a planned flight over neutral waters.

That is a huge number of “warning shots”, and it is yet another example of how tense things are all over the world at this point.

Without a doubt, we are living during a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and once World War 3 begins we will not be able to stop it.

So let us pray for peace, because the alternative is too horrible to even think about right now.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The U.S. Is Staging Troops At A Key Saudi Military Base That It Used During All Of Our Previous Middle East Wars

The U.S. military is following many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed during our previous wars in the Middle East, and that even includes setting up shop at a key military base deep in the heart of the Arabian peninsula.  After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. military abandoned Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, but now they are back.  Hundreds of U.S. troops are already there working hard to get the base operational, and as you will see below, a tremendous amount of new construction is planned.  The base covers “well over a hundred square miles”, and so it has more than enough room to serve as a central hub for a new Middle East war.  Tensions with Iran have escalated dramatically over the past few weeks, but apparently somebody anticipated that the U.S. would need to use this base even before then, because according to NBC News U.S. troops were already arriving back in June…

In June the U.S. military began moving equipment and hundreds of troops back to a military base in Saudi Arabia that the U.S. deserted more than 15 years ago, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the deployment.

Over the coming weeks the deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base, intended to counter the threat from Iran, will grow to include fighter jets and Patriot long-range missile defense systems, the officials said. The Patriots have already arrived at the base and should be operational in mid-July, while the aircraft are expected to arrive in August.

And it turns out that the U.S. military has used this base during all of our previous wars in the Middle East.

For example, according to Air Force Magazine the U.S. military first occupied Prince Sultan Air Base for a few months during Operation Desert Storm…

The US Air Force first occupied the sprawling base in two frantic months from November 1990 to January 1991, then departed. Five years later, USAF and coalition forces moved back into the base. It quickly became a massive facility, home to a state-of-the-art air operations center and serving as the hub for air activity in the region.

Then later on, the base played a key role during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.  The following comes from the Military Times

Starting with the January 1991 air war against Iraq after its invasion of Kuwait the previous summer, the U.S. flew a wide range of aircraft from Prince Sultan air base, originally known as al-Kharj. Supported by an all-American array of creature comforts like fast-food restaurants and swimming pools, U.S. forces there flew and maintained Air Force fighters and other warplanes.

The base also served as a launch pad for the December 1998 bombing of Iraq, code-named Operation Desert Fox, which targeted sites believed to be associated with Iraq’s nuclear and missile programs. In 2001, the base became home to the U.S. military’s main air control organization, known as the Combined Air Operations Center, which orchestrated the air war in Afghanistan until it was relocated in 2003 to al-Udeid air base in Qatar.

But U.S. activity at the base didn’t reach a crescendo until Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  Here is more from Air Force Magazine

Other delicate negotiations came down to the wire just before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. “We’ve had very productive meetings regarding military cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the event of military action against Iraq,” State Department official Richard Boucher announced Feb. 26, 2003.

That day, newspapers reported that the Saudis granted formal permission for PSAB to be used in the war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Operation Iraqi Freedom began March 19.

Once again, PSAB pulled its weight in the air campaign. Fuel was a metric showing just how far PSAB had come since 1996. Prince Sultan Air Base operated at maximum rates during major combat operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 19 to May 1, 2003. During that time, the 363rd Fuels Management Flight issued more than one million gallons per day. Officials had previously expanded the fuel storage capacity at Prince Sultan from two million to more than 15 million gallons.

So as you can see, every time the U.S. has decided to go to war in the Middle East, Prince Sultan Air Base has played a leading role.

And now after all this time we have suddenly returned.

This time around, it appears that the U.S. is planning for a very long stay.  According to NBC News, existing roads and runways will be reinforced and expanded, and the U.S. military is even going to “build a medical facility”…

While Prince Sultan Air Base is an active facility, portions of the base will need an upgrade to accommodate the U.S. military, including reinforcing and expanding roads and runways, one U.S. official said. Base housing will also need updating, the official said, and the U.S. will build a medical facility. Many of the U.S. service members deployed there over the past few weeks are engineers preparing the base for the new mission.

Apparently whoever is in charge of making these sorts of decisions is not very optimistic about peace with Iran.

A tremendous amount of money and effort is required for a project like this, because it is basically the equivalent of putting up a small American city in the middle of nowhere.  The base covers “well over a hundred square miles”, and all the way back in 2002 Wolf Blitzer called it “a little sliver of America in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula”

“By the time the base complex was completed in 1999, it had cost the government of Saudi Arabia more than $1 billion and covered well over a hundred square miles,” found Air Force historian Daniel L. Haulman.

Food was also a priority. Baskin-Robbins ice cream set up shop as did other popular vendors such as Pizza Inn and Burger King. In time, the exchange provided a small haven of food, shopping, and diversion. “It’s a little sliver of America in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula,” enthused CNN’s war correspondent Wolf Blitzer, who visited the base in December 2002 as forces there prepared for intensifying action against Iraq.

I suppose that the Saudis want us to be as comfortable as possible if we are going to fight a war that will greatly benefit them.

After all, the Saudis and the Iranians have been engaged in a proxy war for many years, and so the Saudis would be absolutely thrilled to see the U.S. military bomb the living daylights out of them.

And Saudi Arabia’s minister of state for foreign affairs actually sounds quite eager for the action to start

“Any attack on the freedom of navigation is a violation of international law,” Adel Aljubeir said in a Twitter post.

“Iran must realise its acts of intercepting ships, including most recently the British ship, are completely unacceptable. The world community must take action to deter such behaviour,” he added.

But as I discussed in a previous article, if the American people truly understood what a war against Iran would be like, there would be millions of protesters in Washington D.C. right now trying to stop it from happening.  It would be a horrible, bloody, apocalyptic war that would set the entire Middle East ablaze, and it would set the stage for the sort of nightmare scenarios that I have been relentlessly warning about.

Unfortunately, so far only a very small portion of the U.S. population seems alarmed about any of this.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon is rapidly preparing for war, and Prince Sultan Air Base is now buzzing with U.S. military activity for the very first time since the invasion of Iraq.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Peace Is About To Be Taken From The Earth, And World War 3 Could Literally Start At Any Moment

Why aren’t more Americans concerned that we could be on the verge of an apocalyptic war with Iran?  If there was still any doubt, what happened on Friday made it exceedingly clear that we are literally on the brink of seeing World War 3 erupt in the Middle East.  And as I detailed yesterday, a war with Iran wouldn’t be anything like our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  If the American people truly understood what a war with Iran would be like, there would be millions of protesters in front of the White House right now trying to stop it from happening.  Without a doubt, the Iranian government is deeply evil, but the Iranians also possess weapons of mass destruction and they control a vast global terror network unlike anything the world has ever seen before.  A full-blown war with Iran would be the stuff that nightmares are made out of, and it would unleash death and destruction on an unimaginable scale all over the planet.  Perhaps it is already too late to stop what is going to happen, but I very much hope that is not true.

After news broke on Friday that Iran had seized two British oil tankers, President Trump told the press that “Iran is in big trouble”

President Donald Trump said Friday that the Islamic Republicn of Iran has endangered itself by seizing a pair of British oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

‘Iran is showing their true colors,’ he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House has he departed for a weekend in New Jersey.

‘Iran is in big trouble.’

That doesn’t mean that airstrikes are imminent, but it does mean that we are a lot closer to military conflict than we were before.

Personally, I have no idea what Iran is thinking.  When the Iranians seized a British oil tanker named “Stena Impero” on Friday, it made headlines all over the world

The U.K.-flagged Stena Impero, which has a crew of 23 aboard, “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters,” Stena Bulk, the shipping company that owns the vessel, said in a statement. “We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces, in a statement on their website, say the ship was seized for “non-compliance with international maritime laws and regulations” and is being brought to an unnamed Iranian port, according to the Associated Press. Websites tracking the ship’s path showed it turning sharply in the direction of Iran’s Qeshm Island, instead of its intended destination of Saudi Arabia.

Of course it is also possible that the Iranians are being set up.  According to Iranian media, the Stena Impero “had turned off its GPS locator” and had “tried to enter the Strait of Hormuz in an area where most ships exit”.

If those claims are true, then that certainly puts a much different spin on the story.

Almost an hour later, the Iranians briefly seized a second oil tanker, but after issuing a warning the Iranians let it go

Approximately an hour later, a Liberian-flagged tanker operated by a British company was also seized by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and was seen on maritime tracking services making a turn toward Iran. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency later claimed that the second ship, known as the Mesdar, was warned to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.

Needless to say, the British government is deeply concerned about these developments, and Iranian officials are being warned of “serious consequences” if the Stena Impero is not immediately released…

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has warned Iran of “serious consequences” if its military does not return control of the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, according to Sky News. He said British action will be “robust” but also emphasized “we’re not looking at military options” at this early stage.

Hunt said he’s seeking to urgently speak to Iran’s foreign minister, currently unreachable as he’s on a plane flying back from a UN meeting in New York, and hopes the crisis will be resolved diplomatically.

Of course this is just the latest in a long string of incidents which have steadily brought us closer to war.  I covered the developments which we witnessed on Wednesday and Thursday in this article, and the following is a timeline of events which the Daily Mail put together

May 12: Four commercial oil tankers attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Washington accuses Tehran, which denies all involvement.

June 13: A Japanese and Norwegian fuel tanker are hit by mysterious blasts while passing through the Strait of Hormuz. Again, Iran denies involvement.

June 14: U.S. Military releases video ‘proving’ Iranian involvement in the earlier attacks.

June 20: Iran downs a $130m US surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz

July 4: Royal Marines Commandos detain the Grace 1 Iranian tanker in Gibraltar which is accused of busting EU Syrian sanctions

July 11: Iran tries to interfere with a UK-registered tanker but is warned off by the Royal Navy.

July 14: Iran seizes the Panama-flagged ‘Riah’.

July 18: The USS Boxer shoots down an Iranian drone over the Strait of Hormuz which it claimed was endangering the vessel.

July 19: Iran seizes British-flagged ‘Stena Impero’.

July 19: Iran seizes a second British-linked vessel, the Mesdar.

Before I end this article, I want to make a couple of observations about Iran.

Firstly, the Iranians are obviously not afraid of a war with the western powers, because otherwise they would not dare to seize oil tankers.

What is making the Iranians so confident?  Could it be possible that they have weapons that we don’t know about?

Secondly, the Iranians may feel like they have been pushed so far into a corner that they have no choice but to push back.

Let me give you one example of what I am talking about.  Two Iranian cargo ships arrived in Brazil earlier this year, but now they are trapped because the Brazilians won’t sell them enough fuel to get home

Reuters explained on Friday that the cargo ships Bavand and Termeh arrived in Brazil a few months ago to deliver a shipment of petrochemical fertilizer and pick up loads of corn. The Bavand was loaded up with 50,000 tons of corn and the Termeh is supposed to take on another 66,000 tons.

Carrying food back to Iran is legal under U.S. sanctions and Iran buys a great deal of corn from Brazil, but unfortunately for the Iranian captains, the Petrobras subsidiary that sells maritime fuel in Brazilian ports cited the U.S. sanctions and refused to refuel the ships. The Iranian government might need to send a tanker loaded with fuel all the way to Brazil to get the cargo vessels and their loads of corn.

The U.S. policy of “maximum pressure” on Iran was intended to get them to fold, but instead it might just be making them so frustrated that they will lash out in anger and set off the spark that causes World War 3 to erupt.

And the U.S. military has been preparing for a coming war with Iran for quite some time.  Last month U.S. troops began arriving at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, and U.S. fighter jets are scheduled to arrive in August

In June the U.S. military began moving equipment and hundreds of troops back to a military base in Saudi Arabia that the U.S. deserted more than 15 years ago, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the deployment.

Over the coming weeks the deployment to Prince Sultan Air Base, intended to counter the threat from Iran, will grow to include fighter jets and Patriot long-range missile defense systems, the officials said. The Patriots have already arrived at the base and should be operational in mid-July, while the aircraft are expected to arrive in August.

The moment missiles start flying back and forth, the price of oil is going to go into the stratosphere and the global financial system will be thrown into chaos.

And when terror attacks on western soil start happening, people will be desperate for the violence to stop, but by then it will be too late.

It appears that we are about to get a war that we do not need and that we do not want, and this comes at a time when so many other elements of “the perfect storm” are coming together.

Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of urgency among the American people to try to stop this war from taking place.  I think that a lot of people simply do not believe that it will actually happen, and many others seem to assume that we will beat the living daylights out of the Iranians without much damage on our end.  Of course a large chunk of the population is so addicted to entertainment that they have absolutely no idea what is going on in the rest of the world.

Yes, there are a few voices that are speaking out against a war with Iran, and that is a good thing.

But for the most part we are sleepwalking toward World War 3, and once it begins there will be no turning back.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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