Showdown atmosphere floating in Strait of Hormuz

By Kim Su Jin
Rodong Sinmun

Not long ago the US held the second meeting about a "coalition" for escorting the oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. There were explanation and adjustment on how to concretely propel "Operation Sentinel" for escorting oil tankers.

The US is touting that "Operation Sentinel" will expedite the safety and freedom of navigation and get connected with the easing of tension on international waterways including the Strait of Hormuz.

Britain has already said that its Navy ship will escort the British-flag vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz. It also proposed to each European countries the idea of ​​deploying Europe-led naval forces in the water area of the Persian Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is a main waterway connecting the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

Twenty to thirty percent of the world's crude oil transferred on sea is passing through this strait to many countries and regions.

This area is very important for Western countries such as the US relying on oil from the Middle East. Once the strait is blockaded, the economy of Western countries will be dealt by a fatal blow.

The Strait of Hormuz is not only the sole maritime passage of oil in the Persian Gulf but also is at an important location militarily too. Passing through this strait allows access even to the inland region of the Middle East. For this reason the strait is said be the "lifeline of crude oil" for the Occident, and the "throat" in the Persian Gulf.

In the Arab countries, there is even a proverb, "If the world  is a ring, the Hormuz is a jewel attached to it."

The discussion on the issue of navigation safety in the Strait of Hormuz is related with that incidents suddenly and successively occurred in the strait and its surrounding waters in the recent period.

In May and June tankers were attacked and US drone was shot down. The strait situation became aggravated. In July Iran seized British tanker.

The relations between Iran and Occidental countries sharply deteriorated and the regional situation became extremely tense. The atmosphere of military collision thickly drifts in the Strait of Hormuz.

The US announced a reinforcement of about 1,000 soldiers in the Middle East area, and initially sent the F-22 stealth fighters to Qatar.

A short time ago Iranian navy commander said Iran would organize joint military exercises in the Indian Ocean together with Russia at an early date. The practice range is foretold to be enlarged to the waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz, and the  Gulf.

At this point there is a very high probability of physical collision even with a trifle military action in the Strait of Hormuz.

In the 1980s there was a strain on the  situation in the Strait of Hormuz due to military confrontation between Iran and Western countries. At the time the US and other Western countries had chosen the Strait of Hormuz as the vital area of their own, flagrantly revealing their intention to rule and control it. Iran announced its stand to blockade the strait so that even a drop of crude oil could not pass through, if its oil facility became under attack.

Occidental countries drew plentiful military forces including aircraft carrier into the water area of the Persian Gulf. Iranian air and naval forces had to go into an alert posture. The situation had run up to the eve of the war.

Experts say that today the possibility of Western military intervention into the Strait of Hormuz under the pretext of securing safe navigation grows, and the current state closely resembles the 1980s.

* This is Google AI's translations of an article appeared in Rodong Sinmun dated August 13, 2019.

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