Iran Responds: Think Twice About SWIFT and Strait of Hormuz
Whether this Iranian warning is for real or for bravado for their media, it is hard to tell. After all, this "broken record" has been stuck on the warnings about mining the Strait of Hormuz for months. But what IS different now is Iran's electronic banking methods for sending and receiving payments for most of their banks are severed from SWIFT, the worldwide electronic system used by the world's banks. No longer will Iran be able to conduct financial transactions electronically. As time goes on, it will become a very major problem for the small time business to large banking institutions. Iran has already found less efficient ways around it - trading in gold, in cash.
Also, what is new is the growing number of NATO ships in and around the Strait of Hormuz. Three US aircraft carriers, USS Abraham Lincoln, USS Carl Vinson and the USS Enterprise. together with the French aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, are nearby. This is in addition to the other accompanying ships. such as the, USS Bunker Hill and Halsey, and an additional four minesweeping ships to those already there, for a total of eight. This is an extraordinary amount of firepower as one US carrier has 42 or more (depending on size) F-18 and 8 early warning aircraft.
Quick math yields an estimated over 120 F-18's on the three US carriers on station near the Straits. France, Britain, Holland and Germany have also deployed minesweepers in there. Two Israeli missile corvettes, the INS Lahav and INS Yafo are also enroute.
Also, on March 1st, a small explosion hit a major Saudi pipeline between Awamiya and Safwa causing minor damage. The Saudis strongly suspect Iran because it was professionally done and appears to have been a warning of their capabilities.
With so many international naval forces gathering for the storm, with Iran helping Syria win its battle to not be overthrown, with SWIFT cutting off Iran, it would be hard pressed to say that war is not coming sooner than later. The only question is, in what form will it come in?
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