Monday, April 30, 2012

Island Hopping

I've noted that in 1980, Saddam Hussein had planned to assault and liberate three islands in the Persian Gulf that Iran had occupied in order to solidify Arab support behind his war with Iran. He canceled that plan and found himself all alone on the ground in that long and bloody war. Gulf Arab states seem to have the islands more in mind now.

Indeed, they've carried out military exercises with an eye on those islands:

Gulf Arab states are beginning two days of joint military exercises, as fears of an armed conflict with Iran continue to grow.

The drills, dubbed "Islands of Loyalty," come amid an escalating territorial dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over three strategic islands in the Persian Gulf.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited one of the islands, Abu Musa, sparking a war of words between Abu Dhabi and Tehran.

The UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Mohammed Gargash, said his nation was “fed up” with the Iranians’ “occupation” of the land.

Huh. I wonder if my speculation about gaining the visible cooperation of Arab states in a war against the mullah regime in Tehran (whether narrowly focused on nuclear facilities or more broadly on the regime) by retaking those islands is in the mix of options?

Sending in our Marines to spearhead assaults on the three Iranian-held islands would also be a nice signal to China about our capabilities to do the same in the South China Sea.

Heck, I'm not ruling out some smart diplomacy here.