As of this writing, some four commercial, patrol, and research vessels have been disabled — one of which may have been hijacked — in the main shipping channel through the Strait of Hormuz, apparently as part of an Iranian military operation. If this turns out to be accurate, the Islamic Republic has attempted to use sea mines to close the strait and so to strangle the flow of petroleum to global markets in the most dramatic offensive escalation in this vital shipping way since 1988. The timing of the action is no accident, as last month, Iran announced it would be making its first oil shipment from its new terminal at Jask Port on the Gulf of Oman — its first such facility south of Hormuz. Few took notice at the time, but Tehran was in essence signaling that it no longer needs the strait to supply clients, notably the People’s Republic of China. Now the world will be forced to take notice as the mullahs are foot-stomping this new capability.
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