The contest over the Strait of Hormuz’s closure has begun at… Libya’s Ras Lanuf

Five of Iran’s top leaders have threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic. Why is President Donald Trump unfazed in his resolve to tighten sanctions on the Islamic Republic?
On Sunday, April 28, Iran’s armed forces chief of staff Gen. Mohammed Bagheri said: “We are not after closing the Strait of Hormuz. If our oil does not go through the strait, other countries’ oil will certainly not cross the strait too.” Bagheri was echoing supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and Guards Navy chief Rear Adm. Alireza Tangsiri.

Unfazed by this collective threat, the Trump administration has not backed off from its decision to cancel the oil embargo exemptions granted to eight of Iran’s biggest oil importers, including China, India and South Korea. In fact, a new set of penalties are in store.
DEBKAfile’s sources report that the cancellation of the waivers will slash Iran’s oil sales down from 1.1m barrels per day to half a million. But that’s just for starters. The next round of penalties aims to lower the figure to zero.
No one in Washington or the Middle East expects the Iranians to take the loss of their primary source of income lying down. And so the US is making plans accordingly.

  1. On Saturday, April 27, US Central Command chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie  stated: “The United States would deploy the necessary resources to counter any dangerous actions by Iran.”
  2. The US administration is in full-flight of an effort to replace Iranian oil with alternative energy supplies to the world markets while holding oil prices down from flying out of control. Even the partial closure of the two energy choke points for exported Gulf oil – at the Strait of Hormuz or the Bb al-Mandeb entrance to the Red Sea – is liable to send oil prices shooting up. For instance, each added dollar on the world energy market adds $4bn of extra revenue to the coffers of the Russian government, which is itself under US sanction.

Saudi Arabia and the other oil-rich Gulf nations are currently in no position to raise output to cover the loss from Iran – mainly because of their commitments to OPEC and Moscow. The Trump administration therefore cast about for a regular, preferably stable, source for at least half a million barrels of all a day to cover the shortfall. The solution was found in Washington’s first intervention in the Libyan crisis since Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama contrived the downfall of Muammar Qaddafi.

On April 4, President Trump put in a phone call to Gen. Khalifa Haftar, head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) militia fighting to conquer the Libyan capital, Tripoli. At this peak moment of the turbulent Libyan civil war, Haftar, backed by Russia, Egypt, the UAE and France, is fighting to unseat the national government sponsored by the UN and Italy. Trump and his advisers reckon that Haftar’s LNA, which already controls Libya’s eastern and southern oil fields, is capable of also seizing its main oil terminals at Ras Lanuf and Es Sidr on the Mediterranean (see map).

On Sunday, April 24, as the battles for these key targets between the LNA and government forces intensified, US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said in an interview to Face the Nation that this was having an “unnerving effect in the region.”

To secure the port facilities of Ras Lanuf, in Libya’s key Oil Crescent region and one of the world’s crucial maritime oil export points, Haftar on Sunday sent an Alkarama patrol vessel to the port. The oil trade in the country divided by the civil war is operated by the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which tries to position itself as a neutral side in a conflict between the LNA and the Government of National Accord (GNA), operating across the entire country, sending the profits to the Tripoli-based central bank, but also a portion to public servants in the LNA-controlled lands

The coming issue of DEBKA Weekly (for subscribers), out on May 3, offers more exclusive disclosures on the Trump administration’s exercises on the world’s oil market, stemming from an all-out drive to topple Iran from its positions of influence in the Middle East with repercussions on Russia.  To sign on, click here.

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28 thoughts on “The contest over the Strait of Hormuz’s closure has begun at… Libya’s Ras Lanuf

  • Apr 29, 2019 @ 10:25 at 10:25
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    The Iranian oil is a Shiite poison.
    Do not buy, do not touch, it is toxic, it is carcinogenic. and it is dirty!
    The Shiite oil heats up and suffocates with smoke and CO2 the planet Earth.

    • Apr 29, 2019 @ 11:33 at 11:33
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      @Aladdin – now calm down you’re losing it and talking gibberish.

    • Apr 29, 2019 @ 18:49 at 18:49
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      The Iranian Shiia Regime is Helpless to prevent its own Demise that it has Engineered since 1979 because it did not Advance the Persian People and Chose to Sow Seeds of Middle East Chaos for its Old Blood Feud Caliphate from 632 CE. They are an Middle East Medieval Government In a Global Millennium Age! They cannot bring any Victories in Battles, Trade, or Technology! The World has chosen to Abandon such Poor Visions of Shiia Penchant for Hate. 1. Gulf States, American & Russian Oil Are Plentiful, 2. Israel, America, Europe, Russia, India, Japan, and Communists China are Far More High Tech Advanced, and 3. Middle East Sunnis are far more in Numbers, Modern Beliefs, with Visionary Leadership unlike Iran’s Shiia Regime Doomsday Scenario. Iran’s Shiia Caliphate Attempts to Closing the Straits Awaits their Last Act Fate?

      • Apr 29, 2019 @ 21:26 at 21:26
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        Pathetic, medieval governments murder medics and target children flying kites and balloons out of desperation and fear.

        You demonstrate an inability to look in the mirror when talking about Iran’s demise. The squatter colony, illegitimately conjured into existence by the United Nation a couple decades ago, sustains itself thanks to white supremacy and the welfare checks of a drunken benefactor.

        • Apr 30, 2019 @ 3:46 at 3:46
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          The Squatters in Iran are the Iranians Robe Regime that will not Thrive or Survive in Power when True Persians take back this Nation of Civilization until the Shiia took over by Crook, Force, and Misuse of Quran Scriptures and that is the True Messenger of Islam since 632 CE. The Israeli Culture of Judaism Welcome All Races, Cutlures, and Religions that Foster Peaceful Coexistence Sharing in Prosperity in the Traditions of Abraham of Canaan Judea and recognize by King Cyrus of Persia 1200 Years Before Islam.

          • Apr 30, 2019 @ 15:12 at 15:12
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            Peaceful coexistence… except for medics!

        • Apr 30, 2019 @ 8:13 at 8:13
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          The pills man! The pills . What a nuts!

        • Apr 30, 2019 @ 8:13 at 8:13
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          There are 1001 reasons that your terrorist home is a 1,400 year old Third World SHlThole.

          Happy Nakba!

  • Apr 29, 2019 @ 14:27 at 14:27
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    The maritime insurance companies will determine whether or not the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandab remain open, not the navies of the world. A single RPG into the castle of a single freighter will lead to the cancellation of all ships operating in the region, and the ship owners will remove them.

    • Apr 29, 2019 @ 19:19 at 19:19
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      The Insurance Companies Fund and Protect Energy Corporations, Arms Corporations, and all have War Conflict Clauses to Acts of G-d, and Allah has Proven he is not on the Side of the Shiia that have not brought Victory in Battles anymore than the Persian Empire did as becoming Sheep to the Greek-Roman, Ottoman, and European Empires. This Iranian Shiia Regime Lives off of Old Beliefs that Isolates Them and the Persian People will Remove them sooner not later. Venezuela Oil is back Online they will replace Iran’s Oil as well! Even North Korea sees the benefits of Partners For Progress with the EU, Communists China, Russia, & America and not with this Iranian Shiia Regime will Abandon them?

  • Apr 29, 2019 @ 16:06 at 16:06
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    Ha! The Twitter thinks he’s the dictator of China and India.

    The Dotard won’t dare provoke the Persians, because he’s owned by the corporations that would suffer.

    That’s why he’s looking to install Shah Guido!

    • Apr 29, 2019 @ 18:41 at 18:41
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      Yes- you are weaker than a Spider’s web and about as dumb as a rock.

      • Apr 29, 2019 @ 19:29 at 19:29
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        Hi David! Could you be the same? Didn’t you also have B H as teacher in our last year?

      • Apr 29, 2019 @ 20:49 at 20:49
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        David, at XXXX I mean, not later at XXX.

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 3:50 at 3:50
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      China and India need Oil, Gas, and Coal to expand their Economies and Iran under this Regime cannot even supply Water to the Persia People. Iran will change or be changed, either way, it will be for the Better For Persians, middle Easterners, and Globally! Insh’Allah!

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 8:43 at 8:43
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      Piglet, Trumps America and the Saudis will pick up the slack.

      Fascist Iran is on its last legs. Soon the Persian people will be free from Satans Ayatoolas.

      Bye, Bye Fascist Iran!

      • Apr 30, 2019 @ 15:11 at 15:11
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        When you’re not nuking Mecca, you’re fellating the Saud crime family.

        The cognitive dissonance going on in your genocidal Nazi brain must be dizzying!

        • May 1, 2019 @ 18:02 at 18:02
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          Sharmuta, Get back to work fellating the Ayatoolahs of Fascist Iran.

          Again, for dumk cucks like yourself, if the US or Israel suffer a WMD attack, Tehran becomes as hot as the surface of the Sun. And Mecca…. ?

  • Apr 29, 2019 @ 21:58 at 21:58
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    What about US Navy? We want Libya and Venezuela. Maybe we will just take them back. Like the good old days. Ukraine is of little value and is really part of Russia anyway.

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 4:04 at 4:04
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      America has not taken anyone Lands except when it took the Philippines from Spain and after WWII and Filipeno’s Chose to Become an Independent Nation, and When America Left its Air and Naval Bases, there was Sign Left, Go Home Yankees But Take Us with You!

  • Apr 29, 2019 @ 23:22 at 23:22
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    About time to buy new tires for my 40mpg car…

  • Apr 30, 2019 @ 3:27 at 3:27
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    Seriously, what are the Persians going to do about it when the US sails in to keep the Strait open? They’re obviously no match for our military.
    We’ll keep their planes grounded with superior technology and weaponry. Their “navy” will be destroyed before they ever get out of port.
    In reality, all Persia can do is what Saddam did: launch missiles at Israel. Even then, it’s doubtful that their missiles could make it past Israel’s ABM systems.
    Besides – God himself protects his chosen.

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 4:00 at 4:00
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      Good Point, Allah will Change the Leadership of the Shiia to Save all the People of Persia and Remove those that do not Practice Caring for Current Fellow Muslims to Live in Peace and Prosperity, and Choose to Sow Seeds of Sins that Disobey the Allah’s Message from the Messenger? The Only Time a Son of Islam is allow to Disobey His Father is when Father No Longer Follows in the Belief of Allah!

  • Apr 30, 2019 @ 3:28 at 3:28
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    If a war kicks off I wouldn’t be surprised if Iran somehow gets someone in Libya to launch a missile on Tel Aviv.

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 3:52 at 3:52
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      This would be the Last Missile from Libya or Tehran, Think About That?

    • Apr 30, 2019 @ 8:46 at 8:46
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      Any WMD attack and Tehran is wiped off the face of the Earth – forever.

  • May 2, 2019 @ 2:35 at 2:35
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    Whaddya think? Will 50 Mt take care of Tehran and its evil gov’t? Better yet, if we infect their goats with an STD then only the top “leadership” will be impacted….

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