Color me unsubtle, but I’m baffled by this:
The Obama administration is relying on a secret channel of communication to warn Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that closing the Strait of Hormuzis a “red line” that would provoke an American response, according to United States government officials.
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this past weekend that the United States would “take action and reopen the strait,” which could be accomplished only by military means, including minesweepers, warship escorts and potentially airstrikes. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told troops in Texas on Thursday that the United States would not tolerate Iran’s closing of the strait.
The officials declined to describe the unusual contact between the two governments, and whether there had been an Iranian reply. Senior Obama administration officials have said publicly that Iran would cross a “red line” if it made good on recent threats to close the strait, a strategically crucial waterway connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, where 16 million barrels of oil — about a fifth of the world’s daily oil trade — flow through every day.
Now, how is this a secret if it’s on the front page of the New York Times?
American officials indicated that the recent and delicate messages expressing concern about the Strait of Hormuz were conveyed through a channel other than the Swiss government, which the United States has often used as a neutral party to relay diplomatic messages to Tehran.
Are you with me in concluding that the channel sounds like the New York Times itself? And that the message really isn’t that delicate?
Note to US officials: Ricochet is also available to mediate at a moment’s notice, in complete secrecy–for the price of a grande latte at Starbucks. Your confidentiality assured.