Conflicts Everywhere: Iran and the Border

Grind for July 24th
“I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared to meet me is another matter.”
– Winston Churchill


The Headline

Iran captures British tanker in Strait of Hormuz

The Grind

Iranian officials on Friday seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, claiming it bumped into a fishing boat.

Hours earlier, a British court decided to extend the detention of an Iranian oil tanker that was seized by British authorities earlier this month for attempting to carry oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

“It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region,” said British Foreign Sec. Jeremy Hunt. “We are looking at a diplomatic way to resolve the situation, but we are very clear that it must be resolved.”

The Details

Iranian officials also detained a Liberian-flagged tanker on Friday and boarded the vessel before allowing it to continue. Last Sunday, officials detained a Panamanian-flagged tanker and accused its crew of smuggling oil.

On Thursday, US officials destroyed an Iranian drone after it approached a US warship sailing in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran shot down a US drone in June.

“I think they want to break the status quo,” said Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley about Iran’s actions. “They’re not looking to do something that is going to spiral out of control. War’s not what they’re looking for.”

The US doesn’t want war either but is boosting its defenses in the region just to be safe. On Friday, the Pentagon approved the deployment of 500 troops to Saudi Arabia, adding to the 1,000 troops sent to the Middle East in June and the aircraft carrier and bomber task force dispatched to the region in May.

In the meantime, the US is working with Saudi Arabia, the UK, and others to increase security in key Middle East waterways.

The seized British tanker and its 23 crewmen are being held at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Desperate Times

The Headline

Border agents use tear gas to block mob at the southern border

The Grind

Border Patrol agents on Saturday used tear gas and pepper spray to stop a horde of undocumented individuals as they rushed a port of entry in Pharr, Texas.

Nearly 50 people were blocked as they attempted to cross the Rio Grande by way of the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge.

The group rushed the bridge in three waves, said one officer, beginning at 4:00 in the morning.

“Ignoring commands to stop, the group suddenly rushed the temporary barricades, bent metal poles, and disabled the concertina wire affixed to the barrier,” said the officer. “Several males in the group disregarded commands to stop and physically pushed through the barriers…When confronted by CBP officers, the combative individuals began assaulting the officers by punching, kicking, and attempting to grab the officers’ protective devices.”

At least 16 people were taken into custody; federal charges are pending against 14.

The Details

A similar incident occurred last November, when hundreds of migrants rushed a border fence in Tijuana. CPB agents used tear gas to disperse the crowd after they were attacked with projectiles.

This time around, migrants are frustrated by new policies which force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the United States. The new rule is part of a June deal with Mexico that seeks to limit the flow of Central American migrants through Mexico into the United States.

The Mexican government has promised to invest millions of dollars to improve migrant shelters, but most of these facilities are located in southern Mexico far from the US border.

It is unfortunate that we are having to use tear gas to stop people from entering the country, but people need to know that they cannot cross the border by forming a mob and rushing in. If we let that happen, it will happen again.

Did you know… Babe Ruth wore a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep him cool! He changed it every 2 innings!