Given the prevailing tensions that started from the impounding of the Iran-flagged Grace 1 ship in Gibraltar, to which Iran responded by seizing UK’s oil tanker Stena Impero in July, the US proposed to ensure the strategic corridor’s passability by launching a naval patrol mission – an idea Poland is inclined to support.
“In the face of the threat from Iran, Poland is inclined to back the US Hormuz naval patrol,” Poland’s FM Jacek Czaputowicz told Polish Radio on the sidelines of UN Security Council session in New York.
The Polish FM also called the US proposal to patrol the strategic strait an important initiative. Nevertheless, Mr Czaputowicz stressed that it is too early to talk about Poland’s potential participation in such an operation.
“This is a query about our capabilities... that [Poland’s] Defence Ministry needs to answer,” said the Polish FM.
Although the US initiative to form an international coalition ready to patrol the Hormuz Strait was supported by the UK, Germany refused to participate in the mission, claiming that the patrols will increase the risk of armed conflict with Iran.
For his part, Mr Czaputowicz said that “the international society’s rationale to undertake stabilisation action exists. Therefore we are more inclined towards the UK and US stance.”
The matter of naval patrols will be discussed during UNSC session on August 20.
If Poland joins the US and the UK in the Hormuz strait, that may signal the rebirth of the “coalition of the willing”. That was a coalition of countries that participated in the invasion of Iraq back in the early noughties.
The action by the US, Britain and Poland back then produced a major split within the western alliance. France and Germany opposed the move.
The tension in the Hormuz strait could lead to military conflict with Iran. And it would not be the greatest surprise in diplomatic history if once again the US, Britain and Poland found themselves on one side of the divide, and Germany and France on the other.
But the implications of such divisions in the current climate of tensions within the EU and NATO, and between NATO and Russia and the US and China, could be far more significant than was the case back then. Iran too, is a far tougher opponent than was Saddam’s Iraq. The dangers of escalation of the conflict to the whole of the Middle East and even beyond would be far greater this time round.
In Poland it is likely that any support for the US and the British will also have greater impact on domestic politics. The opposition are likely to question the wisdom of that involvement, even though the Civic Platform (PO), when in opposition to the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) government, supported its decision to back President Bush and PM Blair in Iraq.
The opposition today is far less US-friendly then it was back then. It is not just the ‘Trump factor’ which is at play here. It is also the fact that the current opposition puts great store in relations with Germany and France. Return to the top of the page.