22.06.2019 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Gulf of Oman: Latest Provocative Actions by Washington

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No sooner had the unfortunate incident, involving an attack on two tankers resulting in sinking of one of them, occurred in the Gulf of Oman, that American warmongers began to accuse Iran of being responsible for all of these tragic events. At first, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and then John R. Bolton, the National Security Advisor to the President, unjustly blamed Iran for attacking the Kokura Courageous and Front Altair tankers, and succeeded in convincing Donald Trump of their viewpoint.

Hence, Donald Trump made an official statement saying that limpet mines, used to cause the explosions on the tankers, were Iran’s signature weapon. Of course, many would argue with the aforementioned claim, and there is certainly a sufficient number of experts in the world specializing in subversion. Inconsistencies have also appeared in the story, which, from the viewpoint of many politicians, have raised suspicions and given one a food for thought. In truth, however, at first America’s ardent supporters of the “truth” claimed that torpedoes were fired into the tankers, but then quickly changed their statements.

The U.S. Central Command publicized a video which supposedly proves Iran’s involvement in the attack on the tankers. In the commentaries to the video, U.S. representatives claim that officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were recorded removing a limpet mine, which failed to explode, from one of the tankers. Apparently, the video was filmed by a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft which happened to be airborne during the attack on the vessel?!  The recording (of poor quality) actually shows a motor boat approaching the tanker and then leaving after some manipulations on it. What remains unclear is why the Americans concluded that the small vessel belonged specifically to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  However, for instance, members of the tankers’ crews affirm that their vessels had been attacked from the air. Who should we believe? The sailors who almost lost their lives during the unfortunate incident, or the ardent supporters of the truth from the distant city of Washington DC, which is thousands of kilometers away from the Gulf of Oman?

Let us try to make sense of this complex issue and use logic as advocates did in ancient times. In antiquity, 18 American spy agencies, Britain’s MI5 and MI6,and the Israeli Mossad did not exist, but there were intelligent lawyers who, when investigating any complicated cases, asked the most pertinent question “Who benefits from this?” and, therefore, successfully found those responsible for any crimes committed. Let us also ask this customary question “Who benefits from this latest flare up in tensions in this unstable region?”. We would like to remind our readers that a similar incident occurred as far back as May of this year, but (attention!) for unknown reasons there was no investigation into it. This also prompts one to give the situation even more thought.

The entire global community remembers that Washington was responsible for the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and then began its air strikes against Vietnam only because the nation wished to live according to its rules, traditions and customs. The latest developments in the Gulf of Oman are very much reminiscent of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Please judge for yourself, for some reason there was a U.S. military vessel near the tankers; an American plane flew over the cargo ships on a number of occasions and filmed an unidentified boat with an Iranian sailor (?), who was supposedly removing a mine (which failed to explode) from the vessel, and finally a drone, patrolling the area, was almost shot down by Iranians, according to a statement from the Pentagon. Apparently, even Americans were unable to “spot” Iranian motor boats or other naval forces near by, however, the attack on the tankers seems to have been “coordinated”. At first glance, the story reads as a detective novel that could have been penned by Conan Doyle.

Incidentally, this latest incident (by sheer coincidence!?) occurred at the time when Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was in Tehran conducting successful negotiations on taking on the role of a mediator between Iran and the USA. Shinzō Abe stated that his nation was striving to do as much as possible in order to reduce tensions and facilitate the return of peace and stability to the Middle East as yet another conflict between Iran and the USA was looming large. By the way, the fact that the Kokura Courageous tanker belongs to Japanese businessmen must be another coincidence. It was the captain of this vessel who refuted the U.S. statement claiming that the tankers were attacked by torpedoes or mines. Yutaka Katada, the President of shipping company Kokuka Sangyo Ltd., said that the vessel’s crew had reported being attacked from the air.

The fact that the United States continues to spin the story about the incident in the Gulf of Oman may surely indicate that there are plans afoot to destabilize the situation Iran finds itself in. After all, the so-called video evidence used by Washington to implicate Tehran in the attack on the two tankers, is somewhat suspect. One also remembers yet again the infamous aluminum tubes presented by Colin Powell at the U.N. Security Council, which served as an excuse to start a war in Iraq, where no chemical weapons were found in the end, as well as numerous staged incidents and decoys used in Syria. In all of these, we can see identical telltale signs, the same approach, and similar levels of assertiveness and boorishness that reflect U.S. desires to use force in order to run global affairs.

Provocative and shady steps taken by the United States (which tends to add fuel to tensions in the region on a regular basis) against Tehran include Washington’s unlawful withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA); the inclusion of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in a list of terrorist organizations; the re-imposition of sanctions against Iran, and the attempt to reduce this nation’s oil exports to zero.   The United States and its regional allies, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, made other shady and provocative moves by first accusing Iran of organizing attacks on tankers in Fujairah (the UAE) and then in the Gulf of Oman without presenting any evidence to support their claims. Such steps were and will be countered by Iran’s cautious approach used when dealing with U.S.-instigated attacks and intrigues.

Undoubtedly, the USA and its vassal states in the region will, as per usual, accuse Iran of being responsible for various other incidents without offering a single shred of proof. But the key question is as follows “Who benefits from tensions in the Persian Gulf?”. Is the answer Iran, where people are suffering because of the re-imposition of unjust sanctions? No, certainly not.  If we consider the following reasons, one can understand that the biggest beneficiary of existing tensions and attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East is the United States, and in turn, Tel Aviv, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and rulers of some other Arab nations in the region, who hope to simply survive the instability by ardently supporting the USA and obeying its every command.

Incidentally, contrary to the situation in last decades, at present, the United States is one of the biggest producers of oil and gas in the world and aims to increase its market share at the expense of other nations. After unlawfully withdrawing from the JCPOA and attempting to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero by levelling various accusations against Iran, the United States has made efforts to not only take over the Iranian share of the energy market but also limit Tehran’s with the aim of reducing its influence in the region. Any flare up in the Persian Gulf not only raises the prize of fuels in the global market but also creates sufficient opportunities for Washington to increase its military presence in the region. As a result, the USA can gain control over transportation routes carrying energy resources and, therefore, deter its rivals such as China, the EU, Japan and other growing economies such as that of India, whose size largely depends on oil supplied from the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Tensions in the region (aside from the anti-Iranian campaign) will ensure that countries in the region continue to purchase U.S. weaponry. By selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the nations of the Persian Gulf, the United States not only creates thousands of work places for its people but also holds back rivals such as China and Russia, preventing them from increasing their presence in the Middle Eastern arms market.  Tensions and conflicts instigated by the USA in the Middle East have resulted in serious rifts in ties and disagreements among the nations in the region, which is vitally important for Israeli security and its expansionist policies.

In the meantime, even António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has urged for an independent investigation into the attack on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman in order to establish the facts and find those responsible.  Incidentally, observing the way this investigation will unfold, and seeing who will impede it can help us get to the truth behind the incident in the Gulf of Oman.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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