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Wed May 15, 2019, 06:32 AM

Analysis: Persian Gulf tensions, unclear threats raise risks (AP)

... After pulling out of the deal last year, the U.S. began a maximalist pressure campaign against Iran. It re-imposed sanctions. It created new ones, for the first time naming a part of a country’s armed forces a terrorist organization and squeezing Iran by threatening sanctions on any nation importing its crude oil. For a year, Iran negotiated with European signatories to the deal to find a way to allow it to continue its trading. Those efforts have yet to bear fruit. Meanwhile, Trump’s national security John Bolton, who gave paid speeches to an Iranian exile group promising that Iran’s government would be overthrown, issued the statement announcing the aircraft carrier would be deployed... Iran announced May 8 it would back away from the nuclear deal. Four days later, on Sunday, everything suddenly changed.

A pro-Iran Lebanese satellite channel falsely claimed the Emirati port of Fujairah was ablaze after explosions, reports quickly carried by Iranian state media and semi-official outlets. Hours later, the United Arab Emirates issued a vague statement alleging four ships “were subjected to sabotage operations.” By Monday, it was clear something happened. One of the four oil tankers affected, a Norwegian-flagged ship, clearly had a hole punched through its hull. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said the other three did as well. But Emirati and U.S. officials refused to speak on record to journalists. Satellite images obtained by The Associated Press later showed no visible major damage to the vessels, which included two Saudi tankers and an Emirati vessel.

On Tuesday, there still were no clear answers but many questions. Where did the Lebanese channel get its information about the explosions? What damaged the ships? And why won’t anyone identify suspects involved in the alleged sabotage? ... The UAE is developing Fujairah with an eye to possibly avoid having to send crude oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Now suddenly, Fujairah is a target... On Tuesday, a pipeline in Saudi Arabia that allows it to likewise avoid the strait became a target as well. Yemen’s Houthi rebels, with whom Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been fighting a bloody war since March 2015, launched a drone attack on the East-West pipeline, which carries nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil a day to the Red Sea. The kingdom shut down the pipeline in response, causing a spike in global oil prices...

... “Iran could actually view some of this as being a potential buildup for some type of offensive action,” said Becca Wasser, a Washington-based RAND Corp. analyst specializing in Gulf security. “It raises the risk of accidental escalation . Because the U.S. and Iran don’t have clear lines of communication at the moment, everything can be perceived in a very different light than one side is intending.” She added: “Something that would usually be a smaller issue could bloom into something much larger and much-more serious.”


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Reply Analysis: Persian Gulf tensions, unclear threats raise risks (AP) (Original post)
Ghost Dog May 2019 OP
watoos May 2019 #1
Ghost Dog May 2019 #2

Response to Ghost Dog (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 06:38 AM

1. Trump is provoking Iran,


Will Trump obey Putin or Bibi?

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Wed May 15, 2019, 06:47 AM

2. Tanker attacks expose weaknesses in Gulf Arab security (Reuters)

... The operation near the Strait of Hormuz appeared designed to test the resolve of the United States and its Sunni Muslim allies without triggering a war, after Washington tightened sanctions on Iran and beefed up its military presence nearby. The UAE has not characterised the sabotage or blamed anyone, but U.S. national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been behind it, a U.S. official has said. Tehran has distanced itself from the incident, which no one has claimed...

... The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is tasked with protecting commercial ships in the area. The British and French navies maintain a presence, while Saudi Arabia and the UAE have high-tech naval capacities. But Gulf Arab states are struggling to build an effective system to defend against drones and low-tech sabotage attempts, Eurasia Group said in a note.

“There are hundreds, if not a few thousand, small boats moving in that area every day. Many of these vessels are smugglers operating between Iran and the Gulf states,” said Norman Roule, a retired senior U.S. intelligence officer. “This will make it difficult, but not impossible, to trace any small vessels which may have been involved in the operation.” ...

... Maritime security sources told Reuters that images suggest the damage was likely caused by limpet mines attached close to the waterline with less than 4 kg of explosives. One source said the level of coordination and use of mines were likely to rule out militant groups such as al Qaeda. “It’s not those guys seeking publicity, it’s someone who wants to make a point without necessarily pointing in any given direction,” said Jeremy Binnie, Middle East and Africa editor for Jane’s Defence Weekly. “It’s below the threshold (for war).” ...


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