Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 13, 2019

Today's Attacks On Ships In The Gulf Of Oman Are Not In Iran's Interest - Or Are They? (Updated)


Early this morning, around 6:00 UTC, two tankers in the Gulf of Oman were attacked by surface weapons. Both ships were some 50 kilometers south-east of Bandar-e Jask, Iran, and some 100+ kilometers east of Fujairah.


The Front Altair, a 250 meter long crude oil tanker under the flag of the Marshal Islands, came from the United Arab Emirates and was on was on its way to Taiwan. Its load of 75,000 tons of naphta caught fire and the crew had to abandon the ship.


The second attacked ship is the Kokuka Courageous, a 170 meter long tanker flagged by Panama. It was coming from Saudi Arabia and on its way to Singapore. The ship has its hull breached above the water line, but its load of methanol seems to be intact.

The Iranian Search and Rescue ship Naji picked up the 44 crews members of both ships and brought them to Bandar-E Jash. Oil prices increased by some 4%.

These attacks come a month after four ships anchoring near the UAE port Fujairah were damaged by explosives attached to their hulls. The investigation of that incident by the UAE did not blame anyone for the attack but suggested that a nation state must have been behind it. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton blamed Iran.

It is likely that Iranian proxy forces were involved in the May attacks. It seems unlikely that Iran had anything to do with today's attacks.

The May attack was accompanied by two drone strikes launched by Houthi forces in Yemen on the Saudi east-west pipeline that allows some Saudi exports to avoid a passage through the Street of Hormuz. A third strike was a medium range missile launch by the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza strip against the city of Ashkelon in Israel.

All three strikes together were a warning that those countries who instigate for a U.S. war on Iran would get seriously hurt should Iran be attacked.

The attack today comes at an inconvenient time for Iran. The loud anti-Iran campaign John Bolton initiated in April and May recently calmed down.

U.S. President Trump tries to move Iran towards negotiations with him. He recently received the President of Switzerland in the White House. Switzerland is the 'protecting power' that represent U.S. diplomatic interests in Iran. The German Foreign Minister Maas was send to Iran to press for Iranian concessions. Currently the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe is visiting Tehran. He today met Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei but had no success in moving Iran towards negotiations with the Trump.

Even while Iran rejects negotiations with the U.S. as long as the U.S. keeps up its sanctions,  it has no interest in disturbing the current phase of diplomacy. Iran seems to have nothing to win from these attacks.

Is someone else out to nearly literately torpedo the current mediation attempts?

Update (11:30 utc, 7:30 AM blog time):

A few tweets Iran's Supreme Leader issued after his meeting with Prime Minister Abe today hint at a motive Iran might have to conduct something like the attack that happened today: @khamenei_ir - 9:36 UTC - 13 Jun 2019

We do not believe at all that the U.S. is seeking genuine negotiations with Iran; because genuine negotiations would never come from a person like Trump. Genuineness is very rare among U.S. officials.

.@AbeShinzo U.S. president met & talked with you a few days ago, including about Iran. But after returning from Japan, he immediately imposed sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical industry. Is this a message of honesty? Does that show he is willing to hold genuine negotiations?

After the nuclear deal, the first one to immediately breach the JCPOA was Obama; the same person who had requested negotiations with Iran & had sent a mediator. This is our experience, & Mr. Abe, know that we won’t repeat the same experience.

The keyword here is "petrochemical". The tankers hit today were loaded with naphta from the UAE and methanol from Saudi Arabia. Both are petrochemical products and not simply crude oil. Last Friday, June 7, the U.S. sanctioned all trade with Iran's biggest petrochemical producer. These sanction will seriously hurt Iran.

When the Trump administration began to sanction Iran's oil export last year, Iran announced new rules of the game. It said that it would retaliate against other Persian Gulf producers should Iran be unable to export its goods:

Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, a vital artery for oil shipments from the Middle East. The warning comes in response to the US, which is trying to cut off Iranian crude exports.
Iran's supreme leader's senior adviser for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati said his country will retaliate.

“The most transparent, complete and prompt response was given by Mr [Hassan] Rouhani, the Iranian president, in his last trip to Europe. The response was clear: if Iran cannot export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one will do this,” Velayati said, speaking at the Valdai discussion club in Russia. “Either everyone will export, or no-one,” he added.

Now we can apply the keyword Khamenei used today to these sentences: "if Iran cannot export petrochemical products through the Persian Gulf, no-one will do this". "Either everyone will export, or no-one."

That Iran might have this motive does not mean or prove that it is responsible for today's attack. Risking to sink two foreign tankers in international water is not what an otherwise cautious Iran would typically do. Someone else might have initiated it to blame it.

Still - no matter if Iran was involved - what Khamenei said is a very serious message that Abe, who Trump sent to Iran, will understand and communicate back to the White House.

Posted by b on June 13, 2019 at 9:37 UTC | Permalink

next page »

One word....(((them)))

Posted by: col from OZ | Jun 13 2019 9:46 utc | 1

Bolton's big moment 'the gulf of oman incident' will not work. It is a transperant attempt to stitch up Iran by insinuating that the Houtis did this to stop any deal between Iran and trump which Abe is trying to put together.
They cannot implicate Iran so they will fit up Yemen and then say "Iran encouraged them Mommy".

Abe will be pissed because Japan needs continuing access to Iran's hydrocarbons and Bolton isn't smart enough to gain their complicity beforehand.

Posted by: Dolores P Candyarse | Jun 13 2019 10:02 utc | 2

OZ @1

I was just about to post the same "One word" and then spotted your post.

At first I had simply typed a one word post: Israel
but then thought, "what about Saudi Arabia?",
then thought, "Saudi Arabia is known for their incompetence and some-one else would have to step up",
then thought, "but Israel would get some-one else to do their dirty work".

The One we know for sure didn't do it is: Iran
The One group we have been witnessing attacking multiple countries will have their media shout in unison: Iran.

Posted by: librul | Jun 13 2019 10:05 utc | 3

It's rumored that Trump is about to fire Bolton and is secretly looking for a successor. If the rumor is true, then Bolton would have every reason to try to show that he is a necessary fixture in the White House right now by ordering a stunt like this.

Posted by: Dao Gen | Jun 13 2019 10:14 utc | 4

The Guardian goes for the guilt by association shit:

Iran and the Yemeni rebels both follow branches of the Shia sect of Islam but Tehran has always denied providing more than moral support to the rebels.

That's like saying that Northern Irish Catholics and Protestants both follow Christianity.

Meanwhile OT - all that stands between Julian Assange and the wrath of Washington are British and European judges:

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, has revealed he has signed a request for Julian Assange to be extradited to the US where he faces charges of computer hacking.

Speaking on the Today Programme on Thursday, Javid said: “He’s rightly behind bars. There’s an extradition request from the US that is before the courts tomorrow but yesterday I signed the extradition order and certified it and that will be going in front of the courts tomorrow.”

I always thought that Tory ministers were a bunch of sniveling little shits, and they've just proved me right. Don't think it was just Sajid David who made this decision, it was the entire cabinet including Theresa May.

The next time someone farts on about how oppressed the media is in Russia just remember the different outcomes (so far) for Ivan Golunov and Julian Assange. The Russians don't need disinformation operations to discredit western government and institutions, they only have to stand aside and let those western governments and institutions do it themselves.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 13 2019 10:15 utc | 5

Hi. Haven't been on this site for years and am totally not up to date. Are the UK extraditing Assange directly back to the US? When did Sweden roll over?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 13 2019 10:19 utc | 6

Now we know why Trump was publicly announcing he wanted talks with Iran, so that when this happened he could claim "Hey look we were willing to talk and then they do this"

While we cannot claim with complete certainty that this was a false flag event, I think a lot us know that it is by far the most likely explanation. I have a very bad feeling about all of this, its as if 'Threads' (the 1984 British apocalyptic war drama television film) is coming true.

Posted by: MarkU | Jun 13 2019 10:23 utc | 7

This report: Zerohedge
claims that one of the ships is Japanese owned.

The manager of one of the tankers, the Panama-flagged, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which had been carrying a cargo of methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, said the vessel had been damaged as the result of "a suspected attack," though the manager added that the ship's cargo was secure.

"The hull has been breached above the water line on the starboard side," Bernhard Schulte GmbH & Co KG said in a statement on its website.

Ironic - it makes direct Iranian involvement pretty unlikely

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13 2019 10:33 utc | 8

>>>> librul | Jun 13, 2019 6:05:10 AM | 3

"Saudi Arabia is known for their incompetence and some-one else would have to step up"

Pulease. Every now and then I get the urge to edit the internet and today is one of those days. Hope you don't mind.

"Saudi Arabia and Israel are both known for their incompetence and some-one else would have to step up"

Israel depends for its continued existence on a couple of hundred highly capable pilots some of whom might be American contractors, the rest of the IDF and Mossad are worth less than jack shit.

The UAE is slightly less incompetent than Saudi Arabia or Israel, so why not them. The UAE is part of the anti-Iran coalition of the morons and does have frontage on the Gulf of Oman, so that gives them motive and opportunity. As for means, there are reports the more severely damaged one was hit by a torpedo, and the UAE does have a navy with helicopters.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 13 2019 10:36 utc | 9

“We have people of every nationality and vessels of every flat transiting that crucial sea lane every day,” Paolo d’Amico, chairman of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners, said in a statement. <- a quote provided by NYT

My brain started to work overtime: how many flats are there? How many have ships? Then I started to doubt the spelling...

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 13 2019 10:42 utc | 10

This has dual US/Israeli citizen John Bolton's fingerprints all over it, especially with the rumors of his potential ouster soon forcing him to ramp up his push for an attack on Iran. False flag attempt for sure. The real question is whether the world sees through it.

Posted by: The Q | Jun 13 2019 10:44 utc | 11

Of course this is the straits of Hormuz. The US satellites much be watching it just as closely as they watch for missile launches from close to the border with Russia in the direction of Europe. The US knows full well who did this, just as they know full well who (if anyone) launched thet MH17 BUK. Proof would be a doddle.

So the challenge here will be how to cover up who really did this. Just as they covered up for the Ukro-Nazis, now they have to cover up for Saudi or another of their nasty allies.
Expect this to go nowhere near a court ever.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13 2019 10:46 utc | 12

Iran must be responsible for this, the US must take some responsibility also since our most important allies in the region Israel and Saudi Arabia have warned us that this kind of thing was inevitable. Bolton, Pompeo and Pence have be proven right all along./S Seriously this has nothing to do with any concerns about nuclear weapons development, but everything to do with Iran's legal pursuit and development of precision ballistic missiles, together with their newly acquired anti aircraft system the Khordad 15. Its other home built missile systems are perfectly legal [according to the JCPOA] since they are not designed for, nor capable of delivering nuclear weapons.The aim of all these sanctions is to make Iran defenseless and therefore incapable of being a military force in the region, opening the way for Israel/Saudi and US hegemony ipso facto another US vassal.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 13 2019 10:48 utc | 13

>>>> Cloned Poster | Jun 13, 2019 6:19:46 AM | 6

Hi. Haven't been on this site for years and am totally not up to date. Are the UK extraditing Assange directly back to the US? When did Sweden roll over?

It's complicated. The original extradition warrant back in whenever was issued by a prosecutor but English law at the time required that it be issued by the judicial authority, i.e., a court. English judges did what they do every now and then, i.e., bullshitted and decided that "judicial authority" included prosecutors, but the British government decided this really was bullshit and changed the law after it had been applied to Assange to be more specific so that only a court could issue an extradition warrant. If this British government had any decency they would have backdated the change so Assange could leave the Ecuadorean embassy years age, but they didn't because they were/are sniveling little shits. The new prosecutor went to a Swedish court to get such a warrant and the judge(s) told him/her to fuck off (in so many words). So now there is no valid Swedish extradition warrant for Assange so the cunts in the DoJ in Washington get their turn.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 13 2019 10:49 utc | 14

@3 "then thought, 'Saudi Arabia is known for their incompetence and some-one else would have to step up',"

Well, heck, there are signs of incompetence here.

One of the ships caught fire and will, in all likelihood, sink.
The other, apparently, has not caught fire.

That second ship is therefore going to be studied verrrrrry carefully.

If it took a torpedo hit then the damage will be below the waterline and the hull plates will be bent inwards.

If it is sabotage then the damage is more likely to be above the waterline and the hull plates will be bent outwards.

It is unlikely to be Iran if the damage indicates the latter rather than the former.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13 2019 10:52 utc | 15

@Ghost Ship

Discouraging news about Assange.

On a slightly lighter note, I have always thought that the current British Home Secretary bears an uncanny resemblance to the sinister character of The Hood in the original 1960s Thunderbirds series.

Posted by: Tsar Nicholas | Jun 13 2019 11:06 utc | 16

@11 The Q "This has dual US/Israeli citizen John Bolton's fingerprints all over it,"

I have two comments on that.

1) Is Bolton an Israeli citizen? I've heard it repeated many times, without ever once having it confirmed by anything other than the rumour-mill. He is the wrong religion, for one thing.

2) According to the NYTimes (aka the paper of record) "On a visit to the U.A.E. about two weeks ago, John Bolton, President Trump’s national security adviser, said"....

I don't really give a s**t what Bolton has to say, since it is almost certain to be a falsehood.

But he was chin-wagging with UAE officials "about" two weeks ago, which is more than enough time to gin up a false-flag operation.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13 2019 11:11 utc | 17

@all - I updated the piece above at its end and now come to a somewhat different conclusion.

Please reread it.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2019 11:22 utc | 18

Tsar Nicholas @ 16:

I've always thought that the British Home Secretary resembled one of Doctor Who's most militant and implacable enemies - the Sontarans.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 13 2019 11:25 utc | 19

From the zerohedge article: "Another tanker, Norwegian-owned and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, sent a distress signal to the UAE port of Fujairah. It had loaded an oil shipment in Abu Dhabi not long before the incident. The ship was reportedly hit with three explosions. Officials said it appeared the ships had been attacked with torpedoes."


This is what happens when a ship with a 12-inch armoured belt and anti-torpedo bulges is hit by three torpedoes:

Yet zerohedge expects us to accept that a fully-laden supertanker can be hit by three torpedoes and the result is this:

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13 2019 11:32 utc | 20

Wow b, the update does make everyone doubt who is behind it. Oh well i think meeting with Abe didn't go well. But can this be a knee-jerk reaction from Iran. Doest such attacks take planning to execute?

Posted by: AG17 | Jun 13 2019 11:33 utc | 21

Dear B,

Ali Akbar Velayati's statement that Iran would retaliate if it cannot export its oil from its Persian Gulf ports does not necessarily mean that Tehran would resort to violent measures to stop Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states from exporting oil through the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia could use its ports on the Red Sea to export its oil instead. There is still a possibility that a third party could have planted the explosives on the tankers.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 13 2019 11:41 utc | 22

@18 b The key will be where the damage is: above the waterline, or below the waterline.

If Iran specifically targeted those two ships then we can rule out mines, unless it is limpet-mines attached while the ships were in harbour. But these ships were underway, which tends to make that unlikely, and were from different harbours, which makes it even more unlikely.

Torpedoes from a midget-submarine are still a possibility, but by definition the damage would be below the waterline. And the Iranian midget-subs have only two torpedoes, which means some mighty fine shootin'

Any indication of damage above the waterline would tend to rule out Iranian involvement. Certainly would rule out anti-ship missiles or shelling. And Iranian sabotage would mean they circumvented security in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is doubly-difficult.

But a false-flag?

That's another matter, as the UAE and the Saudis can both be in on it.

Damage below the waterline could be Iran, or a competent false-flag.
Damage above the waterline suggests an incompetent false-flag.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13 2019 11:47 utc | 23

No reports of injuries amongst the crews of the six ships hit in the two attacks.
Iran will not back down or suffer sanctions meekly. At some point, Trump will have to piss or get off the pot. There will be more damaged ships until Trump decides. Iran may well be playing into Trump's hands if he intends going to war, but time to lance the pussy boil that is the US.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2019 12:00 utc | 24

This is classic USA Gulf of Tonkin, Remember the Maine, WMD, Yellow Cake stuff....

If in fact Iran is the culprit then they have been forced into it and the blame again rests upon the USA.

Another war,,, just what we (USA) need. sigh.........

Posted by: ken | Jun 13 2019 12:02 utc | 25

Dont think this escalating to war... more like warning.

Posted by: AG17 | Jun 13 2019 12:04 utc | 26

>>>> Yeah, Right | Jun 13, 2019 7:32:36 AM | 20

With HMS Barham, it was the magazine, filled with high explosives, exploding.

As for oil tankers, it's surprisingly hard to set the contents alight. Reading a Royal Engineers manual of WW2 vintage on how to set fire to oil tanks, first you need to rupture the tank then you need a second charge to ignite the oil if you are lucky. Just rupturing the tank is not enough as any heat from the projectile is quickly dissipated by the liquid flowwing over it. For example it took a lot of bombs, rockets and napalm to ignite the crude oil on the Torrey Canyon back in 1967 although the RAF missed the target quite a bit (no PGMs). Admittedly naptha and methanol are more flamable than crude oil, but with both, you'd need some to have evaporated before it'll ignite.

The stuff you see in films where someone throws away a cigarette and sets fire to petrol is pretty much a filmmaker's myth.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 13 2019 12:12 utc | 27

Given the amount of naval etc assets the US has in the area they are surely in a position to know or have a pretty good idea what happened. Especially if the carrier is still there.

Posted by: JohninMK | Jun 13 2019 12:14 utc | 28


your update makes Iran just look like average country, which is not. islamic republic of iran mean every move by the country must be base on islamic principles. Remember, they belive in God, in Hereafter, in Devine Justice, in God's direct intervention in this world and so on ... all that islamic principles makes no room for us to assume iran attacking other country vessels just because we believed they were in trouble after us sanction.

Posted by: Ali | Jun 13 2019 12:15 utc | 29

The US threat to bring Iranian oil sales to zero is a act of war, if they were successful,[unlikely] Iran's population would starve and die in their millions, just as in Yemen. In those circumstances Iran does have the right to say 'if we can't sell oil, our putative enemies Saudi Arabia, UAE et al will not be allowed to either. In those circumstances the Iranians should quietly arm any group wishing the Saudis harm, the Saudis are a bunch of US ass licking scumbags who deserve everything coming to them.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 13 2019 12:20 utc | 30

@28 Ghost Ship. You honestly believe that a supertanker can take three torpedoes and still stay afloat? Really?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13 2019 12:21 utc | 31

It could be Iran, I think the previous one was Iran, but this one is think is the 4 B's, who need the distraction/war/whatever, and are this incompetent.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 13 2019 12:24 utc | 32

I copied and pasted this very interesting comment below which was found on the Iranian News site 'Press TV'.

"The 'Rumours from the Dark Web team' (a Russian based group recently shut down on youtube and delisted on google) are reporting that prior to this incident they have heard chatter that there was more 'UUV activity in area than usual' (a UUV is an unmanned underwater vehicle / drone which can be used for exploration, spying, or for combat).
The team also mentioned that UUV's from various nations (including arms and drug smugglers) had been regularly entering and leaving the area under cover of hiding beneath tankers or sometimes actually attached to tankers.
Chatter suggests that a UUV or weaponised drone or smugglers drone of some description exploded or was taken out by another UUV or drone outside the Persian Gulf.
The team stressed that 'this incident occurred outside of the Persian Gulf for a specific reason' (not given).
The team also reminded people that several tankers had previously been armed with ATGM's of soviet era type for potential use in a planned false flag attack against a US warship, but they had already been taken out of service to prevent this (is this the previous tanker incident involving mines?).
The team suggested that it was possible that these tankers were again pre-emptively hit by a state actor to prevent another false flag involving them, or to simply destroy advanced Iranian or Saudi missiles and arms on route to Yemen or Syria.
The full report is not out yet but there is no mention on the Dark Web of Iran being responsible for this yet."

Posted by: Ian Jonhson | Jun 13 2019 12:27 utc | 33

Don't rule out the MEK assistance in something like this. The MEK was formerly ruled a terrorist organization by the US. As soon as the US started using Jihadists (i. e. al-quada branches) to continue its battle against the government of Assad, the MEK were reclassified as a non-terrorist organization. I remember hearing reports about members of MEK trying to buy the sae fast boats used by the IRG.

This whole thing stinks.

Posted by: naiverealist | Jun 13 2019 12:28 utc | 34

Can Israeli scuba divers scoop up Iranian mines and move them to another location?

Posted by: librul | Jun 13 2019 12:36 utc | 35

"Naphtha" can be of various levels of volatility - from lighter fluid to more or less raw gasoline. Withal it is lighter than water, more or less. Methanol (CH3OH) is the simplest alcohol. It too is lighter than water.

It does not seem that tanker with either fluid can sink. They can burn quite well, however.

Insurance rates are going up...

Posted by: Walter | Jun 13 2019 12:39 utc | 36

>>>> Yeah, Right | Jun 13, 2019 8:21:52 AM | 32

Why waste two expensive torpedoes to send a message. All reports I've seen except ZH report a single explosion so until I hear different from other sources, I'll continue to discount ZH's claims. If ZH gave a source for the three claim, I might think different but so far they don't seem to have done so.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 13 2019 12:53 utc | 37

Tankers are notoriously difficult to sink. Modern tankers are double bottom double hull, generally speaking. Yes indeed, a supertanker (these just now are small tankers not supertankers, but the facts are similar), can probably "take" three torpedoes and not sink, especially if loaded with fluid lighter than seawater.

The attacks seem to have been by flying objects, not torps.

The result is going to be something like escorts and vastly high insurance costs...jus'fer starters...

Posted by: Walter | Jun 13 2019 13:02 utc | 38

Assumption about plates bending in or out due to torps is not valid. Torps can detonate under ship, or inside it, or on contact. The under ship detonation breaks the ship in half. This was a big deal in 1940...

Again, flying object, not torp.

Posted by: Walter | Jun 13 2019 13:09 utc | 39

Thank-you for helping Trump with his dirty work! Honestly, do you think your article helps Iran in any way???

Do you have concrete proof? NO. Iran threatened many things in the past it never followed through on. Why don't you just apply for a job with Trump Ministry of Propaganda digging for dubious dirt Trump can tweet and act on?

Why didn't you just write that Iran has a right to defend itself? Why do you put statements in bold? How about putting up a billboard instead?

Speaking of billboard: The keyword here is "petrochemical". In quotes too!

Followed by your smoking torpedo:

Now we can apply the keyword Khamenei used today to these sentences:

What lying-ass Trump is doing is an ACT OF WAR. He is trying to destroy a sovereign nation!

U.S. President Trump tries to move Iran towards negotiations with him.

REALLY? You call an ACT OF WAR ne go tia tions? Is cutting off a critical industry negotiation or mafia strongarm???

Then you follow up with: Even while Iran rejects negotiations with the U.S.

Good Trump wants to negotiate--baaad Iran doesn't.

Yeah-yeah you couched this hit-job in a couple of understated phrases like someone else might have initiated it and Iran has no interest in disturbing current diplomacy. But boy, you sure went out of your way to try to disprove it!

If Trump cut off Russia's oil industry, would you be so quick to provide him with unsubstantiated proof in bold of acts that could be JUSTIFIED even though TOTALLY UNPROVEN who committed them? Never mind, Russia wouldn't bother picking up the crew of whatever vessels it would blow sky high in retaliation AND NEITHER WOULD TRUMP, Commander-in-crime!

Yeah, you allude that it could be a false flag after you torpedo'd it in bold lettering!

Wow! Still carrying Emperor Trump's water here, I see. There is NOTHING redeeming in this tool expose, or the update that is merely a twist of the knife. Neocon Bolton is grinning all his yellow teeth under his bushy mustache: he couldn't have laid it out better himself! Hired!

So, what's next: yellow cake and aluminum tubes?

Such a gift at the service of Trump deception and destruction for total domination. I'm appalled. All this misguided effort to whitewash Trump that could be directed at Sanders who is trying to expose the Regime Change that Zionists had a hand in in Brazil.

Not a bad word about Trump in all this. Trump tries to negotiate...Is that what you call what he's doing? I call what he's doing casus belli, on second thought, this piece might be the casus belli Trump needs to carry out his plan for Iran in the next 4-year installment of high crimes. Ugh.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 13 2019 13:17 utc | 40

This is my favourite part of the story...

"The Iranian Search and Rescue ship Naji picked up the 44 crews members of both ships and brought them to Bandar-E Jash."

Therefore, the potential witnesses are in Iranian custody, and can be interrogated at Iran's leisure. One wonders if Iran's accusers will tone down the rhetoric whilst the crew remain in Skripal-type custody, and whether Iran will delay their release until Iranian authorities and medical experts are confidant that their health is A-OK?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2019 13:21 utc | 41

b: Iran might have this motive

b's argument for suspecting Iran involvement makes some sense because USA can just sit back and let sanctions take their toll, strangling Iran's economy and destabilizing the country.

Recall the oil sanctions against Japan in the 1040's. Ultimately, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

HOWEVER, USA+allies have a very real and pressing reason to ramp up tensions in the region: Idlib.

The war in Syria is NOT over. The Idlib occupation is strategic, not tactical (as are the other occupations in Syria). And a US response to the tanker attack might well be to show its strength elsewhere: Idlib.

If I'm right we will see some dramatic developments in Syria in the coming days.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 13:27 utc | 42

It's interesting that Iran was more concerned with the welfare of the crew of both ships than the perpetrators of the attacks...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2019 13:31 utc | 43

I'm not ready to say Iran did it, but will say that,

1) Iran has every right to hinder as much as possible the exports of KSA and UAE, since they are the second biggest instigators (after Israel) of hostility towards Iran.

2) If Abe is acting as Trump's pawn and not an honest mediator, then to hell with him. And it wouldn't be crazy for Iran to let him know they are completely unimpressed with his false mediation.

3) It would really be ironic if the world has suffered so much false flag fatigue that the very few times something isn't a false flag, the intended audience assumes that it is.

That said, I do not believe Iran did this. I do think it is a false flag and the authors of it are too tone deaf to realize people don't trust them anymore.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 13 2019 13:40 utc | 44


I agree that USA/Trump is not really interested in negotiation but only in the appearance of seeking peace.

b's belief that "... Trump tries to move Iran towards negotiations with him" doesn't adequately express the reality: USA/Trump offers to negotiate with 'no preconditions' after previously establishing the conditions required to force Iran's surrender (the oil embargo). Naturally, Iran's most important "pre-condition" for talks is for USA to release it's hostage (the Iranian economy).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 13:48 utc | 45

Forgot to add to my comment in 50, that it would be extremely easy for UAE and KSA to sabotage their own ships, since they would only have to pass through their own security, not penetrate someone else's. And they are exactly the types who would want to implicate Iran and also the ones to dumb to realize false flags aren't automatically believed anymore.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 13 2019 13:48 utc | 46

Oil prices have barely moved - they have not even recovered yesterday's fall.Still well below levels of Mon/Tues
That is weird.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13 2019 13:58 utc | 47

Japan's PM is in Tehran for talks. This is by itself unusual. Then two tankers ultimately owned by Japan are attacked in the Gulf. Very unusual.
Bad timing wouldn't begin to describe this if Iran was to blame. They normally are quite cautious with international relations, especially with countries they are trying to woo away from ther US.
Just this would point to a false flag in my book.
But what else hit the news cycle in the last 24 hours? Britain relishes in its poodle status as it signs extradition order for Assange. Should be big news, but who cares about press freedom when we've got "a new Middle eastern war?"
What else? Turkish observation posts in Idlib come under attack and they reportedly call the coordinates in to the Russians to bomb them. Again, should be tectonic news, but "war war war!".
There is simply a snowball's chance in Trump's asscrack that Iran attacked those tankers.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jun 13 2019 14:00 utc | 48

It is the art of the deal :-))

Trump/Bolton/whatever_moron has now created a situation where US proxies (plus anybody depending on oil from the Strait of Hormuz) urgently need an agreement with Iran, whilst an isolationist US do not need this.

US proxies will now have to bribe Trump to have him step down from the brink or jump the fence.

In other news Houthis have taken positions in Saudi's Najran and bombed a Saudi airport.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 13 2019 14:02 utc | 49

You are blaming Iran/allies?

It is likely that Iranian proxy forces were involved in the May attacks. It seems unlikely that Iran had anything to do with today's attacks.

Ridiculous propaganda!
How is it "likely" that Iran/allies would start attacking civilian ships? What is the sources for that claim.

It IS obvious that US, Israel are behind it though, they are the ones that have claimed this would happen - and now it suddenly does.
That western ships (Japan, Norway) are attacked is obvious, to get the west to get along with US/Israel on Iran.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2019 14:05 utc | 50

@somebody #56
In other news Houthis have taken positions in Saudi's Najran and bombed a Saudi airport.

Sounds like an excuse for Saudi to bomb the shit out of Yemen with no one saying anything.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13 2019 14:05 utc | 51


I beg to disagree with your take on the tankers attacks, whether the first ones
or the second ones.

Besides, the fact that these happened in the sea of Oman and not in
The Persian Gulf shows that the aggressor must have originated in the South.

Posted by: CarlD | Jun 13 2019 14:27 utc | 52

I agree with those that have pointed out that attacking Japanese vessels while talking with the Japanese PM is nonsensical. Any country that does such a thing is acting against their own interest.

If Iran wants to "send a message", it's likely that they can do so without shooting themselves in the foot.

The attack pressures Iran, but IMO it ALSO offers an excuse for USA to stall/stop the SAA+Russia attack on Idlib by claiming to confront Iranian proxies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 14:36 utc | 53

CardD @52

Yeah. The first attacks seemed too minor to be a "message" but are a great backdrop (for propaganda purposes) to the attacks today which nonsensically occur while meeting with the Japanese PM.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 14:41 utc | 54

@Circe Thank-you for helping Trump with his dirty work! Honestly, do you think your article helps Iran in any way???

I am helping neither nor do I have any obligation to help either. That Trump has bad policies is obvious. There is no need for me to say that in each and every post.

What I try to do, and what I hope the readers benefit from, is to explain the the signaling that happenes from both sides of the situation.

That Khamenei tweets about petrochemicals after an attack on two petrochemical tankers (he did not mention it) is highly significant signaling.

@Zanon You are blaming Iran/allies?

I do not "blame" them. I state that the Houthis launched the cruise missiles against the pipeline, that Islamic Jihad fired a missile towards Tel Aviv and that four ships were damaged in some special operation likely committed by Iran. The Houthi and Islamic Jihad have loudly proclaimed their culpability. Iran will not do so with regards to the ships for obvious reason.

The three events were a campaign to stop the build up to a war on Iran in April/May. The campaign was well designed to achieve that successful.

The events today are intended to prevent additional sanctions on Iran's petrochemical sector. They will probably achieve that.


I cleaned the thread up a bit. Anti-scientific discussions about the origin of oil or racist speculation about the 'Jewishness' of this or that person do not belong here.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2019 14:43 utc | 55


Ok my fault I thought you talked about the attacks on the ships in May.
But you do imply that Houthi's are led by Iran?
Isnt this what this blog have argued against during the Yemen civil war?

Besides the idea that Iran would attack Japan because Japan is onboard with more sanctions on Iran is illogical in my opinion.
So Japanese ship is attacked. Ok. How would that turn Japan to be more supportive of Iran?

IMO, generally I cant think of any benefit for Iran at all in this and I think its hurtful to even dwell into this when the focus should be elsewhere.
But I am prepared to here counter arguments by anyone here!

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2019 14:55 utc | 56

The art of the deal II

Khamenei tells Abe that there is no use in talking to Trump

Germany's Heiko Maahs was on the futile "mediation" mission before Abe.

If Russia introduces this gold backed cryptocurrency Iran's payment problems will be solved.

Iran owns lots of gold. They produce it.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 13 2019 14:58 utc | 57

An important aspect of false flag events is the diversion of attention. This event could preoccupy the MSM for three days whilst other important events occur under the radar.

As someone said above. Idlib is pivotal.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 13 2019 15:01 utc | 58

@28 Ghost Ship. You honestly believe that a supertanker can take three torpedoes and still stay afloat? Really?
Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 13, 2019 8:21:52 AM | 31

Those were not supertanker. In general, sinking a large tanker ship is hard, it is divided lengthwise into multiple compartments, I guess there are parallel tanks too, so even if you create a large hole, or several, the ship is floating. Moreover, the crew is typically in the rear, pretty far from the impact. But if a refined product is spilling, unlike hard to ignite raw crude, the crew obviously has to evacuate and the problem is huge.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 13 2019 15:13 utc | 59

Because we are guessing it is good to keep an open mind.

Your views b. are reasonable, especially when set within the tit for tat mentality that exists in the region, as well as how subtle messages are sent without claim to responsibility.

However in this scenario it is important to keep the view open. For example this might all be completely western sponsored, tailored to Iranian rhetoric. It would not be hard to create actions that mimic low tech for example.

So an important point will be testimony from the crew, if it is allowed. Were the ships approached at any point, or are we talking torpedo or mines placed while previously at anchor. Once the technology used is understood then just maybe we can narrow this down slightly.

Put bluntly, we don't know very much, theorising is nescessary but it has to be recognised as that - it isn't a question of laying blame but of understanding what is going on here. It is important, war is always the fault of the other.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 13 2019 15:18 utc | 60

I suggest barflies read this article before jumping to any conclusions as to responsibility. Iran is clearly winning despite the sanctions. As the author concludes TrumpCo has concocted a series of "insane policies" that are in the process of blowing up in his face.

As for responsibility, both ships just loaded; both appear to have suffered damage caused by explosions above the water lines; both were likely sabotaged with IED-like devices detonated via timer or remotely. Forensic inspection will eventually determine the means. The massive caches of C-4 discovered laying around Syria demonstrate the ready availability to NATO-proxy forces to construct such bombs. Furthermore, multiple Iranian officials have stated that Iran will not be the one to start a war with Outlaw US Empire, and these are people who do not lie.

Getting crude and distillate prices to rise is a big motive for both Saudi and USA. Iran isn't worried so much about price but about market access--they aren't the same. My money's on CIA or MI-6 related proxies doing the deed, and there're plenty of those types available on that side of the Gulf.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 15:18 utc | 61


You are assuming a coordinated. I haven't found evidence that backs this supposition.

For example, the missile attack by Islamic Jihadi on Ashkelon (a city south of Tel Aviv) appears to have been in response to attacks by Israel on Gaza:

The attacks came in response to a series of deadly airstrikes by Israel ... after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his military to continue massive strikes on the enclave.

In February, Islamic Jihad had warned that they had new, more capable, missiles. It seems possible, if not likely, that the Israeli's provoked their use in conjunction with a ff on the ships.

As for the Houthi attack on the oil pipeline, it's hard to interpret any action in an ongoing war as being part of a separate "message".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 15:19 utc | 62

correction: "coordinated" ==> "coordinated attack"

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 15:21 utc | 63

thanks b.. it is complicated.. i don't know the perpetrator, but i did mention about the astro for mid june here a month ago.. this is it essentially..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 15:21 utc | 64

It is interesting that methanol is a "petrochemical" despite being a form of alcohol. I presume the methanol in question was made from natural gas, however, not oil.

In other news: Bolton about to go?

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 13 2019 15:34 utc | 65

@ Dao Gen | Jun 13, 2019 6:14:33 AM #4

What you wrote about Bolton being under pressure was going to be my own post. :)

The xymphora site says each of the tankers attacked had a Japanese connection. Interesting if true.

Finally, even if this is a false flag by somebody, the Iranians might not be terribly displeased. It's too early to do more than speculate except for people really in the know.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 13 2019 15:42 utc | 66


Opec did it

You might want to throw the opec meeting coming later this month into your equation. Saudi Arabia needs oil at $85 a barrel to finance its government plans. There is some dispute between opec/non-opec as Russia is content (they balance their budget on an oil price of $40-$50 per barrel) with oil prices in the $60 range.


Posted by: b4real | Jun 13 2019 15:52 utc | 67

The US has unilaterally initiated a serious financial war on Iran, and Iran always strikes back somehow. This latest just-right measured attack, in response to US attacks on Iran exports, serves Iran well. Washington will get the message, and needs to respond. How will Washington respond? is the question. . . Your move, Trump.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 15:52 utc | 68

Zachary Smith

In what possible way do Iran benefit from a raise in instability in the Gulf? Iran benefit from calm and status quo to get its oil shipment going, period.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2019 15:53 utc | 69

I doubt the Iranians would want to embarrass the Japanese. The attacks seem designed to scupper Japan's diplomatic efforts.

The Russians seem understandably nervous about Iranian retaliation and I think have been trying to influence Iran to avoid provocations. If there is a U.S.-Iran war, Russia could be dragged in. IMHO the Russians are probably right. The Trump administration is incompetent. Every week they antagonize some country. The Iranians could just let the White House go around making a hash of everything. Except that Iran is under economic attack. I don't know how much trouble Iran is in from the sanctions, and they may have to respond.

Posted by: Edward | Jun 13 2019 15:56 utc | 70

Too bad my comment got sucked into the spam vacuum for some odd reason. My important point was for barflies to read Luongo's article at Strategic Culture, "Trump Thinks US Oil Is His Strength When It’s His Achilles’ Heel."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 15:56 utc | 71

Sinking tankers underway in a shipping channel could create a shipping hazard or block traffic, depending on depth, as well as create an environmental hazard. Damaging them above the waterline sends a message without (necessarily) creating the above hazards. Damage above waterline suggests appeoach to the ships (at night?) to afix or deploy explosives after they are underway so the devices won't be detected or observed. Anyway use of UUVs seems likely as any surface approach would put the attackers at risk...

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 13 2019 15:56 utc | 72

I'm very skeptical that Iran was involved in the first set of alleged tanker strikes. The only image presented was of one ship with collision damage to the stern. OK on the Houthis and PIJ but they have their own fish to fry too. They have both been launching missiles against Saudi and Israel respectively for a long time. Not clear to me the referenced attacks were related to the alleged tanker attacks.

All the damage seems to be more-or-less symbolic and not intended to cause major damage. It's theoretically possible that Iranian SF could have attached small explosives to illustrate the vulnerability of shipping, but that doesn't seem like the likeliest explanation to me.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 15:57 utc | 73

@ Zanon | Jun 13, 2019 11:53:50 AM #68

Suppose it's a false flage attack by Bolton's Boys or the apartheid Jewish state. Tankers are still under attack and maybe sinking - a reminder of what Iran might have to do if sanctions get worse.

Of course I have no idea who actually lit the fuse on the current little crisis.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 13 2019 16:04 utc | 74

The point that both ships allegedly targeted were carrying petrochemicals and that this comes in the wake of the recent sanctions is certainly an interesting one.

Yes, the impulse to do something and not merely sit passively while sanctions bite might possibly generate such a risky move. But we need to know more about the nature of the "attacks" and the damage they caused. We never got that in the first series of "attacks." Why not? Why wouldn't the Saudis want to show off the damage if it were a real attack by the IRGC?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 16:07 utc | 75

@ OP 74
might possibly generate such a risky move
Why was it risky? It sends a major & deserved message to the US -- your stoppage of our exports will not go unanswered. But instead of answering with a "Pearl Harbor" as the Japanese did under similar circumstances, Iran's response was measured and smart.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 16:14 utc | 76

@Zanon - But you do imply that Houthi's are led by Iran?
Isnt this what this blog have argued against during the Yemen civil war?

Besides the idea that Iran would attack Japan because Japan is onboard with more sanctions on Iran is illogical in my opinion.
So Japanese ship is attacked. Ok. How would that turn Japan to be more supportive of Iran?

IMO, generally I cant think of any benefit for Iran at all in this and I think its hurtful to even dwell into this when the focus should be elsewhere.

But I am prepared to here counter arguments by anyone here!

Neither the Houthi, nor Islamic Jihad, nor Hizbullah are "led by Iran". They are friends that receive material support from Iran in form of weapon supplies. When Iran asked them to do a favor in return they are usually quite willing.

The Islamic Jihad missile launch happened on May 6. Several of these missiles were already shown in a video IJ publishes in February. The missiles are "designed by Iran". May 6 was the first time that a weapon from Gaza was launched so deep into Israel. It was a warning shot. One may count this to what a happened a week later or leave it out. It think it is related.

On May 13 the 4 tankers near the UAE get damaged outside of Persian Gulf. On May 14 the Houthi attacked the east-west pipeline in Saudi Arabia with two cruise missiles.

All three attacks demonstrate the consequences Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia would have to feel should Iran be attacked. Israel's big cities would come under direct attack. No Saudi or UAE oil would any longer be exported, not through Hormuz but also not on other ways.

After those incidents the war talks calmed down.

On Friday the U.S. blocked half of Iran petrochemical exports. This event was a demonstration of capabilities. Its says: "No more. If the U.S. also sanctions the other half there will be severe consequences."

That is my current *interpretation* of these events and Khamenei's talk. It may be wrong, it may change. But I do not see how it could be "hurtful" to dwell into this. I also do not see what current event is more important.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2019 16:19 utc | 77

As I noted in my comment that went awry, numerous high ranking Iranian officials have recently declared that Iran will not start a war with the Outlaw US Empire, and those pious Iranians do not lie. The Luongo article notes that US oil frackers are losing money bigtime and their operations now more than ever amount to a Ponzi Scheme requiring much higher oil price. Indeed, the entire Outlaw US Empire Oil Patch from extractors to refiners need higher prices for their products. Iran needs market access, not higher prices.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 16:23 utc | 78

I agree with the initial position of this article that it is not in Irans interest to instigate such an attack. I find it much more likely that those who have pushed for war against Iran are behind this.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jun 13 2019 16:25 utc | 79

@ Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13, 2019 10:05:51 AM | 51

Do they even need an excuse? They've already been doing that for years and most of the West still hasn't even noticed.

Posted by: Ash | Jun 13 2019 16:26 utc | 80

@karlof1 #70
I would note that, strictly speaking, an outbreak of war with Iran is much less of a strategic problem for the US because of shale oil.
Shale oil production may not be economical, but it has led the US to become closer to oil self sufficiency than it has been for many decades.
And it means that if a war should break out in the ME, and the Persian Gulf shut down, the nations least affected would be the US, particularly as the US' largest oil imports come from Canada and Mexico.
The subsequent spike in oil price will be a boon to the shale producers while the oil starvation will seriously hurt China and Europe.
Yes, Japan is going to get hurt badly too, but that's their problem (channeling Trump).
By the numbers: Europe imports something around 15% to 20% of their oil from the ME - Saudi Arabia, Iraq and others.
China imports something like 42% - 52% of its oil from the ME.
The US imports around 12%-15% from the Persian Gulf, but that amount has been falling steadily.
From this - you can see that there are plenty of companies that would cheer for an outbreak of war with Iran - even beyond the MIC and the pistachio monopolists.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 13 2019 16:26 utc | 81

@ karlof1 | Jun 13, 2019 12:23:28 PM

Indeed, the entire Outlaw US Empire Oil Patch from extractors to refiners need higher prices for their products.

That is easy to solve, shave 40% of artificially inflated value of $US, and problem solved!

Posted by: ex-SA | Jun 13 2019 16:32 utc | 82

the latest US position via WaPo, including an Atlantic Council view:

Two petrochemical tankers in the Gulf of Oman came under suspected attack early Thursday amid soaring tensions between the United States and Iran. Here is what we know:
● The attack, which was high-profile and apparently carried out in broad daylight, marked a serious escalation in a volatile region and one of the world’s most important waterways.
● The timing of the attack was extremely sensitive and appeared aimed at undermining Japan’s efforts to encourage talks between the United States and Iran.
● U.S. military officials have assessed that the attacks were carried out by Iran or forces under its influence, a defense official said.
...Since the United States put a total embargo on Iranian oil sales, Tehran has been sending Washington a message of “calibrated defiance,” said Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council in Washington.
“They are betting Trump understands he cannot have another war in the Middle East,” she said of Tehran. “I think they see these things as bargaining chips, warning shots. The message they’re sending says, ‘You cannot continue to put more sanctions on us, put more pressure on us, and think nothing will happen.’” . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 16:37 utc | 83

Putin at St. Petersburg, ...“call for the adaptation of international financial organisations (and) rethinking the role of the dollar which… has turned into an instrument of pressure by the country of issue on the rest of the world,” Mr Putin said."...

And a further move to have ..."The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) is studying a proposal to create a gold-backed cryptocurrency, which could be used for cross-border settlements with other countries.'...

These two headliners compliment each other and indirectly/directly favor those nations under the US boot to the throat. I believe all is related somehow, the resisters are playing a very powerful card game. Bluffing is now finished for Trump, the neocons will want to push him further.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Jun 13 2019 16:38 utc | 84

They're in Iran's interest in the sense that they are such obviously manufactured neocon provocations that they are impossible to take seriously.

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jun 13 2019 16:39 utc | 85

Some conflicting information.
According to b, quoting pressTV, the crews of both ships were rescued by the Iranian Seach and Rescue ship Naji.

According to the crew of the Front Altair was picked up by the ship Hyundai Dubai, at lat. 25,38369 long. 57,39043. currently states that the Front Altair is 'underway using Engine', which is odd as this implies it is steaming along without its crew...

The crew of the Kokuka Couragious was rescued by the Naji.
They were also picked up, according to the Dutch news site NOS, by a vessel owned by the Dutch firm Acta Marine. The 21 crew members were then transferred to an American frigate.
At the time of the incident – whatever it was – the Kokuka Couragious, owned by the Japanese firm Kokuka, was at lat.25,32612 long. 57,8123.

Posted by: Justaskin | Jun 13 2019 16:40 utc | 86

Why should Iran be attacking oil tankers to show that if they can’t export oil nobody can? Not only political repercussions but also a big fat pollution catastrophe would await them.

Posted by: wj2 | Jun 13 2019 16:45 utc | 87

US sanctions are war, the most brutal, yet cowardly, kind of war, siege war.

Posted by: Paulll | Jun 13 2019 16:51 utc | 88

@ karlof1 | Jun 13, 2019 11:18:57 AM | 61 > You may be right.

And Japan herself is indirectly threatened. Threatening Japan might not get desired result...

And yes, raising the price and buggering the Japanese/Iranian dialogue and blaming Iran for their own injury is, well, I'd bet money. and I only bet sure things. Sometimes a cigar is a to say. Intelop by someboday, cui bono?

So who bought petro future contracts?
Just sayin'

And yes, methanol, CH3OH is made from natural gas. Union oil had the patent long time ago. It allows economies of transport. A catalytic process.

The Big Picture is control of the silk road, the tactic is what we see. The strategic goal is buggering heartland.

Iran must fall is the tactical goal. Next, in response to "outcry" and insurance rates and much blather to create "consent"...the USN goes in to "escort" tankers through Persian Gulf and straits...

Good luck with that...

Posted by: Walter | Jun 13 2019 16:52 utc | 89

1. Yes Iran could have done this as a threat to US - but then why not claim responsibility - that makes no sense.

2. Clearly the result is that Saudi is going to bomb the shit out of the Houthis while claiming it is acting in Western interests, and the US and the media are going to look away.

3. I think we all know who did it then.

4. The US has the satellite systems to know exactly what happened. They are taking their time because it is a diplomatic decision how to react, not because they need an investigation.

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 13 2019 16:56 utc | 90

@karlof1 - just released your comment.

@Justaskin -

The Naji SAR ship did in fact not "rescue" any crew. After the alarm went off it had to ride two hours to get to the ships.

The crew of the Front Altair was picked up by the Hyundai Dubai which passed by. The crew was then transferred to the Naji which had just arrived and transported to Iran.

A part of the crew was later shipped back to their ship also by the Naji. Naji then waited until the tug E TWO hooked up the Front Altair. The tug and Front Altair are now doing some 1 knot into the direction of Oman.

Naji is doing 25 knots on its way back to land.

The crew of the Kokuka Courageous was picked up by another ship nearby and then transfered from there to a U.S. frigate.

The Kokuka Courageous seems to move not at all. Marine traffic shows some smaller working tug in the vicinity but not directly next to the ship. The U.S. frigate has its AIS off and is not visible.

That some Iranian outlet got that wrong and claimed both crews transferred by the Naji is not really astonishing. It was quite a frantic news situation.

Posted by: b | Jun 13 2019 16:57 utc | 91


Ok IMO Houthi and Palestinians act on their own. Just because they get part of arms from Iran doesnt make Iran a force behind them.
I reject the notion that they are "proxies", rather allies in my view.

The Islamic Jihad missile launch happened on May 6.
At the same time,- Islamic jihad for instance made this comment May 2th

Islamic Jihad Warns It Will 'Hit Israel's Biggest Cities' After Airstrikes Hit Gaza

So what Islamic Jihad did a couple a days later (may 6th) could as well, or rather more likely be linked to that Palestinian issue, rather having anything to do with Iran.

What I meant by 'should not dwell into blaming Iran' was simply that a better case could be built towards US and Israel involvement in this incident.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2019 17:00 utc | 92

@Don Bacon 76

"Why was it risky?"

Well, because if any evidence of Iranian involvement in targeting international shipping were turned up by the US and its many collection assets, even if the damage was meant to be symbolic, it would further isolate Iran, provide pretexts for anti-Iran actions, and perhaps undermine any possibility of INSTEX having a positive impact for Iran.

Of course, the risk could be seen to be worth it with Iran's back to the wall and no one else really being able/willing to help Iran, and if the IRGC, operating at Khamenei's direction outside the authority of the rest of the Iranian government, have been involved in any of the "attacks," they seem to have been able to maintain deniability.

The reluctance of the Saudis and the western media to dig into the first set of attacks is hard to fathom. Not one ship's captain was ever interviewed, as far as I can see. There is certainly a game of cat-and-mouse going on. I'm interested to see if the media does the same thing this time.

False flag or warning of what Iran might do? That's the question. I always incline to the former when Iran is involved simply out of the mendacity of western coverage of the subject, but there are some unusual aspects to the ship "attacks."

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 17:01 utc | 93

Magnetic mines placed by British #SAS and USN #SEALS.

A #FalseFlag in the #GulfOfOman makes sense, as it may not cause insurers to close the #StraitOfHormuz and trigger massive derivative unwinds.

Posted by: Fec | Jun 13 2019 17:12 utc | 94

@b 91

How do you interpret the strange pattern of news coverage of all the ship "attacks"? Why no interviews of ship's captains and crew? Why no analysis of the damage done or how the "attacks" actually transpired? And do these omissions support a false flag or Iranian warning scenario?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 17:13 utc | 95

Does anyone know how marine insurance rates in the Gulf have been affected by the first and now the current series of "attacks"?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 17:16 utc | 96

There was a throw away remark on BBC radio 4's News flagship today.
It was to the effect that six ships in Iranian ports had been damaged recently and there was a suspicious fire on one of Irans ofshore oil rigs in the last few days

Tit for tat? Who started it?

Anyone have more info on this?

Posted by: Dave Good | Jun 13 2019 17:18 utc | 97

I don't believe for a second that Iran had anything to do with either 'event'. The most likely suspects are Israel, KSA, USA, and Britain.

Posted by: SharonM | Jun 13 2019 17:19 utc | 98

The more I think about it, sure, I cannot rule out the possibility that Iran did it to send a message.

1. It was a skillful attack. While the U.S. is flying F35's around in circles and posturing, it would be a means of showing the ability to conduct a stealth operation that really hurts.

2. Know one was hurt, if it was a torpedo attack this shows some real skill to disable but not sink a ship, a way of showing, 'this is not your 1988 Iran'.

3. Why not, we are backing them into a corner, laughing about it and expecting them to starve to death without biting back.

I don't know but this is not a bad theory.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 13 2019 17:26 utc | 99


Why do you choose Sayyid Ali Khamenei's tweet after meeting Abe as a hint for incident at Oman Sea? Why dont you choose plenty of his other tweet that could be intrepet as impossibility for iran to start a war?

May 15: "Iranian nation’s definite option is resistance against U.S. and in this confrontation, U.S. will have to withdraw. This is not a military confrontation because no war is to happen. We don’t seek a war nor do they. They know a war wouldn’t be beneficial for them."

"This confrontation is a confrontation of willpowers and our willpower is stronger because in addition to our willpower we also enjoy relying on God."

Posted by: Ali | Jun 13 2019 17:30 utc | 100

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