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

« previous page | next page »

Simple. Bolton ordered it and Mossad carried it out.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 13 2019 17:34 utc | 101

Good work b. Lets all just calm down (whilst still thinking false flag) and wait for some more info.

I liked the point about the ship which is not aflame being scoured for evidence. This was not a professional job, if both ships were attacked by the same group. It looks very shady from my viewpoint.

One must always ask Cui Bono? Who benefits?

Posted by: yesxorno | Jun 13 2019 17:39 utc | 102

I see my missing comment is now available @61. Thanks for freeing it, b!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 17:49 utc | 103

BBC glove puppet, DW News, is reporting that the attacks on two tankers caused the oil price to "recover slightly" from the April price slump. DW also had pics of the hole in the side of the burning tanker. It's jagged and extends from below the waterline to several feet above.

There wasn't much newsie news today so DW filled the void with a promo for James Bond's Aston Martin DB-5 which has been fully restored and is expected to fetch $6 Million at auction. That's a lot of loot to fork out for an old rattletrap which a Toyota Camry V6 could blow into the weeds, and look sportier while doing it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2019 17:52 utc | 104

From an article in the Navy Times last summer:

Standing at the forefront of game-changing innovations in undersea warfare, Navy Cmdr. Scott Smith has only one small request. Don’t call the Navy’s fleet of unmanned undersea vehicles “drones.” “It has a negative connotation,” Smith said. “We think of drone strikes as taking out Taliban, and we’re nowhere near that.” Not yet, anyway. But the Pentagon is trying quickly to get there.

Last fall, the Navy named Smith as the first-ever commander of the new Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1, or UUVRON-1. It’s spearheading the service’s development and deployment of unmanned underwater vehicles. Called UUVs, they’re are already being used for surveillance and to clear mines and map the ocean floor, according to Bryan Clark, a retired submariner who is now a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

So don't get it twisted, this ascendent FUKUS drone army is doubleplusgood; it's designed for mapping and minesweeping! Sort of like a bunch of little Indian Joneses! Of course the article does go on to brag:

There are even ongoing efforts to launch UUVs from Virginia-class submarines to conduct surveillance or deliver payloads. He said that over the next decade sailors should expect to use the underwater robots to bring sonar arrays and mines to the seabed, launch torpedoes or become torpedoes themselves to destroy enemy warships. Smith wants to see UUVs in all kinds of sizes to fill gaps in future missions. “Those missions that are too dangerous to put men on,” Smith said.

It is absolutely side-splitting though that they think they can achieve Total Spectrum Dominance with these toys. Sorry, I'm looking for any old silver lining these days.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 13 2019 17:59 utc | 105

No matter the culprit in this latest incident, I lay this current world unrest at the feet of our current empire.

The economic terrorism, imposed on other nations through U$ sanctions, is the real problem..

And ALL done, to enrich the already rich....

Posted by: ben | Jun 13 2019 18:02 utc | 106

b @77:

That is my current *interpretation* of these events and Khamenei's talk

Perhaps an update to the post to make this clear is in order?

As it stands, the take away from your post is a combination of Trump apologist and Iranian culpability - especially conveyed in the heading phrase: "or was it?".

<> <> <> <> <>

Also, the premise that somebody might want to break up talks between Trump and Iran leaves me scratching my head. The Iranians have already mocked the duplicitous 'no conditions' offer. No one needs to break up talks that will never happen. Swiss and Japanese intermediaries almost certainly carry equally lame offers.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 13 2019 18:03 utc | 107

@105 ben.. ditto your comment!

karlof1 - re the article.. thanks - one only has to live in canada to know the state of affairs with oil fracking.. from the article - "This lack of profitability is maintained solely through financial engineering and a continued bull market in structured credit in the US due to the needs of pension funds to make a 7.5% yield to maintain their defined benefit payouts."
financial ponzi schemes are the name of the game!

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 18:06 utc | 108

"US officials, however, were quick to point the finger at Iran. "It's clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?" said US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

In turn, US Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that Iran had attacked the tankers to raise the global price of oil.

Tehran has denied any involvement and called for an investigation."

Posted by: arby | Jun 13 2019 18:08 utc | 109

Could these attacks be in order to lure the US into escorting tankers through the Strait of Hormuz?

US warships would be a much easier target transiting the Straight of Hormuz. Think the Saudis and Israelis know that in order to draw the US into war with Iran it will take a major escalation. Such as sinking a US warship w/ cameras rolling.

Think all these smaller events are just laying the backstory for their upcoming main event.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 13 2019 18:20 utc | 110

@ OP 93
Why was it risky?... because if any evidence of Iranian involvement . .
Give Iran some credit, there will be no evidence of Iran involvement (as before). But there is the US assessment that Iran did it, so it's the best of both worlds for Iran. That's generally the way things work in the world today, asymmetric warfare.
What will the US reaction be? is the big question.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 18:22 utc | 111

It's possible b's interpretation was shaped by this series of Magnier's tweets, who thinks the attacks were done with torpedoes, as he did retweet this Magnier tweet 12 hours ago. The resulting thread is not as useful as the discussion here but is worth the time to peruse.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 18:26 utc | 112

@110 'What will the US reaction be? is the big question.'

Indeed it is. Bolton has a few spare carrier groups. He might send another one. Not that the first one was very helpful.

Posted by: dh | Jun 13 2019 18:32 utc | 113

Iran is good at sea mining also, but it got into trouble back in the eighties here when a mine that blew a hole in a US warship was identified as Iranian. So Iran will try to be more careful this time around about leaving evidence.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 18:32 utc | 114

@ dh
Bolton didn't send any carrier group. He doesn't have the authority to do that, and the Lincoln carrier group currently in the Arabian Sea was already tasked with its mission long ago.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 18:37 utc | 115

Overlooked/ignored is this item of interest:

"On the previous day, a fire broke out on an Iranian oil platform of the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf and was subsequently contained and no fatalities were reported."

Recall the plot of the movie A Fistful of Dollars and another can of worms becomes possible.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 18:39 utc | 116

Pompeo is already blaming the attacks on Iran.

Whenever the US has their conclusion this quickly, before even the appearance of an investigation (as with MH17, and Syria "chemical" attacks), I feel it is almost certain that they are making $&!% up, and the reality is likely the opposite of what they have said.

Posted by: rockstar | Jun 13 2019 18:41 utc | 117

@ karlof1 115
from your linked tweet--
Elena Evdokimova Retweeted . .Why would Iran attack the tankers? Especially when they are hosting 1st international visit for Japan!
Iran would attack the tankers for reason already stated, because its exports are threatened, and Japan is no factor, being only an occupied US puppet not even from the area.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 18:46 utc | 118

Do please consider the source, ELINTNews:

"The crew of USS Bainbridge report they saw an unexploded limpet mine on the side of one of the ships attacked Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, according to a US defense official- via @barbarastarrcnn @NatSecCNN."

The thread comments are very sarcastic as one would expect.

Don and others on this thread will find Pepe's revelations explosive.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 18:57 utc | 119

It's shaping up as a two stage routine or intelop that overtly began with the tiny limpet mines a few weeks ago as an overture.dedadedadeda...and presto, an "unprovoked attack" Pompeo, that Celestial Intellect, has deemed it, by "Iran", of the gag runs to the Security Council and all that hocus pocus...

Classic False Flag...

Phukin won't fly.

Ruskies and Chinese will veto at UNSC.

Look for "coalition of willing...dadada...

Posted by: Walter | Jun 13 2019 19:07 utc | 120

@ karlofi 116
And mysterious fires on ships in Iranian ports.
It is going to get hard to tell the tits from the tats.

Posted by: fx | Jun 13 2019 19:07 utc | 121

mr 'art of the deal' says it is too soon to make a deal, lol...

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 19:09 utc | 122

I think it quite worth the time to read Magnier's twitter as he's posting a wide variety of items related to the overall incident. For example, video and print sources show numerous crew members from the tankers as Russian--would Iran knowingly attack tankers crewed by one of its primary allies? He just tweeted this:

"Remember, the situation in the Middle East is on flame because @realDonaldTrump didn't like the nuclear deal and unilaterally pulled out the US from it, disrespecting an international signed deal with his European partners and Russia.

"None of all this would have happened."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 19:10 utc | 123

At the end of b's report he links to Khamenei's English language website's rendition of the talks with Abe. The parting expression on the website differs just a tad from Khamenei's Twitter, which IMO properly expresses his thoughts:

"It’s good that you acknowledge the fact that the Americans have always wanted to impose their own thoughts & beliefs on other nations; and it’s also good to know that the Americans observe no limit in imposing their views on others."

I'd be very curious to know what Abe thought in reaction. Maybe we'll discover it. IMO, it would be in Japan's interest to expand its relationship with Iran.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 19:35 utc | 124

Many of the US sanctions on Iran, including restricting exports, are (falsely) because "Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism" but at the State Department Fact Sheet "Iran’s Material Support for Terrorism" there are no examples of this world-beating terrorism, because there aren't any. Yet we hear US politicians at all levels frequently parroting this falsity. And we see how Iran reacts.
Other terrorism reports from the US Counter-terrorism Center and from the State Department itself provide lists of world terrorists, including Americans, but they include no Iranians.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 19:36 utc | 125

Good analysis b. You might be wrong but it is worth exploring some alternative explanations. I certainly do not wish that this possibility of Iranian involvement is correct but I have learned over many years that what ought to be true is not what reality delivers.

The question comes down to is how severely the US sanctions against Iran is affecting the Iranian economy and hurting the Iranian people. I really do not know. However, it was clear in 2015 when the current government negotiated the Iran nuclear deal that there were hardline voices (with significant influence outside of the State foreign policy agencies) saying the US cannot be trusted. After Trump rejected that treaty Obama negotiated it appears today that those hardline voices were right.

Perhaps the US sanctions against the Iranian people are having a major effect. This is putting some major pressure on the Iranians. It seems clear to me that the Republican Guards do not answer to the official government agencies but to Khamenie. If that is correct than prime minister Rhouhami can truthfully deny that Iran was responsible for those attacks on the two tankers. He does not control the Republican Guards.

In any case b, raising the possibility that some Iranian forces fired those missiles is important. What should we do if that case is established? Agree to a US bombing assault against the Iranian nation? Agree to even more sanctions? Urge all of Europe to join the US in more sanctions against Iran? Of course the answer is NO to all of those options.

Posted by: ToivoS | Jun 13 2019 19:38 utc | 126

Abe is a total US puppet, his country under US military occupation and almost entirely dependent upon the US for Japan's defense against regional enemies, including China and to some extent South Korea and Russia. This explains the timing of the latest attacks.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 19:40 utc | 127

@Don Bacon 111

"Give Iran some credit..."

I give Iran plenty of credit, but there is no denying that the risk to Iran in targeting shipping in the Gulf of Oman would be high. If that is indeed what has happened, perhaps the reward, given Iran's overall position at the moment, is high enough to justify it.

For whatever reason, the US, UK, Israel and others don't want to provide any evidence, which, in the past, has meant to me that either there is no evidence despite the claims or that the evidence paints a picture different than the preferred US narrative--e.g., MS-17, Skripal, "assassination" attempt of Saudi ambassador in DC restaurant, New Delhi/Bangkok/Tbilisi "terrorist" actions in 2012, "sarin attacks" in Syria, etc, etc.

But it's true that unlike, say, the absurd claims against Assad of sarin use in 2013, 2017, and 2018 where there was absolutely no incentive for Syria or its supporters to engage in high-risk, low-reward employment of nerve agents, in this case, you can come up with at least a somewhat plausible scenario in which Iran, because it has been driven by the US/Israel into a corner, feels it cannot afford to be totally passive despite the risks and given the half-heartedness of INSTEX, wants to send a tangible warning yet one that only warns of potential destruction rather than wreaking it yet. What's different now is the concerted attempt to starve Iran in surrender.

Perhaps the visits of both the German FM and Abe can be seen in this light.

Just to be clear, I assign total responsibility for where we are now to the US and the dominance of political Jewry operating on behalf of Israel. Even Saudi Arabia is really a secondary actor in all this.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 19:52 utc | 128

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.

Looking at the picture the smoke seems to be emanating from the far side of the tanker, it starboard side. If it heafing from the Gulf to Taiwan, it would be heading west to east, leaving its starboard side facing south. Ergo, it was hit by a projectile launched from the south.
The real question is: who is sending a message and to whom?

Posted by: DomesticExtremist | Jun 13 2019 20:03 utc | 129

Both Israel and the Saudis are far too incompetent to carry out a sophisticated attack like this - see, ships didn't sink but a message was delivered nonetheless. Probable some military contractor idling in Syria was reassigned to do this.

Posted by: Miranda | Jun 13 2019 20:03 utc | 130

Now Pompeo have accused Iran, that is why I said it was idiotic to even dwell into that, we see now what it leads to.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 13 2019 20:04 utc | 131

Happy to admit I'm missing something here but I've looked at ME news sites including PressTV and Fars and Elijah's thread and I do not see any official statement by anybody in Iran stating they were not responsible in any part for this attack. Rather, I'm reading at PressTV headlines like 'Security of Persian Gulf, World of Special Import to Us' - Pres Hassan Rouhani and this one by FM Javad Zarif - 'Tankers attack suspicious, regional dialogue imperative.' These headlines are as of 4pm EDT.

And not being at all familiar with the ports these ships departed from it's curious Iranians were there to rescue.

If anybody has a solid ME source that Iran leadership has stated they were absolutely not responsible please post. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: h | Jun 13 2019 20:08 utc | 132

h @132, that looks like a naive reading of diplomacy. The top Iranian leadership does not speak directly to the likes of Bolton (who has blathered the predictable), nor to the Western MSM propaganda machine. It knows that doing so only feeds these beasts.

Posted by: fx | Jun 13 2019 20:13 utc | 133

Japanese-owned ship hit just as Abe visits Tehran? A warning to Japan to stop the rapprochement with Iran, or look to more damage to your ships.

Parallels with MH370/MH17 strikes against Malaysia for their temerity in finding the IDF guilty of war crimes.

Posted by: Yonatan | Jun 13 2019 20:14 utc | 134

ELINT News Retweeted
Donald J. Trump
‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump
2h2 hours ago

While I very much appreciate P.M. Abe going to Iran to meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we!
4,226 replies 6,676 retweets 25,505 likes"

Posted by: arby | Jun 13 2019 20:22 utc | 135

fx - I fully admit I am not a mind reader. I do not pretend to know what one is thinking. However, I do go to news outlets that are fully funded/backed by Iran leadership and I see nothing stating they are/are not responsible. As I said, if you have a source where Hassan or other Iranian leader has stated they are/are not responsible by all means share. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: h | Jun 13 2019 20:23 utc | 136

It is a mistake to equate these attacks/US sanctions with a closing of the Straits of Hormuz. The US can sanction Iranian petrochemical products, but that does not stop Iran selling the petrochemical products to China or Russia. Therefore the alleged connection to Iranian statements does not exist. Furthermore as Karlof has pointed out, the Iranians have made abundantly clear that they will not be the ones who start any war.

Even if Iran were to carry out such an action, it would be absolutely imperative that no hard evidence of their guilt be left behind. On the face of it, it would seem to me that attacking ships in broad daylight with "surface weapons" would have far too much danger of traceability by the US. If the US could produce hard evidence of Iranian responsibility it would be extremely difficult for Russia and China to come to their defense.

Posted by: BM | Jun 13 2019 20:26 utc | 137

Fantasist extraordinaire, Mike Pompeo, was looking more like Jabba The Hutt than Jabba The Hutt when telling breathless porkies about Iran on F24. I was half expecting Mike's mustachioed pet Ewok to appear from under the rostrum but Mike provided some substitute comedy relief by spontaneously anointing himself as spokesman for an unspecified "International Community" of undefined relevance.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 13 2019 20:43 utc | 138

An obvious question is why the US is not providing evidence to support its claims.

On possible explanation is that there is no evidence.

Another would be that there is evidence but that if the US produced the evidence, then it would be constrained to "do something." In the scenario in which Iran is conducting these quasi-attacks to warn of impending greater escalation if the US continues to starve it, both sides want the other to initiate any violence, and the US doesn't really want the global economic chaos that hostilities would inevitably bring--especially in conjunction with the trade/tech war with China. Therefore, it is pulling its punches and withholding the evidence it has.

Iran may sense that given the US-China and US-Russia issues and the 2020 election, they had better escalate now or be slowly bled to death. But they would like the US to provide a pretext for Iran to take real action to block traffic into and out of the Persian Gulf. But the US wants to be able to portray Iran as the aggressor.

Hence the cat-and-mouse game ongoing. I have to admit, it does make a certain comprehensive sense.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 20:44 utc | 139

@BM 137

"If the US could produce hard evidence of Iranian responsibility it would be extremely difficult for Russia and China to come to their defense."

Yes, but I guess the question is, would China and Russia really come to Iran's aid--in a meaningful way--under any circumstances? Or is Iran pretty much on its own? Yes, there is a lot of sympathy for Iran, but it's hard to see any of it translating into meaningful action outside of UNSC vetoes perhaps.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 20:49 utc | 140

The Japanese Prime Minister was visiting Tehran at the time of the attack upon a Japanese tanker.

What a perfect time to attack a Japanese tanker.

Such a plan reeks of incompetence.

Incompetence is a finger print of the Saudis.

Reminder that they butchered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their own embassy. They mailed bombs (hidden in printers) to the US and Britain
and kept the tracking slips of the packages - nice plan ! All bombers must remember to save their tracking slips.

They tried to embarrass Iran by attacking a Japanese tanker while the Japanese Prime Minister was having a positive visit to Tehran.

Incompetence is a finger print of the Saudis.

Posted by: librul | Jun 13 2019 21:07 utc | 141

the usa has produced 'phony' hard evidence in the past... it typically goes with false flags.. i am not saying this will come out of this, or that iran is not involved, but i lean strongly to the ramp up in a focus on the strait of hormuz as all part of a longer strategy of creating stress on iran and potentially dragging them into war.. either way as OP mentions in his last line @128...

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 21:08 utc | 142

@141 librul... ksa = incompetence... no argument their!

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 21:09 utc | 143

re 140.

the question is, would China and Russia really come to Iran's aid--in a meaningful way--under any circumstances? Or is Iran pretty much on its own?
The answer is yes, if necessary. Any US attack on Iran is likely to be a failure in the first instance. The targets are too well embedded. They've learnt from Hizbullah.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 13 2019 21:09 utc | 144

Oscar Peterson @139&140--

Evidence versus claims. I give you the recent near collision between Russian and USN warships where USN claimed Russian fault whereas the evidence decisively proved otherwise. USN shut-up rather quickly and the incident went to the dust bin. In an earlier comment, I speculated that an IED-type device was used and that it was installed while the ships laded. Torpedoes were certainly not used, and the limpet mine assertion remains that until a forensic examination is done, and that won't happen until the ships return to a port where repairs can be made. Also, we have the much less reported attacks on Iranian ships and extraction infrastructure--the tit for tat where we'll only be treated to the tits as I commented in a trivial comment that disappeared. The upshot is, the Outlaw US Empire has scant credibility when it comes to making claims about anything sans extraordinary evidence. Iran, of course, knows that. But given the overall context, I doubt Iran's responsible and stand by my earlier prediction of a CIA/MI-6 proxy doing the deed.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 21:12 utc | 145

"Japanese-owned ship hit just as Abe visits Tehran? A warning to Japan to stop the rapprochement with Iran, or look to more damage to your ships."

@Yonatan, 134. It looks like that to me too

Posted by: cirsium | Jun 13 2019 21:25 utc | 146

@karlof1 145

I agree that US credibility on many things is weak--especially in connection with Iran--but the point is that there is a plausible scenario in which Iran is ready to escalate--or threaten to escalate--to break out of the US stranglehold but needs to execute the escalation very carefully.

I also agree that the false flag scenario is still very much in play.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 21:30 utc | 147

Here're links to a couple of things bouncing around the Twitterverse. The first is a video clip of Bolton Caitlin does an excellent job of unpacking again. It's actually a good thing this video was saved as it needs to be distributed once again.

The second is a pic of Bolton framed at the header by "Iran is going to attack us" and at the footer with "Even if we have to do it ourselves."

Both IMO are worthy of viral retweeting provided you have an account.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 21:36 utc | 148

There will be an inquiry, they will find either of the following:
- a bomb fragment with a hammer and sickle on it and blame Russia describing it as a buk bomb
- a bomb fragment with an Iranian graphic on it and blame Russia
- a bomb fragment with 'made in USA' on it and blame Russia
The inquiry will be very meticulous and comprise only Ukranian and USA personnel plus one clown from the OPCW.

Regardless of all that, the price of oil will rise and the frackers and shale oil miners in the USA will get some relief. Trump will blame the price hike on the Iranians so his republican voters stick to him and never notice Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard.

Its a Skripal puzzle so remain calm.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 13 2019 21:40 utc | 149

DW interviewed a guy today who said it could be Iran but that it could also be a false flag by one of the Emirates. His interview didn't last long before they went to someone with more of the US voice. The whole time I was thinking they said it was a torpedo and we know Israel has at least one submarine. I wonder where it is right now. Meanwhile the official US statement sounds similar to early declarations about Russians hacking HRC's email: "We assess ..."

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 13 2019 21:54 utc | 150

librul 141
I thought the same thing. It's like the chemical weapons attack in Syria that happened on the same day the inspectors arrived. It's like the White Helmets being wherever HTS is. The alt media is the only arena where people say this sounds fishy.

Posted by: Curtis | Jun 13 2019 21:57 utc | 151

You shouldn't be misled. Iran does not want war, because the leadership knows that it will definitely lead to gigantic damage in its own country. In Tronald's administration and elsewhere, on the other hand, there are people who absolutely want a war, the four B's in the first place. Tronald himself doesn't really want one, but is caught between a rock and a hard place. He absolutely wants to make the economy look positive until the next elections, but this is difficult because there are signs of recession everywhere in the world. An important factor is the price of oil. Despite the sanctions against Iran, it has not yet risen, the fracking industry, which produces what it can do due to its debts service necessities, continues to lose money at these prices. It will be difficult to avoid collapses. So Tronald may be willing to do more to push up the price of oil. For example, a nice little false flag action. The Relotius media are almost convinced, no wonder if even someone like B is wobbling.

But, people; the empire is the empire, we know how it works, that doesn't change. That's Tonkin 2.0.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 13 2019 22:01 utc | 152

'Iranian proxy forces'

you mean yemenese?

Posted by: brian | Jun 13 2019 22:05 utc | 153

Cui Bono. Who wants to destroy Iran? Israel and Saudi Arabia. Cui Bono, merchants of war, and the bankers who fund and make war possible.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 13 2019 22:06 utc | 154

IF the US or its proxies had pulled off these attacks as false flags, there would be dead and injured people and at least one or two sunken ships.

This looks very much like a message or warning to the financial world that has abandoned Iran due to US sanctions.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 13 2019 22:10 utc | 155

Iran submarines
The vast majority of Iran's 34 submarines are midget-class--or “littoral”--diesel-electric vessels, with roughly two dozen from Iran’s homemade Ghadir class and several more from the North Korean Yugo class. Ghadir vessels boast the same 533 mm torpedo tubes as the three Russian-built Kilo vessels, only fewer at two versus six. So there's the potential of over sixty torpedoes in the water in one salvo.
The new Fateh class submarine comes in between the Ghadir and Kilo classes at a displacement of 600 tons. In addition to the 533 mm torpedo tubes that are standard across Iran’s submarine force, Iranian state media reports that the two Fateh vessels can fire anti-ship cruise missiles from a submerged position.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 22:11 utc | 156

@B: Kudos for you to update this article, but also for revising your former position on the culprit of the May attacks. Thanks + respect for this!

And to all those here, that tried to scream me down for saying that maybe Iran indeed had something to do with those first attacks: I doubt to you are able to opendy revise that position like B did.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jun 13 2019 22:19 utc | 157

@ Pnyx 152
You shouldn't be misled. Iran does not want war, because the leadership knows that it will definitely lead to gigantic damage in its own country.

It's true that nobody in authority wants war, but Iran has been pushed to the point where the status quo of the tightening economic noose is unacceptable, and must be countered. Iran has said this. The US is not the only place where men fight for their freedom.
Add to that, who really doesn't want war is the US because it would lose (again). Various war games have shown this to be true. Also common sense: The US has 50,000 troops at bases adjoining the Persian Gulf, including its largest foreign base in Qatar, plus other bases in nearby Iraq and Afghanistan, all zeroed-in rocket/missile targets, plus Hez missiles aimed at Israeli cities, plus nearby warships including a 5,000 man aircraft carrier . . .we've been over this before.
So that frees up Iran to rock(et) the boat

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 13 2019 22:22 utc | 158

@Pnyx 152

I agree that Iran does not want war, but the question is whether they feel compelled to escalate even so.

I agree that the warmongers led by Israel and its operatives in the Trump administration are bellicose deeply disgusting, though what they actually want is regime change--not war per se.

Some may indeed want war and war now, but there are significant global economic issues that make war problematic for various reasons.

There are many nuances in this puzzle.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 13 2019 22:24 utc | 159

Magnier has published a new essay:

"In a private meeting with the Iranian leadership, the Leader of the Revolution, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, recommended a four-step plan to confront US sanctions and US threats to Iran."

The four steps are all very reasonable, the third being very sagacious, not that all for aren't. Magnier then editorializes and points out what appears to be an important point about the EU and treaties. He ends reminding us that July 7 rapidly approaches.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 22:37 utc | 160

Alright then, how is WWIII going for everyone? Everyone got their pith helmet at the ready?

I agree with the sentiments that think this is a warning to empire instead of false flag because no body bags

I feel sorry for those MoA barflies that continue to have some faith that Trump has a scintilla of humanism in him and continue to ask for some proof other than BS Q spewment. Show me ANY example of Trump showing compassion, empathy for other than his fellow war criminals he is rumored to pardon. Trump is a very hurt human being who is being used as such by those that control empire for their purposes. To the extent that he agrees to do their bidding, he is just another in a string of president war criminals of the US, since Jimmy Carter.

The world outside the West is playing the long game and the West is now very punch drunk and coming to the end of its run of empires. I read a posting from Reuters in the last 48 hours or so where some pundit was quoting folks "telling" China that they should not include private finance in this trade war thing......GRIN

The West is holding a very weak hand except for the extinction card. Will they play it because they are sore losers? Given what they have done to our planet, it would not surprise me for them to have the ultimate hubris to call the game over......sigh The Cosmos may be better for it but we have potential if we try.....

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 13 2019 23:17 utc | 161

pat lang makes a good distinction on what is a us gov't assessment, verses an intel assessment..

@160 karlof1 / 161 john.. thanks for those links.. my position - all that is no surprise... i find it surprising some are surprised.. the usa is thick into propaganda at this point and said they would spend good money on war propaganda.. videos of bolton saying lying is okay aren't helpful to their cause though..

Posted by: james | Jun 13 2019 23:23 utc | 162

CENTCOM has issued a statement. Here's the meat:

"'We have no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. We will defend our interests, but a war with Iran is not in our strategic interest, nor in the best interest of the international community.' --@CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown."

Seems the Pentagon has flipped the bird to Pompeo and Bolton, which happened before during BushCo.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13 2019 23:34 utc | 163

@ karlof1 with the CENTCOM quote.....THANKS!!!

Maybe there are adults in the room in the the same true in Israel? or Saudi Arabia?

The behavior of hubristic children of the universe......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 13 2019 23:56 utc | 164

I would think Iran would focus its efforts on blocking crude shipments rather than refined oil products. In terms of exports crude production available for export dwarfs its petrochemical exports

Also, Iran could have blocked the straits just as effectively by issuing a warning. Insurance companies would then block any tanker . They would not need to fire a shot

Seems to me this is most likely a false flag with Saudis and the US being the biggest beneficiaries

Posted by: Pft | Jun 13 2019 23:59 utc | 165

@ Pft who wrote:
Seems to me this is most likely a false flag with Saudis and the US being the biggest beneficiaries
Tell us the benefits please

I also think that if Iran threatened to block the straits, empire would take that as a declaration of war; insurance companies be dammed.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 14 2019 0:07 utc | 166

Wonder if Mad Dog was still SecDef if that CENTCOM statement would be allowed. But it was and that's what counts--Finally someone says the friggin' obvious, and that should force an examination of the entire policy toward Iran. IMO, what must be said alongside CENTCOM is an admission that the USA was THE entity that broke the Treaty causing this crisis. Yes, I know Iran and other nations have said that--BUT--those words need to appear/be broadcast by the notorious BigLie US MSM. And they have no reason not to since war with Iran isn't in the strategic interest of the USA.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 0:10 utc | 167


Benefits? Higher oil prices and an excuse to attack Iran?

Posted by: Pft | Jun 14 2019 0:10 utc | 168

Maybe CENTCOM knew Trump would approve.

Posted by: lysias | Jun 14 2019 0:15 utc | 169

Japan didn't want war in 1941, but thought it had been provoked beyond the point of endurance. By sanctions.

Posted by: lysias | Jun 14 2019 0:17 utc | 170

karlof @166

Firstly, that's CENTCOM not the Pentagon.

Secondly, it's boilerplate: we don't seek war ... but will defend our interests.

Thirdly, it is worded in a way to suggest that Iran was behind the attacks, despite the fact that at this point no one really knows who did it.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 14 2019 0:29 utc | 171

Why is a war with Iran NOT in the strategic interest of the Outlaw US Empire?

Many analysts going back to the Outlaw US Empire's proxy war on the fledgling Islamic Iranian Republic have cited both monetary and human cost. Given what we've seen of the defenses of Iran's likely regional adversaries, they would all suffer catastrophic damage, and they all know the likely consequences. So, why do they continue to prod, to goad, to try and get Iran to make the first overt act? Because they believe the Outlaw US Empire would respond with a crippling attack on Iran. Are there any grounds for such a belief? No. Iran might be crippled, but all its adversaries would be equally if not more crippled. That's why war won't work. And I haven't had to add the fact of China and Russia standing with Iran. As Khamenei's 4 Points allude, Iran doesn't need them to defend itself, although their partnership is a good thing.

The Outlaw US Empire war games all sorts of scenarios versus Iran, and it loses strategically every time--Every Time. Iran is indeed The Bridge Too Far.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 0:31 utc | 172

The Iranian economy is being suffocated right now and there is a lot of discontent with the government. No country needs to create a false flag operation to instigate a wider conflict between Iran and the US. The sanctions are enough. The incidents are obviously caused by the Iranian government. It is not going to sit idly by and do nothing as it has stated numerous times. All the Israelis and Saudis need or want to do is maintain the American economic pressure on Iran. That is enough to really hurt Iran and satisfy its enemies.

Posted by: Ninel | Jun 14 2019 0:54 utc | 173

From CNN

“One of the officials said a US military aircraft overhead recorded a full motion video of an Iranian boat moving alongside one of the stricken tankers and removing an unexploded limpet mine from its hull. The official said the imagery shows a person on board that small boat grabbing the unexploded mine.

The boat made the move even after the USS Bainbridge, as well as a US drone and P-8 aircraft, had been on the scene for four hours. US defense officials believe that the Iranians were seeking to recover evidence of their involvement in the attack.

CNN has not independently seen the video. The officials described the photos and video to CNN on the condition they not be identified discussing sensitive military information. It is not clear if the imagery will be publicly shown”

That seals it. LOL. Its what I call “Khashoggi Proof”. Just trust us that we have evidence that you cant see or verify.

If true Iran would have to be a kind of dumb thats off the charts

Posted by: Pft | Jun 14 2019 0:58 utc | 174

@158 / @159
Of course a war is also extremely risky for the opponents of Iran, but especially for the usa it is not the same. Their homeland is far away, while Iran would suffer extreme devastation in the event of a war - whatever the final result. So I think it is absolutely unthinkable that Iran would do anything to increase the risk of war. Of course, the Iranian leadership will not back down a Yota, Tronald's blackmail tactics do not work ad extremis. This can also be seen in the case of North Korea.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 14 2019 1:09 utc | 175

Trump goes to Japan and asks them to mediate with Iran.

Trump ratchets up the sanctions before and Abe visits Iran which does reflect his negotiating style. Iran allegedly hits a tanker while Abe is taking to Iran. Now Abe has to go back towing the US line, as usual, saying it was Iran's fault and he loses face being insulted by Iran. What a perfect way to step up the tensions and garner more UN support.

These events will continue and slowly get worse until the coup de gra, which would be something like the sinking of a large US naval vessel in the Persian gulf. The US peoples minds are not right yet and it will take time for their minds to be framed back into war.

During the Iran Iraq war the US re flagged Kuwait tankers during the Tanker War. We could easily see a new Tanker War but on a much lower lever driven by the third party actors who stand to profit.

War with Iran will be a disaster for everyone involved except one small nation that knows how to cover their tracks.

Iran will be demolished eventually. Those who gain from destroying Iran are behind

Posted by: dltravers | Jun 14 2019 1:09 utc | 176

presstv. published a video showing 44 people saved from two on fire sinking ships. I know how difficult it is to identify these people from their faces, especially a 44 crew member crowd but I think even stinkcom could manage to do that. The media BS about this incident suggest, who ever done it, is dealing with something that went very wrong.. Iran saves 44 sailors and shows them on TV.. the west claims, with no proof whatsoever, that the Iranians did not save these sailors even though the sailors are safe in Iran? Hmmm!
I suggest the reporters and journalist that reported this, be tasked to investigate the suspicious looking dark hole named "false flag". Its a possible threat to Israel and Saudia Arabia. Its approximate location is about 200 trillion light years due East from here.. The media are saying Iran and Russia teamed up to dig a hole in space, and once the Iran-Russian team managed to get the hole dug, they climbed deep inside of the hole and turned its lights off. The west is saying they flipped the switch in the WH to keep the Iranian-Russian team from claiming its "light out" success. When the reporters and journalist get back, I am sure we will be all ears to hear the how the Russian and Iranian team managed to make a hole in space, dark.

Posted by: snake | Jun 14 2019 1:26 utc | 177

I haven't seen this posted yet, Iran's Foreign Minister has given formal assurance that Iran is not behind this, and has pointedly commented that the whole episode is "very suspicious" since Abe was visiting:
‘Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what happened’: Iran’s FM on tanker ‘attacks’ in Gulf of Oman

@karlof1 - I read the Luongo piece and I find it the most pivotal of all current commentary - largely because it's about the oil situation globally. Neither Iran nor Russia need the price of oil to go up in order to prosper - the US and Saudi Arabia do need the price to go up.

Having said that, I don't know that insurance rates rising are actually adding to the producer's revenue at the wellhead/refinery.

I do know that oil is self-regulating, in that whenever it gets around $100 a barrel and over, the global economy stalls and the demand for oil goes down, resulting in glut for a time and lower prices - not to mention global recession. As Luongo illustrates, right now the world is in a large glut. There's nothing to push the price up (which Trump desperately needs) except tightening production, which Saudi wants, but which Russia doesn't want to do.


So imagine a world filled to the brim with bluster, and yet once again what actually moves on the ground (or below the waves) is actually very little. Enough bluster to scare everyone and increase leverage of the security apparatus, and just enough damage to inch the oil price up without crashing the global economy. Expect more such ratcheting.

Iran didn't do this latest episode. The US and Israel are the likely actors, with Saudi and UAE providing lunch money for the excursion. Also, the false flag works fine without dead bodies if the intent is not for a war with Iran - which the US military absolutely knows cannot be won - but to trigger oil prices up. At times, commercial interests take over, and ride the wave of military activity, and I suspect this one is about the money.

And these neocons, by the way, seem able to live on pure fantasy. I don't think they'll achieve a real war. They visibly make their points - increase their stature - in their peer group purely from grandstanding.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 14 2019 1:49 utc | 178

It's worth linking the Tom Luongo piece again for a nice understanding of oil fundamentals in the region and the world currently. It's important to understand how illusory and temporary the US fracking phenomenon is:
Trump Thinks US Oil Is His Strength When It’s His Achilles’ Heel

As a commenter here (David on May 13) said recently, the US fracking industry's appalling indebtedness comes due in 2023. This is far enough through Trump's potential second term that he can blame everyone else and move on. I've made a personal note to expect a US economic plunge in that year.

To see Trump's acts as merely keeping the ponzi scheme going for as long as possible, and for as much short-term reward through the second term, is the best understanding of White House policy I think.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 14 2019 1:59 utc | 179

Grieved @184 thanks for that link. Just saw an update on Fox stating Iran has formally denied any part of this incident but can't find a solid Iranian news source to confirm.

Posted by: h | Jun 14 2019 2:05 utc | 180

@ Pnyx 181
. . . for the usa it is not the same. Their homeland is far away, while Iran would suffer extreme devastation in the event of a war - whatever the final result. So I think it is absolutely unthinkable that Iran would do anything to increase the risk of war.

You don't understand -- every US death in war is now a news item. When 5 or 6 dies it's huge news. This is not Vietnam with 200 dying every week. Its different now. So if a thousand soldiers die in the beginning of a conflict with Iran it's HUGE. No American cares how many Iranians would die, but they DO care if Americans die, homeland or not. THAT's why the generals are against it too. . .PS: If the Iranians sink that carrier, it's 5,000+ American dead. Unacceptable.

So that's why Iran is free to dispute the aggression against them with some violent events. More power to them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 14 2019 2:16 utc | 181

I'm very disappointed in John Bolton. There should be another carrier group on the way by now. Is he losing his touch?

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2019 2:21 utc | 182

I would think that if the Iranian's held the crew and took off an unexploded bomb that they can ask the crew how they might have gotten there......

Were the ships in Iran controlled waters such that the empire side could not retrieve the unexploded bomb? If that is the case then I suspect the unexploded bomb may show up in pictures we see that show where it might have come from.....

Isn't it grand watching our own sick soap opera?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 14 2019 2:31 utc | 183

@186 h... fars news is always a good place to start..

@188 dh... you might have to vote for a different lunatic then the last one you voted for in 2016!!

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 2:43 utc | 184

@Yonatan | Jun 13, 2019 4:14:38 PM | 134

"Japanese-owned ship hit just as Abe visits Tehran? A warning to Japan to stop the rapprochement with Iran, or look to more damage to your ships."

That view wins tonight's star prize for being "highly likely".

ameristan fears losing another vassal.

Posted by: OhOh | Jun 14 2019 2:45 utc | 185

@ dh #188

There should be another large target on the way by now.


Posted by: OhOh | Jun 14 2019 2:47 utc | 186

@190. I can't vote in the US James. Not sure why you think I can. But I am worried about John Bolton. What's the point of having a big mustache if nobody takes any notice? Even CENTCOM says they don'y want war with Iran.

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2019 2:50 utc | 187

from the grasping at strawsmines department.
news report
Iran removed a mine from a ship, so that proves that Iran put it there!

The U.S. military has released a video it says implicates Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the latest violent incident the United States and its allies blame on Tehran.
The U.S. Central Command on June 13 said the video shows crews from IRGC boats removing what looks like an unexploded mine from the side of one of the two attacked oil tankers. . .here

the US has met its match, asking for a seizure at the UNSC --
Earlier in the day at the UN, U.S. acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen called on the Security Council to confront the "clear threat" posed by Tehran in the region.
The attacks "demonstrate the clear threat that Iran poses to international peace and security," Cohen told reporters following the closed-door Security Council meeting.
Cohen said that "no proxy group in the area has the resources or the skill to act with this level of sophistication."
"Iran, however, has the weapons, the expertise, and the requisite intelligence information to pull this off," he said.
"I've asked the Security Council to remain seized of the matter and I expect that we will have further conversations about it, and how to respond in the days ahead," he added.

Loud chuckling was heard in Tehran.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 14 2019 3:06 utc | 188

So this is what comes to mind...

Houthi or al. are responsible for first event. They target Saudi/Nor. ships.

Saudi et. al. target ships friendly to Iran.

Understand though that in these events there is a total asymmetry at play. That is to say that actions will not follow any logic we know of. The above is the closest I get to making sense BUT as far as I know each side might have been responsible for the actions that seemed most counterproductive to itself. Planners know the mindset of society, a false false flag is an option.

We are left with qui bono, and I think the reply to that is as reliant on the global geopolical and economic environment, as well as who will de facto gain the upper hand. It seems to me to be a form of psychological warfare where expansion of power is questioned by the appearance or reality of being goaded. This is not a good circumstance at all.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 14 2019 3:20 utc | 189

A fluid situation for sure. I wish I had had the time to follow things more closely. Thanks karlof, Oscar for all the links and info.
Can't add anything substantial apart from a general maxim: when the Empire had proof the 'other' is to blame, they readily display said proof. When they are to blame... Skripols, Mari Marmara, MH17, etc.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jun 14 2019 3:44 utc | 190

@ Anon who wrote
It seems to me to be a form of psychological warfare where expansion of power is questioned by the appearance or reality of being goaded. This is not a good circumstance at all.
The first part is confusing to me

I think you meant
Psychological warfare is going on
I assume you mean the West that is questioning "by the appearance or reality of being goaded".
Your "expansion of power" leaves me wanting the meat

Yes, China/Russia and aligned are collaborating in ways that reduces the power of empire but not necessarily in ways that translates into the same sort of power......That said, global private finance versus "socialism is the eye of the storm and everything else is proxy. We are not seeing the beginning of socialism but we are seeing the end of global private finance which I think your "expansion of power" misrepresents because one supports a few and the other supports all......maybe it would be clearer to say the elimination of power by a few and the assumption of the power by the many.

I think it is a good circumstance and way past due for our species to survive.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 14 2019 3:51 utc | 191

@193 dh... i thought you could... what happened? are you one of those long lost draft dodgers?

hey - maybe he can hide under his mustache if the bombs start falling? it is almost big enough... either that, or bugs bunny can grab it when he ain't watching..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 3:54 utc | 192

@194 Is it my imagination or is that video showing a "limped mine" that is on THE OTHER SIDE of the ship than the one that is aflame?

If that is true - and it looks like it - then we have to assume that the Dastardly Iranians(tm) stuck limpet mines to both sides of that ship.

Why do that?

It maximizes your chances of being detected, and maximises the time it takes to attach the limpets, and with no discernible benefit.

Why do that, when speed and stealth are at a premium?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 14 2019 3:55 utc | 193

Oscar Peterson | Jun 13, 2019 4:49:05 PM | 140:

The only aid that I can see coming from China would be the same as they did with Syria (i.e. diplomatic and financial). Definitely no Chinese troops. Russia got it's hands full and I doubt any military aid. IIRC, Putin did say he can't save the World. I believe he was referring to Venezuela but it can also apply to Iran.

Posted by: Ian | Jun 14 2019 4:01 utc | 194

@198 I'm an EU citizen james. My US Green Card expired some years ago.

I have no idea who is behind these tanker attacks but Bolton isn't having much luck with his war.

Posted by: dh | Jun 14 2019 4:03 utc | 195

'Smoking Gun' CENTCOM footage appears to be IR imaging. Where is all the heat from the flames?

Posted by: Occational Poster | Jun 14 2019 4:07 utc | 196

dh - thanks... i didn't know that... bolton is working hard for the neo con crowd...

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 4:07 utc | 197

Another in the bin of nothing substantial apart from speculation.
Yes, this could be Iran finally 'standing up' to the empire and showing potential costs. I don't disagree that everyone has red lines and, like any barrier, red lines are ultimately meant to be crossed.
What I don't see in this instance is how crossing this line, at this specific time, in this specific manner, is most opportune to Iran. Unless that ancient country is turning over a new leaf, prudence has been their modus operandi.
For Iran to be attacking a wavering (to as an extent) US ally, while the PM is visiting, to merely demonstrate a capability, is a possible explanation
But wouldn't the same capability be equally demonstrated against an active enemy, where there would be little potential downside, a la a Saudi or UAE - owned vessel? Insurance risks and global price of oil take little into account the flags of the tankers transporting said oil. The empire and MSM, however, do.
This episode on the whole smacks of Assad "gassing his own people" while the UN inspectors have freshly flown in to Damascus.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jun 14 2019 4:12 utc | 198

MOA 14/06/19
If the strategic aim of the Imperialist powers is to still claim all of the Middle East oil and resources and to crush any movement towards independence then the stumbling block is Iran and Russia who have stood in their way vis-a-vie Syria.

NATO has succeeded in Iraq and Libya and almost succeeded in Syria but are still trying using the flip/flop position of Turkey and Idlib as a Castle in the game to defeat any independence movement out of US hegemony.

At this time no oil or chemicals have spilled into the Gulf waters. This is by design.
Whilst the comments pertaining to the main article are informative and useful most are getting bogged down and arguing about details and missing the overall global plans of the Imperialist plans.

The Imperialist plan remains the same whilst their tactics can and do change. Their bag of dirty tricks is quite bottomless and yes they think they can fight against any move for National Independence anywhere in the world.
Latin America most notably Venezuela, Africa with AFRICOM already using drones.

Australia, fully under MI6/CIA control. No defence of Assange an Australian Citizen, plus the coup against Gough Whitlam.
The UK, with either Boris, or Hunt being in bed with Donald, both lap dogs to the USA and like with Harold Wilson they won’t allow Corbyn to become PM.

France with Macron the poodle trying to show he is as tough as Trump by being more stupid. We all know the situation of an Empire in decline. It isn’t all about oil!

Posted by: David Gibson | Jun 14 2019 4:57 utc | 199

Psychohistorian @ 189:

The crews of both tankers were rescued by an Iranian rescue ship so I would say both tankers were in Iranian waters in the Gulf of Oman.

Link showing maritime borders of Iran in Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

Posted by: Jen | Jun 14 2019 5:07 utc | 200

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