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On June 13, 2019, two oil tankers were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz while transiting the Gulf of Oman.
The Strait of Hormuz is a tiny strip of water that lies between Iran to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the south.
It’s like a narrow S bend before you get from the Gulf of Oman into the Persian Gulf.
A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 20% of total global oil consumption passes through the strait.
As of 2011, an average of 14 tankers per day passed out of the Persian Gulf through the Strait carrying 17 million barrels of crude oil.
To traverse the Strait, ships pass through the territorial waters of Iran and Oman.
They are allowed transit via the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
Alexander listeners will remember the Gulf of Oman as the place where Alexander marched his men through The Gedrosian Desert
The the Straits of Hormuz are where his admiral Nearchus nearly starved to death because there were no water or food drops while he was exploring the coastline while Alexander was making plans to invade Arabia
It’s where Dubai is.
The Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair were attacked, allegedly with limpet mines or flying objects, causing fire damage to both ships.
American and Iranian military personnel responded to the attacks and were involved in rescuing crew members from the ships.
The attacks took place on the same day that Ayatollah Khamenei met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in Iran.
Abe was acting as an intermediary between Donald Trump and Khamenei.
Almost immediately, the US, Saudi and UK government blamed Iran.
The background is that on May 8, 2018, the United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran
the US has been imposing increasingly restrictive sanctions on Iran for over a year now, and has managed to dramatically decrease Iranian oil exports and coerce unwilling nations to abide by these sanctions using the threat of secondary sanctions.
This was a deal made back in 2015 between the UN Security Council, Germany, and the EU with Iran.
Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium-enriched uranium, cut its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98%, and reduce by about two-thirds the number of its gas centrifuges for 13 years.
And not to build any new heavy-water facilities for the same period of time.
They also agreed to let the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will have regular access to all Iranian nuclear facilities to monitor their progress.
In return, Iran would receive relief from U.S., European Union, and United Nations Security Council nuclear-related sanctions.
In May 2019 the IAEA certified that Iran was abiding by the main terms of the deal, but that hasn’t stopped Trump and Bolton from treating Iran like the guy who just walked into the office with dog shit on his shoe.
Also in May 2019 there was the first Gulf of Oman incident
Four ships were damaged in that incident, including two Saudi Arabian registered oil tankers, a Norwegian registered oil tanker, and an Emirati registered bunkering ship.
The US blamed Iran for those attacks as well.
But an international investigation, led by the United Arab Emirates, didn’t find name any culprit.
They did suggest the damage was caused by limpet mines planted by divers using “fast boats”.
A limpet mine is a type of naval mine attached to a target by magnets.
So named because of its superficial similarity to the limpet, a type of sea snail that clings tightly to rocks or other hard surfaces.
That’s also my nickname for Ray.
He’s my little limpet.
clings tightly to my hard surfaces
Whenever tensions with the US have increased, Iranian officials have threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz.
in the logic of “If we can’t sell our oil, neither can the Gulf states!”.
Pompeo painted the incident as one of “a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests.”
Pompeo’s statement is so embarrassing as to be cringe-worthy. It is either a lie in the service of war propaganda or a display of such bottomless ignorance on the part of America’s chief diplomat as to be grounds for impeachment (or perhaps just consignment to an asylum).
The Taliban are almost entirely drawn from the ranks of the Sunni Muslim Pushtun ethnic group in Afghanistan, some 44% of the country’s population of 35 million.
Remember As we reported on a few weeks ago, “Bolton has staffed up the NSC with people who share his views. Last week, he hired Richard Goldberg, a noted Iran hawk, to run the administration’s pressure campaign against the country.”
China, India, Japan, biggest customers of Iranian oil.
Beijing usually backs its trade partner – but experts say the trade war with the US and problems with Huawei may have changed the equation
According to Trump (Nov 18): Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq, beginning on 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran
On May 5th, a Sunday, the White House issued an unusual communiqué—from the national-security adviser, John Bolton, not the Pentagon—announcing that a battleship-carrier strike group, led by the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, and a bomber task force, including B-52s, were deploying off Iran’s coast. The Lincoln was headed to the Middle East anyway, but its deployment was fast-tracked, U.S. officials told me. Bolton claimed that the Islamic Republic was engaged in “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” but did not provide specifics. The Administration’s goal, he said, was “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” Bolton, who was a key player behind the U.S. war in Iraq, advocated bombing Iran before he joined the Trump White House.
Five days later, on May 10th, the Pentagon announced a second display of force: the U.S.S. Arlington and a battery of Patriot missile systems would join the Abraham Lincoln. The Arlington carries U.S. Marines and an array of aircraft, landing craft, and weapons systems to support amphibious assault, special-operations teams, and “expeditionary warfare.” A Patriot battery defends against ballistic missiles and aircraft. Both are meant to respond to “indications of heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against U.S. forces and our interests,” the Pentagon said.
General Wesley Clark, 2001:
“I just got this down from upstairs” — meaning the Secretary of Defense’s office — “today.” And he said, “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.”