Monday, 17 June 2019

Iran and Gulf of Oman oil tanker attack: why Corbyn's caution merits consideration

Letter submitted to the Daily Mail :

You report on Monday that Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has disagreed with his namesake , Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the Official Opposition (Mail, June 17) over who was responsible for the attack on two oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, describing the latter’s scepticism and request for evidence of Iran’s guilt as “pathetic.”

I do not know who carried out the attack, but in such a sensitive unstable global region, it surely makes sense to determine with certainty the pre perpetrator before pointing the finger or taking action.

A very interesting 1000-word article (“Was Iran Behind the Oman Tanker Attacks? A Look at the Evidence,” June 14; attempting to sift assertion from fact appeared in the New York Times last Friday, written by Eliot Higgins, the British–born managing director of the investigative collective Bellingcat. (

The author points out correctly that there has been considerable cynicism worldwide about American claims that the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday were conducted by Iran. These include the German defence minister.

Iran has denied the accusation, and on Twitter, the term “Gulf of Tonkin” trended alongside the “Gulf of Oman.”

[That historical reference is telling, Higgins explained " It was in citing the “Gulf of Tonkin incident” — the North Vietnamese were accused of attacking American destroyers in that gulf in 1964 — that President Lyndon B. Johnson persuaded the Congress to authorize greater American military involvement in Vietnam. Historians have concluded that the attack never happened and Johnson’s ploy is now seen as the quintessential false flag operation."]

He argues, sensible, that “with tensions rising in the region since attacks on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates in May, understanding what happened and who is to blame is crucial.” and points out “ Thanks to the internet and the range of publicly available information, confirming or denying such an attack has become far easier since the 1960s. A distance of several thousand miles does not mean much today.

Tools and information like satellite imagery that was once only available to intelligence agencies can now be found on everyday tools such as Google Maps. Social media allows far-flung people to share information.”

Mr Higgins concludes that what the videos and photographs published by the United States don’t show us is important, pointing out  that while the object on the side of the Kokuka Courageous oil tanker is described as a “likely limpet mine” the images presented aren’t clear enough to verify that.

Nothing presented as evidence proves that the object was placed there by the Iranians. The video shows only that the Iranians chose to remove it for an as yet unknown reason.

He ends asserting:” In the escalating conflict between the United States and Iran we have to work on all the information available, not just what one side presents.”

So what is now important is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt publishes the evidence he claims to have to prove that Iran was responsible.

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