4 thoughts on “Tankers sabotaged near the Gulf”

  1. Since the hole is on the water line, it seems likely to be a water-based attack. However, the shape and the location of the one hole that is shown (on the stern of the Norwegian vessel) is odd: it looks more triangular (as if rammed), rather than round, like e.g. the COLE https://www.fbi.gov/history/famous-cases/uss-cole-bombing. I’d also note that sea mines are commercial HE and usually do more damage than is shown. Here’s the damage to the USS SAMUEL B ROBERTS from an IRI mine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Samuel_B._Roberts_(FFG-58)#/media/File:Ffg58minedamage.jpg
    The simultaneity is interesting, and mitigates away from a floating mine (the IRI also have deep driving mines, but those are unlikely to be laid in UAE coastal waters.) There is an alternative, which would fit the timing issue: the Huthis are reported to have used Unmanned Surface Vessels to attack a KSA frigate, a UAE MCM craft, and possibly Jayzan port. It is suggested that these were IRI supplied; if so, then IRI have the capability.
    But I can’t see the IRI’s intent at the moment: they’re currently regarded as the victims of Bolton’s mania. (It’s possible that it was rogue regime elements, as has been alleged over the murders of Iranian terrorists in Europe.)

  2. The oil attacks offshore UAE’s Fujairah and onshore Saudi Arabia appear to be highly sophisticated in terms of execution. This is pretty clear. What is less so is the message these attacks are trying to convey.
    In an op-ed I wrote for the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) in 2012, in a context of similar regional tensions (LINK below), I argued that alternative oil routes to Hormuz were not enough. Although they remain so today, the message of the current attacks, as I interpret it, would be: don’t even think about them!
    This would mean that if war were to break out (accidental, as a result of miscalculations, or intentional), not a drop of oil or a bubble of gas would come out of the region.
    Let’s cross our fingers and pray!

  3. Yes I think the Russian spy whale is an intriguing thought! What is slightly odd about the incident is the reluctance of either the Americans or the Saudis and the Emiratis to provide more details. As far as the Saudis and the Emiratis go that’s pretty much par for the course. Opacity usually trumps transparency, especially when it comes to their various foreign adventures and the Yemen war. But I do find the American reticence curious. And that does cause me to ponder if indeed it was a false flag episode that should it be subjected to too close scrutiny would start to unravel rather quickly.

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