With a shocking level of predictability, the United States is publicly blaming “Iran or Iranian-backed proxies” for an alleged attack against Saudi-Arabian shipping at the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The U.S. sent the USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to “warn Iran” not to take actions against U.S. or U.S. allied interests in the region. The so-called intelligence that led to the move was supplied by the Israeli government via Mossad.
Revealed by Barak Ravid of Israel’s Channel 13 news last week, the alleged intelligence was discussed three weeks ago in talks at the White House between U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat. The discussions concerned claims of plots against the U.S. or Gulf allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Last Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed the claims and stated that it was “absolutely the case” that America had seen “escalatory actions” from Iran and that “it is equally the case that we will hold the Iranians accountable for attacks on American interests”.
“Amazingly” such a scenario has quickly arisen following an alleged attack at the UAE port of Fujairah.
Reports across the American media have stated that an initial assessment by the U.S. team sent to investigate the incident has very quickly pointed to Iran or Iranian-backed proxies using explosives to blow holes in four ships, two of them Saudi, one Emirati and one Norwegian.
These claims run counter to earlier claims and suggest a complete change in narrative.
Initial reports suggested “massive explosions” at the port in Fujairah with seven ships ablaze, reports that were immediately denied by UAE. The UAE’s official Emirates News Agency (WAM) stated clearly that there were no explosions at Fujairah, saying “the media office of the Government of Fujairah denies the authenticity of media reports that speak of powerful explosions [having] rocked the UAE port at dawn today, and confirms that the movement of work in the port is conducted as usual, and calls the media to investigate accuracy and dependence on official sources.”
The Norwegian tanker, the Andrea Victory, was stated to have been damaged in a collision by the tanker’s management company Thome Ship Management, with photographic evidence featured on Sky Arabia and later Russia Today supporting the company’s position. The Andrea Victory was at anchor and stationary meaning that any collision would have to be with a moving object in the water. The photographs show the ship holed at the waterline with no evidence associated with an explosion such as shrapnel damage or scorching to the hull.
Sky Arabia meanwhile showed footage of one of the Saudi ships alleged to have been attacked, the al-Marzoqah. The vessel shows no clear signs of damage to the bows or port side of the ship. While damage could be at the stern or starboard side, a Saudi Arabian statement stated that both their vessels had suffered “significant damage” in the alleged attack.
Amazingly despite being armed with explosives and with powder-keg oil tankers as the target, these “Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” completely failed to do any significant damage and there was no oil spillage or loss of life. If this was a genuine attack against Saudi shipping, then it was spectacularly incompetent.
Some images circulating on social media were not from the Fujairah incident. Neither of the images below show the incident, with the left image being the aftermath of a gas explosion aboard the Aulac Fortune in the waters off Hong Kong in January and the right-most image showing a fire at Sharjah’s Port Khalid in the UAE last Wednesday.
This fresh incident comes following months of the U.S. building tensions with Iran, having declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organisation in April, attempted to implicate the country in ongoing tensions with Venezuela and announcing that the U.S. will no longer renew exemptions given to eight countries which enable them to purchase Iranian oil without facing sanctions from the Washington regime.
Critics contend that the decision to go to war with Iran has already been taken and, much like the Iraq War, the “case” for war must now be sold to the American people. It was just yesterday that the New York Times revealed that updated military plans to deploy as many as 120,000 troops had been handed to Donald Trump “should Iran attack American forces.”
Iran has publicly accused Israel and Saudi Arabia of pushing and manipulating the United States into a war with Iran, saying that neo-conservative hawks in the U.S. administration are pushing hard for war alongside the Israeli lobby, Saudi Arabia and Netanyahu government. Two weeks ago, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif pointed the finger directly at White House National Security Advisor John Bolton, saying that Bolton and international allies “have all shown an interest in dragging the United States into a conflict”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for Middle Eastern unity in the face of the continuing aggression of the United States and Israel, stating that the two nations were the cause of war and tensions in the region. Speaking at the Army Day parade last month, Rouhani stated that “if we have a problem in the region today, its roots are either with Zionism or America’s arrogance.”
The concept that Iran, after America publicly stated they believed that an incident of this exact nature was coming, would go ahead with an attack on Saudi shipping under the full gaze of the world and of the USS Abraham Lincoln is plainly absurd. The official narrative of the incident has already changed from “no explosions” to the bombing of four ships. Photographic evidence and statements from the owners of the Norweigan ship do not support the allegation that is being made.
Fears amongst commentators that a pretext for war would be created against Iran appear to have been realised. The danger is that an attack on Saudi oil tankers is unlikely to inspire a widespread call for war amongst the American public, particularly Donald Trump’s isolationist MAGA base. Should the “attack” at Fujairah not find traction, then a grander pretext will be required in the coming days or weeks, possibly against the USS Abraham Lincoln or the B-52 bombers which began to patrol the Persian Gulf yesterday in response to the Fujairah incident.