The confrontational attack by Iran on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has led to calls for a military response from US President Donald Trump.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on June 14, 2019

The fact Iran has reportedly been caught red-handed bombing two oil tankers in the Middle East, just a month after four tankers were attacked in the same region, has led to calls for US President Donald Trump to launch a military attack on the Middle Eastern country.

“There is a saying that ‘rubble don’t make no trouble.’ Since the US has made good-faith efforts to deal with Iranian attacks via nonviolent means, it may be a good time to turn some of Iran’s military equipment into smoking wreckage,” Jim Hanson, President of Security Studies Group and a former member of the US Army Special Forces, told Fox News.

“This could be the wakeup call Iran needs to hear to curb its dangerous behaviour.”

“Some potential ways to send a message the Iranians will understand could include a US cruise missile strike on an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps naval base that houses some of the fast attack boats Iran uses to harass and attack foreign ships,” Hanson continued.

“It would also be a good idea for the US to conduct a joint strike with Saudi Arabia on a Houthi rebel base in Yemen. This would serve a dual purpose.

“First, a joint strike would back up our warning that we would not differentiate between attacks by Iran and its proxies. Iran is responsible for both. Second, such a strike would support the Saudi and UAE fight against Iranian efforts to cement a foothold in Yemen that menaces much of the world’s oil flow.

“At this point, it is more dangerous for America to fail to respond to Iran. Passivity would signal Iran’s rulers that they are not constrained from shutting down the two main sea lanes for shipping Middle East oil.”

“In many ways, I feel like this is a 1914 moment for the region, that a single incident could put the entire region on fire,” Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the thinktank International Crisis Group, told NBC News.

“Although this particular incident might not be the one to push the parties over the edge of the abyss of war, each cycle of escalation brings us closer to the brink.”

Retired US Navy Admiral James Stavridis, who served as NATO Commander, said it was unlikely that Iran or the US would climb down in the high-stakes showdown.

“We’re on a collision course here,” Stavridis told MSNBC.

David Ignatius, writing in the Washington Post, said that Iran’s “overconfidence is what makes this confrontation so dangerous.”

The US Navy rushed to assist the stricken vessels in the Gulf of Oman, near the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, off the coast of Iran, including one that was set ablaze.

The ships’ operators offered no immediate explanation on who or what caused the damage against the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous.

Each was loaded with petroleum products, and the Front Altair burned for hours, sending up a column of thick, black smoke.

Image showing damage to oil tanker Iran. Image: US Central Command

The vessels were hit “at or below the waterline, in close proximity to the engine room,” said the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko).

“These appeared to be well-planned and coordinated” attacks, the Association said in a statement.

The Pentagon released video showing an Iranian navy boat removing an unexploded mine attached to the hull of the Japanese-owned chemical tanker.

Officials said a US military aircraft overhead recorded the video of an Iranian boat moving alongside the Kokuka Courageous and removing an unexploded limpet mine from its hull.

US defence officials believe the Iranians were trying to remove evidence of their role in the attack, CNN reported.

The US last month deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran.

On November 5, 2018, the US imposed the country’s toughest sanctions in history, targeting Iran’s economy.

“The United States is engaged in a campaign of maximum financial pressure on the Iranian regime and intends to enforce aggressively these sanctions that have come back into effect,” the US Treasury Department said.