A war of tankers has raged for several years, Israel and its allied forces have attacked Iran, sabotaging its tankers, ships and equipment, Iran has responded with similar moves, albeit on a smaller scale, in order to counter Israeli, British, and American aggression.
However, this week, a lot more attention has been devoted to the region since an Israeli-managed oil tanker, the Mercer Street, was hit in the Gulf of Oman.
Israel, the United States and Britain were quick to blame Iran. But do they actual have any proof to back this claim up?
In the Gulf of Oman, entering into the Strait of Hormuz and onwards to the Persian Gulf, a war of tankers has been raging for several years, Israel and its allies have attacked Iran, sabotaging its tankers, ships, and much more, yet on is unlikely to hear about it in the media.
This week, however, there has been a lot more attention focused on the region as an Israeli managed oil tanker, the Mercer Street, was hit in the Gulf of Oman.
Israel, the United States and Britain were very quick to blame Iran, but do they actually have any proof to back this claim?
Was this incident an Iranian response to recent attacks by Israel or was it a false flag operation meant to malign the Islamic Republic and escalate the situation in the so called War of tankers into an all out conflict?
The Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are connected by the Strait of Hormuz which sits off the coast of Iran.
This tiny and very vital passage, through which a good deal of important cargo is ferried making the ships a prime target not just for piracy and state piracy but international incidents as well.
Around 1/5 of the world's maritime oil, as well as 1/3 of the world's liquefied gas supply, passes through this vital artery. One of the oil tankers carrying such cargo was the Mercer Street. This Japanese owned vessel flying the Liberian flag was managed by Israeli owned Zodiac Maritime, which belongs to a very rich Israeli businessman named Eyal Ofer.
News first broke on July 30 that an oil tanker named the Mercer Street had been attacked in the sea of Oman. Aboard this ship, the British security guard and the Romanian Captain were killed after an unmanned aerial vehicle, a UAV, or a drone, laden with explosives hit the ship's bridge, killing them both.
It has been reported that this was the third drone attack within 24 hours.
International condemnation followed very quickly with several countries immediately rushing to blame Iran, despite the lack of an investigation or any tangible evidence that Iran was behind the attack.
The head of Israel's occupation forces, Benny Gantz, threatened military action saying that Israel was prepared to strike Iran, the new Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, made another veiled threat saying that he would exact a price on Iran, as Israel pushed for the United Nations to condemn the Islamic Republic.
British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that Iran must "face up to the consequences", US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said that he was "confident" that Iran had carried out the attack. This was followed by British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, saying that according to British assessments, it was, "highly likely that Iran had attacked the vessel".
As is obvious, confident, and highly likely, are certainly not absolutes. Absent from all this sharp rhetoric and all this condemnation was any actual proof, any actual evidence, that Iran was behind the attack.
Nevertheless, all these parties stand more than ready to lay the blame at Iran's feet, despite the fact that this drone was not made in Iran, nor was it fired from Iran. Now, Iran has resoundingly denied any involvement with both attacks on the Mercer Street and the other Panama flagged ship that was supposedly hijacked a few days later.
Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Saeed Khatibzadeh, called the accusations of the G7 baseless and pointed out the suspicious timing of the attack right on the cusp of President Ibrahim Raesi's inauguration.
Zamir Kabulov, Russia's special envoy to Afghanistan, said that Russia did not believe Iran was behind the attack, and that the facts, needed to be ascertained and established first before a concrete position could be reached on the issue.
Nevertheless, despite the lack of any actual evidence, any definitive proof of Iranian involvement, some analysts in the region have speculated that if Iran were indeed behind the incident, what this could actually mean for the so called War of tankers, that has been taking place there in the last few years.
It is a well established fact that Israeli warplanes regularly carry out illegal airstrikes on Syrian soil, violating Lebanese airspace in the process.
Now analysts in the region pointed to the fact that just about a week before the two men aboard the Mercer Street were killed, it was reported that two resistance fighters were martyred after Israeli warplanes bombed locations inside Syria.
Now some have speculated the both incidents could be related. Al Alam Television, citing unnamed sources, said that the tanker incident could have been a response, a potential response, to the Israeli aggression inside Syria.
Following the attack on the Mercer Street there was report of a second incident emerging from the Gulf of Oman. Now, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, the UKMTO, had reported on August 3 that a Panama flagged ship, named the Asphalt Princces, had "potentially been hijacked".
The details were obscure with no concrete evidence because the mainstream media immediately reported the incident as fact and, of course, blamed Iran despite any actual proof.
The UKMTO then stated that, mysteriously, these alleged hijackers decided to just leave the ship quietly without incident.
But apparently this wasn't enough to stop the US State Department from again repeating the allegations, claiming that it believed Iran was behind the attack, even though he was unable to confirm it.
Iran's foreign ministry dubbed both incidents, the Mercer Street and the Asphalt Princess, as suspicious and again reaffirmed that Iran had absolutely nothing to do with either incident.
The tanker incident involving the Mercer Street, and the second alleged hijacked ship, are not the only incidents that we've seen in the region in the so called War of tankers, as it's been dubbed, between Iran and Israel.
This has been going on for quite some time now. Could you give us some context as to why these particular incidents stand out from all the rest?
First of all, after the triple incidents in the Persian Gulf when it was shut down by Iran a couple of years ago, followed by a British ship that was captured by Iran and was never let go until a month after they let the Iranian Adrian One tanker unload its cargo near Syria, and left the region, Gibraltar. And then, it was only then that Tehran let it go.
And the third incident was the Iranian missile attack on the Ain Al Asad airbase in Iraq. The Americans realise that their military flips would not change calculations of Iranian decision makers, and that's one of the two main pillars in the US containment strategy that stand very much on the two pillars of sanctions and posing credible military threat, but of course it's just a military. It's not pursued by action. Otherwise, if they could have beaten Iran through military action they would have done it two decades ago when they invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.
And after these triple incidents the Americans realise that their containment strategy doesn't work really well anymore. They called for Israel's help to boost their military threat through some kind of action, which would be somewhere between peace and war.
So, the Israelis started attacking the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility, assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists, and also did a number of other sabotage acts and took credit for many sabotage acts that never actually happened, or the purpose of psychological impact on the society and decision makers in Iran and the region. And then, that's exactly in the same context that the war of the tankers war started, but this last one is important because it's a boost, it's an escalation, it shows that Israel is pretty well ready, and it has already started to escalate tensions in waters adjacent to Iran. The Israelli strategy is transferring tensions from occupied territories, where Israel is under threat by Hezbollah, Palestinian groups and many others to borders, waters and lands bordering Iran, in the south, in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman, as well as in the north, in Armenia, in Azerbaijan, wherever they could deploy their security forces, or they could have a big could widen their influence in order to boost and increase threats to Iran, they do that.
Therefore, the Israelis are trying to go to phase two of this plan, they are trying to rally international support in order to receive a UN Security Council resolution against Iran to find a predict to deploy troops as part of a coalition in those waters.
One more important point is that they know Mr Raesi is coming. has come already to the office and his main agenda, including in foreign policy, is increasing foreign trade in order to help the Iranian economy and that means de escalation of tensions in the region, and that means, primarily, start talking to the Saudis and see if they are willing to stand in the first category of friends. the Israelis know that if there is a de-escalation of tensions in the region, then all their plans would be null and void because they intend to, you know, push the region into tension in order to justify their presence. So, they have rushed to preempt Mr Raesi's de escalation agenda.
Professor Seyyed Mustafa Khoshcheshm, Political Analyst
So do you think that they're trying to stop President Raesi's efforts to, you know counter this, this idea of keeping Iran malign and keeping Iran isolated. And with that said, Do you see a shift in the attitude from the acts of resistance because you know if it is confirmed to be Iran. This response came very quickly after the incident in Syria the the Israeli strikes which martyred. Two resistance fighters. We also saw that Hezbollah responded very quickly to Israeli airstrikes and Shebaa farms. So would you say there's a shift in the attitude regarding Israeli and foreign aggression that they won't be tolerated passively and there's going to be a tit for tat response to each attack.
Definitely, definitely. As I said, Mr Raissi is a much more powerful president than President Rouhani, he will be even stronger than Ahmadinejhad, that means that you would be a more powerful and fierce foe, and enemy for Israel, and for the United States if they intend to continue the same kinds of pressures on Iran and defy their nuclear deal undertakings, then his policies include the strategies that have and will end up in more pressures on the United States.
The resistance front will definitely receive much more support under Raissi, but when it comes to other countries in the region that are especially friends to Iran, he would be a much more powerful friend, he will try to expand ties, economic ties with them, so the lines of policies are different if you stand in the first category or the second category.
And, you know, the Israelis have perceived that pretty well that's why they intend to speed up their efforts to go to phase two of their plan that started several years ago when Trump was in office in 2018-19.
Professor Seyyed Mustafa Khoshcheshm, Political Analyst
The so called hijacking involving the Panama flagged ship called the Princess Asphalt was also blamed on Iran.
You wrote on Twitter that the Mossad deployed high tech equipment in the UAE to stir further tensions in the Persian Gulf and disrupt air and sea navigation, but do we actually know who's behind this was it a false flag operation and what's really going on?
It was a false flag operation. Everything started when unidentified sources claimed through the British media that some kind of tanker is in trouble, a British tanker is in trouble, then suddenly they added that Iran might be, you know, involved, or some kind of militia supported by Iran, and then they claimed that there is a second, third and fourth ship and suddenly they tried to raise tensions to unprecedented levels in those waters. all claims from unnamed sources, and then it was pretty well clear that there is no hijacking because after one day, they claim that everything has been wrapped up, and the British Defence Ministry declared that the hijacking had ended.
Well, they could not have just evaporated into thin air. Where are the hijackers? it's, you know, these waters are surrounded by many military forces and states, for God's sake, where are those hijackers if there has been a hijacking?
it was quite clear that it was a false flag operation but this is not going to be the end. It was done in order to push the Israeli/American effort to win a UN Security Council resolution (aginst Iran), and it has not ended yet.
They are running this propaganda and smear campaign against Iran in order to discredit Tehran and show it as an irresponsible party. According to Noor News, affiliated to Iran supreme National Security Council, they have deployed equipment in order to, you know, disrupt, free air and sea or maritime navigation in the region to disturb the situation, all in the hope that there would be more tension, escalating tensions, and then, Saudi Arabia, The UAE, Bahrain and others, would increase tensions against Iran, again, and start a coalition with the Israelis.
Professor Seyyed Mustafa Khoshcheshm, Political Analyst
What do you think of the hypocrisy apparent in the fact that when Israel was attacking dozens of Iranian ships, Iranian ships carrying fuel to Venezuela, carrying fuel and aid to Syria to fight the sanctions, there was no outcry, we didn't see any outcry from the British or the Americans about that, and yet they make a giant fuss over one Israeli owned ship I mean, what does that say?
When Ned Price quoted his boss's words, Anthony Blinken's words, that Iran is endangering free navigation in the Persian Gulf, I reminded them through Twitter that they have attacked 12 Iranian ships only in the last year, all tankers. They were not alone, they were accompanied by the Israelis in some of these cases. How come he never said that when they attacked the Iranian ships and started threatening Iranian supplies to foreign markets?
Well, as a matter of fact, this is a very important question. The Americans and Israelis are going along with this strategy ... And they've tried to keep it somewhere between peace and full fledged war. They intend to pose threats, security threats, sabotage and, you know, assassination, but they also try to keep the situation under control to avoid the spiralling of tensions into a full fledged war.
And I do believe that in some phase, sooner or later, they would lose control of this situation because they may start something, but they are not the one that will continue with Iran, and Iran is not harnessed by the United States, it's not an obedient state, and then they may not be the party to end it, I believe, soon they might be foolish enough to cross the red line without knowing it, even.
Professor Seyyed Mustafa Khoshcheshm, Political Analyst
Do you think that given the situation the Israelis are going to be more cautious from now on, or feel more emboldened and what do you think they're pushing for and how can we expect this to play out?
The Israelis, I believe, are just experienced in their good days, despite all the problems internally, externally, that they have everywhere, they are pushing the region into more chaos, what happens at the Israeli Lebanese border, the borders between occupied territories and Lebanon, in the last 24 hours then it's, I believe, an indication. Because I can see the Israelis mean to do the same kind of steering tension plot that they have in the Persian Gulf and in territories north of Iran, against Lebanon, against Palestine, against Syria. Everywhere they are steering tensions against not only Iran but also Iranian allies, and in one of these cases, one of these false flag operations would definitely go wrong, and it would end up in full fledged war, so the international community, the UN Security Council should act and think wisely to harness the Israelis, if they do not want to see the region in fire [sic}.
Professor Seyyed Mustafa Khoshcheshm, Political Analyst
So if the Americans and the British and the international community are in an uproar about an Israeli tanker being hit, why did they say nothing when Israel targeted dozens of Iranian ships causing much more damage?
So while this recent incident with the Mercer Street has been amplified and blown out of proportion in order to paint Iran as a villain, Iranian ships have been attacked by Israel, for years, but did the mainstream media inform the public about those incidents?
Iran itself is under crippling sanctions, but despite this, it has never denied help to its allies and helps them even when it is itself in need.
Iran supports the resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, as well as in Iraq, and has sent countless amounts of aid, fuel and support to Syria, and Venezuela, also targeted by US sanctions. This really underscores the level of support and solidarity within the Axis of Resistance.
The United States and the European Union targeted Iran and its allies with sanctions in order to force regime change, and stop the resistance to imperialism and colonisation. Because Iran and its allies have tried to find ways around these sanctions they've been punished and attacked for this.
In July, 2019 The British just went ahead and decided to hold up an Iranian oil tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar. This ship was released only after Iran threatened to halt a British tanker in response in the Strait of Hormuz, then a few months later in October 2019, an Iranian oil tanker was mysteriously attacked off the Saudi coast and to give you more examples and similar acts of piracy, both ex President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden have stolen Iranian oil headed to help the people of Venezuela and sold it off for millions of dollars.
In March 2021 The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel had in fact targeted dozens of Iranian ships through various acts of sabotage. We also know that Israel has murdered numerous Iranian nuclear scientists, as recently as late 2020.
Israel has attacked Iran's nuclear facilities and also bombed Syria on an almost weekly basis.
And despite all of this, do you know about any of these events, have you ever heard any outrage from the United States or the United Kingdom regarding Israel's aggression towards Syria or Iran?
Not a peep!
Has anyone tried to condemn them at the United Nations for this?
Not a word!
Yet in the United States, in the West, not just the governments, but also the mainstream media, constantly attack Iran and accuse it of destabilizing the region, they constantly accuse it of piracy and even smuggling.
Iran underscores its right to defend itself and its waters; however, is it possible that this latest attack is a false flag operation? If so, it would not be the first time, it would not be the first time that the West has made up similar incidents in order to escalate confrontations and to start wars.
False flag operations have always been used by the West in order to blame other countries and to start wars.
In 1962 under Operation Northwoods United States government wanting to commit acts of terrorism against its own citizens, including bombings and hijackings, but to make it look like Cuba was responsible so we could justify a war with the Caribbean nation.
In 1954, the Mossad, Israel's Intelligence Service, also carried out false flag operations, known as the Lavonne affair, which sought to cause instability within Egypt in order to maintain a presence of British troops in the Suez Canal.
History is littered with examples of this. They have a very very long history and habit of using false flag operations in order to pursue their military objectives and their foreign policy objectives, even if it means war.
And this is not just extremely concerning but extremely important because we need to understand history in order to understand the present.
And so given this long covert history of British, American and Israeli intelligence in executing false flag operations we can determine that not everything is exactly as it seems.
When you hear on the news that Iran is behind an attack in the Gulf of Oman, the media immediately reports it with absolute certainty and conviction even though there's no proof or investigation.
You really have to exercise some caution and be realistic here, just because the Western governments and their media jumped to blame Iran or anyone else for something, doesn't necessarily make it true.
You must be very wary of what is reported in the Western press, because of their practices, and because their duty is not to the truth, but to the pockets of the weapons industry.
Nevertheless, let us assume for a moment that what they're saying is true. Let's imagine they're really telling the truth, that this was a move by the resistance, then it's important to note the timing.
Analysts in the region view it as a swift response to the Israeli aggression in Syria just a week earlier, and in the past days when Israeli planes bombed Lebanon bombing a patch of open land, Hezbollah was quick to respond with a barrage of rockets of its own, also on a patch of open land in order not to escalate the situation, but to keep them in check.
Veteran war correspondent and political analysts Elijah Magnier explained in a recent article, the significance of this recent development, that if this attack really was from the Resistance Front, it is significant not just in timing, but also because it takes the Israelis out of their comfort zone and into the Gulf of Oman, which is uncharted territory for them.
This tit for tat response indicates two things, firstly, that the Resistance Front is only responding defensively, It is not the aggressor, and secondly, that the Resistance Front will not let Israeli or any form of foreign aggression go unanswered. And it will respond quickly.
Once again, if you're going to say that all of this is true and you're going to go and blame Iran and say it must be held accountable, then what about the countless Israeli attacks on Iranian ships?
How can you hold Iran accountable but not Israel when Israel's attacks are far more numerous and have occurred far more often, in far more ways and have caused much more damage?
Why isn't anyone in Britain or the US calling for Israel to be held to account for these objections?
The West doesn't really care about international law or rules based order or any of these things.
This is about bullying and coercing Iran and its allies, because they won't bend a knee to Western hegemony, bullying and coercing them for the crime of trying to feed their people and defend themselves from foreign aggression, and by circumventing illegal unilateral US sanctions.
If they were really worried about the alleged crime, they would be seeking to hold Israel accountable for the same crimes, and yet they don't.
It is all about reinforcing imperialism and anyone who can't see this isn't willing to see the truth.