Author Topic: Tanker War 2.0  (Read 13751 times)

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Online Blackadder1916

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #50 on: June 18, 2019, 12:36:30 »
The headline of this piece, which was written a few days ago before the escalation of the "evidence", is perhaps the most succinct explanation of this "he said, he said" situation.  Who could imagine that credibility is currency in the conduct of international diplomacy and credibility is lacking in both parties to this squabble.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-iran-bolton-oil-tankers-persian-gulf-lies-and-war-fears
Quote
Gulf Tanker Whodunit: Trump’s a Liar. So Are the Mullahs.

Who benefits from the attack on two fuel tankers in the Persian Gulf? Trump and Iran blame each other—but for the public, the truth is harder to find.

Christopher Dickey World News Editor  Updated 06.14.19 4:56PM ET / Published 06.14.19 12:52PM ET

PARIS—Who was it who blasted two tankers in the Persian Gulf on Thursday? Whodunit?

The Trump administration says it must have been the Iranians. Trump told Fox & Friends on Friday the attack has “got Iran written all over it.” And Iran says it must have been somebody else. And because both sides have such long records of deceit and, really, no regard for the truth, we the public and the press find ourselves sliding toward war with no firm grip on the facts.

Gosh, that feels familiar: a plunge into “unknown unknowns.” But the information situation is much worse today than when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld uttered that delphic phrase amid the vanguard of lies that preceded the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Now, after so many thousands of blatant falsehoods by the current president of the United States, it’s almost impossible to believe anything he says or, indeed, to know what he actually believes himself. For every prevarication there are countless equivocations, the favorites being “could be” and “who knows?”

So how do we begin to parse what really happened?

Many would suggest we start with the question of motive. But the doorway to madness in the Middle East is marked with a sign that reads: “Ask yourself, who benefits from the crime?” Or, more legalistically speaking, cui bono? And in a world of untrue facts, which the Middle East has been since Biblical times, “who benefits” is propounded as if it were definitive proof of guilt or innocence, depending on your ideological inclination.

Cui bono? My enemy, of course. Quod erat demonstratum.

As The Daily Beast’s Adam Rawnsley wrote in his well-reported piece about the latest tanker incident, Iran has an obvious motive: pushing back against the "maximum pressure" campaign the Trump administration has imposed on its economy. And Iran has the means, including its version of the U.S. Navy’s SEALs, to place the sort of limpet mines that appear to have been used in the attacks.

Iran is also good at playing the classic covert action game of "You know I did it, but you can't prove it." And whoever carried out the pinprick attacks on four tankers near the United Arab Emirates last month, or the more dramatic hits on the tankers off the Iranian coast this week, would seem to be ratcheting up the level of violence to gauge reaction, looking for the red lines. That would be typical of Iran as well.

So far, by targeting ships carrying petrochemical products from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and avoiding loss of life, whoever is doing this has sent some significant messages: the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman are not secure. Oil prices jumped dramatically and insurance rates for Gulf shipping are going up as well. Escalation could be around the corner. The world is wringing its hands over the prospect of war.

But apart from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's warning against attacks on American personnel and installations, no red lines have been drawn, much less crossed. When Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out the attacks on tankers, he announced the response would be continued economic pressure and stepped-up diplomatic action.

The problem for Donald Trump is that his "maximum pressure" campaign has left him, in fact, with little room to maneuver on the economic front. When your pedal's to the metal, you can't push it further down. And Trump's eccentric, insulting truculence has made it hard for Pompeo to pull together a strong diplomatic effort, even among traditional allies.

Pompeo vowed to take the matter before the United Nations Security Council, but two of the five permanent members, China and Russia, have no reason at all to help the U.S. policy toward Iran.  The latter is under U.S. sanctions, the former facing prohibitive U.S. tariffs. They have every incentive to work with Tehran, not against it, in efforts to defeat the weaponized American dollar—which is, in fact, Trump's weapon of choice.

The core assumption of the cui bono crowd is that Trump wants a war with Iran, just as George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the infamous "neocons" wanted war with Iraq in 2003. Another common reference is to the Gulf of Tonkin incident, exaggerated and falsified in 1964 to open the way for massive U.S. troop deployments to Vietnam.

Reasoning by analogy, a common refrain is that the tanker attacks last month and this week may be, as the Institute for Public Accuracy put it, “Persian Gulf of Tonkin.” They supposedly were “false flag” operations conducted by Iran’s enemies but made to look like Iranian operations.

Certainly that is the line taken by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, noting the irony of hits on tankers carrying naptha and methanol to Japan just as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was visiting Tehran. “Suspicious doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” Zarif tweeted Thursday.

But does Trump want war with Iran? There’s no question Israel’s belligerent Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s blood-soaked Mohammed bin Salman, both of them Trump buddies, would like to see the U.S. beat the hell out of the mullahs. They’re ready to fight to the last American. And National Security Advisor John Bolton seems about as hysterically belligerent as Henery Hawk in the old Looney Toons cartoons. But he is also a skilled backroom warmonger, playing a game with sanctions and waivers on Iranian trade calculated to dispirit and infuriate the Tehran regime—perhaps provoking it to cross a fatal red line.

Trump, on the other hand, likes to talk tough, as The Washington Post’s David Ignatius pointed out recently, but that doesn’t mean he wants to get into a shooting war of any kind. His entire focus is on the 2020 elections, and he knows his base likes the fiery rhetoric, as long as nobody is firing back at American soldiers on the ground.

Is there a way out of a wider confrontation and conflagration? For the moment, Trump is saying he wants to talk and Iran’s leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is saying that’s not going to happen.

Will that remain the case? If so, then the Bibis, Bin Salmans, and Boltons may be able to get the war they seem to want. But before that happens, it will be easier to understand what’s going on if one puts aside cui bono and false flag arguments, and focuses instead on the game of covert and overt brinksmanship.

Iran’s pretty good at it. Trump? We’ll see.

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #51 on: June 18, 2019, 15:09:33 »
Well then, I'll call this the 'Boy Who Cried Wolf' thread.  While previous governments would  lie in singular instances to garner international community buy-in for some endeavour (Maddox/Vietnam, WMD/Iraq),  you now have an administration with a virtually unbroken track record of compulsive lying, butt-hurt because no one believes them.

Actually the US was dragged reluctantly by the French into Vietnam. You want to blame anyone for Vietnam, blame the French.

Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #52 on: June 19, 2019, 01:53:41 »
Actually the US was dragged reluctantly by the French into Vietnam. You want to blame anyone for Vietnam, blame the French.

I blame Hitler. If he hadn’t slapped the French around so easily in 1940, the Japanese might have hesitated in occupying Indochina. The subsequent Japanese surrender, aided by American support and inspiration to Ho Chi Min in WW2, that sped the process up.
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Offline Lumber

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #53 on: June 19, 2019, 07:05:13 »
...blame the French.

I think we can all get behind this.

 ;D
"Aboard his ship, there is nothing outside a captain's control." - Captain Sir Edward Pellew

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #54 on: June 19, 2019, 20:47:53 »
I think we can all get behind this.

 ;D

I suppose Quebeckers   might object ? ;D

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #55 on: June 19, 2019, 21:11:20 »
I suppose Quebeckers   might object ? ;D
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #56 on: June 20, 2019, 03:01:09 »
The Iranians have shot down a Global Hawk drone. USAF F15's have arrived in theater but I doubt they would be used should retaliation is ordered. Much easier to use ship launched missiles without risking crews.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-navy-drone-shot-down-by-iranian-missile-over-strait-of-hormuz-source

https://www.foxnews.com/world/us-squadron-f15e-fighters-arrive-uae-iran-tensions

Offline Colin P

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #57 on: June 20, 2019, 11:18:20 »
Starting picking off AD systems as they light up. It's not like Iran has a huge number and they have a lot of territory to defend.

Offline Lumber

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #58 on: June 20, 2019, 12:26:39 »
Does anybody else feel like this entire affair isn't getting as much attention as it probably should considering the size of quagmire that could (will) result if they actually start shooting at each other? I mean really shooting at each other?

"Aboard his ship, there is nothing outside a captain's control." - Captain Sir Edward Pellew

“Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Death before dishonour! Nothing before coffee!

Offline RHC_2_MP

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #59 on: June 20, 2019, 13:04:39 »
I can't weigh in on who may have done it, but the evidence the US governement has made public is very suspect.
The images of the mine on the side of the ship show two targeted locations well above the waterline which would have had to be attached by small craft alongside the ship, the video indicates they did it in broad daylight without any care of concealment. However, the witness accounts found in the media don't mention any fast boats and in fact stated it was a projectile.
One of the pictures of the blast damage shows the main hole and several other projectile holes around the central blast hole.  I'm no combat engineer but to me it could indicate that the hull was damaged by multiple projectiles in a relatively small area which would mean the explosive detonated away from the hull and several pieces of the projectile struck the ship to start the fire.  The black and white video the US released shows a fastboat crew removing the item from the hull. The shadows on the deck of the tanker indicate it's daylight and no lighting change is visible throughout the video to indicate a fire is burning next to the craft. Additional photos released by the US show the crew of the alledged Iranian vessel in daylight, staring up at the aircraft taking the photo. This is not the behaviour i would associate with a secret mission by operators who want to remain unidentified and conceal their motives.
The evidence laid out by the US government does not match the version of events they're using to justify the military buildup.  I could be completely out to lunch too, and i'm sure someone will put me in my place in a minute...
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #60 on: June 20, 2019, 13:14:24 »
They removed the mine in daylight. I don't see any articles that state the exact time of the explosion, I would also be surprised if crew would be able to see projectiles flying at them. Most of these ships run with two people on the bridge, a deck officer and lookout, concentrating on larger marine traffic. 

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #61 on: June 20, 2019, 13:16:55 »
All the particular focus on whether limpet mines were placed by Iranians detracts from the two important questions:

1) What blew the hole?
2) Who is responsible?
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #62 on: June 20, 2019, 13:24:03 »
We know who shot down the Global Hawk so now what level will the tit tat happen ? I think the Iranian SAM sites will be targeted and maybe throw in an IRG naval base or two.

Offline Lumber

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2019, 13:57:16 »
We know who shot down the Global Hawk so now what level will the tit tat happen ? I think the Iranian SAM sites will be targeted and maybe throw in an IRG naval base or two.

Yea the Global Hawks are NOT cheap ($125 million ish), so I can't see the US NOT retaliating in some fashion. The key questions will Iran retaliate for THAT? Then will the US retaliate for THAT? and so on...
"Aboard his ship, there is nothing outside a captain's control." - Captain Sir Edward Pellew

“Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

Death before dishonour! Nothing before coffee!

Offline QV

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #64 on: June 20, 2019, 14:29:16 »
Victor Davis Hansen has some insightful commentary on the US and Iran (and other nations) here: 

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/donald-trumps-china-iran-border-matrix/


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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #66 on: June 20, 2019, 16:43:41 »
Yea the Global Hawks are NOT cheap ($125 million ish), so I can't see the US NOT retaliating in some fashion. The key questions will Iran retaliate for THAT? Then will the US retaliate for THAT? and so on...

The US only reacts one way. Why would Iran provoke the US knowing exactly how they're going to react. What would Iran have to gain besides dead soldiers, smashed SAM sites and ruined military equipment?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2019, 17:19:12 by Jarnhamar »
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Online Spencer100

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #67 on: June 20, 2019, 17:09:40 »
To bring the 12th Iman.  The Mahdi is coming they say.

https://www.thoughtco.com/who-is-the-12th-imam-3555177

That could one reason...if you can call it one?  Are not the Repub Guards not Twelvers? or some of them?


Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #68 on: June 20, 2019, 17:53:37 »
>Why would Iran provoke the US

Suppose (optimistically) the US is trying to change Iran's behaviour by applying diplomatic and economic pressure (eg. sanctions), while avoiding escalation to military pressure, leaving exactly one golden bridge open: retreat to being a "normal" country in the community of nations.  If Iran doesn't want to take that path, it still needs to remove the pressure.  One option is to force an escalation to military engagement in the hopes the resulting pinch to gulf oil exports will induce other nations to pressure the US to lay off.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #69 on: June 20, 2019, 18:45:27 »
The Mahdi is called Tomahawk.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #70 on: June 20, 2019, 18:58:32 »
To bring the 12th Iman.  The Mahdi is coming they say.

https://www.thoughtco.com/who-is-the-12th-imam-3555177

That could one reason...if you can call it one?  Are not the Repub Guards not Twelvers? or some of them?

My understanding is that the religious core of the IRGC and Clerics are "twelvers" surrounded by normally devout believers and people into power and wealth.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2019, 19:05:03 »
What was Trudeau doing at the White House today? Timing was suspect. I doubt it was to offer targeting suggestions.  ;D

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2019, 19:29:02 »
What was Trudeau doing at the White House today? Timing was suspect. I doubt it was to offer targeting suggestions.  ;D
Trying to negotiate with your president. A trying situation at the best of times one imagines.


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Online Spencer100

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2019, 21:50:43 »
The timing of the RCN sail past the Taiwan Strait was very interesting.  That could not have hurt Trudeau with Trump. 

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Tanker War 2.0
« Reply #74 on: June 20, 2019, 23:23:04 »
According to the New York Times Trump approved strikes on Iranian military targets but then changed his mind.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/trump-approves-strikes-on-iran-but-then-abruptly-pulls-back/ar-AADaA3K?ocid=spartanntp