Yesterday, it was reported that Saudi oil tankers in the Gulf were targeted in a series of ‘sabotage attacks.’
The Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia claims that these were “acts of sabotage which targeted commercial and civilian vessels near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates.”
Iranian officials have denied any complicity in the attack, but the corporate media is assigning the blame upon them. CBS News has reported that ‘Iran or Iranian-backed proxies’ are responsible for the attack, according to an unnamed U.S. source.
NEW: Iran or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives to blow holes in four ships — two Saudi oil tankers and two others — near the Strait of Hormuz, according to an initial assessment of the U.S. team sent to investigate, @CBSDavidMartin confirms.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) May 13, 2019
The Associated Press reported that the U.S. official spoke to the media under the cover of anonymity in an apparent breach of protocol.
The AP also noted that “American officials have not provided any details about what exactly happened or any proof as yet about the possible Iranian involvement in the explosions.”
This comes a week after national security adviser John Bolton presented a plan to Trump administration officials to deploy 120,000 to the Middle East in case Iran would decide to “attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons,” according to a New York Times report.
The attack fulfills a prediction made in an intelligence report shared to Bolton from the Israelis, who claimed that Iranians were planning to target U.S. interests in the Gulf with some kind of attack. This prompted Bolton to threaten the Iranians “with unrelenting force.”
“We are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or regular Iranian forces,” Bolton said.
This “sabotage attack” may be the catalyzing event that Bolton and other hawks in the Trump administration have been waiting for in order to finally draw the U.S. into a war with Iran, a long-time neoconservative policy goal.
While U.S. and Israeli intelligence point to Iran as being the likely culprit for this attack, they also made similar pronouncements about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in the build up to a war that President Trump has called “one of the worst decisions in history.”
Trump was elected as President in 2016 in part because he ran against the Iraq War and unnecessary military interventions abroad. A war in Iran, with the trillions of dollars and countless lives it would inevitably cost, would be a pivot that may harm Trump’s re-election chances in 2020.
Baghdad Bombings Could Give Biden Administration Excuse to Increase US Presence in Iraq
The first major Baghdad bombings in three years happen on Joe Biden’s first full day as president.
Two suicide bombings rocked a marketplace in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Thursday, killing at least 32 people and wounding over 100. As of now no one has claimed responsibility, although Iraqi military leaders suspect the Islamic State, the paramilitary group often referred to as “ISIS” in years past.
Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji said that the first suicide bomber shouted in the marketplace that he was not feeling well, and when a group of people drew near him, he detonated an explosive belt he was wearing. Not long after that, a second suicide bomber then detonated his own belt several feet away.
This was Baghdad’s first major bombing in three years, and interestingly enough it came on the first full day of Joe Biden’s presidency. Even the Associated Press pointed out that “many questioned the timing of the attack.”
“The US-led coalition recently ceased combat activities and is gradually drawing down its troop presence in Iraq,” the article reads.
The Jerusalem Post also writes that the bombings provide Biden with “an early opportunity to show US support for Iraq.”
“Biden has said that the US is ‘back’ and the world can expect the US to care again about foreign policy and work multilaterally to solve problems,” said the Post.
All this leads many to believe that the Biden administration will once again increase the US presence in Iraq, thereby dragging us deeper into a situation that the Trump administration had been eager to get out of.
This is not the first time that a Middle Eastern tragedy has coincided with a change of power. In March of 2017, two months after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Assad government in Syria allegedly used chemical weapons against its own people, leading to international outcry and the Trump administration’s unilateral decision to launch an April 7 missile strike on the Syrian government’s Shayrat Airbase.
Bombings and attacks have also been known to happen shortly after the US announces commitments to scale back military operations.
Perhaps groups like the Islamic State feel emboldened by such announcements and power changes. In any case, the military-industrial complex often uses such attacks to justify never-ending involvement in the Middle East. As of now, however, it still remains to be seen what they will do as a result of Thursday’s bombings, if anything. Fingers crossed that it’s not much.
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