This week in the Gulf area occurred a tanker attack. There were two tankers allegedly reported that have been attacked. One is a Norwegian-owned called Front Altair and the other is a Japanese-owned called Kokuka Courageous. What happened was that these two tankers were damaged by explosions in Gulf of Oman. Both tankers were shipping crucial energy supplies toward the east. The manager of the Front Altair stated that such explosion occurred on board and then the staff crew decided to abandon the ship; luckily, they were picked up by the other cargo ship, Hyundai Dubai. The staff of Kokuka Courageous said that they abandoned the ship after a fire and discovered an unexploded mine; however, the president of the ship’s operator said that the ship was attacked by a flying object. While not much evidence can be found yet, the US accused Iran of being behind such attack.
(photo credit to: Asianlite)
The second time of tanker attack
Such tanker attack has happened the second time in a month. Four weeks ago, there were four tankers being damaged. Though not much evidence whether it was an intentional attack, it raised serious attention to US- Iran conflict. As the US- Iran conflict raised again can be dated back to the US’s withdrawal of the Iran Nuclear Deal, many doubted that the tanker attack may be the consequence.
Evidence and response
While this time Trump made announcement on Friday that this tanker attack was run by Iran with a evidence of a footage. However, quickly the UN Secretary General Antonio demanded that the truth should need to be clearly established. Russia also pointed out that such was a hasty conclusion. China on Friday voiced out that all the relevant sides should resolve their differences and conflict through dialogue and consultations. The UK warned that such action was deeply unwise. The UAE pleaded for more international attention to the security in Gulf and protection to the regional stability.
Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, responded that the US was posing threats to the Middle East. Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, stated that the US attempts to sabotage diplomacy through making an allegation without factual and circumstantial evidence. Iran asked for the international parties to remember Iran’s commitments to the 2015 nuclear deal while it has been difficult since the US dropped out of it.
Gulf security is not only important to the region but also to the international world. Many trade and transportation pass the Gulf and connect the world’s economy. It is not just the oil tankers that should be protected but all other cargo ships which depend very much on the safety in the Gulf. This is not just a regional conflict but a crucial international issue.
The escalation of the US – Iran conflict derives from the US’s withdrawal of the Iran Nuclear Deal. While the US unilaterally dropped out, the other participants in the deal remain working on finding resolution to keep the stability and diplomatic ties. However, intertwining two conflict issues is dangerous and will induce more tensions.
ICRD takes the neutral view that it is the security and safety in the Gulf that are important. The international community should pay the highest attention and importance to Gulf security. Considering many of the world’s trade and energy passing this crucial waterway, it is the commitment to maintaining the stability in the region that is the utmost importance. ICRD director, Sameh Habeeb slammed Iran the responsibility of ongoing chaos in the Arab Gulf region as their proxy actors launch such attacks.
“The continued Houthi attacks on Saudi civilian airports and residential targets coupled with attacks against oil tankers are clearly the making of Iran. It seems that Iran is trying to flex muscles due to possible war in the region” Said Sameh Habeeb