To understand why the events surrounding the two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman yesterday happened, we must understand the mentality of the Iranian regime. Their way of thinking is very different from most western perspectives. It’s not just religious and cultural differences. They have a deep-seated desire to be seen by the world as they see themselves.
I am neither a psychologist nor a Middle East scholar, but my coverage of and research into Iranian military and geopolitical activities over the last two decades is why nothing about the attacks and subsequent reactions by Iran took me by surprise. This was all part of standard operating procedure for a regime that has attempted to build two narratives since before the 9/11 attacks: “We are strong” and “the Middle East is our region.”
And the most important part of “their” region is the Strait of Hormuz.
This narrow stretch of sea, a mere 21 nautical miles wide at one point, connecting the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman has nearly 1/5th of oil exports travel through it. Whoever controls the Strait of Hormuz has the power to dramatically change oil imports and exports for much of the world.
Yesterday’s and last month’s attacks on oil tankers in the region were orchestrated to build the narrative that terrorists are afoot and someone needs to protect the ships that travel in the region. Every aspect of Iran’s reaction points to them being the ones who orchestrated them.
- Their boats were ready to be first on the scene, and not just because of standard proximity. They were close enough to be the first responders but far enough away to not be seen as the perpetrators.
- Their forced rescue, in which they illegal apprehended many sailors in international waters who were already safely aboard rescue boats, jibed with what appears to be a prepared statement about rescuing all who were aboard the vessels.
- The “smoking gun” removal of an unexploded limpet mine and their subsequent clumsy attack on the video demonstrated a poor reaction to events not going as planned.
- As events unfolded, they continuously reported that one of the ships had “completely sunk” even though they were right there seeing that neither ship was sinking.
- Their choice of a Japanese ship while Prime Minister Shinzō Abe was in Tehran to discuss deescalation was intentional.
The questions that some in the international media are asking are being met with further lies by the Iranian regime. Here are some of the questions from the Jerusalem Post:
A key piece of evidence for what Iran may have thought would happen when this attack was planned come from the fake video of the attack, and the claims of sinking and rescue. Iran’s Al-Alam TV first reported the incident. Why would IRIB show a video of the attack that was clearly false? Why report that 44 people were rescued if they weren’t? Why did Iran’s boats interdict the Hyundai and forcibly rescue the sailors from the Altair in international waters? What was the point? And why remove a mine if Iran didn’t put it there in the first place?
It seems that those who planned the attack believed that at least one ship would sink and that they could valiantly rescue the sailors. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said after the incident that “we are responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait of Hormuz, and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time.” Did Iran already have a prepared statement claiming to have rescued all the crew, resulting in this false information?
As one would expect, these aren’t the questions being asked by most American mainstream media news outlets. Instead, they seem to be focused on President Trump’s reactions while blaming him for any aggression Iran is displaying following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal and sanctions placed on the nation. It would seem like Iran’s state-run media and many progressive activists in American mainstream media are reading from the same script.
Iran’s goals are very clear. They want to be the protectors of the Strait of Hormuz. Their initial press release before the smoking gun video was made public reveals their goals for using terrorism in the region.
“We are responsible for ensuring the security of the strait and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
Once the video was released, Iran’s press and their proxies in other friendly news outlets started doing triage. Some started throwing out the “false flag” conspiracy theory, as if speculating the video was produced by others to frame Iran. Then, the narrative started spreading that the ship was rescuing sailors, but that’s clearly not what happened in the video. With nothing else sticking, the state-run media simply shared the video itself, reiterated the regime’s talking point, but finished the Tweet by asking what people thought.
— Press TV (@PressTV) June 14, 2019
As mentioned above, we have to understand the Iranian regime’s mentality to understand how any of this could make sense to them. They want respect, but more importantly they need to get their economy turned around. To do this, they need the international community to balk at President Trump’s sanctions and threats.
If they could create fear that tankers in the region were being targeted by someone else, they could stake claim, as they initially attempted to do, as being the defenders of ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz. In exchange for their benevolence, they wouldn’t ask for much. Just let them export their oil and everyone traveling n the region would be safely protected under their watchful hand. That was their play. It’s like a protection racket; give us a cut and we won’t smash up your store.
Iran clearly manufactured an event they hoped would allow them to come out looking like heroes so they could press for sanctions relief and control the Strait of Hormuz. But they were incompetent. Now they look like fools.
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