After Tanker Attacks, Will Trump Act Against Iran?
The US military released grainy footage Thursday showing what it says is Iranians removing an unexploded mine from the side of a Japanese ship in the Gulf of Oman. The video came out shortly after attacks on ships in the region that have led to escalating tensions.
The US has now officially accused Iran of attacking two tankers in the region, pointing to the Revolutionary Guard, a powerful part of the Iranian government. The latest attacks are part of a series of similar incidents that the US has pointed to as evidence of increasing Iranian provocation.
The Iranian government has dismissed the allegations and suggested the timing was suspicious. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had just completed a visit to Iran when one of his country’s ships was attacked. Sceptics have compared the event to the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, which led to greater US involvement in Vietnam.
President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton warned of dangers from Iran several weeks ago, but he wasn’t clear about what he meant. Bolton has long called for regime change in Iran and may be the most hawkish member of the administration.
Recent events are eerily similar to the weeks leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, complete with vague warnings from the US and blurry video. President Trump has previously warned Iran that he will destroy the country but he’s also said he wants to avoid war. If officials in the administration try to force Trump’s hand, there’s no telling how he’ll react.