Dryad Maritime, a maritime intelligence company, to provide specialist navigation and risk mitigation services for vessels transiting or coming alongside in high risk areas, has assessed the incident in the Gulf of Oman reported this morning and, unlike Pompeo, is not pointing it’s finger at Iran.
“Incidents of this nature in relative close proximity are extremely worrying, and are indicative of rising tensions in the region. On a broader regional scale, the attack will serve to deepen tensions between Iran and the US, which have gradually escalated throughout 2019.
It is a realistic possibility that Iran or a proxy were behind this attack, however the situation remains fluid and there are a number of competing narratives that require examining. It is important to note that the attack on the Front Altair is reported to have struck the starboard side of the vessel, which was travelling in a southerly direction. Any Iranian involvement either directly or via a proxy is unlikely to have conducted an attack from the port side, as this would immediately give rise to allegations of Iranian shore launch projectiles would require Iran to refute blast diagnostic evidence from the outset. Thus far the methodology of a starboard side attack is consistent with what would be expected of Iranian involvement. The reported involvement of Iranian vessels in the rescue effort may also be an attempt to obscure intent in the aftermath of the attack however this cannot be confirmed.
However, any assessment of Iranian involvement must be contextualised, and must be analysed through the prism of self-interest and motive. States such as Iran are rational actors, and will not conduct attacks in the Strait of Hormuz merely to ‘disrupt’ global shipping, without there being a clear national interest in doing so. At a time where the Iranian economy is struggling and sanctions are biting, it seems surprising that Iran would endeavour to conduct such a bellicose strategy. It would also be remarkable that Iran would knowingly target vessels reported to be carrying ‘Japan-related cargo’ at the same time that the Japanese Prime Minister Abe is conducting talks in Iran. These inconsistencies in terms of interest and motive do not rule out Iranian involvement, but they do suggest that a wider regional narrative may be at play, and that the responsible party could in fact not be Iranian once a further investigation is completed. It is important to note that despite recent events pointing to Iranian involvement, no key lines of evidence indicating responsibility or intent have been identified. Whilst the security threat which the incident poses can be quantified and responded to, the underlying details are still emerging, and will continue to be assessed by Dryad.”
Democrats in Congress should demand hard proof of Iran’s involvement or fight any military involvement tooth and nail.
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