Despite US claim to have proof of Iranian involvement in attacks on vessels in Gulf of Oman, critics say the case against Tehran is weak.
Tensions between Iran and the US are at the highest they have been for years after an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Washington accused Iranian forces of attacking the vessels, presenting low resolution, black and white video, to show Iranian personnel collecting an unexploded mine.
The owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of the ships targeted, said that its sailors saw ‘flying objects’ heading towards it.
Thursday’s attacks were similar in nature to a series of four attacks on ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May.
“It is the assessment of the US government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.
It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran. pic.twitter.com/cbLrWNU5S0— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 13, 2019
However, not all US politicians, journalists, and people, are ready to accept US assertions that Iran is behind the attacks, with many questioning the motivations behind the seeming march towards war.
“With impeachment growing more popular and 2020 Democrats winning big in head-to-head polls, a desperate Trump admin recklessly pushes America closer to war with Iran,” wrote podcast host Adam Best on Twitter, adding: “It’s not a coincidence.”
While activist Shaun King wrote: “The Trump government is clearly itching for a senseless war with Iran.”
Others were quick to draw comparisons with Washington’s biggest military confrontation of the last two decades - the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The Trump government is clearly itching for a senseless war with Iran.— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 13, 2019
The US had justified the invasion on the now disproven claim that Iraq under its former president, Saddam Hussein, was hiding biological and chemical weapons stockpiles.
Despite Iraq’s assertion that it was not hiding prohibited weapons and widespread international objection, including from allies like France, the US invaded anyway.
The subsequent conflict, cost upwards of 600,000 Iraqi lives and killing close to 5,000 US coalition troops.
This time round, despite the ratcheting of tension, even the most ardent opponents of Iran, such as Republican Senator Marco Rubio, are insistent that a war is not what they want.
On the issue on the attacks in the Gulf, however, he was insistent that there could only be one party responsible.
The idea that a 2001 congressional authorization to go after Al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks justifies a war against Iran in 2019 is bogus and chilling. Congress should make clear that it does not. https://t.co/zTLjW9dqLq— Ben Rhodes (@brhodes) June 13, 2019
“Those expressing skepticism #Iran was behind attacks should tell us who they think it was instead,” he wrote on Twitter, adding: “Make list of nations & groups in region with ability to attack large vessels out in gulf. It will become quickly apparent that Iran & its surrogates are only ones that make sense.”
Expect IRGC to look for other places that provide them opportunity to attack the U.S. in a way they believe provides them credible deniability. In Syria, Iraq & even Afghanistan the Quds Force has created the capability to use surrogates to conduct attacks against Americans.— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 13, 2019