What exactly is happening in the Arab region? Events are running into each other with no end in sight. Everything is tangled and intertwined, as if there are invisible hands causing confusion and re-shuffling the cards to create conditions which will further their desires and interests. Those behind it all are the only ones benefiting from everything that’s going on.
How could those two oil tankers be attacked in the Gulf of Oman, causing a major explosion and fire, but the incident not be caught by the US satellites that monitor us all every minute of every day? How can the US, which found the passports of the 9/11 suspects in the ruins of the World Trade Centre almost immediately, not know who carried out the oil tanker attack?
The US does know; just as it knows who carried out the previous attack on the port in the UAE and on the Saudi oil installations last month. The US knows who wanted to set fire to the region before setting fire to the tankers, and who wants to set the region ablaze in order to spark a crazy war in the Gulf. If it happens, nothing will be left or spared there.
The US knows who the mastermind is, but it will not reveal it. Instead, it covers up for it in order to gain more though nefarious, extortionate means. US President Donald Trump told Fox News that Iran carried out the attack in the Gulf of Oman. The day before, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, also accused Iran without providing any evidence; it was all very nicely orchestrated. This reminded me of the speech by former Secretary of State Colin Powell during George W Bush’s Presidency, when he accused Iraq at the UN Security Council of possessing chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction, without providing any evidence. It was under this pretext that the US invaded and occupied Iraq in 2003, and we all know what a catastrophe that has led to.
It is a dangerous accusation if we take it seriously, but I wonder how Iran would benefit from igniting a war in the Gulf while facing economic sanctions, part of the undeclared war against it. Moreover, the timing of the latest attacks is suspicious, with both targets being Japanese and hit while Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, was visiting Iran; indeed, while he was meeting Supreme Guide Ayatollah Khamenei. What message did those behind the attacks want to send, given that Iran signed trade agreements with Japan, including the sale of crude oil, which violates US sanctions?
Iran has reiterated several times that it is not seeking a war with the US, while Washington has announced many times that it does not want a war with Iran and that its forces are present in the area to protect its interests in the event that Iran carries out its alleged threats and attack those interests. Trump recently requested dialogue with Iran and left his phone number with the Swiss to pass on to the Iranian President, asking that he call him. He also said that he did not want to overthrow the regime in Tehran, but wants to “tame” it. I believe that Abe’s visit was made in the context of such dialogue; that he was a mediator carrying a message from the US President.
So who is so irked by such dialogue that they want a war in the Gulf and would seek to start one even through indirect, underhand means? The only party likely to benefit from a war in the Gulf is Israel. That is why the US has not and will not reveal what its satellites picked up from the tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman. It is also why Washington did not stop the attacks from happening.
Israel fears Iran’s nuclear programme as well as its growing influence and strength in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened Iran several times, announcing that this is the first time in history that relations between Israel and the Arabs are in a good position and that they would be forming an Arab-Israeli axis to confront Tehran.
This axis, of course, is Netanyahu’s alliance with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which share his fears about their neighbour. All three countries want to end Iran’s nuclear programme by any means possible, even a full-scale war. To achieve this goal, conspiracies in the region will continue while confrontations and struggles will increase.
What is America’s position on all of this? Washington has been the puppet master since the beginning, holding on to the strings and moving them when, how and where it wants. The US is well aware of when and how it should ignite the region and when and how it should extinguish the flames when it reaps the benefits of the inferno in which only the Gulf States will be the fuel. The Gulf leaders do not understand or learn from history; they are making the same mistakes they did during Saddam’s time in Iraq, by rushing to the US to protect their fragile thrones. They do not see Washington’s hand stabbing them in the back, although they do see its other hand reaching into their pockets and taking everything as they watch on in silence.
Did Israel embarrass the US with this military operation? Perhaps, but this is not the first time that it has put America into an awkward position. Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 without America’s knowledge or green light, remember, which prompted Washington to vote and condemn Israel in the UN Security Council. Israeli aircraft and gunboats also attacked the USS Liberty during the June 1967 Six Day War, leading to the death of 35 and the wounding of over 180 American sailors. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the Israelis knew exactly what they were attacking, a full inquiry has always been rejected by successive US governments. In short, the Israelis will stop at nothing, even attacking its allies, in order to fulfil their own interests.
Just hours before the Gulf of Oman attacks, Yemen’s Houthis attacked Abha Airport in the south of Saudi Arabia with cruise missiles. This is a dangerous qualitative development in the absurd war between Saudi Arabia and the Houthis that began four years ago. The Yemeni people are paying the price for this war, as a humanitarian disaster engulfs their country, with their homes, farms and land destroyed.
As the arrogant Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman, continues his crazy destruction of Yemen, the Houthis are now responding with missile-capable drones that they are now able to deploy with great skill in the Saudi heartland. On a daily basis they are hitting strategic targets such as airports and oil pipelines.
All of this is linked in one way or another to events in Syria and the upcoming Bahrain workshop on the economic part of the “deal of the century” for the Palestinians. The workshop is called “Prosperity for Peace” and will be attended by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The Palestinians, though, will be absent, having already decoded that the terms of the deal are so pro-Israel as to be worthless to them and their cause.
The confusion in the Middle East is being stage managed to benefit Israel, and Israel alone. We would be foolish to ignore this very obvious reality.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.