With an Unstable Ally in Trump, Britain Is Making Itself a Target in the Gulf

Singing up without knowing what for — the lapdog way

“From Iran’s viewpoint, a slow-burn crisis just below the level of outright warfare may be least bad option”

Britain is sending a second warship to the Gulf to protect its oil tankers from Iranian gunboats. HMS Duncan, a destroyer currently in the Mediterranean, will join HMS Montrose, a frigate, next week. [If the engines don’t fail it due to having to operate in warm water.]

Britain is on the edge of becoming involved in a conflict in which it can only deploy limited forces, but it could become the target of Iranian retaliation for any US escalation of the conflict.

In a sense, this may have already happened, if the US was indeed behind the royal marine commandos taking over an Iranian oil tanker allegedly bound for Syria off Gibraltar. It is difficult to take seriously the British claim that they carried out such a provocative act solely because of a request from the Gibraltarian authorities and in order to enforce EU sanctions on Syria.

The Iranians are demanding that the British release the Grace 1 tanker and it is probable that Iranian boats harassed the British Heritage tanker as an act of retaliation. An Iranian official warned the UK not to get involved in “this dangerous game”.

But Britain is already involved in the dangerous game and it is possible that the Iranians may find it less risky to act against Britain, whom they denounce as a US proxy, than directly against the US.

As in Iraq after 2003 and Afghanistan after 2006, Britain is becoming engaged in a conflict in which it is only a bit player, but must cope with the same dangers as the US. Some commentators seek comfort by recalling that a coalition of western maritime powers protected Kuwaiti tankers during the tanker war in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

At that time, it was Iran that was isolated, while today it is the US and Britain who are short of reliable allies who will do more than cheer from the side lines – as Israel and Saudi Arabia are likely to do. Already the United Arab Emirates is backing away from a confrontation with Iran, saying that is unclear if Iran placed small mines on tankers off the UAE coast in June, and it is drawing down its military forces in Yemen.

Iraq is at heart on the side of Iran as the only other significant Shia-majority power, while Qatar has its own long-term confrontation with Saudi Arabia. EU and other states will be dubious about President Trump – the great disrupter – taking on the role of a coalition builder and will be nervous of where he may be leading them in the Gulf.

From the British point of view, the crisis in the southern Gulf has parallels with Britain’s involvement on the US side in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is making itself a target without knowing where the US is heading and to what extent Trump – along with his more hawkish lieutenants – are prepared for a limited or full-scale war with Iran. The furore over former UK ambassador to the US Sir Kim Darroch’s forced departure from Washington shows just how limited Britain’s influence is in the White House.

From the Iranian viewpoint, a slow-burn crisis just below the level of outright warfare may be the least bad option. It is an improvement over waiting for Iran to be slowly strangled by economic sanctions which are Trump’s favourite method of putting pressure on enemies and friends alike.

Neither side wants a war but that does not mean it will not happen because every confrontational incident has the potential to escalate out of control. Britain says it wants to de-escalate, but the sending of a second naval vessel will be seen by Iran as the opposite of that. There is also the question of what to do with the Iranian tanker that it has already seized?

Source: The Independent

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3 months ago

” [If the engines don’t fail it due to having to operate in warm water.]”

Compliments you didn’t forget to mention this event a couple of years ago!
We are just waiting for a repeat, then.

Nothing lost if it should occur again. The entire British setup of sending floating boats, after their piracy-act, to warm water areas to impress Iran is just a prime minister-election stunt by probably PM wannabee Mr. Hunt, who tried to block the telephone-hackers enquiry with the News of the Week in 2012.

Hunt? Nice man.
Johnson? Nice man.
The prblem for the world is both of them expressed their “love” for Israel so there will be no good to expect from the next British PM and only troubles.

Mary E
3 months ago

The smart thing to do with that tanker is to release it…how about that option, UK??!
It would be neat and clean and keep you out of the fray if you back off after that!

thomas malthaus
thomas malthaus
3 months ago


All this prolonged foreplay over Iran’s oil. The enrichment story is just that: a story or pretext for acquiring the grand prize.


3 months ago

the only thing ISUS Government wants for now is hegemony over all oil resources in the world.
Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, probably the rest of South America.

In the south of Argentinia, in Patagonia, the Khazarians are buying up huge pieces of land. So something in resources might be going up there as well.