Persian Gulf primed to explode
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Jul 19, 2012
US navy fires on Emirate boat out of fear of Iran” – headline in Kayhan Newspaper, Tehran.
The Persian Gulf powder keg may soon explode if the current cycle of mounting tensions continues unabated. Two days ago, a minor incident involving a US refueling warship and an Indian fishing boat off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) resulted in one fatality and three wounded. That the fishermen insist they were fired on without a warning – contrary to the US navy’s assertion – gives us a prelude to more ominous developments on the horizon. It seems trigger-happy American sailors see gathering clouds of conflict and are taking preemptive measures that, in this particular case, made a small dent in otherwise amicable US-India relations.
In a sign of New Delhi’s unwillingness to call for an inquiry into the incident, however, it has not voiced even a whisper of criticism of the US. Initially, US media reported that the incident was a US warning to “Iran and al-Qaeda” to stay away from US warships, in light of Iran’s renewed threats to close the Strait of Hormuz. This reflects a US siege mentality that also underscores the Persian Gulf region’s growing volatility and potential for imminent maritime tensions.