Again the US becomes the tool of forces poised to make money and foment sectarian strife. This time the Brits have been manipulated with the seizure of a UK-flagged tanker by the Iranians. It was perhaps retaliation for a prior incident near Gibraltar.
The window for a US-led bombing campaign in 2019 or 2020 remains open, depending on the domestic reelection needs of Individual-1, with or without a coalition of the willing.
Bolton’s delighted reaction suggested the seizure was a surprise. But accumulating evidence suggests the opposite is true, and that Bolton’s national security team was directly involved in manufacturing the Gibraltar incident. The suspicion is that Conservative politicians, distracted by picking a new prime minister, jockeying for power, and preoccupied with Brexit, stumbled into an American trap.
In short, it seems, Britain was set up.
The consequences of the Gibraltar affair are only now becoming clear. The seizure of Grace I led directly to Friday’s capture by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards of a British tanker, the Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz. Although it has not made an explicit link, Iran had previously vowed to retaliate for Britain’s Gibraltar “piracy”. Now it has its revenge.
As a result, Britain has been plunged into the middle of an international crisis it is ill-prepared to deal with. The timing could hardly be worse. An untested prime minister, presumably Boris Johnson, will enter Downing Street this week. Britain is on the brink of a disorderly exit from the EU, alienating its closest European partners. And its relationship with Trump’s America is uniquely strained.
The Bolton gambit succeeded. Despite its misgivings, Britain has been co-opted on to the front line of Washington’s confrontation with Iran. The process of polarisation, on both sides, is accelerating. The nuclear deal is closer to total collapse. And by threatening Iran with “serious consequences”, without knowing what that may entail, Britain blindly dances to the beat of Bolton’s war drums.
From @ckubeNBC In April 2003, U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and the Saudi defense minister agreed to withdraw U.S. troops from the base and turn it back over to the Saudis. Now the U.S. is back. https://t.co/1T9PKDIh0Y
— NBC Investigations (@NBCInvestigates) July 19, 2019
This is a distinctly new development. The Custodian of the Two Holy Places has previously been extremely reluctant to agree to US troops on his soil. Things are obviously heating up. https://t.co/CgT74shLTu
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) July 20, 2019
Trump may increasingly confront two choices: act military and risk a wider confrontation, or back down and lower declared aims. That’s a terrible spot for any president particularly when it results from a policy that Trump himself seems not to fully support or even understand.