The United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel are blaming Iran, their usual suspect.

The Strait of Hormuz
[Strait of Hormuz]

A series of assaults against oil tankers occurred in the Gulf in 2019. Following a relatively calm 2020, owing in part to the worldwide epidemic, tensions are once again rising.

Two individuals were murdered in the most recent strike in these crucial waterways. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel are blaming Iran, their usual suspect.

Before was struck by a suspected suicide drone off the coast of Oman, the Mercer Street tanker was in international seas. Tehran has denied the claims, but this increasing shadow war is finally emerging from the shadows, with neither side backing down.

So, where did it all begin? The assaults, which Iran has consistently denied, began in 2019. Then, after withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal, US President Donald Trump imposed severe sanctions. Six oil tankers and a US Air Force (USAF) drone were struck between May and June of this year. A British warship was boarded by Iranian soldiers the next year. The Strait of Hormuz has been a hotspot of naval warfare since then.

Experts believe it appears like mines have been planted in the gulf's entrance, something Iran did frequently during the Iran-Iraq War.

The Strait of Hormuz is a global energy bottleneck. Despite the epidemic, 18 million barrels of oil traveled across the Strait per day in 2020. This equates to almost a third of the world's total waterborne oil. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Kuwait, the world's top oil exporters, rely nearly completely on this route for their economic survival. Hormuz is one of the world's tightest and busiest shipping routes, with a narrowest point of about 34 kilometers.

 It's easy to see how a war in these seas may result in a global energy shortage. Given the significance of maintaining free trade routes, the United States has had a military presence there for decades. As a show of force against Iran, the US positioned three nuclear-powered aircraft carriers near the Strait in 2020. Countering Iran's naval forces, on the other hand, has been difficult.

Unable to match the strength of the enemy Iran has focused on smaller speed boats armed with anti-ship missiles in response to America's naval might. A tactic described as a type of guerrilla warfare at sea. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) naval branch has been accused for the strait's disturbances, including the unexplained attacks on tankers.

This asymmetric naval capacity has proven to be a nuisance for the United States, and it is one of Iran's few remaining deterrents. It dates back to 1988, when the Iranian Navy was virtually decimated by the US Navy shortly after the Iran-Iraq War ended. After it, the Iranians, notably the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), realized that they would lose any conventional naval combat with a large western power, especially the United States. Since then, they've been developing more asymmetric means to threaten the Strait of Hormuz, including speed boats, tiny submarines, and other vessels, in part to put pressure on the Americans and even the Saudis.

 As a result, Iran's capacity to disrupt the Strait of Hormuz is its trump card in defying sanctions over its nuclear program and Tehran's support for regional proxies. Iran's economy has been hammered by US sanctions, and its currency has been in rapid decline since 2018. Iran has often taken out acts of retribution in response.

Iran seized a South Korean-flagged ship transporting petrochemicals earlier this year. Seoul blocked more than $7 billion in Iranian money as a result of US sanctions.

The latest attack on an Israeli-operated tanker was said to be in retaliation for an Israeli strike on a Syrian airport where Iran backs the Assad government. A Panama-flagged ship was apparently kidnapped in the most recent instance, and Tehran was once again accused. The claims were denied by Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a justification for hostile action.

Despite Iran's denials, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Israel are unlikely to be persuaded and may be preparing a reaction. Given the Strait of Hormuz's strategic importance and vulnerability, one blunder or misunderstanding may swiftly escalate into all-out war. A battle that has the potential to shut down a large portion of the world's energy supply.



Hormuz Strait :

The Strait of Hormuz is a small waterway that divides Iran from the Arabian Peninsula and connects the western Persian Gulf with the eastern Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The 34-kilometer-long system connects Oman and Iran over the Persian Gulf. Through the Strait of Hormuz, oil is shipped from the Middle East to other areas of the world. Oil is transported from Arab nations to Asia, Europe, North America, and other parts of the world via this maritime route. For crude oil, this route is very essential.

On one side of the Strait of Hormuz are Arab countries, the majority of which are US allies. On the other hand, Iran is the United States' most vehement political foe.

Iran-Iraq War :

The eight year long Iran-Iraq war started on September 22, 1980 which ended on August 20, 1988 killing nearly 2 million people including civilians.

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