Reports of attacks Thursday in the Gulf of Oman against a Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker signal a potentially significant increase of tensions in the Middle East among Iran, the United States, and the Gulf States. Washington should not let Iran off the hook, as Tehran is likely responsible for this inexcusable attack. At the same time, observers should recognize that the attack is a direct result of the Trump administration’s failing so-called maximum pressure strategy, which is aimed at bringing Iran back to the negotiating table with the United States but is instead leading the two countries to the brink of conflict.
Even though U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration lacks credibility, and there are certainly hawks inside the administration willing to inflate intelligence, Iran almost certainly carried out the attack. Iran has a history of conducting these types of operations—and reportedly conducted a similar attack just last month.
Read the full article in Foreign Policy.
More from CNAS
CommentarySharper: Global Coronavirus Response
As regions across the United States enforce states of emergency and a growing list of countries restrict travel, close schools, and quarantine citizens, the economic and human...
By Chris Estep & Cole Stevens
CommentaryHow the US can learn from Israel to counter Iran
During the COVID-19 crisis, one would have thought the United States and Iran would find ways to reduce tensions. Instead the Trump administration refuses to relax sanctions i...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kaleigh Thomas
ReportsCountering Iran in the Gray Zone
American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed, if U.S. policymakers are willing and able to replicate at least ...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Nicholas Heras, Kaleigh Thomas & Jennie Matuschak
CommentaryThe American Public Wants a Sustainable Middle East Policy
After the U.S. strike on Qasem Soleimani, Americans feared the United States was on the brink of war with Iran. “World War III draft” memes circulated around the internet, and...
By Kaleigh Thomas & Emma Moore