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Is Britain Making Itself a Target in the Gulf?
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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.

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?

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Britain, Iran 
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  1. peterAUS says:


    Neither side wants a war

    Wrong. One side definitely wants a war. The current game is simply how to sell it to the domestic public so it doesn’t make too much hassle at the very beginning. Later on, as long as there is no draft, the public will simply keep out of the way of the war machine.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  2. There is also the question of what to do with the Iranian tanker that it has already seized?

    Jettison the oil, stuff it with deadbeat Africans, and send it to Italy. It’s all the go, these days.

    • Replies: @Jester
  3. Historical FACTS tell and teach humanity that Britain is the ROOT cause of ALL the problems in the world today.
    They have successfully transitioned from former hegemonic power to second head of five headed beast aka five eyes.
    The lawS of action and reaction never fails.

    • Replies: @Hibernian
  4. Brits are a war tool for the crazy Americans

  5. Anonymous[182] • Disclaimer says:


    Neither side wants a war

    is terminal bullshit and direct copy from Deep State telegrams arriving in jewsrooms, I mean newsrooms. Cockburn should perform sepukku as the honorable way of stepping back from the long-suffering typewriter.

    For Trump it may just be about pissing on “Obama’s bad deal” (which was not a bad deal). But for Bolton and the Malignant Manatee it is very serious business indeed.

  6. Jester says:
    @Expletive Deleted

    I like your suggestion but can I modify it somewhat ? How about draining the oil, stuffing it with loser Africans and shipping them back to Africa. The tanker could be used as a kind of shuttle service.

  7. Jester says:

    The limeys can’t accept they are now a third world country with third world power and banana republic leaders.

    At one time they ruled the world but now they have a horde of ignorant and uneducated welfare scrounging and mooching parasite darkies calling the shots in the UK. Whatever happened to those hard nosed English men who spread the language and culture all over the world ?

    I guess they don’t make them anymore ! The immigrant monkeys have converted the average UK leader to wimps and pussies !

    So, we see a shite country with a shite military trying to recover the glory and power that has been flushed down to the same place where shite normally goes.

    These people don’t have an ounce of sense rattling around their heads. After Iraq one would think they would tell the US “Well you go!”. Instead they are once again fiddling with another war in the Middle East, this time against a larger opponent and this time with tens of thousands of unstable Moslems in their own country.

    I don’t know about you readers but it makes perfect sense to me.

  8. “Sir Kim Darroch’s forced departure from Washington shows just how limited Britain’s influence is in the White House”

    What self-respecting human, given the choice, would want to work alongside someone who (albeit unwittingly) publicly insulted them? Trump had every right to ‘cut’ him and Darroch did the right thing in resigning.

    Darroch was right to tell the truth as he saw it, Trump was justifiably miffed. No villains in this part of the story.

    What’s far more worrying is that there are Blairite sleepers at a high level in the Civil Service whose Trump/Brexit derangement syndrome is such that they’re prepared to betray their employer and country by deliberately damaging our relationship with the US. When found, they should be imprisoned for a long time pour encourager les autres.

    (And is the US going to want to share info with a bunch of leakers?)

  9. john says:

    Well a war with Iran would make a lovely parting gift from May to BoJo. Whose bidding are the British doing? Did the governor of Gibraltar wake up one morning with a sudden burning desire to enforce EU sanctions? Was it by stroke of luck that a bunch of Royal Marines were present?

  10. H. S says:

    Gibraltar: The Real Reason for Brexit Finally Revealed


    “there was a military dimension to Brexit few had noticed. Brexit should not affect the UK’s membership of NATO or its network of operational agreements with other countries, as the Common European Defence Force is not yet a reality. But it does change the status of Gibraltar, that isolated bit of rock which is a British Overseas Territory due to a long-forgotten dispute of little relevance today – and this presents both a problem and an opportunity for its notorious fairweather friend, the US, which it is now seeking to exploit.”

  11. Hibernian says:

    “Historical FACTS tell and teach humanity that Britain is the ROOT cause of ALL the problems in the world today.”

    Is the root cause? Present tense? Only a hardcore IRA supporter or someone who has time traveled back to the 19th Century could believe that.

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  12. Like Bush needed the support of the UK through Blair to wage war against Iraq , Trump needs the support of the UK to wage war against Iran , he may soon have that support once Boris Johnson is elected as the new Prime Minister ,Boris will likely use Iran’s attacks (false flags ?) against British flagged tankers to rally Parliament to his side .

  13. Dan Hayes says:


    Napoleon said it best: Perfidious Albion!

  14. sarz says:

    Neither side wants a war…

    Trump wanted a war. He started out with that in mind with his clear campaign opposition to the Iran nuclear pact. He’s now less eager. None of the neighboring countries except Saudi is keen. So what would it take? Air and rocket attacks? All American bases will be attacked. All the oil production and transport will be destroyed. A lot of Jews will be incinerated. However, Donald will not use his “usable” nukes on which a fortune has been spent with Iran in mind. Putin has said, and said again through his representative Patrushev to Pompeo and Netanyahu, that the smallest nuke used against an ally, namely Iran, will be responded to immediately as a nuclear attack on Russia. Putin did not brand the message on Trump’s forehead, but there are conclusions that even the little-fingered one can draw. So war, even though the Likudniks still want Iran obliterated, is not on the cards.

    Someone else, much bigger than the Deplorables, will also lose badly from a war or even a continued sanctions stalemate. That is the banksters, ‘the Rothschilds’. Nothing can keep Iran from small pinprick escalations that finally drive the price of oil past the point of financisl collapse of the whole dark ocean of debt that is the fortune of ‘the Jews’. I suspect their man Epstein is poised to bring Trump down in a plea bargain, perhaps coupled with the internet release of a high definition video of Trump seriously violating a child. The Southern District attorneys and judges are at the service of Big Jews. They stopped the exposure of 9/11 for the Likudniks. But ‘the Rothschilds’ are bigger than the Likudniks and crypto-Jew Likudnik Trump has to be sacrificed because he just wouldn’t listen. Jews sacrificing Jews is painful. But sometimes necessary. It’s good for the Jews.

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