The attack on four oil tankers off the coast of the UAE last month was indeed the handiwork of a state actor. The United Nations should take note and act on it so that such despicable episodes are not repeated.
The world body should also understand the nature of the attack, which was so sophisticated and so precise that it required a very high degree of coordination. An attack that required such expertise can only be carried out by a country.
These are among the facts presented in a document briefing the UN Security Council by the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Norway following their preliminary investigation into the attacks. The three countries were following the protocol as per international law so that the world community is made aware of the reprehensible action. They have not named the nation that is likely to have engineered the attacks, but the United States says that Iran is directly responsible for the action that has sent shivers through the shipping industry.
What is abundantly clear in these findings is the sheer intricacy and accuracy of the operation that is beyond any militia or a ragtag outfit. It can only be the work of a rogue state.
Two Saudi tankers, an Emirati vessel and a Norwegian ship were damaged in the attacks on May 12 near Fujairah, a major bunkering hub just outside the Strait of Hormuz. The investigation found that an operation of this magnitude required expert navigation of fast boats and highly trained divers capable of attaching limpet mines to the vessels under the waterline with a high degree of precision. They also surmised that the aim was not to sink the vessels, but to merely incapacitate them. These are among the findings that were shared with the UN Security Council. And what is abundantly clear in these findings is the sheer intricacy and accuracy of the operation that is beyond any militia or a ragtag outfit. It can only be the work of a rogue state.
Even the drone attack on a Saudi oil facility, which came days after the tanker incident, bore the hallmarks of a state-sponsored operation. These two brazen attacks have heightened the tensions in the region. Add to that Iran’s irresponsible threats to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the “world’s most important oil chokepoint”, the incidents indicate an intent to cause damage and spread chaos to the international flow of oil and maritime trade.
The world can’t afford such a disruption. It’s time for the UN and the international community to act swiftly so that the security and stability of the region are not compromised.