Suspected tanker attacks risk sparking conflict

Suspected tanker attacks risk sparking conflict: analysts(Source AFP)Suspected attacks on tankers at the mouth of the oil-rich Gulf threaten to block vital crude supplies to the world and trigger an all-out conflict involving Iran, analysts said. The latest incident left two tankers in flames on Thursday in waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a narrow channel that is a chokepoint for more than a third of the globe’s seaborne oil exports.

It comes just a month after another mysterious incident in which four tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were damaged nearby off the Emirati port of Fujairah.

“We are in a dangerous moment in the region with this emerging pattern of attacks,” said Elizabeth Dickinson, senior analyst with International Crisis Group. “Any miscalculation or misunderstanding risks a spiral toward more direct confrontation,” she told AFP. “In the meantime, the region’s conflicts are increasingly polluted by the regional quagmire of tension between Iran on the one hand and the United States and its regional allies on another.”

Thursday’s attacks were the latest sign that geopolitical tensions were mounting, and there was a “significant and increasing risk that events morph into outright conflict,” London-based Capital Economics said in a commentary.

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