Has Russia answered Israel in the Iranian coin? As Iran bombs Israeli oil tanker ‘the second time’.

Pacific Zircon. No crew members were injured in the attack, Eastern Pacific Shipping said. Photograph: David Potter/Reuters

By Haider Abbas

The simmering stand-off between Iran and Israel has long been on the fore, there have been numerous reports, from the past couple of years of Israel bombing Iranian assets in Syria and also its top scientists/nuclear installations etc , with the most active support and patronage of US, which wants Israel to be a super-power in the whole of Middle East, but this supremacy have ‘off and on’ got challenged by Iran too, as it has been reported that Iran’s drone has likely put to fire an Israeli oil tanker on November 16, according to The Guardian 1 , and US and Israel have blamed ‘Iran after drone strikes oil tanker off Oman.’


The report informs, ‘Pacific Zircon, linked to Israeli billionaire, said to have been ‘hit by projectile’ but suffered only minor damage. The drone attack on the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon happened on November 15 night. The Pacific Zircon is operated by Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, which is a company ultimately owned by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. In a statement, Eastern Pacific Shipping said the Pacific Zircon, carrying gas oil, had been “hit by a projectile” 150 miles (240km) off the coast of Oman. The US White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement: “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV,” referring to an unmanned aerial vehicle or drone.’ All crew members are safe. No one was injured or has died in the incident.

The move by Iran is now surely to add ‘oil to fire’ as Iran had only two days before tested a hypersonic missile which Iran claimed could reach Israel in 400 seconds, and which accordingly, made Israel to have accelerated its defence programme, informs BreakingDefense 2 on November 15, that ‘Israel accelerating Arrow-4, sensor development due to Iranian hypersonic threat. The Missile Defense Directorate in the Israeli Ministry of Defense is coordinating the related projects performed by some Israel defense companies. Israel started work some years ago on developing the advanced Arrow-4 interceptor, once it became clear that Iran was working to develop more versions of long-range missiles, including cruise missiles. But once Israeli intelligence confirmed that hypersonic missiles were on the wish list for Iran and assessed that Teheran was trying to get relevant technologies, especially from North Korea, a new push began to counter that threat.’

The details of the attack on Israeli oil tanker are that it has made a hole in the back of the vessel but the vessel was not put out of service. The US establishment, as per Wall Street Journal 3 on November 16, has been quick to point that ‘An Israeli-affiliated oil tanker was hit by a suspected Iranian drone Tuesday night in the Gulf of Oman, creating a hole in the ship but causing no injuries or deaths, according to U.S. military officials. The 600-foot Pacific Zircon was traveling through the Gulf of Oman when it was hit by a single drone, the officials said. The strike made a hole in the back of the ship, but the vessel wasn’t disabled, they added’. The Times of Israel 4 tells that Israel establishment too has come to a consensus about the Iranian role, ‘ An Israeli official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to discuss unpublicized details of the attack, said that it appeared Iran carried out the attack with a Shahed-136 exploding drone. Iran has supplied those drones to Russia, which has been using them to target infrastructure and civilian targets in Ukraine. “It is an Iranian attack, there is a consensus on this in the Israeli intelligence and defense community,” the official said. Iran is silent on the issue as yet.

What matters here also is that in the year 2021 Iran is suspected to have made a similar attack on Israel oil tanker Mercer Street on August 7, 2021, as US had then claimed that evidence of the attack pointed towards Iran. It was then reported by BBC ‘the US military’s Central Command has announced the results of its forensic investigation into last week’s fatal drone attack on a merchant tanker off Oman. It says explosives experts concluded that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was produced in Iran. The evidence has been shared with explosives experts in Britain and Israel who concurred with the findings. The attack had killed two people.’ But, this latest attack will certainly add more vitriol as there are heightened temperatures owing to the war between Russia and Ukraine since February, in which Israel has sided with Ukraine and Iran with Russia.

Israel is very much in the news as lately Israeli military armored vehicles have seen spotted inside Ukraine which had prompted a strong reaction from Russia. Israel is also piqued over Iranian drones supply to Russia which has run havoc on Ukraine, and since, Iran has always been in the Russian ( former Soviet Union) bloc, therefore Russia-Iran proximity and rivalry with Israel-US in the Middle East can well be understood. There are strong possibilities that last year and the latest too blasts, on oil tankers of Israel, were done by Iran with a tacit understanding from Russia.

There is no room left for any doubt that Russia is extremely angry over Israel vehicles presence and has unleashed a series of attacks to wipe out Ukraine military installations. Russia deployed its Sukhoi S-35 aircrafts to destroy Ukraine’s fortifications and military infrastructure and fighting vehicles. This military jet is one of the most powerful and multi maneuverable jet in Russia’s air power and is called a ‘flanker’ which is thundering over Ukraine’s skies, and which, certainly has left Ukrainian air-force high-and-dry to the Russian prowess. The Russians made a hot-pursuit of a Ukrainian military system which sought refuge in a building while Russian suicide drones turned it into ashes, is being aired on worldwide media.

No wonder, finally, it has come out from from US that Ukraine is not fighting a winnable war. US top most Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley has acknowledged, “the probability of a Ukrainian military victory – defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they claim as Crimea – the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily. . This is what is an open admission that Ukraine is not to last for long and Russians will have the last laugh.

But, the old entangled issues between Iran and Israel are there to last for long.


The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner and writes on international issues.



2- https://breakingdefense.com/2022/11/israel-accelerating-arrow-4-sensor-development-due-to-iranian-hypersonic-threat/

3- https://www.wsj.com/articles/israeli-owned-oil-tanker-hit-by-suspected-iranian-drone-11668591101?mod=Searchresults_pos4&page=1

4- https://www.timesofisrael.com/oil-tanker-owned-by-israeli-billionaire-hit-by-bomb-carrying-drone-off-oman-source/




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