M. Star: genie is out of the bottle?

Spencer Ackerman as attackerman at firedoglake

The attack on the M Star was poorly executed, without powerful or sophisticated enough explosive to breech the hull or even sink the ship. But I wonder if now this genie is out of the bottle. With better funding and an experienced bomb-maker, as they used against the USS Cole in 2000 and the Limburg in 2002, the outcome might have been much more serious – a massive spill, or even a sunken supertanker in the Strait. Shipping is a very soft target, impossible to defend, and the western economy is very sensitive to increases in the price of crude oil. The Persian Gulf, especially the Strait of Hormuz is a natural choke point, through which something on the order of a quarter of the world’s crude oil is shipped. If last week’s attack had caused a major spill or actually sunk the M Star, the price of oil would have to go up as shipping out of the Gulf would be slowed, reduced and insurance costs would skyrocket. An extended campaign that could have the effect of driving up the cost of oil at a time when the US and Europe are struggling with fragile, damaged economies would be disastrous, even if operationally it met with little success.

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