In yet another instance that can ratchet up ongoing tensions in the Gulf Region, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard reportedly shot down a US drone. According to Iranian state TV, "the US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force" in the country's southern coastal province of Hormozgan.” However, the US military has clearly declined to comment on the development. An Associated Press report said that the Revolutionary Guard shot down the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone. The attack on US drone comes as mysterious attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz this week sparked lot of tubulations.
The first attack happened May 12 off the coast of the Emirati port city of Fujairah and targeted four tankers. The second damaged two other tankers. The US has blamed Iran for both incidents, offering a video it said showed Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces spirit away one mine stuck to a tanker that didn't explode in assault.
For its part, Iran denies being involved and calls the allegations part of America's "Iranophobic campaign" against it. Meanwhile, the owner of the tanker Kokuka Courageous said its sailors saw "flying objects" before the attack, suggesting it wasn't damaged by mines and contradicting the US military. Confusion pervaded the start of the "Tanker War" as well.
That conflict grew out of the bloody eight-year war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s, which began when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Iran. The war killed 1 million people. The US supported Saddam by providing intelligence, weaponry and other aid. Iraq first targeted Iran's shipping and by 1984 attacked Kharg Island, a crucial oil-tanker-loading terminal for Iran. Its air force also attacked ships in the Persian Gulf.
After the Kharg attack, Iran began a concerted campaign to attack shipping in the region. Iraq ultimately would attack over 280 vessels to Iran's 168, according to the U.S. Naval Institute. The Iran's mining campaign began in earnest in 1987. At night, the Revolutionary Guard would drop mines from vessels disguised as traditional dhows, which ferry cargo around the waters of the Persian Gulf.
(With agency inputs)