News that five Iranian boats fire shots at a Singapore flagged oil tanker in the Persian Gulf comes as Barack Obama holds his Gulf summit at Camp David. According to Reuters, the Alpine Eternity later reached the safety of the waters of the United Arab Emirates after the incident. The Iranian ships are assumed to be small, patrol boats and fired small arms weapons as a warning to try and stop the oil tanker. Once the vessel crossed into UAE waters, the Iranians backed off. This comes as Obama is holding a summit with representatives from six Gulf nations allied with us to discuss the progress of the Iran nuclear talks. Four rulers of the countries have decided not to attend the summit, an embarrassment to the White House.
The actions on the high seas stem from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebellion in Yemen. After a Saudi-led coalition blocked a transport vessel from Iran, presumably carrying arms and ammunition, from Yemen, Iran has tried to stop other vessels in the Gulf. A 5-day cease-fire has begun in Yemen for humanitarian purposes, allowing for food and medical supplies to be delivered and distributed. The cease-fire was the reason stated by the Saudis for why King Salman decided not to attend today′s summit with Obama.
Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate voted and passed a bill intended on giving them more say on the terms of the Iran nuclear talks. However, some pundits say that the measure was watered-down from an earlier version, caving in to White House demands. With another deadline approaching on the nuclear talks, it remains to be seen if negotiations will lead to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Obviously, the timing of five Iranian boats to fire shots at merchant vessel coincides with the Persian Gulf summit scheduled today at Camp David. Both to embarrass Barack Obama and the White House, as well as to send the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen a message. The Iran nuclear talks are vitally important for the long term peace and stability of the Gulf region. The way things are going with the Obama foreign policy agenda, we can expect the talks to fail in gaining a desirable result.