Photo: Reuters/Raheb Homavandi
An oil production platform in Iran's Soroush oil fields. Photo: Reuters / Raheb Homavandi

There have always been people who have tried to gain power and control. The only distinction was the mechanism through which they planned to achieve it: brute force or something more original. For example, researchers manipulate data to attain the results they want, while traders try to manipulate and influence market prices by disseminating erroneous information. Some go even further by conducting so-called “false flag” and “fake news” operations.

However, it is a gradual process. First, the technique of misinformation is implemented – as you may remember, in 2016, the Internet was filled with fake news aimed at distorting public opinion and helping one of the candidates to become president of the United States of America. This year, intelligence agencies and non-government entities have decided to use similar ploys to influence oil prices.

According to Wikipedia, a false flag is “intentional misrepresentation or covert operation designed to deceive; the deception creates the appearance of a particular party, group, or nation being responsible for some activity, disguising the actual source of responsibility.” Recently it became popular for countries to “organize attacks on themselves and make the attacks appear to be by enemy nations or terrorists, thus giving the nation that was supposedly attacked a pretext for domestic repression and foreign military or economic aggression.”

Recently there were news report that two oil tankers had been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. And predictably, the United States claimed that Iran was responsible for damaging the vessels in the Gulf of Oman. This was the second such incident in four weeks.

The question that must be raised is who gains what from these incidents. Let’s start from saying that even if Tehran had nothing to do with these attacks, it will still suffer the consequences. It is enough to recall the Gulf of Tonkin incident that took place in August 1964. Back then, a US-staged false flag initiated full-scale conflict in Southeast Asia.

Iran has already accused the US of lying about a “torpedo attack” on an American-linked oil tanker. “The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots and false-flag operations in the region,” Iran’s mission to the United Nations said.

As history has shown, the Americans won’t back down. Does it mean that Iran is next on its target list for war? Only time will tell.

Nevertheless, without waiting for the results of an investigation, Brent prices spiked after the reports of the attacks on tankers leaving the Persian Gulf.

The Brent crude quote won 4.45% on Thursday, shortly after news of the attacks broke, but it has since slightly decreased, or, should we say, corrected. Without any doubt, someone managed to put up a really good million-dollar front.

Igor Kuchma

Igor Kuchma is a financial adviser who is passionate about economy and the capital markets in general. He has experience working with Russian, Spanish and American financial institutions. He helped to compile a course for the Series 7 exam, while some companies he has prepared investment portfolios and macro and microeconomic models in Excel, and has studied trends and historical data.

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