Image: Reuters

This is from a simple “Who Profits?” analysis as oil prices fell on news to John Bolton’s departure. It is not really in Iran’s interest to provoke war, despite there being a lot of hawks in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

It is obvious that Russia profits from oil price increases, and such an attack would do just that. The motive is simple: increase oil prices by destabilizing the region. While Russia is not the only country who profits, Iran does not profit by escalating a costly war they are likely to either lose or stalemate.

This may also be a Russian attempt at testing an alternative nuclear game, not based on MAD (mutually assured destruction), but based on third party proxy interactions and testing this theory in the wild. For example, MAD depends on there only being two players. Introduce a third party, and now the second player can spoof the third, and party one will counterattack the incorrect player. Did Russia spoof Iran for its own oil interests?

Iran is generally within Russia’s sphere of influence as Russia’s key ally in the Middle East. And as such, so are all of Iran’s allies including Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who claimed responsibility for the attacks. Thus, making Russia uniquely positioned to escalate a war between the United States and Iran through proxies.

This is no smoking gun, but it is a narrative that the media and the establishment are both overlooking as a general possibility as the government gets more hawkish on Iran.

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