United Kingdom re-establishes RN shipping escorts as Gulf crisis escalates

Tuesday, 07 Jan, 2020

The British Royal Navy will escort UK-flagged vessels going through the world's most vital oil choke point, the Strait of Hormuz, amid a sudden spike in tensions in the Middle East after the US carried out an air strike in Baghdad that killed a high-ranking Iranian general. The vessels were subsequently released but the developments contributed to already-heightened tensions in the region.Soleimani was killed in Baghdad by a U.S. airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump early on Friday. "We request United Kingdom, the key USA ally, and other Western allies, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, to not stand with this Trump regime, to avoid wider collateral damage in Iran's response as it conducts foreign military operations against USA after Soleimani's assassination", he added.

Saudi economist Fadhl al-Bouenain said that a war between the United States and Iran would further dampen economic growth in the GCC countries, just as many of them are trying to diversify into a post-oil future.

Meanwhile, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China pays high attention to the intensification of U.S. -Iran conflict, opposes the abuse of force in global relations, and holds that military adventures are unacceptable.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday stood by his threat to go after Iranian cultural sites, warning of a "major retaliation" if Iran strikes back for the killing of one of its top military commanders.

The statement also urges Iraqi authorities to "continue providing the Coalition all the necessary support" in the fight against Daesh*.

Iraq's parliament voted on Sunday in favour of a non-binding resolution calling for the expulsion of the American forces. Raab said he had already spoken with Iraq's president and prime minister, and will also "reach out" to Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Soleimani, 62, was the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' foreign legions.

Hezbollah has also warned Iraqi soldiers to stay at least 1,000 meters away from USA military bases from Sunday onwards. The US denied striking a PMU medical convoy, on the evening of Friday 3 January.