– The similarity of shrapnel found on the Norwegian tanker to shrapnel from drone boats used off Yemen by Houthis, even though the craft previously used by the Houthis were surface boats rather than the underwater drones likely to have been deployed in Fujairah.
This is an attractive idea. The insurer, Norwegian Shipowners’ Mutual War Risks Insurance Association, may have noticed a lot of boat-building material, such as fiberglass; the glass fibers resist vaporization. A limpet mine would leave very little alien material, as it is a small charge in a simple package that gains destructive power from intimate contact with the hull.
The choice of attribution is puzzling: “Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are “highly likely” to have facilitated…” as opposed to “IRGC are likely to be responsible…”
Iran has provided the Houthis with weapons of this kind. But the eastern border of Yemen, which is starkly empty of habitation, is 1600 miles by sea from Fujairah. The nearest port, Al Mukalia, is 2160 miles, but it’s under UAE control.
The Houthis don’t need a port to mount the attacks. They could have shoved off from a beach, and slowly motored their way 1600 miles. But the choice to label the IRGC as the enabler, as opposed to the attacker, appears to be an unsupported complication.
Factoring in the Houthis may be supported by other intelligence that cannot be revealed. But some technical collections may be circumvented by Iranian fall-backs to primitive forms of communication, and use of deception games.
The sophistication of Iran implies that a complex deception game, artificially involving Houthis, cannot be ruled out.