There has been much in the news in the past few days about Saudi Arabian ships and pipelines being attacked by forces allied with Iran.

Former Ambassador and founder of the Montana World Affairs Council Mark Johnson has been watching the events through the lens of a lifetime of experience with Middle East tension.

“In the last 72 hours there has been a dramatic escalation between Iran and the U.S.,” said Johnson. “If you consider on the 12th we had four tankers that were apparently sabotaged in a Persian Gulf port, a big refueling area. I’ve seen the photos, and they put a hole in the hull and everything.”

Johnson, a former diplomat, is concerned about the two sides in the matter, Iran and the United States.

“I think that people are right to point out that the danger is that any kind of miscalculation could be a gasoline can in search of a fire,” he said. “It would not be pretty if things spun out of control. In neither capitol, Washington or Tehran, are we dealing with two highly well organized institutions, shall I say.”

Johnson said he is deeply concerned about the apparently overt actions by Iran, a country that usually employs proxies in their conflicts.

“What worries me now is that there a new aggressive tone coming out of Tehran with a new commander of the Revolutionary Guard,” he said. “We know about the hard corps elements in Washington, and what concerns me on both sides, to be even handed, is that we may have an awful marriage of arrogance and ignorance going on, in which miscalculations become very likely. I hope that’s not the case.”

According to CNBC, The Pentagon approved the deployment of a Patriot missile defense battery and a Navy ship to the Middle East amid increasing tensions between the United States and Iran. The USS Arlington and a Patriot battery will join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and an Air Force bomber task force, which were deployed earlier in the week to the region. The deployments come as Washington tightens sanctions on Iran.


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