How war between the U.S. and Iran could break out accidentally

In the July 16 attack, in which investigations are underway, the Indian fishermen dispute the U.S. assertion that warning shots were fired. Muthu Muniraj, a 28-year-old fisherman, told Reuters: “We had no warning at all from the ship, we were speeding up to try and go around them and then suddenly we got fired at. We know warning signs and sounds and there were none; it was very sudden. My friend was killed, he’s gone. I don’t understand what happened.”…

Perhaps the Pentagon is being forthright when it says that it warned the Indian vessel, but the fact that the ship either didn’t notice or didn’t heed the warning suggests that an Iranian naval ship might just as easily mistake U.S. intentions and ignore warnings. If that occurred and an Iranian commander or IRGC official took it upon himself to retaliate, a regrettable incident could easily escalate to all-out war. Equally plausible, imagine what might happen in the current climate if the IRGC navy seized a small American naval vessel and captured U.S. sailors, as it did in 2007 when 15 British naval personnel were taken prisoner at sea by Iran.

A perfect setting for a U.S.-Iran clash, though certainly unintended, might be the scheduled September naval exercises in the Persian Gulf. From September 16-27, twenty nations will conduct region-wide mine sweeping exercises as a show of force in response to recent threats by Iran to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. The exercise, according to a statement released by Centcom, will focus on “the international strategic waterways of the Middle East, including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf.”