The Guardian reports: A mid-air incident in which Iranian warplanes opened fire on a US surveillance drone high over the Persian Gulf has brought home how nuclear tensions and increased military hardware in a confined area can lead to a clash that could escalate out of control.
Western officials are concerned that minority elements on both sides of the confrontation in the region have a vested interest in triggering such a clash. Some Israeli leaders would like to see Washington drawn in so that superior US forces could strike a crippling blow to Iranian nuclear facilities, while a “war party” in Tehran sees a conflict as a means of rallying support for the regime and cracking down yet further on dissent, officials say.
They believe the risk of a “spoiler” incident will rise if a new diplomatic push aimed at reaching a peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear crisis appears to show progress.
The Pentagon said that on 1 November two Sukhoi 25 jet fighters flown by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, fired at the Predator drone carrying out a routine but “classified surveillance mission”, 16 miles off the Iranian shore – four miles outside its territorial waters. [Continue reading…]