The New York Times story on the fartkameror mystery, along with The Drive's take on it:

Some of the other stories on the phenomenon:

Have anyone posted analysis on what would happen if this sort of thing escalates?

Tit for tat as everyone can join in this game? Asymmetric political pressure? Defense for ships?
AFAIK it has aleady happened in the past: an IRCG mothership in the Red Sea has suffered a mysterious explosion. The Saviz, in Apr 2021.
And guess what? Bibi is back, should anybody want for more...
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Israel, Iran, and KSA have been taking pot shots at each other's shipping for a few years now. It seems unlikely it will escalate given how long it has been going on, or at least if there is an escalation it probably won't be specifically because of the strikes on ships but some other strategic consideration.
CAR’s analysis reveals that each of these documented UAVs, as well as the precision-guided munition, is made almost exclusively of components produced by companies based in Asia, Europe, and the United States. CAR documented more than 500 components spanning some 200 unique models across the four UAVs (495 total) and the Qaem-5 (23). More than 70 manufacturers based in 13 different countries and territories produced these components, with 82 percent of them manufactured by companies based in the United States. CAR is not in a position to identify the manufacturers of the documented components publicly until formal tracing operations have concluded, as per CAR’s methodology .
Many of these components have been recently manufactured, including a large number that were produced in 2020 and 2021.

CAR reached the conclusion that the UAVs documented in Ukraine are of Iranian origin based on visual comparison of six different physical features (cabling, labelling, airframe structure, servo motors, part and serial numbering, and mechanical gyroscopes) of the Shahed-131, Shahed-136, and Mohajer-6 UAVs documented in November 2022 in Ukraine, with four other Iranian UAV models that CAR documented in the Middle East between 2017 and 2022: a Shahed-141 UAV, a Shahed-197 UAV, and Qasef-1 and Sammad-pattern UAVs. The similarities in components across these systems strongly suggest that these UAVs share a common manufacturing origin in Iran.
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Russia and Iran 'transforming their defence relationship'​

Russia and Iran are strengthening their military ties at an "unprecedented" level, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
In is morning intelligence update on Saturday, the ministry supported reports from yesterday that the countries were developing “a full-fledged defence partnership".
"Iran has become one of Russia's top military backers since Russia invaded Ukraine," the MoD wrote. "Iran’s support to the Russian military is likely to grow in the coming months: Russia is attempting to obtain more weapons, including hundreds of ballistic missiles.
"In return Russia is highly likely offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their defence relationship."
It noted that "Russia has highly likely expended a large proportion of its stock of its own SS-26 Iskander short range ballistic missiles, which carry a 500kg warhead up to 500km. If Russia succeeds in bringing a large number of Iranian ballistic missiles into service, it will likely use them to continue and expand its campaign of strikes against Ukraine’s critical national infrastructure."
Read more: Russia to send Iran top fighter jets in return for kamikaze drones

Russian drone attacks target power network in Ukraine's Odesa​

Ukraine's southern port city of Odesa has lost power after Russia used drones to hit energy facilities overnight, local officials said on Saturday, with much of the surrounding region also affected.
"Due to the scale of the damage all users in Odesa except critical infrastructure have been disconnected from electricity," Odesa mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov wrote on Facebook.
A statement posted by the city administration on the Telegram app said that Russian strikes hit key transmission lines and equipment in Odesa region in the early hours of Saturday.
Governor Maksym Marchenko said Russia used "kamikaze" drones, which fly into their target rather than firing munitions, and that two had been shot down over the Black Sea.
"As a result of the strike there is no electricity in almost all the districts and communities of our region," Marchenko wrote on Telegram.
Since October, Moscow has repeatedly targeted Ukraine's energy infrastructure to create brutal conditions for civilians over winter. Kyiv acknowledged on Friday that every single thermal and hydro-electric power plant in the country had been damaged.
We have been made aware of the alleged use of Rotax engines, or counterfeit engines, in certain specific situations involving Iranian Mohajer-6 drones in the conflict areas. We are taking this situation very seriously.

BRP has not authorized and has not given any authorization to its distributors to supply military UAV manufacturers in Iran or Russia.
As soon as we were made aware of this situation, we started an investigation to determine the source of the engines.

Rotax aircraft engines are produced, designed and certified for civil use only by the applicable civil regulatory authority.
Since September, Russia has launched hundreds of Iranian-supplied loitering munitions (self-detonating drones) against Ukraine's power grid. Tehran has much faster and deadlier drones and short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM) that it might also supply Moscow after October when a key condition in a 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution restricting Iranian missile exports is set to expire.

In December, Axios reported that Iran plans to limit the range and payload of any SRBMs it supplies Russia. Tehran wants to avoid violating U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which bans it from exporting drones or SRBMs with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers (186 miles) and payloads greater than 500 kilograms until October 2023. If Iran is caught violating that resolution, it could trigger the "snapback" of U.N. sanctions.
Minus the obviously improvised fragmentation sleeves, this design looks a lot like the warhead on the C-802 antiship missile (Iranian Noor) and several other antiship weapons. Same basic configuration of lateral-firing EFPs to maximize the extent of the damage rather than a single forward-firing charge for deeper penetration.
The Iranian Shahad drones have been found to contain a host of European components. There’s no suggestion of wrongdoing but rather that they use commercial components that are poorly controlled.

The change from unitary and honeycomb backed skin construction to modular and "mounting foam" construction is a very obvious cost cutting move.

While these drones look like an Israel Harpy, and share the same common lineage from the Apartheid era South African design, I've seen no reports of passive radar seekers so there is no meaningful SEAD role. Absent reports of cameras and data links, no battlefield support role. Payloads are too small to do much harm to infrastructure, so of no practical use for interdiction.

Essentially, this is a nuisance weapon, the primary purpose of which is lure an enemy into expending expensive missiles and shells. When a $1,000,000 missile is used to down a $20,000 drone, that's an absurd 50:1 expenditure. Even a 20 round burst of $1,000 shells from a 35mm Gepard system represents a parity of expenditures. Even assuming infinite monetary resources, it's very hard to produce million dollar missiles or thousand dollar shells at the same rate as these puny drones.
There was rumor that the recent Geran/Shahed has Radar absorber. I'm kinda not convinced tho as :

1.The drone is already as stealth as it is
2.Adding RAM might only yield marginal gain while adding manufacturing complexity.

The evidence presented so far is remnants of the shahed with apparent Carbon fiber skin and Polyurethane foam which claimed as the absorber. Carbon fiber is yes maybe can be called plastic but that's hardly dielectric. It's reflective enough, if you have reflective outer skin then how do the radar wave supposed to get in and get absorbed in the first place.

Ideally the outer skin would be made out of say, kevlar or some maybe fiberglass or kapton.
While these drones look like an Israel Harpy, and share the same common lineage from the Apartheid era South African design,
I assume with this you mean the Kentron ARD-10? Is there any evidence of Harpy being based on the ARD-10? The earliest source on it i can find on this forum is from 1992.
For the origin of the Shahed 136 there seem to be three different plausible path:
  • Iran captured intact Israeli Harpy UAVs (through proxies)
  • Iran acquired Harpy copies from the PRC
  • Iran acquired the ARD-10 from Denel (directly or through a third party) (Toofan)
Im having a hard time finding evidence for any of these three theories.
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Shahed might just be Harpy inspired. As noted, most versions have nothing like the complexity and capabilities, instead being more of a piston engine cruise missile.
I have a hard time believing that. If Russia is paying $200,000 a round for Shahed then they are being ripped off.
That seems incredibly expensive for a simple INS/GPS guided moped motor aircraft. $250,000 would buy you SBD2 with IIR, millimeter wave radar, and link 16. Sure, there’s no engine, but I would not have thought an unlicensed copy of a German two cylinder engine sets one back much.
I have a hard time believing that. If Russia is paying $200,000 a round for Shahed then they are being ripped off.

It is noted that the Iranian side announced the starting price of the Shahed attack drone at 23 million roubles per unit (about US$375,000). However, during the negotiations, an agreement was reached at the level of 12 million roubles per unit, when ordering 6,000 units (about US$193,000) or 18 million roubles (about US$290,000) when ordering 2,000 units.

According to other published documents, at least part of the Russian Federation's financial transactions and payments with Iran are made in gold.

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Footage of Geran 2 production
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