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  “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

Alan Greenspan

War-for-oil, or more precisely, power projection to preserve the petrodollar, is realpolitik.

Per capita energy usage in the United States is the highest among all nations of the world. The USA consumes 25% of would energy resources while having only 5% of the population. Approximately half of the energy used in the US is electrical energy  generated by coal-fired power plants. The other part is oil that is mainly imported.

Securing uninterruptable supply of oil became the key task of the USA foreign policy since president Carter. The second important goal is maintaining  dollar as the world primary reserve currency, and, especially, the main currency you can buy oil with.  That includes maintaining the stability of client Arab regimes, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Oil Wars

Recently the USA waged several "oil wars" (Iraq war, Libya war, Syria war, attempt of "color revolution" in Russia) with the most brutal being the Iraq war. The two main messages from the war in Iraq are:

Manipulating the facts became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were killed or injured.  Links to the 9/11 attacks and the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war were blatantly false from the very beginning.  They were fabricated to achieve specific goals.  Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades the society, so the war has had a detrimental effect on the USA, as a society. It just has shown that elites now are audacious enough to throw out even attempt to present their actions as legitimate of serving national goals. Of course, by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14,

 “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.”

Indeed, this was a war for oil from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands — Republicans and Democrats both — that the only courtroom they’ve been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences. Bush II actually was reelected for the second term.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of “the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history.” But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough “on the overriding question of whether the war made sense,” which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure outside oil sector, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don’t forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian war with daily killings, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S. government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

From Foreign Policy in Focus

The Real Reason for the Iraq War VICE United Kingdom

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:

"...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

Gas wars

EuroMaidan can be considered to be a proxy "gas war" when the USA hides behind Ukraine far right  to fight Russia and EU.  See

Asia Times Online China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

Well, there is a plan BRICS - or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment.

Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American "new world order". Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what "the West has been offering" - that is, "special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors" - they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you're not our vassals, you're against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it's not apocalypse now, it's Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever's going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly "pivots" to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era "containment policy" in the Pacific, it's all China's fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it's also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China.

Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there's another "thermonuclear" gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro - a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves - would be welcomed in as well.

It's no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance.

An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.

 

Why Energy is Central to the Economy

BC, January 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm
Economics is politics. Politics is war by other means. War is the business of empire (hegemony). War is good business for imperialists.

Therefore, economics is the intellectual and political rationalization for the business objectives of imperial expansionism, expropriation, and co-optation of client-states’ elites by means of state violence when necessary, which is more often than not when resources become increasingly scarce and the hegemonic frontiers of expansionism are threatened.

Yet, most Americans do not yet perceive the US as an empire (successor to the British Empire), not surprisingly, which would necessarily require the inference that empires peak, decline, and eventually collapse, and we have been in relative decline since the 1970s-80s, which most of the working-class bottom 90% would have to concede were they honest with themselves and their fellows. And, no, McConnell, Romney, Rubio, Paul, et al., care not about the working-class bottom 90% but themselves and those deep-pocketed Republicans who cut the largest campaign finance checks.

But one suspects that the 80-90% of the population who were slaves during the Greek city-state dominance and later Roman Empire neither perceived themselves living in the context of imperial decline and incipient collapse, as their daily life experience was preoccupied with acquiescing to their imperial masters’ demands and the imperative to survive and thereafter subsist within their circumstances, if they/we’re luck . . ., or not.

Same as it ever was . . .

Coilin MacLochlainn, January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Malthus was not wrong, he was right. The reason for that is, the Earth is finite and has limited resources. The human population has reached 7 billion. If it continues to grow, or even if it doesn’t, it will exceed the ability of the Earth’s remaining land base to support us.

In fact, it already has. Several of the Earth’s planetary limits have already been exceeded and we are cannibalising what remains of the Earth’s surviving natural resources just to keep going. What I mean is, we are using up the very resources that we rely on as a species to survive into the future. And at the same time, we are making it impossible for much of the rest of life on Earth to survive, which is why so many species are going extinct now and most will be wiped out before we are done.

For those of us living in the developed world, it is hard to picture this, because we are living off the exploitation of resources and labour in less well off countries.

There are also glaring examples of excessive exploitation in the developed world. For example, in California, which leads the world in the production of almonds, walnuts and pistachio nuts, there is not enough surface water available to supply the industry and so nut farmers are irrigating their crops using underground water. With the ongoing drought in California, the underground aquifer is not being recharged, so it won’t be long before the nut farmers run out of water and the industry goes bust. It will go bust and it will also leave the aquifer dry, with no possibility of refilling with water while the drought lasts, which could be for years or forever.

Jan Steinman, January 22, 2015 at 6:26 pm

“Capital is embodied energy.”

Are you talking about physical capital, such as factories, machines, and such?

A lot of very smart people seem to think “capital” is little bits of coloured paper, or even invisible magnetic bits on a spinning disk. But I think that’s where the second half of your essay (debt) comes into play.

It would be nice to have some simple term-of-art to distinguish between the two forms of “capital.” I agree that physical plant is capital. It may even be that, pre-Bretton Woods, money was an adequate symbol for capital. But it seems to me that there is way more money around than there is physical capital these days.

garand555, January 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Economics is a pseudo-science, at least the way it is practiced.

... ... ...

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Economists endorsed the idea of globalism after it became apparent that without it, national economies could no longer grow. Globalization is going to kill us because it removes from local control the basic production of necessities. Speaking of economics, here is part of a post on The Automatic Earth from yesterday concerning the Davos crowd and the World Economic Forum:

“When it comes to basic necessities, to food, water and shelter, we shouldn’t strive to compete with other economies. That is not good for us, or for our peers in those other economies; it’s good only for those who skim off the top. The larger and more globalized the top, the more there is to skim off. All the ‘reform’ is geared towards making our economies ever more dependent on the global economy. And that is not in our best interest.

It’s not all just even about money, it’s about our security, and independence. Everybody likes the idea of being independent, but at the same time few realize that globalization is the exact opposite of independence. Global trade is fine, as long as it’s limited to things we don’t need to survive, but it’s not fine if and when it takes away the ability of a community or a society to provide for itself.

Protectionism has acquired a really bad reputation, as if it’s inherently evil to try and protect your community from being gutted by economic ideas and systems it has no defense against, or to make sure it can generate and provide for its own basics at all times. But that’s just propaganda too.

If our societies are not designed and constructed to provide for themselves, they’ll end up with no choice but to go to war with each other. Along the same lines, if our societies don’t have strict laws in place that guarantee we can’t and won’t destroy the natural resources of the land we live on comes with, we’ll also end up going to war with each other.

We’re not going to solve the Gordian knot of the entire global economy and all the hubris and propaganda the present leading politicians, businessmen and ‘reporters’ bring to the table. And we probably shouldn’t want to. Our brains did not develop to do things on a global scale. The clowns will blow themselves up sooner or later. We should focus on what we can do, meanwhile, in our immediate surroundings.

And it’s pretty easy from there, really. The economic problems we have are mostly artificial. They have been induced by the broken economic model the Davos crowd, the central bankers and you know who else would have us believe is the one and only, and that they are busy fixing for our sake and greater glory. But they care only about their own glory.”

Gail Tverberg, January 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

On the other hand, without the growth that was obtained from globalization, the financial system would have collapsed earlier. So in some sense, we are better off, even if it is not sustainable.

The US started hollowing out its manufacturing not too long after the oil problems of the 1970s. Japan came first in globalization, before the other Eastern countries.

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Liquid Assets,

Economists run the Federal Reserve Bank and all the central banks in the world. How has their “straight thinking” worked out? Has the world ever been in such a fiscal mess before? How have all of those over-educated PhDs in Economics done better than an Actuary could do?

Economics is the dismal “science” in part because it is predicated on the assumption that their can be infinite inputs into the system. Before you insult Gail and suggest she get a “real education,” consider that this whole edifice of “Economics” and endless growth is based on and within a finite world.

escravaisaurabr, January 22, 2015 at 7:33 am
InAlaska,

Two perceptive posts you wrote. Thank you.

I would like to add this post. I think most of you will appreciate. I sure love this post….

By falak pema

Economics is a means to achieve an end, like language.

So linguists are capable of understanding the logic of communication for DECISION MAKING; whether it be in words and intellectual concepts or in numbers/statistics and algorithms.

The issue here is that perfect markets like perfect speech do not exist for themselves in society, except for the “initiated”, but have a different function as a VEHICLE for body politic; which defines the AIMS and uses the means, all the means : of language as of images and of statistics and mathematical constructs.

So the thesis of the Mises/Hayek type Shamans that Economia is the “be-all” of society is just wrong. No more than the works of Shakespeare or Hugo, or of Picasso etc.

They do not define politics and power in society. They may influence it but they don’t define it’s objectives.

Linguists like economists can add substance to a political construct that defines the power play in civilization. And in that respect markets are just a means and their perfection as important as a perfect face on the screen.

All imagery or conceptual work in life is virtual.

It becomes real when it faces the real world of power and its continual balancing act; facts and irreversible acts that define our future as they have our past.

Chomsky is more relevant today to society than Mises.

The first analyses real political acts and consequences the other confines himself to theoretical pontification about the real economy looked at through the lens which keeps referring to the mantra of perfect markets.

Not saying markets are not important just saying they are not ALL important.

For the Mises theory to become reality we would have to live in a perfect “anarchy” state without government. The last time they wanted the state to “shrivel away” it was called the “ultimate step of communism” and it parented Stalinism. So…you have to know what you wish for in the REAL world.

History says you are wrong. You keep harping about a system that has gone off the cliff twice because of market forces being spiraled into Vesuvian eruption under irrational exuberance and greed and thanks to lack of Government regulation : in 1929 and 2008.

You are into DEEP denial of historical FACTS.

The historical thread shows us neo-feudal oligarchs are just as destructive of wealth creation as are statist hegemonists.

The only realistic solution is to balance state power and private oligarchy power and make sure NEITHER is in dominant position by having transparent control of public and private spending and by ensuring due diligence and SANCTIONS.

Today we have a Mussolinian economy of crony collusion between statists and oligarchs. We have the worst of both worlds.

We need good state governance and non monopolistic private sector innovative investment, compatible with “general good”, that does not run us off the cliff in mad speculation nor poison the planet.

The GDP should be run on an equitable basis between both power structures.

Whether this divide is 30/70 or 50/50 between private and public and how its used and how its controlled and monitored is the role of the Republic. And it should be debated and then voted and then executed in a legal framework which is NOT CORRUPT.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-24/you-cant-run-economy-spreadsheets#comment-5138074


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[Jul 22, 2019] I found out that the average dollar that actually was invested abroad by oil companies was recaptured by the US economy within 18 months. The payback period was that fast.

Notable quotes:
"... I thought all these foreign countries were international." He explained that "international" means countries that are not really countries. They're Liberia and Panama, countries that only use the US dollar, not their own currency. So the oil industry doesn't have a currency risk. They are flags of convenience and they don't have any income tax. ..."
"... He explained to me that Standard Oil sold its oil at a very low price from the Near East to Liberia or Panama or Lagos, or wherever they have a flag of convenience and no income tax. Then they would sell it at a very high price to its refineries in Europe and America, at such a high price that these "downstream" affiliates don't make any income. So there's no tax to pay. ..."
"... Standard Oil and other U.S. oil companies – and also mining companies – don't earn an income there, because they sell it so low, all the profits are reported to be taken in Liberia or Panama. These are non-countries. ..."
"... Here is a report. I'm from the State Department (I assumed that this meant CIA). "We want to calculate how much money the US could get if we set up bank branches and became the bank for all the criminal capital in the world." He said, "We figured out we can finance, (and he said this in an elevator), we can finance the Vietnam War with all the drug money coming into America, all of the criminal money. Can you make a calculation of how much that might be?" ..."
"... I found that the entire US balance of payments deficit in the 1960s, since the Vietnam War, the entire balance of payments deficit was military spending abroad. The private sector's trade and investment was exactly in balance; tourism, trade and investment were exactly in balance. All the deficit was military. ..."
"... Mr. Barsanti said that McNamara said that Arthur Andersen would never get another government contract if it published my report. ..."
"... There were three people, known as the Columbia Group, saying the Vietnam War was going to destroy the American monetary system as we know it. The group was composed of Terence McCarthy, my mentor; Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia University's School of Industrial Engineering where Terence also taught; and myself. We would basically go around the New York City giving speeches. ..."
Jul 22, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

mauisurfer , July 21, 2019 at 6:33 pm

Re: Michael Hudson, SuperImperialism

Here is a recent interview where MH reviews his book.

https://michael-hudson.com/2019/06/food-blackmail-the-washington-consensus-and-freedom/

And here is a wonderful autobiographical article

https://michael-hudson.com/2018/08/life-thought-an-autobiography/

a quote (hope it is not too long for you)

I worked at Chase Manhattan until 1967, then finally I had to quit to finish the dissertation. I spent a year on that. At Chase I had become the specialist in the oil industry's balance of payments. When the Vietnam War began and escalated, President Johnson in January 1965, right after I joined the bank in December 1964, passed the voluntary – in reality, compulsory – foreign investment rules blocking American companies from investing more than 5% of the growth of the previous year's investment. The oil industry objected to that. They came to David Rockefeller and said we've got to convince the government that we're ripping off other countries so fast, we're able to exploit them so rapidly, that it really helps the US balance of payments to let us continue investing more abroad. Can you help us show this statistically?

So David Rockefeller asked me to do a study of the balance of payments of the oil industry. Rockefeller said, "We don't want to have Chase's oil and gas department do it, because they would be thought of as lobbyists. Nobody knows who you are, so you're neutral. We want to know what the real facts are, and if they're what we think they are, we'll publish what you write; if we don't like it we'll keep it to ourselves, but please just give us the facts." He said, "You can ask the oil companies all the questions you want. They will fill out the forms you design for a statistical accounting format. We'll give you a year to write it all up." To me this was wonderful. Oil was the key sector internationally. It turned out I found out that the average dollar that actually was invested abroad by oil companies was recaptured by the US economy within 18 months. The payback period was that fast.

The report that I wrote was put on the desk of every senator and every representative in the United States and I was celebrated for being the economist of the oil industry. So this taught me everything about the balance of payments which, as I said, is a topic that's not taught in any university. So I finished that, finished the dissertation, and then I developed a methodology for the overall US balance of payments. Most of the balance of payment statistics were changed when they designed the gross national product accounts. The accounts now treat exports and imports as if they were paid for fully for cash. So if you make a million dollars worth of grain exports, you are assumed to bring a million dollars into the economy. And if you export a million dollars of arms, of military, it all comes back.

What I found out is that only a portion actually of exports actually comes back. And imports have an even lower balance-of-payment costs as compared to their nominal valuation. For instance, all of America's oil imports are from American oil companies, so if you pay a hundred dollars for oil, maybe thirty dollars of that is profit, thirty dollars is compensation to American management, thirty dollars is the use of American exports to physical equipment, oil drilling equipment and others to produce the oil.

The closest people that I worked with for the study were at the Standard Oil Company, which was always very close to the Rockefellers, as you know. So I went over the statistics and I said, "In the balance of payments, I can't find where Standard Oil makes the profit. Does it make the profit by producing oil at the production end? Or does it make it selling it at the gas stations, at the retail sales end?" The treasurer of Standard Oil said, "Ah I can tell you where we make them. We make them right here in my office." I asked how. "What countries could I find this in? I don't find it in Europe, I don't find it in Asia, I don't find it in Latin America or Africa." He said, "Ah, do you see at the very end of the geography headings for international earnings, there's something called international?"

I said, "Yes that always confused me. Where is it? I thought all these foreign countries were international." He explained that "international" means countries that are not really countries. They're Liberia and Panama, countries that only use the US dollar, not their own currency. So the oil industry doesn't have a currency risk. They are flags of convenience and they don't have any income tax.

He explained to me that Standard Oil sold its oil at a very low price from the Near East to Liberia or Panama or Lagos, or wherever they have a flag of convenience and no income tax. Then they would sell it at a very high price to its refineries in Europe and America, at such a high price that these "downstream" affiliates don't make any income. So there's no tax to pay. For all US oil investment in Europe, there's no tax to pay because the oil companies' accountants price it so high, and pay so little per barrel to third world countries such as Saudi Arabia, that they only get a royalty. Standard Oil and other U.S. oil companies – and also mining companies – don't earn an income there, because they sell it so low, all the profits are reported to be taken in Liberia or Panama. These are non-countries.

That gave me the clue about what people these days talk about money laundering. In the last few months that I worked for Chase Manhattan in 1967, I was going up to my office on the ninth floor and a man got on the elevator and said, "I was just coming to your office, Michael. Here is a report. I'm from the State Department (I assumed that this meant CIA). "We want to calculate how much money the US could get if we set up bank branches and became the bank for all the criminal capital in the world." He said, "We figured out we can finance, (and he said this in an elevator), we can finance the Vietnam War with all the drug money coming into America, all of the criminal money. Can you make a calculation of how much that might be?"

So I spent three months figuring out how much money goes to Switzerland, from drug dealings, what's the dollar volume of drug dealings. They helped me with all sorts of statistics on that, and said, "We can become the criminal capital of the world and it'll finance the dollar and this will enable us to afford the spending to defeat communism in Vietnam and elsewhere. If we don't do that, the bomb throwers will come to New York."

So I became a specialist in money laundering! Nothing could have better prepared me to understand how the global economy works! I had all the statistics, I had the help of the government people explaining to me how the CIA worked with drug dealing and other criminals and kidnappers to raise the money so it would be off the balance sheet funding and Congress didn't have to approve it when they would kill people and sponsor revolutions. They were completely open with me about this. I realized they'd never done a security check on me.

So I wanted to do a study of the balance of payments of the whole United States. I went to work for Arthur Andersen, which was at that time was one of the Big Five accounting firms in the United States. Later it was convicted of fraud when it got involved in the Enron scandal and was closed down. But I was working before the other people went to jail, before they closed down Arthur Andersen. So I spent a year applying my balance of payments analysis to the US balance of payments. When I finally finished, I found that the entire US balance of payments deficit in the 1960s, since the Vietnam War, the entire balance of payments deficit was military spending abroad. The private sector's trade and investment was exactly in balance; tourism, trade and investment were exactly in balance. All the deficit was military.

So I turned in my statistics. My boss Mr. Barsanti, came in to me three days later and he said, "I'm afraid we have to fire you." I asked, "What happened?" He said, "Well, we sent it to Robert McNamara." (who was the Secretary of Defense and then became an even more dangerous person with the World Bank, which probably is more dangerous to the world than the American military. But that's another story). Mr. Barsanti said that McNamara said that Arthur Andersen would never get another government contract if it published my report.

In all of the Pentagon Papers that later came out of McNamara's regime, there's no discussion at all of the balance-of-payments cost of the Vietnam War. This is what was driving America off gold. At Chase Manhattan from 1964 until I left, every Friday the Federal Reserve would come out with its goal, its weekly statistics. We could trace the gold stock. Everybody was talking about General de Gaulle cashing in the gold, because Vietnam was a French colony and the American soldiers and army would have to use French banks, the dollars would go to France and de Gaulle would cash it in for gold.

Well, Germany actually was cashing in more gold than de Gaulle, but they didn't make speeches about it. So I could see that the war spending was going to drive America off gold. There were three people, known as the Columbia Group, saying the Vietnam War was going to destroy the American monetary system as we know it. The group was composed of Terence McCarthy, my mentor; Seymour Melman, a professor at Columbia University's School of Industrial Engineering where Terence also taught; and myself. We would basically go around the New York City giving speeches.

[Jul 20, 2019] Western Interests Aim To Flummox Russia

Notable quotes:
"... One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. ..."
"... We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. ..."
"... It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/ ..."
"... Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it. ..."
"... This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia. ..."
"... Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat. ..."
"... Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." ..."
"... You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable. ..."
Mar 03, 2017 | www.unz.com
An article by Robert Berke in oilprice.com, which describes itself as "The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News," illustrates how interest groups control outcomes by how they shape policy choices.

Berke's article reveals how the US intends to maintain and extend its hegemony by breaking up the alliance between Russia, Iran, and China, and by oil privatizations that result in countries losing control over their sovereignty to private oil companies that work closely with the US government. As Trump has neutered his presidency by gratuitously accepting Gen. Flynn's resignation as National Security Advisor, this scheme is likely to be Trump's approach to "better relations" with Russia.

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China. Should Putin fall for such a scheme, it would be a fatal strategic blunder from which Russia could not recover. Yet, Putin will be pressured to make this blunder.

One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. Moreover, the West with its hegemonic impulses uses economic relationships for control purposes. Trade with China and Asia does not pose the same threat to Russian independence.

Berke says that part of the deal being offered to Putin is "increased access to the huge European energy market, restored western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants." Sweetening the honey trap is official recognization of "Crimea as part of Russia."

Russia might want all of this, but it is nonsense that Russia needs any of it.

Crimea is part of Russia, as it has been for 300 years, and no one can do anything about it. What would it mean if Mexico did not recognize that Texas and California were part of the US? Nothing.

Europe has scant alternatives to Russian energy. Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West. And Russia most certainly does not need Western loans. Indeed, it would be an act of insanity to accept them.

It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

The Russian central bank has convinced the Russian government that it would be inflationary to finance Russian development projects with the issuance of central bank credit. Foreign loans are essential, claims the central bank.

Someone needs to teach the Russian central bank basic economics before Russia is turned into another Western vassal. Here is the lesson: When central bank credit is used to finance development projects, the supply of rubles increases but so does output from the projects. Thus, goods and services rise with the supply of rubles. When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Foreign capital is not important to countries such as Russia and China. Both countries are perfectly capable of financing their own development. Indeed, China is the world's largest creditor nation. Foreign loans are only important to countries that lack the internal resources for development and have to purchase the business know-how, techlology, and resources abroad with foreign currencies that their exports are insufficient to bring in.

This is not the case with Russia, which has large endowments of resources and a trade surplus. China's development was given a boost by US corporations that moved their production for the US market offshore in order to pocket the difference in labor and regulatory costs.

Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/

Clearly, if the massive debt of the US government is not a problem, the tiny debt of Russia is not a problem.

Berke's article is part of the effort to scam Russia by convincing the Russian government that its prosperity depends on unfavorable deals with the West. As Russia's neoliberal economists believe this, the scam has a chance of success.

Another delusion affecting the Russian government is the belief that privatization brings in capital. This delusion caused the Russian government to turn over 20 percent of its oil company to foreign ownership. The only thing Russia achieved by this strategic blunder was to deliver 20 percent of its oil profits into foreign hands. For a one-time payment, Russia gave away 20 percent of its oil profits in perpetuity.

To repeat outselves, the greatest threat that Russia faces is not sanctions but the incompetence of its neoliberal economists who have been throughly brainwashed to serve US interests.

Mao Cheng Ji , February 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT \n

When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Yes, correct. But this is an IMF rule, and Russia is an IMF member. To control its monetary policy it would have to get out.

Lyttenburgh , February 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT \n

Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"!

This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder – 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.

Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

WorkingClass , February 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm GMT \n

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass
Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

LOL! True. You forgot McCain, though.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Lyttenburgh
Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.
Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"! This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder - 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.
Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.
Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say - why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up? ;)

I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

Priss Factor , February 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm GMT \n
100 Words

A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign. At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT \n
@SmoothieX12
I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT \n

Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

anonymous , February 15, 2017 at 4:17 am GMT

The Russians can't be flummoxed, they aren't children. Russia and China border each other so they have a natural mutual interest in having their east-west areas be stable and safe, particularly when the US threatens both of them. This geography isn't going to change. Abandoning clients such as Syria and Iran would irreversibly damage the Russian brand as being unreliable therefore they'd find it impossible to attract any others in the future. They know this so it's unlikely they would be so rash as to snap at any bait dangled in front of them. And, as pointed out, the bait really isn't all that irresistible. It's always best to negotiate from a position of strength and they realize that. American policy deep thinkers are often fantasists who bank upon their chess opponents making hoped-for predictable moves. That doesn't happen in real life.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia–a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still–I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around–people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation–hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Vlad , February 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

He has not done it already because he just cannot let go of his dream to have it as he did in 2003, when Russia Germany and France together blocked legality of US war in Iraq. Putin still hopes for a good working relationship with major West European powers. Italy France and even Germany.

He still hopes to draw them away from the US. However the obvious gains from Import substitution campaign make it apparent that Russia does benefit from sanctions, that Russia can get anything it wants in technology from the East rather than the West. So the break with Western orientation is in the making. Hopefully.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT \n

You forgot to mention the "moderate" jihadis, including the operatives from NATO, Israel, and US. (It seems that the Ukrainian "patriots" that have been bombing the civilians in East Ukraine, also include special "patriots" from the same unholy trinity: https://www.roguemoney.net/stories/2016/12/6/there-are-troops-jack-us-army-donbass ). There has been also a certain asymmetry in means: look at the map for the number and location of the US/NATO military bases. At least we can see that RF has been trying to avoid the hot phase of WWIII. http://russia-insider.com/sites/insider/files/NATO-vs-Russia640.jpg

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm GMT \n
200 Words @Priss Factor A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign.

At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is Jewish Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

On the power and privilege that really rule the US:
"Sanctions – economic sanctions, as most of them are, can only stand and 'succeed', as long as countries, who oppose Washington's dictate remain bound into the western, dollar-based, fraudulent monetary scheme. The system is entirely privatized by a small Zionist-led elite. FED, Wall Street, Bank for International Settlement (BIS), are all private institutions, largely controlled by the Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan et al clans. They are also supported by the Breton Woods Organizations, IMF and World Bank, conveniently created under the Charter of the UN.
Few progressive economists understand how this debt-based pyramid scam is manipulating the entire western economic system. When in a just world, it should be just the contrary, the economy that shapes, designs and decides the functioning of the monetary system and policy.
Even Russia, with Atlantists still largely commanding the central bank and much of the financial system, isn't fully detached from the dollar dominion – yet."

http://thesaker.is/venezuela-washingtons-latest-defamation-to-bring-nato-to-south-america/

Anon , February 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT \n
100 Words

"I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this (nationalize the "central bank) already".

I read about a rumor a few years ago that Putin has been warned that nationalizing the now private Russian central bank will bring absolutely dire consequences to both him and Russia. It is simply a step he cannot take.

How dire are the potential consequences? Consider that the refusal of the American government to reauthorize the private central bank in the US brought about the War of 1812. The Americans learned their lesson and quickly reauthorized the private bank after the war had ended.

Numerous attempts were made to assassinate President Andrew Jacksons specifically because of his refusal to reauthorize the private central bank.

JFK anyone?

Agent76 , February 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Here it is in audio form so you can just relax and just listen at your leisure.

*ALL WARS ARE BANKERS' WARS* By Michael Rivero https://youtu.be/WN0Y3HRiuxo

I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this.

Priss Factor , February 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm GMT \n
1,000 Words

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT \n
300 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

This is rich from a Ukrainian nationalist ruled by Groysman/Kagans.
First, figure out who is your saint, a collaborationist Bandera (Babiy Yar and such) or a triple-sitizenship Kolomojski (auto-da-fe of civilians in Odessa). If you still want to bring Holodomor to a discussion, then you need to be reminded that 80% of Ukrainian Cheka at that time were Jewish. If you still think that Russians are the root of all evil, then try to ask the US for more money for pensions, education, and healthcare – instead of weaponry. Here are the glorious results of the US-approved governance from Kiev: http://gnnliberia.com/2017/02/17/liberia-ahead-ukraine-index-economic-freedom-2017/ "Liberia, Chad, Afghanistan, Sudan and Angola are ahead of Ukraine. All these countries are in the group of repressed economies (49.9-40 scores). Ukraine's economy has contracted deeply and remains very fragile."

Here are your relationships with your neighbors on the other side – Poland and Romania:
"The right-winged conservative orientation of Warsaw makes it remember old Polish-Ukrainian arguments and scores, and claim its rights on the historically Polish lands of Western Ukraine" http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/01/17/poland-will-begin-dividing-ukraine/
" the "Assembly of Bukovina Romanians" has recently applied to Petro Poroshenko demanding a territorial autonomy to the Chernivtsi region densely populated by Romanians. The "Assembly" motivated its demand with the Ukrainian president's abovementioned statement urging territorial autonomy for the Crimean Tatars." https://eadaily.com/en/news/2016/06/30/what-is-behind-romanias-activity-in-ukraine
And please read some history books about Crimea. Or at least Wikipedia:
"In 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Nikita Khrushchev (a Soviet dictator). In 2014, a 96.77 percent of Crimeans voted for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout." You see, the Crimeans do not like Nuland-Kagan and Pravyj Sector. Do you know why?

Astuteobservor II , February 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Seamus Padraig Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

well it depends. if putin is just out for himself, I can see him getting in bed with kissinger and co. if he is about russia, he would not. that is how I see it. it isn't about if putin is smart or stupid. just a choice and where his royalty lies.

Lyttenburgh , February 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine.

How so? #Krymnash

Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves.

If by "decline" you mean "expects this year a modest growth as opposed to previous years" then you might be right.

I've been reading about Russia's imminent collapse and the annihilation of the economy since forever. Some no-names like you (or some Big Names with agenda) had been predicting it every year. Still didn't happen.

Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

Can I see a source for that?

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

False equivalence.

P.S. Hey, Quart – how is Bezviz? Also – are you not cold here? Or are you one of the most racally pure Ukrs, currently residing in Ontario province (Canada), from whence you teach your less lucky raguls in Nizalezhnaya how to be more racially pure? Well, SUGS to be you!

bluedog , February 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm GMT \n
@Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Do you have any links to verify this that Russia is down to bedrock,from everything I read and have read Russia's do pretty damn good, or is this just some more of your endless antiRussian propaganda,,

Philip Owen , February 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm GMT \n

The US needed huge amounts of British and French capital to develop. Russia has the same requirement otherwise it will be another Argentina.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT \n
500 Words

A scandal of a EU member Poland: http://thesaker.is/zmiana-piskorski-and-the-case-for-polish-liberation/
Two days after he [Piskorski] publicly warned that US-NATO troops now have a mandate to suppress Polish dissent on the grounds of combatting "Russian hybrid war," he was snatched up by armed agents of Poland's Internal Security Agency while taking his children to school on May 18th, 2016. He was promptly imprisoned in Warsaw, where he remains with no formal charges to this day."

With the Poland's entry into EU, "Poland did not "regain" sovereignty, much less justice, but forfeited such to the Atlanticist project Poland has been de-industrialized, and thus deprived of the capacity to pursue independent and effective social and economic policies Now, with the deployment of thousands of US-NATO troops, tanks, and missile systems on its soil and the Polish government's relinquishment of jurisdiction over foreign armed forces on its territory, Poland is de facto under occupation. This occupation is not a mere taxation on Poland's national budget – it is an undeniable liquidation of sovereignty and inevitably turns the country into a direct target and battlefield in the US' provocative war on Russia."

" it's not the Russians who are going to occupy us now – they left here voluntarily 24 years ago. It's not the Russians that have ravaged Polish industry since 1989. It's not the Russians that have stifled Poles with usurious debt. Finally, it's not the Russians that are responsible for the fact that we have become the easternmost aircraft carrier of the United States anchored in Europe. We ourselves, who failed by allowing such traitors into power, are to blame for this."

More from a comment section: "Donald Tusk, who is now President of the European Council, whose grandfather, Josef Tusk, served in Hitler's Wehrmacht, has consistently demanded that the Kiev regime imposed by the US and EU deal with the Donbass people brutally, "as with terrorists". While the Polish special services were training the future participants of the Maidan operations and the ethnic cleansing of the Donbass, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this official statement (02-02-2014): "We support the hard line taken by the Right Sector The radical actions of the Right Sector and other militant groups of demonstrators and the use of force by protesters are justified The Right Sector has taken full responsibility for all the acts of violence during the recent protests. This is an honest position, and we respect it. The politicians have failed at their peacekeeping function. This means that the only acceptable option is the radical actions of the Right Sector. There is no other alternative".

In short, the US has been the most active enabler of the neo-Nazi movement in Europe. Mrs. Clinton seemingly did not get a memo about who is "new Hitler."

Chuck Orloski , February 17, 2017 at 11:17 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Scranton calling Mssrs. Roberts and Hudson:

Do you happen to know anything about western financial giants' influence upon Russia's "Atlanticist Integrationists"?

It's low hanging fruit for me to take a pick, but I am thinking The Goldman Sachs Group is well ensconced among Russian "Atlanticist Integrationists."

You guys are top seeded pros at uncovering Deep State-banker secrets. In contrast, I drive school bus and I struggle to even balance the family Wells Fargo debit card!

However, since our US Congress has anointed a seasoned G.S.G. veteran, Steve Mnuchin, as the administration's Treasury Secretary, he has become my favorite "Person of Interest" who I suspect spouts a Ural Mountain-level say as to how "Atlanticist Integrationists" operate.

Speaking very respectfully, I hope my question does not get "flummoxed" into resource rich Siberia.

Thank you very much!

Bobzilla , February 17, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead

.

Most likely the Spirit of Anti-Christ keeping them alive to do his bidding.

Bill Jones , February 18, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

Thanks for the digest of hasbarist crap.

Useful to have it all in one place..

annamaria , February 18, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT \n
100 Words

War profiteers (both of a dishonest character) have found each other: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/mccain-tells-europe-trump-administration-disarray http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/germany-issues-stark-warning-trump-stop-threatening-eu-favoring-russia
" Trump's administration was in "disarray," McCain told the Munich Security Conference, where earlier in the day Germany defense minister Ursula von der Leyen warned Trump to stop threatening the EU, abandoning Western values and seeking close ties with Russia, that the resignation of the new president's security adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russia reflected deep problems in Washington."

What an amazing whoring performance for the war-manufacturers! And here is an interesting morsel of information about the belligerent Frau der Leyen: http://www.dw.com/en/stanford-accuses-von-der-leyen-of-misrepresentation/a-18775432
"Stanford university has said Ursula von der Leyen is misrepresenting her affiliation with the school. The German defense minister's academic career is already under scrutiny after accusations of plagiarism." No kidding. Some "Ursula von der Leyen' values" indeed.

Anonymous IX , February 18, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT \n
200 Words

I doubt we'll see little change from the Trump administration toward Russia.

From SOTT:

Predictable news coming out of Yemen: Saudi-backed "Southern Resistance" forces and Hadi loyalists, alongside al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), launched a new offensive against the Houthis in western Yemen on Wednesday.

This is not the first time Saudi-backed (and by extension, Washington-backed) forces have teamed up with al-Qaeda in Yemen .

Yemen is quickly becoming the "spark that lights the powder keg". The conflict has already killed, maimed and displaced countless thousands (thanks to the stellar lack of reporting from trustworthy western news sources, we can only estimate the scale of Saudi/U.S. crimes in Yemen), but now it seems that elements of the Trump administration are keen on escalation, likely in hopes of giving Washington an excuse to carpet bomb Tehran.

Apparently, we feel satisfied fighting with our old allies, al-Qaeda and Saudis.

I had hoped for much better from Trump.

Kiza , February 18, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT \n
200 Words

I think that the authors may be underestimating Putin in his determination to keep Russia and the Russian economy independent. For example, I find this rumoured offer of "increased access to the huge European energy market" very funny, for at least two reasons:
1) US wants to sell hydrocarbons (LPG) to the European market at significantly higher prices than the Russian prices, and
2) the current dependence of EU countries on the Russian energy would have never happened if there were better alternatives.

In other words, any detente offer that the West would make to Russia would last, as usual, not even until the signature ink dries on the new cooperation agreements. Putin does not look to me like someone who suffers much from wishful thinking.

The Russian relationship with China is not a bed of roses, but it is not China which is increasing military activity all around Russia, it is the West. Also, so far China has shown no interest in regime-changing Russia and dividing it into pieces. Would you rather believe in the reform capability of an addict in violence or someone who does not need to reform? Would the West self-reform and sincerely renounce violence just by signing a new agreement with Russia?

The new faux detente will never happen, as long as Putin is alive.

Max Havelaar , February 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT \n
200 Words

Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat.

The only one stopping Trump is Putin or Russia's missile defenses.

Indeed, Putin's main inside enemy is Russia's central bank, or the Jewish oligarchs in Russia (Atlanticists). Also Russia needs to foster and encourage small&medium enterprises, that need cheap credit, to create competitive markets, where no prices are fixed and market shares change. These are most efficient resource users.

In the US, Wallstreet controls government = fascism = the IG Farben- Auschwitz concentration camps to maximize profits. This is the direction for the US economy.

Meanwhile in the EU, the former Auschwitz owners IG Farben (Bayer(Monsanto), Hoechst, BASF) the EU chemical giants, who have patented all natures molecules, are in controll again over EU. Deutsche bank et allies is eating Greece, Italy, Spain's working classes, using AUSTERITY as their creed.

So what is new? Nothing, the supercorporate-fascist elites are the same families, who 's morality is unchanged in a 100 years.

Anon , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

... ... ...

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I would really love to like Putin and I am trying but him protecting all those criminals and not reversing the history greatest heist of 90′s makes it impossible. While I am behind all his moves to restore Russian military and foreign policy, I am still waiting for more on home front. Note, not only the Bank must be nationalized. Everything, all industries, factories and other assets privatized by now must be returned to rightful owner. Public which over 70 years through great sacrifice built all of it.

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT \n
300 Words @SmoothieX12
I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.
Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia--a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still--I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around--people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation--hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Smoothie, you seem to have natural aversion towards lawyers
Albeit, the first Vladimir, I mean Lenin also was a lawyers by education still he was a rather quick study. Remember that military communism and Lenin after one year after Bolsheviks took power telling that state capitalism would be great step forward for Russia whcih obviously was backward and ruined by wars at the time and he proceeded with New Economic Policy and Lenin despite not being industry captain realized pretty well what constituted state power hence GOELRO plans and electrification of all Russia plans and so forth which was later turned by Stalin and his team into reality.

Now, Lenin was ideologically motivated and so is Putin. But he clearly has been trying to achieve different results by keeping same people around him and doing same things. Hopefully it is changing now, but it is so much wasted time when old Vladimir was always repeating that time is of essence and delay is like death knell. Putin imho is away too relax and even vain in some way, hence those shirtless pictures and those on the bike. And the way he walks a la "Я Московский озорной гуляка". As you said it looks like he is protecting those criminals who must be prosecuted and yes, many executed for what they caused.

I suspect in cases when it comes to economical development he is not picking right people for those jobs and it is his major responsibility to assign right people and delegate power properly, not to be forgotten to reverse what constitutes the history greatest heist and crime so called "privatization". Basically returning to more communal society minus Politburo.

There is a huge elephant in the room too. Russia demographic situation which I doubt can be addressed under current liberal order. all states which are in liberal state of affairs fail to basically procreate hence these waves of immigrants brought into all Western Nations. Russia cannot do it. It would be suicide which is what all Western countries are doing right now.

Boris N , February 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT \n

Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West.

You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable.

Some home reading (sorry, they are in Russian, but one ought to know the language if one writes about the country).

http://www.fa.ru/fil/orel/science/Documents/ISA%2014644146.pdf

http://rusrand.ru/analytics/stanki-stanki-stanki

[Jul 20, 2019] ... Not the men we thought we were ... - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Jul 20, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

EEngineer , 13 May 2019 at 11:45 AM

I see the parallels, but not that one. I think the neocons hope to force the Iranians into making that "all-in" call though. Perhaps as the neocons see it, such a strike would magically rally the American populous to the war they so desire. Imperial conquest performed as a defensive reflex. So they needle nearly everyone in the hopes of triggering a replay of the WW2 saga which has taken on a mythical good vs evil aura in the US. Ironically, I would say it is the neocons who think they need to start a war with the Iranians so that they can be the men they think they are. The only thing still holding them back is the passive-aggressive need to make it look like someone, anyone, else started it so they can play the victim card once the body bags start coming home.
Ed Lindgren , 13 May 2019 at 11:51 AM
USN CDR A. H. McCollum was the man who conceived the so-called "Eight Action Plan" which he outlined in his Oct 7, 1940 memo. This was his proposal for the U.S. and Britain to initiate actions which would essentially force Japan into making a decision to wage war against the United States.

The key elements of the plan, as outlined in McCollum's memo, include the following:

A. Make an arrangement with Britain for the use of British bases in the Pacific, particularly Singapore
B. Make an arrangement with the Netherlands for the use of base facilities and acquisition of supplies in the Dutch East Indies
C. Give all possible aid to the Chinese government of Chiang-Kai-Shek
D. Send a division of long range heavy cruisers to the Orient, Philippines, or Singapore
E. Send two divisions of submarines to the Orient
F. Keep the main strength of the U.S. fleet now in the Pacific[,] in the vicinity of the Hawaiian Islands
G. Insist that the Dutch refuse to grant Japanese demands for undue economic concessions, particularly oil
H. Completely embargo all U.S. trade with Japan, in collaboration with a similar embargo imposed by the British Empire

Not too terribly different from the squeeze currently being placed on Iran by the team of Pompeo/Boton.

The text of the McCollum memo can be found here:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/McCollum_memorandum


turcopolier , 13 May 2019 at 12:09 PM
Lindgren

Was this plan approved by Roosevelt? the embargoes had been in effect for some time by then.

Ed Lindgren said in reply to turcopolier ... , 13 May 2019 at 05:40 PM
COL Lang -

The journalist Robert Stinnett in his now 20 year old book 'Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor' made the case that FDR was aware of McCollum's memorandum. I have not read Stinnett's book, but historians apparently doubted the veracity of Stinnett's thesis regarding FDR's knowledge of the McCollum memo.

You are correct that initial embargoes of essential defense materials went to effect under the Export Control Act during the summer of 1940. Additional items were added to the list of embargoed materials subsequent to October 1940, following the drafting of the McCollum memo.

Fred -> Ed Lindgren... , 14 May 2019 at 08:29 AM
So no FOR did not approve of that plan, but some guy wrote a book 20 years ago, one you didn't read. That's quite helpful in evaluating current war mongering over Iran today.
ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to Ed Lindgren... , 20 July 2019 at 07:33 AM
I read Day of Deceit a month ago and found Stinnett's analysis and sourcing quite convincing. He demolishes the standard narrative that the attack was a total tactical surprise and to a large extent a strategic one as well. Admiral Yamamoto's orders to maintain radio silence were honored very much in the breach, one of the worst offenders being the at-sea mission commander himself, Admiral Nagumo. Many individual ship captains continued reporting their positions at specified times of the day, as was their peacetime practice. This enabled the US, British and Dutch signals monitoring stations, which were sharing information in spite of the fact that the US was not yet a combatant, to triangulate and track the Japanese mission fleet from its assembly point near the Kurile Islands eastward to their launch position several hundred miles north of Oahu. Stinnett assembles a strong circumstantial case asserting this information was available to the intelligence circles in Washington DC and in the US radio detection/cryptanalysis stations at Corregidor, the Aleutian Islands, and Station H on Oahu itself, practically within sight of Admiral Kimmel's office, but it never made it to the admiral himself or to General Short. He got much of the supporting information through the FOIA process, but some of the most damning documents he cited he found by walking into various historical archive sites outside of the DC area and simply asking to see what they had. He makes the point that many of the documents he cites never saw the light of day during any of the three formal investigations of the affair: in the months immediately after the attack; shortly after the end of the war; and half a century later in the early 1990s. What he is unable to cite are documents that concretely connect the president, Admiral Stark the CNO, or General Marshall the Army Chief of Staff with knowledge of the available intelligence. Those known to have existed which might have been smoking guns that he sought via the FOIA were either still highly classified or were "unable to be found." However the circumstantial case that they must have known and been on board, in some cases reluctantly, is strong. For example, it is known that the McCollum memo gained the attention of FDR himself soon after it was published, and the White House chief usher's log documents that the commander had several meetings with the president. McCollum, a USNA graduate, had spent much of his childhood in Japan as the child of Christian missionaries and was almost natively fluent in the language as well as deeply steeped in the culture.
Willy B said in reply to turcopolier ... , 20 July 2019 at 11:29 AM
Col,

I don't know if it came from the McCollum memo or not, but at the ABC-1 meetings in early 1941, the British delegation proposed that the US take over the defense of Singapore from the Royal Navy, a proposal that was rejected by the American delegation.

The minutes of the ABC-1 meetings were published by the British National Archives some years ago and I have it somewhere on my hard drive but I couldn't give you a link. As I recall, it was interesting to see the American side rejecting the Singapore and other schemes to get the US to defend British colonial territories.

blue peacock , 13 May 2019 at 12:21 PM
Col. Lang

It would seem that the best strategic option for Iran is to lay low and absorb the economic squeeze. The Chinese are unlikely to support the oil sanctions, so they'll be able to continue to sell them until the US navy starts to interdict their tankers. But oil is fungible.....

It would also seem that their best military strategy is a defensive one. Obtaining the best air defense systems and significant medium-range missiles with high payload capacity and accuracy. At the very least they'll be able to give a black-eye while going down.

Of course the question is how the Ayatollah controls his fire breathing, martyrdom loving hawks who bristle at their treatment by the US, Israel & the Saudis. My sense is Bibi will get more itchy than the Ayatollah to take advantage of his perception of complete control of Trump.

EEngineer said in reply to blue peacock... , 13 May 2019 at 01:01 PM
I've wondered if the Chinese will use their own tankers to pick up Iranian oil or re-flag Iranian ones with Chinese colors as the US did for Kuwait during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's.

I can see the neocons wanting open conflict with Iran, but I don't know if they would risk war with China.

John Minehan said in reply to blue peacock... , 19 July 2019 at 05:14 PM
I'm not sure how much control Iran has of its proxies (the Houthi rebels, Hezbollah, the Shia Militias in Iraq, etc.). That strikes me as a reason fo both the US/Britain AND Iran to go carefully and slowly.
turcopolier , 13 May 2019 at 12:23 PM
BP Merely logical
Tidewater said in reply to turcopolier ... , 13 May 2019 at 04:15 PM
Sir,

Nice map, I assume it can't be considered a chart. Maps make me think. Anyway, when I heard about the four tankers at Fujairah damaged by "sabotage" I took a look up at Qeshm island in front of Bandar Abbas (it looks to me like a shark) and wondered how far it was down to Fujairah. I get about 140 nautical miles.

I know that there are hardened sub-pens on the land side of Queshm Island probably out to the western end. Recently I have read comments speculating what the Iranian class of mini- or midget subs would be useful for. One learns that one use would be to deliver a sea-mine; another to launch the one torpedo it can carry; and another would be as a transport for naval commandos, or swimmers trained in demolition and mine warfare.

Then I remembered something. I took a look at the last place down on the right side of the map on the Iranian mangrove shore, Trask, once an old fishing port. Trask is also where the pipeline down from the CIS countries will end, and a large refinery, manufacturing, and shipping complex is planned. Since 2008, Trask has been developed for a number of military uses. First as a naval base which berths fast motor patrol boats of the kind that can launch missiles like the Qader, a sea-skimmer carrying a warhead of 200 kilos which can reach out to 186 miles; also as a drone base, complete with a rail launcher which could indicate proficiency in big stay-aloft reconnaisance drones, soon enough to be weaponized, if not already. Significantly, it is also a base for littoral-class submarines, which would include mini-subs design based on the North Korean Yono class, submarines that would be similar to the one that is thought to have sunk the ROKS Cheonan in 2011 with a torpedo. Travelling at nine or ten knots, the Iranian model of the Yono, the Ghadir, could make the crossing to Fujairah in about twelve hours. That's a distance of 127 miles or so.
It looks to me as if the stern location of the tanker the news videos show would not have been hit unless the ship backed into a mine. And it doesn't look like the kind of damage a naval mine would do. A naval mine would have made an enormous ten or twenty foot cavernous dent in that stern, at the least. What it looks like to me was that a swimmer or swimmers placed a sticky explosive or satchel charge. (?) I think it is meant as a warning. 'We can get you any time..."

There's another message. Fujairah and also the ports of Salalah, Sohar, and Duqm, in Oman, have been billing themselves as "the Gateway to the Arabian Gulf." (For that historical and scholarly insult alone they should pay.) Fujairah is the only one of the UAE that is on the eastern side of the Musandam Peninsula. It has been advertised as the emirate that would not be involved in a Gulf war. Out of range. Think again me buckaroos.

The United States has just signed an agreement in late March with Oman which allows US naval and air forces to use the new state- of-the art port facilities and airport at Duqm, down in the middle of the Oman coast, and also Salalah. Sultan Qaboos, a very impressive leader, one of the best, who happens to be gay (but the father of his country), balances carefully between the various powers he must deal with. Iran is already there in Oman and has the right to establish companies and to store materiel there, and to ship cargoes. Just as Iran does in Qatar, where two hundred trucks come across from Bushire every day and have since June 2017 since Trump the Brain gave the OK to Mohammed Bin Salman to lay siege to Qatar. Consider this: "Sohar Freezone has options for leasing pre-built warehouses and commercial offices, as well as 100% foreign ownership...and a One-Stop-Shop for all relevant permits and clearances." (From Overview--SOHAR Port and Freezone.) As to how you get this cargo to points south, that is an interesting question...

Russia will come in if push comes to shove. Russia will not countenance the idea of an America naval and drone base on the Caspian, which is what will happen if Iran is bombed flat. Russia will second pilots to the Iranians and will send bombers like the Tu-95 Bear or the Backfire capable of carrying the KH-101 which will carry Iranian markings etc. These bombers, with enormous range, could wreck havoc on Diego Garcia, and could destroy a carrier group.

The Iranians show us now that they were the ones who invented the game of chess. Trump can look at China, and then he can look at Fujairah, and he can see the American economy going down... The Iranian move is worthy of a grand master...

Tidewater said in reply to Tidewater... , 13 May 2019 at 04:56 PM
Tidewater to Tidewater,

Ouch. The place is called Jask.

ancientarcher said in reply to Tidewater... , 14 May 2019 at 06:08 AM
Great comment!
I think transferring a Tu-95 bomber will be a bit too much since the Iranians don't have much of an air force. But missiles will do the job anyways, so why bother with planes. You don't need to hit Diego Garcia, Israel is close enough. So is Al Udeid. Plus there will be attacks on all US bases spread across Iraq and I suspect Syria. There is no shortage of targets for sure for the Iranians, it this leads to war.
By the way, Chess was invented in India not ancient Persia. So was the numeral system which is now called Arabic numerals (the Arabs have been trying to give their names to stuff which is not theirs for a long time now) including the decimal system and negative numbers.
Tidewater said in reply to ancientarcher... , 14 May 2019 at 05:00 PM
Thank you for your comment. You remind me that I have a group of expensive, unread books about that part of the world. I may never read them, the way things are going.

I want to stress that Russia and Iran have already worked out the diplomatic agreements which allow Russia to have based bombers at Hamadan, from which attacks were made on Isis in Syria. In other words, Russia knows the way. The question is, is Russia going to stand by and do nothing while the United States bombs Iran back to the stone ages, as it did in North Korea during the Korean conflict? I find that hard to believe. I assume that at some point Russia will, as Russia has previously done in other conflicts, or places, such as in Yemen, in the 1970s and early 80's, assign pilots, and transfer planes ostensibly to the control of the Iranian military.

Diego Garcia is an atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It is a critical anchorage for prepositioning supply ships for any land operations, such as the invasion of Iraq; it is also a support facility, where submarines and other ships can get repairs. It is also an airbase, where B-2 bombers might be assembling as I write, though given everything else that is NOT happening, I assume that is doubtful. Speaking in a general way, the distance from the Persian Gulf, Muscat, or Bahrain, say, to Diego Garcia, is about 2600 or 2700 miles.

If Russia seconded a squadron of bombers such as the TU-22M3 (NATO reporting name Backfire C) under the aegis of Iran, and based them out of Bandar Abbas, Iran will have gotten a lot of reach out into the Indian Ocean, since the Backfire has a combat radius of about 1300-1500 miles.
The missile it will be carrying would be the standard Russian cruise missile--it is not hypersonic-- but it is a sea-skimmer, with a range of about 1550 miles. This is the KH-101/102 (nuclear). It seems certain to me that the Backfire can get the KH-101 (Raduga) missile out there; as can the Blackjack and the Bear. The mission of four or five bombers delivering each about eight missiles could be to sink some of those prepositioning ships; and to wreck the drone base/the airfield, and certain warehouse facilities. There is another thing such an attack could do. Diego Garcia has more than ample rainfall. As things stand today, it has never had a better fresh water supply system. Pipes and water storage, all has been greatly improved. Fresh water for two to three thousand support personnel and base activities is not a problem. I don't think Diego Garcia even needs to have a desalination system. There is one thing, though. Diego Garcia is built on a series of coral reefs, the one stacked on the other in geologic history as ocean levels rose 300 feet from 13,000 years ago. The coral beneath the island is permeated with salt water. The fresh water aquifers of the atoll sit on top of the salt water in what are called "lenses". These lenses hold an enormous amount of water kept stable and tappable by isostatic pressure, I am guessing. If an attack were made by JDAM missiles in areas determined from studies of the island to have these lense aqufiers, and if the missiles went deep into them before exploding, then I think the entire fresh water structure of the island could be ruined. The lenses would be penetrated and ruined. Salt water would permeate, mix and spread through the aquifer. It would become like Basra Governate, which now has an evil polluted salt brine aquifer where once it had fresh water. (And which means that there is already considerable migration from southern Iraq into Kurdish areas around Irbil, to the north.)

eaken , 13 May 2019 at 01:29 PM
Iran should publicly invite Trump to Tehran without his posse.
Artemesia said in reply to eaken... , 14 May 2019 at 03:26 PM
Iran should arrange with Italy for a meeting in Rome with Putin, Xi Jinping, and Trump. The Donald could take the role of Churchill in that meeting, who got an inkling that he was the odd-man out.
Six months later, Mark Clark went to Rome alone rather than execute the British - American pincer plan.

Historian Andrew Buchanan argues that Clark was ordered to take that action by FDR himself in a meeting with Clark at Bernard Baruch's plantation in North Carolina https://www.c-span.org/video/?322137-1/discussion-us-engagement-italy-world-war-ii US forces in control of Rome shut out all diplomats, including Churchill's representatives, from the diplomacy that then took place that determined Italy's future; USA became, effectively, in charge of Mediterranean and trade routes to Levant and North Africa.

Israel and its US lobbies, Jewish & Christian, have GOT to be reined in, or the American empire is on its way to the dustbin of history.

Tidewater said in reply to Artemesia... , 15 May 2019 at 03:40 PM
That historian Andrew Buchanan does not know that Bernard Baruch's plantation was off of Winyah Bay on Waccamaw Neck across from Georgetown, SOUTH Carolina, is, in my view, a red flag about his scholarship. The plantation, Hobcaw Barony, was for FDR, in 1944, a month-long retreat which made it, in effect, the southern White House. Buchanan obviously doesn't know anything at all about southerners in FDR's administration and the New Deal. I cannot help but wonder if Buchanan has ever looked at the papers of James Francis Byrnes, which are held at the University of South Carolina. My guess is that Byrnes might have made some comment about significant matters which happened at Hobcaw, including the visit of General Clark. Shrewd, devious Byrnes is a fascinating figure. (His handiwork is the Santee-Cooper hydroelectric project which you get a glimpse of on I-95 as you drive over lake Marion there, created by damming the Santee. It provided electricity for the whole depression hit state of South Carolina.) Byrnes knew them all, including Stalin. Also, it ought to be noted that Buchanan himself says that there is not a shred of evidence that at Hobcaw FDR personally ordered Mark Clark to disobey the clear orders of Field Marshall Alexander and break away from what could have been a decisive victory and instead go into Rome. It ought to be noted as well that Buchanan's argument that by putting into power the more left-wing politician Ivanoe Bonomi instead of the British backed General Pietro Badoglio, it meant that the communist partisans in northern Italy therefore accepted the new government and willingly laid down their arms, whereas under Badoglio and the King they might not have. I don't think they had a choice; and I wonder if they actually didn't maintain a clandestine arsenal thereafter. They were by no means ready to quit. A quick look at Wikipedia tells us that it was Churchill's government that persuaded Bonomi, who came in in June and was ready to quit by November, to stay on. He did so. The communists were a powerful force in Italy all the way up almost into the 1980s--it was the Red Brigade which kidnapped and murdered Aldo Moro, for example. Further, as a reaction , to the communist threat, there is the whole question of "strategic tension" which gave Italy the "years of lead"-- years of terror bombings by the right, such as the Bologna train station bombing, the bombing of the passenger plane which fell off of Ustica, and the whole mysterious thing that was Gladio. Michael Scammel in 'Koestler', his biography of the writer Arthur Koestler, gives an account of the near hysteria in western Europe in 1948 after the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia. "The coup fulfilled Koestler's direst predictions and worst fears: there was no room for a third force in Europe anymore--not, at least, in countries where the Communists were strong. In France, rife with rumors of a coup of its own and convulsed by increasingly violent strikes, he found a populace growing more jittery by the day. Malraux talked darkly of a plot to foment civil war and publicly threatened "a reorganization of the Resistance" to oppose communism. Charles "Chip" Bohlen, the new American ambassador, talked wildly about dropping an atom bomb on Baku, and newspapers were full of the threat of a new world conflict." (Page 311.) Koestler, when he left Europe for the United States, actually believed that Europe was going to go communist. That Europe was a lost cause.

This is not to say that I am disagreement with what you are saying overall. I find Andrew Buchanan someone new and interesting. Very provocative. Perhaps he overreaches. Don't know enough, really, to make the call. Thank you for the introduction to him. Hobcaw Barony is now a large natural preserve for environmental, oceanographic and coastal studies. Remarkable story about how the foundation was created, mostly by Baruch's daughter, who must have worked a lifetime on it. Sixteen thousand acres on a neck of land that has the Atlantic ocean on one side and marshes and Winyah Bay on the other. It's worth a visit.

ted richard , 13 May 2019 at 01:37 PM
if the true goal of the neocons is war, provoked upon iran then any naval battle group which includes a usa carrier sent into the persian gulf is the match the neocons are looking for once they decide to ''remember the maine'' to it sending it to the bottom, then use that false flag as their pretext.

if its obvious to me wouldn't you suppose its obvious to the pentagon?

O'Shawnessey , 13 May 2019 at 01:39 PM
An apt comparison, no doubt, to "The Day of Deceit."

Then there is the high probability that, even if Iran shows restraint and plays the long game, a provocation in the manner of "Assad gasses his own people" will be arranged for them.

Even so, time is not on the side of the US Entity. How much longer can the Fed's fraudulent T-bill scheme keep running? My sense is that they wouldn't be weaponizing the dollar if they had other actual weapons to hand.

Jack , 13 May 2019 at 01:58 PM
Sir

What real choices do the Iranians have? It would be foolish on their part to launch any kind of military action.

LA Sox Fan -> Jack... , 19 July 2019 at 06:43 PM
While some may think military action from Iran is foolish, a slow death from sanctions isn't going to be something Iran chooses either.
catherine , 13 May 2019 at 01:59 PM

No sooner 'warned' then done. Who did it?

Saudi Arabia said two of its oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and described it as an attempt to undermine the security of crude supplies amid tensions between the United States and Iran.
The reports come as the US warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region, and as the US is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to counter what it called "threats from Tehran".

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/05/saudi-oil-tankers-sabotaged-ships-uae-coast-190513055332524.html

ancientarcher , 13 May 2019 at 01:59 PM
Exceptionally good argument. I would also posit that the element of religious belief makes the argument even more potent.
I can't help but think back to more recent instances where the neocons were basically daring the other party to do something - anything. Ukraine in 2014 and Syria later on, come to mind. They had been waiting for the Russians to send in their troops to Ukraine after which they could have totally choked the economy. They also waited for mistakes from Assad, which he wisely avoided.
Similarly, Iran will be wise to avoid reacting in any way to these provocations. Since these provocations are meant to provoke a reaction, if the Iranians bite their lips and hold their hands, they would do more to hurt the neocons than by reacting blindly as the situation and their nature perhaps goads them towards.
D , 13 May 2019 at 03:08 PM
I humbly suggest you watch this series. Unfortunately, I don't know Persian so I can't help with translation. I watched these series with my sister in law who is a Persian Jew with an excellent command of Farsi; the videos are pretty informative.

https://youtu.be/LUHY17zF-9g?t=789

1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LersWbaymTM
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUHY17zF-9g
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abODp1BeuAg
4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePDXnAe_zm4
5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNboW6WcC3U

Rocketrepreneur , 13 May 2019 at 03:08 PM
Pat,
I share your concern, but for the neocons I fear that they see that backing Iran into a position where it has nothing to lose with a war is a feature, not a bug.
~Jon
walrus , 13 May 2019 at 03:43 PM
Time is not on America's side

In my opinion, the critical element is the forthcoming deployment of advanced Russian and Chinese systems such as the Sarmat heavy ICBM, scheduled I think for 2021, new submarines, etc., etc. and I am not even talking about joint Russo/sino developments.

As Col. Lang/Gingrich explained, we are talking economics here. But unlike Japan, the Russian, Iranian, Syrian, Chinese and associated economies under the stimulus of OBOR are only going to get stronger if left to themselves. The American economy, in my opinion, is no longer capable of replacing ageing infrastructure, matching Russo Chinese military technical capabilities, fielding a million man Army and supporting allies like Korea, Taiwan, Australia, Japan, Poland, etc. without beggaring its population.

To put that another way, the American economic marvel of military production came off a low base with millions of underemployed work hungry people available as a result of the depression. I don't think those conditions obtain today.

Hence the Washington logic of picking off the weakest of the Axis - Iran, right now.

Fred -> walrus ... , 13 May 2019 at 07:51 PM
You mean a million H1B visa holders and 20 million illegal immigrants aren't our strength? Who knew! Maybe we should outsource more manufacturing to China, that'll teach the bastards to mess with us!
ISL said in reply to walrus ... , 19 July 2019 at 07:46 PM
Good points, I would correct:

The "American Political class," rather than the US economy - solutions are available and affordable, but not within the current US political and economic and legal and hence power structures.

FIRE take up too much of the US economy and the best and brightest and has bought the political class hook, line and Epstein.

LJ , 13 May 2019 at 04:09 PM
The chances of war diminished?

https://ejmagnier.com/2019/05/13/from-karbala-to-al-fujairah-an-act-of-sabotage-may-end-prospects-of-a-summer-war-in-the-middle-east/

Eliot said in reply to LJ... , 13 May 2019 at 08:14 PM
LJ

"the chances of war..."

Those damn fools.

This makes war more likely.

- Eliot

Eliot , 13 May 2019 at 04:30 PM
Walrus,

"The American economy, in my opinion, is no longer capable of replacing ageing infrastructure, matching Russo Chinese military technical capabilities"

I was in Russia for the first time last summer. I loved it, but I was surprised by how poor they are. Our debt load aside, they have do have more limited resources.

Sylvia 1 said in reply to Eliot ... , 14 May 2019 at 10:35 AM
I would love to know more about what you mean about Russian poverty. I was there last September and will return again. I would not say the same.
rho , 13 May 2019 at 04:48 PM
I think the key difference is that Japan was isolated on its continent when it made the decision to go to war. (only being allied with Nazi Germany and Italy, which were so far away that the alliance made little difference to Japan's economic situation in 1941)

Going to war must appear more attractive when you have your back against the wall than when you have regional allies who are still willing to support you politically and economically in a meaningful way.

E Publius , 13 May 2019 at 05:17 PM
I have to admit Colonel that this post reminded me of an April 29th profile in the New Yorker of John Bolton. Several days ago after reading the lengthy New Yorker piece I realized how slowly but surely, the Trump admin has been consistently heading toward outright madness with the gradual departure of people like Tillerson, J. Kelly, and Mattis from the office. It was mentioned in the piece how Gen. Mattis thwarted multiple outright crazy attempts by McMaster (who is now at FDD shilling for the "Long War" strategy; once a neocon, always a neocon), Bolton and Mira Ricardel aimed at declaring war against Iran. Now that there are a few key vacant positions in the administration such as the UN Ambs, Homeland Sec, a few at the State Dep, and most importantly at the Pentagon, shouldn't these vacancies act as major restraining factor against war or the Trump admin "is" stupid enough to go full war mode regardless? IMO some things still just do not add up. just wondering...
Christian J Chuba , 13 May 2019 at 07:06 PM
Just curious about something. I hear news stories that we are sending the Lincoln inside the Persian Gulf. That seems like it would negate a lot of our advantage if we actually did fight Iran. It would be in range of every anti-ship missile they have as well as most of their navy which is designed specifically for the Gulf and not much of a blue water navy. Why wouldn't we keep it just outside the Gulf in the open water where our carrier and escorts would seemingly have a bigger advantage?

I don't want a fight and I'm not pretending that I understand naval tactics, but this just seems a bit odd to me.

VietnamVet , 14 May 2019 at 01:16 AM
Colonel,

The damage was above the water line and a slash as if perhaps a missile but did not penetrate the oil bunkers. It does not look like a limpet mine. There are no reports of airplanes or ships but is described as sabotage. It is unlikely to be a false flag. Media reporting has been muted. Simply that it is being investigated. But as pointed out here before there is no stockpiling of supplies needed for an invasion of Iran by a million-man army. Inside the Persian Gulf is the last place the Commander of the Carrier Group wants to be if war breaks out. My guess is that the sabotage to four tankers was a signal of what the Revolutionary Guards could do if they really wanted to and as a counter to ultra-mad man U.S. diplomacy and sanctions. Lloyd's of London must raise their insurance rates. This will raise oil prices at the same time as prices rise due to Mid-West flooding, China's African Swine Fever outbreak, and the imposing of a 25% tariff on Chinese imports. All sorts of bad things are happening at once. Rather than 2003's misleading Shock and Awe propaganda, the 2019 Iranian war drums indicate total incompetence.

Eric Newhill , 14 May 2019 at 09:25 AM
The Imperial Japanese believed that Americans were soft and that US troops would crumble when faced with the mighty spirit of Bushido. They were ultimately banking on that mistaken conclusion. I don't think the Iranians have any such delusions.

I don't see how Iran can do anything more than make some trouble that is minor in the big scheme of things - and which will dig their hole deeper - and then lose.

I don't approve of what is being done, but I think the current Iranian regime could be destroyed if the neocons have their way; albeit with US casualties and great material and financial expense. I don't like how US troops and sailors may be used as bait by the neocons.

Eric Newhill said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 14 May 2019 at 10:12 AM
I should add that to my mind the real question is what would follow in the wake of war. Would the Iranians be happy to be free of the Islamic Revolutionary govt? Or would they go on for generations with wounded pride that demands revenge, like the Palestinians? I think the latter. In which case war/regime change solves nothing. I'm willing to bet the neocons, as usual, have their own delusions about flowers, candy, purple thumbs, smiling faces and freedom.
John Minehan said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 19 July 2019 at 08:26 PM
They had a front row seat for OIF and what came after. I suspect they have a good feeling for our capability and weaknesses . . . whether they can exploit that or not, might be the issue.
turcopolier , 14 May 2019 at 10:03 AM
Eric Newhill - IMO you are underestimating how much damage Iran could do to the fleet in a transition to war situation before the US Navy got its ducks in line and crushed them. As for the illusion about US willingness to fight, all our opponents have believed the same thing before the house fell on them.
Eric Newhill said in reply to turcopolier ... , 14 May 2019 at 10:17 AM
Sir,
Oh, I understand what Iran could do. As you know, it has been war gamed and the US Navy gets hit pretty hard.

But Iran still loses. Each hit the US Navy takes, strengthens the resolve to crush Iran that much harder.

Again, I am in no way approving of what I think may happen. I have been told by someone I know well in the DIA that we are doing to war with Iran sooner or later. The first time I was told this was when Obama was still in office. Then I was told that the election of Trump has changed nothing. Make what you will of that.

blue peacock said in reply to turcopolier ... , 20 July 2019 at 01:58 AM
Col. Lang

"in a transition to war situation before the US Navy got its ducks in line and crushed them" what damage could Iranian ballistic missiles do to UAE, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia? Could they devastate oil & gas, LNG, port and pipeline infrastructure sufficiently that it would take a year to re-build back to full capacity?

It seems it would be a lose-lose proposition for everyone including Trump's re-election prospects. I have seen private surveys of working class people in the mid-west and the south who by an overwhelming majority oppose a war with Iran when informed about some of the potential consequences.

turcopolier , 14 May 2019 at 11:12 AM
Eric Newhill

People in the information parts of the USIC do not know what the US government may do, but they all have opinions.

turcopolier , 14 May 2019 at 11:13 AM
Eric Newhill

We won the Pacific War as well but if you were entombed alive in the bowels of USS Arizona that did nit mean much to you.

Eric Newhill , 19 July 2019 at 05:26 PM
Well, Sir, unfortunately I think you called this one spot on.

IMO, if there's going to be war, then the Europeans and Brits should fight it. Their the ones most impacted (though I recognize that everyone in the global markets will feel the pain resulting from a closure of the straight).

Of course none of them will step up on their own and the US will have to do this. Still holding out hope that some kind of negotiation is possible, but becoming skeptical. The Iranians want to prove they are the men they thought they were. Still, maybe a good deal will satisfy that need.

LA Sox Fan -> Eric Newhill... , 19 July 2019 at 06:58 PM
The Bolton/neoconservative plan of starting a war with Iran is working perfectly. In a tit for tat action, Iran has captured one or more U.K. tankers. My hopes for avoiding a completely unnecessary war with Iran, one we have a fair chance of losing, are becoming slimmer and slimmer.
Walrus said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 19 July 2019 at 10:34 PM
Eric, I'm in Europe right now and I don't think any Europeans are prepared in the slightest to support a war with Iran. For starters, if Iran did not surrender instantaneously, an oil shortage will collapse the European and Chinese economies and that is only one of the minor, first order effects.

The question of "not being the men they thought they were" cuts both ways. Does the European union want to see war with Iran? No. Do the Europeans want to see Britain, egged on by the Neocons, take "a hard line" with Iran? No. Do the Europeans want to aid and abet the U. S. in fighting a war with Iran through NATO? No. Do they want to be "saved from Iran " by the U.S. galloping all over hemisphere as in 1944? No.

So do you really want to see NATO and American relationships with Europe, Russia and China, India and the rest of the world put under severe stress in a @#@# waving contest between Trump and the Mullahs? At the behest of Israel? Because that is what you are going to get.

Then there is the prospect of the Chinese and Russians retaliating, and I don't even want to go there.

The Mullahs have ruined the weekend for the leaders of each and every major nation. What will be happening this weekend in every capital is a series of committee meetings asking the same questions; What should our response to Iran be? What should our response to possible American action be? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our energy supplies? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our own security? What is the likely effect of war with Iran on our economy? Public servants will be working late into the night to answer these questions. The only thing for sure is that the price of gold is going to skyrocket when markets open and that a lot of troops are going to get warning orders about notice to move monday morning.

This is the same type of situation that started WW1. ....... So we decide to give those pesky Iranian Mullahs a good whupping because they had it coming. Should be easy, after all they are just more sand niggers, right? All of a sudden Russia drops an air defence regiment into Tehran, We lose aircraft. China let's North Korea off the leash and at the same time issues an ultimatum to Taiwan. Suddenly we are taking losses, have three war theatres going at the same time. What happens then?

I suppose you think nothing is going to affect the continental U.S., so who cares?


Charles Michael -> Eric Newhill... , 20 July 2019 at 08:19 AM
Eric newhill,

There I must disagree:
Nethanyaou is again in election campaign same goes for President Trump; IMHO no war for the newt 6 months and probably never.

A deal is possible ? maybe
but it should encompass the Syrian issue from where all this Iranian crisis is actually born-again.
For example Iran could agree to withdraw its troops from Syria if USA and partners did the same as Trump was considering.
This move would surely have some effect on the YPG position, thus on Turkey's activism along its frontier with Syria (Afrin being not included).


Entering in negociations for a JCPOA bis will not be acceptable for Iran if sanctions (some at least) are not lifted. My educated guess is that is precisely what's going on.

turcopolier , 19 July 2019 at 05:43 PM
JM

IMO the Houthis, the Hizbullah and Hamas are not proxies of Iran. They are allies.

John Minehan said in reply to turcopolier ... , 19 July 2019 at 08:19 PM
Much better choice of words than mine. Thus they are a significant wild card here, I would guess.
Harlan Easley , 19 July 2019 at 06:10 PM
When I read the Iranians captured a British Oil tanker it immediately reminded me of this article.
GeneO , 19 July 2019 at 06:18 PM
pl -

I was hoping yesterdays Zarif/Rand Paul discussion would lead to a ratcheting down of tensions. But the hardliners on both sides would hate to have that happen and will attempt to wreck any détente.

Did Zarif offer the idea of allowing more intrusive inspections of its nuclear program before or after his meeting with Paul? In any case some unnamed US officials said it was a non-starter. Probably the unnamed ones were the Mousetache-of-Idiocy and his minions?

Never should have cancelled JCPOA. Why should we have to do Israel/KSA/UAE's dirty work?

Timothy Hagios , 19 July 2019 at 07:50 PM
One recalls the immortal words of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "Absolutely no one could have predicted this."
ambrit , 19 July 2019 at 11:12 PM
Sir;
Isn't the "wild card" here the Israelis?
I can imagine an Iranian government, or perhaps the IRGC in a 'bitter ender' phase targeting Israel proper before they collapse. As the fate of Gerald Ball indicates, the Israelis are understandably paranoid about their regional competitors.
Christian Chuba , 19 July 2019 at 11:34 PM
Iranian grain ships stuck in Brazil due to U.S. sanctions
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-brazil-iran-sanctions/iran-grain-ships-stuck-in-brazil-without-fuel-due-to-u-s-sanctions-idUKKCN1UD2QM

We are now engaging in cartoon villainy in terms of trying to squeeze Iran into a tiny box. Iran cannot transact in dollars so they are reduced to bartering with Brazil for corn. Oops, even their urea export is sanctioned but that doesn't matter because we won't let Brazil sell them fuel oil to ship corn back to their home port. This is flat out evil.

Jim Ticehurst , 20 July 2019 at 12:04 AM
I wondering if the former Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejah ...2005 to 2013 and His "Apocalyptic Shiites" were put in the background...with disinformation about His falling out of Favor....So Iran could play strategic games with the P5+1 agreement IN 2015 especially with President Obama..
SysATI , 20 July 2019 at 12:06 AM
Eric Newhill

"But Iran still loses. Each hit the US Navy takes, strengthens the resolve to crush Iran that much harder."

Cm'on man... wake up and open your eyes...

The US hasn't won any war since... Eternity...
Do I have to remind you what happens in Afghanistan, in Irak or more recently in Syria ?

Well Iran is FIVE times bigger than Syria and is not a divided multicultural/multi-religious country. Do you think that anything you do could change the fact that those 80 something millions people will survive and will ALL be behind their leaders whoever he might be ?

If I was Iranian and even if the leader of the country was Adolf Hitler or some fanatic religious Abu Satanist al Muslim, I would still be behind him if my country was attacked by some foreign bully. My guess is that 99% of the Iranians think the same way....

Forget about allies like Hamas, Hezbollah or Houtis or even China and Russia.
Iran exists since 7000 BC and you really think that the new kid in the block with a couple hundred years of existence would be able to take it out ?
Given your history of military victories ???!!! Don't make me laugh...

Even if you naively believe that, do you think about the consequences of such a war ? Not on Iran, OK, you might level part of the country, but then what ?

Israel would most probably cease to exist. But so as the middle eastern Arab monarchies and most the world's oil industry, which we all depend on...

Which means that the whole planet will suffer for years to come...

If I can't feed my kids because my country can't get enough oil thanks to some nutcase in WDC guess how I'll feel about the US ?

Most of the world already hate you for a reason. If you want to be not just hated but treated like enemies where ever you go, go ahead, bomb Iran, start a war, have the whole world crumble...

And for what ???
Just "because you can" is not a valid answer...

"IMO, if there's going to be war, then the Europeans and Brits should fight it... Of course none of them will step up on their own and the US will have to do this."

Will HAVE TO do this ???!!!

Who the hell is forcing you not to mind your own business ?

Has Iran attacked the US ? Or Britain ? Or Europe ?
Or anyone else in the past several hundreds of years ?
No...


But.... Does the US oil industry would like the oil prices to go up ? YES !!!
Do the crazies in DC want to make more money by selling more weapons ? YES !!!
Do the crazies in Wahabistan hate the Shias and want to get rid of them ? YES !!!
Do the crazies in Israel want to get rid of a powerful neighbor ? YES !!!
Do even some crazies in the US want Israel to go in flames so that Jesus comes back ?

Unfortunately yes...

turcopolier , 20 July 2019 at 11:29 AM
Charles Michael
You are not correct. The Israelis have a deep psychopatholgy about Iranian ballistic missiles and a possible nuclear weapon that might - might exist someday. That has nothing to do with Syria.
David Habakkuk , 20 July 2019 at 01:29 PM
All,

I think the comment by 'Elliot' back in May reflects assumptions which are very deep-seated in the West, are questionable, and if wrong, could prove extraordinarily dangerous. So an extended response seems appropriate.

Of course the Russians have far more limited resources than the United States. What is important is to understand the implications of that fact for their strategic thinking.

On this I would strongly recommend two pieces at the top of the 'Russia' page on the 'World Hot Spots' section of the 'Army Military Press' site.

(See https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Special-Topics/World-Hot-Spots/Russia/ )

The first is a translation of a 2017 article from the journal of the 'Academy of Military Science', entitled 'Color Revolutions in Russia', by A.S. Brychkov and G.A. Nikonorov.

Among other things, this illustrates very well the rather central fact that Russian military strategists are very well aware that one of the things that wrecked the Soviet Union was the attempt to maintain permanent preparedness for a prolonged global war with a power possessing an enormously greater military-industrial potential.

As to the implications for contingency planning for war, these are spelt out in a piece, also published in 207, by the invaluable Major Charles K. Bartles of the Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, entitled 'Recommendations for Intelligence Staffs Concerning Russian New Generation Warfare.'

At the risk of glossing his meaning overmuch, what is involved is a kind of 'higher synthesis' of the ideas of two figures who were on opposing sides of the arguments of the 'Twenties of the last century, Georgiy Isserson, the pioneering theorist of 'deep operations', and Aleksandr Svechin, who cautioned against an exclusive focus of the 'Napoleonic' strand in Clausewitz.

Both are quoted by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov, in his crucial and much misunderstood address to the Academy of Military Science in February 2013, reproduced on the same page as the articles to which I have referred.

What Svechin was saying, in essence, was that an attentive reader of Clausewitz would realise that 'toujours la'audace' should be replaced as a motto by 'l'audace at the right place and time'.

It was crucial to be able to judge when an offensive approach was absolutely the right choice, and caution suicidal, and when the promise of a decisive victory was a snare and a delusion, and defensive and attritional responses appropriate.

(This argument crops up in many contexts: the 'Tabouleh Line' strategy adopted by Hizbullah, which Colonel Lang discussed in posts during and following the 2006 Lebanon War, and also that advocated by James Longstreet at Gettysburg, are classic examples of what Svechin would have seen as circumstances where a sound 'defensive' strategy was the key to victory.)

As regards contemporary Russian thinking, an implication is that one of things they have been trying to create is the ability, in appropriate situations, to use characteristics of 'deep operations' – surprise, speed, shock – in support of clearly limited objectives.

The kind of possibility involved was alluded to in the conversation between the 'Security Adviser' and the 'American Soldier' – seemingly involved on the ground in the 'deconfliction' process – which accompanied Seymour Hersh's June 2017 article in 'Die Welt' on the Khan Sheikhoun sarin incident the previous April, and the U.S. air strikes that resulted.

(See https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905618/We-got-a-fuckin-problem.html )

A key exchange:

'SA: There has been a hidden agenda all along. This is about trying to ultimately go after Iran. What the people around Trump do not understand is that the Russians are not a paper tiger and that they have more robust military capability than we do.

'AS: I don't know what the Russians are going to do. They might hang back and let the Syrians defend their own borders, or they might provide some sort of tepid support, or they might blow us the fuck out of the airspace and back into Iraq. I honestly don't know what to expect right now. I feel like anything is possible. The russian air defense system is capable of taking out our TLAMs. this is a big fucking deal...we are still all systems go...'

And that brings one to another critical strand in the approach of contemporary Russian strategic thinkers.

Not simply for war-fighting, but, critically, for 'deterring' the United States from escalating if the Russians do successfully achieve limited objectives, they have been concentrating on 'asymetric' involving focused investment in specific technologies.

So, Bartles explains that the Russian Ground Forces are 'significantly ahead' of the U.S. Army in electronic warfare, key objectives being to disrupt the demonstrated American capability for precision strikes, and also exploit the latent vulnerabilities involved in the dependence of so much equipment on GPS. (As an Army man, he does not discuss the interesting question of naval and air applications.)

And crucially, there has been a focus on developing a very wide range of missiles which 'missile defence' technologies are not going to be able to counter effectively in any forseeable future, and which have steadily increasing range, accuracy and lethality. One central purpose of this, which Gerasimov has spelt out in later addresses to the Academy of Military Science, also available on the page to which I have linked, is to provide non-nuclear 'deterrence' options.

It is, of course, always difficult to be clear as to what is, or is not, hype in claims made for new weapons systems. That said, it is I think at least worth reading some contributions by the Brussels-based American analyst Gilbert Doctorow.

In February, he produced a piece entitled 'The INF Treaty is dead: will the arms race be won this time by the most agile or by the biggest wallet?', and another, headlined 'The Kremlin's Military Posture Re-considered: strategic military parity with the U.S. or absolute military superiority over the U.S.'

(See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2019/02/05/the-inf-treaty-is-dead-will-the-arms-race-be-won-this-time-by-the-most-agile-or-by-the-biggest-wallet/ ; https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2019/02/24/the-kremlins-military-posture-re-considered-strategic-military-parity-with-the-u-s-or-absolute-military-superiority-over-the-u-s/ .)

Certainly, a good many assertions Doctorow made merit being taken with a pinch of salt, if not a great deal more. However, before one empties the full salt-cellar over them, a few observations are worth making.

How much salt should be applied to Shoigu's assertion that the cost of the systems being developed is hundreds of times less than that of the systems being developed by the United States against Russia I cannot say.

Some questions are however worth putting. It would be interesting to be clearer than I am as to how relevant, or irrelevant, is the fact that for a long time now Russian universities have, frankly, wiped the floor with their Western counterparts in international programming competitions is one.

Another relevant range of issues relates to how expensive the 'software' component of the relevant weaponry actually produced, once it is developed. A third relates to that of how far the new missiles, with their greater range, can be effectively deployed, either by updating old platforms – like Soviet-era bombers – or by creating relatively low cost-ones.

And then of course one comes to the question of how the technical military issues interact with the 'geopolitics' involved. In recent years, a range of different Russian analysts have been claiming, in essence, that the 'Petrine' era of Russian history is over. Three examples, from Dmitri Trenin, Sergei Karaganov, and Vladislav Surkov, can be found at

https://carnegie.ru/2016/12/25/russia-s-post-soviet-journey-pub-66569 ; https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/pubcol/We-Have-Used-Up-the-European-Treasure-Trove-19769 ; https://eng.globalaffairs.ru/book/The-Loneliness-of-the-Half-Breed-19575 .

If, as Trenin argued back in 2016, Russia has moved from aspiring to become part of a 'Greater Europe' to seeing itself as a central part of a 'Greater Eurasia', then this has implications for how it should react to the asymetry which was central to Soviet views of INF in the 'Eighties.'

Put simply, INF in Europe can pose a 'decapitation' threat to Russia, while Russian INF do not do so to the United States.

At that time, the deployment of cruise and Pershing II helped to encourage a burgeoning awareness among important sections of the 'security intelligentsia' in Moscow of the extent to which their own security policies – of which the SS-20 deployment was just one of many examples – had created suspicion, fear and antagonism.

The conclusion – classically expressed in Georgiy Arbatov's joke about the terrible thing that Gorbachev was going to do to the United States, deprive it of an enemy – turned out hopelessly naive. The liquidation of the existing Soviet security posture did not lead to any lesssening of Western antagonism.

In his second piece, Doctorow has an interesting discussion of views expressed by Yakov Kedmi, the sometime 'refusenik' who became a pivotal figure in organising Russian Jewish emigration to Israel, and is now a regular guest on Russian television. And he writes:

'Perhaps Kedmi's most interesting and relevant observation is on the novelty of the Russian response to the whole challenge of American encirclement. He noted that for the past 200 or more years the United States considered itself secure from enemies given the protection of the oceans. However, in the new Russian military threat, the oceans will now become the most vulnerable point in American defenses, from which the decapitating strike can come.'

Putting the point another way. Potentially at least, the 'Greater Eurasia' as Trenin describes it includes the Western European countries – indeed, it appears to include Ireland. It is, obviously, enormously in the interest of the Russians to include these, in that doing so both makes it possible to isolate the 'Anglo-Saxons', and also to provide a counterweight to Chinese preponderance.

To do so however – and at this point I am moving towards my own speculations, rather than simply relying upon better-informed observers – requires a complicated balancing act.

On the one hand, the West Europeans – above all the Germans – have to be persuaded that if they persist in following with the 'Russia delenda est' agendas of traditional 'Anglo' Russophobes, and 'revanchists' from the 'borderlands', they should not think this is going to be cost-free.

But on the other, the promise has to be implied that, if they 'see sense' and realise that their future is with a 'Greater Eurasia', without their needing to 'remilitarise' in any serious way, then they will not be threatened militarily.

This balancing act, ironically, makes it absolutely imperative for the Russians not to threaten the Baltics – particularly given their historical links to Germany.

By the same token, it provides a particularly cogent reason for threatening to respond to new American IMF deployments in Europe with ones that target the United States.

[Jul 20, 2019] The UK's Dubious Role in the New Tanker War With Iran naked capitalism

Jul 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F07%2Fthe-uks-dubious-role-in-the-new-tanker-war-with-iran.html

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https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> Iran has also said that it will not only follow graded response to the sanctions, including possible exiting from the JCPOA, but also reconsider its participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, a thinly veiled threat to follow in North Korea's footsteps. It is clear that Iran will fight the status quo arising out of Trump's maximum pressure policies in various ways, and not allow itself to be economically strangulated.

The UK's position has now become very dubious. Why did it seize Iran's supertanker Grace 1 in the Gibraltarwaters? Four of Grace 1 's officers, including the ship's captain, all Indians, have been charged in a Gibraltar court and are now out on bail.

In a new twist on this issue, we now know that Gibraltar changed its law underpinning the seizure just one day before it occurred . This adds weight to reports in Spain quoting government sources that the UK carried out the seizing of the tanker under U.S.instructions.

The argument that Grace 1 was carrying crude oil to Syria's Baniyas refinery, and so was violating European sanctions on Syria, sounds weak on various counts.The Gibraltar court's order mentions EU Regulation 36/2012 on sanctions on Syria as the basis for action against Grace 1 . Oil exports from Syria to the EU have been banned, but not oil imports to Syria under EU regulations. Also, imports to the Baniyas refinery are banned for machinery and equipment , not oil.

More important: In international trade, do countries through which transit takes place have the right to impose their laws on the merchandise in transit? For example, can pharmaceutical products from India, which arein consonance with Indian and the receiving country's laws, be seized in transit in Europe if they violate the EU's patent laws? Such seizures have happened , creating a trade dispute between India and the EU. The EU finally agreed not to seize such goods in transit. So can the EU extend its sanctions to goods in transit through its waters? Assuming the crude was indeed for Syria -- which Iran has denied -- do EU sanctions apply when transiting through Gibraltar waters? In short, was the UK imposing EU sanctions on Syria -- or U.S.sanctions on Iran?

There has also been another incident involving Iran and the UK in the developing Tanker War 2. This makes the UK's role even more suspect. Iran has denied the UK's story of its empty tanker Heritage being blocked by Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf. The U.S., which first broke the story, claimed it was five Iranian boats that tried to seize a British tanker. The UK authorities claimed that it was three Iranian boats that were impeding the tanker's journey, which were driven off by a British warship. The Iranians deny that any such incident took place. No video or satellite image of the incident has been made public, though a U.S.aircraft reportedly took video footage of the incident. In his Twitter feed, BBC's Defense Correspondent Jonathan Beale condemned the failure of the British government to release images of the incident: "UK MOD say they will NOT be releasing any imagery from incident in Gulf when @HMS_MONTROSE confronted #Iran IRGC boats. Shame as far as I'm concerned."

What remains unexplained is why the empty UK tanker switched off its transponder before the alleged incident for about 24 hours, particularly in the period when it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz -- or why an empty tanker was accompanied by a British warship. Was the UK baiting Iran by manufacturing a maritime incident in the Gulf?

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said on Twitter that after a phone call with Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, he offered to release the tanker Grace 1 on the condition that it will not send the oil to Syria. This still begs the question of the UK's locus in deciding the destination of Iranian oil -- or why Iran should accept EU sanctions.

[Jul 17, 2019] Oil Is Driving the Iran Crisis by Michael T. Klare

Highly recommended!
Washington's aggression is part of a decades-long quest to control the spigot in the Persian Gulf.
Notable quotes:
"... As it happens, the world economy -- of which the United States is the leading beneficiary (despite President Trump's self-destructive trade wars) -- relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country's nuclear supremacy. ..."
"... True, Washington fought wars in the Middle East when the American economy was still deeply vulnerable to any disruption in the flow of imported oil. In 1990, this was the key reason President George H.W. Bush gave for his decision to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's invasion of that land. "Our country now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence," he told a nationwide TV audience. ..."
"... All told, 33.6 percent of world energy consumption last year was made up of oil, 27.2 percent of coal (itself a global disgrace), 23.9 percent of natural gas, 6.8 percent of hydro-electricity, 4.4 percent of nuclear power, and a mere 4 percent of renewables. ..."
"... Concluding that the increased demand for oil in Asia, in particular, will outweigh reduced demand elsewhere, the IEA calculated in its 2017 World Energy Outlook that oil will remain the world's dominant source of energy in 2040, accounting for an estimated 27.5 percent of total global energy consumption. That will indeed be a smaller share than in 2018, but because global energy consumption as a whole is expected to grow substantially during those decades, net oil production could still rise -- from an estimated 100 million barrels a day in 2018 to about 105 million barrels in 2040. ..."
"... More dramatic yet is the growing centrality of the Asia-Pacific region to the global flow of petroleum. In 2000, that region accounted for only 28 percent of world consumption; in 2040, its share is expected to stand at 44 percent, thanks to the growth of China, India, and other Asian countries, whose newly affluent consumers are already buying cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other oil-powered products. ..."
"... To lend muscle to what would soon be dubbed the "Carter Doctrine," the president created a new US military organization, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), and obtained basing facilities for it in the Gulf region. Ronald Reagan, who succeeded Carter as president in 1981, made the RDJTF into a full-scale "geographic combatant command," dubbed Central Command, or CENTCOM, which continues to be tasked with ensuring American access to the Gulf today (as well as overseeing the country's never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East). ..."
"... When ordering US forces into combat in the Gulf, American presidents have always insisted that they were acting in the interests of the entire West. In advocating for the "reflagging" mission of 1987, for instance, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued (as he would later recall in his memoir Fighting for Peace ), "The main thing was for us to protect the right of innocent, nonbelligerent and extremely important commerce to move freely in international open waters -- and, by our offering protection, to avoid conceding the mission to the Soviets." Though rarely so openly acknowledged, the same principle has undergirded Washington's strategy in the region ever since: The United States alone must be the ultimate guarantor of unimpeded oil commerce in the Persian Gulf. ..."
"... Look closely and you can find this principle lurking in every fundamental statement of US policy related to that region and among the Washington elite more generally. My own personal favorite, when it comes to pithiness, is a sentence in a report on the geopolitics of energy issued in 2000 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies , a Washington-based think tank well-populated with former government officials (several of whom contributed to the report): "As the world's only superpower, [the United States] must accept its special responsibilities for preserving access to [the] worldwide energy supply." You can't get much more explicit than that. ..."
"... As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the "free flow of commerce" (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct US military action. Yes, Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership's malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost. ..."
Jan 11, 2019 | thenation.com

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com .

It's always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent UN report about the prince's role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support "Sentinel." The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf.

Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word -- O-I-L -- that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II).

Now, it's true that the United States no longer relies on imported petroleum for a large share of its energy needs. Thanks to the fracking revolution , the country now gets the bulk of its oil -- approximately 75 percent -- from domestic sources. (In 2008, that share had been closer to 35 percent.) Key allies in NATO and rivals like China, however, continue to depend on Middle Eastern oil for a significant proportion of their energy needs.

As it happens, the world economy -- of which the United States is the leading beneficiary (despite President Trump's self-destructive trade wars) -- relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country's nuclear supremacy.

This logic was spelled out clearly by President Barack Obama in a September 2013 address to the UN General Assembly in which he declared that "the United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests" in the Middle East. He then pointed out that, while the United States was steadily reducing its reliance on imported oil, "the world still depends on the region's energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy."

Accordingly, he concluded, "We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world." To some Americans, that dictum -- and its continued embrace by President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo -- may seem anachronistic. True, Washington fought wars in the Middle East when the American economy was still deeply vulnerable to any disruption in the flow of imported oil. In 1990, this was the key reason President George H.W. Bush gave for his decision to evict Iraqi troops from Kuwait after Saddam Hussein's invasion of that land. "Our country now imports nearly half the oil it consumes and could face a major threat to its economic independence," he told a nationwide TV audience.

But talk of oil soon disappeared from his comments about what became Washington's first (but hardly last) Gulf War after his statement provoked widespread public outrage . ("No Blood for Oil" became a widely used protest sign then.) His son, the second President Bush, never even mentioned that three-letter word when announcing his 2003 invasion of Iraq. Yet, as Obama's UN speech made clear, oil remained, and still remains, at the center of US foreign policy. A quick review of global energy trends helps explain why this has continued to be so.

THE WORLD'S UNDIMINISHED RELIANCE ON PETROLEUM

Despite all that's been said about climate change and oil's role in causing it -- and about the enormous progress being made in bringing solar and wind power online -- we remain trapped in a remarkably oil-dependent world. To grasp this reality, all you have to do is read the most recent edition of oil giant BP's "Statistical Review of World Energy," published this June. In 2018, according to that report, oil still accounted for by far the largest share of world energy consumption, as it has every year for decades. All told, 33.6 percent of world energy consumption last year was made up of oil, 27.2 percent of coal (itself a global disgrace), 23.9 percent of natural gas, 6.8 percent of hydro-electricity, 4.4 percent of nuclear power, and a mere 4 percent of renewables.

Most energy analysts believe that the global reliance on petroleum as a share of world energy use will decline in the coming decades, as more governments impose restrictions on carbon emissions and as consumers, especially in the developed world, switch from oil-powered to electric vehicles. But such declines are unlikely to prevail in every region of the globe and total oil consumption may not even decline. According to projections from the International Energy Agency (IEA) in its " New Policies Scenario " (which assumes significant but not drastic government efforts to curb carbon emissions globally), Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are likely to experience a substantially increased demand for petroleum in the years to come, which, grimly enough, means global oil consumption will continue to rise.

Concluding that the increased demand for oil in Asia, in particular, will outweigh reduced demand elsewhere, the IEA calculated in its 2017 World Energy Outlook that oil will remain the world's dominant source of energy in 2040, accounting for an estimated 27.5 percent of total global energy consumption. That will indeed be a smaller share than in 2018, but because global energy consumption as a whole is expected to grow substantially during those decades, net oil production could still rise -- from an estimated 100 million barrels a day in 2018 to about 105 million barrels in 2040.

Of course, no one, including the IEA's experts, can be sure how future extreme manifestations of global warming like the severe heat waves recently tormenting Europe and South Asia could change such projections. It's possible that growing public outrage could lead to far tougher restrictions on carbon emissions between now and 2040. Unexpected developments in the field of alternative energy production could also play a role in changing those projections. In other words, oil's continuing dominance could still be curbed in ways that are now unpredictable.

In the meantime, from a geopolitical perspective, a profound shift is taking place in the worldwide demand for petroleum. In 2000, according to the IEA, older industrialized nations -- most of them members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) -- accounted for about two-thirds of global oil consumption; only about a third went to countries in the developing world. By 2040, the IEA's experts believe that ratio will be reversed, with the OECD consuming about one-third of the world's oil and non-OECD nations the rest.

More dramatic yet is the growing centrality of the Asia-Pacific region to the global flow of petroleum. In 2000, that region accounted for only 28 percent of world consumption; in 2040, its share is expected to stand at 44 percent, thanks to the growth of China, India, and other Asian countries, whose newly affluent consumers are already buying cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other oil-powered products.

Where will Asia get its oil? Among energy experts, there is little doubt on this matter. Lacking significant reserves of their own, the major Asian consumers will turn to the one place with sufficient capacity to satisfy their rising needs: the Persian Gulf. According to BP, in 2018, Japan already obtained 87 percent of its oil imports from the Middle East, India 64 percent, and China 44 percent. Most analysts assume these percentages will only grow in the years to come, as production in other areas declines.

This will, in turn, lend even greater strategic importance to the Persian Gulf region, which now possesses more than 60 percent of the world's untapped petroleum reserves, and to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow passageway through which approximately one-third of the world's seaborne oil passes daily. Bordered by Iran, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, the Strait is perhaps the most significant -- and contested -- geostrategic location on the planet today.

CONTROLLING THE SPIGOT

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the same year that militant Shiite fundamentalists overthrew the US-backed Shah of Iran, US policy-makers concluded that America's access to Gulf oil supplies was at risk and a US military presence was needed to guarantee such access. As President Jimmy Carter would say in his State of the Union Address on January 23, 1980,

The region which is now threatened by Soviet troops in Afghanistan is of great strategic importance: It contains more than two thirds of the world's exportable oil. The Soviet effort to dominate Afghanistan has brought Soviet military forces to within 300 miles of the Indian Ocean and close to the Strait of Hormuz, a waterway through which most of the world's oil must flow. Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.

To lend muscle to what would soon be dubbed the "Carter Doctrine," the president created a new US military organization, the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), and obtained basing facilities for it in the Gulf region. Ronald Reagan, who succeeded Carter as president in 1981, made the RDJTF into a full-scale "geographic combatant command," dubbed Central Command, or CENTCOM, which continues to be tasked with ensuring American access to the Gulf today (as well as overseeing the country's never-ending wars in the Greater Middle East).

Reagan was the first president to activate the Carter Doctrine in 1987 when he ordered Navy warships to escort Kuwaiti tankers, " reflagged " with the stars and stripes, as they traveled through the Strait of Hormuz. From time to time, such vessels had been coming under fire from Iranian gunboats, part of an ongoing " Tanker War ," itself part of the Iran-Iraq War of those years. The Iranian attacks on those tankers were meant to punish Sunni Arab countries for backing Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein in that conflict. The American response, dubbed Operation Earnest Will , offered an early model of what Secretary of State Pompeo is seeking to establish today with his Sentinel program.

Operation Earnest Will was followed two years later by a massive implementation of the Carter Doctrine, President Bush's 1990 decision to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Although he spoke of the need to protect US access to Persian Gulf oil fields, it was evident that ensuring a safe flow of oil imports wasn't the only motive for such military involvement. Equally important then (and far more so now): the geopolitical advantage controlling the world's major oil spigot gave Washington.

When ordering US forces into combat in the Gulf, American presidents have always insisted that they were acting in the interests of the entire West. In advocating for the "reflagging" mission of 1987, for instance, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger argued (as he would later recall in his memoir Fighting for Peace ), "The main thing was for us to protect the right of innocent, nonbelligerent and extremely important commerce to move freely in international open waters -- and, by our offering protection, to avoid conceding the mission to the Soviets." Though rarely so openly acknowledged, the same principle has undergirded Washington's strategy in the region ever since: The United States alone must be the ultimate guarantor of unimpeded oil commerce in the Persian Gulf.

Look closely and you can find this principle lurking in every fundamental statement of US policy related to that region and among the Washington elite more generally. My own personal favorite, when it comes to pithiness, is a sentence in a report on the geopolitics of energy issued in 2000 by the Center for Strategic and International Studies , a Washington-based think tank well-populated with former government officials (several of whom contributed to the report): "As the world's only superpower, [the United States] must accept its special responsibilities for preserving access to [the] worldwide energy supply." You can't get much more explicit than that.

Of course, along with this "special responsibility" comes a geopolitical advantage: By providing this service, the United States cements its status as the world's sole superpower and places every other oil-importing nation -- and the world at large -- in a condition of dependence on its continued performance of this vital function.

Originally, the key dependents in this strategic equation were Europe and Japan, which, in return for assured access to Middle Eastern oil, were expected to subordinate themselves to Washington. Remember, for example, how they helped pay for Bush the elder's Iraq War (dubbed Operation Desert Storm). Today, however, many of those countries, deeply concerned with the effects of climate change, are seeking to lessen oil's role in their national fuel mixes. As a result, in 2019, the countries potentially most at the mercy of Washington when it comes to access to Gulf oil are economically fast-expanding China and India, whose oil needs are only likely to grow. That, in turn, will further enhance the geopolitical advantage Washington enjoyed as long as it remains the principal guardian of the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. How it may seek to exploit this advantage remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that all parties involved, including the Chinese, are well aware of this asymmetric equation, which could give the phrase "trade war" a far deeper and more ominous meaning.

THE IRANIAN CHALLENGE AND THE SPECTER OF WAR

From Washington's perspective, the principal challenger to America's privileged status in the Gulf is Iran. By reason of geography, that country possesses a potentially commanding position along the northern Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, as the Reagan administration learned in 1987–88 when it threatened American oil dominance there. About this reality President Reagan couldn't have been clearer. "Mark this point well: The use of the sea lanes of the Persian Gulf will not be dictated by the Iranians," he declared in 1987 -- and Washington's approach to the situation has never changed.

In more recent times, in response to US and Israeli threats to bomb their nuclear facilities or, as the Trump administration has done, impose economic sanctions on their country, the Iranians have threatened on numerous occasions to block the Strait of Hormuz to oil traffic, squeeze global energy supplies, and precipitate an international crisis. In 2011, for example, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned that should the West impose sanctions on Iranian oil, "not even one drop of oil can flow through the Strait of Hormuz." In response, US officials have vowed ever since to let no such thing happen, just as Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta did in response to Rahimi at that time. "We have made very clear," he said , "that the United States will not tolerate blocking of the Strait of Hormuz." That, he added, was a "red line for us."

It remains so today. Hence, the present ongoing crisis in the Gulf, with fierce US sanctions on Iranian oil sales and threatening Iranian gestures toward the regional oil flow in response. "We will make the enemy understand that either everyone can use the Strait of Hormuz or no one," said Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, in July 2018. And attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz on June 13 could conceivably have been an expression of just that policy, if -- as claimed by the United States -- they were indeed carried out by members of the Revolutionary Guards. Any future attacks are only likely to spur US military action against Iran in accordance with the Carter Doctrine. As Pentagon spokesperson Bill Urban put it in response to Jafari's statement, "We stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows."

As things stand today, any Iranian move in the Strait of Hormuz that can be portrayed as a threat to the "free flow of commerce" (that is, the oil trade) represents the most likely trigger for direct US military action. Yes, Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its support for radical Shiite movements throughout the Middle East will be cited as evidence of its leadership's malevolence, but its true threat will be to American dominance of the oil lanes, a danger Washington will treat as the offense of all offenses to be overcome at any cost.

If the United States goes to war with Iran, you are unlikely to hear the word "oil" uttered by top Trump administration officials, but make no mistake: That three-letter word lies at the root of the present crisis, not to speak of the world's long-term fate.

Michael T. Klare The Nation 's defense correspondent, is professor emeritus of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College and senior visiting fellow at the Arms Control Association in Washington, DC. His newest book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon's Perspective on Climate Change , will be published this fall.

[Jul 09, 2019] The real issue is the control of Iranian oil by the USA and EU

Notable quotes:
"... It is the Iranian (upper/middle class) exiles who hate and detest the revolutionary regime, because the regime has deprived them of the right to rule, that they thought was their hereditary ..."
"... But the Gulf States don't give a fig about that. They are concerned about the simple renaissance of Iranian power, which might deprive the Sunni potentates of their own position. ..."
"... Yes, it is precisely Iran's success that threatens the Gulf Autocrats, Israel, and Uncle Sugar, each for slightly different reasons, or perhaps the same reasons in different amounts. ..."
Jul 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jul 8 2019 16:29 utc | 14

re Don 7

Crooke points out, correctly I believe, that the real issue is not nuclear, or the oft-repeated foolish "largest state sponsor of terrorism," it is the revolutionary basis of Iran's success in the Middle East, besting the Gulf dictators.
That bit about the revolution, I don't agree with. It's more the Iranian renaissance that the Gulf States fear.

Two separate aspects need to be distinguished:

1) It is the Iranian (upper/middle class) exiles who hate and detest the revolutionary regime, because the regime has deprived them of the right to rule, that they thought was their hereditary right. Even within Iran, upper/middle class people I met had the same attitude - a kind of hurt that they weren't running the country. The regime is of course populist.

2) But the Gulf States don't give a fig about that. They are concerned about the simple renaissance of Iranian power, which might deprive the Sunni potentates of their own position. The classic case is of course Bahrain, where the "king" is Sunni, and the vast mass of the population Shi'a, and they're kept down by force, supported by the guns of the US 5th fleet. But the case of Saudi is much more serious, because it's so much bigger, and every single oil well is sitting under the feet of the Shi'a, and there are none anywhere else, certainly not in the Saudi homeland of Najd, which is real camel-herder territory (to which we can expect the Saudi princes to return, if ever the poor suffering Shi'a ever manage a successful revolt).

I think Crooke confused the two issues a bit.

Bemildred , Jul 8 2019 16:43 utc | 16

Yes, it is precisely Iran's success that threatens the Gulf Autocrats, Israel, and Uncle Sugar, each for slightly different reasons, or perhaps the same reasons in different amounts.

Those being: it's Shiia, it's populist, and it was indeed a political revolution. And for all of them it represents a viable alternative to the way they wanted things to be. Now, I think, it's too late. Many will take note of what they have done and how, it will be studied.

[Jul 09, 2019] Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi has demanded an immediate release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British government, Fars reported.

Jul 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jul 8 2019 17:16 utc | 23

@ UJ 21

As b mentioned, stay tuned for a major op. against the British East India Company.

from the Tehran Times:

TEHRAN – Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi has demanded an immediate release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British government, Fars reported.

"It seems that the British and Europeans are well aware of the Islamic Republic's reach and potential , and accordingly, it is to their own benefit that they immediately release this oil tanker, otherwise they should await the ramifications of their action," Raisi said on Monday.

[Jul 06, 2019] Why is Iran such a high priority for US elite? Because Iran successfully booted out the CIA and CIA-imposed regime out of their country and successfully remained independent since then

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... There is at present no other powerful leadership group that is so adamantly unwilling to compromise with the U.S. The potential loss of U.S. control over Middle East oil being at the root of it. ..."
"... The Saudis et al have it, and Israel is a forward operating base for protecting it. The Saudi royal family rightly fear an Iran-inspired popular uprising against them and Israel fears the loss of lands granted to them by their invisible friend as related in a popular fairy tale. ..."
"... Iran is a relatively large country with a semi independent foreign policy and banking,/ financial system, and they want to control their own resources independent of western dictates about opening up their system to the neo liberal system. ..."
"... Because Iran successfully booted out the CIA and CIA-imposed regime out of their country and successfully remained independent since then. ..."
"... Iran was after WW2 a client state of both the US and the UK, the latter installing the Shah as a ruler. Iran was important for the US and the UK through its oil resources and its border with the USSR. ..."
"... Iran is still a major player when it comes to oil, but contrary to the Shah years quite hostile to the aspirations of Israel to become the “western” power in the middle east. ..."
"... The enmity clearest showed up when Israel and the USA supplied Saddam Hussein with intelligence and Germany and France with the capability to produce chemical weapons during the Iraq/Iran war. ..."
"... America essentially followed the old British approach towards Iran: keep it semi-alive so that it can put up enough resistance to the USSR until America’s more important and intrinsic interests, such as those in the Persian Gulf, were safeguarded. But Washington never wanted to turn Iran into a strong ally that one day might be capable of challenging America. ..."
"... By changing the international balance of power and removing the risk of Soviet penetration, the USSR’s fall eliminated Iran’s value to the United States even as a buffer state. In fact, the fundamental shift to a US approach based on the principle of no compromise, can be traced to 1987, when Gorbachev’s reforms began. ..."
"... Since then, the United States has refused to accept any solution to the Iran problem that has not involved the country’s absolute capitulation. ..."
"... For instance, in 2003, Iran offered to put all the outstanding issues between the two countries on the table for negotiations, but the US refused. ..."
"... Because Iran refuses to be a second-class citizen in its own neighborhood. Theirs is an ancient culture whose legacy to the world is enormous, their history is the stuff of legend, and they are the geopolitical power player in the region, not to mention the most powerful Shia Muslim nation. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Joe Well, July 5, 2019 at 11:47 am

>>US President Donald Trump’s ruthless use of the centrality of his country’s financial system and the dollar to force economic partners to abide by his unilateral sanctions on Iran has forced the world to recognise the political price of asymmetric economic interdependence.

Why is Iran such a high priority for so many US elites?

Lee, July 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm

Just spit-balling here: The Iranian leadership, with good cause, wants to diminish or eliminate the U.S. grip on the region and this subversive, potentially destabilizing sentiment resonates among the citizenry of various Middle Eastern countries.

There is at present no other powerful leadership group that is so adamantly unwilling to compromise with the U.S. The potential loss of U.S. control over Middle East oil being at the root of it.

The Saudis et al have it, and Israel is a forward operating base for protecting it. The Saudi royal family rightly fear an Iran-inspired popular uprising against them and Israel fears the loss of lands granted to them by their invisible friend as related in a popular fairy tale.

This is hardly definitive and I’m sure others could elaborate.

workingclasshero, July 5, 2019 at 12:53 pm

Iran is a relatively large country with a semi independent foreign policy and banking,/ financial system, and they want to control their own resources independent of western dictates about opening up their system to the neo liberal system.

I’m sure this is obvious to most people at this kind of web site and is overly simplistic but i sense sometimes some people are shocked about the conflict with Iran and don’t get that basic dynamic of this conflict.

Underdog Revolutions, July 5, 2019 at 1:34 pm

Because Iran successfully booted out the CIA and CIA-imposed regime out of their country and successfully remained independent since then.

US elites never forgave them for it. Same reason they hate and punish Cuba, another country that poses no threat to anyone but its own citizens.

Peter Moritz, July 5, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Why is Iran such a high priority for so many US elites?

Iran was after WW2 a client state of both the US and the UK, the latter installing the Shah as a ruler. Iran was important for the US and the UK through its oil resources and its border with the USSR.

Mossadegh, by nationalising the oil supply until, played against the status and he was overthrown in a MI/CIA sponsored coup in 1953, leaving the Shah as the sole ruler in Iran till the revolution of 1979 when Iran came under theocratic rule and basically diminished the power the US had throughout the years of the Shah’s rule.

The US was also shown to be quite powerless -- short of an invasion -- to deal with the hostage crisis in the US embassy, which was finally after more than a year resolved with the help of Canada.

Iran is still a major player when it comes to oil, but contrary to the Shah years quite hostile to the aspirations of Israel to become the “western” power in the middle east.

The enmity clearest showed up when Israel and the USA supplied Saddam Hussein with intelligence and Germany and France with the capability to produce chemical weapons during the Iraq/Iran war.

Here is a more in-depth look:

https://lobelog.com/the-real-causes-of-americas-troubled-relations-with-iran/

This U.S. approach towards Iran has been the result of its lack of an intrinsic interest in the country. The same was true of Britain. The late Sir Denis Right, the UK’s ambassador to Iran in the 1960s, put it best by writing that Britain never considered Iran of sufficient value to colonize it. But it found Iran useful as a buffer against the competing great power, the Russian Empire. Thus, British policy towards Iran was to keep it moribund but not dead, at least not as long as the Russian threat persisted.

America essentially followed the old British approach towards Iran: keep it semi-alive so that it can put up enough resistance to the USSR until America’s more important and intrinsic interests, such as those in the Persian Gulf, were safeguarded. But Washington never wanted to turn Iran into a strong ally that one day might be capable of challenging America.

By changing the international balance of power and removing the risk of Soviet penetration, the USSR’s fall eliminated Iran’s value to the United States even as a buffer state. In fact, the fundamental shift to a US approach based on the principle of no compromise, can be traced to 1987, when Gorbachev’s reforms began.

Since then, the United States has refused to accept any solution to the Iran problem that has not involved the country’s absolute capitulation.

For instance, in 2003, Iran offered to put all the outstanding issues between the two countries on the table for negotiations, but the US refused.

ChiGal in Carolina, July 5, 2019 at 6:38 pm

Because Iran refuses to be a second-class citizen in its own neighborhood. Theirs is an ancient culture whose legacy to the world is enormous, their history is the stuff of legend, and they are the geopolitical power player in the region, not to mention the most powerful Shia Muslim nation.

[Jul 06, 2019] Ilargi: Memo to the US The Winds Are Shifting

Notable quotes:
"... Yes. It's piracy. USA a Pirate Nation. UK a useful part of the gang. ..."
"... I mean, empires have always been expansionist, violently expansionist. I mean, this is bad, but the empire is the empire. What bothers me is the lying. The filthy unbelievable lies emanating from the likes of Hillaria Terroristica and Pompeus Maximus and even from Obama the Salesman emperor, Emperor Tex Bush the second, and our current Carnival Barker Emperor Trumpius the Rube Caller. Let alone the generals lying thru their teeth. ..."
"... There should have a new slogan for this international cabal -- "Strength through Chaos". To be precise, OUR strength through THEIR chaos. ..."
"... You could safely leave out anywhere in the Americas, I think, after reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman . Less bombs, same benevolent results. The US/Mexican Border comes to mind, filled with refugees from Guatemala and Honduras. ..."
"... I very much agree with Illargi on this. Nothing good can come from the "heroic" seizure of the tanker. Mission accomplished: we are more idiotic every passing day. ..."
"... The purpose, and effect, of empire is theft. ..."
Jul 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on July 5, 2019 by Yves Smith

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor of Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

How do you define terror? Perhaps, because of the way the term has evolved in the English language, one wouldn't call the west 'terrorists' per se, but 'we' are certainly spreading terror and terrorizing very large groups of people. Yeah, bring on the tanks and parade them around town. Add a marching band that plays some war tunes.

The 'official' storyline : at the request of the US, Gibraltar police and UK marines have seized an oil tanker in Gibraltar. The super-tanker, 1000 feet (330 meters) long, carrying 2 million barrels, had stopped there after sailing all around the Cape of Good Hope instead of taking the Suez canal on its way, ostensibly, from Iran to Syria.

And, according to the storyline as presented to and in the western press, because the EU still has sanctions on Iran, the British seized the ship. Another little detail I really appreciate is that Spain's acting foreign minister, Josep Borrell, said Madrid was looking into the seizure and how it may affect Spanish sovereignty since Spain does not recognize the waters around Gibraltar as British.

That Borrell guy is the newly picked EU foreign policy czar, and according to some sources he's supportive of Iran and critical of Israel. Them's the webs we weave. He's certainly in favor of Palestinian statehood. But we're wandering

Why did the tanker take that giant detour along the African coastline? Because potential problems were anticipated in the Suez canal. But also: why dock in Gibraltar? Because no problems were anticipated there. However, the US had been following the ship all along, and set this up.

A trap, a set-up, give it a name. I would think this is about Iran, not about sanctions on Syria; that's just a convenient excuse. Moreover, as people have been pointing out, there have been countless arms deliveries to Syrian rebels in the past years (yes, that's illegal) which were not seized.

The sanctions on Syria were always aimed at one goal: getting rid of Assad. That purpose failed either miserably or spectacularly, depending on your point of view. It did achieve one thing though, and if I were you I wouldn't be too sure this was not the goal all along.

That is, out of a pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations in 2016 identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance; over 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria. About half a million are estimated to have died, the same number as in Iraq.

And Assad is still there and probably stronger than ever. But it doesn't even matter whether the US/UK/EU regime change efforts are successful or not, and I have no doubt they've always known this. Their aim is to create chaos as a war tactic, and kill as many people as they can. How do you define terror, terrorism? However you define it, 'we' are spreading it.

That grossly failed attempt to depose Assad has left Europe with a refugee problem it may never be able to control. And the only reason there is such a problem is that Europe, in particular Britain and France, along with the US, tried to bomb these people's homelands out of existence. Because their leaders didn't want to conform to "our standards", i.e. have our oil companies seize and control their supplies.

But while you weren't looking some things changed, irreversibly so. The US and Europe are no longer the undisputed and overwhelming global military power they once were. Russia has become a target they cannot even consider attacking anymore, because their armies, assembled in NATO, wouldn't stand a chance.

China is not yet at the 'might' level of Russia, but US and NATO are in no position to attack a country of 1.4 billion people either. Their military prominence ended around the turn of the century/millennium, and they're not going to get it back. Better make peace fast.

So what we've seen for a few decades now is proxy wars. In which Russia in particular has been reluctant to engage but decisive when it does. Moscow didn't want to let Assad go, and so they made sure he stayed. Syria is Russia's one single stronghold in the Middle East, and deemed indispensable.

Meanwhile, as over half of Syrians, some 11 million people, have been forced to flee their homes, with millions of them traumatized by war, 'we' elect to seize a tanker allegedly headed for a refinery in the country, so we can make sure all those people have no oil or less oil for a while longer.

So the refugees that do have the courage and will to return will find it that much harder to rebuild their homes and towns, and will tell those still abroad not to join them. At the same time Assad is doing fine, he may be the target of the sanctions but he doesn't suffer from them, his people do.

Yes, let's parade some tanks around town. And let's praise the heroic UK marines who seized an utterly defenseless oil tanker manned by a bunch of dirt-poor Philippinos. Yay! There is probably some profound irony that explains why Trump and Bolton and Pompeo want a military parade at the very moment the US military must concede defeat in all theaters but the propaganda one.

Still there it is. The only people the US, the west, can still credibly threaten, are defenseless civilians, women, children. The leaders of nations are out of reach. Maduro, Assad, let alone Putin or Xi.

Happy 4th of July. Not sure how independent you yourself are, but I can see a few people who did achieve independence from western terror. Just not the poor, the ones that count. But don't look at the tanks, look at the wind instead. The winds are shifting.


Clive , July 5, 2019 at 4:32 am

The EU has been a sticking plaster and a shot of Novocain at the open wound that is Gibraltar. Without that stabilising influence, that plaster is about to be ripped off and a slash of neat peroxide is about to be poured onto it.

Watch for more -- unpleasant -- developments coming soon on this one.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2019 at 5:44 am

I wondered about that myself. There could be an unspoken message now out that the UK gets to say who gets to use the Straits of Gibraltar. I am sure that the Spanish would see no problem with that. One thing is sure. That is a few more countries that the UK has completely antagonized now which will come back to bite it post-Brexit.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2019 at 6:20 am

Thank you and well said, Gentlemen, Clive, the Reverend and the author, and to Yves for sharing.

The winds are indeed shifting, but as long as defeat is not obvious in the propaganda theatre, that's all that matters.

The NC community, especially Anonymous 2, David and Harry, have often written about the calibre of civil servants in the Treasury with regard to Brexit, it's the same with the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.

Middle East experts, often termed "Arabists", have left, often forced out for ideological reasons. They would have cautioned against such adventures. The newer and younger breed of Foreign Office officials, e.g. the co-author of the dodgy / sexed up (WMD) dossier Matthew Rycroft, and some veterans like John Scarlet, now retired and consulting with former Tory MP James Arbuthnott (whose wife "presided" over Assange's recent hearing), are far more ideological (neo con) and willing to blur the boundaries between impartial advice and enabling what politicians want. There are few, if any regional, specialists at the Foreign Office any more.

Sadly, it's the same with the officer corps, more ideological, enablers and less, if at all, cognizant of the strategic implications of such actions.

As the above happens, HMG becomes more and more dependent on advice from the likes of US neo con think tanks, especially the Henry Jackson Society. Unlike at the Treasury and Bank of England, so far, no such neo cons and neo liberals have been imported from the former colonies by the Foreign Office.

As both Clive and the Reverend conclude, watch out for more unpleasant developments things that come back to bite the UK.

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2019 at 9:23 am

Maybe there is something else behind it, but it does seem to be a very clumsy operation – its annoyed a lot of important people (not least in Spain) at just the time when this isn't needed for the UK. I wonder if the neocon element in Whitehall is using the interregnum in power to seek to bind the UK even more firmly to the US post Brexit.

Alex Cox , July 5, 2019 at 1:56 pm

"Russia has become a target they cannot even consider attacking anymore, because their armies, assembled in NATO, wouldn't stand a chance."

I am not sure the current crop of politicians and bureaucrats in the UK (or the US) know this.

As the Colonel observes, people with specialist knowledge are being replaced with ideologically-motivated enablers. And the Pentagon and its NATO assets stress their ability to wage a "limited" nuclear war

animalogic , July 6, 2019 at 6:11 am

"China is not yet at the 'might' level of Russia, but US and NATO are in no position to attack a country of 1.4 billion people either."

Indeed. And I would suggest China's "might level" is very close to not only Russia's but the US's. Just as a for instance: the PLAN (Peoples' Liberation Army Navy) has instituted probably the largest ship building program in history. All its newer vessels are equal to or (significantly?) better than comparable US types.

JBird4049 , July 6, 2019 at 8:17 pm

All this war talk about just how fabulously strong, or not, this and that polity is annoyingly ignorant; let's look at the reality that China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, would all be facing strong food shortages without any harvest failures. With even moderate shortfalls, add in the rest of the world as countries start scrambling for food to stockpile even those who are completely self sufficient. The United States has destroyed it industrial base so much that it cannot provide all the parts, tools, white goods, clothing, etc that it needs just to function daily. I have not checked Russia's economy, but I suspect that like the UK, or any European country it needs other countries to survive.

One of the reasons that the British almost lost World War One, that Germany did, and the nations that used to be the Austro-Hungarian Empire did so poorly after that war was the breaking up of all those trade connections. Everyone was gung-ho on war or independence, but no-one has made any plans whatsoever on to run their economy(ies) after the first few years of war or peace. And no, sticking it all on the Germans did not work either.

skippy , July 5, 2019 at 6:58 am

I'm starting to get that last election feeling where previous sorts went a bit curious when confronted with the choices and the past went poof . strangest thing[s]

cnchal , July 5, 2019 at 5:38 am

Peace though procurement malpractice. The current batch of military hardware is so much garbage that when the President wants to use the "superb" pieces of crap (F35 and the new boats are prime examples) a general will have to become the sacrificial lamb and give the president the news that this stuff is for show only.

Bill Smith , July 5, 2019 at 6:15 am

The Israelis claim to like the F-35 and to have used it in Syria to attack Syrian Air Defense installations after the Syrian Air Defense installations fired at their other manned aircraft.

That's something of an endorsement of it's capabilities. How much I don't know.

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2019 at 9:04 am

It has been claimed that an F-35 was damaged beyond repair on one attack . I don't know if anyone has got to bottom of these claims. It does seem a bit hard to accept that a bird strike could have led to the scrapping of an entire airframe.

I think the issue of Israeli use of US aircraft is complex – the US seems to have pressurised Israel to drop its own aircraft, the Lavi , and it may well have been that giving Israel priority with the F-35 was part of the quid quo pro over that. For many countries, choosing the F-35 seems to owe more to politics than defence considerations.

jrkrideau , July 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

I have, for some time, been of the opinion that one of the (relatively minor) reasons that Turkey went with the S-400's is that it gets them out of the F-35 contract without legal financial penalties. I bet the reports of the Turkish crews training in the US have been scathing.

I have wondered if the Saab JAS 39 Gripen or the Su-57 might be good contenders.

I think it was RT that reported the other day that Russia is planning on starting full production of the Su-57 in 2020. Given that it was speculated that production of the Su-57 was too expensive with the Russian Federation as the only customer, I wonder who might be interested. China? Renewed Indian interest? Turkey ?

Personally, I think we in Canada should ask Sukho to submit a bid for our fighter replacement program.

drumlin woodchuckles , July 5, 2019 at 6:29 pm

Israelis may have been instructed to say that as a favor in return for all the aid.

cnchal , July 6, 2019 at 6:37 am

> But this time I thought how awful it would be to hear those monsters and know they were loaded with missiles and there was no safe place to hide.

Around here there is a boat race where the military flies jets for show and quite a few years ago, on a Saturday,while I was tinkering in the garage, this one pilot, and he or she must have been having a grand old time, really put on a show. For half an hour to an hour the neighborhood was subjected to the most thunderous roar, it made my skin crawl and hair stand up, and I started thinking about and getting a tiny taste of the terror people that are actual targets of this machine get.

On Sunday, there was no "air" show. So many people bitched and complained about Saturday the military or show organizers called it off. Phone calls to stop the jets does not work in the middle east, however.

Synoia , July 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Drones appear effective. They certainly were at Gatwick.

Sharkleberry Fin , July 5, 2019 at 6:33 am

Am I supposed to feel sorry for the sanction-busting war profiteers losing their illicit cargo? Or am I supposed to feel sorry for Assad not being able to top off the gas tank on his human rights violating war wagon?

Nobody's cool with the jingoism coming from the White House. But if the tanks come out for only just this one very special episode of the Apprentice, the people of earth have dodged a very obnoxious golden BB.

pjay , July 5, 2019 at 7:24 am

" war profiteers." " human rights violating war wagon " Hmm. Those phrases call certain images and actors to mind. Iran? Syria? No, that's not it

timbers , July 5, 2019 at 8:09 am

You're supposed to feel sorry for millions America killed in Syria and many other nations, and the tens of millions she displaced from their homes.

According to the U.N., Nobel Peace prize winning Obama caused the greatest refugee crisis since WW2 with all the browned skinned nations he bombed until America ran out of bombs and then he made more and bombed again – Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Ukraine who have I missed there so many .

Said another way, The War on Terror IS terrorism.

About 10 years I started to realize the U.S. is an Evil Empire, a force for evil in the world.

Happy 4th.

And may the bombing continue until there is peace. There are so many countries this great nation has not yet bombed. Maybe we're just getting warmed up.

timbers , July 5, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Google "UN says greatest refugee crisis since world war" and you'll annual reports starting about 2014 till about 2017 – the Apex of the Obama wars – each year replacing the previous year as all time records as humanitarian disasters.

Carolinian , July 5, 2019 at 8:39 am

Interesting word "illicit" meaning "outside the law." So exactly what law gives the Americans and their faithful poodles the authority to do this?

Gibraltar was once the playground of the Barbary Pirates so it is an appropriate venue for the hegemon to engage in a little piracy of its own. But Ilargi may be right that the winds are shifting and bullies will get their comeuppance.

divadab , July 5, 2019 at 10:57 am

Yes. It's piracy. USA a Pirate Nation. UK a useful part of the gang.

I mean, empires have always been expansionist, violently expansionist. I mean, this is bad, but the empire is the empire. What bothers me is the lying. The filthy unbelievable lies emanating from the likes of Hillaria Terroristica and Pompeus Maximus and even from Obama the Salesman emperor, Emperor Tex Bush the second, and our current Carnival Barker Emperor Trumpius the Rube Caller. Let alone the generals lying thru their teeth.

It makes the whole enterprise ridiculous – no one but the stupidest and most brainwashed believes the filthy liars. Terrible that our ruling class are traitors to the country – because why lie unless you have no respect for those ruled? Lie to the stupid cattle – let them repeat the lies and laugh at their stupidity.

Carolinian , July 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

The Iranians are calling it piracy and now claim the right to seize any British oil tanker in their waters. Perhaps they have passed "sanctions" against the Brits or the EU.

I'm thinking of passing some sanctions myself under my sovereign powers and seizing some stuff. Hey why not? EU says it's ok.

Oh , July 5, 2019 at 8:48 am

Sanctions are for OUR profiteers, not their. We impose them so that our corporations and profiteers can benefit from higher blackmark prices. When others cut into the profit it will not be tolerated.

skippy , July 5, 2019 at 7:16 am

I think the glass jaw is appropriate, long time PR machinations are finding it harder to peddle, considering the outcomes, hence the need for rather vulgar public displays of military Sergeant Major marching up and down the field too imbue greatness on the unwashed by proxy whilst swirling down the gurgler.

This is made even more surreal by grandiose gestures of minuscule proportions magnified way beyond their scope in the big scheme of things sans a modern news cycle.

For some ridiculous reason I keep envisioning all the new data on shipwrecks during the east indies company era and the findings .. silly me

Stephen Haust , July 5, 2019 at 7:32 am

I still don't understand why so many "commentators" have to try discussing
important topics without considering basic facts.

There are classes of ships called, for instance, Panamax or now specifically Suezmax.
These are the largest vessels that can transit said canals. The Panama Canal has locks
of a specific size and therefore there is a hard limit. Suezmax is a bit harder to define
because, without locks, it can vary some.

But there is a maximum and at just a first glance this vessel is at least near it.

"Why did the tanker take that giant detour along the African coastline? Because
potential problems were anticipated in the Suez canal." Well, yes. But which problems.
There seem to be many, starting with the fact that the Grace 1 is under the Iranian
flag. But besides that, it is not at all unusual for a vessel of that size to sail around the
Cape. There are many reasons. I, myself, have made a longer passage in a smaller
vessel – 13100 nautical miles from Kharg Island in Iran to New Brunswick
(Irving refinery). Around the Cape. Nobody was particularly surprised.

Reminiscent of all those US "journalists" piling on to an Aeroflot flight to Havana in
search of Edward Snowden. They, and the world, were certain he was aboard, until
the craft flew over downtown Miami.

Synoia , July 5, 2019 at 10:24 am

Cargos are sold and resold in transit, and thus destinatipns change.

I once was on a Tanker destined for Houston. The voyage then became a trip to the Persian Gulf.

Stephen Haust , July 5, 2019 at 5:47 pm

Yes, that would be unusual but according to the articles of engagement
it could happen.

More relevant though is that there are lots of reasons for
a loaded tanker to take an indirect route not necessarily having
much to do with the ownership of the cargo. The "tanker trackers"
don't seem to be unduly surprised by the itinerary. Happens every
day.

Incidentally, I was once on a tanker sailing from Providence, RI
with orders to "steam due south until you hear from us". That could
have led to some interesting results. In the event, however, we
ended up in India after a change in engagements. The return leg
of that voyage was the 13100 mile passage I mentioned earlier.
Another time I thought I was going somewhere in the Caribbean and
ended up on a circumnavigation. Hey, it's normal. Let's not get too
excited about somebody who wants to go around the Cape instead
of risking Suez.

By the way, my experiences all occurred under the US flag so why
try to find some strange dirt on the Iranians when they are only
doing what everybody else does.

Stephen Haust , July 5, 2019 at 7:38 am

Well, maybe Panamanian flag. But please, folks, can't we just "engage
brain before operating mouth".

Amusingly here CNN has outpaced NC in the field of journalistic accuracy.
They went and asked somebody who might know a little.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/07/04/uk/tanker-syria-gibraltar-intl-gbr/index.html

Awww! Them sneaky bastards.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2019 at 10:30 am

I don't think that you get it. The US seized a North Korean ship a few weeks back and now the US had the UK seize an Iranian ship on 'suspicions'. Do you really want to see an international situation for trade where ships can be seized as political pawns and sold? Or maybe airplanes as well? The big insurance companies certainly want to know. The Iranians are saying that they now have the right to seize a British ship in retaliation. Will the Brits sell that captured ship? Will they sell the oil aboard or take it back to the UK for their own use? Do we really want to see a widespread return to Prize Laws again?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prize_(law)

a different chris , July 5, 2019 at 7:52 am

Can we give you some sort of award for admitting you made a mistake with your first post, and then admonishing us to "engage brain before operating mouth" ?

I mean that is a classic.

sierra7 , July 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

"Game of Thrones" LOL!! The more time changes the more it stays the same!
It's "piracy" if "they" do it to us (or our co-conspirators); it's "legal sanctions" if we do "it" to "them".

What a farcical, lying, two-faced world we live in!

Mike , July 5, 2019 at 8:44 am

There should have a new slogan for this international cabal -- "Strength through Chaos". To be precise, OUR strength through THEIR chaos.

Has this been the "plan" for this period since the end of World War Two? Even if it is not a "conspiracy", but rather a "concatenation of interests", what difference does this terminology make to those suffering the boot heel?

JCC , July 5, 2019 at 1:58 pm

You could safely leave out anywhere in the Americas, I think, after reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman . Less bombs, same benevolent results. The US/Mexican Border comes to mind, filled with refugees from Guatemala and Honduras.

Neither the Reagan Years (and those years before) nor the Obama Years have been a picnic for many that live anywhere in CA (other than possibly CR and Panama). Not that most of those running those countries are in any way innocent, particularly those that we funneled arms and money to.

ex-PFC Chuck , July 5, 2019 at 11:36 am

". . but for the most part, the U.S. was fairly benevolent and . .

I suggest you read yesterday's post entitled, " Michael Hudson Discusses the IMF and World Bank: Partners In Backwardness ." That may lead to your rethinking the excerpt quoted above.

John Merryman. , July 5, 2019 at 11:55 am

The term, "ugly Americans" is fairly old.

Synoia , July 5, 2019 at 10:30 am

Cargos are sold and resold in transit, and thus destinatipns change.

I once was on a Tanker destined for Houston. The voyage then became a trip to the Persian Gulf.

Ignacio , July 5, 2019 at 11:08 am

I very much agree with Illargi on this. Nothing good can come from the "heroic" seizure of the tanker. Mission accomplished: we are more idiotic every passing day.

rjs , July 5, 2019 at 1:44 pm

re: Why did the tanker take that giant detour along the African coastline?

in case anyone else has not yet noted it, super tankers, VLCCs that can carry as much as 2 million barrels, cannot get through the Suez canal, which is limited to oil tankers in the aptly named "Suezmax" class, less than half that size

Tim , July 5, 2019 at 9:26 pm

Yeah this is not a well educated writer. Contradicts his own story at one point, and no the US can't afford to get into a major war,but that does mean they lose either, the other side would still lose more.

Tyronius , July 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm

The winds change are blowing, indeed. Is that the fog of war on the horizon, or the smokestacks of progress? Neither is good for the environment but as they say, fight one battle at a time.

America's War On Terror has long since become the War OF Terrorism and it's good to see the rest of the world has not only caught on but is doing something about it. Great Britain went quietly and prospered. Will America do the same or will it struggle against the inevitable? I suspect a bit of both. We do love to kill poor innocent brown people, after all. It's what we're best at.

Time to find another line of work. Surely we can find something more productive to do?

RBHoughton , July 5, 2019 at 9:32 pm

The war on terror is a war on non-combatants. Its western terrorists, spooks and soldiers, against Asian terrorists, Muslims.The other form of terrorism against non-combatants is nuclear war – that's when the military attacks civilian targets like we did in WWII in Hamburg and Dresden and Tokyo but using more destructive ordinance.

Can we say, in light of the regular failures of our initiatives overseas, that we the people are expecting something that is not intended. We imagine war is fought to achieve unconditional surrender and bring the humiliated enemy to our feet begging for life but perhaps these attacks in the Middle East and North Africa are not for a military victory at all but to take away the natural resources of those countries, using the fog of war to conceal our purpose?

Oregoncharles , July 6, 2019 at 12:20 am

The purpose, and effect, of empire is theft.

Eclair , July 6, 2019 at 6:44 am

Putting that on my approved list of bumper stickers. Or, maybe sticking it on the bathroom mirror as a daily reminder.

[Jul 06, 2019] >China calls Trump's bluff; Trump blinks on sanctions threat - caucus99percent

Jul 06, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

China calls Trump's bluff; Trump blinks on sanctions threat

span ed by gjohnsit on Fri, 07/05/2019 - 4:37pm

Trump made it perfectly clear: No one will buy Iranian oil and still do business with America. That includes China .

Two Trump administration officials said on Friday that neither a wind-down period nor a short-term waiver on China's oil purchases from Iran are being contemplated after Washington surprised Iran's customers on Monday by demanding they halt the purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
The administration has been clear to China, Iran's top oil consumer, about no additional waivers to the sanctions after the ones granted last November, one of the senior officials said.

No additional waivers. No wind-down period.
It's clear and final.

Do you know who else is clear and final? China .

China is buying Iranian oil in defiance of US sanctions and providing what Tehran hopes will be a financial lifeline for the country's buckling economy.

Although Beijing customs data show crude purchases from Iran are down month-on-month, China is still importing Tehran's oil despite US measures designed to cut exports to "zero".

Last week the Chinese received their first delivery of an Iranian oil cargo since the Trump administration in May scrapped exemptions on Iranian sanctions.

So Trump is a big, tough, strongman. So what do you think he's going to do when he's challenged?
He's going to fold .

But according to three U.S. officials, the department's Iran czar, Brian Hook, and his team of negotiators have discussed granting China a waiver to a 2012 law intended to kneecap the Iranian oil industry. The alternative is allowing China, which recently welcomed a shipment of approximately a million barrels of Iranian oil, openly to defy U.S. sanctions.
...
The 2012 Iran Freedom and Counterproliferation Act targeted the Iranian shipping, shipbuilding and energy sectors, requiring states or companies that wish to import Iranian oil and conduct business with the U.S. to obtain waivers from the U.S. government. A separate law targeted purchases, rather than imports of that oil.

Officials say the State Department is discussing an arrangement that would allow China to import Iranian oil as payment in kind for sizable investments of the Chinese oil company Sinopec in an Iranian oil field -- and administration officials have offered to issue a waiver for the payback oil in official correspondence between the State Department and Sinopec, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The waiver is merely a face-saving measure. China is going to continue to defy the sanctions one way or another.
And if China gets a waiver then India will too.
As it stands, India has halted buying Iranian oil, but that has just pushed them into buying more Russian oil .

[Jul 05, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf, by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
"... In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine. ..."
"... Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas ..."
"... So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs " ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

Manlio Dinucci invites us to take a step back. He replaces the sabotage of these petrol tankers, for which Washington accuses Teheran, in the context of the global energy policy of the United States. By doing so, he demonstrates that, contrary to appearances, Mike Pompeo is not targeting Iran, but Europe.

While the United States prepared a new escalation of tension in the Middle East by accusing Iran of attacking petrol tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Italian vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with one of the artisans of this strategy in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assuring him that " Italy wants to regain its place as the major partner on the European continent of the greatest Western democracy ". Thereby he has allied Italy with the operation launched by Washington.

The " Gulf of Oman affair " , a casus belli against Iran, is a carbon copy of the " Gulf of Tonkin affair " of 4 August 1964, itself used as a casus belli to bomb North Vietnam, which was accused of having attacked a US torpedo boat (an accusation which was later proved to be false).

Today, a video released by Washington shows the crew of an alleged Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of a petrol tanker in order to conceal its origin (because the mine would allegedly have borne the inscription " Made in Iran ").

With this " proof " - a veritable insult to our intelligence - Washington is attempting to camouflage the goal of the operation. It is part of the strategy aimed at controlling the world reserves of oil and natural gas and their energy corridors [ 1 ]. It is no coincidence that Iran and Iraq are in US crosshairs. Their total oil reserves are greater than those of Saudi Arabia, and five times greater than those of the United States. Iranian reserves of natural gas are approximately 2.5 times those of the USA. Venezuela finds itself targeted by the USA for the same reason, since it is the country which owns the greatest oil reserves in the world.

The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo).

Low-cost Iranian natural gas might also have reached Europe by way of a pipeline crossing Iraq and Syria. But the project, launched in 2011, was destroyed by the USA/NATO operation to demolish the Syrian state.

Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy.

In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine.

Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas. But we have no guarantees, neither on the price, nor on the time-scale for US gas extracted from the bituminous shale by the technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturation), which is disastrous for the environment.

So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs ". Manlio Dinucci

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[Jul 04, 2019] Daesh oil vs Iran oil

Jul 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 4 2019 18:20 utc | 29

SyrianaAnalysis founder Kevork Almassian spins the tanker arrest thusly:

"While #ISIS was stealing the Syrian oil & selling it to #Turkey, the so-called #US led coalition (#UK included) against Daesh wasn't interested in stopping the theft of #Syria's oil.

"But today the UK stopped an oil tanker delivering energy to the Syrian people."

Quite witty, IMO. Note the EU-3 all supported the terrorist invasion of Syria, the destruction of Libya, and NATO's accusing Iran of sponsoring terrorism.

Pompeo's new slogan: Terrorism daily baby!


james , Jul 4 2019 17:10 utc | 11

Spain's caretaker Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said the British targeted the tanker on a request from the US. He added that Spain, which considers the waters off Gibraltar as its own, was assessing the implications of the operation.

Iran has reportedly acknowledged ownership of the cargo. Its foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran to protest the "unlawful seizure of the Iranian tanker," according to the IRNA news agency.

According to Reuters, the MT Grace 1 has been used by Iran in the past to ship crude to Singapore and China in defiance of unilateral sanctions imposed against Iran by the US. The current trip allegedly started in Iran's port of Bandar Assalyeh, thought the papers state that the crude was loaded in the Iraqi port of Basra.

In seizing the tanker under the pretext of sanctions on Syria, the EU seems to be at least partially siding with Washington, which is trying to cripple the Iranian economy through harsh economic sanctions. The pressure campaign was escalated after the US broke its commitment under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"Maybe the EU was trying to show that it was siding with the Americans, playing its part in anti-Iranian policy? We know that the Trump administration has been critical of the European countries," Ali Rizk, a Middle East-based journalist and writer, told RT.

"And it's likely a demonstration against Syria. It all helps an ongoing plan of parting Syria with its allies."

https://www.rt.com/news/463379-iran-crude-tanker-gibraltar/

Ant. , Jul 4 2019 17:13 utc | 12

@1 Allegedly(?), this oil tanker sailed from Basra in Iraq (not Iran) and remarkably went around Africa rather than sail through the Suez, and further it allegedly also turned it's transponder off(?)... as usual, we'll have to wait for real facts to emerge. It's still quite unusual to intercept an oil tanker so blatantly when much more nefarious shipments are going on.

Seems to me certain western governments do whatever they want, and no longer care about international legalities.

gzon , Jul 4 2019 17:28 utc | 18

Grace1 tanker was being tracked for a long time

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-sanctions-oil-exclusive/exclusive-how-iran-fuel-oil-exports-beat-u-s-sanctions-in-tanker-odyssey-to-asia-idUSKCN1R10G9

is from three months ago.

She is now Panama flagged (presumably) Russian owned

IMO number 9116412
Name of the ship GRACE 1
Type of ship CRUDE OIL TANKER
MMSI 355271000
Gross tonnage 156880 tons
DWT 273769 tons
Year of build 1997
Builder HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES - ULSAN, SOUTH KOREA
Flag PANAMA
Class society LLOYD'S SHIPPING REGISTER
Manager & owner RUSSIAN TITAN SHIPPING LINES - DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Former names MERIDIAN LION until 2013 Mar
OVERSEAS MERIDIAN until 2011 Jun
MERIDIAN LION until 2006 Feb

The reason for holding the ship is given as breaking EU sanctions on Syria. Not JCPOA related (in principle).

Here is a short but incomplete primer on Gibraltar territorial waters. The even more extreme Spanish view is that only the port is Gibraltarian, or simply that Gibraltar is Spanish.

https://www.quora.com/As-Gibraltar-is-surrounded-by-Spanish-waters-can-Spain-block-any-ship-coming-from-or-to-Gibraltar


gzon , Jul 4 2019 17:48 utc | 23

Just to note Grace1 is anchored off the south east of Gibraltar, within the 3 mile Gibraltar limit now, I don't know if she was stopped inside that zone, or why she would venture into that 3 mile zone. In short it will be important to know what position she was when boarded, the only info I have is that she veered hard to port into the Gibraltar 3 mile limit, but am not sure if before or after being boarded. The Spanish government has said it tolerates Gibraltar "acting in its waters" in this case because the action was based on EU sanctions.

[Jul 01, 2019] Russia Says It Is Overcomplying With OPEC Production Quota OilPrice.com

Jul 01, 2019 | oilprice.com

https://cdn.districtm.io/ids/index.html Russia's oil production in June was 50,000 bpd below the level Moscow had pledged under the OPEC and non-OPEC production cut agreement, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Monday, as carried by Russian news agency Interfax .

As part of the OPEC+ production cuts between January and June, Russia is taking the lion's share of the non-OPEC cuts and pledged to reduce production by 230,000 bpd from October's post-Soviet record level of 11.421 million bpd, to 11.191 million bpd.

[Jul 01, 2019] On Friday, Russia signalled its commitment to secure Iran's oil and banking sectors, should the EU's INSTEX clearing mechanism not be working effectively by July 7

Jul 01, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Trump's Iran Policy Dangerously Flawed Assumptions, With No Plan 'B' by Alastair Crooke

Ultimately, Trump will find himself in a corner in which he never wished to find himself: It may already be too late. He is there.

Professor Russell-Mead tells us "that the key to the president's Iran policy is that his nose for power [and Trump is a keen judge of power, R-M insists] is telling him Iran is weaker, and the US stronger than the foreign-policy establishment believes What Mr. Trump wants is a deal with Iran that matches his sense of the relative power of the two countries " (emphasis added).

"At the level of public diplomacy, [Trump] is engaging in his standard mix of dazzle and spin[turning American politics into the Donald Trump Show, with the country and the world fixated on his every move, speculating feverishly about what will come next, R-M suggests] And at the level of power politics he is steadily and consistently tightening the screws on Iran: arming its neighbors and assuring them of his support, tightening sanctions, and raising the psychological pressure on the regime.

"Mr. Trump well understands the constraints under which his Iran policy is working. Launching a new Middle East war could wreck his presidency. But if Iran starts the war, that's another matter. A clear Iranian attack on American or even Israeli targets could unite Mr. Trump's Jacksonian base like the attack on Pearl Harbor united America's Jacksonians to fight Imperial Japan."

Russell-Mead's analysis probably has it right. But there is more to it than that: Trump's approach is based on some further underlying key assumptions: Firstly, that, with the Iranian economy tanking, and inflation soaring (Trump repeats this unfounded assertion frequently), the Iranian revolutionary system will either implode, or approach Washington, on its knees, asking for a new nuclear deal.

Two: Trump can afford to wait out this impending implosion, and just lever up the economic pressures in the meanwhile. Three: Trump claims that a war with Iran would be short: "I'm not talking boots on the ground," he said . "I'm just saying if something would happen, it wouldn't last very long". And four: Trump said, (and appears to believe), that he wouldn't need an "exit strategy" in the event of a war with Iran, which suggests that he may really think that the war would be limited to a brief air campaign, and then it would be over.

What to say? Well, only that all of these assumptions are almost certainly wrong – and, as Daniel Larison in The American Conservative notes , "if the US president thinks that a war with Iran "wouldn't last very long," he is probably going to be more willing to start it. Iran hawks are already predictably emphasizing that attacking Iran wouldn't be like Iraq or Afghanistan, and they are saying that in part to overcome Trump's apparent reservations about getting bogged down in a protracted conflict". Iran indeed would not be like Afghanistan or Iraq, but in an entirely different way to that claimed by the hawks.

Well, Iran will not be imploding economically: On Friday, Russia signalled its commitment to secure Iran's oil and banking sectors, should the EU's INSTEX clearing mechanism not be working effectively by 7 July (when Iran's window to Europe on this issue closes). Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday that Moscow is ready to help Iran export its crude and ease restrictions on its banking system should Europe fail to make INSTEX a viable mechanism. China too, has stated that "normal energy dealings" with Tehran are in accordance with law, and should be respected. The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran said this week that Iran has "climbed past the peak of sanctions. Our oil exports are on the rise", Hemmati said .

If the 'implosion hypothesis' is flawed, so too is the claim that Iran will come begging for a new nuclear deal from Mr Trump. Here, by way of illustration, is the (Iranian) account of what the Supreme Leader said to Prime Minister Abe:

"During the meeting with Abe Shinzo (on 13 June), the latter told Ayatollah Khamenei that "I would like to give you a message from the President of the United States".

"Ayatollah Khamenei responded by pointing to the US ingenuity and untrustworthiness, and argued, "We do not doubt your [Abe's] sincerity and goodwill. However, regarding what you mentioned about the President of the US, I do not consider Trump as a person worth exchanging any message with and I have no answer for him, nor will I respond to him in the future ."

"[But] what I am going to say, is said to you as the Japanese Prime Minister, and because we consider Japan a friend of ours

"Ayatollah Khamenei noting Shinzo's assertion that the US intends to prevent Iran's production of nuclear weapons said, "We are opposed to the nuclear weapons and my religious Fatwa bans production of nuclear weapons; but you should know that if we intended to produce nuclear weapons, the US could do nothing; and its non-permission [would] not be any obstacle."

"The Supreme leader, in response to the message that "the United States is not after regime change in Iran", insisted that "Our problem with the United States is not about regime change. Because even if they intend to pursue that, they won't be able to achieve it When Trump says that he is not after regime change, it is a lie. For, if he could do so, he would. However, he is not capable of it."

"Ayatollah Khamenei similarly referred to the Japanese prime minister's remarks regarding the United States' request to negotiate with Iran about the nuclear issue, and said, "The Islamic Republic of Iran negotiated for 5 to 6 years with the United States and the Europeans -- the P 5+1 -- which led to an agreement. But the United States disregarded and breached this definite agreement. So, does common sense permit negotiations with a state that has thrown away everything that was agreed upon?"

"He pointed to the forty years of hostility that the US has showed to the Iranian nation and its continued hostility, and said, "We believe that our problems will not be solved by negotiating with the US, and no free nation would ever accept negotiations under pressure."

And 'pressures' are precisely what the US is adding: i.e. increasing pressures, rather than easing them – which stands probably as the sine qua non to resuming negotiations with Iran. But then Trump holds to the view that America is entitled – by virtue of its greater power – to negotiate with others only when the counterparties are under 'maximum pressure'. Plainly, he has not been briefed well on the Iranian history of stoically enduring far worse and violent cataclysms. Nor, that Iranians can draw on a stratum of spiritual resilience from the narrative of Imam Hussein at times of crisis.

How so? The notion of an 'Iran on the cusp of collapse' is a meme being peddled by various disgruntled Iranian exiles, and by the MEK, as well as by prominent hawks in the US. But equally – and importantly, given Trump's own family predilections – this narrative of 'just one push' and the Iranian Revolution 'is over' is being constantly urged by Netanyahu. (Other Israelis are not so happy at their PM's open and avid support for Trump's policy on Iran – recalling how Israel (and Netanyahu) were accused of having pushed for the 2003 Iraq war).

So. If the assumption that Iran will either collapse, or capitulate under economic pressure, is false; and that the presumption that 'no exit strategy' is required, because Iran is weak and the US is militarily strong (implying that a short, quick air strike would settle matters) – is similarly flawed, where then are we headed?

If these underlying assumptions continue to pass without serious challenge, then, as time passes, Iran will neither have imploded, nor capitulated, as presaged; but rather, it will have continued to send calibrated, incrementally ascending 'messages' to demonstrating the potential costs of pursuing such a policy – with the pain being experienced principally by those US allies who continually advocate for harsh US 'measures' against Iran.

Ultimately, Trump will find himself in a corner in which he never wished to find himself: It may already be too late. He is there. Either having to react militarily to Iranian 'messages', with all the potential for asymmetric Iranian counterstrikes and ratchetting escalation: A prospect from which instinctively he recoils, because he fears this route of indecisive military tit-for-tat may not play out well for him in terms of the 2020 elections. And even could risk his Presidency.

Or, a humiliating, concessionary journey of return into a process closely mirroring the (despised) JCPOA – whatever be its new name: And hope to call the defeat as 'victory'.

Quite possibly, President Putin may have it in mind to lay out some of this prospective landscape when he met with Trump at Osaka. We probably won't be told. We'll never know.

[Jun 29, 2019] John Bolton is that you? on ZH? cooool, maybe pompeo will show up later?

Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

LaugherNYC , 2 hours ago link

You gotta love the SCI. This shallowly-disguised Russian propaganda arm writes in the most charming awkward idiomatic English, bouncing from a "false neutral" tone to a jingoistic Amercia-phobic argot to produce its hit pieces.

Russian propaganda acts like Claude Raines in "Casablanca" : "i am shocked, shocked to discover (geopolitics) going on here!" Geeeee, Europe and the US are in a struggle to avoid Europe relying on Russia for strategic necessities like fuel, even if it imposes costs on European consumers. If you have a dangerous disease, and your pharmacist is known for cutting off their customers' vital drugs to extort them, you might consider using another provider who not only doesn't cut off supplies, but also provides the police department that protects you from your pharmacist's thugs who are known to invade customers' homes using the profits from their own business.

The US provides the protective umbrella that limits Putin's adventurism. Russia cuts of Ukraine's gas supplies in winter to force them into submission. Gasprom is effectively an arm of the Russian military, weaponizing Russia's only product as a geopolitical taser. Sure, it costs more to transport LNG across the Atlantic and convert it back to gas, but the profits from that business are routinely funneled back to Europe in the form of US trade, contributions to NATO, and the provision of the nuclear umbrella that protects Europeans from the man who has publicly lamented the fall of the Soviet Union, called for the return of the former SSRs, and violated the IRM treaty to place nuclear capable intermediate-range missiles and cruise missiles within range of Europe and boasted about his new hypersonic weapons' theoretic capability to decapitate NATO and American decision-making within a few minutes of launch.

... ... ...

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_overseas_military_bases

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

[Jun 29, 2019] Have You Heard Of The CIA s Iran Mission Center by Vijay Prashad

Notable quotes:
"... To head the Iran Mission Center, the CIA appointed Michael D'Andrea. D'Andrea was central to the post-9/11 interrogation program, and he ran the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were central to his approach. ..."
"... What is germane to his post at the Iran Mission Center is that D'Andrea is close to the Gulf Arabs, a former CIA analyst told me. The Gulf Arabs have been pushing hard for action against Iran, a view shared by D'Andrea and parts of his team. For his hard-nosed attitude toward Iran, D'Andrea is known -- ironically -- as "Ayatollah Mike." ..."
"... D'Andrea and people like Bolton are part of an ecosystem of men who have a visceral hatred for Iran and who are close to the worldview of the Saudi royal family . These are men who are reckless with violence, willing to do anything if it means provoking a war against Iran. Nothing should be put past them. ..."
"... D'Andrea's twin outside the White House is Thomas Kaplan, the billionaire who set up two groups that are blindingly for regime change in Iran. The two groups are United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and Counter Extremism Project. There is nothing subtle here. These groups -- and Kaplan himself -- promote an agenda of great disparagement of Muslims in general and of Iran in particular. ..."
"... It is fitting that Kaplan's anti-Iran groups bring together the CIA and money. The head of UANI is Mark Wallace, who is the chief executive of Kaplan's Tigris Financial Group, a financial firm with investments -- which it admits -- would benefit from "instability in the Middle East." Working with UANI and the Counter Extremism Project is Norman Roule, a former national intelligence manager for Iran in the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. ..."
"... These men -- Kaplan and Bolton, D'Andrea and Shihabi -- are eager to use the full force of the U.S. military to further the dangerous goals of the Gulf Arab royals (of both Saudi Arabia and of the UAE). When Pompeo walked before cameras, he carried their water for them. These are men on a mission. They want war against Iran. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Vijay Prashad via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

In 2017, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) created a special unit -- the Iran Mission Center -- to focus attention on the U.S. plans against Iran . The initiative for this unit came from CIA director John Brennan, who left his post as the Trump administration came into office. Brennan believed that the CIA needed to focus attention on what the United States sees as problem areas -- North Korea and Iran, for instance. This predated the Trump administration.

Brennan's successor -- Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director for just over a year (until he was appointed U.S. Secretary of State) -- continued this policy. The CIA's Iran-related activity had been conducted in the Iran Operations Division (Persia House). This was a section with Iran specialists who built up knowledge about political and economic developments inside Iran and in the Iranian diaspora.

It bothered the hawks in Washington -- as one official told me -- that Persia House was filled with Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran. Some of them, due to their long concentration on Iran, had developed sensitivity to the country.

Trump's people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group that would provide the kind of intelligence that tickled the fancy of his National Security Adviser John Bolton .

To head the Iran Mission Center, the CIA appointed Michael D'Andrea. D'Andrea was central to the post-9/11 interrogation program, and he ran the CIA's Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were central to his approach.

It was D'Andrea who expanded the CIA's drone strike program, in particular the signature strike. The signature strike is a particularly controversial instrument. The CIA was given the allowance to kill anyone who fit a certain profile -- a man of a certain age, for instance, with a phone that had been used to call someone on a list. The dark arts of the CIA are precisely those of D'Andrea.

What is germane to his post at the Iran Mission Center is that D'Andrea is close to the Gulf Arabs, a former CIA analyst told me. The Gulf Arabs have been pushing hard for action against Iran, a view shared by D'Andrea and parts of his team. For his hard-nosed attitude toward Iran, D'Andrea is known -- ironically -- as "Ayatollah Mike."

D'Andrea and people like Bolton are part of an ecosystem of men who have a visceral hatred for Iran and who are close to the worldview of the Saudi royal family . These are men who are reckless with violence, willing to do anything if it means provoking a war against Iran. Nothing should be put past them.

The initiative for this unit came from CIA director John Brennan, who left his post as the Trump administration came into office. Getty Image.

D'Andrea and the hawks edged out several Iran experts from the Iran Mission Center, people like Margaret Stromecki -- who had been head of analysis. Others who want to offer an alternative to the Pompeo-Bolton view of things either have also moved on or remain silent. There is no space in the Trump administration, a former official told me, for dissent on the Iran policy.

Saudi Arabia's War

D'Andrea's twin outside the White House is Thomas Kaplan, the billionaire who set up two groups that are blindingly for regime change in Iran. The two groups are United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and Counter Extremism Project. There is nothing subtle here. These groups -- and Kaplan himself -- promote an agenda of great disparagement of Muslims in general and of Iran in particular.

Kaplan blamed Iran for the creation of ISIS, for it was Iran -- Kaplan said -- that "used a terrible Sunni movement" to expand its reach from "Persia to the Mediterranean." Such absurdity followed from a fundamental misreading of Shia concepts such as taqiya, which means prudence and not -- as Kaplan and others argue -- deceit. Kaplan, bizarrely, shares more with ISIS than Iran does with that group -- since both Kaplan and ISIS are driven by their hatred of those who follow the Shia traditions of Islam.

It is fitting that Kaplan's anti-Iran groups bring together the CIA and money. The head of UANI is Mark Wallace, who is the chief executive of Kaplan's Tigris Financial Group, a financial firm with investments -- which it admits -- would benefit from "instability in the Middle East." Working with UANI and the Counter Extremism Project is Norman Roule, a former national intelligence manager for Iran in the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Roule has offered his support to the efforts of the Arabia Foundation, run by Ali Shihabi -- a man with close links to the Saudi monarchy. The Arabia Foundation was set up to do more effective public relations work for the Saudis than the Saudi diplomats are capable of doing. Shihabi is the son of one of Saudi Arabia's most well-regarded diplomats, Samir al-Shihabi, who played an important role as Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Pakistan during the war that created al-Qaeda.

These men -- Kaplan and Bolton, D'Andrea and Shihabi -- are eager to use the full force of the U.S. military to further the dangerous goals of the Gulf Arab royals (of both Saudi Arabia and of the UAE). When Pompeo walked before cameras, he carried their water for them. These are men on a mission. They want war against Iran.

Evidence, reason. None of this is important to them. They will not stop until the U.S. bombers deposit their deadly payload on Tehran and Qom, Isfahan and Shiraz. They will do anything to make that our terrible reality.

This article was produced by Globetrotter , a project of the Independent Media Institute.

[Jun 29, 2019] EU Busts Iran Sanctions. Dollar No Longer Reserve for Oil Trades caucus99percent

Notable quotes:
"... India pays Iran for oil in gold. Europe would be smart to convert to the Yuan/gold convertible bond as a trading currency to use with Iran, and hold reserves in that. It's redeemable for gold at many settlement banks around the world. It was designed as a trading currency to use outside the SWIFT system. All the groundwork was painstakingly laid just for this purpose. ..."
"... Food for oil. What an insult. Europe wants it both ways. They should grow up and start leading the world instead of hiding behind Uncle Sams petticoat. ..."
"... Iran's main demand in talks aimed at saving its nuclear deal is to be able to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the accord a year ago, an Iranian official said on Thursday. ... ..."
"... Trump is a bull in a china shop. Someone will have to pick up the pieces and it won't be the one percent. YOU and I are expendable. ..."
"... Iran's main demand in talks aimed at saving its nuclear deal is to be able to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the accord a year ago, an Iranian official said on Thursday. ... ..."
"... Senior officials from Iran and the deal's remaining parties will meet in Vienna on Friday with the aim of saving the agreement. But with European powers limited in their ability to shield Iran's economy from U.S. sanctions it is unclear what they can do to provide the large economic windfall Tehran wants. ..."
Jun 28, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

leveymg on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 4:41pm In a surprise move, the EU special purpose vehicle for trade with Iran (INSTEX) exercised its first trade today. The body was set up to facilitate exports of Iranian oil without U.S. dollars, avoiding a sanctions regime imposed unilaterally by the U.S.

Instex is now operational despite U.S. threats to European banks and officials of reprisal sanctions if they violated Iran sanctions.

Bloomberg had reported on May 7 the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, issued a warning letter that Instex and anyone associated with it could be barred from the U.S. financial system if it goes into effect.

In defiance of U.S. pressure, Instex was set up by EU diplomats in January as a means to prevent total collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The first official trades occurred today, in the shadow of the Group of 20 Summit meeting. https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/eu-claims-iran-deal-held-togethe...

A senior EU diplomat has said the first transactions were being made by a special purpose vehicle for trade with Iran at a meeting of the remaining members of the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.

Friday's meeting in Vienna featured "constructive discussions," Helga Schmid, the head of the EU diplomatic service said, confirming the entity, named Instex, was making its first transactions.

"INSTEX now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU Members States to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow [fuel enrichment] projects," she posted.

The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (Instex) is designed to facilitate trade of essential goods, such as food and medicine, mainly from the EU to Iran. A Chinese official said Beijing was open to using the facility.

The platform has been set up in France, with a German managing director in a coordinated European effort to counterbalance the US economic power displayed by its sanctions policy.

President Donald Trump last year pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which curbed Iran's nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.

According to today's report:

As the talks kicked off on Friday, seven EU nations expressed support for Instex and the JCPOA, asking Iran "to abide by and fully respect the terms and provisions of the nuclear agreement".

"We are working with France, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as with the European External Action Service and the European Commission, to establish channels to facilitate legitimate trade and financial operations with Iran, one of the foremost of these initiatives being the establishment of Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges," read the statement from Austria, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Whether the declaration of support and first tranche of transactions will be enough to keep Iran committed to the 2015 nuclear deal is still in question.

leveymg on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 6:07pm
Here's more on how INSTEX works free from Dollar exchange

@Linda Wood

While major US media have so far ignored the story (anyone here surprised?), Deutsch Weldt (DW) confirms the report that INSTEX started operations today. https://www.dw.com/en/eu-mechanism-for-trade-with-iran-now-operational/a...

A linked background article explains how the special exchange will bypass U.S. sanctions and the U.S. currency controls over oil exports to Europe: https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-eu-taking-a-stand-through-legal-trading-wi...

Crucial for INSTEX's success will be whether participating states also develop mechanisms for European companies and their employees that protect them from the expected American sanctions and compensate for any damages incurred. The legislative instrument for this exists: The EU's blocking statute. It just needs to be updated to meet the new requirements.

Read more: US welcomes German firms' compliance on Iran sanctions

International transactions independent of the dollar

The knowledge and experience gained in the process could later be transferred to other areas, such as European initiatives in international monetary transactions. This expertise could then come in handy for establishing payment channels independent of the American financial system and the dollar, which the US also uses as a lever in its sanctions policy.

Two pieces of good news in two days, Tulsi Gabbard winning acknowledgement and respect in the debate, and this encouraging sign from Europe. A person could almost get used to thinking common sense is gaining ground. Thank you, leveymg, for posting this.

wendy davis on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 6:36pm
thanks for bringing

this news. earlier today (yesterday?) i'd grabbed this link at RT.com that includes this baffling part toward the end, with zero citation, i'll add:

"However, the EU's efforts to set up the long-promised payment channel have not satisfied Tehran. Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Moussavi called INSTEX a " faux thing of no practical use ," according to Iranian media.

He later said that if this turns out to be the case, the Islamic Republic will not accept it and may change its commitments under the nuclear deal that Brussels is trying to hold on to."

i do remember tehran had complained earlier (as the EU dithered) that it wasn't operational, and when it was so, it would mainly be for medicines and...food (?)

leveymg on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 9:50pm
If this is another Oil for Food thing, it's a nonstarter.

@wendy davis

Right now, it's unclear which way this is going to go. If Europe bows to American power, again, it will turn out very badly for everyone. Iraq times ten.

this news. earlier today (yesterday?) i'd grabbed this link at RT.com that includes this baffling part toward the end, with zero citation, i'll add:

"However, the EU's efforts to set up the long-promised payment channel have not satisfied Tehran. Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Moussavi called INSTEX a " faux thing of no practical use ," according to Iranian media.

He later said that if this turns out to be the case, the Islamic Republic will not accept it and may change its commitments under the nuclear deal that Brussels is trying to hold on to."

i do remember tehran had complained earlier (as the EU dithered) that it wasn't operational, and when it was so, it would mainly be for medicines and...food (?)

Pluto's Republic on Sat, 06/29/2019 - 2:25am
India has been trading with Iran

@wendy davis

...just fine. India pays Iran for oil in gold. Europe would be smart to convert to the Yuan/gold convertible bond as a trading currency to use with Iran, and hold reserves in that. It's redeemable for gold at many settlement banks around the world. It was designed as a trading currency to use outside the SWIFT system. All the groundwork was painstakingly laid just for this purpose.

Food for oil. What an insult. Europe wants it both ways. They should grow up and start leading the world instead of hiding behind Uncle Sams petticoat.

[edited to correct]

this news. earlier today (yesterday?) i'd grabbed this link at RT.com that includes this baffling part toward the end, with zero citation, i'll add:

"However, the EU's efforts to set up the long-promised payment channel have not satisfied Tehran. Earlier this week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Abbas Moussavi called INSTEX a " faux thing of no practical use ," according to Iranian media.

He later said that if this turns out to be the case, the Islamic Republic will not accept it and may change its commitments under the nuclear deal that Brussels is trying to hold on to."

i do remember tehran had complained earlier (as the EU dithered) that it wasn't operational, and when it was so, it would mainly be for medicines and...food (?)

joe shikspack on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 9:20pm
this is excellent news ...

i'll throw in this bit that i read today which i think might make this a breakthrough:

'We only want to sell our oil,' Iran official says before nuclear talks

Iran's main demand in talks aimed at saving its nuclear deal is to be able to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the accord a year ago, an Iranian official said on Thursday. ...

Senior officials from Iran and the deal's remaining parties will meet in Vienna on Friday with the aim of saving the agreement. But with European powers limited in their ability to shield Iran's economy from U.S. sanctions it is unclear what they can do to provide the large economic windfall Tehran wants.

"What is our demand? Our demand is to be able to sell our oil and get the money back. And this is in fact the minimum of our benefit from the deal," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "We are not asking Europeans to invest in Iran... We only want to sell our oil."

The Voice In th... on Fri, 06/28/2019 - 10:15pm
Be careful what you wish for.

@joe shikspack
Doing all oil business in dollars is the only thing holding up the dollar.

Trump is a bull in a china shop. Someone will have to pick up the pieces and it won't be the one percent. YOU and I are expendable.

i'll throw in this bit that i read today which i think might make this a breakthrough:

'We only want to sell our oil,' Iran official says before nuclear talks

Iran's main demand in talks aimed at saving its nuclear deal is to be able to sell its oil at the same levels that it did before Washington withdrew from the accord a year ago, an Iranian official said on Thursday. ...

Senior officials from Iran and the deal's remaining parties will meet in Vienna on Friday with the aim of saving the agreement. But with European powers limited in their ability to shield Iran's economy from U.S. sanctions it is unclear what they can do to provide the large economic windfall Tehran wants.

"What is our demand? Our demand is to be able to sell our oil and get the money back. And this is in fact the minimum of our benefit from the deal," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "We are not asking Europeans to invest in Iran... We only want to sell our oil."

[Jun 29, 2019] Latest Weapon Of US Imperialism Liquified Natural Gas

Highly recommended!
See better discussion at platts.com "But US LNG could face problems of its own – the current low prices are forcing ever growing numbers of US producers into bankruptcy. According to a recent report by Haynes and Boone, 90 gas and oil producers in the US and Canada have filed for bankruptcy between January 2015 and the start of August 2016." So $2 price at Henry Hub should rise to at least $4 for companies to stay in business.
Notable quotes:
"... Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%. ..."
"... The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage. ..."
"... Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017. ..."
"... s mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources. ..."
"... This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe. ..."
"... Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security. ..."
"... The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" ..."
"... The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

One of the most important energy battles of the future will be fought in the field of liquid natural gas (LNG). Suggested as one of the main solutions to pollution , LNG offers the possibility of still managing to meet a country's industrial needs while ameliorating environmental concerns caused by other energy sources. At the same time, a little like the US dollar, LNG is becoming a tool Washington intends to use against Moscow at the expense of Washington's European allies.

To understand the rise of LNG in global strategies, it is wise to look at a graph (page 7) produced by the International Gas Union (IGU) where the following four key indicators are highlighted: global regasification capacities; total volumes of LNG exchanged; exporting countries; and importing countries.

From 1990 to today, the world has grown from 220 million tons per annum (MTPA) to around 850 MTPA of regasification capacity. The volume of trade increased from 20-30 MTPA to around 300 MTPA. Likewise, the number of LNG-importing countries has increased from just over a dozen to almost 40 over the course of 15 years, while the number of producers has remained almost unchanged, except for a few exceptions like the US entering the LNG market in 2016.

There are two methods used to transport gas.

The first is through pipelines, which reduce costs and facilitate interconnection between countries, an important example of this being seen in Europe's importation of gas. The four main pipelines for Europe come from four distinct geographical regions: the Middle East, Africa, Northern Europe and Russia.

The second method of transporting gas is by sea in the form of LNG, which in the short term is more expensive, complex and difficult to implement on a large scale. Gas transported by sea is processed to be cooled so as to reduce its volume, and then liquified again to allow storage and transport by ship. This process adds 20% to costs when compared to gas transported through pipelines.

Less than half of the gas necessary for Europe is produced domestically, the rest being imported from Russia (39%), Norway (30%) and Algeria (13%). In 2017, gas imports from outside of the EU reached 14%. Spain led with imports of 31%, followed by France with 20% and Italy with 15%.

The construction of infrastructure to accommodate LNG ships is ongoing in Europe, and some European countries already have a limited capacity to accommodate LNG and direct it to the national and European network or act as an energy hub to ship LNG to other ports using smaller ships.

According to King & Spalding :

"All of Europe's LNG terminals are import facilities, with the exception of (non-EU) Norway and Russia which export LNG. There are currently 28 large-scale LNG import terminals in Europe (including non-EU Turkey). There are also 8 small-scale LNG facilities in Europe (in Finland, Sweden, Germany, Norway and Gibraltar). Of the 28 large-scale LNG import terminals, 24 are in EU countries (and therefore subject to EU regulation) and 4 are in Turkey, 23 are land-based import terminals, and 4 are floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs), and the one import facility in Malta comprises a Floating Storage Unit (FSU) and onshore regasification facilities."

The countries currently most involved in the export of LNG are Qatar (24.9%), Australia (21.7%), Malaysia (7.7%), the US (6.7%), Nigeria (6.5%) and Russia (6%).

Europe is one of the main markets for gas, given its strong demand for clean energy for domestic and industrial needs. For this reason, Germany has for years been engaged in the Nord Stream 2 project, which aims to double the transport capacity of gas from Russia to Germany. Currently the flow of the Nord Stream is 55 billion cubic meters of gas. With the new Nord Stream 2, the capacity will double to 110 billion cubic meters per year.

The South Stream project, led by Eni, Gazprom, EDF and Wintershall, should have increased the capacity of the Russian Federation to supply Europe with 63 billion cubic meters annually, positively impacting the economy with cheap supplies of gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia. Due to the restrictions imposed by the European Union on Russian companies like Gazprom, and the continuing pressure from Washington to abandon the project and embrace imports from the US, the construction of the pipeline have slowed down and generated tensions between Europe and the US. Washington is piling on pressure on Germany to derail Nord Stream 2 and stop the construction of this important energy linkage.

Further tension has been added since ENI, an Italian company that is a leader in the LNG sector, recently discovered off-shore in Egypt one of the largest gas fields in the world, with an estimated total capacity of 850 billion cubic meters. To put this in perspective, all EU countries demand is about 470 billion cubic meters of gas in 2017.

ENI's discovery has generated important planning for the future of LNG in Europe and in Italy.

Problems have arisen ever since Donald Trump sought to oblige Europeans to purchase LNG from the US in order to reduce the trade deficit and benefit US companies at the expense of other gas-exporting countries like Algeria, Russia and Norway. As mentioned, LNG imported to Europe from the US costs about 20% more than gas traditionally received through pipelines. This is without including all the investment necessary to build regasification plants in countries destined to receive this ship-borne gas. Europe currently does not have the necessary facilities on its Atlantic coast to receive LNG from the US, introduce it into its energy networks, and simultaneously decrease demand from traditional sources.

This situation could change in the future, with LNG from the US seeing a sharp increase recently. In 2010, American LNG exports to Europe were at 10%; the following year they rose to 11%; and in the first few months of 2019, they jumped to 35%. A significant decrease in LNG exports to Asian countries, which are less profitable, offers an explanation for this corresponding increase in Europe.

But Europe finds itself in a decidedly uncomfortable situation that cannot be easily resolved. The anti-Russia hysteria drummed up by the Euro-Atlantic globalist establishment aides Donald Trump's efforts to economically squeeze as much as possible out of European allies, hurting European citizens in the process who will have to pay more for American LNG, which costs about a fifth more than gas from Russian, Norwegian or Algerian sources.

Projects to build offshore regasifiers in Europe appear to have begun and seem unlikely to be affected by future political vagaries, given the investment committed and planning times involved:

"There are currently in the region of 22 large-scale LNG import terminals considered as planned in Europe, except for the planned terminals in Ukraine (Odessa FSRU LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG), Albania (Eagle LNG) – Albania being a candidate for EU membership – and Turkey (FSRU Iskenderun and FSRU Gulf of Saros).

Many ofthese planned terminals, including Greece (where one additional import terminal is planned – Alexandroupolis), Italy (which is considering or planning two additional terminals – Porto Empedocle in Sicily and Gioia Tauro LNG in Calabria) , Poland (FSRU Polish Baltic Sea Coast), Turkey (two FSRUs) and the UK (which is planning the Port Meridian FSRU LNG project and UK Trafigura Teesside LNG). LNG import terminal for Albania (Eagle LNG), Croatia (Krk Island), Cyprus (Vassiliko FSRU), Estonia (Muuga (Tallinn) LNG and Padalski LNG), Germany ( Brunsbüttel LNG), Ireland (Shannon LNG and Cork LNG), Latvia (Riga LNG), Romania (Constanta LNG), Russia (Kaliningrad LNG) and Ukraine (Odessa).

Nine of the planned terminals are FSRUs: Albania, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the UK. "In addition, there are numerous plans for expansion of existing terminals, including in Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the UK."

Washington, with its LNG ships, has no capacity to compete in Asia against Qatar and Australia, who have the lion's share of the market, with Moscow's pipelines taking up the rest. The only large remaining market lies in Europe, so it is therefore not surprising that Donald Trump has decided to weaponize LNG, a bit as he has the US dollar . This has only driven EU countries to seek energy diversification in the interests of security.

The European countries do not appear to be dragging their feet at the prospect of swapping to US LNG, even though there is no economic advantage to doing so. As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?" This, however, is not the case with all allies. Germany is not economically able to interrupt Nord Stream 2. And even though the project has many high-level sponsors, including former chancellor Gerhard Schröder, the project constantly seems to be on the verge of being stopped – at least in Washington's delusions.

Even Eni's discovery of the gas field in Egypt has annoyed the US, which wants less competition (even when illegal, as in the case of Huawei) and wants to be able to force its exports onto Europeans while maintaining the price of the LNG in dollars, thereby further supporting the US dollar as the world's reserve currency in the same manner as the petrodollar .

The generalized hysteria against the Russian Federation, together with the cutting off of Iranian oil imports at Washington's behest, limit the room for maneuver of European countries, in addition to costing European taxpayers a lot. The Europeans appear prepared to set whatever course the US has charted them, one away from cheaper gas sources to the more expensive LNG supplied from across the Atlantic. Given the investments already committed to receive this LNG, it seems unlikely that the course set for the Europeans will be changed.


Sputternik , 1 hour ago link

I live in Europe. I can honestly say that the people I know here prefer Russian gas. People are very ticked off about how the US meddled in their gas supply and the structuring of the pipelines. Most feel that even if US LNG WAS competitive with Russian gas price for now, that the US would in some way either increase prices or use it in some other way to control or manipulate the EU. And sentiment towards USA tends toward resentment and distrust. That's not to say they are necessarily pro-Russia, but definitely a wave of anti US is present.

phaedrus1952 , 46 minutes ago link

US LNG pricing is based on Henry Hub which today is under $2.30/mmbtu.

Even adding in liquefaction and shipping costs, the price to the end user is extremely low.

Henry hub is projected to be sub $3 for DECADES!

Combine the low price with spot deliveries (pipe usually demands long term contracting commitments), and US LNG actually has strong rationale for being accepted.

The statement above that US LNG cannot compete against Australia in Asia is preposterously false due to the VERY high buildout costs of the Aussie LNG infrastructure.

Next year, Oz's first LNG IMPORT terminal at Port Kembla may well be supplied with US LNG.

jaxville , 44 minutes ago link

The US has shown itself to be unreliable as a supplier of anything. Political posturing will always take precedence over any international transaction.

Anonymous IX , 2 hours ago link

Oh, for pity's sake, Laugher. Everything...absolutely everything you attribute to Russia in your post can be said of the U.S. I'm not much of a Wiki fan, but for expediency, here's their view on military bases.

The establishment of military bases abroad enables a country to project power , e.g. to conduct expeditionary warfare , and thereby influence events abroad. Depending on their size and infrastructure, they can be used as staging areas or for logistical, communications and intelligence support. Many conflicts throughout modern history have resulted in overseas military bases being established in large numbers by world powers and the existence of bases abroad has served countries having them in achieving political and military goals.

And this link will provide you with countries worldwide and their bases.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_overseas_military_bases

Note that Russia, in this particular list, has eight bases all contiguous to Russia. The U.S. has 36 listed here with none of them contiguous to the U.S.' borders.

FormerTurbineGuy , 2 hours ago link

Whilst the left wants to go full throttle towards Wind and Solar, no one knows that the natural gas lobby is behind these sources because both sources need a backup. While everyone talks "carbon footprint" they never discusses plant efficiency ( or in the terms of engines brake specific fuel consumption and turbine specific fuel consumption ) in terms of thermal efficiency. You know the boring stuff that plant operators stress over to make sure when your wife wakes up @ 3 in the morning to feed the baby, the lights do go on, and they are creating that wattage in an cost affective manner. With that said, the king of thermal efficiency i.e. burning a fuel to create electricity, is the Combined Cycle Natural Gas Power Plant. These plants combines a stationary gas turbine buring natural gas to spin a generator and a boiler on the back side capture the waste heat to create steam to spin a turbine to again add an input to the generator for a current state of the art of 61% efficiency . That means only 39% going up the stack or for steam cooling to get your "Delta T" for the steam cycle to work. This 61% is vs maybe in the mid 40's for a coal, oil plant or in the case of Nuclear just waste heat with nothing going out a stack. The greater wattage per fuel burned, and the modularization of these Combined Cycle Plants aka have a series of 100mw turbines and bring them on line as needed, make this a win-win IMHO for a massive refurbishing of our Utility base, with a host of benefits, before Gen 3 & Gen 4 Nuclear truly take off again. These plants could be a great stop gap before Gen 3 & 4 are a reality. All the macinations towards wind and solar and their disavantages aka being bird vegamatics, vistas being spoiled and huge swaths of land being used for panels make no sense vs energy density of efficient plants. We are the Natural Gas King, lets not flare it anymore, and really, really leverage it here, help allies, and use it for bringing bad behaving children of the world to the table ifyou will, if you want the candy, behave....

Anonymous IX , 1 hour ago link

Why do we have to treat other countries like we're the parent? We aren't. They are equal and fully functioning countries quite capable of determining their own political and economic future...which may involve not trading or interacting with the U.S. Particularly if we demand of them conditions we ourselves would never accede.

JeanTrejean , 3 hours ago link

To get cheap energy, is an advantage for the European Industry.

Why should we use expensiver energy ?

And, as I read ZH, the future of the US shale gas is far to be assured.

SoDamnMad , 3 hours ago link

The Lithuanian FSRU "Independence" which was delivered from Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2014 to the port of Klaipeda drove energy costs for heating through the roof and perhaps is one of the reasons the Prime Minister at the time only came in third in the latest presidential elections. You can stay reasonably warm, eat or have money for medicine and other necessities. Pick 2 ONLY. Thank you USSA

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

Brainsick as Pompeo the US Pork without character.

As Long as Russia dlivery theier gas constantly and for a much better price then Us-Shale idiots, the ziocons only can lose. We Europeans are not very impressed.

Arising , 3 hours ago link

The biggest Capitalist economy on the planet needs to use mob tactics to push its over priced wares- seems 'long term' is not part of their hit-and-run operation.

Call me Al , 3 hours ago link

LNG = Liquefied natural gas, not liquid.

Now as for the article; apart from a few Eastern European Countries (The Ukraine, Poland etc.), I have seen no proof whatsoever, that Europe is shifting to US LNG.

As for "As has been evident of late, whenever Washington says, "Jump!", European allies respond, "How high?""; I am sorry, but I think those days are over..... this can be seen in our Iranian stance, the 2 Russian pipelines - 1 being Nordstream II and the other Turk-stream, increased trade with Russia, joining the the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and so on and so on......

Kirk2NCC1701 , 3 hours ago link

Call me AI, both terms are acceptable.

Liquified refers to the processing.

Liquid refers to the state of the gas after processing.

earleflorida , 2 hours ago link

thankyou :)

tuetenueggel , 3 hours ago link

yeah, vasalls are not jumping any longer.

libfrog88 , 3 hours ago link

Slowly but surely the anti-Russia propaganda is dying. You can fool all the people some of the time, you can fool some people all of the time (libtards), but you can't fool all the people all of the time. Europeans (the citizens) will question why they should pay 20-30% more for their natural gas just to please America. Politicians better have an answer or change of policy if they want to be reelected.

[Jun 27, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

While the United States prepared a new escalation of tension in the Middle East by accusing Iran of attacking petrol tankers in the Gulf of Oman, Italian vice-Prime Minister Matteo Salvini met with one of the artisans of this strategy in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, assuring him that " Italy wants to regain its place as the major partner on the European continent of the greatest Western democracy ". Thereby he has allied Italy with the operation launched by Washington.

The " Gulf of Oman affair " , a casus belli against Iran, is a carbon copy of the " Gulf of Tonkin affair " of 4 August 1964, itself used as a casus belli to bomb North Vietnam, which was accused of having attacked a US torpedo boat (an accusation which was later proved to be false).

Today, a video released by Washington shows the crew of an alleged Iranian patrol boat removing an unexploded mine from the hull of a petrol tanker in order to conceal its origin (because the mine would allegedly have borne the inscription " Made in Iran ").

With this " proof " - a veritable insult to our intelligence - Washington is attempting to camouflage the goal of the operation. It is part of the strategy aimed at controlling the world reserves of oil and natural gas and their energy corridors [ 1 ]. It is no coincidence if Iran and Iraq are in US crosshairs. Their total oil reserves are greater than those of Saudi Arabia, and five times greater than those of the United States. Iranian reserves of natural gas are approximately 2.5 times those of the USA. Venezuela finds itself targeted by the USA for the same reason, since it is the country which owns the greatest oil reserves in the world.

The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo).

Low-cost Iranian natural gas might also have reached Europe by way of a pipeline crossing Iraq and Syria. But the project, launched in 2011, was destroyed by the USA/NATO operation to demolish the Syrian state.

Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy.

In fact it was the reproduction of North Stream which continued, making Germany the centre of triage for Russian gas.. Then, on the basis of the " USA/EU strategic cooperation in the energy field " agreement stipulated in July 2018, US exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the EU tripled. The triage centre was in Poland, from which was distributed the " Freedom Gas " which also arrived in Ukraine.

Washington's objective is strategic – to hurt Russia by replacing Russian gas in Europe with US gas. But we have no guarantees, neither on the price, nor on the time-scale for US gas extracted from the bituminous shale by the technique known as fracking (hydraulic fracturation), which is disastrous for the environment.

So what does Matteo Salvini have to say about all that? When he arrived in the " greatest democracy in the Western world ", he proudly declared - " I am part of a government which in Europe is no longer satisfied with breadcrumbs ".

[Jun 27, 2019] Immediate spike in oil prices and derivatives market after attack in Iran can unpredictable consequences for the US and world economy

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved. ..."
"... Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world ..."
"... The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} ..."
"... Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.wsws.org

dmorista3 days ago • edited

The official story, as usual, is a bunch of hooey. Trump wouldn't bat an eye over the death of 150 Iranians. In addition to the worries about losing an aircraft carrier: the military high command probably let him know that the much vaunted, and outlandishly expensive, force of F-35s, will quickly lose its effectiveness if exposed to probing by the high tech radars the Russians have developed, and that are used in conjunction with at least the S-400 antiaircraft and antimissile defense system.

So the question is, if the stealth advantage of the F-35 is only good for a limited time, is this particular geostrategic confrontation worth using up that particular asset??

Then there is the whole question of whether the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz in response to a major air raid on their nuclear facilities; this leads to some much more important issues.

Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved.

Since nearly 30% of the World's oil moves through those straits cutting them off will cause an immediate spike in oil prices. Prices of $100 - $300 a barrel would be reached within a few days. If the Straits of Hormuz were closed for a longer period we could easily see prices rise to $1,000 a barrel according to Goldman Sachs projections (see Escobar article cited below).

Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world . The financial and speculative house of cards, that the ruling classes of the U.S.-led Finance Capital Bloc depends on for their dominance of world capital and markets, would likely come tumbling down.

The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} (See "World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In", March 26, 2013, Yves Smith, "Naked Capitalism", at < https://www.nakedcapitalism... >, and "Iran Goes for 'Maximum Counter-pressure' ", June 21, 2019, Pepe Escobar, "Strategic Culture Foundation", at < https://www.strategic-cultu... >, and "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb", Aug 24, 2015, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, at < https://www.globalresearch.... >).

Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets.

All the world's elite capitalists, be they Western or Asian or from elsewhere, maintain homes in numerous places. One reason for this is so they have somewhere to go, if they need to flee from environmental and/or socioeconomic disaster and the resultant chaos in their primary place of residence. As we move ever deeper into this extremely severe and ongoing Crisis of Capitalism, these issues will continue to become more acute.

So we can rest assured that; in addition to the crazed war-mongers Bolton and Pompeo (and their supporters and backers) whispering in Trump's ear to "go ahead and attack the Iranians"; and in addition to the somewhat more sober counsel of General Dunford and other members of the top military command; that titans of finance capital were undoubtedly on the phone warning "Bone-Spur Don" that his digs in Manhattan and Florida might not be entirely safe if the worst were to happen in response to a military strike. The absurd story of Don worrying about 150 Iranians is so ludicrous that it did not even pass the smell test with the corporate controlled media for very long.

Irandle dmorista2 days ago
Oil reached $147 a barrel in 2007-08. That caused the so-called Great Recession.

As WSWS has pointed out there are few if any US options left but war.

[Jun 27, 2019] The West's Trumped-Up Hatred of Iran Serves The Zionist Dream of a Greater Israel Dominating the Middle East by Stuart Littlewood

Notable quotes:
"... Any US attack on Iran in these circumstances could be a violation of the United Nations Charter, which only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval. ..."
"... UN Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 called on Israel "urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards". Israel has been allowed to ignore it for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Israel still refuses to join or allow inspections. ..."
"... When the CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission. What should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers became a festering sore. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | ahtribune.com

Any US attack on Iran in these circumstances could be a violation of the United Nations Charter, which only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval.

Let's remind ourselves of earlier US aggression and dishonesty during the Iran-Iraq war, as recorded in Wikipedia:

In the course of escorts by the US Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board. The American government claimed that Vincennes was in international waters at the time (which was later proven to be untrue), that the Airbus A300 had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and that Vincennes feared that she was under attack. The Iranians maintain that Vincennes was in their own waters, and that the passenger jet was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off. US Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted on Nightline that Vincennes was in Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles. At the time of the attack, Admiral Crowe claimed that the Iranian plane did not identify itself and sent no response to warning signals he had sent. In 1996, the United States expressed their regret for the event and the civilian deaths it caused.

Trump now wants to impose further crippling sanctions on Iran and her people while the UK's Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison has just been to Tehran calling for "urgent de-escalation" and cheekily criticising Iran's "regional conduct" and its threat to stop complying with the nuclear deal, which the US recklessly abandoned but the UK remains committed to.

Good news about Murrison, though. A medical man, he voted against the Iraq war but as a Navy reservist was called up to do a 6 month tour of duty there. Perhaps Murrison should go see Trump and ask:

Trump meanwhile has signed an executive order targeting Iran's leadership with hard-hitting new sanctions supposedly needed to deny their development of nuclear weapons. "Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon," Trump has decreed. He added: "We will continue to increased pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its asperations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fuelling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts...." Achingly funny. Who else could all that apply to, I wonder? Exactly. The Bully-Boy-in-chief himself and his best buddies in Tel Aviv.

Sowing the seeds of hatred

We have conveniently short memories when it comes to our abominable conduct towards the Iranians in 1951-53 when a previous Conservative government, in cahoots with the USA, snuffed out Iran's fledgling democracy and reinstated a cruel dictator, the Shah. This eventually brought about the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and created the deep distrust between Iran and the West. Is it not shameful that the present Conservative government is spoiling for another fight? Shouldn't the Foreign Office now focus on exerting influence through trade and co-operation?

The Iranian regime, like many others, may not be entirely to our liking but nor was Dr Mossadeq's democracy 65 years ago. Besides, what threat is Iran to Britain? And why are we allowing ourselves to be driven by America's mindless hatred?

When new recruits join British Petroleum (BP) they are fed romantic tales about how the company came into being. William Knox D'Arcy, a Devon man, studied law and made a fortune from the Mount Morgan gold-mining operations in 1880s Australia. Returning to England he agreed to fund a search for oil and minerals in Persia and began negotiations with the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar in 1901. A sixty year concession gave D'Arcy the oil rights to the entire country except for five provinces in the north. The Persian government would receive 16% of the oil company's annual profits.

Mozzafar ad-Din was naive in business matters and unprepared for kingship when the time came. He borrowed heavily from the Russians and in order to pay off the debt he signed away control of many Persian industries and markets to foreigners. The deal D'Arcy cut was too sharp by far and would eventually lead to trouble.

He sent an exploration team headed by geologist George B Reynolds. In 1903 a company was formed and D'Arcy had to spend much of his fortune to cover the costs. Further financial support came from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil in return for a large share of the stock.

Drilling in southern Persia at Shardin continued until 1907 when the search was switched to Masjid-i-Souleiman. By 1908 D'Arcy was almost bankrupt. Reynolds received a last-chance instruction: "Drill to 1,600 feet and give up". On 26 May at 1,180 feet he struck oil.

It was indeed a triumph of guts and determination. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was soon up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan. But the company was in trouble again by 1914. The golden age of motoring hadn't yet arrived and the industrial oil markets were sewn up by American and European interests. The sulphurous stench of the Persian oil, even after refining, ruled it out for domestic use, so D'Arcy had a marketing problem.

Luckily Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was an enthusiast for oil and wanted to convert the British fleet from coal especially now that a reliable oil source was secured. He famously told Parliament: "Look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world!" Only the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, he said, could protect British interests. His resolution passed and the British Government took a major shareholding in the company just in time, for World War One began a few weeks later.

During the war the British government seized the assets of a German company calling itself British Petroleum for the purpose of marketing its products in Britain. Anglo-Persian acquired the assets from the Public Trustee complete with a ready-made distribution network and an abundance of depots, railway tank wagons, road vehicles, barges and so forth. This enabled Anglo-Persian to rapidly expand sales in petroleum-hungry Britain and Europe after the war.

In the inter-war years Anglo-Persian profited handsomely from paying the Iranians a miserly 16%, and an increasingly angry Persia tried to renegotiate terms. Getting nowhere, they cancelled the D'Arcy agreement and the matter ended up at the Court of International Justice at The Hague. A new agreement in 1933 provided Anglo-Persian with a fresh 60-year concession but on a smaller area. The terms were an improvement for the Persians but still didn't amount to a square deal.

In 1935 Iran formally replaced Persia as the country's official name internationally and Anglo-Persian changed to Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. By 1950 Abadan was the biggest oil refinery in the world and Britain, with its 51% holding, had affectively colonised part of southern Iran.

Iran's small share of the profits became a big issue and so did the treatment of its oil workers. 6,000 withdrew their labour in 1946 and the strike was violently put down with 200 dead or injured. In 1951 Anglo-Iranian declared £40 million profit after tax but handed Iran only £7 million. Meanwhile Arabian American Oil was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis. Calls for nationalisation were mounting.

As a result of the Persian Constitutional Revolution the first Majlis (parliament) was established in 1906 and the country became a constitutional monarchy with high hopes. By mid-century Iran not unreasonably wanted economic and political independence and an end to poverty. In March 1951 its Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian, which had controlled Iran's oil industry since 1913 under terms disadvantageous to Iran. Respected social reformer Dr Mohammad Mossadeq was named prime minister the following month by a 79 to 12 majority. On 1 May Mossadeq carried out his government's wishes, cancelling Anglo-Iranian's oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets.

His explanation, given in a speech in June 1951 (M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran , p. 525), ran as follows...

"Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.

"The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provides that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention "

For this he would eventually be removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.

Britain, with regime change in mind, orchestrated a world-wide boycott of Iranian oil, froze Iran's sterling assets and threatened legal action against anyone purchasing oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries. It even considered invading. The Iranian economy was soon in ruins.... sounds familiar, doesn't it? Attempts by the Shah to replace Mossadeq failed and he returned with more power, but his coalition was slowly crumbling under the hardships imposed by the British blockade.

At first America was reluctant to join Britain's destructive game but Churchill let it be known that Mossadeq was turning communist and pushing Iran into Russia's arms at a time when Cold War anxiety was high. It was enough to bring America's new president, Eisenhower, on board and plotting with Britain to bring Mossadeq down.

Chief of the CIA's Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt Jr, arrived to play the leading role in an ugly game of provocation, mayhem and deception. An elaborate campaign of disinformation began, and the Shah signed two decrees, one dismissing Mossadeq and the other nominating the CIA's choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees were written as dictated by Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan

The Shah fled to Rome. When it was judged safe to do so he returned on 22 August 1953. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, and convicted of treason by the Shah's military court. He remarked

"My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran's oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world's greatest empire With God's blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism.

"I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests ."

His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Zahedi's new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, awarding the US and Great Britain the lion's share - 40% going to Anglo-Iranian. The consortium agreed to split profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but, tricky as ever, refused to open its books to Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board.

A grateful US massively funded the Shah's government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954. Mossadeq died on 5 March 1967.

Apologise? Hell no Let's demonise Iran!

But the West's fun came to an abrupt halt with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and a great British enterprise that started heroically and turned nasty ended in tears.

The US is still hated today for reimposing the Shah and his thugs and demolishing the Iranians' democratic system of government, which the Revolution unfortunately didn't restore. The US is widely known by Iranians as Big Satan and its regional handmaiden Israel rejoices in the name Little Satan . Britain, as the instigator and junior partner in the sordid affair, is similarly despised.

Moreover, Iran harbours great resentment at the way the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its armed forces and chemical weapons arsenal, and how the international community failed to punish Iraq for its use of those weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. The US, and eventually Britain, leaned strongly towards Saddam in that conflict and the alliance enabled Saddam to more easily acquire or develop forbidden chemical and biological weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim to them.

This is how John King writing in 2003 summed it up

"The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam's army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq's use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology."

While Iranian casualties were at their highest as a result of US chemical and biological war crimes Trump was busy acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump Castle , his Taj-Mahal casino, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and was refitting his super-yacht Trump Princess . What does he know, understand or care about Iran?

On the British side Foreign Secretary Jaremy Hunt was messing about at Oxford University; and the front-runner to fill our Prime Minister vacancy, Boris Johnson, former Foreign Secretary, was similarly at Oxford carousing with fellow Old Etonians at the Bullingdon Club. What do they know or care?

Which brings us to today Why are we hearing nonstop sabre-rattling against Iran when we should be extending the hand of reconciliation and friendship? And why are these clueless leaders demonising Iran instead of righting the wrongs? Because the political establishment is still smarting. And they are the new-generation imperialists, the political spawn of those Dr Mossadeq and many others struggled against. They haven't learned from the past, and they won't lift their eyes to a better future.

It's so depressing.

Economic sanctions: are they moral, or even legal?

The US and UK have led the charge on oil sanctions and other measures to make life hell for Iranians. But are they on safe legal ground?

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in a statement on 26 November 2011, said they were deeply concerned about the threats against Iran by Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Referring to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IADL stated that those threats were unacceptable and dangerous not only for all the region but for the whole of humanity, and that Article 2.4 of the UN Charter forbids not only use of force but also the threat of force in international relations. The right of defence does not include pre-emptive strikes.

The IADL also pointed out that while Israel was quick to denounce the possible possession of nuclear weapons by others, it had illegally possessed nuclear weapons for many years. The danger to world peace was so great as to require the global eradication of all nuclear weapons, and to immediately declare the Middle East a nuclear free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, as required by UN Security Council resolution 687.

Furthermore, Article 33 states that "the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means..." Economic 'terror' tactics such as the vicious sanctions deployed by the US, UK and their allies – and the similar measures used by Britain and America in the 1950s to bring down the government of Dr Mossadeq and reinstate the Shah – are simply not part of the approved toolkit.

Remember the context

UN Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 called on Israel "urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards". Israel has been allowed to ignore it for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Israel still refuses to join or allow inspections.

The Zionist regime is reckoned by some to have up to 400 nuclear warheads at its disposal. It is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran is). It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. As regards biological and chemical weapons, Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In early 2012 the US intelligence community was saying that Iran hadn't got an active nuclear weapons programme, and Israeli intelligence agreed. The Director of the National Intelligence Agency, James Clapper, reported: "We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons..."

So the continual focus on Iran has been a deliberate distraction. We repaid Iranian co-operation in D'Arcy's oil venture with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. America and Britain are still smarting from the time when Iran democratically elected Dr. Mossadeq, who sensibly nationalized her vast oil resources. Up till then the grasping British were raking in far more profit from Iranian oil than the Iranians themselves.

Back in the 1920s the US State Department had described the oil deposits in the Middle East as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history". Ever since, its designs on Iraq and Iran have been plain to see and it is still ready to pounce on every opportunity.

When the CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission. What should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers became a festering sore.

The quest for the energy prize is not over. But it is no longer just about oil. Zionist stooges in controlling positions in the West's corridors of power are pledged to ensure Israel remains the only nuclear power in the Middle East and continues to dominate the region militarily. And they are willing to spill Christian blood and spend Christian treasure in that cause.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton, recipient of the Defender of Israel Award last year and the Guardian of Zion Award the year before, is one such super-stooge. His stupefying remark: "No-one has granted Iran a hunting licence in the Middle East" typifies the arrogance of his ilk.

Stuart Littlewood worked on jet fighters in the RAF. Various sales and marketing management positions in manufacturing, oil and electronics. Senior associate with several industrial marketing consultancies. Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MInstM). BA Hons Psychology, University of Exeter.

[Jun 27, 2019] The USA considered Iran to be the weak-link in BRI/Eurasian integration

Notable quotes:
"... I'm going to go against the grain of the belt and road initiative theory above, and I admit the US is often hostile to Chinese relations with Europe, especially infrastructure. That might be so because the US hopes to compete in that market, just as to control eurasian access would give it a hegemonic position in new trade through the region. So I think that it is not aimed at stopping that initiative, it is about finding ways to control it. ..."
"... I think that the amplification of differences between Iran and US is an antagonism not viewable by the US public as other than part of either longstanding differences or due to US policy error, but I think that it should be considered that this confrontation is actually being framed up to place the US frontline, something the US itself maybe unwittingly invites by its own rhetoric and posturing of dominance. ..."
"... If the above is the true scenario, then I see little room for de-escalation left. ..."
"... Mental retarded is one form of mental disability. This isn't quite the whopper as "wiping Israel off the map " was. I do expect to see limited strikes against Iran within the next week. Predictions are usually wrong though as events are increasingly unpredictable. I sometimes think that the simple act of predicting something which is actually planned can cause the plan to change. Kind of like Quantum physics where observation of a quantum wave can change its quantum state. Observation alters reality. ..."
"... Trump needs Adelson's continued financial support to get reelected, and he wants a ROI, so I think something happens. Big or small? I expect a limited strike, at least I hope so. Something Iran can ignore at least cause only a token retaliation to save face and not cause escalation. ..."
"... TEHRAN – The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that U.S. officials' claims seeking negotiations with Tehran is an act of "deception," saying such an offer is merely aimed at disarming the Iranian nation of its "elements of power." ..."
"... "Having failed to achieve its goal through pressure, the enemy is coming forward with an offer of talks, while assuming the Iranian nation is simple-minded," the Leader said, according to a Press TV report of his statements. ..."
"... Thanks for posting that link to the ProPublica investigation of the 2016 incident when Iran captured the US sailors in its waters. The whole story is quite large and I haven't finished it yet, but already it paints a very disturbing picture of the US Navy. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 2:18:59 PM | 25

Language isn't a problem as Pepe Escobar reports on The Big Picture on the cusp of the G-20, which revolves round what appears to be the sold front posed by RIC--Russia, India, China. A tidbit:

"What matters is that the Xi-Modi bilateral at the SCO was so auspicious that Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale was led to describe it as "the beginning of a process, after the formation of government in India, to now deal with India-China relations from both sides in a larger context of the 21st century and of our role in the Asia-Pacific region." There will be an informal Xi-Modi summit in India in October. And they meet again at the BRICS summit in Brazil in November."

Clearly when the Big Picture's considered--as it ought to always--Iran's seen as the weak-link in BRI/Eurasian integration by Outlaw US Empire planners, which is the actual target beyond Iran. Given the number of nations climbing onboard the BRI Train, Trump won't get many nations aboard his coalition. Aside from Saudi, UAE, Occupied Palestine, and UK, how many nations have swallowed TrumpCo's lie that Iran's responsible for the current crisis? Canada, Ukraine, Poland, Albania, Brazil, Netherlands, The Baltic States?

To bad there's no C-SPAN at the G-20.

gzon , Jun 26, 2019 3:38:47 PM | 38

I'm going to go against the grain of the belt and road initiative theory above, and I admit the US is often hostile to Chinese relations with Europe, especially infrastructure. That might be so because the US hopes to compete in that market, just as to control eurasian access would give it a hegemonic position in new trade through the region. So I think that it is not aimed at stopping that initiative, it is about finding ways to control it.

This rubs off on Syria, which is the Mediterranean access point. To control Syria gives control of that access point, it would remove direct Russian Mediterranean access also, as well as buffer Israel. I think EU is more interested in securing the Mediterranean than any new Eurasian trade route, except for similar reasons to US in terms of control and profit. As stands I don't see EU achieving any great new trade by that route. So that ties Europe more closely with US in my opinion. If you look at relations towards Russia, say Cyprus or Ukraine or sanctions, they do not demonstrate a great friendship or trust, just a balance of power and certain understandings.

I think that the amplification of differences between Iran and US is an antagonism not viewable by the US public as other than part of either longstanding differences or due to US policy error, but I think that it should be considered that this confrontation is actually being framed up to place the US frontline, something the US itself maybe unwittingly invites by its own rhetoric and posturing of dominance.

If the above is the true scenario, then I see little room for de-escalation left. To cede at this point by US would be tantamount to giving Russia, China and Iran hegemony of the region, and I just don't think that is on the books, I don't think China or Russia will be able to provide the reassurance western or US allied nations or states would accept. For the US the main state it would not abandon would be Israel, but I don't think the US would just give up the hegemony that it still has in the region just like that either.

karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 4:53:16 PM | 46
gzon @35--

"... [F]inding ways to control it" differs little from "stopping that initiative," particularly within the context of the stated #1 policy goal of the Outlaw US Empire--Full Spectrum Domination. (Oh, and welcome to the forum.)

Pardon me for asking a few questions. First, have you read the White Paper (doc format) issued by China's Politburo explaining to the Outlaw US Empire why it ceased trade negotiations and set forth its conditions for their resumption? Second, Have you read Michael Hudson's short appraisal of that paper as it integrates with his analysis of the overall Outlaw US Empire project?

Lastly, please elaborate on what you mean here: "... I don't think China or Russia will be able to provide the reassurance western or US allied nations or states would accept." I look forward to your reply.

Pft , Jun 26, 2019 5:01:06 PM | 47
Mental retarded is one form of mental disability. This isn't quite the whopper as "wiping Israel off the map " was. I do expect to see limited strikes against Iran within the next week. Predictions are usually wrong though as events are increasingly unpredictable. I sometimes think that the simple act of predicting something which is actually planned can cause the plan to change. Kind of like Quantum physics where observation of a quantum wave can change its quantum state. Observation alters reality.

Anyways, assuming the strikes happen what happens afterward should be interesting. As Trump said this wont include boots on the ground so it will be an air show. There is the law of unintended consequences that applies, so who can say for sure.

But Trump needs Adelson's continued financial support to get reelected, and he wants a ROI, so I think something happens. Big or small? I expect a limited strike, at least I hope so. Something Iran can ignore at least cause only a token retaliation to save face and not cause escalation.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 6:29:19 PM | 58
As this is the thread for insults or not...

https://ejmagnier.com/2019/06/26/iran-has-warned-to-target-arab-countries-in-case-of-war-the-us-like-a-lion-in-a-persian-story/

"The Iranian Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has reminded Iranian officials of what Imam Khomeini said during the US-Iran crisis in the 80s. He said: "The behaviour of the US can be compared to the story of a lion in Persian stories. Carter most probably didn't know about this story.

Although it pains me to compare Carter to a lion, the story fits him perfectly. When a Lion faces his enemy, it roars and breaks wind to scare his enemy. The lion ends by shaking his tail, hoping for a mediator. Today the US is mimicking the lion's behaviour: the shouting and the threats (roaring) don't scare us, and the US's continual announcement of new sanctions is to us just like the lion breaking wind"."

Don Bacon , Jun 26, 2019 11:30:56 PM | 103
TEHRAN – The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that U.S. officials' claims seeking negotiations with Tehran is an act of "deception," saying such an offer is merely aimed at disarming the Iranian nation of its "elements of power."

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei made the remarks in response to numerous offers of negotiations recently put forward by U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amid a campaign of "maximum pressure" against Tehran.

"Having failed to achieve its goal through pressure, the enemy is coming forward with an offer of talks, while assuming the Iranian nation is simple-minded," the Leader said, according to a Press TV report of his statements.

"The Iranian nation will definitely make progress, but without you and on the condition that you don't approach it," he said to U.S. officials.. . here

Grieved , Jun 27, 2019 12:15:00 AM | 105
@79 Don Bacon

Thanks for posting that link to the ProPublica investigation of the 2016 incident when Iran captured the US sailors in its waters. The whole story is quite large and I haven't finished it yet, but already it paints a very disturbing picture of the US Navy.

The dysfunctions and failures in the hierarchies read more like an old and rigid institution than like anything one thinks of as military characteristics. I guess, then, the truth is that the US Navy is such an institution - antiquated, privileged, and beyond accountability.

I am not a fan of the US military but it still feels strangely sad to read of such decay. One hates to see degradation in anything. It explains why warships run into things as if blind, and why sailors seem impossibly incompetent. I have no doubt that the generals and admirals of the world make their appraisals of US incompetence accordingly, and probably, as professionals themselves, equally sadly.

It's off-topic but a very important article that I hope we see more discussion of in an open thread or one relating to US military. That link again, this one to the source:

Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran -- Here's What Really Happened

In 2016, 10 sailors were captured by Iran. Trump is making it a political issue. Our investigation shows that it was a Navy failure, and the problems run deep.

by Megan Rose, Robert Faturechi, and T. Christian Miller June 24, 2:15 p.m. EDT

Don Bacon , Jun 27, 2019 12:26:52 AM | 109
@ Grieved 102
I am not a fan of the US military but it still feels strangely sad to read of such decay.
The Navy doesn't hit moving ships any longer, they've shifted to stationary ones -- alliding.

Jun 25, 2019

US warship allides with moored bulker in Montreal

A US Navy Freedom-class littoral combat ship (LCS) struck a moored commercial vessel in Montreal as it was about to sail out for its new homeport of Mayport, Florida, on Friday, June 21.
Eyewitnesses reportedly saw USS Billings, which is scheduled to be commissioned in August, allide with the moored bulk carrier Rosaire A. Desgagnes as the former departed the wharf at Montreal with an escort of tugs.
The warship was said to have lost control and ended up hitting the bulk carrier after its mooring lines were let go. . .Billings' starboard side bridge wing suffered visible minor damage. . here

Save you the trouble, allide: To impact a stationary object.
uncle tungsten , Jun 27, 2019 12:32:05 AM | 111
Thank you Don Bacon #79 I have noticed that it is almost always the Navy that f#ucks up or hoists the false flag, Gulf of Tonkin, USS Vincennes, playing chicken with enormous container carriers in the sea of Japan, perhaps even the Japanese oil tanker in early June. The list is much longer than this small excerpt.

Only last week another of USA great new destroyers clips a moored container vessel in Canada. They are a maritime menace.

Is it a psychosis or a deliberate mission by narcissistic ships commanders? Something is seriously out of control in the US Navy.

Don Bacon , Jun 27, 2019 1:10:43 AM | 114
@ ut 108
The US Navy is unfit for combat.

Navy Times, Jan 13
Worse than you thought: inside the secret Fitzgerald probe the Navy doesn't want you to read

A scathing internal Navy probe into the 2017 collision that drowned seven sailors on the guided-missile destroyer Fitzgerald details a far longer list of problems plaguing the vessel, its crew and superior commands than the service has publicly admitted.
Obtained by Navy Times, the "dual-purpose investigation" was overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort and submitted 41 days after the June 17, 2017, tragedy.
. . .Their report documents the routine, almost casual, violations of standing orders on a Fitz bridge that often lacked skippers and executive officers, even during potentially dangerous voyages at night through busy waterways.
When Fort walked into the trash-strewn CIC in the wake of the disaster, he was hit with the acrid smell of urine. He saw kettlebells on the deck and bottles filled with pee. Some radar controls didn't work and he soon discovered crew members who didn't know how to use them anyway.
Fort found a Voyage Management System that generated more "trouble calls" than any other key piece of electronic navigational equipment. Designed to help watchstanders navigate without paper charts, the VMS station in the skipper's quarters was broken so sailors cannibalized it for parts to help keep the rickety system working.. . here
Harry Law , Jun 27, 2019 6:37:40 AM | 121
The US attempt to destroy the Iranian economy by bringing its oil exports to zero, thereby causing untold suffering and death, is an act of war, and should be treated as such, think sanctions on Iraq causing the deaths of 500,000 children. It is impossible to expect any self respecting nation to even engage in a conversation when the US holds a gun to Iran's head. So much for the hubris of the US hegemon that they feel insulted whenever a weaker country says no, that they feel their credibility is at stake, then they double down on the threats.The US only wants vassals, such an attitude can only result in war.
Harry Law , Jun 27, 2019 6:37:40 AM | 121
The US attempt to destroy the Iranian economy by bringing its oil exports to zero, thereby causing untold suffering and death, is an act of war, and should be treated as such, think sanctions on Iraq causing the deaths of 500,000 children. It is impossible to expect any self respecting nation to even engage in a conversation when the US holds a gun to Iran's head. So much for the hubris of the US hegemon that they feel insulted whenever a weaker country says no, that they feel their credibility is at stake, then they double down on the threats.The US only wants vassals, such an attitude can only result in war.

[Jun 26, 2019] Cost of potential US war with Iran $250 oil another Afghanistan

Notable quotes:
"... Should such a war really happen, the stakes would be very high, so there is every reason to assume that Iran's missiles would not only be equipped with conventional high explosive fragmentation warheads, but would also carry toxic agents and dirty bombs. ..."
"... even a handful of Tehran's missiles reaching critical infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region would be enough to cause devastation. ..."
"... On top of that, there are more questions than answers regarding the reliability of the antimissile and air defense systems that the Persian Gulf monarchies deployed to defend their hydrocarbon terminals and other oil and gas infrastructure. ..."
"... To solve the problem of Iran once and for all, the US would need to mount a large-scale ground operation, with the US Army invading the country. America would have to wipe out both regular Iranian forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, unseat the current leadership of Iran, and have a military presence in every major city for the next 10 to 15 years, keeping tight control over the entire country at the same time. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's downing of a US military surveillance drone last week predictably led to another flare-up in tense relations between Tehran and Washington. What could be the implications of a potential conflict between the two nations? Right after the Global Hawk UAV was shot down, the New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran, but then changed his mind.

Let's start by saying that the decision to launch a military operation against Iran (which is what this is really about), including the specific time and place, would have to be taken by a very small group of top US political and military officials. At such meetings, no leaks could possibly occur by definition.

Now, let's take a look at some of the details. The difference between a 'strike' and an 'operation' is quite significant, at the very least in terms of duration, and forces and equipment involved. It would be nice to know if the NYT actually meant a single airstrike or an entire air operation.

Also on rt.com US lapdog Jeremy Hunt prepping British public for war with Iran, just in case Trump asks

Amusingly enough, the publication reported that the strikes were scheduled for early morning to minimize the potential death toll among the Iranian military and civilians. It's worth pointing out that the US has never cared about the number of victims either among the military personnel or the civilian population of its adversaries.

Moreover, the purpose of any military conflict is to do as much damage to your enemy as possible in terms of personnel, military hardware and other equipment. This is how the goals of any armed conflict are achieved. Of course, it would be best if civilian losses are kept to a minimum, but for the US it's more of a secondary rather than a primary objective.

The US Navy and Air Force traditionally strike before dawn with one purpose alone – to avoid the antiaircraft artillery (both small and medium-caliber), as well as a number of air defense systems with optical tracking, firing at them. Besides, a strike in the dark hours of the day affects the morale of the enemy personnel.

Here we need to understand that Iran would instantly retaliate, and Tehran has no small capabilities for that. In other words, it would be a full-scale war. For the US, it wouldn't end with one surgical airstrike without consequences, like in Syria. And the US seems to have a very vague idea on what a military victory over Iran would look like.

Also on rt.com US will not 'stumble into' war with Iran by mistake. If it happens, it will be by design

There is no doubt that a prolonged air campaign by the US will greatly undermine Iran's military and economic potential and reduce the country to the likes of Afghanistan, completely destroying its hydrocarbon production and exports industries.

To say how long such a campaign could last would be too much of a wild guess, but we have the examples of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when airstrikes lasted for 38 days, and Yugoslavia in 1991 when the bombing continued for 78 days. So, theoretically, the US could bomb Iran for, say, 100 days, wrecking the country's economy and infrastructure step by step.

However, the price the US would have to pay for starting such a military conflict may turn out to be too high.

For instance, Iran can respond to US aggression by launching intermediate and shorter-range ballistic missiles to target oil and gas fields and terminals in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE.

Should such a war really happen, the stakes would be very high, so there is every reason to assume that Iran's missiles would not only be equipped with conventional high explosive fragmentation warheads, but would also carry toxic agents and dirty bombs.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that even though the capabilities of US intelligence agencies are almost limitless, quite a few Iranian missile launching sites remain undiscovered. Secondly, US air defense systems in the Persian Gulf, no matter how effective, would not shoot down every last Iranian missile. And even a handful of Tehran's missiles reaching critical infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region would be enough to cause devastation.

On top of that, there are more questions than answers regarding the reliability of the antimissile and air defense systems that the Persian Gulf monarchies deployed to defend their hydrocarbon terminals and other oil and gas infrastructure.

Also on rt.com $300 oil? US war with Iran spells catastrophe for global economy, expert tells RT

If such a scenario came true, that would bring inconceivable chaos to the global economy and would immediately drive up oil prices to $200-250 per barrel – and that's the lowest estimate. It is these implications that are most likely keeping the US from attacking Iran.

To solve the problem of Iran once and for all, the US would need to mount a large-scale ground operation, with the US Army invading the country. America would have to wipe out both regular Iranian forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, unseat the current leadership of Iran, and have a military presence in every major city for the next 10 to 15 years, keeping tight control over the entire country at the same time.

For the record, the US failed to do that even in Afghanistan, which is several times smaller than Iran in terms of both territory and population. And almost 18 years of fighting later, the US has achieved next to nothing.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jun 26, 2019] Lawrence Wilkerson Trump Is Deepening the 'Economic War' Against Iran naked capitalism

Jun 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

GREG WILPERT It's not clear what impact these new sanctions will have on Iran, but the sanctions that have already been imposed since the US withdrew from the JCPOA last year have had a serious effect on Iran's economy. According to oil industry analysts, Iranian oil exports have dropped from 2.5 million barrels per day in April 2013, to about 300,000 barrels per day currently. The latest sanctions come on the heels of heightened tensions. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Then later that week, Iran downed an expensive US drone over the same strait saying that it had entered Iranian airspace. President Trump later revealed that the US was about to retaliate over the weekend with an airstrike against Iran, but Trump changed his mind in the last minute and launched a cyber-attack against Iranian military facilities instead. Joining me now to discuss the latest in the confrontation between the US and Iran is Colonel Larry Wilkerson. He is former Chief of staff to the Secretary of State Colin Powell, and now a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. Thanks for joining us again, Larry.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON Good to be with you.

GREG WILPERT So let's start with the sanctions. As I said, it's far from clear whether these latest sanctions mean anything, but the earlier sanctions are certainly having an effect on Iran, shrinking its economy and causing shortages. Now Trump argued that he called off the airstrike on Iran because he had been told that up to 150 people could have been killed, and that this would have been a disproportionate response to shooting down their drone, but there are reports that Iranians are having trouble accessing lifesaving medicines, such as for cancer treatment. Now, what do you make of this rationale for calling off the airstrike but then at the same time intensifying sanctions?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON There is no question that the sanctions we have on Iran -- and for that matter on North Korea, and on Venezuela, perhaps even still do on Venezuela -- constitute economic warfare. That's the reality that the world doesn't seem to want to address because the United States is so powerful and that their economies and financial networks are so wrapped up with us. That said, it's not like -- And the crassness of the United States with regard to these sanctions was about saved by none other than Madeleine Albright best when she was confronted with a number of Iraqi children who were dying as a result of the sanctions we had on Saddam Hussein. And she simply said, well I thought it was worth it. Worth it -- to kill all those children? The sanctions regimes we execute though, are a little bit more sophisticated, a little bit more well-aimed, more precisely aimed these days.

I was very much associated with the ones on North Korea, ones on Iraq, the way we tried to smarten them up and so forth. The ones on Iran I think are having a very meaningful impact in terms of cutting down on Iran's ability to do everything that it does, including as you pointed out to sell oil. But that said, if Saddam Hussein could evade the sanctions that were on him to the extent that we now know he did, and we know from past experience how well the Kims evaded sanctions in North Korea and invented ways to get around them -- criminal activity like counterfeiting American hundred-dollar bills, for example. And other things that I know about sanctions, I would say the Iranians would be able to survive these no matter how tight we think we've made them. By and large, the Iranian government -- the Majlis, the judiciary, the Ayatollahs, the Guardian Council, the IRGC, the Quds Force -- they don't care about the Iranian people. That's one thing we ought to say more often and more frequently because it's true.

Corruption is so rife in Iran and all sanctions do is increase the money in the hands of those who are corrupt, like the IRGC and the Quds Force. So despite all these statistics and everything -- Look at oil, for example. ISIS, we now know, survived quite richly off its oil sales and we know that Turkey was behind most of the facilitation of those oil sales. The same thing is going to happen with Iran, so official statistics are really meaningless. That said, the sanctions are biting, but I don't think they're ever going to bite to the extent that someone's going to come forward like our Mr. Zarif and say, okay John. Okay Mike. Okay Donald. We're ready to talk. It is just not gonna happen.

Ashburn , June 26, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Even a so-called "surgical strike" on targets within Iran risks the Iranians closing the straight of Hormuz and blocking all oil shipments– somewhere between 20%- 30% or world's oil exports. World oil prices would skyrocket and the entire world's economy would be in chaos. Trillion$ in derivatives would instantly be at risk. There is no way the US military, or the Saudis can prevent this. I believe this is the real reason Trump supposedly cancelled the planned retaliatory strike for Iran's shoot-down of our drone.

Iran knows that sanctions on Iraq during the 90's killed over 500,000 Iraqi children. Even though Col. Wilkerson says Iran's leadership doesn't care about its people, they certainly care more than the US does and won't be willing to sit on their hands and watch this happen. They will resist with force if necessary and make the US and its subservient allies pay the price.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran forces could attack the US in peripheral areas including especially Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... What usually stops the US are elections. The Vietnam War deeply threatened the US establishment and they "think" they learnt the lessons. ..."
"... The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs. "About coordination, of course there is participation of Russia in intelligence-sharing because of Bushehr and ISIS. We have a long and successful partnership with Iran, especially in terms of fighting against international terrorism." Two days after the drone incident, Russian specialist media published Iranian video footage of the movement of S-300's on trailer trucks. This report claims that although the S-300's are wheeled and motorized for rapid position changes, the use of highway transporters was intended to minimize road fatigue on the weapons. ..."
"... Iranian military sources have told western reporters they have established "a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East." ..."
"... The incident happened Thursday before U.S. markets opened. There was the usual confusion about exactly what happened most of the day and we had that odd statement by Trump just before Thursday market close to the effect that maybe a rouge Iranian general made a mistake in shooting down the (in this case: manned P-8A) in 'international waters'. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:23:37 AM | 177

Iran forces will attack the US in peripheral areas including especially Iraq. ..news reports...

U.S. officials are concerned that Iran has given the green light to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to attack the more than 5,200 U.S. forces helping Iraqi Security Forces. And reflecting the unique situation in Iraq, some of those security forces are Iranian-backed militias that fall under the control of the Iraqi government.

For three days in a row this week, rockets have been fired at areas where U.S. forces or U.S. interests are located in Iraq. On Monday, rockets targeted Camp Taji, where the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS is training Iraqi security forces. On Tuesday, more rockets were fired at a compound in Mosul where U.S. troops are based. Then, another attack on Wednesday struck an oil facility near where ExxonMobil has employees.

Rocket attacks Wednesday on American and Turkish oil facilities in southern Iraq, which may have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias, are the latest example of how Iraq finds itself squarely in the middle of increasing tensions between its two closest partners, the United States and Iran.

Security measures were increased at one of Iraq's largest air bases that houses American trainers following an attack last week, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday. The U.S. military said operations at the base were going on as usual and there were currently no plans to evacuate personnel. The stepped-up Iraqi security measures at Balad air base, just north of the capital, Baghdad.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:27:36 AM | 178

@ Yeah, Right 1

Yes, correct, the US is over-extended, over-confident, and out-matched -- a bad mix.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:35:55 AM | 179
In Iran's immediate vicinity the US Navy is especially vulnerable. Iran has thousands of rockets and missiles, and knows how to use them, plus 34 submarines wirh 533mm torpedoes. There's the potential of over sixty torpedoes in the water in one salvo.

from USNI:

On Sunday, the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group with embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, joining the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group already on station in 5th Fleet.

As a result, the Navy now has 28,000 personnel deployed to the region. In comparison, the Navy currently has 24,000 personnel deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, according to Navy data reviewed by USNI News.

"All of our training and our transit to 5th Fleet have made us prepared to respond to any crises across the range of military operations," Capt. Brad Arthur, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5 and the Boxer ARG/11th MEU team, said in a statement. . . here

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:35:55 AM | 179 somebody , Jun 25, 2019 9:39:52 AM | 180
@Yeah, Right | Jun 25, 2019 9:06:21 AM | 175

What usually stops the US are elections. The Vietnam War deeply threatened the US establishment and they "think" they learnt the lessons.

- no conscripts
- as few dead soldiers as possibele - see Iraq or Afghanistan never mind the death of foreign civilians

So either others have to do the fighting (Syria) or the US bomb the country extensively to make it safe for their soldiers. They miscalculated on this in Iraq.

This here is John Helmer's take - who I assume, gets his information from the Russian military

The range of the new surveillance extends well beyond the S-300 strike distance of 200 kilometres, and covers US drone and aircraft bases on the Arabian peninsula, as well as US warships in (and under) the Persian Gulf and off the Gulf of Oman. Early warning of US air and naval-launched attacks has now been cut below the old 4 to 6-minute Iranian threshold. Counter-firing by the Iranian armed forces has been automated from attack warning and target location.

This means that if the US is detected launching a swarm of missiles aimed at Iran's air-defense sites, uranium mines, reactors, and military operations bunkers, Iran will launch its own swarm of missiles at the US firing platforms, as well as at Saudi and other oil production sites, refineries, and pipelines, as well tankers in ports and under way in the Gulf.

"The armed forces of Iran," said a Russian military source requesting anonymity, "have air defence systems capable of hitting air targets at those heights at which drones of the Global Hawk series can fly; this is about 19,000 to 20,000 metres. Iran's means of air defence are both foreign-purchased systems and systems of Iran's own design; among them, in particular, the old Soviet system S-75 and the new Russian S-300.

Recently, Iran transported some S-300's to the south, but that happened after the drone was shot down [June 20]. Russian specialists are working at Bushehr now and this means that the S-300's are also for protection of Bushehr."

... ... ...

The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs. "About coordination, of course there is participation of Russia in intelligence-sharing because of Bushehr and ISIS. We have a long and successful partnership with Iran, especially in terms of fighting against international terrorism." Two days after the drone incident, Russian specialist media published Iranian video footage of the movement of S-300's on trailer trucks. This report claims that although the S-300's are wheeled and motorized for rapid position changes, the use of highway transporters was intended to minimize road fatigue on the weapons.

Iranian military sources have told western reporters they have established "a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East."

... ... ...

In briefings for sympathetic western reporters, Iranian commanders are emphasizing the Armageddon option; that is, however weak or strong their defenses may prove to be under prolonged US attack, the Iranian strategy is not to wait. Their plan, they say, is to counter-attack against Arab as well as American targets as soon as a US missile attack commences; that's to say, at launch, not in-flight nor at impact.

The US cannot sustain any prolonged war with Iran (see elections, dead soldiers), nor can they risk an escalation of small attacks. Nor can they isolate Iran diplomatically.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:47:32 AM | 181
@ 180

The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs.

from Mehr News today

Heading a high delegation of Iran's Defense Ministry and the Army, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Ghasem Taghizadeh traveled to Moscow at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu on Tuesday morning.

He will hold talks with Russian Defense Minister and officials, as well as visit International Military-Technical Forum (ARMY-2019). . . here

PavewayIV , Jun 25, 2019 10:09:06 AM | 183
@imo@142 - Your remark about MMT and my reply have magically gelled (in my simian brain) for a grand unified conspiracy theory that explains a lot of oddities everyone has pointed out previously.

The plan for last Thurs/Fri:

The incident happened Thursday before U.S. markets opened. There was the usual confusion about exactly what happened most of the day and we had that odd statement by Trump just before Thursday market close to the effect that maybe a rouge Iranian general made a mistake in shooting down the (in this case: manned P-8A) in 'international waters'.

Worry, but not panic in the markets on Friday. Oil prices would still have jumped, but derivatives don't implode. War doesn't seem imminent. The public would have been admonished by Trump and the MSM to 'wait for the facts' before rushing to judgement (also calming the markets). Iran would have said nothing on Friday fearing the worse. It really couldn't have been planned better - plenty of time to start the buzz before the weekend but avert derivative Armageddon on Quad witching day.

Saturday is hate Iran a lot day:

The U.S. would hold off on any kind of confirmation until the weekend. CNN would immediately roll out videos of weeping children and widows of 'our brave heros' and document the impromptu memorials: pictures of the sailors, flowers, Teddy bears in camo, candles. Outraged politicians would call for Iranian blood. And, of course, oil prices would have skyrocketed.

The U.S. either conduct an attack on Iran this week or announce an impending one after sufficient grief was milked from the 38 deaths. Trump would be shown solemly saluting the flag-draped coffins in the C-5s arriving at Dover. If it *had* occurred in 'international waters', the U.S. Nave would have recovered everything and kept the Iran Navy away from the area. Casus belli - only a monster or traitor would dare question 'the facts'. Bibi would be shrieking nonstop about how he told us so and encourage us to hurry up and destroy Iran for them.

No sailors would have been hurt in this ruse:

I'm not making light of the thought of 38 dead U.S. sailors - none would have really died in this scenario. The P-8A would certianly have been stripped of it's radars and advanced electronics 'just in case'. Now there's plenty of extra room for those 38 frozen corpses dressed in the appropriate Navy flight uniforms. Load 'em up! A USN P-8A pilot somewhere safely ashore would be flying it via satellite just like regular drone pilots. Thanks, secret Honeywell mystery box in the electronics bay!

Iran would have been screwed:

Video of USN ships recovering those broken (and now unthawed) bodies from the Straits would have been required for the propaganda value. What could Iran say then? "We were targeting the drone in our airspace, not the P-8. Honest!" Too late of course. WAR:ON. Nobody would believe evil Iran.

Why even use a drone?

The drone would have to have been used for bait because Iran wouldn't intentionally shoot at a P-8A (stuffed with frozen bodies or not) flying the same non-threating routes in the middle of the Strait that they usually fly. The drone would also have been stripped but all it's remaining cameras to capture the horrible, intentinal massacre by Iran. The plan would have put that in Iranian airspace without explaining anything to Iran. It was suppose to draw SAM fire.

What could have gone wrong?

The U.S. must have had enough EW on both aircraft to ensure the MQ-4A became invisible to an approaching missile, which would eventually only seen the P-8A on it's terminal guidance radar, not the drone. Except the Iraqis fired a SAM that used IR for terminal guidance, not radar, ignoring whatever trick the U.S. used. The Iranian SAM may have also used a proximity fuse, detonating it near the drone anyway. "Damn you, sneaky Iranians and your primative IR-seeking SAMs with secret proximity fuses! Do you realize how much time and effort we put in with our F-35s to figuring out the required radar tricks for this elaborate scheme?"

Opening salvo:

This could also explain the bizzare 150 dead Iranian people figure Trump claimed. There would have been a pre-planned retalitory strike on the Iranian SAM sites, but only after market closed on Friday or on Saturday. An opening salvo only - total war would surely follow. The U.S. would offer some fake deal. Iran would be spared destruction if they got on their knees to their U.S. and Israeli masters. That just wouldn't ever happen, so WAR:ON. If the U.S. went ahead with the retaliory strike based only on the drone alone, then we would have looked like the bad guys.

How much might Iran have known?

Odd that the P-8A track wasn't also published by Iran. I wonder how they knew about the 35 frozen bodies or if they really thought there were 35 live crew? Guess we'll never know, and nobody would believe such a nutty claim by Iran now. Frozen bodies? Remote controlled P-8As? 'Bait drone'? Hah - sounds like somethig that crackhead Paveway would dream up! Things may have been differnt than this, but I think most people (here, anyway) were surprised by the initial bewilderment of the Trump administration and DoD.

"What? They actually shot the drone down, not the P-8? *%^&! Why did they do that? Get rid of the plane and dump those damn frozen bodies somewhere really deep. If you suspect anybody on our team might be the whistleblowoing type, report them our CIA cleaner pals to be disappeared. Hell, what do I care? My broker just called. I'm rich! F*ck the navy - I'm retireing. See ya!"

And where the hell do you get frozen bodies today that can pass for U.S. military? Does the Pentagon have a freezer of them somewhere for emergency use?

Some folks probably made some money [sigh...]

All I can say now is glad nothing happened as planned. I would give anything to know how many commanding elite in the U.S. military and in-the-know congress things were buying oil call options through proxies last week. Netanyahu and MbS were sure to have loaded up - they LOVE money.

psychohistorian , Jun 25, 2019 10:35:22 AM | 189
Is there consensus now that we are in WWIII?

Thanks to somebody above with the Russia is behind Iran facts that show that attacks on Iran are not possible but for show.

Thanks to PavewayIV with the curious scenario and confirmation that for some it is all about MONEY

I think the EU leaders are a bit conflicted in anticipation of the G20, eh? Are they going to join the Coalition of he Willing like their money boys tell them or do something else?

What a way to fight a war.......lets hope the fighting does not go stupider.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran doesn't have to win a shooting war, it only has to buy enough time so that its forces can disrupt oil shipments

Existence of financial derivatives on oil (aka "paper oil") and the size of trade involving them in world markets changes the whole situation. The USA can shoot themselves in a foot even if the US armed forces would be able to completely destroy the Iraq army air defenses and bomb strategic targets.
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
KA Hopkins , Jun 25, 2019 6:03:12 AM | 154
There seems to be a common theme in many articles that 'shock and awe' military strikes will force Iran's leaders into unconditional surrender. While the US has the capability to do this on its own, for political reasons the US is actively seeking coalition partners. The reality is it doesn't matter how many partners the US can convince to attack Iran. No matter how sophisticated Iran's cyber, missile or air defenses are, based on simple logistics Iran will eventually lose a shooting war against the US and any coalition partners. Iran knows this.

The real question when the bombing starts, is not the number of casualties that Iran can inflict on her enemies but how long before Iran realizes it will lose and calls on all of its asymmetric regional forces to attack in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Straits of Hormuz.

Iran doesn't have to win a shooting war, it only has to buy enough time that its forces can disrupt oil shipments to China, India, Japan, South Korean and Europe to break the supply chains to the US. Currently the US imports/exports over 5T dollars per year, even impacting this by only 20% should cause the trillions in derivatives to crush the world economy. Given that war should always be the option of last resort is there still the possibility for negotiations?

Iran has too many examples of the promises of US and West not matching our actions. The current sanctions are crippling the economy and backing Iran into a corner. No matter what Iran does what guarantees can be provided that sanctions won't be reapplied. Absolutely none. The criteria constantly change. There is an old saying in martial arts, in a fight an opponent with no way out is far more formable than an opponent who can walk away.

Even a wide scale nuclear attack that wipes out a third of Iran's citizens in the ten major cities and a majority of the armed forces probably won't succeed. Once nuclear weapons are used, Iran's leaders are no longer constrained to any regional targets. If Russia and China jump in to the fray then it could get real, as in WWIII awfully quickly. Even without Russia and China getting involved, Iran's leaders just might consider 30M or more deaths acceptable if her enemies are crushed. There is precedent for this. Estimates put Russia's losses due to all causes in WWII at 25-30M people, and Russia called it a win.

So all the babble that Iran will fold in the face of 'shock and awe' is naïve. Iran can't win a shooting war but if can lose with style. To think that Iran can be defeated like Iraq is folly. Iran is not Iraq. Iraq is a local power, Iran is a regional one. Iran is too large to be attacked by ground forces. That leaves airpower. Once the bombs start to drop, all Iranian combat units have a minimum of 72 hours of war supplies. If the US and the coalition partners don't achieve, 'unconditional surrender' in the initial strikes then all bets are off for keeping the conflict local.

Many articles claim the tanker and pipeline attacks of the past two weeks are 'false flags'. Hopefully they were, because if they were not, then Iran has just proven it's ready and has the capability to strike anywhere in the region. Iran is quickly running out of options and has no choice but to continue escalating regional tensions until something gives. We are indeed living in interesting times.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran is nearly western, much more so than neighbouring Arab countries and despite resentment people will rally to defend the republic

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jun 24, 2019 6:21:31 PM | 89

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2019 4:58:26 PM | 59

Just to add on my recent visit to Iran. They are nearly western, much more so than neighbouring Arab countries. But there are curiosities which keep them apart, like the hijri solar calendar, which puts them in 1398, and the 1st of the year on 21st March. Impossible to calculate the western date without mechanical aid.

Most that I met were anti-regime. but then they were middle class. It's not the middle class which is voting for the regime. Rather it is a populist regime, like Trump's.


xLemming , Jun 24, 2019 6:37:12 PM | 92

@19 js

As a follower of Christ, and seasoned "fruit inspector"* I can confidently state the there is more godly wisdom & compassion for humanity displayed by Iran, Russia, Iraq, Syria & Palestine than ALL of the West & especially not by the likes of Pompeo, Pence, Robertson, etc

* "By their fruits you shall know them" NOT by words alone

xLemming , Jun 24, 2019 6:58:17 PM | 94
@48 op

This may be totally naive, but how about this... Iran gets a couple nukes from somewhere, ie. NK, Russia, Pakistan, India, Walmart... and announce it & put an end to this drawn out dance... and force Israel, US, etc to come to terms with it. This is a war after all, and Iran has been bullied long enough (as have we all)

Jen , Jun 24, 2019 7:12:57 PM | 95
Laguerre @ 88:

I admit I have never been to Iran though I've met people who have visited the country as tourists. I have done some reading on the country's history.

Being an Islamic theocracy, the fact that Iran uses the hijri calendar is no surprise. The calendar is actually a lunar calendar of 12 months that is at least a week or a fortnight shorter than the Gregorian calendar we normally use. (This explains why every year Ramadan starts earlier than it did the previous year.) 21st March on the other hand is Nowruz (Persian New Year) which among other things celebrates the spring equinox and is an inheritance from pre-Islamic Persia.

I have read some information about the bonyads (charitable foundations) owned / managed by the IRGC and other government organisations. These trusts (non-profit so they are exempt from taxation) invest huge amounts in Iran's industries. Just the other day I was commenting at another blog about a senior military guy in the Iranian armed forces, General Hossein Salami, who works with a huge IRGC-associated engineering firm that controls over 800 firms and employs over 25,000 mostly technical and engineering staff . The income that bonyads obtain from a firm like Salami's firm and others, which in Western countries would be considered "profit", is distributed among IRGC members (or members of the other government agencies that run them) in the form of subsidies for education up to and including college / university level, healthcare and other social services.

My understanding is that most people who are members of the IRGC come from working class families and especially families who lost breadwinners or other men of draft age during the Iraq-Iran war (1980 - 1988).

Middle class and upper middle class layers would be the hardest hit by US sanctions on Iran (they are the ones importing and buying overseas goods, and have the most contacts with the Iranian diaspora) and won't have the protection of subsidies provided by bonyads or other government organisations.

Grieved , Jun 24, 2019 7:59:24 PM | 99
I have to say I find this talk of "the mullahs" disturbing.

I never see any collateral to demonstrate that the religious layer of Iran is actually harmful to the people in any way. And on the contrary, everything I read about how the religious layer is part of the governing system and the culture and welfare of the nation seems pretty reasonable to me.

I keep coming back to the thought that this is after all the religion of the people of this country. It is the particular way in which they approach the sacredness of the universe. I'm not persuaded that it's more intelligent to regard the universe as being not-sacred.

To accept the benignity of religious people in positions of power and influence within a state, you have to accept the positive aspects of religion, as well as the negative aspects. This is where a lot of potential acceptance fails, of course.

~~

We keep hearing that it is the middle and upper classes that are disaffected with the government (although typically the term "regime" is used). But in this cold-hearted, neoliberal economic wasteland, surely the fact that the poor and the unprivileged are in support of their government is not a study in "populism" but rather a study in successful socialist principles at work?

And the link provided in the previous thread regarding Iran's leadership in the war on drugs stated that over 8,000 Iranian police have died fighting the flow of opium from Afghanistan. The position of the US in this trade is clear to everyone, and the reason to sanction Iran - precisely to shackle the Iranian interdiction of the drug flow - is also clear.

Iran strikes me very much as being like Cuba, in that its good works that yield no profit are greater than any that come from the western nations. Ir almost seems that only a socialist, revolutionary nation has freed itself from the shackles of greed enough to pursue actions purely from moral concern.

I like Khamenei. I envy a country that has a moral anchor such as he, a force that acts not as its captain but as its pilot.

~~

No particular point to make. Just some words in support of devotion to the sacred, and the moral strength to live a life, and direct a country, along moral lines, rather than criminal.

Arata , Jun 24, 2019 8:12:20 PM | 101
@| 95

The Shah came to power with USA + UK coup on 1953, he lacked legitimacy, that was his main problem, he was not an indepdendt legimtimate ruler.

Understanding Iran revolution and the long historical march is too complicated. On the surface and apperance it seems on political, ideoligical/ theoligical levels, but the movement is deeply in cultural and social level. Otherwise it would not be able to survive, resist and grow for 40 years. It may take another 40-50 years the movement bear fruits.

Uncle Jon , Jun 24, 2019 8:14:18 PM | 102
@ATH 97

The Shah was a tragic figure in many ways. You are correct about being the servant of his masters until he outgrew that and started having Persian Empire ambitions. Perhaps too soon for the politics of the era. The west of the 1970's preferred a King Hussein of Jordan. Quiet, unpretentious and cooperative.

The Shah was a super intelligent, extremely well informed and well-read, and a great debater. No journalist was a match for him, not even the crass and arrogant Mike Wallace. But inherently, he was a weak man with a character that did not match his ambitions. That weakness did not allow him to follow through with his plans and he had great plans for his country.

Having said that, IMHO, the Seven Sisters' decision to remove him, and him capitulating so easy, was one the biggest mistakes in modern geopolitics. Look what has happened since then. Furthermore, Dynasties and kings are in Persian DNA. I often laugh at the talk of democracy in Iran, as you cannot have 4-5 Iranians sit together and agree to disagree. One idea always has to come on top and the rest be damned.

Obviously, there are so many other factors and it would a lengthy discussion best to have over a nice Cuban cigar and a single Malt.

psychohistorian , Jun 24, 2019 8:47:00 PM | 112
@ C I eh? who wrote
"
Iran can pursue the strategy of Russia, patience and double dealing, indefinitely or till the cows come home.
"
Totally agree.

In the case of bullies the best offense is a good defense and Iran showed it has good defense to shoot down the spy plane and not the one with cannon fodder nearby

How many more bully nations other than Israel and the US are currently "active"?

None.

This is why the G20 will be interesting to see how much the global finance power struggle shows itself.....the cows are coming home perhaps....

karlof1 , Jun 24, 2019 9:33:02 PM | 118
As alluded to by several and directly pointed to by me, Iran's defensive capabilities have placed the Outlaw US Empire's King in check and have forced it to move into hiding on the board behind what amounts to nothing of substance. I think it an amazing admission that the self-proclaimed most powerful military EVER on Earth must ask for assistance to overthrow what is a popular Iranian government--a government and people in a strategic location within Eurasia on the cusp of initiating an geoeconomic/geopolitical system capable of upending the Empire's #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance. What nation other than the usual co-outlaws will join in an action that is totally against its interests--what nation wants, desires, to be dominated by another?

As I see it, the next move on the global chess board will occur at the G-20, and the King will be placed in check again. However, the move required to get away from the check situation won't be as simple as was just done today. It will require complex finesse of a sort TrumpCo has yet to exhibit. It seems likely Trump will try to redirect attention away from his Iranian failure, but that won't alter the fact that he must move his King.

Jen , Jun 24, 2019 9:39:10 PM | 119
There has been much recent speculation about the restoration of monarchy in Iran in Western news media which would suggest this is something currently occupying the minds of the, uh, "best" and "brightest" brains over at Langley, Foggy Bottom and the bizarre ziggurat building at Vauxhall Cross in London.

One little problem that our Western news media and their feeders may have overlooked is that traditionally only men inherit the throne in Iran.

The current Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi has only three daughters. His younger brother Ali Reza (committed suicide in January 2011) left behind one daughter.

There are two male survivors of the previous Qajar dynasty .

Realist , Jun 24, 2019 10:45:32 PM | 126
Iran strikes me very much as being like Cuba, in that its good works that yield no profit are greater than any that come from the western nations. Ir almost seems that only a socialist, revolutionary nation has freed itself from the shackles of greed enough to pursue actions purely from moral concern.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 24, 2019 7:59:24 PM | 98

How does Iran strike you in this way? You have traveled in Iran? You have lived in Iran?

Do actually you give a fuck about Iran and Iranians? (Be honest. I mean care they way you care about your FAMILY.)

Iran has been kept artificaly retarded and its development plans halted. A million Iranians perished in a needless war. Iranians are forced to accept outrageous intrusions on Iran's sovereignty. Our best minds continue to leave. And now we're being threatened with nuclear bombardment.

"Winning"?

Why don't you wish that on your own people. Hah?

One imagines it must have been very alarming to the Global Mafia when the Shah of Iran announced the plans for the Port of Chabahar. Can you imagine a developed Iran, in good international standing, with a thriving modern port right on the Ohormozd [Hormoz] Strait? Do recent events jingle a bell somewhere there, Grieved?

"Socialist"

A welfare state is not the same thing as a "socialist" system.

IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side. They are hugely corrupted, even Ahmadinejad was screaming about it. It is not even remotely a secret.

The greed of the Mullahs is legendary. You clearly have never dealt with a member of that species. I suggest you acquaint yourself with Iranian's assessment of our clerical snakes.

[Obviously mature readers recognize that in any gross characterization we omit stating the obvious fact that "in most every grouping of people there are exceptional and principled members." We state this here for those who are not.]

Ninel , Jun 24, 2019 10:21:19 PM | 122

Poor Iranians! They are victims of both internal and external repression.

Kadath , Jun 24, 2019 11:03:49 PM | 128
re: 89 Laguerre

I highly doubt that Khamenei has even $0.01 worth of assets in the US, however the real purpose of sanctioning Khamenei and other Iranian government officials (supposedly including the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif) is not to seize their assets but to make international diplomacy more difficult. For example, if Khamenei were to travel to Iraq to face to face discussions with the Iraqi Prime Minister the US would now have the legal framework to sanction any company involved in the travel arrangements, accommodations, insurance, etc... Sanctioning Javad Zarif is an especially dick move as he is one of the leading Iranian moderates and was in favor of the original JCPOA agreement. I suspect that when Javad Zarif tries to attend the next UN summit in New York the US will attempt to sabotage his travel based on these sanctions.

This is also more proof that the US wants a war with Iran as they are trying to crush the moderates within Iran in the hopes that 1) the hardliners will become ascendant within Iran and that they will pursue policies that will make it easier for the US to justify their eventual attack on Iran and 2) making it more difficult for senior government officials to travel aboard will make Iran's international diplomacy less effective in developing a international coalition in opposition to the war. China and Russia acting as proxies and advocates for Iran will be vital for future discussions

Krollchem , Jun 24, 2019 11:16:08 PM | 129
Realist@124

(1) "Iran has been kept artifically retarded and its development plans halted. A million Iranians perished in a needless war."
Do you realize that Iran was attacked by Saddam who was supported by the US and that the US provided Saddam with vast quantities of chemical and biological weapons?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War

(2) "One imagines it must have been very alarming to the Global Mafia when the Shah of Iran announced the plans for the Port of Chabahar."

Did you know that the Shah was installed on 19 August 1953 following the overthrow of democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Operation Ajax by the US and the United Kingdom?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

(3) "IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side."

Sounds like the US system where the two wings of the bird of prey are the Democrats and the Republicans (Upton Sinclair, 1904). Please read up on US Neofeudal Oligarchy before throwing stones at regimes that do not meet your ideological viewpoint.
https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjune19/lessons-rome6-19.html

Yes I understand why the US would want to rape Iran and Venezuela for their energy resources. Without these pools of liquid energy the US Empire will collapse on itself. I suggest you read 1Pathfinding Our Destiny for a reality check on the US system.
https://www.oftwominds.com/Pathfinding-Our-Destiny-sample2.pdf

I suggest that you worry about the US Zionist "christian" endtimers seeking the rapture than the Iranian Mullahs.

/div> Realist, what are you asking for? Are you wishing for Ukraine's fate? Or Brazil's? Or El Salvador's? The political situation in Iran should be, by rights, an Iranian issue. I live in a country that spends trillions making life miserable for others, killing and maiming them but cannot afford to look after it's own people. This is by rights my problem, and I and my fellow citizens should be working to correct this imbalance. What advice do you have? What advice should I give you? We are caught in a terrible, foolish dance but have not the power, as individuals, to escape. This is life. Enjoy some tahdig. Railing against people here is not particularly enlightning for anyone.

Posted by: the pessimist , Jun 24, 2019 11:39:51 PM | 132

Realist, what are you asking for? Are you wishing for Ukraine's fate? Or Brazil's? Or El Salvador's? The political situation in Iran should be, by rights, an Iranian issue. I live in a country that spends trillions making life miserable for others, killing and maiming them but cannot afford to look after it's own people. This is by rights my problem, and I and my fellow citizens should be working to correct this imbalance. What advice do you have? What advice should I give you? We are caught in a terrible, foolish dance but have not the power, as individuals, to escape. This is life. Enjoy some tahdig. Railing against people here is not particularly enlightning for anyone.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 24, 2019 11:39:51 PM | 132

dltravers , Jun 24, 2019 11:41:31 PM | 133
IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side. They are hugely corrupted, even Ahmadinejad was screaming about it. It is not even remotely a secret.

The greed of the Mullahs is legendary. You clearly have never dealt with a member of that species. I suggest you acquaint yourself with Iranian's assessment of our clerical snakes.

I have had quite a few Iranians describe that situation to me. It is amazing how the Christian religious leadership gets bashed, mostly rightly so, and the Mullahs get a pass. I am sure they do get the job done shaking down the flock. Probably not as mullaevangelists on TV but there are other ways. I bet one could amass quite a flock of daughters to your harem.

A quick question: if there really were 35/38 American servicemen jammed into a P-8 and dangled before the Iranians like a juicy bait on a hook then how, exactly, are they going to view that display of casual recklessness w.r.t. their lives?

Wouldn't they be more than a little pissed off with the revelation that the Iranian military cared more about their mortal souls than did their own superiors in the US chain of command?

I was listening to a recent interview of Liberty survivors. One survivor just joined the group after retiring from the intelligence establishment. He was on the fantail after the ship got hit and described the whole thing including the Israeli torpedo boats flying their flags firing at the Liberty. Later at port he had to retrieve the dead. He was threatened by the naval brass to be silent and went on to work for them for the rest of his life.

DC is full of these guys "afraid for their careers and pension". Do not expect to much out of them.

col from OZ , Jun 25, 2019 12:08:56 AM | 134
Grieved
I agree with you summation of the Governance of Iran. The supreme Leader has a fatwa on the creating/ion of Nuclear weapons which he says is immoral. Well their you have it, a gaggle of US presidents who only live to breathe the threaten use of nuclear weapons upon 'their enemies', against a leader who wishers not the power of such a immoral weapon..

[Jun 23, 2019] Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

by Tyler Durden Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:25 2 SHARES Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Tensions in the Persian Gulf are reaching a point of no return . In recent weeks, six oil tankers have been subjected to Israeli sabotage disguised to look like Iranian attacks to induce the United States to take military action against the Islamic Republic. Some days ago Iran rightfully shot out of the sky a US Drone. In Yemen, the Houthis have finally started responding with cruise and ballistic missiles to the Saudis' indiscriminate attacks, causing damage to the Saudi international airport of Abha, as well as blocking, through explosive drones , Saudi oil transportation from east to west through one of the largest pipelines in the world.

As if the political and military situation at this time were not tense and complex enough, the two most important power groups in the United States, the Fed and the military-industrial complex, both face problems that threaten to diminish Washington's status as a world superpower .

The Fed could find itself defending the role of the US dollar as the world reserve currency during any conflict in the Persian Gulf that would see the cost of oil rise to $300 a barrel , threatening trillions of dollars in derivatives and toppling the global economy.

The military-industrial complex would in turn be involved in a war that it would struggle to contain and even win, destroying the United States' image of invincibility and inflicting a mortal blow on its ability to project power to the four corners of the world.

Just look at how surprised US officials were about Iran's capabilities to shot down an advanced US Drone:

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region."

The Fed and the defense of the dollar

The US dollar-based economy has a huge debt problem caused by post-2008 economic policies. All central banks have lowered interest rates to zero or even negative, thus continuing to feed otherwise dying economies.

The central bank of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, an entity hardly known to most people, has stated in writing that "the outstanding notional amount of derivative contracts is 542 trillion dollars." The total combined GDP of all the countries of the world is around 75 trillion dollars.

With the dimensions of the problem thus understood, it is important to look at how Deutsche Bank (DB), one of the largest financial institutions in the world, is dealing with this. The German bank alone has assets worth about 40 trillion dollars in derivatives, or more than half of annual global GDP.

Their solution, not at all innovative or effective, has been to create yet another bad bank into which to pour at least 50 billion dollars of long-term assets, which are clearly toxic.

Reuters explains :

"The bad bank would house or sell assets valued at up to 50 billion euros ($56 billion) – after adjusting for risk – and comprising mainly long-dated derivatives.

The measures are part of a significant restructuring of the investment bank, a major source of revenue for Germany's largest lender, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis."

Thus, not only has Deutsche Bank accumulated tens of billions of dollars in unsuccessful options and securities, it seeks to obtain a profit that has been elusive since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank is full of toxic bonds and inflated debts kept alive through the flow of quantitative easing (QE) money from the European Central Bank, the Fed and the Japanese Central Bank. Without QE, the entire Western world economy would have fallen into recession with a chain of bubbles bursting, such as in public and private debt.

If the economy was recovering, as we are told by soi-disant financial experts, the central-bank rates would rise. Instead, rates have plummeted for about a decade, to the extent of becoming negative loans.

If the Western financial trend is undoubtedly heading towards an economic abyss as a result of the monetary policies employed after 2008 to keep a dying economy alive, what is the rescue plan for the US dollar, its status as a global-reserve currency, and by extension of US hegemony? Simply put, there is no rescue plan.

There could not be one because the next financial crisis will undoubtedly wipe out the US dollar as a global reserve currency, ending US hegemony financed by unlimited spending power. All countries possessing a modicum of foresight are in the process of de-dollarizing their economies and are converting strategic reserves from US or US-dollar government bonds to primary commodities like gold.

The military-industrial complex and the harsh reality in Iran

In this economic situation that offers no escape, the immediate geopolitical effect is a surge of war threats in strategic locations like the Persian Gulf. The risk of a war of aggression against Iran by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis would have little chance of success, but it would probably succeed in permanently devastating the global economy as a result of a surge in oil prices.

The risk of war on Iran by this triad seems to be the typical ploy of the bad loser who, rather than admit defeat, would rather pull the rug out from under everyone's feet in order to bring everybody down with him. Tankers being hit and then blamed on Iran with no evidence are a prime example of how to create the plausible justification for bombing Tehran.

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the actions of Bolton and Pompeo seem to be aligned in prolonging the United States' unipolar moment, continuing to issue diktats to other countries and failing to recognize the multipolar reality we live in. Their policies and actions are accelerating the dispersal of power away from the US and towards other great powers like Russia and China, both of which also have enormous influence in the Persian Gulf.

The threat of causing a conflict in the Persian Gulf, and thereby making the price of oil soar to $300 a barrel, will not save US hegemony but will rather end up accelerating the inevitable end of the US dollar as a global reserve currency.

Trump is in danger of being crushed between a Fed that sees the US dollar's role as the world's reserve currency collapse, and the need for the Fed to blame someone not linked to the real causes of the collapse, that is to say, the monetary policies adopted through QE to prolong the post-crisis economic agony of 2008.

At the same time, with Trump as president, the neocon-Israeli-Saudi supporters see a unique opportunity to strike Iran, a desire that has remained unchanged for 40 years.

As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump. The Donald, as a result, would lose any chance of being re-elected so it makes sense for him to call off possible strikes as he did after the US drone was shot out of the sky.

While unable to live up to his electoral promises, Trump seems to be aware that the path laid out for him in the event of an attack on Iran would lead to his political destruction and probably to a conflict that is militarily unsustainable for the US and especially its Saudi and Israeli allies. It would also be the catalyst for the collapse of the world economy.

In trying to pressure Iran into new negotiations, Trump runs the risk of putting too much pressure on Tehran and giving too much of a free hand to the provocations of Pompeo and Bolton that could end up triggering a war in the Strait of Hormuz.

Putin and Xi Jinping prepare for the worst

Our current geopolitical environment requires the careful and considered attention of relevant heads of state. The repeated meetings between Putin and Xi Jinping indicate that Russia and China are actively preparing for any eventuality. The closer we get to economic collapse, the more tensions and chaos increase around the world thanks to the actions of Washington and her close allies.

Xi Jinping and Putin, who have inherited this chaotic situation, have met at least a dozen times over the last six months , more recently meeting at least three times over two months. The pressing need is to coordinate and prepare for what will inevitably happen, once again trying to limit and contain the damage by a United States that is completely out of control and becoming a danger to all, allies and enemies alike.

As Putin just recently said:

"The degeneration of the universalistic model of globalization and its transformation into a parody, caricature of itself, where the common international rules are replaced by administrative and judicial laws of a country or group of countries.

The fragmentation of global economic space with a policy of unbridled economic selfishness and an imposed collapse. But this is the road to infinite conflict, trade wars and perhaps not just commercial ones. Figuratively, this is the road to the final struggle of all against all.

It is necessary to draft a more stable and fair development model. These agreements should not only be written clearly, but should be observed by all participants.

However, I am convinced that talking about a world economic order such as this will remain a pious desire unless we return to the center of the discussion, that is to say, notions like sovereignty, the unconditional right of each country to its own path to development and, let me add, responsibility in the universal sustainable development, not just its own."

The spokesman of the Chancellery of the People's Republic of China, Hua Chun Ying, echoed this sentiment:

"The American leaders say that 'the era of the commercial surrender of their country has come to an end', but what is over is their economic intimidation of the world and their hegemony.

The United States must again respect international law, not arrogate to itself extraterritorial rights and mandates, must learn to respect its peers in safeguarding transparent and non-discriminatory diplomatic and commercial relations. China and the United States have negotiated other disputes in the past with good results and the doors of dialogue are open as long as they are based on mutual respect and benefits.

But as long as these new trade disputes persist, China informs the government of the United States of America and the whole world that it will immediately impose duties on each other, unilaterally on 128 products from the United States of America.

Also, we think we will stop buying US public debt. It's all, good night!"

I wonder if Europeans will understand all this before the impending disaster. I doubt it.

[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WkRylMGLPMU?feature=oembed

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

[Hide MORE]
-- -- -
They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
--

in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 22, 2019] Russia Will Help Iran With Oil, Banking If Europe's SPV Payment Channel Not Launched

Notable quotes:
"... Europe is being clobbered by the USA on multiple fronts - at little cost to the USA: 1- Russian sanctions; 2- Oil - sanctioning Iran raises oil price and risks a blowout of prices; 3- Gas - sanctioning companies working on Russian gas and pipelines ..."
"... It's about the financial derivatives Iran, the derivatives.. The Europeans, even if they desired honesty, are shackled by their financial shenanigans.. One bad move on their part, and the Potemkin contraption collapses, wiping out the western 1%. They're trapped, and unlike before, war is a lose for them and why? ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

...Russia on Friday announced it was ready to help Iran export its crude and ease restrictions on its banking system if Europe fails to launch its dollar-evading SPV, Instex (Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges) with Tehran, according to Interfax and PressTV .

The three European signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), unveiled late in January the direct non-dollar payment mechanism meant to safeguard their trade ties with Tehran following the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal and in the face of the "toughest ever" sanctions imposed by the United States against the Islamic Republic. In its initial stage, INSTEX would facilitate trade of humanitarian goods such as medicine, food and medical devices, but it will later be expanded to cover other areas of trade, including Iran's oil sales.

However, it has not resulted in any trade deals so far. In late May, the US threatened Europe with " loss of access to the US financial system " if it rolled out the SWIFT-evading SPV, which appears to have crushed Europe's enthusiasm to pursue alternative financial transactions with Tehran, forcing it to conceded to Washington (again).

Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Moussavi said European governments have failed to meet their expectations in implementing INSTEX to protect the JCPOA, criticizing their "lack of will" to deal with America's pressure against Tehran.


marcel tjoeng , 4 hours ago link

What this means is, China will have access to a lot cheaper oil than western market prices, including to the hilt subsidized, with colossal hidden losses, US shale oil. Well done Trump. The Tariffs, Americuhns are the ones paying for those as well. Imbeciles.

TigerK , 8 hours ago link

We are seeing a return to "Gun Boat Diplomacy"... Even THAT will not work.. ultimately. Brinkmanship, of this order reveals a Disturbed mind.. the US criminal elite psyche.. Or as Jidu KrishnaMurti said so aptly..The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.

The USA continues to publicize its belief.. that it is the viral of democracy.. And leader of the Free World. Hollow words.. which it will be forced to eat.. before too long. That time of confrontation.. is Not Far OFF !! This desperation is that of a deranged mind.. that is going down the tube.. breaking down.. A society in free fall..

Ms No , 10 hours ago link

This is exactly how it will always work out when psychopaths are in charge because normal society doesnt manage them.They come from all backgrounds but some genetic varieties of people seem to have YUGE problems with it. I also believe inbreeding has a role.

ExPat2018 , 11 hours ago link

Necessity is the mother of invention. The USA is helping by making people inventors

Nassim , 12 hours ago link

Europe is being clobbered by the USA on multiple fronts - at little cost to the USA: 1- Russian sanctions; 2- Oil - sanctioning Iran raises oil price and risks a blowout of prices; 3- Gas - sanctioning companies working on Russian gas and pipelines

Mat Cauthon , 13 hours ago link

Of course China will follow. Russia's SPFS is already in planning to be alongside China's CIPS for the Silk Road 2.0.

costa ludus , 13 hours ago link

It's not the actual physical oil Russia is helping Iran with, numbnuts -- it is brokering and facilitating the sale of oil without having the Jewish shysters in London and NY involved - the same reason the Chinese set up their own oil bourse.

SoDamnMad , 12 hours ago link

Costa. People don't understand the system. The Brits bad mouthed Russia over the Novichok false flag incident last winter and jumped on the sanction crap. But they gladly accepted a load of LNG from a Rotterdam energy broker to keep their asses from freezing. It was Yamal LNG from RUSSIA. Brokers take the energy (including world-wide trades) and sell it off taking a small bit from each "barrel"as their profit.

stuvian , 14 hours ago link

To succeed in establishing an alternative to SWIFT there will need to be a critical mass of nations buying in

madashellron , 15 hours ago link

I'm sure the Iranians already know this. The EU is just an extension of US power. They were never serious about allowing the free flow of trade with the Iranians. One must get rid of the EU if a real Peace plan with Iran is to take place. But this will never happen under Trump.

madashellron , 15 hours ago link

Russia to the rescue again, and again and again and again...

Brazen Heist II , 16 hours ago link

European politicians are cucks bribed to the teeth by the evil empire to toe the Zionist line. Europe is all but an emasculated world power. Pathetic. Kick US forces out and take a ******* stand against all this ******** America is stirring on Europe's doorstep. Refugees, terrorism, bad relations with Russia....all thanks to the Anglo Zionists. Europeans keep taking it. The Marshall Plan guilt-trip is working well.

John Hansen , 11 hours ago link

Lets face a fact, the US government has been occupying Europe and Japan militarily since the end of WWII. They aren't so much allies as vassals.

Ms No , 10 hours ago link

True but the Zionist banker noghtmare spread to the US from the British empire, so Europe has been perpetually screwed, thus all the world wars that took place there, etc.

Flash007 , 9 hours ago link

Psychopaths and parasites are "smart" at ******* over others, (((da juice))) are masters at it.

ILikeMeat , 10 hours ago link

Europe is not a power, it is an artificial construction with no real leadership.No military to back its decisions and a bunch of feminists and homos that make up its culturally diverse parliaments. European women act like men and the men act like women. There is no fight left in Europe..

messystateofaffairs , 16 hours ago link

China and Russia need to preserve Iran for the BRI which is the lifeline for everyone who has had a belllyfull of JewSA ********. China and Russia will facilitate Iranian trade and Iranian nuclear ICBM peacemakers will soon follow.

Cassandra.Hermes , 16 hours ago link

Trump is loosing, he scares Europeans and Turks but don't let be fooled, Americans are not allowed near Iranian border of Turkey, why do you think is that restriction?

Wahooo , 13 hours ago link

Because gold and oil are two of Turkey's main exports.

Scipio Africanuz , 16 hours ago link

It's about the financial derivatives Iran, the derivatives.. The Europeans, even if they desired honesty, are shackled by their financial shenanigans.. One bad move on their part, and the Potemkin contraption collapses, wiping out the western 1%. They're trapped, and unlike before, war is a lose for them and why?

Because the kinetic advantage is no longer with them, it's now in the East. Nevertheless, their innocent youth can still be salvaged, provided they desire salvage. No more impunity without retribution, cheers...

Thordoom , 16 hours ago link

So India stop importing Iranian oil in order to buy the same oil from Russia for much more since thy where buying that same oil from Iran at great discount. India looks to Russian crude as Iranian imports crash

https://www.rt.com/business/462396-india-russia-oil-supplies/

SoDamnMad , 12 hours ago link

Trump told Modi he would drop tariffs on Indian IT work unless they towed the line. Modi folded.

alexcojones , 17 hours ago link

Good old Vlad, Mr. Putin being a statesman again.Wish we had some of those in "our" country, said this old US veteran

johand inmywallet , 17 hours ago link

No country will win WWIII, everyone will lose.

Brazen Heist II , 16 hours ago link

Some deluded folks still think they have a first strike advantage. LOL No really, we can win this if you "trust" me.

[Jun 22, 2019] Who Survives The Iran Counter-Offensive

Notable quotes:
"... Trump is right that he can afford to be patient and now re-frame this as him being the magnanimous God-Emperor but what he's really doing is talking capital markets off a cliff. ..."
"... Because that's where the U.S. is the most vulnerable and where Iran's greatest leverage lies. This incident should have sent oil prices far higher than they did if the threat of war was real. ..."
"... Why? Because the markets discounted the U.S.'s stories immediately. There have been so many incidents like this that should have started a war in the past three years which turn out to be bogus that the market reaction was muted, at best. ..."
"... As Pepe Escobar lays out convincingly in his latest article, Iran's threats against global oil shipping aren't aimed at disrupting the global economy per se. There's plenty of oil stored in Strategic Reserves around the world to keep things operating during any U.S. military operation to destroy Iran's navy (which wouldn't take very long) and open the strait to oil traffic. ..."
"... It is that a disruption in the price of oil will force the unwinding of trillions in interest rate swap derivatives already at risk because of the tenuous hold on reality Deutsche Bank has, since DB clears a super-majority of all such derivative contracts for the whole of Europe. ..."
"... Last week I asked whether Trump's "B-Team" overplayed their hand in the Gulf of Oman , staging a potential false flag over some oil tankers to stop peace breaking out and arrest the slide in oil prices. Today everyone wants to think Iran overplayed its hand by attacking this drone. But given the amount mendacity and the motivations of the people involved, I'd say that it was yet another attempt by the enemies of peace to push us to the brink of a world war in which nothing good comes of it. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Iran has had enough. I think it's fair to say that after 60+ years of U.S. aggression towards Iran that the decision to shoot down a U.S. drone represents an inflection point in world politics.

In the first few hours after the incident the fog of war was thick. But a day later much of it has cleared thanks to Iran's purposeful poke at U.S. leadership by coming clean with their intentions.

Iran chose to shoot down this drone versus hitting the manned P-8 aircraft and then chose not to lie about it in public, but rather come forward removing any deniability they could have had.

me title=

They did this after President Trump's comments yesterday during a news conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau where Trump described the attack as "a big mistake" and "not intentional."

But it was intentional.

And the reason for this was that despite Trump's assurances yesterday there is considerable debate as to where the drone actually was. According to a report from the NY Times (and buried deep in a very long article):

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike -- which could under international norms be viewed as an act of war.

The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.

This means a couple of things. First, it is likely that Trump was not properly briefed on the issue by his National Security Council, who were pushing him to strike back hard and who are itching to get the U.S. into an armed conflict with Iran.

Framing the attack as a mistake Trump was handing Iran the opportunity to de-escalate things. To me, this signaled that Trump was told through back channels this was an operation designed by us to put Iran in a no-win situation -- either allow encroachment of their airspace or shoot down a drone that would land in international waters.

Moreover, doubts as to the drone's position, remember, with a plane carrying actual ordnance on its wing, put Trump in a real bind.

And he knew it at the presser. That's the way Trump tried to frame this the way he did. Because the implications here are that he is being boxed in on all sides by his administration and his allies -- the Saudis, Israelis and the UAE -- and frogmarched to a war he doesn't want.

He wants Iran to heel but he doesn't know how to go about it.

That Iran then chose the next day to openly declare that they were not confused or misled and knew exactly what they were doing puts Trump in an even worse position.

Because an unmanned drone, as he said in his futile tweetstorm, is not worth going to war over, especially one whose position in in dispute.

And everyone knows it. Europe wouldn't condemn Iran here. No one did. Only the U.S. And that silence is deafening as Pompeo, Bolton and Haspel again over-extend themselves.

Trump is right that he can afford to be patient and now re-frame this as him being the magnanimous God-Emperor but what he's really doing is talking capital markets off a cliff.

Because that's where the U.S. is the most vulnerable and where Iran's greatest leverage lies. This incident should have sent oil prices far higher than they did if the threat of war was real.

Why? Because the markets discounted the U.S.'s stories immediately. There have been so many incidents like this that should have started a war in the past three years which turn out to be bogus that the market reaction was muted, at best.

It also tells you just how quickly the global economy is slowing down if a major military incident between Iran and the U.S. near the Strait of Hormuz only pushed the price of Brent Crude up to fill the gap on the weekly chart and confirm the recent low.

... ... ...

As Pepe Escobar lays out convincingly in his latest article, Iran's threats against global oil shipping aren't aimed at disrupting the global economy per se. There's plenty of oil stored in Strategic Reserves around the world to keep things operating during any U.S. military operation to destroy Iran's navy (which wouldn't take very long) and open the strait to oil traffic.

It is that a disruption in the price of oil will force the unwinding of trillions in interest rate swap derivatives already at risk because of the tenuous hold on reality Deutsche Bank has, since DB clears a super-majority of all such derivative contracts for the whole of Europe.

No one wants to see $300 per barrel oil. That Goldman Sachs is posting potential targets of $1000 per barrel tells you where they are positioning themselves, as if they know something? Goldman? Have insider knowledge?

Please! It is to laugh.

What we are looking at here is the ultimate game of brinkmanship. Trump is saying his maximum pressure campaign will break Iran in the end and if they go one step further (which they won't directly) he will eliminate them.

Iran, on the other hand, is stating categorically that if Trump doesn't allow Iran to trade than no one will. And that threat is a real one, given their regional influence. Incalculable financial and political damage can be done by Iran and its proxies around the region through attacks on oil and gas infrastructure. Governments will fall, markets will collapse. And no one gets out without scars.

It's the kind of stand-off that needs to end with everyone walking away and regrouping but is unlikely to do so because of entrenched interests on both sides and the historical grudges of the men involved.

What's important is to know that the rules of the game have changed. Iran has taken all the punches to the nose it will take from Trump without retaliating. When you corner someone and give them no way out you invite the worst kind of counter-attack.

Last week I asked whether Trump's "B-Team" overplayed their hand in the Gulf of Oman , staging a potential false flag over some oil tankers to stop peace breaking out and arrest the slide in oil prices. Today everyone wants to think Iran overplayed its hand by attacking this drone. But given the amount mendacity and the motivations of the people involved, I'd say that it was yet another attempt by the enemies of peace to push us to the brink of a world war in which nothing good comes of it.

I give Trump a lot of credit here for not falling into the trap set for him. He now has to begin removing those responsible for this quagmire and I'm sure that will be on the docket when he meets with Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping next week at the G-20.

It starts with John Bolton and it ends with Mike Pompeo.

And if he doesn't replace them in the next six to eight weeks then we know Trump isn't serious about keeping us out of war. He's just interested in doing so until he gets re-elected

[Jun 22, 2019] Rates for transporting 2 million-barrel cargoes from Saudi Arabia to China jumped to almost $26,000 a day on Thursday, more than double where they were at the start of June, according to Baltic Exchange in London."

Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Jun 21, 2019 6:39:47 PM | 190

c1ue@69

US threats and the drone shoot down did effect oil shipments from the gulf:

"Insurance rates also soared after those incidents, with companies charging at least $180,000 in premiums to go to the Persian Gulf. They were about $30,000 early this year before tensions began to escalate."

As a result:

"Oil tanker owners are raising the prices they charge to export Middle East crude as tensions surge in a region that accounts for about a third of all seaborne petroleum shipments."

Rates for transporting 2 million-barrel cargoes from Saudi Arabia to China jumped to almost $26,000 a day on Thursday, more than double where they were at the start of June, according to Baltic Exchange in London."

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-21/middle-east-oil-shipping-rates-surge-as-owners-fret-about-iran

Meanwhile, the punishing sanctions on Iran has been crafted and applied by an Israeli immigrant to the United States named Sigal Mandelker who is the Israeli-American dual national who runs the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) at the Dept. of the Treasury.

c1ue , Jun 21, 2019 7:16:05 PM | 199

@Krollchem #190

$150,000 in increased insurance costs on a 2 million bpd tanker = very tiny increase in oil cost. It isn't nothing, but the primary issue is availability...

[Jun 22, 2019] China's Top Providers of Imported Crude Oil

Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oscar Peterson , Jun 21, 2019 3:04:38 PM | 135

China's Top Providers of Imported Crude Oil
Below are the top 15 countries that supplied 90.6% of the crude oil imported into China during 2018.

Russia: US$37.9 billion (15.8% of China's total imported crude)
Saudi Arabia: $29.7 billion (12.4%)
Angola: $24.9 billion (10.4%)
Iraq: $22.4 billion (9.4%)
Oman: $17.3 billion (7.2%)
Brazil: $16.2 billion (6.8%)
Iran: $15 billion (6.3%)
Kuwait: $11.9 billion (5%)
Venezuela: $7 billion (2.9%)
United States: $6.8 billion (2.8%)
United Arab Emirates: $6.7 billion (2.8%)
Congo: $6.4 billion (2.7%)
Colombia: $5 billion (2.1%)
Malaysia: $4.8 billion (2%)
Libya: $4.7 billion (2%)

Together, five of China's leading crude petroleum suppliers (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq plus Oman) represent over half (55.2%) of overall Chinese crude oil imports for 2018.

China's top 10 crude petroleum providers supply almost four-fifths (79%) of its imported crude oil.
Fastest-Growing Suppliers of China's Imported Crude Oil
The value of Chinese purchases of crude oil from its 15 top suppliers amounted to a subtotal $216.7 billion in 2018, up by an average 50.7% from the $143.8 billion worth of imported crude from those same 15 providers during 2017.

Libya: Up 248.1% since 2017
United States: Up 112.8%
Malaysia: Up 79.9%
Congo: Up 76.7%
Brazil: Up 76.6%
Kuwait: Up 67.8%
Iraq: Up 62.3%
United Arab Emirates: Up 60.8%
Russia: Up 58.6%
Colombia: Up 50.6%
Saudi Arabia: Up 44.6%
Oman: Up 40%
Iran: Up 25.8%
Angola: Up 23.6%
Venezuela: Up 6.2%

[Jun 21, 2019] If oil ships stop transiting for any reason the western economic and banking system implodes as the notional value of all those trillions in derivatives (oil at least) become real once the price rise

Notable quotes:
"... iran and oman share the straits as they enter the indian ocean. these waters are THEIR territorial waters and have been agreed upon for decades by the world. 12 miles give or take for each side. there are NO international waters here. ..."
"... It would appear the Iranians tracked our drone essentially from time time of departure until its demise. The folks on the web would have us believe the Iranians used a $2,500 homemade missile to bring down a $120,000,000 drone. Let that soak in. Am I the only one wondering what else we are unaware? ..."
"... Iran's Air Defense Force has some really quirky own designed and manufactured, mostly Chinese and Russian knock-offs) air defense complexes with serious sensors. ..."
"... Rumor has it--Iran has a number of Yakhonts. Those are very bad news for anything on the surface in Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

ted richard ,

iran and oman share the straits as they enter the indian ocean. these waters are THEIR territorial waters and have been agreed upon for decades by the world. 12 miles give or take for each side. there are NO international waters here.

if oil ships stop transiting for any reason the western economic and banking system implodes as the notional value of all those trillions in derivatives (oil at least) become real once the price rises. not a shot need be fired to collapse the western world living standards and there is nothing the pentagon can do about even IF it could which it CAN'T.

peace is the only sane option IF the west wants to remain upright and obstensibly solvent.

ignore fools like bolton and pompeo.

fredw , 21 June 2019 at 07:08 AM
The Trump administration has to come up with an explanation for this. Otherwise everyone will believe that that the red phone rang. "Mr. Putin on the line, sir." Another ripe conspiracy theory waiting in the wings is that Iran turned on some unexpected radar and showed just what the planes were flying into. Some logical, plausible, and not too embarassing alternative story is needed. Fast.
jon stanley , 21 June 2019 at 07:25 AM
Let us hope Trump's alleged caution holds. For the moment, anyway. However, let us also hope wiser heads prevail in Iran. It seems clear to me (which I do not mistake for assuming I am automatically correct) that there has been a PATTERN of increased, violent actions coming from Iran. i.e. increased shelling of US positions, or, near them, anyway, in Iraq. Along with the tanker attacks and drone attacks, two, I might add. These seem calculated, at the moment, at avoiding US loss of life. So, they are playing around with us, testing us. This reflects, to me, ONE kind of thinking in Iran. However, there are other sides there, I believe.

And in the meantime Trump is, essentially, bereft of support within DC. Unless it be in the military. One side of the elite community hates Trump, but for the moment, goes along with him. Trying to push and prod him forward to their ends. The NeoCons and Never Trumpers. The other side basically loathes Trump and opposes whatever position he is taking. Reflectively. Thoughtlessly. This leaves him essentially alone. IN DC. He should get out of the Capital more often. To his Base. Away from the talking heads. In the meantime Iran should give pause for thought. They may think the world will be on their side, if only to oppose Trump. But they won't get much support other than soft and meaningless words, if they keep poking the Bear. And they just might get eaten...hard as a meal as that would be to digest.

fotokemist , 21 June 2019 at 08:05 AM
My poorly informed speculation drawing upon my career as a chemist (i.e., no military training or experience, the navy rejected me when I tried to join the NROTC in 1963) I am inclined to disbelieve our claims that our drone was in international air space. One commentator on MoA claimed there is no international air space over the Gulf of Hormuz. The relevant treaties address only marine access.

It would appear the Iranians tracked our drone essentially from time time of departure until its demise. The folks on the web would have us believe the Iranians used a $2,500 homemade missile to bring down a $120,000,000 drone. Let that soak in. Am I the only one wondering what else we are unaware?

Regarding the aborted attack, my suspicion is that someone informed Trump of the possibility of an unsuspected Iranian asset bringing down an F-22, or horrors, an F-35. Not likely to help our export programs.

Combined with the possibility that Iran can present convincing evidence that the drone penetrated their air space, Trump would be in a poor position to defend himself against war crime charges should he order an attack. Might not play well in the upcoming election cycle.

As a businessman, he could have decided the rewards of an attack did not justify these risks.

Other thoughts?

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> fotokemist... , 21 June 2019 at 12:05 PM
Regarding the aborted attack, my suspicion is that someone informed Trump of the possibility of an unsuspected Iranian asset bringing down an F-22, or horrors, an F-35. Not likely to help our export programs.

Certainly one of major considerations. Unlike Iraq's "integrated" (a propaganda cliche--antiquated should have been the term), Iran's Air Defense Force has some really quirky own designed and manufactured, mostly Chinese and Russian knock-offs) air defense complexes with serious sensors.

It also has Russian S-300PMU2. In general, Iran is nothing like Iraq, Libya or Syria before Russia intervened.

I would put Iran's medium range (up to 100 kilometers range and up to 20 kilometers altitude) AD capabilities as robustly good.

And then, of course, tactical-operational ballistic missiles with an easy reach anywhere in ME (Qatar rings the bell, among many other) and, finally, who knows how many (very-very many) and what capability anti-shipping missiles.

Rumor has it--Iran has a number of Yakhonts. Those are very bad news for anything on the surface in Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

fotokemist , 21 June 2019 at 08:24 AM
Make that Strait of Hormuz.
Fourth and Long , 21 June 2019 at 08:46 AM
Probably a face saving gesture - can seem tough and reasonable simultaneously. It's shaping up as de-escalation on both sides for now, which I deduce from recent press releases on behalf of Iranian authorities saying that they refrained from shooting down a US P-8 plane carrying 35 people, which was accompanying the unmanned drone which they acknowledge shooting down. So they're mirroring each other IMO - it's not going to escalate.
CK , 21 June 2019 at 08:46 AM
I believe that Nixon did the same thing in 1969 when North Korea shot down an ec121. Threaten with a nuke and then stand down.
Ishmael Zechariah -> Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 10:54 AM
Eric Newhill,
IMO,it is the izzies who are pushing for the destruction of Iran, with their BS about Amalek, their god-given title to Palestine, and their attempts to re-mold the ME in their image. The presence of Nasrallah&Co. and their rocket forces-mostly supplied by Iran-is the primary issue. Most of the current ills of the ME can be traced to the izzies. Think Syria.
While there is no doubt that US can pound Iran into the stone age without really working a sweat, she probably would not have gotten off w/o a few bruises for her pains. In addition, more importantly in my view, the izzies might have also gotten a few surprises.
My friends were glad to end last night with no emergencies on their watch. We were all very, very worried.
Ishmael Zechariah
joanna said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 10:59 AM
yes, still playing guitar?

https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/ForeignPolicy/Iran/Pages/default.aspx

And what would you personally consider as more urgent, the inner US bolshevik threat the ones that made the deal or the outer Iranian one?

eakens said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 11:49 AM
Flying a plane into their territory, getting shot down, and then not attacking and calling it an opportunity to deescalate. That's rich. The only thing these whole farcical attempt at diplomacy has proven from the day the deal was denounced as being a bad deal is that those at the top know little of Iran and Iranians. Nor do we want to know, since virtually every time I watch TV and they bring on an "expert" to talk about Iran, they are not only not Iranian but half the time Jewish.
Eric Newhill said in reply to eakens... , 21 June 2019 at 12:58 PM
eakens,
How do you know where the drone was when it was shot down? How do you know where the plane was?
robt willmann , 21 June 2019 at 09:28 AM
Trump has come out through the usual direct communication channel, saying the reason he called off a strike was that casualties were certain to occur and thus would not be proportionate to an unmanned drone--

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1142055375186907136

Bill Wade , 21 June 2019 at 09:28 AM
"On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!" Pres Trump tweet
Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 01:25 PM
Yes. Trump is more cool headed than a lot of people give him credit for being.

His actions have nothing to do with him being cool headed. He is very confused man as of today. But in this particular case we all may be thankful for none other than Tucker Carlson who, if to believe number of American sources, does advise Trump and that, in itself, is a really good news for everyone on the planet. In fact, if Trump wants second term, among many things he ought to do is to remove Bolton and appoint Tucker his NSA. Carlson surely is way more qualified for this job than Bolton. Come to think about it, Tucker could make a decent Secretary of the State too.

HawkOfMay , 21 June 2019 at 09:48 AM
I've always felt that President Trump is impulsive and that impulsiveness is one of the things that makes him unfit to be President. My question is not 'did he order airstrikes'. My question is 'did an adult in the room step in' or 'did he actually change his mind'. I suspect the answer to that question will break down along the typical partisan lines.

It does make clear that he has no overall plan or strategy in place. These actions demonstrate that our President is unpredictable. While unpredictability has its own value (perhaps especially in the political arena) I don't want to see miscalculations creep in when we are talking about getting involved in a new war in the ME.

Eugene Owens , 21 June 2019 at 10:03 AM
I thank Generals Dunford and Selva at the JCS for putting the brakes on Moron Bolton and SecState Pompous. Particularly General Selva who says protecting oil shipments thru the Strait is not our job; and who also pushed back hard against escalation in Venezuela in late April.

https://www.businessinsider.com/paul-selva-john-bolton-aides-meeting-venezuela-2019-5

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/06/18/dont-expect-the-us-to-secure-arabian-gulf-shipping-alone-top-general-says/

Eugene Owens , 21 June 2019 at 10:11 AM
fotokemist & Ted Richard -

The ships and aircraft of all nations, including warships, auxiliaries, and military aircraft, enjoy the right of unimpeded transit passage in the Strait and its approaches.

That is true elsewhere also. The international legal regime of transit passage exists not only at the Strait of Hormuz but also in the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dover Strait, the Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Strait of Malacca.

Fred , 21 June 2019 at 10:33 AM
Walrus,

Looks like impeachment for Russian collusion is off the table, Joe 'foot in mouth' Biden gets some cover and even Democrats in congress are talking about how the AUMF is outdated. Fixing the later, well that would take Pelosi allowing some legislation to come up for a vote.

Flavius , 21 June 2019 at 11:14 AM
Prudent move by the President. It is encouraging that he put in play the concept of proportionality. Although the scale of challenge represented by Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and the Pueblo in 68 exceeded this event, Trump's reasoning in this situation demonstrated a level of akin sobriety that has all too frequently been lacking in the course of the last three presidencies. The lunatic fringes will no doubt find some way to undercut him, the left for their usual obscene political reasons and the neo-cons because they are neo-cons in service to their 'higher calling' but Trump by now has become accustomed to the craven antics of former; and hopefully this unfolding will so contrast his reasoning with the reasoning of his card carrying neo-con advisors that he will realize he needs to clean house for the next time.
jon stanley said in reply to Flavius... , 21 June 2019 at 03:54 PM
What "challenge" in Hungry? Ike made it clear, in 1944, never mind 1956, where our sphere of interest was. There was never any doubt in Ike's mind, anyway. And who had enough gravitas and knowledge to try and talk him out of his views? Czechoslovakia in 1968? Come on...we were a bit, cough, cough, distracted in 1968. That was never in question either. Pueblo? Come on..
blue peacock , 21 June 2019 at 01:15 PM
Jack posted an interesting tweet on another thread. It seems there may also be an alternate explanation on why Trump called off the attacks.

Apparently Iran was informed of the imminent attacks. They responded through Oman & Switzerland that they wouldn't play ball and any attack would escalate.

It is high time for Trump to eject the neocons from his administration.

Mark Logan , 21 June 2019 at 03:17 PM
There was a palpable lack of enthusiasm for a new war on FOX's programs last night.

IMO unless Trump comes to believe his re-election chances would be enhanced by a new war or the IRG conducts ops too violent to be ignored he is likely to keep it holstered.

[Jun 19, 2019] Declassified The Sino-Russian Masterplan To End U.S. Dominance In Middle East OilPrice.com

Notable quotes:
"... One of the first major confrontations with the US by Russia and the PRC was to be over the greater Middle East. The main reason was the advance negotiations with all key oil producers -- including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran -- on substituting the petrodollar with a basket of currencies where the yuan , the euro and the ruble dominate. Using the currency basket would enable the sellers and buyers to go around the US-imposed sanctions and quotas. Indeed, Beijing and Moscow were now enticing the oil producers with huge, long-term export deals which were both financially lucrative and politically tempting by offering guarantees for the well-being of the participating governments. ..."
"... The 26th of March 2018 will go in history as the most momentous day for the United States’ economy, China’s economy and the petrodollar and also for China’s status as an economic superpower. In that day China launched its yuan-denominated crude oil futures in Shanghai thus challenging the petrodollar for dominance in the global oil market. ..."
"... And with tensions escalating between Iran and the United States, Iran figures prominently in the Russia-China strategic partnership. It is an important link in the BRI. Moreover, Iran has recently become more confident in its ability to confront the United States by the joint guarantees of support it received from Russia and China in the event the US moved to strangle it and attempt a regime change. Iran’s understanding is that were the US to take military action against it, Russia and China would prevent an Iranian defeat even if there were major setbacks. ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | oilprice.com

One of the first major confrontations with the US by Russia and the PRC was to be over the greater Middle East. The main reason was the advance negotiations with all key oil producers -- including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran -- on substituting the petrodollar with a basket of currencies where the yuan , the euro and the ruble dominate. Using the currency basket would enable the sellers and buyers to go around the US-imposed sanctions and quotas. Indeed, Beijing and Moscow were now enticing the oil producers with huge, long-term export deals which were both financially lucrative and politically tempting by offering guarantees for the well-being of the participating governments.

The crux of the proposal is regional and includes flagrant disregard of the US sanctions on Iran.

However, the key to the extent of the commitment of both Beijing and Moscow lies in the growing importance and centrality of the New Silk Road via Central Asia.

Persia had a crucial rôle in the ancient Silk Road, and both the PRC and Russia now expect Iran to have a comparable key rôle in the New Silk Road.

The growing dominance of heritage-based dynamics throughout the developing world, including the greater Central Asia and the greater Middle East, makes it imperative for the PRC to rely on historic Persia/Iran as a western pole of the New Silk Road. It is this realization which led both Beijing and Moscow to give Tehran, in mid-May 2019, the original guarantees that Washington would be prevented from conducting a "regime change".

Therefore, even though both Russia and the PRC were not satisfied with the Iranian and Iran-proxy activities and policies in the Iraq-Syria-Lebanon area, it was far more important for them to support Iran, and also Turkey, in their confrontations with the US in order to expedite the consolidation of the New Silk Road.

Tehran and its key allies in "the Middle Eastern Entente" -- Turkey and Qatar -- are cognizant of the core positions of Russia and the PRC. Since mid-May, Tehran and, to a lesser extent, Ankara and Doha, were appraised by Moscow and Beijing of their overall direction of political decisions. Hence, since early June 2019, Tehran has felt confident to start building momentum of Iranian assertiveness and audacity.

Tehran has been raising its profile in the region.

Tehran insists that it is now impossible to make decisions, or do anything else, in the greater Middle East without Iran's approval. On June 2, 2019, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, touted the new strategic posture of Iran. "The Islamic movement has affected the entire world and on top of that, it has succeeded in intimidating the American hegemony and Zionism," he said. Bagheri attributed the new influence of Iran to the acquisition of regional strategic depth; that is, reaching the shores of the Mediterranean

Mamdouh Salamehon June 18 2019

Some quarters in the West belittle the strategic partnership between China and Russia describing it as a “marriage of convenience”. They even had the temerity to urge President Putin to make a choice between China and the West.

President Putin will never sacrifice his strategic partnership with China for the West. Both Russia and China rank their ties as the “peak” in mutual history. This can be judged by two analytical frameworks: their converging visions of the future world order and their harmonized national interests.

The Chinese view on the world order at this historical juncture is shared and dovetailed by Putin’s Russia. Both sides hold the view that Washington’s alienation from both Beijing and Moscow is reflected by the deeply rooted fear of the US losing hegemonic status as the “only indispensable superpower”. The indications of the US fear are plenty. From Beijing’s point of view, they manifest themselves by the U.S. decision to restart a Cold War containment strategy of China and by the trade war it is waging against it. From Moscow’s perspective, US fears manifest themselves by the US attempts to undermine Russia’s dominance in global energy and also by the Western alliance pushing the Western sphere of influence towards the Russian border.

In sharp contrast to mutual suspicion and deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing, the Chinese-Russian tie has proved to be a stable strategic partnership built on mutual understanding, respect and national interests.

The Russia-China strategic alliance is destined to shape the global economy and the geopolitics of the world in the 21st century converting it from a unipolar to a multipolar world.

Relations between China, the world’s largest economy based on purchasing power parity (PPP) and Russia, the world’s energy superpower, are deepening at a time of profound change in the global geopolitical landscape.

Their tools are the petro-yuan and the Silk Road better known as the Belt &amp; Road Initiative (BRI).

The 26th of March 2018 will go in history as the most momentous day for the United States’ economy, China’s economy and the petrodollar and also for China’s status as an economic superpower. In that day China launched its yuan-denominated crude oil futures in Shanghai thus challenging the petrodollar for dominance in the global oil market.

Right now, China is the number one exporter on the globe, the largest crude oil importer in the world and also the world’s biggest economy. The Chinese would like to see global currency usage reflect this shift in global economic power. The petrodollar system provides at least three immediate benefits to the United States. It increases global demand for US dollars. It also increases global demand for US debt securities and it gives the United States the ability to buy oil with a currency it can print at will. In geopolitical terms, the petrodollar lends vast economic and political power to the United States. China hopes to replicate this dynamic.

The launching of the crude oil benchmark on the Shanghai exchange could mark the beginning of the end of the petrodollar. It is probable that the Chinese yuan will emerge as the world’s top reserve currency within the next fifteen years with the petro-yuan emerging as the top oil currency.

Another tool of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership is BRI. The BRI is a massive undertaking involving investments programmes worth trillions of dollars, which will go toward connecting Asia and Europe by sea, rail, and road to promote more trade between the continents.

And with tensions escalating between Iran and the United States, Iran figures prominently in the Russia-China strategic partnership. It is an important link in the BRI. Moreover, Iran has recently become more confident in its ability to confront the United States by the joint guarantees of support it received from Russia and China in the event the US moved to strangle it and attempt a regime change. Iran’s understanding is that were the US to take military action against it, Russia and China would prevent an Iranian defeat even if there were major setbacks.

Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

[Jun 15, 2019] False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the masters of the universe

Jun 15, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Milton

Interesting that this Israeli-First traitor Clawson mentions Lincoln and Ft. Sumter. He finally admits what genuine historians of the Civil War long knew: Lincoln was a warmonger and tyrant, not an emancipator. The Civil war was fought to eliminate true freedom and equality in this country and it has been downhill ever since. The working class and soldier-class in America today are slaves in every sense of the word. Slaves to Zion. No wonder the certified warmonger and racist Lincoln is worshiped equally by Left and Right today, whilst genuine American patriots like Robert E. Lee have their legacy torn down. Lincoln was the proto-Neocon. Tom Dilorenzo summed up the real Lincoln when he wrote in Lincoln Unmasked:

"Imagine that California seceded from the union and an American president responded with the carpet bombing of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco that destroyed 90 percent of those cities. Such was the case with General Sherman's bombardment of Atlanta; a naval blockade; a blocking off of virtually all trade; the eviction of thousands of residents from their homes (as occurred in Atlanta in 1864); the destruction of most industries and farms; massive looting of private property by a marauding army; and the killing of one out of four males of military age while maiming for life more than double that number. Would such an American president be considered a 'great statesman' or a war criminal? The answer is obvious.

A statesman would have recognized the state's right to secede, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, among other places, and then worked diligently to persuade the seceded state that a reunion was in its best interest. Agreat statesman, or even a modest one, would not have impulsively plunged the entire nation into a bloody war.

Lincoln's warmongering belligerence and his invasion of all the Southern states in response to Fort Sumter (where no one was harmed or killed) caused the upper South -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to secede after originally voting to remain in the Union. He refused to meet with Confederate commissioners to discuss peace and even declined a meeting with Napoleon III of France, who offered to broker a peace agreement. No genuine statesman would have behaved in such a way.

After Fort Sumter, Lincoln thanked naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in manipulating the South Carolinians into firing at Fort Sumter. A great statesman does not manipulate his own people into starting one of the bloodiest wars in human history."

mathias alexand
Here's a man who holds a press conference to announce a secret plan. Only in America.
Gezzah Potts
False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the 'masters of the universe'. We know who was responsible for the tanker attacks. Who are the 3 countries absolutely desperate to take Iran down and install a completely pliant puppet regime answerable to Washington, Tel Aviv and to a lesser extent Riyadh. And creatures like Clawson, and all the other vermin can only see $$$$. Thats all they care about. Opening up more markets to further enrich themselves. I echo the other commenters also. The evil men stoop to for greed, power and control. Psychopaths.
harry law
The Foreign Office issued a statement saying: "It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."
Unbelievable, The UK vassal will use this to as one more reason to evade their responsibilities in implementing the JCPOA.
Gezzah Potts
Well they would say that, wouldn't they. The UK vassal state will spout any peice of crap in their assigned role as vassal state. Australia is just as gushingly sycophantic and cravenly jellified.
mark
Maybe it's "highly likely."
Gezzah Potts
Like an apple is green? They must think we're complete amoeba's to believe this. Sigh.
William HBonney
A Riyadh/Tel Aviv conspiracy. Genius!
Gezzah Potts
Er . just a rough guess Bill going on the belligerent foaming at the mouth by people in those places along with the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. In fact, you can probably go all the way back to about 1980 or so.
mark
I think the real giveaway was when all three rogue states openly stated their intention of doing this 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That was the crucial clue Sherlock Holmes was looking for.
Wilmers31
And who funds the Washington Institute? Last time I looked the International Crisis Group existed thanks to Soros and is usually treated like a serious organisation.

Many Europeans are not in love with the idea of war with Iran, just to achieve obedience to the US. 90 million people is bigger than Germany.

wardropper
These are the shysters, the spivs and the con men of bygone times. They are the ones who lurked at street corners, waiting for someone to come along who was gullible enough to buy the Moon from them.
But, for some reason, they are all in politics today.
Now how could that be?

Only because there are people whom it currently suits to use shysters, spivs and con men in order to create enough chaos for us to want to give up and just let those people have their way.

I agree with Rhys below. There is no more disgusting example of sub-humanity to be found on earth than these warmongers.
To deal with them, however, we will have to realize that their "philosophy", if you can call it that, runs very deep. It didn't just enter their heads last week.
They are reared and trained in it.

It will be a tough battle.

wardropper
I should add that, in bygone times, the police and the law were usually able to deal with the shysters, spivs and con men, since their lack of conscience often gave them away.
The modern version, however, which has moved into politics, was shrewd enough to use a few decades of bribery and threats in order to build around itself a nice little shell, through which the law simply cannot penetrate, except on special occasions, mainly for show.
Rhys Jaggar
There is a big cabal of warmongers who stoke the fuel but never see action. I find those people more disgusting than anyone on earth.

Draft dodgers, academics, 'historians' etc etc.

Ball-less pricks is what I call them .

mark
All fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry.
William HBonney
Yeah, well I'm not a great fan of those who would appease Assad, Putin, Hussein, Gaddafi

You must be so proud.

andyoldlabour
The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.
The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets.
The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen.
William HBonney
The easiest, and perhaps best metric by which to judge a country, is 'do people aspire to live there? '.

I see you admire the Soviet Union, but at its dissolution, people were queuing to leave. And yet the US, and the UK, according to you, iniquitous places of tyranny, are oversubscribed. Could it be, that for all your implied erudition, you are merely a bellend?

axisofoil
You must be a big fan of CNN and the NYT. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?
BigB
Well, even as a pacifist: if that is his sentiment – I hope he has sons or daughters in the military stationed in CENTCOM in Qatar. I bet he hasn't, though.
Rhisiart Gwilym
He should be right there on the frontline himself. That would straighten the disgusting creep's ideas out about the 'usefulness' of deliberately provoking war

[Jun 15, 2019] US Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that Iran had attacked the tankers to raise the global price of oil

Jun 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 13, 2019 1:52:29 PM | 104


ben , Jun 13, 2019 2:02:19 PM | 106

From an article in the Navy Times last summer:
Standing at the forefront of game-changing innovations in undersea warfare, Navy Cmdr. Scott Smith has only one small request. Don't call the Navy's fleet of unmanned undersea vehicles "drones." "It has a negative connotation," Smith said. "We think of drone strikes as taking out Taliban, and we're nowhere near that." Not yet, anyway. But the Pentagon is trying quickly to get there.

Last fall, the Navy named Smith as the first-ever commander of the new Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1, or UUVRON-1. It's spearheading the service's development and deployment of unmanned underwater vehicles. Called UUVs, they're are already being used for surveillance and to clear mines and map the ocean floor, according to Bryan Clark, a retired submariner who is now a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

So don't get it twisted, this ascendent FUKUS drone army is doubleplusgood; it's designed for mapping and minesweeping! Sort of like a bunch of little Indian Joneses! Of course the article does go on to brag:

There are even ongoing efforts to launch UUVs from Virginia-class submarines to conduct surveillance or deliver payloads. He said that over the next decade sailors should expect to use the underwater robots to bring sonar arrays and mines to the seabed, launch torpedoes or become torpedoes themselves to destroy enemy warships . Smith wants to see UUVs in all kinds of sizes to fill gaps in future missions. "Those missions that are too dangerous to put men on," Smith said.

It is absolutely side-splitting though that they think they can achieve Total Spectrum Dominance with these toys. Sorry, I'm looking for any old silver lining these days.

Posted by: sejomoje | Jun 13, 2019 1:59:56 PM | 10 5 No matter the culprit in this latest incident, I lay this current world unrest at the feet of our current empire.

The economic terrorism, imposed on other nations through U$ sanctions, is the real problem..

And ALL done, to enrich the already rich....

arby , Jun 13, 2019 2:08:02 PM | 109
"US officials, however, were quick to point the finger at Iran. "It's clear that Iran is behind the Fujairah attack. Who else would you think would be doing it? Someone from Nepal?" said US National Security Adviser John Bolton.

In turn, US Secretary of State Pompeo alleged that Iran had attacked the tankers to raise the global price of oil.

Tehran has denied any involvement and called for an investigation."

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Two-Oil-Tankers-Come-Under-Attack-in-Sea-of-Oman-20190613-0002.html

karlof1 , Jun 13, 2019 2:39:14 PM | 116
Overlooked/ignored is this item of interest :

"On the previous day, a fire broke out on an Iranian oil platform of the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf and was subsequently contained and no fatalities were reported."

Recall the plot of the movie A Fistful of Dollars and another can of worms becomes possible.

rockstar , Jun 13, 2019 2:41:38 PM | 117
Pompeo is already blaming the attacks on Iran.

Whenever the US has their conclusion this quickly, before even the appearance of an investigation (as with MH17, and Syria "chemical" attacks), I feel it is almost certain that they are making $&!% up, and the reality is likely the opposite of what they have said.

Miranda , Jun 13, 2019 4:03:25 PM | 130
Both Israel and the Saudis are far too incompetent to carry out a sophisticated attack like this - see, ships didn't sink but a message was delivered nonetheless. Probable some military contractor idling in Syria was reassigned to do this.
Zanon , Jun 13, 2019 4:04:11 PM | 131
Now Pompeo have accused Iran, that is why I said it was idiotic to even dwell into that, we see now what it leads to.
Yonatan , Jun 13, 2019 4:14:38 PM | 134
Japanese-owned ship hit just as Abe visits Tehran? A warning to Japan to stop the rapprochement with Iran, or look to more damage to your ships.

Parallels with MH370/MH17 strikes against Malaysia for their temerity in finding the IDF guilty of war crimes.

Oscar Peterson , Jun 13, 2019 4:44:08 PM | 139
An obvious question is why the US is not providing evidence to support its claims.

On possible explanation is that there is no evidence.

Another would be that there is evidence but that if the US produced the evidence, then it would be constrained to "do something." In the scenario in which Iran is conducting these quasi-attacks to warn of impending greater escalation if the US continues to starve it, both sides want the other to initiate any violence, and the US doesn't really want the global economic chaos that hostilities would inevitably bring--especially in conjunction with the trade/tech war with China. Therefore, it is pulling its punches and withholding the evidence it has.

Iran may sense that given the US-China and US-Russia issues and the 2020 election, they had better escalate now or be slowly bled to death. But they would like the US to provide a pretext for Iran to take real action to block traffic into and out of the Persian Gulf. But the US wants to be able to portray Iran as the aggressor.

Hence the cat-and-mouse game ongoing. I have to admit, it does make a certain comprehensive sense.

librul , Jun 13, 2019 5:07:25 PM | 141
The Japanese Prime Minister was visiting Tehran at the time of the attack upon a Japanese tanker.

What a perfect time to attack a Japanese tanker.

Such a plan reeks of incompetence.

Incompetence is a finger print of the Saudis.

Reminder that they butchered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their own embassy. They mailed bombs (hidden in printers) to the US and Britain
and kept the tracking slips of the packages - nice plan ! All bombers must remember to save their tracking slips.

They tried to embarrass Iran by attacking a Japanese tanker while the Japanese Prime Minister was having a positive visit to Tehran.

Incompetence is a finger print of the Saudis.

james , Jun 13, 2019 5:08:43 PM | 142
the usa has produced 'phony' hard evidence in the past... it typically goes with false flags.. i am not saying this will come out of this, or that iran is not involved, but i lean strongly to the ramp up in a focus on the strait of hormuz as all part of a longer strategy of creating stress on iran and potentially dragging them into war.. either way as OP mentions in his last line @128...
karlof1 , Jun 13, 2019 5:12:47 PM | 145
Oscar Peterson @139&140--

Evidence versus claims. I give you the recent near collision between Russian and USN warships where USN claimed Russian fault whereas the evidence decisively proved otherwise. USN shut-up rather quickly and the incident went to the dust bin. In an earlier comment, I speculated that an IED-type device was used and that it was installed while the ships laded. Torpedoes were certainly not used, and the limpet mine assertion remains that until a forensic examination is done, and that won't happen until the ships return to a port where repairs can be made. Also, we have the much less reported attacks on Iranian ships and extraction infrastructure--the tit for tat where we'll only be treated to the tits as I commented in a trivial comment that disappeared. The upshot is, the Outlaw US Empire has scant credibility when it comes to making claims about anything sans extraordinary evidence. Iran, of course, knows that. But given the overall context, I doubt Iran's responsible and stand by my earlier prediction of a CIA/MI-6 proxy doing the deed.

Oscar Peterson , Jun 13, 2019 5:30:31 PM | 147
@karlof1 145

I agree that US credibility on many things is weak--especially in connection with Iran--but the point is that there is a plausible scenario in which Iran is ready to escalate--or threaten to escalate--to break out of the US stranglehold but needs to execute the escalation very carefully.

I also agree that the false flag scenario is still very much in play.

karlof1 , Jun 13, 2019 5:36:29 PM | 148
Here're links to a couple of things bouncing around the Twitterverse. The first is a video clip of Bolton Caitlin does an excellent job of unpacking again . It's actually a good thing this video was saved as it needs to be distributed once again.

The second is a pic of Bolton framed at the header by "Iran is going to attack us" and at the footer with "Even if we have to do it ourselves."

Both IMO are worthy of viral retweeting provided you have an account.

Curtis , Jun 13, 2019 5:54:05 PM | 150
DW interviewed a guy today who said it could be Iran but that it could also be a false flag by one of the Emirates. His interview didn't last long before they went to someone with more of the US voice. The whole time I was thinking they said it was a torpedo and we know Israel has at least one submarine. I wonder where it is right now. Meanwhile the official US statement sounds similar to early declarations about Russians hacking HRC's email: "We assess ..."
Curtis , Jun 13, 2019 5:57:00 PM | 151
librul 141
I thought the same thing. It's like the chemical weapons attack in Syria that happened on the same day the inspectors arrived. It's like the White Helmets being wherever HTS is. The alt media is the only arena where people say this sounds fishy.
Pnyx , Jun 13, 2019 6:01:47 PM | 152
You shouldn't be misled. Iran does not want war, because the leadership knows that it will definitely lead to gigantic damage in its own country. In Tronald's administration and elsewhere, on the other hand, there are people who absolutely want a war, the four B's in the first place. Tronald himself doesn't really want one, but is caught between a rock and a hard place. He absolutely wants to make the economy look positive until the next elections, but this is difficult because there are signs of recession everywhere in the world. An important factor is the price of oil. Despite the sanctions against Iran, it has not yet risen, the fracking industry, which produces what it can do due to its debts service necessities, continues to lose money at these prices. It will be difficult to avoid collapses. So Tronald may be willing to do more to push up the price of oil. For example, a nice little false flag action. The Relotius media are almost convinced, no wonder if even someone like B is wobbling.

But, people; the empire is the empire, we know how it works, that doesn't change. That's Tonkin 2.0.

El Cid , Jun 13, 2019 6:06:10 PM | 154
Cui Bono. Who wants to destroy Iran? Israel and Saudi Arabia. Cui Bono, merchants of war, and the bankers who fund and make war possible.
Peter AU 1 , Jun 13, 2019 6:10:51 PM | 155
IF the US or its proxies had pulled off these attacks as false flags, there would be dead and injured people and at least one or two sunken ships.

This looks very much like a message or warning to the financial world that has abandoned Iran due to US sanctions.

karlof1 , Jun 13, 2019 6:37:03 PM | 160 John Smith , Jun 13, 2019 7:06:54 PM | 161
Lucy Komisar:

State Dept admits it ran troll farm to smear critics of Iran policy.

The Independent:

United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration's hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime.

State Department officials admitted to Congressional staff in a closed-door meeting on Monday that a project they had funded to counter Iranian propaganda had gone off the rails. Critics in Washington have gone further, saying that the programme resembled the type of troll farms used by autocratic regimes abroad.

<...>

John Smith , Jun 13, 2019 7:15:40 PM | 162
Edward R. Murrow on McCarthy, 1954
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvEmkMNYHY
psychohistorian , Jun 13, 2019 7:17:57 PM | 163
Alright then, how is WWIII going for everyone? Everyone got their pith helmet at the ready?

I agree with the sentiments that think this is a warning to empire instead of false flag because no body bags

I feel sorry for those MoA barflies that continue to have some faith that Trump has a scintilla of humanism in him and continue to ask for some proof other than BS Q spewment. Show me ANY example of Trump showing compassion, empathy for other than his fellow war criminals he is rumored to pardon. Trump is a very hurt human being who is being used as such by those that control empire for their purposes. To the extent that he agrees to do their bidding, he is just another in a string of president war criminals of the US, since Jimmy Carter.

The world outside the West is playing the long game and the West is now very punch drunk and coming to the end of its run of empires. I read a posting from Reuters in the last 48 hours or so where some pundit was quoting folks "telling" China that they should not include private finance in this trade war thing......GRIN

The West is holding a very weak hand except for the extinction card. Will they play it because they are sore losers? Given what they have done to our planet, it would not surprise me for them to have the ultimate hubris to call the game over......sigh The Cosmos may be better for it but we have potential if we try.....

james , Jun 13, 2019 7:23:52 PM | 164
pat lang makes a good distinction on what is a us gov't assessment, verses an intel assessment..

@160 karlof1 / 161 john.. thanks for those links.. my position - all that is no surprise... i find it surprising some are surprised.. the usa is thick into propaganda at this point and said they would spend good money on war propaganda.. videos of bolton saying lying is okay aren't helpful to their cause though..

John Smith , Jun 13, 2019 7:38:58 PM | 167
Global Warfare: "We're Going to Take out 7 Countries in 5 Years: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan & Iran.."

Video Interview with General Wesley Clark

https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-re-going-to-take-out-7-countries-in-5-years-iraq-syria-lebanon-libya-somalia-sudan-iran/5166

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D89TFRwXkAEPw3c.jpg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8YtF76s-yM

John Smith , Jun 13, 2019 7:54:31 PM | 168
Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 13, 2019 7:34:22 PM | 166

CENTCOM has issued a statement. Here's the meat:

"'We have no interest in engaging in a new conflict in the Middle East. We will defend our interests, but a war with Iran is not in our strategic interest, nor in the best interest of the international community.' --@CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Earl Brown."

Seems the Pentagon has flipped the bird to Pompeo and Bolton, which happened before during BushCo.
--------------------------

Maybe such a war with Iran is not in the interests of the United States, but certainly in the interests of Israel.

Top US General Says American Troops Should Be Ready To Die For Israel

"Greater Israel": The Zionist Plan for the Middle East

dltravers , Jun 13, 2019 9:09:47 PM | 183
Trump goes to Japan and asks them to mediate with Iran.

Trump ratchets up the sanctions before and Abe visits Iran which does reflect his negotiating style. Iran allegedly hits a tanker while Abe is taking to Iran. Now Abe has to go back towing the US line, as usual, saying it was Iran's fault and he loses face being insulted by Iran. What a perfect way to step up the tensions and garner more UN support.

These events will continue and slowly get worse until the coup de gra, which would be something like the sinking of a large US naval vessel in the Persian gulf. The US peoples minds are not right yet and it will take time for their minds to be framed back into war.

During the Iran Iraq war the US re flagged Kuwait tankers during the Tanker War. We could easily see a new Tanker War but on a much lower lever driven by the third party actors who stand to profit.

War with Iran will be a disaster for everyone involved except one small nation that knows how to cover their tracks.

Iran will be demolished eventually. Those who gain from destroying Iran are behind


snake , Jun 13, 2019 9:26:36 PM | 184
presstv. published a video showing 44 people saved from two on fire sinking ships. I know how difficult it is to identify these people from their faces, especially a 44 crew member crowd but I think even stinkcom could manage to do that. The media BS about this incident suggest, who ever done it, is dealing with something that went very wrong.. Iran saves 44 sailors and shows them on TV.. the west claims, with no proof whatsoever, that the Iranians did not save these sailors even though the sailors are safe in Iran? Hmmm!
I suggest the reporters and journalist that reported this, be tasked to investigate the suspicious looking dark hole named "false flag". Its a possible threat to Israel and Saudia Arabia. Its approximate location is about 200 trillion light years due East from here.. The media are saying Iran and Russia teamed up to dig a hole in space, and once the Iran-Russian team managed to get the hole dug, they climbed deep inside of the hole and turned its lights off. The west is saying they flipped the switch in the WH to keep the Iranian-Russian team from claiming its "light out" success. When the reporters and journalist get back, I am sure we will be all ears to hear the how the Russian and Iranian team managed to make a hole in space, dark.
Grieved , Jun 13, 2019 9:49:43 PM | 185
I haven't seen this posted yet, Iran's Foreign Minister has given formal assurance that Iran is not behind this, and has pointedly commented that the whole episode is "very suspicious" since Abe was visiting:
'Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what happened': Iran's FM on tanker 'attacks' in Gulf of Oman

@karlof1 - I read the Luongo piece and I find it the most pivotal of all current commentary - largely because it's about the oil situation globally. Neither Iran nor Russia need the price of oil to go up in order to prosper - the US and Saudi Arabia do need the price to go up.

Having said that, I don't know that insurance rates rising are actually adding to the producer's revenue at the wellhead/refinery.

I do know that oil is self-regulating, in that whenever it gets around $100 a barrel and over, the global economy stalls and the demand for oil goes down, resulting in glut for a time and lower prices - not to mention global recession. As Luongo illustrates, right now the world is in a large glut. There's nothing to push the price up (which Trump desperately needs) except tightening production, which Saudi wants, but which Russia doesn't want to do.

~~

So imagine a world filled to the brim with bluster, and yet once again what actually moves on the ground (or below the waves) is actually very little. Enough bluster to scare everyone and increase leverage of the security apparatus, and just enough damage to inch the oil price up without crashing the global economy. Expect more such ratcheting.

Iran didn't do this latest episode. The US and Israel are the likely actors, with Saudi and UAE providing lunch money for the excursion. Also, the false flag works fine without dead bodies if the intent is not for a war with Iran - which the US military absolutely knows cannot be won - but to trigger oil prices up. At times, commercial interests take over, and ride the wave of military activity, and I suspect this one is about the money.

And these neocons, by the way, seem able to live on pure fantasy. I don't think they'll achieve a real war. They visibly make their points - increase their stature - in their peer group purely from grandstanding.

Grieved , Jun 13, 2019 9:59:53 PM | 186
It's worth linking the Tom Luongo piece again for a nice understanding of oil fundamentals in the region and the world currently. It's important to understand how illusory and temporary the US fracking phenomenon is:
Trump Thinks US Oil Is His Strength When It's His Achilles' Heel

As a commenter here (David on May 13) said recently, the US fracking industry's appalling indebtedness comes due in 2023. This is far enough through Trump's potential second term that he can blame everyone else and move on. I've made a personal note to expect a US economic plunge in that year.

To see Trump's acts as merely keeping the ponzi scheme going for as long as possible, and for as much short-term reward through the second term, is the best understanding of White House policy I think.

h , Jun 13, 2019 10:05:51 PM | 187
Grieved @184 thanks for that link. Just saw an update on Fox stating Iran has formally denied any part of this incident but can't find a solid Iranian news source to confirm.
Don Bacon , Jun 13, 2019 10:16:54 PM | 188
@ Pnyx 181
. . . for the usa it is not the same. Their homeland is far away, while Iran would suffer extreme devastation in the event of a war - whatever the final result. So I think it is absolutely unthinkable that Iran would do anything to increase the risk of war.

You don't understand -- every US death in war is now a news item. When 5 or 6 dies it's huge news. This is not Vietnam with 200 dying every week. Its different now. So if a thousand soldiers die in the beginning of a conflict with Iran it's HUGE. No American cares how many Iranians would die, but they DO care if Americans die, homeland or not. THAT's why the generals are against it too. . .PS: If the Iranians sink that carrier, it's 5,000+ American dead. Unacceptable.

So that's why Iran is free to dispute the aggression against them with some violent events. More power to them.

dh , Jun 13, 2019 10:21:23 PM | 189
I'm very disappointed in John Bolton. There should be another carrier group on the way by now. Is he losing his touch?
psychohistorian , Jun 13, 2019 10:31:02 PM | 190
I would think that if the Iranian's held the crew and took off an unexploded bomb that they can ask the crew how they might have gotten there......

Were the ships in Iran controlled waters such that the empire side could not retrieve the unexploded bomb? If that is the case then I suspect the unexploded bomb may show up in pictures we see that show where it might have come from.....

Isn't it grand watching our own sick soap opera?

james , Jun 13, 2019 10:43:19 PM | 191
@186 h... fars news is always a good place to start.. http://en.farsnews.com/

@188 dh... you might have to vote for a different lunatic then the last one you voted for in 2016!!

Don Bacon , Jun 13, 2019 11:06:34 PM | 195
from the grasping at straws mines department.
news report
Iran removed a mine from a ship, so that proves that Iran put it there!
The U.S. military has released a video it says implicates Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the latest violent incident the United States and its allies blame on Tehran.
The U.S. Central Command on June 13 said the video shows crews from IRGC boats removing what looks like an unexploded mine from the side of one of the two attacked oil tankers. . . here

the US has met its match, asking for a seizure at the UNSC --
Earlier in the day at the UN, U.S. acting Ambassador Jonathan Cohen called on the Security Council to confront the "clear threat" posed by Tehran in the region.
The attacks "demonstrate the clear threat that Iran poses to international peace and security," Cohen told reporters following the closed-door Security Council meeting.
Cohen said that "no proxy group in the area has the resources or the skill to act with this level of sophistication."
"Iran, however, has the weapons, the expertise, and the requisite intelligence information to pull this off," he said.
"I've asked the Security Council to remain seized of the matter and I expect that we will have further conversations about it, and how to respond in the days ahead," he added.

Loud chuckling was heard in Tehran.
Don Bacon , Jun 13, 2019 11:06:34 PM | 195 Anon , Jun 13, 2019 11:20:05 PM | 196
So this is what comes to mind...

Houthi or al. are responsible for first event. They target Saudi/Nor. ships.

Saudi et. al. target ships friendly to Iran.


Understand though that in these events there is a total asymmetry at play. That is to say that actions will not follow any logic we know of. The above is the closest I get to making sense BUT as far as I know each side might have been responsible for the actions that seemed most counterproductive to itself. Planners know the mindset of society, a false false flag is an option.

We are left with qui bono, and I think the reply to that is as reliant on the global geopolical and economic environment, as well as who will de facto gain the upper hand. It seems to me to be a form of psychological warfare where expansion of power is questioned by the appearance or reality of being goaded. This is not a good circumstance at all.

Don Wiscacho , Jun 13, 2019 11:44:26 PM | 197
A fluid situation for sure. I wish I had had the time to follow things more closely. Thanks karlof, Oscar for all the links and info.
Can't add anything substantial apart from a general maxim: when the Empire had proof the 'other' is to blame, they readily display said proof. When they are to blame... Skripols, Mari Marmara, MH17, etc.
psychohistorian , Jun 13, 2019 11:51:21 PM |