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Iran oil availability and production

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In 2014-2016 Bloomberg (like most other US MSM) consistently use fear mongering about Iran oil that soon will flood the market. And provide only selective quotes from Iran officials and no facts about their industry and fields.

Now they are taking the opposite extreme: that without Iran oil proves might skyrocket.

I do not trust such reporting. Iran probably want and can sell condensate that they already accumulated and were unable to sell. After that we get into pretty much unpredictable situation. They want to get rid of it and there are buyers for it in Japan and elsewhere. With proper discount.

Do they have buyers for their additional oil (if any) at the price they want with no additional discounts (they explicitly stated that there will be no additional discounts). If yes, then how quickly they can rump up the production and their transportation network ? With investments from whom? China? Russia?

If it is so easy to rump up production, why they did not do this in 2010-2013 when prices were much higher and both China and India were buying their oil.

Saudis will not give them their quota in the current circumstances when they already burned so much cash for preserving it and diplomatic relations between countries are broken.

I would love to embrace OFM’s hope that the U.S. will be able to improvise, adapt, and overcome the ever-growing challenges stemming from declining availability of economically extractable resources and the overtaxing of industrial civilization’s by-products’ sinks…but I am afraid that as ‘the economy’ continues to decline due to humanity’s over-extension, increasing numbers of armed demagogues may try to take advantage of the situation.

Steven Mufson noted "Obama’s foreign policy goals get a boost from plunging oil prices" (Washingtonpost, Dec 23, 2015):

Plunging crude oil prices are diverting hundreds of billions of dollars away from the treasure chests of oil-exporting nations, putting some of the United States’ adversaries under greater stress.

After two years of falling prices, the effects have reverberated across the globe, fueling economic discontent in Venezuela, changing Russia’s economic and political calculations, and dampening Iranian leaders’ hopes of a financial windfall when sanctions linked to its nuclear program will be lifted next year.

At a time of tension for U.S. international relations, cheap oil has dovetailed with some of the Obama administration’s foreign policy goals: pressuring Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, undermining the popularity of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and tempering the prospects for Iranian oil revenue. At the same time, it is pouring cash into the hands of consumers, boosting tepid economic recoveries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-crude-oil-prices-plunge-so-do-oil-exporters-revenue-hopes/2015/12/23/ed552372-a900-11e5-8058-480b572b4aae_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_oil-910pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Access to 100 billion previously frozen is nice and will help to upgrade their oil infrastructure "in a long run" as well to by some modern air defense systems. But with that amount of cash in hand why they are so pressed to sell their strategic resource at rock bottom prices? They are better diversified the Saudis and sanctions helped too increase this diversification.

I am wondering why BBC and other MSM are pushing this event so hard in the direction of increasing "oil glut". This this pure colonial greed? During the latest OPEC meeting Iran was one of the countries that was for cutting output, not increasing it.

Iran has already access to growing markets in Asia, especially India and China. As for European market the question that BBC did not eve try to answer is "To whom can they sell their oil without undercutting Saudis?" So why Europe makes any sense at all to them. I would let Saudis to waste their resources as long as then can. Stupidity should be punishable.

Saudis recently even tried to kick out Russia from Polish oil market, by undercutting their price despite the fact that they have a pipeline, so transportation costs are much lower. Their behavior is really strange, as if they to get rid of oil as fast as they can is the primary goal of the new king and his "Margaret Thatcher of Saudi Arabia" neoliberal son, who wants to privatize everything in sight. In was actually the son which got Saudis in Yemen civil war.

I think Iran might be able to sell their condensate to Japan at huge discount, and may be a couple of other Asian countries able to process it, but that's about it.

Before sanctions were imposed on Iran in 2012 (to keep Israel as the top dog in the area) "the top destination for Iran's crude oil exports in the six months between January and June 2011 was China, totaling 22% of Iran's crude oil exports. Japan and India also make up a big proportion, taking 14% and 13% respectively of the total exports of Iran. The European Union imports 18% of Iran's total exports with Italy and Spain taking the largest amounts.

Sri Lanka and Turkey are the most dependent on Iran's crude exports with it accounting for 100% and 51% of total crude imported, respectively. South Africa also takes 25% of its total crude from Iran."

http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2012/feb/06/iran-oil-exports-destination


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[Mar 19, 2020] US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 18:28 utc | 53

This might soon become the global rallying cry :

"USA is the greatest enemy of humanity - I hope they will pay for that:

"US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak"

The situation has now gone well beyond immorality and into the realm of EVIL--an EVIL that's Bipartisan, shared by Ds and Rs alike.


bevin , Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 54

Miss Lacy and Arby both draw our attention to the obscenity of the US using this crisis in order to put pressure on governments that it dislikes by cutting off medicine and other resources.

Among the places where people are currently dying in large numbers because Washington chooses that they should are Cuba-under an oil embargo-, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Iran.

Those who cannot bring themselves to believe that government could be so evil as to deploy a virus as a weapon to weaken another state, only have to look at what is happening today: Venezuela desperately needs funds, much of its foreign exchange having been seized illegally by the US and its satellites, in order to weather the pandemic.

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

farm ecologist , Mar 18 2020 19:40 utc | 67
Re., IMF refuses emergency funds to Venezuela

Posted by: arby | Mar 18 2020 14:32 utc | 11
Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 18 2020 18:15 utc | 50
Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 55

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

Although many argue that the foreign policies of the US government don't really reflect the views and desires of ordinary citizens, the comments in the Fox News report on this story suggest otherwise (caveat - be prepared to be appalled).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-asks-imf-for-massive-emergency-loan-to-fight-coronavirus


[Feb 25, 2020] A Worthless 'New Deal' from the Iran Hawks

So Menendez survived as MIC stooge. Nice.
Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it.
Notable quotes:
"... And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more? ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
|

10:03 am

Daniel Larison Two Iran hawks from the Senate, Bob Menendez and Lindse Graham, are proposing a "new deal" that is guaranteed to be a non-starter with Iran:

Essentially, their idea is that the United States would offer a new nuclear deal to both Iran and the gulf states at the same time. The first part would be an agreement to ensure that Iran and the gulf states have access to nuclear fuel for civilian energy purposes, guaranteed by the international community in perpetuity. In exchange, both Iran and the gulf states would swear off nuclear fuel enrichment inside their own countries forever.

Iran is never going to accept any agreement that requires them to give up domestic enrichment. As far as they are concerned, they are entitled to this under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and they regard it as a matter of their national rights that they keep it. Insisting on "zero enrichment" is what made it impossible to reach an agreement with Iran for the better part of a decade, and it was only when the Obama administration understood this and compromised to allow Iran to enrich under tight restrictions that the negotiations could move forward. Demanding "zero enrichment" today in 2020 amounts to rejecting that compromise and returning to a bankrupt approach that drove Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges. As a proposal for negotiations, it is dead on arrival, and Menendez and Graham must know that. Iran hawks never talk about diplomacy except as a way to discredit it. They want to make a bogus offer in the hopes that it will be rejected so that they can use the rejection to justify more aggressive measures.

The identity of the authors of the plan is a giveaway that the offer is not a serious diplomatic proposal. Graham is one of the most incorrigible hard-liners on Iran, and Menendez is probably the most hawkish Democratic senator in office today. Among other things, Menendez has been a booster of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), the deranged cult of Iranian exiles that has been buying the support of American politicians and officials for years. Graham has never seen a diplomatic agreement that he didn't want to destroy. When hard-liners talk about making a "deal," they always mean that they want to demand the other side's surrender.

Another giveaway that this is not a serious proposal is the fact that they want this imaginary agreement submitted as a treaty:

That final deal would be designated as a treaty, ratified by the U.S. Senate, to give Iran confidence that a new president won't just pull out (like President Trump did on President Barack Obama's nuclear deal).

This is silly for many reasons. The Senate doesn't ratify treaties nowadays, so any "new deal" submitted as a treaty would never be ratified. As the current president has shown, it doesn't matter if a treaty has been ratified by the Senate. Presidents can and do withdraw from ratified treaties if they want to, and the fact that it is a ratified treaty doesn't prevent them from doing this. Bush pulled out of the ABM Treaty, which was ratified 88-2 in 1972. Trump withdrew from the INF Treaty just last year. The INF Treaty had been ratified with a 93-5 vote. The hawkish complaint that the JCPOA wasn't submitted as a treaty was, as usual, made in bad faith. There was no chance that the JCPOA would have been ratified, and even if it had been that ratification would not have protected it from being tossed aside by Trump. Insisting on making any new agreement a treaty is just another way of announcing that they have no interest in a diplomatic solution.

Menendez and Graham want to make the obstacles to diplomacy so great that negotiations between the U.S. and Iran can't resume. It isn't a serious proposal, and it shouldn't be taken seriously.

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

And even if Iran were to accept and proceed comply in good faith, just as Iran complied scrupulously with the JCPOA, what's to prevent any US administration from tearing up that "new deal" and demanding more?

[Feb 02, 2020] This neocon snake Pompeo

Feb 02, 2020 | newrepublic.com

Then Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani, drastically escalating a simmering conflict between Iran and the United States. All of a sudden the roles were reversed, with Bolton praising the president and asserting that Soleimani's death was " the first step to regime change in Tehran ." A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it."

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo about Hezbollah threat

Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

J Villain 19 hours ago

It leaves me yearning for the integrity of the Nixon foreign policy team and they were a certified pack of sociopaths.

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo Iranian Proxy Mobilizing in America's Backyard

Notable quotes:
"... Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources." ..."
"... According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran. ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Why is Pompeo suddenly directing increasingly heated rhetoric towards Iran and its proxies in South America?

"Anti-Iran hawks like Pompeo like to emphasize that Iran is not a defensively-minded international actor, but rather that it is offensively-minded and poses a direct threat to the United States," said Max Abrahms, associate professor of political science at Northeastern and fellow of the Quincy Institute said in an interview with The American Conservative. "And so for obvious reasons, underscoring Hezbollah's international tentacles helps to sell their argument that Iran needs to be dealt with in a military way, and that the key to dealing with Iran is through confrontation and pressure."

Stories highlighting the role of Hezbollah in America's backyard "are almost always peddled by anti-Iran hawks," he said.

Like Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, who aligns with the argument that Hezbollah has been populating South America since the days of the Islamic revolution.

"From at least the 1980s, many Lebanese fled to South America, and among that flow Hezbollah embedded themselves," she told The American Conservative in a recent interview. Their activity "really expanded throughout the continent" during the presidencies of Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

During that time, Lopez added, "there was a really strong relationship that developed Iranians established diplomatic facilities, enormous embassies and consulates, embedded IRGC cover positions and MOIS (intelligence services) within commercial companies and mosques and Islamic centers. This took place in Brazil in particular but Venezuela also."

Iran and Hezbollah intensified their involvement throughout the region in technical services like tunneling, money laundering, and drug trafficking. Venezuela offered Iran an international banking work-around during the period of sanctions, said Lopez.

Obviously security analysts like Lopez and even Pompeo, have been following this for years. But the timing here, as the Senate impeachment inquiry heats up, looks suspicious.

Last week, just as it looks increasingly likely that former national security advisor John Bolton and Pompeo himself will be hauled before the Senate as witnesses about the foreign aid hold-up to Ukraine, Pompeo praised Colombia, Honduras, and Guatemala for designating "Iran-backed Hezbollah a terrorist organization," and slammed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for embracing the terrorist group.

Hezbollah "has found a home in Venezuela under Maduro. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said when he met with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido last week.

Asked by Bloomberg News how significant a role Hezbollah plays in the region, Pompeo responded, "too much."

From the interview:

Pompeo : " I mentioned it in Venezuela, but in the Tri-Border Area as well. This is again an area where Iranian influence – we talk about them as the world's largest state sponsor of terror. We do that intentionally. It's the world's largest; it's not just a Middle East phenomenon. So while – when folks think of Hezbollah, they typically think of Syria and Lebanon, but Hezbollah has now put down roots throughout the globe and in South America, and it's great to see now multiple countries now having designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. It means we can work together to stamp out the security threat in the region."

Question: "I'm struck by this, because even hearing you – what you're saying, right, now – I mean, to take a step back, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization has found a home in America's backyard."

Pompeo: "It's – it's something that we've been talking about for some time. When you see the scope and reach of what the Islamic Republic of Iran's regime has done, you can't forget they tried to kill someone in the United States of America. They've conducted assassination campaigns in Europe. This is a global phenomenon. When we say that Iran is the leading destabilizing force in the Middle East and throughout the world, it's because of this terror activity that they have now spread as a cancer all across the globe. "

Pompeo has also been publicly floating increasing sanctions on Venezuela. He called the behavior of Maduro's government "cartel-like" and "terror-like," intensifying the sense that there is a real security "threat" in our hemisphere.

Yet the U.S. has little real insight into what happens in hostile regimes like Maduro's, and "Pompeo is probably the least reliable person in the world when it comes to information about Iran or its proxies," said Abrahms. "He has a terrible track record; he is an ideologue. He is the opposite of an impartial empiricist. I would never accept anything he says without corroborating sources."

There's no question that Hezbollah has a presence in South America, said Abrahms, "but the nature of its presence has been politicized."

According to what we know, a Hezbollah agent conducted years of surveillance on potential targets , and alleged sleeper agents within U.S. cities have so far not been activated, even in the wake of Iranian Quds force General Soleimani's death and the series of crippling sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran.

"What this underscores is that Iran could pull the trigger, it could bloody the U.S., including the U.S. homeland, but tends to avoid such violence. I think the question that needs to be asked isn't just, 'where in the world could Iran commit an attack?' but whether Iran is a rational actor that can be deterred," said Abrahms. "Interestingly, this administration as well as its hawkish supporters tend to emphasize their belief that Iran can in fact be deterred," since that is the logic behind "maximum pressure" against Iran, after all. "The main causal mechanism according to advocates of maximum pressure, is that it will force Iran as a rational actor to reconsider whether it wants to irritate the U.S By applying economic pressure through sanctions, [they hope to] succeed in coaxing Iran to restructure the nuclear deal and making additional concessions to the west and reigning in its activities in the Persian Gulf and the Levant. At least on a rhetorical level, the hawks say they believe Iran can be deterred," he said.

It would not be the first time that a president reacted to an intensifying impeachment inquiry by redirecting national focus to threats abroad. In December 1998, as the impeachment inquiry into then-President Bill Clinton heated up, Clinton launched airstrikes against Iraq. We should therefore apply some caution when we see decades-old threats amplified by administration officials.

Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered, a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill, UK Spectator, and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter

[Jan 28, 2020] Pompeo's Petty Despotism

Pompeo proved to be impulsive bully. Like Bolton, he is yet another "wise" Trump choice that disqualifies Trump for running in 2020 elections.
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Nomuka 15 hours ago • edited
Well, it looks like I'll need to start contributing to NPR again. They are a little too woke for my tastes, but Pompeo is a liar, and frankly beyond the pale. A perfect representative of the current administration by the way. Kudos to NPR for standing up to him.
TomG 10 hours ago
One correction--instead of "by acting as if he is a petty despot" it should read "evermore blatantly showing the world the petty despot he is."
bumbershoot 10 hours ago
The Secretary of State has all of the vanity and arrogance of a diva, but none of the talent.

Hmm, that seems to remind me of someone else in this administration...

FL_Cottonmouth 9 hours ago
Much like U.S. foreign policy, it seems that Mike Pompeo is going to ignore the facts and keep recklessly escalating the conflict. Surely he's aware that The Washington Post published the email correspondence between Ms. Kelley and press aide. This just makes him look like a coward.
ZizaNiam 9 hours ago
From the Trump voter perspective, this journalist should feel lucky that she wasn't sent to Guantanamo Bay. All Trump voters think this way, there is no exception.
Taras77 6 hours ago
Absolutely no longer any surprises about this pathetic individual!

[Jan 27, 2020] The end of Trump? Trump betrayed all major promises of his 2016 election campaign. Trump needs to go...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years. ..."
"... besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course. ..."
"... So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions. ..."
Jan 27, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

EveryoneIsBiased , 26 January 2020 at 04:40 PM

Thank you Colonel; I have been waiting for your take on this. And thank you for opening the comments again. If there is a problem with my post, please point them out to me.

And i agree. This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years.

Still, immigration is another important issue, but besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course.

So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions.

And China? He may have changed some small to medium problems for the better, but nothing is changed in the overall trend of the US continuing to loose while China emerges as the next global superpower.

It may have been slowed for some years; It may even have been accelerated, now that China has been waken up to the extend of the threat posed by the US.

North Korea? They surely will never denuclearize. Even less after how Trump showed the world how he treats international law and even allies.

With Trump its all photo ops and showmanship. And while he senses what issues are important, it is worth a damn if he butchers the execution, or values photo ops more than substantial progress.

Not that i would see a democratic alternative. No. But at least now everyone who wants to know can see, that he is neither one.

4 years ago, democracy was corrupted, but at least there was someone who presented himself as an alternative to that rotten establishment.
Now, even that small ray of light is as dark as it gets.
And that is the saddest thing. What worth is democracy, when one does not even have a true alternative, besides Tulsi on endless wars, and Bernie for the socialist ;) ?

I just have watched again the Ken Burns documentary of the civil war. I know it is not perfect (Though i love Shelby Foote's parts), but the sense of the divided 2 Americas there, is still the same today. Today, America seems to break apart culturally, socially and economically on the fault lines that have sucked it into the civil war over 150 years ago.

And just like with seeing no real way out politically, i sadly can see no way to heal and unite this country, as it never was truly united after the civil war, if not ever before. As you Colonel said some weeks ago, the US were never a nation.

And looking at other countries, only a major national crisis may change this.
A most sad realization. But this hold true also for other western countries, including my own.

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

[Jan 27, 2020] The ME may yet destroy Trump

Trump outlived his shelf life. Money quote: "This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years."
Notable quotes:
"... Some combination of the disasters that may emerge from these ME factors might well turn Trump's base against him and this result would be entirely of his own making ..."
"... This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years. ..."
"... besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course. ..."
"... So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions. ..."
"... Trump stands no chance if things get hot with Iran. He didn't win by enough to sacrifice the antiwar vote. ..."
"... Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have got themselves in a no-win situation. NATO cannot occupy both Syria and Iraq, illegally. There are way too few troops. The bases in these nations are sitting ducks for the next precision ballistic missile attack. Any buildup would be contested. Ground travel curtailed. A Peace Treaty and Withdrawal is the only safe way out. ..."
"... Donald Trump is blessed with his opponents. Democrats who restarted the Cold War with Russia in 2014 are now using it to justify his Impeachment. If leaders cannot see reality clearly, they will keep making incredibly stupid mistakes. If Joe Biden is his opponent, I can't vote for either. Both spread chaos. ..."
"... President Trump controls part of the White House -- definitely not the NSC ..."
"... His hold elsewhere in the DC bureaucracy may be 5 - 15%. When the President decided to pull US troops out of Syria, his NSC Director flew to Egypt and Turkey to countermand the order. Facing the opposition of a united DC SWAMP, the President caved, and thereby delayed his formal impeachment by a year. ..."
"... Going out on a limb, President Trump continues to play a very weak hand and may survive to fight another day. Fortunately for the US, his tax and regulatory policies, as well as his economic negotiations with China, Japan, Korea and Mexico seem to be on target and successful. ..."
Jan 26, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

President Trump will easily be acquitted in the senate trial. This may occur this week and there will probably be no witnesses called. That will be an additional victory for him and will add to the effect of his trade deal victories and the general state of the US economy. These factors should point to a solid victory in November for him and the GOP in Congress.

Ah! Not so fast the cognoscenti may cry out. Not so fast. The Middle East is a graveyard of dreams:

1. Iraq. Street demonstrations in Iraq against a US alliance are growing more intense. There may well have been a million people in Muqtada al-Sadr's extravaganza. Shia fury over the death of Soleimani is quite real. Trump's belief that in a contest of the will he will prevail over the Iraqi Shia is a delusion, a delusion born of his narcissistic personality and his unwillingness to listen to people who do not share his delusions. A hostile Iraqi government and street mobs would make life unbearable for US forces there.

2. Syria. The handful of American troops east and north of the Euphrates "guarding" Syrian oil from the Syrian government are in a precarious position with the Shia Iraqis at their backs across the border and a hostile array of SAA, Turks, jihadis and potentially Russians to their front and on their flanks.

3. Palestine. The "Deal of the Century" is approaching announcement. From what is known of its contours, the deal will kill any remaining prospects for Palestinian statehood and will relegate all Palestinians (both Israeli citizens and the merely occupied) to the status of helots forever . Look it up. In return the deal will offer the helotry substantial bribes in economic aid money. Trump evidently continues to believe that Palestinians are untermenschen . He believe they will sell their freedom. The Palestinian Authority has already rejected this deal. IMO their reaction to the imposition of this regime is likely to be another intifada.

Some combination of the disasters that may emerge from these ME factors might well turn Trump's base against him and this result would be entirely of his own making . pl


Elora Danan , 26 January 2020 at 11:24 AM

...and his unwillingness to listen to people who do not share his delusions...

That precisely is the problem, apart from explosive shouting Pompeo, it seems he has recruited this extravanza of woman as adviser into the WH...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w0kSkvusjI&feature=emb_title

Could it be true? If that is the case, it´s more scary than Elora thought when that of Soleimani happened....This starts to look as a frenopatic...isn´t it?

HK Leo Strauss , 26 January 2020 at 01:12 PM
With Iran and her allies holding the figurative Trump Card on escalation, will they ramp up the pressure to topple him? They could end up with a Dem who couldn't afford to "lose" Syria or Iraq.
JamesT , 26 January 2020 at 04:14 PM
I submit to you, Colonel, that the biggest threat to Trump is a Bernie/Tulsi ticket. Bernie is leading in the Iowa and NH polls, and the recent spat with Warren (in my opinion) leaves Bernie with no viable choice for VP other than Tulsi.
Barbara Ann said in reply to JamesT ... , 26 January 2020 at 05:32 PM
JamesT

Judging by what just happened at the embassy in Baghdad, the intentions of the Iraqi electorate would seem to be a more pressing concern.

EveryoneIsBiased , 26 January 2020 at 04:40 PM
Thank you Colonel; I have been waiting for your take on this. And thank you for opening the comments again. If there is a problem with my post, please point them out to me.

And i agree. This may well be a fatal mistake of his. And while i have thought Trump to be the lesser evil compared to Clinton, i am now at a point where i seriously fear what his ignorance and slavery to the neocon doctrine may bring the world in 4 more years.

Still, immigration is another important issue, but besides much talk and showmastery, he has not really changed anything substantial in this regard; Nothing that could seriously change the course.

So he stripped himself of any true argument to vote for him, besides for ultra neocons and ultra fundamental evangelical Christians. And even they don't seem to trust in his intentions.

And China? He may have changed some small to medium problems for the better, but nothing is changed in the overall trend of the US continuing to loose while China emerges as the next global superpower.

It may have been slowed for some years; It may even have been accelerated, now that China has been waken up to the extend of the threat posed by the US.

North Korea? They surely will never denuclearize. Even less after how Trump showed the world how he treats international law and even allies.

With Trump its all photo ops and showmanship. And while he senses what issues are important, it is worth a damn if he butchers the execution, or values photo ops more than substantial progress.

Not that i would see a democratic alternative. No. But at least now everyone who wants to know can see, that he is neither one.

4 years ago, democracy was corrupted, but at least there was someone who presented himself as an alternative to that rotten establishment.
Now, even that small ray of light is as dark as it gets.
And that is the saddest thing. What worth is democracy, when one does not even have a true alternative, besides Tulsi on endless wars, and Bernie for the socialist ;) ?

I just have watched again the Ken Burns documentary of the civil war. I know it is not perfect (Though i love Shelby Foote's parts), but the sense of the divided 2 Americas there, is still the same today. Today, America seems to break apart culturally, socially and economically on the fault lines that have sucked it into the civil war over 150 years ago.

And just like with seeing no real way out politically, i sadly can see no way to heal and unite this country, as it never was truly united after the civil war, if not ever before. As you Colonel said some weeks ago, the US were never a nation.

And looking at other countries, only a major national crisis may change this.
A most sad realization. But this hold true also for other western countries, including my own.

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

turcopolier , 26 January 2020 at 05:15 PM
everyoneisbiased

The economy is actually quite good and he is NOT "a dictator." Dictators are not put on trial by the legislature. He is extremely ignorant and suffers from a life in which only money mattered.

emboil , 26 January 2020 at 05:27 PM
Once Bernie wins the nomination, it's going to be escalation time. Trump stands no chance if things get hot with Iran. He didn't win by enough to sacrifice the antiwar vote.
walrus , 26 January 2020 at 06:14 PM
I'm starting to think that Trumps weakness is believing that everyone and everything has a monetary price. I think perhaps his dealings with China may reinforce his perception, as, also, his alleged success in bullying the Europeans over Iran -- with the threat of tariffs on European car imports. His almost weekly references to Iraqi and Syrian oil, allies "not paying their way", financial threats to the Iraq Government, all suggest a fixation on finance that has served him well in business.

The trouble is that one day President Trump is going to discover there is something money can't buy, to the detriment of America.

VietnamVet , 26 January 2020 at 07:28 PM
Colonel,

Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo have got themselves in a no-win situation. NATO cannot occupy both Syria and Iraq, illegally. There are way too few troops. The bases in these nations are sitting ducks for the next precision ballistic missile attack. Any buildup would be contested. Ground travel curtailed. A Peace Treaty and Withdrawal is the only safe way out.

Donald Trump is blessed with his opponents. Democrats who restarted the Cold War with Russia in 2014 are now using it to justify his Impeachment. If leaders cannot see reality clearly, they will keep making incredibly stupid mistakes. If Joe Biden is his opponent, I can't vote for either. Both spread chaos.

My subconscious is again acting out. The mini-WWIII with Iran could shut off Middle Eastern oil at any time. The Fed is back to injecting digital money into the market. China has quarantined 44 million people. Global trade is fragile. Today there are four cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in the USA.

If confirmed that the virus is contagious without symptoms and an infected person transmits the virus to 2 to 3 people and with a 3% mortality rate and a higher 15% rate for the infirmed, the resupply trip to Safeway this summer could be both futile and dangerous.

Haralambos , 26 January 2020 at 07:48 PM
Two Greek words: "hubris" and "nemesis" come to mind.
Patrick Armstrong , 26 January 2020 at 08:19 PM
It's an old story. Mr X is elected POTUS; going to do this and that; something happens in the MENA. That's all anyone remembers. Maybe time to kiss Israel goodbye, tell SA to sell in whatever currency it wants, and realise that oil producers have to sell the stuff -- it's no good to them in the ground...
Petrel , 26 January 2020 at 08:31 PM
President Trump controls part of the White House -- definitely not the NSC -- and much of the Department of Commerce & Treasury. His hold elsewhere in the DC bureaucracy may be 5 - 15%. When the President decided to pull US troops out of Syria, his NSC Director flew to Egypt and Turkey to countermand the order. Facing the opposition of a united DC SWAMP, the President caved, and thereby delayed his formal impeachment by a year.

Going out on a limb, President Trump continues to play a very weak hand and may survive to fight another day. Fortunately for the US, his tax and regulatory policies, as well as his economic negotiations with China, Japan, Korea and Mexico seem to be on target and successful.

Godfree Roberts , 26 January 2020 at 09:19 PM
As Richard Nixon told a young Donald Rumsfeld when he asked about specializing in Latin America, "Nobody gives a shit about Latin America."

Nobody gives a shit about the Middle East.

Johnb , 26 January 2020 at 11:27 PM
We may yet see John McCains Revenge in the Senate Colonel, it only requires 4 Republican votes to move into Witnesses.
EEngineer , 26 January 2020 at 11:27 PM
Carthage must be destroyed! I don't know if Trump is going to war with Iran willingly or with a Neocon gun to his head, but if he's impeached I expect Pence to go on a holy crusade.

[Jan 27, 2020] Pompeo's Revealing Meltdown

Jan 26, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Daniel Larison We saw how Mike Pompeo made a fool of himself on Friday with his angry tirade against Mary Louise Kelly, a reporter for NPR. That outburst came after an interview that he cut short in which he was asked legitimate questions that he could not answer. His response to the report about this was to malign the reporter with bizarre lies in what could be the most unhinged statement ever sent out by an American Secretary of State:

Official response from Pompeo about his NPR interview. Haven't seen anything like this before with a State Department seal on it: pic.twitter.com/Hi1P18ZS0A

-- Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) January 25, 2020

Pompeo's accusatory statement confirmed the substance of what Kelly had reported, and absolutely no one believes him when he says that she lied to him. All of the available evidence supports Kelly's account, and nothing supports Pompeo's:

On the program, Ms. Kelly said Katie Martin, an aide to Mr. Pompeo who has worked in press relations, never asked for that conversation to be kept off the record, nor would she have agreed to do that.

Mr. Pompeo's statement did not deny Ms. Kelly's account of obscenities and shouting. NPR said Saturday that Ms. Kelly "has always conducted herself with the utmost integrity, and we stand behind this report." On Sunday, The New York Times obtained emails between Ms. Kelly and Ms. Martin that showed Ms. Kelly explicitly said the day before the interview that she would start with Iran and then ask about Ukraine. "I never agree to take anything off the table," she wrote.

It is the new definition of chutzpah for Pompeo to accuse someone else of lying and lack of integrity, since he has been daily shredding his credibility by making things up about non-existent U.S. policy successes and telling easily refuted lies about North Korea , Iran , Yemen , and Saudi Arabia . We have good reason to believe that the recent claim that there was an "imminent attack" from Iran earlier this month was another one of those lies . For her part, Kelly has a reputation for solid and reliable reporting, and no one thinks that she would do the things he accuses her of doing. Pompeo's dig at the end is meant to imply that she misidentified Ukraine on the blank map that he had brought in to test her. No one believes that claim, either. This is another preposterous lie that tells us that his version of events can't be true. Pompeo has been waging a war on the truth for the last year and a half, and this is just the most recent assault. The Secretary's meltdown this weekend has been useful in making it impossible to ignore this any longer.

Literally nobody thinks Mike Pompeo is telling the truth about this, or anything. He works for Donald Trump, who also lies about everything, always. https://t.co/yTzZDZl5Gw

-- Marc Lynch (@abuaardvark) January 25, 2020

All of this is appalling, unprofessional behavior from any government official, and in a sane administration this conduct along with his other false and misleading statements would be grounds for resignation. When Pompeo publicly attacks a journalist for doing her job and impugns her integrity to cover up for the fact that he doesn't have any, he is attacking the press and undermining public accountability. He is also undermining the department's advocacy for freedom of the press when he tries to intimidate journalists with his obnoxious outbursts. Pompeo already alienated and disgusted people in his department with his failure to come to the defense of officials that were being publicly attacked and smeared, and this latest display has further embarrassed them. We need a Secretary of State who isn't a serial liar, and right now we don't have one.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email

[Jan 25, 2020] You Think Americans Really Give A Fk About Ukraine - Pompeo Flips Out On NPR Reporter

How tank maintenance mechanical engineer and military contractor who got into congress pretending to belong to tea party can became the Secretary of state? Only in America ;-)
Jan 25, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
"You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?" - Pompeo Flips Out On NPR Reporter by Tyler Durden Sat, 01/25/2020 - 15:05 0 SHARES

Democrats' impeachment proceedings were completely overshadowed this week by the panic over the Wuhan coronavirus. Still, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is clearly tired of having his character repeatedly impugned by the Dems and the press claiming he hung one of his ambassadors out to dry after she purportedly resisted the administration's attempts to pressure Ukraine.

That frustration came to a head this week when, during a moment of pique, Secretary Pompeo launched into a rant and swore at NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly after she wheedled him about whether he had taken concrete steps to protect former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

House Democrats last week released a trove of messages between Giuliani associate Lev Parnas and Connecticut Republican Congressional candidate Robert Hyde. The messages suggested that Yovanovitch might have been under surveillance before President Trump recalled her to Washington. One of the messages seems to reference a shadowy character able to "help" with Yovanovitch for "a price."

Kelly recounted the incident to her listeners (she is the host of "All Things Considered")

After Kelly asked Pompeo to specify exactly what he had done or said to defend Yovanovitch, whom Pompeo's boss President Trump fired last year, Pompeo simply insisted that he had "done what's right" with regard to Yovanovitch, while becoming visibly annoyed.

Once the interview was over, Pompeo glared at Kelly for a minute, then left the room, telling an aide to bring Kelly into another room at the State Department without her recorder, so they could have more privacy.

Once inside, Pompeo launched into what Kelly described as an "expletive-laden rant", repeatedly using the "f-word." Pompeo complained about the questions about Ukraine, arguing that the interview was supposed to be about Iran.

"Do you think Americans give a f--k about Ukraine?" Pompeo allegedly said.

The outburst was followed by a ridiculous stunt: one of Pompeo's staffers pulled out a blank map and asked the reporter to identify Ukraine, which she did.

"People will hear about this," Pompeo vaguely warned.

Ironically, Pompeo is planning to travel to Kiev this week.

The questions came after Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo, told Congress that he resigned after the secretary apparently ignored his pleas for the department to show some support for Yovanovitch.

Listen to the interview here. A transcript can be found here .

NPR's Mary Louise Kelly says the following happened after the interview in which she asked some tough questions to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. pic.twitter.com/cRTb71fZvX

-- Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 24, 2020

Last we checked, the team at NPR is waiting on Pompeo to apologize

Mike Pompeo Does in fact owe Yovanovitch an apology https://t.co/imazFrG3Q6

-- Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) January 25, 2020

We suspect they might be waiting a while...


CarteroAtómico , 5 minutes ago link

He's right. American don't give a **** about Ukraine. But why did Clinton and Obama and now Trump and Pompeo? Why are they spending our money there instead of either taking care of problems here or paying off the national debt?

MOLONAABE , 8 minutes ago link

The best thing that could happen to the Ukraine is for Russia to take it back.. they would clean up that train wreck of a country... they've proven themselves as to being the scumbags they are gypsies and grifters...

Goodsport 1945 , 11 minutes ago link

The Bidens do, so there must be $omething very attractive over there.

carman , 13 minutes ago link

He's right. Nobody cares about Ukraine. NPR= National Propaganda Radio.

CarteroAtómico , 1 minute ago link

But why are Trump and Pompeo continuing the policy of Obama and Clinton there? Remember Trump said he would pay off the national debt in 8 years? How about stop spending our money on the War Party's foreign interventions for a starter.

kindasketchy , 17 minutes ago link

I wish the same level of questioning was directed at Pompeo regarding Syria and Iran. You may like his response because of the particular topic, but it doesn't change the fact that he's a psycho neo-con fucktard who should be shot for treason.

Collectivism Killz , 21 minutes ago link

Truth. Most Americans know nothing about Ukraine, some just know orange man bad and orange man bad for Ukr

roach clipper , 21 minutes ago link

I despise fkn traitor Pompus from USMA (traitor training school) but in this case he doesn't owe yovanobitch anything.

morefunthanrum , 27 minutes ago link

People care about a secretary of state who supports his diplomats...about a president whose not a lying conniving spoiled piece of ****

roach clipper , 22 minutes ago link

There are NO diplomats in the Dept. of State, otherwise we wouldn't have been at war all century.

[Jan 25, 2020] Pompeo Crumbles Under Pressure

Jan 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo participates in a press conference with U.S. President Donald J. Trump during the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels on July 12, 2018. (State Department photo/ Public Domain)

January 24, 2020

|

9:21 pm

Daniel Larison Mike Pompeo has proven to be a blowhard and a bully in his role as Secretary of State, and nothing seems to bother him more than challenging questions from professional journalists. All of those flaws and more were on display during and after his interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly today. After abruptly ending the interview when pressed on his failure to defend members of the Foreign Service, Pompeo then threw a fit and berated the reporter who asked him the questions:

Immediately after the questions on Ukraine, the interview concluded. Pompeo stood, leaned in and silently glared at Kelly for several seconds before leaving the room.

A few moments later, an aide asked Kelly to follow her into Pompeo's private living room at the State Department without a recorder. The aide did not say the ensuing exchange would be off the record.

Inside the room, Pompeo shouted his displeasure at being questioned about Ukraine. He used repeated expletives, according to Kelly, and asked, "Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?" He then said, "People will hear about this."

People are certainly hearing about it, and their unanimous judgment is that it confirms Pompeo's reputation as an obnoxious, thin-skinned excuse for a Secretary of State. Kelly's questions were all reasonable and fair, but Pompeo is not used to being pressed so hard to give real answers. We have seen his short temper and condescension before when other journalists have asked him tough questions, and he seems particularly annoyed when the journalists calling him out are women. Pompeo probably has the worst working relationship with the press of any Secretary of State in decades, and this episode will make it worse.

When Pompeo realized he wouldn't be able to get away with his standard set of vacuous talking points and lies, he ended the conversation. The entire interview is worth reading to appreciate how poorly Pompeo performs when he is forced to explain how failing administration policies are "working." When pressed on his untrue claims that "maximum pressure" on Iran is "working," all that he could do was repeat himself robotically:

QUESTION: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

QUESTION: How?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

QUESTION: Sanctions?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

Kelly refused to accept pat, meaningless responses, and she kept insisting that Pompeo provide something, anything, to back up his assertions. This is how administration officials should always be interviewed, and it is no surprise that the Secretary of State couldn't handle being challenged to back up his claims. The questions wouldn't have been that hard to answer if Pompeo were willing to be honest or the least bit humble, but that isn't how he operates. He sees every interview as an opportunity to snow the interviewer under with nonsense and to score points with the president, and giving honest answers would get in the way of both.

The section at the end concerned Pompeo's failure to stand up for State Department officials, especially Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Since Pompeo's support for these officials has been abysmal, there was nothing substantive that he could say about it and tried to filibuster his way out of it. To her credit, Kelly was persistent in trying to pin him down and make him address the issue. He had every chance to explain himself, but instead he fell back on defensive denials that persuade no one:

QUESTION: Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.

QUESTION: Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?

SECRETARY POMPEO: I've said all I'm going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do so; I appreciate that.

Pompeo could have defended Yovanovitch and other officials that have come under attack, but to do that would be to risk Trump's ire and it would require him to show the slightest bit of courage. In the end, his "swagger" is all talk and his rhetoric about supporting his "team" at State is meaningless. Pompeo made a fool of himself in this interview, and it is perfectly in keeping with his angry, brittle personality that he took out his frustrations by yelling at the reporter who exposed him as the vacuous blowhard that he is.

about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter . email


Clyde Schechter 17 hours ago
Wow! She did a great interview there. Really a model for what all reporters should be doing.

Thanks for bringing this to light, Mr. Larison.

SFBay1949 16 hours ago • edited
I don't suppose you'll be interviewing Pompeo any time soon Daniel. I very much appreciate your being so honest about what you see and hear.
K squared 14 hours ago
Left out was the part when pompeo had one of his minions bring out a blank world map and challenged her to find the Ukraine which she immediately did - i wonder if trump could find it
FL_Cottonmouth K squared 7 hours ago
That's hilarious.
John Mann K squared 2 hours ago
Apparently, Pompeo has suggested Kelly had pointed to Bangladesh, not Ukraine, on the map, and commented "It is worth noting that Bangladesh is NOT Ukraine."

I don't suppose we are ever likely to see conclusive evidence that will establish for certain where she pointed.

It's probably just a matter of looking at their respective records of lying, cheating, and stealing, and making a guess based on that.

stephen pickard 5 hours ago
My God, can he get any worse. I suppose so since his boss always falls to a lower level. There is no bottom. Just admit that everyday brings a new low. Only thing surprising is that we get surprised at their despicable behavior.
Jeff Dickey stephen pickard 3 hours ago
That's the problem with Trump henchmen: they can always get worse. There is no bottom, for to have a limit below which the henchmen will not go would embarrass the Capo di Tutti Capi for blowing through it on the way down. Henchmen have bills to pay, too, you know, just like people.
stephen pickard Jeff Dickey an hour ago
As I said awhile back, lies are debts that must be repaid.
FL_Cottonmouth 4 hours ago
Looming over her and leering down at her? What a creep!
Jonah 3 hours ago
I'm sorry, is the "conservative" in the name of this blog some kind of parody? You all sure sound like liberal democrats. Never been here before, won't be coming back.

Oh, and you forgot about the part where Pompeo came ready to discuss one topic, which was agreed to beforehand, and the interviewer transitioned to a new topic. And the way she did so was to ask Pompeo if he owed Marie Yanokovich an apology. Yes, riveting journalism devoid of partisan bias. Lol! But it was Pompeo. Right.

Jonah Jonah 3 hours ago
To the person who down voted me, I don't care. Honestly I'm glad you butthurt whiners have a place to share your hurt feelings. Maybe if you're lucky Joe Biden will be President soon and you can all rejoice that "decency" is back, or something.
SFBay1949 Jonah 3 hours ago
Apparently Pompeo can only keep so many talking points in his head. One topic only. Are we to believe the Secretary of State can't expound on more than a single subject? It must be true, otherwise he wouldn't go around insisting he will only talk about one subject during an interview. I expect he won't be getting many invites for interviews outside of FOX. Just as well, he's a bag of hot air anyway.
Sandra Jonah 2 hours ago
I think there are many conservatives writing and commenting on this site. But perhaps you are confusing "conservative" with "republican". There is little conservatism left in the republican party.
Awake and Uttering a Song Jonah an hour ago
"...Pompeo came ready to discuss one topic, which was agreed to beforehand, and the interviewer transitioned to a new topic."

Oh, the humanity!

Secretary Pompous couldn't just give a little chuckle and say something like "Now, now. You know we agreed to talk only on one topic, so let's get together on another day to discuss other topics". ?

Just another guy in power who is too full of himself.

sglover Jonah 20 minutes ago
It's terrible when the citizenry goes off-script, isn't it?
ChrisD 2 hours ago
Pompeo just tweeted this statement about the NPR interview::

Personan0ngrata an hour ago
QUESTION: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the website www.dni.gov within a US National Intelligence Estimate published in Nov2007 titled:

Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities

ANSWER: Key Judgements

A. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons. We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran's announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguards Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work.

https://www.dni.gov/files/d...

Italicized/bold text was excerpted from the website fas.org a report published (updated 20Dec2019) by the Congressional Research Service titled:

Page 53, 2nd paragraph -

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

Director of National Intelligence Coats reiterated the last sentence in May 2017 testimony.330He testified in January 2019 that the U.S. intelligence community "continue[s] to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device." Subsequent statements from U.S. officials indicate that Iran has not resumed its nuclear weapons program. According to an August 2019 State Department report, the "U.S. Intelligence Community assesses that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons development activities judged necessary to produce a nuclear device." Any decision to produce nuclear weapons "will be made by the Supreme Leader," Clapper stated in April 2013.

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/nuk...

[Jan 24, 2020] Lawrence Wilkerson Lambasts 'the Beast of the National Security State' by Adam Dick

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states: ..."
"... America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. ..."
"... We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it. ..."
"... That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war. ..."
Jan 13, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Lawrence Wilkerson, a College of William & Mary professor who was chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel in the George W. Bush administration, powerfully summed up the vile nature of the US national security state in a recent interview with host Amy Goodman at Democracy Now.

Asked by Goodman about the escalation of US conflict with Iran and how it compares with the prior run-up to the Iraq War, Wilkerson provided a harsh critique of US foreign policy over the last two decades. Wilkerson states:

Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well.

America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is.

We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as [US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] is doing right now, as [President Donald Trump] is doing right now, as [Secretary of Defense Mark Esper] is doing right now, as [Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)] is doing right now, as [Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)] is doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party -- the Republicans -- are doing right now. We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it, and that's the agony of it.

What we saw President Trump do was not in President Trump's character, really. Those boys and girls who were getting on those planes at Fort Bragg to augment forces in Iraq, if you looked at their faces, and, even more importantly, if you looked at the faces of the families assembled along the line that they were traversing to get onto the airplanes, you saw a lot of Donald Trump's base. That base voted for Donald Trump because he promised to end these endless wars, he promised to drain the swamp. Well, as I said, an alligator from that swamp jumped out and bit him. And, when he ordered the killing of Qassim Suleimani, he was a member of the national security state in good standing, and all that state knows how to do is make war.

Wilkerson, over the remainder of the two-part interview provides many more insightful comments regarding US foreign policy, including recent developments concerning Iran. Watch Wilkerson's interview here:

Wilkerson is an Academic Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.


Copyright © 2020 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
Please donate to the Ron Paul Institute Related

[Jan 19, 2020] Pompeo idea of deterence means "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America". ..."
"... a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. ..."
"... No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. ..."
"... But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us." ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84

"...deterrence to protect America."

Pompeo omitted a crucial part of this sentence: "deterrence to protect [the financial and energy hegemony of] America".

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence.

It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces.

The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc.

To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force .

No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen.

But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

[Jan 19, 2020] Now BoneSpurs Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

IronForge , Jan 18 2020 3:03 utc | 93

The MIC were running about without leashes.

Once they delved into "Conquest and Exploitation", the Military were OverScoped and Few People thought of rebuilding/modernizing Civil Infrastructure and Economy of the Conquered.

Also, IMHO, every Govt-Job that affect the Military and Veterans' Lives should be held by Veterans. Need them to be where the Rubber Meets the Road before sending others into harm's way. I'd go as far to require WH, Congress, Supremes to be Previously Assigned to Combat Units/Hot Zones (FatBoy Pompeo Fails here) - and have Combat Eligible Family be in Active Duty or Drilling Reserves - ready to be sent to the Front Lines should they call for War while running the Republic-turned-Hegemon.

That would include BoneShards' Adult Children and Spouses.

WH have been on a PetroUSD/MIC/PNAC7/AIPAC Bandwagon - which drive down Non-Yielding Nation-States with Sanctions.

Now BoneShards Opened the Pandora's Box of Open State Level Assassinations using Diplomatic Peace Missions as Venues. Worse? Against a Nation-State which can Respond in Kind - AND Develop+Deploy Nuclear WMDs. Not Ethical - Inhumane and Imbecilic, really. That's why I am voting for Gabbard this Time. A 2nd Gen Navy Vet. Been to War Zones in the Gulf.

lysias , Jan 18 2020 3:24 utc | 97

This retired Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Navy has also been donating to Gabbard.

[Jan 16, 2020] Trump's fits the pattern the Russians have used to depict the USA: "not agreement capable".

One of the strongest predictive sign that you have a sociopathic boss is that he/she is not agreement capable.
The maintenance of fear, chaos and blowback are exACTLY the desired result. Deliberately and on purpose.
Notable quotes:
"... I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". ..."
Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith Post author , , January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?

barnaby33 , , January 14, 2020 at 11:53 pm

Considering I doubt the Russians have ever honored a single deal they made, that's maybe not a good example!

Yves Smith Post author , , January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?

Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?

Boomka , , January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:
https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/26-years-on-russia-set-to-repay-all-soviet-unions-foreign-debt

"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.

It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.

[Jan 16, 2020] "Ruptured" Pompeo delivers: we just entered a new and far more dangerous era

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

V , Jan 15 2020 1:32 utc | 104

Some rather alarming news this morning (here); Pompeo now says the assassination of Soleimani was deterrence.

Not stopping there, he went on to say that U.S. deterrence also applies to Russia and China!

I'd say the gauntlet has been thrown down; just how far behind can war be now?

The U.S. has been pushing the limits of international crime for decades; and I think they're so used to being not challenged, that they forget (or stupidly think they're invincible) Russia and China will fight rather than cow tow to any U.S. coercion...

IMO, we just entered a new and far more dangerous era...

[Jan 14, 2020] Patrick Henningsen on Twitter I see we have reached peak hypocrisy now. Resign Mike. You are an embarrassment to the people

Jan 14, 2020 | twitter.com


Patrick Henningsen ‏ 1:47 AM - 13 Jan 2020

I see we have reached peak hypocrisy now. Resign Mike. You are an embarrassment to the people of the United States who you claim to be serving. Every day you read the same script, and it's a bevy of lies, every time.

btowngoatsnbirds ‏ 1:57 AM - 13 Jan 2020

Shhh....the grownups have a country to run

Patrick Henningsen ‏ 2:46 AM - 13 Jan 2020

Yes, I heard that one too.

Cheryl Sanchez ‏ 1:50 PM - 13 Jan 2020

Indeed.

[Jan 11, 2020] How Pompeo convinced Trump to kill Soleimani and fulfilled a decade-long goal - KRDO

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo has forged "very close relationships" with Haspel and Esper, alliances that bolstered his ability to make the case to Trump. "They all work together very, very closely," said the former Republican national security official. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | krdo.com

... ... ...

As planning got underway, Pompeo worked with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Army Gen. Mark Milley and the commander of CENTCOM Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie to assess the profile of troops in the field. Multiple sources also say that hawkish Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, were kept in the loop and also pushed Trump to respond.

Trump was not at all reluctant to target Soleimani, multiple sources said, adding that the President's other senior advisers -- Esper, Milley, CIA Director Gina Haspel and national security adviser Robert O'Brien -- "were all on board."

Pompeo has forged "very close relationships" with Haspel and Esper, alliances that bolstered his ability to make the case to Trump. "They all work together very, very closely," said the former Republican national security official.

That said, the former official expressed concern about the lack of deep expertise in Trump's national security team. Several analysts pointed to this as one factor in Pompeo's outsized influence within the administration.

The government is so compromised by Trump and by all the vacancies and lack of experience, this former official said, that "everything is being done by a handful of principles -- Pompeo, Esper, Milley. There are a lot of things being left on the floor."

'Such a low bar'

Pompeo is arguably the most experienced of the national security Cabinet, the former national security official said, "but it's such a low bar."

"It's such a small group and there's so much that needs to be done," the former official said. "Everyone in this administration is a level and a half higher than they would be in a normal administration. They have no bench," they said.

The Trump administration has been handicapped by the President's refusal to hire Republicans who criticize him. Other Republicans won't work for the administration, for fear of being "tainted" or summarily fired, the former official said.

As layers of experience have been peeled away at the White House, some analysts say safeguards have been removed as well. CNN's Peter Bergen has written in his new book, "Trump and his Generals," that former Defense Secretary James Mattis told his aides not to present the President with options for confronting Iran militarily.

Randa Slim, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, argues that since the departure of Mattis, former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and former White House chief of staff and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, there are very few voices at the White House to offer "deeply considered advice."

"We don't have those people who have that experience and could look Trump in the eye and who have his respect and who could say, 'Hey, hey, hey -- wait!'," Slim said.

[Jan 11, 2020] 'Brought to Jesus' the evangelical grip on the Trump administration US news The Guardian

Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

'Brought to Jesus': the evangelical grip on the Trump administration The influence of evangelical Christianity is likely to become an important question as Trump finds himself dependent on them for political survival

Julian Borger in Washington

Fri 11 Jan 2019 02.00 EST Last modified on Fri 18 Jan 2019 16.51 EST Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Donald Trump at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on 18 July 2016. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters I n setting out the Trump administration's Middle East policy, one of the first things Mike Pompeo made clear to his audience in Cairo is that he had come to the region as "as an evangelical Christian".

In his speech at the American University in Cairo, Pompeo said that in his state department office: "I keep a Bible open on my desk to remind me of God and his word, and the truth."

The secretary of state's primary message in Cairo was that the US was ready once more to embrace conservative Middle Eastern regimes, no matter how repressive, if they made common cause against Iran.

His second message was religious. In his visit to Egypt, he came across as much as a preacher as a diplomat. He talked about "America's innate goodness" and marveled at a newly built cathedral as "a stunning testament to the Lord's hand".

ss="rich-link"> 'Toxic Christianity': the evangelicals creating champions for Trump Read more

The desire to erase Barack Obama's legacy, Donald Trump's instinctive embrace of autocrats, and the private interests of the Trump Organisation have all been analysed as driving forces behind the administration's foreign policy.

The gravitational pull of white evangelicals has been less visible. But it could have far-reaching policy consequences. Vice President Mike Pence and Pompeo both cite evangelical theology as a powerful motivating force.

Just as he did in Cairo, Pompeo called on the congregation of a Kansan megachurch three years ago to join a fight of good against evil.

"We will continue to fight these battles," the then congressman said at the Summit church in Wichita. "It is a never-ending struggle until the rapture. Be part of it. Be in the fight."

For Pompeo's audience, the rapture invoked an apocalyptical Christian vision of the future, a final battle between good and evil, and the second coming of Jesus Christ, when the faithful will ascend to heaven and the rest will go to hell.

For many US evangelical Christians, one of the key preconditions for such a moment is the gathering of the world's Jews in a greater Israel between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. It is a belief, known as premillenial dispensationalism or Christian Zionism – and it has very real potential consequences for US foreign policy .

It directly colours views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and indirectly, attitudes towards Iran, broader Middle East geopolitics and the primacy of protecting Christian minorities. In his Cairo visit, Pompeo heaped praise on Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for building the new cathedral, but made no reference to the 60,000 political prisoners the regime is thought to be holding, or its routine use of torture.

Pompeo is an evangelical Presbyterian, who says he was "brought to Jesus" by other cadets at the West Point military academy in the 1980s.

https://www.theguardian.com/email/form/plaintone/4300

"He knows best how his faith interacts with his political beliefs and the duties he undertakes as secretary of state," said Stan van den Berg, senior pastor of Pompeo's church in Wichita in an email. "Suffice to say, he is a faithful man, he has integrity, he has a compassionate heart, a humble disposition and a mind for wisdom."

As Donald Trump finds himself ever more dependent on them for his political survival, the influence of Pence, Pompeo and the ultra-conservative white Evangelicals who stand behind them is likely to grow.

"Many of them relish the second coming because for them it means eternal life in heaven," Andrew Chesnut, professor of religious studies at Virginia Commonwealth University said. "There is a palpable danger that people in high position who subscribe to these beliefs will be readier to take us into a conflict that brings on Armageddon."

Chesnut argues that Christian Zionism has become the "majority theology" among white US Evangelicals, who represent about a quarter of the adult population . In a 2015 poll , 73% of evangelical Christians said events in Israel are prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Respondents were not asked specifically whether their believed developments in Israel would actually bring forth the apocalypse.

The relationship between evangelicals and the president himself is complicated.

Trump himself embodies the very opposite of a pious Christian ideal. Trump is not churchgoer. He is profane, twice divorced, who has boasted of sexually assaulting women. But white evangelicals have embraced him.

Eighty per cent of white evangelicals voted for him in 2016, and his popularity among them is remains in the 70s. While other white voters have flaked away in the first two years of his presidency, white evangelicals have become his last solid bastion.

Some leading evangelicals see Trump as a latterday King Cyrus, the sixth-century BC Persian emperor who liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity.

The comparison is made explicitly in The Trump Prophecy , a religious film screened in 1,200 cinemas around the country in October, depicting a retired firefighter who claims to have heard God's voice, saying: "I've chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this."

Lance Wallnau , a self-proclaimed prophet who features in the film, has called Trump "God's Chaos Candidate" and a "modern Cyrus".

"Cyrus is the model for a nonbeliever appointed by God as a vessel for the purposes of the faithful," said Katherine Stewart , who writes extensively about the Christian right.

She added that they welcome his readiness to break democratic norms to combat perceived threats to their values and way of life.

"The Christian nationalist movement is characterized by feelings of persecution and, to some degree, paranoia – a clear example is the idea that there is somehow a 'war on Christmas'," Stewart said. "People in those positions will often go for authoritarian leaders who will do whatever is necessary to fight for their cause."

Trump was raised as a Presbyterian, but leaned increasingly towards evangelical preachers as he began contemplating a run for the presidency.

Trump's choice of Pence as a running mate was a gesture of his commitment, and four of the six preachers at his inauguration were evangelicals, including White and Franklin Graham, the eldest son of the preacher Billy Graham, who defended Trump through his many sex scandals, pointing out: "We are all sinners."

Having lost control of the House of Representatives in November, and under ever closer scrutiny for his campaign's links to the Kremlin, Trump's instinct has been to cleave ever closer to his most loyal supporters.

Almost alone among major demographic groups, white evangelicals are overwhelmingly in favour of Trump's border wall, which some preachers equate with fortifications in the Bible.

Evangelical links have also helped shape US alliances in the Trump presidency. As secretary of state, Pompeo has been instrumental in forging link with other evangelical leaders in the hemisphere, including Guatemala's Jimmy Morales and the new Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro . Both have undertaken to follow the US lead in moving their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem .

Trump's order to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv – over the objections of his foreign policy and national security team – is a striking example of evangelical clout.

ss="rich-link"> Sheldon Adelson: the casino mogul driving Trump's Middle East policy Read more

The move was also pushed by Las Vegas billionaire and Republican mega-donor, Sheldon Adelson, but the orchestration of the embassy opening ceremony last May, reflected the audience Trump was trying hardest to appease.

The two pastors given the prime speaking slots were both ardent Christian Zionists: Robert Jeffress, a Dallas pastor on record as saying Jews, like Muslims and Mormons, are bound for hell ; and John Hagee, a televangelist and founder of Christians United for Israel (Cufi), who once said that Hitler and the Holocaust were part of God's plan to get Jews back to Israel , to pave the way for the Rapture.

For many evangelicals, the move cemented Trump's status as the new Cyrus, who oversaw the Jews return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.

The tightening of the evangelical grip on the administration has also been reflected in a growing hostility to the UN, often portrayed as a sinister and godless organisation.

Since the US ambassador, Nikki Haley, announced her departure in October and Pompeo took more direct control, the US mission has become increasingly combative, blocking references to gender and reproductive health in UN documents.

Some theologians also see an increasingly evangelical tinge to the administration's broader Middle East policies, in particular its fierce embrace of Binyamin Netanyahu's government, the lack of balancing sympathy for the Palestinians – and the insistent demonisation of the Iranian government.

ss="rich-link"> US will expel every last Iranian boot from Syria, says Mike Pompeo Read more

Evangelicals, Chesnut said, "now see the United States locked into a holy war against the forces of evil who they see as embodied by Iran".

In a speech at the end of a regional tour on Thursday, Pompeo reprised the theme, describing Iran as a "cancerous influence".

This zeal for a defining struggle has thus far found common cause with more secular hawks such as the national security adviser, John Bolton, and Trump's own drive to eliminate the legacy of Barack Obama, whose signature foreign policy achievement was the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which Trump abrogated last May.

In conversations with European leaders such as Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May, Trump has reportedly insisted he has no intention of going to war with Iran. His desire to extricate US troops from Syria marks a break with hawks, religious and secular, who want to contain Iranian influence there.

But the logic of his policy of ever-increasing pressure, coupled with unstinting support for Israel and Saudi Arabia, makes confrontation with Iran ever more likely.

One of the most momentous foreign policy questions of 2019 is whether Trump can veer away from the collision course he has helped set in motion – perhaps conjuring up a last minute deal, as he did with North Korea – or instead welcome conflict as a distraction from his domestic woes, and sell it to the faithful as a crusade.

Topics Donald Trump Evangelical Christianity Trump administration US foreign policy Religion US politics Christianity features

[Jan 11, 2020] Big Money in Politics Doesn't Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War. - FPIF

Notable quotes:
"... Citizens United ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org

Big Money in Politics Doesn't Just Drive Inequality. It Drives War.

Military contractors have shelled out over $1 million to the 2016 presidential candidates -- including over $200,000 to Hillary Clinton alone.

By Rebecca Green , April 27, 2016 . Originally published in OtherWords .

Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint Military-Industrial Diagnosis

Khalil Bendib / OtherWords.org

The 2016 presidential elections are proving historic, and not just because of the surprising success of self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders, the lively debate among feminists over whether to support Hillary Clinton, or Donald Trump's unorthodox candidacy.

The elections are also groundbreaking because they're revealing more dramatically than ever the corrosive effect of big money on our decaying democracy.

Following the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision and related rulings, corporations and the wealthiest Americans gained the legal right to raise and spend as much money as they want on political candidates.

The 2012 elections were consequently the most expensive in U.S. history. And this year's races are predicted to cost even more. With the general election still six months away, donors have already sunk $1 billion into the presidential race -- with $619 million raised by candidates and another $412 million by super PACs.

Big money in politics drives grave inequality in our country. It also drives war.

After all, war is a profitable industry. While millions of people all over the world are being killed and traumatized by violence, a small few make a killing from the never-ending war machine.

During the Iraq War, for example, weapons manufacturers and a cadre of other corporations made billions on federal contracts.

Most notoriously this included Halliburton, a military contractor previously led by Dick Cheney. The company made huge profits from George W. Bush's decision to wage a costly, unjustified, and illegal war while Cheney served as his vice president.

Military-industrial corporations spend heavily on political campaigns. They've given over $1 million to this year's presidential candidates so far -- over $200,000 of which went to Hillary Clinton, who leads the pack in industry backing.

These corporations target House and Senate members who sit on the Armed Forces and Appropriations Committees, who control the purse strings for key defense line items. And cleverly, they've planted factories in most congressional districts. Even if they provide just a few dozen constituent jobs per district, that helps curry favor with each member of Congress.

Thanks to aggressive lobbying efforts, weapons manufacturers have secured the five largest contracts made by the federal government over the last seven years. In 2014, the U.S. government awarded over $90 billion worth of contracts to Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.

Military spending has been one of the top three biggest federal programs every year since 2000, and it's far and away the largest discretionary portion. Year after year, elected officials spend several times more on the military than on education, energy, and the environment combined.

Lockheed Martin's problematic F-35 jet illustrates this disturbingly disproportionate use of funds. The same $1.5 trillion Washington will spend on the jet, journalist Tom Cahill calculates , could have provided tuition-free public higher education for every student in the U.S. for the next 23 years. Instead, the Pentagon ordered a fighter plane that can't even fire its own gun yet.

Given all of this, how can anyone justify war spending?

Some folks will say it's to make us safer . Yet the aggressive U.S. military response following the 9/11 attacks -- the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the NATO bombing of Libya, and drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen -- has only destabilized the region. "Regime change" foreign policies have collapsed governments and opened the doors to Islamist terrorist groups like ISIS.

Others may say they support a robust Pentagon budget because of the jobs the military creates . But dollar for dollar, education spending creates nearly three times more jobs than military spending.

We need to stop letting politicians and corporations treat violence and death as "business opportunities." Until politics become about people instead of profits, we'll remain crushed in the death grip of the war machine.

And that is the real national security threat facing the United States today. Share this:

[Jan 11, 2020] Meet the CEOs Raking It in from Trump's Aggression Toward Iran - FPIF

Notable quotes:
"... Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits the IPS publication Inequality.org. Follow her at @SarahDAnderson1. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | fpif.org

Meet the CEOs Raking It in from Trump's Aggression Toward Iran

Major military contractors saw a stock surge from the U.S. assassination of an Iranian general. For CEOs, that means payday comes early.

By Sarah Anderson , January 6, 2020 . Originally published in Inequality.org .

Print Friendly, PDF & EmailPrint military-industrial-complex-arms-contractors

Chris Devers / Flickr

CEOs of major U.S. military contractors stand to reap huge windfalls from the escalation of conflict with Iran. This was evident in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. assassination of a top Iranian military official last week. As soon as the news reached financial markets, these companies' share prices spiked, inflating the value of their executives' stock-based pay.

I took a look at how the CEOs at the top five Pentagon contractors were affected by this surge, using the most recent SEC information on their stock holdings.

Northrop Grumman executives saw the biggest increase in the value of their stocks after the U.S. airstrike that killed Qasem Suleimani on January 2. Shares in the B-2 bomber maker rose 5.43 percent by the end of trading the following day.

Wesley Bush, who turned Northrop Grumman's reins over to Kathy Warden last year, held 251,947 shares of company stock in various trusts as of his final SEC Form 4 filing in May 2019. (Companies must submit these reports when top executives and directors buy and sell company stock.) Assuming Bush is still sitting on that stockpile, he saw the value grow by $4.9 million to a total of $94.5 million last Friday.

New Northrop Grumman CEO Warden saw the 92,894 shares she'd accumulated as the firm's COO expand in value by more than $2.7 million in just one day of post-assassination trading.

Lockheed Martin, whose Hellfire missiles were reportedly used in the attack at the Baghdad airport, saw a 3.6 percent increase in price per share on January 3. Marillyn Hewson, CEO of the world's largest weapon maker, may be kicking herself for selling off a considerable chunk of stock last year when it was trading at around $307. Nevertheless, by the time Lockheed shares reached $413 at the closing bell, her remaining stash had increased in value by about $646,000.

What about the manufacturer of the MQ-9 Reaper that carried the Hellfire missiles? That would be General Atomics. Despite raking in $2.8 billion in taxpayer-funded contracts in 2018, the drone maker is not required to disclose executive compensation information because it is a privately held corporation.

We do know General Atomics CEO Neal Blue is worth an estimated $4.1 billion -- and he's a major investor in oil production, a sector that also stands to profit from conflict with a major oil-producing country like Iran.

*Resigned 12/22/19. **Resigned 1/1/19 while staying on as chairman until 7/19. New CEO Kathy Warden accumulated 92,894 shares in her previous position as Northrop Grumman COO.

Suleimani's killing also inflated the value of General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic's fortune. As the weapon maker's share price rose about 1 percentage point on January 3, the former CIA official saw her stock holdings increase by more than $1.2 million.

Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy saw a single-day increase in his stock of more than half a million dollars, as the missile and bomb manufacturer's share price increased nearly 1.5 percent. Boeing stock remained flat on Friday. But Dennis Muilenberg, recently ousted as CEO over the 737 aircraft scandal, appears to be well-positioned to benefit from any continued upward drift of the defense sector.

As of his final Form 4 report, Muilenburg was sitting on stock worth about $47.7 million. In his yet to be finalized exit package, the disgraced former executive could also pocket huge sums of currently unvested stock grants.

Hopefully sanity will soon prevail and the terrifyingly high tensions between the Trump administration and Iran will de-escalate. But even if the military stock surge of this past Friday turns out to be a market blip, it's a sobering reminder of who stands to gain the most from a war that could put millions of lives at risk.

We can put an end to dangerous war profiteering by denying federal contracts to corporations that pay their top executives excessively. In 2008, John McCain, then a Republican presidential candidate, proposed capping CEO pay at companies receiving taxpayer bailouts at no more than $400,000 (the salary of the U.S. president). That notion should be extended to companies that receive massive taxpayer-funded contracts.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, for instance, has a plan to deny federal contracts to companies that pay CEOs more than 150 times what their typical worker makes.

As long as we allow the top executives of our privatized war economy to reap unlimited rewards, the profit motive for war in Iran -- or anywhere -- will persist. Share this:

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and co-edits the IPS publication Inequality.org. Follow her at @SarahDAnderson1.

[Jan 10, 2020] Pompous killer

Notable quotes:
"... Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been revealed to be the puppet master behind POTUS Trump's motion to liquidate a top Iranian commander, CNN reported citing sources inside and around the White House, with the revelation indicating Pompeo's influential status in the Trump administration. ..."
"... The sources suggested that the Iranian general was Pompeo's fixation, so that he even sought to get a visa to Iran in 2016 when he represented Kansas in Congress, before assuming the role of CIA director and then his current one. ..."
"... Despite winning the moniker of "Trump whisperer" over the ties he has developed with POTUS, Pompeo's ability to sell an aggressive Iran strategy to Trump, who has commonly opposed any military confrontation, has caused a certain sway, the sources implied. ..."
"... "He's the one leading the way", according to the source in Pompeo's inner circle, discussing the showdown with Iran. "It's the president's policy, but Pompeo has been the leading voice in helping the president craft this policy. There is no doubt Mike is the one leading it in the Cabinet". ..."
"... While bragging about Washington's "big and accurate" missiles as well as US achievements during his tenure, he separately praised the "new powerful economic sanctions" aimed at Iran, promising that they would be in place until Tehran "changes its behaviour". Also, he invited NATO to get more deeply involved in what is going on in the Middle East, with the Transatlantic bloc reacting favorably to the suggestion. ..."
Jan 10, 2020 | sputniknews.com

Mike Pompeo has reportedly long cherished plans to take the Iranian general off the Middle East battlefield, as he is said to have for quite a while seen late Commander Soleimani as the one behind the spiralling tensions with Tehran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been revealed to be the puppet master behind POTUS Trump's motion to liquidate a top Iranian commander, CNN reported citing sources inside and around the White House, with the revelation indicating Pompeo's influential status in the Trump administration.

According to several sources, taking Iranian General Qasem Soleimani – the leader of the elite Quds Force, a powerful military group with vast leverage in the region - "off the battlefield" has been Pompeo's goal for a decade.

Pompeo "was the one who made the case to take out Soleimani, it was him absolutely", a source said, adding he apparently floated the idea when debating the US Embassy raid over New Year with Trump.

According to a number of sources close to Pompeo, the secretary of state has at all times believed that Iran is the root cause of the woes in the Middle East, and Soleimani in particular - the mastermind of terrorism raging across the region. This point of view is notably in tune with how Pompeo commented on the commander's assassination:

"We took a bad guy off the battlefield", Pompeo told CNN on 5 January. "We made the right decision". The same day, Pompeo told ABC that killing Soleimani was important "because this was a fella who was the glue, who was conducting active plotting against the United States of America, putting American lives at risk".

The sources suggested that the Iranian general was Pompeo's fixation, so that he even sought to get a visa to Iran in 2016 when he represented Kansas in Congress, before assuming the role of CIA director and then his current one.

Despite winning the moniker of "Trump whisperer" over the ties he has developed with POTUS, Pompeo's ability to sell an aggressive Iran strategy to Trump, who has commonly opposed any military confrontation, has caused a certain sway, the sources implied.

"He's the one leading the way", according to the source in Pompeo's inner circle, discussing the showdown with Iran. "It's the president's policy, but Pompeo has been the leading voice in helping the president craft this policy. There is no doubt Mike is the one leading it in the Cabinet".

Regardless of who inspired the drone attack that killed Soleimani, the two countries are indeed going through a stint of severe tensions, but no direct military confrontation. After Tehran's retaliatory attack, Trump announced a slew of more stringent economic limitations to be slapped on Iran.

While bragging about Washington's "big and accurate" missiles as well as US achievements during his tenure, he separately praised the "new powerful economic sanctions" aimed at Iran, promising that they would be in place until Tehran "changes its behaviour". Also, he invited NATO to get more deeply involved in what is going on in the Middle East, with the Transatlantic bloc reacting favorably to the suggestion.

[Jan 10, 2020] "Moqtada al-Sadr advices to prepare for the battle by closing all Hashd al-Shaabi offices to avoid offering easy targets to the #US when the decision of armed resistance is decided and if the US refuses to withdraw from Iraq."

Notable quotes:
"... Hopefully you are right on the Kurds and Sunnis, but the US ability to enlist proxies has always surprised me. ..."
"... Newspeak: IRAN APPEARS TO BE STANDING DOWN. Imperial words when attacked directly. ..."
"... Iran has been patiently demonstrating its capabilities. The following terms came into the vernacular and are associated with those capabilities: Stena Impero/Adryan Darya, Khurais and Abqaiq, RQ-4A Global Hawk, PMU/PMF and many others, and now, Ain al-Asad. ..."
"... US cannot afford to fight a war with Iran directly. If so, it would have to fight from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean, so, just be ready for skirmishes here and there. I see RSH is posting here now. He has been predicting a war between the two nations by the end of 2010, end of 2011, end of 2012, and on and on, on other sites. Haven't read enough of his comments to see if it's now by the end of 2020? ..."
"... But I think both Iran and North Korea will keep the pressure on the US high throughout this election year, entirely intentional of course. ..."
"... Damn, I'm late to the party again. It's probably been said already, but Iran's response is pure genius. Early warning to try to avoid casualties, speaks volumes about the differences between the evil empire and the Iranians. ..."
"... Unless one entertains the belief that Iran's missile attacks all misfired and missed their human targets-which appears to be the view that the friends of Israel and those who believe in the indefatigability of the US military, hold- then what Iran has just provided is spectacular confirmation that, short of a nuclear attack, there is nothing that the US can do, but go. ..."
"... Clearly its bases cannot be defended, that is what the craters and smashed buildings are telling them. If the Secretary of Defense wants to wait for a written request to leave the country that is his privilege-he's lucky not to be living there- but there is no way that the US forces can stay there. They have become unwelcome guests. ..."
"... People voted for Trump primarily for two reasons: Obama and the D-Party had stabbed them in the back allowing millions to lose their homes while the fraudulent banksters got away scot-free and with $Trillions too-boot, and they knew Clinton was a deranged warmonger while Trump talked reasonably about the Outlaw US Empire's many Imperial Follies. In short, Trump was seen by many as the lesser of two evils. No, I voted Green. ..."
"... It sounds as though Abdel Mahdi is being forced into the popular opinion. The US is being reduced into its best defended bases. Where from there, when those bases are isolated? ..."
"... The US did not escalate today. Trump's speech was all bluster and falsehood, directed almost exclusively to American audience in the interest of domestic politics. ..."
"... It is also possible that what Pompeo and Esper and Netanyahoo are seeking to accomplish is to maintain the highest level of tension possible without precipitating actual war. This is because all parties recognize that actual war with Iran would entail the destruction of much of Israel's infrastructure and many thousands of Israeli casualties, and these are prices too high to pay for the overthrowing of even the "evil" Iranian "regime". ..."
"... The Iranians have just displayed that they can and will attack targets with precision. No message? Seriously? You've missed the bigger picture. Iran have scored one on the Strategic level. What you're also missing is that Iraq is moving even closer to Iranian and Chinese-Russian orbit. ..."
"... Iran communicated its intent to strike US targets in Iraq directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister a full two hours prior to the missiles being launched; Iraq then shared this information with US military commanders, who were able to ensure all US troops were in hardened shelters at the time of the attack. ..."
Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , Jan 8 2020 21:43 utc | 296

psychohistorian , Jan 8 2020 21:43 utc | 297
About whether any died in the Iran attack

Iran told the US they were going to attack and what areas.

Of course the US military is not going to abandon its radar installation is it? Maybe there were a few others stationed where survival was iffy. If they die then not surprising that their deaths were covered up because they were told those areas would be hit.

That is the reason we had the Trump presser today that was projection of, we got the message, don't do any more...stand down.

If the latest about bombs in the Baghdad Green Zone are accurate then either more Iran or some other factor wanting to trigger US response or ???

We are all still alive so China/Russia is backstopping Iran from nuclear attack seems clear

karlof1 , Jan 8 2020 21:44 utc | 298
Events continue

Bubbles , Jan 8 2020 20:18 utc | 231

With those poor disenfranchised American folks putting all their hope in trump and his agenda, are they realizing the benefits of their support yet? I've read 71% of young Americans can't afford to buy a home now the money men have inflated prices to the extreme. Trump's people, the money men.

Did they vote for him as a show of support for his granting every wish Netanyahu ever had?

Did they vote for him to support Netanyahu's aggression against his chosen foe, which clearly was an effort to cast the spear of fear into the hearts of Israeli's?

Demagogues and wannabes set about to rule by making the population afraid.

Peter AU1 , Jan 8 2020 20:25 utc | 233
Walter
Thanks for the explanation.In layman terms and I would guess many professions and trades, speed and velocity are interchangeable.

Laguerre. Hopefully you are right on the Kurds and Sunnis, but the US ability to enlist proxies has always surprised me. There always seem to be corruptible people anywhere, plus others interested in using the US for their small time ends. But Iraq has changed with the killing of Soleimani. Anti US may end up trumping local grievances for the majority.

Sakineh Bagoom , Jan 8 2020 20:26 utc | 235
Newspeak: IRAN APPEARS TO BE STANDING DOWN. Imperial words when attacked directly.

What is lost in all this debate whether this was Kabuki or not is that Iran went toe to toe with the empire -- directly. Pissed on the red lines set by the empire a day earlier. No need for proxies. No need for false flag from the enemies. Iran has justified legality under article 51 as Zarif pointed out.

Terror needed re-balancing, and for now, balance of terror has been established.

Iran has been patiently demonstrating its capabilities. The following terms came into the vernacular and are associated with those capabilities: Stena Impero/Adryan Darya, Khurais and Abqaiq, RQ-4A Global Hawk, PMU/PMF and many others, and now, Ain al-Asad.

US cannot afford to fight a war with Iran directly. If so, it would have to fight from Hindu Kush to the Mediterranean, so, just be ready for skirmishes here and there. I see RSH is posting here now. He has been predicting a war between the two nations by the end of 2010, end of 2011, end of 2012, and on and on, on other sites. Haven't read enough of his comments to see if it's now by the end of 2020?

Alexander P , Jan 8 2020 20:28 utc | 236
Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 8 2020 19:26 utc | 204

The stage rigging is on plain display here. This was arranged and calculated well in advance. Arranged by someone with power to compel obedience, who would expect perfect compliance to a scheme with many moving parts. So may parts of this might have gone wrong, with WW3 as the consequence of a mistake.

I completely agree, I think this entire thing is a precursor to something much worse, such as a massive false-flag that will let this conflict turn hot. Last night was but a small taste or using Iranian wording 'mosquito bite'. People are quick to dismiss that war would never be a viable option for the powers that be. When really they have been setting the stage for global calamity for quite some time. The Iran/US/Israel theater is just the first of a number of dominoes that have been carefully set up (NK-US; India-Pakistan; Russia-NATO) to name but a few. Tensions are intentionally being ratcheted up for a major cascading explosion that will ripple around the globe. The ponzi economy bubble-game they have created during the last 20 years is part of that plan to trigger even worse panic among the populace. Having said all of this, it seems to me that they want Trump to still be re-elected before things really turn sour, so there seems to be some time left, which is why the current de-escalation.

But I think both Iran and North Korea will keep the pressure on the US high throughout this election year, entirely intentional of course.

Mao , Jan 8 2020 20:28 utc | 237 ben , Jan 8 2020 20:30 utc | 238
Damn, I'm late to the party again. It's probably been said already, but Iran's response is pure genius. Early warning to try to avoid casualties, speaks volumes about the differences between the evil empire and the Iranians.

Thanks b, and all. So much better coming here, as opposed to the MSM..

Mao , Jan 8 2020 20:30 utc | 239 WJ , Jan 8 2020 20:31 utc | 240
It all depends now on Trump's reelection strategy: Will he run on bringing the troops home or will he run on another Middle East war.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 8 2020 16:34 utc | 108

Were I a zionist advisor/donor to Trump, I would advise/blackmail him to do the following: Run a 2020 campaign premised on bringing the troops home, and indeed bring enough of them home (or to Germany) to make that plausible. Then, after you win the election, stage some action or invent some pretext (we control the media and can help you do both) that requires you do go to war against Iran. It will be unpopular and many of your citizens will die. But you are in your second term, we have given you lots of $$$$, and we still have that video tape from the late 1990s of you and the 14-year old eastern european girl.

bevin , Jan 8 2020 20:34 utc | 243
Unless one entertains the belief that Iran's missile attacks all misfired and missed their human targets-which appears to be the view that the friends of Israel and those who believe in the indefatigability of the US military, hold- then what Iran has just provided is spectacular confirmation that, short of a nuclear attack, there is nothing that the US can do, but go.

Clearly its bases cannot be defended, that is what the craters and smashed buildings are telling them. If the Secretary of Defense wants to wait for a written request to leave the country that is his privilege-he's lucky not to be living there- but there is no way that the US forces can stay there. They have become unwelcome guests.

Of course there are still those who tell us that Iraqi public opinion is divided and that the sunni and the Kurds will be willing agents of the imperialists: I don't think so. What the US has done is to unite Iraqis around nationalist objects and to close the carefully opened divide between the sects. They have come full circle since 2003 and now even the Iraqi members of ISIS (who are a small minority in the Foreign Legion of Uighurs, Bosnians, Albanians, Chechens and wahhabis) will not serve as a wedge to keep Iraqis fighting each other.

Or Iran: it has taken trillions of dollars and decades for Washington to knock it into the densest politicians' heads but now everyone understands:

"The US is our enemy, it sees us as untermenschen to be exterminated like vermin. In order to survive and to rebuild our lives and communities we must expel them. We have no choice.

First we will ask the Swiss Embassy to tell them to leave, then we will pass resolutions in Parliament, and put on fireworks displays at their bases. And they will leave."

And next will come the matter of Palestine, and the al quds Soleimani's brigade was named for. Israel is beginning to look very lonely now in the Levant- a very abusive, violent and noisy neighbour given to trespassing and larceny.

Zanon , Jan 8 2020 20:35 utc | 244
Jackrabbit
That's all he got. Sanctions?

Sanctions are act of war. Trump has Conducted a War against Iran for many months with sanctions https://twitter.com/jricole/status/1214912785999650816

Mina , Jan 8 2020 20:37 utc | 245
#219
As in "sanctions vs the EU doing business with"
Peter AU1 , Jan 8 2020 20:38 utc | 246
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/08/iranian-messages-behind-attacking-us-bases-in-iraq-and-the-consequences/

"Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi -- according to well-informed sources in Baghdad -- answered that "this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war".

The Iranian official replied: "Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken."

Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi informed the US forces of the Iranian decision. US declared a state of emergency and alerted all US bases in Iraq and the region in advance of the attack.

Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters."

Peter AU1 , Jan 8 2020 20:44 utc | 250
Easy to see why the US approved of Mahdi as president. A pissweak appeaser how can do no more than write letters to the UN. If he doesn't want a US Iran war in Iraq then he should be booting the yanks out as the Yanks are based there purely on Iran's account. What Mahdi is doing amounts to providing sanctuary to the US on Iran's border.
Lone Wolf , Jan 8 2020 20:47 utc | 254
I stand corrected, Magnier has just posted, now b has a source to copy and paste.
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/08/iranian-messages-behind-attacking-us-bases-in-iraq-and-the-consequences/

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:38 utc | 246

Thank you, Peter AU1!

Lone Wolf

james , Jan 8 2020 20:47 utc | 255
@ lone wolf... bye, bye... why would anyone bother to get worked up about your post? lol..
Cynica , Jan 8 2020 20:48 utc | 256
@Lone Wolf #248

Some of us are indeed quite skeptical that there were no casualties reported whatsoever - by "Western" media outlets. This commenter previously noted that it would be in the US establishment's interest to downplay the impact of the attack as much as possible. Furthermore, to those who are wondering how true casualty figures could be prevented from being leaked, all the US government has to do is declare such information classified, at which point it becomes a serious felony (think Snowden or Manning) to leak it.

Passer by , Jan 8 2020 20:48 utc | 257
Posted by: DFC | Jan 8 2020 19:20 utc | 198

>>b) The fact that Suleimani was a national hero for a nation of 82 million people and also for 150 million of shia around the world, mourned by millions in the streets, make a bigger Trump "victory" over the Iranian "regime", and it is a powerful advice to the others leaders and commanders in the world that try to fight or oppose to USA.

This is not a gain, the US will be hated and sabotaged by the many shia groups across the world (a young and growing demographic with combat experience), and there will be many covert activities against it all over the place. An american dying here and there, a US company sabotaged here and there. The US will be very busy fighting shia groups undercover just as it needs to compete with Russia and China, not to mention the security costs. They will probaly give tacit support to some sunni groups already fighting the US. Taliban getting manpads and targeting info of US presence in Afghainstan? No, this is not good news for the US. It means having more and more enemies everywhere and dividing resources into many fronts. Taking on Russia, China and Iran/Iraq/Shia Crescent will to be too much. The debt clock is ticking.

>>g) The retaliation of the PMU lob some katyusha rockets in the backyard of few US bases

No, they will simply make it impossible for any american to get out outside of the Embassy in Iraq. Workers, companies etc. will be driven out by harrassment.

>>h) Trump is defiant about not leaving Iraq, I think at the end they will go but after they have a very good deal. Of course it is all about the Iraqi oil, in exchange for the American blood and money wasted in Iraq. Iraq has the biggest oil reserves in the world and USA want a good chunk of them, they never ever leave "giving" all of them to the Chinese or Iranians or anybody else. Trump does not want US soldiers in Iraq, but he wants the oil above anything else (it is condition "sine qua non" to maintain the Empire)

You don't know much about Iraq then. Iraq (including elites) does not want the US there. It does not want to be a battlefield and it does not want to have Shia leaders attacked in their own country. This is a Red Line for iraqis. Muqtada Al Sadr, the most influential person in Iraq, who kicked the arse of the US occupation in 2004-2007 wants the US and even the Embassy out, embargo on US products, etc. Iraqi shia are not intimidated by the US, far from it, they have seen far worse in the past and that only angered them even more. Iraq will move into China-Russia-Iran orbit, this is a done deal. A chinese delegation just arrived in Iraq to provide security solutions for the country.

>> Trump has now the full enthusiastic support of the AIPAC and all the others powerful Israeli lobby he will have more money than required for the election. He has demonstrated he is the best possible POTUS for Israel.

This is debatable, considering that 80 % of US jews voted against Trump. Israel is not the only issue for US jews. They do not like loud mouthed white racists. US media is an expression of US jews and US media continues to be highly hostile to Trump. If they really wanted him, media would be supportive.

j) In the short term USA will leave Syria and in the medium term Iraq, OK, but they never ever leave "all the region", they need to be there to maintain the "American Way of Live" (US $ as reserve currency)

There will be less US presence in the Middle East and it won't be just Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan drawdowns. US debt levels point to unsustainable military spending. That is, in 2025 - 2030 the US will be forced to cut military spending significantly. Even now the US is cutting the number of ships due to lack of money. So in general, there will be less US presence everywhere, including in the Middle East. Too much debt.

As for Iraq, the US HQ for Iraq was just evacuated to Kuwait, US forces stopped operations and are confinded to their bases (defacto house arrest), and US workers are fleeing the country.

>>If nothing dramatically change, I expect a crushing victory of Trump in the coming US election, he has all the cards now in his hand, and he will not waste them.

And i see people in the US and all over the world deeply disturbed by his behavior. People want calm, not never ending drama, threats, sexism, racism, vulgarity and warmongering. Women (majority of voters) do not like such behavior. Women and minorites are very hostile to Trump due to this. Republicans lost the House and it looks like someone did not get the message. Even if Trump somehow wins, this will lead to civil war like situation in the US due to the changing demographics. Minorities DO NOT want Trump and their numbers will only be increasing far into the future. This means growing division and infighting within the US.

You look at this through the eyes of an American, that is why you see it as 'kabuki' and 'face saving' weakness, because as an American your answer is wholesale slaughter. Body count is your metric of success.

Zanon , Jan 8 2020 20:59 utc | 262
Two Rockets Fall in Green Zone in Iraqi Capital of Baghdad
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001081077983534-two-blasts-sirens-heard-in-iraqi-capital-of-baghdad-reports/

If this is Iran. This is getting ridiculous and wont be appreciated by Iraq.

Nemo , Jan 8 2020 21:01 utc | 264
America cant retaliate because they know the next blow will bleed. They were unable to intercept the incoming missiles because US point defenses are mediocre. Once a projectile gets past the patriots, not a difficult task, they will only face some rail mounted stingers and 20 mm cannon. Has to be scarry for the dumb grunts.
albagen , Jan 8 2020 21:02 utc | 265
@ lone wolf

I won't attack you or your post, but it is no good manners to enter somebody's house and speak shit. If your family didn't teach you this, and your education didn't manage to polish the animal in you, then you are a lost case, no need to deal with you. You'll live on mother earth and then die without having any good impact whatsoever.

good riddance

karlof1 , Jan 8 2020 21:03 utc | 266
Bubbles @231--

People voted for Trump primarily for two reasons: Obama and the D-Party had stabbed them in the back allowing millions to lose their homes while the fraudulent banksters got away scot-free and with $Trillions too-boot, and they knew Clinton was a deranged warmonger while Trump talked reasonably about the Outlaw US Empire's many Imperial Follies. In short, Trump was seen by many as the lesser of two evils. No, I voted Green.

If you read Dr. Hudson's analysis and the transcript from this show , you'll be informed about a great many facts about the Outlaw US Empire that the vast majority of its citizens are unaware of thanks to BigLie Media. And I could direct you to dozens of additional examples that provide even more facts about the situation, the core of the problem and potential solutions.

Many good academics and others have tried to inform the USA's citizenry about the why of their dilemma and provided suggestions for action, but their voices are drowned out by what's known as the Establishment Narrative parroted by BigLie Media. IMO, Sanders would have waxed Trump in 2016, but he was clearly the target of a conspiracy to prevent him from gaining the D-Party nomination. IMO, the only reason he endorsed Clinton was he knew of the sort of domestic mayhem Trump and the R-Party would wreck upon his supporters. Please, before denigrating the masses within the Evil Outlaw US Empire, try to discover why they behave as they do. Lumping them all together and calling them dumb fuck-wits won't get you anywhere and only serves to exacerbate things.

Laguerre , Jan 8 2020 21:03 utc | 267
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 8 2020 20:38 utc | 246

It sounds as though Abdel Mahdi is being forced into the popular opinion. The US is being reduced into its best defended bases. Where from there, when those bases are isolated?

I am reposting this.

The Iranians care, they sent some of the best gifts, and they're rightly proud of them. A Hallmark kinna time, the Holidays n all that.

Brother, I have read about the problems involved, I took some calculus long ago, but the engineering behind what Iran has demonstrated in very complex. They put the clown on the back foot.

There is a realignment of strategy in the Celestial Heaven of DC... Not a change in goal, just "whaddwe do now, how r we gunna smash 'em"...

jayc , Jan 8 2020 21:06 utc | 270
The US did not escalate today. Trump's speech was all bluster and falsehood, directed almost exclusively to American audience in the interest of domestic politics. If anything, the call for NATO to step up was an indication the Americans planned to step back. The Turks will not be pouring troops into Iraq. Trump was referring to the Europeans. The US corporate media continues to report with subdued tone, with ultra hawkish Fox News continuing to describe the struck airbases as "Iraqi facilities".
WJ , Jan 8 2020 21:10 utc | 273
Cynica @256,

"This commenter previously noted that it would be in the US establishment's interest to downplay the impact of the attack as much as possible."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is true only on the assumption that the "US establishment" is united in seeking to de-escalate with Iran. But evidence suggests that at least two members of that establishment--Pompeo and Esper--are clearly not interested in de-escalation (notwithstanding Pompeo's directive to the embassies). For them, the death of dozens of American soldiers could only be a good thing, as it would easily be manipulated in the press to motivate the US populace's desire for retribution.

It is also possible that what Pompeo and Esper and Netanyahoo are seeking to accomplish is to maintain the highest level of tension possible without precipitating actual war. This is because all parties recognize that actual war with Iran would entail the destruction of much of Israel's infrastructure and many thousands of Israeli casualties, and these are prices too high to pay for the overthrowing of even the "evil" Iranian "regime".

De-escalation with Iran hurts Netanyahoo; actual war with Iran hurts Netanyahoo. What helps Netanyahoo is the constant threat of war with Iran along with the public perception that only he, of all Israeli politicians, has the sufficient resolve to face down the Persian menace. Because I am of the view that Israel is not just an outpost of the US empire but in many cases the tail that wags the dog of this empire, I fully expect that the US will continue to seek to ride the escalation-de-escalation wave with Iran until Netanyahoo either stabilizes his domestic position in Israel or loses it altogether.

Passer by , Jan 8 2020 21:13 utc | 275
Posted by: Zanon | Jan 8 2020 19:25 utc | 203

Actually the Hashd Al Shaabi militia, which is part of the Iraqi military, wanted to take over the US Embassy and Mehdi threatened to resign over that, not over the protests in general or the harrassment of the US Embassy. This is why iraqi troops stayed out as the Embassy was besieged. He chose China over the US for reconstruction of Iraq and made very compromising remarks about Trump (how he threatened to put snipers killing people in Iraq, how Soleimani was there for diplomatic mission as peace envoy, etc.)

Mehdi is an expression of the majority Shia sentiment in Iraq - it is him who came to Parliament to demand a resolution for US withdrawal from the country. As for Iraqi Shia sentiment, numerically speaking, 80 % of Shia MPs and the PM demanded a US withdrawal from the country.

David G , Jan 8 2020 21:14 utc | 276
What is the source for the account that the Swiss embassy received advance warning of the missile strike?

I haven't seen it elsewhere. I'm not saying that to knock it, but since b doesn't mention or link to a source, and I don't see it discussed in comments, I'd like to know where he got that report from.

CNN.com says Iran reached out through various channels, "including through Switzerland and other countries", but after the strike, to make known there was nothing else on the way.

Walter , Jan 8 2020 21:19 utc | 279
WJ | Jan 8 2020 21:10 utc | 273

If Iran succeeds in forcing the Empire out, then obviously the zionists would be unable to remain more than briefly. But without zionists Jews and Arabs have always got along reasonably well... So we may imagine "Israel" going through a "phase change" when Empire departs...because then the decent people can have a say in things, then justice may prevail - something all Abrahamic Creeds respect and call for as a basic foundation. Of course there's nothing pretty about a civil war in Israel, or as it is at present "forward operating base zion"

Zanon , Jan 8 2020 21:28 utc | 283
Passer By

Actually what they said about foreign troops:

"The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason."

Mahdi have tried hard to disband PMU. https://thedefensepost.com/2019/07/03/iraq-mahdi-orders-popular-mobilization-units-integration/ That is the PMU that US, Israel have been bombing for months.

Ian2 , Jan 8 2020 21:34 utc | 288
Ian Dobbs | Jan 8 2020 19:52 utc | 223:
This entire episode has been an absolute disaster for the Iranians. They sent no message to the US.

Disaster? How so? The Iranians have just displayed that they can and will attack targets with precision. No message? Seriously? You've missed the bigger picture. Iran have scored one on the Strategic level. What you're also missing is that Iraq is moving even closer to Iranian and Chinese-Russian orbit.

The missile strikes is also a message to Iranian regional competitors. I can guarantee you Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have taken notice.

I'm expecting more small level attacks on US assets in Iraq and it'll likely spread to other neighboring countries. Death by a thousand cuts. In the end, the US will have no choice but to leave Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

David G , Jan 8 2020 21:38 utc | 291
Further from mine @276:

Scott Ritter also says there was advance warning, though via the Iraqi government, not mentioning the Swiss embassy in Tehran:

Iran communicated its intent to strike US targets in Iraq directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister a full two hours prior to the missiles being launched; Iraq then shared this information with US military commanders, who were able to ensure all US troops were in hardened shelters at the time of the attack.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/477759-iran-missiles-subdued-us-strike/

Ritter doesn't give his sourcing either. Of course the significant thing is that such advance warning was given at all. I'd just like to know how solid the factual basis is, and to what extent it is officially confirmed by any of the relevant governments.

Clueless Joe , Jan 8 2020 21:43 utc | 296

If US soldiers were killed by the attack, this can't be hidden forever; sooner or later, coffins will go back home and families will be informed. Specially if it's as high as 80. Though for the moment, the Pentagon can stay quiet, and won't publicly acknowledge it, the bodies will have to come back to the US and be buried - as far as I know, they're not janissaries but US military, most have relatives, friends and family and can't be disappeared just like that.

The USS Liberty is a different situation: the US didn't hide for decades that people were lost in the bombing, it didn't acknowledge that it was a deliberate attack. Pretty much the opposite case to the present one.

[Jan 10, 2020] This reckless act by Trump administion was the last gasp of "Full spectrum dominance" doctime and probably means end of Pompeo career as the Secretary of state and Trump as the President

See also With his imminent attack fake Mike Pompeo Is a Dollar Store Kissinger
Notable quotes:
"... This is not just about how to de-escalate – it's about recognizing that America fundamentally needs to change its disastrous course. Even if de-escalation of the acute tensions is possible, the risks will remain as long as the United States pursues a reckless policy. ..."
Jan 10, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

This crisis was sparked by Donald Trump. Trump withdrew from the deal that had stopped Iran's nuclear weapons program, leading Iran to restart its nuclear program. Trump ramped up economic pressure and sent more US troops to the region, and tensions grew. Then the US killed Gen Qassem Suleimani , signaling a significant escalation, to which Iran responded with an attack on Iraqi bases where US and Iraqi troops are stationed.

ass="inline-garnett-quote inline-icon ">

ass="inline-garnett-quote inline-icon ">

America is far worse off today towards Iran and in the Middle East than it was when Trump took office

It is up to Congress and the American people to force Trump to adopt a more pragmatic path. For too long Congress has ceded to the executive branch its authority to determine when America goes to war, and the current crisis with Iran is exactly the kind of moment that requires intense coordination between the legislative and executive branches. The president cannot start a war without congressional authorization, and with the erratic Trump in office, Congress must make that clear by cutting off the use of funds for war with Iran.

This is not just about how to de-escalate – it's about recognizing that America fundamentally needs to change its disastrous course. Even if de-escalation of the acute tensions is possible, the risks will remain as long as the United States pursues a reckless policy. America is far worse off today towards Iran and in the Middle East than it was when Trump took office – even worse off than we were on 1 January 2020. Today, Iran is advancing its nuclear program, America has suspended its anti-Isis campaign, Iraq's parliament has voted to evict US troops from the country, and we are in a dangerous military standoff with Iran.

Digging out of this hole will be difficult and this administration is not capable of it. Over the long run, future administrations will need to reorient America's goals and policies. America needs to re-enter the nuclear deal and begin negotiations to strengthen it; work with partners like Iraq – without a large US troop presence – in countering potential threats like a resurgence of Isis; and adopt a broader regional policy that focuses on protecting US interests and standing up for human rights and democracy rather than picking sides in a regional civil war between dictatorships like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Achieving US goals in the region will not be possible with a mere de-escalation of tensions – we need to find a new path towards Iran and the Middle East.

[Jan 10, 2020] Pompeo Goes Full Neocon The National Interest

Jan 10, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

November 18, 2019 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: Mike Pompeo Donald Trump Foreign Policy Iran Sanctions Pompeo Goes Full Neocon

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pivots back from America First.

by Matthew Petti Follow Matthew Petti on Twitter L ,

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-12130885885741670-935&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=896

[Jan 10, 2020] Mike Pompeo Fed the Rats in the President* s Brain to Get What He Wanted by Charles P. Pierce

Jan 06, 2020 | www.esquire.com
America's top diplomat does not seem to think his job is to prevent war.

The Washington Post dives deeply into what is laughingly called the administration*'s "process" leading up to the decision to kill Qasem Soleimani with fire last week. In short, all the "imminent threat" palaver was pure moonshine. According to the Post, this particular catastrophe was brewed up for a while amid the stalactites in the mind of Mike Pompeo, a Secretary of State who makes Henry Kissinger look like Gandhi.

The secretary also spoke to President Trump multiple times every day last week, culminating in Trump's decision to approve the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, at the urging of Pompeo and Vice President Pence, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Pompeo had lost a similar high-stakes deliberation last summer when Trump declined to retaliate militarily against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone, an outcome that left Pompeo "morose," according to one U.S. official. But recent changes to Trump's national security team and the whims of a president anxious about being viewed as hesitant in the face of Iranian aggression created an opening for Pompeo to press for the kind of action he had been advocating.

Poor Mike was morose. So, in an effort to bring himself out of the dumps, Mike decided to keep feeding the rats in the president*'s head.

Trump, too, sought to draw down from the Middle East as he promised from the opening days of his presidential campaign. But that mind-set shifted on Dec. 27 when 30 rockets hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi base outside Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and injuring service members. On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said.
The whole squad got involved on this one.
Alex Wong Getty Images
Trump's decision to target Soleimani came as a surprise and a shock to some officials briefed on his decision, given the Pentagon's long-standing concerns about escalation and the president's aversion to using military force against Iran. One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.

First-in-His-Class Mike Pompeo knows his audience. There's no question that he knows how to get what he wants from a guy who doesn't know anything about anything, and who may have gone, as George V. Higgins once put it, as soft as church music. This, I guess, is a skill. Of course, Pompeo's job is easier because the president* is still a raving maniac on the electric Twitter machine. A handy compilation:

Iran is talking very boldly about targeting certain USA assets as revenge for our ridding the world of their terrorist leader who had just killed an American, & badly wounded many others, not to mention all of the people he had killed over his lifetime, including recently hundreds of Iranian protesters. He was already attacking our Embassy, and preparing for additional hits in other locations. Iran has been nothing but problems for many years. Let this serve as a WARNING that if Iran strikes any Americans, or American assets, we have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
They attacked us, & we hit back. If they attack again, which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!
The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!

And, this, perhaps my favorite piece of presidentin" yet.

These Media Posts will serve as notification to the United States Congress that should Iran strike any U.S. person or target, the United States will quickly & fully strike back, & perhaps in a disproportionate manner. Such legal notice is not required, but is given nevertheless!

You have been informed, Congress. You have been informed, Iran.

No, really. It's down there below the cat videos.

Trump Dished Some Bullsh*t on Iran

Respond to this post on the Esquire Politics Facebook page here .

Charles P. Pierce Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976.

[Jan 09, 2020] Mike Pompeo is officially the Secretary of State. Apparently, he is also unofficially the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the very model of a modern major bureaucrat by Charles P. Pierce

Jan 07, 2020 | www.esquire.com

Mike Pompeo is officially the Secretary of State. Apparently, he is also unofficially the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and the very model of a modern major bureaucrat. He's running things on war and peace these days because the president* sure as hell isn't. He's a Dollar Store Kissinger with nobody to restrain him. And he has no compunction whatsoever about lying in public -- about Barack Obama, and about the definition of the word "imminent," which, to Pompeo, seems to extend back in time to the Persian Empire and forward into the second term of the Malia Obama administration.

Pompeo met the press on Tuesday and everything he said was completely worthless. For example, did you know that the Iran nuclear deal hastened the development of Iran's nuclear capacity, but that pulling out of it, and frying the second-highest official of their government, slowed it down? Mike Pompeo knows that.

President Trump could not be more clear. On our watch, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon and, when we came into office, Iran was on a pathway that had been provided by the nuclear deal, which clearly gave them the opportunity to get those nuclear weapons. We won't let that happen...It's not political. The previous administration made a different choice. They chose to underwrite and appease. We have chose to confront and contain.

But that's not political, you appeasing, underwriting wimps who worked for 11 years to get a deal with these people. And that goes for all you appeasing, underwriting European bastards as well, who don't think this president* knows anything about anything. And, as to the whole imminence thing, well, everything is imminent sometime, and it's five o'clock somewhere.

"We know what happened at the end of last year in December ultimately leading to the death of an American. If you're looking for imminence, you needn't look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani. Then you had in addition to that what we could clearly see was continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans. It was the right decision, we got it right."

Yeah, they got nothing -- except the power, of course. The last time we had a terrible Republican president determined to lie us into a war in the Middle East, he and his people at least did not do so by employing utter and transparent gibberish. Times change.

[Jan 09, 2020] GOP's Mike Lee Blasts Intel Briefers For Telling Senators They Can't Debate War Authorization

Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Jason Ditz via AntiWar.com,

After the Trump Administration's 75-minute briefing to the US Senate on the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) was deeply critical , calling it the worst briefing he'd gotten in his nine years in the Senate.

Saying the administration's briefers offered little on the legal or practical justification for the attack, Sen. Lee particularly took umbrage at them warning the Senators that they must not debate the War Powers authorization for a war with Iran .

Republican Senator Mike Lee with Sen. Rand Paul. Image via ABC/Reuters

Those giving the briefing objected to the very idea of the Senate discussing the matter publicly, saying it would "embolden Iran." Sen. Lee noted that this is a power Constitutionally reserved explicitly for the legislature.

"For them to tell us ... for us to debate and discuss these things on the Senate floor would somehow weaken the American cause and embolden Iran in any other actions, I find very insulting ," Lee said, who did not specify to reporters on Capitol Hill which briefer made the assertion.

"It is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government -- I don't care if they're with the CIA, the Department of Defense or otherwise -- to come in and tell us that we can't debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran, " Lee added. -- ABC

Not only did Lee express annoyance that there was no pushback from any of the briefers on telling the Senate not to debate something legally in their purview, but he said that while he'd had problems with the language of Sen. Tim Kaine's (D-VA) resolution, he has now decided that he will support the resolution, on condition of some amendments.

*


Boogity , 11 minutes ago link

Senator Lee just got cut off from Uncle Shlomo's slush fund.

IUDAEA_DELENDA_EST , 12 minutes ago link

The CIA works hard.

But for whom?

It is most certainly not The Republic.

SpeechFreedom , 33 minutes ago link

Trump The Zionist Whore!

"Trump is too stupid, or willfully ignorant to know that Soleimani was at the forefront of the US led coalition to eradicate ISIS from Northern Iraq in March 2015.

Soleimani also, as a commander of the Iranian Quds Force, was part of the American-led coalition under US General Tommy Franks fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan in the October 2001 Battle of Herat .

Moreover, Soleimani worked to protect Eastern Christians against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq, and empowered them to defend themselves as best they could.

As for the flunkie at State, Pompeo put up a clip of a few Iraqis celebrating the death of Soleimani while parroting Trump's own lies that Iranians "hated and feared him."

However, Pompass didn't show the millions mourning Soleimani in Iran, Iraq, and Syria, including the minorities in Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

That's not "hate and fear," that's "honor and respect."

Most Americans never heard of Soleimani -- a soft-spoken man of high refinement -- until his murder last week. Now they're clamoring as if Trump had slain the devil himself."

When World?

Have you not had enough of the *** monstrosity Yet?

Scipio Africanuz , 1 hour ago link

Seems the dam has burst, the [Trump] personality cult is crumbling, and the purveyors of unprovoked aggression are reeling..

So where are the Americans to back up the courageous and retake their congress from the grip of blackmailers and threat issuers?

Perhaps they are gearing up...

[Jan 08, 2020] Pompeo and his lies got us into this mess with Iran caucus99percent

Pompeo was and is despicable liar: If the threat was 'imminent', wouldn't that already be known?
Notable quotes:
"... @Not Henry Kissinger ..."
"... @Not Henry Kissinger ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:14pm Just a few days ago SoS Mike Pompeo said that we assassinated General Soleimani to stop an 'imminent attack' on Americans.
No evidence was presented to back up this claim. We are just supposed to believe it.

It turns out that Pompeo and VP Pence had pushed Trump hard to do this assassination.

gjohnsit on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:28pm
Netanyahu was obviously involved

@Not Henry Kissinger
But I can understand his efforts to distance himself.
It shows more smarts than what Trump has been doing.

The patient way the Iranians are preparing to respond is scaring them.

Not Henry Kissinger on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:37pm
Netanyahu should be scared.

@gjohnsit

Bibi for Soleimani is looking more and more like the appropriate 'proportional' response for all concerned.

gjohnsit on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 7:02pm
Meanwhile in Kenya/Somalia

@gjohnsit
normally this would be big news

"Seven aircraft and three military vehicles were destroyed in the attack," said the statement, which included photos of aircraft ablaze and an al Shabaab militant standing nearby. In a tweet, the US Africa Command confirmed an attack on the Manda Bay Airfield had occurred.

3 americans killed

One US military service member and two contractors were killed in an Islamist attack on a military base in Kenya.

Islamist militant group al-Shabab attacked the base, used by Kenyan and US forces, in the popular coastal region of Lamu on Sunday.
The US military said in a statement that two others from the Department of Defense were wounded.

"The wounded Americans are currently in stable condition and being evacuated," the US military's Africa Command said.

Raggedy Ann on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:34pm
Hilarious!

@Not Henry Kissinger
Here we go - a pissing contest about to begin!

But the response of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu , was particularly striking, as he has been one of Trump's staunchest supporters on the world stage.

He told a meeting of his security cabinet on Monday: "The assassination of Suleimani isn't an Israeli event but an American event. We were not involved and should not be dragged into it."

Uh huh.

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

[Jan 08, 2020] Iraqi Journalist: Killing Soleimani "Ended An Era In Which Iran And The United States Coexisted In Iraq" by Tim Hains

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States." ..."
"... "Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TKvE-nIsj1Y?enablejsapi=1&origin=https:%2F%2Fwww.realclearpolitics.com

"The Guardian" journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad says that before the attack on Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad last week "there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians" that allowed officials from Iran and the U.S. to move freely within Iraq and maintained relative goodwill toward American bases.

"The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq," he said.

Now, he told "Democracy Now!", it will be hard for the Iraqi public to see the bases as anything but "a force that is driving them into a war between Iran and the United States."

"Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, the rules of the game have totally changed," he said.

AMY GOODMAN: Ghaith, can you comment on this new information that's come to light about the timing of Soleimani's assassination Friday morning? Iraq's caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi has revealed he had plans to meet with Soleimani on the day he was killed to discuss a Saudi proposal to defuse tension in the region. Mahdi said, quote, "He came to deliver me a message from Iran responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran" -- Saudi Arabia, obviously, a well-known enemy of Iran. Was he set up? Talk about the significance of this.

GHAITH ABDUL-AHAD: Well, it is very significant if it's actually General Qassem Soleimani came to Iraq to deliver this message, if it was actually there was a process of negotiations in the region. We know that Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government, in general, over the last year had been trying to position Iraq as this middle power, as this power where both -- you know, as a country that has a relationship with both Iran and the United States. In that awkward place Iraq found itself in, Iraq has tried to maximize on this. So they started back in summer and fall, when there was an escalation between Iran and the United States, when Iran shot down an American drone. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi fly to Iran, try to mediate. We've seen Adel Abdul-Mahdi open channels of communications with the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia.

So, if it actually, the killing of General Soleimani, ended that peace initiative, it will be kind of disastrous in the region, because, as Narges was saying earlier, it is -- you know, Pompeo is speaking about Iran being this ultimate evil in the region, as this crescent of Shias, as if they just arrived in the past 10 years in the region. The fact if we see Iran's reactions, it's always a reaction to an American provocation. You've seen the occupation of Iraq in 2003. You've seen Iran declared as an "axis of evil." So, if you see it from an Iranian perspective, it's always this existential threat coming from the United States. And I don't think there is a more existential threat than in past year. So, yes, I know -- I mean, I think Adel Abdul-Mahdi and the Iraqi government were trying to find this middle ground, which I think is totally lost, because even Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the person who was trying to find this middle ground, was the person who proposed this law yesterday in the Parliament to expel all American troops from the country.

And I would like to add like another thing. The killing of Qassem Soleimani ended an era in which both Iran and the United States coexisted in Iraq. So, from 2013, '14, we, as journalists, we've seen on the frontlines how the proxies of each power have been helping each other. So we've seen Iranian advisers helping the American-trained Iraqi Army unit or counterterrorism unit in the fight against ISIS. In the same sense, we've seen American airstrikes on threats to these -- kind of to ISIS when it was threatening these militias. That coexistence, it didn't only come from both having a -- sharing an enemy, which is ISIS, or Daesh, but also these were the rules of the game. These were the rules in which Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. I mean, remember, Qassem Soleimani arrived in Baghdad airport, where half of it is an American base. Qassem Soleimani could travel openly in Iraq. He took selfies. People took his pictures. That didn't happen in secret. Qassem Soleimani was not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi hiding in a cave or moving stealthily through the country. He stayed in the Green Zone. So, all this happened because there was an understanding between the Americans and the Iranians. So, if the Americans wanted to keep their bases in Iraq, the Iranians would have the freedom to move. And with the killing of Soleimani, I think the rules of the game have totally changed.

So now I think the first victim of the assassination will be the American bases in Iraq. I don't see any way where the Americans can keep their presence as they did before the assassination of Soleimani. And even the people in the streets, even the people who opposes Iran, who opposes the presence of Iranian militias in power and politics, the corruption of these pro-Iranian parties, even those people would look at these American bases now as not as a force that came to help them in the fight against ISIS, but a force that's dragging them into a war between Iran and the United States.

[Jan 08, 2020] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Highly recommended!
Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Notable quotes:
"... Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ". ..."
"... Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey). ..."
"... These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper. ..."
"... As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump" ..."
"... I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have? ..."
"... The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking. ..."
"... Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. ..."
"... Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country. ..."
"... We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,

re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,

as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel occupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Jan 08, 2020] Pompeo's Falsehood-Laden Briefing Echoed Uncritically by Media Outlets

Jan 08, 2020 | news.antiwar.com

Antiwar.com Regional News

Unbacked allegations and plain contradictions drive anti-Iran narrative Jason Ditz Posted on January 7, 2020 Categories News Tags Iran , Pompeo

As the Trump Administration continues to barrel toward a war with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a press conference in which he once again claimed that every dubious accusation made by the administration was true, and the internally inconsistent comments among top officials are all somehow in agreement.

Pompeo's comments, even the ones that made no sense or were obviously untrue, were echoed across US media outlets as absolute facts following the briefing. Everyone was clearly more comfortable just reporting " Pompeo says " than analyzing it.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was very critical of some of the worst claims Pompeo made , saying one would have to be brain-dead to believe them. He noted it made no sense to attack Iran to "preempt" attacks when the attack just made attacks even more likely.

Pompeo was largely dismissive of questions about the US attack, and rejected claims that Gen. Qassem Soleimani was working on Saudi diplomacy, saying nobody believed Soleimani was engaged in diplomacy and that Iranian FM was lying about that. In reality, Iraq's PM Adel Abdul Mahdi was the one who broke the story of why Soleimani was in Iraq. Instead of evidence to the contrary, Pompeo just denied.

On the question of the US barring Zarif from the UN in violation of the headquarters agreement, Pompeo said the US doesn't comment on why they deny people entrance, and insisted that the US always complies with the headquarters agreement, despite it flat out saying you can't block officials from speaking at the UN, and the US doing exactly that.

The closest anyone at the briefing came to calling Pompeo on his contradictions was on the matter of the US attacking cultural sites. President Trump threatened to attack Iranian cultural sites on Saturday, Pompeo said Trump never said that on Sunday, and Trump said it again on Sunday evening. Pompeo was asked to address this.

Pompeo said that what he said, that Trump never said there would be attacks on cultural sites, was "completely consistent with what the President has said," which repeatedly was that he intends to attack cultural sites. This was a bit too glaring, and one of the press said "No, but the President has -" before being interrupted by Pompeo.

At this point, Pompeo went off on a tangent claiming that the ayatollah is the "real threat" to Iranian culture. When asked if that meant US attacks on cultural sites are "ruled out," despite Trump's comments, Pompeo promptly ended the briefing and left.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also claimed on Tuesday that Soleimani was planning to attack Americans "within days" if the US hadn't killed him. As with Pompeo, his claim did not include any evidence, and ask with Pompeo's claims, the press is echoing it.

[Jan 08, 2020] Soleimani and Al-Muhandis are being mourned in Aleppo churches

Jan 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

StSarkiscathedraltehran2016

(Tehran Armenian Cathedral)

Mike Pompeo was on the TeeVee today scoffing at those who do not agree with him and the Ziocon inspired "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. It must be a terrible thing for intelligence analysts of integrity and actual Middle East knowledge and experience to have to try to brief him and Trump, people who KNOW, KNOW from some superior source of knowledge that Iran is the worst threat to the world since Nazi Germany, or was it Saddam's Iraq that was the worst threat since "beautiful Adolf?"

The "maximum pressure" campaign is born of Zionist terrors, terrors deeply felt. It is the same kind of campaign that has been waged by the Israelis against the Palestinians and all other enemies great and small. This approach does not seem to have done much for Israel. The terrors are still there.

Someone sent me the news tape linked below from Aleppo in NW Syria. I have watched it a number of times. You need some ability in Arabic to understand it. The tape was filmed in several Christian churches in Aleppo where these two men (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) are described from the pulpit and in the street as "heroic martyr victims of criminal American state terrorism." Pompeo likes to describe Soleimani as the instigator of "massacre" and "genocide" in Syria. Strangely (irony) the Syriac, Armenian Uniate and Presbyterian ministers of the Gospel in this tape do not see him and al-Muhandis that way. They see them as men who helped to defend Aleppo and its minority populations from the wrath of Sunni jihadi Salafists like ISIS and the AQ affiliates in Syria. They see them and Lebanese Hizbullah as having helped save these Christians by fighting alongside the Syrian Army, Russia and other allies like the Druze and Christian militias.

It should be remembered that the US was intent on and may still be intent on replacing the multi-confessional government of Syria with the forces of medieval tyranny. Everyone who really knows anything about the Syrian Civil War knows that the essential character of the New Syrian Army, so beloved by McCain, Graham and the other Ziocons was always jihadi and it was always fully supported by Wahhabi Saudi Arabia as a project in establishing Sunni triumphalism. They and the self proclaimed jihadis of HTS (AQ) are still supported in Idlib and western Aleppo provinces both by the Saudis and the present Islamist and neo-Ottoman government of Turkey.

Well pilgrims, there are Christmas trees in the newly re-built Christian churches of Aleppo and these, my brothers and sisters in Christ remember who stood by them in "the last ditch."

"Currently there are at least 600 churches and 500,000–1,000,000 Christians in Iran." wiki below. Are they dhimmis? Yes, but they are there. There are no churches in Saudi Arabia, not a single one and Christianity is a banned religion. These are our allies?

Mr. Jefferson wrote that "he feared for his country when he remembered that God is just." He meant Virginia but I fear in the same way for the United States. pl

https://twitter.com/i/status/1214223383635857409

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

Posted at 02:13 PM in As The Borg Turns , Borg Wars , Current Affairs , Iran , Iraq , Israel , Middle East , Pakistan , Religion , Saudi Arabia , Syria , Yemen | Permalink

[Jan 08, 2020] As long as Neocons and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Z-man , says: Show Comment January 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMT

Yes, as long as Neoco hens and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.
BTW, Mike Pompeo or as I affectionately call him; Lard face, Plump'eo, crazed CZ-zealot fat boy, etc., is now a legitimate target of the Iranians. May Allah provide justice to the family of Soleimani. (Grin) And look, I'm wishing 'ill will' on a zealot 'goy' (gentile) instead of a typical Neo-cohen snake, how ironic. (Another grin)
A positve spin:
With the 'incorrect' memo leaked by the Pentagon about an orderly exit from Iraq this can be the silver lining in all this mess. This assassination might actually accelerate the exiting of US forces from Iraq and the surrounding quagmires. Who knows, Trump might be a genius.
Again, NO MORE WARS FOR ZION, BDS NOW, ONE STATE SOLUTION-PALESTINE.
And to really stick it to Neo cohens (My apologies to Prof. Steven Cohen ), Trump-Putin Axis Da!! Destroy the Deep State and the CABAL .

[Jan 07, 2020] Pompeo and his lies got us into this mess with Iran caucus99percent

Jan 07, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 6:14pm Just a few days ago SoS Mike Pompeo said that we assassinated General Soleimani to stop an 'imminent attack' on Americans.
No evidence was presented to back up this claim. We are just supposed to believe it.

It turns out that Pompeo and VP Pence had pushed Trump hard to do this assassination.

[Jan 07, 2020] a popular figure

Notable quotes:
"... Naturally, we learned soon after from the Iraqi PM himself that Soleimani was in Iraq as part of a diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions. In other words, he was apparently lured to Baghdad under false pretenses so he'd be a sitting duck for a U.S. strike. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. ..."
"... As you'd expect, some of the most ridiculous propaganda came from Mike Pompeo, a man who genuinely loves deception and considers it his craft.. For example: ..."
"... Moving on to the really big question: what does this assassination mean for the future role of the U.S. in the Middle East and American global hegemony generally? A few important things have already occurred. For starters, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for U.S. troops to leave. Even more important are the comments and actions of Muqtada al-Sadr. ..."
"... Unmentioned in the above tweet, but extremely significant, is the fact al-Sadr has been a vocal critic of both the American and Iranian presence in Iraq. He doesn't want either country meddling in the affairs of Iraqis, but the Soleimani assassination clearly pushed him to focus on the U.S. presence. This is a very big deal and ensures Iraq will be far more dangerous for U.S. troops than it already was. ..."
Jan 07, 2020 | twitter.com

Before discussing what happens next and the big picture implications, it's worth pointing out the incredible number of blatant lies and overall clownishness that emerged from U.S. officials in the assassination's aftermath. It started with claims from Trump that Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on Americans and was caught in the act. Mass media did its job and uncritically parroted this line, which was quickly exposed as a complete falsehood.

CNN anchor uncritically repeating government lies.
This is what mass media does to get wars going. https://t.co/QK1JET7TIj

-- Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) January 6, 2020

It's incredibly telling that CNN would swallow this fact-free claim with total credulity within weeks of discovering the extent of the lies told about Syrian chemical attacks and the Afghanistan war . Meanwhile, when a reporter asked a state department official for some clarification on what sorts of attacks were imminent, this is what transpired.

When asked by a reporter for details about what kinds of imminent attacks Soleimani was planning, the State Dept. responds with:

"Jesus, do we have to explain why we do these things?"

Totally normal. pic.twitter.com/FDWtpfItEp

-- Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) January 6, 2020

Naturally, we learned soon after from the Iraqi PM himself that Soleimani was in Iraq as part of a diplomatic effort to de-escalate tensions. In other words, he was apparently lured to Baghdad under false pretenses so he'd be a sitting duck for a U.S. strike. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Iraqi Prime Minister AbdulMahdi accuses Trump of deceiving him in order to assassinate Suleimani. Trump, according to P.M. lied about wanting a diplomatic solution in order to get Suleimani on a plane to Baghdad in the open, where he was summarily executed. https://t.co/HKjyQqXNqP

-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) January 5, 2020

As you'd expect, some of the most ridiculous propaganda came from Mike Pompeo, a man who genuinely loves deception and considers it his craft.. For example:

Pompeo on CNN says US has "every expectation" that people "in Iran will view the American action last night as giving them freedom."

-- Josh Lederman (@JoshNBCNews) January 3, 2020

Then there's what actually happened.

Absolutely massive crowds on the streets of Mashhad awaiting the arrival of Qassem Suleimani.

"We are ready for war." pic.twitter.com/ZK4O8KQB17

-- Sam (@sonofnariman) January 5, 2020

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Qassem Soleimani's daughter Zeinab were among the hundreds of thousands mourning Soleimani in Tehran today. Iranian state TV put the crowd size at 'millions,' though that number could not be verified. https://t.co/R6EbKh6Gow

-- CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) January 6, 2020

Moving on to the really big question: what does this assassination mean for the future role of the U.S. in the Middle East and American global hegemony generally? A few important things have already occurred. For starters, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution calling for U.S. troops to leave. Even more important are the comments and actions of Muqtada al-Sadr.

WOW,

Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr orders the return of "Mahdi Army" in response the American strike that killed Suleimani.

Mahdi Army fought against the US troops during the invasion in 2003. Sadr disbanded the group in 2008.

-- Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) January 3, 2020

Unmentioned in the above tweet, but extremely significant, is the fact al-Sadr has been a vocal critic of both the American and Iranian presence in Iraq. He doesn't want either country meddling in the affairs of Iraqis, but the Soleimani assassination clearly pushed him to focus on the U.S. presence. This is a very big deal and ensures Iraq will be far more dangerous for U.S. troops than it already was.

Going forward, Iran's response will be influenced to a great degree by what's already transpired. There are three things worth noting. First, although many Trump supporters are cheering the assassination, Americans are certainly nowhere near united on this , with many including myself viewing it as a gigantic strategic blunder. Second, it ratcheted up anti-American sentiment in Iraq to a huge degree without Iran having to do anything, as highlighted above. Third, hardliners within Iran have been given an enormous gift. With one drone strike, the situation went from grumblings and protests on the ground to a scene where any sort of dissent in the air has been extinguished for the time being.

Exactly right, which is why Iran will go more hardline if anything and more united.
If China admitted to taking out Trump even Maddow wouldn't cheer. https://t.co/zqaEDIoWH1

-- Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) January 6, 2020

Iranian leadership will see these developments as important victories in their own right and will likely craft a response taking stock of this much improved position. This means a total focus on making the experience of American troops in the region untenable, which will be far easier to achieve now.

If that's right, you can expect less shock and awe in the near-term, and more consolidation of the various parties that were on the fence but have since shifted to a more anti-American stance following Soleimani's death. Iran will start with the easy pickings, which consists of consolidating its stronger position in Iraq and making dissidents feel shameful at home. That said, Iran will have to publicly respond with some sort of a counterattack, but that event will be carefully considered with Iran's primary objective in mind -- getting U.S. troops out of the region.

This means no attacks on U.S. or European soil, and no attacks targeting civilians either. Such a move would be as strategically counterproductive as Assad gassing Syrian cities after he was winning the war (which is why many of us doubted the narrative) since it would merely inflame American public opinion and give an excuse to attack Iran in Iran. There is no way Iranian leadership is that stupid, so any such attack must be treated with the utmost skepticism.

[Jan 07, 2020] The neocon foreign policy brings only bankruptcy moral and financial by Ron Paul

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

President Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told us the US had to assassinate Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani last week because he was planning "Imminent attacks" on US citizens. I don't believe them.

Why not? Because Trump and the neocons – like Pompeo – have been lying about Iran for the past three years in an effort to whip up enough support for a US attack. From the phony justification to get out of the Iran nuclear deal, to blaming Yemen on Iran, to blaming Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities, the US Administration has fed us a steady stream of lies for three years because they are obsessed with Iran.

And before Trump's obsession with attacking Iran, the past four US Administrations lied ceaselessly to bring about wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Somalia, and the list goes on.

At some point, when we've been lied to constantly and consistently for decades about a "threat" that we must "take out" with a military attack, there comes a time where we must assume they are lying until they provide rock solid, irrefutable proof. Thus far they have provided nothing. So I don't believe them.

President Trump has warned that his administration has already targeted 52 sites important to Iran and Iranian culture and the US will attack them if Iran retaliates for the assassination of Gen. Soleimani. Because Iran has no capacity to attack the United States, Iran's retaliation if it comes will likely come against US troops or US government officials stationed or visiting the Middle East. I have a very easy solution for President Trump that will save the lives of American servicemembers and other US officials: just come home. There is absolutely no reason for US troops to be stationed throughout the Middle East to face increased risk of death for nothing.

In our Ron Paul Liberty Report program last week we observed that the US attack on a senior Iranian military officer on Iraqi soil – over the objection of the Iraq government – would serve to finally unite the Iraqi factions against the United States. And so it has: on Sunday the Iraqi parliament voted to expel US troops from Iraqi soil. It may have been a non-binding resolution, but there is no mistaking the sentiment. US troops are not wanted and they are increasingly in danger. So why not listen to the Iraqi parliament?

Bring our troops home, close the US Embassy in Baghdad – a symbol of our aggression – and let the people of the Middle East solve their own problems. Maintain a strong defense to protect the United States, but end this neocon pipe-dream of ruling the world from the barrel of a gun. It does not work. It makes us poorer and more vulnerable to attack. It makes the elites of Washington rich while leaving working and middle class America with the bill. It engenders hatred and a desire for revenge among those who have fallen victim to US interventionist foreign policy. And it results in millions of innocents being killed overseas.

There is no benefit to the United States to trying to run the world. Such a foreign policy brings only bankruptcy – moral and financial. Tell Congress and the Administration that for America's sake we demand the return of US troops from the Middle East! (Republished from The Ron Paul Institute by permission of author or representative)

[Jan 07, 2020] As long as Neocons and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.

Jan 07, 2020 | www.unz.com

Z-man , says: Show Comment January 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMT

Yes, as long as Neoco hens and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.
BTW, Mike Pompeo or as I affectionately call him; Lard face, Plump'eo, crazed CZ-zealot fat boy, etc., is now a legitimate target of the Iranians. May Allah provide justice to the family of Soleimani. (Grin) And look, I'm wishing 'ill will' on a zealot 'goy' (gentile) instead of a typical Neo-cohen snake, how ironic. (Another grin)
A positve spin:
With the 'incorrect' memo leaked by the Pentagon about an orderly exit from Iraq this can be the silver lining in all this mess. This assassination might actually accelerate the exiting of US forces from Iraq and the surrounding quagmires. Who knows, Trump might be a genius.
Again, NO MORE WARS FOR ZION, BDS NOW, ONE STATE SOLUTION-PALESTINE.
And to really stick it to Neo cohens (My apologies to Prof. Steven Cohen ), Trump-Putin Axis Da!! Destroy the Deep State and the CABAL .

[Jan 06, 2020] Adam Schiff Demands Public Hearings on Soleimani Strike and suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo misrepresented intelligence indicating that killing Soleimani saved American lives.

Jan 06, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

"I think there should be open hearings on this subject," Schiff told the Washington Post in an interview published Monday. "The president has put us on a path where we may be at war with Iran. That requires the Congress to fully engage."

Asked for his thoughts on President Trump warning Iran that the U.S. will hit 52 sites, including cultural sites, if Tehran retaliates the California Democrat said: "None of that could come out of the Pentagon. Absolutely no way."

... ... ...

Schiff 's comments to the Post come after he suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo misrepresented intelligence indicating that killing Soleimani saved American lives.

"It was a reckless decision that increased the risk to America all around the world, not decreased it. When Secretary Pompeo says that this decision to take out Qasem Soleimani saved American lives, saved European lives, he is expressing a personal opinion, not an intelligence conclusion," he told CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper. "I think it will increase the risk to Americans around the world. I have not seen the intelligence that taking out Soleimani was going to either stop the plotting that is going on or decrease other risks to the United States."

[Jan 06, 2020] Was Suleimani a diplomatic envoy at the time of his killing?

Notable quotes:
"... How do you think Soleimani organized, sustained and coordinated his Resistance Militias in different countries turning them into a formidable military offensive resistance strategy? With strategic military and diplomatic savvy. Soleimani was sent as an envoy to Russia by Iran's Supreme Leader at a critical time in the Syrian war and also at Putin's request. If Soleimani was lured by the U.S. and Saudis on a pretext of peace to be assassinated by a U.S. drone this proves just how depraved Trump is. This strategy is right out of the Zionist dirty tricks playbook and Trump has proven in every way he is all in with Zionists and is one of them. ..."
"... I take the Iraqi Prime Minister at his word, and reassert the need for Trump and his administration to be impeached on treasonous grounds. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Jan 5 2020 19:42 utc | 93

@78 Jackrabbit

Suleimani was not a diplomat... Really? I'd say he was a great military leader and just as great a diplomat to accomplish what he did.

Soleimani unfurled the Syria Russia strategy in Moscow

How do you think Soleimani organized, sustained and coordinated his Resistance Militias in different countries turning them into a formidable military offensive resistance strategy? With strategic military and diplomatic savvy. Soleimani was sent as an envoy to Russia by Iran's Supreme Leader at a critical time in the Syrian war and also at Putin's request. If Soleimani was lured by the U.S. and Saudis on a pretext of peace to be assassinated by a U.S. drone this proves just how depraved Trump is. This strategy is right out of the Zionist dirty tricks playbook and Trump has proven in every way he is all in with Zionists and is one of them.

albagen , Jan 5 2020 19:43 utc | 94

Iraqi PM said so
juliania , Jan 5 2020 19:53 utc | 96
As reported by krollchem @ 67 and by b in this and the following post, the involvement of Trump directly in premeditated murder cannot be absolved, and the circumstances are abhorrent to any patriotic American citizen. May God have mercy on the souls of the peace makers, for they shall be called the sons of God.

I take the Iraqi Prime Minister at his word, and reassert the need for Trump and his administration to be impeached on treasonous grounds.

Where that will lead in terms of the rest of the US government I cannot say but VP Pence is also impeachable here, so it is difficult to see who is least culpable in this. It may mean that there is need for a provisional government to be put in place - not party organized. If impeachment proceeds apace as it should, behind the scenes such a people's approved peaceful citizens coalition needs to be considered. This cannot stand as official US government policy. It is heinous.

I too, as forward @ 24 has done, sent prayers for the souls of the departed Iran general as well as his friend from Iraq and their companions this morning in my home chapel. It is the Sunday before Christmas, old calendar. May the Lord bring them and so many others before them to a place where the just repose.

[Jan 06, 2020] How To Avoid Swallowing War Propaganda by Nathan J. Robinson

Highly recommended!
Jan 05, 2020 | www.currentaffairs.org
The Trump administration has assassinated Iran's top military leader, Qassim Suleimani, and with the possibility of a serious escalation in violent conflict, it's a good time to think about how propaganda works and train ourselves to avoid accidentally swallowing it.

The Iraq War, the bloodiest and costliest U.S. foreign policy calamity of the 21 st century, happened in part because the population of the United States was insufficiently cynical about its government and got caught up in a wave of nationalistic fervor. The same thing happened with World War I and the Vietnam War. Since a U.S./Iran war would be a disaster, it is vital that everyone make sure they do not accidentally end up repeating the kinds of talking points that make war more likely.

Let us bear in mind, then, some of the basic lessons about war propaganda.

Things are not true because a government official says them.

I do not mean to treat you as stupid by making such a basic point, but plenty of journalists and opposition party politicians do not understand this point's implications, so it needs to be said over and over. What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers ("U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat") and then in the public consciousness, the "U.S. officials say" part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach "Experts say" or "President says" to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn't say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them. [UPDATE: here's an example from Vox, today, of a questionable government claim being magically transformed into a certain fact.]

In the context of Iran, let us consider some things Mike Pence tweeted about Qassim Suleimani:

"[Suleimani] assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel. The world is a safer place today because Soleimani is gone."

It is possible, given these tweets, to publish the headline: "Suleimani plotting imminent attacks on American diplomats, says Pence." That headline is technically true. But you should not publish that headline unless Pence provides some supporting evidence, because what will happen in the discourse is that people will link to your news story to prove that Suleimani was plotting imminent attacks.

To see how unsubstantiated claims get spread, let's think about the Afghanistan hijackers bit. David Harsanyi of the National Review defends Pence's claim about Suleimani helping the hijackers. Harsanyi cites the 9/11 Commission report, saying that the 9/11 commission report concluded Iran aided the hijackers. The report does indeed say that Iran allowed free travel to some of the men who went on to carry out the 9/11 attacks. (The sentence cut off at the bottom of Harsanyi's screenshot, however, rather crucially says : "We have no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack.") Harsanyi admits that the report says absolutely nothing about Suleimani. But he argues that Pence was "mostly right," pointing out that Pence did not say Iran knew these men would be the hijackers, merely that it allowed them passage.

Let's think about what is going on here. Pence is trying to convince us that Suleimani deserved to die, that it was necessary for the U.S. to kill him, which will also mean that if Iran retaliates violently, that violence will be because Iran is an aggressive power rather than because the U.S. just committed an unprovoked atrocity against one of its leaders, dropping a bomb on a popular Iranian leader. So Pence wants to link Suleimani in your mind with 9/11, in order to get you blood boiling the same way you might have felt in 2001 as you watched the Twin Towers fall.

There is no evidence that either Iran or Suleimani tried to help these men do 9/11. Harsanyi says that Pence does not technically allege this. But he doesn't have to! What impression are people going to get from helped the hijackers? Pence hopes you'll conflate Suleimani and Iran as one entity, then assume that if Iran ever aided these men in any way, it basically did 9/11 even if it didn't have any clue that was what they were going to do.

This brings us to #2:

Do not be bullied into accepting simple-minded sloganeering

Let's say that, long before Ted Kaczynski began sending bombs through the mail, you once rented him an apartment. This was pure coincidence. Back then he was just a Berkeley professor, you did not know he would turn out to be the Unabomber. It is, however, possible, for me to say, and claim I am not technically lying, that you "housed and materially aided the Unabomber." (A friend of mine once sold his house to the guy who turned out to be the Green River Killer, so this kind of situation does happen.)

Of course, it is incredibly dishonest of me to characterize what you did that way. You rented an apartment to a stranger, yet I'm implying that you intentionally helped the Unabomber knowing he was the Unabomber. In sane times, people would see me as the duplicitous one. But the leadup to war is often not a sane time, and these distinctions can get lost. In the Pence claim about Afghanistan, for it to have any relevance to Suleimani, it would be critical to know (assuming the 9/11 commission report is accurate) whether Iran actually could have known what the men it allowed to pass would ultimately do, and whether Suleimani was involved. But that would involve thinking, and War Fever thrives on emotion rather than thought.

There are all kinds of ways in which you can bully people into accepting idiocy. Consider, for example, the statement "Nathan Robinson thinks it's good to help terrorists who murder civilians." There is a way in which this is actually sort of true: I think lawyers who aid those accused of terrible crimes do important work. If we are simple-minded and manipulative, we can call that "thinking it's good to help terrorists," and during periods of War Fever, that's exactly what it will be called. There is a kind of cheap sophistry that becomes ubiquitous:

I remember all this bullshit from my high school years. Opposing the invasion of Iraq meant loving Saddam Hussein and hating America. Thinking 9/11 was the predictable consequence of U.S. actions meant believing 9/11 was justified. Of course, rational discussion can expose these as completely unfair mischaracterizations, but every time war fever whips up, rational discussion becomes almost impossible. In World War I, if you opposed the draft you were undermining your country in a time of war. During Vietnam, if you believed the North Vietnamese had the more just case, you were a Communist traitor who endorsed every atrocity committed in the name of Ho Chi Minh, and if you thought John McCain shouldn't have been bombing civilians in the first place then clearly you believed he should have been tortured and you hated America.

"If you oppose assassinating Suleimani you must love terrorists" will be repeated on Fox News (and probably even on MSNBC). Nationalism advocate Yoram Hazony says there is something wrong with those who do not "feel shame when our country is shamed" -- presumably those who do not feel wounded pride when America is emasculated by our enemies are weak and pitiful. We should refuse to put up with these kind of cheap slurs, or even to let those who deploy them place the burden of proof on us to refute them. (In 2004, Democrats worried that they did appear unpatriotic, and so they ran a decorated war veteran, John Kerry, for president. That didn't work.)

Scrutinize the arguments

Here's Mike Pence again:

"[Suleimani] provided advanced deadly explosively formed projectiles, advanced weaponry, training, and guidance to Iraqi insurgents used to conduct attacks on U.S. and coalition forces; directly responsible for the death of 603 U.S. service members, along with thousands of wounded."

I am going to say something that is going to sound controversial if you buy into the kind of simple-minded logic we just discussed: Saying that someone was "responsible for the deaths of U.S. service members" does not, in and of itself, tell us anything about whether what they did was right or wrong. In order to believe it did, we would have to believe that the United States is automatically right, and that countries opposing the United States are automatically wrong. That is indeed the logic that many nationalists in this country follow; remember that when the U.S. shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, causing hundreds of deaths, George H.W. Bush said that he would never apologize for America, no matter what the facts were. What if America did something wrong? That was irrelevant, or rather impossible, because to Bush, a thing was right because America did it, even if that thing was the mass murder of Iranian civilians.

One of the major justifications for murdering Suleimani is that he "caused the deaths of U.S. soldiers." He was thus an aggressor, and could/should have been killed. That is where people like Pence want you to end your inquiry. But let us remember where those soldiers were. Were they in Miami? No. They were in Iraq. Why were they in Iraq? Because we illegally invaded and seized a country. Now, we can debate whether (1) there is actually sufficient evidence of Suleimani's direct involvement and (2) whether these acts of violence can be justified, but to say that Suleimani has "American blood on his hands" is to say nothing at all without an examination of whether the United States was in the right.

We have to think clearly in examining the arguments that are being made. Here 's the Atlantic 's George Packer on the execution:

"There was a case for killing Major General Qassem Soleimani. For two decades, as the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, he executed Iran's long game of strategic depth in the Middle East -- arming and guiding proxy militias in Lebanon and Iraq that became stronger than either state, giving Bashar al-Assad essential support to win the Syrian civil war at the cost of half a million lives, waging a proxy war in Yemen against the hated Saudis, and repeatedly testing America and its allies with military actions around the region for which Iran never seemed to pay a military price."

The article goes on to discuss whether this case is outweighed by the pragmatic case against killing him. But wait. Let's dwell on this. Does this constitute a case for killing him? He assisted Bashar al-Assad. Okay, but presumably then killing Assad would have been justified too? Is the rule here that our government is allowed unilaterally to execute the officials of other governments who are responsible for many deaths? Are we the only ones who can do this? Can any government claim the right?

He assisted Yemen in its fight against "the hated Saudis." But is Saudi Arabia being hated for good reason? It is not enough to say that someone committed violence without analyzing the underlying justice of the parties' relative claims.

Moreover, assumptions are made that if you can prove somebody committed a heinous act, what Trump did is justified. But that doesn't follow: Unless we throw all law out the window, and extrajudicial punishment is suddenly acceptable, showing that Suleimani was a war criminal doesn't prove that you can unilaterally kill him with a drone. Henry Kissinger is a war criminal. So is George W. Bush. But they should be captured and tried in a court, not bombed from the sky. The argument that Suleimani was planning imminent attacks is relevant to whether you can stop him with violence (and requires persuasive proof), but mere allegations of murderous past acts do not show that extrajudicial killings are legitimate.

It's very easy to come up with superficially persuasive arguments that can justify just about anything. The job of an intelligent populace is to see whether those arguments can actually withstand scrutiny.

Keep the focus on what matters

"The main question about the strike isn't moral or even legal -- it's strategic." -- The Atlantic

"The real question to ask about the American drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was not whether it was justified, but whether it was wise" -- The New York Times

"I think that the question that we ought to focus on is why now? Why not a month ago and why not a month from now?" -- Elizabeth Warren

They're going to try to define the debate for you. Leaving aside the moral questions, is this good strategy? And then you find yourself arguing on those terms: No, it was bad strategy, it will put "our personnel" in harms way, without noticing that you are implicitly accepting the sociopathic logic that says "America's interests" are the only ones in the world that matters. This is how debates about Vietnam went: They were rarely about whether our actions were good for Vietnamese people, but about whether they were good or bad for us , whether we were squandering U.S. resources and troops in a "fruitless" "mistake." The people of this country still do not understand the kind of carnage we inflicted on Vietnam because our debates tend to be about whether things we do are "strategically prudent" rather than whether they are just. The Atlantic calls the strike a "blunder," shifting the discussion to be about the wisdom of the killing rather than whether it is a choice our country is even permitted to make. "Blunder" essentially assumes that we are allowed to do these things and the only question is whether it's good for us.

There will be plenty of attempts to distract you with irrelevant issues. We will spent more time talking about whether Trump followed the right process for war, whether he handled the rollout correctly, and less about whether the underlying action itself is correct. People like Ben Shapiro will say things like :

"Barack Obama routinely droned terrorists abroad -- including American citizens -- who presented far less of a threat to Americans and American interests than Soleimani. So spare me the hysterics about 'assassination."

In order for this to have any bearing on anything, you have to be someone who defends what Obama did. If you are, on the other hand, someone who belives that Obama, too, assassinated people without due process (which he did), then Shapiro has proved exactly nothing about whether Trump's actions were legitimate. (Note, too, the presumption that threatening "America's interests" can get you killed, a standard we would not want any other country using but are happy to use ourselves.)

Emphasis matters

Consider three statements:

These are statements made by Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders, respectively. Note that each of them is consistent with believing Trump's decision was the wrong one, but their emphasis is different. Buttigieg says Suleimani was a "threat" but that there are "questions," Warren says Suleimani was a "murderer" but that this was "reckless," and Sanders says this was a "dangerous escalation." It could be that none of these three would have done the same thing themselves, but the emphasis is vastly different. Buttigieg and Warren lead with condemnation of the dead man, in ways that imply that there was nothing that unjust about what happened. Sanders does not dwell on Suleimani but instead talks about the dangers of new wars.

We have to be clear and emphatic in our messaging, because so much effort is made to make what should be clear issues appear murky. If, for example, you gave a speech in 2002 opposing the Iraq War, but the first half was simply a discussion of what a bad and threatening person Saddam Hussein was, people might actually get the opposite of the impression you want them to get. Buttigieg and Warren, while they appear to question the president, have the effect of making his action seem reasonable. After all, they admit that he got rid of a threatening murderer! Sanders admits nothing of the kind: The only thing he says is that Trump has made the world worse. He puts the emphasis where it matters.

I do not fully like Sanders' statement, because it still talks a bit more about what war means for our people , but it does mention destabilization and the total number of lives that can be lost. It is a far more morally clear and powerful antiwar statement. Buttigieg's is exactly what you'd expect of a Consultant President and it should give us absolutely no confidence that he would be a powerful voice against a war, should one happen. Warren confirms that she is not an effective advocate for peace. In a time when there will be pressure for a violent conflict, we need to make sure that our statements are not watery and do not make needless concessions to the hawks' propaganda.

Imagine how everything would sound if the other side said it.

If you're going to understand the world clearly, you have to kill your nationalistic emotions. An excellent way to do this is to try to imagine if all the facts were reversed. If Iraq had invaded the United States, and U.S. militias violently resisted, would it constitute "aggression" for those militias to kill Iraqi soldiers? If Britain funded those U.S. militias, and Iraq killed the head of the British military with a drone strike, would this constitute "stopping a terrorist"? Of course, in that situation, the Iraqi government would certainly spin it that way, because governments call everyone who opposes them terrorists. But rationality requires us not just to examine whether violence has been committed (e.g., whether Suleimani ordered attacks) but what the full historical context of that violence is, and who truly deserves the "terrorist" label.

Is there anything Suleimani did that hasn't also been done by the CIA? Remember that we actually engineered the overthrow of the Iranian government, within living people's lifetimes . Would an Iranian have been justified in assassinating the head of the CIA? I doubt there are many Americans who think they would. I think most Americans would consider this terrorism. But this is because terrorism is a word that, by definition, cannot apply to things we do, and only applies to the things others do. When you start to actually reverse the situations in your mind, and see how things look from the other side, you start to fully grasp just how crude and irrational so much propaganda is.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hPOy-LutJQg?feature=oembed

Watch out for euphemisms

Our access to much of the world is through language alone. We only see our tiny sliver of the world with our own eyes, much of the rest of it has to be described in words or shown to us through images. That means it's very easy to manipulate our perceptions. If you control the flow of information, you can completely alter someone's understanding of the things that they can't see firsthand.

Euphemistic language is always used to cover atrocities. Even the Nazis did not say they were "mass murdering innocent civilians." They said they were defending themselves from subversive elements, guaranteeing sufficient living space for their people, purifying their culture, etc. When the United States commits murder, it does not say it is committing murder. It says it is engaging in a stabilization program and restoring democratic rule. We saw during the recent Bolivian coup how easy it is to portray the seizure of power as "democracy" and democracy as tyranny. Euphemistic language has been one of the key tools of murderous regimes. In fact, many of them probably believe their own language; their specialized vocabulary allows them to inhabit a world of their own invention where they are good people punishing evil.

Assassination sounds bad. It sounds like something illegitimate, something that would call into question the goodness of the United States, even if the person being assassinated can be argued to have "deserved it." Thus Rothman and Bloomberg will not even admit that what the U.S. did here was an assassination, even though we literally targeted a high official from a sovereign country and dropped a bomb on him. Instead, this is " neutralization ." (Read this fascinatingly feeble attempt by the Associated Press to explain why it isn't calling an obvious assassination an assassination, just as the media declined to call torture torture when Bush did it.)

Those of us who want to resist marches to war need to insist on calling things exactly what they are and refuse to allow the country to slide into the use of language that conceals the reality of our actions.

Remember what people were saying five minutes ago

Five minutes ago, hardly anybody was talking about Suleimani. Now they all speak as if he was Public Enemy #1. Remember how much you hated that guy? Remember how much damage he did? No, I do not remember, because people like Ben Shapiro only just discovered their hatred for Suleimani once they had to justify his murder.

During the buildup to a war there is a constant effort to make you forget what things were like a few minutes ago. Before World War I, Americans lived relatively harmoniously with Germans in their midst. The same thing with Japanese people before World War II. Then, immediately, they began to hate and fear people who had recently been their neighbors.

Let us say Iran responds to this extrajudicial murder with a colossal act of violent reprisal, after the killing unifies the country around a demand for vengeance. They kill a high-ranking American official, or wage an attack that kills our civilians. Perhaps it will attack some of the soldiers that are now being moved into the Middle East. The Trump administration will then want you to forget that it promised this assassination was to " stop a war ." It will then want you to focus solely on Iran's most recent act, to see that as the initial aggression. If the attack is particularly bad, with family members of victims crying on TV and begging for vengeance, you will be told to look into the face of Iranian evil, and those of us who are anti-war will be branded as not caring about the victims. Nobody wants you to remember the history of U.S./Iran relations, the civilians we killed of theirs or the time we destabilized their whole country and got rid of its democracy. They want you to have a two-second memory, to become a blind and unthinking patriot whose sole thought is the avenging of American blood. Resisting propaganda requires having a memory, looking back on how things were before and not accepting war as the "new normal."

Listen to the Chomsky on your shoulder.

"It is perfectly insane to suggest the U.S. was the aggressor here." -- Ben Shapiro

They are going to try to convince you that you are insane for asking questions, or for not accepting what the government tells you. They will put you in topsy-turvy land, where thinking that assassinating foreign officials is "aggression" is not just wrong, but sheer madness. You will have to try your best to remember what things are, because it is not easy, when everyone says the emperor has clothes, or that Line A is longer than Line B, or that shocking people to death is fine, to have confidence in your independent judgment.

This is why I keep a little imaginary Noam Chomsky sitting on my shoulder at all times. Chomsky helps keep me sane, by cutting through lies and euphemisms and showing things as they really are. I recommend reading his books, especially during times of war. He never swallowed Johnson's nonsense about Vietnam or Bush's nonsense about Iraq. And of course they called him insane, anti-American, terrorist-loving, anti-Semitic, blah blah blah.

What I really mean here though is: Listen to the dissidents. They will not appear on television. They will be smeared and treated as lunatics. But you need them if you are going to be able to resist the absolute barrage of misinformation, or to hear yourself think over the pounding war drums. Times of War Fever can be wearying, because there is just so much aggression against dissent that your resistance wears down. This is why a community is so necessary. You may watch people who previously seemed reasonable develop a pathological bloodlust (mild-mannered moderate types like Thomas Friedman and Brian Williams going suck on our missiles ). Find the people who see clearly and stick close to them.

Someday peace will prevail. If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to our magnificent print edition or making a donation . Current Affairs is 100% reader-supported. Nathan J. Robinson

[Jan 06, 2020] Pompeo's Petty Decision to Bar Zarif

Jan 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Pompeo's Petty Decision to Bar Zarif European External Action Service/Flickr

January 6, 2020

|

8:43 pm

Daniel Larison Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer report on the Trump administration's decision to refuse a visa to Iran's foreign minister. Barring Zarif from the U.S. is a blatant violation of U.S. obligations as the host of U.N. headquarters:

"Any foreign minister is entitled to address the Security Council at any time and the United States is obligated to provide access to the U.N. headquarters district," said Larry Johnson, a former U.N. assistant secretary-general. Under the terms of the U.S. agreement with the United Nations, "they are absolutely obligated to let him in."

Johnson, who currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia University Law School, noted that the U.S. Congress, however, passed legislation in August 1947, the so-called Public Law 80-357, that granted the U.S. government the authority to bar foreign individuals invited by the United Nations to attend meetings at its New York City headquarters if they are deemed to pose a threat to U.S. national security. But Johnson said the U.S. law would require the individual be "expected to commit some act against the U.S. national security interest while here in the United States."

Refusing to admit Zarif is another foolish mistake on the administration's part. Preventing him from coming to the U.N. not only breaches our government's agreement with the U.N., but it also closes off a possible channel of communication and demonstrates to the world that the U.S. has no interest in a diplomatic resolution of the current crisis. Far from conveying the "toughness" that Pompeo imagines he is showing, keeping Zarif out reeks of weakness and insecurity. Zarif is a capable diplomat, but is the Trump administration really so afraid of what he would say while he is here that they would ignore U.S. obligations to block him?

By barring Zarif, the Trump administration has given him and his government another opportunity to score an easy propaganda win. They have squandered an opportunity to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The U.S. needs to find an off-ramp to avoid further conflict following the president's assassination order, but thanks to Pompeo's decision that off-ramp won't be found in New York.

[Jan 06, 2020] Mike Pompeo- Killing Qasem Soleimani disrupted an imminent attack

Looks like Pompeo a gifted liar...
Jan 06, 2020 | www.youtube.com

James Shaw , 2 days ago

THE PEOPLE OF BOTH COUNTRIES DO NOT WANT WAR...ITS THE LEADERS THAT WANT WAR, NOT THE PEOPLE

Moses Tekper , 2 days ago

The world is a safer place there but all American civilians should get out of the region. What a joke.

Fi Vongphachanh , 2 days ago

Trump screwed up that why need to move American people's.

Sidra Irfan , 1 day ago

Trump try to open door of third [world] war He is really sick man.

Bhai Log , 1 day ago

Shameless act by trump. World need peace but Donald trump doesn't want

WADA FAKA , 2 days ago

Now those who fought ISIS with blood and swear are systematically eliminated by the USA😎

Manny M , 2 days ago

Your asking the wrong people for the strikes, ask Israel 🇮🇱 you'll get little more then here!!

delonix regia , 1 day ago

Mike Pompeo? " We lie , cheat and steal " . That's all we have to know about this guy .

Fix News , 2 days ago

Done our level best under the direct guidance of the president. Oh boy.

Aldemar Delapuy , 2 days ago

Who wants a jeep ride with an Iranian general?

G.E. B. , 2 days ago

As soon as he opened his mouth he started to glorify Trump.....

Captain1 Jones , 1 day ago

What's different is that Trump got impeached.

A Warrior of Christ , 2 days ago

Puppet Pompeo, Trump's hand is behind his back and manipulating his lips!

Green Orange , 2 days ago

There is No justice, if there was , most of the USA politicians would be sentenced for War Crimes.

Sherry Osinga , 2 days ago

... you don't understand, we don't trust you.

Muntadher Alqrashie , 2 days ago

Think of us the Iraqi people before you start a war. We're tired from wars.. enough

Hadzra Hatta , 2 days ago

Does Mike Pompeo know what he's talking about?

Sandy Phelps , 1 day ago

Pompeo is a traitor and a liar. We are letting liars lead us into a terrible war.

Elizabeth Klimas , 2 days ago

have weapon of mass destruction being found yet other than CHEMTRAILS in the USA?????

BARTETMEDIA , 2 days ago

Trump stuck his right foot way up his a$$ this time. Now the left foot it's coming.

[Jan 06, 2020] Buttigieg on Soleimani strike- We need answers

Jan 06, 2020 | www.youtube.com


jason thomas , 3 hours ago

Don't trust the CIA


Aramai Jonassi
, 9 hours ago

We have nothing to worry about with Jared Kushner being in charge of middle East peace, amiright?🙄

Deborah Lawson , 8 hours ago (edited)

More people at Mara Lago knew that General Suliemeni was going to be hit than congressmen and congresswomen? That tells me trump was bragging about how much power he has. He's so insecure and feeble that he has no business holding the most power office in the land!


light Archer
, 10 hours ago

The main beneficiaries of Solimanies death are his arch enemies, Isis. Trump turned on both his field allies against Isis, the Kurds and Solimani's militia. Who are America's allies in the field, now?

Idin Azadipour , 5 hours ago

Let me tally this up for the wonderful viewers, an American backed coupe of a democratically elected prime minister who wanted to nationalize the oil fields of Iran which at time was owned by Britain. The shooting down of a plane with 290 people in it by an American Naval vessel. The backing of Saddam with chemical weapons and millions of dollars, to go to war with Iran leaving half a million dead. The installation of a dictator whose secret police force imprisoned, tortured and killed political dissidence. Learn your history.

Katherine Diaz , 20 minutes ago (edited)

All jokes aside but everyone this isnt a joke anymore becuase of our wreckless president making dumb distractions ive ever heard of trump is a sociopath he makes the rich richer, the poor poorer. Just remember this guy and his family are banned from having fun raisers in the state of new york becuase trump held a big fundraiser to help fight kids cancer he stole money from kids to search to find a cure for cancer. He nearly shut down the gouverment becuase Congress refused to give him the money for him to build the wall but not most of all 5 general from the us resigned becuase they didnt agree with his intensions. He doesnt care about anyone but himself and anyone with common sense can sse that and im done with the US government and this isnt the American that i grew up loving. All the hatred for eachother is disgusting and disturbing


TheFarmanimalfriend
, 11 hours ago

The Iranian fiasco started in 1953 when America overthrew Iran's democratically elected government, so we could get their oil. The autocrat we installed had a nasty habit of torturing and murdering any who opposed him, but he did sell us oil. In 1979 the Iranians, united by their clergy, threw him out. We keep stirring the hornets nest we created and are surprised when we get stung? Now you too can have a front row seat at this foreign policy debacle! War? We don't need no stinking war. Trump is desperate to distract the American people from seeing how incompetent and stupid he really is.

[Jan 06, 2020] Elizabeth Warren on Qasem Soleimani killing- People are reasonably asking, why this moment

Warren kept her ground wonderfully in this exchange. Warren suggests that people are reasonable asking about timing. Also warmongering of Trump.
Jan 06, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Richie Beck , 6 hours ago (edited)

"When everyone else is losing their heads, it is important to keep yours." - Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France and Irony.

Bob Bart , 7 hours ago (edited)

" What is human warfare but just this; an effort to make the laws of God and nature take sides with one party. " ~ Henry David Thoreau

personal cooking , 4 hours ago

China is laughing.US pay attention in middel east now.

[Jan 06, 2020] Neocon Pompeo pushed Trump to kill Soleimani; Looks like West Point educated military contactor mafia to which Pompeo and Esper belongs controls the President, although Trump malleability and recklessness are inexcusable

Highly recommended!
So Trump instead of draining the swamp brought swamp creatures like Pompeo into his Administration; now he can pay the price.
Notable quotes:
"... The greenlighting of the airstrike near Baghdad airport represents a bureaucratic victory for Pompeo ..."
"... "We took a bad guy off the battlefield. We made the right decision," Pompeo told CNN. "I'm proud of the effort that President Trump undertook." ..."
"... On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said. ..."
"... One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida. ..."
"... Some defense officials said Pompeo's claims of an imminent and direct threat were overstated, and they would prefer that he make the case based on the killing of the American contractor and previous Iranian provocations. ..."
"... On Sunday, Iran announced that it was suspending all limits of the nuclear deal, including on uranium enrichment, research and development, and enlarging its stockpile of nuclear fuel. Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China, were original signatories of that deal with the United States and Iran, and all opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact. ..."
"... "No one trusts what Trump will do next, so it's hard to get behind this," said the European diplomat. ..."
"... Since his time as CIA director, Pompeo has forged a friendship with Yossi Cohen, the director of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, said a person familiar with their meetings. The men have spoken about the threat posed by Iran to both Israel and the United States. In a prescient interview in October, Cohen said Soleimani "knows perfectly well that his elimination is not impossible." ..."
"... At every step of his government career, Pompeo has tried to stake out a maximalist position on Iran that has made him popular among two critical pro-Israel constituencies in Republican politics: conservative Jewish donors and Christian evangelicals. ..."
"... After Trump tapped Pompeo to lead the CIA, Pompeo quickly set up an Iran Mission Center at the agency to focus intelligence-gathering efforts and operations, elevating Iran's importance as an intelligence target. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

The secretary also spoke to President Trump multiple times every day last week, culminating in Trump's decision to approve the killing of Iran's top military commander, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, at the urging of Pompeo and Vice President Pence, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Pompeo had lost a similar high-stakes deliberation last summer when Trump declined to retaliate militarily against Iran after it downed a U.S. surveillance drone, an outcome that left Pompeo "morose," according to one U.S. official. But recent changes to Trump's national security team and the whims of a president anxious about being viewed as hesitant in the face of Iranian aggression created an opening for Pompeo to press for the kind of action he had been advocating.

The greenlighting of the airstrike near Baghdad airport represents a bureaucratic victory for Pompeo, but it also carries multiple serious risks: another protracted regional war in the Middle East; retaliatory assassinations of U.S. personnel stationed around the world; an interruption in the battle against the Islamic State; the closure of diplomatic pathways to containing Iran's nuclear program; and a major backlash in Iraq, whose parliament voted on Sunday to expel all U.S. troops from the country.

For Pompeo, whose political ambitions are a source of constant speculation , the death of U.S. diplomats would be particularly damaging given his unyielding criticisms of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton following the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and other American personnel in Benghazi in 2012.

But none of those considerations stopped Pompeo from pushing for the targeted strike, U.S. officials said, underscoring a fixation on Iran that spans 10 years of government service from Congress to the CIA to the State Department.

"We took a bad guy off the battlefield. We made the right decision," Pompeo told CNN. "I'm proud of the effort that President Trump undertook."

Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Soleimani months ago, said a senior U.S. official, but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation.

For more than a year, defense officials warned that the administration's campaign of economic sanctions against Iran had increased tensions with Tehran, requiring a bigger and bigger share of military resources in the Middle East when many at the Pentagon wanted to redeploy their firepower to East Asia.

How the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad unfolded On Jan. 1, the siege on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad appeared to come to an end after supporters of the Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia retreated. (Liz Sly, Joyce Lee, Mustafa Salim/The Washington Post)

Trump, too, sought to draw down from the Middle East as he promised from the opening days of his presidential campaign. But that mind-set shifted on Dec. 27 when 30 rockets hit a joint U.S.-Iraqi base outside Kirkuk, killing an American civilian contractor and injuring service members.

On Dec. 29, Pompeo, Esper and Milley traveled to the president's private club in Florida, where the two defense officials presented possible responses to Iranian aggression, including the option of killing Soleimani, senior U.S. officials said.

Trump's decision to target Soleimani came as a surprise and a shock to some officials briefed on his decision, given the Pentagon's long-standing concerns about escalation and the president's aversion to using military force against Iran.

One significant factor was the "lockstep" coordination for the operation between Pompeo and Esper, both graduates in the same class at the U.S. Military Academy, who deliberated ahead of the briefing with Trump, senior U.S. officials said. Pence also endorsed the decision, but he did not attend the meeting in Florida.

"Taking out Soleimani would not have happened under [former secretary of defense Jim] Mattis," said a senior administration official who argued that the Mattis Pentagon was risk-averse. "Mattis was opposed to all of this. It's not a hit on Mattis, it's just his predisposition. Milley and Esper are different. Now you've got a cohesive national security team and you've got a secretary of state and defense secretary who've known each other their whole adult lives."

Mattis declined to comment.

In the days since the strike, Pompeo has become the voice of the administration on the matter, speaking to allies and making the public case for the operation. Trump chose Pompeo to appear on all of the Sunday news shows because he "sticks to the line" and "never gives an inch," an administration official said.

But critics inside and outside the administration have questioned Pompeo's justification for the strike based on his claims that "dozens if not hundreds" of American lives were at risk.

[ Trump faces Iran crisis with fewer experienced advisers and strained relations with allies ]

Lawmakers left classified briefings with U.S. intelligence officials on Friday saying they heard nothing to suggest that the threat posed by the proxy forces guided by Soleimani had changed substantially in recent months.

When repeatedly pressed on Sunday about the imminent nature of the threats, whether it was days or weeks away, or whether they had been foiled by the U.S. airstrike, Pompeo dismissed the questions.

"If you're an American in the region, days and weeks -- this is not something that's relevant," Pompeo told CNN.

Some defense officials said Pompeo's claims of an imminent and direct threat were overstated, and they would prefer that he make the case based on the killing of the American contractor and previous Iranian provocations.

Critics have also questioned how an imminent attack would be foiled by killing Soleimani, who would not have carried out the strike himself.

"If the attack was going to take place when Soleimani was alive, it is difficult to comprehend why it wouldn't take place now that he is dead," said Robert Malley, the president of the International Crisis Group and a former Obama administration official.

Following the strike, Pompeo has held back-to-back phone calls with his counterparts around the globe but has received a chilly reception from European allies, many of whom fear that the attack puts their embassies in Iran and Iraq in jeopardy and has now eliminated the chance to keep a lid on Iran's nuclear program.

"We have woken up to a more dangerous world," said France's Europe minister, Amelie de Montchalin.

Two European diplomats familiar with the calls said Pompeo expected European leaders to champion the U.S. strike publicly even though they were never consulted on the decision.

"The U.S. has not helped the Iran situation, and now they want everyone to cheerlead this," one diplomat said.

"Our position over the past few years has been about defending the JCPOA," said the diplomat, referring to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

On Sunday, Iran announced that it was suspending all limits of the nuclear deal, including on uranium enrichment, research and development, and enlarging its stockpile of nuclear fuel. Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China, were original signatories of that deal with the United States and Iran, and all opposed Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact.

"No one trusts what Trump will do next, so it's hard to get behind this," said the European diplomat.

Pompeo has slapped back at U.S. allies, saying "the Brits, the French, the Germans all need to understand that what we did -- what the Americans did -- saved lives in Europe as well," he told Fox News.

Israel has stood out in emphatically cheering the Soleimani operation, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praising Trump for "acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively."

"Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense," he said.

Since his time as CIA director, Pompeo has forged a friendship with Yossi Cohen, the director of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, said a person familiar with their meetings. The men have spoken about the threat posed by Iran to both Israel and the United States. In a prescient interview in October, Cohen said Soleimani "knows perfectly well that his elimination is not impossible."

Though Democrats have greeted the strike with skepticism, Republican leaders, who have long viewed Pompeo as a reassuring voice in the administration, uniformly praised the decision as the eradication of a terrorist who directed the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

"Soleimani made it his life's work to take the Iranian revolutionary call for death to America and death to Israel and turn them into action," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.

A critical moment for Pompeo is nearing as he faces growing questions about a potential Senate run, though some GOP insiders say that decision seems to have stalled. Pompeo has kept in touch with Ward Baker, a political consultant who would probably lead the operation, and others in McConnell's orbit, about a bid. But Pompeo hasn't committed one way or the other, people familiar with the conversations said.

Some people close to the secretary say he has mixed feelings about becoming a relatively junior senator from Kansas after leading the State Department and CIA, but there is little doubt in Pompeo's home state that he could win.

At every step of his government career, Pompeo has tried to stake out a maximalist position on Iran that has made him popular among two critical pro-Israel constituencies in Republican politics: conservative Jewish donors and Christian evangelicals.

After Trump tapped Pompeo to lead the CIA, Pompeo quickly set up an Iran Mission Center at the agency to focus intelligence-gathering efforts and operations, elevating Iran's importance as an intelligence target.

At the State Department, he is a voracious consumer of diplomatic notes and reporting on Iran, and he places the country far above other geopolitical and economic hot spots in the world. "If it's about Iran, he will read it," said one diplomat, referring to the massive flow of paper that crosses Pompeo's desk. "If it's not, good luck."

[Jan 06, 2020] Tucker Carlson is livid with anger and frustration at Trump's actions .

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

KA , says: Show Comment January 5, 2020 at 8:57 pm GMT

@Just passing through https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/04/media/fox-news-iran-soleimani/index.html

Tucker Carlson is livid with anger and frustration at Trump's actions .

Death to America is a rallying point for Iran to emphasize the same aspect of American status .
They talk in future . Carlson is reminding that we are already there .

If people woke up with anger at Iran., they would find that the dead horse isn't able to do much but only can attract a lot of attention from far .

The reason Taliban didn't inform Mulla Omar's death was to let the rank and file continues to remain engaged without getting into internal feuding fight .
A trues state of US won't be televised until the horse starts rotting but then that would be quite late .

I don't recall any dissent until this assassination . Now 70 cities are witnessing protests and a few in Media are not happy at all .

There is a big unknown if and when Iran would strike back and at who. Persian is not like khasaogi murderer or Harri kidnapper .

[Jan 06, 2020] Democrats demand answers on Soleimani killing - This is not a game

Most probably Pompeo was cheating and deceived Trump to get the approval of this asssasination. now with his head on the block he is trying to avoid the responsibility.
Notable quotes:
"... Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said public assurances from the Trump administration that such a threat was "imminent" were simply not enough. ..."
"... Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said on CNN's "State of the Union" that until the administration provides answers on "how this decision was reached ... then this move is questionable , to say the least." ..."
"... "I still worry about whether this president really understands that this is not a show, this is not a game," he said. "Lives are at stake right now." ..."
"... the administration has yet to make public its evidence that Soleimani was acting out of step in comparison with his years of similar planning as a leader in Iran's proxy wars and other covert operations, which have led to U.S. deaths . ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.nbcnews.com

Democrats on Sunday demanded answers about the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani as tensions mounted with Iran and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that the United States had faced an imminent threat.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on ABC's "This Week" that he worried that President Donald Trump's decision "will get us into what he calls another endless war in the Middle East ." He called for Congress to "assert" its authority and prevent Trump from "either bumbling or impulsively getting us into a major war."

Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., said public assurances from the Trump administration that such a threat was "imminent" were simply not enough.

"I think we learned the hard way ... in the Iraq War that administrations sometimes manipulate and cherry-pick intelligence to further their political goals," he said.

"That's what got us into the Iraq War. There was no WMD," or weapons of mass destruction, he said. "I'm saying that they have an obligation to present the evidence."

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said on CNN's "State of the Union" that until the administration provides answers on "how this decision was reached ... then this move is questionable , to say the least."

"I still worry about whether this president really understands that this is not a show, this is not a game," he said. "Lives are at stake right now."

Booker: 'All Americans should be concerned right now' JAN. 5, 2020 04:18

The fraught relationship with Iran has significantly deteriorated in the days since Soleimani's death, which came days after rioters sought to storm the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad and a U.S. contractor was killed in a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk.

The Defense Department said Soleimani, the high-profile commander of Iran's secretive Quds Force, who was accused of controlling Iranian-linked proxy militias across the Middle East, orchestrated the attacks on bases in Iraq of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State militant group, including the strike that killed the U.S. contractor. In addition, the Defense Department said Soleimani approved attacks on the embassy compound in Baghdad.

" We took action last night to stop a war ," Trump said Friday in a televised address, referring to the airstrike that killed Soleimani. "We did not take action to start a war."

But the administration has yet to make public its evidence that Soleimani was acting out of step in comparison with his years of similar planning as a leader in Iran's proxy wars and other covert operations, which have led to U.S. deaths .

Iran and its allies vowed to retaliate for the general's death, and Trump has since escalated his language in response.

Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics

[Jan 06, 2020] The threat of General Soleimani - TTG

Highly recommended!
Below are some idea from Below are some idea from OffGuardian that clrify TT post...
The Saker took a look yesterday at The Soleimani murder – what could happen next . He thinks, as he has said before, that Trump is regarded as a disposable asset by his Deep State handlers and is being used as a front man for risky policy actions that he can be scapegoated for if/when they go wrong.
war with Iran has been the auto-erotic fixation for the hardcore war nuts in Washington for years, and imminent confrontation has been predicted regularly since at least 2005
Trump administration from the very beginning has been ramping up the tensions (Adelson money at work): Trump teared up the nuclear deal, re-imposed sanctions, making provocations, making threats. But this has all been within the familiar framework that always just stops short of actual conflict. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that. The murder of Soleimani is orders of magnitude beyond anything they have ever risked before. the US and Israel now have carte blanche to stage as much false flag 'terrorism' as they want and blame it on Iranian 'revenge'. Whatever else happens, we can almost certainly look forward to some of that.
The major question really though is – will this backtracking and odd claims of wanting de-escalation actually do anything to de-escalate? Will it persuade Iran not to seek retaliation, supposing this is now what Pompeo et al want?
It's become a commonplace to describe Trump foreign policy as 'insane', and it's an apposite description. But the murder of Soleimani takes the evident insanity to new and self-defeating levels.
Notable quotes:
"... Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs. ..."
"... Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. ..."
"... According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances? ..."
"... This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden. ..."
"... After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot! ..."
"... IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com
The threat of General Soleimani - TTG W7kf87eV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States had "clear, unambiguous" intelligence that a top Iranian general was planning a significant campaign of violence against the United States when it decided to strike him, the top U.S. general said on Friday, warning Soleimani's plots "might still happen."

Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters "we fully comprehend the strategic consequences" associated with the strike against Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander.

But he said the risk of inaction exceeded the risk that killing him might dramatically escalate tensions with Tehran. "Is there risk? Damn right, there's risk. But we're working to mitigate it," Milley said from his Pentagon office. (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

This is pretty much in line with Trump's pronouncement that our assassination of Soleimani along with Iraqi General Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was carried out to prevent a war not start one. Whatever information was presented to Trump painted a picture of imminent danger in his mind. What did the Pentagon see that was so imminent?

Well first let's look at the mindset of the Pentagon concerning our presence in Iraq and Syria. These two recent quotes from Brett McGurk sums up that mindset.

"If we leave Iraq, that will just increase further the running room for Iran and Shia militia groups and also the vacuum that will see groups like ISIS fill and we'll be right back to where we were. So that would be a disaster."

"It's always been Soleimani's strategic game... to get us out of the Middle East. He wants to see us leave Syria, he wants to see us leave Iraq... I think if we leave Iraq after this, that would just be a real disastrous outcome..."

McGurk played a visible role in US policy in Iraq and Syria under Bush, Obama and Trump. Now he's an NBC talking head and a lecturer at Stanford. He could be the poster boy for what many see as a neocon deep state. He's definitely not alone in thinking this way.

So back to the question of what was the imminent threat. Reuters offers an elaborate story of a secret meeting of PMU commanders with Soleimani on a rooftop terrace on the Tigris with a grand view of the US Embassy on the far side of the river.

-- -- -- -- --

"In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad, and instructed them to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country"

"Two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters that Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on US targets using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran."

"Soleimani's plans to attack US forces aimed to provoke a military response that would redirect Iraqis' anger towards Iran to the US, according to the sources briefed on the gathering, Iraqi Shi'ite politicians and government officials close to Iraq PM Adel Abdul Mahdi."

"At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases." (Reuters)

-- -- -- -- --

And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran? They were 1960s Chinese designed 107mm multiple rocket launcher technology. These simple but effective rocket launchers were mass produced by the Soviet Union, Iran, Turkey and Sudan in addition to China. They've been used in every conflict since then. The one captured outside of the K1 military base seems to be locally fabricated, but used Iranian manufactured rockets.

Since when does the PMU have to form another low profile militia unit? The PMU is already composed of so many militia units it's difficult to keep track of them. There's also nothing low profile about the Kata'ib Hizbollah, the rumored perpetrators of the K1 rocket attack. They're as high profile as they come.

Perhaps there's something to this Reuters story, but to me it sounds like another shithouse rumor. It would make a great scene in a James Bond movie, but it still sounds like a rumor.

There's another story put out by The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Although it also sounds like a scene form a James Bond movie, I think it sounds more convincing than the Reuters story.

-- -- -- -- --

Delegation of Arab tribes met with "Soleimani" at the invitation of "Tehran" to carry out attacks against U.S. Forces east Euphrates

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights learned that a delegation of the Arab tribes met on the 26th of December 2019, with the goal of directing and uniting forces against U.S. Forces, and according to the Syrian Observatory's sources, that meeting took place with the commander of the al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qassim Soleimani, who was assassinated this morning in a U.S. raid on his convoy in Iraq. the sources reported that: "the invitation came at the official invitation of Tehran, where Iran invited Faisal al-al-Aazil, one of the elders of al-Ma'amra clan, in addition to the representative of al-Bo Asi clan the commander of NDF headquarters in Qamishli Khatib al-Tieb, and the Sheikh of al-Sharayin, Nawaf al-Bashar, the Sheikh of Harb clan, Mahmoud Mansour al-Akoub, " adding that: "the meeting discussed carrying out attacks against the American forces and the Syria Democratic Forces."

Earlier, the head of the Syrian National Security Bureau, Ali Mamlouk, met with the security committee and about 20 Arab tribal elders and Sheikhs in al-Hasakah, at Qamishli Airport Hall on the 5th of December 2019, where he demanded the Arab tribes to withdraw their sons from the ranks of the Syria Democratic Forces. (SOHR)

-- -- -- -- --

I certainly don't automatically give credence to anything Rami sends out of his house in Coventry. I give this story more credibility only because that is exactly what I would do if Syria east of the the Euphrates was my UWOA (unconventional warfare operational area). This is exactly how I would go about ridding the area of the "Great Satan" invaders and making Syria whole again. The story also includes a lot of named individuals. This can be checked. This morning Colonel Lang told me some tribes in that region have a Shia history. Perhaps he can elaborate on that. I've read in several places that Qassim Soleimani knew the tribes in Syria and Iraq like the back of his hand. This SOHR story makes sense. If Soleimani was working with the tribes of eastern Syria like he worked with the tribes and militias of Iraq to create the al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi, it no doubt scared the bejeezus out of the Pentagon and endangered their designs for Iraq and Syria.

So, Qassim Soleimani, the Iranian soldier, the competent and patient Iranian soldier, was a threat to the Pentagon's designs a serious threat. But he was a long term threat, not an imminent threat. And he was just one soldier.The threat is systemic and remains. The question of why, in the minds of Trump and his generals, Soleimani had to die this week is something I will leave for my next post.

A side note on Milley: Whenever I see a photo of him, I am reminded of my old Brigade Commander in the 25th Infantry Division, Colonel Nathan Vail. They both have the countenance of a snapping turtle. One of the rehab transfers in my rifle platoon once referred to him as "that J. Edgar Hoover looking mutha fuka." I had to bite my tongue to keep from breaking out in laughter. It would have been unseemly for a second lieutenant to openly enjoy such disrespect by a PV2 and a troublemaking PV2 at that. God bless PV2 Webster, where ever you are.

TTG


John Merryman , 04 January 2020 at 06:33 PM

Wondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.
The Twisted Genius , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.

Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.

Jack -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 08:16 PM
TTG,

Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.

The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they'll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.

Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don't have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I'll take.

JamesT -> The Twisted Genius ... , 04 January 2020 at 09:48 PM
TTG,

With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.

When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice.

In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.

PavewayIV , 04 January 2020 at 06:46 PM
TTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"

According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?

If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 07:21 PM
If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.

Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.

Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.

Jane , 04 January 2020 at 07:35 PM
There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.

That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 07:40 PM
Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112

For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...

Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?

That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...

BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:09 PM
Board of Directors of Reuters

The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...

Elora Danan , 04 January 2020 at 08:33 PM
In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.

But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?

May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...

As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...

It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...

A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...

Factotum , 04 January 2020 at 08:48 PM
Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.

Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.

blue peacock , 04 January 2020 at 09:54 PM
TTG

This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.

I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.

After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.

I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.

If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read.

Jack -> blue peacock... , 05 January 2020 at 12:01 AM
"I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour."

BP,

Yes, indeed. It is a testament to our susceptibility that there is such limited scepticism by so many people on the pronouncements of our government. Especially considering the decades long continuous streams of lies and propaganda. The extent and brazenness of the lies have just gotten worse through my lifetime.

I feel for my grand-children and great-grand children as they now live in society that has no value for honor. It's all expedience in the search for immediate personal gain.

I am and have been in the minority for decades now. I've always opposed our military adventurism overseas from Korea to today. I never bought into the domino theory even at the heights of the Cold War. And I don't buy into the current global hegemony destiny to bring light to the savages. I've also opposed the build up of the national security surveillance state as the antithesis of our founding. I am also opposed to the increasing concentration of market power across every major market segment. It will be the destruction of our entrepreneurial economy. The partisan duopoly is well past it's sell date. But right now the majority are still caught up in rancorous battles on the side of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

Something To Think About , 04 January 2020 at 10:19 PM
A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?

Craig Murray points to this article:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/04/iran-killed-more-us-troops-in-iraq-than-previously-known-pentagon-says/

If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."

So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.

If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?

Jack , 04 January 2020 at 10:33 PM
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani "imminent threat" being razor-thin.

https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21

PavewayIV said in reply to Jack... , 04 January 2020 at 11:01 PM
You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:
1. I've had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I've learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is "razor thin".

Summary: [Too shameful to type]

Roy G , 04 January 2020 at 11:59 PM
IMO, Craig Murray is pointing in the right direction around the word 'immanent,' by pointing out that it is referring to the legally dubious Bethlehem Doctrine of Self Defense, the Israeli, UK and US standard for assassination, in which immanent is defined as widely as, 'we think they were thinking about it.' The USG managed to run afoul of even these overly permissive guidelines, which are meant only against non-state actors.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/

[Jan 06, 2020] Now I know for sure that the US government spreads shameless lies, so you can't believe anything it says.

Notable quotes:
"... So, I did not see it as a war crime back then, but I do now. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment January 5, 2020 at 10:22 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski At the time I thought that it might be justified, if Al Qaida actually did 9/11. Now I know that Al Qaida was and is a CIA operation and have my doubts regarding its involvement in 9/11.

Even if it was, that was on direct orders of its American handlers.

What's more, now I know for sure that the US government spreads shameless lies, so you can't believe anything it says. In fact, you can safely assume that everything it says is a lie and be right 99.9% of the time.

So, I did not see it as a war crime back then, but I do now.

[Jan 05, 2020] The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure, with BOTH Iraq and Iran (UPDATED 6X) The Vineyard of the Saker

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason ..."
"... Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end foreign troop presence in the country did not go far enough, calling on local and foreign militia groups to unite . I also have confirmation that the Mehdi Army is being re-mobilized . ..."
"... The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation! ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | thesaker.is
The blowback has begun

First, let’s begin by a quick summary of what has taken place (note: this info is still coming in, so there might be corrections once the official sources make their official statements).

  1. Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdl Mahdi has now officially revealed that the US had asked him to mediate between the US and Iran and that General Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer to his mediation efforts. Thus, Soleimani was on an OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC MISSION as part of a diplomatic initiative INITIATED BY THE USA .
  2. The Iraqi Parliament has now voted on a resolution requiring the government to press Washington and its allies to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
  3. Iraq’s caretaker PM Adil Abdul Mahdi said the American side notified the Iraqi military about the planned airstrike minutes before it was carried out. He stressed that his government denied Washington permission to continue with the operation.
  4. The Iraqi Parliament has also demanded that the Iraqi government must “ work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason
  5. The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had turned to the UN Security Council with complaints about US violations of its sovereignty .
  6. Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end foreign troop presence in the country did not go far enough, calling on local and foreign militia groups to unite . I also have confirmation that the Mehdi Army is being re-mobilized .
  7. The Pentagon brass is now laying the responsibility for this monumental disaster on Trump (see here ). The are now slowly waking up to this immense clusterbleep and don’t want to be held responsible for what is coming next.
  8. For the first time in the history of Iran, a Red Flag was hoisted over the Holy Dome Of Jamkaran Mosque , Iran. This indicates that the blood of martyrs has been spilled and that a major battle will now happen . The text in the flag say s “ Oh Hussein we ask for your help ” (u nofficial translation 1) or “ Rise up and avenge al-Husayn ” (unofficial translation 2)
  9. The US has announced the deployment of 3’000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to Kuwait .
  10. Finally, the Idiot-in-Chief tweeted the following message , probably to try to reassure his freaked out supporters: “ The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation! “. Apparently, he still thinks that criminally overspending for 2nd rate military hardware is going to yield victory…
Analysis

Well, my first though when reading these bullet points is that General Qasem Soleimani has already struck out at Uncle Shmuel from beyond his grave . What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical "oopsie", but a major STRATEGIC disaster . Why?

For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void.

Second, the US now has two options:

Fight and sink deep into a catastrophic quagmire or Withdraw from Iraq and lose any possibility to keep forces in Syria

Both of these are very bad because whatever option Uncle Shmuel chooses, he will lost whatever tiny level of credibility he has left, even amongst his putative "allies" (like the KSA which will now be left nose to nose with a much more powerful Iran than ever before).

The main problem with the current (and very provisional) outcome is that both the Israel Lobby and the Oil Lobby will now be absolutely outraged and will demand that the US try to use military power to regime change both Iraq and Iran.

Needless to say, that ain't happening (only ignorant and incurable flag-wavers believe the silly claptrap about the US armed forces being "THE BEST").

Furthermore, it is clear that by it's latest terrorist action the USA has now declared war on BOTH Iraq and Iran.

This is so important that I need to repeat it again:

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure , with BOTH Iraq and Iran.

I hasten to add that the US is also at war with most of the Muslim world (and most definitely all Shias, including Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis).

Next, I want to mention the increase in US troop numbers in the Middle-East. An additional 3'000 soldiers from the 82nd AB is what would be needed to support evacuations and to provide a reserve force for the Marines already sent in. This is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of troop numbers the US would need to fight a war with either Iraq or Iran.

Finally, there are some who think that the US will try to invade Iran. Well, with a commander in chief as narcissistically delusional as Trump, I would never say "never" but, frankly, I don't think that anybody at the Pentagon would be willing to obey such an order. So no, a ground invasion is not in the cards and, if it ever becomes an realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan).

No, what the US will do if/when they attack Iran is what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, but at a much larger scale. They will begin by a huge number of airstrikes (missiles and aircraft) to hit:

Iranian air defenses Iranian command posts and Iranian civilian and military leaders Symbolic targets (like nuclear installations and high visibility units like the IRGC) Iranian navy and coastal defenses Crucial civilian infrastructure (power plants, bridges, hospitals, radio/TV stations, food storage, pharmaceutical installations, schools, historical monuments and, let's not forget that one, foreign embassies of countries who support Iran). The way this will be justified will be the same as what was done to Serbia: a "destruction of critical regime infrastructure" (what else is new?!)

Then, within about 24-48 hours the US President will go on air an announce to the world that it is "mission accomplished" and that "THE BEST" military forces in the galaxy have taught a lesson to the "Mollahs". There will be dances in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right until the moment the Iranian missiles will start dropping from the sky. At which point the dances will be replaced by screams about a "2nd Hitler" and the "Holocaust").

Then all hell will break loose (I have discussed that so often in the past that I won't go into details here).

In conclusion, I want to mention something more personal about the people of the US.

Roughly speaking, there are two main groups which I observed during my many years of life in the USA.

Group one : is the TV-watching imbeciles who think that the talking heads on the idiot box actually share real knowledge and expertise. As a result, their thinking goes along the following lines: " yeah, yeah, say what you want, but if the mollahs make a wrong move, we will simply nuke them; a few neutron bombs will take care of these sand niggers ". And if asked about the ethics of this stance, the usual answer is a " f**k them! they messed with the wrong guys, now they will get their asses kicked ".

Group two : is a much quieter group. It includes both people who see themselves as liberals and conservatives. They are totally horrified and they feel a silent rage against the US political elites. Friends, there are A LOT of US Americans out there who are truly horrified by what is done in their name and who feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I don't know about the young soldiers who are now being sent to the Middle-East, but I know a lot of former servicemen who know the truth about war and about THE BEST military in the history of the galaxy and they are also absolutely horrified.

I can't say which group is bigger, but my gut feeling is that Group Two is much bigger than Group One. I might be wrong.

I am now signing off but I will try to update you here as soon as any important info comes in.

The Saker

UPDATE1 : according to the Russian website Colonel Cassad , Moqtada al-Sadr has officially made the following demands to the Iraqi government:

Immediately break the cooperation agreement with the United States. Close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Close all U.S. military bases in Iraq. Criminalize any cooperation with the United States. To ensure the protection of Iraqi embassies. Officially boycott American products.

Cassad (aka Boris Rozhin) also posted this excellent caricature:

UPDATE2: RT is reporting that " One US service member, two contractors killed in Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, two DoD personnel injured ". Which just goes to prove my point that spontaneous attacks are what we will be seeing first and that the retaliation promised by Iran will only come later.

UPDATE3 : al-Manar reports that two rockets have landed near the US embassy in Baghdad.

UPDATE4 : Zerohedge is reporting that Iranian state TV broadcasted an appeal made during the funeral procession in which a speaker said that each Iranian ought to send one dollar per person (total 80'000'000 dollars) as a bounty for the killing of Donald Trump. I am trying to get a confirmation from Iran about this.

UPDATE5 : Russian sources claim that all Iranian rocket forces have been put on combat alert.

UPDATE6 : the Russian heavy rocket cruiser "Marshal Ustinov" has cross the Bosphorus and has entered the Mediterranean.

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63 Comments

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:39 pm EST/EDT

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdl Mahdi has now officially revealed that the US had asked him to mediate between the US and Iran and that General Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer to his mediation efforts. Thus, Soleimani was on an OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC MISSION as part of a diplomatic initiative INITIATED BY THE USA.

If this is true, it makes America's murder of General Soleimani even more outrageous. This would be like the USA sending an American regime official to some other country for a negotiation only to have him/her drone striked in the process!

America reveals its malign character as even more sick that even its opponents have thought possible.

Perhaps, Iran should request that Mike Pompeo come to Baghdad for a negotiation about General Soleimani 's murder and then "bug splat" Pompeo's fat ass from a drone!

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:08 pm EST/EDT
"For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void."

-I actually read somewhere that the Iraqi government is just a caretaker government and even thought it voted to remove foreign forces, it is not actually legally binding.

Anyone that can conform or deny?

Lysander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:18 pm EST/EDT
I'm no lawyer. I don't see why that would matter. If a caretaker government is presented with a crisis, why would it not have the authority to act?

That said, It could be the line the US government chooses to use to insist its presence is still legal. If course the MSM will repeat and repeat and make it seem real.

Serbian girl on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:42 pm EST/EDT
Not the entire government. Only the PM Mahdi as far as I understand. He resigned after some protests. The parliament approved his resignation on Dec 2019. He is the caretaker until they appoint another PM.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/29/iraq-pm-resign-protests-abdul-mahdi-al-sistani
Pamela on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:59 pm EST/EDT
Couldn't agree more. When I read that my jaw dropped and I'm sure my eyes went huge. I just couldn't believe they could be that stupid, or that immoral, that sunk in utter utter depravity. They truly are those who have not one shred of decency, and thus have no way of recognising or understanding what decency is. Pure psychopath – an inability to grasp the emotions, values, and world view of those who are normal. This truly is beyond the pale, and this above everything else will ensure the revenge the heartbroken people of Iran are seeking. May God bless them.
Mark on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:45 pm EST/EDT
Well, this is going to be interesting for sure. I for one cannot see any way out for the Yankees, so I expect them to do their usual doubling down .

Assassinate some more people, airstrikes etc.

Hans on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:51 pm EST/EDT
The US Armed Forces do not need to be 'THE BEST". All they need is mountains of second rate ordinance to re-bury Iraq bury Iran under rubble. They can then keep their forces in tightly fortified compounds and bomb the c**p out of any one who wants to 'steal their oil', or any one who wants to 'steal the land promised by God to the Chosen People'. The U.S. has always previously been limited in their avarice for destruction by their desire to be viewed as the 'good guy'. This limitation has now been stripped away. There is now nothing to stop the AngloZionist entity except naked force in return.

As the Saker says, 'all hell will break loose '.

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:09 pm EST/EDT
"realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan)."

-There is an interesting article on colonal cassad about this, USA actually has around 100k troops in ME spread out over various bases.
https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5543349.html

Yes, but these are not part of a single force, many of these are more a target than a threat. Besides, they need to be concentrated into a a few single forces to actually participate in an invasion.
The Saker

Anonymouse on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:15 pm EST/EDT
To understand troop size and relevance think along these lines. For every US front line soldier there will be 5 others in support roles, logistics etc. So for every front line fighting Marine there will be 5 others who got him there and who support him in his work. 10,000 front line fighting troops means 50,000 troops shipping out to the borders of Iran. I think perhaps you would need 100,000 US front line troops for an invasion AND occupation (because we all know if they go in they aren't going to leave quickly) We're talking about half a million US troops, this simply isn't going to happen for multiple reasons, not least they need to amass at some form of base (probably Iraq – yeah right) maybe Kuwait? They'd just be a constant sitting target. Saker is correct in that if this goes down it's going to be an air campaign (will the Iranians use the S300s they have?) and possibly Navy supported. the Israelis will help out but in turn make themselves targets at home for rocket attacks. Again I can't see it happening, it would take too long to arrange plus from the moment it kicks off every US base, individual is just a target to the majority of anti US forces spread across the whole middle east. I expect back door diplomacy, probably to little effect, and a ham fisted token blitz of cruise missiles and drone bombs at Iranian infrastructure, sadly this will not work for the Americans, we will have a long running campaign on ME ground but also mass terrorist activity across the US and some of its allies. Its a best guess scenario but if that plays out whatever happens to Iran this war will be another long running death by a 1000 cuts for the US and will guarantee Trump does not get re-elected.
Whoever sold this to Trump (Bolton via Pompeo? Bibi?) has really lit the touch paper of ruin. Yes it stinks of Netanyahoo but it also reaks of full strength neocon, Bolton style. Trump is dumb enough to fall for it and obviously did.
Cosimo on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:38 pm EST/EDT
1. To read the Colonel Cassad website in English or any other language, just go to https://translate.yandex.com/ and then paste in the Cassad URL, which is given above but again, it's https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/ The really nice thing is that when you click on links, Yandex Translate automatically translates those links. Two problems, though. 1. For some unknown reason, Yandex always first translates Cassad as English-to-Russian, and then you have to click on a little window near the top left, to again request Russian-to-English and then it translates everything fine. I do not experience this problem when using Yandex on any other website. 2. Unlike what Benders-Lee intended when he invented the web browser, the "back button" almost doesn't work on Yandex Translate. So always right-click to open links in a new tab.

2. The US could probably carry out a large number of air attacks, but the Iranian response would be to destroy all the Gulf oil facilities AND everything worth bombing in Israel. This potential for offense is Iran's best defense, and, I think, the main reason why there hasn't been a war. Iran's air defense missiles are probably more effective than the lying MSM will admit, and might shoot down a large percentage of the humans and aluminum the US would throw at Iran, but it's a matter of attrition, and Iran would suffer grave damage. We can't rule out that that might be the plan since the Empire is run by psychopaths. A US Army elite training manual, from 2012 in Kansas, implied that by 2020, Europe would not be a major power. Perhaps they were thinking that Europe would go out of business from a lack of Persian Gulf oil.

3. As for a ground war against Iran, I don't think the US or even the US with the former NATO coalition, would have any hope and they know it. A real invasion force would require at least 250,000 troops, probably 500,000, maybe more. 80 million very determined and united Iranians, many of whom who don't fear martyrdom, would make the Vietnam War look like a bad picnic with fire ants . Yes, Vietnam had jungle for guerillas to hide behind, but South Vietnamese society was divided and many supported the Americans. Iran has no such division. Even the Arab province of Khuzestan would stand united, knowing how the Shiite Arabs are mistreated in the Eastern Province and in Kuwait.

Tom Welsh on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
"They can then keep their forces in tightly fortified compounds "

eating and drinking what? When no Iraqi will even speak to them, let alone do anything for them.

Greifenburg on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:52 pm EST/EDT
Count me in as part of group two. As a former U.S. Army service member I can assure anyone reading this that this action is an historic strategic mistake. What the Saker has outlined above is very likely. There is most probably no way to walk back now. Who in the ME would negotiate with the U.S. Government? Their perfidy is well known. Many citizen in this country feel like they are held hostage by a government that doesn't represent their interests or feelings. I hope the people in the ME know this.
The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:57 pm EST/EDT
Since the folks in the ME know that the US is a "pretend democracy" they also realize that the people of the USA are just as oppressed by the AngloZionist regime as the people abroad. Frankly, I have traveled on a lot of countries and I have never come across anything like real hostility towards the US American people. The very same people who hate Uncle Shmuel very much enjoy US music, literature, movies, novel ideas, etc. I believe that the Empire is truly hated across the globe, but not the people of the USA.
Kind regards
The Saker
Melotte 22 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:23 pm EST/EDT
As long as people of the USA tolerate their government criminal activities around the world, and this is happening for last 70 years, I don't agree with your comment. These crimes are commited in the name of people of the USA, who are doing nothing to prevent them. As for movies coming from US, most of them are propaganda about 'exceptional nation'. No thanks.
Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:09 pm EST/EDT
The United States of America is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic. That being said, the fall elections are going to be of significant interest.

With kindest regards
Auslander

Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:18 pm EST/EDT
Couldn't agree with you less Saker. They share the spoils of war, generation after generation. From the killing of indigenous population to neocolonial resource extraction today, they get their cut. You cannot have it both ways, enjoying the spoils of war and hiding behind invalid rationalizations, pretending you have no-thingz to do with that.
The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:12 pm EST/EDT
Russian TV says that there were anti-war demonstrations in 80 (!) US cities.
I don't have the time to check whether this is true, but it sure sounds credible to me.
The Saker
Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:24 pm EST/EDT
Greetings Mr. Saker,

This information is true. I personally took part in the march in Denver, Colorado. I would estimate we had about 500 people, which is a lot more than most anti-war protests have ever gotten in recent memory.

Do not count out the possibility of a sudden large and massive anti-war movement suddenly springing out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, I do not see how "peaceful" protests will accomplish anything on their own. Rioting may be necessary. The system needs to be shut down and commerce slow to a crawl so that nobody may ignore this.

The Saker on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:32 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this precious confirmation!
And keep up the good fight!
Kind regards
The Saker
durlin on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:25 pm EST/EDT
anonymous, fellow Coloradoan here, would appreciate some info on where I need to look for the next one,. I will be there
Richard Sauder on January 05, 2020 , · at 2:55 pm EST/EDT
Yes. I am thinking about the Deagel.com numbers again. They're starting to come into better focus.

http://www.deagel.com/country/forecast.aspx

I agree that there will first be a period of violent confusion, followed by -- well, what sane person even wants to think about what possible horrors lie ahead?

The threat of one or more spectacular false flag attacks to further fan the flames would also appear to be a possibility.

Real evil has been unleashed, that is clear. The empire has decided to fight, and to fight very dirty.

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:08 pm EST/EDT
Wasn't the Saker working in the employ of the US or NATO when they attacked Srbija without cause? Because that was my understanding.

Actually, no. I was working at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research.
But thanks for showing everybody how ugly, petty and clueless ad hominem using trolls can be!
The Saker

Marko on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:20 pm EST/EDT
Looks like our Nikolai is a Canvas Otpor Belgrade troll.
Serbian girl on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:46 pm EST/EDT
Or perhaps not Serbian at all
Flabbergasted on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:11 pm EST/EDT
"I can't say which group is bigger, but my gut feeling is that Group Two is much bigger than Group One. I might be wrong."

My personal observation is unfortunately the opposite. I think the population that is over 40 is probably leans 80% toward the TV-watching imbecile category with zero critical thinking abilities and exposure to four plus decades of propaganda. The population under 40 is largely too apathetic to have an opinion and unwilling to engage in research.

History will most likely play out in disaster resulting from a corrupt ruling class, systemic institutional rot, and brain-washed public not realizing what's happened.

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:23 pm EST/EDT
I will hazard a guess and say there are far more men than women in Group 1, and many more draft-age young adults of both sexes in Group 2.

But by and large a disturbing number of people in America regard world events as being akin to a football game, with Team A and Team B and a score to be kept. If things don't appear to be going well for their "team," they speak and behave irrationally, with crass statements like "nuke the whole place and turn it into a glass parking lot." Impressive, isn't it? Grown adults, comporting themselves like overindulged little children, always accustomed to getting their way – and displaying a terrifying willingness to set the whole house on fire when they don't.

It is a spiritual illness which pollutes the USA. Terrible things will have to happen before the society can become well, again

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:26 pm EST/EDT
Even if only 20% of the population join us, that will be enough. Because guess what? The TV-watching imbeciles are fat, lazy, and they won't do anything to support the government either, and they definitely aren't brave enough to get in the way of an angry mob
JJ on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:08 pm EST/EDT
About 50% of UK people opposed the UK intervention into Iraq .1 m people held marches on London and cities ..made no difference.
cdvision on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:39 pm EST/EDT
Its not just the US that's braindead. This from a once reputable newspaper in the UK

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/01/05/boris-johnson-calls-de-escalation-iran-us-killing-ofgeneral/

Its behind a paywall so you only get the first few paragraphs – frankly all you need. BUT its the comments that tell the story!

Pamela on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:11 pm EST/EDT
It's interesting to me, this comment of Sakers'. I have been thinking, with these revelations of the utter depravity and total lack of what was once called "honour " and treating the enemy with respect, of a few instances which seemed to show me that not all of America was like this.

There is a scene in the much loved but short lived** TV series "Firefly" in which the rebel "outsider" spaceship Captain offers a doctor on the run a berth with them. The Doctor says "but you dont like me. You could kill me in my sleep" to which the Captain replies "Son, you dont know me yet, So let me tell you know, If i ever try to kill you, you will be awake, you will be facing me, and you will be armed"

Exactly I thought. There is a Code of Honour by which battles used to be fought. This latest by US has shown how low it's Ruling Regime is, that is doesn't not see that. But from examples like the above, I gathered that there are people in America who still hold to it closely – and that's good to know.

** Short lived because it showed as it's heroes a group of people who lived outside the Ruling Tyrannical Regime, who had fought for Independence and lost, and now lived "by their wits" and not always according to law. Not surprising that the rulers of US weren't going to allow that to go to air!!

Nikolai on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:13 pm EST/EDT
Wasn't the Saker working in the employ of the US and NATO when they attacked and bombed Srbija without cause? Because that was my understanding.

Thanks, now we all know how good your "understanding" is!
The Saker :-P

Rufus Palmer on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:32 pm EST/EDT
Unfortunately I believe the largest group in the USA is the "nuke 'em group". All of my friends watch Fox and none have an understanding of the empire.

Sake thank you as always for your excellent work. What do you think Iran will attack first?

teranam13 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:19 pm EST/EDT
Thanks Saker for this discussion/information space you provide when nothing is very trustworthy and on what is a holiday week end for you.

Two points:
Never underestimate the perfidy of the Kurds. They held back on the censure/withdrawal vote in the Iraqi\
parliament and are probably offering withdrawal airport space for US military.

And Agreed, about most Americans being absolutely horrified and ashamed.Even Alex Jones had to put Syrian Girl on and to post her on video.banned. One of his callers demanded that Alex apologize to his listening audience on "bended knee" for his support of Trump's attack on Iran. When Alex tried to schmooze
the irate caller -- The man started yelling -- "Who cares, Alex, who cares about Iran my neighbors have no jobs
and are dying from drug overdoses. who cares about Israel? Let them take care of themselves."

Trump has sealed his own fate on many levels and ours her in looneylandia. It is said that a nation gets the leadership it deserves. We are about to become a nation of the yard-sale.

Craig Mouldey on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:27 pm EST/EDT
Whew, this is something to chew on and try to digest. That first point jumped right off the page. General Soleimani was on an official diplomatic mission, requested by the U.S.! They set him up and were waiting for him to get in his car at the airport and go onto the road.
The entire world will know there is no way to justify this. It is just as ugly as the public murder of JFK. They have zero credibility in all they say and do. It will be interesting to see who supports what is coming and who have gotten the message from this murder and have decided they cannot support this beast.
Clarence on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:33 pm EST/EDT
How many missiles does the us have in the middle east?
How many air defense missiles does have iran?
Does iran have the ability to destroy us airbases to prevent aircraft from attacking iranian territory? That would be my first move: destroying the ennemy s fighter jets while they are still on the ground.
How many missiles does iran can launch ? How far can they hit?
I think these are important questions if we want to make a good assessment of the situation
One Tribe on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:36 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for the continuing courageous, fact-based reporting.

All as-yet-unenslaved-minds of the oppressed people living under the auspices of the empire share the horror of what has happened, made worse so, for I personally, learning the evil duplicity of the 'fake' diplomacy of the masters of the U.S.A. administration.
If there had been any credibility whatsoever, left for the U.S.A. diplomatic integrity, it is now completely murdered.

I should like to point out, yet again, the perverse obviousness of the utter subordination of the utterly testiclesless america n ' leadership ' by the affiliates, dually loyal extra-nationals, aligned to the quasi-nation of pychopathic hatred against humanity.

In spite of, and now increasingly because of, the absurd perception management/propaganda agencies, completely controlled by this aforementioned affiliation, and their ongoing absurd efforts, people are becoming aware of the ultimate source of the hatred and agenda we re witnessing in the ME, and indeed, in ever country under the auspices of the empire.
It is becoming impossible to cover, even for the most timid followers of the citizens of empire-controlled nation states.
The war continues against the non-subliminated citizens, and will certainly escalate as the traction of the perception-management techniques have been pushed way over their best-before date.

Even not wanting to know this, people are becoming aware of it.

I urge all those self-identifying with this affiliation of secretive hatred against humanity to disavow either publicly, or privately, this collective of hatred.
The recusement of the fifth-column will undermine these machinations.

It is now the time to realize that no promise of superior upward mobility, in exchange for activities supporting the affiliation, is worth the stark prospect of complete destruction of the biosphere.

Paul23 on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:38 pm EST/EDT
Saker: what makes you think it will just be a couple of days of bombing? I would have thought they would set up a no fly zone then fly over that country permanently blowing the shit out of any military thing on the ground until the gov collapses.

Iran doesn't have the ability to prevent this & running a country under these conditions is impossible.

Randy Brady on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:10 pm EST/EDT
Set up a no-fly zone over Iran? Iran is well aware of American air-power. They have a multi-layer air defense. And I wouldn't be surprised that the Iranian's are capable of taking out U.S. satellites.

Iran knows their enemy. They have been preparing for conflict with the U.S. for 40 years. This is a sophisticated, and highly advanced nation, with brilliant leadership. They understand what their weaknesses are, and what their strengths are.

The wild cards are threefold: Russia. China. North Korea. If one wants to think about the possible asymmetrical capabilities of those three, let alone the pure power their militaries, it boggles the mind.

Prediction: The U.S. stands down on orders of their own military. People like John Bolton quietly pass away in their sleep.

Kilombo Zumbi on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:02 pm EST/EDT
The only no fly zone to be implemented will be on all american warplanes over Iran and Iraq. Do you remember the multimillion drone that went down? Multipliy it by hundreds of manned planes. God, how delusional can you be?!!!
You have a fighting force that is a disgrace composed by little girls that start screeming once they get bullets flying over their heads. You have aircraft battle groups that are sitting ducks waitng to go to the bottom of the sea. Wake up and get your pills, man!
Tom Welsh on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:39 pm EST/EDT
Paul23, from where will the aircraft take off to implement your "no-fly zone"? Any air base within 2,000 km would be destroyed by a shower of cruise missiles and possibly drones.

Any aircraft carrier within 2,000 km likewise.

Mike from Jersey on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:45 pm EST/EDT
File this next article under "Just when you thought that things couldn't get any crazier."

Pompeo is slamming Europe for not being supportive of the American murders in the Middle East.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/europeans-havent-been-helpful-after-suleimani-killing-pompeo-slams-allies-not

Nussiminen on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:48 pm EST/EDT
It is Group 1 -- loud, reactionary, extremely vulgar, militant parasites -- which defines the US national character. Exceptional and indispensable simply mean "entitled to other peoples' natural resources and labour output". Trying to reason with these lowlives is a waste of time. Putin understands this; hence the new Russian weapons. The latter will be needed very soon.
Mike from Jersey on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:08 pm EST/EDT
I am an American and I am not sure that is true.

Americans are a good people but America is one of the most heavily propagandized nations in the world. The media is corrupt. The educational systems teach a sanitized version of history. But that is only a part of it.

Pro-Military propaganda is everywhere. Even before the Superbowl, jet bombers fly over the stadium – as if Militarism constituted a basic American value. At Airports, "Military Personnel" are given preferential boarding. At retail stores customers are asked to make donations to "military families." College football games are dedicated to "Military Appreciation Day." High Schools work in unison with Military Recruiters to steer students into the Military. Even playground facilities for children that have video displays display pro military messages. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Most of this propaganda is paid for out of the obscene military budget. The average citizen doesn't have a chance.

Americans are a good people, if they really knew what was being done in their name, they would put a stop to it.

Nussiminen on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:37 pm EST/EDT
Militant parasites do live in a world of total lies, deception, and delusion but never at the expense of their survival instincts. US imperial coercion, mayhem, and murder globally are absolutely crucial to the American way of life, and the 99% know it. Their living standards would drop enormously without the imperial loot. Thus, they dearly yearn for all the repression, war, and chauvinism they vote for and more.
Steki on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:53 pm EST/EDT
One thing is telling, at least for me. Who the f in the right state of mind kills other state's official and then admits of doing it?!? The common sense sense tells me that you do something and to avoid bigger consequences you stay quet and deny everything. Just like CIA is doing. Trump just put US military personnel in grave danger. We know how they accused Manning for showing the to the world US war crimes. They put him in the jail for what Trump just did. But, I cannot believe that they are that much stupid. If US does not want war, as Trump is saying, they could have done this and then blame someone else because now it has been shown that they wanted to "talk" to Iran, as Iraqis PM said. At least, US brought new meaning to the word "talk"
Rostislav_Velka_Morava on January 05, 2020 , · at 3:56 pm EST/EDT
Russia will not allow this, and will put their foot down.
Hussan Carim on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:00 pm EST/EDT
The most damaging, no most devestating, assymetrical attack on the US would be a 'non violent' attack.

Let me quickly explain.

It has been well known since the exposure of the man behind the curtain during the great financial crisis of 2007-08 that all Human operations – all Human life in fact – is financialised in some way.

Some ways being so sophisticated or 'subtle' that barely 1 person in 1000 is even aware, much less capable of understanding them, much less the financial control grid (and state / deepstate power base) which empoverishs them and enslaves them to an endless cycle of aquiring and spending 'money'.

Look deeply and the wise will see how 'Human resources' (as opposed to Human Beings) are herded like cattle to be worked on the farm, 'fleeced', or slaughtered as appropriate to the money masters.

We have been programmed, trained, and conditioned to call 'currency units' (dollar/euro/pound/yuan, etc) 'money', when they are actually nothing of the sort, they are state or bank issued money substitutes.

In the middle east and north africa some leaders recognised this determined how to escape slavery and subjegation. They attempted to field this knowledge like an economic-nuke, but without the massive protection required, and they were destroyed by the empire – Sadam Hussain with his oil for Gold (and oil for Euros) program, and Col. Gadaffi of Libya with his North African 'Gold Dinar' and 'Silver Durham' Islamic money program.

To cut a very long story short – the evil empire depends upon all nations and peoples excepting thier pieces of paper currency units as 'real' money – which the empire print / create in unlimited quantities to fund thier war machine and global progrram of domination.

All financial markets are either denominated or settled in US Dollars (or are at least convertable).

All Nations Central Banks (except Irans I believe) are linked via various US Dollar exchange / liquidity mechanisms, and all 'settle' in US Dollars.

Currently all nations use US controlled electronic banking communications / exchange / tranfer systems (swift being the most well known).

Would it therefore not make sence to go for the very beating heart of the Beast – the US financial system?

The most powerful attack against the empire would therefore be against this power base – the global reserve currency – the US dollar – and the US ability to print any quantity of it (or create digits on a screen and call them 'Dollar Units').

It would be pointless trying to fight an emnemy capable of printing for free enough currency to buy every resource (including peoples lives) – unless that super ability was destroyed or disrupted.

Example of a massive nuclear equivilent attack on the beast would be an internal and major disrruption of interbank electronic communications (at all levels from cash machine operation and card payment readers up to interbank transfers and federal banking operations).

Shut down the US banking system and you shut down the US war machine.

Not only that you shut down the US ability to buy resources and bribe powerful leaders – which means they wont be able to recover from such a blow quickly.

Shutting down banking and electronic payments of all kinds would cause the US people – particularly those currently enjoying bread and circus distraction and pacification – to tear appart thier own communities, and each other, as the spoiled and gready fight for the remaining resources, including food and fuel.

The 'grid' has been studied in great depth by both Russia and China (and Israel as part of thier neo-sampson option) and we can therefore deduce that Iran has some knowledge of how it works and where the weak links are (and not just the undersea optical cables and wireless nodes).

I, and a thousand other people have always said, the best, perhaps only way to defeat the US and end its reign of terror on this Earth is to take away its ability to create out of thin air the Worlds global reserve currency – the US Dollar.

Reducing the US to an empoverished 3rd world state by taking its check book away would be a worthy and lasting revenge and humiliation.

Amon Ra on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:09 pm EST/EDT
" I, and a thousand other people have always said, the best, perhaps only way to defeat the US and end its reign of terror on this Earth is to take away its ability to create out of thin air the Worlds global reserve currency – the US Dollar. "

No, the best way would be for each nation to ditch the intertwined, privately ( Rothschild ) controlled central banks, and to return to printing their own money. Anything, short of that will just perpetuate the same system from a different home base ( nation ), most likely China next. This virus can jump hosts and it will given a chance.

Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:03 pm EST/EDT
Who knows what will happen, but an actual boots on the ground invasion of Iran will not happen. Iran is not Irak and things have changed since that war.

US does not have 6 to 12 months to gather it's forces and logistics for an invasion (remember, the election is coming), plus US no longer has the heavy lift assets to do this. Toss in the fact that Iran is now on a war footing and has allies in the general AO, hired RoRo's and other logistics and supply assets will be targets before they get anywhere near the ports or beaches to off load. Plus, you can kiss oil goodbye, Iran will close the straights a nanosecond after the first bomb is in the air.

An air assault such as Serbia will be very expensive, Iran will fight back from the first bomb if not before, and Iran has a pretty viable air defense system and the missiles to make life miserable for any cluster of troops and logistics within roughly 300 kilometers of the borders if not longer. Look at a map. There is a long border between Iran and Irak, but as such and considering the terrain, any viable ground attack has to come from Irak territory. With millions of Iraki's seething at what Uncle Sugar just did and millions of Iranians seething at what Uncle Sugar just did, any invading troops will not be greeted with showers spring blossoms. To paraphrase a quote, 'You will be safe nowhere, our land will be your grave.'

Toss in the fact that an invasion of Irak, if even half successful, will put American troops on a war footing perilously close to Russian territory and possibly directly on the Russian Lake, aka Caspian Sea, and sovereign territory of Russia. Won't happen, VVP will not allow it.

Ergo, in spite of all the bluster and chest beating, at best all Foggy Bottom can do is bomb, bomb some more and bomb again. The cost in airframes and captured pilots will be a disaster and if RoRo's and other logistic heavy lift assets or bases are hit, the body bags coming back to Dover will be of numbers that can not be hidden as they are today with explanations that the dead are victims of training accidents or air accidents.

Foggy Bottom, and Five Points with Langley, have painted themselves in to a corner and unfortunately for them, (and it's within the realm of possibility that Five Points egged Trump on for this deal regardless of their protestations of innocence and surprise) they are now in a case of put up or shut up. As a point of honor they will continue down the spiral path of open warfare and war is like a cow voiding it's watery bowels, it splatters far beyond the intended target.

As my friend said a few years ago, damn you, damn your eyes, damn your souls, damn you back to Satan whose spawn you are. Go back to your fetid master and leave us in peace.

Auslander
Author http://rhauslander.com/

Never The Last One, paper back edition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1521849056 A deep look in to Russia, her culture and her Armed Forces, in essence a look at the emergence of Russian Federation.

An Incident On Simonka. paperback edition. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1696160715 NATO Is Invited To Leave Sevastopol, One Way Or The Other.

Auslander on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:19 pm EST/EDT
"Toss in the fact that an invasion of Irak, if even half successful," should read:

"Toss in the fact that an invasion of Iran, if even half successful,"

It's late and this old man is tired. More tomorrow.

Auslander

Anonymous on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:04 pm EST/EDT
"UPDATE2: RT is reporting that "One US service member, two contractors killed in Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, two DoD personnel injured". Which just goes to prove my point that spontaneous attacks are what we will be seeing first and that the retaliation promised by Iran will only come later."

-Al-Shabaab is a salafist terror group

Observer on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:17 pm EST/EDT
Saker, Some of us might be curious to know what your experience with the UN Institute for Disarmament Research informs you about the imminent Virginia gun bans and confiscations planned for this year and next. Can Empire afford to fight an actual shooting war on two fronts, one externally against Iraq/Iran and the second internally against its own people, some of whom will paradoxically be called away to fight on the first front? Perhaps the two conflicts could become conjoined as Uncle Shmuel mislabels every peaceful gun owner who just wants to be left alone as a foreign enemy-sympathizer and combatant by default, thereby turning brother against brother in a bloody prolonged hell in the regions immediately around Washington DC? Could the Empire *truly* be that suicidal?
Hajduk on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:20 pm EST/EDT
'Mr. Trump, the Gambler! Know that we are near you, in places that don't come to your mind. We are near you in places that you can't even imagine. We are a nation of martyrdom. We are the nation of Imam Hussein You are well aware of our power and capabilities in the region. You know how powerful we are in asymmetrical warfare You know that a war would mean the loss of all your capabilities. You may start the war, but we will be the ones to determine its end '
Gen. Soleimani (2018)
Bikkin on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:31 pm EST/EDT
Hello Saker,
I would like to ask you a question.
According to the Russian nuclear doctrine "The Russian Federation reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against itself or its allies and also in response to large-scale aggression involving conventional weapons in situations that are critical for the national security of the Russian Federation and its allies."
In your opinion does Russia consider Iran such an ally? Will Russia shield Iran against USAn / Israeli nuclear strikes? In case of an imminent nuclear strike on Iran is Russia (and possibly others) going to issue a nuclear ultimatum to the would-be aggressor? And in case an actual nuclear attack on Iran happens is Russia going to retaliate / deter further attacks with its own nukes?
What is your opinion?
One thing: please do not start explaining why the above scenario is completely unthinkable, unrealistic and why it would never ever happen. I need your opinion on the possible events if such an attack does take place or it is about to happen. I do not need reasons why it would not happen; I need your opinion what might take place if it does happen. If you cannot answer my question, have no opinion or simply do not want to answer it please let me know it.
In case there is a formal commitment by Russia – one I know not of – when, where was it made?
Thanks in advance.
Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:27 pm EST/EDT
2nd that, but be polite to the Saker. Ask nicely next time, like someone who is civilized.

Thanks you for your indispensable work, dear Saker!

Marko on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:32 pm EST/EDT
I think USA still has nuclear option.
They will not hesitate to use it on Iran if Israel is in danger.
So, I think Iran shall be defeated anyway, as USA is much stronger.

Wrong. If the US uses nukes, then this will secure the total victory of Iran.
The Saker

Nachtigall on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:31 pm EST/EDT
How does this secure a total victory, dear Saker? Please help my to understand this: Nukes on every major city, industrial site, infrastructure with pos. millions dead – how is this a victory?
robert on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:41 pm EST/EDT
So, how many hostages for Iran are in Iraq now?
Petro-G on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:44 pm EST/EDT
I think that if Iran were to launch some devastating missiles into Israel, either a US ship/submarine or Israel will launch a nuclear bomb into Iran. The US knows there is nothing to be gained by a ground invasion. If we [the US] were to start launching missiles into Iran, Iran would rightfully be launching sophisticated arms back toward US ships and Israel and the US can't stand for that. We are good at dishing it out, but lousy at receiving it.

I can only believe we assassinated Solieman [apologies] because it is the writhing of a dying petrodollar. The US is desperate. But I don't understand how going to war is supposed to help?

Stand Easy on January 05, 2020 , · at 4:56 pm EST/EDT
Some short comments on the strategic blunder made by US.

Meantime, global ramifications are being felt. View from China, one of the biggest consumers of ME oil:

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1175782.shtml

and some mind-reading from a HK based rag:

"Beijing's ties with Tehran are crucial to its energy and geopolitical strategies, and with Moscow also in the mix, a broader conflagration is a real possibility"

https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/could-china-take-irans-side-in-a-war-with-us/

Japan had planned to send some military hardware to the ME just before the new year but Gen Soleimani's murder may change the calculus.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/03/national/japan-sdf-assassination-iran-qassem-soleimani/#.XhJYxfLmjN4

Last but not least, Happy Nativity to all Orthodox Christians (thanks for the beautifully illustrated Orthodox calendar, The Saker.)
Let us all pray for peace.

Kent on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:33 pm EST/EDT
"(thanks for the beautifully illustrated Orthodox calendar, The Saker.)"

Credits for the calendar(s) should go to one of our in house Artists and poets Ioan.

You obviously do not visit the Cafe' very often, do you?

Regards
Kent

Wendy on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:24 pm EST/EDT
Trump is the King of the South. Killing under a flag of parley is a rare thing these days and is the reason why Trump will end up going to war with no allies by his side just like the path mapped oit for him in Daniel.

Analysis sans eschatology is Onism.

Tom on January 05, 2020 , · at 5:32 pm EST/EDT
It's not a blunder.
Trump's goals pre-assassination:
1) withdraw US troops from the ME ("Fortress America") and
2) placate Israel
This is how it is done. Not a direct "hey guys, we have to bring the boys home." Trump tried that and got smashed by the Deep State and Israel. Instead, he is going to force the Islamic world to do the talking for him by refusing to host our pariah army (that's all they have to do, not destroy a major US base or two). Then even the Deep State will admit it's a lost cause. He can say he did all he could while achieving his goals.
As The Saker pointed out, the troops being sent now are to evacuate, not to conquer Tehran. Next time this year the US will have its troops home and Trump will be reelected

[Jan 04, 2020] Will Trump welcome the ejection of the US from Iraq - He should by Colonel Lang

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country. ..."
"... The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country? ..."
"... What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers. ..."
"... "We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law? ..."
"... Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'. ..."
"... Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers.. ..."
"... Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work. ..."
Jan 03, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

Somehow the Ziocons around Trump have forgotten that the present state of Iraq refused to yield to Obama's demands for a SOFA and in effect expelled the US from the country.

The Iraqi parliament is going to vote in emergency session over the issue of the death of al-Muhandis. Will they vote to expel the US from their country?

Will we go if they vote that way? We should. If we do not, then we will be exposed as imperialist hypocrites.

Trump should welcome such a vote. He wants to get out of the ME? What greater opportunity could we have to do so?

Let us leave if invited to go. Let the oh, so clever locals deal with their own hatreds and rivalries. pl


phodges , 03 January 2020 at 02:20 PM

What a lot of commentators seem to overlook is that America has basically declared war on Iraq, while our soldiers are hosted on joint bases with Iraqi soldiers.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 02:39 PM
Thank you, Pat!

But...Elora guesses you are being rhetorical here...because... if he would have died by the sword...would not have he had the opportunity to defend himself against his enemy/opponent?
Instead...he was caught on surprise...unarmed...and hit by an overwhelming force...he was going to some funerals...

Cameron Kelley , 03 January 2020 at 02:56 PM
Thank you, Colonel. We don't know, we don't care, but we can kill - that's not a recipe for success.
Jack , 03 January 2020 at 04:09 PM
"We need to get out of Iraq and Syria now. That is the only way that we're going to prevent ourselves from being dragged into this quagmire, deeper and deeper into a war with Iran." Tulsi Gabbard.

https://twitter.com/tulsigabbard/status/1213168223127949313?s=21

Would we get out if Iraq asks us to do so? I don't think so. There will be a hue & cry about appeasement of terror!

ex PFC Chuck -> Jack... , 03 January 2020 at 05:25 PM
It took Tulsi about 18 hours to get that brief statement out. Can't help but wonder what that delay was all about.
Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:14 PM
Some impressive images worth thousands words...just to remember everybody that this man was an appreciated human being...doing his duty....for his motherland...and his God....
Elora Danan said in reply to Elora Danan... , 03 January 2020 at 05:07 PM
To better understand the pain of that elderly yazidi woman in the video, some testimony by Rania Khalek on the role of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis ( the other militia commander killed who is being as well slandered as terrorist along Soleimani ...) in stopping yazidi genocide in Iraq when nobody else was giving a damn, less any help, for this people...

https://twitter.com/RaniaKhalek/status/1213198497668833280

divadab , 03 January 2020 at 04:17 PM
Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law?

And am I alone to be disgusted to see the senior members of our government lie blatantly and constantly, when they're not fellating the nearest likudnik....

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 04:20 PM
Tulsi...may be our last hope...

https://twitter.com/TulsiGabbard/status/1213168223127949313

Tulsi for president!

ISL , 03 January 2020 at 04:27 PM
Dear Colonel, seems you find yourself in Tulsi's (good) company.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=28&v=kToUJaOVgTA&feature=emb_logo

prawnik , 03 January 2020 at 04:32 PM
Trump should, but he won't. Might as well quote Bible verses to a robber.
turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 04:38 PM
ISL

I have been giving her money every month.

Factotum , 03 January 2020 at 04:57 PM
We go where we are wanted and appreciated. We have no skin in Iraq. Build the Wall and protect our own borders. Concentrate our resources on cyber-security.
A. Pols , 03 January 2020 at 05:48 PM
Tulsi makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately that disqualifies her for the presidency, not because she couldn't execute the functions of the presidency, but because neither the party apparatchiks nor the voters would give her the chance. These days either nationalistic claptrap or promises of more freebies are what carry the day. Quelle domage, eh?

As for the Iraqi parliament voting to expel U.S. forces? That's an interesting question. If they did, they'd better vote to expel the "den of spies" at the embassy and insist on our having a normal sized legation (as all countries would be well advised to do). But if they do, would we leave? I personally doubt it even though it would be best if we did and let the Iraqis do what they will, which would probably be reverting back to some sort of strongman govt, of a type more suited to their cultural traditions and inclinations. It's high time we afforded the rest of the world the type of cultural and political autonomy we claim to revere so much.

So, we leave? A good thing for us and for them and the world at large.

Or, we don't? Then we expose the truth the rest of the world already knows, but we at least expose the truth to our own people who have been fed a steady diet of mendacious BS about what we've been doing over there all these years.

That attack on the "airport limo" vehicles leaving Baghdad airport sure took some nerve on our part to think that we could sell something like that...

And, did Trump actually order it, or did someone else in the MIC order it first and Trump laid claim to it afterwards? Uncle Joe, if he had ordered it, would have afterwards announced the execution of a fall guy and denied any complicity! If Trump didn't order it, he should throw whoever did under the bus instead of crowing and wrapping himself in the flag. I wonder about what actually happened in planning this hit job on prominent military people on their way to a funeral for 31 people who may or may not have had anything whatsoever to do with the death of a single American mercenary in Iraq in an attack by persons unknown on a small outpost.

J , 03 January 2020 at 06:01 PM
It's times like this I wish I was a fly on the wall, listening to what the Russian General Staff conversations regarding this assassination are at this moment.

Trump IMHO would do well to seek Putin's counsel on how to exit the corner that Trump has backed US into. While this spells problems for our US, it also creates additional problems for Russia in the ways that could cause them MAJOR problem as well as in a full blown Mideast War with many players in the mix. Not a good mix either.

Israel can't handle a full blown Mideast War, no matter how much their narcissistic national psyche thinks they can. Israel is a mere postage stamp in a sea of rage, which tsunami waves could very easily consume them. Sheldon Adelson and his Likud/NEOCON blowhards have no concept of what is on the short horizon, that can go one way or the other.

I'm glad I'm retired in this instance. My glass of bourbon is more palatable than the grains of Mideast sand that fixing to get stirred up.

God help us all.

Pat, why does the US military always get left with the shit-storms to clean up after? Why?

Christian J Chuba , 03 January 2020 at 06:32 PM
Will we go if they vote that way? I'll go with no. The Neocons desperately want us in Iraq to protect Israel and stick it to Iran as much as possible. They have a laundry list of prepared arguments and we have the dumbest, most compliant, state media in recorded history. We also have a President who believes that intnl law is for weaklings and loves saying 'take the oil'.

I can hear the talking points already ...
1. 'Obama made the same mistake and it created ISIS.'
2. 'Iran has taken over Iraq, it's not a legitimate request' (look at how we selectively recognize govts in South America and no one blinks).
3. 'Iran will use Iraq as a base to attack us' (yeah, its about 100 miles closer).

I can't stand what we have become, the jackals have taken over and the MSM attacks the very few who are not jackals.

turcopolier , 03 January 2020 at 07:05 PM
A Pols

OK. Who do you think would have had the power to order the strike? Not the CIA, the military would not accept such an order. Not the chairman of the JCS, he is not in the chain of command. That leaves Esper, SECDEF. Really? He looks like a putschist to you? You are ignorant of the American government.

Elora Danan , 03 January 2020 at 07:18 PM
Take a look at this interview to David Petraeus by FP on yesterday´s summary executions...What you make of this? https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/01/03 He sounds as if he were the brain behind this operation on summary executions..along some other think tankers..
Harlan Easley , 03 January 2020 at 07:20 PM
Whoever is President we will have war. The President is just a feckless puppet controlled by the Zionist. I'll never vote again. It's a waste of time and a farce. Hillary or Donald no different just a matter of timing. Obama destroyed Libya and Syria. Bush II the simpleton and his fairy tale WMD lie. I've lost all respect for whatever "the republic" is suppose to be. On top of that the masses are too stupid for democracy to work.

[Jan 04, 2020] Higher oil prices can be enough punishment for the US until Iran find more effective ways to punish for this violation of international norms and sovereignty of Iraq

The oil market should be worried. Iran can stop all traffic through the Straight of Hormuz at will. And that would start a war. Which would keep it closed. It may be a mistake to think Iran's leadership is more sane than ours.
Jan 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Iran might also seek to draw Israel into a conflict via Hezbollah in Lebanon. We can't rule out some sort of grand-scale attack, but an array of smaller-scale activity is our core bet.

The risk that something bigger will trigger a real war, however, likely will put a premium on oil prices for the next few months, at least.

Higher oil prices represent a tax on oil consumers and a windfall for producers. World oil consumption is about 100M barrels per day, so each five dollars on the prices is equivalent to an annualized tax of about $183B per year, or 0.1% of global GDP. The U.S., however, is both a huge oil producer and a consumer. Domestic production runs at almost 13M bpd, with consumption at 21Mbpd. That would seem to suggest that the net effect of higher prices on the U.S. would be to depress economic growth, but recent experience points in the opposite direction, because oil sector capex, in the era of shale, is acutely sensitive to prices, even in the short term. When oil prices collapsed between spring 2014 and early 2016, the ensuing plunge in capital spending in the oil sector outweighed the boost to consumers' real income from cheaper gasoline and heating oil, and overall economic growth slowed markedly. This story played out in reverse when oil prices rebounded in the three years through spring 2018, and economic growth picked up even as consumers' real incomes were hit.

... ... ...

The wild card is whether turmoil in the Middle East triggers a sustained sell-off in equities, depressing business and consumer confidence to the point where labor market and inflation concerns become secondary. We'd be surprised -- the plunge in S&P futures is just the initial knee-jerk response -- but if Iran takes more drastic action than we are expecting, it will become a real risk. In that case, the Fed might have no choice but to ease, especially if credit markets seize-up too. In the meantime, expect defensive stocks to outperform, with downward pressure on Treasury yields and gains for safe-haven currencies, until Iran's response becomes clear. To repeat: Iran will respond.


DemandSider , 24 minutes ago link

9/11 Suspects: The Dancing Israelis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XHm56O2NTI&t=425s

I still can't get any logical explanation as to why this Israeli spy ring, the largest ever on U.S. soil, was in The U.S. And, why were they dancing after the first plane impact?

Anybody?

Karl Marxist , 25 minutes ago link

News flash. The government in Washington is extremely unpopular as well. More unpopular in America than the Iranian government is with Iranians. I am saying this because anyone who spent any time with Impeachment; read how Barr let Epstein and all pedo elites walk away fully protected, his hideous Operation Guardian, Trump's complete destruction of 1st Amendment rights to free speech in the guise of "suppressing antisemitism" ... God, how I hate this tyranny complete with WalMarts and mulatto invaders and LGBT as "normal", the all tranny military, meaningless laws we are rounded up and shot to death for the slightest traffic infraction black, white but never Jewish. They get away with everything. Trump made them a protected class, Judaism a race and a nationality to have special protections at taxpayer expense. What a wonderful country I just can't get enough of....

Jung , 43 minutes ago link

No one will miss the US apart frmo the Americans themselves: the polls are clear worldwide that the world considers the Americans to be ruled by the most aggressive and psychopathic regimes. They have killed millions since WWII and the world would be a much better place without the US.

[Jan 04, 2020] The price of crude oil has jumped over $2 USD on the world markets since the news

Jan 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michaelj72 , Jan 3 2020 10:05 utc | 19

The price of crude oil has jumped over $2 USD on the world markets since the news

I expect the US to fully resist being booted out of Iraq (which would also make it's two major positions in Syria highly untenable). who could now believe that US troops in Iraq and Syria won't come under sustained attack now, by the many allies Iran has in the area?

Elijah gives breaking news
https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1213032002682867715

Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani considers "the #US attack against the #BaghdadAirport is a clear violation of #Iraq sovereignty".

That is clear support for the US withdrawal from #Iraq.

AND

S Sistani condemns the "attack against Iraqi (not Iranian-militia) position on the borders killing our Iraqi sons to the hateful attack on #BaghdadAirport is a violation and internationally unlawful (US) act against anti-#ISIS hero(s) leading to difficult times for #Iraq".


bluedotterel , Jan 3 2020 10:07 utc | 20

Really, the ball is in Iraq's court. This is an attack on Iraqi sovereignty as much as an act of war on Iran. We will now see what the Iraqi are made of.
Peter AU1 , Jan 3 2020 10:07 utc | 21
@never mind "Soleimani really the target?"

Trump was personally responsible for having the organisation Soleimani led declared a terrorist organisation. Time to quit the "Trump is a dumbfuck led by others" Trump is around 70 and has been his own boss all his life. He is now commander in chief of the US military. He gives the orders, nobody else. He doesn't give a shit about the cold war and Europe, hence people thinking he is a peacenik. What he does care about is enemies of Israel and control of energy.

Bjørn Holmgaard , Jan 3 2020 10:11 utc | 24
The best revenge the Iraninans could have would be the expulsion of US troops from Iraq and Syria, which by the way was also the overarching goal of Soleimani...

No blood but his work completed..

Russianstyle revenge.

never mind , Jan 3 2020 10:22 utc | 28
@Peter AU1

Then the US is willfully shooting itself in the foot and I have a hard time believing that.

Peter AU1 , Jan 3 2020 10:29 utc | 29
Trump doesn't give a shit about soft power. He believes in hard power. Iraq has no defence against the US, and Trump intends to attack Iran. He needs a 9 11 to take the American population with him.
Jackrabbit , Jan 3 2020 10:30 utc | 30
Bjørn Holmgaard @24:
The best revenge the Iraninans could have would be the expulsion of US troops from Iraq and Syria ...

UN resolution 2249 (2015) :
Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da'esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da'esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council, pursuant to the Statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria;

USA have made it very clear that they are not leaving Syria and the same thinking/excuses likely applies to Iraq.

Some will argue that using UN2249 as justification for over-staying and virtual occupation is wrong-headed. Nevertheless, USA claims to remain to ensure against a resurgence of ISIS. Clearly they intend to stay until their goals are met or they are forced out militarily.

!!

Jen , Jan 3 2020 10:34 utc | 31
I suspect I'm not the only MoA barfly who thinks the assassination of Hossein Soleymani could have been planned with Mossad or other organisations and individuals in Israeli society.
jared , Jan 3 2020 10:35 utc | 32
I have the impression that Israel is taking responsibility for management of Iraq/Iran situation.

Suspect Trump is delegating and is along for ride. No dought in control in his own mind.

It appears that president is obliged to accept intelligence and guidance of security state effectively tying his hands

Laguerre , Jan 3 2020 10:35 utc | 33
The Iraqis are certainly capable of making life for the US very uncomfortable in Iraq and Syria, even if not force withdrawal. The present US structure and numbers depend on Iraqi acquiescence, and that's about shot, even before the assassination. If the position is to be maintained without Iraqi acquiescence, then thousands more troops would be required, and that wouldn't go down well back home in the States. That's one of the reasons why the act was a grave miscalculation.
Kurious , Jan 3 2020 10:51 utc | 37
This was not Trump`s decision. Trump had to take responsibilty to show he is in command. He will soon realize that he was played by the CIA and the Israelis. By then it is too late.
The US and its vassals are speeding up confrontation with the Axis because they know that the showdown is inevitable. However, It will not happen according to the US timetable.
Keep a good supply of popcorn on hand. The pandora box has plenty of surprises. The question remains,

Will the state of Israel survives?

God help us.

Peter AU1 , Jan 3 2020 10:55 utc | 39
Veritas X- "He was a brilliant military strategist"

That's why Trump hit him. And I say hit because Trump has very much a US mob or movie style mafia mentality.

Laguerre , Jan 3 2020 11:04 utc | 40
I figure Iran will have to retaliate and thus this will likely escalate. The Saker initially thinks war is 80% certain, I think it's probably a bit higher than that.

Posted by: TEP | Jan 3 2020 10:49 utc | 36

The Iranians would be foolish to allow themselves to be goaded like that.

[Dec 29, 2019] There has rarely been a Secretary of State as dishonest and political as Pompeo, and his brief time running the department has been one of the low points in its history. But probably only until Trump find a replacement

Dec 29, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The other possible replacements include Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, Deputy Secretary of State Biegun, U.S. ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell, Trump's Iran envoy Brian Hook, and two hard-liners from the Senate, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton. Most of these names inspire some mixture of loathing and dread, and of the seven men being considered Biegun is the only one remotely qualified to take the job. Hook has disqualified himself , and he shouldn't even be working at the State Department right now much less running it. Grenell functions as little more than an international troll , and he has done a terrible job representing the U.S. in Berlin, so promoting him would be an equally terrible mistake.

Rubio and Cotton are fanatics with the most toxic foreign policy views, and they would also likely be very poor managers of the department. In that respect, they are very much like Pompeo. Mnuchin would likely have great difficulty getting confirmed, and replacing one sanctions-happy Secretary with the Treasury Secretary who has been enforcing those sanctions is no improvement at all. As for O'Brien, he was a bad choice for National Security Advisor , he has done nothing since he took over from Bolton to suggest otherwise, and so it makes absolutely no sense to promote him. Biegun clearly has the confidence of the Senate following his overwhelming confirmation vote to be Deputy Secretary, so having him take over the department for whatever time is left in Trump's term seems the best available choice.

It is a measure of how chaotic and unsuccessful Trump's foreign policy is that we are talking about the possible nomination of a third Secretary of State in less than three years. Pompeo has outlasted many of his administration colleagues to become one of the longest-serving Cabinet officials under this president, and his tenure is not even two years old. It is no wonder that the list of likely replacements is so weak. Who would want to join a scandal-ridden administration with a failed foreign policy?

Pompeo's departure will be good news for the State Department, and the sooner it comes the better. There has rarely been a Secretary of State as dishonest and political as Pompeo, and his brief time running the department has been one of the low points in its history. Considering the damage that Pompeo has done along with the harm done by Tillerson, the next Secretary of State will have a lot of work to do to rebuild and not much time to do it in. Pompeo should clear the way for the next Secretary and resign as soon as possible.

[Nov 26, 2019] Support for Restraint Is on the Rise by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... 38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall. ..."
"... The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention: ..."
"... With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons ..."
"... There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening. ..."
Nov 26, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

he Eurasia Group Foundation's new survey of public opinion on U.S. foreign policy finds that support for greater restraint continues to rise:

Americans favor a less aggressive foreign policy. The findings are consistent across a number of foreign policy issues, and across generations and party lines.

The 2019 survey results show that most Americans support a more restrained foreign policy, and it also shows an increase in that support since last year. There is very little support for continuing the war in Afghanistan indefinitely, there is virtually no appetite for war with Iran, and there is a decline in support for a hawkish sort of American exceptionalism. There is still very little support for unilateral U.S. intervention for ostensibly humanitarian reasons, and support for non-intervention has increased slightly:

In 2018, 45 percent of Americans chose restraint as their first choice. In 2019, that has increased to 47 percent. Only 19 percent opt for a U.S.-led military response and 34 percent favor a multilateral, UN-led approach to stop humanitarian abuses overseas.

38% of respondents want to end the war in Afghanistan now or within one year, and another 31% support negotiations with the Taliban to bring the war to an end. A broad majority of Americans wants to bring the war to a conclusion. I already mentioned the survey's finding that there is majority support for reducing the U.S. military presence in East Asia last night. Americans not only want to get out of our interminable wars overseas, but they also want to scale back U.S. involvement overall.

The report's working definition of American exceptionalism is a useful one: "American exceptionalism is the belief that the foreign policy of the United States should be unconstrained by the parochial interests or international rules which govern other countries." This is not the only definition one might use, but it gets at the heart of what a lot of hawks really mean when they use this phrase. While most Americans still say they subscribe to American exceptionalism either because of what the U.S. represents or what it has done, there is less support for these views than before. Among the youngest respondents (age 18-29), there is now a clear majority that rejects this idea.

The survey asked respondents how the U.S. should respond if "Iran gets back on track with its nuclear weapons program." That is a loaded and potentially misleading question, since Iran has not had anything resembling a nuclear weapons program in 16 years, so there has been nothing to get "back on track" for a long time. Framing the question this way is likely to elicit a more hawkish response. In spite of the questionable wording, the results from this year show that there is less support for coercive measures against Iran than last year and more support for negotiations and non-intervention:

A strong majority of both Republicans and Democrats continue to seek a diplomatic resolution involving either sanctions or the resumption of nuclear negotiations. This year, there was an increase in the number of respondents across party lines who would want negotiations to resume even if Iran is a nuclear power in the short term, and a bipartisan increase in those who believe outright that Iran has the right to develop nuclear weapons to defend itself. So while Republicans might be more likely than Democrats to believe Iran threatens peace in the Middle East, voters in neither party are eager to take a belligerent stand against it.

With only around 10% favoring it, there is almost no support for preventive war against Iran. Americans don't want war with Iran even if it were developing nuclear weapons, and it isn't doing that. It may be that the failure of the "maximum pressure" campaign has also weakened support for sanctions. Support for the sanctions option dropped by almost 10 points overall and plunged by more than 20 points among Republicans. In 2018, respondents were evenly split between war and sanctions on one side or negotiations and non-intervention on the other. This year, support for diplomacy and non-intervention in response to this imaginary nuclear weapons program has grown to make up almost 60% of the total. If most Americans favor diplomacy and non-intervention in this improbable scenario, it is safe to assume that there is even more support for those options with the real Iranian government that isn't pursuing nuclear weapons.

There is substantial and growing support for bringing our current wars to an end and avoiding unnecessary conflicts in the future. This survey shows that there is a significant constituency in America that desires a more peaceful and restrained foreign policy, and right now virtually no political leaders are offering them the foreign policy that they say they want. It is long past time that Washington started listening.

[Sep 18, 2019] Iran is a coherent nation with long history and proved ability to defend itslef even at the cost of enormous sacrifices. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on Iran coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by Iran and all its allies.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Sep 18 2019 2:54 utc | 80

@b - "Iran has thereby plausible deniability when attacks like the recent one on Abquiq happen. That Iran supplied drones with 1,500 kilometer reach to its allies in Yemen means that its allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and elsewhere have access to similar means."

I read the Tyler Rogoway WarZone article you linked to, and it was the first time I'd seen the concept that Iran "has built a plausible deniability environment" for itself, but I think Rogoway is missing a serious point. If Iran has such deniability, I don't think this exists by contrivance. I think the truth of the situation has created such plausible deniability, if in fact such a thing even exists, or if such a thing is even desired by Iran or any of its allies.

I would like to offer a more nuanced view of the relationship between Iran and its allies. Specifically regarding your view that Iran's allies are "willing to act on Iran's behalf should the need arise."

I get the impression that it's more a case that all these allies see themselves in the same existential position, and have developed, and are continuing to refine, an "all for one and one for all" approach to the regional security of all the sovereign allies.

Sharmine Narwani explained this very thing in her recent interview with Ross Ashcroft, where she said that if one of the allies is attacked by the US or Israel, all of the allies will join in immediately and without reservation, because for each of them it is the same existential threat:
What's the real plan with Iran?

And the interview you link to by Nader Talebzadeh with IRGC General Amir Ali Hajizadeh concludes with the general's statement that "...in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen; now Muslims are all a coalition standing next to each other".
How likely is the possibility of a military conflict between Iran and the US?

~~

I'm not trying to split hairs here, but it strikes me as important to note that these countries have moved on from being isolated, and are in fact in a coalition, albeit still coalescing. Their militaries have trained together and established joint command centers in recent times.

As the general explained, when the threat of attack by the US seemed imminent - at the time Iran downed the drone - Iran was fully prepared to attack and destroy several US bases. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on one of these members of the coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by all allies.

Given such a geopolitical situation now throughout the region, the concept of Iran's having "plausible deniability" for other countries to act on its behalf seems too narrow a view. And this is why all the fevered discussion about who "owns" the Houthi strike is missing the main strategic point that the whole region "owns" it - and why it is sufficient that the Houthi did in fact act alone, but not alone, because none of these forces is now alone. It is, one gathers, a brotherly coalition that has formed and is becoming yet stronger

So it need not be the case that everything flows from Iran, or revolves around Iran. The whole region is now the steel trap not to step on.

donkeytale , Sep 18 2019 3:16 utc | 81

Grieved @ 80

Excellent point very well stated.

[Sep 18, 2019] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,
re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,
as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel ocupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

Iranophobia goes back to 1979,

Russophobia goes back to at least 1917 if not further, especially in the UK,

Sinophobia for the US reaches back to the mid to late 1800's

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Sep 18, 2019] Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Sep 17 2019 19:58 utc | 5

Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/main-street-america-and-another-war-in.html

Should the warrior who currently inhabits the position of Secretary of State use his influence to persuade Donald Trump to enter what would likely be a very lengthy war of attrition in Iran, it may prove to be a very costly move for the Republican Party in November of 2020 given the level of support for such actions among Main Street Americans.

[Sep 17, 2019] The Costs of Trump's Economic War on Iran Keep Growing by Daniel Larison

Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Paul Pillar comments on the attack on the Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq, and he connects it to the administration's dangerous, failing "maximum pressure" campaign:

Iranian leaders have been explicit in warning that if Iran could not export its oil, then other Persian Gulf producers would not be able to either. Was anyone in the Trump administration listening?

To borrow another formulation from Pompeo's tweet, there is no evidence that in the absence of the administration's economic warfare against Iran, Iran would do anything like attack the Abqaiq facility or have any incentive to conduct such an attack. If Iran did do the attack, then it was a direct and unsurprising result of the administration's policy of unrelenting hostility and of inflicting economic pain with no apparent end.

The Trump administration's economic war on Iran has not achieved anything except to destabilize the region further and impoverish the Iranian people. It is the cause of the current crisis with Iran, and were it not for this economic war we can reasonably assume that there would have been no attacks on tankers, pipelines, and possibly oil facilities in the last few months. As Pillar notes, the administration has shown Iran unrelenting hostility, and they have continued to apply one set of sanctions after another, and then the administration pretends that its own actions have not created the present mess. A smart administration would start lifting sanctions, but then a smart administration would never have imposed them in the first place.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. increase its involvement in Yemen and do more to devastate that country, as this former admiral has suggested that we do in an interview with Foreign Policy . The U.S. should have ended our involvement in the war on Yemen long ago. It is an ongoing disgrace that the administration continues to support and arm the governments that have been destroying and starving Yemen. Our involvement in the war is already unauthorized and illegal, and directly launching attacks alongside the Saudi coalition would make things even worse.

Deescalating tensions with Iran is the only sane way forward, so of course the only thing being seriously considered right now in Washington is a possible attack on Iran. It can't be stressed enough that the U.S. has no justification, legal or otherwise, to launch an attack on Iran. Not only is the U.S. not obliged to come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, but our government is bound by the U.N. Charter that prohibits using force against another state except in self-defense. No one can seriously claim that a U.S. strike on Iran right now would be anything other than an illegal attack in clear violation of international law.

Sid Finster 5 hours ago

The only sane thing MBS can do is to declare defeat and withdraw from Yemen, tout suite .

The problem is that there is no way for him to do so without humiliation. Shame and honor are paramount in Saudi society, and MBS has just gotten a very nasty and very public punch in the nose. Anything less than brutal escalation, and his honor and prestige will be seriously damaged.

The Saudi tyrants are stuck in Yemen so deep, that they have little choice but to keep doubling down.

[Sep 16, 2019] This Wasn't How Trump's War on Iran Was Supposed to Go by David C. Hendrickson

Sep 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The U.S. thought it was cleverly choking the regime, but now it's clear that 'maximum pressure' goes both ways.

• The Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities, which took 5.7 million barrels of oil per day offline, is the escalation that wasn't supposed to happen. Now that it has happened, we enter perilous new terrain.

America has blamed Iran and hinted at some sort of retaliation . Iran has denied responsibility, while the Houthis gladly take it. There are conflicting reports of where the missiles or drones were launched from, which we will learn more about in the coming days.

In the meantime, Trump is in a tight spot of his own making, with neither escalation nor retrenchment looking to be attractive options.

It is still uncertain when Saudi Aramco can get everything back on line. The attack showed sophistication. Critical nodes were hit. If the facilities are quickly repaired, that lessens the gravity of this event. The Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s showed the resiliency of oil installations, as Iraqi bombers pounded Kharg Island, where Iran exported much of its oil, yet the Iranians managed to keep the exports flowing. This suggests that a war of attrition today would be possible without major disruptions, though the impact of new technologies of attack and resistance makes any guess hazardous.

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If past crises are any indication, a sustained loss of 5.7 million barrels per day, over five percent of world oil consumption, would likely quadruple oil prices. Strategic petroleum reserves can cover this to a certain extent: the U.S. system can pump 4.4 million barrels per day. But it would exhaust its reserves in 150 days at that pace. We do not know whether more strikes will be forthcoming or whether such efforts can be successfully suppressed with airpower or invigorated defenses. All we can say is that the great game has advanced to a new stage.

From the beginning, escalation has seemed the likely consequence of the Trump administration's decision to asphyxiate the Iranian regime by cutting off its ability to export oil. This was a declaration of economic war. That is the polite term, as it is an action every international lawyer on the planet, back in the day when these things mattered, would have called an act of war without any precious qualifiers.

It turns out that there may be some street cred to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's assertion that if Iran isn't allowed to export oil, others will face obstacles too. Tit for tat. Got a quid? Here's a quo. The funny thing is that any significant threat to Saudi capacity creates a pressing need to get Iran's spare capacity onto the world market. As to which side now has more leverage, in a position to squeeze harder, that's a tough question. Putting it nicely, the Iranians can, if their will is stout, impose huge costs on the United States and the world economy. They would only consider that if pressed extremely hard, yet the United States has been pressing them extremely hard for over a year now.

Remember that the purpose of America's economic war on Iran was to force Iran to submit to 12 demands issued by Pharaoh Mike Pompeo in his edict delivered on May 21, 2018. It was really disappointing that Pompeo didn't raise the obvious thirteenth demand and insist that the embargo would not be lifted until an American regent was appointed in Tehran, taking the Islamic Revolution under neoliberal guidance until circumstances changed, after which Iranian democracy would be restored to its former lack of glory. That was implied, to be sure, but we didn't get much straight talk from Mr. Pompeo on that point.

This ultimatum was reminiscent of the demands that the Austro-Hungarians made on the Serbs on a certain date in 1914. Make them as extreme as you can, said the inspired diplomatists looking for war. World reaction was then unfavorable. Winston Churchill, in charge of Britain's navy, called it "the most insolent document of its kind ever devised." The resemblance to Pompeo's ultimatums hardly shows the imminence of a 1914-like crisis today, but there is a certain arrogance to both the U.S. warmongers and Austro-Hungarians. The Austrians got the war they were looking for; the neocons may yet get theirs.

Trump's renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal is mostly about Israel and its perceived security requirements. Not only must Iran not have a single nuclear weapon, it must not have the theoretical capability to produce a weapon, were the Iranians to break from their pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the JCPOA. This imposes a requirement on the Islamic Republic that no other medium-sized power has had to endure. That the Iranians are bearers of an ancient civilization makes the humiliation all the more painful. Those 12 demands were not designed to produce a settlement; they were designed to produce a crisis, as they now have done. Regime change lies back of them -- that or simply the immiseration of another Muslim country.

American policy toward Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has recently been mostly about arms sales. People say all the time that the oil companies are the heavyweights in this drama. In fact, they are secondary. What has driven events in the recent past is the military-industrial complex salivating over the sales of high-priced and high-tech U.S. armaments to sheikdoms with money to burn. The MIC plunderers, like the Hollywood moguls, understand that you simply must have the foreign market to make the big profits. Politicians see such sales as a way of making our own arms purchases remotely affordable and thereby politically palatable. For these reasons, foreign arms sales to reprehensible characters is Washington's go-to move, a win-win for the plutocrats and the praetorians.

The United States acted under no prompting of national interest in so aiding and abetting the Saudi war in Yemen, but its hankering after all those lucrative contracts was just too much temptation. When the flesh is weak, as it seems to be in Washington, burning flesh is not a problem. Trump saw it as a great business deal and had no compunctions about the human fallout in Yemen. The Democrats -- a certain Democrat, especially -- did what was once said of Austrian Queen Maria Theresa after the Partition of Poland in 1772: "She wept, but she took."

The president may have outsmarted himself this time. He got rid of National Security Adviser John Bolton because he didn't like Bolton's across-the-board hawkish recommendations, but he signed on to the very big change in U.S. policy towards Iran that Bolton had recommended. Trump thought he was in control of the escalation. But when you declare your intention to asphyxiate another country, you've committed an act of war. Retaliation from the other side usually follows in some form or fashion. You can then advance to your ruin or retreat in ignominy.

Trump has threatened retaliation, but he surely does not want a big war with Iran. His supporters definitely do not want a war with Iran. Americans in general are opposed to a war with Iran. Mysteriously, however, the U.S. declaration of war on Iran in fact -- though not, of course, in name, heaven forbid -- escaped notice by the commentariat this past year. The swamp's seismograph doesn't record a reading when we violate the rules, but when the other guy does, it's 7.8 on the Richter Scale.

The whole drama, in a nutshell, is just the old-fashioned hubris of the imperial power, issuing its edicts, and genuinely surprised when it encounters resistance, even though such resistance confirms for the wunderkinds their view of the enemy's malevolence.

Is Trump trapped? That is the question of the hour. He faces strong pressure to do something in retaliation, but that something may aggravate the oil shock and imperil his re-election. As he dwells on that possibility, he will probably look for ways to back down. He will try to get out of the trap set by the U.S. economic war on Iran without abandoning the economic war on Iran. But that probably won't work; that was Iran's message over the weekend. Were he to abandon the economic war, however, he would get a ton of flak from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The commentators would scream "appeasement!" In Washington lobby-land, we'd be back to 1938 in a flash.

Does the president have the gumption to resist that tired line? I hope so.

David Hendrickson teaches history at Colorado College and is the author of Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition.

[Sep 16, 2019] The continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources

Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

camfree , 26 minutes ago link

Bibi is desperate for war with Iran to avoid election defeat and prison and Bolton is fired/resigns only to predict "Iranian deception" on the way out the door.

Insurrexion , 33 minutes ago link

Zeroes,

Re: $100/Bl Oil...

Today, Brent climbed as much as 12% towards $70 per barrel and the US crude oil rose 10% to nearly $61. Historically, Brent crude oil reached an all time high of 147.50 in July of 2008. Remember what happened next?

Qui Bono?

Who suffers?

Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Iran are a mess and cannot produce to make a difference.

This will be the catalyst for the economic downturn.

attah-boy-Luther , 39 minutes ago link

Trumptards locked and loaded....sigh and now this:

https://www.henrymakow.com/2019/09/disgrace-canadas-theft-of-ir.html

So the continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources never ceases to amaze me.

[Sep 10, 2019] With Iran the USA repeating mistakes it made with North Koria

Sep 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Sep 9 2019 23:21 utc | 15

G W Bush was responsible for North Korea developing nuclear weapons, the North Koreans did a deal whereby the US would supply several light water reactors and 500,000 tons of oil per year in exchange for NK not pursuing its nuclear program, the US accused the Koreans of cheating [with no proof] and cancelled the agreement, thinking that sanctions and military pressure would force Korea to capitulate. North Korea then decided to go nuclear. That same US mistake is happening again with Iran, US hubris is on full display,but this time Iran has the 'arc of resistance. on its side plus Russia and China. Trump will not go back to the JCPOA it is not in his nature, the only thing we can hope for is a Trump defeat at the next election, and hope an adult wins.

SteveK9 , Sep 9 2019 23:47 utc | 16

Harry Law #15. Harry, have you seen the people running for the Democratic nomination? Hope is not a word I would use. Gabbard at least wants peace, but she will not be allowed to win the nomination (she is too young in any case). And if by some miracle she were to be nominated and win, she would not be allowed to carry out her own goals for peace. She would be defeated or failing that, killed. As would anyone who really went up against the most powerful political party in America, the War Party.

[Sep 09, 2019] Are Iran sanctions effective?

Sep 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

... ... ...

PATRICK COCKBURN: I'm a bit doubtful about it. They have done a certain amount, this offer of a $15 billion credit line, to make up for the loss of Iranian oil revenue It was a French idea originally, but they are asking Iran to step right back into the old nuclear deal, but the Iranians are not likely to do that while they're subject to US sanctions. US sanctions and the sanctioning of European companies or banks that deal with Iran, basically means that Iran is facing an economic siege.

So these are maneuvers. The Iranians want to show they're being kind of moderate. They want to preserve this deal as they do. At the same time, they don't want to look as though they're pushovers, that sanctions are squeezing them to death, and they've got no alternative but to give up. This would be to surrender to what Trump calls the policy of maximum pressure. I think we're a long way from any real agreement on this. It's still escalating. GREG WILPERT: Iran also just recently announced that it is releasing seven of the 23 crew members it is holding of a Swedish-owned, but British-registered tanker that Iran had seized last July. Iran's Revolutionary Guard seized that tanker in retaliation for the British seizing an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar in early July, but the Iranian tanker has now been released. Now, how do you see the situation of these tankers evolving? Could such seizures of oil tankers eventually lead to an escalation and to even war?

PATRICK COCKBURN: Yes, they could. This is sort of a game of chicken. As you said, it started off on the 4th of July when the British rather melodramatically dropped 30 Royal Marine commandos on the deck of this vessel saying, "It was heading for Syria. This had nothing to do with sanctions on Iran, but was a breach of sanctions on Syria imposed by the EU." This never sounded right because it's a peculiar moment for Britain to suddenly put such energy into enforcing EU sanctions, when we all know that Britain is trying to leave the EU at the moment. There's a great political crisis here in Britain about this. This looked as though it was on the initiative of Washington. Then, as was inevitable, the Iranians retaliated against British-flagged vessels in the Gulf. There was an escalation that seems to have died down at the moment.

As I see it, the Iranian policy is to maintain pressure by sort of pinprick attacks. There were some small mines placed on oil tankers of the United Arab Emirates. Then when we had the shooting down of the American drone, a whole series of events to show that they're not frightened, that they can retaliate, but not bring it up to the level of war. That's sort of the way the Iranians often react to this sort of thing, with some covert military measures and to create an atmosphere of crisis, but not bring a war about.

Of course, once you start doing this, it could slip over the edge of the cliff at any moment. The Iranians did a sort of mirror image of the British takeover of their tanker when they took over the British tanker crew, which are just being released, as you mentioned. They dropped 30 commandos on the deck. There was a British Naval vessel not so far away, not far enough to stop this, but let's say that Naval vessel had been closer. Would they have opened fire on a helicopter dropping these 30 Iranian commandos on the boat? That would have brought us – would have been a war, and could have very rapidly escalated. We're always on, as I said, the edge of the cliff in the Gulf with each side sort of daring the other to go further.

PATRICK COCKBURN: Well, it's falling apart by inches, but there's still quite a long way to go on that. I think the one thing that has emerged is that the US, Trump and Iran, don't want war. At one time, the US was calling on – some of its senior officials were calling for a regime change. How far do they really believe this? When Trump decided not to retaliate for the drone being shot down, that shows that he wants to rely on sanctions on this sort of very intense economic siege of Iran, but I don't think the Iranians are going to come running. Once they know there isn't going to be an all-out war, they'll try to sustain these sanctions, and the situation isn't quite as desperate as it looks. Obviously, they're suffering a lot. On the other hand, they're not isolated. China and Russia give them a measure of support.

The EU, rather pathetically, says it's trying to maintain the nuclear deal of 2015, but it's rather underlining the political and military weakness of the EU that they haven't been able to do much about it. Big companies are too frightened of US sanctions against them if they have any relations with Iran. So the Europeans aren't coming well out of it. Obviously, their relations with Trump are pretty frosty. They also probably don't think it's worth a really big crisis between the EU, the European states, and America on this issue, but they are looking pretty feeble at the moment.


Tom Pfotzer , September 8, 2019 at 8:28 am

There's one thing that continues to puzzle me about the sanctions.

My understanding of these sanctions is that they are designed to prevent the Iranians from importing certain goods from Western countries, and prevent export of and payments for Iranian goods to Western countries.

Why are these sanctions effective?

Iran has demonstrated that they can manufacture. They have open trading relations with Russian and China, which gives them access to materials and manufactures they might not be able to source within Iran.

They can trade oil for goods, and that oil can readily be absorbed by China or re-packaged and sold by Russia if it chose to. Both Russia and China are highly motivated to bypass the SWIFT payments system.

Both Russia and China have a roughly analagous situation re: trade with the West, and they have been coping with it for over a decade in the case of Russia, somewhat less for China.

Why isn't Iran re-directing external purchasing toward domestic sources, and using that pressure as a means to build their internal economic capacity?

What am I missing?

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 10:29 am

My two cents worth.
Alas, this is now a sort of, kind of, globalized economic system. Even prior to the 'Neo-Liberal Dispensation,' the world had international trade in raw materials and some manufactured goods. As a side effect of this, internal national development of all sorts of materials and merchandise languished. Why build an expensive factory or mine to get something when you could buy it cheaper overseas? Where your idea has merit is in 'national security' goods production. The things that make a country 'safe' should be sourced, if at all possible, at home, where supply can be protected and controlled.

The second point I'd like to stress is how that oil is paid for and delivered. If I read aright, most Persian oil is shipped to the end user. Thus, control of the seaways and vessles plying same is crucial. That's why these somewhat symbolic oil tanker 'grabs' are important. This demonstrates to the world at large one's ability to control the trans-shipment of oil, from anywhere, to anywhere. The seizure of the oil transit ships was a message to the entire oil using world: "We can shut down your economy whenever we want." As Lambert sometimes quotes from Frank Herbert: "The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it."

The replacement of the SWIFT system would free the world from American economic thuggery. When oil is finally priced, in significant amounts anyway, in something other than American dollars, then will the world economy begin to regain equitability.

Tom Pfotzer , September 8, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Of course if the option of trade is available, it's in everyone's interest to trade, under the "caparative advantage" principle which underlies the dogma of free trade.

However, there isn't free trade for Iran, China, Russia, N. Korea, etc. So, they have to improvise. Some countries, like China, are re-directing trade inwards. If Google won't license the Android OS to Huawei, for example, Huawei makes their own smart phone OS.

So the question becomes "why hasn't Iran instituted a crash program to build Iran-based companies to enable Iran to substitute Iran-manufactured/sourced products for ones formerly obtained abroad?

Russia and China have both done this very successfully, and there are many economic as well as "security" reasons to do it.

With respect to the "selling oil to end-users .vs. to brokers" the end-user would probably prefer to buy direct from the source, to cut out the middle-man's fee. I don't see how that presents an obstacle to buying Iran's oil.

Lastly, if it's a question of whether or not the oil can be delivered, the rest of the world won't side with the U.S. if we seize cargoes on the high seas. That's what the fiasco with the Grace 1 demonstrated. Furthermore, the sales contract could simply specify that the goods are to be picked up dockside @ Iran, transferring the transport risk to the buyer (e.g. China, for ex). Nobody is going to hijack a Chinese oil freighter.

Please rebut / add your 2c.

Lastly

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Another farthings worth of comment.
For the last point, I see two possibilities. First, the Neocons in Washington may not care what the rest of the world thinks, under the (fallacious) assumption that America IS the world. Second, the 'disruptions' of oil sea transport can be carried out by "arms length" third parties, viz. the recent spate of tanker 'minings' in the Persian Gulf being 'sourced' to dissident elements within the Arab world. So, some "Somali Pirates" would be the obvious choice for 'hijackings' of Chinese flagged tankers, or "Yemeni Pirates," or "Baluch Pirates," etc. etc.
In reference to other points you raise, there is a lag time in the implementation of industrial policy. During WW2, America already had heavy industry available for war production. The lag time was determined by the length of time needed for retooling of those extant factories. When there is no extant heavy industry plant available, the lag time becomes much longer. Having worked in commercial construction during my life, I attest that planning, preparing for, and building industrial capacity, takes years. Iran could well be in the middle of an industrial building phase right now. Add to the usual worries attendant to industrial construction the worry of some outside hostile actor coming over and bombing your shiny new factory back to rubble and you have added a new layer of complexity to the endeavour. Air defense for industrial base has not usually been part of an average country's economic planning regime.
One reason I can think of as to why Russia and China have embarked on an "internalization" program way in advance of, say, Iran's is that the two former State Socialist countries have weathered nearly a centuries worth of hostility, both rhetorical and military, emanating from the West. Their latest 'internalization' programs could be the result of several generations worth of institutional memory residing within the nomenklaturas of the two states.
Iran, on the other hand, has had an up and down relationship with the West.
At one time, a client state of the West, at another, in a fiercely nationalistic confrontation with the West, in both regimes, a trading partner with the West as far as oil goes.
The promise of present day Iran for the world in general is that it is finally trying to forge an independent self-identity. Someone in power in the West must realize that, if Iran slips the leash of the West, then other countries will follow. Nothing less than Western Hegemony is at stake.

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:51 pm

Or if oil is progressively transcended and deleted from more and more of the world's energy portfolio.
That would give those who "don't need oil anymore" some new post-petro freedom of action.

ambrit , September 8, 2019 at 5:57 pm

One area where oil will be needed for the foreseeable future is in the lubrication of moving parts. I have yet to see a true "Buckey Ball" lubricant on the market.

Odysseus , September 8, 2019 at 11:17 pm

+1

jefemt , September 8, 2019 at 9:14 am

Good question. No answers here, but another observation and question:

While I don't endorse it, what about the legitimacy of Nation-states to pursue their best interest, and the implied hubris/ arrogance that counters with actions and policy precluding that autonomy? The Great Game ™?

Cuba blockades. They have done pretty well, despite nearly 70 years of very harsh blockade. Look how much the US has punished the least amongst the Cuban human beings, some for their entire life

Venezuela?

North Korea and Iran aspire to have the ultimate WMD. Why does the US get to have the say? My measuring stick senses that the US hardly holds the moral high ground.

Then, the counter-point that we have never tried in the recent history of man–global cooperation and no more war. The image of our earth floating in space, the big blue marble, akin to a Star Trek enterprise ship, with all of the war-ing beyond-memory enemies all on board. Give every deck and wing some nukes. Avail them with the information on how to conserve and create renewable energy, to grow and put food by, to access clean drinking water, modest but efficient shelter, and access to books, education, and the arts. Awareness of ecology, full life cycle of plants, animals, and man-made products. The experiment that we must ever allow. Sharing.

The whole thing makes my head spin.

synoia , September 8, 2019 at 11:20 am

Iran must import, and to pay fpr imports must export oil.

The US prevents trade by sanctioning any bank who finances trade with Iran in dolllars.

Oregoncharles , September 8, 2019 at 2:13 pm

The big question in my mind is, why does the rest of the world allow that sort of bullying, or more to the point, allow themselves to be vulnerable to it? Somebody's been careless. We now see both Russia and China taking steps to be more autarkic, and even the EU waking up to the danger. It may be they just haven't had time to develop new institutions.

Haydar Khan , September 8, 2019 at 4:26 pm

They are working on it.

https://www.juancole.com/2019/09/defies-investment-troops.html

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:47 pm

The rest-of-the-world could straight-up GIVE Iran the survival-critical things that Iran would otherwise have to import. The rest of the world could do that in return for Iran staying in the agreement till the next American election. This would give everyone time to see if America would elect a pro-deal-ante Democrat to the Presidency.

( This would require the rest of the world to actually be willing to give Iran that kind of c"cold-war-support" aid till the American election. It would also require the IranGov to be willing to stay in the agreement until the American election results shake out. It would need a lot of people to be willing to take a lot of slow long-term chances. Would everyone involved be willing to do that in a harmonized way?)

drumlin woodchuckles , September 8, 2019 at 5:42 pm

The EU LeaderLords have no bravery and no taste for conflict with the TrumpAdmin. Not only will they not lift a fear-quivering finger to save the accords, they will not even buy and donate to Iran the goods and services Iran would need to survive until the next American election.

It is too bad that Rouhani ( and his boss the Supreme Leader Khamenei) cannot have a remote long-distance Vulcan mind-meld with the DemParty nominee-wannabes in this country. Because if they could have such a remote long-distance Vulcan mind-meld, here is what they might well decide. Every DemParty nominee-wannabe would PROMise ( and MEAN IT) to take America right back into the JCPOA if elected, and to rescind every re-sanction that the TrumpAdmin imposed. And Rouhani ( at Supreme Leaders's direction) would agree to keep Iran "in" the JCPOA till the winner of the American Presidential election were announced. Maybe such a remote mind-meld agreement openly and overtly stated might raise the chances of a DemParty victory and lower the chances of an Iran-America war.

[Sep 07, 2019] US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill

Sep 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , September 05, 2019 at 05:34 PM

http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/us-sanctions-are-designed-to-kill

September 1, 2019

US Sanctions Are Designed to Kill
By Kevin Cashman and Cavan Kharrazian

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently visited the Group of Seven (G7) at the invitation of French president Emmanuel Macron, in what was seen as an overture to the Trump administration to negotiate over sanctions that have plagued the Iranian economy. Back in 2018, after months of increasingly hostile rhetoric, the US government withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or "Iran Deal," and imposed a "maximum pressure" campaign that included unilateral, economy-wide sanctions. The Iran Deal was an agreement that provided Iran relief from existing sanctions in exchange for limits on its enrichment of uranium, among other concessions. These sanctions hampered trade between the European Union, whose leaders have sought to salvage the Iran Deal.

When President Trump reimposed sanctions in November 2018, it cut off Iran's oil exports and access to the international financial system. At the time, he announced that Iran could comply with new US demands or face "economic isolation." Additional US sanctions issued since then have specifically targeted a thousand individuals and entities with the goal of reducing Iran's oil revenues to "zero." More recently, Trump said that although "[Iran's] economy is crashing...it's very easy to straighten [it] out or it's very easy for us to make it a lot worse."

And so, according to Trump himself, the United States has the power to solve -- or exacerbate -- Iran's current economic problems. What is left unsaid, including by much of the media, is that sanctions that "crash" the economy are an attack on the country's civilian population and create widespread human misery. Indeed, they appear to be contributing to widespread shortages of medicine and medical equipment, particularly affecting cancer patients. In Venezuela, which is under a similar US sanctions regime, there have been similar effects, with more than 40,000 people estimated to have died from 2017 to 2018 due to the "collective punishment" inflicted on them.

Yet other statements from US administration officials often contend that sanctions have negligible economic or social effects on the general population of Iran. For example, the US State Department's special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, recently denied that US sanctions on Iran affect the availability of medicine and agricultural products. In this argument, Hook divorces the connection between the economic damage caused by sanctions in Iran and the lack of basic necessities like medicine and food, preferring to instead lay blame on the Iranian government, not what the Trump administration calls "targeted" sanctions.

Are the sanctions causing Iran's economic problems, or simply a way to punish individual actors? Answering this question requires an examination of the impact sanctions have on Iran's economy and the mechanisms by which sanctions work -- two important areas of inquiry that seldom receive attention in the US press.

Sanctions are severely impacting Iran's oil production

Looking at Iran's oil sector, which has been directly targeted by the sanctions regime, is a good way to get a sense of how the sanctions have affected the country's economy, which remains dependent on the production and export of oil, according to a number of indicators. For example, around 70 percent of Iran's merchandise exports consists of fuel. Although this dependence on oil production has decreased over the last decade, in large part due to government efforts to diversify the economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported in March 2018 (before the announcement of the resumption of US sanctions) that oil revenues accounted for nearly 40 percent of government revenues in fiscal year 2016–17, and projected a similar number for fiscal year 2017–18 (assuming, then, that there would be no new sanctions). Clearly, a large reduction in Iran's oil production would pose significant challenges to its ability to provide services to its people, as well as maintain essential imports including some foreign-produced medicines and other healthcare and life-saving goods.

Unsurprisingly, Iran's oil production moves very much in tandem with the enactment and repeal of broad sanctions over time (see the figure below). US sanctions in 2010 affected investment in Iran's oil infrastructure and prohibited some international transactions. Then, in early 2012, the United States and the European Union banned oil imports from Iran and froze its central bank assets. Shortly thereafter, oil production plummeted and reached its nadir in late 2012. After the Iran Deal was enacted in early 2016 and US and EU sanctions were repealed, Iran's oil production rapidly recovered to 2007 levels. This level of production was maintained until the announcement by the Trump administration in May 2018 that the United States was withdrawing from the Iran Deal. Since May 2018, Iran's oil production has fallen precipitously; it is down by over 40 percent over the last year. Waivers the United States issued to purchasers of Iranian oil have expired over the last few months, eliminating one of the remaining factors that put upward pressure on production.

[Graph]

To get a sense of the size of these impacts, it's useful to compare what they would look like in the US economy. If applied to the United States, they would be comparable to a budget reduction of $521 billion or 16 percent in 2018. However, this would also represent about 85 percent of nonmilitary discretionary spending. While the United States would be able to borrow or create money to fill this deficit, Iran has much less capacity to do either without triggering more economic difficulties.

Broader economic impacts are also visible. The IMF lowered growth projections for Iran due to the "crippling effect of tighter US sanctions" in its July update. Based on this projection, it is estimated that the economy will contract by 9.3 percent in 2019. This is a downward revision from a previous projection in April of a decline of 6.0 percent. (Before the sanctions, the economy was projected to grow by 4.0 percent.) Other indicators also worsened after the reimposition of sanctions: the unemployment rate is estimated to be 25 percent; inflation has risen to 80 percent; and the currency has lost over half its value.

Sanctions are exacerbating social problems

The main mechanism by which oil production has fallen is the same mechanism that prevents Iran from importing food and medicine: Iran cannot find buyers for its oil on the open market, just like it cannot buy food or medicine on the open market. In effect, it is cut off from the US-dominated international financial system.

Uniquely, the United States exerts broad control over international banking transactions. One way is via the SWIFT and CHIPS systems, which handle the vast majority of those transactions. The SWIFT system, which provides a common communication system for banks, is controlled by US banks, which own the majority of the system and have officials on its board. On top of that, despite not being located in the United States, SWIFT makes all of the system's data available to the US government, even if those transactions do not involve the United States. The CHIPS system, which provides communication as well as settlement functions, is governed by US law, has many US banks as owners, and is directly overseen by US authorities. These systems rely on a network of correspondent banks -- which link banks that might not have relationships with one another -- to complete transactions. The apex of the correspondent system is the New York Federal Reserve Bank, under the control of US banking authorities, which also serves as a lender of last resort to other central banks.

A system designed in this way ensures that banks with no relationship with each other still can transact in a common currency (dollars) via a common bank (the New York Fed) in an agreed-upon framework (SWIFT and CHIPS). However, it also means that the United States has disproportionate power over transactions. Formally, the United States government, via the Office of Foreign Assets Control, can prohibit transactions involving Iran to pass through systems and banks in which it has jurisdiction. More informally, the US government can pressure SWIFT, other central banks, correspondent banks, and even specific firms to adopt policies of refusing to do business with Iran. Since these players fear retribution from US authorities (e.g., being sanctioned themselves), they are usually unwilling to take the risk of doing business with Iran unless they have no other business that might involve the United States or financial entities that can be pressured by the United States.

Because the international banking system is designed in this way, US sanctions on the Iranian economy effectively mean that not only can Iran not easily sell oil on the open market, it cannot easily buy food or medicine either, even if the latter are nominally exempt, as Hook says. This is because sanctioned Iranian banks and officials are ultimately involved in these transactions in the same way that they are with oil, often by virtue of the position they hold in the Iranian banking system. It is telling that hours after an October 2018 ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering the United States to "remove any impediments" that affect the importation of medicine, food, and civil aviation products (including impediments to payments and other transfers of funds related to these products), the US withdrew from the treaty that formed the basis of the ruling, instead of complying with it. Unsurprisingly, efforts at importing food and medicine via the technical exemptions that do exist often fail. It appears that the technical exemptions are used more to deflect criticism of sanctions overall than to actually permit the importation of food and medicine.

But on top of these issues, even if food and medicine were, in reality, exempt from the sanctions regime, the "crippling effect" on Iran's economy would impact the Iranians' financial ability to acquire food and medicine anyway. Iran would have fewer resources to devote to domestic food and medicine production, and many fewer resources to import the same products.

Adapting to US sanctions

It is surprisingly difficult to bypass this financial system because it is so entrenched, although it is not impossible. For example, countries might set up a bilateral or multilateral system to carry out transactions in their own currencies and settle accounts in a currency other than the dollar. Iran could negotiate bilateral trades with India: in exchange for oil, Iran would accept rupees, and then use those rupees to purchase Indian products. The downsides are that mechanisms would be needed to support these transactions (i.e., establishing parallel payment and banking functions). In addition, Iran would need to find a use for the rupees it received in exchange for oil, usually by buying Indian goods (this is because it would be difficult to exchange rupees for other currencies on the open market due to the sanctions).

One promising new multilateral mechanism, dubbed INSTEX, would allow trade between EU countries and Iran without relying on direct transfer of funds or the use of the US-dominated financial system. While in its beginning stage it will only deal with humanitarian trade, INSTEX's model could potentially create a new path to buy Iranian oil. It is telling, however, that EU countries set up an entirely different financial mechanism to use for humanitarian trade, rather than risk drawing the ire of the United States by using established channels.

Yet these alternative mechanisms are not immune from US influence either. In recent cases where countries have announced intentions to develop alternative trade arrangements, the United States has applied political pressure to nip them in the bud. This involves overt economic threats as well as rhetoric urging countries like India to refrain from using a "narrow bilateral lens" in economic trade.

In the meantime, Iran is able to sell some oil to countries such as China, Russia, and India; either to pay back debt or because some banks in these countries do not have a significant business that can be impacted by US retaliation. It also has had some success in covertly transferring oil to buyers, but this does not always escape US control. Similarly, Iran is able to maintain imports of some items, like bananas, outside of the established financial system primarily due to the experience and ingenuity of importers, although usually at lower volumes.

It should be clear that the US is uniquely positioned to choke off imports and exports from a targeted country using sanctions, with deep, negative consequences for that country's economy as well as severe constraints on its government's ability to address economic problems.

In Iran's case, US sanctions mean that production of oil -- a vital export -- is in free fall, unemployment is on the rise, and record inflation due to scarce imports has made it harder for everyday Iranians to buy basic goods and access life-saving medicine. Recent reports have detailed harrowing stories of hospitals running out of crucial cancer medicines and patients struggling to afford or even find their prescriptions. As in Venezuela and other targeted countries, US sanctions undoubtedly have a human toll associated with them, which will only grow as time goes on. This human impact is one of the main reasons that experts in international law argue unilateral sanctions are illegal under the United Nations Charter and international human rights law.

While Iran has been exploring alternative ways of exporting and importing goods, it's unclear what more it could do absent relief from sanctions. Even so, US officials will typically place responsibility for the social and economic problems resulting from the sanctions on the Iranian government, as Hook does. But Trump's comments are more revealing. Sanctions only work because they cause suffering in the first place. In effect, the United States is risking -- and sometimes ending -- the lives of thousands of Iranians with the hope that the Iranian government acquiesces to its demands or is replaced by a more compliant government. That the United States could carry out such a strategy in the first place should raise serious questions among concerned US citizens and within the international community, especially among those who respect international law.

[Sep 04, 2019] Israel's Many Wars by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Sep 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Pat Buchanan continues to be one of the few publicly visible political analysts currently active who dares to tell it like it is when it comes to Israel's power in America. His article last week "Will Israel's War Become America's War" as always gets to the heart of the problem, i.e. that the completely contrived "special relationship" with Israel could easily lead the United States into another totally unnecessary war or even a series of wars in the Middle East.

Pat starts with "President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a war. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu." He observes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing re-election on September 17 th , and though most polls indicate that he will win, the opposition to him is strong based on his personal corruption and his pandering to the country's most extreme right-wing parties. So Bibi is concerned that he might lose and even go to jail and there is nothing like a little war to make a leader look strong and righteous, so he is lashing out at all his neighbors in hopes that one or more of them will be drawn into what would be for Israel, given its massive military superiority, a manageable confrontation.

Buchanan sums up Netanyahu's recent escalation, writing that on "Saturday, Israel launched a night attack on a village south of Damascus to abort what Israel claims was a plot by Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force Sunday, two Israeli drones crashed outside the media offices of Hezbollah in Beirut. Israel then attacked a base camp of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command in north Lebanon. Monday, Israel admitted to a strike on Iranian-backed militias of the Popular Mobilization Forces in Iraq. And Israel does not deny responsibility for last month's attacks on munitions dumps and bases of pro-Iran militias [also] in Iraq. Israel has also confirmed that, during Syria's civil war, it conducted hundreds of strikes against pro-Iranian militias and ammunition depots to prevent the transfer of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon."

So, Israel has staged literally hundreds of attacks against targets in Lebanon, Syria and now Iraq while it is also at the same time shooting scores of unarmed demonstrators inside Gaza every Friday. Netanyahu has also threatened both perennial foe Iran and the Houthi rebels in Yemen. As the Jewish state is not at war with any of those countries it is engaging in war crimes. Both Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force are vowing revenge.

Pat Buchanan goes on to make the case that Netanyahu is willy-nilly pulling the United States into a situation from which there is no exit. Indeed, one might well conclude that the trap has already been sprung as the Trump Administration is reflexively blaming Israel's actions on Iran. The Jewish state's escalation produced a telephone call to Bibi by American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promising that the United States would unconditionally support Israel. Vice President Mike Pence also joined in , boasting of a "great conversation" with Netanyahu and tweeting that "The United State fully supports Israel's right to defend itself from imminent threats. Under President @realDonaldTrump, America will always stand with Israel!"

So, if a war in the Middle East does begin one can count on a number of developments in Washington, all of which favor Netanyahu. As Pompeo and Pence have made clear, the Trump Administration already accepts that whatever Israel does is fully justified and there are even reports that the White House will endorse Israeli annexation of all the illegal settlements on the West Bank at some point either before or immediately after the upcoming Knesset election to help Bibi. And don't look for any dissent from even the most extreme views developing inside the White House or the State Department. The president has completely surrendered to the Israel Lobby while National Security Adviser John Bolton, Pence and Pompeo are all outspoken supporters of war with Iran. And nearly all the important government posts dealing with the Middle East are staffed by Jewish Zionists, to include the president's son-in-law and two Donald Trump lawyers. The most recent addition to that sorry line-up is Peter Berkowitz, who has been appointed head of the Policy Planning Staff at State. Berkowitz studied at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is co-founder and director of the "Israel Program on Constitutional Government."

And Congress would also be singing the "amen" chorus in support of U.S. intervention to help the country it has ridiculously but nevertheless repeatedly described as America's "best friend and closest ally." The occupied mainstream media would echo that line, as would the millions of Christian Zionists and every one of the more than 600 American Jewish organizations that in one way, shape or form support Israel.

Buchanan warns that the U.S. could find itself in real trouble, particularly given the attacks on Iraq, where Washington still has 5,000 troops, hugely outnumbered by the local pro-Iranian militias. And American aircraft carriers could find themselves vulnerable if they dare to enter the Straits of Hormuz or Persian Gulf, where they would be in range of the Iranian batteries of anti-ship missiles. He concludes that a war for Israel that goes badly could cost Trump the election in 2020, asking " have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?"

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


Bragadocious , says: September 3, 2019 at 1:33 am GMT

The president has completely surrendered to the Israel Lobby while National Security Adviser John Bolton

To be fair, Trump never promised to curb Israeli aggression during his campaign. He promised to back them and that's what he's doing. So this suggestion that "he's letting us all down" is just silly. Now, on other stuff, yeah, you can make a case. And let's be real, if Jeb Bush or Bernie Sanders or Hillary were in office they'd be backing "our ally in the Middle East" too.
Lot , says: September 3, 2019 at 2:00 am GMT
Iran is involved in four different civil wars: Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Yet Jihadi Phil wants to blame Israel for mideast instability!
anon [328] Disclaimer , says: September 3, 2019 at 2:47 am GMT
@Lot Iran was invited by Syrian legit gov. Lebanon was prevented from total rout by Hezbollah from the actions of the evil Zionist .Hezbollah sought and received help to confront evil Zionist. Who ever asked the Jews to show up in ME anywhere in the ME? Who? Yemen is a war that ahs been fought by Houthis . Houthis has been there for centuries They are fighting a war instigated by Israeli vassal Saudi . Iraq has been turned into dust by Jew run USA attack It is slowly coming to life.

Now don't read the script from the middle Start from the beginning . Start from the beginning ad be ready for the end . End will not be written by devious Jewish country .

renfro , says: September 3, 2019 at 3:34 am GMT
Firing Giraldi was the American Conserative's lose.

Consider this article:

Two Cheers for Israel
They're having children and defending their culture without apology. The West could learn a thing or two.

By Scott McConnell
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/two-cheers-for-israel/

"'But there is an even more important reason to give two cheers for Israel and to think of it, despite its excesses, as exemplary: Israel is nationalist."'

Maybe McConnell is paid to praise Israel or maybe he just your typical simple minded tunnel vision conservative. I gotta say my kind of conservative values, or maybe they should be called traditional values will likely stay the same but what wont stay the same is my voting for any of these conservative stupids.
I'm a registered Independent voter independent because I believed Americans should be independent of 'political parties' and not follow them like sheep, but vote for the closest thing they can get to a candidate of good character, some brains and a sense of fairness for the people. I voted for the actual America first GOP presidents, the elder Bush I and Nixon, otoh I also voted for the Dem America first presidents Kennedy and Carter.

Independent voters like myself make up 37% of registered voters in the US .that makes both the dems and repubs 'minority parties' ..neither of them can win without us.
Independent voters got to be independent because they paid more attention to the big picture and issues in politics overall than the followers of the parties .most of them are more 'traditional', including objecting to US entanglement with foreign nations. .the exact opposite of current GOP conservatism.
So it is absolute nitwittery to try and attract traditional voters by championing Israel as a model for US nationalism. Israel gives nationalism a bad name. It is asking us to step in a pile of steaming cow shit to pattern the US after Israel.

Kirt , says: September 3, 2019 at 4:50 am GMT
A lot of these Israeli provocations are, as noted, Netanyahu electioneering. Hence, they are likely to stop or be diminished (the Gaza border massacres excepted) if Bibi either wins the election and can form a new government or loses and is driven from power with the opposition forming a new government. Worst case scenario is a continuation of the present situation with Bibi unable to form a government and having to fight yet another election. This would result in still further Israeli escalation until finally Iran or Hezbollah retaliates and the US is dragged in. Or he might just formally annex the West Bank and drive out the Palestinians to the applause of Trump and his supporters.

There are other dangers as well, especially the collapse of Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a result of their defeat in Yemen. The US is sending 5,000 troops to SA just in time to defend the House of Saud from a possible overthrow or to fight on behalf of one part of that sociopathic family against another part.

Sean , says: September 3, 2019 at 5:43 am GMT

"President Donald Trump, who canceled a missile strike on Iran after the shoot-down of a U.S. Predator drone to avoid killing Iranians, may not want a war. But the same cannot be said of Bibi Netanyahu." He observes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is facing re-election on September 17th, and though most polls indicate that he will win, the opposition to him is strong based on his personal corruption and his pandering to the country's most extreme right-wing parties. So Bibi is concerned that he might lose and even go to jail and there is nothing like a little war to make a leader look strong and righteous, so he is lashing out at all his neighbors in hopes that one or more of them will be drawn into what would be for Israel, given its massive military superiority, a manageable confrontation.

It's a good analysis, but a little different to the subjugation of US interests to Israeli ones that is normally talked about inasmuch Netanyahu personal advantage is the key factor. I don't think many people in Israel would approve of Netanyahu doing something so obvious as getting Israel into an inconclusive war just before an election. Especially as the war is one that might bring the US in but would be unlikely to motive the US to destroy the Iranian regime, wiche had time to make their facilities (nuclear) too duplicated and dispersed for airstrikes to work.

The Palestinians are the ones Israelis are happy to get tough with, even the supposedly leftist Ehud Barak has said the Palestinians of Gaza must be deterred more. Talk of war with Iran is just that, it really is, unless they do something stupid.

For Israel, getting the US to totally crush Iran would be great, but that will require America to be provoked by Iran, which is something they are loath to do. Iran is not going to fight a war they cannot possibly hope to win if they can help it, and they have said there will not be one. I don't think Bolton is any influence on Trump, and Pompeo is a never-Trumper turned Trump boot licker rather that a force in the administration in his own right.

He concludes that a war for Israel that goes badly could cost Trump the election in 2020, asking " have we ceded to Netanyahu something no nation should ever cede to another, even an ally: the right to take our country into a war of their choosing but not of ours?"

Trump never loses sight of his own self interest. A war before the Israeli election is not going to help Trump win reelection, and he did say recently he was open to talks with Iran, which left a distraught Netanyahu unsuccessfully trying to get through to Trump and gave Ehud Barack one of his few opportunities to criticise the utility for Israel of Netanyahu's relationship with Trump.

Sean O'Farrell , says: September 3, 2019 at 6:01 am GMT
@Biff The U.S. military should more aptly be called the Israeli Foreign Legion.

[Sep 02, 2019] CounterPunch

Notable quotes:
"... As for the Israelis, they don't want the man who thinks he might be "King of Israel" talking to the Hitlerite Persians. They suddenly sprayed Iran's local Middle East proxies with drone-fired rockets – in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – just in case the wretched, financially broken and inflation-doomed Iranians were tempted to chat to the crackpot in the White House. But the Israelis wasted their ammunition. Rouhani is not mad. America has to drop its sanctions against Iran if Trump wants to talk, he said. ..."
"... And when Rouhani made it clear that he was not interested in "photo-ops" – an obvious allusion to the pictures of Trump and Little Rocket Man – what did the po-faced Washington Post ..."
"... Indeed, had Ahmadinejad's further political ambitions not been firmly crushed by his country's "supreme leader", Ayatollah Khamenei, we might just have witnessed a meeting between two of the world's leading political nutcases. Ahmadinejad, it may be recalled, was the Iranian who claimed that a holy cloud was suspended over his head for 20 minutes when he addressed the United Nations in New York. Now that is a phenomenon which Trump may also have experienced – although at least he had the good sense not to tell us of it. ..."
"... In the first eight months after Rouhani became president in 2013, the Iranian state hanged at least 537 people. In January of 2014, he had, according to a report in the Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat ..."
"... When the shah of Iran wanted to acquire nuclear technology in 1974, according to documents in the US National Security Archive, he said that Iran had an "inalienable right" to the nuclear cycle and that it would not accept obligations "dictated by the nuclear-have nations". ..."
"... In theory, what Macron is trying to do, if Le Monde ..."
"... But what Macron is really doing – which is what almost every EU leader is doing – is trying to preserve the peace of the Middle East long enough for the Americans to elect a serious, intelligent, boring and moderately honest political leader to replace the mentally unbalanced and very dangerous current holder of the highest office in the US. ..."
"... Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared. ..."
Sep 02, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

September 2, 2019 The Crazed, Rogue Leader is in Washington Not Tehran by Robert Fisk

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

History in the Middle East is unkind to us westerners. Just when we thought we were the good guys and the Iranians were the bad guys, here comes the ghostly, hopeless possibility of a Trump-Rouhani summit to remind us that the apparent lunatic is the US president and the rational, sane leader who is supposed to talk to him is the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran . All these shenanigans are fantasy, of course – like the "imminent" war between America and Iran – of which more later.

As for the Israelis, they don't want the man who thinks he might be "King of Israel" talking to the Hitlerite Persians. They suddenly sprayed Iran's local Middle East proxies with drone-fired rockets – in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – just in case the wretched, financially broken and inflation-doomed Iranians were tempted to chat to the crackpot in the White House. But the Israelis wasted their ammunition. Rouhani is not mad. America has to drop its sanctions against Iran if Trump wants to talk, he said.

It still amazes me that we have to take all this stuff at face value. No sooner had Trump waffled on about Rouhani being "the great negotiator" than we saw all the White House correspondents dutifully taking this nonsense down in their notebooks – as if the American president was presidential, as if the old dream-bag was real, as if what he was saying had the slightest bearing on reality.

And when Rouhani made it clear that he was not interested in "photo-ops" – an obvious allusion to the pictures of Trump and Little Rocket Man – what did the po-faced Washington Post tell us in its subsequent report? Why, that Rouhani had "dashed hopes of a potential meeting with his US counterpart". Ye Gods! What "hopes" do they still have in their homegrown crackpot president after these two and a half years of his threats and lies and racism? Have they learned nothing?

It's as if – for the American media – Trump is unhinged in Washington but a Kissinger the moment he lands in Biarritz (or London or Riyadh or Panmunjom or a Scottish golf course, or perhaps, one day, Greenland). And Rouhani – who may be a "great negotiator" but is also a very ruthless man – is therefore supposed to play the role of Iran's previous president, the raving, crazed, Holocaust-denying Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Indeed, had Ahmadinejad's further political ambitions not been firmly crushed by his country's "supreme leader", Ayatollah Khamenei, we might just have witnessed a meeting between two of the world's leading political nutcases. Ahmadinejad, it may be recalled, was the Iranian who claimed that a holy cloud was suspended over his head for 20 minutes when he addressed the United Nations in New York. Now that is a phenomenon which Trump may also have experienced – although at least he had the good sense not to tell us of it.

Ahmadinejad, you may also remember, was the president whose claim to have won the 2009 presidential elections brought millions of protestors onto the streets of Iranian cities until they were brutalised and imprisoned into submission. His cheeky smile, chipmunk eyes and Spanish armada beard could not persuade Iranians that the "alternative facts" of his presidential victory were real.

Everyone knew that Ahmadinejad would never be given a finger on any nuclear button – many doubted if he knew the difference between nuclear physics and electricity – but he provided at the time a hate figure to rival Gaddafi or any other of the ravers of the Middle East.

But now Trump wears Ahmadinejad's international mantle of insanity and the Iranian presidential seat is today held by a far more pragmatic individual. For let's not be romantic about Hassan Rouhani . Back in 1999, when he was a humble deputy chief of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Rouhani condemned pro-democracy demonstrators as " muhareb " and " mofsad " (corrupt on earth) – opponents of the Islamic Republic, whose punishment would be death.

In the first eight months after Rouhani became president in 2013, the Iranian state hanged at least 537 people. In January of 2014, he had, according to a report in the Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat , visited Ahwaz to deal with "a number of sensitive files" left untouched by Ahmadinejad. These included Hashem Shaabani and Hadi Rashedi – both human rights activists in the minority Arab community in southwest Iran – who had been condemned to death for "waging war on God", "spreading corruption on earth" and "questioning the principle of velayat-e faqih" (guardianship of the jurist).

Shaabani's poetry, in both Persian and Arabic, was famous; he was a founder of an institute which encouraged Arabic literature and culture among Iranians. Rouhani signed off on the executions; Shaabani and Rashedi were hanged in a still-unidentified prison.

But it is Rouhani's negotiating skill which has apparently impressed Trump, who also has little time for minorities. And when you recall that one of Trump's Republican predecessors in the White House, Ronald Reagan, arranged for the Israelis to deliver missiles to Iran in 1985 in return for the release of US hostages in Beirut, you can see why Trump might think it strange that Rouhani would turn down a meeting with him. After all, during the Iran-Contra affair the then Iranian speaker of parliament, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, was deeply involved in the enterprise.

But even if Rouhani was fool enough to flirt with Trump's offer – which he was not – his fate would have been similar to the poet Shaabani's if he had dared to talk to the US president without the full restoration of the nuclear treaty.

It doesn't take much spreading of "corruption on earth" in Iran – let alone disavowing the views of the Supreme Leader Khamanei – to catapult a learned cleric into prison. Having learned from his foreign minister in Biarritz what the American deal was supposed to be, Rouhani wisely did not touch it. The US had broken the nuclear treaty and reimposed sanctions – so Trump would have to rejoin the treaty signatories and lift sanctions for any hope of a meeting with the president of the Islamic Republic.

Of course, the Iranians will no more go to war with America than America will go to war with Iran. We all know that – except for those who blast us all with "brink-of-war" scenarios in the Gulf. We've been through Iranian ship-minings in 1987 without declarations of war. Besides, what's so new about an Iran insisting on its "sovereign" right to peaceful nuclear power?

When the shah of Iran wanted to acquire nuclear technology in 1974, according to documents in the US National Security Archive, he said that Iran had an "inalienable right" to the nuclear cycle and that it would not accept obligations "dictated by the nuclear-have nations".

Which is pretty much what Iran did accept in the nuclear agreement which Trump tore up on behalf of the United States. And I still have a clipping from The Times of November 1972, in which my then colleague David Housego was reporting from Tehran that the shah had declared that Iran's defensive frontiers extended beyond the Persian Gulf into the Indian Ocean!

In five years, the shah calculated, his arms build-up would make Iran the largest military power in the Middle East. The shah ruled with torture and executions, was crazed about the dangers of communism, and power-mad to the extent of celebrating his empire's rule in 1971 with what he called "the biggest party on earth" in the ruins of Persepolis. How Trump would love to have been there.

Well, Macron may be able to turn himself into the "Great G7 Intermediary", although all others who have tangled with Iran have been brought low by the experience. Think poor old Jimmy Carter, destroyed by the hostage-takers at the US embassy in Tehran. Think Reagan, almost brought low by Irangate. Think Colonel Oliver North. Or envoy Robert McFarlane. Or Terry Waite. Or Barack Obama, for that matter, his Iranian policy torn up by Trump.

In theory, what Macron is trying to do, if Le Monde has got it right, is persuade Trump to allow Iran's principal petroleum importers to continue buying oil from the Islamic Republic. This includes Turkey, China, Japan, India and South Korea. In return, Iran would itself return to the original nuclear agreement. That's the message Macron sent back to Tehran with Iran's foreign minister, who airbussed into Biarritz for his briefest of meetings with the French president.

But what Macron is really doing – which is what almost every EU leader is doing – is trying to preserve the peace of the Middle East long enough for the Americans to elect a serious, intelligent, boring and moderately honest political leader to replace the mentally unbalanced and very dangerous current holder of the highest office in the US.

Well, good luck to the Americans. For at present, they are confronting not the lunatic rogue state which Messers Bolton and Pompeo have nightmared up for Trump, but a nation governed by bravely defiant, ruthless, and – yes – devious men. For Iranians understand America far better than Americans will ever understand Iran.

Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared.

[Aug 28, 2019] Iranian foreign minister tells Euronews about his discussion with Macron

Aug 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

FSD , Aug 26 2019 19:14 utc | 128

Will Trump's intimations about meeting with Rouhani win the footrace? His competitor? Israel's determination to get the Mideast theater of WW3 started in earnest. Racking up two declarations of war in as many days (Lebanon and Iraq) ain't too shabby a head-start. The game is to deprive Trump of the initiative. The Israelis are smelling capitulation and a fresh outbreak of post-JCPOA yakking. The time is now. Trump had better get with the program. He still has a chance to look like Presidential Instigator. Failing that, he'll just have to be dragged in unceremoniously and then scramble post facto to look like Instigator. It's a PR dilemma. His military's already there, poised for action. This may be the first war to launch right over the head -and better judgement- of JCS Head Dunsford himself. False flag momentum is a funny thing. The time couldn't be riper for war to get a jump on cooler heads.

After all, War has its own thoughts on the matter and will only let human beings dither for so long before taking the helm and asserting its own predilections:

"Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came." --Lincoln Second Inagural


karlof1 , Aug 26 2019 20:36 utc | 133

Magnier on Nuttyahoo's escalating provocations encapsulates the most recent series of events, although he doesn't attempt to link the actions to the upcoming elections. Hezbollah threatened direct retaliation against Occupied Palestine; Iraq chose to blame the Outlaw US Empire; Syria remained silent; the G-7 said nothing. The recent proposal by Iran to refurbish one pipeline and build another to Syria's coastline would certainly become a Zionist target. So, for the project to have the proper security, Occupied Palestine needs to be liberated. Nasrallah isn't known as a bluffer, while Nuttyahoo's prone to be too aggressive. Do the Zionists see the current situation as possibly the final time they have some sort of an advantage as Magnier seems to imply and attack since they know the Outlaw US Empire won't?
Sasha , Aug 26 2019 22:05 utc | 141
Iranian foreign minister tells Euronews about his discussion with Macron.

Sets the record straight...

Vasco da Gama , Aug 26 2019 23:02 utc | 143
@141

Iran for Multilateralism and Rule of Law, trusting themselves to abide by JCPOA, even if, as defined as failing, an invitation to Europeans to decide not be tempted by the US to remove themselves from their only future, and an appeal to the US to honour the responsibility of their veto sit on the UNSC where the lengthiest document was signed.

...

Good link Sasha.

[Aug 22, 2019] Chaotic Unpredictable Iran Vows Oil Routes Won't Be Safe If It Can't Export

Aug 22, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The White House policy of taking Iranian oil exports to "zero" still has a long way to go, thanks in no small part to China , and also despite Pompeo touting this week that US sanctions have removed nearly 2.7 million barrels of Iranian oil from global markets.

US frustration was evident upon the release of the Adrian Darya 1, with Gibraltar resisting Washington pressures to hand over the Iranian vessel, given as its en route to Greece, American officials are now warning that they will sanction anyone who touches the tanker .

Seizing on Washington's frustration as part of its own "counter-pressure" campaign of recent weeks, Iran has again stated if it can't export its own oil, it will make waterways unsafe and "unpredictable" for anyone else to to so .

[Aug 18, 2019] US Bullies Its Way Into Dispute, Moves to Seize Iranian Tanker by Barbara Boland

Notable quotes:
"... "Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted . ..."
"... As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions. ..."
"... "The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits." ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

British Gibraltar ordered the ship's release to ease tensions. Washington wasn't having any of it.

A ship approaches supertanker Grace 1 off the coast of Gibraltar on July 6, 2019. – Iran demanded on July 5, 2019 that Britain immediately release an oil tanker it has detained in Gibraltar, accusing it of acting at the bidding of the United States. Photo by JORGE GUERRERO / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite eleventh hour efforts on the part of the U.S. to detain the Grace 1 Iranian oil tanker seized by the Royal Navy in July, the vessel was released Thursday. Gibraltar's Chief Minister said he had accepted a pledge from Iran that if the tanker was released, it would not be taken to Syria.

The Grace 1 was seized last month by the British Royal Navy for alleged European Union sanctions violations. The British claimed that Iran was using the tanker to ship oil to Syria.

Before the last minute U.S. legal action, authorities in Gibraltar had announced they would release the Grace 1 and drop legal actions against the ship's captain and crew in order to ease tensions.

The U.S. application was scheduled to be heard later on Thursday by the Gibraltar Supreme Court. The U.S. Department of Justice sought to extend the detention of the oil tanker, but the Gibraltar Supreme Court later dropped the detention order, essentially moving evaluation of the U.S. request to another government agency for consideration, according to CBS. In the mean time, the tanker is free to leave.

The U.S. filing seems to confirm reports that the U.S. urged the British detention of the Iranian ship in July.

" Having failed to accomplish its objectives through its #EconomicTerrorism -- including depriving cancer patients of medicine -- the US attempted to abuse the legal system to steal our property on the high seas," tweeted Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. "This piracy attempt is indicative of Trump admin's contempt for the law."

After the British decision to detain the Grace 1 in July, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero as it traveled through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions with Tehran have escalated since the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and resumed economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Without citing specific evidence, the U.S. has blamed Iran for recent attacks on other oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

"Designed to provoke Tehran: Just as #Iran-UK-#Gibraltar were set to have #Grace1 tanker released today, #Trump admin moves in to spoil the effort. Will become another source of tension in Europe-US relations over Iran policy," Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations, tweeted .

As TAC previously reported , the legal rationale for detaining the Iranian vessel and its crew is questionable, because Iran is not a member of the European Union and thus can not violate EU sanctions.

"The UK had no legal right to enforce those sanctions," writes Gareth Porter, and the seizure "was a blatant violation of the clearly defined global rules that govern the passage of merchant ships through international straits."

It is unclear whether UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will support Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Iran. But the American decision to pursue its case in Gibraltar's courts may indicate that Britain is unwilling to further escalate tensions with the Islamic Republic.

Barbara Boland is 's foreign policy and national security reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC.

[Aug 18, 2019] The Destruction Is the Point [ of Trump policy toward Iran] by Daniel Larison

How current prices correlate with Pompeo statement that "We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market." ? Something really strange is happening here.
Notable quotes:
"... Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy. ..."
"... Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. ..."
"... When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people: ..."
"... We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market. ..."
"... Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms. ..."
Aug 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nicholas Miller has delivered a devastating response to Pompeo's pitiful propaganda op-ed from earlier this month:

Given these statements, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that Pompeo is not being entirely honest when he claims the maximum pressure campaign is succeeding. Rather than leveling with the American people and making an argument about why the administration is persisting with the policy in spite of the lack of progress, he has chosen to deceive the public in order to defend a dangerous policy.

Pompeo has made a habit of deceiving the public as Secretary of State on a range of issues from Yemen to North Korea, but for the most part he has been allowed to get away with that. He probably thinks that there is no price to be paid for constantly lying and misrepresenting things to the public and Congress, and so he keeps doing it.

The more important reason why Pompeo keeps deceiving the public is that he is also eager to please the president, and so he has to keep claiming success for failing policies because reports of success are what the president wants to hear. When Pompeo's ridiculous op-ed came out last week, one of the common questions that many people asked was, "Who is the audience for this?" The point these people were making was that the "argument" in the op-ed was so facile and nonsensical that it can't possibly have been intended to persuade anyone, so the purpose of it had to be to placate Trump and reassure him that the policy "works."

Miller does an outstanding job picking apart Pompeo's various claims and using Pompeo's previous contradictory claims against him, and he shows that the Secretary's defense of "maximum pressure" is a joke to any minimally informed person. But as far as Pompeo is concerned, all that matters is that Trump sticks with the policy. When Pompeo has been asked for proof that the sanctions are "working," he cannot point to any positive change in the Iranian government's behavior, and instead he boasts about the harm that has been done to Iran's economy and its people:

I remember, David – I'm sure no one in this room, but many here in Washington said that American sanctions alone won't work. Well, they've worked. We have taken over 95 percent of the crude oil that was being shipped by Iran all around the world, and we have taken it off the market.

Miller addressed Pompeo's use of economic damage as proof of the policy's success this way:

Using economic damage to gauge the success of sanctions is like using body counts to measure success in counter-insurgency -- it's an indicator that your policy is having an effect, but does not necessarily imply you're any closer to achieving strategic objectives.

For a hard-liner like Pompeo, continuing with a destructive and bankrupt policy is a matter of ideology and an expression of hostility towards the targeted country. It doesn't matter to hard-liners if the policy actually achieves anything as long as it does damage, and so they take pride in the damage that they cause without any concern for the consequences for the U.S. and Iran. Rational critics of this policy rightfully object that this is just aimless destruction, but the destruction is the point of the policy.


Sid Finster 3 days ago

The current administration, like its predecessors, is not merely incompetent, it is actively malicious.
Zsuzsi Kruska Sid Finster 3 days ago
It only appears incompetent until you discover who benefits, and it isn't the majority of Americans. Who has benefited so far? The Plutocrats, oligarchs, Israel, Saudi, MIC, Big Oil, Big Rx, immigration related services. This is just a partial list, but guess who it doesn't include?
maninthewilderness Sid Finster 3 days ago
Perhaps it's a precondition for being the administration.
Littleredtop 3 days ago
Any nation that allows "freedom of speech" has made the assumption that either everyone is honest or everyone is smart enough to know bull sh !t when they hear it.
Taras77 3 days ago
Pompeo is deception, lies, absolute dishonesty. But of course that is the mark of the trump regime in general terms.

[Aug 07, 2019] Why Should Iran Be Cherished and Defended by Andre Vltchek

It's mostly about the control of Mid East oil and Israel status in the region ...
And despite all those positive things mentioned bellow Iran is still a theocratic state. It is definitely not Saudi Arabia but still..
Notable quotes:
"... Despite the embargos and terrible intimidation from the West, it still sits at the threshold of the "Very high human development", defined by UNDP; well above such darlings of the West as Ukraine, Colombia or Thailand. ..."
"... Trump is President of the US. He is responsible for the actions of the US in foreign affairs. Trump is a willing sycophant of the Deep State. ..."
"... Yet another article, pointing out that there is no reason for the US to attack Iran. Yes, there is. Iran is an enemy of Israel (although with the US behind them, there isn’t much they can actually do), and Israel wants Iran destroyed. The influence of Israel in American politics is enormous. THAT is the reason. Please stop the head-scratching over why oh why the US would want to destroy Israel. Everyone knows why. ..."
"... Iran’s real “crime” is twofold: 1) It sells oil in denomiations other than the US dollar; and 2) If allowed its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it would be producing vast amounts of low cost molybdenum and/or technetium which are used in medical testing, which would cut into the lucrative US market. ..."
"... There is some truth to claims about Iran’s belligerence…the Russians aren’t thrilled about everything they’re doing in Syria, which includes Shia colonizing in regions they’ve seized, which is a sign of attempting to entrench their agenda in that suffering country…and hence the continuing Israeli attacks, which nobody appreciates… ..."
"... In Iran, sources confirm that “…Russia offered to sell one million barrels daily for Iran, and to replace the European financial system with another if needed. ..."
"... There is also the issue of the illegality of Trump tearing up the deal…which was adopted [unanimously] by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231… ..."
"... The US signed that resolution…and let us remember that UNSC resolutions are INTERNATIONAL LAW…they are LEGALLY BINDING on all UN member states… ..."
"... So the US is breaking international law…the sanctions are illegal also, since only the UNSC had the legal authority to impose sanctions… ..."
"... The US’ disregard for the supreme international legal order…along with Israel similarly flouting UNSC resolutions for 50 years to pull out of the occupied territories…is simply unacceptable… ..."
Aug 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

As I pen this short essay, Iran is standing against the mightiest nation on earth. It is facing tremendous danger; of annihilation even, if the world does not wake up fast, and rush to its rescue.

Stunning Iranian cities are in danger, but above all, its people: proud and beautiful, creative, formed by one of the oldest and deepest cultures on earth.

This is a reminder to the world: Iran may be bombed, devastated and injured terribly, for absolutely no reason. I repeat: there is zero rational reason for attacking Iran.

Iran has never attacked anyone. It has done nothing bad to the United States, to the United Kingdom, or even to those countries that want to destroy it immediately: Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Its only 'crime' is that it helped devastated Syria. And that it seriously stands by Palestine. And that it came to the rescue of many far away nations, like Cuba and Venezuela, when they were in awful need.

I am trying to choose the simplest words. No need for pirouettes and intellectual exercises.

Thousands, millions of Iranians may soon die, simply because a psychopath who is currently occupying the White House wants to humiliate his predecessor, who signed the nuclear deal. This information was leaked by his own staff. This is not about who is a bigger gangster. It is about the horrible fact that antagonizing Iran has absolutely nothing to do with Iran itself.

Which brings the question to my mind: in what world are we really living? Could this be tolerable? Can the world just stand by, idly, and watch how one of the greatest countries on earth gets violated by aggressive, brutal forces, without any justification?

I love Iran! I love its cinema, poetry, food. I love Teheran. And I love the Iranian people with their polite, educated flair. I love their thinkers. I don't want anything bad to happen to them.

You know, you were of course never told by the Western media, but Iran is a socialist country. It professes a system that could be defined as "socialism with Iranian characteristics". Like China, Iran is one of the most ancient nations on earth, and it is perfectly capable of creating and developing its own economic and social system.

Iran is an extremely successful nation. Despite the embargos and terrible intimidation from the West, it still sits at the threshold of the "Very high human development", defined by UNDP; well above such darlings of the West as Ukraine, Colombia or Thailand.

It clearly has an internationalist spirit: it shows great solidarity with the countries that are being battered by Western imperialism, including those in Latin America.

I have no religion. In Iran, most of the people do. They are Shi'a Muslims. So what? I do not insist that everyone thinks like me. And my Iranian friends, comrades, brothers and sisters have never insisted that I feel or think the same way as they do. They are not fanatics, and they do not make people who are not like them, feel excluded. We are different and yet so similar. We fight for a better world. We are internationalists. We respect each other. We respect others.

Iran does not want to conquer anyone. But when its friends are attacked, it offers a helping hand. Like to Syria.

In the past, it was colonized by the West, and its democratic government was overthrown, in 1953, simply because it wanted to use its natural resources for improving the lives of its people. The morbid dictatorship of Shah Pahlavi was installed from abroad. And then, later, again, a terrible war unleashed against Iran by Iraq, with the full and candid support of the West.

I promised to make this essay short. There is no time for long litanies. And in fact, this is not really an essay at all: it is an appeal.

As this goes to print, many people in Iran are anxious. They do not understand what they have done to deserve this; the sanctions, the US aircraft carriers sailing near their shores, and deadly B-52s deployed only dozens of miles away.

Iranians are brave, proud people. If confronted, if attacked, they will fight. And they will die with dignity, if there is no other alternative.

But why? Why should they fight and why should they die?

Those of you, my readers, living in the West: Study; study quickly. Then ask this question to your government: "What is the reason for this terrible scenario?"

Rent Iranian films; they are everywhere, winning all festivals. Read Iranian poets. Go eat Iranian food. Search for images of both historic and modern Iranian cities. Look at the faces of the people. Do not allow this to happen. Do not permit psychopathic reasoning to ruin millions of lives.

There was no real reason for the wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. The West perpetrated the most terrible imperialist interventions, ruining entire nations.

But Iran -- it all goes one step further. It's a total lack of logic and accountability on the part of the West.

Here, I declare my full support to the people of Iran, and to the country that has been giving countless cultural treasures to the world, for millennia.

It is because I have doubts that if Iran is destroyed, the human race could survive.

[First published by NEO -- New Eastern Outlook]

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Four of his latest books are ...


Jonny C , says: July 28, 2019 at 6:16 pm GMT

Thousands, millions of Iranians may soon die, simply because a psychopath who is currently occupying the White House wants to humiliate his predecessor, who signed the nuclear deal.

Certainly war with Iran is not because Trump wants to humiliate Obama. There is very serious pressure on Trump to go to war with Iran, and that pressure comes from sources including Sheldon Adelson, Netanyahu, John Bolton, and elements within the military industrial complex and oil industries both of which would be able to capitalize on such a misadventure. It is very possibly Trump’s misgivings about a war with Iran (in spite of the idiotic rhetoric) that is keeping the US from attacking Iran.

While I agree with your sentiment in this article, it is unfortunate to make over-simplifications that cheerlead a false narrative that one person is to blame for a complex problem that spans party lines and presidencies. It was much to Obama’s credit to enter into the agreement with Iran, and the opposition to doing so obviously runs much deeper than Trump’s desire to make Obama look bad.

Thomm , says: July 28, 2019 at 7:01 pm GMT
One thing that everyone on UR agrees on is that there is absolutely no benefit for America to attack Iran.

Iran is the most overrated threat ever. The MI-complex has spent 40 years pushing a narrative so that they can profit from a large war.

Jonny C , says: July 28, 2019 at 10:03 pm GMT
@Andre Vltchek Yes, you can’t say everything in every piece that you write, and for expediency there is simplification. You can get away with it by saying “among other things, Trump’s desire to humiliate Obama may lead us into a devastating war.” But the way you wrote it certainly insinuates that it is in fact Trump and his personal psychopathy driving the country towards war. In that, I think you are mistaken. The jury is not out on this one yet, and Trump’s resistance to war with Iran is a thread of hope keeping it from happening. I am not trying to split hairs. It is important because there is a tendency to focus on the face in the white house and not on the forces that are behind the mischief. It also probably gets more likes among a broader audience who want to blame Trump or Obama when they are more like two leaves being blown by a strong wind than the leader of the free world or any other nonsensical title given to the president. Take it for a slight literary critique and not for any disagreement with the overall sentiment or quality of the article.
anonymous [251] • Disclaimer , says: July 28, 2019 at 10:51 pm GMT
@Birchleg

It was at that point I knew this wasn’t an intellectually honest essay. You don’t even need to go back six months to see what a peaceful little lamb Iran is, as it attacked merchant ships in the Straight of Hormuz. Perhaps your intended audience is ignorant to facts, but Iran is, by no means, a country of innocent intent.

What would USA do if Iranian or any other non-friendly nation surrounded USA, including sending heavily armed ships into its harbors?

This Could Be Part Of The Reason Iran Is So Darn Defensive
Robert Johnson Jan. 3, 2012, 9:38 AM
Facebook Icon The letter F.
https://www.businessinsider.com/iran-surrounded-by-us-military-bases-2011-12

This map from Democratic Underground puts a star on every U.S. military base in the region, and aside from the Caspian area to the North, American forces pretty much have Tehran surrounded (via Informed Comment).

[Non-violent resistance is not necessarily futile, but a feint]: We cannot delude ourselves.
People ask, What about nonviolent, peaceful forms of resistance? And you know, the answer is, There is no such thing as nonviolence.
Nonviolence is a form of disruption and only works if you are facing those who are constrained in their use of violence, or works best if you can use your enemy’s violence against them.

Take for example, Dr. Martin Luther King . . . [he learned from Gandhi and others that] nonviolence is a mechanism of goading your opponent into being violent.
Once they become violent, you can call on your friends to be even more violent against them. And he knew he could goad the sheriff into behaving violently and stupidly, and then the FBI would descend on them.
You know, we always want to delude ourselves that war is not the answer. It would be good if that were true, but unfortunately it is very often the key answer, the only answer. https://www.c-span.org/video/?323264-1/the-worth-war&start=599

USA is being deliberately provocative, goading Iran to throw the first punch, whereupon USA will “descend on them.”

It’s not the first time USA & its allies have used the tactic.

The Alarmist , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:11 am GMT
I dunno … If the West was going to attack, it should have happened several weeks ago, if not earlier. Do you think Trump’s stand-down of an attack allegedly in progress was to save a couple hundred Iranian lives, or might it make more sense that it became clear a couple hundreds or thousands of coalition lives were at serious risk? The leadership knows this will be far messier than Iraq if it goes kinetic, and they would prefer to continue to starve Iran into submission while making a lot of noise about the ‘evil and suicidal death-cult’ regime in Tehran.
peter mcloughlin , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:34 am GMT
Andre Vltchek gives a passionate defence of Iran, and the reasons for not attacking it. I agree there are ‘doubts that if Iran is destroyed, the human race could survive.’ If the US, and its allies, were to destabilize Iran to such an extent as to threaten regime change China and Russia would have to intervene. The world should avoid war on Iran, even if it is for selfish reasons. All the indications point to world war.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Anon [363] • Disclaimer , says: July 29, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT
@anonymous Because the JIDF/Zionist has the modus operandi of falsifying consensus. Large numbers of seemingly reasonable people all pushing the same view point has the unconscious effect of making an unwary reader adopt that same viewpoint. Of course, they’re hoping you dont go trawling through their comment history or else the whole thing blows up.
Realist , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:32 am GMT
@Jonny C

While I agree with your sentiment in this article, it is unfortunate to make over-simplifications that cheerlead a false narrative that one person is to blame for a complex problem that spans party lines and presidencies.

Trump is President of the US. He is responsible for the actions of the US in foreign affairs. Trump is a willing sycophant of the Deep State.

Realist , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:36 am GMT
@anonymous

People need to realize that it’s been a RedBlue puppet show of the same empire since – for purposes of Iran – 1953. Blaming one politician as opposed to the other plays right into the hands of those who want to run the world from Washington.

The past can not be changed. Trump is responsible for the here and now.

SteveK9 , says: July 29, 2019 at 3:37 pm GMT
Yet another article, pointing out that there is no reason for the US to attack Iran. Yes, there is. Iran is an enemy of Israel (although with the US behind them, there isn’t much they can actually do), and Israel wants Iran destroyed. The influence of Israel in American politics is enormous. THAT is the reason. Please stop the head-scratching over why oh why the US would want to destroy Israel. Everyone knows why.
Curmudgeon , says: July 29, 2019 at 6:24 pm GMT
The Iran never attacked anyone narrative has long been a favourite. What is buried somewhere in cyberspace, is an article written over 20 years ago about the causes of the Iraq – Iran war. The article laid out several instances of Iranian revolutionaries attacking several Iraqi border towns. It also pointed out that Iraq’s original invasion into Iran stopped about 8 miles into Iran, apparently understanding that it was never going to defeat Iran territorially. The article also stated that Iraq was egged on by the US to attack, in hopes to dislodge the new regime. However, it was the Shah who attacked Iraq in the 70s over the Shat al Arab waterway. The subsequent peace agreement settled the issue. https://www.nytimes.com/1975/03/07/archives/iraq-and-iran-sign-accord-to-settle-border-conflicts-iraq-and-iran.html

One reason given by Iraq for its invasion of Iran, post revolution, was that it viewed the border attacks by Iranian revolutionaries, as a refutation of the treaty.

Iran’s real “crime” is twofold:
1) It sells oil in denomiations other than the US dollar; and
2) If allowed its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it would be producing vast amounts of low cost molybdenum and/or technetium which are used in medical testing, which would cut into the lucrative US market.

Brabantian , says: July 29, 2019 at 7:39 pm GMT
The USA-Israel-Nato menaces to Iran are criminal horseshite BUT –

Iran is horrifyingly brutal toward its own citizens, one of the most savage of all countries in per capita executions of its own people, sometimes hanging 100 people or so in a month, typically done by slow-torture hanging, often in groups of 6 or 8 people in public squares.

It seems that usually, Iran does not even try to break the neck of its hanging victims with a long drop, which can induce a merciful coma before the victim dies, typically some 15 minutes to an hour later. As is often observed in Iran, smaller people such as women typically die more slowly, their lighter weight leading to a longer period of torturous choking.

And Iran has a bunch of other Islamic barbarisms … Iran burying women alive up to their necks, only their veiled heads above the ground, and stoning them to death; the floggings and amputations, sometimes the victim marked for death is flogged bloody before being hanged from a crane etc

But André Vltchek thinks Iran is a great place …

Iran is also a bizarre social experiment in extreme social dysfunctionality, with the ‘temporary marriage’ provision in Shia religious practice that is essentially legalised prostitution. Not only can Iranians have 4 wives as the Sunnis do, one of those can be a ‘wife for the weekend’, legally, provided you go to the imam to be officially ‘married’ … you can then divorce Monday morning, e.g., by saying the word ‘talaq’ 3 times. Iranian women sometimes advertise themselves as ‘temporary wives’ (not ‘prostitutes’ of course!) for a small marital ‘gift’ of € 60 or so.

Between temporary marriage, and Iran’s practice of educating its women – often ‘bad’ for Muslim fertility – Iran’s birth rate has collapsed even more than in much of Europe.

A great shame the US CIA overthrew the secular socialist Iranian government in 1953. May the Iranian people be soon free of both Western-Israeli menace, and their own mad mullahs.

peterAUS , says: July 29, 2019 at 10:38 pm GMT
@Brabantian Good comment.

Have to say this was new to me:

…‘temporary marriage’ provision in Shia religious practice that is essentially legalised prostitution. Not only can Iranians have 4 wives as the Sunnis do, one of those can be a ‘wife for the weekend’, legally, provided you go to the imam to be officially ‘married’ … you can then divorce Monday morning, e.g., by saying the word ‘talaq’ 3 times. Iranian women sometimes advertise themselves as ‘temporary wives’ (not ‘prostitutes’ of course!) for a small marital ‘gift’ of € 60 or so.

May the Iranian people be soon free of both Western-Israeli menace, and their own mad mullahs.

Well, the price for the later is the former, apparently.

renfro , says: July 29, 2019 at 11:00 pm GMT
@Jonny C

Yes, you can’t say everything in every piece that you write, and for expediency there is simplification. You can get away with it by saying “among other things, Trump’s desire to humiliate Obama may lead us into a devastating war.” But the way you wrote it certainly insinuates that it is in fact Trump and his personal psychopathy driving the country towards war. In that, I think you are mistaken.

I don’t see it that way…..Vltchek has been around unz for a while…..so it would not be wrong for him to assume most of unz knows the real forces behind Trump and the Iran war push.

... ... ...

FB , says: • Website July 30, 2019 at 2:49 pm GMT
@Brabantian You come off sounding like a Soros acolyte by parroting ‘human rights porn’ that is largely fabricated bullshit…and disseminated by the usual NGO suspects and their MSM partners…

That’s not to say there is no merit to your basic beef…Iran is a theocracy…religious fanaticism has been a curse on humanity over the ages…religion in general really…

Iran does execute a lot of people…Vltchek is overly enthusiastic about Iran…I would say probably because he sympathizes a lot with their essentially ‘socialist’ approach [as do I]…but Iran is no angel…

But then who is…?…US cops gun down 1,000 people a year…

Also some mitigating facts to consider…a lot of the criminals Iran executes are drug traffickers…Afghanistan next-door is heroin central…run by the CIA with help from their ISIS private army…

This is nothing new…the deep state of empire has been running the global drug racket for a couple of centuries now…and using it as a geopolitical weapon against perceived ‘enemies’…going back to the opium wars that were used by the British to ‘crack open’ China…and today aimed against Russia, Central Asia and Iran…not to mention ‘neutralizing’ large swaths of the domestic population by turning them into drug zombies…

Iran’s drug laws are not nearly as draconian as in other jurisdictions in the Muslim world…capital punishment goes only for those caught with over 30 grams of hard drugs like heroin…which is far bigger than user amounts…the death sentence is not applied for first offenders, or even for repeat offenders of 30 to 100 grams…so really it is the hardcore traffickers that are getting offed…I have no problem with that…[neither do leaders like the Philippines’ Duterte who is much less tolerant than Iran…]

There is some truth to claims about Iran’s belligerence…the Russians aren’t thrilled about everything they’re doing in Syria, which includes Shia colonizing in regions they’ve seized, which is a sign of attempting to entrench their agenda in that suffering country…and hence the continuing Israeli attacks, which nobody appreciates…

They are also spurning Russian offers of help…

In Iran, sources confirm that “…Russia offered to sell one million barrels daily for Iran, and to replace the European financial system with another if needed.

Iran has refused…why…?

[Probably because they resent Russia for pressuring them to reign in their activities in Syria…it just shows the all or nothing mentality of religious fanatics…]

All in all it is crazy to think that religious zealotry can lead to anything good…it never has…

But there is a bigger principle here… it’s their country…

Nobody gives us the right to tell them how to live their lives…certainly compared to Saudi Barbaria and the other gulf theocracies…not to mention serial criminal Israel…nobody has good cause to be pointing fingers at Iran…

There is also the issue of the illegality of Trump tearing up the deal…which was adopted [unanimously] by the UN Security Council Resolution 2231…

The US signed that resolution…and let us remember that UNSC resolutions are INTERNATIONAL LAW…they are LEGALLY BINDING on all UN member states…

So the US is breaking international law…the sanctions are illegal also, since only the UNSC had the legal authority to impose sanctions…

The US’ disregard for the supreme international legal order…along with Israel similarly flouting UNSC resolutions for 50 years to pull out of the occupied territories…is simply unacceptable…

So let’s not lose sight of the ball…this has nothing to do with Iran’s domestic behavior…and everything to do with serial criminal USA…

Fool's Paradise , says: July 30, 2019 at 8:33 pm GMT
@SteveK9 Yes, SteveK9, but you meant, of course, to say “why oh why the US would want to destroy Iran”–not Israel. Israel has been trying to maneuver Uncle Sam into a shooting war with Iran for a decade or more. Israel’s American neocons have succeeded in getting America to destroy Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iran is the last country standing in the way of Israel’s total dominance of the Middle East. No Israel, no war, it’s as simple as that.
Commentator Mike , says: August 3, 2019 at 3:31 pm GMT
@Brabantian Standard muslim stuff. It’s their country so up to them what they do. But Iran was cooperating with Al Qaida in Bosnia in the 1990s chopping heads of Christians and atheists. In fact they were aligned with USA and NATO there but now US is using that involvement against them as proof of “terrorism” activity.

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-guard-s-general-says-they-were-in-bosnia-disguised-as-aid-workers/29886373.html

And here’s Andre praising them. It was well known that they were supplying weapons disguised as humanitarian aid but US and NATO did nothing to stop them at the time.

Talha , says: August 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike There was an embargo on any weapons getting through to Bosnia at the time. The Bosnians were massively outgunned by the Serbs that had possession of almost all the serious hardware after the break up of Yugoslavia. The Muslim world was not about to let this discrepancy go unanswered.

AQ at that stage was still mostly the “foreign legion” global defense initiative that was the initial vision of Shaykh Abdullah Azzam so it’s not surprising the Iranians were cooperating with them at the time. It would later progressively warp into the terrorism outfit over time in the 90’s especially with the African embassy bombings.

Peace.

peterAUS , says: August 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike Maybe you could take a look at what is going on there as we speak.
As European, you could do it. Americans and the rest of colonists can’t.

Let’s just say there is a significant Iranian presence in Bosnia.

Serbs and Croats in the region won’t be displeased should the regime in Tehran get smashed into pieces. Really small pieces.

Make of that what you will.

Commentator Mike , says: August 4, 2019 at 7:09 am GMT
@peterAUS PeterAUS,

The problem with the Balkans is that there is so much hatred and animosity between the various white ethnicities, because of historical reasons, that they have a blind spot for the much greater danger posed to them all by the massive demographic changes taking place in the world. And if that kind of intra-white hatred were to spread to the rest of Europe it will be even harder to salvage anything of the white European sovereignty.

Actually one can work even within those hatreds unless they’re given a chance to flare up, and obviously certain forces work on doing just that, as we have seen in Ukraine. Oh yes, and the Muslims aren’t helping much to bring peace about in that region.

Commentator Mike , says: August 4, 2019 at 8:41 am GMT

Go eat Iranian food.

Thanks but no thanks. Since Supreme Commander Al Baghdadi ordered muslims to get us by any and every means I strictly avoid eating anywhere muslims work, cook, or serve, despite liking their food. Didn’t you hear of the three Albanian Kosovars who were arrested in Italy plotting a bombing campaign? They worked as waiters in Venice, Italy’s tourist hub. I pity those tourists who went through their restaurant before the Kosovars decided to move onto bigger actions. And he did mention poison, whatever, even spitting.

peterAUS , says: August 4, 2019 at 7:08 pm GMT
@Commentator Mike True.

Especially:

The problem with the Balkans is that there is so much hatred and animosity between the various white ethnicities, because of historical reasons, that they have a blind spot for the much greater danger posed to them all by the massive demographic changes taking place in the world.

As for this:

And if that kind of intra-white hatred were to spread to the rest of Europe it will be even harder to salvage anything of the white European sovereignty.

Smart observation.

[Aug 03, 2019] Looks like the> US withdrawal from the JCPOA with Iran might have been co-ordinated with the western European signatories

Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Aug 3 2019 10:55 utc | 72

BTW, it has become very clear to me that the US withdrawal from the JCPOA with Iran was co-ordinated with the western European signatories (France, United Kingdom, Germany and EU) so that "maximum pressure" can be maintained on Iran while F/UK/DE/EU do nothing to honour their commitments at the same time making it appear that it's Iran in breach rather than the US/F/UK/DE/EU. Iran is aware of this and taking action to ensure its preservation . War is coming and F/UY/DE/EU will be involved on the side of the Great Satan.

[Aug 03, 2019] Gareth Porter on John Bolton's Role in the Iranian Tanker Crisis The Scott Horton Show

Jul 30, 2019 | scotthorton.org

Scott interviews Gareth Porter about John Bolton's most recent efforts to raise tensions with Iran. He and Scott speculate about Iran's ability to disrupt international trade in the region by shutting down the Strait of Hormuz, and the likelihood that they would do so given the risks of inciting more serious conflict as a result.

Discussed on the show:

Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on the national security state, and author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter and listen to Gareth's previous appearances on the Scott Horton Show.

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Kesslyn Runs , by Charles Featherstone; NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; and LibertyStickers.com .

Donate to the show through Patreon , PayPal , or Bitcoin: 1Ct2FmcGrAGX56RnDtN9HncYghXfvF2GAh.

[Aug 02, 2019] 1952: Mosaddeq Nationalization of Iran's Oil Industry Leads to Coup

Aug 02, 2019 | www.unz.com

James N. Kennett , says: August 1, 2019 at 12:41 am GMT

@lysias

I wonder how Eisenhower was persuaded to permit the 1953 coup in Iran.

The British wanted to preserve BP's oil concessions in Iran, but MI6 was not powerful enough to stage a coup without help from the CIA. So the Brits pretended that Mosaddegh leaned towards the Soviets, and the Americans pretended to believe them.

After the coup, the Shah's government transferred the majority of BP's rights to American oil companies. It would have been much better for the Brits if they had done a deal with Mosaddegh.

renfro , says: August 2, 2019 at 5:29 am GMT
@James N. Kennett 1952: Mosaddeq Nationalization of Iran's Oil Industry Leads to Coup

Time Magazine's Man of the Year cover for 1951. Mohammad Mosaddeq
]
Iranian President Mohammad Mosaddeq moves to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in order to ensure that more oil profits remain in Iran. His efforts to democratize Iran had already earned him being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 1951. After he nationalizes it, Mosaddeq realizes that Britain may want to overthrow his government, so he closes the British Embassy and sends all British civilians, including its intelligence operatives, out of the country.

Britain finds itself with no way to stage the coup it desires, so it approaches the American intelligence community for help. Their first approach results in abject failure when Harry Truman throws the British representatives out of his office, stating that "We don't overthrow governments; the United States has never done this before, and we're not going to start now."

After Eisenhower is elected in November 1952, the British have a much more receptive audience, and plans for overthrowing Mosaddeq are produced. The British intelligence operative who presents the idea to the Eisenhower administration later will write in his memoirs, "If I ask the Americans to overthrow Mosaddeq in order to rescue a British oil company, they are not going to respond. This is not an argument that's going to cut much mustard in Washington. I've got to have a different argument. I'm going to tell the Americans that Mosaddeq is leading Iran towards Communism." This argument wins over the Eisenhower administration, who promptly decides to organize a coup in Iran (see August 19, 1953). [Stephen Kinzer, 7/29/2003]

Entity Tags: Dwight Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Muhammad Mosaddeq

Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran, US-Iran (1952-1953)

[Jul 31, 2019] Craig Murray worked on the laws of the sea. He calls the British heist of an Iran tanker illegal

Jul 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Petri Krohn , Jul 28 2019 19:46 utc | 2

Other issues:

Craig Murray worked on the laws of the sea. He calls the British heist of an Iran tanker illegal:
Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism

We still do not know how, when and where the Iranian tanker was captured. There are two mutually exclusive narratives.

1) Grace 1 "freely navigated into UK territorial waters" as Jeremy Hunt claims.

2) The capture of Grace 1 was ordered by the US long before Grace 1 entered the Strait. Panama revoked the ship's registration and Gibraltar changed its sanction laws.

Would the US know weeks in advance that Grace 1 is about to stop in Gibraltar? On the other hand, If Grace 1 had known that its registration had been revoked, would it not have avoided British waters.

I suspect Grace 1 was captured out on the Atlantic, days before the news was made public. The Royal Marines would then reprogram the automatic identification system (AIS) to show Gibraltar as the destination. We still have not heard from the crew. What is their story?

Thanks for the link to Craig Murray 's article. I have been collecting sources and analysis on the tanker seizures here .

Jen , Jul 28 2019 23:08 utc | 8

Petri Krohn @ 2:

If you know which shipping company owns a certain cargo ship or tanker, you can usually look up that company's database and find the ship's scheduled voyage. This is crucial knowledge because usually cargo ships will be carrying several lots of cargo to be offloaded at ports along the way, and new cargo taken on at the same time, so importers and exporters need to know exactly when the ship docks at X place and when it leaves. It would be very easy for the UK or the US to know in advance when the Grace 1 docks at Gibraltar; they only need to know who owns the tanker, find the owner's website and look up the schedules of all the owner's ships.

See here an example of how a company can choose a ship and a schedule that fits in with its import / export schedules. Another example here.

In fact the Grace 1 tanker might not have been the specific target; as long as there was a ship purportedly carrying Iranian oil passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, it would have been fair game. So all the British would have needed to know is which tanker or tankers from the Middle East would have been scheduled to dock in at Gibraltar and they get that information from the relevant port authorities.

[Jul 29, 2019] Tehran Urges China To Buy More Iranian Oil As It Feasts On Saudi Crude

Notable quotes:
"... China's crude shipments from Iran totaled 855,638 tons last month, which averages to 208,205 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 254,016 bpd in May, according figures from the General Administration of Customs, cited in a recent Reuters report . ..."
"... Iran's Vice President Jahangiri made the appeal to Beijing and "friendly" countries to up their Iranian crude purchases in statements Monday. "Even though we are aware that friendly countries such as China are facing some restrictions, we expect them to be more active in buying Iranian oil ," Jahangiri reportedly told visiting senior Chinese diplomat Song Tao. He said this while also on Monday issuing a statement saying Iran stood ready to "confront" American aggression in the region and that multilateralism must be upheld. ..."
Jul 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Following China's crude imports from Iran plunging this summer, sinking almost 60% in June compared to a year earlier - which corresponded to Washington shutting down the waiver program in May - leaders in Tehran are urging China to buy more Iranian oil .

China's crude shipments from Iran totaled 855,638 tons last month, which averages to 208,205 barrels per day (bpd), compared with 254,016 bpd in May, according figures from the General Administration of Customs, cited in a recent Reuters report .

Iran's Vice President Jahangiri made the appeal to Beijing and "friendly" countries to up their Iranian crude purchases in statements Monday. "Even though we are aware that friendly countries such as China are facing some restrictions, we expect them to be more active in buying Iranian oil ," Jahangiri reportedly told visiting senior Chinese diplomat Song Tao. He said this while also on Monday issuing a statement saying Iran stood ready to "confront" American aggression in the region and that multilateralism must be upheld.

"The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to protect multilateralism and confront American hegemony," Jahangiri said , according to the IRIB news agency.

He added that Iran's recent move to breach uranium enrichment caps could be reversed should other parties return to upholding their side of the nuclear agreement.

Simultaneously, China's oil purchases from Iran's rival Saudi Arabia have soared to record volume , totaling 1.89 million barrels a day last month, according to numbers cited in Bloomberg . "Shipments from the OPEC producer made up almost a fifth of its total oil purchases in June and was 64% higher than the previous month," while at the same time "Imports from Iran fell to the lowest since May 2010," according to Bloomberg .

Meanwhile, in a crucial development related to Iran's trying to weather the severe US-led sanctions storm, a long anticipated plan for gasoline export has begun with an inaugural shipment to neighboring Afghanistan.

State media reported the following on Monday :

The Fars news agency said on Monday that a first consignment of export gasoline will start trading in Iran's Energy Exchange (IRENEX) later this week .

It said some 10,000 tons of gasoline with octane number of 91 will be available for sale to Afghanistan through IRENEX on Wednesday, adding that the trade will take place both in the Iranian rial and in major international currencies.

Iran's refining capacity has grown significantly over the past years as the country slashed fuel imports while also coping with increased domestic demand.

Officials have expressed hope that Iraq along with Afghanistan, as well as Caspian Sea countries would become main destinations for gasoline export.


Noob678 , 10 minutes ago link

India totally stop buying Iranian oil despite being an ally to Iran. China is still buying regardless of US sanction against their companies and CEOs.

cashback , 11 minutes ago link

A country knocking on the doors of other countries to be able to sell it's product to sustain it's economy and support it's population all the while "civilized, humane, peaceful, and law abiding" people in the west enjoying their lives at the expense of the very same people who they insult for not being able to stole the way they did, arguing and trying to convince everyone else how Mullah's are oppressing their people while they're trying to help.

Welcome to the civilized world.

schroedingersrat , 4 minutes ago link

We were never civilized outside the west's borders. The west pillages, murders, enslaves and plunders since the beginning of civilisation.

KekistanisUnite , 15 minutes ago link

China will buy more Iranian oil and so will Russia. They will have the last word whilst the US empire will be the laughing stock of the world (well it already is).

earthling1 , 26 minutes ago link

China and Russia will support Iran up to and including WW3.

Iran is a crucial link in the OBOR/New Silk Road, which in turn MUST succeed for the survival of all three nations.

If Iran falls victim to the global cabal, war is certain and Putin has already stated: if there is no mother Russia, there will be no world.

But don't worry friends, it will all be over with quicker than an asteroid out of nowhere.

None of us will ever see the end coming. Nothing to see or do here. Move along, be happy.

Blue2B , 28 minutes ago link

Cruelty and Stupidity are the hallmarks of moves this century.

"What's Iran to do? It seems straightforward. Respond in kind but no more than in kind to aggression on Iran's interests, make sure the craven Trumpists and allies realize Iran isn't kidding about shutting down resource shipments through the Persian Gulf and the destruction of the vast petroleum infrastructure in the Persian Gulf if Iran is attacked militarily, and above all remain cool headed and patient. The US empire is beginning to implode."

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/148138/Cruelty-and-stupidity-are-the-hallmarks-of-US-moves-this-century

Sofa King , 31 minutes ago link

OK so last week there was millions of barrels of Iranian oil sitting in storage tanks in China but has not officially changed hands because of sanctions. Today imports from Iran to China have plunged. Do you not see the correlation? It was in your own ******* article. Do you even read some of the **** you publish?

I miss Marla...**** was straight when she was around.

hola dos cola , 5 minutes ago link

See what you mean re: Marla. Nowadays most articles get published on the merit of fitting an agenda, beyond that content seems irrelevant. And I'm not sure 'Tyler' even knows there is an active comment section, if you see what I mean.

The Chinese have planned for (and thus probably will achieve) a SPR holding 90 days of oil. They are past 60, maybe already past 70 these days.

... ~not good~...

Real Estate Guru , 32 minutes ago link

Let's take a look at what is happening around the world....

China is in trouble.

Iran is in trouble.

Venezuela is in trouble.

The UK, France, etc is beat up for past mistakes.

Mexico is in trouble.

... ... ...

Deep Snorkeler , 34 minutes ago link

The Globe is Forming Trading Blocs Against Us

petrodollar privilege is under attack

American export goods are shunned

our friends pretend to like us

Trump's sanctions and trade wars are backfiring

America is obese and rotting

datbedank , 32 minutes ago link

Petrodollar is dead, get with the times!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-03/how-petrodollar-quietly-died-and-nobody-noticed

Oil consumption is flat thanks to engine improvements. The turd world (Russia included) is nervous because their oil welfare is going to come to an end.

Deep Snorkeler , 30 minutes ago link

As an American, I feel embarrassed to walk the Champs Elysee.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 35 minutes ago link

It would be pretty tough for the U.S. to enforce any sanctions, if China agreed to buy more oil from Iran. And there is no way the U.S. can stop them, once the Belt and Road system is completed through the Middle East region. And since China has already lined up 152 countries to cooperate in the BRI, it is extremely difficult for the U.S. to deny them a shot at improving their economies, especially when it comes to the subject of Iran.

Edward Morbius , 39 minutes ago link

The "King of Debt" is also the "King of Tariffs (taxes)".

The "stable genius" is now going to to put tariffs on French wine. Epic jackassery.

frankthecrank , 42 minutes ago link

So much for the "China and Russia will save Iran" crowd's desperate assertions. Russia does not want VZ or Iranian crude on the market as it will push oil prices even lower. As I said, there will be no WW3 over Iran. There will be no grand assemblage of minor states over Iran. Iran is on its own.

[Jul 21, 2019] Trump, election and GB provocation against Iran tanker

The key problem for Trump is reaction of China and Russia... If Russia supports Iran the USA attack onIran might well be the second Vietnam and KSA will probably seize to exit.
Notable quotes:
"... The bottom-line is this -- if Trump launches military strikes against Iranian military targets it is very likely he will ignite a series of events that will escalate beyond his control, expose him as a paper tiger full of empty bellicose threats and risk a war with other countries, including Russia and China. ..."
"... The "War" class in Washington and the media are exhorting tough action and doing all within their power to portray Iran as an imminent threat to the West. The mantra, "the must be stopped," is being repeated ad nauseam in all of the media echo changers. President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force. He reminds me of Lyndon Johnson during the early stages of the Vietnam War -- i.e., being exhorted to take action, increase forces and not back down rather than lose face on the international front. ..."
"... it is more likely the Brits intended this as a provocation, in coordination with some members of Trump's team, that would bait the Iranians to respond in similar fashion. Iran has taken the bait and given the Brits what Iran sees as a dose of its own medicine. ..."
"... There is a dangerous delusion within the Trump National Security team. They believe we are so dominant that Iran will not dare fight us. I prefer to rely on the sage counsel of Colonel Patrick Lang -- the Iranians are not afraid to fight us and, if backed into a corner, will do so. ..."
"... The tanker is too big to use the Suez canal and too big to discharge oil in a Syrian port. It was possibly going to a Mediterranean port, but Iran will not back-down to the UK. ..."
"... As the Saudi's appear to be losing their war with Yemen, the UAE has announced that they are not desirous of being in the middle of any US-Iran conflict. Qatar is doing a huge nat gas deal with Iran. ..."
"... A 50% reduction in oil & LNG output for greater than 3 months would crush already weakening Asian economies who are the manufactured products supply chain for most of the world and in particular the US. Will voters in Ohio, Wisconsin & Michigan cheer Trump's military strikes on Teheran when prices at Walmart double? ..."
"... I have no faith in Donald Trump when it comes to Israeli's interests. Embassy moved to Jerusalem check, Golan Heights check. Deal of the Century by his Anti-Christ Son-In-Law check. Not sure if that is a joke or not. ..."
"... "Trump's advisers have a demented obsession with Iran. They've been spoiling for a fight with Iran for decades. They have no idea how destructive it would be. It would make Iraq look like a tea party." ..."
"... Yes. A demented obsession that is not in US interests. Is it really in Saudi and Israeli interests when they may be hurt too? ..."
"... The same idiots running the show seem to believe that American oil and gas fracking makes it impervious to the loss of Middle Eastern oil (in fact, a secret motivation might be to save American frackers economically), but they forget that oil is a fungible commodity and always flows to the highest bidder. They could try of ban oil exports, but the Europe and Japan's economies would be utterly toast as there would be virtually no oil available to them, especially if Russia backed Iran and cut them off. ..."
"... Rather than blaming this on the media, neocons or the Pentagon, put the blame where it lies - with President Trump. Trump campaigned on tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement which he did once he was elected. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran which are meant to inflict serious hardship on the Iranian people. Trump hired Bolton and Pompeo - both hawks from previous administrations. Trump is attempting to enforce the sanctions. Is there anyone else to blame but Trump? ..."
"... The use of the golden rule suggests problems with your logic. Would we sit still, for example, if Russia and/or China started fostering guerrilla movements in South America? Of course not. We would actively intervene in support of what we see as our local security imperatives. That appears to me to be all Iran is doing in its region. ..."
"... If the Gulf oilfields in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are heavily rocketed and put out of commission along with tanker loading docks and pipeline infrastructure, there won't be any oil to ship out of the Gulf anyway. ..."
"... The primary damage from a war with Iran will be economic. Oil flowing through the Staits will come to a halt and that will hit China, Japan and the rest of Asia very hard and their buying power will decrease significantly hurting our exports. Even though the U.S is self-sufficient in oil if oil prices hit $100+ on the world market look for the U.S. oil companies to increase their prices to approach the world price driving gas prices into the $5.00+/gallon range. Trump will undoubtably prohibit U.S oil exports but the damage to the economies world wide will still negatively impact the U.S. ..."
"... Post Scriptum: Signs of a dying paradigm as the western elite have gone into total sclerotic mode. Dangerous as a rabid dog. ..."
Jul 21, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com
Donald Trump appears to be on the verge of doing what the "Never Trumpers" could not--destroy his Presidency and make re-election impossible. It all boils down to whether or not he decides to launch military strikes on Iran. The bottom-line is this -- if Trump launches military strikes against Iranian military targets it is very likely he will ignite a series of events that will escalate beyond his control, expose him as a paper tiger full of empty bellicose threats and risk a war with other countries, including Russia and China.

The "War" class in Washington and the media are exhorting tough action and doing all within their power to portray Iran as an imminent threat to the West. The mantra, "the must be stopped," is being repeated ad nauseam in all of the media echo changers. President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force. He reminds me of Lyndon Johnson during the early stages of the Vietnam War -- i.e., being exhorted to take action, increase forces and not back down rather than lose face on the international front.

The media is busy pushing the lie that Iran launched an unprovoked "attack" on a British flagged ship. They ignore the British action two weeks ago, when the British Navy seized an Iranian flagged tanker heading to Syria. Britain justifies its action as just keeping the sanction regime in place. But it is more likely the Brits intended this as a provocation, in coordination with some members of Trump's team, that would bait the Iranians to respond in similar fashion. Iran has taken the bait and given the Brits what Iran sees as a dose of its own medicine.

There is a dangerous delusion within the Trump National Security team. They believe we are so dominant that Iran will not dare fight us. I prefer to rely on the sage counsel of Colonel Patrick Lang -- the Iranians are not afraid to fight us and, if backed into a corner, will do so.

I see at least four possible scenarios for this current situation. If you can think of others please add in the comments section.

... ... ...


Fred ,

"two weeks ago, when the British Navy seized an Iranian flagged tanker"

Via Associated Press:

Royal Marines took part in the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain. Officials there initially said the July 4 seizure happened on orders from the U.S." .......

It gets even better than on orders from the U.S.
"Britain has said it would release the vessel, which was carrying more than 2 million barrels of Iranian crude, if Iran could prove it was not breaching EU sanctions"

We are supposed to believe that Syria is importing oil on ships which sail through the Straights of Gibraltar rather than getting oil from, say, Russia! or going from Iran (it is Iranian oil, so they say) through the Suez Canal? What did they do, sail around the continent of Africa to stage this?

So the brilliant minds at GCHQ that brought us Christopher Steele and the dossier have decided that they really, really, need to get rid of the Orange Man and they don't care how many Iranian or American lives it takes. I wonder just how many people the man not in the news, Jeffrey Epstein, had the dirty goods on and just which government was behind his operation.

Стивен said in reply to Fred ... ,
The tanker is too big to use the Suez canal and too big to discharge oil in a Syrian port. It was possibly going to a Mediterranean port, but Iran will not back-down to the UK.
Fred -> Стивен... ,
Stephen,

Thanks for the comment. I did a bit more research. It seems strange to me that Iran would use a ship to large for the canal to make such a shipment to Syria, if indeed that was where it was heading.

The Twisted Genius , 20 July 2019 at 08:10 PM
Larry, your intel about the JCS not advising caution is most disheartening. I wouldn't be surprised if the warmongers surrounding Trump are also telling him that his rally attending base is all for taking it to the raghead terrorists. That may not be far off. Sure those who support Trump for his professed aversion to adventurism will be appalled at war with Iran, but his more rabid base may follow him anywhere. Trump has no ideological need for war, but he does have a psychological need for adoration. That's not a good situation.
blue peacock said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 21 July 2019 at 10:09 AM
"...his rally attending base is all for taking it to the raghead terrorists.."

TTG

I have seen private surveys commissioned by a deep pocketed hedge fund of working class folks in the mid-west & the south. When the consequences of a military confrontation with Iran are described the overwhelming majority oppose it.

Larry is spot on. Trump will lose his re-election bid if he kowtows to Bibi & MbS. The short-term financial & economic effects would crush his base and the half-life of jingoism after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, & Syria will be rather short. Trump will be blamed by the "right" for cocking up teaching Iran a lesson and demonized by the "left "for getting us into another ME quagmire.

J -> The Twisted Genius ... , 21 July 2019 at 10:09 AM
How does one wake POTUS Trump to the reality that his NEOCONS and Israel Firsters in his Cabinet will destroy his Presidency if he doesn't jettison them out the door.
eakens , 20 July 2019 at 10:22 PM
There is an effort underway to undermine Israeli influence in the US, and I think the calculus might be to use the exact thing Israelis want most (war with Iran) to do that. I think the resurrection of the Epstein case is also part of that effort. Thus, war with Iran is inevitable.
Artemesia said in reply to eakens... , 21 July 2019 at 07:41 AM
"There is an effort underway to undermine Israeli influence in the US"

Is it an organized effort? Where do I sign up?

Rick Wiles heads TruNews, a Christian evangelical network. He's been outspoken in his criticism of zionism, calls out Christian zionists, and deplores that "the US has been taken over by zionists." To be sure, ADL has labeled Wiles an "antisemite." If TruNews survives, it may be part of game-changing.

Only from TruNews did I learn about HR1837, US-Israel united cyber command, "an alliance to direct energy space weapons"
https://www.trunews.com/stream/united-zionist-cyber-command-congress-forges-us-israel-alliance-in-direct-energy-space-weapons

"The Squad" mouthing rhetoric is weak tea to counteract Israeli's deep penetration of US military and other key institutions.

Petrel , 20 July 2019 at 11:00 PM
"From what I am hearing from knowledgeable sources [is that] no one on the Joint Chiefs of Staff at DOD are advising caution."

We should probably ignore the notion that the Joint Chiefs are bullish about a war with Iran -- the situation in the area is terrible for us and the Joint Chiefs know it.

For example, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan have military understandings with Iran and the former is now installing advanced S-400 Russian missiles to defend itself from us. Furthermore, Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, Azerbajian and Armenia will not allow transit of war materiel or aircraft en-route to Iran. So how does the US project anything into that country?

Then again, US Central Command is located in Iran friendly Quatar, which merely hosts us and could require us to leave. How come? Wouldn't you know it, Quatar is developing a massive gas reserve with Iran in the Gulf, is now very, very friendly with big-brother Turkey and presently negotiating with Russia for S-400 missiles -- clearly against us.

Well, what about our Navy?

Alas, recent improvements in missiles have rendered our deep water Navy a liability -- not that the narrow Persian Gulf / Sea of Oman is deep in any case. (President Trump learned about our Navy's vulnerability to missile attack last year as the Pentagon quickly pulled our three carrier group force from Korea and parked those impressive ships on the south coast of Australia! )

Then there is Iran's near east client / ally Hezbollah, which has made clear that any bombing of Iran, a huge country, would trigger heavy missile attack on postage-stamp Israel.

The Neocons may have managed to silence public Pentagon doubts, but President Trump is clearly attempting to avoid military adventures. "No, the Iran downed drone was old and not that expensive." "The UK captured an Iranian tanker and the Iranians have reciprocated. The two should sit down and work the situation out."

JamesT , 20 July 2019 at 11:00 PM
I believe that Iran is going to want to avoid war if they can. Their program of adding precision guidance to Hezbollah missiles in Lebanon means that the longer they postpone war, the better for them. If they get to a point where they have 10,000 precision guided missiles in Lebanon then the next Israel-Lebanon war will force Israel into a humiliating defeat.

Eighty percent of Israel's water comes from water desalination plants - and then there are electricity generation plants, sewage treatment plants, and numerous other infrastructure targets that can be hit. Israeli civilians are soft and will cry uncle as soon as their air conditioning cuts out.

The neocons know that time is not on their side.

Castellio said in reply to JamesT ... , 21 July 2019 at 12:30 AM
It's your last line which is the most worrying.

Why not, then, have the Americans initiate the deed now... destroy Iran and Lebanon, and then, with France, the UK, Germany, Canada et al. spend billions to rebuild Israel, with the Palestinians being sent to Jordan (if not worse).

Israel has gambled on a broader war several times in the past, and they believe (despite the fiasco in Lebanon) that each was a win.

What do you do, when "time is not on your side?".

smoke , 20 July 2019 at 11:37 PM
When did this group, leading the charge overseas in D.C. for the past 20 years, once get it right, as far as assumptions and expectations of military necessities or outcomes? I am beginning to think this creating a greater danger out of a lesser mess is a feature, not a defect. If so, why? To what end? Or is the policy process that broken?
Fred -> smoke... , 20 July 2019 at 11:37 PM
Smoke,

Saddam ain't around any more, neither is Muammar Gaddafi. The neocons take those as great victories since the sacred state of Israel is safe from those two.

ted richard , 21 July 2019 at 06:50 AM
imo a war with iran is theatre and will not take place.

should iran be attacked imo you can kiss the UAE goodbye as well as most if not all of the Saudi oil infrastructre along the gulf. i would also expect a massive direct bombardment of israeli cities and other important targets from hezbollah starting with the massive ammonia storage system in haifa whose destruction would annihilate that entire region. all of useful israel is in the middle to upper third of the country closest to lebanon and easy reach for all of hezbollahs missiles.

the persian gulf upon the start of the war becomes the hotel california for any warship within. none would likely escape. and the coup de gra for iran is whether they have the ballistic missile reach and or can gain access to russian long range bombers fitted with kalibr or better cruise missiles able to smash diego garcia absolutely critical american relaestate in the indian ocean.

trump imo is not crazy and can read a map as well as anyone with help from his REAL pentagon military professionals.

we have not even gotten to what happens to all those oil and interest rate derivatives far out of the money right now in somewhat normal times. if war starts they go from notional to real fast and the western financial system implodes even with a force majeure declaration

my vote is no war.

Error404 , 21 July 2019 at 07:46 AM
An Iran war would indeed most probably kill off Trump's chance of re-election. The almost inevitable spike in the price of oil which it would bring about would have two implications:

1/ ROTW xUS manufacturing is already in recession, with services close to joining it in many countries. The US is clearly slowing down and appears headed on the same course. The global economy is in no shape to withstand even a relatively short-lived surge in oil prices.

2/ There is no knowing what lurks out there in the oil derivatives market, but the banking system - particularly the European banking system - is far too fragile to sustain another bout of counterparty risk aversion along the lines of 2007/08. (And amongst the trillions of gross derivatives exposure, one has to wonder just how many US and other banks are sitting across from Deutsche Bank oil positions and happily netting off the counterparty risk.)

Regretably, from my side of the Atlantic the US looks like a traditional imperial power, addicted to war and conquest and with a significant proportion of the population fetishizing (probably not a real verb) all things military. Whether Trump can be truly damaged by extending the 'forever war' to Iran depends very much on how it goes - and I doubt he has the knowledge required to think through all the plausible scenarios. We can be a lot more confident that carrying the blame for an unnecessary recession into the election campaign has a solid chance of sinking him.

Fred -> Error404... , 21 July 2019 at 11:00 AM
Error404,

Just what good has the past two decades of "war and conquest" done for America, whether flyover country, Jussie Smollett's "Maga Country" section of Chicago or the homeless encampments of Seattle, LA or Portland?

CK , 21 July 2019 at 09:59 AM
As the Saudi's appear to be losing their war with Yemen, the UAE has announced that they are not desirous of being in the middle of any US-Iran conflict. Qatar is doing a huge nat gas deal with Iran.

Bolton is heading to Japan to "mediate" the current economic disagreements between Japan and S. Korea.
Pompeo is declaring that the Iranian Ballistic Missile program is suddenly on the table. It would appear that the whole Iranian atomic bomb thing was smoke and mirrors and hasbara.

There is a deal available, preparation for making the deal will involve political kabuki, grand posturing, the beating of drums without rhythm and the flooding of the Old American Infotainment outlets with much wailing and whining about "the only democracy in the MENA."

A deal will eventuate that allows both the USA and Iran to move on, about a week before the 2020 presidential election. Or maybe not.

blue peacock , 21 July 2019 at 10:23 AM
I have a question for those of you well versed with Iranian military capability. What are the capabilities of Iranian ballistic missiles in terms of range, precision and payload lethality?

As Col. Lang has noted in the transition to war, before the US Navy gets its ducks in a row, that is the window of opportunity that Iran has to strike back. What damage could they inflict on oil & gas infrastructure including LNG, port & pipelines across UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia?

A 50% reduction in oil & LNG output for greater than 3 months would crush already weakening Asian economies who are the manufactured products supply chain for most of the world and in particular the US. Will voters in Ohio, Wisconsin & Michigan cheer Trump's military strikes on Teheran when prices at Walmart double?

blue peacock , 21 July 2019 at 10:53 AM
All

As Larry notes "..President Trump, regrettably, is ignorant of military history and devoid of strategic intelligence when it comes to employing military force.." , but I believe he has good political instincts and as his Reality TV/Twitter presidency shows he has an excellent sense of how it plays both in the MSM and social media. He must know that while the "shock & awe" and "boom-boom" videos may give him an instant boost the stock market that he has rested his presidency on may not soar but in fact plummet. And he can't blame Jay Powell for that.

He must also instinctually know that November 2020 is a year away and a lot can go wrong as it is economically and in financial markets since he's been harping at the Fed to lower rates in supposedly the best economy evah. Uncertainty spikes volatility and the credit markets are already stressed particularly in offshore eurodollar funding which is an order of magnitude larger than mortgage credit markets were in 2007.

Maybe Rand Paul is his counter to the ziocon fifth column? I don't think he's that foolish to pull the trigger on Iran and sink his presidency when the Deep State & NeverTrumpers are out for his blood. He must know he'll lose immunity from legal jeopardy when he's no longer POTUS.

walrus -> blue peacock... , 21 July 2019 at 04:00 PM
As Col. Lang has repeatedly observed, the decisions to go to war do not necessarily follow economic, nor domestic political logic. It is therefore better to speculate on the players state of mind rather than looking at the aforesaid rational drivers like economics and votes.

Who knows what is being whispered in Trumps ear?

Noregs gard , 21 July 2019 at 10:57 AM
http://resistancenewsunfiltered.blogspot.com/
here you will find many of Nasrallah`s speeches and tv appearances with english subtitles..
Harlan Easley , 21 July 2019 at 11:46 AM
I have no faith in Donald Trump when it comes to Israeli's interests. Embassy moved to Jerusalem check, Golan Heights check. Deal of the Century by his Anti-Christ Son-In-Law check. Not sure if that is a joke or not.

Israeli wants Iran destroyed and their ability to pressure US Presidents to do their bidding all the way back to President Truman is 100% success. Trump so cravenly promotes the Zionist interest that I see no reason he will not pursue regime change in Iran to its logical conclusion.

The plan is ultimately Greater Israeli and the leaders of Iran are well aware of this.

Many comments say that Israeli will be badly damaged by any regional war. Why do you believe Israeli is just going to take the blows? Analysis is not advocacy as Col. Lang says.

My fear is the ultimate weapons of mass destruction are introduced into the Middle East.

Jack , 21 July 2019 at 11:48 AM
"Trump's advisers have a demented obsession with Iran. They've been spoiling for a fight with Iran for decades. They have no idea how destructive it would be. It would make Iraq look like a tea party."

@Tom_Slater_ on Sky https://t.co/A50M6bghj8


https://twitter.com/spikedonline/status/1152926344466063360?s=19

Yes. A demented obsession that is not in US interests. Is it really in Saudi and Israeli interests when they may be hurt too?

Flavius , 21 July 2019 at 12:01 PM
Option 1 - Diplomatic solution: The UK will do what it must do, ie what the US allows it to do. The GB Imperial project is no more and the UK is riding along somewhere in the wake of the Imperial City. Whatever influence it exerts on power there is by flattery or deception (Steele dossier.) Trump slapped the UK Ambassador out of Washington as if he were a fly. Moreover, the UK alone carries no stick to wield against Iran. Iran is no Falklands.

Options 2 thru 4 - some degree of military attack on Iran: as you point out, the return on investment for any kind of attack on Iran is highly unpredictable. It depends entirely on how Iran chooses to respond and whether it decides to roll the dice, go all in, and endure the onslaught, and inflict what damage it can where it can, which it very well may. Does anyone in Washington have an intel based fix on Iran's intentions when attacked? I doubt it.

Not a single intervention in the last 18 years, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya resulted in the anticipated outcome. Do they have rear view mirrors in Washington?

My weakly held expectation, especially now with the passing of a few days, is that Washington will decide to temporize and tell the UK to accept the humiliation, in effect kicking the can down the road. Everyone will know it is only doing what it has been told to do.

Of course they will announce more face saving sanctions. The Donald will hope that he will be able to gut it out to 2020 without having to make a decision that could blow him up, and likely would - but who knows? Iran will hope to gut it out to 2020 and in the interim pray to God that some Democrat floats back down to earth with some issues, like the Donald once espoused, that will be used to beat the Donald and send him and his family back to the upper East Side.

With the escalation game fully in play, it's going to be a close call.

GeneO , 21 July 2019 at 01:06 PM
LJ -

I find it a bit hard to believe that leaders like Dunford, Selva, Milley, Richardson, and the others on the Joint Chiefs are not advising caution. Milley, the next Chairman, for sure has advised caution at his recent Senate hearing. Dunford has only pushed for an international coalition Task Force to guard ships transiting the Strait. Selva and Richardson appear to be more worried about China.

Let us all hope that your knowledgeable sources are wrong.

The real danger is if Fred Fleitz gets to be DNI. If that happens be prepared for another scam like the Office of Special Plans a la Wolfowicz and Feith. Probably Bolton and/or PomPom already have one hiding in the basement ready to go.

GeneO , 21 July 2019 at 01:48 PM
Iran's FM Zarif made a peaceful impression during Fareed Zakaria's interview. But all the headlines focus on his one statement: "Start a war with Iran and we will end it" . Although those were NOT his words, what he said was "We will never start a war,...But we will defend ourselves, and anybody who starts a war with Iran will not be the one who ends it."

The question is whether he speaks for the hardliners.

Karl Kolchak , 21 July 2019 at 03:12 PM
You forgot to mention what will happen to the world economy if the Strait of Hormuz is closed to all shipping by Iranian missiles an mines. Stock marks would collapse and a deep recession if not depression would ensue quickly.

The same idiots running the show seem to believe that American oil and gas fracking makes it impervious to the loss of Middle Eastern oil (in fact, a secret motivation might be to save American frackers economically), but they forget that oil is a fungible commodity and always flows to the highest bidder. They could try of ban oil exports, but the Europe and Japan's economies would be utterly toast as there would be virtually no oil available to them, especially if Russia backed Iran and cut them off.

turcopolier , 21 July 2019 at 03:29 PM
Karl Kolchak

the strait would not stay closed long, ut there would be considerable economic damage while it is.

Tom Wonacott , 21 July 2019 at 03:36 PM
Rather than blaming this on the media, neocons or the Pentagon, put the blame where it lies - with President Trump. Trump campaigned on tearing up the Iran nuclear agreement which he did once he was elected. The Trump administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran which are meant to inflict serious hardship on the Iranian people. Trump hired Bolton and Pompeo - both hawks from previous administrations. Trump is attempting to enforce the sanctions. Is there anyone else to blame but Trump?

The scenario proposed by Moon of Alabama seems to be coming to fruition as an Iranian strategy to counter the sanctions - imposing hardships on the world economy by attacking western and Arab interests in the Middle East, but stopping short of a provocation which will require a military response ( https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/06/iran-decided-to-put-maximum-pressure-on-trump-here-is-how-it-will-do-it.html). Iran is not going to go quietly into the night.

Iran is also not entirely innocent in the affairs of the Middle East. Israel believes with some evidence that Iran is building forward bases in Syria - an unacceptable condition for Israel considering the thousands of missiles owned by Hezbollah and the ballistic missile testing by Iran. Iran is also supplying weapons directly to Hezbollah (as they always have). In addition, Iran is supplying weapons and (likely) ballistic missile technology to the Houthis. The Houthis have used ballistic missiles to attack the Saudis. Yemen is on the border of Saudi Arabia - and a (Shia) Houthi government is unacceptable to the Saudis. The Trump administration tore up the nuclear agreement because of the destabilizing political agenda of Iran (to US interests).

Trump campaigned on a more isolationist foreign policy so option 1 is still the most likely possibility for the moment (IMO).

walrus -> Tom Wonacott... , 21 July 2019 at 04:12 PM
The use of the golden rule suggests problems with your logic. Would we sit still, for example, if Russia and/or China started fostering guerrilla movements in South America? Of course not. We would actively intervene in support of what we see as our local security imperatives. That appears to me to be all Iran is doing in its region.
ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to Tom Wonacott... , 21 July 2019 at 06:57 PM
Your third paragraph is a stretch. Iran's actions that you describe are realistic (in the strategic sense of the word) responses to Israel's overt hostility, overwhelming superiority in air power and its possession of scores of nuclear weapons.
Antoinetta III , 21 July 2019 at 05:54 PM
I'm wondering if in case of war, Iran would need to "close the Gulf" at all.

If the Gulf oilfields in Saudi Arabia and the UAE are heavily rocketed and put out of commission along with tanker loading docks and pipeline infrastructure, there won't be any oil to ship out of the Gulf anyway.

Except Iran's own oil, of course.

Antoinetta III

jdledell , 21 July 2019 at 06:25 PM
The primary damage from a war with Iran will be economic. Oil flowing through the Staits will come to a halt and that will hit China, Japan and the rest of Asia very hard and their buying power will decrease significantly hurting our exports. Even though the U.S is self-sufficient in oil if oil prices hit $100+ on the world market look for the U.S. oil companies to increase their prices to approach the world price driving gas prices into the $5.00+/gallon range. Trump will undoubtably prohibit U.S oil exports but the damage to the economies world wide will still negatively impact the U.S.

Insurance on oil vessels will become almost impossible to get. The U.S will have to indemnify ship owners and I suspect many will not trust the U.S. to come through with the money for claims. Trump has a history of this and thus many ships will stay in port.

A war with Iran will not be won or lost militarily, but economically. Iran is 4 times the size of Iraq and has 3 times the population and I simply do not think we can successfully occupy the country. That being the case, I don't think the U.S can permanently prevent sabatoge in the Staits - meaning an oil induced recession will linger world wide for many years.

In a word - SNAFU

falcemartello , 21 July 2019 at 08:41 PM
UNO: increased false flag incident instigated by the anglo-zionist

DUE:Increased takfiri movements in Idlib and provocatiev attacks InnAleppo ,Hama Dara and Dier Ezurr as the Syrian Arab Army is consolidating around Northern Hama and Around Idlib .

TRE: More tanker siezures by the Nato cohorts and portraying Iran as breachoing the JCPCOA treaty. Nevr mentioning the breach of contract from the western alliance from Pax-Americana and its Western European vassals

Quattro Russia and China will be either utilised as middle men or further labelled as agressors and Iranian?Syrian?Yemeni apologist.

Post Scriptum: Signs of a dying paradigm as the western elite have gone into total sclerotic mode. Dangerous as a rabid dog.

[Jul 21, 2019] As Trump Backs Down, the Pips Squeak -- Strategic Culture

Jul 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

Last week it was all fire and brimstone. The US was threatening more sanctions on Iran, the Brits were seizing oil tankers and Iran was violating the JCPOA.

This week things look different all of a sudden. An oil tanker goes dark while passing through the Strait of Hormuz, the story fails to get any real traction and the US allows Iranian Foreign Minister, recently sanctioned, to do his job at the United Nations.

Trump then holds a cabinet meeting where he reiterates that "We're not looking for regime change. We want them out of Yemen."

I thought National Security Advisor John Bolton said the US would apply pressure until "the pips squeak."

Where the pips are squeaking is on the Arabian Peninsula, not across the Persian Gulf in Bandar Abbas. Specifically, I'm talking about the United Arab Emirates. The UAE sent a delegation to Tehran recently that coincided with its partial withdrawal of troops from Yemen.

That meeting, according to Elijah Magnier , focused on Emirates realizing they are in the middle of this conflict, up to their skyscrapers.

"The UAE would like to avoid seeing their country transformed into a battlefield between the US and Iran in case of war, particularly if Trump is re-elected. The Emirates officials noted that the US did not respond to Iran's retaliation in the Gulf and in particularly when the US drone was downed. This indicates that Iran is prepared for confrontation and will implement its explicit menace, to hit any country from which the US carries out their attacks on Iran. We want to be out of all this ", an Emirates official told his Iranian counterpart in Tehran.

Iran promised to talk to the Yemeni officials to avoid hitting targets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as long as the UAE pulls out its forces from the Yemen and stops this useless war. Saudi Crown Prime Mohammad Bin Salman is finding himself without his main Emirates ally, caught in a war that is unwinnable for the Saudi regime. The Yemeni Houthis have taken the initiative, hitting several Saudi strategic targets. Saudi Arabia has no realistic objectives and seems to have lost the appetite to continue the war in Yemen.

So, with the Houthis successfully striking major targets inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE abruptly pulling forces out, the war in Yemen has reached a critical juncture. Remember, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a bill withdrawing support for the war back in March, which the White House had to veto in support of its fading hopes for its Israeli/Palestinian deal pushed by Jared Kushner.

But things have changed significantly since then as that deal has been indefinitely postponed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing a second election this fall after he failed to secure a stable coalition.

After that there was the failed economic conference in Bahrain in June where Kushner revealed the economic part of the plan to a half-empty room where only the backers of the plan showed any real support.

And that's the important part of this story, because it was Kushner's plan which was the impetus for all of this insane anti-Iran belligerence in the first place. Uniting the Gulf states around a security pact leveraging the U.S/Israeli/Saudi alliance was part of what was supposed to pressure the Palestinians to the bargaining table.

By placing maximum economic sanctions on both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran while continuing to foment chaos in Syria was supposed to force Israel's enemies to fold under the pressure which would, in turn, see the Palestinians surrender to the will of Kushner and Bibi.

The problem is, it didn't work. And now Trump is left holding the bag on this idiotic policy which culminated in an obvious provocation when Iran shot down a $220 million Global Hawk surveillance drone, nearly sparking a wider war.

But what it did was expose the US and not Iran as the cause of the current problems.

Since then Trump finally had to stand up and be the grown-up in the room, such as he is, and put an end to this madness.

The UAE understood the potential for Iran's asymmetric response to US belligerence. The Saudis cannot win the war in Yemen that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman began. The fallout from this war has been to push Qatar out of the orbit of the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council, cutting deals with Iran over developing the massive North Pars gas field and pipelines to Europe.

And now the UAE has realized it is facing an existential threat to its future in any confrontation between Iran and the US

What's telling is that Trump is making Yemen the issue to negotiate down rather than Iran's nuclear ambitions. Because it was never about the nuclear program. It was always about Iran's ballistic missile program.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have us believe that for the first time Iran's missile program is on the negotiating table. I have no idea if that's actually true, but it's a dead giveaway that it's what the US is after.

The main reason why Trump and Netanyahu are so angry about the JCPOA is the mutual outsourcing of the nuclear ballistic missile program by Iran and North Korea. North Korea was working on the warhead while Iran worked on the ballistic missile.

Trump tweeted about this nearly two years ago, confirming this link. I wrote about it when he did this. Nearly everything I said about North Korea in the blog post is now applicable to Iran. This was why he hated the JCPOA, it didn't actually stop the development of Iran and North Korea into nuclear states.

But tearing up the deal was the wrong approach to solving the problem. Stop pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in weapons to the region, as Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out recently, is the problem . By doing this he took both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping off his side of the table.

Now he stands isolated with only the provocateurs – Israel, the U.K., Saudi Arabia – trying to goad him forward into doing something he doesn't want to do. And all of those provocations that have occurred in the past month have failed to move either Trump or the Iranians. They've learned patience, possibly from Putin. Call it geopolitical rope-a-dope, if you will.

I said last month that the key to solving Iran's nuclear ambitions was solving the relationship with North Korea. Trump, smartly, went there, doing what only he could do , talk with DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-Un and reiterate his sincere desire to end proliferation of nuclear weapons.

He can get Iran to the table but he's going to have to give up something. So, now framing the negotiations with Iran around their demands we stop arming the Saudis is politically feasible.

Trump can't, at this point, back down directly with Iran. Yemen is deeply unpopular here and ending our support of it would be a boon to Trump politically. Trading that for some sanctions relief would be a good first step to solving the mess he's in and build some trust.

Firing John Bolton, which looks more likely every day, would be another.

He's already turning a blind eye to Iranian exports to China, and presumably, other places. I think the Brits are acting independently trying to create havoc and burnish Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's resume as Prime Minister against Boris Johnson. That's why they hijacked the oil tanker.

But all the little distractions are nothing but poison pills to keep from discussing the real issues. Trump just cut through all that. So did Iran. Let's hope they stay focused.

[Jul 20, 2019] On Iran, Why Not Rand

Notable quotes:
"... Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at ..."
"... , and a frequent contributor to ..."
"... That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me. ..."
"... It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again. ..."
Jul 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

If there is any direct communication between American and Iranian officials, it is hidden from public view. All of this has made Senator Rand Paul's initiative to open dialogue with Tehran urgent, necessary, and prudent.

According to a July 17 story in Politico , Paul recently pitched himself to President Trump as a possible presidential emissary to the Iranians -- someone who could sit down with Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif and begin a conversation on the issues that have nearly resulted in military conflict. Trump apparently accepted Paul's pitch while the two were on the golf course last weekend. His decision, while not yet confirmed by the White House, suggests that Trump is slowly beginning to recognize the deficiencies of the maximum pressure policy that National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and outside counsels like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Mark Dubowitz have peddled for years. Far from forcing Tehran's surrender, economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation have yielded more Iranian aggression. Iran is now a wounded animal backed into a corner, ready to fight rather than submit. The chances of a clash have increased substantially.

In a town filled with tough talkers who see foreign policy as an extension of domestic politics, Rand Paul is one of those strange creatures who is willing to throw himself in front of a bus for the sake of preventing a war. His foes (of which there are many, from Bill Kristol and Lindsey Graham to Marco Rubio and Liz Cheney) use the lazy isolationist epitaph to paint him as a gadfly on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. But at his core, Paul is neither a gadfly nor an isolationist. The junior senator from Kentucky is a non-interventionist who has the audacity to search for diplomatic solutions before doing what most of his colleagues on Capitol Hill would have long preferred -- involuntarily reaching for more punitive options.

This isn't the first time Paul has tried to create space for dialogue with a U.S. adversary. Last year, when so much as talking to a Russian was universally frowned upon by the political class, Paul flew to Moscow and delivered a letter on behalf of President Trump to Russian parliamentarians. A month later, he introduced an amendment that would have lifted travel restrictions on Russian lawmakers if Moscow did the same for their American counterparts. The amendment was a small and reasonable gesture that removed largely symbolic sanctions in order to encourage Americans and Russians to familiarize themselves with each other. It was lambasted in committee and killed .

Paul's latest initiative with Iran could run into the same brick wall. The fact that the arrangement was leaked to the media is an indication that somebody in the Trump administration is totally opposed to the idea and wants to bury any potential conversations with the Iranians before they begin. One can almost picture John Bolton, holed up in the White House basement, hearing the news and frantically ordering his minions on the National Security Council to expose it in the press.

There are also practical questions that need to be answered. With Zarif only in New York for another few days, does Paul have the time for a one-on-one meeting? Would the Iranians be interested in meeting with the senator, even if he does have the president's ear? Or is Khamenei, still seething over the administration's withdrawal from the nuclear deal and watching his government's oil exports disappear, dead set on banning any contact with the Americans for as long as Trump remains in the Oval Office?

It's Not Too Late for Trump to Ignore Bolton and Get Iran Right Is America Ready for John Bolton's War With Iran?

Organizing a backchannel with the Iranians could be difficult, in large measure because it will be fought tooth-and-nail by the usual suspects. But Rand Paul's potential role as an envoy should be pursued. After all, it isn't like the hawks have such a great track record.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters , and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.


Sid Finster2 days ago • edited

That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me.

It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again.

Sid Finster2 days ago • edited
That TAC columnists continue to hold out hope that Trump will revert to his 2016 form astounds me.

It's like watching Obama cultists convince themselves that The Real Obama®, the hopey changey guy from 2008, will finally put in an appearance, even as he betrays them over and over again.

dbriz Sid Finster2 days ago
Your pessimism is certainly warranted and frequently seconded by Larison and others at TAC. Agreed. But, what choice do we have but to encourage proposals like this one and recognize that Trump, as infuriatingly inconsistent as he has been, needs to be encouraged when he does something sensible.

Rand at least seems to have his ear, no small feat.

Sid Finster dbriz2 days ago
I am not saying that such moves, if they come to pass, should not be encouraged.

But let's see if anything comes of it, or if the Boltons, Pompeos and Haspels of this world make sure that Rand fails and then chant "But we have to go to war because we tried so hard we tried everything ZOMG war war war!"

bbkingfish2 days ago
The best reason I can think of to choose to send someone other than Rand Paul to negotiate with Iran is that Paul was NOT one of the seven WPP senators who didn't sign Tom Cotton's odious open letter to Iran trying to put the kibosh on the Obama nuke deal with Iran.

Maybe try Corker, or Alexander or Murkowski...someone whom the Iranians might have some reason to trust.

I seriously doubt that Rand Paul has a whit more credibility in Tehran than Trump does, and why would he?. I can't think of a single reason why Iran should trust him.

Fayez Abedaziz2 days ago
Good and very to the point made in this article about the hawks, these neo-cons, these war lovers, not having a good track record.
They have a record of death and destruction and they could care less about people suffering.
Just why do they want America to continue attacking and threaten and make war on numerous nations?
Why...
Sid Finster Fayez Abedaziza day ago
Because most Americans have the memory and attention span of a mosquito.

[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 Po