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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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[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 Pompeo/Boton.

The text of the McCollum memo can be found here:

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


turcopolier , 13 May 2019 at 12:09 PM
Lindgren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch. The place is called Jask.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack , 13 May 2019 at 01:58 PM
Sir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"the chances of war..."

Those damn fools.

This makes war more likely.

- Eliot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

turcopolier , 19 July 2019 at 05:43 PM
JM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will HAVE TO do this ???!!!

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

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


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

Unfortunately yes...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A key exchange:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 20, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

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

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jul 18, 2019] The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

elkern , Jul 17 2019 16:08 utc | 31

Trailer Trash is exactly right about brittle supply chains. To "maximize Shareholder value" (the Prime Directive from Wall Street), corporations are maximizing (not optimizing) efficiency, at the expense of long-term priorities.

Summer Diaz is sorta right about what I might describe as US cultural/political obesity, but I don't look forward to living here after the shit hits the fan. There are lotsa crazy bastards with guns. We'll see real race war, starvation, all 4 Horsemen.

Re questions about Israel's fate in Marandi's scenario: I think it's smart that he/they don't talk about retaliation against Israel. Everybody knows that Iran has the ability to really hurt Israel (sans Nukes, they probably can't obliterate it); but this threat is much better left unsaid, just hanging in the air. Threatening Israel would be bad PR, decreasing chances that EU, Russia, & China can talk the US back from the brink of WWIII. And making sure Israel knows they're in danger - without bragging about it - gets (non-crazy) Zionists in USA to help prevent all-out war!

It's OK for Iran to talk about the threat to KSA, UAE, etc, because everybody hates them anyway, and cutting off the world's energy supply is their Doomsday Bomb. They need to remind the world that if the US attacks Iran, everybody loses.


karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 16:23 utc | 32

Three main antagonists have aimed at post-revolution Iran: The Outlaw US Empire, Occupied Palestine, and Saudi Arabia, the latter being the most recent and vulnerable, while the first two have already waged varying degrees of war with the Empire's Economic War having existed for 40+ years. The Levant's former Colonial powers--Turkey, France, UK--are feeble, and in Turkey's case is allied with Iran while being spurned by NATO and EU. Lurking in the background are Russia and China's designs for Eurasian Integration which only the Outlaw US Empire seeks to prevent as such integration benefits Saudi Arabia, Occupied Palestine, France and UK. Thus the only entity that might benefit from non-hybrid war with Iran is the Outlaw US Empire--Occupied Palestine's interests actually lie with becoming part of an Integrated Eurasia not in trying to impede it. And the same goes for the other nations occupying the Arabian Peninsula--but they all need to come to their senses by deeply examining their actual long term interests as Qatar seems to have done in its rapprochement with Iran.

But, just how would a non-hybrid conflict with Iran benefit the Outlaw US Empire if it consumes its regional allies? Would it bring more riches or create greater debt atop the human cost? Most analysts have pointed to the Empire's vulnerability upon the trashing of the current global economic structure. Indeed, the only visible benefit might accrue from slowing Eurasian Integration. Then there's the highly negative result to the Empire's global credibility which is already scrapping rock bottom and the likely end of Dollar Hegemony and the Free Lunch it's lived on for the past 70+ years. But what about the fulfillment of the Christian Rapture Myth? Sorry, but there should be no need to answer that fantastical, magical, thinking. Not a very good balance sheet is it as liabilities seem to vastly outweigh assets. Unfortunately, such logic is ignored by ideologues drunk on magical thinking. And these results don't take into consideration an escalation into global nuclear conflict that's in nobody's interest.

But as noted, Trump's up a tree and keeps climbing higher onto ever thinner, more precarious branches. Iran offered him a chance to climb down if he removes illegal sanctions and returns to JCPOA, which Pompeo promptly replied to with a lie that Iran would negotiate on its ballistic missiles, thus giving the overall goal away.

So, Trump can't/won't climb down and non-hybrid conflict would do great damage to Outlaw US Empire interests, which is where we were at July's beginning.

goldhoarder , Jul 17 2019 16:41 utc | 33
Iran will respond to a limited military strike with a massive and disproportionate counterstrike targeting both the aggressor and its enablers.
Which will be the green light for an even more violent & disproportionate counterstrike on Iran. Make no mistake - there are plenty of gung-ho Washington & Tel Aviv power brokers who want to trash Iran. And they will do it, given the chance. The above scenario is precisely what the war gods are hoping for.

I don't know about that. The US and Israel would really be opening up a can of worms. Any over reaction by the USA and Israel gives Russia, India, and China a precedent to follow. China might it easy to settle their difficulties with Taiwan. Kiev might go up in a mushroom cloud. The USA isn't the only country in the world with problems. If they don't play by the rules it just leads to more rule breakers.

arata , Jul 17 2019 16:47 utc | 34
An Alternate Scenario
There is a saying in Persian language called "Namad Maali" translates as "feltman massag", it means slow killing.
This proverb is very often used in contemporary Persian language but most of the people do not know the actual origin of the proverb.
There is an interesting legend behind it. Holagu Khan, a Mongol ruler, the grandson of Chengiz Khan conquered Baghdad on year 1258, and captured the Caliph Al-Mo'tasam, the last Caliph of Abbasid dynasty. Holagu decided to execute the Caliph and finish the 500 years Muslim caliphate.
Many statesmen begged him to hold on. They told him that the caliph is legitimate successor of prophet Mohammad. Caliphate is the pillar of the world, if you remove this pillar there will be sun eclipse, thunder storm and total darkness. Holagu, with his shamanistic believes fearing sky revenge was yielding, but he consulted his prime minister a Persian mullah, Nasir al-Din Tusi. Nasir told him do not worry, these are total nonsense, all of our great Shai twelve imams were direct descendants of prophet Mohammad, they were inherently innocent, while Abbasid are not direct descendants of prophet. See that our imams, eleven out of twelve, were martyred, there was no sun eclipse, no thunder storm, no darkness of the world.
Holagu was bold enough to carry out the execution. Other statesmen brought forward a group of astrologists who searched through their horoscopes and studied signs of stars and concluded that all the signs are catastrophic, if a drop of caliph's blood drops on earth, there will be a devastating thunder storm, rain of bloods pours down from sky and end of world ...
Holagu consulted Nasi again. Nasir being a great humorist, told him not worry, we can devise a pretty easy solution for your peace of mind, send the caliph to hot bath of feltman workshop, order to be wrapped in felt, they will give him a hot water bath with soap, they will roll him slowly over and over, as they are crafting a felt, his life will be ended peacefully in massage, without a drop of blood, meanwhile I will assign one of my intelligent apprentice who is familiar with sky ways ( Nasir was a great mathematician and Astronomer, he founded a famous observatory, he was inventor of trigonometry), to sit on the roof top of the feltman workshop, he will monitor any changes on sky if there is a minor change, he will signal to the feltman to release the caliph.
President Vladimir Khan has been giving warnings to Ayatollah do not burn JCPOA, do not close Strait of Hurmoz. Ayatollah is telling him do not worry we are giving a feltman massage. Just tell Xi khan do not lean his back against the wall street pillar, clean up your hands from future fund casino, the pillars are collapsing slowly.



jason , Jul 17 2019 17:13 utc | 35
the US and its allies are bluffing. don't get caught up in wars and rumors of it. the only way it was going to happen was if syria and iraq fell and both of them didn't.

when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy.

OutOfThinAir , Jul 17 2019 17:31 utc | 36
A reminder from Iran that they can hit back.

Hopefully folks who can influence power have been reading the Guns of August.

Possible miscalculations are everywhere and the parties are no strangers to false flags and proxy actors.

So I'm crossing my fingers for strong back channel communications.

I'm not expecting outright major war. Perhaps a skirmish or two, but a negotiated deal is still the most likely outcome.

c1ue , Jul 17 2019 17:56 utc | 37
@C I eh? #14
I don't see China as the same situation as Russia.
The Russians who have largely supported Putin despite economic ill-effects from sanctions are, at best, 1 generation removed from 1991-1996 post-Soviet collapse privation. They remember the bad times and how to get through them.
The mainland Chinese today are 2 generation removed from the famines in the 50s and 60s, and furthermore there is a largely generational break due to the Cultural Revolution.
I don't see China collapsing, but I also don't see the mainstream population taking a oil-starvation induced economic collapse well at all, because the deal is social repression if the economy and standards of living continue to improve.
The difference is French cheese and EU fruits and vegetables - luxury goods vs. oil = energy = everything.
Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 17:57 utc | 38
There seems to be misconception about Kuwait, in particular.

Kuwaitis are fed up with the Saudis and are more Iranophile than anything. They see who is a true regional power.

Recently, I happen to be invited to a diplomatic function, welcoming a new Kuwaiti ambassador (Not in US). There were several businessmen associates of the new ambassador at that function. In an impromptu conversation, they professed their love for anything Iranian or Persian, from culture and history to food and the people, and their disdain for the Saudis and their ruling family.

In fact, one of them, much to my shock, uttered the circulating rumor that the ruling family in SA are actually Jews. He said everyone in the region knows about this open secret but afraid to talk about. That was a revelation for me coming from a Kuwaiti since I never did pay attention to those rumors.

I think in the event of a regional conflict, Kuwait will be spared by Iran. What would happen to the ruling family will be another story.

james , Jul 17 2019 18:04 utc | 39
thanks Seyed Mohammad Marandi.. i agree with your headline...

the usa is not agreement friendly.. everything is on their terms only... they rip up contracts when a new president doesn't like it, and make endless demands of others under threat, just like bullies do. they sanction countries and don't mind killing, starving and subjecting people in faraway lands to their ongoing and desperate means of domination.. nothing about the usa is friendly... they spend all their money on the military not just because it works so well for wall st and the corporations but because they think they can continue to bully everyone and anyone indefinitely.. they get support from the obvious suspects and all the other colonies of the usa - europe, canada and etc - turn a type of blind eye to it all, fearful they might be next if they step out of line.. thus, all these chattel countries fail in line with the usa regime sanctions...

basically, the prognosis isn't good.. none of the colonies are capable of speaking up to the usa regime, largely because they lack strong leadership and independence of thought in all this... we continue to slip towards ww3 and at present all the observing countries sit on their hands waiting for the next shoe to drop.. that is where we are at present with regard the ramp up to war on iran...

Harry Law , Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60
The Gulf states know they would be in the front lines in any conflict, Saudi and UAE infrastructure destruction would mean Kings, Princes and Emir's scurrying from their destroyed countries because of their inability to sell oil and feed their people, as one Iranian General said.. the US bases in the region are not threats, "they are targets". Its true Iran has an army of 500,000, they also have millions of military aged men who would form militias and have the reputation of taking their shrouds with them into battle.
I think a major miscalculation by Trump, initiating this kind of scenario is unlikely, those other whack jobs Pence, Pompeo and Bolton are a cause for concern, just hear this nutcase Lindsey Graham threatening the Europeans....
"The United States should sanction "to the ground" European countries that continue to trade with Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal and refuse to join America's pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic, says top Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.
"I will tell the Europeans, 'If you want to side with the Iranians, be my guest, but you won't use an American bank or do business with the American economy,'" Graham said".
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/07/16/601067/US-Graham-Trump-Iran-JCPOA-EU-sanction-to-ground
William Herschel , Jul 17 2019 21:39 utc | 61
Punitive sanctions against nations with a powerful military establishment have an incredibly poor track record. Germany after WWI. Japan prior to Pearl Harbor. And one might add Russia today. The more "effective" the sanctions, the closer to war.

But, of course, military planners in the U.S. and Israel have already picked out the targets for nuclear strikes during the very first wave of attacks on Iran. It will be nuclear first, ask questions later. Heil Trump has already said he will use nuclear weapons: "obliterate". But will even that work? I doubt it. Iran must expect nuclear attacks in the first wave. Yes, their urban populations will be destroyed, but their military? I doubt it.

Formerly T-Bear , Jul 17 2019 21:54 utc | 62
@ Harry Law | Jul 17 2019 21:24 utc | 60

The folks who now are called Iranian once fought the most militaristic society ever - the Spartans. There is likely a memory of that conflict still, and the lessons learned. They face a military that no longer remembers Vietnam or its lessons. Sanctions are an act of war, not military war but war against another who have been made into enemies nonetheless. Be mightily careful who you make your enemy, one sage reminds that you become like them. Look at those the U.S. has made enemy: Hitler and National Socialism; Mussolini and Fascism; Stalin and State Authoritarianism; Franco and Military Repression; and the list continues substantially, and then look at the U.S. in a distortion free mirror and what does one see?

Maracatu , Jul 17 2019 22:00 utc | 63
Taking into consideration the novel Rand Paul intervention, the likely way forward is this, and I'm sure it is what Putin (the master negotiator) has in mind: Trump blundered badly by throwing out the JCPOA, but he needs a way out that allows him to save face and even turn it into a partial "win". On the world stage (ie. for the public) it needs to look like Trump accedes to reinstate the JCPOA IN EXCHANGE for Iran withdrawing from Syria! This will not only save the nuclear deal, thereby reducing tensions, but it will force Israel to back down and shut up. Israel can't complain and Trump can sell it as an achievement of his, "without having to go to war". The US, of course will have to give Iran, Syria and Russia something in exchange: Iran and Russia ultimately bolstered their forces in Syria in order to save Assad. All things considered, Assad has won the war, so the reason for the bolstered Iranian and Russian presence no longer applies. What the US must agree to is to suspend its efforts to overthrow Assad (which Trump has been trying to do via the withdrawal of US troops in northern Syria), thereby returning the country to the status quo ante. The wild card in all of this, however, is Turkey's presence in Syria. Perhaps China can lend a helping hand on that issue?
Yeah, Right , Jul 17 2019 22:14 utc | 64
@35 "when it didn't. they resort back to the usual MO, look busy."

I agree with that comment, though I will add that for this Administration "looking busy" has a Keystone Cops look about it.

I mean, let's be real here: Norman Schwarzkopf did not make a single move against Iraq until he had well over 500,000 GI's at his command, and Tommy Franks was not willing to restart the Crash Boom Bang until he had built up his army to just shy of 500,000 soldiers.

And Iraq then was nowhere near as formidable as Iran is now.

Where are the troop buildups? Where is the CENTCOM army?
Nowhere. And no sign of it happening.

There is a real possibility that Bolton might get his way and start his dinky little war, only to find that the USA loses a great big war before he even manages to get out of bed.

CENTCOM is not ready for war, nowhere close to it, and for that reason alone Iran is correct to tell the USA that if Trump launches a "limited strike" then their response will be "it's on, baby".

Beibdnn. , Jul 17 2019 22:51 utc | 67
@ William Herschel 61. If the U.S. or anyone else uses any type of Nuclear weapons against Iran, a declared ally of Russia, it will result in an immediate and full scale Nuclear retaliation. This is a recent statement made by Vladimir Putin. Pompeo, Bolton et all are well aware of this. The U.S. might talk of using tactical nukes but despite their Hubris, even the most pro war in the Pentagon know what the results of that type of planned anihilation will have on the U.S. mainland. People like Lindsey Graham are merely empty vessels making a lot of noise.
karlof1 , Jul 17 2019 23:14 utc | 69
Why would Iran allow any Western nation to save face through negotiations or otherwise? Khamenei yesterday tweeted several statements that were later posted to his website:

"At this meeting, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran stressed that Western governments' arrogant behavior is the main obstacle in establishing ties and maintained: Western governments' major vice is their arrogance. If they face a weak government, their arrogance will be effective. But if that country knows the truth about them and resists, the Western governments will be defeated.

"Referring to problems rising between Iran and the European partners of the JCPOA, Ayatollah Khamenei said: Now, in the matters between us and the Europeans, the problems persist, because of their arrogance.

"The Leader of the Islamic Revolution highlighted Iran's commitment to the JCPOA -- also known as the Iran Deal -- and criticized European dignitaries of the deal for breaching it, saying: As stated by our Foreign Minister, who works hard, Europe has had eleven commitments, none of which it has met. The Foreign Minister, despite his diplomatic considerations, is clearly stating that. But what did we do? We acted based on our commitments, and even beyond that.

"Ayatollah Khamenei reiterated that Iran continued to stay within the JCPOA despite the fact that the EU partners of the JCPOA as well as the British government violated the international plan of action and yet demanded Iran to stay with its promises: Now that we have started to reduce our commitments, they step forward. They are very insolent, and they have not abided by their eleven commitments. We have just started to reduce some of our commitments, and this process will surely continue."

The hypothetical suggestion Zarif made in his interview with NBC News was just that--hypothetical--as it had to spell out again for the apparently illiterate, deaf or both SoS Pompeo and BigLie Media presstitutes.

In his arrogance, Trump climbed up the tree he's now stuck within; and as I've pointed out again and again, Iran isn't going to help him in his climb down--they'll be no face saving for the arrogant Western nations. I mean, how clear can the Iranians make that?! They quite well understand the very real interests at stake I put forth in my comment @32. And the Turks on their own have upped the stakes with Erdogan assuring :

"that his country is prepared to leave NATO during a meeting with Russian Deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

"'I met twice with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and he told me personally that Turkey was willing to withdraw from NATO,' Zhirinovsky wrote."

Trump seems desperate for a way to climb down from his tree. Controversial Kentucky Senator Rand Paul apparently volunteered his services as an emissary to Iran , which Trump okayed but Paul's office is being mum about. As noted, Iran isn't going to talk unless tangible, visible concessions are made prior to any talks occurring--concessions Zarif and Rouhani have already stated as the minimum required: Ending all illegal sanctions and return to JCPOA.

Uncle Jon , Jul 17 2019 23:38 utc | 72
@karlof1 69

Iran just announced that they would be open to talk about ballistic missiles when US stops selling arms in the Middle East.

You have to hand it to the Iranians. In the one-up-manship game, they are a formidable opponent. Obviously, there is less than zero chance that would ever happen, but they are super smart in driving the message of US arrogance home. I am happy to see they don't take any shit from the Empire.

Master negotiators at work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WORLD'S UNDIMINISHED RELIANCE ON PETROLEUM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTROLLING THE SPIGOT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE IRANIAN CHALLENGE AND THE SPECTER OF WAR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laguerre , Jul 8 2019 16:29 utc | 14

re Don 7

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

Two separate aspects need to be distinguished:

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

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

I think Crooke confused the two issues a bit.

Bemildred , Jul 8 2019 16:43 utc | 16

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

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

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

Jul 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

@ UJ 21

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

from the Tehran Times:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lee, July 5, 2019 at 12:28 pm

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

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

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

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

workingclasshero, July 5, 2019 at 12:53 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is a more in-depth look:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on July 5, 2019 by Yves Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Clive , July 5, 2019 at 4:32 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2019 at 9:23 am

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

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

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

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

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

animalogic , July 6, 2019 at 6:11 am

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

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

JBird4049 , July 6, 2019 at 8:17 pm

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

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

skippy , July 5, 2019 at 6:58 am

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

cnchal , July 5, 2019 at 5:38 am

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

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

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

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

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2019 at 9:04 am

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

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

jrkrideau , July 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

cnchal , July 6, 2019 at 6:37 am

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

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

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

Synoia , July 6, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Drones appear effective. They certainly were at Gatwick.

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

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

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

pjay , July 5, 2019 at 7:24 am

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

timbers , July 5, 2019 at 8:09 am

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

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

Said another way, The War on Terror IS terrorism.

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

Happy 4th.

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

timbers , July 5, 2019 at 12:42 pm

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

Carolinian , July 5, 2019 at 8:39 am

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

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

divadab , July 5, 2019 at 10:57 am

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

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

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

Carolinian , July 5, 2019 at 12:58 pm

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

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

Oh , July 5, 2019 at 8:48 am

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

skippy , July 5, 2019 at 7:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Synoia , July 5, 2019 at 10:24 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awww! Them sneaky bastards.

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

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

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

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

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

I mean that is a classic.

sierra7 , July 5, 2019 at 5:22 pm

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

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

Mike , July 5, 2019 at 8:44 am

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

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

JCC , July 5, 2019 at 1:58 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

The term, "ugly Americans" is fairly old.

Synoia , July 5, 2019 at 10:30 am

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

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

Ignacio , July 5, 2019 at 11:08 am

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

rjs , July 5, 2019 at 1:44 pm

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

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

Tim , July 5, 2019 at 9:26 pm

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

Tyronius , July 5, 2019 at 3:28 pm

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

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

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

RBHoughton , July 5, 2019 at 9:32 pm

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

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

Oregoncharles , July 6, 2019 at 12:20 am

The purpose, and effect, of empire is theft.

Eclair , July 6, 2019 at 6:44 am

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

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

Jul 06, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translation
Pete Kimberley

Source
Il Manifesto (Italy)

[Jul 04, 2019] Daesh oil vs Iran oil

Jul 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jul 4 2019 18:20 utc | 29

SyrianaAnalysis founder Kevork Almassian spins the tanker arrest thusly:

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

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

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

Pompeo's new slogan: Terrorism daily baby!


james , Jul 4 2019 17:10 utc | 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gzon , Jul 4 2019 17:28 utc | 18

Grace1 tanker was being tracked for a long time

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

is from three months ago.

She is now Panama flagged (presumably) Russian owned

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

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

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

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


gzon , Jul 4 2019 17:48 utc | 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 30, 2019] Aggressive US Lies and Misleads to Justify War on Iran by William Boardman

Notable quotes:
"... The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests. ..."
"... Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown. ..."
"... Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began: ..."
"... He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. ..."
"... Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. ..."
"... There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack ..."
"... Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise: ..."
"... The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013

The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.

Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.

First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.

Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:

This assessment is based on intelligence .

He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .

Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation

The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .

There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.

Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.

Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:

40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.

The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.

Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia's War

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to today's report:

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

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

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

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

@Linda Wood

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

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

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

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

International transactions independent of the dollar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@wendy davis

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

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

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

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

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

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

@wendy davis

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

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

[edited to correct]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 27, 2019] US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war

Jun 27, 2019 | www.wsws.org

Scott Randall21 hours ago • edited

"...as Stratfor, put it, "Trump, fearing a much bigger escalation, got cold feet."

One is reminded of the scene from Oliver Stone's JFK (1991), a General in the Joint Chiefs comments disparagingly about Kennedy for keeping his finger "on the chicken switch" with regard to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

Lyndon Johnson in the White House with Henry Cabot Lodge in 1963 declares: "Gentlemen, I want you to know I'm not going to let Vietnam go the way China did. I'm personally committed. I'm not going to take one soldier out of there 'til they know we mean business in Asia (he pauses) You just get me elected, and I'll give you your damned war ."

animalogica day ago
Another question exists: should the US resist the allure of military action against Iran, what can Iran do?
US sanctions against Iran amount to an act of war. Iran can bust sanctions up to some point -- but for how long? Will Iran suffer half a million dead children & elderly people as Iraq did in the 90's ? SHOULD Iran have to suffer such a criminally imposed loss of life?
Where is the way out of this insanity?
Iran won't negotiate with the US for the very good reason that the US clearly wants to sterilize Iranian sovereignty (ie the US won't accept ANY Iranian missiles -- that is, Iran has no right to self defense).
Sad to say, Trump does not need to launch military action against Iran, merely continue to economically terrorise Iran until it has NO choice but to initiate military action against its tormentors.
Ahson3 days ago
Trump being a demented fool that he is now says this:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This shows the deep divisions within the imperialist elites on what to do about Iran. They don't have a real plan. Just making it up as they go along.

Ahson3 days ago
The war on Iran will continue till kingdom come, until it falls. Its clear as day that both Russia and China back their Iranian allies against US provocations. China hasn't flinched under US threats to embargo Iranian crude, and continues to purchase it, and Russia has an oil swap agreement with Iran, where it buys Iranian oil and sells it as Russian on the international market. This must be a severe irritation to the imperialists in Washington and London as it renders their Iran sanctions regime practically toothless.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

Nobody should be surprised when the next US provocation unfolds, yet again taking us to the brink of disaster.

Ahson3 days ago • edited
Iranian fishermen are finding parts of the CIA drone exposing the lie that the drone was in 'international airspace':

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
The imperialists are not backing down in their quest for subduing Iran. Seems like the idea here is to put as many large ships in harms way as possible....and provoke Iran to attack one of these......This will ensure the probability of miscalculation and/ or accidents becomes almost unavoidable. There must be regime change in Tehran, on the road to Beijing and Moscow:

https://sputniknews.com/mil...

John Upton • 3 days ago
Iran has every right to defend itself from US imperialisms constant violence, as is the case with China and Russia. It is also pleasing to see the almighty war machine get a bloody nose.

But we should never lose sight of the fact that it is always the working class that suffers the most in terms of death, injuries and destitution.
End all wars!
End production for profit and the Nation state upon which it is built!

John Upton • 3 days ago
America's history demonstrates that loss of (foreign) life is of little concern to those in power.
The Manhattan Project was established, and mightily financed because of reasonably well established fears that Nazi Germany was on track to build its own A-bombs.
With the defeat of Germany that fear was gone. Nevertheless, knowing full well that Imperial Japan had no such program, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were vapourised. A clear demonstration that they, atomic weapons, WMD, worked and a warning to the Soviet Union that it too could be annihilated.
Robert Oppenheimer and others refused to take part in building an H-bomb for class and humane reasons. This fell on Truman's deaf ears.
American Imperialism is indifferent to death and destruction of billions.
As WSWS has stated, Trumps announcement that the loss of 150 Iranian lives is the the reason he pulled backs so much bilge.
FireintheHead3 days ago • edited
Trump is in a catch 22. When push has come to shove , he simply cannot sell another war to the US working class, and he knows it , and he's been well and truly spooked by the Iranian response.

All the US garbage of itself as ''victim'', all the 'good cop bad cop' routines are wearing thin. Nobody is buying it anymore , especially from a gangster.

Perhaps a predicted massive spike in global temperatures will clear out the collective cobwebs further.

Gracchus3 days ago
Good point about the possibility of Iran sinking a carrier. The Chinese have developed advanced anti-ship weapons that, if the results of a RAND corporation war game can be believed, will be able to neutralize carriers. This highlights the fact that, whatever the salesmen of advanced weaponry might say, it will not win wars alone. All of the smart weapons in the world have not ended the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan in the favour of American imperialism.

We can see an historical precedent in the British development of the dreadnought, the modern battleship, in the arms race that preceded WWI. Dreadnoughts were supposed to be the decisive super weapons of the day, but the British and German battle fleets remained in their moorings for most of the war for fear that these expensive ships would fall prey to torpedos. The sinking of the HMS Formidable in 1915 is a case in point. The only major engagement between dreadnoughts was at Jutland and it was inconclusive.

For all of the contemporary bluster about super weapons and the fetishism of smart bombs and cyber weapons, they will not decisively win a war alone. As in the world wars of the last century, the bourgeoisie will be forced to mobilize society for a war. This will mean bringing the working class - against its will - into the maelstrom.

Gracchus3 days ago • edited
Yet again the WSWS demonstrates the incredible foresight and clarity of Marxist analysis. I would like to extend my thanks to Comrade Andre and the editors of the WSWS for their indefatigable efforts to impart Marxist consciousness to the masses. For all of the naysayers who have attacked the WSWS as "sectarian" or as not involved in "practical work," need we point to anything other than the WSWSs explanation of the connection between eruption of American imperialism and the decline of the productive forces of that nation state? That analysis has placed the WSWS in the position of being better prepared politically for the consequences of war than the imperialists, as the latest farce in the Middle East demonstrates.

A quote from Trotsky will further emphasize my point:

"We will not concede this banner to the masters of falsehood! If our generation happens to be too weak to establish Socialism over the earth, we will hand the spotless banner down to our children. The struggle which is in the offing transcends by far the importance of individuals, factions and parties. It is the struggle for the future of all mankind."

The spotless banner is in good hands.

Robert Seaborne Gracchus3 days ago
thank you Gracchus,
for your inspiring comment, I couldn't agree more with it.
dmorista3 days ago • edited
The official story, as usual, is a bunch of hooey. Trump wouldn't bat an eye over the death of 150 Iranians. In addition to the worries about losing an aircraft carrier: the military high command probably let him know that the much vaunted, and outlandishly expensive, force of F-35s, will quickly lose its effectiveness if exposed to probing by the high tech radars the Russians have developed, and that are used in conjunction with at least the S-400 antiaircraft and antimissile defense system. So the question is, if the stealth advantage of the F-35 is only good for a limited time, is this particular geostrategic confrontation worth using up that particular asset??

Then there is the whole question of whether the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz in response to a major air raid on their nuclear facilities; this leads to some much more important issues. Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved.

Since nearly 30% of the World's oil moves through those straits cutting them off will cause an immediate spike in oil prices. Prices of $100 - $300 a barrel would be reached within a few days. If the Straits of Hormuz were closed for a longer period we could easily see prices rise to $1,000 a barrel according to Goldman Sachs projections (see Escobar article cited below). Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world. The financial and speculative house of cards, that the ruling classes of the U.S.-led Finance Capital Bloc depends on for their dominance of world capital and markets, would likely come tumbling down. The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} (See "World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In", March 26, 2013, Yves Smith, "Naked Capitalism", at < https://www.nakedcapitalism... >, and "Iran Goes for 'Maximum Counter-pressure' ", June 21, 2019, Pepe Escobar, "Strategic Culture Foundation", at < https://www.strategic-cultu... >, and "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb", Aug 24, 2015, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, at
< https://www.globalresearch.... >). Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets.

All the world's elite capitalists, be they Western or Asian or from elsewhere, maintain homes in numerous places. One reason for this is so they have somewhere to go, if they need to flee from environmental and/or socioeconomic disaster and the resultant chaos in their primary place of residence. As we move ever deeper into this extremely severe and ongoing Crisis of Capitalism, these issues will continue to become more acute.

So we can rest assured that; in addition to the crazed war-mongers Bolton and Pompeo (and their supporters and backers) whispering in Trump's ear to "go ahead and attack the Iranians"; and in addition to the somewhat more sober counsel of General Dunford and other members of the top military command; that titans of finance capital were undoubtedly on the phone warning "Bone-Spur Don" that his digs in Manhattan and Florida might not be entirely safe if the worst were to happen in response to a military strike. The absurd story of Don worrying about 150 Iranians is so ludicrous that it did not even pass the smell test with the corporate controlled media for very long.

Irandle dmorista2 days ago
Oil reached $147 a barrel in 2007-08. That caused the so-called Great Recession.

As WSWS has pointed out there are few if any US options left but war.

Charlotte Ruse3 days ago
"Thirty years of endless war have created a veritable cult of militarism within the American ruling elite, whose guiding assumption seems to be that wars can be waged without drastic global consequences, including for the United States itself."

The military/security surveillance state is a trillion dollar enterprise that instigates conflicts to expand its profits. Militarism works hand-in-hand with the neoliberal corporatists who deploy the military to secure natural resources, wage slaves, and geostrategic hegemony. It should be noted, that the US imperialist agenda left unhindered after the dissolution of the Soviet Union only intensified.

However, in order for the US ruling class to achieve the "ultimate goal" of unilateral hegemony in the Middle East the military must confront Iran a powerful sizable country with economic and political ties to China and Russia. This is the dilemma confronting the warmongering psychopaths
who are influenced by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

A significant military attack against Iran will NOT go unanswered and if the Iranian Military destroys a US warship and kills hundreds of sailors it would unleash another major war in the Middle East igniting the entire region and possibly leading to a world war.

What should traumatize the US population and awaken them from their hypnotic warmongering stupur created by propaganda proliferated on FOX, MSNBC, and CNN is that the United States came within minutes of launching a war whose military consequences it had NOT seriously examined.

John Hudson3 days ago
There's a rumour going around that in preparation for the strike the US launched a massive cyber attack on Iran's air defence - and failed.
Ahson John Hudson3 days ago
Its no rumor:

https://sputniknews.com/mid...

Sebouh803 days ago
In light of these dangerous events it is obvious that a faction of the American ruling class circles including Trump were not prepared to face the consequences of a strike against Iran. That is precisely why Trump aborted the mission last Friday. Just yesterday Trump himself admitted for the first time that if it was up to John Bolton then we would be fighting the whole world. Today Pompeo has been sent to Middle East to broaden his alliance with Gulf Monarchical regimes most notably Saudi Arabia and UAE. It is aimed to prepare the ground for possible confrontation with Iran.
kurumba Sebouh802 days ago
Trump's comment re Bolton that the US "would fight the whole world" sums up what the US is really about. Take it from me, The US hates virtually every country save one: Israel. Illegal US Sanctions regimes now extend to almost 50% of the world's population. The US does not even like the advanced countries such as Europe and Japan. They tolerate them because of diplomatic support and large investment and trade ties. Outside that they have no affinity or connection. Until we all realise the true nature of The US and its exclusive cultural mindset [NFL, NBA, MLB etc etc], populations will merely continue to enable the US to attack and sanction everybody and anyone of their demented choosing. The tragedy is that if the other countries became united and were committed to ending this US terror by eg dumping the US Dollar as international reserve currency and sanctioning all US corporations, the US would face severe turmoil and its reign of endless terror brought to a sudden end.
Popart 20153 days ago • edited
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."

I believe things simple didn't go as planned as an airplane was threatened to be taken down. Bolton was in Israel after that to most likely assure Netanyahu that a new attack would be conducted, Bolton Warned Iran Not to 'Mistake U.S. Prudence and Discretion for Weakness'...

https://www.nytimes.com/201...

Ahson3 days ago • edited
There needs to be a correction in the article on the older Raad system not having been used but instead the newer, 'Third of Khordad' system which brought down the MQ-4C Triton. Pictures/ Info on the Third of Khordad reveals that it is in effect an Iranian version of the Soviet Buk-M2 of the MH-17 downing fame which the western backed Kiev junta used from its hand me down Soviet weapons arsenal, to shoot down the ill fated Malaysian Airliner over the Ukraine. The system also is stark evidence of the close defense relationship between the Russians and the Iranians, confirming the suspicions in the west that whatever weaponry Putin transfers to Syria or Iraq is by default also available to Iran.
Andy Niklaus3 days ago
Great Perspective again to build antiwar movement in the global workingclass!
Ahson3 days ago • edited
Not to be outdone by his failure to bring Iran to its knees, Trump ordered a massive cyber attack on Iran's missile batteries and its command and control centers after rescinding the military order to physically attack Iran for downing the drone. The Iranians today announced the failure of this desperate US cyber attack:

https://www.presstv.com/Det...

This is in addition to the CIA placing an agent within the Iranian oil ministry for conducting sabotage. She has been arrested and faces the death penalty for espionage:

https://www.tasnimnews.com/...

The deep State in the US will not stop trying to subdue Iran until it capitulates. Iran must fall to Washington in order for the US to effectively counter and sabotage both Putin's Eurasian Integration and president Xi's BRI projects.

imaduwa3 days ago
Trump's alterration at this moment can be due to Iran's internal coherence against American imperialism. With santions being reinforced, one can anticipate more and more impovershment and quality of life geting lower unabated to the point that the basis for internal coherence gets eroded substantially. We saw working class uprisings in Iran recently and leadership accused imperialist as rabble-rousers to find a way out.That is why we need building SEP/IYSSE in Iran to hatch revolutionary force in Iran for Iran to join the peer in the rest of the world. Morsi in Egypt was overthrown by Sisi with the backing of US imperialism headed by Obama at that time. So is the imperialism and it will continue to work to weaken Iran as a force successfully confronting imperialism in the middle east currently. Let us therefore empower international working class to empower it to overthrow imperialism on one hand and Stalinism on the other hand. Russia too depend largely on its arms sale to maintain its economy. But human needs, not wepons, but basic needs including clean environment. Long live the socialist revolution in Iran and internationally. Death to imperialism. Thank you comrade Andre Damon.
jet1685 • 3 days ago
"The strikes were called off at the last moment, amid deep divisions at the highest levels of the White House and the Pentagon over the consequences -- military, diplomatic and political -- of what would likely be the single most dangerous and reckless action of the entire Trump presidency."
Economically it would be Armageddon. Although some think America does not rely on Mideast oil, the world economy does and America is a part of that despite what nationalists dream. Bolton is making threats from Israel and clearly some believe they stand to gain from war but militarily too it would be Armageddon. The Pentagon would answer the sinking of a carrier by nuking Iran to preserve American "credibility" i.e. fear. China and Russia would have to react, China at least to keep its oil supplied. India pushed against China could add more mushroom clouds not to mention Pakistan. Israel itself with Tel Aviv bombarded from Lebanon and maybe invaded unable to stop this might nuke Lebanon and maybe Tehran if any of it remains and Damascus besides. Just as ww1 started because military train timetables had to be followed there are nukewar plans in Washington, Moscow, and Beijing that won't take long. So world workers need to start our plan before others begin. Preemptive general strikes, antiwar and socialist revolutionary agitation and propaganda within imperialist rank and files and human blockades of war material networks should happen at an early date like now. Now also WikiLeaks should put out whatever it hasn't while people exist to read it. The rich are determined to kill Assange anyway and full wartime censorship is not far off.
erroll jet16853 days ago • edited
Some people have speculated that if the U.S. does attack Iran then Iran will launch missiles at Saudi Arabia's oil fields which will then send oil prices skyrocketing to $130 dollars a barrel. The article also notes that:

"While Trump's foreign policy team -- headed by National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- 'unanimously' supported the attack, General Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 'cautioned about the possible repercussions of a strike, warning that it could endanger American forces,' the Times wrote."

Apparently the good general cannot get too worked up at the sight of thousands and thousands of Iranian children, women, and old men who would be slaughtered and grievously wounded by U.S. bombs and the water supply which would be contaminated when those bombs would land at a nuclear power plant. But these horrific actions by the United States are of no consequence because, as Madeline Albright observed on a television a few decades ago, the deaths of a half million Iraqi children by the U.S. was worth it. It would appear that the lives of foreigners are of little consequence to those who are in power. Threatening to start a war against another country for the most specious of reasons is simply another reason why a malignant narcissist like Trump needs to be removed from office as quickly as possible. Or perhaps Trump believes that the best way to improve his low poll numbers is to start dropping 500 lb. bombs on a country which does not in any remote way pose a threat to the United States.

"Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people is easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, is less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on 'Defense'."-John Boynton Priestly [1894-1984], English writer

"Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god."-Jean Rostand [1894-1977], French philosopher and biologist

лидия3 days ago
When a FOX-news man is the most sane voice in USA foreign policy (regarding aggression against Iran and Venezuela) - it is the real madness!
лидия3 days ago
After Hezballah had booted Zionist colonizers out of Lebanon, Zionist apartheid had lost its image of "invincibility".
Now even ghetto Gaza is fighting back.
Irandle3 days ago
Spies? What is that in reference to?
Gerry Murphy Irandle3 days ago • edited
The CIA payrolled press whores like CNN's Christiane Amanpour for example a prime warmonger and there are countless others embedded in every western media source.
Ahson Gerry Murphy3 days ago
Ironically, Amanpour is Iranian background, an avowed revolution hater and a devoted Iranian Pahlavi monarchist. She's on the record for saying that she wants to see the Shah's exiled son back on the throne in Iran, serving US imperialism for the 'benefit of the Iranian nation'.
The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
The sinking of an aircraft carrier, especially one as well known as the USS Lincoln, would have been one of the biggest PR disasters for both Trump and the military. It probably would have sparked demands from the people to know how, despite pouring trillions of dollars into the mouths of greedy defense contractors for decades, a supposedly inferior military could so easily take down one of our ships.
piet The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago
Khrushchev once said of the Sverdlov class cruisers built in the early 1950's that their only practical purpose was as targets for anti ship missile training because of how outdated they where considering they where armed with guns.

Maybe the anti-ship missile now stands at the point where it can make carriers obsolete similar to how the battleship was made obsolete by the carrier.

Robert Buell Jr piet3 days ago
There are some who argue that surface navies became obsolete in the 1950's with the advent of long range missiles. For many years now, China has been helping to build up Iranian area defences...

https://www.mei.edu/publica...

Ahson The Top-Hatted Commie3 days ago • edited
Cold war weapons are unsuitable for countering Iran's asymmetric warfare doctrine. A dozen or two highly advanced US warships are no match for a thousand missile boats and thousands of Iranian anti-ship missiles in the narrow confines of the shallow gulf.
Corwin Haught3 days ago • edited
Minutes or hours, or Trump never signed on to them, as the accounts from different US media outlets and Trump have differed at several points. Fog of war indeed.

[Jun 27, 2019] Dem candidates has roundly criticized Trump for his approach to Iran. Many of the leading candidates said last week's military confrontation spawned from a crisis of the president's own making, precipitated by his withdrawal from that landmark accord.

That's good line of attack on Trump. People do not want yet another war and they are against overinflated military expenditures. and Trump essentially behaves like a rabid subservant to Israel neocon in those area. So he might share the Hillary destiny in 2020
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Jun 27, 2019 12:15:59 AM | 106
The Dem debaters want the failed JCPOA back, except one wants a more punitive one. So it's Obama/Trump redux with all of them, worthless people. We're less safe with Iranians . . .under the bed!

McClatchy

Klobuchar said that Trump's strategy on Iran had "made us less safe," after debate moderators took note of increased military tensions in the Strait of Hormuz last week. Washington has accused Iran of targeting shipping vessels, and Tehran acknowledged it shot down an unmanned U.S. drone on Thursday, nearly prompting Trump to order a retaliatory military strike. The 2015 nuclear deal "was imperfect, but it was a good deal for that moment," Klobuchar stated, characterizing the agreement's "sunset periods" – caps on Iran's enrichment and stockpiling of fissile material set to expire five to 10 years from the next inauguration– as a potential point of renegotiation.

The Democratic field has roundly criticized Trump for his approach to Iran. Many of the leading candidates said last week's military confrontation spawned from a crisis of the president's own making, precipitated by his withdrawal from that landmark accord.

But up until now, the Democratic candidates have not specified how they would salvage a deal that continues to fray – and that may collapse completely under the weight of steadily broadening U.S. sanctions by the time a new president could be sworn in.

Few Democrats had thus far hedged over adopting the agreement entirely should they win the presidency even if the deal survives that long. Leading candidates have characterized the nuclear agreement as "imperfect" and in need of "strengthening," suggesting subtle distinctions within the field over the potential conditions of U.S. re-entry into a pact. . . here


I've got a deal for them to salvage, get off your GD pedestals and say hello to the real world! . . .There, I feel better now.

[Jun 27, 2019] Short US-Iran war 'an illusion', Zarif tells Trump USA News Al Jazeera

Jun 27, 2019 | www.aljazeera.com

Iran's foreign minister has dismissed US President Donald Trump 's claim that a war between their countries would be short-lived, as Washington sought NATO's help to build an anti-Tehran coalition.

"'Short war' with Iran is an illusion," Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter on Thursday, a day after Trump said he did not want a war with Iran but warned that if fighting did break out, it "wouldn't last very long".

Tehran has accused the United States of "economic terrorism" and "psychological warfare" over the Trump administration's application of punishing sanctions after the US president last year unilaterally withdrew Washington from an historic nuclear deal with world powers. Under the 2015 agreement, Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

In his Twitter post, Zarif said the reimposed and tightened US sanctions "aren't an alternative to war - they are war".

[Jun 27, 2019] Iran Hawks Want to Create an Even Bigger Crisis by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Iran hawks want to force Iran out of the deal to give them a pretext for conflict. These waivers are their latest target because without them other governments may be leery of cooperating on the nuclear projects that give Iran an incentive to remain in the deal. Iran has very few reasons to remain in the deal at this point, and canceling the waivers would likely be the last straw. This is what Bolton and his allies have been working towards all along. When the waivers came up for renewal this spring, the administration extended them, but now there is a real danger that they won't do that again. The last time this came up, Jarrett Blanc explained why extending the waivers is the obviously correct thing to do: ..."
"... Canceling the waivers would be another escalation by the Trump administration, and it would almost certainly prompt Iranian countermoves to further reduce or end their compliance with the deal. The Iran hawks in the administration may think they want a bigger crisis with Iran, but they may not like it when they get one. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Politico reports that the most rabid Iran hawks in the Senate and inside the administration are pushing to cancel the remaining waivers that enable international cooperation on civilian nuclear projects in Iran. Their explicit goal is to destroy the last pieces of the deal that the U.S. hasn't directly attacked yet.

The report has some interesting details, but the framing of the debate is awful:

Proponents of the nuclear deal have argued that the international nuclear projects facilitated by the waivers help give the U.S. greater visibility and intelligence into Iranian activities; critics say they give an international stamp of approval to Iran's illicit activities.

This is a great example of how ostensibly "neutral" reporting favors the side acting and arguing in bad faith. What "illicit activities" are supported by these waivers? There aren't any. The report makes it sound as if there are two equally valid, competing positions, but one of them is completely false. The hawks' objections to them have nothing to do with opposition to "illicit activities" and everything to do with their hatred for the deal. The activities that the waivers facilitate are endorsed by the JCPOA and a U.N. Security Council resolution.

They cannot be illicit because they are entirely consistent with Iran's obligations and international law. The U.S. has been providing these waivers up until now because of the obvious nonproliferation benefits that everyone derives from the deal, and the people that want to end the waivers are doing so because they don't care about nonproliferation.

Iran hawks want to force Iran out of the deal to give them a pretext for conflict. These waivers are their latest target because without them other governments may be leery of cooperating on the nuclear projects that give Iran an incentive to remain in the deal. Iran has very few reasons to remain in the deal at this point, and canceling the waivers would likely be the last straw. This is what Bolton and his allies have been working towards all along. When the waivers came up for renewal this spring, the administration extended them, but now there is a real danger that they won't do that again. The last time this came up, Jarrett Blanc explained why extending the waivers is the obviously correct thing to do:

Failing to renew the waivers would be indefensible. The fact that there is even an internal debate is illuminating: At least some Trump advisors want a crisis with Iran, and the sooner the better.

Withdrawing waivers for civil nuclear cooperation may sound less aggressive than steps like the overhyped Guard Corps designation, but it is one of the most dangerous steps the administration has left, threatening the international nuclear cooperation that is Iran's only remaining practical benefit from the deal.

Canceling the waivers would be another escalation by the Trump administration, and it would almost certainly prompt Iranian countermoves to further reduce or end their compliance with the deal. The Iran hawks in the administration may think they want a bigger crisis with Iran, but they may not like it when they get one.

[Jun 27, 2019] Iranian viewpoit in MoA blog

Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Capt. Abdul Hassan , Jun 26, 2019 8:10:38 PM | 79

You Americans are for the most part cluelss.

Very few Americans have any realisation at all (certainly non that I have spoken to below the rank of Army Colonel or Navy Captain anyway) that a war with Iran will leave 100s of thousands if not millions of Americans dead, many capital ships at the bottom of the Gulf and the Med (think hard about how that will happen in the Med), and the US a broken 3rd world nation, if the states even stay together to maintain a 'US'.

You need to realise that the middle east (to include Cyprus and Turkey) will be cut off to you. No resupply, no support, no evac. There will be no troops left in the middle east to bring home after a few days of fighting exhaust all ammp and supplies and all positions are then overun or destroyed.

Every last troop in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan will be wiped out, and there will be no way at all of deploying any more troops (think why).

The shock to the weak American Psyche will be amplified by assymetrical spec ops / gorrilla warefare in every US city.

To begin with there will be gas station fires and power line cuts in every US town and city, followed by bridge collpases, interstate highway failures, railroad failures and then destruction, food and medical warehouse fires, forest fires, container port sabotage, cell phone and radio tower destruction, water mains destruction, sewage mains destruction, and of course contamination of water reservoirs - all of which are very simple and easy assymetrical attacks that can be rolled out nationwide by only by a few hundred well trained individuals (already well embedded).

Add these simple WW2 partisan style acts to other acts of sabotage against fire, ambulance, and police infrastruture (again, all very simple and easy assymetrical attacks) and the worst elements of your own society will continue and further amplify the conflageration.

The cities will implode and feed upon themselves, and when the carnage reaches a platau, or simply a stage that invites escalation, then the next phase begins - think MANPADS at every airport to bring down all relief flights and national guard units, ATGMs and HMG against military and police units, snipers against any opertunistic target - anywhere at any time.

There are further steps which I wont describe lest it give certain people ideas, but in the space of just 2 weeks the entire US could brought to its knees and made to realise that every nation on the earth, except the us, hates war and tries to avoid it.

If the US people think they can nuke Iran, kill millions more muslims, and then go back to watching the ball game they should think again.

The Iranians (and Russians and Chinese too) have been planning for a war with the US for decades.

The Iranians know full well that their cities will be nuked, but the Iranians believe the US is the embodyment of Satan (and they have lots of evidence to suggest this is indeed true) so they will fight without regard to life, to pain and to massive losses.

They, and there allies will utterly wipe out ever last US military unit in the middle east and bring the Continental US to its knees in ways few can yet imagine.

Yes, Iran will be glass, but the US will be ashes, or at least no longer a us - as much a victim of its own complexity and ignorance as any missiles or explosives used by Iranian spec ops.

A war with Iran will be the last war the US ever fights. It may 'win' but at what cost.


Don Bacon , Jun 26, 2019 9:34:15 PM | 86

@ Capt. Abdul Hassan 76
Thank you for that, very insighful, perhaps a little over the top, but right on.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jun 27, 2019 10:59:29 AM | 139
Don Bacon I think you're right and in addition the amendment won't matter because the exceptions are so encompassing nearly anything goes.

I'm going to crosspost the scenario (all I posted was the scenario, not the stuff afterwards):

1. US false flags in Iranian vicinity.
2. US military deaths due to provoked Iranian action.
3. US limited strikes.
4. US false flag Iranian dirty bomb in US city using surplus enriched material bought from Iran.
5. US submits evidence of Iranian nuclear attack in UNSC.
6. US attacks Iran using nuclear weapons.

A few (?) didn't buy 1 but the US got stuck on 2 so far and might get stuck on 3 as well.

How can one make 4 fail except to talk about it so people have a chance to think of it as a possibility when it happens?

5 is for "perception" and narrative, it doesn't matter if the UNSC doesn't agree with what the US says or the entire world ridicules the US or if the entire world starts marching like they "magically" and "spontaneously" did before the Iraq war (what was that about? Controlled opposition galore?).

Russia and China are repeatedly telling the US (and everybody else) what 6 will mean.

[Jun 27, 2019] No One Believes the President's War Claims Anymore

Notable quotes:
"... The possibility that the United States might be committing an act of war under false pretenses apparently did little to discourage the president's principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, from pushing a military response. Tehran's action was presented as raw aggression, an act of war that deserved retaliation. ..."
"... The president apparently complained to a close associate, "These people want to push us into a war, and it's so disgusting." According to The Wall Street Journal , he further opined, "We don't need any more wars." He's right. But then why has Trump chosen to surround himself with advisers apparently so at variance with his views? ..."
"... Iran is preparing to breach the limits established by the agreement because Washington repudiated it . It is evident that the president doesn't understand the JCPOA or the nuclear issue more generally. ..."
"... Moreover, though he is focused on nuclear issues, his appointees have been demanding far more of Tehran, forestalling negotiations. For instance, last year, Pompeo ordered Iran to abandon its independent foreign policy and dismantle its missile deterrent, while accepting Saudi and American domination of the region. ..."
"... Pompeo's demands look a bit like the ultimatum to Serbia in June 1914 after a nationalist backed by Serbian military intelligence assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The Austrians set only 10, rather than 12, requirements, but they also were intended to be rejected. Vienna explained to its ally Germany that "the possibility of its acceptance is practically excluded." ..."
"... They were living out what Hermann Goering, on trial at Nuremberg, described in a private conversation to an American officer: "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." Tragically, he's probably right. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

Iran predictably claimed that the drone was within its airspace. American officials asserted that it was in international airspace. Reported by The New York Times :

"a senior Trump administration official said there was concern inside the United States government about whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, or even the P-8A manned aircraft flown by a military aircrew, actually did violate Iranian airspace at some point. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike."

The point is worth repeating. The military was prepared to blast away when it wasn't even certain whether America was in the right. The episode brings to mind the 1988 shootdown of an Iranian airliner in the Persian Gulf by the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes . Initially the U.S. Navy justified its action, making a series of false claims about Iran Air Flight 655, which carried 290 passengers and crew members. Eventually Washington did admit that it had made a horrific mistake, though the Vincennes captain was later decorated.

The possibility that the United States might be committing an act of war under false pretenses apparently did little to discourage the president's principal foreign policy advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, from pushing a military response. Tehran's action was presented as raw aggression, an act of war that deserved retaliation.

The president apparently complained to a close associate, "These people want to push us into a war, and it's so disgusting." According to The Wall Street Journal , he further opined, "We don't need any more wars." He's right. But then why has Trump chosen to surround himself with advisers apparently so at variance with his views?

Presumably the president believes that he can control his war-happy subordinates, using them as he sees fit. However, his overweening hubris ignores their power to set the agenda and influence his choices. Consider the basic question of objectives regarding Iran. Trump now says all he wants to do is keep nukes out of Tehran's hands: "Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon," he intoned after halting the proposed reprisal, adding that "restraint" has its limits. But the nuclear accord was drafted to forestall an Iranian nuclear weapon. Iran is preparing to breach the limits established by the agreement because Washington repudiated it . It is evident that the president doesn't understand the JCPOA or the nuclear issue more generally.

Moreover, though he is focused on nuclear issues, his appointees have been demanding far more of Tehran, forestalling negotiations. For instance, last year, Pompeo ordered Iran to abandon its independent foreign policy and dismantle its missile deterrent, while accepting Saudi and American domination of the region.

These mandates were an obvious non-starter -- what sovereign nation voluntarily accepts puppet status? In fact, Pompeo admitted that he didn't expect Iran to surrender, but instead hoped for a popular revolution. In recently stating that the administration would negotiate without preconditions, he added that Washington expected Iran to act like "a normal nation," meaning behaving just as he'd demanded last year. (Notably, there was no offer for America to act like a normal country.)

Sanctions: Trump's Cruel Substitute for an Actual Iran Policy A Century Later, the Versailles Treaty Still Haunts Our World

Pompeo's demands look a bit like the ultimatum to Serbia in June 1914 after a nationalist backed by Serbian military intelligence assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne. The Austrians set only 10, rather than 12, requirements, but they also were intended to be rejected. Vienna explained to its ally Germany that "the possibility of its acceptance is practically excluded."

Once it became evident that no one would willingly back down and conflict was likely, Germany's Kaiser and Russia's Tsar tried to halt the rush to war. However, they found themselves hemmed in by the war plans created by their nominal subordinates. With Austria-Hungary mobilizing against Serbia, Russia had to act to protect the latter. Germany then faced a two-front war. Thus, to aid its ally in Vienna, the Germans had to mobilize quickly in an attempt to defeat France before Russia could put its massive army into the field. No one had sufficient time for diplomacy.

However, cousins Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas did engage in a last minute "Willy-Nicky" exchange of telegrams. Wilhelm warned Nicholas that general Russian mobilization would require Germany to act, with war the result. In response, the tsar switched from general to partial mobilization. But he was soon besieged by his top officials who insisted that the entire army had to be called up.

Understanding that general mobilization meant war, the tsar observed: "Think of the responsibility you are asking me to take! Think of the thousands and thousands of men who will be sent to their deaths." But he gave in, approving mobilization on the evening of July 30. Nicholas's concern was warranted. More than 1.7 million Russian soldiers, along with hundreds of thousands of civilians, died in the conflict. The ensuing Russian Civil War was even more deadly, indeed far more so for noncombatants, among them the tsar and his family.

Kaiser Wilhelm was equally at the mercy of the "France-first" Schlieffen Plan. To wait would be to invite destruction between the French and Russians, so he approved German mobilization on August 1. He predicted the war would lead to "endless misery," and so it did. In 1918, he was forced to abdicate and he lived out his life in exile.

Pompeo, Bolton, and like-minded officials tried and failed to force another war last week. Next time they may succeed in leaving the president with no practical choice but the one they favor. In which case he will find himself starting the very conflict that he had declared against.

Ongoing administration machinations -- exacerbated by the opportunity to manipulate a president -- offer an important reminder as to the Founders' wisdom. Delegates to the Constitutional Convention made clear their intention to break with monarchical practice, minimizing the president's authority. Congress was assigned the powers to raise armies, decide on the rules of war, issue letters of marque and reprisal, and ratify treaties. Most importantly, the legislative branch alone could declare war.

As commander-in-chief, the president could defend against attack, but he could not even order a retaliatory strike without congressional authority. Wrote James Madison to Thomas Jefferson: "The Constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature." Delegate James Wilson insisted that the Constitution was intended to "guard against" being hurried into war: "It will not be in the power of a single man, or a single body of men, to involve us in such distress, for the important power of declaring war is vested in the legislature at large."

Most important, placing the war power with Congress ensured that the people would be heard. Of course, even that is not enough today. Presidents have adeptly concocted "evidence" and misled the public, such as during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq.

They were living out what Hermann Goering, on trial at Nuremberg, described in a private conversation to an American officer: "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." Tragically, he's probably right.

However, the Iraq debacle has resulted in greater skepticism of presidential claims. The Trump administration's unsupported judgment that Iran was behind attacks on oil tankers was greeted at home and abroad with a demand for more evidence. People were conscious of having been repeatedly played by Washington and did not want a repeat. Many found the U.S. government no more trustworthy than Iranian authorities, a humbling equivalence. And given the doubts apparently voiced by Pentagon officials out of public view, such skepticism was well-founded.

Last week, Donald Trump declared, "I want to get out of these endless wars." Unlike his predecessors, the president apparently recognizes the temptation to sacrifice lives for political gain. However, alone he will find it nearly impossible to face down the bipartisan War Party. The best way to get out of endless wars is to not get in them in the first place. And that requires changing personnel and respecting the constitutional limits established by the nation's Founders.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire


Kent 8 hours ago

Unfortunately, the President is attempting to walk a tight-rope between peace and the most prominent funders of the GOP. Sheldon Adelson and his ilk are bent on the destruction of any nation that stands in the way of Israeli expansion. And of course military contractors need constant growth in tax-payer funding to support their margins and shareholder value. Hence the blustering to appease the aforementioned and keep the bribes flowing, while backing down to appease the base.

It would of course be in the interests of the base to oppose the bribe-taking to begin with, but I assume that must be beyond their intellectual capacity. Or perhaps they're simply in favor of it for ideological reasons.

Adriana Pena 14 hours ago
Please stop this "czar good, ministers bad" narrative when discussing Trump standing up to the war party.

Trump hired Bolton
Trump hired Pompeo
Trump made the torturer Gina the head of the CIA

For someone who does not want war, he managed to put war lovers in sensitive posts.

John Michener 15 hours ago
We might as well be honest about it. All politicians over simplify, shade the truth, and occasionally lie. But Trump's falsehoods are so continuous and extensive that there is no reason to believe anything he says - everything needs to be validated against external authorities - which is why he is so intent on tearing down all authorities that could contradict him.
Clyde Schechter 15 hours ago
This is another in the long line of stories we are reading here (and in other places) that Trump really doesn't want to get involved in a war but is being manipulated by Bolton, Pompeo and the national security apparatus. Sorry, but I don't buy it.

Trump hired Bolton and Pompeo. Even somebody as apparently dimwitted as Trump could not possibly have failed to notice that they were warmongers. Indeed, Bolton is probably the most extreme warmonger around: he has an extensive public record of advocating war with Iran for about two decades now. I cannot believe that even Trump was unaware of this. And even if he was, why hasn't he fired them? He doesn't need anybody's permission to do that. Let's get real: Trump is every bit the warmonger as the people he hires. His statements to the contrary are just more additions to his endless string of lies.

What's more, he has another way to avoid being cornered into starting a war. All he has to do in that circumstance is acknowledge that the constitution doesn't grant him that authority and toss the decision making to Congerss, where it legally belongs. But he has done nothing that suggests he acknowledges that constitutional delegation of authority--even though it could provide him a way out if he felt he needed one.

So, no. I don't believe for a minute that Trump wants to avoid war. Actions speak louder than words, especially Trump's words.

JJ 17 hours ago
You're falling for the "official" report that he called off the attack merely because 150 lives were at stake? Since when did he all of a sudden grow a conscious after the inexcusable defense he gave for our irresponsible military and intelligence ventures? He even bypasses Congress itself by his illegal presidential will to give weapons to the SAUDIS. The tyrannical, radical, scourge of humanity tribal savages turned psychopathic oligarchs that is the House of Saud.

Let's be perfectly honest with ourselves, Tucker Carson (a f*cking tv show host of all people) convinced a US president to not commit to another illegal war. Not because lives were at stake, heavens no. It's because going into a disastrous war with Iran would gauruntee his chances of not getting re-elected.

The American government is a living parody with no hope of redemption.

HenionJD 9 hours ago
The President's almost daily outpouring of gibberish gives one little confidence that the notion of 'the truth' holds any importance for him or his crew. Who needs historical precedents to establish a feeling of mistrust when even the simplest statements from the White House are so often needlessly loaded with misapprehensions, distortions and out right BS?
EliteCommInc. 15 hours ago
" He's right. But then why has Trump chosen to surround himself with advisers apparently so at variance with his views?"

I get this, position. You present an incredibly tough front as you press an entirely different goal. The problem is that the president has presented a very tough front himself. So when it appears to to actually be tough, he comes across as "not so much". It even provides opportunity to grand him fearful. In the scenario that I think is being played out or made to appear to play out --- the good cop, the reasonable cop has to sound reasonable all the time. He has to claim to be holding back the forces of evil that threaten to consume the target. But the president has been leading the way as "bad cop" so in the mind the targets, there are no good cops.

But in my view, all of this hoollla baaaloooey about Iran is a distraction to the real threat

the border. And the only common ground to be had is to enforce the law. That is why I think the president is weak. For all of the tough talk --- he folded -- again on immigration. Pretending to get concessions that is by agreement already expected from Mexico is the such naked weakness that launching hypersonic missiles obliterating Tehran would just give him sandals.

Uhhhh, no. I don't regret my vote. And and I still want the wall built and the laws enforced and the sovereignty of the US respected by guests and citizens alike,.

[Jun 27, 2019] Aggressive US Lies and Misleads to Justify War on Iran by William Boardman

Notable quotes:
"... Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of ..."
"... The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013

The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.

Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.

First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.

Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:

This assessment is based on intelligence .

He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .

Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation

The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .

There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.

Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.

Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:

40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.

The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.

Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .

[Jun 27, 2019] Who are the arsonists of the petrol tankers in the Gulf by Manlio Dinucci

Notable quotes:
"... The control of the energy corridors is of capital importance. By accusing Iran of attempting to " interrupt the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz ", Mike Pompeo announced that " the United States will defend freedom of navigation ". In other words, he has announced that the United States want to gain military control of this key area for energy supplies, including for Europe, by preventing above all the transit of Iranian oil (to which Italy and other European countries cannot in any case enjoy free access because of the US embargo). ..."
"... Natural gas might also have arrived directly in Italy from Russia, and from there be distributed to other European countries with notable economical advantages, via the South Stream route through the Black Sea. But the pipeline, already in an advanced stage of construction, was blocked in 2014 by the pressure of the United States and European Union itself, with heavy prejudice for Italy. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.voltairenet.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jun 27, 2019] Immediate spike in oil prices and derivatives market after attack in Iran can unpredictable consequences for the US and world economy

Notable quotes:
"... Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved. ..."
"... Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world ..."
"... The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} ..."
"... Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.wsws.org

dmorista3 days ago • edited

The official story, as usual, is a bunch of hooey. Trump wouldn't bat an eye over the death of 150 Iranians. In addition to the worries about losing an aircraft carrier: the military high command probably let him know that the much vaunted, and outlandishly expensive, force of F-35s, will quickly lose its effectiveness if exposed to probing by the high tech radars the Russians have developed, and that are used in conjunction with at least the S-400 antiaircraft and antimissile defense system.

So the question is, if the stealth advantage of the F-35 is only good for a limited time, is this particular geostrategic confrontation worth using up that particular asset??

Then there is the whole question of whether the Iranians would close the Straits of Hormuz in response to a major air raid on their nuclear facilities; this leads to some much more important issues.

Despite the blathering about "international waters" and "freedom of navigation" the facts are that the Straits of Hormuz are only 21 miles wide. So all the water in them is either in Iranian territory to the north or Omani to the south. They would be entirely within their rights, as elucidated in the International Law of the Sea, to close the straits after some sort of military strike against them (for what that is worth, which is something at least as far as public opinion outside of the U.S. is concerned). The Iranians have stated that if and when they close the straits they will announce it publicly, no subterfuge or secret operations will be involved.

Since nearly 30% of the World's oil moves through those straits cutting them off will cause an immediate spike in oil prices. Prices of $100 - $300 a barrel would be reached within a few days. If the Straits of Hormuz were closed for a longer period we could easily see prices rise to $1,000 a barrel according to Goldman Sachs projections (see Escobar article cited below).

Anything over $150 a barrel would trigger an economic, industrial, and financial crisis of immense proportions around the world . The financial and speculative house of cards, that the ruling classes of the U.S.-led Finance Capital Bloc depends on for their dominance of world capital and markets, would likely come tumbling down.

The amount of derivatives that are swirling about the planet and that are traded and created constantly is estimated to be from $1.2 - $2.5 Quadrillion. That's right from $1,200 - $2,500 Trillion or $1,200,000 - $2,500,000 Billion {remember Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen, who once said "a billion here and a billion there and first thing you know, You're talking BIG MONEY!!} (See "World Derivatives Market Estimated As Big As $1.2 Quadrillion Notional, as Banks Fight Efforts to Rein It In", March 26, 2013, Yves Smith, "Naked Capitalism", at < https://www.nakedcapitalism... >, and "Iran Goes for 'Maximum Counter-pressure' ", June 21, 2019, Pepe Escobar, "Strategic Culture Foundation", at < https://www.strategic-cultu... >, and "Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb", Aug 24, 2015, Stephen Lendman, Global Research, at < https://www.globalresearch.... >).

Just like during the 2007 - 2008 crisis the various elements of shadow banking, and speculation would collapse. Remember that total world production of and trade in actual products is only about about $70 - $80 Trillion, or perhaps less than 1/31st the size of the Global Derivatives markets.

All the world's elite capitalists, be they Western or Asian or from elsewhere, maintain homes in numerous places. One reason for this is so they have somewhere to go, if they need to flee from environmental and/or socioeconomic disaster and the resultant chaos in their primary place of residence. As we move ever deeper into this extremely severe and ongoing Crisis of Capitalism, these issues will continue to become more acute.

So we can rest assured that; in addition to the crazed war-mongers Bolton and Pompeo (and their supporters and backers) whispering in Trump's ear to "go ahead and attack the Iranians"; and in addition to the somewhat more sober counsel of General Dunford and other members of the top military command; that titans of finance capital were undoubtedly on the phone warning "Bone-Spur Don" that his digs in Manhattan and Florida might not be entirely safe if the worst were to happen in response to a military strike. The absurd story of Don worrying about 150 Iranians is so ludicrous that it did not even pass the smell test with the corporate controlled media for very long.

Irandle dmorista2 days ago
Oil reached $147 a barrel in 2007-08. That caused the so-called Great Recession.

As WSWS has pointed out there are few if any US options left but war.

[Jun 27, 2019] The West's Trumped-Up Hatred of Iran Serves The Zionist Dream of a Greater Israel Dominating the Middle East by Stuart Littlewood

Notable quotes:
"... Any US attack on Iran in these circumstances could be a violation of the United Nations Charter, which only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval. ..."
"... UN Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 called on Israel "urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards". Israel has been allowed to ignore it for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Israel still refuses to join or allow inspections. ..."
"... When the CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission. What should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers became a festering sore. ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | ahtribune.com

Any US attack on Iran in these circumstances could be a violation of the United Nations Charter, which only allows the use of military force in self-defense after an armed attack or with Security Council approval.

Let's remind ourselves of earlier US aggression and dishonesty during the Iran-Iraq war, as recorded in Wikipedia:

In the course of escorts by the US Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 on 3 July 1988, killing all 290 passengers and crew on board. The American government claimed that Vincennes was in international waters at the time (which was later proven to be untrue), that the Airbus A300 had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and that Vincennes feared that she was under attack. The Iranians maintain that Vincennes was in their own waters, and that the passenger jet was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off. US Admiral William J. Crowe later admitted on Nightline that Vincennes was in Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles. At the time of the attack, Admiral Crowe claimed that the Iranian plane did not identify itself and sent no response to warning signals he had sent. In 1996, the United States expressed their regret for the event and the civilian deaths it caused.

Trump now wants to impose further crippling sanctions on Iran and her people while the UK's Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison has just been to Tehran calling for "urgent de-escalation" and cheekily criticising Iran's "regional conduct" and its threat to stop complying with the nuclear deal, which the US recklessly abandoned but the UK remains committed to.

Good news about Murrison, though. A medical man, he voted against the Iraq war but as a Navy reservist was called up to do a 6 month tour of duty there. Perhaps Murrison should go see Trump and ask:

Trump meanwhile has signed an executive order targeting Iran's leadership with hard-hitting new sanctions supposedly needed to deny their development of nuclear weapons. "Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon," Trump has decreed. He added: "We will continue to increased pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its asperations, including the pursuit of nuclear weapons, increased enrichment of uranium, development of ballistic missiles, engagement and support for terrorism, fuelling of foreign conflicts and belligerent acts...." Achingly funny. Who else could all that apply to, I wonder? Exactly. The Bully-Boy-in-chief himself and his best buddies in Tel Aviv.

Sowing the seeds of hatred

We have conveniently short memories when it comes to our abominable conduct towards the Iranians in 1951-53 when a previous Conservative government, in cahoots with the USA, snuffed out Iran's fledgling democracy and reinstated a cruel dictator, the Shah. This eventually brought about the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and created the deep distrust between Iran and the West. Is it not shameful that the present Conservative government is spoiling for another fight? Shouldn't the Foreign Office now focus on exerting influence through trade and co-operation?

The Iranian regime, like many others, may not be entirely to our liking but nor was Dr Mossadeq's democracy 65 years ago. Besides, what threat is Iran to Britain? And why are we allowing ourselves to be driven by America's mindless hatred?

When new recruits join British Petroleum (BP) they are fed romantic tales about how the company came into being. William Knox D'Arcy, a Devon man, studied law and made a fortune from the Mount Morgan gold-mining operations in 1880s Australia. Returning to England he agreed to fund a search for oil and minerals in Persia and began negotiations with the Mozaffar al-Din Shah Qajar in 1901. A sixty year concession gave D'Arcy the oil rights to the entire country except for five provinces in the north. The Persian government would receive 16% of the oil company's annual profits.

Mozzafar ad-Din was naive in business matters and unprepared for kingship when the time came. He borrowed heavily from the Russians and in order to pay off the debt he signed away control of many Persian industries and markets to foreigners. The deal D'Arcy cut was too sharp by far and would eventually lead to trouble.

He sent an exploration team headed by geologist George B Reynolds. In 1903 a company was formed and D'Arcy had to spend much of his fortune to cover the costs. Further financial support came from Glasgow-based Burmah Oil in return for a large share of the stock.

Drilling in southern Persia at Shardin continued until 1907 when the search was switched to Masjid-i-Souleiman. By 1908 D'Arcy was almost bankrupt. Reynolds received a last-chance instruction: "Drill to 1,600 feet and give up". On 26 May at 1,180 feet he struck oil.

It was indeed a triumph of guts and determination. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was soon up and running and in 1911 completed a pipeline from the oilfield to its new refinery at Abadan. But the company was in trouble again by 1914. The golden age of motoring hadn't yet arrived and the industrial oil markets were sewn up by American and European interests. The sulphurous stench of the Persian oil, even after refining, ruled it out for domestic use, so D'Arcy had a marketing problem.

Luckily Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, was an enthusiast for oil and wanted to convert the British fleet from coal especially now that a reliable oil source was secured. He famously told Parliament: "Look out upon the wide expanse of the oil regions of the world!" Only the British-owned Anglo-Persian Oil Company, he said, could protect British interests. His resolution passed and the British Government took a major shareholding in the company just in time, for World War One began a few weeks later.

During the war the British government seized the assets of a German company calling itself British Petroleum for the purpose of marketing its products in Britain. Anglo-Persian acquired the assets from the Public Trustee complete with a ready-made distribution network and an abundance of depots, railway tank wagons, road vehicles, barges and so forth. This enabled Anglo-Persian to rapidly expand sales in petroleum-hungry Britain and Europe after the war.

In the inter-war years Anglo-Persian profited handsomely from paying the Iranians a miserly 16%, and an increasingly angry Persia tried to renegotiate terms. Getting nowhere, they cancelled the D'Arcy agreement and the matter ended up at the Court of International Justice at The Hague. A new agreement in 1933 provided Anglo-Persian with a fresh 60-year concession but on a smaller area. The terms were an improvement for the Persians but still didn't amount to a square deal.

In 1935 Iran formally replaced Persia as the country's official name internationally and Anglo-Persian changed to Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. By 1950 Abadan was the biggest oil refinery in the world and Britain, with its 51% holding, had affectively colonised part of southern Iran.

Iran's small share of the profits became a big issue and so did the treatment of its oil workers. 6,000 withdrew their labour in 1946 and the strike was violently put down with 200 dead or injured. In 1951 Anglo-Iranian declared £40 million profit after tax but handed Iran only £7 million. Meanwhile Arabian American Oil was sharing profits with the Saudis on a 50/50 basis. Calls for nationalisation were mounting.

As a result of the Persian Constitutional Revolution the first Majlis (parliament) was established in 1906 and the country became a constitutional monarchy with high hopes. By mid-century Iran not unreasonably wanted economic and political independence and an end to poverty. In March 1951 its Majlis and Senate voted to nationalise Anglo-Iranian, which had controlled Iran's oil industry since 1913 under terms disadvantageous to Iran. Respected social reformer Dr Mohammad Mossadeq was named prime minister the following month by a 79 to 12 majority. On 1 May Mossadeq carried out his government's wishes, cancelling Anglo-Iranian's oil concession due to expire in 1993 and expropriating its assets.

His explanation, given in a speech in June 1951 (M. Fateh, Panjah Sal-e Naft-e Iran , p. 525), ran as follows...

"Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people. Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.

"The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provides that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention "

For this he would eventually be removed in a coup by MI5 and the CIA, imprisoned for 3 years then put under house arrest until his death.

Britain, with regime change in mind, orchestrated a world-wide boycott of Iranian oil, froze Iran's sterling assets and threatened legal action against anyone purchasing oil produced in the formerly British-controlled refineries. It even considered invading. The Iranian economy was soon in ruins.... sounds familiar, doesn't it? Attempts by the Shah to replace Mossadeq failed and he returned with more power, but his coalition was slowly crumbling under the hardships imposed by the British blockade.

At first America was reluctant to join Britain's destructive game but Churchill let it be known that Mossadeq was turning communist and pushing Iran into Russia's arms at a time when Cold War anxiety was high. It was enough to bring America's new president, Eisenhower, on board and plotting with Britain to bring Mossadeq down.

Chief of the CIA's Near East and Africa division, Kermit Roosevelt Jr, arrived to play the leading role in an ugly game of provocation, mayhem and deception. An elaborate campaign of disinformation began, and the Shah signed two decrees, one dismissing Mossadeq and the other nominating the CIA's choice, General Fazlollah Zahedi, as prime minister. These decrees were written as dictated by Donald Wilbur the CIA architect of the plan

The Shah fled to Rome. When it was judged safe to do so he returned on 22 August 1953. Mossadeq was arrested, tried, and convicted of treason by the Shah's military court. He remarked

"My greatest sin is that I nationalised Iran's oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world's greatest empire With God's blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism.

"I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests ."

His supporters were rounded up, imprisoned, tortured or executed. Zahedi's new government soon reached an agreement with foreign oil companies to form a consortium to restore the flow of Iranian oil, awarding the US and Great Britain the lion's share - 40% going to Anglo-Iranian. The consortium agreed to split profits on a 50-50 basis with Iran but, tricky as ever, refused to open its books to Iranian auditors or allow Iranians to sit on the board.

A grateful US massively funded the Shah's government, including his army and secret police force, SAVAK. Anglo-Iranian changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954. Mossadeq died on 5 March 1967.

Apologise? Hell no Let's demonise Iran!

But the West's fun came to an abrupt halt with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and a great British enterprise that started heroically and turned nasty ended in tears.

The US is still hated today for reimposing the Shah and his thugs and demolishing the Iranians' democratic system of government, which the Revolution unfortunately didn't restore. The US is widely known by Iranians as Big Satan and its regional handmaiden Israel rejoices in the name Little Satan . Britain, as the instigator and junior partner in the sordid affair, is similarly despised.

Moreover, Iran harbours great resentment at the way the West, especially the US, helped Iraq develop its armed forces and chemical weapons arsenal, and how the international community failed to punish Iraq for its use of those weapons against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war. The US, and eventually Britain, leaned strongly towards Saddam in that conflict and the alliance enabled Saddam to more easily acquire or develop forbidden chemical and biological weapons. At least 100,000 Iranians fell victim to them.

This is how John King writing in 2003 summed it up

"The United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam's army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The US supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The US supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was know that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked UN censure of Iraq's use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology."

While Iranian casualties were at their highest as a result of US chemical and biological war crimes Trump was busy acquiring the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Trump Castle , his Taj-Mahal casino, the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan and was refitting his super-yacht Trump Princess . What does he know, understand or care about Iran?

On the British side Foreign Secretary Jaremy Hunt was messing about at Oxford University; and the front-runner to fill our Prime Minister vacancy, Boris Johnson, former Foreign Secretary, was similarly at Oxford carousing with fellow Old Etonians at the Bullingdon Club. What do they know or care?

Which brings us to today Why are we hearing nonstop sabre-rattling against Iran when we should be extending the hand of reconciliation and friendship? And why are these clueless leaders demonising Iran instead of righting the wrongs? Because the political establishment is still smarting. And they are the new-generation imperialists, the political spawn of those Dr Mossadeq and many others struggled against. They haven't learned from the past, and they won't lift their eyes to a better future.

It's so depressing.

Economic sanctions: are they moral, or even legal?

The US and UK have led the charge on oil sanctions and other measures to make life hell for Iranians. But are they on safe legal ground?

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in a statement on 26 November 2011, said they were deeply concerned about the threats against Iran by Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Referring to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IADL stated that those threats were unacceptable and dangerous not only for all the region but for the whole of humanity, and that Article 2.4 of the UN Charter forbids not only use of force but also the threat of force in international relations. The right of defence does not include pre-emptive strikes.

The IADL also pointed out that while Israel was quick to denounce the possible possession of nuclear weapons by others, it had illegally possessed nuclear weapons for many years. The danger to world peace was so great as to require the global eradication of all nuclear weapons, and to immediately declare the Middle East a nuclear free zone and a zone free of all weapons of mass destruction, as required by UN Security Council resolution 687.

Furthermore, Article 33 states that "the parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means..." Economic 'terror' tactics such as the vicious sanctions deployed by the US, UK and their allies – and the similar measures used by Britain and America in the 1950s to bring down the government of Dr Mossadeq and reinstate the Shah – are simply not part of the approved toolkit.

Remember the context

UN Security Council resolution 487 of 1981 called on Israel "urgently to place its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards". Israel has been allowed to ignore it for nearly 40 years. In 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty, open its nuclear facilities to inspection and place them under comprehensive IAEA safeguards. Israel still refuses to join or allow inspections.

The Zionist regime is reckoned by some to have up to 400 nuclear warheads at its disposal. It is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (Iran is). It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. As regards biological and chemical weapons, Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.

In early 2012 the US intelligence community was saying that Iran hadn't got an active nuclear weapons programme, and Israeli intelligence agreed. The Director of the National Intelligence Agency, James Clapper, reported: "We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons..."

So the continual focus on Iran has been a deliberate distraction. We repaid Iranian co-operation in D'Arcy's oil venture with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. America and Britain are still smarting from the time when Iran democratically elected Dr. Mossadeq, who sensibly nationalized her vast oil resources. Up till then the grasping British were raking in far more profit from Iranian oil than the Iranians themselves.

Back in the 1920s the US State Department had described the oil deposits in the Middle East as "a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history". Ever since, its designs on Iraq and Iran have been plain to see and it is still ready to pounce on every opportunity.

When the CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission. What should have been a sharp lesson for Western meddlers became a festering sore.

The quest for the energy prize is not over. But it is no longer just about oil. Zionist stooges in controlling positions in the West's corridors of power are pledged to ensure Israel remains the only nuclear power in the Middle East and continues to dominate the region militarily. And they are willing to spill Christian blood and spend Christian treasure in that cause.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton, recipient of the Defender of Israel Award last year and the Guardian of Zion Award the year before, is one such super-stooge. His stupefying remark: "No-one has granted Iran a hunting licence in the Middle East" typifies the arrogance of his ilk.

Stuart Littlewood worked on jet fighters in the RAF. Various sales and marketing management positions in manufacturing, oil and electronics. Senior associate with several industrial marketing consultancies. Graduate Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MInstM). BA Hons Psychology, University of Exeter.

[Jun 26, 2019] VIPS Memo to the President Is Pompeo's Iran Agenda the Same As Yours Consortiumnews

Notable quotes:
"... UPDATED: VIPS says its direct experience with Mike Pompeo leaves them with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to the President and the nation. ..."
"... As for Pompeo himself, there is no sign he followed up by pursuing Binney's stark observation with anyone, including his own CIA cyber sleuths. Pompeo had been around intelligence long enough to realize the risks entailed in asking intrusive questions of intelligence officers -- in this case, subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which was created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015. ..."
"... CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate. (It is a safe guess that offensive cybertool specialists from that Directorate were among those involved in the reported placing of "implants" or software code into the Russian grid, about which The New York Times claims you were not informed.) ..."
"... The question is whose agenda Pompeo was pursuing -- yours or his own. Binney had the impression Pompeo was simply going through the motions -- and disingenuously, at that. If he "really wanted to know about Russian hacking," he would have acquainted himself with the conclusions that VIPS, with Binney in the lead, had reached in mid-2017, and which apparently caught your eye. ..."
"... For the Steering Groups of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity: ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

UPDATED: VIPS says its direct experience with Mike Pompeo leaves them with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to the President and the nation.

DATE: June 21, 2019

MEMORANDUM FOR : The President.

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Is Pompeo's Iran Agenda the Same As Yours?

A fter the close call yesterday when you called off the planned military strike on Iran, we remain concerned that you are about to be mousetrapped into war with Iran. You have said you do not want such a war (no sane person would), and our comments below are based on that premise. There are troubling signs that Secretary Pompeo is not likely to jettison his more warlike approach, More importantly, we know from personal experience with Pompeo's dismissive attitude to instructions from you that his agenda can deviate from yours on issues of major consequence.

Pompeo's behavior betrays a strong desire to resort to military action -- perhaps even without your approval -- to Iranian provocations (real or imagined), with no discernible strategic goal other than to advance the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He is a neophyte compared to his anti-Iran partner John Bolton, whose dilettante approach to interpreting intelligence, strong advocacy of the misbegotten war on Iraq (and continued pride in his role in promoting it), and fierce pursuit of his own aggressive agenda are a matter of a decades-long record. You may not be fully aware of our experience with Pompeo, who has now taken the lead on Iran.

That experience leaves us with strong doubt regarding his trustworthiness on issues of consequence to you and the country, including the contentious issue of alleged Russian hacking into the DNC. The sketchy "evidence" behind that story has now crumbled, thanks to some unusual candor from the Department of Justice. We refer to the extraordinary revelation in a recent Department of Justice court filing that former FBI Director James Comey never required a final forensic report from the DNC-hired cybersecurity company, CrowdStrike.

Comey, of course, has admitted to the fact that, amid accusations from the late Sen. John McCain and others that the Russians had committed "an act of war," the FBI did not follow best practices and insist on direct access to the DNC computers, preferring to rely on CrowdStrike reporting. What was not known until the DOJ revelation is that CrowdStrike never gave Comey a final report on its forensic findings regarding alleged "Russian hacking." Mainstream media have suppressed this story so far; we reported it several days ago.

The point here is that Pompeo could have exposed the lies about Russian hacking of the DNC, had he done what you asked him to do almost two years ago when he was director of the CIA.

In our Memorandum to you of July 24, 2017 entitled "Was the 'Russian Hack' an Inside Job?," we suggested:

"You may wish to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeo what he knows about this.["This" being the evidence-deprived allegation that "a shadowy entity with the moniker 'Guccifer 2.0' hacked the DNC on behalf of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks ."] Our own lengthy intelligence community experience suggests that it is possible that neither former CIA Director John Brennan, nor the cyber-warriors who worked for him, have been completely candid with their new director regarding how this all went down."

Three months later, Director Pompeo invited William Binney, one of VIPS' two former NSA technical directors (and a co-author of our July 24, 2017 Memorandum), to CIA headquarters to discuss our findings. Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney on October 24, 2017 by explaining the genesis of the unusual invitation: "You are here because the President told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you."

But Did Pompeo 'Really Want to Know'?

Apparently not. Binney, a widely respected, plain-spoken scientist with more than three decades of experience at NSA , began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. As we explained in our most recent Memorandum to you, Pompeo reacted with disbelief and -- now get this -- tried to put the burden on Binney to pursue the matter with the FBI and NSA.

As for Pompeo himself, there is no sign he followed up by pursuing Binney's stark observation with anyone, including his own CIA cyber sleuths. Pompeo had been around intelligence long enough to realize the risks entailed in asking intrusive questions of intelligence officers -- in this case, subordinates in the Directorate of Digital Innovation, which was created by CIA Director John Brennan in 2015.

CIA malware and hacking tools are built by the Engineering Development Group, part of that relatively new Directorate. (It is a safe guess that offensive cybertool specialists from that Directorate were among those involved in the reported placing of "implants" or software code into the Russian grid, about which The New York Times claims you were not informed.)

If Pompeo failed to report back to you on the conversation you instructed him to have with Binney, you might ask him about it now (even though the flimsy evidence of Russia hacking the DNC has now evaporated, with Binney vindicated). There were two note-takers present at the October 24, 2017 meeting at CIA headquarters. There is also a good chance the session was also recorded. You might ask Pompeo about that.

Whose Agenda?

The question is whose agenda Pompeo was pursuing -- yours or his own. Binney had the impression Pompeo was simply going through the motions -- and disingenuously, at that. If he "really wanted to know about Russian hacking," he would have acquainted himself with the conclusions that VIPS, with Binney in the lead, had reached in mid-2017, and which apparently caught your eye.

Had he pursued the matter seriously with Binney, we might not have had to wait until the Justice Department itself put nails in the coffin of Russiagate, CrowdStrike, and Comey. In sum, Pompeo could have prevented two additional years of "everyone knows that the Russians hacked into the DNC." Why did he not?

Pompeo is said to be a bright fellow -- Bolton, too–with impeccable academic credentials. The history of the past six decades , though, shows that an Ivy League pedigree can spell disaster in affairs of state. Think, for example, of President Lyndon Johnson's national security adviser, former Harvard Dean McGeorge Bundy, for example, who sold the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to Congress to authorize the Vietnam war based on what he knew was a lie. Millions dead.

Bundy was to LBJ as John Bolton is to you, and it is a bit tiresome watching Bolton brandish his Yale senior ring at every podium. Think, too, of Princeton's own Donald Rumsfeld concocting and pushing the fraud about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to "justify" war on Iraq, assuring us all the while that "the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." Millions dead.

Rumsfeld's dictum is anathema to William Binney, who has shown uncommon patience answering a thousand evidence-free "What if's" over the past three years. Binney's shtick? The principles of physics, applied mathematics, and the scientific method. He is widely recognized for his uncanny ability to use these to excellent advantage in separating the chaff from wheat. No Ivy pedigree wanted or needed.

Binney describes himself as a "country boy" from western Pennsylvania. He studied at Penn State and became a world renowned mathematician/cryptologist as well as a technical director at NSA. Binney's accomplishments are featured in a documentary on YouTube, "A Good American." You may wish to talk to him person-to-person.

Cooked Intelligence

Some of us served as long ago as the Vietnam War. We are painfully aware of how Gen. William Westmoreland and other top military officers lied about the "progress" the Army was making, and succeeded in forcing their superiors in Washington to suppress our conclusions as all-source analysts that the war was a fool's errand and one we would inevitably lose. Millions dead.

Four decades later, on February 5, 2003, six weeks before the attack on Iraq, we warned President Bush that there was no reliable intelligence to justify war on Iraq.

Five years later, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, releasing the bipartisan conclusions of the committee's investigation, said this :

" In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed."

Intelligence on the Middle East has still been spotty -- and sometimes "fixed" for political purposes. Four years ago, a U.S. congressional report said Central Command painted too rosy a picture of the fight against Islamic State in 2014 and 2015 compared with the reality on the ground and grimmer assessments by other analysts.

Intelligence analysts at CENTCOM claimed their commanders imposed a "false narrative" on analysts, intentionally rewrote and suppressed intelligence products, and engaged in "delay tactics" to undermine intelligence provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency. In July 2015, fifty CENTCOM analysts signed a complaint to the Pentagon's Inspector General that their intelligence reports were being manipulated by their superiors. The CENTCOM analysts were joined by intelligence analysts working for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

We offer this as a caution. As difficult as this is for us to say, the intelligence you get from CENTCOM should not be accepted reflexively as gospel truth, especially in periods of high tension. The experience of the Tonkin Gulf alone should give us caution. Unclear and misinterpreted intelligence can be as much a problem as politicization in key conflict areas.

Frequent problems with intelligence and Cheney-style hyperbole help explain why CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon in early 2007 blurted out that "an attack on Iran " will not happen on my watch," as Bush kept sending additional carrier groups into the Persian Gulf. Hillary Mann, the administration's former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs, warned at the time that some Bush advisers secretly wanted an excuse to attack Iran. "They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for," she told Newsweek. Deja vu. A National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 concluded unanimously that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed such work.

We believe your final decision yesterday was the right one -- given the so-called "fog of war" and against the background of a long list of intelligence mistakes, not to mention "cooking" shenanigans. We seldom quote media commentators, but we think Tucker Carlson had it right yesterday evening: "The very people -- in some cases, literally the same people who lured us into the Iraq quagmire 16 years ago -- are demanding a new war -- this one with Iran. Carlson described you as "skeptical." We believe ample skepticism is warranted.

We are at your disposal, should you wish to discuss any of this with us.

For the Steering Groups of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity:

[Jun 26, 2019] Pompeo is a MIC lobbyist, not a diplomat

Highly recommended!
Pretty harsh evaluation of Pompeo by usually very polite Chinese newspaper. And what is true that in no way Pompeo is a diplomat. He is a lobbyist for MIC, no more no less. Kind of Madeline Albright of different sex.
As Chinese journalist observed "Diplomacy is governed by international conventions, which require all countries to observe basic norms. Pompeo behaves like a gangster. He is abandoning the traditional US major-power diplomacy and defying the gentle style of diplomats. "
Notable quotes:
"... Chinese people will remember Pompeo as a representative who breaks the bottom line of US diplomatic ethics. Letting such a person dominate US diplomacy will unsettle the world and put global peace at risk. ..."
"... Pompeo also has turned the US State Department into a strategic headquarters used to antagonize the international community. By provoking conflict between countries who have unique differences, Pompeo has done nothing but threaten for world peace. ..."
"... Additionally, Pompeo is arguably the most active lobbyist and by all standards, a bully who coerces US allies to block Huawei. He has also spared no effort in criticizing China's policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. ..."
"... Pompeo's background reveals military and intelligence capabilities. While serving in the US House of Representatives, he initiated multiple foreign conflicts. Confrontation seems to be his preferred weapon of choice and the only option when engaging with anyone. Only when confronted with China, Russia, and Iran, can he see his true self. He feels such aggressive behaviour is necessary to prove his personal value. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.globaltimes.cn

Chinese people will remember Pompeo as a representative who breaks the bottom line of US diplomatic ethics. Letting such a person dominate US diplomacy will unsettle the world and put global peace at risk.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to be a politically troublesome figure in the global arena. Washington stands at a critical juncture as it redesigns the national strategy blueprint within a Cold War framework. The highest-ranking US diplomat has single-handedly activated an outdated mindset, smashing it to the point of climax.

Known as an extreme hardliner at the White House, Pompeo has redefined the traditional understanding of the chief diplomat's role among the world's major powers with his signature reckless behaviour.

Pompeo also has turned the US State Department into a strategic headquarters used to antagonize the international community. By provoking conflict between countries who have unique differences, Pompeo has done nothing but threaten for world peace.

During his visits to other nations, Pompeo has bad-mouthed and tried to suppress China, Russia, and Iran. His offensive remarks on China have destroyed the past China-US diplomatic language that was enjoyed for decades, preferring to use negligent words from his personal arsenal.

Additionally, Pompeo is arguably the most active lobbyist and by all standards, a bully who coerces US allies to block Huawei. He has also spared no effort in criticizing China's policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

His outspoken opinions on the recent events in Hong Kong was more of a Rubicon River crossing than someone was just merely speaking their mind. Rather than adhere to a big power game like his predecessors, Pompeo has transformed himself into anti-China flag on two legs.

The US relationship between China , Russia, and Iran will determine the future course of international relations. The condition of each relationship serves as a wind vane indicating stability or turbulence worldwide.

Pompeo is not only disrupting China, Russia, and Iran but also damaging the interests of other countries. His words and actions have jinxed the very notion of 21st-century peace.

It is understandable how the US could feel threatened, due to the pattern shift among world powers. However, Pompeo's goal has nothing to do with enhancing trust or easing concerns expressed by other countries. Instead, he wants to turn US insecurity into a form of visible hatred and increase hostility worldwide. He has consistently influenced stable international conditions to the point of deterioration.

"Make America Great Again" is not a one-man show. The notion, which is nothing more than an illiterate slogan, will never materialize and connect with the harmony enjoyed elsewhere throughout the world.

In the past decades, the US has engaged in too many wars and conflicts, while also issuing sanctions against foreign countries which were later drained of their national strength.

Pompeo has continued to push the US toward the flames of confrontation when dealing with major foreign powers. He has not helped Trump achieve earlier campaign promises, and on the contrary, he is making it difficult for the US president to keep them.

Pompeo's background reveals military and intelligence capabilities. While serving in the US House of Representatives, he initiated multiple foreign conflicts. Confrontation seems to be his preferred weapon of choice and the only option when engaging with anyone. Only when confronted with China, Russia, and Iran, can he see his true self. He feels such aggressive behaviour is necessary to prove his personal value.

Judging from the US and its Cold War reboot strategy, Pompeo has roamed too far outside of the perimeter and has officially lost his way. The US government has labelled China as its "strategic competitor." Meanwhile, Pompeo has ignited hostility from China.

Pompeo's words are by no means an accurate consensus of the US public who also want to enjoy a harmonious existence. By making volatile claims against China look reasonable, Pompeo has turned himself into a cheerleader of hatred, who uses slander and vitriol for pompoms.

Having a secretary of state of this calibre is a tragedy of US politics and the sorrow of international politics. The world needs to be exposed to the damage Pompeo has brought to humankind's peaceful existence. His destructive power should not be tolerated because of his title. He has repeatedly crushed diplomacy's constructive role while ignoring opportunities to ease international conflicts. He is a stain upon the professional honour of diplomacy. The global diplomatic community should detest his actions and join together in a crusade against him.

This article originally appeared on the Global Times website.

[Jun 26, 2019] Cost of potential US war with Iran $250 oil another Afghanistan

Notable quotes:
"... Should such a war really happen, the stakes would be very high, so there is every reason to assume that Iran's missiles would not only be equipped with conventional high explosive fragmentation warheads, but would also carry toxic agents and dirty bombs. ..."
"... even a handful of Tehran's missiles reaching critical infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region would be enough to cause devastation. ..."
"... On top of that, there are more questions than answers regarding the reliability of the antimissile and air defense systems that the Persian Gulf monarchies deployed to defend their hydrocarbon terminals and other oil and gas infrastructure. ..."
"... To solve the problem of Iran once and for all, the US would need to mount a large-scale ground operation, with the US Army invading the country. America would have to wipe out both regular Iranian forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, unseat the current leadership of Iran, and have a military presence in every major city for the next 10 to 15 years, keeping tight control over the entire country at the same time. ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's downing of a US military surveillance drone last week predictably led to another flare-up in tense relations between Tehran and Washington. What could be the implications of a potential conflict between the two nations? Right after the Global Hawk UAV was shot down, the New York Times reported that US President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran, but then changed his mind.

Let's start by saying that the decision to launch a military operation against Iran (which is what this is really about), including the specific time and place, would have to be taken by a very small group of top US political and military officials. At such meetings, no leaks could possibly occur by definition.

Now, let's take a look at some of the details. The difference between a 'strike' and an 'operation' is quite significant, at the very least in terms of duration, and forces and equipment involved. It would be nice to know if the NYT actually meant a single airstrike or an entire air operation.

Also on rt.com US lapdog Jeremy Hunt prepping British public for war with Iran, just in case Trump asks

Amusingly enough, the publication reported that the strikes were scheduled for early morning to minimize the potential death toll among the Iranian military and civilians. It's worth pointing out that the US has never cared about the number of victims either among the military personnel or the civilian population of its adversaries.

Moreover, the purpose of any military conflict is to do as much damage to your enemy as possible in terms of personnel, military hardware and other equipment. This is how the goals of any armed conflict are achieved. Of course, it would be best if civilian losses are kept to a minimum, but for the US it's more of a secondary rather than a primary objective.

The US Navy and Air Force traditionally strike before dawn with one purpose alone – to avoid the antiaircraft artillery (both small and medium-caliber), as well as a number of air defense systems with optical tracking, firing at them. Besides, a strike in the dark hours of the day affects the morale of the enemy personnel.

Here we need to understand that Iran would instantly retaliate, and Tehran has no small capabilities for that. In other words, it would be a full-scale war. For the US, it wouldn't end with one surgical airstrike without consequences, like in Syria. And the US seems to have a very vague idea on what a military victory over Iran would look like.

Also on rt.com US will not 'stumble into' war with Iran by mistake. If it happens, it will be by design

There is no doubt that a prolonged air campaign by the US will greatly undermine Iran's military and economic potential and reduce the country to the likes of Afghanistan, completely destroying its hydrocarbon production and exports industries.

To say how long such a campaign could last would be too much of a wild guess, but we have the examples of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 when airstrikes lasted for 38 days, and Yugoslavia in 1991 when the bombing continued for 78 days. So, theoretically, the US could bomb Iran for, say, 100 days, wrecking the country's economy and infrastructure step by step.

However, the price the US would have to pay for starting such a military conflict may turn out to be too high.

For instance, Iran can respond to US aggression by launching intermediate and shorter-range ballistic missiles to target oil and gas fields and terminals in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE.

Should such a war really happen, the stakes would be very high, so there is every reason to assume that Iran's missiles would not only be equipped with conventional high explosive fragmentation warheads, but would also carry toxic agents and dirty bombs.

Firstly, it should be pointed out that even though the capabilities of US intelligence agencies are almost limitless, quite a few Iranian missile launching sites remain undiscovered. Secondly, US air defense systems in the Persian Gulf, no matter how effective, would not shoot down every last Iranian missile. And even a handful of Tehran's missiles reaching critical infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region would be enough to cause devastation.

On top of that, there are more questions than answers regarding the reliability of the antimissile and air defense systems that the Persian Gulf monarchies deployed to defend their hydrocarbon terminals and other oil and gas infrastructure.

Also on rt.com $300 oil? US war with Iran spells catastrophe for global economy, expert tells RT

If such a scenario came true, that would bring inconceivable chaos to the global economy and would immediately drive up oil prices to $200-250 per barrel – and that's the lowest estimate. It is these implications that are most likely keeping the US from attacking Iran.

To solve the problem of Iran once and for all, the US would need to mount a large-scale ground operation, with the US Army invading the country. America would have to wipe out both regular Iranian forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, unseat the current leadership of Iran, and have a military presence in every major city for the next 10 to 15 years, keeping tight control over the entire country at the same time.

For the record, the US failed to do that even in Afghanistan, which is several times smaller than Iran in terms of both territory and population. And almost 18 years of fighting later, the US has achieved next to nothing.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

[Jun 26, 2019] Lawrence Wilkerson Trump Is Deepening the 'Economic War' Against Iran naked capitalism

Jun 26, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

GREG WILPERT It's not clear what impact these new sanctions will have on Iran, but the sanctions that have already been imposed since the US withdrew from the JCPOA last year have had a serious effect on Iran's economy. According to oil industry analysts, Iranian oil exports have dropped from 2.5 million barrels per day in April 2013, to about 300,000 barrels per day currently. The latest sanctions come on the heels of heightened tensions. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Then later that week, Iran downed an expensive US drone over the same strait saying that it had entered Iranian airspace. President Trump later revealed that the US was about to retaliate over the weekend with an airstrike against Iran, but Trump changed his mind in the last minute and launched a cyber-attack against Iranian military facilities instead. Joining me now to discuss the latest in the confrontation between the US and Iran is Colonel Larry Wilkerson. He is former Chief of staff to the Secretary of State Colin Powell, and now a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary. Thanks for joining us again, Larry.

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON Good to be with you.

GREG WILPERT So let's start with the sanctions. As I said, it's far from clear whether these latest sanctions mean anything, but the earlier sanctions are certainly having an effect on Iran, shrinking its economy and causing shortages. Now Trump argued that he called off the airstrike on Iran because he had been told that up to 150 people could have been killed, and that this would have been a disproportionate response to shooting down their drone, but there are reports that Iranians are having trouble accessing lifesaving medicines, such as for cancer treatment. Now, what do you make of this rationale for calling off the airstrike but then at the same time intensifying sanctions?

COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON There is no question that the sanctions we have on Iran -- and for that matter on North Korea, and on Venezuela, perhaps even still do on Venezuela -- constitute economic warfare. That's the reality that the world doesn't seem to want to address because the United States is so powerful and that their economies and financial networks are so wrapped up with us. That said, it's not like -- And the crassness of the United States with regard to these sanctions was about saved by none other than Madeleine Albright best when she was confronted with a number of Iraqi children who were dying as a result of the sanctions we had on Saddam Hussein. And she simply said, well I thought it was worth it. Worth it -- to kill all those children? The sanctions regimes we execute though, are a little bit more sophisticated, a little bit more well-aimed, more precisely aimed these days.

I was very much associated with the ones on North Korea, ones on Iraq, the way we tried to smarten them up and so forth. The ones on Iran I think are having a very meaningful impact in terms of cutting down on Iran's ability to do everything that it does, including as you pointed out to sell oil. But that said, if Saddam Hussein could evade the sanctions that were on him to the extent that we now know he did, and we know from past experience how well the Kims evaded sanctions in North Korea and invented ways to get around them -- criminal activity like counterfeiting American hundred-dollar bills, for example. And other things that I know about sanctions, I would say the Iranians would be able to survive these no matter how tight we think we've made them. By and large, the Iranian government -- the Majlis, the judiciary, the Ayatollahs, the Guardian Council, the IRGC, the Quds Force -- they don't care about the Iranian people. That's one thing we ought to say more often and more frequently because it's true.

Corruption is so rife in Iran and all sanctions do is increase the money in the hands of those who are corrupt, like the IRGC and the Quds Force. So despite all these statistics and everything -- Look at oil, for example. ISIS, we now know, survived quite richly off its oil sales and we know that Turkey was behind most of the facilitation of those oil sales. The same thing is going to happen with Iran, so official statistics are really meaningless. That said, the sanctions are biting, but I don't think they're ever going to bite to the extent that someone's going to come forward like our Mr. Zarif and say, okay John. Okay Mike. Okay Donald. We're ready to talk. It is just not gonna happen.

Ashburn , June 26, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Even a so-called "surgical strike" on targets within Iran risks the Iranians closing the straight of Hormuz and blocking all oil shipments– somewhere between 20%- 30% or world's oil exports. World oil prices would skyrocket and the entire world's economy would be in chaos. Trillion$ in derivatives would instantly be at risk. There is no way the US military, or the Saudis can prevent this. I believe this is the real reason Trump supposedly cancelled the planned retaliatory strike for Iran's shoot-down of our drone.

Iran knows that sanctions on Iraq during the 90's killed over 500,000 Iraqi children. Even though Col. Wilkerson says Iran's leadership doesn't care about its people, they certainly care more than the US does and won't be willing to sit on their hands and watch this happen. They will resist with force if necessary and make the US and its subservient allies pay the price.

[Jun 25, 2019] If the reports are true then Trump made an offer to the Iranians: let me bomb a few token sites - heck, I'll even let you nominate them - and then I'll declare victory and we can sit down and talk.

Notable quotes:
"... If the reports are true then Trump made an offer to the Iranians: let me bomb a few token sites - heck, I'll even let you nominate them - and then I'll declare victory and we can sit down and talk. ..."
"... Nope, said the Iranians. If you launch even a token attack then we will reply with everything we have got, and so will Hezbollah and so will Syria. Your call, Donald. ..."
"... That's the reality, apparently. One spark from Trump and the entire region goes up in flames. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yeah, Right , Jun 25, 2019 6:17:41 AM | 156

@154 Hopkins

"how long before Iran realizes it will lose and calls on all of its asymmetric regional forces to attack in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Straits of Hormuz"

Oh, about 12 hours, there or thereabouts. That is Iran's "Trump card". If the reports are true then Trump made an offer to the Iranians: let me bomb a few token sites - heck, I'll even let you nominate them - and then I'll declare victory and we can sit down and talk.

Nope, said the Iranians. If you launch even a token attack then we will reply with everything we have got, and so will Hezbollah and so will Syria. Your call, Donald.

That's the reality, apparently. One spark from Trump and the entire region goes up in flames.

[Jun 25, 2019] Trump may be in too deep to avoid war with Iran by Patrick Cockburn

Notable quotes:
"... But if a ground war is ruled out, then Iran is engaged in the sort of limited conflict in which it has long experience. A senior Iraqi official once said to me that the Iranians "have a PhD" in this type of part political, part military warfare. They are tactics that have worked well for Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria over the past 40 years. The Iranians have many pressure points against the US, and above all against its Saudi and Emirati allies in the Gulf. ..."
"... Saddam Hussein sought to throttle Iran's oil exports and Iran tried to do the same to Iraq. The US and its allies weighed in openly on Saddam Hussein's side – an episode swiftly forgotten by them after the Iraqi leader invaded Kuwait in 1990. From 1987 on, re-registered Kuwaiti tankers were being escorted through the Gulf by US warships. There were US airstrikes against Iranian ships and shore facilities, culminating in the accidental but very avoidable shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner with 290 passengers on board by the USS Vincennes in 1988. Iran was forced to sue for peace in its war with Iraq. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.unz.com

But the dilemma for Trump is at a deeper level. His sanctions against Iran, reimposed after he withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, are devastating the Iranian economy. The US Treasury is a more lethal international power than the Pentagon. The EU and other countries have stuck with the deal, but they have in practice come to tolerate the economic blockade of Iran.

Iran was left with no choice but to escalate the conflict. It wants to make sure that the US, the European and Asian powers, and US regional allies Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, feel some pain. Tehran never expected much from the EU states, which are still signed up to the 2015 nuclear deal, and has found its low expectations are being fulfilled.

A fundamental misunderstanding of the US-Iran confrontation is shared by many commentators. It may seem self-evident that the US has an interest in using its vast military superiority over Iran to get what it wants. But after the failure of the US ground forces to win in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention Somalia, no US leader can start a land war in the Middle East without endangering their political survival at home.

Trump took this lesson to heart long before he became president. He is a genuine isolationist in the American tradition. The Democrats and much of the US media have portrayed Trump as a warmonger, though he has yet to start a war. His national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo issue bloodcurdling threats against Iran, but Trump evidently views such bellicose rhetoric as simply one more way of ramping up the pressure on Iran.

But if a ground war is ruled out, then Iran is engaged in the sort of limited conflict in which it has long experience. A senior Iraqi official once said to me that the Iranians "have a PhD" in this type of part political, part military warfare. They are tactics that have worked well for Tehran in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria over the past 40 years. The Iranians have many pressure points against the US, and above all against its Saudi and Emirati allies in the Gulf.

The Iranians could overplay their hand: Trump is an isolationist, but he is also a populist national leader who claims in his first campaign rallies for the next presidential election to "have made America great again". Such boasts make it difficult to not retaliate against Iran, a country he has demonised as the source of all the troubles in the Middle East.

One US military option looks superficially attractive but conceals many pitfalls. This is to try to carry out operations along the lines of the limited military conflict between the US and Iran called the "tanker war". This was part of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the US came out the winner.

Saddam Hussein sought to throttle Iran's oil exports and Iran tried to do the same to Iraq. The US and its allies weighed in openly on Saddam Hussein's side – an episode swiftly forgotten by them after the Iraqi leader invaded Kuwait in 1990. From 1987 on, re-registered Kuwaiti tankers were being escorted through the Gulf by US warships. There were US airstrikes against Iranian ships and shore facilities, culminating in the accidental but very avoidable shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner with 290 passengers on board by the USS Vincennes in 1988. Iran was forced to sue for peace in its war with Iraq.

Some retired American generals speak about staging a repeat of the tanker war today but circumstances have changed. Iran's main opponent in 1988 was Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Iran was well on its way to losing the war, in which there was only one front


Pat Kittle , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:01 am GMT

Patrick Cockburn:

Patrick Clawson tells us whose really calling the shots for war with Iran:

-- ( https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=israel+lobby+submarine+patrick+clawson&view=detail&mid=4881C02C42F22ED6F6164881C02C42F22ED6F616&FORM=VIRE ]

(Hint: It's not Saudi Arabia & the UAE.)

Cheers!
-- Patrick Kittle

Carlton Meyer , says: Website June 24, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT
"Trump took this lesson to heart long before he became president. He is a genuine isolationist in the American tradition."

Mr. Cockburn does not understand the meaning of isolationist. Trump has been pro-empire since the day he took office.

I have better stuff in my blog:

June 22, 2019 – Iran

People familiar with US military history know what just happened off Iran. American aircraft and drones have violated Iranian airspace every week for years, either by accident or because American officers like to screw with them, especially when lots of high-level American officials want war with Iran. Complaints were filed and ignored, so the Iranians shot one down. Note there is no international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Half belongs to Iran and the other to UAE and Oman. It is an international waterway, so all ships have the right to transit, but aircraft require permission from one of these nations.

The American people are clueless about this stuff since most only know what our warmongering media tells them, as Jimmy Dore explains in this video. I was shocked and pleased that President Trump saw through this ruse and bravely did nothing. If we bomb Iran they will hit back, maybe openly with a missile barrage, or covertly using Shia militias in Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan. The USA has tens of thousands of soldiers and contractors all over the Arab world. I'm sure local teams have spent years scouting targets and preparing to attack after a green light from Tehran. Trump wisely cancelled this chaos, at least until after his reelection.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MYhvOgN707k?feature=oembed

Robert Dolan , says: June 24, 2019 at 5:26 am GMT
"National security?"

Whose national security?

Iran is no threat to the United States.

We have no right to impose a "regime change" on Iran, no matter how much Israel
wants us to do so.

Israel should fight its' own wars.

We've had enough

Ma Laoshi , says: June 24, 2019 at 9:14 am GMT
"He is a genuine isolationist" Oh please; Mr. Cockburn, you're old enough to have heard of projection. There is nothing genuine about Trump's public persona, except for his greed and egotism. He's a world-class grifter and charlatan–i.e., still not to be underestimated. His calculation will probably be "Can I get re-elected without jumping into the breach? Then that's fine too. If the polls look awful, I'll roll the dice and be a War-Time President like Dubya."

At least, Mr. Cockburn understands that the "crippling sanctions" (the way Americans are always proud of those show that they're just knee-capping mafiosi) are leaving Iran no choice but to fight back. So the decision may not be in Donald's hands; he may be smarter than his media caricature, and yet not as smart as he thought.

Sally Snyder , says: June 24, 2019 at 11:53 am GMT
Here is a article that takes a detailed look at Iran's military capabilities:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/irans-military-strength-2019-edition.html

Once American servicemen start dying for this rather nebulous cause, it will be the reaction of American voters that will ultimately determine the extent and duration of yet another Middle East military, nation re-engineering "adventure".

EliteCommInc. , says: June 24, 2019 at 4:32 pm GMT
"Note there is no international airspace in the Strait of Hormuz. Half belongs to Iran and the other to UAE and Oman. It is an international waterway, so all ships have the right to transit, but aircraft require permission from one of these nations."

You might want to examine the UNCLOS agreement. It's created some sticky issues in the South China Seas and in the straight in question, Iran and Oman are leaning very heavily on that the policy. In their view it is for use exclusively for noncombatant enterprise as part of their claim as territorial waters, they have a say in its use.

[Jun 25, 2019] Should Iran acquire nuclear bomb as a self-defense against attack of the USA

Jun 25, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Dr. Ip , June 24, 2019 at 03:53

Pakistan is nuclear, pal.
Israel is nuclear, pal.
India is nuclear, pal.
North Korea is nuclear, pal.
Nobody attacks their territory these days, pal.
But Iran chose a long time ago not to go nuclear, pal.
The American Mullahs want their oil money back and so have issued yet another fatwah through their Supreme Leader.

KiwiAntz , June 24, 2019 at 04:08

Old Geezer are you familiar with the term"Mutual Assured Destruction"? Any Nuclear attack will be met with a Nuclear response by the Country attacked! This isn't 1945 where America could nuke Japan & get away with it? It's 2019 & alot of Nations have the Nukes to deter US Nuclear attacks? That's MAD in a nutshell!

Zhu , June 24, 2019 at 06:03

Who says Iran is going nuclear, Gezzer? If he usual liars.

AnneR , June 24, 2019 at 09:31

So *what* if the Iranians developed nuclear weapons? (Not that they are going to – as they have stated over and over again. But then they are not as bloodthirsty as Anglo-Americans always seem to be.)

Frankly, if they had done so, the US-IS-UK would be a lot less eager to bomb their country into smithereens – all for the benefit of their more westerly neighbor (the middle country above). NK understands this. Unfortunately, Qaddafi didn't.

And again – I repeat: which nation state is it that *has* used such weapons: twice? Only one. (Not to mention that same country's eager use of depleted uranium – far from its shores, of course – in bullets and shells.) Charming.

heathroi , June 24, 2019 at 09:45

is that you, John?

Steve in DC , June 24, 2019 at 09:47

Iran should go nuclear. The US doesn't f#%* with countries that have the bomb. The sooner Iran can thwart Washington the better off the world will be. Washington will have to get another hobbyhorse.

Tick Tock , June 24, 2019 at 11:45

How many generations has your family been inbreeding? Was it part of the US Guvment plan to create the race of morons? Without a doubt it has been a success in making you, make Forrest Gump look like an Einstein. Keep posting at least it might keep you off the streets.

Ol' Hippy , June 24, 2019 at 11:58

They won't need to. All they have to do is barricade the Strait of Hormuz and collapse the world economy that relies on oil from the Gulf States. Never mentioned in the corporate(MSM) media circles that want war. The ensuing depression would be like no other, ever.

Paul Merrell , June 24, 2019 at 12:36

@ Old Geezer:

My friend, you've been getting too much of your news from Israel-influenced mainstream media. Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program since 2003 (if it had one even then, which is doubtful). That is the consensus position of all U.S. intelligence agencies, Mossad, and several european intelligence agencies. See the reference links in my article at https://relativelyfreepress.blogspot.com/2015/09/a-question-about-ron-wydens-intelligence.html

Moreover, as Don Bacon summarizes, Iran doesn't need nukes to hold the U.S. at bay.

Finally, Iran's unquestionable ability to close all shipping of oil through the Hormuz Strait (30 percent of the world's supply) means that Iran has the ability to bring the western economic system to its knees. Who needs nukes?

DH Fabian , June 24, 2019 at 13:08

Are China and Russia nuclear-armed countries, in a world that has largely come to see the US as an unpredictable and dictatorial threat? Possibly too great of a threat to allow it to continue?

Linda Furr , June 24, 2019 at 13:12

Who's the 'they'? US officials have already talked of nuclear attacks on areas of Iran. The great 'democracy' of USA just ain't so. Its criminal psychopathy comes straight from Israel – against most Americans' desires. Washington DC is sick.

[Jun 25, 2019] Not to in any way absolve Trump, but as long as Bolton and Pompeo are on the scene there will be blood

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Qualtrough , Jun 24, 2019 8:15:58 PM | 104

Not to in any way absolve Trump, but as long as Bolton and Pompeo are on the scene there will be blood. Bolton in particular should be in jail for crimes against humanity. He is a madman. Scary times.

[Jun 25, 2019] Netanyahu's Iran Dilemma: Getting Trump to Act Without Putting Israel on the Front Line.

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Jun 23, 2019 10:37:20 AM | 4

Oscar Peterson , Jun 23, 2019 10:13:46 AM | 2

This recent 19 May piece from Ha'aretz documents precisely the manipulation of American policy by Israeli charlatans and their agents of influence in the US. The title says it all just by itself: "Netanyahu's Iran Dilemma: Getting Trump to Act Without Putting Israel on the Front Line." It goes on to assess that:
"In this conflict, Israel is hoping to have its cake and eat it too. Ever since Trump was elected president two and a half years ago, Netanyahu has been urging him to take a more aggressive line toward Iran, in order to force it to make additional concessions on its nuclear program and disrupt its support for militant organizations.

"Trump acceded to this urging a year ago when he withdrew America from the nuclear agreement with Iran. That was followed by tighter sanctions on Iran, as well as publication of a plan by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo detailing 12 steps Tehran must take to satisfy Washington.

"But Israel isn't interested in being part of the front. That is why Jerusalem has issued so few official statements on the Iranian issue, and why Netanyahu has urged ministers to be cautious in what they say."

I'd say that passage captures the situation perfectly, and it just goes to show that when you want to know about what chicanery Israel and its lobby are up to in the US, you have to go and look at what Israelis are saying when they aren't particularly careful about who's observing. That sort of truth is sanitized from any MSM accounts in the US.

@ OP 2
Israel is an important part of Middle East US policy decisions but not the only part, and not the most important one. Going back to the Carter Doctrine, and before, the US has intended to be the top dog in the Middle East but instead, through its mistakes, has become second fiddle to Iran. The US and its allies have tens of thousands of troops with tons of military gear in the area and are still losing influence, replaced by Iran and its Shia Crescent. That must be reversed!

Lochearn , Jun 23, 2019 11:16:37 AM | 11

In Danielle Ryan’s article in RT's Op-ed “US will not ‘stumble into’ war with Iran by mistake. If it happens, it will be by design” she notes the prevalence of “strange terminology” used by mainstream media to describe how the US gets into wars. I have added to her list and checked that all have been used in the current US-Iran scenario. The US is in danger of being: “dragged into, sucked into, sliding into, stumbling into, slouching towards, lured into, bumbling into, blundering into and sleepwalking into” war with Iran.

Who are they trying to kid when they have already declared economic war on Iran, asphyxiating the Iranian economy, knowing full well that Iran has to respond.

John Bolton “sleepwalking” into war with Iran? He’ll be wide awake and so excited he’ll probably have to relieve himself.

NemesisCalling , Jun 23, 2019 11:23:57 AM | 12 Oscar Peterson , Jun 23, 2019 11:25:56 AM | 13
@Don Bacon #4
"Israel is an important part of Middle East US policy decisions but not the only part, and not the most important one. Going back to the Carter Doctrine, and before, the US has intended to be the top dog in the Middle East but instead, through its mistakes, has become second fiddle to Iran. The US and its allies have tens of thousands of troops with tons of military gear in the area and are still losing influence, replaced by Iran and its Shia Crescent. That must be reversed!"

Have to disagree with a good deal of this.

Israel's strategic preferences have indeed become the most important single influence on US Middle East policy. Up to a certain point in the past, that was not true, but it is now. The Carter Doctrine has, in effect, been undermined by the distortions that the ever-growing power of pro-Israel political Jewry in the US in both its neoconservative and Likudnik expressions are able to impose on our policy.

Neither big oil, nor Saudi Arabia, nor anything that could objectively be called US strategic considerations wields anything like the heft of political Jewry. And even metastasizing Christian Zionism is only an ideological adjunct to Zionism proper, primarily a function of the cultural damage stemming from Jewry's march through the institutions since WW II.

That said, I must also disagree that Iran has become "the top dog" in the Middle East. They are nowhere close, though, with their cultural and technological attainments, backed by oil and gas deposits, their long-term strategic position has a lot of promise. A "top dog" would not be in Iran's current underdog position vis-a-vis Israel and its US golem and having to fight back with the stratagems we are currently seeing.

The Shia crescent is essentially a myth, and Iran's ability to exercise dominating influence on Shia Arabs is largely a function of the hostility of Sunni Arabs to the Shia Arab empowerment of recent years. Yes, the US is losing influence, but that is mostly a function of our own policy dysfunction induced by dual-loyalist political Jewry and the Israel-Über-Alles strategic preferences it imposes.

ATH , Jun 23, 2019 11:34:04 AM | 14
@Don Bacon
That clarifies.
I do agree that Israel is one of the 2 important factors in US calculation in south-west Asia, the other being strategic leverage over big-league competitors. And, it is true that US military presence in the Persian Gulf has been the Carter doctrine's making - although one might argue the doctrine itself was created to fill the vacuum created with the departure of the British and the subsequent independence given to the southern Sheikhdoms. The issue with the current US strategy in the region is that it defies the reality with such an obstinance that it completely undermines its own goals. The origin of this obstinance is well known to everyone.
NJDuke , Jun 23, 2019 11:45:09 AM | 18 Don Bacon , Jun 23, 2019 11:52:24 AM | 19
Israel or no, failure is not an option for the US in the Middle East, especially Syria which was Hillary's Job-One during her SecState tenure.
AP, Dec 14, 2011--
US: Assad's Syria a 'dead man walking'
The State Department official, Frederic Hof, told Congress on Wednesday that Assad's repression may allow him to hang on to power but only for a short time. And, he urged the Syrian opposition to prepare for the day when it takes control of the state in order to prevent chaos and sectarian conflict.
"Our view is that this regime is the equivalent of dead man walking," said Hof, the State Department's pointman on Syria, which he said was turning into "Pyongyang in the Levant," a reference to the North Korean capital. He said it was difficult to determine how much time Assad has left in power but stressed "I do not see this regime surviving.". . . here

And Syria is only the most important US target country in the ME, the Iraq challenge still exists, Lebanon is important (receives some US military aid) and of course the old bugaboo Iran has become more vital than ever. Iran has a heavy political influence in Iraq and Syria, and that highway from Tehran to Beirut is a problem especially considering Iran ally (and "terrorist") Hezbollah. So. . .that's why 50,000+ US troops, an air force, and the Navy's Fifth fleet are there.

The main point is that the US world hegemon has to be strong everywhere, especially in Asia, and if it's forced out of anywhere it would set a bad example, going back to 'losing China.'

Oscar Peterson , Jun 23, 2019 11:55:55 AM | 20
@ATH #14
"The issue with the current US strategy in the region is that it defies the reality with such an obstinance that it completely undermines its own goals. The origin of this obstinance is well known to everyone."

Yes, I think that's the issue exactly, and Israel is at the heart of it all. We are undermining our own goals (and scoring own goals.) Your point here captures the current bottom line of US "strategy" in the region.

Don Bacon , Jun 23, 2019 12:01:08 PM | 21
"War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses." . ."I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.". . .General Smedley Butler, USMC, two Congressional Medals of Honor, veteran of wars in Central America, Europe and China
Don Bacon , Jun 23, 2019 12:19:00 PM | 25
Is Israel responsible for the US enmity toward North Korea? the bombing of Libya and Somalia? Eighteen years in Afghanistan?
No. In the US, to quote Randolph Bourne (1918), war is the health of the state.
. . .With the shock of war, however, the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world. The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle. Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war. But, put to the stern pragmatic test, the difference is not striking. In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.
Oscar Peterson , Jun 23, 2019 12:54:22 PM | 36

@Don Bacon #25

"Is Israel responsible for the US enmity toward North Korea? the bombing of Libya and Somalia? Eighteen years in Afghanistan?"

First, I did not claim that every move the US makes is Israel-induced. I said that Israel is at the heart of our overall strategic dysfunction in the Middle East. Libya and Somalia are peripheral, and Afghanistan is not truly in the region at all.

But let's be clear that the rise of both al Quaeda and, as a follow-on, the Islamic State have been greatly facilitated by the resentment generated by the imposition of Jewish state on the region at the expense of the local Arabs. Both bin Laden and Zawahiri have mentioned the Zionist conquest and its wars as formative experiences.

And the rise of IS was a direct result of the US invasion of Iraq, itself induced by the overlapping strains of Jewish neoconservatism and Likudnik hyper-Zionism. The overthrow of Saddam created the political and strategic space for IS to emerge and thrive, and the concerted attempt to overthrow Assad--another Israeli strategic preference--weakened the Syrian state so much that it permitted the establishment of a "caliphate" which then invaded Iraq. This expanding dynamic played a role in Libya as well.

With regard to Saudi Arabia, we have to ask why the US put its weight behind the replacement of Muhammed bin Naif (MbN) with Muhammed bin Salman (MbS) when almost all the USG wanted to tell Salman that we preferred staying with the known and trusted MbN. Almost certainly, Trump's ignorant support of MbS originated with the pro-Israel Jews who dominate his thinking. MbS has been a bonanza for Israel but a disaster for us (and the region.)

And with regard to Afghanistan, the denuding of that theater to resource the Iraq-Iran-Syria invasion/regime change scheme demanded by Israel and its operatives in the US had a definitively negative outcome on US policy in Afghanistan from which, it is now clear, it will never recover.

In East Asia, the negative impact of US Israel-centric Middle East policy can be seen as well. The neocon/Likudnik-induced morass of Iraq into which we marched distracted us from the Asia-Pacific and particularly China's move into the South China Sea, which might have been deterred, if we weren't expending the overwhelming majority of our energy, attention and resources in the Middle East.

And since you bring up North Korea, the Israeli influence on US policy there is certainly secondary but definitely not zero. Israel and its lobby seek an ultra-hard line on any US negotiations with North Korea because they see it as an extension of Iran policy, so in their view, any concession to North Korea is a bad example for Iran. This contributes to impeding any possible negotiated solution to the complex of issues on the Korean Peninsula.

It is truly amazing how far the insidious reach of Israel, its nefarious lobby and the "Is-it-good-for-the-Jews?" obsessions of political Jewry extends into US foreign policy. Our current strategy is, as ATH noted, self-undermining. There really is no historical precedent for it.

jared , Jun 23, 2019 1:24:50 PM | 45
Regarding blatant/outsized influence of israel. Appears they are being treated as 51st state.
Kristan hinton , Jun 23, 2019 12:32:50 PM | 27
Consider that Israel and the USA are one entity.

After all, this is what our elected, alleged representatives posit when they state collectively, in unison, loudly, repeatedly, on their knees, that "the USA maintains an irrevocable bond with Israel".

That statement should bring the condescension and the wrath of the USA public.

For what reason would the USA maintain an "irrevocable bond" with ANY other nation?

Regardless of the fact that ISrael is an apartheid state by its own definition as "The Jewish State of ISrael".

Don Wiscacho , Jun 23, 2019 1:44:16 PM | 51

Don Bacon @41
Oscar Peterson @46

You both have valid points, but I've always believed it's the dog that wags its tail. Sure, if it was simply Palestine, one could expect different nuances of US policy. But any qualitative difference? I don't see it.
The US would still back undemocractic strong men who would treat American interests as paramount in return for US backing of their regime and turning a blind eye to their enrichment at the expense of the general population. The US would be hellbent against any pan-Arab nationalism or anything resembling socialism or sovereignty.
The proof? Well take a look at how the US treats the rest of the world.
The US and Israel have overlapping interests as it relates to the Middle East with the added accelerator of the many dual nationals in seats of power.

lysias , Jun 23, 2019 2:21:16 PM | 57 bevin , Jun 23, 2019 2:22:35 PM | 58
"Israel's strategic preferences have indeed become the most important single influence on US Middle East policy. Up to a certain point in the past, that was not true, but it is now. The Carter Doctrine has, in effect, been undermined by the distortions that the ever-growing power of pro-Israel political Jewry in the US in both its neoconservative and Likudnik expressions are able to impose on our policy."

Oscar Peterson is correct not because Israel's interests are of such importance-they really are not- but because US Foreign policy has become totally incoherent.
This is because it is entirely aimed at fund raisers and influencers of the electorate. It is founded on the theory that the United States can do whatever it pleases, and need never care about consolidating its power or defending its positions because it is far more powerful than all its potential rivals added together. This being the case its Foreign Policy becomes a saleable commodity, just as its armed forces-which can never be defeated- are at the disposal of the highest bidders.
Note to Psychohistorian: the open democracy website has an article on Costa Rica's public banking today.

james , Jun 23, 2019 2:23:49 PM | 59
with regard to iran, the usa is tied at the hip to israel.. that is a fact... now, maybe it can change, but i think phil at mondoweiss lays it out pretty clearly for anyone interested..

Trump’s climbdown on Iran is a defeat to the Israel lobby

as i see it, this is just temporary... israel is gunning hard for war on iran.. anyone who can't see that is in fact very blind..

meanwhile - Trump: “I have some hawks. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time.“

bolton is in this position due the fact trump owed sheldon adelson one... at least trump can see it, but i don't know that he can avoid where this is going... that would be putting too much faith in a con artist - grifter..

eagle eye , Jun 23, 2019 6:40:30 PM | 139
Wage labourer, , 91.

I suggest you download Douglas Reed's comprehensive review of Zionism's activities in "The Controversy of Zion" over the period you describe from a singular perspective and read it thoroughly. IN fact I commend that book to everyone on this site. Reed was a correspondent through WW2 and before and his work is detailed and readable, with extensive references.

Get it here: https://www.controversyofzion.info/

[Jun 25, 2019] Jimmy Dore: CBS News "War Expert" Is Being Paid By Raytheon

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stever , Jun 23, 2019 2:19:31 PM | 55

Jimmy Dore: CBS News "War Expert" Is Being Paid By Raytheon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYhvOgN707k

Via ZeroHedge:

"CBS News Analyst And Iran "War Mongering Maniac" Also Raytheon Board Member: Dore"

"How do you know the MSM is nothing more than the media wing of the military-industrial-complex? A Raytheon board member masquerading as an objective analyst is a good start."

"On Friday, CBS News analyst and retired Navy Admiral James Winnefeld Jr. slammed President Trump for calling off retaliatory strikes on Iran over a downed US drone, while insisting we must strike Iran or else the United States will "lose a lot of credibility."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-22/cbs-news-analyst-and-iran-war-mongering-maniac-also-raytheon-board-member-dore

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran Says New U.S. Sanctions Mean Diplomatic Path Closed 'Forever'

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Jun 25, 2019 1:39:41 AM | 140

The headline says it all:

Iran Says New U.S. Sanctions Mean Diplomatic Path Closed 'Forever'

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said financial restrictions would be imposed on Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif later this week. ............... Zarif, viewed as Iran's most skilled diplomat, was lead negotiator in the multi-party nuclear accord reached in 2015 under the Obama administration that Trump has since rejected.

If this was about a real estate deal in New York, Trump's bully-boy tactics might seem reasonable. Deliberately pissing off the real leader of Iran, and sanctioning their head diplomat means he doesn't want "negotiations". Only total surrender is permissible in light of his foolishness.

I've got a bad feeling about all of this. Time is running out for the apartheid Jewish state, and they're going to be mighty tempted to arrange for a bunch of US military men or women to be brought home in body bags. That's because they can't be absolutely positive one of the neocon Democrats will be in the White House soon.

[Jun 25, 2019] As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump.

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Uncle Jon , Jun 23, 2019 3:09:16 PM | 70

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/06/23/provoking-iran-could-start-a-war-and-crash-the-entire-world-economy/


A great article and an ominous one.


karlof1 , Jun 23, 2019 3:28:18 PM | 71

Behind the curtain :

"Trump is in danger of being crushed between a Fed that sees the US dollar's role as the world's reserve currency collapse, and the need for the Fed to blame someone not linked to the real causes of the collapse, that is to say, the monetary policies adopted through QE to prolong the post-crisis economic agony of 2008....

"As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump. The Donald, as a result, would lose any chance of being re-elected so it makes sense for him to call off possible strikes as he did after the US drone was shot out of the sky."

The author echoes my words from yesterday:

"I wonder if Europeans will understand all this before the impending disaster. I doubt it."

Regarding what I wrote about Sanders in my reply to Stever, here we have the Chancellery of the People's Republic of China spokesman, Hua Chun Ying:

"The American leaders say that 'the era of the commercial surrender of their country has come to an end', but what is over is their economic intimidation of the world and their hegemony.

"The United States must again respect international law, not arrogate to itself extraterritorial rights and mandates, must learn to respect its peers in safeguarding transparent and non-discriminatory diplomatic and commercial relations. China and the United States have negotiated other disputes in the past with good results and the doors of dialogue are open as long as they are based on mutual respect and benefits."

No, I didn't cite everything in the article. There's much more of importance there to read!

[Jun 25, 2019] Trump's action on Iran help to further diminish the USA credibility on international arena

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Harry Law , Jun 24, 2019 2:13:40 PM | 1

After a somewhat quiet weekend the Trump administration today engaged in another push against Iran.

Today the Treasury Department sanctioned the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also sanctioned Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his office! There will be no more Disney Land visits for them.

There is more to come:

Josh Rogin - @joshrogin - 16:18 utc - 24 Jun 2019

Mnuchin: "The president has instructed me that we will be designating [Iran's foreign minister Javad] Zarif later this week." cc: @JZarif

The Treasury Secretary will designate Javad Zarif as what? A terrorist? Zarif is quite effective in communicating the Iranian standpoint on Twitter and other social media. Those accounts will now be shut down.

The Trump administration's special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said today that Iran should respond to U.S. diplomacy with diplomacy. Sanctioning Iran's chief diplomat is probably not the way to get there.

All those who get sanctioned by the U.S. will gain in popularity in Iran. These U.S. measures will only unite the people of Iran and strengthen their resolve.

Iran will respond to this new onslaught by asymmetric means of which it has plenty.

On Saturday Trump said that all he wants is that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. But the State Department wants much more. Hook today said that the U.S. would only lift sanctions if a comprehensive deal is made that includes ballistic missile and human rights issues. Iran can not agree to that. But this is not the first time that Pompeo demanded more than Trump himself. Is it Pompeo, not Trump, who is pressing this expanded version to make any deal impossible?

Brian Hook is by the way a loon who does not even understand the meaning of what he himself says:

laurence norman @laurnorman - 10:53 utc - 24 Jun 2019

US Hook says Iran knew what getting into when struck deal with president who had 1 1/2 yr left in office. "They knew what they were getting into...They knew that there was a great possibility that the next president could come in & leave the deal." Note: US elections 17 months away

Those are two good arguments for Iran to never again agree to any deal with the 'non-agreement-capable' United States.

It seems obvious from the above that the Trump administration has no real interest in reasonable negotiations with Iran:

"The administration is not really interested in negotiations now," said Robert Einhorn, a former senior State Department official who was involved in negotiations with Iranian officials during the Obama administration. "It wants to give sanctions more time to make the Iranians truly desperate, at which point it hopes the negotiations will be about the terms of surrender."

That is part of the strategy. But the real issue is deeper:

Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms - 16:41 utc - 24 Jun 2019

Pro tip: Sanctions against #Iran aren't to retaliate for the downed drone or to punish tanker attacks or to improve the nuclear deal or to help the Iranian people but to foment revolution against the regime. The strategy is regime change with velvet gloves.

... ... ...

Pompeo was hastily sent to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Brian Hook is now in Oman and Bolton is in Israel. The U.S. will also pressure Europe and NATO to join a new 'coalition of the willing'. The UK will likely follow any U.S. call as it needs a trade deal to survive after Brexit.

Other countries are best advised to stay out.

Posted by b at 02:05 PM | Comments (183) Our leaders have gone out of their tiny minds, first Trump confirms our suspicions that the deal he wants must include those legal ballistic missiles, then that nutcase Hunt pledged to stand by the US in the event of conflict with Iran, you could not make it up.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who is running against Boris Johnson for the Conservatives' leadership, has pledged to stand by the US even if its confrontation with Iran leads to a military conflict, according to The Daily Mail. https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201906241076032533-uk-foreign-secretary-hunt-admits-britain-could-follow-us-into-war-with-iran/

Trump is such a con man... He said he told Shinzō Abe, before the Japanese prime minister visited Tehran on 12 June: "Send the following message: you can't have nuclear weapons. And other than that, we can sit down and make a deal. But you cannot have nuclear weapons."

On further questioning he added the demand that Tehran should not have a ballistic missile programme, and suggested he wanted a tougher inspection regime.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/23/iran-may-pull-further-away-from-nuclear-deal-after-latest-sanctions

This whole saga is not about nuclear weapons, it is about those conventional ballistic missiles which Iran is manufacturing perfectly legally and changing the equation in the region. These are precision missiles and could turn Tel Aviv and Saudi oil infrastructure into rubble, US/Israel want to make Iran defenseless. It is not going to happen.


Sally Snyder , Jun 24, 2019 2:22:28 PM | 2

Here is a article that takes a detailed look at Iran's military capabilities:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/irans-military-strength-2019-edition.html

... ... ...

psychohistorian , Jun 24, 2019 2:25:50 PM | 3
Pompeo is a lying ass.

The US faced empire is the largest state sponsor of terror

The big lie technique works when all levels of communication are controlled. Otherwise it makes you the laughing stock, which Trump will be at the G20 before he leaves

Virgile , Jun 24, 2019 2:25:56 PM | 4
In dealing with Iran Pompeo & Bolton are following the infantile pattern that Israel uses with Palestinians and Hezbollah: Make them suffer so they turn against their leaders and provoke a regime change
It never worked because the middle easterners do not think like the Jews or Westerners. They are resilient and have little to loose. The more hardship they get from foreign and hostile powers the more they unite and resist. Despite the overwhelming persecution of the Palestinians by Israel and its western allies for 50 years they are still resisting. Iran is not different.
They are under siege for 30 years and still defiant.
Many US presidents and Boltons have passed and disappeared in oblivion after attempting and failing regime changes in the middle east. Trump is not different.
Joe , Jun 24, 2019 2:39:29 PM | 5
Well, the end is most certainly nigh. Figure the US or Israel will resort to using nuclear weapons which will result in Russia and China unleashing theirs. At least we can expect Wash DC to be obliterated. May solve one of our problems.
Expect all nuclear facilities, military bases, and major airports to be targeted. Hopefully, major population centers would be spared but doubt the US will reciprocate so expect all major metropolitan areas to also be targeted.
fastfreddy , Jun 24, 2019 2:44:14 PM | 6
Here is the double down on stupid which should have been expected.

Double sanctions, double demands, double threats, double censorship and the assemblage of a fake posse - aka the coalition of the lapdogs.

Who will join the coalition of dumbfuckery? Here are the coalition members from Dubya's Iraqi invasion in 2003:

Of the 48 countries on the list, three contributed troops to the invasion force (the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland). An additional 37 countries provided some number of troops to support military operations after the invasion was complete.

The list of coalition members provided by the White House included several nations that did not intend to participate in actual military operations. Some of them, such as Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau and Solomon Islands, did not have standing armies. However, through the Compact of Free Association, citizens of the Marshall Islands, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia are guaranteed US national status and therefore are allowed to serve in the US military. The members of these island nations have deployed in a combined Pacific force consisting of Guamanian, Hawaiian and Samoan reserve units. They have been deployed twice to Iraq. The government of one country, the Solomon Islands, listed by the White House as a member of the coalition, was apparently unaware of any such membership and promptly denied it.[5] According to a 2010 study, the Federal States of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Palau (and Tonga and the Solomon Islands to a lesser extent) were all economically dependent on economic aid from the United States, and thus had an economic incentive to join the Coalition of the Willing.[6]

In December 2008, University of Illinois Professor Scott Althaus reported that he had learned that the White House was editing and back-dating revisions to the list of countries in the coalition.[7][8] Althaus found that some versions of the list had been entirely removed from the record, and that others contradicted one another, as opposed to the procedure of archiving original documents and supplementing them with later revisions and updates.[3]

By August 2009, all non-U.S./UK coalition members had withdrawn from Iraq.[9] As a result, the Multinational Force – Iraq was renamed and reorganized to United States Forces – Iraq as of January 1, 2010. Thus the Coalition of the Willing came to an official end.

psychohistorian , Jun 24, 2019 2:55:44 PM | 7
Thanks to fastfreddy with the Iraq related Coalition of the Willing history

Over on another thread it was noted that today Trump is trying to build another Coalition of the Willing to "protect" the shipping lanes.

My response was
@ Don Bacon and SRB with the comments about the crybaby defense over "protecting" shipping lanes

I think China will tell empire like I tell the guy in front of the Post Office wanting to protect my bicycle while I go in....."Why should I give you money to protect me from you?

karlof1 , Jun 24, 2019 2:57:31 PM | 8
100% Gangsterism. The Outlaw US Empire learned it cannot defeat Iran militarily, so it invites other nations to become outlaws too. The G-20's in 4 days. I'll wager Trump leaves before it's over having accomplished nothing other than absorbing abuse from most attendees. And just what will Trump do when this move fails as it will? IMO, he just dealt Sanders a great set of cards. The crowd expecting a repeat of Shock & Awe will grow smaller as they slowly realize the truth of my second sentence. Instead of climbing down the tree, Trump climbs higher onto thinner branches. What's more, Trump opens himself up to being challenged within the Republican Party for POTUS nominee as the Current Oligarchy cannot like this choice.

Here's Zarif's tweet in response:

"realDonaldTrump is 100% right that the US military has no business in the Persian Gulf. Removal of its forces is fully in line with interests of US and the world. But it's now clear that the #B_Team is not concerned with US interests -- they despise diplomacy, and thirst for war."

It appears Zarif concedes policy isn't made by Trump. The ignorance displayed in the thread's comments is astounding.

adrian pols , Jun 24, 2019 3:03:57 PM | 9
The only times I can think of when a country switched sides, ie: overthrew their leaders, was when they were caught in a squeeze between two other powers and decided to go with the winner. Example: Italy in 1943. External pressures causing people to overthrow their leaders? Essentially Nada.
Casey , Jun 24, 2019 3:08:09 PM | 10
So, what happens to derivatives if a shooting war ends up with the Straits closed? Escobar's recent piece on the derivatives implosion that would result from a shooting war suggests that the US/Saudi/Bibi axis is like a boys playing with matches around a can of gasoline or that they believe they have a work-around for the derivatives problem. I would like to know whether the BIS-types are on board with this fiasco or are trying to apply the brakes.
Harry Law , Jun 24, 2019 3:24:31 PM | 18
Bernie Sanders suggested that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was "the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of the country." Bernie you ain't seen nothing yet, if those slavering imbeciles have anything to do with it. The costs [including long term costs] of the Iraq/Afghan wars [still ongoing] are estimated at 6 Trillion dollars. Here is what just one Trillion dollars looks like http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html
"Yet the nation's longest and most expensive war is the one that is still going on. In addition to nearly 7,000 troops killed, the 16-year conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost an estimated US$6 trillion due to its prolonged length, rapidly increasing veterans health care and disability costs and interest on war borrowing. On this Memorial Day, we should begin to confront the staggering cost and the challenge of paying for this war". http://theconversation.com/iraq-and-afghanistan-the-us-6-trillion-bill-for-americas-longest-war-is-unpaid-78241

[Jun 25, 2019] I'd say it's very likely Trump needs to be included on the list of those needing to hear Nasrallah.

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 23, 2019 4:11:31 PM | 94

I've replied to numerous people lacking knowledge that they must listen to Nasrallah when it comes to what will occur if the Outlaw US Empire or any other entity attacks Iran. This short clip is one of several I'm referring to. I'd say it's very likely Trump needs to be included on the list of those needing to hear Nasrallah.

[Jun 25, 2019] Russia has stated that the drone was in Iranian airspace according to its own intelligence

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nuff Sed , Jun 25, 2019 6:45:20 AM | 158

Iranian TV just announced that Russia has stated that the drone was in Iranian airspace according to its own intelligence. Not that that will make any difference to the madmen telling the Donald the Chump what to do...

[Jun 25, 2019] It is possible that the USA neocons were expecting that the low sophistication of the Iranian missiles would not be able to distinguish which object to target and therefore go for the larger object. I am sure that this was the game ....and it failed

Notable quotes:
"... karlof1 thinks, if I get him right, that the US underestimated the defensive radar capabilities of Iran, and that they got aware of their lack of knowledge right through the incidence. Which might have had a big impact on them, especially Trump. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joe , Jun 25, 2019 5:51:53 AM | 153

I am a little puzzled that there is not more discussion about the plane that was flying close to the recently shot down drone in Iran. To me there is no doubt that the plane was a the real target that the US and it's owner Israel wanted to be shot down. I am completely sure of it.

All of the hocus pocus and bullshit statements about Iran being a nice guy for not shooting it down instead of the drone are just part of the coverup but this baffon Trump and company. I am sure that they were completely expecting that the sophistication of the Iranian missles would not be able to distinguish which object to target and therefore go for the larger object. I am sure that this was the game ....and it failed! There is no question that the Iranians are aware of it and will be even more careful in the future.

Imagine the supposed 30 or so people on board the P8 or whatever it is called .....they were Guinea Pigs and sacrificial offerings to Empire in order to start a real war with Iran .....for me no question about this. Surprised that more able people than myself are not picking up on it ......

mk , Jun 25, 2019 7:55:35 AM | 163


@Joe 153

For me the P-8 is the most intriguing puzzle of the affair. Your suggestion is reasonable, but I need more proof to take it as a given. The fact that Trump - as the only American - sided with the Iranians (if it was only for the existence of the plane and the crew size) is amazing. I guess the hours before and especially after the shoot down have been far more dramatic, for both sides, than what has emerged so far.

karlof1 thinks, if I get him right, that the US underestimated the defensive radar capabilities of Iran, and that they got aware of their lack of knowledge right through the incidence. Which might have had a big impact on them, especially Trump.


Anon , Jun 25, 2019 8:37:37 AM | 171 Peter AU 1 , Jun 25, 2019 8:40:23 AM | 172
mk 163

The Iranians stated a P-8 was also present which most took to be the Poseidon version.
I did a little research on the versions and posted some info on the open thread.
The P-8 Poseidon is a dedicated maritime surveillance aircraft, whereas a P-8 AGS would be the best the US has for the likes of tracking shoot and scoot SAM systems.
in the open thread, Paveway put up the thought that the number 35 could refer to an F-35 - that rather than a P-8 the other aircraft was an F-35. karlof1 speculated the 35 was a third plane. That would make it - drone as decoy, P-8 AGS to track SAM launchers and targeting radar when they launched at the decoy, and the F-35, as well as its own surveillance capabilities could also attack the SAM systems. An F-35 is pure speculation at the moment, but the incident does seem to involve the US creating an incident using the drone to give the excuse and information for fast strikes at least on some coastal SAM systems. Perhaps coming unstuck when the Iranians fired only one missile and did not use targeting radar.
Approved by Trump - or a plan hatched by his dogs of war - is anybodies guess.

[Jun 25, 2019] Some arguments that tanker attack was a false flag operation

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Arata , Jun 24, 2019 5:14:13 PM | 68

@48

It is clear for everyone that Iran was not behind the tankers attack.
1) American video evidence was fake, fabricated, they could not produce sequences before the event and after the event.
2) American military services is on auction in Persian Gulf: " ...So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation"
it means:
My sales man and agent are in Suadia Barbaria and Oman for sales, please contact them for price ASAP.

3) Fortunately MoA and Elijah theory was not true.

[Jun 25, 2019] the reason so many Westerners are so willing to accept the unfounded notion that Iran is conducting a campaign of stealth attacks because Western propaganda has relentlessly called Iran a terrorist nation.

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jun 25, 2019 12:26:17 AM | 135

Anon @121:

Even CNN had a headline at one point that it suited Iran fine to be blamed ...

"Even CNN ..." LMFAO

b will no doubt be pleased./sarc

... until proven these acts will remain enough of an unknown around which unfinished narratives will turn ...

Knowledgeable people have more reason to suspect an CIA-Mossad false flag than Iranian stealth attacks because:

>> it's US+Israel+Saudi that are the protagonists that are driving toward a result AND;

>> it makes no sense for Iran to play into the hands of their enemies by foolishly thinking that they can conducts attacks that will not be attributed to them. Those Iran-attributed attacks can be conveniently used as:

1) an excuse for a military build-up and;

2) justification for the undertaking of provocative actions (like sending more drones into Iranian airspace) .

Utimately, it's a prelude to a war that USA-Israel-Saudis want.

Furthermore, the reason so many Westerners are so willing to accept the unfounded notion that Iran is conducting a campaign of stealth attacks because Western propaganda has relentlessly called Iran a terrorist nation.

Given the above, it's not surprising that Iranian military leadership has essentially denounced the notion of "stealth attacks" as I noted in this comment on the earlier thread .

The idea that Iran can sit this out till whenever is not exactly true ...

They are not "sitting it out." You slyly present a false dichotomy, implicitly proposing that they must become the terrorists that the West claim they are or sit on their hands and accept their fate.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran forces could attack the US in peripheral areas including especially Iraq

Notable quotes:
"... What usually stops the US are elections. The Vietnam War deeply threatened the US establishment and they "think" they learnt the lessons. ..."
"... The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs. "About coordination, of course there is participation of Russia in intelligence-sharing because of Bushehr and ISIS. We have a long and successful partnership with Iran, especially in terms of fighting against international terrorism." Two days after the drone incident, Russian specialist media published Iranian video footage of the movement of S-300's on trailer trucks. This report claims that although the S-300's are wheeled and motorized for rapid position changes, the use of highway transporters was intended to minimize road fatigue on the weapons. ..."
"... Iranian military sources have told western reporters they have established "a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East." ..."
"... The incident happened Thursday before U.S. markets opened. There was the usual confusion about exactly what happened most of the day and we had that odd statement by Trump just before Thursday market close to the effect that maybe a rouge Iranian general made a mistake in shooting down the (in this case: manned P-8A) in 'international waters'. ..."
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:23:37 AM | 177

Iran forces will attack the US in peripheral areas including especially Iraq. ..news reports...

U.S. officials are concerned that Iran has given the green light to Iranian-backed militias in Iraq to attack the more than 5,200 U.S. forces helping Iraqi Security Forces. And reflecting the unique situation in Iraq, some of those security forces are Iranian-backed militias that fall under the control of the Iraqi government.

For three days in a row this week, rockets have been fired at areas where U.S. forces or U.S. interests are located in Iraq. On Monday, rockets targeted Camp Taji, where the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS is training Iraqi security forces. On Tuesday, more rockets were fired at a compound in Mosul where U.S. troops are based. Then, another attack on Wednesday struck an oil facility near where ExxonMobil has employees.

Rocket attacks Wednesday on American and Turkish oil facilities in southern Iraq, which may have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias, are the latest example of how Iraq finds itself squarely in the middle of increasing tensions between its two closest partners, the United States and Iran.

Security measures were increased at one of Iraq's largest air bases that houses American trainers following an attack last week, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday. The U.S. military said operations at the base were going on as usual and there were currently no plans to evacuate personnel. The stepped-up Iraqi security measures at Balad air base, just north of the capital, Baghdad.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:27:36 AM | 178

@ Yeah, Right 1

Yes, correct, the US is over-extended, over-confident, and out-matched -- a bad mix.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:35:55 AM | 179
In Iran's immediate vicinity the US Navy is especially vulnerable. Iran has thousands of rockets and missiles, and knows how to use them, plus 34 submarines wirh 533mm torpedoes. There's the potential of over sixty torpedoes in the water in one salvo.

from USNI:

On Sunday, the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group with embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit entered the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, joining the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group already on station in 5th Fleet.

As a result, the Navy now has 28,000 personnel deployed to the region. In comparison, the Navy currently has 24,000 personnel deployed to the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, according to Navy data reviewed by USNI News.

"All of our training and our transit to 5th Fleet have made us prepared to respond to any crises across the range of military operations," Capt. Brad Arthur, commander of Amphibious Squadron 5 and the Boxer ARG/11th MEU team, said in a statement. . . here

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:35:55 AM | 179 somebody , Jun 25, 2019 9:39:52 AM | 180
@Yeah, Right | Jun 25, 2019 9:06:21 AM | 175

What usually stops the US are elections. The Vietnam War deeply threatened the US establishment and they "think" they learnt the lessons.

- no conscripts
- as few dead soldiers as possibele - see Iraq or Afghanistan never mind the death of foreign civilians

So either others have to do the fighting (Syria) or the US bomb the country extensively to make it safe for their soldiers. They miscalculated on this in Iraq.

This here is John Helmer's take - who I assume, gets his information from the Russian military

The range of the new surveillance extends well beyond the S-300 strike distance of 200 kilometres, and covers US drone and aircraft bases on the Arabian peninsula, as well as US warships in (and under) the Persian Gulf and off the Gulf of Oman. Early warning of US air and naval-launched attacks has now been cut below the old 4 to 6-minute Iranian threshold. Counter-firing by the Iranian armed forces has been automated from attack warning and target location.

This means that if the US is detected launching a swarm of missiles aimed at Iran's air-defense sites, uranium mines, reactors, and military operations bunkers, Iran will launch its own swarm of missiles at the US firing platforms, as well as at Saudi and other oil production sites, refineries, and pipelines, as well tankers in ports and under way in the Gulf.

"The armed forces of Iran," said a Russian military source requesting anonymity, "have air defence systems capable of hitting air targets at those heights at which drones of the Global Hawk series can fly; this is about 19,000 to 20,000 metres. Iran's means of air defence are both foreign-purchased systems and systems of Iran's own design; among them, in particular, the old Soviet system S-75 and the new Russian S-300.

Recently, Iran transported some S-300's to the south, but that happened after the drone was shot down [June 20]. Russian specialists are working at Bushehr now and this means that the S-300's are also for protection of Bushehr."

... ... ...

The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs. "About coordination, of course there is participation of Russia in intelligence-sharing because of Bushehr and ISIS. We have a long and successful partnership with Iran, especially in terms of fighting against international terrorism." Two days after the drone incident, Russian specialist media published Iranian video footage of the movement of S-300's on trailer trucks. This report claims that although the S-300's are wheeled and motorized for rapid position changes, the use of highway transporters was intended to minimize road fatigue on the weapons.

Iranian military sources have told western reporters they have established "a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East."

... ... ...

In briefings for sympathetic western reporters, Iranian commanders are emphasizing the Armageddon option; that is, however weak or strong their defenses may prove to be under prolonged US attack, the Iranian strategy is not to wait. Their plan, they say, is to counter-attack against Arab as well as American targets as soon as a US missile attack commences; that's to say, at launch, not in-flight nor at impact.

The US cannot sustain any prolonged war with Iran (see elections, dead soldiers), nor can they risk an escalation of small attacks. Nor can they isolate Iran diplomatically.

Don Bacon , Jun 25, 2019 9:47:32 AM | 181
@ 180

The Russian military source says there is now active coordination between Russian and Iranian military staffs.

from Mehr News today

Heading a high delegation of Iran's Defense Ministry and the Army, Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Brigadier General Ghasem Taghizadeh traveled to Moscow at the invitation of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu on Tuesday morning.

He will hold talks with Russian Defense Minister and officials, as well as visit International Military-Technical Forum (ARMY-2019). . . here

PavewayIV , Jun 25, 2019 10:09:06 AM | 183
@imo@142 - Your remark about MMT and my reply have magically gelled (in my simian brain) for a grand unified conspiracy theory that explains a lot of oddities everyone has pointed out previously.

The plan for last Thurs/Fri:

The incident happened Thursday before U.S. markets opened. There was the usual confusion about exactly what happened most of the day and we had that odd statement by Trump just before Thursday market close to the effect that maybe a rouge Iranian general made a mistake in shooting down the (in this case: manned P-8A) in 'international waters'.

Worry, but not panic in the markets on Friday. Oil prices would still have jumped, but derivatives don't implode. War doesn't seem imminent. The public would have been admonished by Trump and the MSM to 'wait for the facts' before rushing to judgement (also calming the markets). Iran would have said nothing on Friday fearing the worse. It really couldn't have been planned better - plenty of time to start the buzz before the weekend but avert derivative Armageddon on Quad witching day.

Saturday is hate Iran a lot day:

The U.S. would hold off on any kind of confirmation until the weekend. CNN would immediately roll out videos of weeping children and widows of 'our brave heros' and document the impromptu memorials: pictures of the sailors, flowers, Teddy bears in camo, candles. Outraged politicians would call for Iranian blood. And, of course, oil prices would have skyrocketed.

The U.S. either conduct an attack on Iran this week or announce an impending one after sufficient grief was milked from the 38 deaths. Trump would be shown solemly saluting the flag-draped coffins in the C-5s arriving at Dover. If it *had* occurred in 'international waters', the U.S. Nave would have recovered everything and kept the Iran Navy away from the area. Casus belli - only a monster or traitor would dare question 'the facts'. Bibi would be shrieking nonstop about how he told us so and encourage us to hurry up and destroy Iran for them.

No sailors would have been hurt in this ruse:

I'm not making light of the thought of 38 dead U.S. sailors - none would have really died in this scenario. The P-8A would certianly have been stripped of it's radars and advanced electronics 'just in case'. Now there's plenty of extra room for those 38 frozen corpses dressed in the appropriate Navy flight uniforms. Load 'em up! A USN P-8A pilot somewhere safely ashore would be flying it via satellite just like regular drone pilots. Thanks, secret Honeywell mystery box in the electronics bay!

Iran would have been screwed:

Video of USN ships recovering those broken (and now unthawed) bodies from the Straits would have been required for the propaganda value. What could Iran say then? "We were targeting the drone in our airspace, not the P-8. Honest!" Too late of course. WAR:ON. Nobody would believe evil Iran.

Why even use a drone?

The drone would have to have been used for bait because Iran wouldn't intentionally shoot at a P-8A (stuffed with frozen bodies or not) flying the same non-threating routes in the middle of the Strait that they usually fly. The drone would also have been stripped but all it's remaining cameras to capture the horrible, intentinal massacre by Iran. The plan would have put that in Iranian airspace without explaining anything to Iran. It was suppose to draw SAM fire.

What could have gone wrong?

The U.S. must have had enough EW on both aircraft to ensure the MQ-4A became invisible to an approaching missile, which would eventually only seen the P-8A on it's terminal guidance radar, not the drone. Except the Iraqis fired a SAM that used IR for terminal guidance, not radar, ignoring whatever trick the U.S. used. The Iranian SAM may have also used a proximity fuse, detonating it near the drone anyway. "Damn you, sneaky Iranians and your primative IR-seeking SAMs with secret proximity fuses! Do you realize how much time and effort we put in with our F-35s to figuring out the required radar tricks for this elaborate scheme?"

Opening salvo:

This could also explain the bizzare 150 dead Iranian people figure Trump claimed. There would have been a pre-planned retalitory strike on the Iranian SAM sites, but only after market closed on Friday or on Saturday. An opening salvo only - total war would surely follow. The U.S. would offer some fake deal. Iran would be spared destruction if they got on their knees to their U.S. and Israeli masters. That just wouldn't ever happen, so WAR:ON. If the U.S. went ahead with the retaliory strike based only on the drone alone, then we would have looked like the bad guys.

How much might Iran have known?

Odd that the P-8A track wasn't also published by Iran. I wonder how they knew about the 35 frozen bodies or if they really thought there were 35 live crew? Guess we'll never know, and nobody would believe such a nutty claim by Iran now. Frozen bodies? Remote controlled P-8As? 'Bait drone'? Hah - sounds like somethig that crackhead Paveway would dream up! Things may have been differnt than this, but I think most people (here, anyway) were surprised by the initial bewilderment of the Trump administration and DoD.

"What? They actually shot the drone down, not the P-8? *%^&! Why did they do that? Get rid of the plane and dump those damn frozen bodies somewhere really deep. If you suspect anybody on our team might be the whistleblowoing type, report them our CIA cleaner pals to be disappeared. Hell, what do I care? My broker just called. I'm rich! F*ck the navy - I'm retireing. See ya!"

And where the hell do you get frozen bodies today that can pass for U.S. military? Does the Pentagon have a freezer of them somewhere for emergency use?

Some folks probably made some money [sigh...]

All I can say now is glad nothing happened as planned. I would give anything to know how many commanding elite in the U.S. military and in-the-know congress things were buying oil call options through proxies last week. Netanyahu and MbS were sure to have loaded up - they LOVE money.

psychohistorian , Jun 25, 2019 10:35:22 AM | 189
Is there consensus now that we are in WWIII?

Thanks to somebody above with the Russia is behind Iran facts that show that attacks on Iran are not possible but for show.

Thanks to PavewayIV with the curious scenario and confirmation that for some it is all about MONEY

I think the EU leaders are a bit conflicted in anticipation of the G20, eh? Are they going to join the Coalition of he Willing like their money boys tell them or do something else?

What a way to fight a war.......lets hope the fighting does not go stupider.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran doesn't have to win a shooting war, it only has to buy enough time so that its forces can disrupt oil shipments

Existence of financial derivatives on oil (aka "paper oil") and the size of trade involving them in world markets changes the whole situation. The USA can shoot themselves in a foot even if the US armed forces would be able to completely destroy the Iraq army air defenses and bomb strategic targets.
Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
KA Hopkins , Jun 25, 2019 6:03:12 AM | 154
There seems to be a common theme in many articles that 'shock and awe' military strikes will force Iran's leaders into unconditional surrender. While the US has the capability to do this on its own, for political reasons the US is actively seeking coalition partners. The reality is it doesn't matter how many partners the US can convince to attack Iran. No matter how sophisticated Iran's cyber, missile or air defenses are, based on simple logistics Iran will eventually lose a shooting war against the US and any coalition partners. Iran knows this.

The real question when the bombing starts, is not the number of casualties that Iran can inflict on her enemies but how long before Iran realizes it will lose and calls on all of its asymmetric regional forces to attack in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, UAE, Saudi Arabia and the Straits of Hormuz.

Iran doesn't have to win a shooting war, it only has to buy enough time that its forces can disrupt oil shipments to China, India, Japan, South Korean and Europe to break the supply chains to the US. Currently the US imports/exports over 5T dollars per year, even impacting this by only 20% should cause the trillions in derivatives to crush the world economy. Given that war should always be the option of last resort is there still the possibility for negotiations?

Iran has too many examples of the promises of US and West not matching our actions. The current sanctions are crippling the economy and backing Iran into a corner. No matter what Iran does what guarantees can be provided that sanctions won't be reapplied. Absolutely none. The criteria constantly change. There is an old saying in martial arts, in a fight an opponent with no way out is far more formable than an opponent who can walk away.

Even a wide scale nuclear attack that wipes out a third of Iran's citizens in the ten major cities and a majority of the armed forces probably won't succeed. Once nuclear weapons are used, Iran's leaders are no longer constrained to any regional targets. If Russia and China jump in to the fray then it could get real, as in WWIII awfully quickly. Even without Russia and China getting involved, Iran's leaders just might consider 30M or more deaths acceptable if her enemies are crushed. There is precedent for this. Estimates put Russia's losses due to all causes in WWII at 25-30M people, and Russia called it a win.

So all the babble that Iran will fold in the face of 'shock and awe' is naïve. Iran can't win a shooting war but if can lose with style. To think that Iran can be defeated like Iraq is folly. Iran is not Iraq. Iraq is a local power, Iran is a regional one. Iran is too large to be attacked by ground forces. That leaves airpower. Once the bombs start to drop, all Iranian combat units have a minimum of 72 hours of war supplies. If the US and the coalition partners don't achieve, 'unconditional surrender' in the initial strikes then all bets are off for keeping the conflict local.

Many articles claim the tanker and pipeline attacks of the past two weeks are 'false flags'. Hopefully they were, because if they were not, then Iran has just proven it's ready and has the capability to strike anywhere in the region. Iran is quickly running out of options and has no choice but to continue escalating regional tensions until something gives. We are indeed living in interesting times.

[Jun 25, 2019] Iran is nearly western, much more so than neighbouring Arab countries and despite resentment people will rally to defend the republic

Jun 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jun 24, 2019 6:21:31 PM | 89

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 24, 2019 4:58:26 PM | 59

Just to add on my recent visit to Iran. They are nearly western, much more so than neighbouring Arab countries. But there are curiosities which keep them apart, like the hijri solar calendar, which puts them in 1398, and the 1st of the year on 21st March. Impossible to calculate the western date without mechanical aid.

Most that I met were anti-regime. but then they were middle class. It's not the middle class which is voting for the regime. Rather it is a populist regime, like Trump's.


xLemming , Jun 24, 2019 6:37:12 PM | 92

@19 js

As a follower of Christ, and seasoned "fruit inspector"* I can confidently state the there is more godly wisdom & compassion for humanity displayed by Iran, Russia, Iraq, Syria & Palestine than ALL of the West & especially not by the likes of Pompeo, Pence, Robertson, etc

* "By their fruits you shall know them" NOT by words alone

xLemming , Jun 24, 2019 6:58:17 PM | 94
@48 op

This may be totally naive, but how about this... Iran gets a couple nukes from somewhere, ie. NK, Russia, Pakistan, India, Walmart... and announce it & put an end to this drawn out dance... and force Israel, US, etc to come to terms with it. This is a war after all, and Iran has been bullied long enough (as have we all)

Jen , Jun 24, 2019 7:12:57 PM | 95
Laguerre @ 88:

I admit I have never been to Iran though I've met people who have visited the country as tourists. I have done some reading on the country's history.

Being an Islamic theocracy, the fact that Iran uses the hijri calendar is no surprise. The calendar is actually a lunar calendar of 12 months that is at least a week or a fortnight shorter than the Gregorian calendar we normally use. (This explains why every year Ramadan starts earlier than it did the previous year.) 21st March on the other hand is Nowruz (Persian New Year) which among other things celebrates the spring equinox and is an inheritance from pre-Islamic Persia.

I have read some information about the bonyads (charitable foundations) owned / managed by the IRGC and other government organisations. These trusts (non-profit so they are exempt from taxation) invest huge amounts in Iran's industries. Just the other day I was commenting at another blog about a senior military guy in the Iranian armed forces, General Hossein Salami, who works with a huge IRGC-associated engineering firm that controls over 800 firms and employs over 25,000 mostly technical and engineering staff . The income that bonyads obtain from a firm like Salami's firm and others, which in Western countries would be considered "profit", is distributed among IRGC members (or members of the other government agencies that run them) in the form of subsidies for education up to and including college / university level, healthcare and other social services.

My understanding is that most people who are members of the IRGC come from working class families and especially families who lost breadwinners or other men of draft age during the Iraq-Iran war (1980 - 1988).

Middle class and upper middle class layers would be the hardest hit by US sanctions on Iran (they are the ones importing and buying overseas goods, and have the most contacts with the Iranian diaspora) and won't have the protection of subsidies provided by bonyads or other government organisations.

Grieved , Jun 24, 2019 7:59:24 PM | 99
I have to say I find this talk of "the mullahs" disturbing.

I never see any collateral to demonstrate that the religious layer of Iran is actually harmful to the people in any way. And on the contrary, everything I read about how the religious layer is part of the governing system and the culture and welfare of the nation seems pretty reasonable to me.

I keep coming back to the thought that this is after all the religion of the people of this country. It is the particular way in which they approach the sacredness of the universe. I'm not persuaded that it's more intelligent to regard the universe as being not-sacred.

To accept the benignity of religious people in positions of power and influence within a state, you have to accept the positive aspects of religion, as well as the negative aspects. This is where a lot of potential acceptance fails, of course.

~~

We keep hearing that it is the middle and upper classes that are disaffected with the government (although typically the term "regime" is used). But in this cold-hearted, neoliberal economic wasteland, surely the fact that the poor and the unprivileged are in support of their government is not a study in "populism" but rather a study in successful socialist principles at work?

And the link provided in the previous thread regarding Iran's leadership in the war on drugs stated that over 8,000 Iranian police have died fighting the flow of opium from Afghanistan. The position of the US in this trade is clear to everyone, and the reason to sanction Iran - precisely to shackle the Iranian interdiction of the drug flow - is also clear.

Iran strikes me very much as being like Cuba, in that its good works that yield no profit are greater than any that come from the western nations. Ir almost seems that only a socialist, revolutionary nation has freed itself from the shackles of greed enough to pursue actions purely from moral concern.

I like Khamenei. I envy a country that has a moral anchor such as he, a force that acts not as its captain but as its pilot.

~~

No particular point to make. Just some words in support of devotion to the sacred, and the moral strength to live a life, and direct a country, along moral lines, rather than criminal.

Arata , Jun 24, 2019 8:12:20 PM | 101
@| 95

The Shah came to power with USA + UK coup on 1953, he lacked legitimacy, that was his main problem, he was not an indepdendt legimtimate ruler.

Understanding Iran revolution and the long historical march is too complicated. On the surface and apperance it seems on political, ideoligical/ theoligical levels, but the movement is deeply in cultural and social level. Otherwise it would not be able to survive, resist and grow for 40 years. It may take another 40-50 years the movement bear fruits.

Uncle Jon , Jun 24, 2019 8:14:18 PM | 102
@ATH 97

The Shah was a tragic figure in many ways. You are correct about being the servant of his masters until he outgrew that and started having Persian Empire ambitions. Perhaps too soon for the politics of the era. The west of the 1970's preferred a King Hussein of Jordan. Quiet, unpretentious and cooperative.

The Shah was a super intelligent, extremely well informed and well-read, and a great debater. No journalist was a match for him, not even the crass and arrogant Mike Wallace. But inherently, he was a weak man with a character that did not match his ambitions. That weakness did not allow him to follow through with his plans and he had great plans for his country.

Having said that, IMHO, the Seven Sisters' decision to remove him, and him capitulating so easy, was one the biggest mistakes in modern geopolitics. Look what has happened since then. Furthermore, Dynasties and kings are in Persian DNA. I often laugh at the talk of democracy in Iran, as you cannot have 4-5 Iranians sit together and agree to disagree. One idea always has to come on top and the rest be damned.

Obviously, there are so many other factors and it would a lengthy discussion best to have over a nice Cuban cigar and a single Malt.

psychohistorian , Jun 24, 2019 8:47:00 PM | 112
@ C I eh? who wrote
"
Iran can pursue the strategy of Russia, patience and double dealing, indefinitely or till the cows come home.
"
Totally agree.

In the case of bullies the best offense is a good defense and Iran showed it has good defense to shoot down the spy plane and not the one with cannon fodder nearby

How many more bully nations other than Israel and the US are currently "active"?

None.

This is why the G20 will be interesting to see how much the global finance power struggle shows itself.....the cows are coming home perhaps....

karlof1 , Jun 24, 2019 9:33:02 PM | 118
As alluded to by several and directly pointed to by me, Iran's defensive capabilities have placed the Outlaw US Empire's King in check and have forced it to move into hiding on the board behind what amounts to nothing of substance. I think it an amazing admission that the self-proclaimed most powerful military EVER on Earth must ask for assistance to overthrow what is a popular Iranian government--a government and people in a strategic location within Eurasia on the cusp of initiating an geoeconomic/geopolitical system capable of upending the Empire's #1 policy goal of attaining Full Spectrum Dominance. What nation other than the usual co-outlaws will join in an action that is totally against its interests--what nation wants, desires, to be dominated by another?

As I see it, the next move on the global chess board will occur at the G-20, and the King will be placed in check again. However, the move required to get away from the check situation won't be as simple as was just done today. It will require complex finesse of a sort TrumpCo has yet to exhibit. It seems likely Trump will try to redirect attention away from his Iranian failure, but that won't alter the fact that he must move his King.

Jen , Jun 24, 2019 9:39:10 PM | 119
There has been much recent speculation about the restoration of monarchy in Iran in Western news media which would suggest this is something currently occupying the minds of the, uh, "best" and "brightest" brains over at Langley, Foggy Bottom and the bizarre ziggurat building at Vauxhall Cross in London.

One little problem that our Western news media and their feeders may have overlooked is that traditionally only men inherit the throne in Iran.

The current Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi has only three daughters. His younger brother Ali Reza (committed suicide in January 2011) left behind one daughter.

There are two male survivors of the previous Qajar dynasty .

Realist , Jun 24, 2019 10:45:32 PM | 126
Iran strikes me very much as being like Cuba, in that its good works that yield no profit are greater than any that come from the western nations. Ir almost seems that only a socialist, revolutionary nation has freed itself from the shackles of greed enough to pursue actions purely from moral concern.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 24, 2019 7:59:24 PM | 98

How does Iran strike you in this way? You have traveled in Iran? You have lived in Iran?

Do actually you give a fuck about Iran and Iranians? (Be honest. I mean care they way you care about your FAMILY.)

Iran has been kept artificaly retarded and its development plans halted. A million Iranians perished in a needless war. Iranians are forced to accept outrageous intrusions on Iran's sovereignty. Our best minds continue to leave. And now we're being threatened with nuclear bombardment.

"Winning"?

Why don't you wish that on your own people. Hah?

One imagines it must have been very alarming to the Global Mafia when the Shah of Iran announced the plans for the Port of Chabahar. Can you imagine a developed Iran, in good international standing, with a thriving modern port right on the Ohormozd [Hormoz] Strait? Do recent events jingle a bell somewhere there, Grieved?

"Socialist"

A welfare state is not the same thing as a "socialist" system.

IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side. They are hugely corrupted, even Ahmadinejad was screaming about it. It is not even remotely a secret.

The greed of the Mullahs is legendary. You clearly have never dealt with a member of that species. I suggest you acquaint yourself with Iranian's assessment of our clerical snakes.

[Obviously mature readers recognize that in any gross characterization we omit stating the obvious fact that "in most every grouping of people there are exceptional and principled members." We state this here for those who are not.]

Ninel , Jun 24, 2019 10:21:19 PM | 122

Poor Iranians! They are victims of both internal and external repression.

Kadath , Jun 24, 2019 11:03:49 PM | 128
re: 89 Laguerre

I highly doubt that Khamenei has even $0.01 worth of assets in the US, however the real purpose of sanctioning Khamenei and other Iranian government officials (supposedly including the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif) is not to seize their assets but to make international diplomacy more difficult. For example, if Khamenei were to travel to Iraq to face to face discussions with the Iraqi Prime Minister the US would now have the legal framework to sanction any company involved in the travel arrangements, accommodations, insurance, etc... Sanctioning Javad Zarif is an especially dick move as he is one of the leading Iranian moderates and was in favor of the original JCPOA agreement. I suspect that when Javad Zarif tries to attend the next UN summit in New York the US will attempt to sabotage his travel based on these sanctions.

This is also more proof that the US wants a war with Iran as they are trying to crush the moderates within Iran in the hopes that 1) the hardliners will become ascendant within Iran and that they will pursue policies that will make it easier for the US to justify their eventual attack on Iran and 2) making it more difficult for senior government officials to travel aboard will make Iran's international diplomacy less effective in developing a international coalition in opposition to the war. China and Russia acting as proxies and advocates for Iran will be vital for future discussions

Krollchem , Jun 24, 2019 11:16:08 PM | 129
Realist@124

(1) "Iran has been kept artifically retarded and its development plans halted. A million Iranians perished in a needless war."
Do you realize that Iran was attacked by Saddam who was supported by the US and that the US provided Saddam with vast quantities of chemical and biological weapons?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War

(2) "One imagines it must have been very alarming to the Global Mafia when the Shah of Iran announced the plans for the Port of Chabahar."

Did you know that the Shah was installed on 19 August 1953 following the overthrow of democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in Operation Ajax by the US and the United Kingdom?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1953_Iranian_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

(3) "IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side."

Sounds like the US system where the two wings of the bird of prey are the Democrats and the Republicans (Upton Sinclair, 1904). Please read up on US Neofeudal Oligarchy before throwing stones at regimes that do not meet your ideological viewpoint.
https://www.oftwominds.com/blogjune19/lessons-rome6-19.html

Yes I understand why the US would want to rape Iran and Venezuela for their energy resources. Without these pools of liquid energy the US Empire will collapse on itself. I suggest you read 1Pathfinding Our Destiny for a reality check on the US system.
https://www.oftwominds.com/Pathfinding-Our-Destiny-sample2.pdf

I suggest that you worry about the US Zionist "christian" endtimers seeking the rapture than the Iranian Mullahs.

/div> Realist, what are you asking for? Are you wishing for Ukraine's fate? Or Brazil's? Or El Salvador's? The political situation in Iran should be, by rights, an Iranian issue. I live in a country that spends trillions making life miserable for others, killing and maiming them but cannot afford to look after it's own people. This is by rights my problem, and I and my fellow citizens should be working to correct this imbalance. What advice do you have? What advice should I give you? We are caught in a terrible, foolish dance but have not the power, as individuals, to escape. This is life. Enjoy some tahdig. Railing against people here is not particularly enlightning for anyone.

Posted by: the pessimist , Jun 24, 2019 11:39:51 PM | 132

Realist, what are you asking for? Are you wishing for Ukraine's fate? Or Brazil's? Or El Salvador's? The political situation in Iran should be, by rights, an Iranian issue. I live in a country that spends trillions making life miserable for others, killing and maiming them but cannot afford to look after it's own people. This is by rights my problem, and I and my fellow citizens should be working to correct this imbalance. What advice do you have? What advice should I give you? We are caught in a terrible, foolish dance but have not the power, as individuals, to escape. This is life. Enjoy some tahdig. Railing against people here is not particularly enlightning for anyone.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 24, 2019 11:39:51 PM | 132

dltravers , Jun 24, 2019 11:41:31 PM | 133
IRI runs a welfare state to keep the lower classes on their side. They are hugely corrupted, even Ahmadinejad was screaming about it. It is not even remotely a secret.

The greed of the Mullahs is legendary. You clearly have never dealt with a member of that species. I suggest you acquaint yourself with Iranian's assessment of our clerical snakes.

I have had quite a few Iranians describe that situation to me. It is amazing how the Christian religious leadership gets bashed, mostly rightly so, and the Mullahs get a pass. I am sure they do get the job done shaking down the flock. Probably not as mullaevangelists on TV but there are other ways. I bet one could amass quite a flock of daughters to your harem.

A quick question: if there really were 35/38 American servicemen jammed into a P-8 and dangled before the Iranians like a juicy bait on a hook then how, exactly, are they going to view that display of casual recklessness w.r.t. their lives?

Wouldn't they be more than a little pissed off with the revelation that the Iranian military cared more about their mortal souls than did their own superiors in the US chain of command?

I was listening to a recent interview of Liberty survivors. One survivor just joined the group after retiring from the intelligence establishment. He was on the fantail after the ship got hit and described the whole thing including the Israeli torpedo boats flying their flags firing at the Liberty. Later at port he had to retrieve the dead. He was threatened by the naval brass to be silent and went on to work for them for the rest of his life.

DC is full of these guys "afraid for their careers and pension". Do not expect to much out of them.

col from OZ , Jun 25, 2019 12:08:56 AM | 134
Grieved
I agree with you summation of the Governance of Iran. The supreme Leader has a fatwa on the creating/ion of Nuclear weapons which he says is immoral. Well their you have it, a gaggle of US presidents who only live to breathe the threaten use of nuclear weapons upon 'their enemies', against a leader who wishers not the power of such a immoral weapon..

[Jun 24, 2019] Beijing Slams Pompeo As Trade Talks Loom He Can No Longer Play Role Of Top US Diplomat

Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo is a rapture supremacist warmonger that is not good for anything. ..."
"... Not a fan of Pompeo, nor of any Secy of State that champions the cause of military adventurism instead of negotiations. We've had far too many Secys of State who have beat the drums of war instead of doing what the job entails.....being the nation's chief diplomatic negotiator. Pompeo is a bigger (chicken) hawk than the Secy of Defense for crying out loud. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Furthermore, Hu had some particularly harsh words for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, labeling the Secretary of State a "troublesome" figure in US-China relations and insisting that Pompeo "can no longer play the role of a top US diplomat between the two countries."

... ... ...

Beijing's attacks on the secretary of state come as Pompeo wrapped up a string of meetings in the Middle East with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince.

This isn't the first time Pompeo has earned the ire of Beijing. Last October, Pompeo became embroiled in a public confrontation with top Chinese official during what was supposed to be an amicable press conference in Beijing.


AriusArmenian , 1 hour ago link

Pompeo is a rapture supremacist warmonger that is not good for anything.

Bay Area Guy , 1 hour ago link

Not a fan of Pompeo, nor of any Secy of State that champions the cause of military adventurism instead of negotiations. We've had far too many Secys of State who have beat the drums of war instead of doing what the job entails.....being the nation's chief diplomatic negotiator. Pompeo is a bigger (chicken) hawk than the Secy of Defense for crying out loud.

brianshell , 1 hour ago link

China doesn't like Pompeo? We will bring in Bolton.

Thordoom , 1 hour ago link

Whenever i see Pompeo it reminds me that horror movie The Blob. The trailer for that movie is a perfect depiction of Pompeo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sixDADVVnxA

[Jun 24, 2019] Was global hawk drone a decoy to get a map of Iran air defense system

Notable quotes:
"... That could mean that it was there specifically for observation (of the P8, as much as Iranian defenses); and of course could mean that much of the equipment, particularly the active equipment, was no longer aboard ..."
"... Wouldn't be needed, after all, if the job was just to record what was hoped to be an Iranian reaction, and would want to minimize the amount of equipment potentially falling into enemy hands if things went bad. ..."
"... Secondly, the 35 souls on board the P8 comment by Iran was brilliant. For one thing, it put the US on the defensive and once again called world attention to the fact that the Iranians have striven to avoid loss of life (so much so that Trump even used it to partly save face on the whole thing). ..."
"... But either way, it is unquestionable that Iranian intelligence has penetrated the base, or operations, to a degree that must be causing all sorts of trepidation amongst the US hawks. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 2:32:07 PM | 61

Re the Boeing and the drone. With both planes apparently close together for the flight, they were not there for maritime surveillance. Iranians most likely only picked up floating debris initially and electronic hardware may be rovered later, but there is a possibility the drone was stripped of hardware for its job as decoy. 35 to 38 people on the Boeing are too many for a simple photoshoot.

The decoy entering Iranian airspace the beginnings of a US strike... it draws fire from multiple SAM sites, the Boeing P-8 videoing the shootdown to justify the strike while locating launch positions and directing immediate strikes onto these positions. Comes unstuck when Iran launches a single missile. Trump cancels the strike.
Re the Boeing - if the strike was planned in advance, as the pentagon does with its contingency plans the aircraft would have been equipped for detecting SAM sites.


Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 3:54:25 PM | 84

To add to my post @80, the US captured the missile strike on video. One of the pics put out by the Pentagon was of the drone exploding. This means they were videoing the drone at the moment the missile struck. The only reason for having a video camera filming the drone that I can see, is that the US expected it to be hit.
William Gruff , Jun 23, 2019 4:04:10 PM | 88
Peter AU 1 @80

Why have 35 (or, according to Trump 38) people on a spy plane that is normally crewed by 9?

Because you need double-digit numbers of American casualties to get Americans' attention.

As PavewayIV pointed out in a previous thread, the P-8 spy plane was to the east of the drone. That means it was between the missile launcher and the drone. The P-8 has a hundred times or more the radar cross section of the drone, despite them both being about the same size, so electronic countermeasures or not it stands out like a sore thumb relative to the drone to Iran's radar. It is impossible that these issues were overlooked by the people who put this mission together.

The Navy has a bunch of P-8s. They only had one RQ-4.

The conclusion is obvious:

The drone was there to collect evidence of the destruction of the P-8.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 4:19:06 PM | 96

William Gruff 88

I had noticed the directions in the in the video pics but had forgotten about that.
Makes it more complex as the crewed aircraft was to the east of the drone (closest to Iran), yet videoing the drone expecting it to be hit...
The video also had coordinates of the aircraft taking the video and the target aircraft (in this case the drone) I have not cross checked this with the Iranian coordinates and bringing them up on google maps did not show the positions in relation to Iranian airspace. That the US includes the coordinates in the pics makes me wonder if the information in the video shots has been changed - possibly by resetting the video recorder prior to the op.

J Swift | Jun 23, 2019 7:42:55 PM | 152

A couple of random thoughts on the drone/P8. Firstly, there was earlier a fair amount of debate on the stealthiness of the drone. I would just mention that the Iranians did not say it was a stealth drone they were tracking...they said it was in "stealth mode." I originally thought that was just an offhand reference to the craft turning off its transponder, making it somewhat less obvious although hardly a true stealth craft. But perhaps they meant that it was noted to be in fully passive mode with respect to its surveillance equipment.

That could mean that it was there specifically for observation (of the P8, as much as Iranian defenses); and of course could mean that much of the equipment, particularly the active equipment, was no longer aboard

Wouldn't be needed, after all, if the job was just to record what was hoped to be an Iranian reaction, and would want to minimize the amount of equipment potentially falling into enemy hands if things went bad.

Secondly, the 35 souls on board the P8 comment by Iran was brilliant. For one thing, it put the US on the defensive and once again called world attention to the fact that the Iranians have striven to avoid loss of life (so much so that Trump even used it to partly save face on the whole thing).

As Paveway IV commented, it could have technically been an empty, remotely controlled plane, in which case the Iranian reference to a highly unusual number of crewmen may have been a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Yanks--or there may have been an unusually high number of crewlambs, which might also have alerted the Iranian intelligence that a set-up was unfolding.

But either way, it is unquestionable that Iranian intelligence has penetrated the base, or operations, to a degree that must be causing all sorts of trepidation amongst the US hawks.

karlof1 | Jun 23, 2019 7:52:23 PM | 154

Jen @143--

As myself and others noted, the usual crew for P-8 is 7: two on the flight deck and 5 distributed at the 5 work stations. The plane's equipped with a bomb/torpedo/sonobouy bay as it's primary mission's ASW. Jamming in an additional 28-30 people would be rather difficult at best. IMO, the only way would be to remove all ordinance to make room for what could only be 3 Special Forces squads and their gear--they would paradive into Iran to do their thing, presumably. Otherwise, the plane wasn't a P-8. I don't recall the Iranians providing the plane type, although it's clear they could have since they readily identified the drone. That leaves us with the following:

  1. Iran's incorrect about the # of people they "saw" on other plane.
  2. USA's playing along with Iranian mistake, but added 3 more.
  3. Iran's correct. USA's lying about plane type.
  4. Iran's correct. USA correct, but altered mission and added troops.
  5. Iran's correct. USA correct; but if shadowing drone, why so many people--trial run?
  6. Iran's correct. Both US planes deliberately entered Iranian airspace to provoke a response that wasn't obtained earlier in the week as Zarif just informed. If so, why so many on non-drone?

There're probably more that could be obtained, but the above seem to be the most logical. It's also possible that Iran toppled the planes into its airspace using EW; although that possibility surprised PavewayIV, I'm not in the least. Regardless if there were 7, 35 or 38 people on the second plane, they all probably needed new trousers upon landing. I also wonder if the Iranian system actuates the radar-lock warning alarm giving the pilot a chance to evade? If I'm correct in my evaluation of Iran's system, it won't and the air crew won't have time to say a final prayer.

[Jun 24, 2019] US and Israel want to make Iran defenseless. It is not going to happen

It is all about dominance in the region...
Notable quotes:
"... This whole saga is not about nuclear weapons, it is about those conventional ballistic missiles which Iran is manufacturing perfectly legally and changing the equation in the region. These are precision missiles and could turn Tel Aviv and Saudi oil infrastructure into rubble, US/Israel want to make Iran defenseless. It is not going to happen. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Harry Law , Jun 23, 2019 7:41:48 PM | 151
Trump is such a con man... He said he told Shinzō Abe, before the Japanese prime minister visited Tehran on 12 June: "Send the following message: you can't have nuclear weapons. And other than that, we can sit down and make a deal. But you cannot have nuclear weapons."
On further questioning he added the demand that Tehran should not have a ballistic missile programme, and suggested he wanted a tougher inspection regime.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/23/iran-may-pull-further-away-from-nuclear-deal-after-latest-sanctions

This whole saga is not about nuclear weapons, it is about those conventional ballistic missiles which Iran is manufacturing perfectly legally and changing the equation in the region. These are precision missiles and could turn Tel Aviv and Saudi oil infrastructure into rubble, US/Israel want to make Iran defenseless. It is not going to happen.

[Jun 24, 2019] If the United States removes the existing ruling class, it is not clear that we would be able to build a functional government in the new Iran -- even if we airdropped billions upon billions of dollars onto the country.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump and the Trump administration have no credibility; lying is simply the nature of this administration. ..."
"... Nobody is going to believe anything put out by the US government for a long time. And yes, it's really sad when Iran or North Korea are deemed more credible than my own government. ..."
"... This whole affair is about nothing except smashing yet another nation because the apartheid Jewish state wants that to happen. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , Jun 24, 2019 1:04:05 AM | 187

Just ran into an interesting little piece:

War with Iran?

Highlight:

Laying aside political and nationalistic biases, both the United States and Iran have credibility issues. While Iran is not known for its honesty, Trump and the Trump administration have no credibility; lying is simply the nature of this administration. As such, the matter cannot be settled by an appeal to credibility -- although, sadly, Iran seems to be less inclined to relentless lying than Trump.

Nobody is going to believe anything put out by the US government for a long time. And yes, it's really sad when Iran or North Korea are deemed more credible than my own government.

The author does miss the point here:

If the United States removes the existing ruling class, it is not clear that we would be able to build a functional government in the new Iran -- even if we airdropped billions upon billions of dollars onto the country.

This whole affair is about nothing except smashing yet another nation because the apartheid Jewish state wants that to happen.

[Jun 24, 2019] The Fact That Americans Need To Be Deceived Into War Proves Their Underlying Goodness

Notable quotes:
"... "Lying sometimes, not always lying, sometimes it's manipulations, but yeah," Merry replied. "America's warmaking history indicates that there's been significant instances of that kind of maneuvering, manipulations, and in some instances lying–Vietnam is a great example–to get us into wars that the American people weren't clamoring for." ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Smith , Jun 24, 2019 2:33:49 AM | 202

The Fact That Americans Need To Be Deceived Into War Proves Their Underlying Goodness by Caitlin Johnstone

<...>

Carlson's first guest, The American Conservative 's Robert Merry, plainly stated the likely reason for Bolton's deceitful manipulations, saying that Americans are typically reluctant to go to war and citing a few of the historical instances in which they were tricked into consenting to it by those who desire mass military violence.

"So, you're saying that there is a long, almost unbroken history of lying our way into war?" Carlson asked his guest rhetorically.

"Lying sometimes, not always lying, sometimes it's manipulations, but yeah," Merry replied. "America's warmaking history indicates that there's been significant instances of that kind of maneuvering, manipulations, and in some instances lying–Vietnam is a great example–to get us into wars that the American people weren't clamoring for."

Both men are correct. The US empire does indeed have an extensive and well-documented history of using lies, manipulations and distortions to manufacture consent for war from a populace that would otherwise choose peace, and a Reuters poll released last month found that only 12 percent of Americans favor attacking Iranian military interests without having been attacked first.

<...>

What we are watching with Iran is a war propaganda narrative failing to get airborne. It was all set up and ready to go, they had the whole marketing team working on it, and then it faceplanted right on the linoleum. This is what a failed narrative management campaign looks like. It is possible for us to see this more and more.

Today I have a lot more hope. It's becoming clear that the manipulations of the US war machine are becoming more and more obvious to more and more people and that everyday, regular Americans are reacting with a healthy amount of horror and revulsion. There was always the risk that the US population would already be sufficiently paced ahead of these revelations and there would be little to no reaction, but that didn't happen. Americans are seeing what they're doing, and they don't like it, and they don't want it.

And that makes me so happy. Come on Captain America. Save the day. The world is counting on you.

[Jun 24, 2019] Can the USA occupy Iran without reinstituting the military draft

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

John Smith , Jun 24, 2019 6:04:07 AM | 219

If we're headed for regime change in Iran, get ready for a military draft. We'll need one. -- USA Today

Our leaders seem interested in toppling Iran's theocracy. But do they want a new U.S. military draft? Because make no mistake, that's what it will take.

<...>

Any serious effort to end the Iranian theocracy will not only require American troops, but will also almost certainly break our vaunted All-Volunteer Force If you like the idea of regime change in Iran, you had better love the idea of a new American draft.

We have seen for decades that American air power alone is insufficient to topple a government, [...]. Our Sunni Arab allies are stalemated in Yemen and distinctly averse to sending troops to Syria. The idea that they would invade or occupy Iran is risible. The Washington regime change crowd's preferred Iranian proxy is a hated cult called Mujahideen-e Khalq.

But if the mullahs are to be overthrown, it will be by American soldiers and Marines. Even if the Islamic Republic were to somehow collapse on its own, concerns about radiological material, the security of the Strait of Hormuz or another massive wave of refugees would probably drive the U.S.to intervene with ground troops.

U.S. politicians and generals sometimes like to point out that the volunteer military has successfully endured a decade and a half of sustained combat and a ceaseless cycle of deployments. This is not the whole story.

Despite the enormous amount of money expended there, Iraq was by historical measures a low-intensity war. Total combat deaths for American forces over eight years were about the size of a brigade, and losses in Afghanistan roughly half that. Yet a modest increase in force structure required the military to greatly lower its standards, doubling felony waivers for Army recruits from 2003 to 2006, for instance.

A massive increase in the use of civilian contractors (more than 50 times the ratio in Vietnam) also hid the volunteer system's cracks. The All-Volunteer Force was barely able to sustain two large, but low-casualty, campaigns -- neither of which has resulted in anything resembling a U.S. strategic victory.

Occupying Iran would be a challenge of an entirely different magnitude than Iraq or Afghanistan.

<...>

The force with which we would occupy Iran is also not as resilient as most Americans probably think. Even now, in a time when most troops are not seeing direct combat, the the volunteer force is struggling just to maintain numbers and standards. The Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy are each short of a full quarter of their required fighter pilots. The Army recently announced that it is already 12,000 recruits behind on its recruiting goal for 2018 and will not make mission.

The Pentagon stated last year that 71% of Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are ineligible to serve in the U.S. military, most for reasons of health, physical fitness, education, or criminality. The propensity of this age group to serve is even lower. The likely demands and casualties of a war in Iran would spell the end of the All-Volunteer Force, requiring the conscription of Americans for the first time since 1973.

There is ample evidence that American foreign policy elites haven't learned much from Iraq or Afghanistan; one need only look at the latest headlines from Libya or Syria. But perhaps even our modern Bourbons in Washington can grasp one simple lesson from the post-9/11 campaigns: Wars have an uncanny tendency to take on a life of their own.

Regime change in Iran would bring a host of consequences, many of them unknowable, but almost all of them negative for America and the region. There is one outcome we can be sure of, however: Occupying Iran would be the death of America's all-volunteer military and necessitate a return to a draft.

[Jun 24, 2019] Was global howk drone a decoy to get a map of Iran air defence system

Notable quotes:
"... That could mean that it was there specifically for observation (of the P8, as much as Iranian defenses); and of course could mean that much of the equipment, particularly the active equipment, was no longer aboard ..."
"... Wouldn't be needed, after all, if the job was just to record what was hoped to be an Iranian reaction, and would want to minimize the amount of equipment potentially falling into enemy hands if things went bad. ..."
"... Secondly, the 35 souls on board the P8 comment by Iran was brilliant. For one thing, it put the US on the defensive and once again called world attention to the fact that the Iranians have striven to avoid loss of life (so much so that Trump even used it to partly save face on the whole thing). ..."
"... But either way, it is unquestionable that Iranian intelligence has penetrated the base, or operations, to a degree that must be causing all sorts of trepidation amongst the US hawks. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 2:32:07 PM | 61

Re the Boeing and the drone. With both planes apparently close together for the flight, they were not there for maritime surveillance. Iranians most likely only picked up floating debris initially and electronic hardware may be rovered later, but there is a possibility the drone was stripped of hardware for its job as decoy. 35 to 38 people on the Boeing are too many for a simple photoshoot.

The decoy entering Iranian airspace the beginnings of a US strike... it draws fire from multiple SAM sites, the Boeing P-8 videoing the shootdown to justify the strike while locating launch positions and directing immediate strikes onto these positions. Comes unstuck when Iran launches a single missile. Trump cancels the strike.
Re the Boeing - if the strike was planned in advance, as the pentagon does with its contingency plans the aircraft would have been equipped for detecting SAM sites.


Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 3:54:25 PM | 84

To add to my post @80, the US captured the missile strike on video. One of the pics put out by the Pentagon was of the drone exploding. This means they were videoing the drone at the moment the missile struck. The only reason for having a video camera filming the drone that I can see, is that the US expected it to be hit.
William Gruff , Jun 23, 2019 4:04:10 PM | 88
Peter AU 1 @80

Why have 35 (or, according to Trump 38) people on a spy plane that is normally crewed by 9?

Because you need double-digit numbers of American casualties to get Americans' attention.

As PavewayIV pointed out in a previous thread, the P-8 spy plane was to the east of the drone. That means it was between the missile launcher and the drone. The P-8 has a hundred times or more the radar cross section of the drone, despite them both being about the same size, so electronic countermeasures or not it stands out like a sore thumb relative to the drone to Iran's radar. It is impossible that these issues were overlooked by the people who put this mission together.

The Navy has a bunch of P-8s. They only had one RQ-4.

The conclusion is obvious:

The drone was there to collect evidence of the destruction of the P-8.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 23, 2019 4:19:06 PM | 96

William Gruff 88

I had noticed the directions in the in the video pics but had forgotten about that.
Makes it more complex as the crewed aircraft was to the east of the drone (closest to Iran), yet videoing the drone expecting it to be hit...
The video also had coordinates of the aircraft taking the video and the target aircraft (in this case the drone) I have not cross checked this with the Iranian coordinates and bringing them up on google maps did not show the positions in relation to Iranian airspace. That the US includes the coordinates in the pics makes me wonder if the information in the video shots has been changed - possibly by resetting the video recorder prior to the op.

J Swift | Jun 23, 2019 7:42:55 PM | 152

A couple of random thoughts on the drone/P8. Firstly, there was earlier a fair amount of debate on the stealthiness of the drone. I would just mention that the Iranians did not say it was a stealth drone they were tracking...they said it was in "stealth mode." I originally thought that was just an offhand reference to the craft turning off its transponder, making it somewhat less obvious although hardly a true stealth craft. But perhaps they meant that it was noted to be in fully passive mode with respect to its surveillance equipment.

That could mean that it was there specifically for observation (of the P8, as much as Iranian defenses); and of course could mean that much of the equipment, particularly the active equipment, was no longer aboard

Wouldn't be needed, after all, if the job was just to record what was hoped to be an Iranian reaction, and would want to minimize the amount of equipment potentially falling into enemy hands if things went bad.

Secondly, the 35 souls on board the P8 comment by Iran was brilliant. For one thing, it put the US on the defensive and once again called world attention to the fact that the Iranians have striven to avoid loss of life (so much so that Trump even used it to partly save face on the whole thing).

As Paveway IV commented, it could have technically been an empty, remotely controlled plane, in which case the Iranian reference to a highly unusual number of crewmen may have been a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Yanks--or there may have been an unusually high number of crewlambs, which might also have alerted the Iranian intelligence that a set-up was unfolding.

But either way, it is unquestionable that Iranian intelligence has penetrated the base, or operations, to a degree that must be causing all sorts of trepidation amongst the US hawks.

[Jun 24, 2019] The tanker attacks themselves are not Iran's style, and this type of attacks are not in Iran's interest

Notable quotes:
"... The tanker attacks were not done by Iran. The US has the smoking gun, but that was planted in their hands by Israel, who were the most probable culprits behind the attacks. Netanyahoo is waiting for new elections, with criminal indictments hot on his tail. His only motivation for the tanker attacks is ultimately to save his skin from the criminal pursuit. ..."
"... Now comes the sting: Iran has top class humint on Israel, and would have known about their plans for the tanker attacks in advance, probably in detail. Being 10 steps ahead of everybody else, the Iranians decided to use the tanker attacks to their own advantage - which is exactly what we are seeing now (although I think we see only the smallest tip of the iceberg). ..."
"... Iran's emphasis on going it alone rather than their ever closer partnership with Russia and China was just part of the deception - probably Russia and China are briefed on the Iranian strategy in detail -- that partnership is as solid as the strongest rock. Frankly, I think some of the things Khamenei said were wildly implausible and rather stupid to fully believe (like the implied fragility of the Iran-Russia-China relationships!!!) - but even that was an intrinsic part of their game, because the deception is aimed at stupid people blinded by hubris, and once the targets have fallen into the trap they will be seen to be even more stupid for having fallen for it. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Jun 24, 2019 11:11:07 AM | 237

I've had a planned post sitting idle in the back of my mind for the last ten days or so due to travelling, the flu, etc, and just haven't managed to find the time to get it out, so here belatedly is a quickie version of it (actually only one aspect of several), because It's important! :

Concerning the tanker attacks, B's postulations of Iran's strategy, and Magnier's response citing Iranian sources - I don't buy it, and never did, for many reasons, many of which have already been discussed. I think there is a very important twist that has been left out.

The tanker attacks were not done by Iran. The US has the smoking gun, but that was planted in their hands by Israel, who were the most probable culprits behind the attacks. Netanyahoo is waiting for new elections, with criminal indictments hot on his tail. His only motivation for the tanker attacks is ultimately to save his skin from the criminal pursuit.

Now comes the sting: Iran has top class humint on Israel, and would have known about their plans for the tanker attacks in advance, probably in detail. Being 10 steps ahead of everybody else, the Iranians decided to use the tanker attacks to their own advantage - which is exactly what we are seeing now (although I think we see only the smallest tip of the iceberg).

I think the Iranians were by the time of the tanker attacks already ready to carry out covert attacks, of which some of the proxy attacks such as Houthi attacks on pipelines and airports etc might have been examples. The tanker attacks themselves are not Iran's style, and this type of attacks are not in Iran's interest (at least under the conditions prevailing so far, though as we get closer and closer to open warfare that changes) - but encouraging ambiguity about whether Iran was responsible, and even actively encouraging attributions was very much in Iran's interests. Why? Because Iran had prior intelligence, and was actively out to record everything as it happened and get incriminating evidence against the US and Israel. Their desire was to encourage the US to publish as much fake evidence as possible, and when the time is ripe Iran will come out with the real evidence blowing the US position wide open.

Iran's emphasis on going it alone rather than their ever closer partnership with Russia and China was just part of the deception - probably Russia and China are briefed on the Iranian strategy in detail -- that partnership is as solid as the strongest rock. Frankly, I think some of the things Khamenei said were wildly implausible and rather stupid to fully believe (like the implied fragility of the Iran-Russia-China relationships!!!) - but even that was an intrinsic part of their game, because the deception is aimed at stupid people blinded by hubris, and once the targets have fallen into the trap they will be seen to be even more stupid for having fallen for it.

Unlike the US, the Iranians are sensitive to what can be justified under international law and what cannot. Where an action is clearly against international law, they would obviously have to have good grounds to believe that they could get away with it, even if things went wrong, and benefits would have to outweigh risks.

That is really just a taster, there are lots of other aspects that tie in with it - appologies for not presenting this theory more clearly and pulling all the threads together, but I'm afraid my flu-befuddled mind is not up to that at this moment! Anyone interested can no doubt explore it further for themselves as an exercise for the reader!

[Jun 24, 2019] Tanker attacks are more likely a propaganda ploy to promote the false narrative that Iran is a terrorist nation.

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jun 23, 2019 11:07:07 PM | 172

james @167: Magnier

Not surprising that some unnamed Iranian commander speaks belligerently against USA.

It's clear that Magnier believes this is newsworthy because of a few sly phrases like "Iran will not stand idle" that's supposed to confirm the view that Iran has turned into the terrorists that the anti-Iranian group (USA, Israel, Saudis) say they are.

I don't buy it. A strategy of 'stealth attacks' makes no sense as it invites increasing surveillance and beligerence from USA and is highly likely to backfire when an incident can be traced to Iran.

Much more likely that it's a propaganda ploy that plays into the false narrative that Iran is a terrorist nation.

[Jun 24, 2019] The advanced airborne sensor helps throw some light on why the aircraft was there and videoing the drone shootdown.

Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jun 24, 2019 4:23:18 AM | 209

Some interesting bits and pieces from the wikipedia page on the P-8.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_P-8_Poseidon
"It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle."

"During the P-8A Increment 2 upgrade in 2016, the APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) will be replaced by the Advanced Airborne Sensor radar.[56]"

Advanced airborne sensor radar.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Airborne_Sensor
"The Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) is a multifunction radar installed on the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. The radar is built by Raytheon as a follow-on to their AN/APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS).

The AAS has its roots in the highly classified AN/APS-149 LSRS, which was designed to provide multi-function moving target detection and tracking and high resolution ground mapping at standoff ranges covering land, littoral, and water areas. The radar was deployed on a small number of P-3C Orions, with "game changing" results. Containing a double-sided AESA radar with near 360-degree coverage, it could scan, map, track, and classify targets, and do all of these tasks near simultaneously; it was reportedly sensitive enough to pick up a formation of people moving over open terrain.[1]

Building upon the LSRS, the AAS also has a double-sided AESA radar, which contains a moving target indicator (MTI) that can detect, classify, and track targets on land and at sea at the same time, with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) for picture-like radar imagery of both inland and ocean areas at the same time; these can profile vessels from a long distance and generate fine resolution without relying on optical sensors, especially in day or night and in adverse weather conditions. Once it detects and classifies a hostile vessel, the P-8 can send targeting information to another armed platform and guide a networked weapon (e.g. Tomahawk cruise missiles, SLAM-ER, JASSM, LRASM, SDB II) to it through a data link. The AAS is in ways superior to the AN/APY-7 used on the U.S. Air Force's E-8 Joint STARS, looking both port and starboard rather than just being side-looking. Other potential missions could include detecting and tracking low flying and stealthy cruise missiles, communications relaying, and electronic warfare as a standoff platform to penetrate contested airspace, since AESA radars are capable of radar jamming, producing fake targets, frying electronic components, and even cyberwarfare.[1][2]"
...........

The advanced airborne sensor helps throw some light on why the aircraft was there and videoing the drone shootdown.

[Jun 23, 2019] Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

Jun 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Provoking Iran Could Start A War And Crash The Entire World Economy

by Tyler Durden Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:25 2 SHARES Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Tensions in the Persian Gulf are reaching a point of no return . In recent weeks, six oil tankers have been subjected to Israeli sabotage disguised to look like Iranian attacks to induce the United States to take military action against the Islamic Republic. Some days ago Iran rightfully shot out of the sky a US Drone. In Yemen, the Houthis have finally started responding with cruise and ballistic missiles to the Saudis' indiscriminate attacks, causing damage to the Saudi international airport of Abha, as well as blocking, through explosive drones , Saudi oil transportation from east to west through one of the largest pipelines in the world.

As if the political and military situation at this time were not tense and complex enough, the two most important power groups in the United States, the Fed and the military-industrial complex, both face problems that threaten to diminish Washington's status as a world superpower .

The Fed could find itself defending the role of the US dollar as the world reserve currency during any conflict in the Persian Gulf that would see the cost of oil rise to $300 a barrel , threatening trillions of dollars in derivatives and toppling the global economy.

The military-industrial complex would in turn be involved in a war that it would struggle to contain and even win, destroying the United States' image of invincibility and inflicting a mortal blow on its ability to project power to the four corners of the world.

Just look at how surprised US officials were about Iran's capabilities to shot down an advanced US Drone:

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region."

The Fed and the defense of the dollar

The US dollar-based economy has a huge debt problem caused by post-2008 economic policies. All central banks have lowered interest rates to zero or even negative, thus continuing to feed otherwise dying economies.

The central bank of central banks, the Bank for International Settlements, an entity hardly known to most people, has stated in writing that "the outstanding notional amount of derivative contracts is 542 trillion dollars." The total combined GDP of all the countries of the world is around 75 trillion dollars.

With the dimensions of the problem thus understood, it is important to look at how Deutsche Bank (DB), one of the largest financial institutions in the world, is dealing with this. The German bank alone has assets worth about 40 trillion dollars in derivatives, or more than half of annual global GDP.

Their solution, not at all innovative or effective, has been to create yet another bad bank into which to pour at least 50 billion dollars of long-term assets, which are clearly toxic.

Reuters explains :

"The bad bank would house or sell assets valued at up to 50 billion euros ($56 billion) – after adjusting for risk – and comprising mainly long-dated derivatives.

The measures are part of a significant restructuring of the investment bank, a major source of revenue for Germany's largest lender, which has struggled to generate sustainable profits since the 2008 financial crisis."

Thus, not only has Deutsche Bank accumulated tens of billions of dollars in unsuccessful options and securities, it seeks to obtain a profit that has been elusive since 2008, the year of the financial crisis. Deutsche Bank is full of toxic bonds and inflated debts kept alive through the flow of quantitative easing (QE) money from the European Central Bank, the Fed and the Japanese Central Bank. Without QE, the entire Western world economy would have fallen into recession with a chain of bubbles bursting, such as in public and private debt.

If the economy was recovering, as we are told by soi-disant financial experts, the central-bank rates would rise. Instead, rates have plummeted for about a decade, to the extent of becoming negative loans.

If the Western financial trend is undoubtedly heading towards an economic abyss as a result of the monetary policies employed after 2008 to keep a dying economy alive, what is the rescue plan for the US dollar, its status as a global-reserve currency, and by extension of US hegemony? Simply put, there is no rescue plan.

There could not be one because the next financial crisis will undoubtedly wipe out the US dollar as a global reserve currency, ending US hegemony financed by unlimited spending power. All countries possessing a modicum of foresight are in the process of de-dollarizing their economies and are converting strategic reserves from US or US-dollar government bonds to primary commodities like gold.

The military-industrial complex and the harsh reality in Iran

In this economic situation that offers no escape, the immediate geopolitical effect is a surge of war threats in strategic locations like the Persian Gulf. The risk of a war of aggression against Iran by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis would have little chance of success, but it would probably succeed in permanently devastating the global economy as a result of a surge in oil prices.

The risk of war on Iran by this triad seems to be the typical ploy of the bad loser who, rather than admit defeat, would rather pull the rug out from under everyone's feet in order to bring everybody down with him. Tankers being hit and then blamed on Iran with no evidence are a prime example of how to create the plausible justification for bombing Tehran.

Upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that the actions of Bolton and Pompeo seem to be aligned in prolonging the United States' unipolar moment, continuing to issue diktats to other countries and failing to recognize the multipolar reality we live in. Their policies and actions are accelerating the dispersal of power away from the US and towards other great powers like Russia and China, both of which also have enormous influence in the Persian Gulf.

The threat of causing a conflict in the Persian Gulf, and thereby making the price of oil soar to $300 a barrel, will not save US hegemony but will rather end up accelerating the inevitable end of the US dollar as a global reserve currency.

Trump is in danger of being crushed between a Fed that sees the US dollar's role as the world's reserve currency collapse, and the need for the Fed to blame someone not linked to the real causes of the collapse, that is to say, the monetary policies adopted through QE to prolong the post-crisis economic agony of 2008.

At the same time, with Trump as president, the neocon-Israeli-Saudi supporters see a unique opportunity to strike Iran, a desire that has remained unchanged for 40 years.

As foolish as it may seem, a war on Iran could be the perfect option that satisfies all power groups in the United States. The hawks would finally have their war against Tehran, the world economy would sink, and the blame would fall entirely on Trump. The Donald, as a result, would lose any chance of being re-elected so it makes sense for him to call off possible strikes as he did after the US drone was shot out of the sky.

While unable to live up to his electoral promises, Trump seems to be aware that the path laid out for him in the event of an attack on Iran would lead to his political destruction and probably to a conflict that is militarily unsustainable for the US and especially its Saudi and Israeli allies. It would also be the catalyst for the collapse of the world economy.

In trying to pressure Iran into new negotiations, Trump runs the risk of putting too much pressure on Tehran and giving too much of a free hand to the provocations of Pompeo and Bolton that could end up triggering a war in the Strait of Hormuz.

Putin and Xi Jinping prepare for the worst

Our current geopolitical environment requires the careful and considered attention of relevant heads of state. The repeated meetings between Putin and Xi Jinping indicate that Russia and China are actively preparing for any eventuality. The closer we get to economic collapse, the more tensions and chaos increase around the world thanks to the actions of Washington and her close allies.

Xi Jinping and Putin, who have inherited this chaotic situation, have met at least a dozen times over the last six months , more recently meeting at least three times over two months. The pressing need is to coordinate and prepare for what will inevitably happen, once again trying to limit and contain the damage by a United States that is completely out of control and becoming a danger to all, allies and enemies alike.

As Putin just recently said:

"The degeneration of the universalistic model of globalization and its transformation into a parody, caricature of itself, where the common international rules are replaced by administrative and judicial laws of a country or group of countries.

The fragmentation of global economic space with a policy of unbridled economic selfishness and an imposed collapse. But this is the road to infinite conflict, trade wars and perhaps not just commercial ones. Figuratively, this is the road to the final struggle of all against all.

It is necessary to draft a more stable and fair development model. These agreements should not only be written clearly, but should be observed by all participants.

However, I am convinced that talking about a world economic order such as this will remain a pious desire unless we return to the center of the discussion, that is to say, notions like sovereignty, the unconditional right of each country to its own path to development and, let me add, responsibility in the universal sustainable development, not just its own."

The spokesman of the Chancellery of the People's Republic of China, Hua Chun Ying, echoed this sentiment:

"The American leaders say that 'the era of the commercial surrender of their country has come to an end', but what is over is their economic intimidation of the world and their hegemony.

The United States must again respect international law, not arrogate to itself extraterritorial rights and mandates, must learn to respect its peers in safeguarding transparent and non-discriminatory diplomatic and commercial relations. China and the United States have negotiated other disputes in the past with good results and the doors of dialogue are open as long as they are based on mutual respect and benefits.

But as long as these new trade disputes persist, China informs the government of the United States of America and the whole world that it will immediately impose duties on each other, unilaterally on 128 products from the United States of America.

Also, we think we will stop buying US public debt. It's all, good night!"

I wonder if Europeans will understand all this before the impending disaster. I doubt it.

[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WkRylMGLPMU?feature=oembed

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

[Hide MORE]
-- -- -
They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
--

in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 23, 2019] Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he s cornered

Notable quotes:
"... Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc. ..."
"... His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising. ..."
"... He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back. ..."
"... Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR. ..."
"... Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers. ..."
"... Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's. ..."
"... My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

GeorgeV , Jun 21, 2019 9:25:57 AM | 48

Whether Generalissimo Bone Spur and President Chief Kaiser of the USA, His Imperial Majesty Donald Trump, actually called for a stand down of any attack on Iran for the shooting down of a surveillance UAV, or he suddenly realized that such an act would touch off another unneeded war, is at this point in time a matter of some debate. What is clear however is that his Imperial Majesty must clean out his current foreign policy and national defense staff (Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel etc.) before another crisis develops. Otherwise the neocons that currently inhabit the Oval Office chicken hawk coop will be back at fomenting another crisis, which might actually give them the war they so dearly want. His Imperial Majesty appointed them and he can fire them.

imo , Jun 21, 2019 9:36:44 AM | 49

All this narrative fits Trump's modus operandi and his fake Alpha male persona.

Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc.

His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising.

He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back.

Trump and US MIC is dangerous of course. But Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he's cornered. All he's done here with this alleged last minute "call back" is test prove his chain of command is working. (...or is it?)

arby , Jun 21, 2019 9:39:25 AM | 50
George V---
As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who the president has or who he is. Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR.
Ant. , Jun 21, 2019 9:48:30 AM | 53
I cannot see any way that the current irrational sanctions against Iran by the US can be rolled back. All US administrations are full of hubris and in love with their own imagined gloriously supreme power. The only way they can be rolled back is if Iran offers some face-saving excuse, which they can't do. They have nothing else to give (Pompeo's 'conditions for international re-alignment' were essentially a demand for surrender and 'regime' change, probably authored by Maniac Walrus Bolton).

Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers.

Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's.

Sorghum , Jun 21, 2019 9:50:51 AM | 54
My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack.

Trump will attack, just not yet. There is some new toy they want to try out. Shock and Awe style.

[Jun 22, 2019] The USA MSM uses Bolton and Pompeo bellicosity as clickbait to generate revenue for their business at the expense of whats best for the nation

Notable quotes:
"... Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally. ..."
"... Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy. ..."
"... High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that. ..."
"... These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do. ..."
"... It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war. ..."
"... Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection. ..."
"... Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders. ..."
"... How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result. ..."
"... Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces. ..."
"... The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare. ..."
"... Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support ..."
"... This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them. ..."
"... The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him. ..."
"... Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war. ..."
"... They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War. ..."
"... Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002. ..."
"... The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner. ..."
"... Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies." ..."
"... The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. ..."
"... --One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition? ..."
"... -- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women." ..."
"... Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen. ..."
"... He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck. ..."
"... But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy. ..."
"... John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. ..."
"... No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change. ..."
"... I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton. ..."
"... Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei. ..."
"... This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice. ..."
"... And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs. ..."
"... PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed." ..."
"... No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats. ..."
"... Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million. ..."
"... Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes ..."
"... It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace? ..."
"... Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A ..."
"... Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat? ..."
"... As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension. ..."
"... Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are "bureaucratic tapeworms" that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Solomon , 21 June 2019 at 12:54 PM

Colonel Lang,

I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Trump. However, if he does not start a war, he will end (in my mind, at least) as a vast improvement over his immediate predecessors.

Robert C said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 08:56 PM
Wait a minute. Obama blew it with Libya. However,
-he reached a good deal with Iran
-he didn't bomb Syria when the crossed his "red line" and managed to make it look like the R controlled Senate made the decision .
-He didn't kiss Bibi's ring.
ted richard said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 09:38 PM
look at a decent map of this area. the us naval base in Bahrain and air base Qatar are an Iranian missiles equivalent of firing from lower Manhattan to hit something in Hoboken.

The USA military assets within the Persian gulf have if war breaks out checked into the hotel California.

It is a logistical nightmare for the Pentagon to protect and resupply in the event of serious hostilities. Trump surely has been told by real us military professionals the giant hairball he takes on if he gets into a war with Iran and what it means for us servicemen station there and throughout the larger middle east.

it is unfortunate that the usa media uses fools like bolton and pompeo as clickbait to generate revenue fore their business at the expense of whats best for the nation but there it is... the msm has an agenda which is not at all in the service of the nation.

Harper , 21 June 2019 at 01:28 PM
Yes, a grown up has the right to change a decision. Now, ball is in Khomeini court. Abe asked him to release some Iranian-American prisoners. If Khomeini wants to lower threshold of conflict, he can do this gesture without losing any face. Humanitarian action.

Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally.

See what kind of other pressure comes down on Iranians. Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. US more able to go it alone with extensive domestic and other sources.

blue peacock , 21 June 2019 at 01:36 PM
Col. Lang,

Khamenei should call Trump and setup a media spectacle of a summit in Switzerland. They can agree on the same deal as before but as long as the headline says "Iran agrees to not build nukes", Trump will be happy and Khamenei will be his new best pal.

The same playbook as KJU where nothing tangible is likely to happen except that KJU has stopped nuke & missile tests that create media hysteria among the Never Trumpers.

IMO, the ball hasn't left Trump's court. How long is he going to tolerate the neocons in his inner circle who are likely to keep coming up with another casus belli? Can he find some distance from being Bibi's lapdog? How long is he going to allow his conflicted son-in-law to meddle in the Middle East?

Trump must calculate the potential of where escalation leads and what a full on war with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon means for his re-election campaign. Bernie is banging the table hard against any military action in Iran. The probability that 50,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin changes sides the next election would be rather high in the event of an unpredictable full-scale war.

Christian J Chuba , 21 June 2019 at 01:56 PM
I hope Khamenei takes any offer Trump makes for direct talks. Trump is heavily influenced by the last person he meets.

I get that Khamenei doesn't want to meet on the premise that the JCPOA is flawed and must be changed but if he can get an audience on the basis of airing mutual grievances in an unfiltered environment, it would be an opportunity. Currently, the only people Trump talks to are Neocon loons. They are innumerable but the FDD seems to be the center of gravity.

I must say that Clifford May does sport quite the impressive beard, who wouldn't think that he's an expert on anything he talks about http://www.vipfaq.com/nested/c/l/Clifford_May-1.jpg

robt willmann , 21 June 2019 at 02:04 PM
In an interview with NBC News and Chuck Todd, Trump reiterates his position about a response being proportionate--

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-says-he-did-not-given-final-approval-iran-strikes-n1020386

Widowson , 21 June 2019 at 02:41 PM
I was shocked-- but not surprised-- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got "cold-feet." Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.
b , 21 June 2019 at 02:47 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy.

High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that.

These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do.

Trump has two choices.

He can pull back on the sanctions and other U.S. violations of JCPOA, or he can start a full war against Iran that will drown his presidency, put the world economy into a depression ($300/bl oil) and kill many U.S. soldiers.

It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war.

frankie p said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:05 PM

Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection.

The Iranians will NOT contact Trump to arrange a meeting. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump because the JCPOA is flawed. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump after a brief suspension in sanctions to ask for permanent sanctions relief. The Iranians WILL meet with Trump when he lifts most or all of the sanctions in good faith and rejoins the JCPOA. Is it just a coincidence that the two ships attacked last week were carrying petrochemicals, just days after Trump and the US placed sanctions on the largest Iranian petrochemical producer? What is it about "If we cannot ship oil/petrochemicals, nobody can." that people don't understand?

Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders.

Frankie P

Barbara Ann said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:46 PM
b

How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result.

Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces.

The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare.

Fred -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 11:06 AM
b,

Only two choices? That doesn't sound very realistic in the terms of actual options. How about leaving the sanctions in place? What prevents that?

Eric Newhill , 21 June 2019 at 03:32 PM
Publicly, much chest thumping over how Iran has the cowardly Great Satan on the run like a beaten dog. Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support and attempted offers of negotiations with Trump complete with wildly unrealistic demands.
eakens said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 06:57 PM
This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them.
LondonBob said in reply to Jack... , 22 June 2019 at 04:19 AM
The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him.
turcopolier , 21 June 2019 at 05:44 PM
b

Your usual deeply bigoted anti-Americanism.

frankie p said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:23 PM
Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war.

They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War.

Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002.

Artemesia said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:28 PM
At the risk of ---
I think b is on to something.

The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner.

Did you listen to Foreign Affairs subcommittee questioning State Department undersecretary Brian Hook? https://www.c-span.org/video/?461811-1/house-foreign-affairs-subcommittee-hearing-iran-policy

Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies."

The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. Nor was any congressman sage enough, or moral enough, or consistent enough, to question:

-- International policy pundits & think tankers opine that the greatest guarantee of peace is economic stability. US is deliberately seeking to destabilize Iran economically. To what end?

--One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition?

-- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women."

When I visited Iran in 2008, "Iranian women" spoke with us and asked if we could please provide several days' warning before bombing Iran so that they could shelter their children. Iranian women are some of the toughest you'll meet.

-- what casus belli legitimizes aggression against Iran? Does the USA no longer subscribe to Just War theory? Several years ago I heard Notre Dame's Mary Ellen O'Connell discuss Just War theory with respect to Iran -- https://elibrary.law.psu.edu/jlia/vol2/iss2/6/. US claims to uphold "universal values" ring hollow if such basic steps in framing policy are ignored.

b -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:10 AM
I deal in facts, not in 'deeply bigoted anti-Americanism'. Interesting that you do not want to recognize those facts. They are right before your eyes. Just I give it a day or two until the next 'incident' happens.

Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen.

turcopolier -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 09:39 AM
All

The question has been raised of my denigration of b. He has a long history on SST He is an excellent military analyst but the long and so far as I can remember unbroken record of interpreting EVERY situation as demonstrating the demonic nature of the US causes me to discount anything he writes on other than military subjects narrowly defined. IMO b's hostility to the US is a permanent burden that he carries.

Eric Newhill said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 10:54 AM
Sir,

Also, B's minions, who follow him around, have absorbed his anti-US attitude so completely it's like a religion to them.

Charlie Wilson -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:40 AM
b is a hater, colonel. And his English sucks too!

Charlie

Eugene Owens said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:56 AM
Agree regarding b's anti America stance. Yet b's prediction that the guy in charge at Hormuz will get a medal and promotion is correct IMO.

Ditto for his prediction that Iranian attacks will continue with some measure of deniability.

VietnamVet , 21 June 2019 at 07:13 PM
Colonel,

The NYT report that Donald Trump ordered the attack and then pulled back is in Jimmy Carter's "been there done that" territory. Although a New Yorker and he never had to sit in a gasoline line, Donald Trump, personally and legally, cannot be a one term President. He is a political savant.

He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck.

My assumption is that someone in the chain of command after the surveillance drone was shot down triggered a preplanned strike package that was stopped once it got to the President for approval. Once again global media moguls strike back at the nationalist President with Fake News.

But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy.

John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods.

ex-PFC Chuck , 21 June 2019 at 07:14 PM
Do we know for sure Trump is the one who initially ordered the strike? Or did someone down the line interpret the rules of engagement (do I presume correctly that some such would be in place at the present time?) to allow him or her to order it?
turcopolier -> ex-PFC Chuck... , 22 June 2019 at 09:35 AM
All

In a situation of this degree of geo-political gravity, nobody in the chain of command below the CinC would have had the authority or temerity to attempt to order this strike package.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton is in the chain of command and attempts by them to order such attacks would have been rejected by the military. BTW if Trump aborted the strikes only 10 minutes out from the targets he was cutting it too close. Communications can always fail.

The Twisted Genius , 21 June 2019 at 07:31 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. Since it was the Iranians who recovered the wreckage, it will be hard for the US to maintain the drone was well outside Iranian airspace.

No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change.

I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton.

Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei.

eakens said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:02 PM
This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice.

I don't foresee the Iranians talking to Trump unless and until the US walks back its sanctions, or Trump himself goes and sits down with the Ayatollah.

And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs.

Artemesia , 21 June 2019 at 07:32 PM
PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed."

No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats.

SAC Brat said in reply to Harlan Easley ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:13 PM
This seems like Professional Wrestling theater where you have the wrestlers hamming it up for the drama and you wonder what the script is. We only get to see what the camera frames.
NarcoRepublican , 21 June 2019 at 09:17 PM
I am thankful that our military acknowledges that our President is the Commander-in-Chief. He commanded, they obeyed. As for all the pundits on all sides, their lack of perspective or even understanding of history leaves me terrified. There seems to be no understanding of how Iran is capable of retaliation. An example:

Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million.

Few remember what happened next -- some 8 months later, in March, 1989, Capt. Roger's spouse Sharon, was in her van stopped at a traffic light in San Diego. A pipe bomb went off under the back of the van. It was small -- she was unhurt, fortunately, but definitely shaken up, and the van did catch fire. Despite an intensive investigation, the FBI has never solved this case.

Never let us become so blind and arrogant in our strength that we are unable to conceive retaliation by those weaker.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:47 AM
Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes
ancientarcher , 22 June 2019 at 02:07 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the drone was sent there to be shot down by the Iranians?

It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace?

The Americans do seem to really believe that the drone was in international airspace and no one can make a point that it is to Iran's benefit to target an American asset in international airspace, especially now when tensions are so high. Iran has the most to lose in the event of a war with the Americans (no points for guessing which country has the most to win - Israel). And it is a coincidence that the guy heading the Iran mission Centre, Michael D'Andrea, was previously the head of drone operations. Or is it a coincidence?

What would I do if I were a neocon who wants war between the US and Iran, a war that Trump doesn't. For the start of hostilities, it is essential that both sides, US and Iran, feel that they are in the right - which of course this situation is. I would create a context, an excuse/rationale for the start of actual hostilities to the US administration (and of course for the consumption of the American public). Then I will make the case to Trump that we should have a 'limited' retaliation. I know that the Iranians will strike back after the 'small scale' bombing. And the Americans have to retaliate to that also. What chances are there that any retaliation by the Americans will not end up in total war with Iran??

Trump doesn't want war and probably saw through the machinations to get him to agree to a 'small' bombing campaign as retaliation that would surely lead to a larger conflagration and total war with Iran that the neocons want so much. This particular provocation was unsuccessful in its aim. However, I think that provocations by the neocons will continue and at an ever increasing pitch - enabled by the neocons within the administration and the Israelis. Trump doesn't want war but his administration filled with neocons does and they will find a way maneuver Trump into it. Israel will fight Iran till the last standing American in the Middle East.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 02:15 AM
Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A
blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:17 PM
Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat?

As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension.

Hopefully Trump learns from this near miss of a catastrophe for his presidency. But he has seemed weak and indecisive on these matters all along. He never fought back for example with all the tools at his