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Soleimani assassination opened Pandora box in the Middle East

 
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“Control over the production and distribution of oil is the decisive factor in defining who rules whom in the Middle East.”

Christopher Hitchens, The Quotable Hitchens from Alcohol to Zionism: The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

“Anthing that can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
Windsor Mann, The Quotable Hitchens: From Alcohol to Zionism--The Very Best of Christopher Hitchens

 

 In 1958, U.S. leaders  decided that they should control middle East oil and started an "American era" in the Middle East. President Eithemhower played highly negative role in this articulated   the Eisenhower doctrine a year earlier.   The United States   staked the national interests in the Middle East  with contolling oil as the major goal U.S. bases, overthrows of democratic government of Iran by the CIA followed.

Sixty-two years before President Donald Trump dispatched a drone to Baghdad to kill Iranian General Soleimani, opening another more modern Pandora box, which with cost American taxpayers a lot of money and American military some lives.

The trajectory of U.S. involvement is one of American leaders gradually putting stock in their ability to achieve their objectives through discrete military action and then investing everything in costly military misadventures, to the point that we’ve come full circle: The American public is now profoundly ambivalent towards neocon foreign policy

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake ~Talleyrand (attributed)

  C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute.
It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

Reaction to the 1804 drumhead trial and execution of Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, on orders of Napoleon. Actually said by either Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe, legislative deputy from Meurthe (according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations) or Joseph Fouché, Napoleon's chief of police (according to John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919), http://www.bartleby.com/100/758.1.html).

In other words, what Trump committed  is worse the a crime. It was a blunder. He pained the USA in the corner as a rogue state ( which actually it has been since 1991). The Trump impeachment now comes into play as part of a WEspern realignment or restructuring of the USA Mid-Wast position.  As somebody said   “There are decades when nothing happens, but there are weeks when decades happen” I would not be  now surprised if Trump will lose 2020 re-election bid.   He is now considered dangerous rogue by a strata of independents, those who are able to think about the insanity of the USA foreign policy (and voted for Trump mainly duie to his 2016 anti-war stance). The policy which push the money to MIC while domestic infrastructure, jobs  and wages crumbles  (which is not the majority of the USA electorate) impoverishing most Americans like in classic over-extended empire scenario.  The last such case was the USSR. How it ended we now from history.

What is likely to be happening is that the US will not quit Iraq willingly, despite the  resolution of Parliament. Which will lead to increased public and armed resistance to the US, as indeed happened under Bush-Cheney regime. Moqtada al-Sadr, a powerful Shia cleric whose parliamentary alliance holds 54 of the 329 seats in Iraq’s legislature, called on militants inside and outside Iraq to create “International Resistance Legions” to end America’s military presence in the country, by force if necessary( Iraqi Parliament Backs Expulsion of US Troops Background and What to Expect Next - Sputnik International)

Rephrasing Kissinger: " Assassination is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one".

What is now clear is that Trump is a neocon, or, worse, incompetent and malleable neocon puppet. And appointment of a Rapture obsessed warmongering Secretary of State was not accidental.

But it is kind of ironic to have as the top diplomat a person, who in addition to being a former military contractor (with the appropriate circle of the West Point friends, some of them probably killed or injured during Iraq invasion/occupation) is a big friend of the current head of Mossad (that's probably was the origin of his love of assassinations :-)

He is much better suited for MIC lobbyist position, than for diplomacy. Killing one person even talented and high ranking commander of the Iran army will have no effect on the total direction/methods/capabilities. It is just empower Iran hawks.

But the deep irony of Trump-Pompeo-Esper trio assassination gambit is that Soleimani was one of the key figures in defeating ISIS in Iraq and Syria and used to work with US high command. If this is not the "destruction of credibility" I do not know what is. It feels like ""The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go."

So the vote of Iraq Parliament should not come as a huge surprise; this was logical consequence of this action. Iran surprised me attacking some objects in Iraq. This was a signature event: looks like the official end of the period of "Full spectrum Dominance". Of course, Iran incompetence with shooting down the Ukrainian airliner spoiled the broth, but still...

Reports are the Pompeo was after Soleimani for a long time, and that the neocon duo of Pomeo-Esper pushed Trump, who felt impeachment pressure and wanted to wag the dog in any case.

But again we can talk about consequences we need to wait for the 2020 elections. I do not think that this action was positive for Trump re-election chances. His base is glued to him no matter what.

But Trump with one masterstroke lost all anti-war republicans and most probably a substantial part of army vote. The army is overextended and is tired of imperial wars. With the proper candidate that may play into Democrats hands in 2020 elections.

Especially, if Tulsi will be on the ticket as a VP (there is almost zero chance for that; and IMHO little chances for Sanders or Warren to be the candidate from Neoliberal Dems )

Can the USA continue to occupy Iraq

There's no doubt that the US can hold out for a while, but a renewed US full military occupation would not be appreciated back home, especially if new flow of the body-bags is implied.

Iraqi parliament resolution about status of the foreign forces in the country is just one small step that now complicated the USA policies in the Middle East. And while the USA will ignore it (and probably it does not have binding legal power, as the government of Iraq is a marionette government who can't act against the USA) the consequences of such a vole are net negative for Trump administration -- the USA forces now clearly viewed as an occupying, hostile force.  Still I see Iraq as a US territory. Like Guam or Puerto Rico. Or Europe for that matter.

augrr | Jan 5 2020 20:23 utc | 102

One can speculate on and debate all kinds of alternative actions and outcomes for Iraq to take if the US refuses to leave, or more importantly, ignores any “no-fly” orders. As I think most of the readers of this blog put a very low probability on US compliance with whatever Iraq officially requests.

Without an ally with the clout to get the US's attention and respect Iraq's wishes will be swatted aside like a pesky mosquito.

There is exactly one – and only one – military opponent at this moment that can credibly challenge the US if Iraq were to ask for help with enforcing the will of its government. A showdown between the old hegemon and a new multipolar power constellation has been on the cards as a future event for some time, with “future” being the operative word.. The current series of events creates the potential to accelerate this transition. I would not be at all surprised if the phone lines between Moscow, Beijing and Teheran have been buzzing fulltime for the past 24 hours. President Putin is essential in this potential team, having the military means, Iran is a given as they are the ultimate US target here, which leaves China. China also knows that at some time it will have to face and defeat the US – but would prefer a time and cause of its choosing. It may be sufficient to get the US out of Iraq if all three together declare their support for Iraq and its decisions.

I knew 2020 would bring interesting times.

Tom_LX | Jan 5 2020 21:00 utc | 113

@juliania | Jan 5 2020 19:53 utc | 96

Lets face it. The US government is captured. Voting will not undo what has been done since at least 1963, assassination of John F. Kennedy. He was the last clear headed US President we had (Carter was not bad) which did not save him from the killing team in Dallas. From that point on we have been on a slow (so as to keep the sheep asleep) downward trajectory. At a minimum we would need to reverse this graph to give any hope of waking up the populace before it is too late.

https://www.personalgrowthcourses.net/images/media-ownership.gif
MSM has people's minds completely frozen to the narrative coming out of DC while Hollywood sends out subtle signals "We are watching and listening to you" with movies like "The Conversation". Perhaps I am wrong and they are awake. Perhaps they are simply too afraid to express what they think. I don't know. I'm just one soul behind a keyboard.

and reassert the need for Trump and his administration to be impeached on treasonous grounds.
"The Buck Stops Here" always operates. Trump is behind the Big Desk because he wanted to be there so he must take the responsibility. But I remind everyone that in the case of Syria Trump initially signaled pulling out all US troops. Then suddenly he stayed "For the Oil". That reversal I interpret as him being on an Israeli leash. He got a Bibi offer he could not refuse and he had to stay under the excuse of Oil, as befitting a business guy. Shallow, stupid for sure but no one would argue.

So Trump is not enough. Clinton (Yugoslavia), Bush Jr., Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colon Powell, ..... did more of the damage to get us where we are today. Later facts came out showing them to be lying to the Nation and what happened ? -----> NOTHING. Trump impeachment was a Show from the word GO. Clinton was played the same way. To play nice at the end of his term he pardoned a poor guy named Mark Rich. That's how the game is played. What's funny, all this information is out there !!!!

Why Trump-Popeo-Esper decided to Soleimani. Why now?

When we are analyzing recent actions of the USA on Middle East that  are two competing explanatory hypothecs

Nowhere those two completing hypothesis are visible more clear then in analysis of Soleymani murder. For example Scott Ritter clearly prefer the second hypothesis He does not even mention  that role of Israel in Soleimani assassination ( The US unwittingly helped create Qassem Soleimani. Then they killed him. — RT Op-ed.

 Colonel Lang takes similar position  in his opinion peace and opinion peace of TTG: 

As usual, Philip Giraldi see Israel influence as the primary factor in this despicable act.  The Soleimani Assassination, by Philip Giraldi - The Unz Review

Donald Trump rode to victory in 2016 on a promise to end the useless wars in the Middle East, but he has now demonstrated very clearly that he is a liar. Instead of seeking detente, one of his first actions was to end the JCPOA nuclear agreement and re-introduce sanctions against Iran. In a sense, Iran has from the beginning been the exception to Trump’s no-new-war pledge, a position that might reasonably be directly attributed to his incestuous relationship with the American Jewish community and in particular derived from his pandering to the expressed needs of Israel’s belligerent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

His views are supposed by a sizable part of commentarial from the Moon of Alabama. The site that usually provide a high quality geopolitical analysis. For example

Nathan Mulcahy | Jan 5 2020 17:06 utc | 50

I am reposting this because the recent developments all point finger to this. BTW, in no way am I excusing Trump as a victim.

The Ziocon-Deep State-Kosher Nostra Mob has the disposable President, aka the Orange Man aka Drimpf by the balls. The Mob was going to get its war with Iran anyway - most likely after the re-election of Drumpf. But now Satanyahu desperately needs a war to stay out of prison. So the ZOG neutered Drumpf by impeaching him out of thin air (while ignoring many legitimate grounds). Drumpf now needs every vote in Senate, and the war with Iran is the ticket. With this war Drumpf just lost his practically guaranteed reelection chance. Of course this is the preferred outcome for the Mob anyway. Now the Mob will have its cake and eat it too. It will get its preferred President (another Bush or another Obama or another Clinton - of either gender, etc. ).as well as have its Iran war.

Was Soleimani on Diplomatic mission?

Several commenters at Moon or Alabama share the view that Soleimani was of some kind of official mission (which might be a trap) or even at the time of his killing enjoyed a diplomatic status of envoy:

"Before the vote Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the parliament that he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran to Iraq in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The U.S. assassinated Soleimani before the letter could be delivered by him. Abdul-Mahdi also said that Trump had asked him to mediate between the U.S. and Iran. Did he do that to trap Soleimani? It is no wonder then that Abdul-Mahdi is fuming."

Saker views on the issue

Noted military analyst Saker hold position that  consequences for the USA of this killing will high highly negative. But,while an excellent analyst, he often exaggerate negative consequences for the USA or its actions.

Well, my first though when reading these bullet points is that General Qasem Soleimani has already struck out at Uncle Shmuel from beyond his grave . What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical "oopsie", but a major STRATEGIC disaster . Why?

For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void.

Second, the US now has two options:

The main problem with the current (and very provisional) outcome is that both the Israel Lobby and the Oil Lobby will now be absolutely outraged and will demand that the US try to use military power to regime change both Iraq and Iran.

Needless to say, that ain't happening (only ignorant and incurable flag-wavers believe the silly claptrap about the US armed forces being "THE BEST").

Furthermore, it is clear that by it's latest terrorist action the USA has now declared war on BOTH Iraq and Iran.

This is so important that I need to repeat it again:

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure , with BOTH Iraq and Iran.

I hasten to add that the US is also at war with most of the Muslim world (and most definitely all Shias, including Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis).

Next, I want to mention the increase in US troop numbers in the Middle-East. An additional 3'000 soldiers from the 82nd AB is what would be needed to support evacuations and to provide a reserve force for the Marines already sent in. This is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of troop numbers the US would need to fight a war with either Iraq or Iran.

Finally, there are some who think that the US will try to invade Iran. Well, with a commander in chief as narcissistically delusional as Trump, I would never say "never" but, frankly, I don't think that anybody at the Pentagon would be willing to obey such an order. So no, a ground invasion is not in the cards and, if it ever becomes an realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan).

No, what the US will do if/when they attack Iran is what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, but at a much larger scale. They will begin by a huge number of airstrikes (missiles and aircraft) to hit:

Iranian air defenses Iranian command posts and Iranian civilian and military leaders Symbolic targets (like nuclear installations and high visibility units like the IRGC) Iranian navy and coastal defenses Crucial civilian infrastructure (power plants, bridges, hospitals, radio/TV stations, food storage, pharmaceutical installations, schools, historical monuments and, let's not forget that one, foreign embassies of countries who support Iran). The way this will be justified will be the same as what was done to Serbia: a "destruction of critical regime infrastructure" (what else is new?!)

Then, within about 24-48 hours the US President will go on air an announce to the world that it is "mission accomplished" and that "THE BEST" military forces in the galaxy have taught a lesson to the "Mollahs". There will be dances in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right until the moment the Iranian missiles will start dropping from the sky. At which point the dances will be replaced by screams about a "2nd Hitler" and the "Holocaust").

Then all hell will break loose (I have discussed that so often in the past that I won't go into details here).

In conclusion, I want to mention something more personal about the people of the US.

Roughly speaking, there are two main groups which I observed during my many years of life in the USA.

Group one : is the TV-watching imbeciles who think that the talking heads on the idiot box actually share real knowledge and expertise. As a result, their thinking goes along the following lines: " yeah, yeah, say what you want, but if the mollahs make a wrong move, we will simply nuke them; a few neutron bombs will take care of these sand niggers ". And if asked about the ethics of this stance, the usual answer is a " f**k them! they messed with the wrong guys, now they will get their asses kicked ".

Group two : is a much quieter group. It includes both people who see themselves as liberals and conservatives. They are totally horrified and they feel a silent rage against the US political elites. Friends, there are A LOT of US Americans out there who are truly horrified by what is done in their name and who feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I don't know about the young soldiers who are now being sent to the Middle-East, but I know a lot of former servicemen who know the truth about war and about THE BEST military in the history of the galaxy and they are also absolutely horrified.


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[Jul 23, 2020] Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination

Jul 23, 2020 | www.presstv.com

News / Politics Iran's top security official: Harsher revenge awaits perpetrators of Gen. Soleimani's assassination Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM [ Last Update: Wednesday, 22 July 2020 4:29 PM ]

Members of the Iraqi honor guard walk past a huge portrait of Iran's late top general Qassem Soleimani (L) and Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, both killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport last month, during a memorial service held in Baghdad's high-security Green Zone on February 11, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran's top security official says harsher revenge awaits the perpetrators of the attack that killed senior Iranian anti-terrorism commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and his companions.

In a post on his Twitter page on Wednesday, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that US President Donald Trump had admitted that the American, upon his direct order, committed the crime of assassinating General Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) counter-terrorism force, who were two prominent figures of the anti-terrorism campaign.

"The two Iranian and Iraqi nations are avengers of blood of these martyrs and will not rest until they punish the perpetrators," read part of the tweet.

"Harsher revenge is one the way," it concluded.

The two commanders and a number of their companions were assassinated in a US airstrike near Baghdad airport on January 3, as General Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Both commanders were extremely popular because of the key role they played in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorist group in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

UN experts calls US drone attack on Gen. Soleimani 'unlawful' killing A senior UN human rights investigator says the United States' assassination of top Iranian commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad was an "unlawful" killing in violation of the international law.

In retaliation for the attack, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles a US base in Iraq on January 8. According to the US Defense Department, more than 100 American forces suffered "traumatic brain injuries" during the counterstrike. The IRGC, however, says Washington uses the term to mask the number of the Americans, who perished during the retaliation.

Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Iran will never forget Washington's assassination of General Soleimani and will definitely deliver a "counterblow" to the United States.

Leader: Iran to deal US 'counterblow' for Gen. Soleimani's assassination Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget this issue and will definitely deal the counterblow to the Americans," Ayatollah Khamenei said in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Tehran.

"They killed your guest at your own home and unequivocally admitted the atrocity. This is no small matter," Ayatollah Khamenei told the Iraqi premier.

A UN special rapporteur says has condemned the US assassination and said Washington has put the world at unprecedented peril with its murder of Iran's top anti-terror commander.

UN expert raps US for arbitrary drone attack that killed Gen. Soleimani A UN special rapporteur slams the US for refusing to take responsibility for the assassination of General Soleimani in violation of international law.

Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has also warned that it is high time the international community broke its silence on Washington's drone-powered unlawful killings.


Press TV's website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Representives befor getting postions of Director of CIA (whichsuggests previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, He retired from the alry in the rank of comptain and never participated in any battles. He serves only in Germany, and this can be classified as a chickenhawk. He never performed any dyplomatic duries in hs life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a greddy military contractor.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard tweeted,

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

1. It mentions that it aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans". This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law. (1)

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

2. Overall, the statement places far greater emphasis on past activities and violations allegedly commuted by Suleimani. As such the killing appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self defense.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

3. The notion that Suleimani was "actively developing plans" is curious both from a semantic and military standpoint. Is it sufficient to meet the test of mecessity and proportionality?

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

4. The statement fails to mention the other individuals killed alongside Suleimani. Collateral? Probably. Unlawful. Absolutely.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015 In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. [47] [48] [49] [50]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help.

Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iran–Russia alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told [a senior Iranian envoy] 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani.'" General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. [49]

Operations in Aleppo
Map of the 2015 Aleppo offensives. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theater of operations, which led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. [57] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army's 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata'ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). [58]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata'eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate's northern countryside, [59] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off the rebels' main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. "Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area", he said. [60] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo , though the exact date of the photos is unknown. [61] [62]

... ... ...

In 2014, Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli , to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL. [68] [69] According to the Los Angeles Times , which reported that Amirli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes". The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups – at the same time that was present on the battlefield. [70] [71] Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse. [11] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city. [66] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani's command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias but also the Kurdish in the Battle of Amirli , [72] not only providing liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise". [73]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar , he was reportedly "present on the battlefield". Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as "fearless" – one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket , even on the front lines. [74]

In November 2014, Shi'ite and Kurdish forces under Soleimani's command pushed ISIS out of Iraqi villages of Jalawla and Saadia, in the Diyala Governorate . [67]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit . [75] [76]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, giving it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL's massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015. [76]

[Feb 27, 2020] Geraldo Rivera: "Don't For A Minute" Cheer Killing Of Iranian General; "What We Have Unleashed?"

In view of event of Jan 7 it looks like Geraldo Rivera had the point. He beautifully cut the neocon jerk by reminding him the role of the US intelligence agencies in unleashing Iraq war
Jan 02, 2020 | www.realclearpolitics.com

FOX News correspondent Geraldo Rivera debated "Fox & Friends" hosts Brian Kilmeade and Steve Doocy Friday about the assassination of Iranian special forces General Qassim al Soleimani in Iraq, warning of dire consequences if Iran chooses to retaliate and telling Kilmeade: "You, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like."

"Your arrogance is exactly what's wrong with the region," Geraldo said. "You're not a front-line fighter that has to go back into Iraq again."

GERALDO RIVERA: We thought that when the de-escalation at the embassy happened a couple of days ago that was the end of this chapter. The U.S., with it's firmness, had won the victory. It wasn't going to be Benghazi, it wasn't going to be Tehran from 1980. We won that technical victory.

Now we have taken this huge military escalation. Now I fear the worst. You're going to see the U.S. markets go crazy today. You're going to see the price of oil spiking today. This is a very, very big deal.

BRIAN KILMEADE: I don't know if you heard, this isn't about his resume of blood and death, it was about what was next. That's what you're missing.

STEVE DOOCY: According to the Secretary of Defense.

GERALDO RIVERA: By what credible source can you predict what the next Iranian move will be?

BRIAN KILMEADE: Secretary fo State and American intelligence provided that material.

GERALDO RIVERA: They've been excellent. They've been excellent, the U.S. intelligence has been excellent since 2003 when we invaded Iraq, disrupted the entire region for no real reason. Don't for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed --

BRIAN KILMEADE: I will cheer it on. I am elated.

GERALDO RIVERA: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn't like.

BRIAN KILMEADE: That is not true, and don't even say that.

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation --

BRIAN KILMEADE: Let them kill us for another 15 years?

GERALDO RIVERA: If President Trump wanted a de-escalation and to bring our troops home--

BRIAN KILMEADE: What about the 700 Americans who are dead, should they not be happy?

GERALDO RIVERA: What about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have died since 2003? You have to start seeing. What the hell are we doing in Baghdad in the first place? Why are we there?

BRIAN KILMEADE: So you're blaming President Bush for the maniacal killing of Saddam Hussein?

GERALDO RIVERA: I am blaming President Bush in 2003 for the fake weapons of mass destruction that never existed and the con-job that drove us into that war.

[Feb 25, 2020] How John Bolton and a Phony Script Brought Us to the Brink of War by Scott Ritter

Bolton is a typical "Full Spectrum Dominance" hawk, a breed of chickenhawks that recently proliferated in Washinton corridors of power and which are fed by MIC.
Notable quotes:
"... the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie. ..."
"... The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists. ..."
"... The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed. ..."
"... This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump's decision to assassinate Qassem Soleimani back in January took the United States to the brink of war with Iran.

Trump and his advisors contend that Soleimani's death was necessary to protect American lives, pointing to a continuum of events that began on December 27, when a rocket attack on an American base in Iraq killed a civilian translator. That in turn prompted U.S. airstrikes against a pro-Iranian militia, Khati'ab Hezbollah, which America blamed for the attack. Khati'ab Hezbollah then stormed the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in protest. This reportedly triggered the assassination of Soleimani and a subsequent Iranian retaliatory missile strike on an American base in Iraq. The logic of this continuum appears consistent except for one important fact -- it is all predicated on a lie.

On the night of December 27, a pickup truck modified to carry a launchpad capable of firing 36 107mm Russian-made rockets was used in an attack on a U.S. military compound located at the K-1 Airbase in Iraq's Kirkuk Province. A total of 20 rockets were loaded onto the vehicle, but only 14 were fired. Some of the rockets struck an ammunition dump on the base, setting off a series of secondary explosions. When the smoke and dust cleared, a civilian interpreter was dead and several other personnel , including four American servicemen and two Iraqi military, were wounded. The attack appeared timed to disrupt a major Iraqi military operation targeting insurgents affiliated with ISIS.

The area around K-1 is populated by Sunni Arabs, and has long been considered a bastion of ISIS ideology, even if the organization itself was declared defeated inside Iraq back in 2017 by then-prime minister Haider al Abadi. The Iraqi counterterrorism forces based at K-1 consider the area around the base an ISIS sanctuary so dangerous that they only enter in large numbers.

For their part, the Iraqis had been warning their U.S. counterparts for more than a month that ISIS was planning attacks on K-1. One such report, delivered on November 6, using intelligence dating back to October, was quite specific: "ISIS terrorists have endeavored to target K-1 base in Kirkuk district by indirect fire (Katyusha rockets)."

Another report, dated December 25, warned that ISIS was attempting to seize territory to the northeast of K-1. The Iraqis were so concerned that on December 27, the day of the attack, they requested that the U.S. keep functional its tethered aerostat-based Persistent Threat Detection System (PTSD) -- a high-tech reconnaissance balloon equipped with multi-mission sensors to provide long endurance intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) and communications in support of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Instead, the U.S. took the PTSD down for maintenance, allowing the attackers to approach unobserved.

The Iraqi military officials at K-1 immediately suspected ISIS as the culprit behind the attack. Their logic was twofold. First, ISIS had been engaged in nearly daily attacks in the area for over a year, launching rockets, firing small arms, and planting roadside bombs. Second, according to the Iraqis , "The villages near here are Turkmen and Arab. There is sympathy with Daesh [i.e., ISIS] there."

As transparent as the Iraqis had been with the U.S. about their belief that ISIS was behind the attack, the U.S. was equally opaque with the Iraqis regarding whom it believed was the culprit. The U.S. took custody of the rocket launcher, all surviving ordnance, and all warhead fragments from the scene.

U.S. intelligence analysts viewed the attack on K-1 as part of a continuum of attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq since early November 2019. The first attack took place on November 9, against the joint U.S.-Iraqi base at Qayarrah , and was very similar to the one that occurred against K-1 -- some 31 107mm rockets were fired from a pickup truck modified to carry a rocket launchpad. As with K-1, the forces located in Qayarrah were engaged in ongoing operations targeting ISIS, and the territory around the base was considered sympathetic to ISIS. The Iraqi government attributed the attack to unspecified "terrorist" groups.

The U.S., however, attributed the attacks to Khati'ab Hezbollah, a Shia militia incorporated with the Popular Mobilization Organization (PMO), a pro-Iranian umbrella organization that had been incorporated into the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The PMO blamed the U.S. for a series of drone strikes against its facilities throughout the summer of 2019. The feeling among the American analysts was that the PMO attacked the bases as a form of retaliation.

The U.S. launched a series of airstrikes against Khati'ab Hezbollah bases and command posts in Iraq and Syria on December 29, near the Iraqi city of al-Qaim. These attacks were carried out unilaterally, without any effort to coordinate with America's Iraqi counterparts or seek approval from the Iraqi government.

Khati'ab Hezbollah units had seized al-Qaim from ISIS in November 2017, and then crossed into Syria, where they defeated ISIS fighters dug in around the Syrian town of al-Bukamal. They were continuing to secure this strategic border crossing when they were bombed on December 29.

Left unsaid by the U.S. was the fact that the al-Bukamal-al Qaim border crossing was seen as a crucial "land bridge," connecting Iran with Syria via Iraq. Throughout the summer of 2019, the U.S. had been watching as Iranian engineers, working with Khati'ab Hezbollah, constructed a sprawling base that straddled both Iraq and Syria. It was this base, and not Khati'ab Hezbollah per se, that was the reason for the American airstrike. The objective in this attack was to degrade Iranian capability in the region; the K-1 attack was just an excuse, one based on the lie that Khati'ab Hezbollah, and not ISIS, had carried it out.

The U.S. had long condemned what it called Iran's "malign intentions" when it came to its activities in Iraq and Syria. But there is a world of difference between employing tools of diplomacy to counter Iranian regional actions and going kinetic. One of the reasons the U.S. has been able to justify attacking Iranian-affiliated targets, such as the al-Bukamal-al-Qaim complex and Qassem Soleimani, is that the Iranian entity associated with both -- the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC -- has been designated by the U.S. as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), and as such military attacks against it are seen as an extension of the ongoing war on terror. Yet the way the IRGC came to be designated as an FTO is itself predicated on a lie.

The person responsible for this lie is President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, who while in that position oversaw National Security Council (NSC) interagency policy coordination meetings at the White House for the purpose of formulating a unified government position on Iran. Bolton had stacked the NSC staff with hardliners who were pushing for a strong stance. But representatives from the Department of Defense often pushed back . During such meetings, the Pentagon officials argued that the IRGC was "a state entity" (albeit a "bad" one), and that if the U.S. were to designate it as a terrorist group, there was nothing to stop Iran from responding by designating U.S. military personnel or CIA officers as terrorists.

The memoranda on these meetings, consisting of summaries of the various positions put forward, were doctored by the NSC to make it appear as if the Pentagon agreed with its proposed policy. The Defense Department complained to the NSC that the memoranda produced from these meetings were "largely incorrect and inaccurate" -- "essentially fiction," a former Pentagon official claimed.

After the Pentagon "informally" requested that the NSC change the memoranda to accurately reflect its position, and were denied, the issue was bumped up to Undersecretary of Defense John Rood. He then formally requested that the memoranda be corrected. Such a request was unprecedented in recent memory, a former official noted. Regardless, the NSC did not budge, and the original memoranda remained as the official records of the meetings in question.

President Trump designated the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in April 2018.

This was a direct result of the bureaucratic dishonesty of John Bolton. Such dishonesty led to a series of policy decisions that gave a green light to use military force against IRGC targets throughout the Middle East. The rocket attack against K-1 was attributed to an Iranian proxy -- Khati'ab Hezbollah -- even though there was reason to believe the attack was carried out by ISIS. This was a cover so IRGC-affiliated facilities in al-Bakumal and al-Qaim, which had nothing to do with the attack, could be bombed. Everything to do with Iran's alleged "malign intent." The U.S. embassy was then attacked. Soleimani killed. The American base at al-Assad was bombarded by Iranian missiles. America and Iran were on the brink of war.

All because of a lie.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, most recently, Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War (2018).

[Feb 16, 2020] The highwater mark in SEAsia was the helicopters evacuating the last invaders from Saigon. The highwater mark in the ME is going to be similar scenes in Iraq.

Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin ,

It seems that history is about to repeat. The highwater mark in SEAsia was the helicopters evacuating the last invaders from Saigon. The highwater mark in the ME is going to be similar scenes in Iraq.

A final warning has been issued to US troops there – 40 days after Soleimanis assassination – the Resistance is ready to move, an irresistible force about to meet a not so immovable object.

Along with Idlib and Allepo its been amazing start to 2020. And its not even spring!

[Feb 15, 2020] Shifting narrative: Trump administration now Justifies Killing Soleimani for Past Actions, not Imminent Threat by Dave DeCamp

Notable quotes:
"... Although the memo says one purpose of the action was to "deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces," it does not cite any specific threats. Both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the killing was done to prevent imminent attacks and led on like they had the intelligence to prove it. ..."
"... The New York Times recently reported that Iraqi military and intelligence officials believe the December 27 th rocket attack that killed a US contractor was likely carried out by ISIS, not the Shi'ite militia the US blamed and retaliated against. This attack led to a series of provocations that resulted in the assassination of Soleimani. Iraqi officials do not have proof that ISIS carried out the attack, but this possibility makes the US justification for killing Soleimani even more flimsy. ..."
"... Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) responded to the White House's memo in a statement on Friday, "The administration's explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the president offered to the American people was false, plain and simple." ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | news.antiwar.com

The White House released a memo on Friday to Congress justifying the assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. Despite earlier claims from the administration of Soleimani and his Quds Force planning imminent attacks on US personnel in the region, the memo uses past actions as the justification for the killing.

The memo says President Trump ordered the assassination on January 2nd "in response to an escalating series of attacks in preceding months by Iran and Iran-backed militias on United States forces and interests in the Middle East region."

Although the memo says one purpose of the action was to "deter Iran from conducting or supporting further attacks against United States forces," it does not cite any specific threats. Both President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the killing was done to prevent imminent attacks and led on like they had the intelligence to prove it.

The New York Times recently reported that Iraqi military and intelligence officials believe the December 27 th rocket attack that killed a US contractor was likely carried out by ISIS, not the Shi'ite militia the US blamed and retaliated against. This attack led to a series of provocations that resulted in the assassination of Soleimani. Iraqi officials do not have proof that ISIS carried out the attack, but this possibility makes the US justification for killing Soleimani even more flimsy.

Lawmakers from both parties criticized Trump for killing Iran's top general without congressional approval. The memo argues that Trump had authority to order the attack under Article II of the US Constitution, and under the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (2002 AUMF).

Congress is taking measures to limit Trump's ability to wage war with Iran. The Senate passed the Iran War Powers Resolution on Thursday, and the House voted to repeal the 2002 AUMF in January.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) responded to the White House's memo in a statement on Friday, "The administration's explanation in this report makes no mention of any imminent threat and shows that the justification the president offered to the American people was false, plain and simple."

[Feb 15, 2020] US assassinated Suleimani to quash Iran s talks with Gulf monarchies by Bill Van Auken

Feb 15, 2020 | www.wsws.org

The Trump administration ordered the January 3 assassination of Major General Qassem Suleimani, one of Iran's most senior officials, not because he posed some "imminent threat," but rather in a calculated bid to disrupt Tehran's attempts to reach an accommodation with Washington's allies in the region.

This is the inescapable conclusion flowing from a report published Thursday in the New York Times , citing unnamed senior officials from the US, Iran and other countries in the Middle East.

It recounts the arrival last September in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, of a plane carrying senior Iranian officials for talks aimed at achieving a bilateral peace agreement between the two countries.

The trip came in the context of a steady sharpening of US-Iranian tensions as a result of Trump's abrogation of the Iranian nuclear agreement in 2018 along with the imposition of a punishing sanctions regime tantamount to a state of war. This was followed by a major escalation of the US military presence in the region a year later.

While the US dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group and a B-52-led bomber task force to the region in May of last year, the same month saw the use of limpet mines to damage four oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic "chokepoint" through which 20 percent of the world's oil is shipped.

In June of last year, the Iranians downed a US Navy spy drone over the same area, with the Trump White House first ordering and then calling off retaliatory air strikes against Iran. And in September, Saudi oil installations came under a devastating attack from drones and cruise missiles.

Washington blamed both the attacks on the oil tankers and the strike against the Saudi oil installations -- for which the Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility -- on Iran, charges that Tehran denied.

As early as last August, there were reports indicating concerns within Washington that the UAE was veering away from the anti-Iran front that the US has attempted to cobble together, based upon Israel and the Gulf oil sheikdoms. The Emirates' coast guard had signed a maritime security agreement with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the UAE had clashed openly with Saudi Arabia over the control of southern Yemen's port city of Aden. At the time, the Washington Post warned that the UAE "is breaking ranks with Washington, calling into question how reliable an ally it would be in the event of a war between the United States and Iran."

According to the Times report, the meeting with the Iranian delegation in Abu Dhabi, which had been kept secret from Washington, "set off alarms inside the White House ... A united front against Iran -- carefully built by the Trump administration over more than two years -- seemed to be crumbling."

Both the Emirati monarchy and its counterpart in Saudi Arabia had become increasingly distrustful of Washington's Iran policy and concerned that they would find themselves on the frontline of any confrontation without any guarantee of the US defending them.

Saudi Arabia also began a secret diplomatic approach to Tehran, using the Iraqi and Pakistani governments as intermediaries. Suleimani played the central role in organizing the talks with both Gulf kingdoms, the Times reports.

In October, according to the report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Tel Aviv for a meeting with Yossi Cohen, the chief of Mossad, who warned him that "Iran was achieving its primary goal: to break up the anti-Iran alliance."

Last month's assassination of General Suleimani was initially defended by Trump and administration officials as a preemptive strike aimed at foiling supposedly "imminent" attacks on US personnel or interests in the Middle East. This pretext soon fell apart, however, and the US president and his aides fell back to justifying the extra-judicial murder of a senior state official as revenge for his support for Shia militias that resisted the US occupation of Iraq 15 years earlier and retaliation for a missile strike that killed an American military contractor last December.

That strike was launched against a military base housing American troops in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk. Iraqi security officials have since contradicted the US claim that an Iranian-backed Shia militia was responsible for the attack. They have pointed out that the missiles were launched from a predominantly Sunni area where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is active, and that Iraqi intelligence had warned US forces in November and December that ISIS was preparing to target the base.

The US responded to the missile strike on the base in Iraq by targeting Iraqi Shia militia positions on the Syria-Iraq border, killing 25 members of the Kataib Hezbollah militia. The attack provoked an angry demonstration that laid siege to the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31.

Two days later, a US Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy at Baghdad International Airport, killing Suleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a central leader of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces, the coalition of militias that constitutes an arm of Iraq's security forces, as well as eight others.

In the wake of the drone assassinations, US Secretary of State Pompeo sarcastically told the media: "Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order -- Qassem Suleimani -- had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission? We know that wasn't true."

As the Times report indicates, that was precisely what Suleimani was doing in Baghdad, the US knew it and that is why it assassinated him. Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi said at the time that General Suleimani had flown into the country, on a commercial flight and using his diplomatic passport, for the express purpose of delivering an Iranian response to a message from Saudi Arabia as part of talks aimed at de-escalating tensions.

The more that emerges about the assassination of Suleimani, the more the abject criminality of his murder becomes clear. It was carried out neither as a reckless act of revenge nor to ward off unspecified attacks. Rather, it was a calculated act of imperialist terror designed to disrupt talks aimed at defusing tensions in the Persian Gulf and to convince the wavering Gulf monarchies that Washington is prepared to go to war against Iran.

This is the policy not merely of the Trump administration. Among the most significant moments in Trump's State of the Union address earlier this month was the standing ovation by Democratic lawmakers as he gloated over the murder of Suleimani, a war crime.

The resort to such criminal actions is a measure of the extreme crisis of a capitalist system that threatens to drag humanity into a new world war.

[Feb 14, 2020] More Lies on Iran The White House Just Can t Help Itself as New Facts Emerge by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved. If that is so, events as they unfolded suggest that the US government might have encouraged Soleimani to make his trip so he could be set up and killed. Donald Trump later dismissed the lack of any corroboration of the tale of "imminent threat" being peddled by Pompeo, stating that it didn't really matter as Soleimani was a terrorist who deserved to die. ..."
"... It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata'ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State. In fact, the Iraqi government has demonstrated that Kata'ib Hezbollah has had no presence in Kirkuk province, where the attack took place, since 2014. It is a heavily Sunni area where Shi'a are not welcome and is instead relatively hospitable to all-Sunni IS. It was, in fact, one of the original breeding grounds for what was to become ISIS. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Admittedly the news cycle in the United States seldom runs longer than twenty-four hours, but that should not serve as an excuse when a major story that contradicts what the Trump Administration has been claiming appears and suddenly dies. The public that actually follows the news might recall a little more than one month ago the United States assassinated a senior Iranian official named Qassem Soleimani. Openly killing someone in the government of a country with which one is not at war is, to say the least, unusual, particularly when the crime is carried out in yet another country with which both the perpetrator and the victim have friendly relations. The justification provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking for the administration, was that Soleimani was in Iraq planning an "imminent" mass killing of Americans, for which no additional evidence was provided at that time or since.

It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved. If that is so, events as they unfolded suggest that the US government might have encouraged Soleimani to make his trip so he could be set up and killed. Donald Trump later dismissed the lack of any corroboration of the tale of "imminent threat" being peddled by Pompeo, stating that it didn't really matter as Soleimani was a terrorist who deserved to die.

The incident that started the killing cycle that eventually included Soleimani consisted of a December 27th attack on a US base in Iraq in which four American soldiers and two Iraqis were wounded while one US contractor, an Iraqi-born translator, was killed. The United States immediately blamed Iran, claiming that it had been carried out by an Iranian supported Shi'ite militia called Kata'ib Hezbollah. It provided no evidence for that claim and retaliated by striking a Kata'ib base, killing 25 Iraqis who were in the field fighting the remnants of Islamic State (IS). The militiamen had been incorporated into the Iraqi Army and this disproportionate response led to riots outside the US Embassy in Baghdad, which were also blamed on Iran by the US There then followed the assassinations of Soleimani and nine senior Iraqi militia officers. Iran retaliated when it fired missiles at American forces , injuring more than one hundred soldiers, and then mistakenly shot down a passenger jet , killing an additional 176 people. As a consequence due to the killing by the US of 34 Iraqis in the two incidents, the Iraqi Parliament also voted to expel all American troops.

It now appears that the original death of the American contractor that sparked the tit-for-tat conflict was not carried out by Kata'ib Hezbollah at all. An Iraqi Army investigative team has gathered convincing evidence that it was an attack staged by Islamic State. In fact, the Iraqi government has demonstrated that Kata'ib Hezbollah has had no presence in Kirkuk province, where the attack took place, since 2014. It is a heavily Sunni area where Shi'a are not welcome and is instead relatively hospitable to all-Sunni IS. It was, in fact, one of the original breeding grounds for what was to become ISIS.

This new development was reported in the New York Times in an article that was headlined "Was US Wrong About Attack That Nearly Started a War With Iran? Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that started a dangerous spiral of events." In spite of the sensational nature of the report it generally was ignored in television news and in other mainstream media outlets, letting the Trump administration get away with yet another big lie, one that could easily have led to a war with Iran.

Iraqi investigators found and identified the abandoned white Kia pickup with an improvised Katyusha rocket launcher in the vehicle's bed that was used to stage the attack. It was discovered down a desert road within range of the K-1 joint Iraqi-American base that was hit by at least ten missiles in December, most of which struck the American area.

There is no direct evidence tying the attack to any particular party and the improvised KIA truck is used by all sides in the regional fighting, but the Iraqi officials point to the undisputed fact that it was the Islamic State that had carried out three separate attacks near the base over the 10 days preceding December 27th. And there are reports that IS has been increasingly active in Kirkuk Province during the past year, carrying out near daily attacks with improvised roadside bombs and ambushes using small arms. There had, in fact, been reports from Iraqi intelligence that were shared with the American command warning that there might be an IS attack on K-1 itself, which is an Iraqi air base in that is shared with US forces.

The intelligence on the attack has been shared with American investigators, who have also examined the pick-up truck. The Times reports that the US command in Iraq continue to insist that the attack was carried out by Kata'ib based on information, including claimed communications intercepts, that it refuses to make public. The US forces may not have shared the intelligence they have with the Iraqis due to concerns that it would be leaked to Iran, but senior Iraqi military officers are nevertheless perplexed by the reticence to confide in an ally.

If the Iraqi investigation of the facts around the December attack on K-1 is reliable, the Donald Trump administration's reckless actions in Iraq in late December and early January cannot be justified. Worse still, it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one. To be sure, the Trump administration has lied about developments in the Middle East so many times that it can no longer be trusted. Unfortunately, demanding any accountability from the Trump team would require a Congress that is willing to shoulder its responsibility for truth in government backed up by a media that is willing to take on an administration that regularly punishes anyone or any entity that dares to challenge it

That is the unfortunate reality in America today.



AnonStarter , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:25 am GMT

Well, the 9/11 Commission lied about Israeli involvement, Israeli neocons lied America into Iraq, and Netanyahu lied about Iranian nukes, so this latest news is just par for the course.
KA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:59 am GMT
@04398436986 lets stay focused.

Pompeo had evidence of immediate catastrophic attack. That turned out to be a lie and plain BS.
Why should we believe Pompeo or White House or intelligence about the situation developing around 27-29 Dec ? Is it because it's USA who is saying so?

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:12 am GMT
[it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one.]

The Jewish mafia stooge and fifth column, Trump, is a war criminal and an ASSASSIN.

... ... ...

melpol , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:13 am GMT
War with Iran is off the table. Carpet bombing Iran would lead to the destruction of Israel and its nuclear facility...
Sean , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:23 am GMT

Worse still, it would appear that the White House was looking for an excuse to attack and kill a senior Iranian official to send some kind of message, a provocation that could easily have resulted in a war that would benefit no one.

Soleimani was a soldier involved in covert operations, Iran's most celebrated hero, and had been featured in the Iraq media as the target of multiple Western assassination attempts. He did not have diplomatic status.

As it happens Iran did not declare war on America and America did not declare war on Iran. If Americans soldiers killed in Iraq should not have been there in the first place, then the same goes for an Iranian soldier killed there too.

KA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:30 am GMT
@04398436986 There is western assertion and western assertion only that Iran influences Iraqi administration and intelligence . It can be a projection from a failing America . It can be also a valid possibility .

But lying is America's alter ego . It comes easily and as default explanation even when admitting truth would do a better job .

Now let's focus on ISIS 's claims . Why is Ametica not taking it ( claim of ISIS) as truth and fact when USA has for last 19 years has jailed , bombed, attacked mentally retarded , caves and countries because somebody has pledged allegiance to Al Quida or to ISIS!!!

It seems neither truth nor lies , but what suits a particular psychopath at a particular time – that becomes USA's report ( kind of unassigned sex – neither truth nor lies – take your pick and find the toilet to flush it down memory hole) – so Pompeo lies to nation hoping no one in administration will ask . When administrative staff gets interested to know the truth , Pompeo tells them to suck it up , move on and get ready to explain the next batch of reality manufactured by a regime and well trained by philosopher Karl Rove

AnonStarter , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 4:06 am GMT
@04398436986 conspiracy mongers

To what "conspiracy" are you referring? It's a well established fact that your ilk was, at the very least, aware that the 9/11 attacks would occur and celebrated them in broad daylight. No conspiracy theory needed. Mossad ordnance experts were living practically next door to the hijackers. Well established fact.

It's also undeniable that the 9/11 Commission airbrushed Israeli involvement from their report. No conspiracy theory there, either.

Same goes for Israeli neocons and their media mandarins using "faulty intel" to get their war in Iraq. "Clean Break"? "Rebuilding America's Defenses"? Openly written and published. Judith Miller's lies? Also no conspiracy.

And Israel's own intelligence directors were undermining Netanyahu's lies on Iran. Not a conspiracy in sight.

contemplating the outcome of normal everyday competition, influenced by good & bad luck, is just too much truth for some psychological makeups

That's one of the lamest attempts at deflection I've seen thus far, and I've seen quite a few here.

Those who deny the official version of 9/11 are in the majority now:

https://www.livescience.com/56479-americans-believe-conspiracy-theories.html

We've reached critical mass. Clearly, that's just too much truth for your psychological makeup. Were we really that worthy of ignoring, your people wouldn't be working 24/7/365 to peddle your malarkey in fora of this variety.

JUSA , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 5:23 am GMT
I have thought that Trump's true impeachable crime was the illegal assassination of a foreign general who was not in combat. Pence should also be impeached for the botched coup in Venezuela. That was true embarrassment bringing that "El Presidente" that no one recognizes to the SOTU.

USA is basically JU-S-A now, Jews own and run this country from top to bottom, side to side, and because of it, pretty much run the world. China-Russia-Iran form their new "Axis of Evil" to be brought in line. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the Covid-19 is a bioweapon, except not one created by China. Israel has been working on an ethnic based bioweapon for years. US sent 172 military "athletes" to the Military World Games in Wuhan in October, 2019, two weeks before the first case of coronavirus appeared. Almost too coincidental.

animalogic , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 6:20 am GMT
@Sean He wasn't there as a soldier -- he was there in a diplomatic role. (regardless of his official "status"). It also appears he was lured there with intent to assaninate.
Your last para is not only terrible logic but ignores the point of the article. Iran likely was not responsible for the US deaths. Even had it been responsible it would still not legitimate such a baldly criminal action.
Sean , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 6:29 am GMT
@JUSA

[I]illegal assassination of a foreign general who was not in combat

Lawful combat according to the Geneva Convention in which war is openly declared and fought between two countries each of which have regular uniformed forces that do all the actual fighting is an extremely rare thing. It is all proxy forces, deniability and asymmetric warfare in which one side (the stronger) is attacked by phantom combatants.

The Israeli PM publically alluded to the fact that Soleimani had almost been killed in the Mossad operation to kill Imad Mughniyeh a decade ago. The Iranian public knew that Soleimani had narrowly escaped death from Israeli drones, because Soleimani appeared on Iranian TV in October and told the story. A plot kill him by at a memorial service in Iran was supposedly foiled. He came from Lebanon by way of Syria into Iraq as if none of this had happened. Trump had sacked Bolton and failed to react to the drone attack on Saudi oil.

Iran seems to have thought that refusal to actually fight in the type of war that the international conventions were designed to regulate is a licence to exert pressure by launch attacks without being targeted oneself. Now do they understand.

Ace , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:41 am GMT
@Sean American troops invaded Iraq under false pretenses, killed thousands, and caused great destruction. Chaos and vengeful Sunnis spilled over into Syria where the US proceeded to grovel before the terrorists we fret about. Soleimani was effective in organizing resistance in Iraq and Syria and was in both countries with the blessing of their governments.

How you get Soleimani shouldn't be there out of that I have no idea.

Zen , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:04 pm GMT
@04398436986 Yet you ignore that the Neocons have lied about virtually every cause if war ever. Lied about Iraq, North Korea and Iran nuclear info actions, about chem weapons in Syria, lied about Kosovo, lied about Libya, lied about Benghazi, lied about Venezuela. So Whom I gonna believe, no government, but a Neocon led one least of all
Vojkan , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:05 pm GMT
@Sean American soldiers went there uninvited. Soleimani went there because he was invited. That makes a hell of a difference.
Robjil , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:05 pm GMT
It is common knowledge that ISIS is a US/Israeli creation. ISIS is the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service. Thus, the US/Israel staged the attack on the US base on 12.27.2019.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/isis-is-a-us-israeli-creation-top-ten-indications/5518627

ISIS is a US-Israeli Creation: Indication #2: ISIS Never Attacks Israel

It is more than highly strange and suspicious that ISIS never attacks Israel – it is another indication that ISIS is controlled by Israel. If ISIS were a genuine and independent uprising that was not covertly orchestrated by the US and Israel, why would they not try to attack the Zionist regime, which has attacked almost of all of its Muslim neighbors ever since its inception in 1948? Israel has attacked Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, and of course has decimated Palestine. It has systemically tried to divide and conquer its Arab neighbors. It continually complains of Islamic terrorism. Yet, when ISIS comes on the scene as the bloody and barbaric king of Islamic terrorism, it finds no fault with Israel and sees no reason to target a regime which has perpetrated massive injustice against Muslims? This stretches credibility to a snapping point.

ISIS and Israel don't attack each other – they help each other. Israel was treating ISIS soldiers and other anti-Assad rebels in its hospitals! Mortal enemies or best of friends?

Coward Corps , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm GMT
The MQ-9 pilot and sensor operator will be looking over their shoulders for a long time. They're as famous as Soleimani. Their command chain is well known too, hide though they might far away.

And who briefed the president that terror Tuesday? The murder program isn't Air Force.

Eek , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm GMT
Hey now, you learn to put the best gloss on things when your troops are pathetic little timmies scared of rocks and 12-year olds. Bunch of pussies.

https://southfront.org/dumbfucks-russian-troops-react-to-us-forces-using-firearms-against-syrian-villagers/

The IRGC is going to make mincemeat of these chumps.

Moi , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm GMT
@anonymous The kind of crap Trump pulled in the assassination of Soleimani is what he should be impeached about–not the piss-ant stuff about Hunter Biden's job in the Ukaranian gas company and his pappy's role in it.
Sick of Orcs , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm GMT
We're really benefitting, carrying water for (((our greatest ally.)))
Really No Shit , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm GMT
Iraq an ally of the United States! Is it some kind of a joke? How can a master and slave be equal? We, the big dog want their oil and the tail that wags us, Israel, want all Muslims pacified and the Congress, which is us wether we like or not, compliant out of financial fears. Unless we curb our own greedy appetite for fossil fuels and at the same time tell an ally, which Israel is by being equal in a sense that it can get away with murder and not a pip is raised, to limit its ambition, nothing is going to be done to improve the situation. Until then it's an exercise in futility, at best!
anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Ozymandias You are so ignorant.

Iran has NO choice but to defend itself from the savages. It has not been Iran that invaded US, but US with a plan that design years before 9/11 invaded many countries. Remember: seven countries in five years. Soleimani was a wise man working towards peace by creating options for Iran to defend itself. Iran is not the aggressor, but US -Israel-UK are the aggressor for centuries now. Is this so difficult to understand. 9/11 was staged by US/Israel killing 3000 Christians to implement their criminal plan.

Soleimani, was on a peace mission, where was assassinated by Trump, an Israeli firster and a fifth column and the baby killer Netanyahu. Is this difficult to understand by the Trump worshiper, a traitor.

Now, Khamenie is saying the same thing: "Iran should be strong in military warfare and sciences to prevent war and maintain PEACE.

Only ignorant, arrogant, and racists don't understand this fact and refuse to understand how the victims have been pushed to defend themselves.

The Assassin at the black house should receive the same fate in order to bring the peace.

anonymous [307] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:48 pm GMT
@Moi I totally agree with you. Both parties are a fifth column and criminals.
Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 2:57 pm GMT
When does Amerikastan *not* lie about anything? If an Amerikastani tells you the sun rises in the east, you're probably on Venus, where it rises in the west.
DaveE , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:05 pm GMT
I think this article is getting close to the truth, that this whole operation was and is an ISIS (meaning Israeli Secret Intelligence Service) affair designed to pit America against the zionists' most formidable enemy thus far, Iran.

I'm of the opinion that Trump did not order the hit on Soleimani, but was forced to take credit for it, if he didn't want to forfeit any chance of being reelected this year. The same ISIS (Israeli) forces that did the hit also orchestrated the "retaliation" that Mr. Giraldi so heroically documents in this piece.

As usual, this is looking more and more like a zionist /jewish false flag attack on the Muslim world, with the real dirty-work to be done by the American military.

Ahoy , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:17 pm GMT
The dealer in the M.E. poker game is Putin. This is what drives the very elite crazy. How could this have happened? We had conquered Russia in 1917.

Well, you must have made a small mistake along the way. Trumpstein can't save you. Soon the dollar won't have any value. There is nothing behind it.

The new policeman in the M.E. will be Iran. The legacy of Lawrence of Arabia has died long time ago.

Greg Bacon , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT

It soon emerged that the Iranian was in fact in Baghdad to discuss with the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi a plan that might lead to the de-escalation of the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, a meeting that the White House apparently knew about may even have approved.

It's now obvious that the slumlord son-in-law Jared Kushner is really running the USA's ME policy.
Kushner is not only a dear friend of at-large war criminal Bibi Nuttyahoo, he also belongs to the Judaic religious cult of Chabad Lubavitcher, whom make the war-loving Christian Evangelicals almost look sane. Chabad also prays for some kind of Armageddon to bring forth their Messiah, just like the Evangelicals.

One can tell by Kushner's nasty comments he makes about Arabs/Persians and Palestinians in particular, that he loathes and despises those people and has an idiotic ear to cry into in the malignant form of Zion Don, AKA President Trump.

It's been said that Kushner is also a Mossad agent or asset, which is a good guess, since that agency has been placing their agents into the WH since at least the days of Clinton, who had Rahm Emmanuel to whisper hate into his ear.

That the Iranian General Soleimani was lured into Iraq so the WH could murder the man probably most responsible for halting the terrorist activities of the heart-eating, head-chopping US/Israel/KSA creation ISIS brings to mind the motto of the Israeli version of the CIA, the Mossad.

"By way of deception thou shalt make war."

Between Trump's incompetence, his vanity–and yes, his stupidity– and his appointing Swamp creatures into his cabinet and allowing Jared to run the ME show, Trump is showing himself to be a worse choice than Hillary.
If that maniac gets another 4 years, humanity is doomed. Or at least the USA for sure will perish.

[Feb 10, 2020] Stench of Netanyahu in attack on K-1 base near Kirkuk: Did Washington Use a False Pretext for Its Recent Escalation in Iraq?

Notable quotes:
"... New York Times's ..."
Feb 08, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

In a key piece of actual extensive, on-the-ground reporting , the New York Times's Alissa Rubin has raised serious questions about the official US account of who it was that attacked the K-1 base near Kirkuk, in eastern Iraq, on December 27. The United States almost immediately accused the Iran-backed Ketaib Hizbullah (KH) militia of responsibility. But Rubin quotes by name Brig. General Ahmed Adnan, the chief of intelligence for the Iraqi federal police at the same base, as saying, "All the indications are that it was Daesh" -- that is, ISIS.

She also presents considerable further detailed reporting on the matter. And she notes that though U.S. investigators claim to have evidence about KH's responsibility for the attack, they have presented none of it publicly. Nor have they shared it with the Iraqi government.

KH is a paramilitary organization that operates under the command of the Iraqi military and has been deeply involved in the anti-ISIS campaigns throughout the country.

The December 27 attack killed one Iraqi-American contractor and was cited by the Trump administration as reason to launch a large-scale attack on five KH bases some 400 miles to the west which killed around 50 KH fighters. Outraged KH fighters then mobbed the US embassy in Baghdad, breaking through an outside perimeter on its large campus, but causing no casualties. On January 2, Pres. Trump decided to escalate again, ordering the assassination of Iran's Gen. Qasem Soleimani and bringing the region and the world close to a massive shooting war.

The new evidence presented by Rubin makes it look as if Trump and his advisors had previously decided on a broad-scale plan to attack Iran's very influential allies in Iraq and were waiting for a triggering event– any triggering event!– to use as a pretext to launch it. The attack against the K-1 base presented them with that trigger, even though they have not been able to present any evidence that it was KH that undertook it.

This playbook looks very similar to the one that Ariel Sharon, who was Israel's Defense Minister in summer 1982, used to launch his wide attack against the PLO's presence in Lebanon in June that year. The "trigger" Sharon used to launch his long-prepared attack was the serious (but not fatal) wounding of Israel's ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov, which the Israeli government immediately blamed on the PLO.

Regarding London in 1982, as regarding K-1 last December, the actual identity of the assailant(s) was misreported by the government that used it as a trigger for escalation. In London, the police fairly speedily established that it was not the PLO but operatives of an anti-PLO group headed by a man called Abu Nidal who had attacked Argov. But by the time they had discovered and publicized that fact, Israeli tanks were already deep inside Lebanon.

The parallels and connections between the two cases go further. If, as now seems likely, the authors of the K-1 attack were indeed Da'esh, then they succeeded brilliantly in triggering a bitter fight between two substantial forces in the coalition that had been fighting against them in Iraq. Regarding the 1982 London attack, its authors also succeeded brilliantly in triggering a lethal conflict between two forces (one substantial, one far less so) that were both engaged in bitter combat against Abu Nidal's networks.

Worth noting: Abu Nidal's main backer, throughout his whole campaign against the PLO, was Saddam Hussein's brutal government in Iraq. (The London assailants deposited their weapons in the Iraqi embassy after completing the attack.) Many senior strategists and planners for ISIS in Iraq were diehard remnants of Saddam's formerly intimidating security forces.

Also worth noting: Three months in to Sharon's massive 1982 invasion of Lebanon, it seemed to have successfully reached its goals of expelling the PLO's fighting forces from Lebanon and installing a strongly pro-Israeli government there. But over the longer haul, the invasion looked much less successful. The lengthy Israeli occupation of south Lebanon that followed 1982 served to incubate the birth and growth of the (pro-Iranian) Hizbullah there. Today, Hizbullah is a strong political movement inside Lebanon that commands a very capable fighting force that expelled Israel's last presence from Lebanon in 2000, rebuffed a subsequent Israeli invasion of the country six years later, and still exerts considerable deterrent power against Israel today

Very few people in Israel today judge the 1982 invasion of Lebanon to have been a wise move. How will the historians of the future view Trump's decision to launch his big escalation against Iran's allies in Iraq, presumably as part of his "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran?

This article has been republished with permission from Just World News .

[Feb 09, 2020] Following the US assassination of Soleimani, the Trump administration is leading American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness by Patrick Lawrence

Notable quotes:
"... In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire's foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now. ..."
"... Lawlessness begets lawlessness is the operative (and obvious) principle. In a remarkable speech at the Hoover Institution last week, Pompeo termed the Soleimani assassination "the restoration of deterrence" and appeared to promise other such operations against other nations Washington considers adversaries. Ominously enough, Pompeo singled out China and Russia. ..."
"... Against the background of the events noted above, it is clear from this speech alone that our secretary of state is a dangerously incompetent figure when it comes to judging global events, the proper responses to them, and the probable consequences of a given response. If we are going to think about costs, the heaviest will fall on Americans in months to come. ..."
"... Immediately after the U.S. drone that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a message whose importance should not be missed. "End of US's malign presence in West Asia has begun," Iran's foreign minister wrote. These few words, rendered in Twitterese, bear careful consideration given they come from an official whose nation had just sustained a critical blow. ..."
"... Gradually but rather certainly now, the community of nations is losing its patience with late-phase imperial America. With exceptions such as Japan and Israel, the Baltics and Saudi Arabia, this is so across both oceans and more or less across the non–Western world. In the Middle East, the American presence will remain for the time being, but we are now in the beginning-of-the-end phase. This was Zarif's meaning. And we now know the end will come neither peaceably nor lawfully. ..."
"... Amazing how the US government is bringing back the old days: "Slave markets" See: reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-rights/executions-torture-and-slave-markets-persist-in-libya-u-n-idUSKBN1GX1JY "Pillage", as pointed out in this article. ..."
"... To have such a person as the top diplomat in the USA shows how low the USA has sunk. For him to pretend to be some sort of Christian is sinister and extremely dangerous for everyone. There is NO reason for the US animosity towards Iran except subservience to Israel, which, again without real justification, claims to be terrified of Iran, which unlike Israel is NOT attacking others and has not for centuries. ..."
"... SecStae's remarks about deterrence befit a military commander, NOT a diplomat. Paranoia, grandiosity and violence begin with potus and cascade downward and about. Congress does its part in investing in machinery of war. ..."
"... Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days ..."
"... Pillage as policy. The Empire has fully embraced gangster capitalism for its modus operandi. ..."
"... Here is an interesting article that explains how governments have changed the rules so that they can justify killing anyone who they believe may at some point in time have the potential to be involved in a terrorist plot: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-new.html ..."
"... This rather Orwellian move gives governments the justification that they to kill any of us just because they feel that we might pose a threat and that is a very, very scary prospect. It is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report where crimes of the future are punished in the present. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Special to Consortium News

Of all the preposterous assertions made since the drone assassination of Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3, the prize for bottomless ignorance must go to the bottomlessly ignorant Mike Pompeo.

Speaking after the influential Iranian general's death, our frightening secretary of state declaimed on CBS's Face the Nation , "There was sound and just and legal reason for the actions the President took, and the world is safer as a result." In appearances on five news programs on the same Sunday morning, the evangelical paranoid who now runs American foreign policy was a singer with a one-note tune. "It's very clear the world's a safer place today," Pompeo said on ABC's Jan. 5 edition of This Week.

In our late-imperial phase, we seem to have reached that moment when, whatever high officials say in matters of the empire's foreign policy, we must consider whether the opposite is in fact the case. So we have it now.

We are not safer now that Soleimani, a revered figure across much of the Middle East, has been murdered. The planet has just become significantly more dangerous, especially but not only for Americans, and this is so for one simple reason: The Trump administration, Pompeo bearing the standard, has just tipped American conduct abroad into a zone of probably unprecedented lawlessness, Pompeo's nonsensical claim to legality notwithstanding .

This is a very consequential line to cross.

Hardly does it hold that Washington's foreign policy cliques customarily keep international law uppermost in their minds and that recent events are aberrations. Nothing suggests policy planners even consider legalities except when it makes useful propaganda to charge others with violating international statutes and conventions.

Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.

Neither can the Soleimani assassination be understood in isolation: This was only the most reckless of numerous policy decisions recently taken in the Middle East. Since late last year, to consider merely the immediate past, the Trump administration has acted ever more flagrantly in violation of all international legal authorities and documents -- the UN Charter, the International Criminal Court, and the International Court of Justice in the Hague chief among them.

Washington is into full-frontal lawlessness now.

'Keeping the Oil'

Shortly after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria last October, the president reversed course -- probably under Pentagon and State Department pressure -- and said some troops would remain to protect Syria's oilfields. "We want to keep the oil," Trump declared in the course of a Twitter storm. It soon emerged that the administration's true intent was to prevent the Assad government in Damascus from reasserting sovereign control over Syrian oilfields.

The Russians had the honesty to call this for what it was. "Washington's attempt to put oilfields there under [its] control is illegal," Sergei Lavrov said at the time. "In fact, it's tantamount to robbery," the Russian foreign minister added. (John Kiriakou, writing for Consortium News, pointed out that it is a violation of the 1907 Hague Convention. It is call pillage.)

Few outside the Trump administration, and possibly no one, has argued that Soleimani's murder was legitimate under international law. Not only was the Iranian general from a country with which the U.S. is not at war, which means the crime is murder; the drone attack was also a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty, as has been widely reported.

In response to Baghdad's subsequent demand that all foreign troops withdraw from Iraqi soil, Pompeo flatly refused even to discuss the matter with Iraqi officials -- yet another openly contemptuous violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

It gets worse. In his own response to Baghdad's decision to evict foreign troops, Trump threatened sanctions -- "sanctions like they've never seen before" -- and said Iraq would have to pay the U.S. the cost of the bases the Pentagon has built there despite binding agreements that all fixed installations the U.S. has built in Iraq are Iraqi government-owned.

At Baghdad's Throat

Trump, who seems to have oil eternally on his mind, has been at Baghdad's throat for some time. Twice since taking office three years ago, he has tried to intimidate the Iraqis into "repaying" the U.S. for its 2003 invasion with access to Iraqi oil. "We did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil," he said on the second of these occasions.

Baghdad rebuffed Trump both times, but he has been at it since, according to Adil Abdul–Mahdi, Iraq's interim prime minister. Last year the U.S. administration asked Baghdad for 50 percent of the nation's oil output -- in total roughly 4.5 million barrels daily -- in exchange for various promised reconstruction projects.

Rejecting the offer, Abdul–Mahdi signed an "oil for reconstruction" agreement with China last autumn -- whereupon Trump threatened to instigate widespread demonstrations in Baghdad if Abdul–Mahdi did not cancel the China deal. (He did not do so and, coincidentally or otherwise, civil unrest ensued.)

U.S. Army forces operating in southern Iraq, April. 2, 2003. (U.S. Navy)

Blueprints for Reprisal

If American lawlessness is nothing new, the brazenly imperious character of all the events noted in this brief résumé has nonetheless pushed U.S. foreign policy beyond a tipping point.

No American -- and certainly no American official or military personnel -- can any longer travel in the Middle East with an assurance of safety. All American diplomats, all military officers, and all embassies and bases in the region are now vulnerable to reprisals. The Associated Press reported after the Jan. 3 drone strike that Iran has developed 13 blueprints for reprisals against the U.S.

Lawlessness begets lawlessness is the operative (and obvious) principle. In a remarkable speech at the Hoover Institution last week, Pompeo termed the Soleimani assassination "the restoration of deterrence" and appeared to promise other such operations against other nations Washington considers adversaries. Ominously enough, Pompeo singled out China and Russia.

Here is a snippet from Pompeo's remarks:

"In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so . In all cases we have to do this."

Against the background of the events noted above, it is clear from this speech alone that our secretary of state is a dangerously incompetent figure when it comes to judging global events, the proper responses to them, and the probable consequences of a given response. If we are going to think about costs, the heaviest will fall on Americans in months to come.

Immediately after the U.S. drone that killed Soleimani at Baghdad International Airport, Mohammad Javad Zarif sent out a message whose importance should not be missed. "End of US's malign presence in West Asia has begun," Iran's foreign minister wrote. These few words, rendered in Twitterese, bear careful consideration given they come from an official whose nation had just sustained a critical blow.

24 hrs ago, an arrogant clown -- masquerading as a diplomat -- claimed people were dancing in the cities of Iraq.

Today, hundreds of thousands of our proud Iraqi brothers and sisters offered him their response across their soil.

End of US malign presence in West Asia has begun. pic.twitter.com/eTDRyLN11c

-- Javad Zarif (@JZarif) January 4, 2020

Gradually but rather certainly now, the community of nations is losing its patience with late-phase imperial America. With exceptions such as Japan and Israel, the Baltics and Saudi Arabia, this is so across both oceans and more or less across the non–Western world. In the Middle East, the American presence will remain for the time being, but we are now in the beginning-of-the-end phase. This was Zarif's meaning. And we now know the end will come neither peaceably nor lawfully.

Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune , is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is "Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century" (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist . His web site is Patrick Lawrence . Support his work via his Patreon site .

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.


Jeff Harrison , January 21, 2020 at 19:38

Well, there's two relevant bits here. Bullshit walks and money talks. Our money stopped talking $23T ago. What goes around, comes around. Whenever, however it comes down, it's gonna hurt.

Antiwar7 , January 21, 2020 at 13:46

Amazing how the US government is bringing back the old days: "Slave markets" See: reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-rights/executions-torture-and-slave-markets-persist-in-libya-u-n-idUSKBN1GX1JY "Pillage", as pointed out in this article.

rosemerry , January 21, 2020 at 13:28

To have such a person as the top diplomat in the USA shows how low the USA has sunk. For him to pretend to be some sort of Christian is sinister and extremely dangerous for everyone. There is NO reason for the US animosity towards Iran except subservience to Israel, which, again without real justification, claims to be terrified of Iran, which unlike Israel is NOT attacking others and has not for centuries.

Even if the USA hates Iran, it has already done inestimable damage to the Islamic Republic before this disgraceful action. Cruelty to 80 million people who have never harmed, even really threatened, the mighty USA, by tossing out a working JCPOA and installing economic "sanctions", should not be accepted by the rest of the world-giving in to blackmail encourages worse behavior, as we have already seen.

"It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. " This is exactly what should be rejected by us all. These "leaders" will not change their behavior without solidarity among "allies" like the European Union, which has already caved in and blamed Iran for the changes -Iran has explained clearly why it made- to the JCPOA which the USA has left.

Abby , January 21, 2020 at 20:15

The only difference between Trump and Obama is that Trump doesn't hide the US naked aggression as well as Obama did. So far Trump hasn't started any new wars. By this time in Obama's tenure we had started bombing more countries and accepted one coup.

dfnslblty , January 21, 2020 at 12:43

SecStae's remarks about deterrence befit a military commander, NOT a diplomat. Paranoia, grandiosity and violence begin with potus and cascade downward and about. Congress does its part in investing in machinery of war.

Cheyenne , January 21, 2020 at 11:49

The above comment shows exactly why bellicose adventurism for oil etc. is so stupid and dangerous. If we continually prance around robbing people, they're gonna unite to slap us down.

Hardly seems like anyone should need that pointed out but if anybody mentioned it to Trump or any other gung ho warhawk, he must not have been listening.

Dan Kuhn , January 21, 2020 at 13:08

Trump and Pompeo seem to have entered the Wild West stage of recent American history. I think they watch too many western movies, without understanding the underrlying plot of 100% of them. It is the bad guys take over a town, where they impose their will on the population, terrorizing everyone into obediance. They steal everything in sight and any who oppose them are summarily killed off. In the end a good guy ( In American parlance, " a good guy with a gun" shows up . The town`s people approach him and beg him to oppose the bad guys. He then proceeds to kill off the bad guys after the general population joins him in his crusade. it looks as though we are at the stage in the movie where the general population is ready to take up arms against the bad guys.

The moral of the story the bad guys, the bullies, Pompeo and Trump, are either killed or chased out of town. But perhaps the problem is that this plot is too difficult for Trump and Pompeo to understand. So they don`t quite get the peril that there gunmen and killers are now in. They don`t see the writing on the wall.

Caveman , January 21, 2020 at 11:30

It seems the only US considerations in the assassination were – will it weaken Iran, will it strengthen the American position? On that perspective, the answer is probably yes on both counts. Legal considerations do not seem to have carried any weight. In the UK we recently saw a chilling interview with Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It was clear that he saw the assassination as another nail in the coffin of the Iranian regime, simply furthering a policy objective.

Vera Gottlieb , January 21, 2020 at 11:19

What is even sadder is the world's lack of gonads to stand up to this bully nation – that has caused so much grief and still does.

Michael McNulty , January 21, 2020 at 11:01

The US government became a crime syndicate. Today its bootleg liquor is oil, the boys they send round to steal it are armies and their drive-by shootings are Warthog strafings using DU ammunition. Their drug rackets in the back streets are high-grade reefer, heroin and amphetamines, with pharmaceutical-grade chemicals on Main Street. They still print banknotes just as before; but this time it's legal but still doesn't make them enough, so to make up the shortfalls they've taken armed robbery abroad.

paul easton , January 21, 2020 at 12:55

The US Government is running a protection racket, literally. In return for US protection of their sources of oil, the NATO countries provide international support for US war crimes. But now that the (figurative) Don is visibly out of his mind, they are likely to turn to other protectors.

Gary Weglarz , January 21, 2020 at 10:34

One need not step back very far in order to look at the bigger longer range picture. What immediately comes into focus is that this is simply the current moment in what is now 500 plus years of Western colonialism/neocolonialism. When has the law EVER had anything to do with any of this?

ML , January 21, 2020 at 10:31

Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days. I hope he plans more overseas trips for himself. He is a vile person, a psychopath proud of his psychopathy. He alone would make anyone considering conversion to Christianity, his brand of it, run screaming into the night. Repulsive man.

Michael Crockett , January 21, 2020 at 09:40

Pillage as policy. The Empire has fully embraced gangster capitalism for its modus operandi. That said, IMO, the axis of resistance has the military capability and the resolve to fight back and win. Combining China and Russia into a greater axis of resistance could further shrink the Outlaw US Empire presence in West Asia. Thank you Patrick for your keen insight and observations. The Empires days are numbered.

Sally Snyder , January 21, 2020 at 07:28

Here is an interesting article that explains how governments have changed the rules so that they can justify killing anyone who they believe may at some point in time have the potential to be involved in a terrorist plot: viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/01/the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-new.html

This rather Orwellian move gives governments the justification that they to kill any of us just because they feel that we might pose a threat and that is a very, very scary prospect. It is very reminiscent of the movie Minority Report where crimes of the future are punished in the present.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Deeper Story Behind The Assassination Of Soleimani

Highly recommended!
Looks like the end of Full Spectrum Dominance the the USA enjoyed since 1991. Alliance of Iran, Russia and China (with Turkey and Pakistan as two possible members) is serious military competitor and while the USA has its set of trump cards, the military victory against such an alliance no longer guaranteed.
Jan 09, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani's assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the US dollar's role as the global reserve currency .

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani's assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast:

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi's speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this "third party".

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia's reaction , that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom's statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom's view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the US operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the US strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly , the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: 'Please spare us the pain of going through another war'.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the US or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq's efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh's reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt , when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran's retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone's throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran's regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written .

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the US dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the US dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the US a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the US can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington's global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington's numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing's economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping's 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The US is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose. The US cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world's oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump's feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the US can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the US dollar.

Soleimani's death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump's electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani's assassination to Osama bin Laden's), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the US lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the US and Israel's determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington's friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

Very good article, straight to the point. In fact its much worse. I know is hard to swallow for my US american brother and sisters.

But as sooner you wake up and see the reality as it is, as better chances the US has to survive with honor. Stop the wars around the globe and do not look for excuses. Isnt it already obvious what is going on with the US war machine? How many more examples some people need to wake up?

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

Not all said in video above is accurate but the recent events in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Africa are all related to prevent China from overtaking the zionist hegemonic world and to recolonize China (at least the parasite is trying to hop to China as new host).

Trade war, Huawei, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet ..... the concerted efforts from all zionist controlled media (ZeroHedge included) to slander, smearing, fake news against China should tell you what the Zionists agenda are :)

............

Trump Threatens to Kill Iraqi PM if He Doesn't Cancel China Oil Deal - MoA

The American President's threatened the Iraqi Prime Minister to liquidate him directly with the Minister of Defense. The Marines are the third party that sniped the demonstrators and the security men:

Abdul Mahdi continued:

"After my return from China, Trump called me and asked me to cancel the agreement, so I also refused, and he threatened me with massive demonstrations that would topple me. Indeed, the demonstrations started and then Trump called, threatening to escalate in the event of non-cooperation and responding to his wishes, so that the third party (Marines snipers) would target the demonstrators and security forces and kill them from the highest structures and the US embassy in an attempt to pressure me and submit to his wishes and cancel the China agreement, so I did not respond and submitted my resignation and the Americans still insist to this day on canceling the China agreement and when the defense minister said that who kills the demonstrators is a third party, Trump called me immediately and physically threatened me and defense minister in the event of talk about the third party."

.........


The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission found George W. Bush guilty of war crimes in absentia for the illegal invasion of Iraq. Bush, **** Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their legal advisers Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, William Haynes, Jay Bybee and John Yoo were tried in absentia in Malaysia.

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

I think Israel's fear is loss of regional goals if Iran becomes untouchable

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

Empire is lashing out of desperation because we've crossed peak Empire.

Things are going downhill and will get more volatile as we go.

Buckle up folks because the final act will be very nasty.

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

Unfortunately, this article makes a lot of sense. The US is losing influence and lashing out carelessly. I hope the rest of the world realizes how detached majority of the citizens within the states are from the federal government. The Federal government brings no good to our nation. None. From the mis management of our once tax revenues to the corrupt Congress who accepts bribes from the highest bidder, it's a rats best that is not only harmful to its own people, but the world at large. USD won't go down without a fight it seems... All empires end with a bang. Be ready

[Feb 05, 2020] Stumbling Into Catastrophe by Daniel McAdams

Feb 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Daniel McAdams via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

There is a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs. Needless to say it's even worse when they believe they can create their own reality and invent outcomes out of whole cloth.

Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.

President Trump was sold a bill of goods on the assassination of Iran's revered military leader, Qassim Soleimani, likely by a cabal around Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the long-discredited neocon David Wurmser. A former Netanyahu advisor and Iraq war propagandist, Wurmser reportedly sent memos to his mentor, John Bolton, while Bolton was Trump's National Security Advisor (now, of course, he's the hero of the #resistance for having turned on his former boss) promising that killing Soleimani would be a cost-free operation that would catalyze the Iranian people against their government and bring about the long-awaited regime change in that country. The murder of Soleimani – the architect of the defeat of ISIS – would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the [Iranian] regime depends for stability and survival," wrote Wurmser.

As is most often the case with neocons, he was dead wrong.

The operation was not cost-free. On the contrary. Assassinating Soleimani on Iraqi soil resulted in the Iraqi parliament – itself the product of our "bringing democracy" to the country – voting to expel US forces even as the vote by the people's representatives was roundly rejected by the people who brought the people the people's representatives. In a manner of speaking.

Trump's move had an effect opposite to the one promised by neocons. It did not bring Iranians out to the street to overthrow their government – it catalyzed opposition across Iraq's various political and religious factions to the continued US military presence and further tightened Iraq's relationship with Iran. And short of what would be a catastrophic war initiated by the US (with little or no support from allies), there is not a thing Trump can do about it.

Iran's retaliatory attack on two US bases in Iraq was initially sold by President Trump as merely a pin-prick. No harm, no foul, no injuries. This despite the fact that he must have known about US personnel injured in the attack. The reason for the lie was that Trump likely understands how devastating it would be to his presidency to escalate with Iran. So the truth began to trickle out slowly – 11 US military members were injured, but it was just "like a headache." Now we know that 50 US troops were treated for traumatic brain injury after the attack. This may not be the last of it – but don't count on the mainstream media to do any reporting.

The Iranian FARS news agency reported at the time of the attack that US personnel had been injured and the response by the US government was to completely take that media outlet off the Internet by order of the US Treasury !

Last week the US House voted to cancel the 2002 authorization for war on Iraq and to prohibit the use of funds for war on Iran without Congressional authorization. It is a significant, if largely symbolic, move to rein in the oft-used excuse of the Iraq war authorization for blatantly unrelated actions like the assassination of Soleimani and Obama's thousands of airstrikes on Syria and Iraq .

President Trump has argued that prohibiting funds for military action against Iran actually makes war more likely, as he would be restricted from the kinds of military-strikes-short-of-war like his attack on Syria after the alleged chemical attack in Douma in 2018 (claims which have recently fallen apart ). The logic is faulty and reflects again the danger of believing one's own propaganda. As we have seen from the Iranian military response to the Soleimani assassination, Trump's military-strikes-short-of-war are having a ratchet-like effect rather than a pressure-release or deterrent effect.

As the financial and current events analysis site ZeroHedge put it recently:

[S]ince last summer's "tanker wars", Trump has painted himself into a corner on Iran, jumping from escalation to escalation (to this latest "point of no return big one" in the form of the ordered Soleimani assassination) -- yet all the while hoping to avoid a major direct war. The situation reached a climax where there were "no outs" (Trump was left with two 'bad options' of either back down or go to war).

The Iranians have little to lose at this point and America's European allies are, even if impotent, fed up with the US obsession with Saudi Arabia and Israel as a basis for its Middle East policy.

So why open this essay with a photo of Trump celebrating his dead-on-arrival "Deal of The Century" for Israel and Palestine? Because this is once again a gullible and weak President Trump being led by the nose into the coming Middle East conflagration. Left without even a semblance of US sympathy for their plight, the Palestinians after the roll-out of this "peace" plan will again see that they have no friends outside Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. As Israel continues to flirt with the idea of simply annexing large parts of the West Bank, it is clear that the brakes are off of any Israeli reticence to push for maximum control over Palestinian territory. So what is there to lose?

Trump believes he's advancing peace in the Middle East, while the excellent Mondoweiss website rightly observes that a main architect of the "peace plan," Trump's own son-in-law Jared Kushner, "taunts Palestinians because he wants them to reject his 'peace plan.'" Rejection of the plan is a green light to a war of annihilation on the Palestinians.

It appears that the center may not hold, that the self-referential echo chamber that passes for Beltway "expert" analysis will again be caught off guard in the consequence-free profession that is neocon foreign policy analysis. "Gosh we didn't see that coming!" But the next day they are back on the teevee stations as great experts.

Clouds gathering...


Minamoto , 23 minutes ago link

It is hard to believe that Trump has any confidence in Jared Kushner. Yet, he does enough to go public with a one-sided plan developed without Palestinian input.

francis scott falseflag , 41 minutes ago link

a real danger for foreign policy advisors and analysts – and especially those they serve – when they are in a bubble, an echo chamber, and all of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.

The same is true of the economists and financial analysts who live in the bubble of the NSYE and the echo chamber of Manhattan. All of their conclusions are based on faulty inputs.

Ruler , 1 hour ago link

The problem all incompetent leaders have, is seeing how their opponents see them.

Bokkenrijder , 1 hour ago link

If Trump continues to be 'dumb' enough to consistently hire these people and consistently listen to them, and if his supporters continue to be dumb enough to consistently believe all the lies and excuses, then Trump and his supporters are 100% involved in the neoCON.

RafterManFMJ , 1 hour ago link

Dude, it's 666D chess!

The Real John Bolton

[Jan 31, 2020] Two "nice" Americans

Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Norn ,

"nice" Americans: .. Here is a sample of nice Americans who want to control our breath: Pompeo , Fri 24 Jan 2020: "You Think Americans Really Give A F**k About Ukraine?"

Michael Richard Pompeo (57 y.o.) is the United States secretary of state. He is a former United States Army officer and was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from January 2017 until April 2018

Nuland , earlier than Feb 2014: "Fuck the EU."

Victoria Jane Nuland (59 y.o) is the former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State. She held the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States Foreign Service. She is the former CEO of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and is also a Member of the Board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

[Jan 30, 2020] There is no shortage of great intellects in the Middle East to follow in his extraordinary footsteps

Notable quotes:
"... I think they were trying to start a war when they killed Soleimani, and the Iranians decided to use it against them instead. Which is smart. Neocons talk a lot but they are not smart. They are bullies and cowards. ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 30 2020 22:27 utc | 117

Thanks b, that is a mighty good post:

This man had a mighty wish too

There is no shortage of great intellects in the Middle East to follow in his extraordinary footsteps.

Bemildred , Jan 30 2020 23:27 utc | 126

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 30 2020 23:02 utc | 124

I think they were trying to start a war when they killed Soleimani, and the Iranians decided to use it against them instead. Which is smart. Neocons talk a lot but they are not smart. They are bullies and cowards.

At present what I notice is what you do, there is a lot going on, but you won't find it in the MSM. They are busy reducing their audience share with propaganda.

They kicked the jams out when they droned Soleiman. No more "deals".

But I expect Iran to do these things while this is going on:

1.) Annoy Trump and his minions and USG political class as much as possible, stay in their face.
2.) Watch, and help their "proxies" work on making life unbearable in the Middle East for us.

The Houthis seem to have just kicked the shit out of the Saudi coalition again. Quite a few damaged ships and down aircraft reports too, not just Afghanistan.


[Jan 30, 2020] Bush-era Iraq war authorization voted out by US House

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 30 2020 21:45 utc | 108

Visions and intentions in reverse. For this news, with b's blessing, any thread is appropriate: Guess this goes with the impeaching-

Bush-era Iraq war authorization voted out by US House
The House of Representatives has voted along party lines to repeal a 2002 law authorizing the US to wage war on Iraq. The law was used by the Trump administration to justify the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The House voted 236 to 166 to kill the 2002 Authorization for Military Force (AUMF) on Iraq. The law was drafted during the presidency of George W. Bush to authorize the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has been used by subsequent administrations to continue military activity in the country – most recently to justify the US drone assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.[.]

The bill was one of two pieces of legislation passed by the House on Thursday aimed at curbing Trump's warmaking powers. Prior to its passage, a bill prohibiting Trump from using federal funds for "unauthorized military force against Iran" cleared the House floor, again along party lines, with a vote of 228-175.[.]

[Jan 28, 2020] the "American" interpreter's death that triggered the Soleimani assassination was a dual US/Iraqi citizen... doesn't the US often offer citizenship to useful locals in return for betraying their home country? Sometimes treason doesn't pay.

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A P , Jan 27 2020 21:39 utc | 64

Unless the operatives on the US spy plane were carrying ID the Taliban can find, we'll never know who they really were. As if we could trust that either. (remember Colonel Flagg from MASH? New fake/cover ID every time he showed up) And funny how those "soldiers" with brain damage from the Iranian missile strikes have disappeared of the MSM news cycle... And the "American" interpreter's death that triggered the Soleimani assassination was a dual US/Iraqi citizen... doesn't the US often offer citizenship to useful locals in return for betraying their home country? Sometimes treason doesn't pay.

[Jan 28, 2020] US plane crashes in Ghazni, killing scores of officers

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Jan 27 2020 16:43 utc | 7

One of the main Taliban Twitter accounts, @Zabehulah_M33 , has posted the following tweets (machine translated):
US invasion plane crashes in Ghazni, killing scores of officers

Following a raid today in Sadukhel district of Dehik district of Ghazni province, a US special aircraft carrier was flying over an intelligence mission in the area.

The aircraft was destroyed with all its crew and crew, including the major US intelligence officers (CIA).

It is noteworthy that recently, in the provinces of Helmand, Balkh and some other parts of the country, large numbers of enemy aircraft and helicopters have fallen and fallen.

( source )

# Important News:
A Ghazni helicopter crashed in the area near Sharana, the capital of Paktika province, this evening after the Ghazni incident.
The helicopter crew and the soldiers were all destroyed.

( source )

So Taliban has not taken responsibility for the E-11A crash (although many news outlets are reporting it, including Russian ones). Meanwhile, yet another helicopter crashed after the E-11A crash, so it's two crashes in one day.


c1ue , Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

If the $1.6 trillion cost of the US military being in Afghanistan is correct, then the loss of 4 helicopters and even the E11 won't significantly increase US overall spend there. $1.6 trillion over 18 years is a tad under $250 million per day
Piotr Berman , Jan 27 2020 17:15 utc | 13
When a colonial war goes wrong, one salient question was: who sold guns to the savages?

Among more recent examples, who explained technologically inept Iraqis how to make IEDs?

In the case of smaller weapons, the usual suspect is responsible. NYT By C. J. Chivers Aug. 24, 2016

... In all, Overton found, the Pentagon provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns. These transfers formed a collage of firearms of mixed vintage and type: Kalashnikov assault rifles left over from the Cold War; recently manufactured NATO-standard M16s and M4s from American factories; machine guns of Russian and Western lineage; and sniper rifles, shotguns and pistols of varied provenance and caliber, including a large order of Glock semiautomatic pistols, a type of weapon also regularly offered for sale online in Iraq.

----

That said, one needs something more sophisticated against helicopters and planes. I suspect that even if Iran were inclined to provide them to Taliban, it would not give them their own products, and, for sure, they cannot purchase Western missiles on regular markets. However, as valiant freedom fighters in Syria are provided with such weapons while being woefully underpaid...

[Jan 27, 2020] American Pravda Mossad Assassinations by Ron Unz

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

From the Peace of Westphalia to the Law of the Jungle

The January 2nd American assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani of Iran was an event of enormous moment.

Gen. Soleimani had been the highest-ranking military figure in his nation of 80 million, and with a storied career of 30 years, one of the most universally popular and highly regarded. Most analysts ranked him second in influence only to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's elderly Supreme Leader, and there were widespread reports that he was being urged to run for the presidency in the 2021 elections.

The circumstances of his peacetime death were also quite remarkable. His vehicle was incinerated by the missile of an American Reaper drone near Iraq's Baghdad international airport just after he had arrived there on a regular commercial flight for peace negotiations originally suggested by the American government.

Our major media hardly ignored the gravity of this sudden, unexpected killing of so high-ranking a political and military figure, and gave it enormous attention. A day or so later, the front page of my morning New York Times was almost entirely filled with coverage of the event and its implications, along with several inside pages devoted to the same topic. Later that same week, America's national newspaper of record allocated more than one-third of all the pages of its front section to the same shocking story.

But even such copious coverage by teams of veteran journalists failed to provide the incident with its proper context and implications. Last year, the Trump Administration had declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "a terrorist organization," drawing widespread criticism and even ridicule from national security experts appalled at the notion of classifying a major branch of Iran's armed forces as "terrorists." Gen. Soleimani was a top commander in that body, and this apparently provided the legal figleaf for his assassination in broad daylight while on a diplomatic peace mission.

But consider that Congress has been considering legislation declaring Russia an official state sponsor of terrorism , and Stephen Cohen, the eminent Russia scholar, has argued that no foreign leader since the end of World War II has been so massively demonized by the American media as Russian President Vladimir Putin. For years, numerous agitated pundits have denounced Putin as "the new Hitler," and some prominent figures have even called for his overthrow or death. So we are now only a step or two removed from undertaking a public campaign to assassinate the leader of a country whose nuclear arsenal could quickly annihilate the bulk of the American population. Cohen has repeatedly warned that the current danger of global nuclear war may exceed that which we faced during the days of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and can we entirely dismiss such concerns?

Even if we focus solely upon Gen. Solemaini's killing and entirely disregard its dangerous implications, there seem few modern precedents for the official public assassination of a top-ranking political figure by the forces of another major country. In groping for past examples, the only ones that come to mind occurred almost three generations ago during World War II, when Czech agents assisted by the Allies assassinated Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1941 and the US military later shot down the plane of Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto in 1943. But these events occurred in the heat of a brutal global war, and the Allied leadership hardly portrayed them as official government assassinations. Historian David Irving reveals that when one of Adolf Hitler's aides suggested that an attempt be made to assassinate Soviet leaders in that same conflict, the German Fuhrer immediately forbade such practices as obvious violations of the laws of war.

The 1914 terrorist assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, was certainly organized by fanatical elements of Serbian Intelligence, but the Serbian government fiercely denied its own complicity, and no major European power was ever directly implicated in the plot. The aftermath of the killing soon led to the outbreak of World War I, and although many millions died in the trenches over the next few years, it would have been completely unthinkable for one of the major belligerents to consider assassinating the leadership of another.

A century earlier, the Napoleonic Wars had raged across the entire continent of Europe for most of a generation, but I don't recall reading of any governmental assassination plots during that era, let alone in the quite gentlemanly wars of the preceding 18th century when Frederick the Great and Maria Theresa disputed ownership of the wealthy province of Silesia by military means. I am hardly a specialist in modern European history, but after the 1648 Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War and regularized the rules of warfare, no assassination as high-profile as that of Gen. Soleimani comes to mind.

The bloody Wars of Religion of previous centuries did see their share of assassination schemes. For example, I think that Philip II of Spain supposedly encouraged various plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I of England on grounds that she was a murderous heretic, and their repeated failure helped persuade him to launch the ill-fated Spanish Armada; but being a pious Catholic, he probably would have balked at using the ruse of peace-negotiations to lure Elizabeth to her doom. In any event, that was more than four centuries ago, so America has now placed itself in rather uncharted waters.

Different peoples possess different political traditions, and this may play a major role in influencing the behavior of the countries they establish. Bolivia and Paraguay were created in the early 18th century as shards from the decaying Spanish Empire, and according to Wikipedia they have experienced nearly three dozen successful coups in their history, the bulk of these prior to 1950, while Mexico has had a half-dozen. By contrast, the U.S. and Canada were founded as Anglo-Saxon settler colonies, and neither history records even a failed attempt.

During our Revolutionary War, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and our other Founding Fathers fully recognized that if their effort failed, they would all be hanged by the British as rebels. However, I have never heard that they feared falling to an assassin's blade, nor that King George III ever considered such an underhanded means of attack. During the first century and more of our nation's history, nearly all our presidents and other top political leaders traced their ancestry back to the British Isles, and political assassinations were exceptionally rare, with Abraham Lincoln's death being one of the very few that come to mind.

At the height of the Cold War, our CIA did involve itself in various secret assassination plots against Cuba's Communist dictator Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders considered hostile to US interests. But when these facts later came out in the 1970s, they evoked such enormous outrage from the public and the media, that three consecutive American presidents -- Gerald R. Ford , Jimmy Carter , and Ronald Reagan -- issued successive Executive Orders absolutely prohibiting assassinations by the CIA or any other agent of the US government.

Although some cynics might claim that these public declarations represented mere window-dressing, a March 2018 book review in the New York Times strongly suggests otherwise. Kenneth M. Pollack spent years as a CIA analyst and National Security Council staffer, then went on to publish a number of influential books on foreign policy and military strategy over the last two decades. He had originally joined the CIA in 1988, and opens his review by declaring:

One of the very first things I was taught when I joined the CIA was that we do not conduct assassinations. It was drilled into new recruits over and over again.

Yet Pollack notes with dismay that over the last quarter-century, these once solid prohibitions have been steadily eaten away, with the process rapidly accelerating after the 9/11 attacks of 2001. The laws on our books may not have changed, but

Today, it seems that all that is left of this policy is a euphemism.

We don't call them assassinations anymore. Now, they are "targeted killings," most often performed by drone strike, and they have become America's go-to weapon in the war on terror.

The Bush Administration had conducted 47 of these assassinations-by-another-name, while his successor Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, had raised his own total to 542. Not without justification, Pollack wonders whether assassination has become "a very effective drug, but [one that] treats only the symptom and so offers no cure."

Thus over the last couple of decades American policy has followed a very disturbing trajectory in its use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy, first restricting its use to only the most extreme circumstances, next targeting small numbers of high-profile "terrorists" hiding in rough terrain, then escalating those same such killings to the many hundreds. And now under President Trump, the fateful step has been taken of America claiming the right to assassinate any world leader not to our liking whom we unilaterally declare worthy of death.

Pollack had made his career as a Clinton Democrat, and is best known for his 2002 book The Threatening Storm that strongly endorsed President Bush's proposed invasion of Iraq and was enormously influential in producing bipartisan support for that ill-fated policy. I have no doubt that he is a committed supporter of Israel, and he probably falls into a category that I would loosely describe as "Left Neocon."

But while reviewing a history of Israel's own long use of assassination as a mainstay of its national security policy, he seems deeply disturbed that America might be following along that same terrible path. Less than two years later, our sudden assassination of a top Iranian leader demonstrates that his fears may have been greatly understated.

"Rise and Kill First" ORDER IT NOW

The book being reviewed was Rise and Kill First by New York Times reporter Ronen Bergman, a weighty study of the Mossad, Israel's foreign intelligence service, together with its sister agencies. The author devoted six years of research to the project, which was based upon a thousand personal interviews and access to some official documents previously unavailable. As suggested by the title, his primary focus was Israel's long history of assassinations, and across his 750 pages and thousand-odd source references he recounts the details of an enormous number of such incidents.

That sort of topic is obviously fraught with controversy, but Bergman's volume carries glowing cover-blurbs from Pulitzer Prize-winning authors on espionage matters, and the official cooperation he received is indicated by similar endorsements from both a former Mossad chief and Ehud Barak, a past Prime Minister of Israel who himself had once led assassination squads. Over the last couple of decades, former CIA officer Robert Baer has become one of our most prominent authors in this same field, and he praises the book as "hands down" the best he has ever read on intelligence, Israel, or the Middle East. The reviews across our elite media were equally laudatory.

Although I had seen some discussions of the book when it appeared, I only got around to reading it a few months ago. And while I was deeply impressed by the thorough and meticulous journalism, I found the pages rather grim and depressing reading, with their endless accounts of Israeli agents killing their real or perceived enemies, with the operations sometimes involving kidnappings and brutal torture, or resulting in considerable loss of life to innocent bystanders. Although the overwhelming majority of the attacks described took place in the various countries of the Middle East or the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, others ranged across the world, including Europe. The narrative history began in the 1920s, decades before the actual creation of the Jewish Israel or its Mossad organization, and ranged up to the present day.

The sheer quantity of such foreign assassinations was really quite remarkable, with the knowledgeable reviewer in the New York Times suggesting that the Israeli total over the last half-century or so seemed far greater than that of any other country. I might even go farther: if we excluded domestic killings, I wouldn't be surprised if the body-count exceeded the combined total for that of all other major countries in the world. I think all the lurid revelations of lethal CIA or KGB Cold War assassination plots that I have seen discussed in newspaper stories might fit comfortably into just a chapter or two of Bergman's extremely long book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elora Danan , 26 January 2020 at 11:24 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

turcopolier , 26 January 2020 at 05:15 PM
everyoneisbiased

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody gives a shit about the Middle East.

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

[Jan 27, 2020] An excellent interview of Elijah Magnier on a broad range of issues related to Iran, Iraq and US policy.

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Nathan Mulcahy , Jan 26 2020 16:26 utc | 8

In case you have missed this. Here is an excellent interview of Elijah Magnier on a broad range of issues related to Iran, Iraq and US policy. This link was previously posted by another commenter but I am reposting it because it is so informative. I apologize for not I remembering the name of the original poster was.

What the US attacks on Iran and military occupation of Iraq mean for the Axis of Resistance | Moderate Rebels

[Jan 27, 2020] On Fragile Footing in Yemen after the Soleimani Strike - War on the Rocks

Jan 27, 2020 | warontherocks.com

U.N. Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths sounded relieved in a briefing to the Security Council this week, noting that even after the American airstrike that killed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, "the immediate crisis seems to be over Yemen has been kept safe."

Griffiths may have spoken too soon.

Yemen has been an increasingly important and tragic theater in the confrontation between Iran, the United States, and their respective clients in the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates at the head of an intervening coalition on one side and the Houthis backed by Iran on the other. What will happen in Yemen following the killing of Soleimani and the escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran? And how can Yemen's civil war be insulated from the regional fallout?

News emerged late last week that the United States also targeted Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior Quds commander, in Yemen. Had the strike succeeded, the Houthis or other Iranian-aligned forces in Yemen would almost certainly have had to respond, threatening an unruly escalation spiral. Instead, the operation was unsuccessful, and Iran's measured reaction was limited to Iraq. Nevertheless, the airstrike is unlikely to have put Houthi leadership in a conciliatory mood.

Ismaeil Ghaani, who served as Soleimani's deputy for decades, was quickly named Soleimani's replacement as head of the Quds Force. Following decades of leadership of the Quds Force, Ghaani is unlikely to deviate from Iran's approach of using proxies to push against opponents in the retaliation for Soleimani's killing.

At the same time, there is reason to hope that Yemen can avoid Iranian-backed escalation. But avoiding another round of escalation in Yemen's civil war will require the active participation of the United States and regional actors.

Yemen's Fragile Status Quo

One year after representatives of the Houthis and of Yemen's internationally-recognized government agreed to a limited ceasefire as part of the Stockholm Agreement, little concrete progress to implement the agreement has been made: Hodeidah, the port area at the center of the agreement, is still the most dangerous place in the country for civilians. Likewise, the Riyadh Agreement, which sought to patch a split between the official government and southern separatists supported by the United Arab Emirates, is faltering and in danger of total collapse.

Nevertheless, just a few weeks ago there were reasons to be cautiously optimistic that, after years of failed negotiations, the Saudi-led coalition's intervention in Yemen may have been winding down. Soleimani's assassination threatens to undo this fragile and halting progress. While Iraq remains the most likely arena for Iranian retaliation against the United States and its partners, Iranian officials also see their relationship with the Houthis as a mechanism for dialing pressure on its opponents up or down while maintaining plausible deniability for any particular attack. Yemen may therefore be a site of Iranian escalation in the coming weeks and months. Indeed, the Houthis expressed support for Iran and promised to respond "promptly and swiftly" to the airstrike. Whatever its form, public retaliation risks upsetting the nascent negotiations over Yemen's forgotten war.

What Will Happen Now in Yemen?

Iran is well aware that it would be badly overmatched in a conventional conflict, and is therefore likely to avoid all-out war with the United States. Rather, Iran's leadership is likely to retaliate via the asymmetric resources that Tehran -- in an effort led by Soleimani and the Quds Force -- has successfully cultivated in the region.

The Houthis have assumed greater importance in Tehran's regional strategy in recent years. Their geographic proximity to Saudi Arabia (and decades-long history of antagonistic relations) provides Iran with a convenient way to antagonize a long-time rival on its southern border and to retaliate horizontally for attacks on its partners in Syria. The relationship confers what Austin Carson calls escalation control : By maintaining plausible deniability, Tehran can signal its displeasure at American policies while giving opponents a face-saving way to avoid further reprisals, thereby dampening the risk of further escalation. Indeed, the recent strike on Saudi Aramco facilities claimed by the Houthis (but likely perpetrated by Iran) is indicative of this dynamic. The attack allowed Tehran to push back against the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign while affording both sides an off-ramp.

There are a few reasons to expect that Tehran could turn to Yemen as it formulates its response to Soleimani's assassination. While Iran's leadership signaled that its retaliation would end after the missile strikes on bases in Iraq, analysts note that Iran is likely to return to its " forward defense " strategy of working through proxies to push back against what its leadership sees as American aggression in the region.

Ramping up Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would allow Iran to signal its displeasure with Washington while attempting to avoid escalation that could lead to a conventional war. This would be consistent with the forward defense strategy and Tehran's past behavior in the region. Additionally, by coalescing domestic support, the American strike may empower hardliners in the Iranian regime who favor regional escalation.

And although the Houthis certainly receive significant support from Iran in the form of material support, as well as advice and training from Hizballah operatives on the ground, they are not as strategically close to Iran as other proxies like Hizballah are thought to be. As a recent New America report notes, "there is little evidence of firm Iranian command and control. Iran's reported provision of missiles and drones shapes the conflict, but its roots are local and would not disappear were Iran to fully abandon the Houthis." Even U.S. officials have sought to draw a distinction between Iranian and Houthi leadership in recent months.

Yet there are cautious signs that Houthi leadership could be willing to play along by following Iran's lead in this instance: Just a few days before the assassination of Soleimani, Houthi officials cautioned that targets within Saudi and Emirati territory remain on their list of potential military targets, suggesting a willingness to escalate. And, after the strike, Houthi leadership called for reprisals against the United States.

But the region's reaction to the Aramco attack -- which saw the Emiratis pursuing quiet talks with Iran and Saudi Arabia negotiating with the Houthis -- also provides reason to hope that regional actors may work together to head off Iranian escalation in Yemen.

First, the Houthis' relative autonomy from Iranian command-and-control gives them some leeway to resist pressure to escalate, although the failed U.S. strike in Yemen may affect this calculus. Confronted with the choice of either retaliating on Tehran's behalf, at the risk of inciting Saudi re-entry into the war, or resisting the external pressure, thereby preserving the odds of a favorable settlement, the Houthi leadership may decide to bet on the latter.

Second, while Saudi commentators delighted in the blow to their regional opponent, the Kingdom has publicly cautioned against escalation and reportedly urged the Trump administration to exercise restraint. This signals that the Arab Gulf states may continue in the more cautiously de-escalatory approach that they have taken on Yemen over the past several months, as the United Arab Emirates and Sudan began to withdraw troops from Yemen, Saudi Arabia negotiated with the Houthis, and the tempo of Saudi airstrikes declined precipitously.

As much as they vehemently oppose Iranian influence in the region, both Saudi and Emirati leadership want to avoid a direct confrontation with Iran, especially after the Trump administration's erratic policies have made it clear that they may not get American backing in such a confrontation. In other words, the factors that contributed to the intervening coalition's de-escalatory tendencies a few months ago are still relevant, even after the escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran.

The United States is well-positioned to reinforce de-escalatory dynamics in Yemen and support the nascent peace process there. The recent de-escalation in Yemen has shown that pressure works: Although both the Obama and Trump administrations initially supported the Saudi-led intervention, Congressional threats to leverage arms sales and invoke the War Powers Act to end American material support for the intervention in 2019 subdued Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and opened a new juncture in the conflict. The U.S. military ended its provision of aerial refueling to the Saudi-led coalition following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in late 2018, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly pressured Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to negotiate a political settlement to the war in the lead-up to the Stockholm Agreement. While some of this de-escalatory behavior is attributable to a gradual acknowledgement that this war cannot be won, much can be attributed to U.S. pressure as well. Washington therefore can -- and should -- continue to pressure its regional partners to reach a negotiated agreement. The recent House vote invoking the War Powers Act with regards to Iran -- and supportive statements from a cross-party range of senators -- indicates that Congress is willing to maintain pressure on the administration to avoid escalation in the region, even in the midst of ongoing presidential impeachment proceedings.

Players in the region will also continue to play a critical role in Yemen in the weeks and months ahead. Saudi and Emirati leaders are tired of the resource and reputational drain of a war that appears increasingly unwinnable, leading to their willingness to draw down the coalition's intervention. With international support, regional actors like Oman and even the Gulf Cooperation Council can act as mediators and guarantors to deter potential spoilers and help implement any agreement.

Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said's untimely death this past weekend is another potentially complicating factor here. Under Qaboos, Oman has played an important behind-the-scenes role in the negotiations that led to the nuclear agreement, and brokered negotiations between the Saudi Arabia and the Houthis beginning this past fall. Qaboos cut a unique figure in the region, acting as a mediator who had both the stature and credibility to broker agreements between warring parties in the region. His death and the drama around succession created some doubt about whether anyone would be able to take his place. Yet the new sultan Haitham bin Tariq, who was quickly sworn in, has pledged to continue Qaboos' diplomatic path. Leaders from across the region traveled to Muscat to pay their condolences to the new sultan, cementing the peaceful transition. This continuity is a hopeful sign that Oman can continue to play a productive role as regional mediator.

Finally, policymakers shouldn't forget about Yemeni actors themselves. While most western analysis of the conflict in Yemen focuses on the third-party intervention, this perspective neglects the indigenous dynamics that led to the outbreak of the civil war in the first place. The focus on external intervention is not without good reason, since regional actors dramatically exacerbated the conflict and prevented an earlier resolution. Yet the civil war in Yemen began over local issues around governance and resource-sharing, and it will not end without solving these underlying issues, thus undercutting potential spoilers .

Additionally, years of fighting has created a patchwork of splintered militia groups and local governance institutions that will prove very difficult to knit back together into a coherent, functioning polity. A resumption of local fighting could act as an invitation for external actors to intervene again, leading to a resumption of conflict. It is therefore essential for mediation efforts to take these local issues into account.

Over the past century, Yemen has often been a site for actors in the region to play out their own conflicts. A relapse in fighting in Yemen could provide future grounds for intervention and will act as a driver of regional instability. By contrast, ending the war in Yemen will eliminate a critical source of Iranian leverage in the Gulf.

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Dr. Alexandra Stark is a senior researcher at New America. She was previously a research fellow at the Middle East Initiative, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and a USIP-Minerva Peace and Security Scholar.

Image: Wikicommons (Photo by Fahd Sadi)

[Jan 27, 2020] The Drone Beats of War The U.S. Vulnerability to Targeted Killings - War on the Rocks by David Barno and Nora Bensahel

Notable quotes:
"... But U.S. adversaries were watching closely. As advanced technologies inexorably became cheaper and more widely available, the U.S. monopoly on these capabilities started to erode. By 2016, for example, eight countries other than the United States had conducted armed drone attacks , including Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria. By 2019, Russia and two other countries joined this exclusive club. And at least one non-state actor has already used an armed drone for a targeted killing. According to one estimate, 27 other countries currently possess armed drones while dozens of states and non-state actors have unarmed drones . These capabilities can now be used against specific individuals even in the absence of large intelligence networks, thanks to the constant streams of personal information flowing from personal phones , fitness trackers , and other devices. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | warontherocks.com
The fiery explosions from the recent U.S. drone attack that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have sent shock waves reverberating across the Middle East. Those same shocks should now be rippling through the American national security establishment too. The strike against the man widely considered the second-most powerful leader of a long-standing U.S. adversary was unprecedented, and its ultimate effects remain unknown. But regardless of what happens next, one thing is certain: The United States has now made it even more likely that American military and civilian leaders will be targeted by future U.S. foes. As a result, the United States will have to dramatically improve the ways in which it protects those leaders and rethink how it commands its forces on the battlefield.

Over the last 20 years, the United States has been able to target and kill specific individuals almost anywhere around the world, by matching an increasingly advanced array of precision weapons with a strikingly effective intelligence system. It has employed this capability frequently , especially across the greater Middle East , as it has sought to eliminate senior leaders of the Taliban insurgency or highly placed terrorists directing jihadist cells. And it has been able to pursue this decapitation strategy with impunity, because it has held a monopoly on this bespoke use of force. Not even the most powerful states could attempt the types of complex targeted strikes that the U.S. military and CIA conducted so routinely.

But U.S. adversaries were watching closely. As advanced technologies inexorably became cheaper and more widely available, the U.S. monopoly on these capabilities started to erode. By 2016, for example, eight countries other than the United States had conducted armed drone attacks , including Iran, Pakistan, and Nigeria. By 2019, Russia and two other countries joined this exclusive club. And at least one non-state actor has already used an armed drone for a targeted killing. According to one estimate, 27 other countries currently possess armed drones while dozens of states and non-state actors have unarmed drones . These capabilities can now be used against specific individuals even in the absence of large intelligence networks, thanks to the constant streams of personal information flowing from personal phones , fitness trackers , and other devices.

The Soleimani strike has given potential U.S. adversaries every reason to accelerate their efforts to develop similar capabilities. Moreover, these same adversaries can now justify their own future targeted killings by invoking this U.S. precedent. Sooner or later -- and probably sooner -- senior U.S. civilian and military leaders will become vulnerable to the same types of decapitation strikes that the United States has inflicted on others. Enemies will almost certainly attempt to target and kill U.S. officials during any future major war, and such attacks will likely become a part of future irregular conflicts as well. Though such strikes would dangerously escalate any conflict, committed adversaries of the United States may still find that the advantages outweigh the costs, especially if they can plausibly deny responsibility or if the strength of their resolve makes them willing to accept any resulting consequences.

In the face of this growing threat, what does the United States need to do in order to protect its key military and civilian leaders from a potential decapitation strike? Here are some potential first steps.

  1. Improve personal protection for senior leaders. The president and the vice president are well protected against a myriad of threats by the Secret Service, but levels of protection quickly diminish for those who work beneath them. A number of senior officials, including cabinet officials and the chiefs of the military services, have their own security details, but those focus primarily on providing traditional physical security. They typically offer little if any protection against newly emerging threats such as a targeted missile attack or swarming suicide drones. Most senior military and civilian leaders have no security at all, and they and their family members (like most other Americans) are constantly emitting electronic signals that give away their location. Improving their protection will require rethinking nearly every aspect of their daily lives, especially their extensive vulnerabilities when traveling. For example, the obtrusive motorcades and conspicuous convoys of black SUVs currently favored by many senior U.S. officials may need to be replaced with lower visibility alternatives, to include employing decoys that travel along multiple routes in high risk situations.
  2. Harden key meeting locations, headquarters, and transition points. U.S. adversaries will be particularly interested in targeting locations where numbers of senior military and civilian leaders gather. Many such locations today in the United States and overseas are not sufficiently hardened against attack. The locations of most offices and meeting spaces are either publicly available or easily found, and few are protected from any sort of aerial attack. (At a minimum, senior officials should stop having their photos taken in front of their offices where the room number is clearly visible .) And even hardened command centers usually have key vulnerabilities at entrances and exits, and at exposed transition points between different modes of transportation (such as airfield aprons). Ironically, current U.S. military security measures can unintentionally make leaders more vulnerable in other ways. Shortly after the Soleimani strike, for example, many U.S. military bases imposed stricter security measures at their entry points, including extensive identification checks and reducing the number of open gates. These reflexive measures caused long traffic backups that spilled onto local roads and highways -- which made everyone entering the bases far more vulnerable as they sat in these traffic jams. Any senior leader stuck in those lines would have become a remarkably easy target with no clear avenues of escape.
  3. Exercise wartime succession in the U.S. military chain of command. Combatant commanders and other senior military officers often use high-level wargames to validate key war plans and operational concepts. Yet most exercises and simulations deliberately avoid removing senior commanders from the battlefield, which reinforces the flawed notion that they will always be in charge. This problem also extends to the tactical level, where commanders of brigades, divisions, and corps are rarely assessed as casualties. Exercises at all levels need to regularly include scenarios where one or more senior commanders are killed or incapacitated, to test succession plans and to ensure that subordinates gain valuable leadership experience.
  4. Further decentralize battlefield command and control. The military chain of command necessarily relies upon centralized control, with commanders directing the actions of their subordinates. The U.S. military does decentralize some authority through concepts like mission command , which empower subordinates to make independent decisions about the best ways to achieve the commander's overall intent. Yet as we've written extensively elsewhere , the military's growing culture of compliance and risk aversion already undermines this critical principle, and modern command and control systems make it far too easy for senior commanders to intervene in routine tactical operations. In an environment where senior commanders can be individually targeted and killed, truly decentralized authority becomes absolutely vital -- and even efforts to reinvigorate mission command may no longer be sufficient. One recent article, for example, called for an entirely new, bottom-up approach to command and control that would build resilience and speed by reducing the reliance on a small number of increasingly vulnerable senior leaders.

The U.S. government needs to acknowledge that its senior leaders are becoming more vulnerable to targeted attacks, and that the Soleimani attack will only accelerate the determination of U.S. adversaries to be able to conduct similar attacks themselves. Yet threats like this are too easily discounted or ignored until it is too late. The U.S. government must recognize the grave dangers of this threat before it occurs. It needs to protect its senior officials more effectively, and ensure that the military chain of command will continue to function effectively after one or more commanders are killed by a targeted strike.

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Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, U.S. Army (ret.) and Dr. Nora Bensahel are visiting professors of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and senior fellows at the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. They are also contributing editors at War on the Rocks , where their column appears monthly. Sign up for Barno and Bensahel's Strategic Outpost newsletter to track their articles as well as their public events.

Editor's Note: Due to an internal error, we published the near-final version of this article rather than the final version. While the differences between the two drafts are minor, we apologize for the error and have fixed our mistake. The final version of this article is now published below.

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[Jan 25, 2020] Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... It always goes to Iran ..."
"... But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And ..."
"... The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. ..."
"... Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders. ..."
"... with nobody even noticing ..."
"... Christian Science Monitor ..."
"... under Trump's leadership ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

"Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools."

Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

I've been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.

In June, in an essay entitled " Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back ," after the U.S. initiated its "maximum pressure" blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that "Iran considers that it is already at war," and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that "Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance."

In an October essay , I pointed out that Trump's last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as "catastrophic" and "a big win for Iran" by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, " The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran ." I said, with emphasis, " It always goes to Iran ," and underlined that Trump's restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a "veteran political consultant" that "The price of [Lindsey] Graham's support would be an eventual military strike on Iran."

And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it's "necessary to take Iran down now ," in "the next six months," before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason -- behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment -- that explains why Pelosi and Schumer "find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that."

So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.

But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.

Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.

That was the week that was.

But, as the man said: "It ain't over 'til it's over." And it ain't over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here's what I need to say about the war we are now in.

The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani " a total monster ." His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.

It's virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said , when talking about what a "proportional response" might be: "[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? 'Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob? 'All of their heroes are cartoon characters -- they're all fictional." Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: "the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders."

To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80% ) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians , Kurds , Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still " watching " ISIS advance and using it as a tool to "manage" their war against Assad.

In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS -- and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:

He's a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he's operated, the people he's worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn't, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.

When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad, the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad

[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren't for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven't forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.

So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you'd have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I'm exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah :

Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani's strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance -- the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them

More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.

Dressed to Kill

But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a "maximum pressure" campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran's oil exports to zero.

The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a "justifiable" full-scale, regime-change -- actually state-destroying -- military attack on the country.

From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.

The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the "w" state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody's book, that is an act of war -- and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.

Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran's Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post , this marked a "departure for the Pentagon's mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement" or make "any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen."

Of course, because it's known as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis," the Pentagon wants to avoid "publicly" bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen with drone strikes , special forces operations , refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It's such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.

According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.

So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony "imminence" excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump say s "doesn't matter," or the "bloody hands" justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let's not forget: Soleimani was " talking about bad stuff ."

The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we'll will keep our army in Syria to "take the oil," and in Iraq to well, to do whatever the hell we want. "Rules-based international order"? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.

The U.S.'s determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn't over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that's ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.

We're now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and "finishing off" with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.

And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It's work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their "interests."

What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.

It's that one big "endless" war that's been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it's their party's President in charge), denounce (if it's the other party's POTUS), or just bemoan as "senseless." But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims -- it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it's "senseless," and remain enmired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.

The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel's interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it's all so "senseless."

The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized zionist imperative) in this war is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians -- from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.

That has required, above all, removing -- by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction -- any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.

For all the talk of "Iranian proxies," I'd say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel's proxy.

It's also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil's) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel's, and depends entirely on KSA's complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives -- as a matter, they think, of virtue -- as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare "I am a Wahhabi," or a U.S. President say "I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die" for Saudi Arabia -- with nobody even noticing . The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. " doubling down on its Saudi allegiance ." So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.

Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what's unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.

The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria's allies, Russia and Iran -- the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.

Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been " agitating for ." The idea -- borrowed, perhaps from Israel's campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists -- is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.

Per Patrick Lawrence , the Soleimani assassination "was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration's Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran." It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.

It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some "bloody nose" strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will " obliterate " Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I've said before , how little damage -- especially in terms of casualties -- Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.

Iran's strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.

Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone -- and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were " stunned " that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes . It's to the eternal shame of what's called the "left" in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump's bouts of restraint.

There Will Be Blood

But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran's leaders that "any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response." Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what "proxy" and "interests" means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other "ally" by anybody -- including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader -- will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.

The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center . That Center replaced a group of "Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran," because "Trump's people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group." The purpose of this -- as of any -- Mission Center was to "elevate" the country as a target and "bring to bear the range of the agency's capabilities, including covert action" against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran's "increased capacity to deliver missile systems" to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran's increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D'Andrea, who is perceived as having an "aggressive stance toward Iran." D'Andrea, known as "the undertaker" and " Ayatollah Mike ," is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his "central role in the agency's torture and targeted killing programs."

This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel "to take on Iran," which took place, according to Israeli television, at a "secret" meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate "steps on the ground" against "Tehran and its proxies." The biggest threats: "Iran's ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon," and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret "dramatic understandings" would have "far greater impact" on Israel than Trump's more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli's capital.

The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.

The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to "take on" Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran's growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence -- specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled "Iranian aggression."

These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn't take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles . One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says : "Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country."

This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of " praying for war with Iran " Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together " urged " Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife's pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn't stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the "brainchild" of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.

And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions -- propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians -- that Iran will return to what's described as "unconditional" negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran's absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.

Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a " snapback " of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran's nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have "always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program." Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.

Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is "not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict" and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are -- as FDR did to Japan -- imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It's deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.

This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that -- as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate -- made it a trap for Iran.

With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing -- and can easily demonstrate -- is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.

With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his "reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle" and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both "quick to praise" his action and "having a crisis of confidence" over Trump's ability to "manage" a conflict with Iran -- an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician's "Soleimani was a terrorist, but " statement.

Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn't the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-zionist narrative. There is no "good" -- non-thuggish, non-repellent way -- way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it's done.

Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump's leadership . But not a one will abandon the zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable -- about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can "never" have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.

To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports , "Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for." It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran -- which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it's becoming almost impossible to avoid.

The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that's not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.

Happy New Year.

[Jan 25, 2020] It's Time to Get Out of Iraq by Daniel Larison

Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
There are massive street demonstrations in Baghdad today calling for the exit of U.S. troops from the country. The demonstrations are in response to call for protests from Muqtada al-Sadr. Estimates of the crowd size vary, but it is a huge turnout of Iraqis that wants us gone:

100's of thousands protest in Baghdad, calling for all US troops to leave Iraq, close all bases & embassies, if they don't they will be considered an occupying force. pic.twitter.com/C3CqBqpxyD

-- Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) January 24, 2020

Some more photos of the march by Sadrists today in Baghdad, the turnout is huge by any measure, perhaps the largest in #Baghdad so far, and perhaps the most noticeable aspect is the lack of violence and troubles despite the scale of it #IraqProtests #Iraq #US pic.twitter.com/2xXGk2dSVY

-- Farhad Alaaldin (@farhad965) January 24, 2020

Baghdad today. pic.twitter.com/RlVU5K1RnP

-- мυнαммα∂ αℓ-ωαєℓι 🇮🇶 (@muhammadalwaeli) January 24, 2020

The Trump administration has violated Iraqi sovereignty earlier this month by taking military action inside Iraq against both Iraqis militias and the Iranian government without Baghdad's consent, and their government wants our forces out of the country. Sadr has considerable influence in Iraqi politics, and he has wanted U.S. forces out for a long time. When opponents of our military presence can organize such huge popular demonstrations, it is time for us to go. The U.S. should have withdrawn from Iraq years ago, and it would have been better to leave on our own terms. Now the U.S. cannot stay without provoking armed opposition from Iraqis to our continued presence.

So far the administration position has been to threaten Iraq with punishment for upholding its own sovereignty. That's a disgraceful and imperialist position to take, and it is also an untenable one. There have been enough American wars in Iraq. Trump should yield to the Iraqi government's wishes and bring these troops home before any more Americans are injured or killed as a result of his destructive Iran policy.

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

ZizaNiam a day ago

AP tried to downplay the protests, reporting only 'hundreds. There must be close to a million people out there (as reported by the Baghdad Chief of Police) and the fact that Sadr and the other Iraqi Shia militias can organize this massive demonstrations proves that the assassination of Soleimani, the protector of Syria and Iraq's Christians, did absolutely nothing to drive a wedge between the various Iraqi Shia militia groups, the vast majority of which are not Iranian sponsored but true Iraqi national patriots.
Barlaam of Weimerica a day ago
There is never a bad time to leave a country that we never should have invaded and occupied. Not that I expect wisdom, common sense,or basic morality from a foreign policy establishment that formulated a strategy for the Middle East, saw that it would entail the genocide of Christians, Yezidis, and other minorities, and decided, "That's a price worth paying."

[Jan 24, 2020] It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Jan 24 2020 15:11 utc | 25

It's amazing all the money in the State Department and other intelligence agencies should be attracting the best minds. Yet a bunch of us sitting here watching this from our boring office jobs realize how genuinely stupid US foreign policy has been.

A separate Sunni state in West Iraq would be doomed. We need to leave these people alone, we've made enough foolish mistakes and this will get a lot of people killed. That's along with US troops being put in harms way for ridiculous reasons like stealing Syrian oil and now occupying Iraq against their parliaments wishes.

Back in the day you told someone you were American and they wanted to shake your hand and ask you about this place or that. Now they want to spit in our faces

[Jan 24, 2020] How Are Iran and the "Axis of the Resistance" Affected by the US Assassination of Soleimani by Elijah J. Magnier

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate? ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

The US President Donald Trump assassinated the commander of the "Axis of the Resistance", the (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) IRGC – Quds Brigade Major General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport with little consideration of the consequences of this targeted killing. It is not to be excluded that the US administration considered the assassination would reflect positively on its Middle Eastern policy. Or perhaps the US officials believed the killing of Sardar Soleimani would weaken the "Axis of the Resistance": once deprived of their leader, Iran's partners' capabilities in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen would be reduced. Is this assessment accurate?

A high-ranking source within this "Axis of the Resistance" said " Sardar Soleimani was the direct and fast track link between the partners of Iran and the Leader of the Revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei. However, the command on the ground belonged to the national leaders in every single separate country. These leaders have their leadership and practices, but common strategic objectives to fight against the US hegemony, stand up to the oppressors and to resist illegitimate foreign intervention in their affairs. These objectives have been in place for many years and will remain, with or without Sardar Soleimani".

"In Lebanon, Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah leads Lebanon and is the one with a direct link to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He supports Gaza, Syria, Iraq and Yemen and has a heavy involvement in these fronts. However, he leads a large number of advisors and officers in charge of running all military, social and relationship affairs domestically and regionally. Many Iranian IRGC officers are also present on many of these fronts to support the needs of the "Axis of the Resistance" members in logistics, training and finance," said the source.

In Syria, IRGC officers coordinate with Russia, the Syrian Army, the Syrian political leadership and all Iran's allies fighting for the liberation of the country and for the defeat of the jihadists who flocked to Syria from all continents via Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. These officers have worked side by side with Iraqi, Lebanese, Syrian and other nationals who are part of the "Axis of the Resistance". They have offered the Syrian government the needed support to defeat the "Islamic State" (ISIS/IS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda and other jihadists or those of similar ideologies in most of the country – with the exception of north-east Syria, which is under US occupation forces. These IRGC officers have their objectives and the means to achieve a target already agreed and in place for years. The absence of Sardar Soleimani will hardly affect these forces and their plans.

In Iraq, over 100 Iranian IRGC officers have been operating in the country at the official request of the Iraqi government, to defeat ISIS. They served jointly with the Iraqi forces and were involved in supplying the country with weapons, intelligence and training after the fall of a third of Iraq into the hands of ISIS in mid-2014. It was striking and shocking to see the Iraqi Army, armed and trained by US forces for over ten years, abandoning its positions and fleeing the northern Iraqi cities. Iranian support with its robust ideology (with one of its allies, motivating them to fight ISIS) was efficient in Syria; thus, it was necessary to transmit this to the Iraqis so they could stand, fight, and defeat ISIS.

The Lebanese Hezbollah is present in Syria and Yemen, and also in Iraq. The Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked Sayyed Nasrallah to provide his country with officers to stand against ISIS. Dozens of Hezbollah officers operate in Iraq and will be ready to support the Iraqis if the US forces refuse to leave the country. They will abide by and enforce the decision of the Parliament that the US must leave by end January 2021. Hezbollah's long warfare experience has resulted in painful experiences with the US forces in Lebanon and Iraq throughout several decades and has not been forgotten.

Sayyed Nasrallah, in his latest speech, revealed the presence in mid-2014 of Hezbollah officials in Kurdistan to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS. This was when the same Kurdish Leader Masoud Barzani announced that it was due to Iran that the Kurds received weapons to defend themselves when the US refused to help Iraq for many months after ISIS expanded its control in northern Iraq.

The Hezbollah leaders did not disclose the continuous visits of Kurdish representatives to Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials. In fact, Iraqi Sunni and Shia officials, ministers and political leaders regularly visit Lebanon to meet Hezbollah officials and its leader. Hezbollah, like Iran, plays an essential role in easing the dialogue between Iraqis when these find it difficult to overcome their differences together.

The reason why Sayyed Nasrallah revealed the presence of his officers in Kurdistan when meeting Masoud Barzani is a clear message to the world that the "Axis of the Resistance" doesn't depend on one single person. Indeed, Sayyed Nasrallah is showing the unity which reigns among this front, with or without Sardar Soleimani. Barzani is part of Iraq, and Kurdistan expressed its readiness to abide by the decision of the Iraqi Parliament to seek the US forces' departure from the country because the Kurds are not detached from the central government but part of it.

Prior to his assassination, Sardar Soleimani prepared the ground to be followed (if killed on the battlefield, for example) and asked Iranian officials to nominate General Ismail Qaani as his replacement. The Leader of the revolution Sayyed Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani's wish to be fulfilled and to keep the plans and objectives already in place as they were. Sayyed Khamenei, according to the source, ordered an "increase in support for the Palestinians and, in particular, to all allies where US forces are present."

Sardar Soleimani was looking for his death by his enemies and got what he wished for. He was aware that the "Axis of the Resistance" is highly aware of its objectives. Those among the "Axis of the Resistance" who have a robust internal front are well-established and on track. The problem was mainly in Iraq. But it seems the actions of the US have managed to bring Iraqi factions together- by assassinating the two commanders. Sardar Soleimani could have never expected a rapid achievement of this kind. Anti-US Iraqis are preparing this coming Friday to express their rejection of the US forces present in their country.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei , in his Friday prayers last week, the first for eight years, set up a road map for the "Axis of the Resistance": push the US forces out of the Middle East and support Palestine.

All Palestinian groups, including Hamas, were present at Sardar Soleimani's funeral in Iran and met with General Qaani who promised, "not only to continue support but to increase it according to Sayyed Khamenei's request," said the source. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Leader, said from Tehran: "Soleimani is the martyr of Jerusalem".

Many Iraqi commanders were present at the meeting with General Qaani. Most of these have a long record of hostility towards US forces in Iraq during the occupation period (2003-2011). Their commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, was assassinated with Sardar Soleimani and they are seeking revenge. Those leaders have enough motivation to attack the US forces, who have violated the Iraq-US training, cultural and armament agreement. At no time was the US administration given a license to kill in Iraq by the government of Baghdad.

The Iraqi Parliament has spoken: and the assassination of Sardar Soleimani has indeed fallen within the ultimate objectives of the "Axis of the Resistance". The Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister has officially informed all members of the Coalition Forces in Iraq that "their presence, including that of NATO, is now no longer required in Iraq". They have one year to leave. But that absolutely does not exclude the Iraqi need to avenge their commanders.

Palestine constitutes the second objective, as quoted by Sayyed Khamenei. We cannot exclude a considerable boost of support for the Palestinians, much more than the actually existing one. Iran is determined to support the Sunni Palestinians in their objective to have a state of their own in Palestine. The man – Soleimani – is gone and is replaceable like any other man: but the level of commitment to goals has increased. It is hard to imagine the "Axis of the Resistance" remaining idle without engaging themselves somehow in the US Presidential campaign. So, the remainder of 2020 is expected to be hot.

*

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[Jan 24, 2020] Trump Envoy Issues Death Threat to Soleimani Successor, Head of Iran's Quds Force

Jan 24, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

21st Century Wire Thursday January 23, 2020
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Just when you thought that Washington could not sink any lower in the international diplomacy game, the Trump White House compounds its previous misdeed by issuing a public death threat against the successor of assassinated Quds Force General Qasem Soleimani.

Presidential US Special Envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, gave a statement to the Arabic language newspaper, Asharq al-Awsat , where he warned new General of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Esmail Ghaani, that he will end up like Soleimani should he be accused of killing any Americans, remarking that, "follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate."

Soleimani was killed by a US drone strike on January 3 , along with senior Iraqi PMU commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Hook continued saying,"We will hold the regime and its agents responsible for any attack on Americans or American interests in the region."

Hook also went on to boast that Washington's state-sponsored assassination of Soleimani has made the Middle East a safer place because it has "create a vacuum that the Regime will not be able to fill," inferring that Ghaani will not be able to marshal "Iran's agents in the region".

Hook also repeated the common talking point that Soleimani was the 'world's most dangerous terrorist' – a label which hardly corresponds with facts which clearly demonstrate that the Iranian military leader was leading the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria.

In the interview, Hook also used the opportunity to reinforce another State Department narrative which still claims that Iran somehow launched the September attack on Saudi Arabia's Aramco oil facilities – even though the likely culprit, Yemen's Houthi rebel forces, had already taken credit for the attack.

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire .

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump adopts Biden's Iraq plan.

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was.... up 12 users have voted. --

Tom Steyer is my favorite billionaire. Let's eat him last.

OzoneTom on Fri, 01/24/2020 - 1:51pm

All of Iraq was a Sunni buffer zone before the invasion /nt

@Not Henry Kissinger

From the link in b's post.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Backed into a corner and influence waning, the United States has in recent weeks been promoting a plan to create an autonomous Sunni region in western Iraq, officials from both countries told Middle East Eye.

The US efforts, the officials say, come in response to Shia Iraqi parties' attempts to expel American troops from their country.

Iraq represents a strategic land bridge between Iran and its allies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Establishing a US-controlled Sunni buffer zone in western Iraq would deprive Iran of using land routes into Syria and prevent it from reaching the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

For Washington, the idea of carving out a Sunni region dates back to a 2007 proposition by Joe Biden, who is now vying to be the Democratic Party's presidential candidate.

Biden's plan was actually an attempt to ethnically cleanse Iraq into three distinct enclaves (because an integrated, multicultural Iraq is anathema to the US colonial divide and conquer strategy).

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"This choice of Biden is disappointing, because he is the creator of the idea of dividing Iraq," Salih al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, one of the main Sunni Arab blocs in parliament, told Reuters.

"We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time."

For all his brazen denials about his Iraq involvement, one wonders whether, if Joe Biden hadn't been selected Obama's Vice President, he might have eventually been named Iraq Viceroy.

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was....

[Jan 24, 2020] Trump doesn't want to be the president that lost Iraq

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump needs to claim victory over ISIS and get the hell out. Those one million peaceful protesters will turn into something really ugly, probably joined by parts or all of the Iraqi military. That will be far worse for him, with scenes of US diplomats being airlifted out of the embassy by helicopter. up 10 users have voted. --

Capitalism has always been the rule by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

[Jan 24, 2020] Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions. Iraqis are ready to fight and die to evict the US troups.

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 24 2020 13:32 utc | 11

Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

mpn , Jan 24 2020 13:44 utc | 15

B - AP isn't the only outlet falsely reporting the protest. Please get screen shots from the other "reports" (like Bloomberg) and add them to this post to document the media manipulation.

Thanks for all your effort.

b , Jan 24 2020 15:32 utc | 29
Cultural competence (not) by the Washington Post

Iraqi demonstrators demand withdrawal of U.S. troops

Around Baghdad's Hurriyah Square, the streets were a sea of black, white and red, as protesters clutched Iraqi flags and wore shrouds around their shoulders to evoke the country's dead.

White shrouds around their shoulders do not "evoke the country's dead" but a a sign of willingness for martyrdom. Those guys ( vid ) are ready to fight and die for their aim.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 15:38 utc | 30
It's a Shi'te motif, b, wearing a shroud. Ready for martyrdom, like the Shi'a Imams. They have a big thing about death.
Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 15:45 utc | 32
Cultural competence...

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-iraq/soleimani-killing-adds-dangerous-new-dimension-to-iraq-unrest-idUSKBN1ZL28K
"It is likely to end up at the gates of the U.S. Embassy, the seat of U.S. power in Iraq..."

A more recent article had the same wording "USembassy, seat of US power in Iraq" but it was changed a few hours ago. The article does however end with this "Outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone, a sign read "Warning. Do not cross this barrier, we will use pre-emptive measures against any attempt to cross"."
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-sadr/no-no-america-iraq-protesters-demand-expulsion-of-u-s-troops-idUSKBN1ZN0RI

Virgile , Jan 24 2020 18:28 utc | 51
A separate Sunni state in West Iraq will be an ISIS haven financed by Saudi Arabia, the US and Israel.
Iran will never let this to happen..
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 18:33 utc | 52
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 24 2020 18:14 utc | 50

Yes, I was thinking about something along those lines, and was about to write a comment. There are conservative tribal leaders, who were at one point relatively favourable to the US, and who might be susceptible to this manoeuvre, and to Saudi persuasion. I was thinking in particular of Abu Risheh. However, unfortunately, their peoples along the Euphrates got flattened by the fighting during the Surge (after the period you're citing), so I don't know how enthusiastic they're going to be. It's a conventional problem, if the US makes a deal with a chief, indeed MbS is an example, they presume that they've got the whole people. They haven't.

psychohistorian , Jan 24 2020 18:55 utc | 53
Below is a BBC link with an embedded Reuters picture that shows not all of Western media is misrepresenting the march in Iraq.

Huge rally as Iraqis demand US troops pull out

div> please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

please, do not try to search for US policy sense in the whole ME. all the moves there are done by the Israel firsters: destroy first then invent "senses". even the first Gulf War was lacking any policy consideration. I hope one day before she dies, to listen to what US Ambassador at that time, April Gillepsie, has to say about "her" entrapment of Saddam Hussein, a sort of McNamara hour of acknowledging.

Posted by: nietzsche1510 | Jan 24 2020 18:59 utc | 54

Likklemore , Jan 24 2020 19:01 utc | 55
in the next 2 years, the U.S. will be leaving Iraq. It will not be safe to keep U.S. personnel on Iraqi soil.


First, it was "No injuries" resulting from Iran's retaliation
Then, it was only 11 "suffering headaches"

Now the Pentagon Says 34 Personnel Diagnosed With Concussions After Iran Strikes on Bases in Iraq


WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Thirty-four US service members have been diagnosed with concussions and traumatic brain injuries after Iran conducted ballistic missile strikes on two bases in Iraq with half of them still undergoing medical treatment, Department of Defence spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a press briefing on 24 January.

"With regard to the number of recent injuries here is the latest update 34 total members have diagnosed with concussions and TBI [traumatic brain injury]", Hoffman told reporters.

Concussions or Headaches.? When it's serious we have to lie -

Paging Dr. Donald J. Trump

Paging any available Dr. or resident at Mayo Clinic

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 19:06 utc | 56
I wouldn't deny the US is capable of creating an Iraqi al-Tanf. The US is always capable of air-supporting isolated bases, as long as there is the determination to do so. It's been shown many times, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. More, I don't see. The Sunnis have seen the way the Syrian Kurds were abandoned, so nobody's going to be enthused. And the surge has not been forgotten.
Kooshy , Jan 24 2020 19:15 utc | 57
"The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult)."

Wondering why ? Because the don't want to live as minorities any more, specially where they are the majority. There is need for a collective security across the Shia community throughout the Western Asia and has nothing to do with US. Because US and UK, historically and continually have supported and inspired Sunni clients against Shia uprisings
For equal rights, US and UK and their clients have become a common threat to Shia resistance. This resistance and sense of common security within Shia communities is so strong and imbedded that killing one leader here one commander there will not change the outcome. As an example Abbas Mussavie was assassinated by IDF in 1992 who replaced him that became more dangerous and kicked Israel out of Lebanon, one Hassan Nassrollah
US will end up leaving like in VM No matter what she does

Peter AU1 , Jan 24 2020 19:18 utc | 58
Laguerre

I was thinking along the lines of Saudi intermediaries doing deals with tribes as Mcgurk pulled off in the Raqqa meeting when he brought in a Saudi intermediary or envoy to do a deal with the tribes of Deir Ezzor. I see the tribe break down into clans, so suppose it would or may be the heads of clans that deals would have to be done with.

What strikes me about this though is that US are looking at retreating into the area ISIS have retreated to and where they arose - the Iraq Syria border regions.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 24 2020 19:19 utc | 59
the battle for the Green Zone will start the liberation of Iraq, that´s why the US embassy there has a lot of rooftops.
Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 15:47 utc | 33

- Muqtada Al Sadr is an iraqi nationalist. As long as he can get help from Iran he will take it. But when that help is no longer needed then he will try to reduce the "influence" of the iranians as much as possible. Prehaps the words "boot them out" is a bit "over the top".
- But the relationship will Always remain friendly. But he is "his own man".
- In this regard this a re-run of what happened in the year 2003 & 2004. Back then the US wanted to pick their own sock puppet but the shiites out-witted the US.

Yonatan , Jan 24 2020 19:32 utc | 61
A photo essay of the Iraqi protests - plenty of images showing the scale and also close up images.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/https/colonelcassad.livejournal.com/5590284.html

jayc , Jan 24 2020 19:33 utc | 62

Interesting that the number of US troops suffering concussive injuries from the Iran retaliatory strikes has been quietly reassessed to 44 persons. That seems significant in light of the extensive threats beforehand that any injury to a US person would ignite thunderous reprisal. It seems, then, the Americans have no plan, the Soleimaini hit was not thought through, and they are not in any way prepared for a necessary readjustment of their position in the region. Trump at Davos dismissed the protests and again threatened sanctions on Iraq - the fulcrum of US power has now visibly shifted from the military to the dominance of the reserve currency in the form of economic reprisals (sanctions). Reduced to imposing or threatening economic blockades on adversary populations is not a winning long-term strategy.

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 19:36 utc | 63

It is not only the MSM coordinated blackout on the important events developing in Iraq, notice also the scarce half hundred comments here in this thread on the same events by the usual and otherwise prolific regulars, who preferred to comment on so used Boeing or whatever old topic instead...

Meanwhile, those of us who wished to comment got banned, as they seemed to be some other who wanted to comment by other media, like Pepe Escobar in Facebook...

Elijah Magnier says,

Someone should write an article on how Main Stream Media and most reputable agencies either ignored what happened in #Baghdad #Iraq today or deliberately downplayed it because it calls for the #US to leave.

News is strikingly manipulated s since the war in #Syria 2011.

https://twitter.com/ejmalrai/status/1220758301266321408

[Jan 24, 2020] Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq: US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

This seems more relevant here than on the open thread:

Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq.

US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes

Incredible, isn't it? A policy of parcellisation which has already failed twice, in Iraq and then again in Syria. And now Trump is going to do it again, according to reports which could well be right. They're sufficiently stupid. They're actually expecting the poor suffering Fallujans, who suffered through more than a month of being tortured by US troops, are going to stand up and fight for the US.

It's a complete misappreciation of the situation, not unusual in the US. It is of course true that the Sunnis suffer from the unthinking policies of the Shi'a, and are treated like an occupied country. But that doesn't mean that the Sunnis think they can stand up an independent state. They don't, particularly if the US only stations a handful of troops there.

The US could of course militarily occupy the area, but that's not Trump's plan, as it would be too politically intrusive back home.

By the way I hear we're about to receive Trump's overall peace plan for the Middle East. Given that the first rollouts fell totally flat, I wouldn't be too optimistic about its new reception in the Middle East.


Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 12:03 utc | 4

- Carving out a state in North-Western Iraq is part of "The Biden plan" of 2006 (/2007 ?). The Biden plan was to divide Iraq into 3 parts: Kurdistan, "Sumnnistan" and "Shia-stan".
- Was this the reason why the US "created" ISIS (in 2014) ??
Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:28 utc | 5
The Shi'a can certainly get their people out - which by the way is why they have such effective militias. The Sunnis don't have similarly effective militias (though such would probably also be politically difficult).

The US certainly doesn't have much idea how to tackle such a movement. The renewal of the plan for parcellisation just shows up the bankruptcy of US policy, nothing spoke to me so strongly of the failure of US thinking. For all the number of Washington think-tanks concentrating on the ME, they can't come up with workable ideas.

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 12:56 utc | 7
Posted by: Ernesto Che | Jan 24 2020 12:32 utc | 6

Al-Sadr is indeed an Iraqi nationalist, and not particularly pro-Iranian, others are more. He more profited from Iran's safe haven, than became pro-Iranian.

On the other hand, he's unlikely to become Prime Minister, as too extreme. The US, if it gets a say in the choice of the next PM, will veto. And he's a sort who is in permanent opposition to everything, rather than in government, much like Corbyn in Britain.

somebody , Jan 24 2020 13:17 utc | 9
Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

Surely, this has become obsolete with Saudi needing an agreement with Iran?

I just checked. On January 22 this happened in Yemen :

On January 18, Houthi rebels targeted the al Estiqbal military training camp, used by the Saudi-led coalition and forces loyal to Yemen's UN-recognised government. The strikes resulted in at least 116 deaths and dozens (if not hundreds) of injuries. Those struck had reportedly just finished praying at the base's mosque. According to Saudi media, the Houthis used a combination of ballistic missiles and drones.
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 13:23 utc | 10
The fake media are trying to trasvesticize these protests as antigovernment protests in the eyes of the Waestern and American population, fortunately, the images are worth thousands words:

https://twitter.com/passenger_to/status/1220620900166520833

Love these arabs´humor when they protest...

bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:48 utc | 16
During the first of the various criminal attacks on Fallujah, Sadr famously promised to deploy the Mahdi Army there to defend the largely sunni community.
The US fears nothing more than nationalism in the middle east- all its policies are aimed at atomising communities and fostering sectarian division. It is a tactic that has worked well in the United States for centuries- preserving the absolute power of the capitalist oligarchy by setting black against white, catholic against protestant, settler against indigenous, migrant against native.
It is difficult to conceive of a more evil policy than that of encouraging shi'ites to bully sunnis and vice versa, while dissecting society into shreds of ethnic and sectarian entities , which are then armed and trained to fight and kill one another.
This was the basis of the surge under Petraus. Of course the British had established the practice themselves. Among other things they employed christian Assyrians as police.
bevin , Jan 24 2020 13:52 utc | 17
An interesting view.
https://journal-neo.org/2020/01/24/is-iraq-between-the-hammer-and-the-anvil/
Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18
Al Mayadeen is reporting testimonies from all confesional sides on that this is an united clamor coming from the whole Iraqi society, who sees a clear link between occupation and corruption, in spite of their internal political differences, seeing no future while the US remains in the country corrupting and compromising Iraqi reconstruction and progress.

They are saying that the numbers seen demonstrating today in Iraq, in the anniversary of the other historical 1920 anticolonial demonstration, equates a popular referendum on the US illegal and forced presence in the country.

The representatives of the protesters are stating that there are being stablished diplomatic means for the US to go out, but, in case it refuses doing it by these means, the resistance will come into action. Thus a way of no return for the US is being delineated here...

Crowd demonstration against US military presence in Iraq


CarlD , Jan 24 2020 14:22 utc | 19
Slightly? off subject

Since the assassination drones cannot fly all the way from US territory to their intended targets,
any country that harbors the drones is actually complicit to the crimes of the US of A.

They must be made to understand that these assassinations will cost them eventually as accessories
to these crimes.

BM , Jan 24 2020 14:27 utc | 20
Possibly the most potent leverage Iraq can have on the US is for the Iraqi parliament to decree that all legal previously agreed immunity for US military guilty of crimes in Iraq is null and void. All US war criminals immediately liable to be tried in Iraq under Iraq law, unless the US commit to a prompt and orderly withdrawal. Right to prosecute still reserved in case of US non-compliance with any such commitment.

Whether or to what extent this could be made retrospective to the beginning of the current agreement (on the grounds that the agreement has been violated) I don't know. Maybe it might be possible to apply retrospectively at least to the first verifiable breech of the agreement by the US, I have no idea. Or maybe the agreement can only be deemed void with effect from a statement by the parliament, I have no idea. In any case, the US is now there illegally: any US soldier can legally be arrested and imprisoned at any time; and any US soldier from now on killing or injuring any person in Iraq is automatically a war criminal.

If it can so some extent legally be made retrospective, the US would automatically face a terrifying situation.

(Any prisons containing US prisoners in Iraq need full military protection though - I recall previously the US destroyed a prison with a tank where some soldiers were arrested).

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:28 utc | 21
@Posted by: Sasha | Jan 24 2020 14:16 utc | 18

The link from Al Mayadeen includes live stream with commentary in Arabic of the crowds gathering who seem in the sizes of Arbaeen pilgrimage...or more.....since multiconfessional...

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 14:37 utc | 22
Lesson to be learnt...on the future of the destroyers...
(CARTOON) The "Pax americana", in an image

"They made a desert and called it peace"
Tacit, in reference to "Pax Romana" after the destruction of Carthage.

https://twitter.com/Amor_y_Rabia/status/1219921555775467520

[Jan 23, 2020] Incredible level of naivety of people who still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Elections now serve mainly the legitimizing of the deep state rule function; election of a partuclar induvudual can change little, althouth there is some space of change due to the power of executive branch.
Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Trailer Trash , Jan 23 2020 18:30 utc | 44

For example, Trump managed to speed up the process od destruction of the USA-centered neoliberal empire considerably. Especially by lauching the trade war with China. He also managed to discredit the USA foreign policy as no other president before him. Even Bush II.

>This is the most critical U.S. election in our lifetime
> Posted by: Circe | Jan 23 2020 17:46 utc | 36

Hmmm, I've been hearing the same siren song every four years for the past fifty. How is it that people still think that a single individual, or even two, can change the direction of murderous US policies that are widely supported throughout the bureaucracy?

Bureaucracies are reactionary and conservative by nature, so any new and more repressive policy Trumpy wants is readily adapted, as shown by the continuing barbarity of ICE and the growth of prisons and refugee concentration camps. Policies that go against the grain are easily shrugged off and ignored using time-tested passive-aggressive tactics.

One of Trump's insurmountable problems is that he has no loyal organization behind him whose members he can appoint throughout the massive Federal bureaucracy. Any Dummycrat whose name is not "Biden" has the same problem. Without a real mass-movement political party to pressure reluctant bureaucrats, no politician of any name or stripe will ever substantially change the direction of US policy.

But the last thing Dummycrats want is a real mass movement, because they might not be able to control it. Instead Uncle Sam will keep heading towards the cliff, which may be coming into view...

[Jan 23, 2020] If the U.S. can do it or rather, have been assassinating other countries Officials, so can others and eventually, they will retaliate.

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Beibdnn , Jan 23 2020 15:44 utc | 5

@Likklemore No 1.

If the U.S. can do it or rather, have been assassinating other countries Officials, so can others and eventually, they will retaliate. No U.S. official will be safe, even in the mainland U.S. An old saying applies here. You sew the wind and reap the whirlwind.
The world is rapidly tiring of the classless thuggery of the U.S.A.

xLemming , Jan 23 2020 16:25 utc | 15

Posted by: Beibdnn | Jan 23 2020 15:44 utc | 5

Excellent point... and furthermore, if Russia & others are capable of clandestine hits (as per the accusations against them, i.e. Skripal, MH17, Litvinenko) then why on earth would US invite such operations against themselves?

I'm sure if they (Russia/Iran/others) really wanted to, unfortunate mishaps, like traceless, self-inflected, nail-gun accidents are easily possible

Just when you think ZATO couldn't get any stupider...

[Jan 23, 2020] The Iraqi Shia, 66% of the 40 million Iraqi population, are expressing their hatred towards US forces in particular and all foreign forces in general.

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bruce , Jan 23 2020 18:02 utc | 38

"The Iraqi Shia, 66% of the 40 million Iraqi population, are expressing their hatred towards US forces in particular and all foreign forces in general. Iraq would like to see these forces depart for good, putting an end to US influence in Mesopotamia and West Asia. A massive protest has been organised for this Friday 24th January, led by Sayyed Moqtada al-Sadr, who is warning the US of the consequences of ignoring this Parliamentary decision. It is expected to be the most massive protest in the history of Iraq. But this protest is only the beginning."
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/22/immediate-us-withdrawal-due-to-its-violation-of-the-agreement-and-iraq-sovereignty/

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

The murder of Soleimani was not a one-off: it will be the policy to take out leaders and US vassals dare not speak up: Murder and Sanctions (aka "Financial Warfare" ) is what they do.


US Warns New Quds Force Commander Could 'Meet Same Fate' as Slain Predecessor.

[.]

The US will assassinate Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani if he targets Americans, US special representative for Iran Brian Hook has warned.

"If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," Hook said, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, in an interview published Thursday.

According to the US diplomat, President Trump has made it very "clear that any attack on Americans or American interests will be met with a decisive response, which the president demonstrated on January 2".

Hook also said he believed that "the Iranian regime" now "understands that they cannot attack America and get away with it".

Yes and soon.

Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions.

The World Looks to Abandon the Dollar as US Sanctions Tighten Their Grip

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

Likklemore @1

Red line / Green light

USA has just but a bulls-eye on every American in Iraq and Syria.

Every anti-Iranian ideologue (starting with Netanyahu) will now start planning false-flag attacks.

Just another dog whistle like Obama's "red-line" farce.

PS Did any media confirm the death of the US translator that caused USA to bomb the Iraqi PMU? His name wasn't even released for a couple of week AFTER he was killed and AFAIK no one really knows who killed him.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Probably little happens until UN sanctions "snap-back". That will light the fuse and the fireworks start a number of weeks later but certainly before July (somebody wrote about Russia's being able to sell arms to Iran on the 5th-year anniversary of the JCPOA on July 14th).

Sadly, the false-flag needed to energize the masses with "war fever" (like after 9-11) is likely to require that many Americans are killed. And possibly not just military but civilians.

Aside: The cover of the 2015 Economist comes to mind. Two arrows on the lower right contain the numbers "11.5" and "11.3". The sand behind the arrows might represent the middle east. Do the two arrows represent a date range (European-like dates) of March 11th to May 11th? FYI: Persian New Year is March 21st, UN sanctions are likely to "snap-back" by mid-March.

The eleventh of the month has gained significance due to 9-11 and 7-11 (in England). Thus, 3-11, 4-11, and 5-11 would have symbolic value as for a "terrorist" incident.

How could the Economist have predicted such a date range? I've said many times that I thought that the JCPOA was a delaying tactic that was needed simply because Syrian regime change was taking longer than expected. From such a point of view, it's reasonable to assume that steps are taken to end the agreement and/or prompt strikes (symbolized by the arrows on the Economist's cover) prior to the end of the agreement or important anniversary milestones (like Ruissia's being able to sell arms after 5 years).

While some might say that such musings are irrational "conspiracy theory", I bring it up because neocons and other bad actors engage in long-term planning to achieve their goals. We are not suppose to notice such planning and then when things happen (like 9-11 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis) it is quickly claimed that "no one could've foreseen" such things - which becomes an excuse for the bad actors to go unpunished.

!!

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

3.11.2004 Madrid Atocha train station attacks happened...allegedly AQ autorship...

1.7.2015 Charlie Hebdo attack...IS/AQ autorship...allegedly...

1.7.2020 Soleimani´s muder...US autorship....confirmed....

Already exposed that IS/AQ is a byproduct of US

@

[Jan 23, 2020] The USA threatens with more extrajudicial killing of Iran officials

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

The murder of Soleimani was not a one-off: it will be the policy to take out leaders and US vassals dare not speak up: Murder and Sanctions (aka "Financial Warfare" ) is what they do.


US Warns New Quds Force Commander Could 'Meet Same Fate' as Slain Predecessor.

[.]

The US will assassinate Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani if he targets Americans, US special representative for Iran Brian Hook has warned.

"If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," Hook said, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, in an interview published Thursday.

According to the US diplomat, President Trump has made it very "clear that any attack on Americans or American interests will be met with a decisive response, which the president demonstrated on January 2".

Hook also said he believed that "the Iranian regime" now "understands that they cannot attack America and get away with it".

Yes and soon.

Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions.

The World Looks to Abandon the Dollar as US Sanctions Tighten Their Grip

[Jan 23, 2020] Trump's Katyusha Conundrum

Jan 23, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

by William Walter Kay Posted on January 23, 2020 January 22, 2020 Katyushas are short-range, unguided artillery rockets typically fired in salvos from truck-mounted launch-tubes. Iraq's insurgents deploy three types.

The smallest is 107 millimeters in diameter and 1 meter long. Its 19 kilogram weight includes an 8 kg high-explosive, shrapnel-bearing warhead. The 107mm is often fired from a 12-tube launcher, however, infantry-portable single-tube tripods are common. An experienced crew with a standardized weapon can hit a 400 X 400 meter target from 8 kilometers away. During the Vietnam War the US Army considered the 107mm to be their adversaries' most formidable weapon.

The 122mm 'Grad' Katyusha is 3 meters long and weighs 75 kg. Its warhead spans a third of its length and weighs 18 kg. It has a 20-kilometer range and a 30-meter lethal radius.

220mm Katyushas hurl 100 kg warheads 30 kilometers.

Katyushas have advantages over mortars. They deliver the same payload twice the distance and they fire multiple ordnance more rapidly. The globally ubiquitous BM-21 Grad fires forty 122mm rockets in three minutes. Reloading takes 10 minutes. Thus, Katyushas excel at "shoot-and-scoot" operations. As well, Katyushas' flat trajectories permit line-of-sight attacks and their 700 meter-per-second velocities provide unique anti-building potential.

After helping suppress the ISIS-led insurgency (2014-17) US forces defaulted to their previous occupation plan. Central to this program are segregated compounds situated inside Iraqi Armed Forces bases. These installations, always near airstrips, contain mere hundreds (not thousands) of US and Coalition troops who ride herd over the Iraqi Army whilst grooming and directing Iraq's 15,000-strong Special Forces.

Embassies and consulates are integral to the occupation. The sprawling US Embassy compound dominates Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" which also houses Coalition partners' embassies, and the headquarters of the many NGOs insinuated throughout Iraqi society.

The occupation facilitates local activities of American and European businesses. These require office blocks, oil-field infrastructure; and, gated communities for imported talent.

Pre-2011 Americans relied on bases containing thousands of troops. These were remotely located and allocated substantial resources to thwart indirect (mortar and rocket) attacks through: counter-artillery, drone surveillance, and fighting patrols. Despite this, indirect fire inflicted 3,000 casualties (including 211 fatalities) on American forces; many occurring inside 'secure' bases.

The US-led Coalition's current archipelago of military, diplomatic, intelligence, business and NGO installations are ill-equipped to defend themselves against indirect fire. Proximity to cities makes them sitting ducks.

In September 2018 persons unknown began targeting US installations with Katyushas. This list chronicles these attacks. * (A dozen mortar attacks are not listed; Katyushas being the weapon of choice.)

  1. September 8, 2018 – four rockets (three 107mms and one 122mm) fall near the Green Zone.
  2. September 8, 2018 – two salvos of 107mms land near the US Consulate beside Basra Airport.
  3. September 28, 2018 – three 107mms are fired at the Basra Consulate; two land on site.
  4. December 27, 2018 – two 107mms are fired at Al-Asad Airbase (160 kilometers west of Baghdad) during Trump's visit.
  5. February 2, 2019 – an attack on Al-Asad Airbase is aborted. Three ready-to-launch 122mms are captured.
  6. February 12, 2019 – three 107mms hit Q-West Airfield (an off-the-books base south of Mosul).
  7. May 1, 2019 – two 107mms hit Camp Al-Taji: a 'training' institute, 40 kilometers north of Baghdad.
  8. May 19, 2019 – two rockets land near the US Embassy.
  9. June 10, 2019 – rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  10. June 12, 2019 – rocket attack on a "northern air base" starts a fire.
  11. June 13, 2019 – rocket attack on Nineveh Command Headquarters (Mosul Presidential Palace).
  12. June 14, 2019 – a rocket lands near the US Embassy.
  13. June 17, 2019 – three rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  14. June 18, 2019 – Nineveh HQ is attacked by two 122mms; one hits, one misses.
  15. June 19, 2019 – rockets strike a gated community outside Basra (home to Exxon staff).
  16. September 23, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone; one lands near the US Embassy.
  17. October 30, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone, killing an Iraqi soldier.
  18. November 8, 2019 – seventeen rockets target Q-West Airfield.
  19. November 17, 2019 – rockets hit the Green Zone.
  20. November 29, 2019 – a rocket hits the Green Zone.
  21. December 3, 2019 – Al-Asad Airbase is "rocked" by five 122mms.
  22. December 5, 2019 – five 107mms hit Balad Airbase (80 kilometers north of Baghdad).
  23. December 6, 2019 – a 240mm rocket lands near Baghdad Airport (then housing a US base).
  24. December 9, 2019 – four 240mms strike Baghdad Airport killing 2, and wounding 5, Iraqi soldiers.
  25. December 11, 2019 – two 240mms land outside Baghdad Airport.
  26. December 27, 2019 – thirty-six 107mms hammer K1 Base (15 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk); killing an American translator and wounding several US troops.
  27. December 29, 2019 – four rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  28. December 29, 2019 – five rockets hit Al-Asad Airbase.
  29. January 4, 2020 – two rockets hit Balad Airbase.
  30. January 4, 2020 – several rockets hit the Green Zone. One lands near the US Embassy; another closes a major street.
  31. January 5, 2020 – six rockets are fired at the Green Zone; three hit the target.
  32. January 8, 2020 – two rockets hit the Green Zone.
  33. January 12, 2020 – eight rockets hit Balad Airbase, wounding several Iraqi soldiers.
  34. January 14, 2020 – a five-rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  35. January 20, 2020 – three rockets hit Green Zone. They were fired from Al Zafraniya (15 kilometers away).

Attacks are becoming more frequent and are trending toward bigger rockets and higher volume salvos.

The insurgents' strategy is working. Katyusha attacks shuttered the US Basra Consulate in September 2018. Attacks in May and June 2019 forced Exxon to evacuate much of its foreign staff. Throughout 2019 the US State Department extracted personnel and the Defense Department consolidated bases into more secure facilities. By late 2019 US authorities were begging Iraqis for help whilst threatening retaliation.

The last straw came December 27 when the barrage onto K1 Base killed an American translator. The US responded with airstrikes on five Kata'ib Hezbollah bases (90 casualties) and with the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Soleimani. (The decision to assassinate Soleimani – in the event of an American fatality – was made June 24, 2019 following a week of near daily Katyusha attacks.)

While Iran and Iran's Iraqi allies are blamed for these attacks; this is dubious. Reportage following attacks invariably drops the phrase " no one claimed responsibility " – which is notable because perpetrators often boast of such achievements. Ten years ago, when Kata'ib Hezbollah targeted US facilities with "lob bombs" (improvised rockets), they posted videos of their handiwork. They deny involvement in these recent attacks as do other Iranian-linked militias.

The reportage often describes the attacks as " mysterious " or as a " whodunit. " Authors relay US intelligence theories of Iranian involvement without evidence.

On several occasions insurgents abandoned launchers and/or launch vehicles after the attack, often with fail-to-launch rockets inside. Investigators also possess fragments of successfully fired rockets. Tellingly, US officials, renowned for straining at gnats for evidence of Iranian complicity, do not utilize this material to incriminate Tehran.

The launchers themselves are obviously manufactured by local artisans. Moreover, an article from Kurdistan24 describes the rockets as " locally made ." Even globalist-militarist instrumentalities like the Washington Institute, Long War Journal, and Center for Strategic and International Studies concede some Katyushas are manufactured in Iraq.

Iraq has a burgeoning steel industry and, due to the calamities of the past 20 years, an enormous scrap metal industry. Katyushas' cardinal virtue is their simplicity.

Circa 2014 twelve countries hosted non-state armed groups that deployed Katyushas. (Post-2014 Yemen's Houthis joined this list, then outdid the pack in innovation and output.)

During the 2003-11 era Iraqi insurgents looted Katyushas from local arsenals. Other Katyushas came from Iran (officially or via the black market) and possibly from any of 32 other countries manufacturing them. Experts bemoan the difficulty of determining a rocket's origin.

Circa 2008 Iraqi artisans manufactured a variety of launchers. A 2009 raid in Maysan Governorate discovered 107mm, 122mm and 220mm rail launchers; and 1,700 carjacks. (Jacks were affixed to the bottoms of stationary tripods to permit changes in launch angle.) Insurgents developed creative mobile launch platforms i.e. inside ice cream trucks or towed behind motorcycles etc. They debuted remote control triggers and GPS reconnaissance.

Circa 2011 poor quality of locally acquired rockets compelled insurgents to continue to rely on imports. The insurgents were, however, manufacturing "lob bomb" rockets and anti-armor mines; although Iran stood accused of being their sole supplier.

Post-2011 insurgents honed their craft. Remember: Hamas, operating inside Gaza with a tiny fraction of the resources of Iraq's insurgents, manufactures crude Katyushas.

Prime suspects in the Katyusha campaign are not pro-Iranian militias; but rather the milieu around Mahdi Army successor, the Promise Day Brigades (PDB). This political tendency, nominally led by Moqtada al-Sadr, is concentrated in Iraq's densely populated central and southern regions, but boasts a militant contingent in Mosul. This milieu overlaps the Saairun Alliance which includes Iraq's far left; who carry their own legacy of armed struggle.

The insurgency's Von Braun might be Jawad al-Tulaybani. An Iran-Iraq War veteran, al-Tulaybani possesses 40 years of combat rocketry experience. A war wound left him partially disabled. He appeared on US radar in 2008 after masterminding a barrage that wounded 15 US soldiers.

The org-chart of the Saairun/PDB/al-Sadr movement remains obscured. Notably, on January 8, 2020 al-Sadr counseled refrain from military actions. Four Katyusha attacks happened since.

What is clear is that this general political tendency is not particularly beholden to Iran. They appear nonsectarian, if not secularist, and they advance a left-nationalist agenda. Prior to the 2018 election (wherein Saairun emerged as the most popular bloc) Iran's Foreign Minister warned Iran would never tolerate an Iraq run by " liberals and communists " – meaning Saairun.

Then again, Trump's thrill kill of Soleimani (and Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units' Deputy Commander) completely reshuffled the deck, creating unprecedented unity amongst hitherto rivals.

As Katyushas veto pacification efforts, US forces return to square one. They must retreat to sprawling, remotely situated camps equipped to suppress indirect fire. This, however, means surrendering Iraq's political theater to adversaries who will marshal Iraqi Government resources against them.

Katyushas are driving the Trump Administration's Iraq policy. Prisoners of groupthink they react by doubling-down on the Big Lie that Iraq's national liberation movement consists only of "Iranian terrorists." In reality, their most effective opponents are as indigenous and legitimate as the French Resistance.

*Note on Sources

Data came from scanning 1,000 articles then parsing several dozen of them. Preference went to state media: i.e. Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Xinhua et al; although Military Times and Kurdistan-24 proved germane. Rogue Rocketeers: Artillery Rockets and Armed Groups (Small Arms Survey, Geneva Switzerland, 2014) is a must-read. Data on the first 7 Katyusha attacks was lifted without corroboration from Michael Knights' Responding to Iranian Harassment of U.S. Facilities in Iraq (Washington Institute, May 21, 2019). As Knights is the only analyst to grasp the seriousness of the Katyusha attacks. His reports are a trove. Being intimately connected to US and Israeli intelligence, he slavishly relays the anti-Iran party line.

Major attacks generate scores of reports. Lesser attacks are mentioned only in passing. Some articles tally the attacks but the numbers do not jibe. Certain attacks go unreported. Probably, 50+ mortar and Katyusha attacks hit US facilities between September 8, 2018 and January 14, 2020.

William Walter Kay is a researcher and writer from Canada. His most recent book is From Malthus to Mifepristone: A Primer on the Population Control Movement.

[Jan 21, 2020] The first term of the Trump administration has revealed that the US war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus, not by President administration. Trump is simply a puppet.

Notable quotes:
"... Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda? ..."
"... Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally from: Opinion - The Angry Arab US Violated Unspoken Rule of Engagement with Iran

As'ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration's decision

to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.

By As`ad AbuKhalil

January 21, 2020 " Information Clearing House " - S omething big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran's top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.

The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian "resistance-axis" in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander's death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.

The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.

The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.

For many years Israel did perpetrate various assassinations against Iranian scientists and officers in Syria during the on-going war. But Israel and the U.S. avoided targeting leaders or commanders of Iran. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the U.S. and Iran collided directly and indirectly, but avoided engaging in assassinations for fear that this would unleash a series of tit-for-tat.

But the Trump administration has become known for not playing by the book, and for operating often according to the whims and impulses of President Donald Trump.

Different Level of Escalation

The decision to strike at Baghdad airport, however, was a different level of escalation. In addition to killing Suleimani it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a key leader of Hashd forces in Iraq. Like Suleimani, al-Muhandis was known for waging the long fight against ISIS. (Despite this, the U.S. media only give credit to the U.S. and its clients who barely lifted a finger in the fight against ISIS.)

On the surface of it, the strike was uncharacteristic of Trump. Here is a man who pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Middle East turmoil -- turmoil for which the U.S and Israel bear the primary responsibility. And yet he seems willing to order a strike that will guarantee intensification of the conflict in the region, and even the deployment of more U.S. forces.

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The first term of the Trump administration has revealed the extent to which the U.S. war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus. There is not much a president -- even a popular president like Barack Obama in his second term -- can do to change the course of empire. It is not that Obama wanted to end U.S. wars in the region, but Trump has tried to retreat from Middle East conflicts and yet he has been unable due to pressures not only from the military-intelligence apparatus but also from their war advocates in the U.S. Congress and Western media, D.C. think tanks and the human-rights industry. The pressures to preserve the war agenda is too powerful on a U.S. president for it to cease in the foreseeable future. But Trump has managed to start fewer new wars than his predecessors -- until this strike.

Trump's Obama Obsession

Trump in his foreign policy is obsessed with the legacy and image of Obama. He decided to violate the Iran nuclear agreement (which carried the weight of international law after its adoption by the UN Security Council) largely because he wanted to prove that he is tougher than Obama, and also because he wanted an international agreement that carries his imprint. Just as Trump relishes putting his name on buildings, hotels, and casinos he wants to put his name on international agreements. His decision, to strike at a convoy carrying perhaps the second most important person in Iran was presumably attached to an intelligence assessment that calculated that Iran is too weakened and too fatigued to strike back directly at the U.S.

Iran faced difficult choices in response to the assassination of Suleimani. On the one hand, Iran would appear weak and vulnerable if it did not retaliate and that would only invite more direct U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets.

On the other hand, the decision to respond in a large-scale attack on U.S. military or diplomatic targets in the Middle East would invite an immediate massive U.S. strike inside Iran. Such an attack has been on the books; the U.S military (and Israel, of course) have been waiting for the right moment for the U.S. to destroy key strategic sites inside Iran.

Furthermore, there is no question that the cruel U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran have made life difficult for the Iranian people and have limited the choices of the government, and weakened its political legitimacy, especially in the face of vast Gulf-Western attempts to exploit internal dissent and divisions inside Iran. (Not that dissent inside Iran is not real, and not that repression by the regime is not real).

Nonetheless, if the Iranian regime were to open an all-out war against the U.S., this would certainly cause great harm and damage to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Iran Sending Messages

In the last year, however, Iran successfully sent messages to Gulf regimes (through attacks on oil shipping in the Gulf, for which Iran did not claim responsibility, nor did it take responsibility for the pin-point attack on ARAMCO oil installations) that any future conflict would not spare their territories.

That quickly reversed the policy orientations of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which suddenly became weary of confrontation with Iran, and both are now negotiating (openly and secretively) with the Iranian government. Ironically, both the UAE and Saudi regimes -- which constituted a lobby for war against Iran in Western capitals -- are also eager to distance themselves from U.S. military action against Iran . And Kuwait quickly denied that the U.S. used its territory in the U.S. attack on Baghdad airport, while Qatar dispatched its foreign minister to Iran (officially to offer condolences over the death of Suleimani, but presumably also to distance itself and its territory from the U.S. attack).

The Iranian response was very measured and very specific. It was purposefully intended to avoid causing U.S. casualties; it was intended more as a message of Iranian missile capabilities and their pin point accuracy. And that message was not lost on Israel.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, sent a more strident message. He basically implied that it would be left to Iran's allies to engineer military responses. He also declared a war on the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, although he was at pains to stress that U.S. civilians are to be spared in any attack or retaliation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6yyC897UliI

Supporters of the Iran resistance axis have been quite angry in the wake of the assassination. The status of Suleimani in his camp is similar to the status of Nasrallah although Nasrallah -- due to his charisma and to his performance and the performance of his party in the July 2006 war -- may have attained a higher status.

It would be easy for the Trump administration to ignite a Middle East war by provoking Iran once again, and wrongly assuming that there are no limits to Iranian caution and self-restraint. But if the U.S. (and Israel with it or behind it) were to start a Middle East war, it will spread far wider and last far longer than the last war in Iraq, which the U.S. is yet to complete.

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the "Historical Dictionary of Lebanon" (1998), "Bin Laden, Islam and America's New War on Terrorism (2002), and "The Battle for Saudi Arabia" (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhal

This article was originally published by " Consortium News " -

[Jan 21, 2020] Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran's military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law."


Likklemore , Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Bubbles , Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?


Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

[Jan 19, 2020] Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington

Jan 19, 2020 | www.politico.eu

Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in European foreign policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers and sanctions policy.

... ... ...

The response from Tehran could be immediate or more long term, ranging from military action in the region to cyber attacks inside the U.S. and heavy political pushback. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned that there would not be war with the U.S. and Iran has so far acted in a calculated and rational fashion to Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. If this position holds, Tehran will attempt to manage the risk of direct conflict, continuing to deploy asymmetric tactics to undermine U.S. interests, albeit with the red lines now redrawn.

The gravity and scale of Iranian compliance will be influenced by the recent escalation with the U.S.

The extensive U.S. military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan means the U.S. is likely to bear the brunt of retaliation. Iran has deep ties to both state and non-state actors across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Yemen that can be utilized to inflict pain on America. Soleimani's death has already triggered a new decline in the Trump administration's relations with Baghdad that may extend to Kabul, and is also likely to heat up the long debate inside Tehran over how far to push U.S. military forces out of neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

If Tehran takes drastic steps on the nuclear file, it could mark the total collapse of the agreement.

... ... ...

In the space of six months, the U.S. and Iran have gone from targeting drones, oil installations and bases, to killing personnel. It is still unclear how and when Iran will choose to respond to Soleimani's assassination. But the new commander of the Quds Force -- appointed within 12 hours of Soleimani's death -- will no doubt be eager to demonstrate his willingness to exact revenge against America.

When that happens, neither the Middle East nor Europe will be isolated from the blowback.

[Jan 19, 2020] The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 10:57 utc | 104

The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq. Trump in so many ways represents the bad ruler Gilgamesh who is poorly advised in his conquest by Enkidu (Pompeo) and they brutally slay the guardian of the forest to steal the precious timber. Then they murder the sacred bull of heaven (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) for prowess and nothing more. This slaughter of the sacred bull enrages the gods and they slay Enkidu which breaks Gilgamesh heart. etc etc. (drastically simplified and likely contested).

This tale is deeply known throughout the lands of the Middle East in all manner of old and modern iterations.

Trump is so unwise and devoid of subtlety that he has ended any chance of salvation in that land and has started every chance of retribution on a scale he could not conceive. His assault on all culture and sacred leaders is bonded to the deepest sense of existential being that any further aggression will simply escalate the payback. The USA urgently needs some cooler heads to intervene but they are not yet impacting on him. Indeed Trump is so eager to pat himself on the back with his adrenalin rush of murdering other leaders that it is disgusting.

[Jan 19, 2020] ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michael888 , Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Sasha , Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

Really?

Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the head...as always...but following the rest...be it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

[Jan 19, 2020] They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14

What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15

I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?

[Jan 19, 2020] The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 11:21 utc | 120

The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge. Very small drones can fly autonomously and each can carry 2 Kg of cargo which can be explosives, chemical or bioweapons or a combination. They are cheap, easy to build and can operate autonomously. With only using relatively simple algorithms they can be made to fly in groups and track using already extant facial recognition software. I can envision a scenario where drones are flown to the top of a semi-trailer somewhere south to hitch a ride north on I-95 until they get into DC near Fort Belvoir or Andrews AFB. They could then lift off and loiter perched on transmission lines where they can easily recharge using rf energy and wait. Once a target arrives, say a President on the golf course or perhaps Air Force 1 taxiing on the runway or even perhaps perch outside a window, they can then lift off and conduct an attack either directly or as limpet mines. With swarming you can send a mass of drones all flying autonomously with varied patterns. It would be impossible to stop them. Because they are autonomous jamming won't work. They would be impossible to trace back to their origin and most could be 3D printed and use off the shelf parts. If I can think this way, I am certain others are as well. Snake drones would be particularly difficult to stop.

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 18:23 utc | 155

Old hippe @128.yes, but these were being guided remotely from a US Navy aircraft and somewhat controllable from remote which is what happened. I think inside the US they don't think that far ahead and jamming would interfere with wifi etc. so not palatable. I Ave in mind they would be sitting in the grass or on a nearby telephone pole waiting for the target and travel less than 100 meters to hit. Autonomous means flying without any external controls and would be committed once set out. One perched on a window with 2kg of C4 waiting for whatever executive to sit down next to it would be another scenario. A snake drone could navigate in the sewers up to an executive toilet. The possibilities are endless. It is just a matter of time.

[Jan 19, 2020] The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

The Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an 'imminent threat' has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.

In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example , makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:

On the 3rd of this month, we took one of the world's deadliest terrorists off the battlefield for good.
...
But I want to lay this out in context of what we've been trying to do. There is a bigger strategy to this.

President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.
...
And let's be honest. For decades, U.S. administrations of both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.
...
So what did we do? We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence.
...
Qasem Soleimani discovered our resolve to defend American lives.
...
We have re-established deterrence, but we know it's not everlasting, that risk remains. We are determined not to lose that deterrence. In all cases, we have to do this.
...
We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia's 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.

China's island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.

You saw, too, Russia ignored a treaty. We withdrew from the INF with the unanimous support of our NATO allies because there was only one party complying with a two-party agreement. We think this, again, restores credibility and deterrence to protect America.

This understanding of 'deterrence' seems to be vague and incomplete. A longer piece I am working on will further delve deeper into that issue. But an important point is that deterrence works in both directions.

Iran responded with a missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq. The missiles hit the targets they were aimed at . This was a warning that any further U.S. action would cause serious U.S. casualties. That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action. Iran also declared that it will expel the U.S. from the Middle East. How is Iran deterred when it openly declares that it will take on such a project?

Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might.

Russia and China already had no doubts that the U.S. is immoral and willing to commit war crimes. And while 'western' media avoid that characterization for the assassination of Soleimani there is no doubt that it was one.

In a letter to the New York Times the now 100 years old chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, warned of the larger effects of such deeds when he writes :

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had "taken out" (which really means "murdered") an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

The killing of a Soleimani will also only have a short term effect when it comes to general deterrence. It was a onetime shot to which others will react. Groups and people who work against 'U.S. interests' will now do so less publicly. Countries will seek asymmetric advantages to prevent such U.S. action against themselves. By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicated.

Posted by b on January 18, 2020 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


james , Jan 18 2020 19:52 utc | 1

next page " "And let's be honest." anyone who starts off with those words - run the other way when they say that.. pomparse is a real embarrassment to the usa on the world stage at this point... there is no international law that the usa will not completely bypass / lie / or obfuscate to push its uni-polar exceptional agenda at this point.. anyone paying any attention can see this clearly.
Soleimani's Ghost , Jan 18 2020 19:53 utc | 2
In terms of deterrence re Iran, these people don't seem to know much about the role of martyrdom in Shi'ism
lysias , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 3
Pompeo speaks as though he wants to provoke an assassination attempt on himself.
chet380 , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 4
If push comes to shove, the Iranians are well aware that the US would, by its bombing and missiles that the Iranians cannot completely withstand, cause many deaths and massive destruction to its cities and infrastructure ... BUT the Americans are very much aware that the Iranian response would be devastating -- all US ME military assets would come under massive fire resulting in many deaths; all Gulf State oil infrastructure would be destroyed; Tel Aviv and Riyadh would be attacked; the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, and on and on.

It seems highly unlikely that the US would take such a risk -- let us call it Mutual Assured Destructiveness

exiled off mainstree , Jan 18 2020 20:00 utc | 5
It is interesting that the commentary closes with a letter by Benjamin Ferencz, perhaps the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. As he indicates, the assassination is a war crime, and, in my view, even the threat of such an assassination is a serious breach of international law. Regimes following such a policy have gone rogue, and cabinet ministers making such a pronouncement that the assassination was carried out as a deterrent are, in effect, confessing to war crimes. In future the reach of the offending regime may be much less than it is now, and, if that occurs, the rogue minister better be careful if he travels outside of his home country.
1 , Jan 18 2020 20:02 utc | 6
Thanks B, for your continued articles that are never mentioned elsewhere. I completely agree with your assessment. War used to have rules. Any american army brass or higher ups in USA, Britain, Israel and allies will have to keep looking over their shoulder when they leave their own country. Israel already cancelled trips to Saudi Arabia over security concerns. The gloves are off and targeted assignation will hit allies of USA. The president family are fair game, People who sponsor the the orange prophet of misery, Pompous Pompeoo, Esper or any general will have a very paranoid time knowing that the rules of war that once protected them from targeted assignation no longer apply. After all if america can do this, what's stopping their adversaries from doing the same.
ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 20:05 utc | 7
Benjamin B. Ferencz, his touted Harvard Law School pedigree Nuremberg Trial experience have precisely ZERO persuasive value.

Ferencz was one of the most vicious and manipulative of the Nuremberg prosecutors. In a BBC interview he stated boldly that he threatened to kill detainees or their families unless they confessed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=jmFg_ZkKo8M

Interviewer: "In previous interviews you've described how in gathering testimonies you did resort to duress, for instance, lining up villagers and threatening to shoot them if they lied. Such methods now would amount to witness harassment of the most extreme order.

Ferencz: Perhaps it would. but it's only because the people who make allegations don't understand what war is about -- bring a room of 20 people together -- this is an actual case -- and say I want you all to write out what happened, what your role was, what others did. Anybody who lies will be shot.
"Oh, how can you do a thing like that!" You're threatening them, it's torture! What am I going to tell 'em? That you won't get your patty-cake tonight? ' Please be honest, please confess that you're a murderer. Please do that, I don't want to have to ____ you of anything.'
What are you talking about? There's a war going on! They will kill you if they could. They were killing some of their buddies before. So what am I going to do? I didn't shoot them. But I threatened to , and that's the only weapon I had. And if that be torture, then call me a torturer."

Moreover, Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the key instigators of World War II and US involvement in it, recorded a Personal Letter he sent to his wife / daughter (probably) shortly after Germany's surrender. The Rabbi wrote that he and Nahum Goldmann had lunch with Justice Robert Jackson, and that

"Justice [Robert] Jackson. . . .has grand and spacious ideas on the Nuremberg trials in mid-October, with Weizmann, Goldmann or S.S.W. [Stephen S. Wise] as Jewish witnesses to present the Jewish Case –not permitted as Amicus Curiae!

In itself it becomes the greatest trial in history, with what Jackson calls its broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition.
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

If Ferencz has an ounce of integrity, he will condemn as "aggressive war-making" every person who voted for an illegal war against Iraq, and every person involved in imposing sanctions on Iran -- themselves acts of "aggressive war."

But he won't because he doesn't.

Piotr Berman , Jan 18 2020 20:06 utc | 8
"By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate."

USA is not exactly the sole economic superpower, but as long as the allies, EU, NATO, major allies in Asia and Latin America, behave like poodles, USA pretty much controls what is "normal". After Obama campaigns of murder by drone, now Trump raises it to a higher level, and Europe, the most critical link in the web of alliances, applauds (UK) or accepts and cooperates. That can be a useful clarification for US establishment.

So the bottom line is that while it is hard to show constructive goals achieved by raising murder policies to a more brazen level, nothing changes for the worse. Allies tolerate irrationality, cruelty etc. and to some extend, join the fun.

William Gruff , Jan 18 2020 20:07 utc | 9
Pompeo: "In all cases, we have to do this."

In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that.

America disconnected from reality years ago. I rather doubt they could even find their way back if they were to somehow return to their senses.

Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:13 utc | 10
IMO, from what I understand of Shia mentality, after immoral assassination of general Soleimani the only thing can prevent a violent revenge against US military or political staff would be a Fatwa by a grand ayatollah to nullify a fatwa by any junior Ayatollah authorizing (sanctioning) specific action. It was an incalculably caster F* mistake that can last for a generation at least.
John Dowser , Jan 18 2020 20:16 utc | 11
"t̶h̶e̶ U̶.̶S̶.̶ Israel and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate"

Not if the purpose was more pressure by complication. The goal then to create a pretext: a pressure cooker which will cause military exchange or, especially after some limited violent exchange, increasing internal strife inside Iran which can't afford more war.

The conditions for this tactic would be clear: containing all the likely fall-out of the above unraveling, namely:

- contain China with the trade war no one can win but will make it near impossible for China to deal with Iran, Iraq and Syria.
- increased containment Palestine and Lebanon by Israel. Make very move there seem way too expensive for especially Hezbollah.
- prevent any kind of weapon transport or technology transfer to Lebanon which could break above containment.
- vastly improved border security and travel limitations
- increasing War on T̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶ Blow Back related powers for Homeland Security, NSA etc.

Russia is seen as less of a problem as any potential military support would be simply too costly and too little gain for Putin.

And make no mistake, Trump is fully ready to display nuclear might the moment Iran would demonstrate their own remarkable advances. And he would make it very clear that the US is willing. The new policy of deterrence is very simple and yet horrible: examples have to be made to demonstrate that "all options are still on the table". If he wants to keep declining America great but not have expensive wars and yet force others to still follow American lead: there's only one cold logical solution to that.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:19 utc | 12
The glaring fact of the matter is that the us president and his accomplices useld false allegations as an excuse to murder these men. They also did so in a cowardly manner, under a false invitation to negotiate (and, Yes I do believe that).
In my country, when a person orders someone to murder someone else in exchange for compensation (in this case salaries), the police call it murder for hire.
Paul Damascene , Jan 18 2020 20:20 utc | 13
Deterrence and decapitation strikes ...

Idle speculation on my part, but I am not alone in wondering if the Soleimani assassination accelerated Putin's restructuring agenda. (I'm not suggesting it was generated or even influenced in substance by the strike, just that the timing may have been.) Given the power of the President in Russia, as the CIA itself very well understands, there is perhaps no more tempting target for an overt military assassination strike than President Putin.

Of course, deterrence of rational actors is precisely what would prevent this, but I imagine Russian strategic thinkers have wondered whether or for how long the US remains a rational actor. Moreover, this would be the sort of thing that a fanatical faction could pull off. In some Strangelovean bunker somewhere, there may be those who would actually welcome a last gasp of large-scale warfare before the Eurasian Heartland is lost and the Petrodollar-fueled global finance empire, nominally sheltered in the US, dies away.

Creative destruction ... a last chance to shuffle the cards, and perhaps reset a losing game to zero.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14
What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.
Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15
I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:25 utc | 16
"This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything."
james , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17
yeah - mafia tactics as offered by trump /pompeo and etc is exactly what it is... and when Benjamin B. Ferencz calls it what it is, apologists show up to can ferencz @ 7.. so what will persuade you chasmark?? do i need to send a hit man over to your place?
Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 18 2020 20:29 utc | 19
all this rhetoric says the obvious: the USA wants to destroy physically the Near East (Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc). either he destroys the whole region or he cannot be reelected or better he gets impeached in the Senate.
Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:49 utc | 22

Should have add to my earlier comment (10) , the missile attack on American bases on Iraq was Iran's military/ government response for killing General Soleimani, by no means was the Shia' response since that would need a Fatwa and not necessary by an Iranian cleric or even by Iranian Shia. Is now a religious matter for all believers.
El Cid , Jan 18 2020 20:51 utc | 23
Sooner or later, Saudi Arabia will make peace with Iran. It will improve relations with Russia and China, and will reduce ties with Israel. Soon, Turkey will be completely out of Syria, and Idlib will be entirely liberated. The US, in Iraq, will slowly be drained of vitality with a death of a thousand cuts. Medium range missile production in conjunction with Russian S-300 air defense will will spread throughout the Middle East, and Israel's air force will be neutralized. Then the pipeline from Iran to Syria will be completed.
Willy2 , Jan 18 2020 21:17 utc | 24
- I think that EVERYONE who is involved in the Middle East will think twice before one makes a (provocative) move. Tensions will remain high. But some people may (and will) do (deliberately) something (provocative) that will ratchet up tensions even more. With the intent of ratcheting tensions higher.
- There was someone who said that in 2020 World War III would start. For a long time I thought this person was nuts. But now I am not so sure anymore that this person was nuts.
- There were also people who said that we were "sleepwalking" into WW III, something along the lines of what happened before WW I. These persons were talking about a war between the US (+ NATO) and Russia. But now I think that if a war would break out that then not only Russia but also China and Iran are going to be part of that war. No, I am not sure anymore that this going to end well.

- I also think that everyone haas become (more) cautious. And that an act of A-symmetric warfare has become (more) unlikely.

psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

cirsium , Jan 18 2020 21:26 utc | 26
@William Gruff, 9
"In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that."

Maybe that's because
"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer." D H Lawrence

Zee , Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27
The most depressing thing about the assassination's aftermath is that Western Europe's leaders are as bad as America's - "It's the economy, stupid!" So, a threat to their auto manufacturers is a threat to jobs, and one has to consider the next election. They were already controlled thanks to the NSA's eavesdropping on their cell phones, a threat to individual politicians - no need for them to worry about physical elimination, then; Trump threatened via economics their parties' chances of reelection, meaning they have support for knuckling under. China, Russia and Iran are on their own - China was still working on its economic might, Russia was still working on building a strong political foundation, and Iran already has its hands full with internal and external threats. The fence-sitters (India, smaller Asian and African countries) will sit on the sidelines, working to improve their own economies and waiting to see who looks more powerful before joining one side or the other to break down or uphold the international norms and laws it took centuries to build. Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
cdvision , Jan 18 2020 21:33 utc | 28
Be careful what you wish for Mr Pompeo, the sword has 2 edges. I don't think turning the other cheek is in the Shia lexicon.
Curtis , Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29
Trailer Trash 20
The only reason I wouldn't be surprised at big media calling Soleimani's murder an "assassination" is how the media politics is played by party. Since the media tends to lean left, they want to be thorns in Trump's side. Neither party is against war; they want to be the instigators to get the glory (while shifting/limiting blame). Amid the media's stories on this were the talking points of Trump going too far by DEMs in congress.
Recall Libya. The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
blues , Jan 18 2020 21:39 utc | 30
Maybe I stupidly posted this in the wrong thread?

Trump is simply a third-rate Godfather type gangster, with a touch of the charm and a lot of the baggage. I think his murder of General Qassem Soleimani was not something he would have done if he had any choice. It was a very stupid move, and Trump is just not that stupid. I really think this was demanded by the 'churnitalists'. These churnitalists are probably the psychos of the predatory arm of the CIA, and their billionaire allies.

See, it all works like this:

These churnitalists (who supposedly provide us with 'protection', or 'security') are the real rulers (because everybody who defies them ends up dead). Now just ask your self: How does rulership actually really work? It's really kind of simple. The only actual way to establish rulership over other people is to prove, again and again, that you can force them to do stupid things, for absolutely no reason. This is called 'people-churning', and all you have to do is just keep churning out low-class 'history' by constantly forcing the weaker ones to do stupid things. Again and again. This happens constantly in a churnitalist gangster society. Even in schools and legislatures, and so on. Haven't you noticed it yet?

Ron , Jan 18 2020 21:41 utc | 31
Kali 15

Ten reasons why the US is the Beast of Revelation

james , Jan 18 2020 21:44 utc | 32
@ 24 willy2... i have been talking about war in 2020 for some time based off the astrology..i have mentioned it in passing here at moa a few times in the past couple of years.. see my comments in this skyscript link from june 2015..
ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35
@31 Ron

There are 2 beasts, the first is either America or NATO, or basically "The Empire" or The Neocon Oligarchy--all work well but America is a bit too broad since there are many good people in America. The second beast whose number is 666, is Trump. Search: Trump 666 and be amazed.

And of course The Pièce de résistance

les7 , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 36
Gruff @ 9

So sadly but profoundly true

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 18 2020 22:09 utc | 41
b: Usage or typo alert - about 2/3 of the way through your piece.
Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounce as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might...

The English language expression is "out of bounds" as in, of course, outside the bounding lines defining a field of play.

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?
Clueless Joe , Jan 18 2020 23:28 utc | 45
That's one of the good aspect of Trump administration, in the long run. With these psychos openly plagiarizing Grand Moff Tarkin ("Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."), it will be pretty had for any sane and sensible observer not to come to the conclusion that, deep down, the USA *is* an Evil Empire that has to be fought and brought down - and thankfully, this time, one saner Obama-like presidency, if it ever happens after Trump, won't be enough to change that perception.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jan 18 2020 23:47 utc | 46
I can only guess what Toynbee would think of the US now, it certainly looks like suicide to me and if the US actually had any friends left they would be busy trying to talk the US out of it. From this point of view the relative silence speaks loudly and says something quite different than at least some people think.

US NATO "allies" haven't exactly been enthusiastic. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking the UK came closest with Johnson's "not crying" remark, everything else seems to be tortured statements walking on eggshells. 2nd biggest NATO member Turkey cooperates with Iran and plenty of others in NATO have wanted and worked towards normal relations despite differences, some more publicly than others. It might not have amounted to anything but that's my impression at least.

Any support for war against Iran is microscopic. Against Russia? Except for the rarest of the worst of fools not a chance. Against China? People would have trouble comprehending the question itself due to how absurd the notion is.

ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 23:56 utc | 47
Dick | Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44

"Is it just me" who makes the argument reductio ad Hitlerum?

No, it's you and every other moron who gets his history from teevee and Hollywood.

If the compulsion to resort to WWII analogies is too compelling to overcome, flip the script:

US and Britain 'won' the war in Germany by deliberately firebombing civilian targets, over and over and over and over again.
United States Dept. of Interior records in detail how Standard Oil engineers, USAF, Jewish architects, and Jewish Hollywood studio set designers constructed and practiced creating firestorms with the stated goal of killing working class German civilians, including "infants in cribs."

In a discussion of his book, The Fire, Jörg Friedrich emphasized that Allied bombers dropped leaflets telling the Germans they were about to kill that their only recourse was to overthrow their government -- to topple or kill Hitler: the "greatest generation" killed civilians as "deterrents" to Wehrmacht's defensive actions against Allied invasion.

Since at least 1995 US tactics against Iran have been similar: Ed Royce spelled them out: US will sanction Iranian citizens in an effort to make life so miserable for them that they will riot and overthrow their government.

So yes, it IS "just like the Nazis" -- US-zionists are running a similar playbook as that used to prostrate Germany.
And Iraq.
And Libya.
And Syria.

Notice that wrt Syria, having reduced that ancient place to rubble, much like Allies reduced Germany's cultural heritage to rubble, US 'diplomats' are steadfastly refusing to allow Syria access to resources with which to finance its reconstruction, and are also blocking any other country's attempt to aid Syria in reconstruction: Destroying Syria was 'hi-tech eminent domain,' and now USA intends to be the only entity to finance and rebuild Syria -- or else US will continue the destruction of Syria.

Most Americans think Marshall plan was an act more generous than Jesus Christ on the cross, but in fact it was a cynical strategy to completely dominate Germany in saecula saeculorum. (US LOANED the money, and far more-- about 2.5 X more-- was committed to England -- relatively undamaged -- than to Germany, where 70% of infrastructure was rubble.)
You won't learn that from the Hollywood version of WWII.

Roberto , Jan 18 2020 23:58 utc | 48
the Nuremberg trials:

Was Nuremebrg trial a fair trial? Not, it was not. It was very unfair.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:10 utc | 49
I recall RT reported on December 31. 19 Trump warned

LINK

"This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump declared in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, adding that Iran will "pay a very BIG PRICE" for the embassy siege earlier in the day."

They sure did. So who is next?

Yesterday Trump warned the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khameni:

'Be very careful with your words': Trump warns Iran's Khamenei after ayatollah delivers fiery sermon slamming 'American clowns'

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a heated sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed American leaders as "clowns."
Leading a prayer in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted that Iran had the "spirit to slap an arrogant, aggressive global power" in its retaliation to the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, which he said struck a "serious blow" to Washington's "dignity" – triggering a response from the US president.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweeted. "Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!"

In his sermon, Khamenei blasted "American clowns," who he said "lie in utter viciousness that they stand with the Iranian people," referring to recent comments by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

How dare he?


Pft , Jan 19 2020 0:28 utc | 50
Lets face it, assassinations are not a new thing. It became more organized with Lord Palmerstons gangs of thugs in the mid 19th century (one of which took out Lincoln) . Since the end of WWII the global mafia jumped across the pond and assassinations have been covert actions arranged by the CIA , with operations having a high degree of plausible deniability. But most higher ups had a pretty good idea who was behind it . Trumps just continued this but like Bush and Obama have made clear its their right to do so against terrorists . Of course the definition of terrorist has become rather broad. Trump recently said he authorized the hit because he said bad things about America. Maybe saying bad things about Trump can get you labelled the same. Watch out for those drones barflies.

So basically the main change is they no longer care about plausible deniability . They are proud to admit it. And nobody seems to care enough to express any outrage. Name any countries leader who has except in muted terms. Europe, Russia, China, etc everyone quiet as a mouse. China so outraged they signed a trade deal giving them nothing. UN? Might as well move it to Cuba , Iran or Venezuela for all the clout it has.

So you know, maybe the deterrence is working. Terrorism works both ways. The world seems terrorized and hardly anyone in the US dares criticize Trumps action without saying the general was evil and deserved it. Its not just drones they fear as financial terrorism (sanctions, denied access to USD) works quite well also (except in Irans case).

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 51
james | Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17

The argument is correct.
(Although the mafia label bespeaks a limited frame of reference and it's inappropriate in any event -- crime families do not have the reach or power of state assassination squads.)

Ferencz does not have the moral standing to make the argument.
It's like granting Ted Bundy credibility for criticizing police brutality.

mcohen , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 52
What a story.
Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:32 utc | 53
Posted by: Kali | Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35

The beast rises from the bottomless pit, it is written in the book you quoted!
How do you suggest a mere mortal and retard like trump does that?
The murcanized xtianity eschatology you have been reading is stupid and in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM Orthodox(Orthodox=Christian)

"ORTHODOXESCHATOLOGYdotBLOGSPOTdotCOM"
"orthodoxinfoDOTcom"
"preteristarchiveDOTcom"
You will find info that is not xtian but Christian @ those blogs..
The last one is a library with ancient and old texts about Christianity!
If you search "THEOSIS THE TRUE PURPOSE OF HUMAN LIFE" on orthodoxinfo you will also find a book WELL worth reading if you are/want to be Christian.

Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway

"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:36 utc | 54
Kali @35
i messed up and hit post b4 i pasted this..
"'The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that was, and is not, although it is."
Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway
BLP , Jan 19 2020 0:40 utc | 55

several additions if i may:

first speculation. however it happened, "deep state" power or factions now have a jacket
on Trump. he can't disown what happened. Brennan and Stephen Schwarzman are safe.
the Money and the MIC get what they want. Trump's agenda of converting the common good
to corporate profit is acceptable. they can use Trump to defeat Sanders.

it's quite possible American power is unimpressed by the Russia-China alliance which has
just revealed it's limitations. i think this link has already run on this site:
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/05/fragmentation-in-the-axis-of-resistance-led-to-soleimanis-death/.

here's a welcome dose of realism from the Holy Russia Neverland to substantiate this view:
https://thesaker.is/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/
3 comments from India by Anaam esp this one: Anaam on January 17, 2020 · at 10:32 am EST/EDT

and lastly this outlier from ibm.com. a new, more powerful battery made from sea water.
charges in 5 min. in California this means electricity off your roof for everything including
your car plus a surplus for export. how soon? doesn't say. oil dependent economies
want to know. and we won't need the "petro" for the petrodollar.
https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2019/12/heavy-metal-free-battery/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56
The truth of it is Trump murdered General Soleimani because the general was very effective in defeating ISIS - the U.S. created and funded - terrorists in Syria and Iraq. The neocons were none too pleased.

Release Jan.18 2020 21st centurywire audio Interview with Dr. Mohammad Marandi, Tehran University

America's Miscalculation with Iran

LINK

@ ChasMark 7 - not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?

How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips. Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?

How about the U.S. waterboarding and torturing Muslims at Gitmo? 19 years on with NO TRIALS!!! That's OK, right?

karlof1 , Jan 19 2020 0:58 utc | 57
As far as b's premise goes, he's proven it IMO. Looks like the CIA made the next move in Lebanon. IMO, Asia plus Russia & Belarus hold the geoeconomic and geopolitical deterrence cards. The Financial Parasite continues hollowing out what remains of US industry and retail helped along by Trump's Trade War. I presented the fundamental economic info and arguments on the prior threads, so I don't have anything to add.
pretzelattack , Jan 19 2020 1:08 utc | 58
the price of fake freedom is remaining ever vigilant to prevent peace breaking out. trump's as much a warmonger as any of them (which is to say impeachment won't make a bit of difference).
Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 1:27 utc | 59
F. William Engdahl asks,

Unintended Consequences: Did Trump just give the Middle East to China and Russia?

[Before] the US assassination of Soleimani, there were numerous back-channel efforts for détente in the costly wars that have raged across the region since the US-instigated Arab Spring between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran and Iraq. Russia and China have both in different ways been playing a key role in changing the geopolitical tensions. At this juncture the credibility of Washington as any honest partner is effectively zero if not minus.

[.] The US president just tweeted his support for renewed anti-government Iran protests, in Farsi. We are clearly in for some very nasty trouble in the Middle East as Washington tries to deal with the unintended consequences of its recent Middle East actions.[.]

Run home as fast as you can. In this election year, an observation; 10% of companies are losing money but thanks to the Feds, the Markets are making ATH ...all time highs. On main street Joe and Jane are in a well of hurt "it's the economy, stupid."

Copeland , Jan 19 2020 1:28 utc | 60
There is nothing ambiguous about Pompeo's statement. It is evidence of a profound psychotic break. It is a megalomaniac delusion of godlike power, a deterance not attainable on a human scale. "In all cases, we have to do this."

The masters of the universe will kill those who do not comply. The projection of their psychic power to intimidate the world goes well beyond Iraq and Iran, brushing aside all the little insubstantial nations that are constantly underfoot. Russia and China are to take heed now, it is they too who must sleep with one eye open. The deterrence necessary to keep us all safe means to go ahead and challenge those islands China built in the South China Sea.

The smiling villains do not accept that Crimea is part of Russia. Pompeo compares Soleimani to bin Laden. There are so many departures from reality in the speech amidst all the levity that it seems like someone has opened the doors of the Asylum.

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 1:50 utc | 61
Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56

Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted.

"not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?"
Neither.

"How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips."

U can't fool all of the people all of the time. I wasn't fooled by Ferencz's claim to righteousness based on Harvard when his Nuremberg activities were outrageous and the Nuremberg set-up itself was that of a kangaroo court.

"Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?"

Trump's war crimes are indefensible; the Nuremberg trials were not about "bringing Nazis to justice," they involved, as Rabbi Wise said, a largely Jewish exercise in revenge. If Nuremberg were about "justice," Wise himself would have been in the dock along with FDR (post mortem), Churchill, Stalin, and Truman + + +
If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

But that does not make the Nuremberg trials the model of justice: they were not: as Rabbi Stephen Wise wrote to his family, months before the trials began, they were set up by FDR's man Robert Jackson as a

" broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. [in which]
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

Ferencz's co-ethnics participated in the creation of the kangaroo court that Ferencz himself utilized more to vent his spleen than to establish international models of justice.

That is why the so-called Nuremberg principles have not and cannot be properly applied to the war crimes committed by Bush (I and II), by Clinton (Bill & Hill), Obama, Trump -- not to mention FDR, Truman & Churchill.

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless: if they were effective bodies for meting justice, even the sanctions on Iran would be subject to judgment under United Nations Charter, along with Victoria Kagan Nuland's subversion of Ukraine and every other 'color revolution' US has engaged in: the UN Charter proscribes interference in the internal affairs of member states.

ak74 , Jan 19 2020 2:13 utc | 62
In the Orwellian value system of America, Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak for America's brazen war crimes, wars of aggression, and shredding of international law.

America is a mafia nation masquerading as a democracy.

And Donald Trump is a two-bit New York mafioso don in charge of this America Mafia state.

JC , Jan 19 2020 2:29 utc | 63
@El Cid 23

Hey you missed out Israel - "will be completely out of Palestine and return Golan Height to Syria"

Wishfool thinking !

james , Jan 19 2020 2:31 utc | 64
@51 chasmark.... thanks.. got it.. i don't much much of anything about the man..
Dr. George W Oprisko , Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
To ChasMark........

You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

So.........

You won't mind............ will you.............

IF someone chooses to put a hellfire missile up your ASS!!

INDY

Idland , Jan 19 2020 3:01 utc | 66
Just monitor any of Pompeo's HD presentations. Look for blink rate and eye micro movements, (saccades).Real evidence of lizard brain psycopathy.
Circe , Jan 19 2020 3:03 utc | 67
Trump recounts minute by minute details of Soleimani assassination at a fundraiser held at his Florida resort. Cause that's what normal people do; brag about murdering someone. I'll bet his fat cat Zionist friends emptied their coffers. SICK.

trump-brags-killed-2-for-price-of-1

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:09 utc | 68
ak74 @62: Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak ...

Exactly. And we might add:

"America First" means America is the Empire's Fist;

"Stand with the people of " is 'New World Order' psyop;

"Economic sanctions" is the economic part of hybrid warfare;

"War on terror" is the war on ALL enemies of the empire via terrorist destabilization;

"Russiagate" is McCarthyist war on dissent;

"Trump" is the latest dear leader whose flaws are blessings and whose 'gut instinct' is God's will. We know this because his fake enemies (like the Democrats, "fake news", and ISIS) always fail when they confront him.


!!
V , Jan 19 2020 3:12 utc | 69 Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

Are you sure you actually read Chasmark @ 61?
Nowhere does he; You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!
What Chasmark did, was to post the truth of the Nuremberg Trials.
They were an out and out sham...
You definitely need to up your reading comprehension and or, your knowledge of history...

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:22 utc | 70
And the other countries of the world whine, but do nothing. I'm afraid they've become as shallow and self-absorbed as most Americans, afraid to confront the world's bully.

Torches and pitchforks are needed, and we get marches. I'm afraid the depravity has to get worse before direct action is taken.

I only hope to live long enough to see the debacle that is inevitable, even if takes me with it.

Justice and truth demand a reckoning..

Sounds dark, I know, but these are very dark days.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 3:26 utc | 71
@ ChasMark 61 in reply to mine @ 56

Among some of very good points you made, I take issue:

"Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted."

Perhaps you should re-read my comment vs what you posited. Look to Gitmo; is it any different to your critique of Nuremberg where there was a trial, albeit with deficiencies, vs holding and torturing prisoners over 18 years without a trial? that was my point.

You continue to offer up Rabbi Wise who proffered the Nuremberg trials were [.] "a largely Jewish exercise in revenge"

I may add, they are also continuing to take out their revenge on Palestinians who had nothing to do with events in Germany. The once oppressed have become oppressors.

If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

Don't expect justice from Congress they are all too busy at the money trough to recognize war crimes.
War crimes are prosecuted by the ICC which the US and Israel do not recognize. US is not a state party; have threatened, denied visas and barred entry to ICC investigators of war crimes

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless:

Toothless! Perhaps but
Don't tell that to Africans or Slobodan Milosevic while ELITES residing on that sliver of the "occupied lands of Palestine" continue to roam free. Oh wait, they are the chosen ones who rule the world!

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:31 utc | 72
@71 said in part; "The once oppressed have become oppressors."

A succinct description of the Israelis..

fundas , Jan 19 2020 3:39 utc | 73
Pompeo's speech may just be an attempt to reduce the cost of a future false flag assassination that could be blamed on one of the enemies. If the enemy does what we do, no need for an all out war. There will be a range of response options including just firing a few missiles. Cost of war with the chosen enemy may be too high or the timing just not right.
snake , Jan 19 2020 3:41 utc | 74
William Gruff @ 9 Expressions of <=reality-disconnected human behavior=> describes victim response to rules, enforcement behaviors and media products that bathe the differentiation space that allows to produce human automatons. An examination of the forces at work inside of the nation state container (differentiation space) will likely reveal private and external forces that produce in these public containers, reality-disconnected human responders (human behavior is a function of its environment; all learning is a result of personal experience). No one can learn from another, but everyone can learn from the behaviors of that other.

The physical environment is nature's doing, but the non physical environment is man's doing. We can organize content as a product of the physical environment ( we build a home) or as a product of the virtual environment (we produce a movie).

Conscious physical man is a highly differentiated product of both environments. A person growing up in the jungles of Belize, will not learn to operate a sled designed to operate in snow, and a person in the cold north will not learn to survive in the topical jungles of the Amazon. Experience is the only teacher, human expression is the experience modified product of sets of expressed genes. Experience in both the physical environment and the virtual environment contribute to the human response to the challenges of life. The virtual environment is about knowledge, habit, privilege, opportunity and a host of other non physical components. see Law, Moral attitudes, and behavioral change, p. 243 ref and to be clear behavior has three components. ref 7

What is this virtual space (environment) that allows differentiated humans to be manufactured from genetic material in to adult automatons. How are these automatons programmed? Since is it rarely possible to modify the physical space; most human differentiation occurs in virtual space. How many such digital spaces are there? virtual content means<= the verbal and non verbal (ref.12) discourse that engages interactively with the mind (conscious and unconsciousness). Environments can be natural or manufactured. Environment then is the container space. The contents of the manufactured environment are psycho-econo-socio-metically designed, media engineered, sets of media products. Each nation state supports a different set of contents within its container space. The order, arrangement and time of environments presented controls the mental behaviors of the media connected humans who reside within the container space environment.

The content of each nation state in the system is a set of environment variables operative in each human container. Two hundred and six different container spaces (the global nation state system=NSS) divides and separates the 8 billion humans in the world. Human differentiation is a product of the 206 different container environments. Your observation that "Pompeo is a psycho"; expresses the real problem for humanity; its leaders are the products of the physical and virtual content of the host nation state within the system of nation states. Each nation state is led by a few. I say to solve this always war condition it is necessary to control the humans that occupy the positions in the nation states or to eliminate the nation state system, and find some better way to address human need for governance.


1. VR empathy
2. self regulation in response to?
3. developing ideas into simulated experiences
4. regulated behavior
5. modify behavior
6. understanding conditions where regulation succeeds or fails to change underlying attitudes.
7. behavior has three components
8. drivers of behavior
9. basic-behavior-components/
10. learning to respond appropriately
11. genetic variables impacting responsive behavior
12. Communication is actually a constant flow of nonverbal and verbal details

The container space supports 24/7 digital presentations. humans animate the human containers, and the human containers constitution the nation states.

Pompeo is a victim of nation state programming, the question is, which nation state programmed him?

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:45 utc | 75
That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action.

Is USA really 'deterred' or just didn't want war at this time? USA is 'deterred' if the Iranian response actually stopped them in some way.

But they took Iran's 'slap' and RESPONDED (though not militarily) with more sanctions and even tried to turn the attack to their advantage by saying (initially) that Iran missed on purpose ( as I explained here ) and conducting Electronic Warfare/Info War that may have contributed to Iran's mistaken downing of a commercial airliner.

And, as bar patrons know only too well, Pompeo has refused to negotiate a USA exit from Iraq, saying that "USA is a force for good in the Middle East".

IMO USA wants to put on UN sanctions (now in progress) and, when war comes, USA will portray it as entirely Iran's fault. The claim will be that Iran is "lashing out" due to "sanctions imposed by the world community" .

!!

tjfxh , Jan 19 2020 3:54 utc | 76
Why does anyone gives either the president or US officials credence regarding what they say, especially Secretary Pompeo, not to mention POTUS? Taking Pompeo at this word and responding to it strikes me as a waste of time. These people are never going to say publicly what they are up to, which is world domination. Nor is it their own ideal. This has been the policy of the US elite at least since WWII, which was simply a transfer of the seat of power from London to Washington as the British Empire morphed into the Anglo-American Empire. Global domination through sea power was British policy for centuries and the US just recently joining the game, especially when the game expanded to air power as well. Arguably, this goes back to the end of WWI, if not the Spanish-American war that embarked the US on empire.
Idland , Jan 19 2020 4:00 utc | 77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 4:39 utc | 78
Deterrence, I guess is the politically correct term for what Trump is doing.
He sees that the Dollar hegemonic empire was crumbling same as most who don't rely on MSM for their news.
Trump believes US can hold its position in the world through pure military power, or the threat of military power.
He wants to regain what he calls importance from early 90s when US was sole undisputed superpower.
Iran though, he believes is a blot on USA's past that needs erasing.
Throughout the election campaign, Trump's big thing was rebuilding US military. He believes this will restore US power in the world. Ruling through the world fear rather than soft power and blackmail.
juliania , Jan 19 2020 4:54 utc | 79
Well said, dorje @ 43. That is how it is.

Today is Theophany in the Orthodox Christian Church, the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan:

Today Thou hast appeared to the universe
and Thy light, O Lord, hast shone on us,
who with understanding praise Thee:
Thou hast come and revealed Thyself
O Light Unapproachable!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 5:03 utc | 80
The 2000 page report about Afganistan sums up USA's criminal insanity. Further, Trump says the response attack from Iran did not harm troops nor do anything of significant damage. Indeed Iran's missiles are far superior than the USA's and the counter attack for the General's assassination. I have mused, that, perhaps the USA was/is set up in this scenario via Iran, Et Al.
ak74 , Jan 19 2020 5:09 utc | 81
The basis of the American Empire and its parasitic economy and Way of Life(TM) itself are premised on what should be called America's Dollar Dictatorship.

Because of the US Dollar, America is able to wage economic siege warfare (aka economic sanctions) on multiple nations around the planet--all in order to impose the Land of the Free's imperial dictates on them.

This is American global gangsterism in everything but name--and disguised behind the founding American deceptions of "Freedom and Democracy."

The vast majority Americans--including some fake "alternative media" shills--will attempt to spindoctor this issue by avoiding such blunt description of this system.

Instead, they prefer to employ Orwellian euphemisms about the "US PetroDollar" or the "US Dollar Reserve Currency" or how America's superpower status is dependent on this dollar syistem.

But former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accurately calls out this system for what it is: America's global dictatorship of the Dollar.

This is another reason why America has such hatred for Iran:

Dollar dictatorship the foundation of American empire - Iran's Ahmadinejad
https://www.rt.com/business/435310-dollar-us-empire-reorder-ahmadinejad/

America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East
https://michael-hudson.com/2020/01/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/

Mike Javaras , Jan 19 2020 5:13 utc | 82
Best explanation I've seen yet of the 752 jet takedown. It was a false flag attack by the US or its allies intended to frame Iran. The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger and was several seconds from crashing anyway. The rich kids of Tehran were in the housing complex at 6 AM to film the Stinger shootdown by their terrorist buddies. They have properly been arrested. There have been other arrests too. I wonder what they will come up with.

This makes more sense than any other theory I have seen.

https://beyondhighbrow.com/2020/01/18/false-flag-flight-752-in-iran-was-shot-down-by-us-allies-with-a-stinger-missile-not-by-an-iranian-missile/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 5:20 utc | 83
@ Peter AU1 78

Tom Luongo, who frequently cites b, has coined a new word for Trump's and his minions tactics. Tom asks:

Does Gangsternomics Meet its End in the Iraqi Desert?

In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, "Why now?"

There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.

In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development.[/]

Iraq's importance goes much farther than just protecting the petrodollar to the U.S. It is the fulcrum now on which the entire U.S. defense against Eurasian integration rests. The entire region is slipping out of the grasp of the U.S.


And this started with Russia moving into Syria in 2015 successfully. We are downstream of this as it has blown open the playbook and revealed it for how ugly it is.

Trump's crude gangster tactics in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Syria cannot be hidden behind the false veil of moral preening and virtue signaling about bringing democracy to these benighted places.[/]

What began in Syria with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China standing up together and saying, "No," continues today in Iraq. To this point Iran has been the major actor. Tomorrow it will be Russia, China and India.

And that is what is ultimately at stake here, the ability of the U.S. to employ gangsternomics in the Middle East and make it stick.[.]

By the time Trump is done threatening people over S-400's and pipelines the entire world will be happy to trade in yuan and/or rubles rather than dollars.[.]


full article here

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84
"...deterrence to protect America."

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

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces. The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc. To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force . No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85
Patroklos 84
Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?
Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 86
Mike Javaras @82: The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger ...

MANPADs like Stingers are heat-seeking. They go after ENGINES. On a big plane like PS732, a MANPADs is unlikely to have stopped the transponder and communications.

Philip Giraldi points a finger at US/Israeli Electronic Warfare:

Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752?
Iran Shot It Down But There May Be More to the Story

Giraldi thinks the transponder was hacked. But the article he cites also talks about a device on board that would've allowed for EW. And he notes that Israel probably ALSO has the capability to have been responsible for the EW and/or device on board.

!!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 6:01 utc | 87
All sentinent beings are working on the evolution of our planet & humanity. Problem is the very worst of our species are incurably criminally insane.

Love your blog MOA

Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 6:05 utc | 88
Likklemore 83

Thanks. Gangsternomics seems a good term for Trump's vision of US world power. Trump is pragmatic or realist in that he knows there is no court or authority to hold the US to account.
As to US holding power purely through military power, that can only happen long term if he gets hold of a good chunk of the worlds energy reserves (as in Persian gulf and Venezuela oil). If he doesn't achieve that, then the US goes down. Iran needs to ensure it stays under Russia's nuclear umbrella as there are no rules.

V , Jan 19 2020 6:21 utc | 89
MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated there is unverified information that at least six American F-35 jets were in the Iranian border area at the time when Tehran accidentally downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 last week.

www.fortruss.com

krollchem , Jan 19 2020 6:27 utc | 90
Sickening series of Trump interviews and speeches demanding that Iraq pay America and its allies over a trillion dollars for liberating Iraq (time stamp 8:20 to 12:00).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZfDJerI0o

This demonstrates that US attacks in Iraq over the last 30-40 years was mostly about the control (including transportation routes) and than profiting from its oil and gas reserves.

A secondary reason is to put troop on the border with Iran to further destabilize it via state terrorism to overthrow the government and then take its oil and gas too.

It will get interesting when a pro Iranian new Prime minister takes office and China offers Iraq a line of credit equivalent to the funds that would be frozen in Western bank accounts if Iraq actually demands the troops to leave.

"The Iran-linked Binaa parliamentary voting bloc has nominated Asaad al-Edani, a former minister and governor of oil-rich Basra province. Binaa's bloc is mostly made up of the Fatah party led by militia leader turned politician Hadi al-Ameri, who is close to Tehran."

The Kurdish President of Iraq has stated that "Out of an eagerness to spare blood and preserve civil peace, I apologize for not naming Edani prime minister," the letter continued. "I am ready to submit my resignation to parliament."
https://time.com/5755588/iraq-president-resignation/

Currently, the rival Sairoon bloc, headed by populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it would not participate in the process of nominating a new premier."
https://www.ft.com/content/50f09fe4-27f4-11ea-9a4f-963f0ec7e134

However, "Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a "million-man march" against the continued US military presence in the country"
https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981025000319

I close with a visionary French rock opera Starmania "story of an alternate reality where a fascist millionaire (read Trump) famous for building skyscrapers is running for president on an anti-immigration policy, and where the poor are getting more and more desperate for their voices to be heard."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LytR-6Xmk


Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91
@hopehely | Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85

Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?

Assuming that your post was serious...

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;
2. Lebensraum was indeed a specific war aim of Hitler;
3. Under the Shah Anglo-American (not mention Dutch, French and other) interests skimmed all Iranian energy resources, kept the USSR under pressure on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and provided a key friendly power in the most important region of central Asia. Petro-dollar supremacy could not have been established without control of the Persian Gulf. The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

psychohistorian , Jan 19 2020 6:47 utc | 92
@ krollchem #90 with the Starmania link that is not working

I get the following error from Oregon, USA
"
Video unavailable
This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
"

Thanks for the rest of the comment and agree with the sickness of demanding Iraq pay for being invaded.

When will all this idiocy end? Soon I hope.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 7:08 utc | 93
Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;

That was in the movie 300. I guess you did not watch it. :-)

The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

Not just the elite. Persian middle class was pretty well off too. Spending vacation in Europe was easy, quite affordable. Not any more. I know I know, those dang sanctions... well that is what you get when you piss off the big dawg.

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 7:20 utc | 94
Idland #77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?

Odd that, and he seemed like such a trustworthy chap as indicated in his twitter feed.
Perhaps he has some Ciaramella connections that would make Trump uncomfortable. Or Trump is taking absolutely no more chances with any insider he has no control over when attending high level meetings.

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 7:34 utc | 95
@ hopehely 93

Are you talking about 'earth and water' ? The symbolic gesture of submission to the Great King? That's a very different thing altogether. You make it sound like 'water rights'... I did indeed watch the film I'm sad to say, but Xerxes was not after water.

I'd like to know what proportion of the pre-1979 population of Iran qualified as 'middle-class' and what that meant in real terms. Outside of Tehran, Shiraz, etc there probably weren't a lot of Iranians skiing in St Moritz.

Richard , Jan 19 2020 7:35 utc | 96
There are certain signs that nations exhibit when they slide into becoming 'regimes'...targeted, illegal assassinations of opponents is one of these; America's recent political trajectory has been from oligarchy to kakistocracy and now, it seems, to regime - banana republic next, perhaps?...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

arata , Jan 19 2020 8:22 utc | 97
Soleimani had delivered an speech on 2 August 2018 in Hamadan, in his speech he read 5 verses poems from Rumi the famous Persian poet lived on 13 century. You can watch and listen minute 35:45 of the film , if you know Farsi. He said let enemy pay attention to these poems.

He has selected 5 verses from two locations from Book3 of Masnavi.

How the lover, impelled by love, said "I don't care" to the person who counseled and scolded him.

Verse 3833 : Do not thou threaten me with being killed // For I thirst lamentably for mine own blood.

V-3838 : If that One of friendly countenance shed my blood, // dancing (in triumph) I will strew (lavish) my soul (life) upon Him.

Story of those who ate the young elephant from greed and because they neglected the advice of the sincere counselor.

V-96 : Men dance and whirl on the battle-field // They dance in their own blood.

V-97 : They clap a hand when they are freed from the hand of ego // They make a dance when they jump out from their own imperfection,

V-98: The inner musicians strike the tambourine // The Oceans burst into foam from their ecstasy

I think Soleimani selected last 3 verses from this story of baby elephant killer, and revenge of the mother elephant, without intending the content of story. But the coincidence is striking.

psychedelicatessen , Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98
Peter AU1 @78

No fault in your reasoning, particularly when expressing this from Trump's point of view. I'd go a bit further and suggest he understands Iran, North Korea and Cuba are the only remaining nations without a Rothschild central bank. Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency. Upgrading hardware with a tactical nuclear weapon preference, isn't synonymous with rebuilding. What's neglected are the people operating any apparatus. As an example, there is no timely military action to counter mining of the Strait of Hormuz as illustrated by Death and Neglect in the 7th Fleet . A firsthand account from a U.S. Naval officer is eye opening (emphasis mine).

He'd seen his ship, one of the Navy's fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training -- how to identify and defuse underwater mines -- for fewer than 10 days the entire next year . During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship's faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.

Sonar which identifies dishwashers, crab traps and cars as possible mines, can hardly be considered a rebuilt military. The Navy's eleven minesweepers built more than 25 years ago, have had their decommissioning continually delayed because no replacement plan was implemented. I'll await the deeper understanding of 'deterrence' from b, even as I consider willingness to commit and brag about war crimes as beyond the point of no return.
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 9:32 utc | 99
psychedelicatessen "Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency."

I would be in agreement on the overall gist of your reply, but on Trump thinking he's successfully rebuilt the US military, I'm not so sure. He is a pragmatic gangster when it comes to world affairs which is why his Nuclear Posture Review lowered the threshold of first use of nukes. b's previous post on 'How Trump rebelled against the generals' also fits in with this line of thought.
I believe Trump needs to be thought of as a CEO brought in to pull a company back from the edge of bankruptcy. I think that is the way he sees himself, and as I have put in previous comments, there are no rules. I had thought Trump may be adverse to pure terrorism but depending on what comes of the Ukie airliner shootdown in Iran, there may be absolutely no rules as far as Trump is concerned.

ADKC , Jan 19 2020 9:33 utc | 100
Jackrabbit @86

The article linked by Mike Jarvis @86 makes observational comments about the behavior of the first missile strike in PS752 and that it must have been a stinger/manpad (and not a Tor). The same article also concludes that EW must also have been involved. Everything I have read indicates that the first missile strike behaved like a stinger/manpad - until this can be disproved it must remain a valid theory.

[Jan 18, 2020] While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful

Yankistan most potent weapon isn't military, it's economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire's imperial hold on the global economy.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
arby , Jan 16 2020 19:16 utc | 19
Stephen Gowans' latest'

https://gowans.blog/


"While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful. Indeed, against the total embargo Washington has imposed on Iran with the intention of starving Iranians into submission or inducing them to overthrow their government, the killing of Soleimani is a act of little consequence, even if its significance in provoking widespread outrage and galvanizing opposition to US aggression is undoubted."

[Jan 18, 2020] events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Neoliberal MSM try to hide or obscure this fact.

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Swedish Family , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:28 pm GMT

@Oscar Peterson

Significantly, events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Our media is doing its best to obscure this event as the probable starting point. Two days later on 27 December, the rocket fire near Kirkuk killed the US contractor. Then came the strike on KH troops back out in the West and now the assassination of Soleimani et al.

[ ]

So the trigger was the 25 December attack, and all the timing flows from that, not from any great real estate developer savvy. Frankly, in my view, you give Trump way to much credit for systematic thought. I don't think he really does that at all.

This is also the view of the Middle-East veterans over at Patrick Lang's blog:

Last weekend, in response to a rocket attack on a base outside Kirkuk that left one US contractor dead and four US servicemen wounded, we launched drone strikes on five Iraqi PMU outposts in Iraq and Syria near Abukamal killing 25 members and wounding scores more of the Kata'ib Hezbollah brigades of the PMU.

We blamed Iran and the Kata'ib Hezbollah for the rocket attack near Kirkuk. That may be true, but the Kata'ib Hezbollah is not some rogue militia controlled out of Teheran. It is an integral part of the PMU, its 46th and 47th brigades and has been for years. The PMU is an integral part of the Iraqi military and has been for years. The PMU played a major role in defeating IS in both Iraq and Syria. Our attack on the Kata'ib Hezbollah outposts was an attack on the Iraqi military and government. We informed PM Abdul-Mahdi of our intended attacks. Abdul-Mahadi warned us not to do it, but, of course, we conducted the attacks despite his warning. We were proud of the attacks. The Pentagon even released footage of the attacks. It was supposed to be a clear message to Teheran.

Unfortunately for us, the message was also heard by Iraqis. After the funerals of many of the victims of our attacks on the PMU outposts, a large crowd of protestors headed for the US Embassy in the Green Zone. For weeks prior to this, Iraqi security forces kept protestors from entering the Green Zone and approaching the US Embassy. Not this time. The crowds, including mourners fresh from the funerals of their family members and many PMU soldiers, unarmed but in uniform, poured into the Green Zone right to the gates of the Embassy itself. A reception area was entered and burned. Iraqi security forces of the PrimeMinister's Counter Terrorism Command were among the protestors. I surmise that PM Abdul-Mahdi was sending his own message back to the US.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/our-embassy-in-baghdad-ttg.html

The protests at the American embassy, then, were over Iraqi servicemen murdered in American drone strikes

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/will-trump-welcome-the-ejection-of-the-us-from-iraq-he-should.html

and now the Americans went one better and murdered an Iraqi general.

[Jan 16, 2020] https://iadllaw.org/2020/01/iadl-condemns-us-assassination-of-gen-qassem-soleimani-as-an-illegal-act-of-aggression/

Jan 16, 2020 | iadllaw.org

In this sense Soleimani assassination opened such a huge can of worms that the results can be judged only in several years.

It exposes Trump and his cronies as one trick ponies who does not think strategically or are manipulated (for all practical purposes the hypothesis that Trump is a puppet is stronger that then the hypothesis that he is an independent player)

In some way It might well be that Trump put the final nail into the global, led by the USA,neoliberal empire and legitimized the existence of two competing economic blocks. That's a huge change, if true (the fact that China folded contracts that)

He also implicitly acknowledged that the USA no longer can attack on Iran military without the danger of suffering large losses and profound negative consequences itself. Including Russia and China support for Iran in such a war, which would make it the second Vietnam. That's another huge change -- the end of "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine as we know it. .

Now we known that Trump bullied EU threating auto-tariff to support him. That a clear return to the Wild West in international relations and it another nail into the empire coffin. Esper recently blabbed that the US has the right under Article II of its Constitution to attack Iranian territory in response to offensive action by Iranian-backed militia in Iraq. So UN does not matter, right ? The UN Charter was created to stop WWIII. Under Trump, it again became a real possibility with the USA taking the central the role in creating the conditions for unleashing it.

Here is an interesting quote from yesterday (Jan 15, 2020) article by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times (

https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/

Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2001 to 2005, cuts to the chase: "America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as Pompeo is doing right now, as Trump is doing right now, as Esper is doing right now and a host of other members of my political party, the Republicans, are doing right now. We are going to lie, cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it. And that's the agony of it."

Moscow, Beijing and Tehran are fully aware of the stakes. Diplomats and analysts are working on the trend, for the trio, to evolve a concerted effort to protect one another from all forms of hybrid war – sanctions included – launched against each of them.

For the US, this is indeed an existential battle – against the whole Eurasia integration process, the New Silk Roads, the Russia-China strategic partnership, those Russian hypersonic weapons mixed with supple diplomacy, the profound disgust and revolt against US policies all across the Global South, the nearly inevitable collapse of the US dollar. What's certain is that the Empire won't go quietly into the night. We should all be ready for the battle of the ages.

.P.S. To me it looks that Trump lost all antiwar republicans and independents , as well as a part of military who voted for him in 2016 (and who now are Tulsi supporters)

The Senate trial, if it materializes, now can become the leverage point to drive a wedge between moderate Republicans and Trump via his Iran policies.

[Jan 16, 2020] Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 17:53 utc | 172

@ Carciofi 158

Observe how the West dances with Kim?

Pakistan should slip one across the border in a rail car of elephants.

We now shift the focus unto the Impeachment Trial. Shifty Schiff leads the prosecution. Should be interesting spectator sport. Never be too certain of the outcome. Some are positing Trump could be removed. Many Republicans are uneasy. The guy is unfit to have the nuclear codes, displays impaired emotion - schizophrenia. Others, Independent and Republican turncoats consider Trump embarrassing. Over the last days Trump's Sec. of Defense, Esper threw him under the bus.


This opinion piece should not be dismissed.

Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

[Because] Trump is going to be taken out.

The events of the past twelve days since Trump murdered IRGC General Qassem Soleimani prove this beyond any doubt. Impeachment was the leverage point to drive open a wedge between Republicans and Trump through Iran.

Pelosi slow-walking the articles of impeachment to the Senate was all part of the pantomime, folks. She gets what she wants: Congress asserting more power and the Democrats shoring up their base by taking out an eyesore in Trump.

She waits just long enough for Trump to do something questionable and for it to be made known publicly.[.]

The Swamp Strikes Back and puts Trump in a no-win situation.

The Wall St. Journal article from this weekend which intimated that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani was motivated by shoring up his support in the Israeli Occupied Senate is further proof.

"Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said," the newspaper reported.[.]

kooshy , Jan 15 2020 18:22 utc | 173

@Lysander | Jan 15 2020 2:04 utc | 111

"That is why Trump's presidency is a blessing for Iran. "
It's real blessing to the entire world, otherwise how else the world would have come to see the real ugly face of Americans

@Rd | Jan 15 2020 1:01 utc | 98
This is now beyond government and oligarchy , and laws, this is now about a national/religious demand for revenge, on killing a true national shia muslim hero away from any political or difference in opinion.
IMO, the demand for revenge can not be even controlled by military and it's leaders, the order for revenge can even be sanctioned by a relative unknown cleric in a shia village.

@moon | Jan 15 2020 7:52 utc | 136
Thanks, PL banned me over a year ago , for calling US military (yeman) a mercenary force, Now Trump is proud he sold 3000 US trops to Bone saw for 1 billion.
I also believe that Iranian military has understood for some time now, that US (Military) is not willing to enter a war with Iran at this time, which makes me believe that a low intensity, long, covert attritional war across the western Asia will finally make US to leave. IMO pre announced without casualty attack on AalA US base by Iran Military was to allow any future covert low intensity attack by Iranian regional allies on US forces as non-sanctioned or related by Iranian government or military.
Which makes it hard to fight directly.

[Jan 16, 2020] Angry Bear " Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Jan 16, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Barkley Rosser | January 15, 2020 6:13 am

Journalism Politics Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination I wish to point out some matters not getting a lot of attention in the US media.

An important one of those was reported two days ago by Juan Cole . It is that apparently it has not been determined for certain that the initial attack that set off this current round of deaths when a militia in Iraq attacked an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk in which an American contractor was killed, almost certainly a matter of collateral damage although not recognized as such, was actually done by Kata'b Hezbollah, the group reported to have done it. That group was commanded by al-Mushani, who was also assassinated with Soleimani, with whom he was allied. But it is not certain that they did it. As it is, the Kirkuk base is dominated by Kurdish Pesh Merga, with whom it is not at all obvious the pro-Iranian militias like the Kat'b Hezbollah have hostile differences. This may have been cooked up to create an excuse for assassinating Soleimani.

Indeed, it has now been reported that seven months ago Trump had approved killing Soleimani essentially at the first instance there would be a good excuse for doing so. In fact it is now reported that although Trump had not heard of Soleimani during th 2016 election, within five minutes of his inauguration he suggested killing Soleimani. SecState Pompeo been encouraging and pushing this action, but it has been something Trump has been hot to do for some time. Going up for an impeachment trial looks like a really good time.

We have now seen quite a dance around reasons to justify this. We must keep clear that it is a matter of both US and international law that this sort of killing of a foreign national official such as General Soleimani is that there be an "imminent threat." I shall not drag through the various versions of what was supposedly the imminent threat was here, but it has finally become clear that there was none. And as of today both Pompeo and AG Barr have now pivoted to saying that it was done for "deterrence," but that leaves this assassination as illegal, with US troops in Iraq now declared to be"terrorists."

Now indeed the further followup has become quite a mess, although hopefully the escalation has stopped and war will not happen, despite getting very close to the brink. So Iran made its strike on two bases with US troops in Iraq. While it initially looked like the Iranians were going out of their way to avoid killing any Americans, local US commanders now say that it appears that the strikes were in fact aimed at killing some Americans, and some were in fact injured. I do not know if this is true or not, but it is disturbing and shows how close we have gotten to heightened war.

Then we had this disaster of the Iranians themselves shooting down a commercial Ukrainian airplane (oh, the irony), killing 176 civilians, mostly Iranians, Canadians, and Ukrainians, plus some others. With the admission by the regime, anti-government demonstrations have broken out at universities especially in Tehran where many of the Iranians on the plane were from, and many of the university students heading to Canada. Those demos have gone on for three days bringing forth a harsh put down from the government, but with news people quitting their jobs out of disgust. The government has now arrested some supposedly responsible for the erroneous shootdown under heightened alert status, which would not have come to pass without the illegal assassination. It is unclear if these arrests will bring an end to the demonstrations, but it should be kept in mind that these involve much smaller numbers of people than turned out in the aftermath of Soleimani's assassination.

Underlying this most recent uprising is the fact that Iran is suffering serious econoimic problems. Much of this is due to the Trump sanctions, but they also reflect entrenched corruption and spending on foreign adventures, such as support for foreign militias. These are difficult times, and let us hope that all sides step back and reduce the heightened tensions.

Barkley


  1. run75441 , January 15, 2020 12:23 pm

    Barkley:

    Good post and thanks for the follow-up.

    Normally when something happens in the Middle East, I head over to Informed Comment to see what Juan is saying about the situation. You have added information I was not aware of as I had not been over to Juan Cole's Informed Comment in several days. Also from a January 11th column of his:

    "Lest the Trumpies imply that only Obama de facto allied with Soleimani and his Iraqi Shiite militias, it should be pointed out that they played an important role in the defeat of ISIL at Mosul during Trump's presidency. Although they did not fight their way into the city, they fanned out to the west and north to prevent ISIL terrorists from escaping to Raqqa in Syria. That was why Kata'ib Hizbullah had a base at Qa'im, a checkpoint between Iraq and Syria, where they were preventing ISIL agents from going back and forth. Trump kicked off the current crisis by bombing his allies at Qa'im, killing some 26 militiamen. And then he droned his sometime ally Soleimani to death at Baghdad airport as Soleimani was about to begin covert peace talks with Saudi Arabia."

    All the Times the US allied with Gen. Soleimani against Common Enemies, giving him Air Support at Tikrit

Barkley Rosser , January 15, 2020 8:12 pm

I must walk back one speculation I made in this post. It is not the case that the base attacked near Kirkuk held Kurdish Pesh Merga. It indeed houses US and Iraqi national troops dedicated to fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Four US service people were injured along with two national Iraqi troops. The US citizwn killed was naturalized and born in Iraq.

It remains possible that it was IAIA/ISIL/Daesh carried out the attack as they are active in that area. However, most think it was Kata'b Hezbollah, enocuraged and suppliled by Soleimani.

run75441 , January 15, 2020 8:21 pm

Barkley:

Ok, so you missed some detail. The drone attack on Soleimani and others did not have to occur. Furthermore, it appears this was planned months earlier and just never carried through. To me, it is just another Trump distraction away from his impeachment.

[Jan 16, 2020] The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Carolinian , , January 14, 2020 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the shrewd analysis. The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down . You can't talk your way out of some mistakes. Trump is shrewd, but not very smart and like most bullies he's also weak. He gets by being such an obvious bluffer and blowhard but when you start assassinating people and expect to be praised for it it's no longer a game.

Carolinian , , January 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm

I'd say the solution is to give Trump the heave ho this November and not play his game of me me me. Indeed the Iranians seem to be biding their time to see what happens.

Trump was always only tolerable as long as he spent his time shooting off his mouth rather than playing the imperial chess master. This reality show has gone on long enough.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , , January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm

And to give Trump the heave-ho, we have to know how to play the man. (Then, Iran doesn't have to.)

But if we don't fully know -- if he is unpredictable in how he starts out at the beginning -- it makes the venture harder (but not impossible).

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , , January 14, 2020 at 7:39 pm

Not sure he "screwed up" with Suleimani. He now has something to point to when Adelson and the Israel Firsters ring up. He has red meat for his base ("look what a tough guy I am"). He can tell the Saudis they now owe him one.

He added slightly to the fund of hatred for America in the hearts of Sunnis but that fund is already pretty full. If they respond with a terror attack Trump wins because people will rally around the national leader and partisan differences will be put aside. Notice how fast de-escalation happened, certainly feels alot like pre-orchestrated kayfabe.

[Jan 15, 2020] Just Trust Us, Says the Most Dishonest Administration Ever

Notable quotes:
"... On Sunday, the Washington Post, citing a senior U.S official, reported that "Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Suleimani months ago but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation." On Thursday, CNN's Nicole Gaouette and Jamie Gangel reported that "Pompeo was a driving force behind President Donald Trump's decision to kill" the Iranian general. The CNN story said that Pompeo, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump before he moved to the State Department, viewed Suleimani as the mastermind of myriad operations targeting Americans and U.S interests. It also quoted an unnamed source close to Pompeo, who recalled the Secretary of State telling friends, "I will not retire from public service until Suleimani is off the battlefield." ..."
theamericanconservative.com
One of the new bogus explanations that the administration has been offering up is that there was a threat to one or more U.S. embassies that led to the assassination. Rep. Justin Amash notes this morning that they have presented no evidence to Congress to back up any of this or their original claim of an "imminent" attack:
The administration didn't present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy. The four embassies claim seems to be totally made up. And they have never presented evidence of imminence -- a necessary condition to act without congressional approval -- with respect to any of this. The administration didn't present evidence to Congress regarding even one embassy. The four embassies claim seems to be totally made up. And they have never presented evidence of imminence -- a necessary condition to act without congressional approval -- with respect to any of this. https://t.co/Eg0vaCnqFd -- Justin Amash (@justinamash) -- Justin Amash (@justinamash) -- Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 12, 2020
The administration's story keeps changing, because they are just making up unconvincing justifications for what they did. The president invents new excuses for the illegal assassination, and his subordinates feel obliged to follow his lead because they are implicated in his decision. The strange thing is that this administration still expects to be believed on something as important as this despite their constant lying to Congress and the public about everything else. The president and Secretary of State have trashed their credibility long ago, so there is no chance that we would give them the benefit of the doubt now. As a result, there is much more healthy and appropriate skepticism about the administration's claims since January 2nd than there usually is. We are still piecing together what happened at the start of this year in the days leading up to the assassination, but the picture we are getting is one of a push by determined hard-line ideologues to take military action against a government they hate. Pompeo was the leading advocate for doing this. John Cassidy The administration's story keeps changing, because they are just making up unconvincing justifications for what they did. The president invents new excuses for the illegal assassination, and his subordinates feel obliged to follow his lead because they are implicated in his decision. The strange thing is that this administration still expects to be believed on something as important as this despite their constant lying to Congress and the public about everything else. The president and Secretary of State have trashed their credibility long ago, so there is no chance that we would give them the benefit of the doubt now. As a result, there is much more healthy and appropriate skepticism about the administration's claims since January 2nd than there usually is. We are still piecing together what happened at the start of this year in the days leading up to the assassination, but the picture we are getting is one of a push by determined hard-line ideologues to take military action against a government they hate. Pompeo was the leading advocate for doing this. John Cassidy We are still piecing together what happened at the start of this year in the days leading up to the assassination, but the picture we are getting is one of a push by determined hard-line ideologues to take military action against a government they hate. Pompeo was the leading advocate for doing this. John Cassidy We are still piecing together what happened at the start of this year in the days leading up to the assassination, but the picture we are getting is one of a push by determined hard-line ideologues to take military action against a government they hate. Pompeo was the leading advocate for doing this. John Cassidy reports :
On Sunday, the Washington Post, citing a senior U.S official, reported that "Pompeo first spoke with Trump about killing Suleimani months ago but neither the president nor Pentagon officials were willing to countenance such an operation." On Thursday, CNN's Nicole Gaouette and Jamie Gangel reported that "Pompeo was a driving force behind President Donald Trump's decision to kill" the Iranian general. The CNN story said that Pompeo, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump before he moved to the State Department, viewed Suleimani as the mastermind of myriad operations targeting Americans and U.S interests. It also quoted an unnamed source close to Pompeo, who recalled the Secretary of State telling friends, "I will not retire from public service until Suleimani is off the battlefield."
Pompeo has Pompeo has lied constantly about Iran and the nuclear deal before and after he became Secretary of State, so it is not surprising that he has been the administration's public face as they lie to Congress and the public about this illegal assassination. No wonder he doesn't want to appear before Congress to testify.

kouroi 32 minutes ago

Add to this the concomitant attempt made in Yemen, where there is no American presence other than the bombs dropping from the sky, against an Iranian operative, and it shows the push of the administration to go for the kill as the main factor. The US is becoming more and more like Israel: kill first, no excuses, we are the chosen ones - The "revenge" of Dinah's brothers, Genesis 34:25. This is The US of A's diplomacy nowadays. The world has really been put on notice. And the world will be reacting, see the visit of Chancellor Merkel to Moscow immediately after that.

The question is what the American citizens are going to do? What are they going to vote for?

JSC2397 18 minutes ago • edited
Why shouldn't Trump and his Administration's creatures "expect to be believed"? He and his toadies have misstated, misled, BS-ed and outright lied to the public for three years now; and - despite a "credibility gap" of Vallis Marineris proportions - have gotten no appreciable pushback from the media.
The right-wing media simply cheerlead him, as usual: and everybody else just sort of nods, grunts, and moves on.

[Jan 14, 2020] The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos

Jan 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Moon of Alabama Brecht quote " The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-03 | Main January 13, 2020 The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos

The Trump administration has given various justification for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. It claimed that there was an 'imminent threat' of an incident, even while not knowing what, where or when it would happen, that made the assassination necessary. Trump later said the thread was a planned bombing of four U.S. embassies. His defense secretary denied that.

Soleimani and Muhandis during a battle against ISIS

That has raised the suspicion that the decision to kill Soleimani had little to do with current events but was a long planned operation. NBC News now reports that this is exactly the case:

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war, came like many other bad ideas from John Bolton.

After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.

But Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.

Then unknown forces fired 30 short range missiles into a U.S. base near Kirkuk. The salvo was not intended to kill or wound anyone:

The rockets landed in a place and at a time when American and Iraqi personnel normally were not there and it was only by unlucky chance that Mr. Hamid was killed, American officials said.

Without presenting any evidence the U.S. accused Katib Hizbullah, an Iraqi Popular Militia Unit, of having launched the missiles. It launched airstrikes against a number of Katib Hizbullah positions near the Syrian border, hundreds of miles away from Kirkuk, and killed over 30 Iraqi security forces.

This led to demonstrations in Baghdad during which a crowd breached the outer wall of the U.S. embassy but soon retreated. Trump, who had attacked Hillary Clinton over the raid on the consulate/CIA station in Benghazi, did not want to get embarrassed with a full embassy breach.

The media claim that it was the embassy breach that the led to the activation of an operation that had already been planned for a year before Trump signed off on it seven month ago. As the New York Times describes it :

For the past 18 months, officials said, there had been discussions about whether to target General Suleimani. Figuring that it would be too difficult to hit him in Iran, officials contemplated going after him during one of his frequent visits to Syria or Iraq and focused on developing agents in seven different entities to report on his movements -- the Syrian Army, the Quds Force in Damascus, Hezbollah in Damascus, the Damascus and Baghdad airports and the Kataib Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq.

It was the embassy breach and a war-industry lobbyist who convinced Trump to finally pull the symbolical trigger :

Defense Secretary Mark Esper presented a series of response options to the president two weeks ago, including killing Soleimani. Esper presented the pros and cons of such an operation but made it clear that he was in favor of taking out Soleimani, officials said.

Trump signed off and it further developed from there.

There was no intelligence of any 'imminent threat' or anything like that.

This was an operation that had been worked on for 18 month. Trump signed off on it more than half a year ago. Those who had planned it just waited for a chance to execute it.

We can not even be sure that the embassy bombing had caused Trump to give the final go. It might have been that the CIA and Pentagon were just waiting for a chance to kill Soleimani and Muhandis, the leader of Katib Hizbullah, at the same time. Their meeting at Baghdad airport was not secret and provided the convenient opportunity they had been waiting for.

Together Soleimani and Muhandis were the glue that kept the many Shia factions in Iraq together. The armed ones as well as the political ones. Soleimani's replacement as Quds brigade leader, Brigadier General Ismail Qaani, is certainly a capable man. But his previous field of work was mainly east of Iran in Afghanistan and Pakistan and it will be difficult for him to fill Soleimani's role in Iraq :

After Soleimani's death, Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Soleimani's deputy Ismail Qaani to succeed him. Qaani does not speak Arabic, does not have an in-depth knowledge of Iraq, nor the insight of Soleimani and his ability to balance the different positions of Iraq's factions with the opinions of Ayatollah Khamenei and the religious authorities in Najaf.

The question is how the successor of Soleimani will manage his new responsibility including the thorny issues in Iraq. The escalation of the Iranian-American conflict is, according to many, an escalation towards war and the destabilization of the region in which the rules of engagement have changed. The question remains how, and not whether all of this will impact the situation in Iraq.

Today the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has his on militia, and Iraqi PMU leaders met in Qom , Iran, to discuss how the foreign troops can be expelled from Iraq. Gen. Qaani will likely be there to give them advice.

Yesterday Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hizbullah, gave another speech . In it he called on the Kurds in Iraq to pay back their debt to Soleimani and Hizbullah, which is owned for their fight against ISIS, and to help to evict the foreign soldiers from Iraq:

85-Nasrallah: Now, the rest of the path. 1) Iraq: Iraq is the first country concerned w/responding to this crime, because it happened in Iraq, and because it targeted Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a great Iraqi commander, and because Soleimani defended Iraq.

86-Nasrallah: I ask Masoud Barazani to thank Soleimani for his efforts in defending Erbil and Kurdistan Region, because Soleimani was the only one to respond to your call. Soleimani and with him men from Hezbollah went to Erbil.

87-Nasrallah: Barazani was shaking from fear, but Soleimani and the brothers from Hezbollah helped you repulse this unprecedented threat; and now you must repay this good by being part of the effort to expel the Americans from Iraq and the region.

The Barzani family, which governs the Kurdish part of Iraq, has since long sold out to the Zionists and the United States. It will certainly not support the resistance effort. But Nasrallah's request is highly embarrassing to the clan and to Masoud Barzani personally.

So far I only found this rather confusing response from him:

Nihad N. Arafat @NihadArafat - 7:44 UTC · Jan 13, 2020

The Kurdistan Regional Government's response to the immoral speech uttered by Hassan Nasrallah through the anti-terror apparatus is a clear message from the regional government to those terrorists that the response to the terrorists must be through the anti-terror apparatus.

As military leader both Soleimani and Muhandis are certainly replaceable. The militia groups they created and led will continue to function.

But both men also played important political roles in Iraq and it will take some time to find adequate people to replace them in that. That makes it likely that the already simmering political situation in Iraq will soon boil over as the Shia factions will start to fight each other over the selection of a new Prime Minister and government.

The U.S. will welcome that as it will try do install a candidate that will reject the Iraqi parliament decision to remove the foreign forces from Iraqi grounds.

Posted by b on January 13, 2020 at 17:32 UTC | Permalink


Zanon , Jan 13 2020 17:43 utc | 1

next page " As expected, war against Iran is the focus for west.

Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Sweden seeks to punish Iran, call iranian claims of what happend "nonsense"
https://sputniknews.com/world/202001131078024553-london-talks-on-plane-downing-to-include-possible-action-against-iran---ukraine-foreign-minister/

Maracatu , Jan 13 2020 17:48 utc | 2
The United States has truly become a rogue state. John Helmer pointed out that when Putin visited Damascus recently to meet with Assad, he did so at a Russian military facility as a safety precaution because you can no longer put it by the USA that it won't target people of such hierarchy.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 17:57 utc | 3
Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and explaining the importance of Qassem Suleiman in the Iran hierachy of government????

Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and explaining the illegality of assassinating such a leader when he was traveling openly to discuss matters of defense on a mission of diplomacy???????????

Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and resigning or going public to attempt to stop this infamy????????????

A P , Jan 13 2020 18:00 utc | 4
So were the Saudis genuine in their "peace attempt" or were they simply working with CIA/Mossad to lure Soleimani and Muhandis into a situation where they could be droned?

If the Saudis were genuine, they would be much more vocal in their opposition to these murders, which completely derail any potential Iraq-brokered peace process.

Norumbega , Jan 13 2020 18:01 utc | 5
To the best of my recollection, Elijah Magnier, on a recent appearance with Joanne Leon on the Around the Empire Podcast, says it is erroneous to identify Muhandis as the leader of Katib Hizbullah. Actually, he was the highest military official of the PMU (excepting only its nominal head, a civilian), the umbrella organization of the (mainly) Shia militia which are part of the Iraqi military.
Noirette , Jan 13 2020 18:01 utc | 6
US biz persons in NY RE, in Florida, (etc.) as well as tv 'moguls' - do transactional power-play interactions, not Int'l diplomacy. (Whatever that is, pretty worthless actually, but = other topic.)

Obviously, Trump's order to murder Soleimani was partly due to impeachment pressure, as he has said himself.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/01/report-trump-cited-impeachment-pressure-to-kill-soleimani.html

Plus, Soleimani insulted him gravely. From tabloids and women's mags, which I read on occasion.

NK (Kim + spokespersons) called Trump a heedless and erratic old man. Also a dotard iirc, but all this was in an exchange of insults which could be taken as mimicking that between equals, Trump calling Kim Rocket Man, etc. (Everyone knew nothing would happen.) There was also that kerfuffle when Trudeau (sleazy hypocrite) and others were caught open-mick gossiping about Trump taking too long for his pressers or whatever. No doubt others and Dem public insults are politically calibrated in a known landscape and Trump of course initiates and has no problem with riposte.

2018. Soleimani speech. The Sun: vid. eng subs.

Very demeaning: gambler - bartender - casino manager that hits hard.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10668165/donald-trump-iran-general-death-warrant/

When much is hung on 'identity politics' and 'personalia' - ppls identity, character, beliefs, personal interaction with others, etc. take up too much air (like in Hollywood movies), institutional or other long-worked out arrangements (like Int'l law based on upholding the existence of Wilsonian Nation-States..) are simply scuttered.

psychohistorian , Jan 13 2020 18:05 utc | 7
Thanks for the reporting b and I am not surprised about the background behind the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis

I would also not be surprised to read that my country was complicit to some degree in the Ukraine plane shoot down by Iran.

The West is a very sick world run by the dictators that own global private finance. Those dictators have managed to even brainwash the public into not understanding their illness and believing it is a good force in our world.

I am glad to read less of the belief that Trump is being played by the system and not an active actor within it. I continue to hope that other groups of our species continue to stand up to the anti-humanistic social contract of the West and end its centuries old reign of terror.

Igor Bundy , Jan 13 2020 18:08 utc | 8
Before Putin left for Damascus he already mentioned something about he wont be so easily removed without any consequence.. most likely meaning Russia would probably neutralize all US bases in close proximity and get on the stick to fire strategic nukes for any US response.. But we know the US has hit a lot of Russian assets without seeing any Russian response. So who knows..
Pandora , Jan 13 2020 18:10 utc | 9
The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war ...

The US has been at war with Iran for 40 yrs ...(hybrid war)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8NHawXaOPc (Christopher Black)

War without limits: using all domains (pol, fin, econ, media, com, legal inst) to subvert and destroy an enemy, where the objective is to obliterate the state itself as a political entity
Aside from genocide, what greater crime can there be than the complete annihilation of the state itself, as we saw happening in the NATO-attack on Libya and the state's total destruction and re-invention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the NATO-attack against Yugoslavia and now Ukraine and Syria.

.. a complete negation of the concept of state sovereignty and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the UN-Charta. It is a form of aggression of the worst kind and the type of total war that the Nazis waged against the SU. (obliterate state, people, social & econ system and culture).

...So the term HW first appears in American military literature and as practised by NATO means the commission of multiple war-crimes against the people of the targeted state. In Libya we saw conventional military style ops by NATO (massive bombing over many months) simultaneous with unconventional operations (local and imported proxy forces, subversion, assassinations, terrorism against civilians, use of social and mass-media to distribute false information about the regime, criminal actions, cyberattacks to shut down communication and the use of quasi legal bodies (ICC) to criminalize the leadersip, to accuse Gadhafi of being a war-criminal; use of mercenaries, destruction of infrastructure to break the will of the people to resist.

The subject is one of immediate concern because the Americans have begun using the term hybrid warfare in their propaganda accusing Russia of engaging in it in Ukraine and now raising the alarm that (they believe) Russia will engage in HW in the Baltic. Therefore the Americans argue, they have to react to prepare for this eventuality which they claim to be inevitable. And that indicates to me where we can expect the next operations against Russia to take place (and it may explain the exercises NATO has been running all summer, landing of airborne troops, combined sea-operations, etc.)

But the American claim of Russia using HW is in fact a mirror of their own image as we see these methods being used by them as a matter of routine.

(... used in the Indian wars, in 19th century, starvation, prop and other techniques to destroy their cultures, in Mexico, Philipines, Korea and Vietnam, in Central America (i.e. Nicaragua) and in Ruanda....

All the accusations against Iran ("greatest sponsor of terrorism", aligning Iran with AQ, etc.) are a projection of their own crimes ..


Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 18:27 utc | 10
It was explained by Craig Murray in his blog (replicated in a few websites) that the usage of "imminent" adjective is created by a certain lawyer who first worked for Netanyahu, then for Blair etc. The usage does not convey ANY information about the nature of a "danger", but the attitude, judgement if you will, of the institution that commissioned the opinion.

And "immanent" or "eminent" (Trumpian tweet) would fit equally well, but legalistically, the confusion raised by "imminent" is more useful.

juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:29 utc | 11
Noirette @ 6, it is my belief that an irrational US president, under the constant pressure of attack from the Russiagate and Ukraingate instigators (you know who you are) from the instant he became president and took on those responsibilities, volatile and insecure as he was from the getgo, has finally cracked and is now very much in need of retirement from the highpressure stage of politics in a time of potential war. It would be in the interests of everyone in the world for his family to ask him, for his doctors to require of him, that he resign. Certainly the alternatives to his remaining in office are grim, but not as grim as having a president who is mentally incapacitated.

It would seem that an entire warmaking apparatus of government is similarly dysfunctional. I don't know how that can be remedied, but it must.

Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 18:34 utc | 12
Muqtada al-Sadr, who has his on militia

whose militia is "on", active, rather than "off"? In any case, separating this guy from microphones would require an Amored Personal Carrier or something heavier.

bevin , Jan 13 2020 18:35 utc | 13
juliania@3
The answer to your questions lies in the reality that for years a sure means of not being promoted or even being fired from a government job in the US is to know anything about the Arab or Islamic world. Or to act as if knowing anything about such inferior beings is necessary for making judgements.
This idea, that ignorance is bliss, has spread from Israel, not because the Israelis practise it-they don't- but because they want DC to be entirely reliant on them for intelligence and direction in the Middle East.
pretzelattack , Jan 13 2020 18:42 utc | 14
consistent from trump, he appointed bolton, this is all very characteristic.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 18:46 utc | 15
Although only one battle in what will be a longer war, Trump has won that round. More confusion and disarray in Iraq, bad PR for Iran after the Uki plane shootdown. Bad PR allows western vassals to move closer to the US side of the fence, and also provides fuel for US regime change operations within Iran.
The two generals that were assassinated - there will be others that can plan military strategy, but a big part, perhaps more important than strategy, is the personality to be able to hold disparate groups together so they act as one and all tactics by separate groups fit into a larger strategy.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:47 utc | 16
Thank you, bevin. That is a sad explanation, though to me it doesn't obviate what should be inherent in any normal human person, as I myself know very little about the Middle East, relying indeed upon b's excellent and nearly objective (as objective as any human can be) reporting on the facts and his interpretation of them. That which ought to be inherent is the human desire not to inflict pain on another human if that can be avoided. Those who are in government service ought to have that moral incentive front and center. We see it in the great leaders, and surely in this country there are some among the elite who haven't lost this natural instinct? It is very problematic if that has been thoroughly weeded out in those now occupying powerful positions.

This country has been fortunate in the past to select persons of high moral compass as our heroes. We the people still want to do that, I am convinced. Perhaps there is still time, and we can re-order our own hierarchy now that what has been done is this terrible, an enormous reductio ad absurdum, front and center.

This is not going away.

wendy davis , Jan 13 2020 18:48 utc | 17
@ Piotr Berman #10

yes, the Bethlehem Doctrine made this reTweet from john steppling even more outrageous a psyop:

'Israelis: Soleimani Intercept Sparked Drone Strike; US Reinforces Region', jan. 3, 2020, breaking defense

"TEL AVIV: Five days ago, an undisclosed intelligence agency intercepted a telephone call made by the head of Iran's Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in which he was heard ordering his proxies in Iraq to attack the US embassy in Baghdad, as well as other Israeli and American targets, with the aim of taking hostages, Israeli sources say.

It's unclear whether this was a lapse in tradecraft on the part of the usually savvy Soleimani or whether the notorious Iranian military leader's phone calls were being routinely intercepted. Nor is it clear whether it was the US or another foe of Iran that made the intercept. Regardless, the intelligence seems to have led directly to Soleimani's killing yesterday, which has thrown the Mideast into uproar."

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/01/israelis-soleimani-intercept-sparked-drone-strike-us-reinforces-region/?_ga=2.263021516.1146847899.1578081532-904925514.1578081532


karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 18:48 utc | 18
psychohistorian @7--

In the chain of cause & effect, the Outlaw US Empire is definitely responsible for the airliner shootdown; that must be seen as 100% irrefutable. The Outlaw US Empire has executed numerous high ranking political and military people beginning with Yamamoto in 1943, although I'll admit he was a legitimate target; yet, the seed was planted then. I recall Diem being killed with the approval of JFK just weeks prior to his own execution. As I wrote at Escobar's Facebook over the weekend, the Great Evil in the world resides within the Outlaw US Empire and must be expunged even if Nukes must be used. Yes, that conclusion was painful to arrive at and write, but the horrors have lasted for 3,000+ years now. The crop of Current Oligarchs are the most aggressive ever and won't stop their rampage until they Own Everything . In the overall scheme of things, getting Imperial forces ousted from Southwest Asia will be a good thing but only a small portion of what must occur.

Jase , Jan 13 2020 18:53 utc | 19
What does a single word of Nihad N. Arafat's response even mean? How is Nasrallah's speech immoral by any stretch of the imagination? Do the Kurd's have no gratitude for Hezbollah and Qud's laying down their lives to save them from mass rape and genocide? What is the "anti-terror apparatus", does he mean fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria must be done only by US supported forces like the SDF? The Kurds siding with the US occupiers and Israel is one of the most disgusting developments in recent history, its no wonder these people have been so distrusted and abused for so long, their power hungry leadership betrays their allies like snakes.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:57 utc | 20
Apologies, karlof1; you know I value your input. But that is one very crazy post.
Red Ryder , Jan 13 2020 18:58 utc | 21
@8, Igor Bundy

Russia takes its vengeance cold, often with no flair or notoriety. They often take in multiples for their losses.

In Syria, a Russian missile into a mountain cave where US, Israeli, Saudi and AQ Intel leaders were meeting cost over 50 high value lives. It was Russian payback for when some Colonels and a General were hit by Coalition air strikes. Auslander, on the Saker blog, has written about this. 2016, as I recall.

In Donbass, there have been many paybacks by Russia for Ukie and NATO acts. Some even taken inside Russia.
A number of the culprits who killed over a hundred people and set fire to the Trade Union building in Odessa have met Russian justice. Same with some of the criminal SBU who tortured Berkut who came from Crimea. And others have been liquidated for murders done by Ukies in Mariupol.

People who know and need to know are aware that Russia always more than evens the score.

They just recently eliminated the head Turkmen who was responsible for shooting the pilot of the jet the Turks shot down as he parachuted. It wasn't enough that when they rescued the co-pilot navigator of the jet (rescue led by General Soleimani), the Aerospace forces bombed the hell out of the area the Turkmen populated. They got the names and tracked for years the commander.

Never assume because you don't know, it hasn't happened. And if it hasn't yet, it will.

DM , Jan 13 2020 19:06 utc | 22
Dear juliania,
Perhaps there is still time, and we can re-order our own hierarchy

Seems highly unlikely.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 19:06 utc | 23
I don't like to say it but b's article doesn't support his headline. And I don't like to repeat myself, but I've already commented this subject earlier today @ open thread 55 , but he doesn't seem to have taken it into account. We should not expect a powerful Iraqi reaction to the events.
Firstly remember that Abd ul-Mahdi is a weak leader, only there because the US agreed to him. The US has made sure that the Iraqi leadership is not strong. Secondly, there was always going to be a time necessary for a new militia leader to emerge. Instant reaction was just about impossible.

However in the long term, the prospects are good. The Shi'a are in power in Iraq without question. The Sunnis are out of it, the Kurds no longer intervene outside KRG. All the cr*p about civil war is nonsense. The Shi'a factions all have basically the same interest, and conflict is only between different leaders of the same grouping. Things could turn around in an instant.

The anti-US movement is popular sentiment, not govt led. The more the US offends that sentiment, as will inevitably happen, the stronger the movement will be. We already have seen the way things will go. US bases are being sprayed with rockets. That will make life difficult for the US. The more they punish the culprits, the more resentment there will be. There's no way things can work out well for the US.

b has been reading the instant reaction, breast-beating, woe-is-me, articles like Salhy in Middle East Eye, without looking further.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:10 utc | 24
juliania 20

US aggression is at the stage of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan around the start of WWII.
Rather than seeing that their unipolar world is ending, the US is prepared to use military power to hold its position in the world.
The exceptionalist mindset is not just one small faction in the US hierarchy, it is the mindset of the hierarchy plus a good proportion of the population.
Throughout history, countries or nations like that always end up destroyed as they fight for their position until the very end rather than step down.

Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 19:24 utc | 25
What does a single word of Nihad N. Arafat's response even mean?

Posted by: Jase | Jan 13 2020 18:53 utc | 19

Upon quick inspection, N.N. Arafat is not a real person. For few months he (it?) only retweeted, mostly a pro-Kurdish US senator, and now produced a test of his (its?) own. The text is weird, which may corroborate the purported education -- radiologist who graduated in Dohuk (the capital of one of the three provinces of Kurdistan autonomous area in Iraq). Actual on-line Kurdish publication have a rather sketchy English, although not as bad.

james , Jan 13 2020 19:27 utc | 26
dang, i was too long and my comment is in moderation... oh well..
Passer by , Jan 13 2020 19:30 utc | 27
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 18:46 utc | 15

>>Although only one battle in what will be a longer war, Trump has won that round. More confusion and disarray in Iraq, bad PR for Iran after the Uki plane shootdown. Bad PR allows western vassals to move closer to the US side of the fence, and also provides fuel for US regime change operations within Iran.
The two generals that were assassinated - there will be others that can plan military strategy, but a big part, perhaps more important than strategy, is the personality to be able to hold disparate groups together so they act as one and all tactics by separate groups fit into a larger strategy.

Yup. Some people like to underestimate the US Empire, because it is easier to wear rose coloured glasses, rather than face unpleasant reality.

Even b changed from US will leave Iraq to there will be chaos in Iraq and the US will try to stay.

Although personally i think that the US will be kicked out because most of the Shia leaders would like to be killed by a US drone for whatever. Especially Sadr, who has the biggest political block, and whose Mahdi Army killed plenty of americans back then. He knows that he is a potential target too, so he will work to make this expulsion happen.

There was also an assasination attempt against iranian official in Yemen. This is all part of a Cold War, a hybrid war against Iran. To break it. There is no isolationism. No one will leave Iran or Syria unless they are actually kicked out.

And yes, Trump is a willing imperialist. He likes it. He can't do much on the domestic front but he is allowed to show his violent tendencies on the foreign front. As a zionist and a military puppet.

Trump loves the sanction weapons and financial-banking weapons the US possesses. He's all in on using every coercion to strangle, starve and screw everyone, friend, foe, ally, adversary. A power-hungry guy who has all the power to dominate the globe, yet not his own country, break sovereignties, ignore laws and trample opponents to get his way.

And he likes it.

Trump has taken on the personification of the Hegemon. It is a form of Wizard of Oz syndrome. If the Deep State and MIC allows him, he is "powerful". This suits his dysfunctionality as a man. He has big inadequacies. They manifest in his need to be big, wealthy, #1, first, triumphant in all deals.

In the Oval Office, he is powerless to get the wall built, infrastructure legislation passed, health reform, or even announce he will consider pardons for all those entrapped by Comey and the Russiagate hoax. He's being impeached.

But as the Hegemon, when the handlers around him allow it (advise him), he gets to kill people. This is heady stuff that captivates him.

I would predict that Assad is on the top of Trump's hit list too.

snake , Jan 13 2020 19:41 utc | 28
sponsor of terrorism", aligning Iran with AQ, etc.) are a projection of their own crimes ..by: Pandora @9..<=many Domestic Americans may be at risk for elimination ..If I were an aspiring Democrat I would wear my anti-drone outfit ?

Americans used to pride themselves that their government promised those accused of wrongdoing to be treated as "innocent" until guilt was established by a due process procedure known as a fair open trial. These trials were a source of information that allowed the governed to keep somewhat honest those who were running the government. many Americans chose to become American Citizens in order to gain access to the due process procedures. Humanity in the world has a problem it needs to define and solve because death by drone is not an acceptable line item in the statistics.

Red , Jan 13 2020 19:48 utc | 29
I gleaned this off the saker, https://twitter.com/Azof313/status/1216717472780505093?fbclid=IwAR1pJTv4a5BxI9Ov7IQKUYo5FuhkzluCBUCC7ocsduuATQL4UxRQG5JLLAM .I don't read the language but commenter speaks of cyber attack on the uki plane.
Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 19:50 utc | 30
Actually, I don't think the Shi'a militias are that divided at all. Sistani's call was classic and unifying.
I was quite interested by the remarks of Ayatullah Sistani last Friday, I think it was, criticising Iran and the US equally for illegal attacks on Iraqi soil.

The context is of course that Sistani is Iranian, but has never taken a pro-Iranian position. He is aged now, and his view is expressed by his aides, so it can be taken that this is the view of the Sistani organisation, not so necessarily of the man himself. It is quite nationalistic, and not subservient to Iran, as everybody is currently claiming. Iraqi Shi'a independence from Iran has always been the policy, and its being reaffirmed. Iran remains an ally, naturally.

That doesn't mean that the Iraqi state is strong and can dictate to the US. The US ensures that doesn't happen. But the positions of Sistani, Muqtada al-Sadr and the others are all pretty similar, and concentrate on Iraqi nationalism, which equals opposition to the US, and non-dependence on Iran.

Of course Shi'a Iraqi nationalism is a little bit particular, as no concessions are made to the Sunnis. It's as though they don't exist. For the moment that doesn't matter, as the Sunnis are thoroughly defeated, and if they have rebels, they join Da'ish, who are discredited. The Kurds have had their fingers burned, and won't venture outside KRG again. If the US wants to stir them up, it won't work.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:51 utc | 31
Passer by

I agree with all of that, though on Trump as trying to make up for inadequacies I would differ.
More a very aggressive, competitive mindset and very self confidant in his abilities.
He had held no political positions in the past, runs for president of the US and wins.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:55 utc | 32
Laguerre 30

It looks as though much rides on whether the Shia groups can put aside domestic differences for the duration and agree on and stick to a common strategy to oust the US.

powerandpeople , Jan 13 2020 19:58 utc | 33
https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1216466497901596675

This tweet by Mike Pompeo has triggered a large response condemning USA hypocrisy.

But the murder of the Iranian General does highlight the difficulty of the militias throughout the Middle East.

Middle East is tribal, militias, as far as I understand, can be paid by Sheiks, by local religous leaders, by some arm of the relevant government, by foreign governments. And by foreign governments, I mean Turkey, USA, Iran, UK and so on.
Or a mix of all the above.

So Pompeo has a point - the sooner Middle East governments bring militias fully into the armed forces, the clearer the applicable law will be.

What caused this mess?

Lack of a robust governmental process.

Whose problem is it? At base, the national government in question.

If clear lines of control and command and full integration can't happen due to political divisions and corruption, poor popular control of politicians, then the country (and others around the region) are doomed to endless trouble, from home, from abroad.

Sad fact, IMO.

Sovereignty starts with responsive, effective, reliable, accountable, transparent, and widely accepted, clear, principles-based governance.


psychohistorian , Jan 13 2020 20:02 utc | 34
@ Posted by: Passer by | Jan 13 2020 19:30 utc | 27
with the comment about Trump with which I agree...thanks

Trump is a very hurt human being that is not recognized as such because of a skewed view of what mental health is.....aggression, bullying, and murder have all been normalized to be acceptable mental health in top/down world that is never discussed as being the source of the Trump type of mentality.

I agree with your call out:
"
I would predict that Assad is on the top of Trump's hit list too.
"
and want to add that I expect there are active hit list plans for all world leaders that conflict with the dictatorship of global private finance.

juliania , Jan 13 2020 20:02 utc | 35
b's last comment is:


"...The U.S. will welcome that [the Shia factions will start to fight each other over the selection of a new Prime Minister and government] as it will try do install a candidate that will reject the Iraqi parliament decision to remove the foreign forces from Iraqi grounds."

If the US hopes this will happen to deflect Iraqis from their shock at US assassination on their soil of their military leader as well as Iran's, surely they are as mistaken as they were in perpetrating the atrocity. That's not what happens - we saw it first in Russia. There will be unity against a common enemy, would be my take. As has been happening all along with less important 'sanctions' than this. They always backfire.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:06 utc | 36
My view is that the iraqi shia will work towards expulsion of the US and will make it happen. They will also buy capable anti-air defense from Russia, no matter the threats. Because having US drones over your head is simply unacceptable, and many leaders, including Sadr, know that they are a potential target for "misbehaving" or past grievances. This lurking theat is simply too much. That's not to mention the israeli strikes in Iraq. They also do not want Iraq to turn into US-Iran battlefield. Which will inevitably lead to killings of Shia leaders and groups.

But there will be lots of bullying coming from Trump and some US companies could get large deals as a price for the withdrawal, maybe some expensive military equipment will be sold too.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 20:12 utc | 37
The middle east, particularly the Arab world have always been susceptible to divide and conquer.
Clans, Tribes, Religions, Ethic groups and nations - all fault lines that the imperial countries have and still do, easily drive wedges into and turn one against another.
Mao , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 38
Putin jokes Assad should invite Trump to visit Damascus. The leaders were referring to the Straight Street, which leads to Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, & to Apostle Paul whose life was transformed after a vision he had as he walked on that road.


https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/1216797057639337984

Tuyzentfloot , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 39
Since the attack on Suleimani, Al Muhandis and that officer in Yemen, Reza Shahlai, were the result of long planning the question is what else is part of the plan, and its possible opportunistic addons. Trump was very fast in following up with new sanctions. The current demonstrations in Iran were probably(my guess) planned. I don't understand how they can get traction so close to the funeral.
Also I wonder to what extent the US/Israel are strenghtening IS near the Syrian border.
lex talionis , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 40
@21 Red Ryder - I am going to put something on the open thread to you. My question doesn't pertain to this ghastly Iraq/Iran business.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 20:18 utc | 41
Passer by "They also do not want Iraq to turn into US-Iran battlefield."

This is the part that annoys me about the Iraqi's. Trump stated bluntly that US is in Iraq and will be staying in Iraq to watch Iran. That was at the time of the Syrian pullback and oilfield grab.

US is using Iraq to attack Iran. It killed and Iran military officer and diplomat on Iraqi soil. It is constantly striking Iraqi militia groups on Iraqi soil.
By stating Iran violated Iraqi sovereignty with its strike on the US base, Iraq is giving sanctuary to the US.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:21 utc | 42
Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 39

>>the question is what else is part of the plan

The plan seems to be israeli one, and it will be about what will benefit Netanyahoo.

This means a continuous near war situation between the US and Iran, but without the actual large scale war. A covert war involving killings, sabotage, everything other than a large scale war. The US will be the meat-shield for Israel. Untill the elections. Then we will see.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:26 utc | 43
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 20:18 utc | 41

I think no one believed that the US will start killing senior iraqis and iranians. Soleimani was even seen together with US troops in Iraq, and was visiting often. Iran certainly did not believe that either. But now things changed.

Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 20:26 utc | 44
@ Passer by 24; ph 34

Trump is one sick pup. He now defends that it does not matter if there was an imminent threat [his] .... "killing of Soleimani regardless of 'imminent' threat, says he had a 'horrible past'

Mike Bloomberg Says He's Spending 'All' His Money 'to Get Rid of Trump'

May need to invoke the 25th Amendment. 11 months is a very long time and we may not all be here. In the previous post I linked to a Tass report Iran has declared their revenge is not over. More to come.

Guy THORNTON , Jan 13 2020 20:34 utc | 45
"Several troops CNN spoke to said the event (al-Assad base) had shifted their view of warcraft: the US military is rarely on the receiving end of sophisticated weaponry, despite launching the most advanced attacks in the world.
"You looked around at each other and you think: Where are we going to run? How are you going to get away from that?" said Ferguson.
"I don't wish anyone to have that level of fear," he said. "No one in the world should ever have to feel something like that.""

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/13/middleeast/iran-strike-al-asad-base-iraq-exclusive-intl/index.html

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ....and Iran is even 5th Division compared with Russia.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 20:37 utc | 46
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 19:55 utc | 32

Yeah, the way I see things going, I wouldn't call it a strategy, is that the Iraqi parliament continues to vote against any proposal the US makes, while at the same time random militias continue to fire off Katyushas against US bases, making life difficult.

US pressure on Abd ul-Mahdi can't disarm the militias, as he doesn't have the power to do so. There's no scenario where the US could agree to the appointment of a strong PM, who might master the militias, and be accepted by the parliament, and yet guarantee to stop militia attacks. The different elements are contradictory.

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jan 13 2020 20:39 utc | 47
Yeah, Peter AU1 is right. Iran lost that round.
With the plane shot down, they fucked it totally up. Trump can (somewhat with a basis in reality) point to Iran, the "evil Regime" that prefers to shoot down 100+ civilians instead of closing airspace for "a strategic gain" (Bernards words defending this).
A PR nightmare for Iran. And sadly a deserved one in this case of not closing the airspace.

Had this catastrophe not happend, it would have been a brilliant operation, which would have turned the US standing upside down militarily.
But with shooting themselves in the foot, they managed to paint themselves as the paraiah regime that cares not about human life, as Trump and the NeoCons have painted them all along.

Now i understand why Trump did not respond that night and happily went to bed tweeting that all is well. The US knew Iran shot it down in that night, and they knew that Iran would have hurt itself more then they hurt the US from a PR and propaganda standpoint.

And with Soleimani gone, and a replacement that does not even speak Arabic (WTF?!), how can they even dream of rallying all the tribes in Syria and Iraq behind their game plan??
Personality is key in politics. And when such a person can not even speak the language of the people he should unite, then this looks futile IMHO.

All in all, a very telling development. Telling about both the US and Iran, but also about Alt Media and us readers+commenters.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 20:51 utc | 48
Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 13 2020 20:39 utc | 47

What does that have to do with Iraq?

ben , Jan 13 2020 21:01 utc | 49
IMO, the sad truth is, that the new 4th Reich owns the globe, because of their grasp of the reserve currency system, and NO nation, at this point in time, can reverse that fact.

I've been reading people talking about the demise of the empire for years now. Until the reserve currency issue is changed,
NO NATION on earth can challenge the monstrosity of the new 4th Reich.

The empire will continue to control the world with economic and military terrorism.

To coin an old saying, "It's just business, get over it"....

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 21:11 utc | 50
Suppose that the US wants to stay in Iraq, as they've said. What strategy could they follow to make it possible? I'm at a bit of a loss there. Full military occupation, with 100,000 US troops? Unacceptable in the US. Change the Iraqi PM? Would someone else be better? Another PM would still be subject to parliament votes. Impose a dictator? Dictators aren't in fact absolute rulers, but still depend on public acquiescence.

Anyone else have a better idea?

nemo , Jan 13 2020 21:13 utc | 51
"Now i understand why Trump did not respond that night and happily went to bed tweeting that all is well. The US knew Iran shot it down in that night, and they knew that Iran would have hurt itself more then they hurt the US from a PR and propaganda standpoint."

Except Trump's stupid tweet came 4 hours BEFORE the plane was downed. Seriously delusional stuff you are spouting.

Alpi , Jan 13 2020 21:13 utc | 52
We have been talking for about 7 days venting our anger and frustration with US empire and its puppets. Also, talking about the why's and The Who's and How's.

I think it is time to concentrate on the " now what" question. What can be done to get the US out of West Asia and keep them away?

The key to all of this and the future of West Asia's peace, IMHO, is Saudi Arabia. Iran and its allies have to concentrate and preempt in changing the Saudi regime. Time is ripe for this and they are on the defensive as well. Taking out the Saudis will:

1. Finish the Wahabi- Saud axis and weaken it tremendously (weaken ISIS, AlQueda, etc if not end them)
2. It will cut off the financial source of much of evil going on in West Asia and beyond
3. No oil, no Americans in the region and a gradual end of petrodollar and hopefully the empire(of course, easier said than done but it has to start somewhere)
4. That will also have a chain reaction in the gulf monarchies with the majority non-Sunni population. So it goes for the other West Asian fiefdoms.
5. The end of ERETZ ISRAEL
6. Realignment of North African alliances and shift away from US and the west, especially Egypt.
7. Bring OPEC under a more democratic control
8. Facilitating Belt and Road and possibly more prosperity for the region as a whole although China and Russia should be watched and dealt with very carefully. They are not the angels that they have been made to be in these forums. They are just the lesser evils, comparatively. Much less.
9. A gradual growth away fanaticism and more toward secularism. Maybe even Iran can restart the first true democracy in the region, if such a thing exists outside of books and novels.

I'm sure others can add to this list. It sounds like fantasy but like i said before it has to start somewhere and Iran is in a position to make this happen and it should be sooner than later. Once Saudis have been dealt with, comes next, Israel. 1967 lines or get the hell out of West Asia. No ifs or buts. No negotiations.

It is a nice dream anyway. I truly believe it is the only hope for the region, otherwise we are looking at 50 more years of this shit if a global war hasn't happened in between.

ted01 , Jan 13 2020 21:31 utc | 53
karlof1 @ 18

"...the Great Evil in the world resides within the Outlaw US Empire and must be expunged even if Nukes must be used. Yes, that conclusion was painful to arrive at and write, but the horrors have lasted for 3,000+ years now."

Is this the real karlof1? Or his alter ego Major karlof1 Kong riding the bomb.

When you say "...Nukes must be used." Would it be correct to assume you mean on yourselves? or some innocent third party in the Middle East?


I thought I despised you Americans, but there is a lot of self loathing here.

Guy THORNTON @45 - should be mandatory viewing. The American needs to feel abject fear, helplessness and loss before anything can even begin to change.


karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 21:34 utc | 54
juliania @20--

Sorry to confound you with my 18! Cause & Effect in this case began in 1953. If 1953 hadn't occurred and nothing similar in-between, then the dead would be alive. Peter AU 1's 24 explained the middle portion well enough. The 3,000+ years refers to the amount of time an oligarchy consisting of landed rich, rentiers and such have subjugated humanity in the West as seen by the numerous proofs offered in the numerous publications by the team Hudson assembled at the Peabody Museum at the same time the Berlin Wall was falling, which Hudson's trying to make more accessible via a series beginning with and forgive them their debts... which I very much encourage you--and everyone reading this comment--to read as it really is that important. The bits and pieces provided in the related essays at Hudson's website are not a sufficient substitute for the series of books, although they ought to be enough to motivate.

b4real , Jan 13 2020 21:38 utc | 55
@50 Laguerre

" What strategy could they follow to make it possible?"

The same strategy they use in Korea, Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, ......etc... Bribery, threats and violence.

@52 Alpi

"What can be done to get the US out of West Asia and keep them away? "

Kill a couple of few hundred American troops in a very rapid fashion or close the straits and collapse the economies.


b4real


Really?? , Jan 13 2020 21:41 utc | 56
Juliania 16
"This country has been fortunate in the past to select persons of high moral compass as our heroes."

Really?
Who?
Can you be more specific?
I am sure there are a few genuine heroes, but I am curious as to whom you mean specifically?
Anyone in the Oval Office?

Josh , Jan 13 2020 21:43 utc | 57
Finally a top Canadian businessman who points the finger for this tragedy to Trump: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51095769. Of course there's not a single politician who has the guts to speak this truth out loud. Trump, the narcissist cum laude, demonstrates how the whole world has to count on others having more common sense than the crazy Americans who bully whoever they don't like, damn the consequences. Let's not forget that it is this ongoing verbal adolescent barrage and unnecessary hyping that almost got us into a nuclear holocaust twice (1963 and 1983) - and both times we were saved by the sound and sober Russians. What if the Russian then would have been the Iranian now?
Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 21:54 utc | 58
@ ben 49

I've been reading people talking about the demise of the empire for years now. Until the reserve currency issue is changed,
NO NATION on earth can challenge the monstrosity of the new 4th Reich.


The USD$ will follow all the others that went before.

just a little more faith ben. The collapse is not one event like an explosion, "boom" it's a process over time. U.S'. 'perceived prosperity' is built on debt or by another name, printing fiat which is unsustainable.

Watch the new QE repo fail, also derivatives and prepare.
U.S. Fed is working hard to save the financial system that is leaking like a sieve. One Fed governor said it [the Repo] was a plumbing exercise. How apt. In 2006 global debt was $125 trillion now stands at $260 trillion.

I mentioned watch derivatives. These banks with the biggest derivative positions - DB, JPM, Citigroup and GS - list their official position a tad below $200 trillion. When it blows? could be another 6 years but collapse it will.

Actually, imo we are in the collapse. Why are interest rates in negative territory? It is a theft of pensioners' savings to keep the casino standing. I suspect the warmongering is a distraction.

When all else fails, they take us to war.


Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 21:56 utc | 59
DontBelieveEitherPr. 47 "A PR nightmare for Iran. And sadly a deserved one in this case of not closing the airspace."

It is not deserved. Decisions are easy to ridicule in hindsight, very difficult to make make at the time. War is all about deception. Did Iran know US had the ability to spoof what they were seeing on their radar screens. There is a good chance the US have made some deliberately failed attempts in the past to set them up for something like this. Iran is in a fight with an exceptionally dirty fighter that knows all the tricks. They will take more hits before this is over.
not understanding that and disparaging Iran when it does take hits is part of US calculations. That is human character. Everyone likes a winner type mindset. Part of human character.

xLemming , Jan 13 2020 21:58 utc | 60
Posted by: Josh | Jan 13 2020 21:43 utc | 57

Thanks Josh for that
Unfortunately your link doesn't work (due to the period included at the end)

Canada business chief lashes Trump over Iran plane crash

james , Jan 13 2020 22:02 utc | 61
"pr nightmare." the west can win the pr war, but the actual war is different.. the 2 aren't connected as some might like to think..
Canthama , Jan 13 2020 22:03 utc | 62
Thanks b, Elijah's newest article touches on this very subject, the situation will get hot in Iraq should the Us occupiers do not leave the country. The situation will aggravate, maybe slowly, then speed up, the US will most likely retaliate with sanctions and other usual crimes.
I do see China and Russia stepping up in Iraq and Iran, there is a clear alignment forming, backstage talks must be very busy at the moment, many countries aligning such as Qatar and Turkey, while the traditional allies of Israel and US continue to drag on their knees, such as UAE and KSA.
I do expect the war of aggression in Yemen to get hotter, since KSA is kicking the can down the road instead of true commitment to a peace deal, while in eastern Syria we may see US mercenaries being most likely killed by Syrian insurgency, lots of mercenaries there vs US soldiers.
dh , Jan 13 2020 22:06 utc | 63
@61 Here is a good example of the pr war. As you can see the US army is a real nice bunch of guys and gals doing a tough job fighting ISIS.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-51100129/inside-a-us-air-base-attacked-by-iranian-missiles

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 22:10 utc | 64
james

Trump US has had problems getting vassals on board for war against Iran. With the recent incident, more have moved to Trumps side. Winning the PR war means puppet leaders are free to do as US tells them as even puppet leaders are keeping an eye on re-election and public opinion and so forth.
Trumps war on Iran will not be well publicised build up to Iraq shock and awe. It will be Trident missiles with no warning.

foolisholdman , Jan 13 2020 22:11 utc | 65
Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2020 18:34 utc | 12

I thought "his on militia" was a typo for "his own militia".

karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 22:13 utc | 66
Canthama @62--

I just read your comment at SyrPers:

"Something very odd is happening in the past 24 hours and today:

"The Qatari Emir was in Tehran yesterday, long talks with Iranian leadership.

"Also yesterday, basically all top Syrian Gov leaders (except President Assad apparently), went to Iran as well, a very rare and could say rather risky move of a large group from the Syrian leadership."

Do you have anything to add or further speculation about those events? And thanks for all your efforts!!

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 22:18 utc | 67
karlof1

Almasdarnews had a piece on the Syrian delegation vist.

""Today, a high-level government delegation headed by Prime Minister Imad Khamis, began a trip to the Iranian capital, Tehran, during which they will discuss with senior officials there the current bilateral relations between the two countries and work to strengthen them at all levels, as well as accelerating developments in the regional and international arenas," Al-Watan reported, quoting a diplomatic source.

The Al-Watan source said that consultation and coordination between the two countries at this stage is necessary because after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the two allies need to strengthen their alliance.

The newspaper added that the delegation will include in the foreign and defense ministers."
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/high-level-syrian-govt-delegation-heads-to-iran-for-important-meeting/

Alpi , Jan 13 2020 22:22 utc | 68
@ 45

I think this is the first time the American military has tasted a pushback like this. A clear feeling of defeat and demoralization among those interviewed. It is good for them to be at the receiving end and feel helpless and to know what they have been wreaking on the region for the past 16 years. Maybe they will start questioning their role in these atrocities and pass on the word to new recruits: " Don't join in".

Bubbles , Jan 13 2020 22:27 utc | 69
Meanwhile, the US Pivot to Asia grand plan seems to be in a state of hiatus. Skirmishes and a potential uprising in the Provinces have disrupted the once all important thrust to confront China and curb it's expansion on all fronts.

OBOR strategy continues undeterred, drawing more and more interest and solidifying influence as the months pass. China quietly gives support to the Empire's targets on 2 continents and expands largely unopposed in a 3rd. The Empire's debts to finance it's interests and militarism grows at a never b4 seen rate. It's own military industrial complex robbing it's treasury almost at will, while it's foes grow in size and number.

Looking at it all in Grand Chess Board sort of way, it brings to mind Muhammed Ali's 'Rope a dope' strategy. Let the big dope punch himself out before taking him down was the essence of it.

Another of his most memorable quotes, "No Vietcong ever called me n****r".

No Chinese ever called people in the Provinces hadji either. But hey why go to all that bother of wining hearts and minds and investing in local economies when bribery, corruption and killing dissenters has worked so well in achieving your goals?

'We have the right to stay as a force of good.' Buffalo Wings Mike Pompeo

Oui , Jan 13 2020 22:39 utc | 70
Explanation #99 and counting from the US NSC:

Disclosure Mike Pompeo: Bigger Strategy of Real Deterrence

Not an imminent threat

blues , Jan 13 2020 22:51 utc | 71
In my very most humble opinion, I think this whole 'episode' (starting with the USSA droning of the very high profile military officers in Iraq) must be all just theater. A very large crowd of the most knowledgeable experts in (real) economics are quite certain that the USSA is on the brink of total collapse. So the population is in dire need of distractions. I also am pretty sure that if the USSA were to attack Iran the result would be 'instant' collapse, so that won't happen unless 'they' are slightly stupider that I suspect them to be. I think the 'world' is simply death-watching the USSA. All they have to really do is to avoid being crushed when the Big Dummy goes full Humpty Dumpty.
james , Jan 13 2020 23:04 utc | 72
@ 63 dh.. thanks.. i guess that is similar to the link @ 45 guy thornton shared? bbc verses cnn... they are all tied at the hip..

quote from one of the men at the site - ""I don't wish anyone to have that level of fear," he said. "No one in the world should ever have to feel something like that." well holy fuck... welcome to the reality you have been putting on all of the people in middle east in what seems like forever!! maybe you want to think that thru??

@64 peter au... you're right... this war porn for the kiddies back home is all used for the same purpose.. keeping all the folks back home as braindead as possible.. and yes - when the shit hits the fan, it will be without warning.. great place to be in.. thanks trump, usa, neo con warmongering group.. great place to be here in 2020..

Cynica , Jan 13 2020 23:09 utc | 73
@nemo #51

Trump's "stupid tweet" coincided with UIA Flight 752 crashing.

brian , Jan 13 2020 23:18 utc | 74
Tehran Plans to Take Trump to International Court for Soleimani's Assassination – Iran's Top Judge
Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp's Quds Force, died in Baghdad on January 3 when the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a missile launched by a US drone. Soleimani's death brought relations between Iran and the US to a new low.

The Iranian government will seek to prosecute US President Donald Trump for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Soleimani, Iranian Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi has said
etc

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001131078026671-tehran-plans-to-take-trump-to-international-court-for-soleimanis-assassination--irans-top-judge/?fbclid=IwAR3PQWAd9LWPKyULZUP15oo_FlGjBvTYPaXyPTsGXnCJr0ZC9BmN4f-0B_E

ted01 , Jan 13 2020 23:24 utc | 75
karlof1 @ 54

juliania - you poor confused women.
Classic gaslighting.

You should know that there are things you are not allowed say, no matter how polite you are.
Criticism will not be tolerated.

That explanation makes Masoud Barzani sound coherent.

Now we shall never talk of this again.

dh , Jan 13 2020 23:24 utc | 76
@72 To be fair james the average US servicemen/women are probably pretty decent guys. They genuinely don't know why anyone would try to kill them. It never occurs to them that they are being manipulated.
brian , Jan 13 2020 23:25 utc | 77
Assad Awarded Qassem Soleimani, the Highest Medal in Syria (Photo + Video)

5 hours ago News 809 visits

Assad awarded Qassem Soleimani, the highest honor in Syria (photo + video)

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad granted the highest honor in the Republic to the commander of the "Quds Force" Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in an air strike carried out by the American forces, on January 3, 2020, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

On Monday, Syrian Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, said that President al-Assad granted the commander of the "Quds Force" of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, the highest honor in Syria.

He added, during his meeting with the first vice-president of the Iranian President, Ishaq Jahangiri, in Tehran, that "the award of the medal reveals the deep affection of Assad for Soleimani and his brothers in Iran," according to the agency "Tasnim".
https://shaamtimes.net/218591/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%AF-%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AD-%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%A3%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B9-%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88/

RT video
https://youtu.be/ZnRo-JkKtRE

Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 23:33 utc | 78
@ Josh 57

Minds are a changing.

Trudeau endorses Maple Leaf Foods CEO who flays the U.S on the Ukraine plane crash.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that the victims of the Ukrainian airliner shot down in Iran would still be alive if the recent escalation of tensions in the region had not happened, according to a transcript of an interview with Global News TV.

"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," Trudeau said in the interview.

Trudeau said Canada did not receive a heads up before the United States killed Soleimani, and that he "obviously" would have preferred one.

"The U.S. makes its determinations. We attempt to work as an international community on big issues. But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies," he said


james , Jan 13 2020 23:36 utc | 79
@76 dh.. i agree with you and i think the same applies to the average westerner, whether american, canuck or etc. etc.. people are manipulated without much awareness of it.. however, thinking something thru would be a good exercise for many, especially those cheering for the west in it's war on iran.. that is the part i have a hard time comprehending, absent the constant pr sell... thus the pr becomes a pivotal piece in the war movement.. they have to sell it to the public.. from reading the cbc comments on the maple leaf foods ceo, it is not apparent to me that the pr act is working fully here.. in fact, some people seem to be waking up to where this is all headed and don't like what it looks like..
dh , Jan 13 2020 23:38 utc | 80
@78 Poor Justin. He has to be so careful what he says. He doesn't want the Canadian economy to get trashed.
james , Jan 13 2020 23:38 utc | 81
@ 78 likklemore.. thanks for that.. the maple leaf ceo is getting a lot of airplay, but that bit from trudeau is a departure from his usual acceptance of the official agenda here. thanks..
imo , Jan 13 2020 23:49 utc | 82
@ blues | Jan 13 2020 22:51 utc | 71

"A very large crowd of the most knowledgeable experts in (real) economics are quite certain that the USSA is on the brink of total collapse. So the population is in dire need of distractions. ..."

This crowd of 'economists' and their like have been sprouting this scenario for decades. Why believe any of these characters? The whole basic premise of std economics is now dated and largely BS. Obviously, they have not updated on "modern monetary theory"?

There is no market economy in 'equilibrium' run on rational basis. That ideology's shell cracked with Nixon and completely broke with blow-job Willy Clinton when he had time not playing with the kids on Epstein's Express (and Island).

It is a political economy now. Hegemony first, second and third. Vassal states (plantations) and Colony-economic all the way with LBJ (& the Fed) etc. The only place 'normal' economics applies is at the margins for the working class -- like your credit card and the local hardware store.

However, your general sentiment is on the mark if you change the key phrase from "brink of total collapse" to " brink of major reset."

Sasha , Jan 13 2020 23:50 utc | 83
It has already started...The Mahdi is coming! En marche!

Soleimani´s Curse....

Floods cause millionaire damage to Israeli fighter jets in their hangars

Sasha , Jan 13 2020 23:59 utc | 84
Damage count...

'Pence secretly visits Ain Al-Asad base, attacked by Iran'

He is probably in the hope that someone would retaliate by killing him so as to he becomes an American hero....but to no avail...in his insignificance...

The current state of affairs in the US and for extension in the resto fo the world is a byprosuct of at least three men in the WH who feel so littel that they think they need to produce so much noise to be noticed...

b4real , Jan 14 2020 0:07 utc | 85
CNN interview American troops who survived attack

b4real

Rd , Jan 14 2020 0:16 utc | 86
Do you have anything to add or further speculation about those events? And thanks for all your efforts!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13 2020 22:13 utc | 66


RT is now reporting on the reason for the assassination. Iran and KSA were about to settle differences. the empire was not too happy about that. these meeting may well be related to regional settlements among the regional countries.

Dennis , Jan 14 2020 0:17 utc | 87
@ karlof1 (18)

JFK did not order the Diem assassinaton. The "cables" that purport to show that were long ago revealed to have been forged by the infamous EH Hunt. Kennedy's Ambassador Lodge (a Republican) conspired with CIA station chief Lucien Conein and a small group of administation officials in Washington to remove Diem when JFK was away on a weekend. I believe Lodge was on his way back to US where JFK was going to fire him to his face over this when he was himself assassinated.

jayc , Jan 14 2020 0:17 utc | 88
Apparently one of the issues for Iraq is that its oil revenue gets directed to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, and access to that account would be the first order of any prospective retaliatory sanctions by the U.S., and it was likely that account that Trump referred to when warning of crippling sanctions if Iraq should attempt to remove US / NATO forces.

https://news.yahoo.com/u-could-reportedly-bar-iraq-174900741.html

Carson , Jan 14 2020 0:30 utc | 89
@85, remarkable video. Damage is more extensive than I expected. Grateful none of our troops was killed or physically injured (if that report is correct). However, those soldiers certainly experienced trauma and will likely endure long-lasting mental and emotional effects.

It all makes me angry that our President so cavalierly put our young men and women in harms way. They should be home with family.

Likklemore , Jan 14 2020 0:30 utc | 90
@ james 81

Quite the turn. On Saturday Trudeau wanted "clarity" asked Iran " if it [the downing of the plane] was a mistake?"
I suspect Trudeau received a lot of emails from Quebec..Trudeau's party lost out to BQ; understand a majority of Quebecois are not enamoured or impressed by the brain dead D.C. leadership.

Carson , Jan 14 2020 0:33 utc | 91
I hope that Iran can get the protests under control peacefully. ISTM that the Iranian protesters and the Venezuelan protesters both appear to be upper class. I don't see peasants protesting; I see a privileged class that probably stand to gain in the event there is a regime change.
Theophrastus , Jan 14 2020 0:35 utc | 92
Soraya Sepahpour and Finian Cunningham has a very interesting take on this. Their hypothesis fits remarkably well, in regard to motive, means, and opportunity.

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202001131078026961-iran-jet-disaster-setup/

Jen , Jan 14 2020 0:40 utc | 93
Really @ 56:

You're not the only one looking for genuine heroes of high moral compass.

Iran Cleric: We Have No Good Revenge Targets, Only US Heroes Are SpongeBob and Spider-Man

The learned mullah laments:

"Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob? ... All of their heroes are cartoon characters."
b4real , Jan 14 2020 0:41 utc | 94
@89 Carson


Thanks but props go to Canthama, vid purloined from his twitter feed. Recommend bookmarking his twitter, Link to Canthama's twitter feed he is one of those extraordinary persons. No twitter account necessary.

b4real

karlof1 , Jan 14 2020 0:48 utc | 95
Rd @86--

Do you have a link to that info? I found nada on RT or on its Twitter, nor is there anything at Sputnik.

Dennis @87--

Outlaw US Empire assassination policy isn't 100% governed by POTUS as you show.

james , Jan 14 2020 0:49 utc | 96
@90 likklemore... i think its true what you say about quebec.. ask lozion, lol! either way i commend him for putting some space in our position from the usas!
Peter AU1 , Jan 14 2020 1:01 utc | 97
Jen
Not all are cartoon characters. Would be well worth Iran taking a look at who receives medals and awards in the US. Captain of a certain ship comes to mind. But forget the heroes. Pompeo would make a good 'eye for an eye'. Secretary of state and a nasty one at that. His job is somewhat similar to Soleimani's.
Virgile , Jan 14 2020 1:05 utc | 98
If Trump is not reelected, I don't give much of his head. Thousands are ready to make him pay for his crimes. He and his advisors will remain the targets of revenge for years to come
Liklemore , Jan 14 2020 1:40 utc | 99
@ Karlof1 95

I read it as well, ready to make nice - linked in this article sourced to

The Independent.co.uk


Writer Kim Sengupta from The Independent explains this incredible twist in the story:

Iraq's prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia – the crux of so much of strife in the Middle East and beyond.

Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: "I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran."

The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials contact was made with a number of militias as well as figures in Tehran. The siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help.

There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad – quite the contrary. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed.

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 14 2020 1:44 utc | 100
Red @ 29 -

I posted what I believe might be a translated version of the document you linked to above, but I as well do not speak the language.

This may be a related Twitter stream on the Iranians ruling out human error and pointing the finger at U.S. electronic warfare malfeasance being used to trick the Iranians or their systems into making the shoot down.

https://twitter.com/khoosh_/status/1216782662968455168?s=20

University of Tehran Cyperspace Research Lab:

On the matter of the Ukrainian plane accident in Iran, the role of human error has been ruled out [as it has been discovered that] deception operations were carried out on the air control & command system.

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[Jan 14, 2020] Trump's Killing of Soleimani New "Worst Mistake in US History" by Kevin Barrett

Jan 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Kevin Barrett January 12, 2020 2,000 Words 135 Comments Reply Email This Page to Someone
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Donald Trump occasionally utters unspeakable truths. In March 2018 he called Bush Jr.'s decision to invade Iraq "the worst single mistake in US history." Earlier, Trump had said that Bush should have been impeached for launching that disastrous war.

Yet on January 2 2020 Trump made a much bigger mistake: He launched all-out war with Iran -- a war that will be joined by millions of anti-US non-Iranians, including Iraqis -- by murdering Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the legendary hero who defeated ISIS, alongside the popular Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Gen. Soleimani was by far the most popular figure in Iran, where he polled over 80% popularity, and throughout much of the Middle East. He was also adored by millions even outside that region, non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Many Christians throughout the world loved Gen. Soleimani, whose campaign against ISIS saved the lives of thousands of their co-religionists. Even Sunni Muslims (the people, not the billionaire playboy sheikhs) generally loved and admired the Shia Muslim Gen. Soleimani, a saintly warrior-monk who was uncommonly spiritual, morally impeccable, and the most accomplished military genius of this young century.

The strategic stupidity of Trump's order to murder Soleimani cannot be exaggerated. This shocking, dastardly murder, committed while Soleimani was on an American-encouraged peace mission, has unleashed a "Pearl Harbor effect" that will galvanize not just the nation of Iran, but other forces in the region and around the world. Just as the shock effect of Pearl Harbor helped the American war party overcome domestic political divisions and unite the nation in its resolve for vengeance, so has the Soleimani murder galvanized regional groups, led by Islamic Iran and Iraq, in their dedication to obliterate every last trace of any US-Israeli presence in the region, no matter how long it takes, by any means necessary.

Most Americans still don't understand the towering stature of Soleimani. Perhaps some comparisons will be helpful.

To understand the effect on Iran and the region, imagine that Stalin had succeeded in murdering George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur, all on the same day, in 1946. These US generals, like Soleimani, were very popular, in part because they had just won a huge war against an enemy viewed as an embodiment of pure evil. How would Americans have reacted to such a crime? They would have united to destroy Stalin and the Soviet Union, no matter how long it took, no matter what sacrifices were necessary. That is how hundreds of millions of people will react to the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani.

But even that comparison does not do justice to the situation. Patton, Eisenhower, and MacArthur were secular figures in an increasingly secular culture. Had Stalin murdered them, their deaths would not have risen to the level of religious martyrdom. Americans' motivation to avenge their deaths would not have been as deep and long-lasting, nor as charged with the avid desire to sacrifice everything in pursuit of the goal, in comparison with the millions of future avengers of the death of Gen. Soleimani.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4nKSlbFCJwo?feature=oembed

The tragedy, from the US point of view, is that this didn't need to happen. Iran, a medium-sized player in a tough neighborhood, is a natural ally of the United States. As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in The Grand Chessboard , "Iran provides stabilizing support for the new political diversity of Central Asia. Its independence acts as a barrier to any long-term Russian threat to American interests in the Persian Gulf region." (p. 47) Obama, guided by Brzezinski and his acolytes, set the US on a sensible path toward cordial relations with Iran -- only to see his foreign policy triumph sabotaged by the pro-Zionist Deep State and finally shredded by Netanyahu's puppets Trump and Pompeo. Iran, dominated by principled anti-Zionists, is a thorn in the side of Israel, so the unstable Iranophobe Trump was inserted into the presidency to undo Obama's handiwork and reassert total Israeli control over US policy -- the same total control initially cemented by the 9/11 false flag.

If the murder of Soleimani bears comparison to Pearl Harbor, it also echoes the October 1914 killing of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the first domino in a series that ended in a world war. The dominos are lined up the same way today, though it may take longer for all of them to fall. Due to the enormity of its psychological effect, the Soleimani assassination irreversibly sets the US at permanent war with Iran and the rest of the Axis of Resistance. That war can end in only two ways: The destruction of Islamic Iran, or the complete elimination of the US military presence in the region. The first alternative is unacceptable not only to Iran, its regional friends, and the conscience of the world, but also to Russia and China, who would be next in line for destruction if Iran is annihilated. The second alternative is probably unacceptable to the permanent National Security State that governs the US no matter who is in office, and to Israel and its global network (and its agents in the "US" National Security State). So the irresistible force will soon be meeting the immovable object. It is difficult to see how this could possibly end well.

Ironically, given Trump's well-justified scorn for Bush's invasion of Iraq, the first front of the world war unleashed by Soleimani's killing will be in that long-suffering nation, whose government has just ordered US troops to depart posthaste. If Trump wants to keep US forces in Iraq he is going to have to re-invade that nation, attack and destroy its government and military, fight a long-term counterinsurgency (this time against the vast majority of the population) and take far more casualties than Bush Jr. did.

Trump's decision to martyr the great Iranian general and the celebrated Iraqi commander was perfectly timed to unite Iraq against the American occupation. Prior to the murder, Iraq was in the midst of color-revolution chaos, as demonstrators protested against not just the US and Israel, the real culprits in the destruction of their country, but also Iran, Iraqi politicians, and other targets. Those demonstrations, and the murders that marred them, were orchestrated by Gladio style covert US forces. As Iraqi Prime Minster Abdul Mahdi explained :

" I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead (of an American company). Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

"Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me. I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

"After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened, he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this 'third party'.

"I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis (as part of a peace initiative)."

So Trump lured Soleimani to Tehran with a peace initiative, then ambushed him. That's why Soleimani was traveling openly on a commercial flight to Baghdad International Airport. He thought he was under US protection.

Abdul Mahdi's explanation rings true. It reflects the views of most Iraqis, who will be galvanized by Trump's atrocious actions to resume their insurgency against US occupation.

As Iraqis continue to attack the hated US presence in their country, Trump will undoubtedly blame Iran, whatever its actual role. So this time the Iranians will have no motivation to avoid helping the Iraqi liberation struggle -- they would be blamed even if they didn't. Though Soleimani was a relatively America-friendly stabilizing force after the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan -- the claim that he was behind IEDs that killed US troops is a ridiculous lie -- in the wake of his death Iran will respond positively to Iraqi requests for help in its national liberation struggle against the hated US occupier.

A rekindled anti-US insurgency in Iraq, and various forms of ambiguous/deniable retaliation for the murder of Gen. Soleimani throughout the region and the world, will force Trump up the escalation ladder. Iran, and the larger eject-the-US-from-the-Mideast project, will not back down, though they may occasionally stage tactical retreats for appearance's sake. The only way Trump could "win" would be by completely destroying Iran. Even if Russia and China allowed that, an unlikely prospect, Trump or any US president who "won" that kind of war would be remembered as the worst war criminal in world history, and the US would lose all its soft power and with it its empire.

Russia now faces the same kind of decision it had to make when the Zionist-dominated US tried to destroy Syria: stand by and let Tehran be annihilated, with Moscow next in line; or use its considerable military power to save its ally. Putin will have no choice but to support Iran, just as he supported Syria. China, too, will need to ensure that the USA loses its Zionist-driven war on Iran. Otherwise Beijing would risk facing the same fate as Tehran.

Even if the only help it gets from Russia and China is covert, Iran is in a strong position to wage asymmetric war against the US presence in the Middle East. Almost two decades ago, the $250 million war game Millennium Challenge 2002 blew up in the neocons' faces, as Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper commanded Iranian forces against the US and steered them to victory. Though some technological developments since then may favor the US, as Dr. Alan Sabrosky recently pointed out on my radio show , others favor Iran, which now has missiles of sufficient quality and quantity to rain down hell on US bases, annihilate much of if not all of Israel, and send every US ship anywhere near the Persian Gulf to the bottom of the ocean. (Anti-ship missiles have far outstripped naval defenses, and Iran has concealed immense reserves of them deep in the Zagros Mountains overlooking the Persian Gulf.)

So Trump or whoever follows him will eventually face a choice: Accept defeat and withdraw all American bases and forces in the region; or continue up an escalation ladder that inexorably leads to World War III. The higher up the ladder he goes, the harder it will be to jump off.

The apocalyptic scenario may not be accidental. Mike Pompeo, who is widely believed to have duped Trump into ordering the killing of Gen. Soleimani, may have done so not only on behalf of the extremist Netanyahu faction in Israel, but also in service to an apocalyptic Christian Zionist program that yearns for planetary nuclear destruction . Pompeo is ardently awaiting "the rapture," the culmination of Christian Zionist history, when a global nuclear war begins at Megiddo Hill in Occupied Palestine and consumes the planet, sending everyone to hell except the Christian Zionists themselves, who are "beamed up" Star Trek fashion by none other than Jesus himself.

Whether it goes down in radioactive flames or in a kinder and gentler way, the US empire, as unstable as its leaders, is nearing the final stages of collapse. "Very stable genius" Trump and Armageddonite Pompeo may have hastened the inevitable when they ordered the fateful killing of Gen. Soleimani.

[Jan 14, 2020] Trump First OK'd Killing Soleimani 7 Months Ago If Americans Killed

Jan 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

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https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4777 Trump First OK'd Killing Soleimani 7 Months Ago "If Americans Killed" by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/13/2020 - 13:05 0 SHARES

There's been a number of theories to emerge surrounding President Trump's incredibly risky decision to assassinate IRGC Guds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, including that it was all the brainchild of hawkish Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

But an emerging reporting consensus does indicate that the public justification for the strike -- that Soleimani posed an "imminent" threat as he was orchestrating an attack against American troops and sites in the region -- was manufactured based on flimsy intelligence. The evolving and contradictory statements within the administration itself demonstrates at least this much.

And now according to the latest NBC bombshell it's becoming clear that the top IRGC general's killing was actually months in the works :

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

2018 file photo, Getty images.

Apparently the "option" to take him out was already on the "menu" of Pentagon contingencies long before Soleimani's fateful Jan.3 early morning passage through Baghdad International Airport.

Reports NBC based on multiple officials , "The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said."

The Dec.27 Kataeb Hezbollah rocket attack on a US base in Kirkuk then became a core element of the official rationale, given it killed an American contractor later identified as 33-year old Sacramento resident Nawres Waleed Hamid, who had been assisting the Army as a linguist.

The new report confirms further that it was both National Security Advisor at the time John Bolton as well as Mike Pompeo that had Trump's ear on the subject .

"There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time" related to bold steps to curtail Iranian aggression, a senior administration official told NBC, which reports further:

The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.

The origins of the plan to assassinate the top IRGC elite force general and popular "national hero" inside Iran actually evolved initially out of 2017 discussions involving Trump's national security adviser at the time, retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Burning convoy near Baghdad International Airport, via Iraq government/EPA.

The report explains :

The idea of killing Soleimani came up in discussions in 2017 that Trump's national security adviser at the time, retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, was having with other administration officials about the president's broader national security strategy, officials said. But it was just one of a host of possible elements of Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran and "was not something that was thought of as a first move," said a former senior administration official involved in the discussions.

The idea did become more serious after McMaster was replaced in April 2018 by Bolton , a longtime Iran hawk and advocate for regime change in Tehran. Bolton left the White House in September -- he said he resigned, while Trump said he fired him -- following policy disagreements on Iran and other issues.

So there it is: Bolton's ultra-hawkish influence is still in effect at the White House.

Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.

-- John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 3, 2020

And the torch is being carried further by Mike Pompeo.

But again while none of this should come as a surprise, it's yet further proof on top of a growing body of evidence that Washington is yet again telling bald-faced lies to the public about a major event that could lead America straight back into another disastrous Middle East quagmire. Tags Politics

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[Jan 14, 2020] Craig Murray

Jan 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

January 4, 2020 2,300 Words 73 Comments Reply Email This Page to Someone
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In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning "Imminent attacks" on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence .

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu's government and then Blair's, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of "pre-emptive self-defence" against "imminent" attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here "Imminent" – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either "soon" or "about to happen". An attack may be deemed "imminent", according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike – and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes – because of "intelligence" you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, US and UK governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the US, UK and Israeli Governments is classified information ).

So when Pompeo says attacks by Soleimani were "imminent" he is not using the word in the normal sense in the English language. It is no use asking him what, where or when these "imminent" attacks were planned to be. He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.

The idea that killing an individual who you have received information is going to attack you, but you do not know when, where or how, can be justified as self-defence, has not gained widespread acceptance – or indeed virtually any acceptance – in legal circles outside the ranks of the most extreme devoted neo-conservatives and zionists. Daniel Bethlehem became the FCO's Chief Legal Adviser, brought in by Jack Straw, precisely because every single one of the FCO's existing Legal Advisers believed the Iraq War to be illegal. In 2004, when the House of Commons was considering the legality of the war on Iraq, Bethlehem produced a remarkable paper for consideration which said that it was legal because the courts and existing law were wrong , a defence which has seldom succeeded in court.

(b) following this line, I am also of the view that the wider principles of the law on self-defence also require closer scrutiny. I am not persuaded that the approach of doctrinal purity reflected in the Judgments of the International Court of Justice in this area provide a helpful edifice on which a coherent legal regime, able to address the exigencies of contemporary international life and discourage resort to unilateral action, is easily crafted;

The key was that the concept of "imminent" was to change:

The concept of what constitutes an "imminent" armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats

In the absence of a respectable international lawyer willing to argue this kind of tosh, Blair brought in Bethlehem as Chief Legal Adviser, the man who advised Netanyahu on Israel's security wall and who was willing to say that attacking Iraq was legal on the basis of Saddam's "imminent threat" to the UK, which proved to be non-existent. It says everything about Bethlehem's eagerness for killing that the formulation of the Bethlehem Doctrine on extrajudicial execution by drone came after the Iraq War, and he still gave not one second's thought to the fact that the intelligence on the "imminent threat" can be wrong. Assassinating people on the basis of faulty intelligence is not addressed by Bethlehem in setting out his doctrine. The bloodlust is strong in this one.

There are literally scores of academic articles, in every respected journal of international law, taking down the Bethlehem Doctrine for its obvious absurdities and revolting special pleading. My favourite is this one by Bethlehem's predecessor as the FCO Chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood and his ex-Deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst.

I addressed the Bethlehem Doctrine as part of my contribution to a book reflecting on Chomsky 's essay "On the Responsibility of Intellectuals"

In the UK recently, the Attorney General gave a speech in defence of the UK's drone policy, the assassination of people – including British nationals – abroad. This execution without a hearing is based on several criteria, he reassured us. His speech was repeated slavishly in the British media. In fact, the Guardian newspaper simply republished the government press release absolutely verbatim, and stuck a reporter's byline at the top.

The media have no interest in a critical appraisal of the process by which the British government regularly executes without trial. Yet in fact it is extremely interesting. The genesis of the policy lay in the appointment of Daniel Bethlehem as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Chief Legal Adviser. Jack Straw made the appointment, and for the first time ever it was external, and not from the Foreign Office's own large team of world-renowned international lawyers. The reason for that is not in dispute. Every single one of the FCO's legal advisers had advised that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and Straw wished to find a new head of the department more in tune with the neo-conservative world view. Straw went to extremes. He appointed Daniel Bethlehem, the legal 'expert' who provided the legal advice to Benjamin Netanyahu on the 'legality' of building the great wall hemming in the Palestinians away from their land and water resources. Bethlehem was an enthusiastic proponent of the invasion of Iraq. He was also the most enthusiastic proponent in the world of drone strikes.

Bethlehem provided an opinion on the legality of drone strikes which is, to say the least, controversial. To give one example, Bethlehem accepts that established principles of international law dictate that lethal force may be used only to prevent an attack which is 'imminent'. Bethlehem argues that for an attack to be 'imminent' does not require it to be 'soon'. Indeed you can kill to avert an 'imminent attack' even if you have no information on when and where it will be. You can instead rely on your target's 'pattern of behaviour'; that is, if he has attacked before, it is reasonable to assume he will attack again and that such an attack is 'imminent'.

There is a much deeper problem: that the evidence against the target is often extremely dubious. Yet even allowing the evidence to be perfect, it is beyond me that the state can kill in such circumstances without it being considered a death penalty imposed without trial for past crimes, rather than to frustrate another 'imminent' one. You would think that background would make an interesting story. Yet the entire 'serious' British media published the government line, without a single journalist, not one, writing about the fact that Bethlehem's proposed definition of 'imminent' has been widely rejected by the international law community. The public knows none of this. They just 'know' that drone strikes are keeping us safe from deadly attack by terrorists, because the government says so, and nobody has attempted to give them other information

Remember, this is not just academic argument, the Bethlehem Doctrine is the formal policy position on assassination of Israel, the US and UK governments. So that is lie one. When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning "imminent" attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which "imminent" is a "concept" which means neither "soon" nor "definitely going to happen". To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene. That is why, if I finish up in the bottom-most pit of hell, the worst thing about the experience will be the company of Daniel Bethlehem.

Let us now move on to the next lie, which is being widely repeated, this time originated by Donald Trump, that Soleimani was responsible for the "deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans". This lie has been parroted by everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Really? Who were they? When and where? While the Bethlehem Doctrine allows you to kill somebody because they might be going to attack someone, sometime, but you don't know who or when, there is a reasonable expectation that if you are claiming people have already been killed you should be able to say who and when.

The truth of the matter is that if you take every American killed including and since 9/11, in the resultant Middle East related wars, conflicts and terrorist acts, well over 90% of them have been killed by Sunni Muslims financed and supported out of Saudi Arabia and its gulf satellites, and less than 10% of those Americans have been killed by Shia Muslims tied to Iran.

This is a horribly inconvenient fact for US administrations which, regardless of party, are beholden to Saudi Arabia and its money. It is, the USA affirms, the Sunnis who are the allies and the Shias who are the enemy. Yet every journalist or aid worker hostage who has been horribly beheaded or otherwise executed has been murdered by a Sunni, every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni, the Benghazi attack was by Sunnis, Isil are Sunni, Al Nusra are Sunni, the Taliban are Sunni and the vast majority of US troops killed in the region are killed by Sunnis.

Precisely which are these hundreds of deaths for which the Shia forces of Soleimani were responsible? Is there a list? It is of course a simple lie. Its tenuous connection with truth relates to the Pentagon's estimate – suspiciously upped repeatedly since Iran became the designated enemy – that back during the invasion of Iraq itself , 83% of US troop deaths were at the hands of Sunni resistance and 17% of of US troop deaths were at the hands of Shia resistance, that is 603 troops. All the latter are now lain at the door of Soleimani, remarkably.

Those were US troops killed in combat during an invasion. The Iraqi Shia militias – whether Iran backed or not – had every legal right to fight the US invasion. The idea that the killing of invading American troops was somehow illegal or illegitimate is risible. Plainly the US propaganda that Soleimani was "responsible for hundreds of American deaths" is intended, as part of the justification for his murder, to give the impression he was involved in terrorism, not legitimate combat against invading forces. The idea that the US has the right to execute those who fight it when it invades is an absolutely stinking abnegation of the laws of war.

As I understand it, there is very little evidence that Soleimani had active operational command of Shia militias during the invasion, and in any case to credit him personally with every American soldier killed is plainly a nonsense. But even if Soleimani had personally supervised every combat success, these were legitimate acts of war. You cannot simply assassinate opposing generals who fought you, years after you invade.

The final, and perhaps silliest lie, is Vice President Mike Pence's attempt to link Soleimani to 9/11. There is absolutely no link between Soleimani and 9/11, and the most strenuous efforts by the Bush regime to find evidence that would link either Iran or Iraq to 9/11 (and thus take the heat off their pals the al-Saud who were actually responsible) failed. Yes, it is true that some of the hijackers at one point transited Iran to Afghanistan. But there is zero evidence, as the 9/11 report specifically stated, that the Iranians knew what they were planning, or that Soleimani personally was involved. This is total bullshit. 9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led, nothing to do with Iran.

Soleimani actually was involved in intelligence and logistical cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan post 9/11 (the Taliban were his enemies too, the shia Tajiks being a key part of the US aligned Northern Alliance). He was in Iraq to fight ISIL.

The final aggravating factor in the Soleimani murder is that he was an accredited combatant general of a foreign state which the world – including the USA – recognises. The Bethlehem Doctrine specifically applies to "non-state actors". Unlike all of the foregoing, this next is speculation, but I suspect that the legal argument in the Pentagon ran that Soleimani is a non-state actor when in Iraq, where the Shia militias have a semi-official status.

But that does not wash. Soleimani is a high official in Iran who was present in Iraq as a guest of the Iraqi government, to which the US government is allied. This greatly exacerbates the illegality of his assassination still further.

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010. (Republished from CraigMurray.org by permission of author or representative)


utu , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 6:16 am GMT

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman

The book's title is inspired by a statement in the Talmud: "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first".

And there is another dictum in Talmud: Tob Shebbe Goyim Harog ("Kill the Best Gentiles").

Igor Bundy , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:16 am GMT
We know Israel does this all the time but to non state actors. I dont think in recent history anyone has openly target a state actor in such a criminal fashion because it is an act of war and not only that but considered barbaric. To ask for mediation and then to assassinate the messengers is an act that not even the mongols took part in and they considered it enough to wipe out any such parties..
Parfois1 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:25 am GMT
Good expose about the creative criminal minds twisting language and decency to justify murder and war crimes...

A new legal doctrine to justify crimes in an industrial scale for the good of UK-USrael.

However they might be right in claiming that Gen. Soleimani had killed or was about to kill many "Americans" – not strictly US citizens – but the honorary American terrorist foot soldiers fighting American wars in the Middle East.

Ghali , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:56 am GMT
Do terrorists act legally? The U.S. is a terrorist organisation. It is misleading to call the US a nation or a country. Soleimani is widely-acknowledged as the architect of the successful campaign to defeat the U.S.-Israel sponsored terrorists (ISIS and al-Qaeda) in Syria and Iraq. The sad irony is that Iran was a major U.S. "ally" during the U.S. aggression against Afghanistan and more importantly against Iraq. Without Iran (the Eastern front) the U.S. would not have invaded Iraq. Iran played a major military role helping the U.S. against the Iraqi Resistance.
Priss Factor , says: Website Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:18 am GMT
Hollywood creatures are the vilest scum.

Hollywood's fake history vs. actual history on Israel's role in the Iraq war.

Hollywood's fake history vs. actual history on Israel's role in the Iraq war. for more https://t.co/lTonBw8VGF pic.twitter.com/1pxVcmIqhq

-- Adam Green (@Know_More_News) January 12, 2020

Dube , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:12 am GMT
While Ahmadinejad never actually said that Israel would be driven into the sea, that statement was imminent, therefore it was legitimate to quote it.
Zumbuddi , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:41 am GMT
How hideous that this is named Bethlehem, "The place of healing; place of birth of the Prince of Peace.'

More appropriate to call it the ESTHER doctrine, or PURIM doctrine.

The Hebrew text provides no solid evidence that Haman sought to kill Jews: the notion is based on Mordecha the Spy and self-serving Snitch.

Netanyahu has made public statements linking today's Iran to the Purim doctrine that Jews celebrate to this day.

In other words, Jews demonstrate a clear patter of "imminent threat" to kill those who resist Zionist – Anglo dominence.

Under this Purim (Bethlehem) doctrine, therefore, it is not only legitimate, it is necessary -- a Constitutional obligation -- that the American government Kill Jews who pose an Imminent Threat to the American -- and Iranian -- people.

tim hardacre , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:47 am GMT
As a retired international lawyer I am of the opinion Mr. Murray sets out fact and law impressively . He says everything that is needed to be said

Good for the FCO legal team in resisting the invasion of Iraq. I do know at least one British regiment sought independent legal advice before accepting orders.

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:50 am GMT
Great article Mr. Murray, very needed in these times of almost universal deceit.

Mr. Bethlehem displays the famous Jewish quality of chutzpah – the quality of a bit who has killed his parents in cold blood but begs the judge for mercy because he is an orphan – when he decided to simply change the law.

I wish I had some of that Jewish privilege, that way I too could go around robbing and killing and then simply change the law to get away Scot free.

Gallum , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:52 am GMT
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attended Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland, graduating in 1995 with an M.Phil. degree in Law. Rouhani is close to Jack Straw and Straw is very close to Lord Levy. And Lord Levy is very close to Lord Rothschild. Jack Straw says "in Hassan Rouhani's Iran, you can feel the winds change." "Winds changing" is an understatement. They are gust winds blowing at high velocity directly from the City of London and from Israel's direction. All very high level British intrigue going on here in Iran. It was Jack Straw who appointed Daniel Bethlehem who developed the "Bethlehem Doctrine" used in justifying the assassination of General Soleinami under false pretenses Pompeo probably knew about when he informed President Trump. From 1979 to 2013, Rouhani held a number of important positions in the Velayat-e Faqih's key institutions, as "the man in power but in the shadows." Hassan Rouhani's job it appears considering his education and position is through Shia law is to continue to perpetuate the spread of the "revolution." The "revolution" is designed to keep confrontation in place. Why not gradually move from "revolutionary Shia" to a more conciliatory peaceful religious position? Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif who is now an Iranian career diplomat, spent 20 years from the age of 17 studying in the United States. Kind of makes us look harder at John Kerry and whether or not his connections to Mohammad Javad Zarif have anything to do with all that is unfolding here?
Nonny Mouse , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 10:41 am GMT
They all have fake names. Netanyahu is really Mileikowski. Ben Gurion was really Gruen. But for a British Jew to grab the name Bethlehem is a real attack on Christianity.
Parfois1 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 10:43 am GMT
@Ghali

The sad irony is that Iran was a major U.S. "ally" during the U.S. aggression against Afghanistan and more importantly against Iraq. Without Iran (the Eastern front) the U.S. would not have invaded Iraq. Iran played a major military role helping the U.S. against the Iraqi Resistance.

Well, what can one say? First, there is the official narrative; then there are the alternative narratives in their many fashions and narrations; and then there is the oddball narrative that defies logic and reason. Iran allied with Usrael?

It may look (and is) an exorbitant stretch of imagination to come to such a view. But it is not unique; it is not much different from the often-heard impossible claim here at UR that Nazi Germany was allied with the Soviet Union in 1939!

anonymous [382] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 10:51 am GMT
@RouterAl

Can I be the only person to think that from the moment Hitler transported his first shipment of Haavara Agreement Jews to Palestine there has not been a moments piece in that corner of the globe.

Can you be the only person . . .?

Possibly.

"There has not been a moment's piece [sic] in that corner of the globe" since Herzl began attempting to co-opt the Ottoman Empire in ~1895.

Balfour ramped it up a notch in 1917; at the urging of Louis Brandeis, Woodrow Wilson endorsed Balfour's plan.

NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:01 am GMT
@Wally Note here that Wally fails to condemn Trump's illegal act of war on a national of a nation which Congress has not declared war upon.

Yes Wally, Obama was a war criminal who deserves to hang for his crimes, but if you are to retain any credibility with which to continue your mission to expose the Holohoax, you should also acknowledge that Trump is a war criminal too who, based on precedent, also deserves to hang. Your loyalty is clearly misplaced.

NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:09 am GMT
@Dube I believe that what he actually said was that, "Israel would disappear from the pages of history". The usual liars reported this as "Iran would wipe Israel off the map".

If the West is to fight back and survive then the first battle should surely be against the lying media organs that bear so much responsibility for the shit-storm that is on the way.

SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:29 am GMT
@Parfois1 Hillary Mann Leverett negotiated with Iranian counterparts at United Nations and gained Iranian assistance in finding partners to defeat Taliban
March 31, 2015

~15 min:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?325094-3/washington-journal-hillary-mann-leverett-mark-dubowitz-iran-nuclear-negotiations

Leverett:

"Unlike Mr. Dubowitz and many in Washington, I have actually negotiated with current Iranian officials, and it was an effective negotiation. [it resulted] in a state enormously not only overthrow the Taliban, but set up a proper government in Afghanistan. There is just no evidence whatsoever that continuing to bludgeon them and pressure them is going to do anything to give us concessions."

Leverett participated in a 'round-table discussion' with Mark Dubowitz of Foundation for Defense of Democracy (FDD).

Dubowitz's spiel was boilerplate: "Saddam killed 200,000 of his own people, he is pursuing nuclear weapons," blah blah blah.

On Jan 12 2020 on C Span, https://www.c-span.org/event/?467915/washington-journal-01122020 first Ilan Goldenberg of Center for New American Security (George Soros, major funder), then Michael Rubin of American Enterprise Institute * recited the same talking points: only the names were changed, a tacit acknowledgement that the original, Iraqi-based set of names were dead.

*AEI Board of Trustees:
AEI is governed by a Board of Trustees, composed of leading business and financial executives.
Daniel A. D'Aniello, Chairman
Cofounder and Chairman
The Carlyle Group

Clifford S. Asness
Managing and Founding Principal
AQR Capital Management, LLC

The Honorable Richard B. Cheney

Peter H. Coors
Vice Chairman of the Board
Molson Coors Brewing Company

Harlan Crow
Chairman
Crow Holdings

Ravenel B. Curry III
Chief Investment Officer
Eagle Capital Management, LLC

-- also interesting comments from the audience @ 11 min

Leverett has also repeated, on numerous occasions, that sanctions –" a weapon of war" -- are counterproductive and, in the case of Iraq, "killed a million Iraqis, half of them children."

Biff , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:31 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

I believe that what he actually said was that, "Israel would disappear from the pages of history".

More precisely the quote says "The Israel regime would disappear .." meaning the Israel government – not the country and its' people.

dimples , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:34 am GMT
@Dube Indeed, the Jews cunningly arranged for the Arab states to look like they might attack them in 1967. Then they swooped like a prescient eagle and blew up all the Egyptian planes on the ground before this attack, which might not have happened otherwise, actually happened. Its definitely a winning philosophy, but only if you are sure you are going to win in the first place.
Art , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 11:45 am GMT
Leave it to a Jew and his Bethlehem Doctrine, to crush the four centuries old Treaty of Westphalia where the principle of national sovereignty was instituted. Killing the leaders of a sovereign nation breaks the treaty.

Assassination is a Jew tool. Killing is the Jew way.

Stop the Jew – Think Peace

YetAnotherAnon , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm GMT
@RouterAl "Jew Jack Straw was everything you would expect from Jew"

I seem to recall a piece in an Israeli paper saying he wasn't Jewish. It was quite witty, saying IIRC that although he looked like a shul trustee and his career trajectory (student politics then law then media) was classically Jewish, he has (as wiki says) only one Jewish great-grandparent.

From wiki

"In 2013, at a round table event of the Global Diplomatic Forum at the UK's House of Commons, Straw (who has Jewish heritage) was quoted by Israeli politician Einat Wilf, one of the panelists at the forum, as having said that among the main obstacles to peace was the amount of money available to Jewish organizations in the US, which controlled US foreign policy, and also Germany's "obsession" with defending Israel."

YetAnotherAnon , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 12:12 pm GMT
@dimples "Its definitely a winning philosophy, but only if you are sure you are going to win in the first place."

Yes, it didn't do the losers much good at Nuremberg, although Germany had explained the attack of June 22 as a pre-emptive strike – " Therefore Russia has broken its treaties and is about to attack Germany. I have ordered the German armed forces to oppose this threat with all their strength ".

Cowboy , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 12:18 pm GMT

"The Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of "pre-emptive self-defence" against "imminent" attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept."

So Operation Barbarossa was legal. But we knew that already because not only Germany, but Romania, Finland, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia ( wiki doesn't mention the Spanish Azul division) all attacked due to the "imminent threat" of Stalin, who certainly had a long history of war crimes, the most recent being his invasions of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Romania and even Finland.

Additionally, 400,000 of the Waffen SS were non-Germanic, yet wiki prefaces its description of Barbarossa as "The operation put into action Nazi Germany's ideological goal of conquering the western Soviet Union so as to repopulate it with Germans." .

The more things change, the more the lies stay the same. Like Hitler, Soleimani was a "bad, hateful terrorist" who they smear by claiming "he deserved to die". In the end this is really about the mother of all modern jewish lies, the "holocaust".

John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 12:58 pm GMT
"The Bethlehem Doctrine"

Just one additional bit of evidence for the sick, corrupting influence of empire on law and human affairs.

This what what happens when you have an empire instead of a country.

Jake , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 12:59 pm GMT
#1 – "When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning "imminent" attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which "imminent" is a "concept" which means neither "soon" nor "definitely going to happen". To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene. That is why, if I finish up in the bottom-most pit of hell, the worst thing about the experience will be the company of Daniel Bethlehem."

#2 – [1] Now the serpent was more subtle than any of the beasts of the earth which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman: Why hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise? [2] And the woman answered him, saying: Of the fruit of the trees that are in paradise we do eat: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die. [4] And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death. [5] For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.

What do we get when we add #1 and #2?

#3 – The CIA, the Mossad, and the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency are all offshoots from, are all in origin product of, Brit WASP secret service.

When we add the answer to the above question to #3, what then is the sum?

Jake , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:06 pm GMT
@Biff It is 100% true.

Offhand, I think 19 of the 21 highjackers were Saudi born and raised. All 21 were Arab Sunnis.

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:06 pm GMT
@Biff Agree that 9/11 had " nothing to do with Iran" but to say that "9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led " is disinformation . Is Craig Murray , a former British Diplomat , a 9/11 gatekeeper? Murray has written
"I do not believe that the US government or any of its agencies were responsible for 9/11." Like Noam Chomsky , Murray fails the 9/11 "litmus test ".
Trump is continuing the state terrorism by drone as carried out by Bush and Obama : "Why is Obama still killing children [by drome] ?" cato.org :
.".. thousands of civilians , including hundreds of children , have fallen victim to his preemptive drone strikes over the last seven years 'America's actions are legal ', Obama said ,'we were attacked on 9/11′"
So Obama had the chutzpah to blame his murder of civilians on 9/11. The Democratic and Republican parties are truly wings which belong to the same bird of prey .
Fuerchtegott , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:09 pm GMT
A very feministy Doctrine.
peter mcloughlin , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:10 pm GMT
Historically, nations act in what serves their interests. Western involvement in the Middle East has been primarily about energy security and commerce. They seek to justify it through different means, including legalistic sophistry. The real danger of the US-Iran confrontation is consequences that lead to no alternative but escalation. One scenario, a Tehran 79 type hostage stand-off in Baghdad where President Trump (in an election year) could find himself with no choice but up the ante. The spector of humiliation and defeat convincing him the only hope is to persevere. But that could be an illusion, moving deeper into a sequence of events leading unstoppably to the real danger in the Middle East – confrontation with Russia. Many say it couldn't happen. History suggests otherwise. Living by the law might be the future: learning from history the way to create that future.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Johnny Walker Read , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:15 pm GMT
It's all about interpretation . As Bill Clinton taught us about words and their meaning:
"it depends on what the meaning of 'is' is"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/j4XT-l-_3y0?feature=oembed

anonymous [582] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:23 pm GMT
Sunni this, Sunni that !@# You, Craig Murray, you whitrash piece of shit!!

If this scum was a career diplomat of that pissant island, which has never been up to any good, then he must fundamentally be an evil scumbag, working for the pleasure of that old thieving witch.

Just various masks of controlled opposition. Mofers all!!

Been_there_done_that , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:40 pm GMT
Yet another mixed bag. Invoking an official government lie, thus poisoning the well.

" Yes, it is true that some of the hijackers at one point transited Iran to Afghanistan. "

" The hijackers "?
I suppose this is an inserted reference to the alleged "hijackers" that were not even on the airline flight manifests yet became central to the phony 9/11 story that no serious person believes.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 1:48 pm GMT
Israel and its colony the ZUS are the most dangerous countries in the world because of their total disregard of international law as evidenced by their joint attack on the WTC on 911 and their using this as the excuse to destroy the middle east for Israel, which has killed millions and kept America at war for Israel for decades!

The ZUS and Israel are in the same league as Stalin and Hitler and are a blight on humanity!

SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 2:50 pm GMT
@Desert Fox

The ZUS and Israel are in the same league as Stalin and Hitler and are a blight on humanity!

What is your criterion for comparison, Desert Fox?

I don't know much about Stalin, so can't deal with that.

Hitler was defending Germany: he told Herbert Hoover that his three " idees fixes " were:

"to unify Germany from its fragmentation by the Treaty of Versailles;

to expand its physical resources by moving into Russia or the Balkan States . . .[to prevent a recurrence of] the famine;

to destroy the Russian Communist government . . .[consequent to] the brutalities of the Communist uprisings in German cities during the Armistice period." ( Freedom Betrayed, by Herbert Hoover).

ZUS and Israel are aggressing, invading, occupying, displacing and ethnically cleansing forces; they are not acting defensively, as NSDAP was, by any application of logic.

Mulegino1 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm GMT

This is total bullshit. 9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led, nothing to do with Iran.

The Saudis may have enabled the creation of the legends of the hijackers, but had little or nothing to do with the execution of the operation. 9/11 certainly was carried out preponderantly by Israeli operatives for the economic benefit of Zionist Jews and their criminal co-conspirators in the world of finance and the councils of government.

The sentence ought to be reordered thus:

'9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led. ' That is total bullshit. In any case, it had nothing to do with Iran.

Number 2 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:21 pm GMT
Sean promptly serves up the CIA line, more slogans for people who are not too bright. Today it's a little pun to muddle up the law and give CIA a desperately-sought loophole for the crime of aggression, for which there is no justification. Sean is thinking fast as he can to try and distract you from the necessity and proportionality tests which accompany any use of force and govern the status of the act as countermeasure, internationally wrongful act, or crime. Sean's indoctrination has protected his stationary hamster-wheel mind from the black letter law of Chapter VII, including Articles 47 and 51, which place self-defense forces at the disposal of the UNSC under direction of the Military Staff Committee. Sean also seizes up with Orwellian CIA CRIMESTOP when he hears anything about the case law governing use of force, such as the minimal indicative examples below.

https://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/chapter-vii/
https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/70/summaries
https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/90/summaries

CIA has been running from the law for 85 years now, but despite their wholesale corruption of the Secretariat, they're losing control of the UN charter bodies and treaty bodies. Some SIS scapegoats are going to be faking palsy in the dock to get a break. Brennan first.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:22 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus Recommend you do the research, Hitler was put into power by the zionist banking kabal, the same kabal that rules the ZUS, read the book Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, and they wanted Hitler and Stalin to destroy each other, that was the zionist plan and they used the ZUS and Britain to do it, just as they have destroyed the mideast for Israels greater Israel agenda.

The ZUS is just like Hitler invading and destroying the mideast for Israel using the attack on WTC as an excuse, which was a joint attack on the WTC on 911 by traitors in the ZUS and Israel, the whole deal is a zionist driven holocaust on the people of the middle east.

By the way Israel is perpetrating a holocaust of the people of Palestine and this holocaust is backed by the ZUS, which is Israels military arm ie a subsidiary of the IDF.

Recommend the archives section on henrymakow.com on Hitler and Stalin.

Harry

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:29 pm GMT
@Jake There were no hijackers , there were no planes , they were likely CGI's in videos produced in a "Holywood production" prior to 9/11 , see septemberclues. info "The central role of the news media on 9/11" .
Truth3 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:35 pm GMT
@Biff 9/11 was a Jewish operation from Day One.

PNAC, anyone?

Silverstein?

c matt , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:46 pm GMT
@Wally I am sure, if asked, he would condemn Obama's war crimes as well (and Bush I, Bush II, Clinton, etc. probably going back to Lincoln at least). But the subject was about Soleimani's assassination, which, as much as I am sure you would like to do, cannot be pinned on Obama.
Wally , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:55 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke LOL

– There hasn't been a US declaration of war since WWII, and there have been countless US military actions.
Your Pelosi talking point refuted.

– Your double standard is on parade. Again, no mention of "war criminal" Obama.

– You clearly prefer to ignore my many posts critical of Trump.

– And of course you cannot refute anything I have posted about the fake & impossible "holocaust".

Ah.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Igor Bundy Right. The Mongols rolled the murderers of their emissaries or ambassadors in carpets and had them trampled to death by horses. This was followed by razing the city/state. I'm told Nuttyyahoo of Israel provided the info and encouraged it.
Really No Shit , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 3:58 pm GMT
My two cents worth:

1) Elizabeth Warren has lied about her ethnicity and has benefited from it thus lying can be natural for her she would most likely give a lap dance to Bibi if demanded to get elected,

2) Arabs are being absolved of 9/11 by their Ashkenazi cousins who mistakenly believe that they are semites despite having overwhelmingly slavic blood there must be trace amounts of meshuggah genes mixed up with the Indo-European and thus the hatred of Iranians,

3) Jesus came once before, therefore it must reason that he is coming back the second time and now the arrival is imminent so Daniel Bethlehem must become Christian now or go to hell

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 4:05 pm GMT
@Priss Factor Adam Green is a true American patriot.
Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Biff " every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni ,"
LOL.
Z-man , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Jake 20 Hijackers. One, a black Moroccan Muslim, chickened out and is in jail somewhere in the USA. The leader, Atta, was from Egypt. The lead guy to the flight that only had four hijackers because of the Moroccan, which crashed in PA, was from Lebanon and could pass for an American/Jew. Two were from the United Arab Emirates and the rest, 15 , were Saudis.
AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 4:46 pm GMT
Mafia-style assassination of Soleimani was undoubtedly an act of state terrorism. What's more, it was an act of war against Iran. It was a crime committed by the US military on orders of Trump, who publicly confessed that he gave that criminal order.

Limited Iranian response just shows that Iran government is sane, in sharp contrast to the US government.

AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 4:54 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus

"to unify Germany from its fragmentation by the Treaty of Versailles;
to expand its physical resources by moving into Russia or the Balkan States . . .[to prevent a recurrence of] the famine;
to destroy the Russian Communist government . . .[consequent to] the brutalities of the Communist uprisings in German cities during the Armistice period." (Freedom Betrayed, by Herbert Hoover).

Your #2 and #3 are naked aggression. Exactly as Soleimani murder.

Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm GMT
May 8, 2019 Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski

The original "moderate rebel"

One of the key players in the anti-Soviet, U.S.-led regime change project against Afghanistan was Osama bin Laden, a Saudi-born millionaire who came from a wealthy, powerful family that owns a Saudi construction company and has had close ties to the Saudi royal family.

https://llco.org/afghanistan-the-forgotten-proxy-war/

June 6, 2018 Why the US shouldn't build more foreign bases

The United States maintains almost 800 military bases in over 70 countries, which far exceeds our modern day security requirements.

https://www.defensenews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/06/06/why-the-us-shouldnt-build-more-foreign-bases/

Mar 28, 2014 VICE on HBO Debrief: Children of the Drones

Suroosh Alvi went to Pakistan and found out that American drones there are doing more harm than good.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/wFQwbxFPVfo?feature=oembed

GeeBee , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Been_there_done_that While I am sure that the official story of the September 11th 2001 'attack' is false, I frequently wonder why the 'truthers' seem never to be able to get all their ducks in a row. Many claim that the film footage of the aircraft strikes were pre-manufactured CGIs, issued to the media in order to mask the real culprits which they allege were cruise missiles. But a cruise missile doesn't have a flight manifest. Either those four flights that the official story says were hijacked took off that day, or they did not. The CGI theory rests, of course, on there being no such flights. Yet you claim that 'the hijackers' were not on flight manifests for those flights. This is surely the craziest interpretion: either the flights were fictional (as in the CGI theory) and thus there were no manifests, or they really did take place, and therefore had manifests, and were hijacked. If, as you claim, the flights actually took place, but no hijackers boarded them, how on earth did they fly into the twin towers? It makes no sense at all I fear.
CanSpeccy , says: Website Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:27 pm GMT

every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11

Generally interesting comment. But why distract from the issue of the Soleimani assassination with such a ridiculous comment ab0ut 9/11?

nsa , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:28 pm GMT
Americans are now as gods. asserting their inherent right to kill anyone, anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
"Did we just kill a kid?" In 2012 a USAF drone operator named Bryant reported he was "flying" drones out of New Mexico and painted a 6000 mile away Afghan shack with his laser, and with permission released a Hellfire missile. During the time the missile took to arrive, he saw on his screen a child toddle from behind the shack. Mesmerized, in slow motion, he saw the shack explode and the child disappear. Having killed hundreds remotely, he still wasn't ready for this and asked his copilot: "Did we just kill a kid?". The operator answered: "I guess so". Suddenly on the screen appeared the words of some unknown anonymous supervisor: "No, it was a dog". Bryant responded: "A dog on two legs?"
Even the resident boomer Nam hero, Rich, might have trouble justifying this kind of activity .but then again in a jewed out society ..maybe not.
GeeBee , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Desert Fox 'The ZUS and Israel are in the same league as Stalin and Hitler and are a blight on humanity!'

Ah. I see that you are still drinking the Kool Aid regarding Herr Hitler. I used to believe it all too. You'll learn in time, as will enough people. Only then will the gigantic criminal enterprise fomented by 'the International Race' that we call World War II be seen for the monstrous crime against humanity that it was. Perhaps – just perhaps – that same sick and depraved race will then finally be so deservedly called to account for its foul deeds.

Make no mistake: understanding just who and what Adolf Hitler really was, and especially his role in saving at least part of the West from Communism, is absolutely central to an appreciation of this awful world in which we now live.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 5:54 pm GMT
@GeeBee I am under no illusions about Hitler or Stalin as both were funded by the international zionist banking kabal, read the book Hitlers Secret Bankers by Sidney Warburg and Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler and Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution,by Anthony Sutton, zionists were behind the whole deal.

Recommend henrymakow.com and his archive section on Hitler and Stalin.

Paul , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 6:41 pm GMT
Noam Chomsky has pointed out that if the United States is truly against terrorism, it should stop engaging in it.
Art , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:09 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Limited Iranian response just shows that Iran government is sane, in sharp contrast to the US government.

There is great tension in the world, tension toward a breaking point, and men are unhappy and confused. At such a time it seems natural and good to me to ask myself these questions. What do I believe in? What must I fight for and what must I fight against?"
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

This is one of those times.

Lol , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:25 pm GMT
What's ironic is that Pompeo and his fellow Americans would cry like the little girls they are if the rest of the world starting assassinating Americans based on the same grounds. Lol
anonymous [283] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:31 pm GMT
There is no such thing as international law or legality. Might makes right as shown by the US doing as it pleases and thumbing it's nose at everyone. Some person with legal credentials gets trotted out to declare whatever has been done is legal, just rubber-stamping it. It's too bad but that's the reality.
2stateshmustate , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:42 pm GMT
@Z-man With all due respect which is 0. How pray tell did the those "hijackers" manage to plant the explosives in the 3 World Trade towers buildings with which to imploded them? Of course they didn't. Israel and Jews have their fingerprints all over the 911 attack.

911 was an Israeli/ Jew false flag attack that resulted in the murder of 3000 innocent goyim before noon that day. It's purpose was to create hatred towards Arabs, Muslims and Persians so that stupid Americans would send their children to die for the squatter colony of Israel.

Folks the Jew controlled US government is saying that those 3 sky-scrapers collapsed into their own footprint at free fall speed due to one cause: office furniture fires. Not the impact of the "plane" and not the fuel carried by the "planes". This has never happened before or since in the history of the world. It is complete bullshit. The JewSA's story is totally impossible and defies the laws of physics. Namely the Law of the conservation of energy.

As anyone who observers the fall of all 3 towers can see those building fall at free fall speed. For this to happen it means that the underlying structure is offering NO resistance to the above falling structure. How can this be? The many floors below the impact zone were in no way effected by the fire. Yet we see them vaporized into dust as the buildings collapse into their own footprint.

No folks this is impossible. Therefore the entire government's story is suspect and I would suggest total bullshit.
I'll admit that in the heat of the moment I fell for this lie. But what really got my attention was when I found out about the collapse of Building 7. A 57 story that was not hit by any "plane". And yet it followed the same script as the Twin Towers. Use critical thinking Americans.

I realize for many the truth about 911 is going to blow up their entire world view regarding the exceptionalness of the US and our good buddy Israel. But it is vital for the survival of our nation that the real criminals behind 911 be held accountable.

Israel did 911 and they are our number one enemy.

SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 7:42 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN If so, AnonFromTn, while begging pardon for a Whataboutery argument, How does #2 differ from the activities of Israelis, that are supported by American taxpayers; and how does #3 differ from the activities of Americans toward Iran, whose government US / Israel has been seeking to topple and re-form to "western" preferences, since at least 1979? *

Moreover, Desert Fox is partly (but only minimally-partly) correct in that zionist Jews and Allies set-up or duped or manipulated or otherwise used Germany to attempt to destroy Bolshevism in Russia, similar to the way that US used Saddam against Iran, then killed Saddam; used Soleimani against ISIS in Iraq, then killed Soleimani.

So are the actions of USA / ZUSA excusable, unaccountable, but those of Germany were demonstrably not?

Or should the American people remain warily alert for the next shoe to drop, when that "arc of justice" bends inexorably their way?

* I still, perhaps stubbornly, maintain that Germany had far more justification for its actions in seeking to vanquish a political regime that was observably committing mass murder with the "imminent" danger of carrying out the same against the German people -- as, in fact, was done; and that seeking to protect its people from starvation, of which 800,000 people had died within the present memory of surviving Germans, is an obligation of the state, a far more compelling obligation than that of "protecting American interests" 7000 miles from the homeland, when the homeland has more than adequate capacity to provide for its people, and when the interests being protected are those of a very few very rich individuals or corporations.
Competing and trading fairly is far less costly than waging war, and not nearly so ignoble.

AnonFromTN , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:18 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus I am not trying to whitewash the Empire. Many of its actions are clearly criminal, including bombing of Serbia, the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, assisting murderous Saudis in Yemen, etc. Assassination of Soleimani is yet another similarly criminal action, not the first and likely not the last.

However, the criminality of the Empire does not justify Hitler in any way. His troops behaved in a totally barbaric manner in the former Soviet Union. I know that not from propaganda, but from the accounts of real people who lived through German occupation in 1941-44.

The Empire being a criminal enterprise does not make the Third Reich any less criminal. FYI, bandits often clash with each other, and both sides in those clashes remain bandits.

Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:20 pm GMT
Jan 13, 2020 Assassination-gate! Trump Officials Say No 'Imminent Threat.' With Guest Phil Giraldi

Trump officials – including Trump himself today – have been steadily pulling back from initial claims after the January 3rd assassination of Iranian top general Soleimani that he was killed because of "imminent threats" of attack led by the Iranian.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WjtMSaOBaiU?feature=oembed

JamesinNM , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:47 pm GMT
Pray for Christ's return and the destruction of all evil.
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:47 pm GMT
@Paul "Noam Chomsky and the gatekeepers of the left " is a chapter in Barrie Zwicker's book "Towers of Deception ", this chapter is available in pdf format at 9/11conspiracy.tv .
Zwicker argues that Chomsky " In supporting the official story is at one with the right-wing gatekeepers such as Judith Miller of the New York Times Chomsky's function is identical to Miller's: support the official story Chomsky systematically engages in deceptive discourse on certain key topics such as 9/11 , the Kennedy assassination and with regard to the CIA . ..A study of Chomsky's stands show him to be a de facto defender of the status quo's most egregious outrages and their covert agency engines To the New World Order he is worth 50 armored divisions ."
As filmmaker Roy Harvey has stated " the single greatest obstacle to the spread of 9/11 truth is the Left media ."
JamesinNM , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 8:52 pm GMT
@Sean Make that plea as justification to Christ at the final judgement when your eternal destiny is being determined.
Zumbuddi , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:30 pm GMT
@JamesinNM Years ago I was given the book, Prayers, by Michel Quoist.
IIRC, the first page said, "Prayer is political action."
Been_there_done_that , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:35 pm GMT
@GeeBee

"If, as you claim, the flights actually took place, but no hijackers boarded them, how on earth did they fly into the twin towers?"

Remote control – a proven and trusted technology.

It could have been possible that some of the airline planes were electronically "switched" in mid-air, remotely flown with their beacons turned off, to simply disappear into the South Atlantic Ocean once their fuel ran out, while replaced by a fuel tanker in one case, to create a bigger fireball upon impact in Manhattan, or a much smaller plane to penetrate into the Pentagon.

The public ought to demand a thorough investigation resulting in concrete answers and prosecutions.

Some of the alleged hijackers were actually alive after the event and outraged to have had their identities stolen and misused.

Herald , says: Show Comment January 13, 2020 at 9:42 pm GMT
@Biff Great article, but Craig is taking the easy way out on 9/11. Of course, the Arabs were Sunnis, but were bit players only, and no way was 9/11 Saudi led.

[Jan 12, 2020] Comment on Sen. Tom Cotton lauding the murder of Suleimani

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Jan 12 2020 5:02 utc | 373

NYT posted editorial by Sen. Tom Cotton (nincompoop, Arkansas) lauding the murder of Suleimani. This is one of the readers' comments:

Bill
Nova ScotiaJan. 10
Times Pick
I don't understand how the USA can kill a military leader of a country we are not at war with in a third country no less and claim it was legal. The resulting high-pressure in the aftermath has left 63 Canadian citizens dead. Yes, at the hands of an Iranian missile - but many of those dead were dual Iranian Canadians. The blood is not just on Iran's hands, it is on the USA and on trump.

[Jan 12, 2020] The United States has murdered one of Iran's top personalities who was officially visiting a friendly country on a diplomatic mission

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 11 2020 22:39 utc | 298

... ... ...

Killing a General

The United States has murdered one of Iran's top personalities who was officially visiting a friendly country on a diplomatic mission.

The message of the assassination of Gasem Soleimani is the persistence of Washington in the effort to keep the world's first energy region revolt and prevent any distension between Iran and Saudi Arabia...

(...)Soleimani was a great strategist who achieved three notable victories in the last seventeen years: He was one of the organizers of the armed resistance to the American occupier in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, played a great role in the expulsion of the Islamic State from Iraq and defeated then the jihadist conglomerate in Syria (Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, etc.) financed and supported by the CIA and the Gulf oil monarchies. It was Soleimani who in 2015 convinced Vladimir Putin of the advisability of helping the Syrian government militarily, which has ended up restoring its control of the country by thwarting a new regime change operation that has resulted in another huge slaughter.

(...)Since Friday, January 3, all commentators announced an Iranian response to this "declaration of war" by Trump, or his generals, does not matter. It is forgotten that this war has been a fact for many years. Historically it began with the coup d'etat against Mossadeq, the Iranian prime minister who nationalized oil, and continued with the reaction to the Khomeinist Revolution of 1979, which induced the West to provoke the bloody war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s with hundreds of thousands of dead.

(...)The unilateral withdrawal of the United States, in May 2018, from the nuclear agreement reached with Iran, as well as the sanctions suffered by that country, the murders of Iranian scientists and the attacks, sanctions and the financial and oil blockade that suffocates the Iranian economy, form Part of that war. For 19 months, Iranian oil exports, which in 2017 were 2.5 million barrels per day, have fallen to a few hundred thousand as a result of Trump's sanctions.

(...)And in the meantime in Europe ...

On Sunday, January 5, 48 hours after the murder in Baghdad, the leaders of the three main European powers, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johson, released their joint statement. In it the murder of Soleimani is not even mentioned. "We have denounced the recent attacks on coalition troops in Iraq and are deeply concerned about the negative role played by Iran in the region, especially through the guards of the revolution and of the al-Quds unit under the command of General Soleimani", says the statement. "We especially call on Iran to refrain from more violence", it continues. In other personal statements Johnson told Trump that Soleimani "posed a threat to all our interests" and that "we do not regret his death". Macron expressed concern about the destabilizing role of the forces led by the assassinated general and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated that the General "had left a trail of devastation and blood in the Middle East" and that "the European Union had good reasons to have him on its list of terrorists". This statement prompted Tehran to summon the German ambassador and censor him for his support of the "terrorist attack by the United States". For its part, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has held Iran alone responsible for escalating tensions in the Middle East and has justified the murder as a reaction to the provocations suffered by the Americans in Iraq. Once again the "European foreign policy" is portrayed.

It is in Germany, at the base of Ramstein, where the command and control point of drone attacks by US forces is located. An anonymous German citizen has filed a complaint in the town of Zweibrücken to be elucidated if the murder was piloted from Ramstein. Such action being a violation of international law and German law, it has filed a complaint "against all suspects of such crime in Germany and the United States." Those who still believe in the European "rule of law" for international purposes, can hold on to this symbolic gesture without the slightest future.

[Jan 12, 2020] It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake: Soleimani was crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq

Jan 10, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
... He was viewed as crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq, much feared by Iranians. Shia take martyrdom seriously, and he is viewed as a martyr. It appears that even Trump took notice of the massive outpouring of mourning and praise for Soleimani there up to the point of people dying in a stampede in a mourning crowd in his hometown. But, hey, obviously these people simply do not understand that he was The World's Number One Terrorist! Heck, I saw one commenter on Marginal Revolution claiming Soleimani was responsible killing "hundreds of thousands." Yes, this sort of claim is floating around out there.

A basic problem here is that while indeed Soleimani commanded the IGRC al Quds force that supported and supplied various Shia militias in several Middle Eastern nations, these all were (and are) ultimately independent. Soleimani may have advised them, but he was never in a position to order any of them to do anything. Al Quds itself has never carried out any of the various attacks outside of Iran that Soleimani is supposedly personally responsible for.

Let us consider the specific case that gets pushed most emphatically, the 603 Americans dead in Iraq, without doubt a hot button item here in the US. First of all, even if Soleimani really was personally responsible for their deaths, there is the technical matter that their deaths cannot be labeled "terrorism." That is about killing non-combatant civilians, not military personnel involved in combat. I do not support the killing of those American soldiers, most of whom were done in by IEDs, which also horribly injured many more. But indeed this awful stuff happened. But in fact this was all done by Iraqi -based Shia militias. Yes, they were supported by Soleimani, but while some have charged al Quds suppplied the IEDs, this turns out not to be the case. These were apparently made in Iraq by these local militias. Soleimani's al Quds are not totally innocent in all this, reportedly providing some training and some inputs. But the IEDs were made by the militias themselves and planted by them.

It is also the case that when the militias and Americans were working together against ISIS/IISIL/Daesh, none of this happened, and indeed that was still the case up until this most recent set of events, with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group. Of course with Trump having Soleimani assassinated, this cooperation has ceased, with the US military no longer either fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor training the Iraqi military. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament has demanded that US troops leave entirely, although Trump threatened Iraq with economic sanctions if that is followed through on.

As it is, the US dating back to the Obama administration has been supplying Saudi Arabia with both arms and intelligence that has been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. Frankly, US leaders look more like terrorists than Soleimani.

I shall close by noting the major changes in opinion in both Iran and Iraq regarding the US as a result of this assassination. In Iran as many have noted there were major demonstrations against the regime going on, protesting bad economic conditions, even as those substantially were the result of the illegal US economic sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, to which Iran was adhering. Now those demonstrations have stopped and been replaced by the mass demonstrations against the US over Soleimani's assassination. And we also have Iran further withdrawing from that deal and moving to more highly enrich uranium.

In Iraq, there had been major anti-Iran demonstrations going on, with these supported to some degree by the highest religious authority in the nation, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. However, when Soleimani's body was being transferred to Iran, Sistani's son accompanied his body. It really is hard to see anything that justifies this assassination.

Barkley Rosser


  1. JDM , January 10, 2020 12:32 pm

    I think this quote is apropos in this situation: "It was worse than wrong. It was a mistake."

Bert Schlitz , January 10, 2020 3:46 pm

They had a handshake agreement, which was why Solemiani wasn't under protection. The Solemiani killed Americans stuff cracks me up. He was a military advisor for the Shia militia's who were attacked by US forces during a unsanctioned war in 2003 .uh derp derp. There have been many other generals that have committed "death of american" crimes that the Trump Admin seems to love.

As my father used to say "homosexuals make great commie fighters"(homosexuals like Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin agree lol). The zionists so badly want this war in the Trump administration, but Trump doesn't have the guts to just invade like Iraq.

rjs , January 10, 2020 5:26 pm

it appears i had a comment on this same post removed from Naked Capitalism

i asked "was his assassination due to the impeachment proceedings, and should the Democrats in Congress be held responsible for the deaths on Ukrainian flight 752?"

sure, that's off the wall, but i still think it addresses a legitimate question i don't think one can separate the personal situation a megalomaniac president like Trump finds himself in from his behavior .i was a news junky back during the Iraq war era, & what i remember most about the runup was that the big story in all the news mags the week before the war started was that Neil Bush, George's son, had lost millions of depositor's money playing poker in the back offices of Silverado Savings and Loan in Denver, and that you then could't find a word about that story anywhere the next week cause George & Saddam had all the coverage .so i have always felt that Bush might have pushed that war forward to take the media heat off his kid

run75441 , January 10, 2020 5:38 pm

No surprise, when I preempt their article on healthcare with commentary; my comments disappear. Get used to it when you can say more than they can.

rjs , January 11, 2020 11:03 am

well, here you go, Trump actually admitting to what i've been banned for suggesting via Jonathan Chait:

Report: Trump Cited Impeachment Pressure to Kill Soleimani – Deep inside a long, detailed Wall Street Journal report about President Trump's foreign policy advisers is an explosive nugget: "Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said." This is a slightly stronger iteration of a fact the New York Times reported three days ago, to wit, "pointed out to one person who spoke to him on the phone last week that he had been pressured to take a harder line on Iran by some Republican senators whose support he needs now more than ever amid an impeachment battle."This would not mean Trump ordered the strike entirely, or even primarily, in order to placate Senate Republicans. But it does constitute an admission that domestic political considerations influenced his decision. That would, of course, constitute a grave dereliction of duty. Trump is so cynical he wouldn't even recognize that making foreign policy decisions influenced by impeachment is the kind of thing he shouldn't say out loud. Of course, using his foreign policy authority for domestic political gain is the offense Trump is being impeached for. It would be characteristically Trumpian to compound the offense as part of his efforts to avoid accountability for it. What kind of pressure could Trump have in mind? It seems highly doubtful that he is worried 20 Republican senators would vote to remove him from office. He could be concerned that one or two of them would defect, denying him the chance to present impeachment as totally partisan (as he did following the House vote.) More plausibly, Trump might be worried a handful of Republicans would join Democrats to allow testimony from witnesses, like John Bolton, Trump has managed to block.

likbez , January 11, 2020 10:24 pm

@JDM, January 10, 2020 12:32 pm

I think this quote is apropos in this situation: "It was worse than wrong. It was a mistake."

This is a very deep observation. Thank you. BTW the original quote is attributed to Talleyrand and is more biting:

C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute.

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

Reaction to the 1804 drumhead trial and execution of Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, on orders of Napoleon. Actually said by either Antoine Boulay de la Meurthe, legislative deputy from Meurthe (according to the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations) or Joseph Fouché, Napoleon's chief of police (according to John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919), http://www.bartleby.com/100/758.1.html ).

Rephrasing Kissinger: " Assassination is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one".

[Jan 11, 2020] Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified by Barkley Rosser

Notable quotes:
"... We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. ..."
"... As Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have stated for a long time (and long before President Trump came along), the USA is 'agreement incapable'. However, now you have to wonder if any country really trusts any agreement they will make with the USA. Without trust on any level, cooperation/trade treaties and so on on are impossible or eminently disposable, i.e., not worth the paper upon which they are written. ..."
"... 603 Americans killed in Iraq, he says Trump supporters claim, but we had millions of Iraqi's, Syrians, Libyans and others killed or their lives uprooted by Bush and Obama and company – yet they were not assassinated. ..."
"... NO. Shockingly bad decision; you can just manage to glimpse around the edges of the war propaganda the embarrassment and backpedaling for having willingly stepped into such a gigantic steaming pile of excrement. The parade of smooth-faced liars on the MSM asserting that the US is now safer (the "war is peace" crowd) is sickening. Some even have the gall to assert that the enormous crowds in Iran are forced to attend by the repressive regime. Of course, there's no evidence of a provocation and they'll never produce any. ..."
"... I find it interesting that Pompeo was "disappointed" – what did he think would happen? For a Secretary of State, he's obviously extremely out of touch with the rest of the world if he didn't have some realistic idea of how this would go down. ..."
"... One other glaring omission from the article – the only reason there was a US military contractor in Iraq available to be killed in the first place is due to the illegal war based on false premises launched almost two decades ago by the US, which continues to occupy the country to this day. ..."
"... Pretty clear who the terrorists are on this case. ..."
"... Fascinating developments on this issue today. Pompeo admits that nothing was "imminent." Given the very specific definitions of Imminence that draw red lines between what is or is not legal in international law, this could get big very quickly. ..."
"... War hawks dressed in red or blue can become mercenaries and create Go Fund Me drives to protect their investments and any particular country which they have a personal affinity or citizenship. ..."
"... Lest we forget: "War is a racket." ..."
"... How does this meet the internationally recognized legal requirement of "imminent" danger to human life required to kill a political or military leader outside of a declared war? All public statements by the U.S. political and military leadership point to a retaliatory killing, at best, with a vague overlay of preemptive action. ..."
"... If you agree that the "Bethlehem Doctrine" has never been recognized by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, or the legislatures of the three rogue states who have adopted it, the assassination of Suleimani appears to have been a murder. ..."
"... "I cross-checked a Pentagon casualty database with obituaries and not 1 of the 9 American servicemen killed fighting in Iraq since 2011 died at the hands of militias backed by Suleimani. His assassination was about revenge and provocation, not self-defense." ..."
"... The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration's killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated. ..."
"... For some "exceptional" reason we don't recognize international law! We are the terrorists not them. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified? Posted on January 10, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. Even though the angst over "what next" with the US/Iran confrontation has fallen a bit, there is still a depressingly significant amount of mis- and dis-information about the Soleimani assassination. This post is a nice high level treatment that might be a good candidate for circulating among friends and colleagues who've gotten a hefty dose of MSM oversimplifications and social media sloganeering.

Update 6:50 AM: Due to the hour, I neglected to add a quibble, and readers jumped on the issue in comments. First, it has not been established who launched the attack that killed a the US contractor. The US quickly asserted it was Kat'ib Hezbollah, but there were plenty of groups in the area that had arguably better motives, plus Kat'ib Hezbollah has denied it made the strike. Second, Kat'ib Hezbollah is an Iraqi military unit.

By Barkley Rosser, Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Originally published at EconoSpeak

We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. The public statements by administration figures have cited such things as the 1979 hostage crisis, the already dead contractor, and, oh, the need to "reestablish deterrence" after Trump did not follow through on previous threats he made. None of this looks remotely like "imminent plans," not to mention that the Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. What a threatening imminent plan!

As it is, despite the apparent lack of "imminent plans" to kill Americans, much of the supporting rhetoric for this assassination coming out of Trump supporters (with bragging about it having reportedly been put up on Trump's reelection funding website) involves charges that Soleimani was "the world's Number One terrorist" and was personally responsible for killing 603 Americans in Iraq. Even as many commentators have noted the lack of any "imminent plans," pretty much all American ones have prefaced these questions with assertions that Soleimani was unquestionable "evil" and "bad" and a generally no good guy who deserved to be offed, if not right at this time and in this way. He was the central mastermind and boss of a massive international terror network that obeyed his orders and key to Iran's reputed position as "the Number One state supporter of terrorism," with Soleimani the key to all of that.

Of course, in Iran it turns out that Soleimani was highly respected, even as many oppose the hawkish policies he was part of. He was viewed as crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq, much feared by Iranians. Shia take martyrdom seriously, and he is viewed as a martyr. It appears that even Trump took notice of the massive outpouring of mourning and praise for Soleimani there up to the point of people dying in a stampede in a mourning crowd in his hometown. But, hey, obviously these people simply do not understand that he was The World's Number One Terrorist! Heck, I saw one commenter on Marginal Revolution claiming Soleimani was responsible killing "hundreds of thousands." Yes, this sort of claim is floating around out there.

A basic problem here is that while indeed Soleimani commanded the IGRC al Quds force that supported and supplied various Shia militias in several Middle Eastern nations, these all were (and are) ultimately independent. Soleimani may have advised them, but he was never in a position to order any of them to do anything. Al Quds itself has never carried out any of the various attacks outside of Iran that Soleimani is supposedly personally responsible for.

Let us consider the specific case that gets pushed most emphatically, the 603 Americans dead in Iraq, without doubt a hot button item here in the US. First of all, even if Soleimani really was personally responsible for their deaths, there is the technical matter that their deaths cannot be labeled "terrorism." That is about killing non-combatant civilians, not military personnel involved in combat. I do not support the killing of those American soldiers, most of whom were done in by IEDs, which also horribly injured many more. But indeed this awful stuff happened. But in fact this was all done by Iraqi -based Shia militias. Yes, they were supported by Soleimani, but while some have charged al Quds suppplied the IEDs, this turns out not to be the case. These were apparently made in Iraq by these local militias. Soleimani's al Quds are not totally innocent in all this, reportedly providing some training and some inputs. But the IEDs were made by the militias themselves and planted by them.

It is also the case that when the militias and Americans were working together against ISIS/IISIL/Daesh, none of this happened, and indeed that was still the case up until this most recent set of events, with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group. Of course with Trump having Soleimani assassinated, this cooperation has ceased, with the US military no longer either fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor training the Iraqi military. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament has demanded that US troops leave entirely, although Trump threatened Iraq with economic sanctions if that is followed through on.

As it is, the US datinrg back to the Obama administration has been supplying Saudi Arabia with both arms and intelligence that has been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. Frankly, US leaders look more like terrorists than Soleimani.

I shall close by noting the major changes in opinion in both Iran and Iraq regarding the US as a result of this assassination. In Iran as many have noted there were major demonstrations against the regime going on, protesting bad economic conditions, even as those substantially were the result of the illegal US economic sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, to which Iran was adhering. Now those demonstrations have stopped and been replaced by the mass demonstrations against the US over Soleimani's assassination. And we also have Iran further withdrawing from that deal and moving to more highly enrich uranium.

In Iraq, there had been major anti-Iran demonstrations going on, with these supported to some degree by the highest religious authority in the nation, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. However, when Soleimani's body was being transferred to Iran, Sistani's son accompanied his body. It really is hard to see anything that justifies this assassination.

I guess I should note for the record that I am not a fan of the Iranian regime, much less the IGRC and its former and new commander. It is theocratic and repressive, with many political prisoners and a record of killing protestors. However, frankly, it is not clearly all that much worse than quite a few of its neighboring regimes. While Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei was not popularly elected, its president, Rouhani, was, who obeyed popular opinion in negotiating the JCPOA that led to the relaxation of economic sanctions, with his power reduced when Trump withdrew from the agreement. Its rival Saudi Arabia has no democracy at all, and is also a religiously reactionary and repressive regime that uses bone saws on opponents and is slaughtering civilians in a neighboring nation.


xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 6:12 am

with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group.
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding this, but it appears to be presented here as a fact.
Kat'b Hezbollah have denied responsibility for that rocket attack. To the best of my knowledge, no proof whatsoever has been presented that it was not an attack by jihadis in the area, whom Khat'b Hezbollah were fighting, or by others with an interest in stirring the pot.

Cat Burglar , January 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm

They are having a hard time coming up with public evidence to support any justification, aren't they?

The latest was Pence's "keeping it secret to protect sources and methods" meme. Purely speculating here, but I immediately thought, "Oh, Israeli intelligence." Gotta protect allies in the region.

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Debka, run by supposedly-former Israeli military intelligence, was enthusing about upcoming joint operations against Iran and its allies a month or two ago. In contrast, they've been uncharacteristically quiet, though supportive of the US, regarding recent developments.

Trump and Netanyahu confirm US-Israel military coordination against threatened Iranian attack

A US-Iran military front is fast shaping up on the Syrian-Iraqi border – with a role for the IDF

Dwight , January 10, 2020 at 6:32 am

Secretary of State Pompeo claimed that Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria. Basically blaming Iran for all deaths in the Syrian war.

Donald , January 10, 2020 at 8:35 am

People more commonly do this with Assad. A complicated war with multiple factions fighting each other, armed by outside sources including the US, most with horrific human rights records, but almost every pundit and politician in the US talks as though Assad killed everyone personally.

Once in a while you get a little bit of honesty seeping in, but it never changes the narrative. Caitlin Johnstone said something about that, not specifically about Syria. The idea was that you can sometimes find facts reported in the mainstream press that contradict the narrative put out by pundits and politicians and for that matter most news stories, but these contradictory facts never seem to change the prevailing narrative.

ChrisFromGeorgia , January 10, 2020 at 9:15 am

That sounds suspiciously like sour grapes and another possible motive for the killing – revenge.

Soleimani led a number of militias that were successful in defeating the Saudi (and CIA) sponsored Sunni jihadis who failed to implement the empire's "regime change" playbook in Syria.

No doubt a lot of guys like Pompeo wanted him dead for that reason alone.

Thuto , January 10, 2020 at 6:36 am

The simple answer NO, killing a sitting army general of a sovereign state on a diplomatic mission resides in the realm of the truly absurd. Twisting the meaning of the word "imminent" far beyond its ordinary use to justify the murder is even more absurd. And the floating subtext to all this talk about lost American lives is that the US can invade and occupy foreign lands, engage in the sanctimonious slaughter of locals and whoever else gets in the way of feeding the bloodlust of Pompeo and his ilk (to say nothing of feeding the outsized ego of a lunatic like Trump), and yet expect to suffer no combat casualties from those defending their lands. It's the most warped form of "exceptional" thinking.

As an aside, I wonder if the msm faithfully pushing the talk about Iran downing that Ukrainian commercial jet is designed to take the heat off a beleaguered Boeing. The investigation hasn't even begun but already we have the smoking gun, Iran did it.

Olga , January 10, 2020 at 8:27 am

Even the question is wrong. The killing was cowardly, outside all international norms (this from a country that dares to invoke "international order" whenever it is suitable), a colossal mistake, a strategic blunder, and plain destructive.
The more one learns about QS' activities, the more it seems that he was "disposed of" precisely because of his unique talent and abilities to bring together the various local factions (particularly, in Iraq), so that then – unified – they could fight against the common enemy (guess who?). He was not guilty of killing amrikans – nor was he planning to – his "sin" was to try and unite locals to push the us out of ME. It was always going to be an uphill battle, but in death he may – in time – achieve his wish.

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 11:49 am

I'm in this camp too. But with a twist. Pure speculation here – and I'm sure it would never be exposed, but is there even any proof we did it? Was it an apache helicopter or a drone; whom have we supplied with these things? Who is this bold? Since our military has been dead-set-against assassinating Soleimani or any other leader it seems highly unlikely they proposed this to Trump. Mattis flatly refused to even consider such a thing. So I keep wondering if the usual suspect might be the right one – the Israelis. They have the proper expertise. And the confusion that followed? If we had done it we'd have had our PSAs ready to print. Instead we proffered an unsigned letter and other "rough drafts" of the incident and then retracted them like idiots. As if we were frantic to step in and prevent the Rapture. We could have taken the blame just to prevent a greater war. Really, that's what it looks like to me.

bold'un , January 10, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Surely the whole point of the strike is that it was illegal: that is to say that it was a message to the Iraqis that they are NOT allowed to help Iran evade sanctions, NOT allowed to do oil-for-infrastructure deals with China and NOT allowed to invite senior Iranians around for talks: i.e. Iraq is not yet sovereign and it is the US that makes the rules around there; any disobedience will summarily be punished by the de facto rulers even if that violates agreements and laws applicable in Iraq.

If you disagree, then what should the US do if Iraq does not toe the Western line?

makedonamend , January 11, 2020 at 4:29 am

Hiya Olga & t'Others,

" The killing was cowardly, outside all international norms (this from a country that dares to invoke "international order" whenever it is suitable), a colossal mistake, a strategic blunder, and plain destructive "

I think the immediate impact which has long terms implications for how other countries view USA foreign policy is simply that any high ranking individual from any other country on earth has got to be aware that essentially no international norms now exist. It's one thing to 'whack' a bin Laden or dispose of a Gaddafi but another whole kettle of fish to assassinate a high ranking official going about their business who's no immediate security threat to the USA and when no state of war exists.

For example, might a EU general now acquiesce to demands about NATO? Not saying this is going to happen by a long shot, but still a niggling thought might linger. Surely the individual will be resentful at the very least. I'm also reminded of a story about John Bolton allegedly telling a negotiator (UN or European?) that Bolton knew where the negotiator's family resided. These things add up.

As Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have stated for a long time (and long before President Trump came along), the USA is 'agreement incapable'. However, now you have to wonder if any country really trusts any agreement they will make with the USA. Without trust on any level, cooperation/trade treaties and so on on are impossible or eminently disposable, i.e., not worth the paper upon which they are written.

This is where the middle term ramifications start to kick-in. We know that Russia and China are making some tentative steps towards superficial integration in limited areas beyond just cooperation. Will they find more common ground? Will European countries (and by extension the EU) really start to deliver on an alternative financial clearing system? How will India and Japan react? Does nationalism of the imperial variety re-emerge as a world force – for good or bad?

Will regional powers such as Russia, China, India, France or Iran quietly find more common ground also? But alliances are problematic and sometimes impose limitations that are exploitable. So, might a different form of cooperation emerge?

Long term its all about advantage and trust. Trust is a busted flush now. (My 2 cents, and properly priced.)

vlade , January 10, 2020 at 6:40 am

As Thuto above says, the simple answer is "No". IF S was guilty of all those things ascribed to him, he'd have been judged and sentenced (yes, I do realise Iran would never extradite him etc. etc. – but there would have been a process and after the process, well, some things would be more justifiable). But we have the process because it's important to have a process – otherwise, anyone can find themselves on a hit list for any reason whatsoever.

If the US doesn't want to follow and process, then it can't be suprised if others won't. Ignoring the process works for the strongest, while they are the strongest. And then it doesn't.

timbers , January 10, 2020 at 6:53 am

603 Americans killed in Iraq, he says Trump supporters claim, but we had millions of Iraqi's, Syrians, Libyans and others killed or their lives uprooted by Bush and Obama and company – yet they were not assassinated.

I think – just a guess – the reason Soleimani was killed can be summed up in one word:

Netanyahu.

That, and on a broader, bird's eye view level in broad strokes – Michael Hudson's recent article outlining U.S. policy of preserving USD hegemony at all costs, that has existed since at least the 1950's, which depicts Soleimani's assassination as not a Trump qwerk but a logical application of that policy.

You might say the swamp drainers came to drain the swamp and ended filling it up instead.

Darius , January 10, 2020 at 8:04 am

The mostest terriblest guy in the history of this or any other universe, but the average Joe never heard of until they announced they killed him. His epochal terribleness really flew under the radar.

Wukchumni , January 10, 2020 at 8:14 am

A joke I heard on the slopes yesterday: Nobody had ever heard of Soleimani, and then he blew up overnight, so now everybody knows who he is.

Philo Beddoh , January 10, 2020 at 8:13 am

The swamp drainers are so busy guzzling as much as they can quaff, without drowning; writhing each others' dead-eyed, bloated feeding frenzy; that obscene media distractions need to escalate in sadistic, off-hand terror. But, it's so ingrained into our governance, we just call it democracy?

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Hudson's take on USD hegemony is reasonable, but I don't think we'd assassinate Soleimani in anticipation of losing it. We have dealt with all the sects in the middle east for a long time and we have come to terms with them, until now. In a time that requires the shutting down of oil and gas production. I think (Carney, Keen, Murphy, etc.) oil is the basis for our economy, for productivity, for the world, that's a no brainer. But my second thoughts go more along the lines that oil and natural gas will be government monopolies directly – no need to use those resources to make the dollar or other currencies monopolies. Sovereign currency will still be a sovereign monopoly regardless of the oil industry. That also explains why we want hands-on control of this resource. And with that in mind, it would seem Soleimani might have been more of an asset for us.

Yves Smith Post author , January 10, 2020 at 8:48 pm

I hate to tell you but as much as we are fans of Hudson, he's all wet on this one. The dollar is the reserve currency because the US is willing to run sustained trade deficits, which is tantamount to exporting jobs. Perhaps more important, my connected economists say they know of no one who has the ear of the military-intel state who believes this either. This may indeed have been a line of thought 50 years ago but it isn't now.

rusti , January 10, 2020 at 7:18 am

much of the supporting rhetoric for this assassination coming out of Trump supporters (with bragging about it having reportedly been put up on Trump's reelection funding website)

I thought I had a pretty strong stomach for this stuff, but it's been really nauseating for me to see the displays of joy and flag waving over the assassination of someone the overwhelming majority of people were wholly unaware of prior to his death. My guess is that it's mostly just a sort of schadenfreude at the squirming of Democrats as they (with few exceptions) fail to articulate any coherent response.

The response should be clear without any caveats, "Trump is a coward who would never gamble with his life, but will happily gamble with the lives of your kids in uniform." This should resonate with most people, I don't believe that neocons really have any grassroots support.

carl , January 10, 2020 at 7:27 am

NO. Shockingly bad decision; you can just manage to glimpse around the edges of the war propaganda the embarrassment and backpedaling for having willingly stepped into such a gigantic steaming pile of excrement. The parade of smooth-faced liars on the MSM asserting that the US is now safer (the "war is peace" crowd) is sickening. Some even have the gall to assert that the enormous crowds in Iran are forced to attend by the repressive regime. Of course, there's no evidence of a provocation and they'll never produce any.

PlutoniumKun , January 10, 2020 at 7:49 am

Politico Europe is reporting that behind Europes seemingly supine response, officials and politicians are 'seething' over the attack. Its clearly seen around the world as not just illegal, but an appalling precedent.

So far, American efforts to convince Europeans of the bright side of Soleimani's killing have been met with dropped jaws .

The Historian , January 10, 2020 at 10:30 am

The silence from other countries on this event has been deafening. And that should tell Trump and Pompeo something, but I doubt if they are smart enough to figure it out.

I find it interesting that Pompeo was "disappointed" – what did he think would happen? For a Secretary of State, he's obviously extremely out of touch with the rest of the world if he didn't have some realistic idea of how this would go down.

Eclair , January 10, 2020 at 11:17 am

One wonders it this will be recalled as the episode in which the US finally jumped the shark.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , January 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm

On one hand, the life of each and every victim of head-separation and droning is as precious as that of one Soleimani.

On the other, the general's is more precious and thus, the behind the scene seething by Europe's politicians and officials. (They and many others are all potential targets now, versus previously droning wedding guests – time to seethe).

Which is it? More precious or equally precious?

Harry , January 10, 2020 at 7:57 am

The more I think about it, the more it seemed like the Administration and its allies were probing to see how far they could go. They bombed PMUs and appeared to get away with it. So then they upped the ante when the Iraqis complained and finally got some moderate push-back. Not taking American lives in the missile strike seems to prove they Iranians didn't want to escalate. Still, I dont know about the Pentagon, but I was impressed with the accuracy.

Procopius , January 10, 2020 at 7:01 pm

I was impressed with the accuracy.

Yes. From the picture at Vineyard of the Saker, they hit specific buildings. There were comments after the drone attack on Abqaiq and Khurais oil fields in KSA that they showed surprising accuracy, but perhaps this time surprised the intelligence agencies. Perhaps that was why Trump declared victory instead of further escalating. This is speculation, of course.

The Rev Kev , January 10, 2020 at 7:23 pm

There is also a good article giving more detail of these attacks and underlining the fact that not a single solitary missile was intercepted. What percentage did the Syrians/Russians manage to intercept of the US/UK/French missiles attack back in 2018? Wasn't it about seventy percent?

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-strike-ttg.html

Yves Smith Post author , January 10, 2020 at 8:51 pm

The Iranians are not done retaliating. They have a history of disproportionate retaliation, but when the right opportunity presents itself, and that routinely takes years. The limited strike was out of character and appears to have been the result of the amount of upset internally over the killing.

Darius , January 10, 2020 at 8:12 am

I have more a lot more respect for the strategic acumen of the Iranian regime than I do for that of the American regime. Now it's led by a collection of fragile male egos and superstitious rapture ready religious fanatics. Before them the regime was led by cowardly corporate suck ups. They all take their cues from the same military intelligence complex.

lyman alpha blob , January 10, 2020 at 8:18 am

One other glaring omission from the article – the only reason there was a US military contractor in Iraq available to be killed in the first place is due to the illegal war based on false premises launched almost two decades ago by the US, which continues to occupy the country to this day.

Pretty clear who the terrorists are on this case.

Amfortas the hippie , January 10, 2020 at 8:55 am

Aye! This!
assume a ladder on a windy day, with a hammer irresponsibly left perched on the edge of the top rung.
if i blithely walk under that ladder just as the wind gusts and get bonked in the head by the falling hammer whose fault is it?
we shouldn't be there in the first damned place.

and as soon as the enabling lies were exposed, we should have left, post haste .leaving all kinds of money and apologies in our wake.
to still be hanging around, unwanted by the locals, all these years later is arrogant and stupid.

during the Bush Darkness, i was accused to my face(even strangled, once!) of being an american-hating traitor for being against the war, the Bush Cabal, and the very idea of American Empire.

almost 20 years later, I'm still absolutely opposed to those things not least out of a care for the Troops(tm) .and a fervent wish that for once in my 50 years i could be proud to be an American.

what a gigantic misallocation of resources, in service of rapine and hegemony, while my fellow americans suffer and wither and scratch around for crumbs.

Mikel , January 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

Another of many questions that remain involve the warped interpretation of "imminent" of the Bethlehem Doctrine. What institution will put a full stop to that doctrine of terror?
It is a global hazard to continue to let that be adopted as any kind of standard.

Susan the other , January 10, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Under the Bethlehem Doctrine the entire political class in the USA, and possibly a few other countries, could be assassinated. What is legal or justified for one is justified for all.

David , January 10, 2020 at 8:33 am

Rosser is an economist rather than a philosopher or. jurist, and so he doesn't appear to realize that "justification" in the abstract is meaningless. An act can only be justified or not according to some ethical or legal principle, and you need to say what that principle is at the beginning before you start your argument. He doesn't do that, so his argument has no more validity than that of someone you get into a discussion with in a bar or over coffee at work.
Legally, of course, there is no justifi