The Kushner Companies has finally struck a deal to get the building that was supposed to be the centerpiece of its portfolio, but instead had weighed it down for years, off its hands.

Brookfield Properties announced Friday afternoon that it has acquired a 100% leasehold interest in the building, a 1.5 million square foot property at 666 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, for 99 years through one of its funds. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

As NYT reported

The deal is likely to raise further concerns about Jared Kushner’s dual role as a White House point person on the Middle East and a continuing stakeholder in the family’s company. Mr. Kushner in February lost his top-secret security clearance amid concerns that foreign governments could attempt to gain influence with the White House by doing business with his firm. In January, The Times reported that his firm last year received a $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim, a large Israeli insurer, just a few days before Mr. Kushner flew to Israel for his first diplomatic trip to the region.

Although he resigned as chief executive of the family’s company when he joined the White House in January 2017, Mr. Kushner retained most of his stake in the firm. He shed some of the assets — including his stake in 666 Fifth Avenue — by selling them to a trust controlled by his mother. His real estate holdings and other investments are worth as much as $761 million, according to government ethics filings.

Other deals

On August 18, 2014, Jared Kushner acting on instructions from his father acquired a three-building apartment portfolio in Middle River, Maryland, for $37.9 million with Aion Partners. In 2013–14, he and his company acquired more than 11,000 units throughout New York, New Jersey, and the Baltimore area.

In May 2015, he purchased 50.1% of the Times Square Building from Africa Israel Investments Ltd. for $295 million.[25]

Observer ownership and attempt to use it to get his "enemies"

At age 25, Jared Kushner (in reality probably his father) purchased the New York Observer, a weekly New York City newspaper, for $10 million. After purchasing the Observer, Kushner published it in tabloid format. Since then, he has been credited with increasing the Observer's online presence and expanding the Observer Media Group.

With no substantial experience in journalism, Kushner could not establish a good relationship with the newspaper's veteran editor-in-chief, Peter W. Kaplan.  “This guy doesn’t know what he doesn’t know,” Kaplan remarked about Kushner, to colleagues, at the time.

As a result of his differences with Kushner, Kaplan quit his position. Kaplan was followed by a series of short-lived successors until Kushner hired Elizabeth Spiers in 2011.

In December 2011, the New York Post reported that the Observer expected to become profitable for the first time. Spiers left the newspaper in 2012. In January 2013, Kushner hired a new editor-in-chief, Ken Kurson. Kurson had been a consultant to Republican political candidates in New Jersey and one-time member of Rudy Giuliani's unsuccessful 2008 presidential primary campaign.

According to Vanity Fair, under Kushner, the "Observer has lost virtually all of its cultural currency among New York’s elite, but the paper is now profitable and reporting traffic growth ... [it] boasts 6 million unique visitors per month, up from 1.3 million in January 2013".

In April 2016, the New York Observer became one of only a handful of newspapers to officially endorse United States presidential candidate Donald Trump in the Republican primary, but the paper ended the campaign period by choosing not to back any presidential candidate at all.

Kushner stepped down from his newspaper role in January 2017 to pursue a role in President Donald Trump's administration. He was replaced by his brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer.

Connections to Netanyahu

Jared can be  described as Israeli lobbyist due to his connection to Israel and personally to Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is so close with Kushner’s family that he once slept in Kushner’s childhood bedroom, according to a New York Times profile of Kushner. (Kushner, then a teenager, slept in the basement that night.) (forward.com)

Trump applointed Kushner as a Mideast peace broker. But Kushner’s family donations to West Bank settlements and ties to Netanyahu have made critics question whether he would be an impartial negotiator.

See interesting discussion about Kushner in Quora

Elimination of Chris Christie from Trump team

The sordid case behind Jared Kushner's grudge against Chris Christie by Byron York

April 16, 2017

The prosecutor-turned-governor-turned-Trump-supporter Chris Christie, has paid a price for bringing a case in which every single defendant was guilty. (AP Photo)

Who did Jared blame for what had happened? Not his father. "Charlie and Jared blamed papers in general and more specifically the Newark Star-Ledger for besmirching the family name," Gabriel Sherman wrote in 2009:

And, the crimes notwithstanding, [Jared] sees his father as a victim. "His siblings stole every piece of paper from his office, and they took it to the government," Jared maintained. "Siblings that he literally made wealthy for doing nothing. He gave them interests in the business for nothing. All he did was put the tape together and send it. Was it the right thing to do? At the end of the day, it was a function of saying 'You're trying to make my life miserable? Well, I'm doing the same.'"

Five years later, in a 2014 interview with the New York real estate publication The Real Deal, Jared called his father's treatment "obviously unjust" and said the experience had soured him on an earlier ambition to become a prosecutor. "If you're convicting murderers, it's one thing," Jared said. "It's often fairly clear. When you get into things like white-collar crime, there are often a lot of nuances. Seeing my father's situation, I felt what happened was obviously unjust in terms of the way they pursued him."

Now the pursuer, the prosecutor-turned-governor-turned-Trump-supporter Chris Christie, has paid a price for bringing a case in which every single defendant was guilty.

Both Jared Kushner and Christie deny there's a problem. "That stuff is ancient history," Christie told ABC two weeks ago, on March 29. Last November, Kushner told Forbes that, "Six months ago, Gov. Christie and I decided this election was much bigger than any differences we may have had in the past, and we worked very well together. The media has speculated on a lot of different things, and since I don't talk to the press, they go as they go, but I was not behind pushing him out or his people."

Maybe. Maybe, as Jared Kushner maintains, all the reports of "differences" between him and Christie are inaccurate. But if the case of Kushner's father, and his uncle, and his other uncle, and his aunt, and their business is any indication, putting aside differences is not the family way.


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[May 24, 2020] FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , May 24 2020 20:56 utc | 30

FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

https://christiansfortruth.com/fbi-document-reveals-that-without-direct-israeli-intervention-trump-would-not-have-won-2016-election/

[May 24, 2020] FBI Document Reveals That Without Direct Israeli 'Intervention' Trump Would Have Lost 2016 Election

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The explicit reference to Jerusalem appears later in the same document , in the context of communication between Stone and his unnamed contact in the Israeli capital. "On or about August 12, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "Roger, hello from Jerusalem. Any progress? He is going to be defeated unless we intervene. We have critical intell. The key is in your hands! Back in the US next week. How is your Pneumonia? Thank you. STONE replied, "I am well. Matters complicated. Pondering. R" The "he" is an apparent reference to Trump. ..."
"... Referring to the Israeli mentions in a report on the documents late Tuesday, the US website Politico noted: "The newly revealed messages often raise more questions than answers. They show Stone in touch with seemingly high-ranking Israeli officials attempting to arrange meetings with Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign." ..."
"... Of course, this story is seen as a positive development from the Israeli (and evangelical) perspective because a Trump presidency was an essential part fulfilling an aggressive Zionist "wish list" which included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, annexing the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and perhaps a major move against Iran in the second term. ..."
"... This story also explains why the jewish-controlled press saturated the airwaves with fake stories of "Russian" intervention in the election -- and why we will be seeing similar non-stop stories of "Chinese" intervention in the upcoming 2020 election in November. ..."
"... And Netanyahu hasn't wasted a second of Trump's presidency in expanding Israel's power, territory and influence. As one Jewish media pundit claimed , Donald Trump has been " the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world." Trump has even bragged that he is so popular among Israelis that they would elect him Prime Minister if he ran. ..."
May 24, 2020 | christiansfortruth.com

According to recently released FBI documents, Donald Trump's longtime confidant, Roger Stone, who was convicted last year in Robert Mueller's investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, was in contact with one or more apparently well-connected Israelis at the height of the 2016 US presidential campaign, one of whom warned Stone that Trump was "going to be defeated" unless Israel intervened in the election :

The exchange between Stone and this Jerusalem-based contact appears in FBI documents made public on Tuesday. The documents -- FBI affidavits submitted to obtain search warrants in the criminal investigation into Stone -- were released following a court case brought by The Associated Press and other media organizations.

A longtime adviser to Trump, Stone officially worked on the 2016 presidential campaign until August 2015, when he said he left and Trump said he was fired. However he continued to communicate with the campaign, according to Mueller's investigation.

The FBI material, which is heavily redacted, includes one explicit reference to Israel and one to Jerusalem, and a series of references to a minister, a cabinet minister, a "minister without portfolio in the cabinet dealing with issues concerning defense and foreign affairs," the PM, and the Prime Minister . In all these references the names and countries of the minister and prime minister are redacted.

Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel's prime minister in 2016 , and the Israeli government included a minister without portfolio, Tzachi Hanegbi, appointed in May with responsibility for defense and foreign affairs. One reference to the unnamed PM in the material reads as follows:

"On or about June 28, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "RETURNING TO DC AFTER URGENT CONSULTATIONS WITH PM IN ROME. MUST MEET WITH YOU WED. EVE AND WITH DJ TRUMP THURSDAY IN NYC."

Netanyahu made a state visit to Italy at the end of June 2016 .

The explicit reference to Israel appears early in the text of a May 2018 affidavit by an FBI agent in support of an application for a search warrant, and relates to communication between Stone and Jerome Corsi, an American author, commentator and conspiracy theorist. " On August 20, 2016, CORSI told STONE that they needed to meet with [NAME REDACTED] to determine "what if anything Israel plans to do in Oct," the affidavit states .

The explicit reference to Jerusalem appears later in the same document , in the context of communication between Stone and his unnamed contact in the Israeli capital. "On or about August 12, 2016, [NAME REDACTED] messaged STONE, "Roger, hello from Jerusalem. Any progress? He is going to be defeated unless we intervene. We have critical intell. The key is in your hands! Back in the US next week. How is your Pneumonia? Thank you. STONE replied, "I am well. Matters complicated. Pondering. R" The "he" is an apparent reference to Trump.

The redacted material features numerous references to an "October surprise," apparently relating to a document dump by Wikileaks' Julian Assange, intended to harm Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign and salvage Trump's .

Referring to the Israeli mentions in a report on the documents late Tuesday, the US website Politico noted: "The newly revealed messages often raise more questions than answers. They show Stone in touch with seemingly high-ranking Israeli officials attempting to arrange meetings with Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign."

Mueller's investigation identified significant contact during the 2016 campaign between Trump associates and Russians, but did not allege a criminal conspiracy to tip the outcome of the presidential election.

This story first appeared last month, at the height of the COVID-19 plandemic, which conveniently and not coincidentally allowed all the mainstream media in America to ignore it.

Of course, this story is seen as a positive development from the Israeli (and evangelical) perspective because a Trump presidency was an essential part fulfilling an aggressive Zionist "wish list" which included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, annexing the Golan Heights and the West Bank, and perhaps a major move against Iran in the second term.

This story also explains why the jewish-controlled press saturated the airwaves with fake stories of "Russian" intervention in the election -- and why we will be seeing similar non-stop stories of "Chinese" intervention in the upcoming 2020 election in November.

We can only guess what further information about Israel's involvement in the election was redacted from this FBI document, but there can be little doubt that the orders to help Trump win came from the very top -- from Netanyahu himself.

And Netanyahu hasn't wasted a second of Trump's presidency in expanding Israel's power, territory and influence. As one Jewish media pundit claimed , Donald Trump has been " the greatest president for Jews and for Israel in the history of the world." Trump has even bragged that he is so popular among Israelis that they would elect him Prime Minister if he ran.

And even if the brain-dead American public found out about this Israeli intervention (i.e., "subversion of our democracy"), they would probably just shrug it off -- after all, Israel is our "most trusted friend and ally," goyim .

[May 24, 2020] Because the fight between Trump and his Democrat enemies was an internal battle among big Jews, usurers against Zionists.

May 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

sarz , says: Show Comment

Anon [348] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 4:50 am GMT
Here's the best scenario: Trump wins re-election, and gives the neocons what they've been egging for all along – WWIII, simultaneous war on all fronts, with Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, China, Russia, Venezuela. Let's see the empire stretched so thin it eventually craters and goes bankrupt. The only way to save America is for it to die in its present form. When the country is completely bankrupt, when the people are so sick of war, then maybe, just maybe, we will wise up, rise up and do a Mussolini on all the neocons who've been killing this country from within since the days of Woodrow Wilson.
anon [161] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 11:13 am GMT
@UncommonGround Joshua Landis:

Top Biden advisor says Democrats will continue Trump's policy in Syria.

Tony Blinken says Biden would:
– Keep US troops in Syria
– Deny Assad oil
– Keep Idlib for rebels
– Refuse to negotiate w Damascus until US "effectuates more positive outcome"

BannedHipster , says: Website Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:14 pm GMT
Donald Trump's father and grandfather were connected to Jewish organized crime. Donald Trump first got big on Twitter promoting the "birther" conspiracy theories about Obama which Trump was getting from the Israeli Jew Orly Taitz. These conspiracy theories were designed to demonize Obama for trying to end the sanctions on Iran and prevent a war.

Zionist Jews were quite aware that Donald Trump was their guy – he has always been consistently popular in Israel. Zionist Jews knew that Donald Trump could give them everything they wanted: takeover all of Jerusalem, annex the Golan Heights, and eventually annex Palestine and ethnically cleanse the Palestinians – all going on right now with the support of Trump and Jared Kushner's hand-picked Mike Pompeo.

Hey, Trump fans – Trump DID in fact "drain the swamp." He (well, Jared Kushner) fired anyone who dared to oppose anything Israel wanted and replaced them with yes-men Zionist flunkies.

How much longer till the MAGA-tard realize they were tricked?

BannedHipster , says: Website Show Comment May 23, 2020 at 1:32 pm GMT
@sarz @sarz

This is almost certainly false and confusing the issue:

" In 1927 Frederick Trump was one of seven people in KKK cap and gown arrested in a near riot."

Donald Trump's father was arrested during a riot at a Klan rally – but he almost certainly wasn't "in KKK cap and gown" – it's far more likely he was the one rioting AGAINST the Klan, as a member of the Jewish "Anti-fascist" terrorist group, which was a Jewish Communist group then in the early stages.

Trump's uncle was a member of a Jewish fraternity and often claimed that his father was Jewish, but that is probably false. Trump's grandfather supposedly owned brothels. Consider: what kind of people own brothels, houses of prostitution, basically, human trafficking? Organized crime.

Trump isn't Jewish, Trump's father wasn't Jewish and neither was his grandfather. What Trump and his family is, is non-Jewish members of Jewish organized crime.

Why confuse the issue? Half of Trump's children and grandchildren are now either Jewish, Israelis, or married to Jews and Israelis.

Trump and his entire family going back to his grandfather, are shabbos goyim.

[May 17, 2020] Papa Adelson s Emerging Tawdry Ties to the CIA by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Notable quotes:
"... What's worse than a Sheldon Adelson bankrolling President Trump's 2016 election, leading to big payoffs for him in U.S.-Israeli policy and his own people (John Bolton), nested in the inner sanctum? What's worse than a Sheldon Adelson influencing U.S. trade policy in China, mostly because of his titanic casino interests in Macau? ..."
"... How about a Sheldon Adelson providing his elite security team as an interlocutor for covert, illegal CIA operations overseas. ..."
"... If you are still not persuaded, recall that Adelson was accused of working with the CIA at his casinos in Macau, providing a recruiting ground for agents so they could spy on Beijing. This was back in 2015, long before Trump's entrance onto the scene. ..."
"... Read the whole thing. Considering the powerful role Adelson has played in the White House it is worth taking seriously, whether you think Assange is deserves one's sympathy or not. ..."
May 15, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Papa Adelson's Emerging Tawdry Ties to the CIA

New evidence shows nexus between the casino magnate's elite security team and U.S. targeting of Julian Assange. Chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation Sheldon Adelson arrives ahead of the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018. (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

What's worse than a Sheldon Adelson bankrolling President Trump's 2016 election, leading to big payoffs for him in U.S.-Israeli policy and his own people (John Bolton), nested in the inner sanctum? What's worse than a Sheldon Adelson influencing U.S. trade policy in China, mostly because of his titanic casino interests in Macau?

How about a Sheldon Adelson providing his elite security team as an interlocutor for covert, illegal CIA operations overseas.

Sounds like a bad spy thriller but read this impressive deep dive by Max Blumenthal at The Grayzone this morning. It's a stomach turner as well as a page turner.

We reported here back in December that a Spanish company, UC Global, hired to provide security for the Ecuadorian embassy in London, was reportedly pulling double duty for the CIA by installing a separate surveillance system in the building that streamed and recorded Assange, his lawyers, and his visitors in every room, including the bathroom. This is clearly a breach of international law, specifically on the inviolability of diplomatic premises . The Grayzone has since obtained more court records and conducted numerous witness interviews that establish how insidious this spy operation was, and how close Adelson's massive private security apparatus was to it.

At the embassy, visitors' phones were seized by UC Global guards, with passwords, SIM cards and International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers copied. Embassy officials and at least one U.S. congressman were also secretly surveilled. More:

The ongoing investigation detailed black operations ranging from snooping on the Wikileaks founder's private conversations to fishing a diaper from an embassy trash can in order to determine if the feces inside it belonged to his son. According to witness statements obtained by The Grayzone, weeks after Morales proposed breaking into the office of Assange's lead counsel, the office was burglarized. The witnesses also detailed a proposal to kidnap or poison Assange. A police raid at the home of Morales netted two handguns with their serial numbers filed off along with stacks of cash.

One source close to the investigation told The Grayzone an Ecuadorian official was robbed at gunpoint while carrying private information pertaining to a plan to secure diplomatic immunity for Assange.

Throughout the black operations campaign, US intelligence appears to have worked through Adelson's Las Vegas Sands, a company that had previously served as an alleged front for a CIA blackmail operation several years earlier. The operations formally began once Adelson's hand-picked presidential candidate, Donald Trump, entered the White House in January 2017.

The center of this tawdry tale is a status-seeking mercenary (Morales) who was clearly bedazzled to be working in "the first division," which is what he told his team after a trip to a security expo in Las Vegas in 2016.

Morales had just signed on to guard Queen Miri , the $70 million yacht belonging to one of the most high profile casino tycoons in Vegas: ultra-Zionist billionaire and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

This brought Morales into contact with Israeli-American named Zohar Lahav, "who personally recruited Morales, then managed the relationship between the Spanish security contractor and Sands on a routine basis. After their first meeting in Vegas, the two security professionals became close friends, visiting each other overseas and speaking frequently," according to Blumenthal.

During the spying operation, Lahav worked directly under Brian Nagel, the Director of Global Security for Las Vegas Sands. A former associate director of the US Secret Service and cyber-security expert, Nagel was officially commended by the CIA following successful collaborations with federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

After the election in 2016, newly inaugurated President Trump appointed Mike Pomeo his CIA chief. At this point Pompeo, as you remember, clearly made Assange a target for termination . The security scheme at the embassy, according to Blumenthal, kicked in from there. With meticulous reporting, including a ton of witness testimony from former UC Global employees who saw what Morales was doing as not only illegal, but selling "all the information to the enemy, the U.S.," Blumenthal pieces together a convincing case that Morales was working on behalf of the CIA with the elite Sands' security apparatus not only as the go-between, but the expert assist.

Today, Morales faces criminal charges ranging from violations of Assange's privacy and the secrecy of his client-attorney privileges, as well as misappropriation, bribing a government official, and money laundering. Morales has denied the charges.

If you are still not persuaded, recall that Adelson was accused of working with the CIA at his casinos in Macau, providing a recruiting ground for agents so they could spy on Beijing. This was back in 2015, long before Trump's entrance onto the scene.

Read the whole thing. Considering the powerful role Adelson has played in the White House it is worth taking seriously, whether you think Assange is deserves one's sympathy or not.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC since 2007, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.


J Villain 2 days ago

Doesn't matter. Like Jeffery Epstein, Adelson is protected. Also the US doesn't recognize international law even exists.

I have long suspected that US tax money is sent to Israel, part of that is funnelled off and laundered through Adelson's casinos and then used to buy influence in the US both directly but also through super pacs to make sure the US money to Israel never stops. No one in Washington wants to put a stop to it because every one is getting paid.

William Burns J Villain a day ago
Right now, I wouldn't say being "protected like Jeffrey Epstein" would really make anyone all that safe.
J Villain J Villain 16 hours ago • edited
Just to follow up on this. While there are millions of unemployed Americans, many of who can't pay their bills. The top priority over in the senate is giving Israel $38B so every one can get paid by AIPAC in time for the elections.

https://israelpalestinenews...
https://www.congress.gov/bi...

This is while Israel is preparing to seize the rest of Palestine which will then require another massive US tax payer funded hand out to build infrastructure and put military forces in there.

Blood Alcohol a day ago
"I'm Shocked, SHOCKED To Find There's Gambling Going On In Here!" And add to that, Spying by Israel. You know the usual.

[May 12, 2020] Israel To Annex the United States by Philip Giraldi

May 12, 2020 | www.unz.com

LondonBob , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 8:00 am GMT

The optimistic version is that Trump, like many US Presidents, freed from the need to campaign for reelection, will take a harsher line on Israel. The alternative is that freed from that need he will escalate in the region and start an unpopular war for Israel against Iran. I just don't know.

Still be interested in your thoughts on the Roger Stone revelations.

Séamus Ó Néill , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 8:16 am GMT
Friedman, Trump, Pompeo etc, etc are insanely delusional. The Zionists have killed the goose that laid the golden egg. America is bankrupt and in terminal decay
Ludwig Watzal , says: Website Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 10:26 am GMT
David Friedman should be charged with treason. When does Donald Trump appoint a US ambassador to Israel? But Giraldi's article tells more about the mentality, servility, and corruption of the American political and media class. Not only is Congress an Israeli Occupied Territory but also the White House. A saying has to be modified regarding the American people: The Zionists can fool people all the time.
fayez chergui , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 10:46 am GMT
The Lavon affair, the attack on the USS Liberty and 9/11, the nec plus ultra.
Realist , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 10:48 am GMT
@Trinity

NO WAY should we have dual citizens in Washington, D.C. for this reason alone.

NO WAY should we have dual citizens in the US.

FIFY

Moi , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 11:07 am GMT
@Wally I think PG and all of us need to relax. The tipping point of America's downward slide began with its bloody, crazed response to 9/11. Covid-19 has accelerated the downward trajectory. One more big screw-up, and it's curtains for the Greatest Nation Since The Beginning of Time (i.e. The USofA).

The American Zio nut-jobs are right–bring on the rapture. LOL!!!

PS:My only fear is that, when the rapture arrives, the US and Israel don't take the rest of humanity down with them.

Moi , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 11:08 am GMT
@Z-man Right. Sheldon Adelson owns the Orange Man, lock, stock and barrel.
Z-man , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
@Moi Adelson and others are buying Trump's re election bid but if he was completely under the Shylocks (plural) spells the MSM/Deep State/Owned Government would be performing virtual fellatio on Donald and they're not.
One hint on how it will go is if 'meat head' Pompeo, a zeolot Christian Zionist with that crazed shit eating grin, is removed early on in Trump's second term. If he isn't replaced with a real, pragmatic America First patriot then greater Iz'rael will be closer than ever to fruition and only Jesus can help us then.
eah , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 12:19 pm GMT
What's the need for annexation when they already exercise nearly complete control?
Crony Virus , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 12:26 pm GMT
@fayez chergui Zionism is cut from the same cloth as Nazism and Bolshevism, and cut by the same hand – the Anglo-American banking establishment. Insider Anthony C. Sutton has documented this quite well, as has Bill Clinton mentor Carroll Quigley. Zionism is really a bizarre parody of Nazism, right down to the tribal "master race" fantasy, the concentration camps, and the internal, hated, ethnic "other." Israel was created with an alliance between Nazis and self-hating, atheist, Zionist Jews – Nazi troop ships brought whole Jewish factories and villages to Palestine before the war. They betrayed the observant Jews of Europe.

But yes, Mossad works with the CIA to do these false flags...

paranoid goy , says: Website Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 12:38 pm GMT
@Z-man

I think they hate him because they don't completely own him like they completely own sleepy Joe Biden.

The only time I ever see the media truly attack Trump, is when he is too slow to war, enforced vaccination, war, money for Israel, war
Yep, that MSM sure hates Trump when he drags his feet at their agenda (21).

paranoid goy , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 12:51 pm GMT
@Z-man

the MSM/Deep State/Owned Government would be performing virtual fellatio on Donald and they're not.

The role of the media (and the "Opposition", of course) is to gadfly your government towards the aims of Zion. Your government wants to raise taxes but cannot justify it? The Press will inform the people of the urgent need to subsidise transgender bathrooms. The bathrooms will never be built, or a few only, the rest of the billions wil go where billions go Pentagon needs more money? MSM is there to show you the White Helmet footage ashen corpses that turn out to be actors. Or how about a politician " with the acceptance rating of a fucking mother Theresa" to hold up a vial of white powder in Congress and call it anthrax?
If you think for one moment Trump or anyone else is speaking off the script, forget it. Ever since Reagan, the White House has been occupied by actors and special effect cameramen. Be careful you aren't watching the wrong show .
"But it's the only show in town!"

JoaoAlfaiate , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 1:20 pm GMT
@paranoid goy And the only time the media praises Trump is when he is attacking Syria or stealing Syria's oil.
annamaria , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 2:19 pm GMT
@A123 Great. The Jewish State has been working on the Law of Expulsion for non-Jewish citizens. This law should become reciprocal towards all Israelis living outside Israel. Go home. Speak Hebrew, oscillate for hours at the Roman theater wall (wailing wall), and negotiate with your Muslim cousins on your own. Leave western civilization alone.

Giraldi:

Expulsion of nearly all remaining Palestinians, even the ones who are Israeli citizens, will no doubt come next and has in fact been called for by some Jewish politicians.

These Jewish politicians and their progeny should be shown a door when they desire to live outside Israel. Go home.

The Jewish State and Israel-firsters have been promoting the Wars for Eretz Israel against secular Iraq, Syria, and Libya by manipulating the US congress. The Jewish State has been arming the jihadis to kill the civilian populations in Syria and Libya. Millions died, including thousands and thousands of children (the latter actually makes zionists rejoice). The Jewish State has been arming and supporting Ukrainian Banderites (the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi). The gigantic hole in the sanctimonious narrative of the incomparable Jewish suffering is impossible to hide. The holobiz profiteering schema is collapsing.

The supremacist zio-idiots cannot help themselves but igniting a disgust towards everything Jewish. Time for the Jewish Communities worldwide to come to their senses.

Just another serf , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 2:28 pm GMT
This surreal performance by Pelosi in front of some Jewish PAC doesn't get nearly the attention it deserves. It allows us a glimpse into the "minds" of our leaders. And it's terrifying.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/U1LmnQRnw8I?feature=oembed

Trinity , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm GMT
We all know that Israel has indeed attacked Americans in the Lavon Affair and the USS Liberty and their fingerprints are all over 911. And exactly how many Jonathan Pollards live among us in America? How many Julius and Ethel Rosenbergs? How many Professor Charles Liebers? Remarkably, with all this corona virus talk going on 24/7, Lieber's name seems to have disappeared for some strange reason. Then we have the JFK assassination which Israel is one of the most likely suspects in the assassination of an American president. Dr. Carl (((Weiss))) shot presidential candidate Huey Long. Jacob (((Rubenstein))) shot and killed Oswald. Was Jack Ruby a paid assassin silencing Oswald before he could spill the beans? haha. What do you think? You wonder how often a Jewish assassin was involved in some way in throughout history in the killing of a Western leader or political candidate? Would make for an interesting list. And more recently we have the Neo-Commies better known as the (((Neocons))) who have taken over America's foreign policy and give the President his marching orders. On the other side of the coin, or at least (((they))) pretend to be on the other side of the coin, the (((Neo-Bolsheviks))) who promote open borders, anti-White racism, homosexual marriage, etc. But strangely one thing the Neocons and Neo-Bolsheviks all agree on is wars for Israel, closed borders for Israel, and the same rules that MUST be adhered to by the West do not apply to Israel. How many Jeffrey Epsteins and Jonathan Pollards are working in America still? How many Sheldon Adelsons, George Soros aka George Schwartz, and other Jewish Zionist are out there buying Western leaders and ordering them around like dogs? Yep, pretty safe to say that Israel annexed America decades ago, we know at least as far back as Woodrow Wilson, long before Israel even existed that World Jewry was pulling the strings behind the scenes.
anarchyst , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 3:02 pm GMT
@Jake Your "friend" espouses what is very wrong with Protestantism.
The "dog-eat-dog" materialism that is espoused by Protestants comes directly from the talmudic judaic way of thinking and is not Christian in any sense.
According to Protestant "ethics", "good works" cannot be a factor in "salvation" and are of no use. Protestant "Salvation" is achieved by grace and mercy alone–not by the performance of "good works".
A person can be a "bad" person all of his life, taking unfair advantage of others, embezzling from others, in general abusing others that he has dealt with, sinning constantly, and upon his deathbed profess a belief in Jesus Christ and automatically be "saved" .
Whereas a non-religious person who has been a good person all of his life, performing "good works" not for any personal gain, but because "it is the right thing to do" , being altruistic, attempting to ease the pain of his fellow man will not achieve "salvation" because he does not profess the same belief in Jesus Christ.
Something is very wrong with this picture.
"Good works" have always been a major part of the Catholic faith and have been used for the betterment of all mankind. From Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities, to Catholic schools and other institutions, the whole narrative of mankind has been uplifted to a much greater degree than that of "dog-eat dog" , "got to get ahead (at any cost)" Protestantism.
Yes, the Catholic Church has its "warts" and problems, but in essence, has been a great driver in the advancement of all of mankind.
SolontoCroesus , says: Show Comment May 12, 2020 at 3:16 pm GMT

". . . realize how much Israel can do for the U.S. – for example, by putting groundbreaking Israeli innovations on the market in the U.S. first." [Friedman]

Sure, steal the technology, re-engineer it, and then quietly arrange sweetheart trade deals through one's co-religionists to sell it back to the suckers in the United States. [Giraldi]

If only it were as innocent as merely stealing from USA.

Rick Wiles slowly and persistently pulls back the mask : Israelis are the "groundbreaking innovators" of "contact tracing"; Bibi declared that "We must start with the children: inject them with microchips so an alarm will go off when someone comes near them . . ."

https://www.trunews.com/stream/zionism-666-netanyahu-plots-to-implant-microchips-in-children-israel-launches-rothschild-shield-contact-tracing-app

[Apr 10, 2020] US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use

From comments: "Of course, Israel is the Pentagons biggest ally in keeping the military budget up. "
Apr 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Brendan , Apr 8 2020 8:49 utc | 5
April 7: Hospitals say feds are seizing masks and other coronavirus supplies without a word

bigger

April 8: US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use


bigger

Posted by b on April 8, 2020 at 7:43 UTC | Permalink

The Jpost article that b links to says that a million masks from China (donated by the US Department of Defense) arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. But Israel should have already had two million masks if this report from last weekend is correct:
The shipment will include two million masks, landing in Israel on Monday morning,
https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-april-4-2020/

So that appears to be three million masks from China, plus those seized from American hospitals. Or are they fiddling the figures and pretending that those seized masks were legally purchased in China?


Brendan , Apr 8 2020 9:53 utc | 8

It appears that Mossad and others have recently acquired about two surgical masks per Israeli:

"5 April 2020,
(...)Last week, the Health Ministry said that security services and government ministries had managed to obtain 27 ventilators and a hoard of other medical equipment from abroad.

Hebrew media reported that the Mossad intelligence service, which has been tasked with securing medical equipment from abroad from unspecified countries amid worldwide shortages, helped obtain 25,000 N95 respiratory masks , 20,000 virus test kits, 10 million surgical masks , and 700 overalls for ambulance workers who usually carry out the initial testing for the virus.

It was the third such shipment by the Mossad over the past few weeks, aimed at addressing shortages in Israel."
https://www.timesofisrael.com/with-11-planes-israel-airlifts-huge-quantities-of-medical-equipment-from-china/

Mao , Apr 8 2020 9:58 utc | 9
Pompeo: "America remains the world's leading light of humanitarian goodness."

https://twitter.com/thehill/status/1247559857206628354

Emily , Apr 8 2020 10:12 utc | 11
One million masks for the IDF.
Eat your heart out US Theodore Roosevelt and Guam.
US sailors right at the bottom of the Pentagon's priorities, thats for sure.
American military?.
Have one duty - die as required for Israel.
Including death by coronavirus by looks of things.....
More fool them.
Richard Steven Hack , Apr 8 2020 10:13 utc | 12
Bloody hell. The Pentagon procures a million masks from China, then gives them to Israel - when US doctors are running low in almost every city - not to mention that the military itself has soaring coronavirus cases it can't handle.

You gotta know some rich Jewish corporate billionaire was behind that crap and Kushner was just the conduit to get Trump to agree to it - probably in exchange for a big donation to Trump's campaign.

If there was ever a country that deserved to be on the end of a US bombing campaign - it's Israel - a racist, fanatical. colonialist, fascist, illegal terrorist state. Zionists - the biggest scumbags on the planet. But instead the US bombs everyone else Israel doesn't like.

But cheer up. Israel is a doomed nation. There is no way they can continue their path forever, historically speaking. I suspect they won't exist within another fifty years. They'll either be annihilated by their own nuclear weapons, or transformed into a bi-national state that is no longer primarily Jewish. And I don't particularly care which.

Mao , Apr 8 2020 12:41 utc | 17
The U.S. government's efforts to clean up Cold War-era waste from nuclear research and bomb making at federal sites around the country has lumbered along for decades, often at a pace that watchdogs and other critics say threatens public health and the environment.

Now, fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic is resulting in more challenges as the nation's only underground repository for nuclear waste finished ramping down operations Wednesday to keep workers safe.

Over more than 20 years, tons of waste have been stashed deep in the salt caverns that make up the southern New Mexico site. Until recently, several shipments a week of special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements were being trucked to the remote facility from South Carolina, Idaho and other spots.

That's all but grinding to a halt.

Shipments to the desert outpost will be limited for the foreseeable future while work at the country's national laboratories and defense sites shift to only those operations considered "mission critical."

Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant warned state regulators in a letter Tuesday that more time would be needed for inspections and audits and that work would be curtailed or shifts would be staggered to ensure workers keep their distance from one another.

https://apnews.com/36eec1b19f113b62fa94f2f0388e240d

Ghost Ship , Apr 8 2020 12:41 utc | 18
... ... ...

BTW, the Al Quds Post (aka Jerusalem Post to Zionists) has changed the headline on that article to "Israel brings 1 million masks from China for IDF soldiers" Looks like the "New York Purchasing and Logistics Division" is part of the Israeli Ministry Of War All The Time. So the original was a nice story but fake news. Since there was no correction attached to the new version, it could be that Washington/Tel Aviv reckoned that this was a step to far even for Trump and the new version is the fake news.

Willy2 , Apr 8 2020 12:45 utc | 20
- This news simply confirms again that the US, under Trump, has become more corrupt. But this is a development that already started years, decades ago before Trump became president.
William Gruff , Apr 8 2020 13:00 utc | 22
Willy2 @20

I think the possibility should be considered that Trump just made preexisting corruption more visible rather than adding significantly to it. There are elaborate protocols and circuitous speech that professional politicians learn to use to obfuscate the corruption and make their own participation in that corruption seem not only acceptable but necessary or even in the public interest. Trump is either ignorant of these protocols or he just doesn't care.

vk , Apr 8 2020 13:26 utc | 24
This is not surprising at all. Israel's economy is completely dependent on American constant aid:

All is not what it seems: Israeli economy's relative success based on massive direct aid from the US and donations from the Jewish diaspora

Even with all this help (of which most go to the military sector), the Isreali economy can barely keep itself afloat:

[...] inequality of income and wealth is huge in Israel, the second worst in the 36 nation OECD group. The relative poverty rate for Haredim and Arabs (25% of the population) is near 50%, and even for other Israelis, it is higher than the OECD average. The gap in median wage levels from skilled to unskilled; from Haredim/Arabs to others is huge - and yet the former will constitute 50% of the population by 2060.

And this mask fiasco is the lesser problem for the American working class right now. A significant portion of its people is going hungry . That magic USD 1,200 check is not coming soon:

"the checks are not in the mail."

And the problem isn't just in the USA. The periphery of Western Civilization is also going to suffer:

Germany and France: the sharpest contractions in national output for 75 years.

Germany's economy will shrink almost 10 per cent in the three months to June, according to the country's top economic research institutes, the sharpest decline since quarterly national accounts began in 1970 and double the size of the biggest drop in the 2008 financial crisis.

The shutdown of vast swaths of economic activity to contain the spread of the pandemic is knocking 1.5 percentage points off French growth for every two weeks that it continues, the Banque de France warned on Wednesday.

After more than three weeks in lockdown, French economic output is expected to have fallen by the sharpest rate since the second world war, the central bank said, forecasting that gross domestic product contracted 6 per cent in the first three months of the year.


jared , Apr 8 2020 13:41 utc | 26
However, to the matter of Israel and the virus:
I thought they were having strangely little impact from virus.

Anyway, this is all very revealing.

You know how people always question:
Why did that woman remain in that abusive relationship?

Nathan Mulcahy , Apr 8 2020 14:18 utc | 29
"US Department of Defense give 1 million masks to IDF for coronavirus use"

MIGA

Phryne's frock , Apr 8 2020 14:23 utc | 31
Get everyone you know to read "Against Our Better Judgment" by Alison Weir. Absolutely the best short, supereasy read to open eyes of those who are unaware that they are unaware, I promise. If you can afford to, buy copies to give away.
red1chief , Apr 8 2020 14:34 utc | 32
Very brief, "b", but one of your best posts. This is an unmitigated outrage. The arrogance of the ruling class knows no bounds, and they are acting with impunity. Seems the ruling class doesn't even care anymore how widely known it is that the US has little sovereignty.
Circe , Apr 8 2020 14:41 utc | 35
Is Trump charging for the masks or are they an added bonus to the 4 billion Israel already gets annually?

In 2018 Trump cut all aid to UNRWA destined for Palestine.

Screw Trump. Palestinians have started producing their own masks; up to 50,000 per day as well as protective gowns.

[Mar 09, 2020] Don't Expect a Democratic President to Roll Back Trump's Policies by Robert Fisk America's health care, its poor, its black and Hispanic minorities and the contest between

Notable quotes:
"... Faced with Zionism at its most aggressive, most US presidents tend to mellow, discovering long-standing friendships among those who most infuriate them. But Sanders has talked of Palestinian suffering and dignity on numerous occasions – which neither Biden nor Warren have yet chosen to do on the campaign – and his contention that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promotes "bigotry" aroused perhaps too much fury from the pro-Israeli lobby group ..."
"... Its boss, Howard Kohr, is well aware that neither Sanders nor Warren – nor, apparently, Biden, though we'll see about this -- had any interest in attending this year's AIPAC conference. His latest remarks, clearly directed at the man who could be America's first Jewish president, are worthy of serious examin ..."
"... Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders don't amount to a hill of beans in the Middle East .

And many American voters – save for pro-Israeli lobbyists, liberal Jewish groups and disparate Muslim organisations – don't care a hill of beans about the fears of Israel and the Arabs. But both Muslims and Jews in the region have been carefully studying what the three remaining Democrat contenders have said about two-state solutions, Israeli colonies in the West Bank and the US embassy, currently in Jerusalem courtesy of Donald Trump. It's time we did the same.

First of all, despair all ye who think the Democrats are going to reverse Trump's disastrous transfer of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Those who believe that a Democrat president will simply roll back on Trump's disastrous policies – not just over the embassy but anywhere else in the Middle East – had better shake off their illusions. History doesn't go backwards. None of the Democratic candidates would commit to reversing Trump's embassy decision when asked; only Sanders spoke vaguely of returning it to Tel Aviv. The rest chickened out by suggesting, rather outrageously, that the existence of the embassy in Jerusalem would become part of future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – something which was never part of the original Oslo negotiations nor any UN resolution.

Elizabeth Warren announced in the South Carolina debate last month that the decision should be left up to "Israel and Palestine" – presumably suggesting that the 'capital' of a two-state solution was up to them, even though Bibi Netanyahu believes it's all wrapped up – Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, full stop. And "Palestine", Warren should have been aware, doesn't as a state actually exist.

"But it's not up to us to determine what the terms of a two-state solution are," quoth she. " The best way to do that is to encourage the parties to get to the negotiating table themselves." Repeatedly asked if she would move the embassy back to Tel Aviv, Warren equally repeatedly said that "we should let the parties determine the capital." Later she rather eerily referred to "capitals" – without explaining if she was thinking of a Palestinian "capital" in the village of Abu Dis, the grim little solution that Madeleine Albright half-heartedly supported two decades ago.

Sanders, of course, captured the imagination and fury of Arabs and Israelis (and Israel's supposed friends in America) by his characterisation of Netanyahu as a "reactionary racist" – a description he may now choose to soften. Faced with Zionism at its most aggressive, most US presidents tend to mellow, discovering long-standing friendships among those who most infuriate them. But Sanders has talked of Palestinian suffering and dignity on numerous occasions – which neither Biden nor Warren have yet chosen to do on the campaign – and his contention that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) promotes "bigotry" aroused perhaps too much fury from the pro-Israeli lobby group .

Its boss, Howard Kohr, is well aware that neither Sanders nor Warren – nor, apparently, Biden, though we'll see about this -- had any interest in attending this year's AIPAC conference. His latest remarks, clearly directed at the man who could be America's first Jewish president, are worthy of serious examin ation. "A growing and highly vocal and energised part of the electorate fundamentally rejects the value of the US-Israeli alliance," he said. " The leaders of this movement say they support Israel's right to defend herself. But every time Israel exercises that right, they condemn Israel."

Kohr wasn't referring here to BDS, the boycott, divest and sanctions movement which does frighten Israeli leaders, but the increasingly worried men and women in America – young Jewish liberals prominent among them – who are disgusted by the suffering faced by the Palestinians in Gaza. Unafraid of Sanders' unwise use of the word "socialism" – which used to be quite acceptable in Israel many years ago – they are searching, I suspect, for a morality in international politics which the US regularly suspends when confronted by Israel's colonial project in the West Bank.

"Israel cannot afford false friends," Kohr continued in a very clear assault on Sanders' condemnation of the Israeli government and its now yet-again elected prime minister, an attack he described as "demonising Israel". Last spring, Kohr spoke of the "intense hatred" of Israel which, he contended, was moving from the margins to the centre of US politics. " Israel has been able to count on its friendship with the United States," he now says.

But George W Bush and Obama "each understood that America's commitment to Israel's safety must be consistent, it must be unequivocal [sic], and it must be dependable." In reality – a quality often lost in any discussion of US-Israeli relations in Washington – Obama was angered by Netanyahu's constant interference in US politics, his lone appeals to Congress over the president's head and his absolute refusal to postpone or close down or abandon the steady theft of Palestinian Arab land for Jewish colonies between Jerusalem and the Jordan river. Kohr's reference to the necessity of America's "unequivocal" support is not quite what he meant.

The correct word – had he dared to say it – would have been "uncritical". And Sanders is not uncritical. In the strait-jacket, fearful debates which pass for serious television discussion in the United States, condemnation of Israel and its grotesque occupation of another people's land – if not splashed with accusations of antisemitism – is regarded as off-limits, unacceptable, even immoral.

Sanders has broken this silly convention. And thus he must be dismissed as a "socialist' (this is partly his fault, of course) and a "radical", a word which my elderly Dad would probably have interpreted as a 'Bolshie'. Sanders is not a Bolshevik – though he sometimes looks like one when he's on the stump – and his real threat to Israel is that in the eyes of his supporters, he is honest, and seen to be honest. The fact that Sanders is Jewish and represents the bravest of America's liberal Jewish community is all the more frightening to Israel's right-wing supporters.

And so we come to Joe Biden, a man whom Netanyahu used to run rings around when Biden was Obama's vice president. In 2010, the Netanyahu government blithely announced 1,600 new settlement houses on occupied Palestinian land shortly after Biden's arrival on an official visit to Israel. Huffily arriving 90 minutes late for dinner with Netanyahu, Biden condemned the decision – and said no more. Four years later, addressing the Saban Forum, part of the right-wing Brookings Institute, Biden spent much time condemning Iran, praising Obama's $17 billion financial support for Israel's military – which he calculated at $8.5 million a day – and referring obliquely to the grave reservations which the Obama administration had about Israel as "tactical disagreements", "tactical divides", "normal disagreements" and "different perspectives".

Only at the very end of his 2014 peroration did Biden mildly condemn "expanding settlement activity and construction and the demolition of homes of attackers [sic]" as "counterproductive". He referred to "terrorist" attacks by Palestinians and "vigilante attacks" by Jewish settlers. And that's pretty much what we can expect of a Biden presidency.

He might, conceivably, try to roll back Trump's destruction of the Iranian nuclear agreement into which Obama put so much energy – but just as he will not commit himself to reversing Trump's decision on the US embassy transfer to Jerusalem, he's likely to search for another nuclear agreement to take the place of the Obama one – which, in his perverse and hopeless way, is what Trump has been suggesting.

The trouble is that while former Democrat candidates are now ganging up to destroy Sanders' chances of nomination – along with a significant portion of the US "liberal" press – Trump, barring a virus-induced economic collapse, is unlikely to spend much time worrying about a Biden candidacy.

Just as they prefer a "safe pair of hands" to protect the party, so the Democrat elite and the "old" liberals fear the moral crusade upon which Sanders might embark – about health and human rights just as much as the Middle East. Better to avoid conflict with Israel, too. And that was Hilary Clinton's policy, wasn't it? And that's how Sanders went off the rails in the last presidential election, finally asking his supporters to give their vote to Hillary, as they shouted: "No! No! No!" Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent , where this column originally appeared.

[Feb 29, 2020] Rand Paul says he will oppose John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani for Secretary of State

Notable quotes:
"... "Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president," ..."
"... "It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was ..."
Nov 20, 2016 | rare.us

Senator Rand Paul said Tuesday in an op-ed for Rare that he would oppose President-elect Donald Trump's rumored selection of former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton as Secretary of State.

"Bolton is a longtime member of the failed Washington elite that Trump vowed to oppose, hell-bent on repeating virtually every foreign policy mistake the U.S. has made in the last 15 years - particularly those Trump promised to avoid as president,"

Paul wrote citing U.S. interventions in Iraq and Libya that Trump has criticized but that Bolton strongly advocated.

Reports since have indicated that former New York City mayor and loyal Trump ally, Rudy Giuliani is being considered for the post.

The Washington Post's David Weigel reports , "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a newly reelected member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this morning that he was inclined to oppose either former U.N. ambassador John Bolton or former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani if they were nominated for secretary of state."

"It's important that someone who was an unrepentant advocate for the Iraq War, who didn't learn the lessons of the Iraq War, shouldn't be the secretary of state for a president who says Iraq was a big lesson," Paul told the Post. "Trump said that a thousand times. It would be a huge mistake for him to give over his foreign policy to someone who [supported the war]. I mean, you could not find more unrepentant advocates of regime change."

Related: Rand Paul: Will Donald Trump betray voters by hiring John Bolton?

[Feb 29, 2020] Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together put over $250 million in pro-Trump political money. In return, they want war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... Know what this called. Extortion .Same as Zelensky and Ukraine ..but it is going to end badly, it has to. ..."
Jan 01, 2020 | www.unz.com

mcohen , says: December 21, 2019 at 6:09 am GMT

@NoseytheDuke Lol.the fact that you looked and missed it.The devil is in the details.Joyce wrote.Mark green cheered on.I called bullshit

"Although Singer was initially anti-Trump, and although Trump once attacked Singer for his pro-immigration politics ("Paul Singer represents amnesty and he represents illegal immigration pouring into the country"), Trump is now essentially funded by three Jews -- Singer, Bernard Marcus, and Sheldon Adelson, together accounting for over $250 million in pro-Trump political money. In return, they want war with Iran"

Know what this called. Extortion .Same as Zelensky and Ukraine ..but it is going to end badly, it has to.

[Feb 29, 2020] Trump Shows Himself a Better Friend of Zionists Than Even Truman

Dec 15, 2019 | www.truthdig.com

tex8 hours ago ,

Don't be so quick on the "allegations of anti-Semitism against Democratic members of Congress have done no lasting damage." I've observed an increasing number of Jewish leaders recommending a further look at their support of Democrats & others recommending a switch to the R's. Rabbis from GA to a deep blue northern state have made such suggestions.

Now we have NYC's Roger L. Simon, Dartmouth, Yale, Novelist, screenwriter, who "experienced a political transformation in which he felt alienated from what he saw as the excesses of the Left." On 12/12 Simon wrote "Trump Shows Himself a Better Friend to the Jews Than Even Truman."

Excerpt:
"Most Republican presidents were better than the Democrats, although the Jews vote Democratic, one of the more perplexing ironies of our time. It's almost, though not quite, like blacks voting Democratic, although Democratic policies have helped to eviscerate the black family. Jews, at least, have done well, but in spite of, not because of, Democratic policies."

Various pro-Jew stuff "and finally, [Trump's] new adaptation of the Civil Rights Act to include the Jews. [which is criticized]. Do Jews deserve to be covered by a civil rights act? [Hitler certainly thought not]. He just wanted them dead. Trump clearly wants them to live. And thrive. Maybe it's because he has Jewish grandchildren. Who knows? But every Jew in America should thank him for it. Unfortunately, they don't. Far from it. And that's, as Trump himself would say, sad."

Realize that colleges discriminate against Jews. Standards are higher for their admission to top US Universities as well as for Asians (Asians are suing & I love it). Left leaning US universities, & most big ones are, are anti-Jewish while supporting Muslim Student Associations behaving badly, including driving Jewish speakers from Campus.

A former anti-Trump Jewish neighbor has shifted to the extent he now says he likes most of what Trump has done but complains Trump is not refined – Trump talks like a construction worker. He's not committed to vote for Trump, but to tease him, I'm getting him a "Trump 2020" Star of David Yarmulke for Xmas (He doesn't do Xmas, just a gift to a friend). Far better way to influence than the Liberals apply to the rest of us. Antifa winning friends & converts?

The success of Jews & Asians in America makes a lie of "white privilege." Asians & Jews on average both do much better economically than white non-Jews. Calculations based on white's not including Jews shows "white privilege" ain't as advantageous as presented. Our nation's 2 poorest areas are one black & one white.

Yet, the liberal beatdown of whites continues against those "deplorable" and poor "smelly Walmart shoppers" who voted for Trump. Liberal University Profs demand REQUIRED "white folks bad" courses & several Universities already do that. US universities, America's forced "Reeducation camps."

An OK white law student was kicked out of law school for posting a "It's OK to be white" sign. For liberal universities, it ain't OK to be white – shame on you for being born. It ain't OK to be Jewish. It ain't OK to be Asian.

VOTE FOR THE DEMOCRATS YOU WRETCHED WHITES! JEWS! ASIANS! Fess up your sins!

How dumb? Even our black citizens are turning away in increasing numbers. By no means a majority, but a trend. Dems/Libs bring it on themselves with all their identity politics & unrestrained hate of those unlike them.

Whiterules tex2 hours ago • edited ,

Excellent take down of cultural Marxism

[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 26, 2020] Why Trump will win

Feb 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kooshy , Feb 26 2020 21:32 utc | 51

"This discussion is frankly irrelevant. Trump is assured of re-selection because he's appeased the only two constituencies that matter: the military industrial complex and the zionist lobby. "

No you forgot the other constituencies that will vote for him. Namely the dumb ass stupid rednecks , and the as stupid evangelist.

[Feb 23, 2020] The shortage of manpower in the US army can be compensated by giving people like Professor of identity studies Karlan M16 and sending then into trenches to fight Iranians

Dec 04, 2019 |

[Feb 23, 2020] Viva #MIGA

Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

14 minutes ago

  • What imperialism?
  • We are spreading freedumb and dumbocracy.
  • We are saving the world from socialism and communism.
  • We are energy independent, with innate exceptionalism and #MAGA# will usher in a new era of American prosperity.
  • Any and all accusations of USSA imperialism, are made by the "woke" and those jealous of the greatest Capitalist system in the world.
  • The swamp is being drained as I speak, and therefore will continue with unwavering support for my 5x draft dodging, Zionist supporting, multiple times bankrupt, keeper of broken promises POTUS.
  • Smedley Butler's book is not worthy of reading once you have the seminal work known as "The Art Of The Deal"

    ​​​​​​​#MIGA#

[Feb 16, 2020] Presidential Election Politics are Damaging U.S. Foreign Policy by Robert E. Hunter

Actions of Trump are dictated by his handlers. He is just a marionette.
Notable quotes:
"... wealth on tap. ..."
"... There's more than an echo of McCartthism in this -- policies are championed to further the business and ideological interests of powerful individuals that don't necessarily reflect the priorities and interests of the country as a whole. People, often those who really should know better, then bandwaggon on those policies, not only to avoid being labeled unpatriotic but to also prove that they're just as or even more patriotic than the people originally promulgating them. We've seen this time and again, probably the most egregious recent example being the miasma of lies that were used to invade Iraq. Its a mindset that might appear to work but I believe that its ultimately a road to nowhere. ..."
Feb 05, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

During every presidential election cycle, pundits argue that foreign policy will play a decisive role. Every time -- at least in my experience of 14 election cycles, nine in campaigns -- they have been proved wrong. This year will almost surely be no different.

On the hustings, presidential candidates rarely get questions from voters on foreign policy. However, during the televised debates , journalist-questioners looking to make news quiz candidates on what they might do in thus-and-so circumstance, although they can't possibly know until faced in the Oval Office with real-world choices.

Election Campaign Damage: Israel and Palestine

By contrast, presidential campaigns often have a serious impact on U.S. national security interests. This year, three foreign policy issues tightly linked to U.S. domestic politics stand out. First, last week, Trump joined with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House to launch the " deal of the century " on Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The deal is so one-sided as to be risible and is " dead on arrival." It's good politics for Trump with U.S. constituencies that are strongly pro-Israel, though with less impact with American Jews (most of whom are almost certain to vote for the Democratic nominee) than with many American evangelicals.

But does it matter that, with Trump's proposal, the United States has abandoned any pretense of being an " honest broker" in the Middle East? To be sure, keen observers rightly note that most Arab governments give no more than ritual support to the Palestinian cause. Many have joined Israel in seeing Iran as their common enemy, and the Palestinians be damned.

But most Arab leaders still must look over their shoulders: can they be sure that their populations will forget about the Palestinians' decades-long perception of humiliation by Israel, the United States, and most Arab leaders? Thus, to guard against giving a hostage to fortune, both the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIG) have formally rejected the Trump plan.

Still, a third Palestinian Intifada (or "uprising") has so far not started. But these are early days. In any event, U.S. chances of promoting stability in the region have been seriously damaged.

Damage: Iran

More consequential is the standoff between the Trump administration and Iran ' s clerical leadership, with the U.S. being egged on by regional partners. Trump probably does not want an open war with Iran. But heightened tensions raise doubts that either Trump or the Iranians can control the pattern of escalation/de-escalation. Little would be needed to spark a major conflict, even by accident. After the United States assassinated Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, Iran responded only by launching pin-prick missile attacks against two Iraqi airbases used by the U.S. military, with advanced warning to keep from killing Americans. Trump -- and the world -- might not be so lucky next time.

It takes strong nerves to bet that the Trump administration ' s " maximum pressure" strategy against Iran will remain controlled , much less that Iran will accede to U.S. demands before negotiations even begin. Meanwhile, following Trump ' s amazing folly two years ago of withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which effectively trammeled any chance that Iran could get nuclear weapons for at least a decade, Iran is now ramping up its nuclear activities. Given that Trump has pledged that " Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon," at some point a " red line" can get crossed, not just in politics-driven perceptions but in reality. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo still has on the table 12 demands that Iran must meet before any negotiations can begin. No country will accept unconditional surrender as the opening bid for talking.

Several of the Democratic candidates for president, while deeply concerned about Iran's behavior, oppose the Trump-Pompeo approach, with all of the risks of open conflict. Amid deep unease on Capitol Hill, the Democratic-controlled House has voted to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), originally the legal basis for the invasion of Iraq, and to prevent funding of military action against Iran without congressional authorization. (Yet neither House bill has much chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.) But these concerns could be swept aside if an incident in the Persian Gulf region led to Americans getting killed, provoking a national outcry. So long as Trump favors confrontation with Iran over any consideration of compromise or conciliation, the dangers will continue. "Hair trigger" continues to be an apt metaphor.

Damage: The Democrats on Russia

It's not just the White House that is doing serious damage to U.S. interests abroad during this year's election campaign. Of even greater consequence (absent a new Middle East war) is the U.S. relationship with Russia. It's currently unthinkable that Washington will try to move beyond the status quo, even if Russian President Vladimir Putin were prepared to do so. Even before Trump was inaugurated, many Democrats began calling for his impeachment . Leading Democrats laid Hillary Clinton ' s defeat at the feet of Russian interference in the U.S. election -- a claim that stretched credulity past the breaking point. Further, as Democrats looked for grounds to impeach Trump (or at least terminally to reduce his reelection chances), the " Russia factor" was the best cudgel available. Charges included the notion that " Putin has something on Trump," which presumes he would sell out the nation ' s security for a mess of pottage.

All this domestic politicking ignores a geopolitical fact: while the Soviet Union lost the Cold War and, for some time thereafter, Russia could be dismissed, it was always certain that it would again become a significant power, at least in Europe. Thus, even before the Berlin Wall fell, President George H. W. Bush proposed creating a " Europe whole and free" and at peace. Bill Clinton built on what Bush began. Both understood that a renascent Russia could embrace revanchism, and for several years their efforts seemed to have a chance of succeeding.

Then the effort went off the rails. Putin took power in Russia, which made cooperation with the West difficult if not impossible. He worked to consolidate his domestic position, in part by alleging that the West was " disrespecting" Russia and trying to encircle it. For its part, the U.S. played into the Putin narrative by abandoning the Bush-Clinton vision of taking legitimate Russian interests into account in fashioning European security arrangements. The breaking point came in 2014, when Russia seized Crimea and sent " little green men" to fight in some other parts of Ukraine. The West necessarily responded, with economic sanctions and NATO's buildup of " trip wire" forces in Central Europe.

But despite the ensuing standoff, the critical requirement remains: the United States has to acknowledge Russia's inevitable rise as a major power while also impressing on Putin the need to trim his ambitions, if he is to avoid a new era of Russian isolation. There is also serious business that the two countries need to pursue, including strategic arms control, the Middle East (especially Iran), and climate change. Despite deep disagreements, including over Ukraine and parts of Central Europe, the U.S. needs to engage in serious discussions with Russia, which means the renewal of diplomacy which has been in the deep freeze for years.

All of this has been put in pawn by the role that the "Russia factor" has been permitted to play in American presidential politics, especially by Democrats. Longer-term U.S. interests are suffering, along with those of the European allies and Middle East partners. The task has been made even more difficult by those U.S. politicians, think tanks , and journalists who prefer to resurrect the term "cold war" rather than clearly examining the nation's strategic needs because of the blinkers imposed by domestic politics. Open discussion about alternatives in dealing with Russia is thus stifled, at serious cost to the United States and others.

In all three of these areas, the U.S. is paying a high price in terms of its national interests to the games political leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, are playing. Great efforts will be needed to dig out of this mess, beginning with U.S. willingness to do so. Leaders elsewhere must also be prepared to join in -- far from a sure thing! Unfortunately, there is currently little hope that, at least in the three critical areas discussed above, pursuit of U.S. interests abroad will prevail over today's parochial domestic politics. David G. Horsman You apparently do not appreciate these sociopaths live for this crap. It keeps their juices flowing. Cackling Killary may yet get on Stop and Frisk your Bloomer's ticket and be VP. For a price of course.
This is a fantasy. Once fascism gets established it is nearly impossible to stop it if history teaches us anything.
Pseudo-religious talk about Karma is very reminiscent of the decent Christians comforting themselves that all those badies will be punished in hell for an eternity. IE. Because they won't be in this life.
It's a way of coping with total defeat after 50 years of neoliberalcon supremacy and proto fascism. After a 100 year war on labour.

It's already over. What do think this is? France 🇫🇷 ?

I don't fight fascism because I believe we will win. It's because they are fascist. And we know who has all the guns. Gezzah Potts How many human beings have now died as a result of the draconian sanctions unleashed on the Venezuelan people by this rogue terrorist state?
I also wonder how the people of Detroit are faring considering 33.4% live below the poverty line, or in Cleveland where 35% live in poverty.
And yet Trump brags of defending 'American liberty' (oxymoron) by spending $2.2 trillion dollars in maintaining the hegemony of this debauched Empire.
Yet, in the land of the free (another oxymoron) vast swathes of people live in poverty – or live in their cars, or in the burgeoning tent cities.
How's the water in Flint? Is it still undrinkable?
As if any of the creatures in Washington care about any of this. Anything to maintain control over much of the Planet. Tim Jenkins And with the highest incarcerated prison population and highest record in private prison profits in California, most recent, it seems the solution to corporate 'societal' wealth is to have 50,000 homeless on the streets in L.A. , just 'hanging' around, the corner . . .

wealth on tap.

(datsa' rap trap 😉 ) 5 0 Reply Feb 16, 2020 9:24 AM Gezzah Potts Gezzah Potts Just watched John Pilger's searing documentary 'The Dirty War On The NHS' which included segments on the wondrously caring and compassionate US 'health system' in places like Chicago and such quaint notions as 'patient dumping' where, to further save costs, and make more billions $$$$ – patients are evicted from hospitals early and dumped at homeless shelters.
My god, the barbarians are not just at the gate. They're already inside the building.
These completely dehumanised psychopathic neoliberal ideologues who only care about money and profits.
More and more for us and all you useless eaters can just fuck off and die.
That's the mentality. It's so sick.
No, that wasn't a pun. It is truly sick how warped society has become. Seamus Padraig

Despite the turmoil Trump has experienced since 2016, it has been his karmic responsibility to grow from those challenges, to use each obstacle as a path to align with a higher vibration and become a more conscious person, fully aware of his global responsibility to humanity – that has not appeared to have happened.

What appears to have happened is that Trump finally caved in to the Deep State, and that's why things are going better for him. I am starting to suspect we may see a war against Iran in Term II.

Pelosi and the Dems have also created 'bad' karma with their own abuse of power; they too will reap the results of their own behavior.

What they're gonna reap is more Trump after next November! Martin Usher There's more than an echo of McCartthism in this -- policies are championed to further the business and ideological interests of powerful individuals that don't necessarily reflect the priorities and interests of the country as a whole. People, often those who really should know better, then bandwaggon on those policies, not only to avoid being labeled unpatriotic but to also prove that they're just as or even more patriotic than the people originally promulgating them. We've seen this time and again, probably the most egregious recent example being the miasma of lies that were used to invade Iraq. Its a mindset that might appear to work but I believe that its ultimately a road to nowhere.

I'm less concerned about the current emphasis on military spending than I would have been in the past because I sincerely doubt the ability of the US to carry through on these plans. The writing's been on the wall for some time and they can certainly spend the money but the chronic shortage of engineering talent, the systematic shortchanging of education and our steady erosion of manufacturing knowhow will limit our ability to turn political wishful thinking into reality. Sure, we'll still be able to produce boutique products, eye-wateringly expensive munitions that we can use to intimidate people who can't shoot back, but we're already in an era where serious cost overruns and performance deficiencies are the rule rather than the exception. This problem has been brewing for a generation or more and it will take a generation or more to fix it. Unfortunately our politicians are still living in the reflected glory of past empires, they seem to be unable to recognize that WW2 was 75 years ago, so I expect we'll stumble along business as usual alienating more and more people until all we have left are those we can buy with our increasingly useless dollars.

[Feb 14, 2020] Trump s foreign policy in the ME is ignorant of anything but Zionist desires and ambitions.

Feb 14, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Not directly related to any of these points, but important in the mix, is the relation of both parties to AIPAC. People don't want a government whose first priority is Israel.

The first meaningful push back against AIPAC (long overdue) was by a Minnesota Democrat, Betty McCollum, yesterday. A letter worth reading: https://mccollum.house.gov/media/press-releases/mccollum-statement-hate-speech-makes-aipac-hate-group

[Feb 14, 2020] The Right-Wing Pro-Israel, Evangelical Agenda has Taken Over Trump's Middle East Policy

Notable quotes:
"... Until recently, President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy was centered on taking steps related to fulfilling campaign promises and strengthening his standing domestically with his evangelical base. Chief among these steps was his decision to pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and at the same time announcing moving the American embassy to Jerusalem). Trump also signed a presidential proclamation recognizing "Israeli sovereignty" over the Golan Heights. ..."
"... By deciding to carry out this assassination operation, Trump has brought his pro-Israel policy to an entirely new, and dangerous level. ..."
"... Israel may have found in the Trump administration the perfect ally when it comes to the demonization of Iran and the groups it supports. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

Until recently, President Donald Trump's pro-Israel policy was centered on taking steps related to fulfilling campaign promises and strengthening his standing domestically with his evangelical base. Chief among these steps was his decision to pull out of the nuclear accord with Iran, and the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (and at the same time announcing moving the American embassy to Jerusalem). Trump also signed a presidential proclamation recognizing "Israeli sovereignty" over the Golan Heights.

All of this has changed, however, with the assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) General Qassem Soleimani and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), Abu Mehdi Al-Muhandis.

By deciding to carry out this assassination operation, Trump has brought his pro-Israel policy to an entirely new, and dangerous level.

Targeting the IRGC and PMF: An Israeli policy

It is worth remembering that Israel set the precedent for carrying out lethal operations in Iraq by targeting elements of the IRGC and the PMF.

Israel began these operations last year, with the first taking place on July 19 near the Iraqi town of Amerli. Iranian media later reported that senior IRGC commander Abu Alfazl Sarabian had died in the attack.

Another Israeli attack on August 25 led to the death of a senior PMF commander in the Iraqi town of Al-Qaim near the border with Syria, while 21 PMF members were killed in an Israeli operation near the city of Hit in Iraq's Anbar province on September 20.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even admitted that Israel was behind these attacks.

"We are working against Iranian consolidation in Iraq as well [as in Syria]" remarked Netanyahu on August 22.

Trump administration officials adopt the Israel line of demonizing Iran

The Israeli fingerprints on U.S. policy could also be seen in the apparent stances taken by U.S. officials following the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis.

According to the New York Times , Trump administration officials have compared the assassination of Soleimani to the killing of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Such a comparison is no doubt to Israel's liking.

Not only has Israel long sought to equate the IRGC and its allies, including the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iraqi PMF, with terrorist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS, it has even described the latter groups as being the lesser of the two evils.

According to sources in Washington, one of the most common complaints made by visiting Israeli officials over the past years was that the U.S. was focusing too much on fighting Sunni Jihadist groups (al-Qaida, ISIS, etc.) and not enough on fighting Iran and its network of allies.

Israel's former ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren referred to this dynamic in an interview with the Jerusalem Post back in September 2013, where he summed up the Israeli policy regarding Syria. "The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted (President) Bashar Assad to go" he stated, further adding; "we always preferred the bad guys who weren't back by Iran (al-Qaida affiliates) to the bad guys who were backed by Iran".

For his part, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon referred to an " axis of evil ' comprising Iran, Syria, and Lebanon.

Yaalon made those remarks during a meeting with former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey in August 2013, underscoring that this "axis of evil" must not emerge victorious in Syria.

Israel may have found in the Trump administration the perfect ally when it comes to the demonization of Iran and the groups it supports.

Hard-core evangelicals like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence have a strong ideological affinity for Israel and its anti-Iranian agenda.

During a Senate hearing last April, Pompeo repeated the long-debunked claim that Iran and al-Qaida have cooperated for years. "There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al-Qaida. Period, full stop," Pompeo asserted.

Pence, meanwhile, has even gone so far as to claim that Soleimani was involved with 9/11 . Following the assassination, Pence tweeted that Soleimani had "assisted in the clandestine travel of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States."

American troops in danger as a result of the Israeli evangelical agenda

With the assassination of Soleimani and Al-Muhandes, Israel and its Christian evangelical allies in Washington appear to have succeeded more than any time before in steering Trump's foreign policy. Their success, however, may have placed U.S. troops in the region in grave danger.

In a speech commemorating the death of Soleimani and Al-Muhandes, the leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah warned that retaliation would be aimed at U.S. military assets.

In remarks which brought back the memories of the 1983 attacks on the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Nasrallah suggested that the U.S. military presence in the region would become a target for suicide bombers.

"The suicide attackers who forced the Americans to leave our region in the past are still here today and in far greater numbers," Nasrallah asserted.

[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.

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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 04, 2020] Trump Jarvanka problem in 2020 elections

Feb 04, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Igor ,

"With Flynn removed, Trump never regained his footing on foreign policy – which no doubt was exactly as intended; thereby opening the door for the likes of Jared Kushner to assume the role of 'trusted adviser."
Keep in mind, that Trump's Number One daughter married the likes of Jared Kushner. Trump then brought both into the White House as Senior Advisers. Nepotism?
Note that the Anti Trumpers never go after Trump about Jared-Ivanka and real or perceived nepotism. Hands off?

lundiel ,

It does not take a poli sci major to figure out that Flynn's immediate removal from the Administration was essential to undermining Trump's entire foreign policy initiatives including no new interventionist wars, peace with Russia and US withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan.

Sometimes off-the-cuff remarks provide a true assessment of where a country stands on foreign policy.

Michael Ledeen is freedom scholar at FDD, and is an internationally-renowned scholar on Iran, Iraq, terrorism, and international security, and a world-renowned Italianist and expert on fascism. Michael has served as a consultant to the National Security Council and the Departments of State and Defense, and as a special advisor to the Secretary of State. He's also a neocon who made the following comment that sums up American foreign policy in the middle east, whoever's the president.

"Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business".

The FBI is merely ensuring that there is no deviation to this policy.

[Feb 02, 2020] The most interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story

Highly recommended!
Edited for clarity
Notable quotes:
"... Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment. ..."
"... In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated. ..."
Feb 02, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 2, 2020 10:40 pm

Far more interesting issue is the role of NSC in this impeachment story.

Potential whistleblower (actually CIA informant) was from NSC as were Fiona Hill, Alex Vindman and a couple of other major Ukrainegate players.

In this NSC coup d'état against the President or what ? About earlier role of NSC see

https://off-guardian.org/2020/02/01/secret-wars-forgotten-betrayals-global-tyranny-who-is-really-in-charge-of-the-u-s-military/

As for "evil republican senators", they would be viewed as evil by electorate if and only only if actual crimes of Trump regime like Douma false flag, Suleimani assassination (actually here Trump was set up By Bolton and Pompeo) and other were discussed.

Currently they can wrap themselves into constitution defenders flag and be pretty safe from any criticism. Because charges that Schiff brought to the floor are bogus, and probably were created out of thin air by NSC plotters. Senators on both sides understand this, creating a classic Kabuki theater environment.

Both sides are afraid to discuss real issues, real Trump regime crimes.

Schiff proved to be patently inept in this whole story even taking into account limitations put by Kabuki theater on him, and in case of Trump acquittal *which is "highly probable" borrowing May government terminology in Skripals case :-) to resign would be a honest thing for him to do.

Assuming that he has some honestly left. Which is highly doubtful with statements like:

"The United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there so we don't have to fight Russia here."

And

"More than 15,000 Ukrainians have died fighting Russian forces and their proxies. 15,000."

Actually it was the USA interference in Ukraine (aka Nulandgate) that killed 15K Ukrainians, mainly Donbas residents and badly trained recruits of the Ukrainian army sent to fight them, as well as volunteers of paramilitary "death squads" like Asov battalion financed by oligarch Igor Kolomyskiy

In any case, it is clear that Trump is just a marionette of more powerful forces behind him, and his impeachment does not means much, if those forces are untouchable. Impeachment Kabuki theatre is an attempt of restoration of NSC (read neocons) favored foreign policy from which Trump slightly deviated.

[Feb 02, 2020] Kushner's "peace plan" is just another real estate scam

Feb 02, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"The Arab League rejected Trump's plan, saying in a communique it would not lead to a just peace deal and adding it will not cooperate with the United States to execute the plan.
The ministers affirmed Palestinian rights to create a future state based on the land captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with East Jerusalem as capital, the final communique said.
Israeli officials expressed hope Saturday that the League's rejection could bring the U.S. closer to green-lighting unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank, in light of the fact that Jared Kushner opposed immediate steps toward annexation because he thought the Arab League might support the plan. " Haaretz

----------

Well, pilgrims, the truth is that nobody in the States who matters gives a damn about what happens to the Palestinians and it was always thus. Kushner's "peace plan" is just another real estate scam. pl

https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/arab-foreign-ministers-meet-in-cairo-to-discuss-trump-s-mideast-plan-1.8475812

Posted at 01:24 PM in Israel , Middle East , Palestine | Permalink | Comments (1) But..but...Jared said that he had read 25 books on the conflict!!!

King Salman called Abbas to reassure him of Saudi support on the agreed upon outline drawn up long ago. MbS thinks otherwise, and he is the one who really runs Saudi policy.

Posted by: Jane | 01 February 2020 at 02:50 PM

[Jan 31, 2020] A comment in unz.com that is a bad omen for Trump for 2020

They used to support the guy in 2016
Jan 31, 2020 | www.unz.com

anon [837] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 31, 2020 at 12:14 pm GMT

Fuck Trump and all his followers. They can go back to Israel where they belong.

[Jan 31, 2020] Modern US presidents don't so much set policy as sell policies that have already been approved by our real masters

Jan 31, 2020 | www.unz.com

Digital Samizdat , says: Show Comment January 28, 2020 at 12:40 pm GMT

@Nancy O'Brien Simpson Because modern US presidents don't so much set policy as sell policies that have already been approved by our real masters. In other words, modern US presidents are more like glorified salesmen than actual national rulers. The establishment's ideal president, therefore, would be someone like Barack Obama. He successfully marketed their agenda of more foreign wars and Wall Street bailouts while looking hip, slick and cool for the kiddies.

But in that regard, Trump has come up short. In the first case, he does occasionally push back, even if only rhetorically. And furthermore, even when he does happen to be on their side–think Venezuela or Iran–he's just too clumsy about it to be effective. His zionism, for example, is so completely obsequious and over the top that no one on earth can take seriously anymore the notion that the US's Middle East policy isn't controlled by Israel. And since Trump has already been dubbed the 'new Hitler' by our own media, what does it look like to the rest of the world when he himself tries to brand some other, foreign ruler (like Khamenei or Maduro) as the next Hitler? Well, confusion results! I mean, if two Hitlers are fighting each other at once, which one are the 'antifascists' supposed to back?

So that's the élite's real problem with Trump: he's bad optics. And that's also the main reason I am supporting him at the moment: if bad optics is the worst we can do to the establishment at this point in time, then let's do it! It's better than nothing

[Jan 31, 2020] Tucker John Bolton has always been a snake

Bolton was appointed by Adelson.
Jan 27, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bolton's tell-all book leaks during Senate trial. #FoxNews


Yamaha Venture , 3 days ago

Mitt Romney is a joke.

Michael Harvey , 2 days ago

John Bolton wants war everywhere to line his pockets with money.

Stephen C , 1 day ago

The "right" gets the left, but doesn't agree with them. The "left" doesn't understand the "right".

Citizen Se7en , 2 days ago

"Bolton's resignation was one of the highlights of the president's first term." Truer words have never been spoken.

Jack Albright , 2 days ago

This story is also called "the scorpion and the frog".

Ragnar Lothbrok , 3 days ago

John Bolton should be given a helmet and a gun and sent to the next war. Let's see how he likes it.

Stratchona , 1 day ago

Trump.." I don't know John Bolton,never met him,don't know what he does."

Jaret Glenn , 2 days ago

Time to investigate Romney's son working for the oil company in the Ukraine.

Regan Orr , 2 days ago

Romney's Holy Underwear is Cutting off the Blood Supply to his Deep St Brain!

Marjo , 2 days ago (edited)

I never liked Bolton. I sensed he was out for himself, at anyone's expense. War monger too. He had many people fooled.

Shara Kirkby , 3 days ago

Bolton wants war anywhere and forever!

David Dorrell , 1 day ago (edited)

Frickin' Globalist peckerwoods. John Bolton and his pal, Mitt Romney.

Olivier Bolton , 2 days ago

Bolton wanted war so he got the boot...the fact he brings out his book now just looks like vengean$$

Max Liftoff , 2 days ago

2:30 Because Bolton never served in the military he truly passionately loved war :)) LMAO Tucker nailed it.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , 1 day ago

The left's championing of John Bolton is further proof that TDS has made their minds turn to sludge.

j abe , 3 days ago

Can someone expaine to me how mit romney is still geting votes from ppl

Mark Whitley , 2 days ago

Bolton is a war mongering narcissist that wanted his war, didn't get it, & is now acting like a spoilt child that didn't get his way & is laying on the floor kicking & screaming!

Tim Fronimos , 2 days ago

Regarding John Bolton's book, is this the first book that he's colored. just curious

newuserandhiscrew 22 , 2 days ago

Everyone: Bolton: "take me in oh tender woman, take me in for heaven's sake"

Brittany Ward , 1 day ago

I can't fathom that people actually believe everything the media says!

[Jan 31, 2020] Trump excoriates Bolton in tweets this morning

Highly recommended!
Trump is lying. Bolton was appointed by Adelson and Trump can't refuse Adelson protégé.
Jan 31, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Trump excoriates Bolton in tweets this morning:
"For a guy who couldn't get approved for the Ambassador to the U.N. years ago, couldn't get approved for anything since, 'begged' me for a non Senate approved job, which I gave him despite many saying 'Don't do it, sir,' takes the job, mistakenly says 'Libyan Model' on T.V., and ... many more mistakes of judgement [sic], gets fired because frankly, if I listened to him, we would be in World War Six by now, and goes out and IMMEDIATELY writes a nasty & untrue book. All Classified National Security. Who would do this?"

IMO, Trump is a fantastic POTUS for this day and age, but he wasn't on his A game when he brought Bolton onboard. He should have known better and, was, apparently, warned. Maybe Trump thought he could control him and use him as a threatening pit bull. Mistake. Bolton is greedy as well as vindictive.

Posted by: Eric Newhill | 29 January 2020 at 09:30 AM

[Jan 31, 2020] Kushner: Palestinians Have Never Done Anything Right in Their Sad, Pathetic Lives

Jan 31, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Jan 31 2020 13:53 utc | 178

Kushner: Palestinians Have Never Done Anything Right in Their Sad, Pathetic Lives

The first son-in-law has warned Palestinians not to "screw up this opportunity" at peace that he's so graciously given to them.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/01/jared-kushner-peace-plan-palestinians

[Jan 30, 2020] Trump's 'Vision' Occupation Now, Occupation Forever might diminish his chances for reelection

What is interesting is that this issue is not so much about Israel and Palestinians, but about the USA (and Trump personnel) credibility. Which is by-and-large lost. Behaving like a gangster on international arena has its advantages, but also a huge disadvantages. As Trump recently have found with Soleimani assassination.
There is also connected issue of Presidential election which I think Trump now will lose, because he somehow morphed into Hillary (let's call him Hillary2020) -- the person most reasonable people hate. His base will stay with him, but that's not enough to win the elections. When people start viewing a person as midrange gangster, it does not help to win the elections. Impeachment or no impeachment.
The idea of Bantustans is an attractive solution but virtually guarantee that Syria and Egypt will remain hostile. And that the conflict between "settlers" and "natives" became more acute. Of cause, Israel will fight with Arabs till the USA stop military aid which maintains parity with neighboring states (eve superiority is certain types of weapons) . With tiny population of around 8 million against over 100 millions, so more then 1:10) maintaining parity is possible because it is fully financed by the USA. But the USA global empire is gradually crumbling, because neoliberalism is dead. In military affairs 2:1 numerical superiority is a serious matter. And the threat of using nuclear weapons is a very tricky business because it is unclear how Pakistan will react if a Muslim nations is attacked. Also major hits with conventional weapons are enough to make major cities of Israel uninhabitable and Israel state to collapse.
The plan to use jihadists to destroy secular governed in Syria and partition the country mostly (with the exception of areas occupied by the USA tropus -- "stealing opil" according to Trump) failed and being surrounded by Syria (with its hardened by fight with Jihadists army and more or less modern weapon systems) and Egypt (which is kept neutral only by the USA money) is the permanent threat that Israel probably will never able to solve. And it can keep up only by relying of the USA help and, especially money. Citizen of both countries are adamantly anti-Israel. Especially after the story of Israel support of "pocket juhadis." So I doubt that Israel can solve its problem even by just giving back Golan heights.
The tragedy is the Soviet Jews who emigrated to Israel hoping to find a "normal" country is not only the for many their qualification proved to be useless and they waited their lives working in third rate jobs, but also that they are now deeply entrenched into Gordian knot of "settler" vs natives conflict which can not be solved peacefully like in USA or Australia. That's probably why a large part of emigrants now supports Likud. They feel that their back is against the wall.
Notable quotes:
"... Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan physically and politically separates Palestinians by placing them within a non-contiguous homeland (Areas A and B and Gaza), and declaring them citizens of that homeland. Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan grants the Palestinian homeland autonomy over civil matters like education and healthcare, while critical areas such as trade, immigration, and security will remain under Israeli control. Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan is political sleight of hand: a thinly veiled attempt to claim that Israel, a state that rules over roughly the same number of Jews and Palestinians, is actually a Jewish-majority state. Also like apartheid South Africa, the Trump administration claims the homelands are a temporary solution. Once the indigenous population proves itself ready for self-governance they will one day be granted something that resembles a state. ..."
"... The Trump plan, much like the decades-long peace process that it crowns, gives Israel cover to perpetuate what is known as the status quo: Israel as the sole sovereign controlling the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, depriving millions of stateless people of basic civil rights, restricting their movement, criminalizing speech that may harm "public order," jailing them in indefinite "administrative detention" without trial or charge, and dispossessing them of their land -- all while congressional leaders, the European Union and much of the rest of the world applaud and encourage this charade, solemnly expressing their commitment to the resumption of "meaningful negotiations." ..."
"... Israel's defenders like to say that Israel is being singled out, and they are right. Israel is the only state perpetuating a permanent military occupation, with discriminatory laws for separate groups living in the same territory, that self-identified liberals around the world go out of their way to justify, defend and even fund. ..."
"... there is no reason to believe that this is any thing other than another $50B gift to the Israelis. Minus what ever is skimmed off and given to the Trump and Kushner clans of course. ..."
"... I propose that the US withhold all aid to Israel and sanction the country and its government officials (Magnitsky Act) until it demonstrates that it respects universal human rights and shows that it can behave itself as a normal country. Israel and Iran can work on this study of 'how to be a normal country' together. I would expect the Iranians to graduate long before Israel does. ..."
"... Probably, Israelis must abandon their illegal settlements on Palestinian territory, and Palestinians must acknowledge that Israel exists. This will come through only by mutual exhaustion. Otherwise, both will perish in hatred. ..."
"... One thing wrong is that Israel is guilty of war crimes and apartheid and while many countries are guilty of serious crimes, there is no need to single out Israel for praise and billions of dollars of aid and diplomatic support. Just treat them as yet another country with a rotten human rights record which pretends to be better than it is. Apartheid South Africa never had it so good. ..."
"... The Bantustans of South Africa appear to be the model here. ..."
"... The U.S.A. and Israel are far too entangled for the former to continue to play the part of a peacemaker between the latter and Palestine with any credibility. Indeed, The Donald's own family - the Kushners - are far too entangled with Israel! ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Sheena Anne Arackal explains very well how the Trump administration's plan formalizes a system of apartheid at the expense of the Palestinians:

Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan physically and politically separates Palestinians by placing them within a non-contiguous homeland (Areas A and B and Gaza), and declaring them citizens of that homeland. Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan grants the Palestinian homeland autonomy over civil matters like education and healthcare, while critical areas such as trade, immigration, and security will remain under Israeli control. Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan is political sleight of hand: a thinly veiled attempt to claim that Israel, a state that rules over roughly the same number of Jews and Palestinians, is actually a Jewish-majority state. Also like apartheid South Africa, the Trump administration claims the homelands are a temporary solution. Once the indigenous population proves itself ready for self-governance they will one day be granted something that resembles a state.

Trump's annexation and apartheid plan destroys any remaining illusions that a "two-state solution" is still possible, and it proposes a Palestinian "state" that possesses none of the qualities of an independent state. It mockingly carves out a separate territory that would exist to contain and control the Palestinian population while denying them their political and economic rights, and this territory would remain subjugated under Israeli rule by design. This reinforces everything outrageous and unjust under the current occupation, and it seeks to make sure that the occupation never ends. To add insult to injury, the supporters of the plan disingenuously present this as a boon to the very people that it oppresses.

Nathan Thrall observes that the Trump plan is the awful but predictable conclusion to a U.S. policy that has consistently favored Israel to the detriment of Palestinians:

The Trump plan, much like the decades-long peace process that it crowns, gives Israel cover to perpetuate what is known as the status quo: Israel as the sole sovereign controlling the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, depriving millions of stateless people of basic civil rights, restricting their movement, criminalizing speech that may harm "public order," jailing them in indefinite "administrative detention" without trial or charge, and dispossessing them of their land -- all while congressional leaders, the European Union and much of the rest of the world applaud and encourage this charade, solemnly expressing their commitment to the resumption of "meaningful negotiations."

Israel's defenders like to say that Israel is being singled out, and they are right. Israel is the only state perpetuating a permanent military occupation, with discriminatory laws for separate groups living in the same territory, that self-identified liberals around the world go out of their way to justify, defend and even fund.

The only good thing that might come from the administration's obscene plan is that it will make it impossible for a growing number of Americans to accept continued U.S. enabling of Israel's illegal annexations, war crimes, and human rights abuses.

J Villain a day ago

If any one missed it trump let slip yesterday that the $50B that is supposed to go to the Palestinians under this plan will be given to Israel to disperse to that Palestinians. The Israelis however already collect taxes for the Palestinians that they don't hand over so there is no reason to believe that this is any thing other than another $50B gift to the Israelis. Minus what ever is skimmed off and given to the Trump and Kushner clans of course.
si91 J Villain a day ago
Fatah and Hamas steal the aid they get anyway, so why shouldn't Israel withhold it until the Palestinians behave?
Begemot si91 a day ago
I propose that the US withhold all aid to Israel and sanction the country and its government officials (Magnitsky Act) until it demonstrates that it respects universal human rights and shows that it can behave itself as a normal country. Israel and Iran can work on this study of 'how to be a normal country' together. I would expect the Iranians to graduate long before Israel does.
si91 Begemot a day ago
Iran stones gay people to death and rapes women before executing them. Israel has nude beaches and gay pride parades. Israel is more "normal" than the US in some ways.
Jeff Dickey si91 17 hours ago
Found the Likudnik.
Name si91 2 hours ago
As soon as US Jews accept that the US is a Christian country, with laws forbidding Christians from selling land to Jews, we can talk about how normal Israel is
si91 Name an hour ago
It is the Palestinian Authority that makes land sale to Israelis punishable by death, not the other way around.
6stringfury Name an hour ago
'Laws forbidding Christians from selling land to Jews'...Not sure what you're trying to say here.. In the meantime, over there, Arabs kill their own for selling land to Jews while Jews freely sell land to Arabs.
6stringfury Begemot an hour ago
Arab terrorists in Israeli jails are earning law degrees. Most Iranians I know in N America want the mullahs gone. A Jewish friend of mine in Tel Aviv had his life saved by an Israeli Arab surgeon. Get a grip on reality.
Name si91 2 hours ago
May be because it is not Israel's money to hold?
si91 Name an hour ago
Would you give money to someone using it to kill you?
Robert in Denmark a day ago
Israel and Palaestina are, of course, modern nations. To the Christian, divine revelation was complete with the last apostle's death (probably John, at the beginning of the 2nd century C.E.), and if there was a kind of collective guilt for unbelief on the part of the Jewish nation, it was paid once and for all by 135 C.E. (cf. Exodus 20:5-6), when said people became dispersed from the holy city and the holy land. There is no reason why modern Israelis and Palaestinians should not be able to make peace on common terms that include two states with normal borders.

Probably, Israelis must abandon their illegal settlements on Palestinian territory, and Palestinians must acknowledge that Israel exists. This will come through only by mutual exhaustion. Otherwise, both will perish in hatred. This is no different from other leftovers from the WWI/WWII/cold war, e.g. North Korea / South Korea, China / Taiwan, the former Soviet Union (now fifteen independent nations), and Kurds in Turkey / Syria / Iraq / Iran (the statesman would prefer to get rid of the Kurds by giving them a nation, but the despot would prefer to cling on to them for all the trouble, which after all keeps him in power against his own people), Africa, et.c. Probably, the conservative strategy must be to avoid great plans, keep peace or low level war as well as possible, and let time only do the healing. Certainly, no more military adventures, neither on part of the U.S.A. or of Denmark. But go home.

6stringfury Robert in Denmark 38 minutes ago
US needs to do what it can to keep troops out of the mideast. As far as Israel goes, the Israelis wish to defend themselves without an outside army. Ask any Jew on the street over there. Last time there was outside manpower help (vs the Seleucids) the results were the Roman-Jewish wars. Not good. In 135CE, Judea was renamed Palestina by Hadrian as a slap in the face to the Jewish losers.

ffwd 1920... League of Nations - San Remo Conference establishes Jewish homeland on WHAT IS NOW ISREAL+ JORDAN. Recognized by all member nations at that time. 1922- Churchill bows to Arab pressure and lops off about 70% of above territory to form Transjordan - designated for the Arabs. There's your current 'Palestine'.

Note: Up until the 1960s, the Arabs in the area referred to themselves as 'Arabs', not Palestinians.

KGB created the 'Palestine Liberation Organization" around 1964. Jordan controlled the West Bank from 48-67, yet no outcry for a Palestinian state. Hmmmm.
The Jews who lived in the area from 1920-s -to '48 considered themselves 'Palestinians'. In that time, Palestinian currency had Hebrew lettering, Jerusalem Post of today was Palestinian Post of that period, etc.

si91 a day ago • edited
"Like South Africa's grand apartheid, the Trump plan physically and politically separates Palestinians by placing them within a non-contiguous homeland (Areas A and B and Gaza), and declaring them citizens of that homeland."

This is an arrangement that the Palestinians themselves accepted at the Oslo Accords.

"depriving millions of stateless people of basic civil rights, restricting their movement, criminalizing speech that may harm "public order," jailing them in indefinite "administrative detention" without trial or charge"

...in response to their terrorism. Seems fair to me.

"This reinforces everything outrageous and unjust under the current occupation, and it seeks to make sure that the occupation never ends."

The occupation will end when the Palestinians care more about building a state than destroying the Jewish one. The ball is in their court.

"To add insult to injury, the supporters of the plan disingenuously present this as a boon to the very people that it oppresses."

That's because it is. If the Palestinians behave, and make meaningful democratic reforms, and make peace with Israel, they get aid and a state. What wrong with that? The outrage here would be easier to take seriously if the people who are so upset suggested a peace plan that would be more "fair" in their view.

"Israel is the only state perpetuating a permanent military occupation, with discriminatory laws for separate groups living in the same territory, that self-identified liberals around the world go out of their way to justify, defend and even fund."

Aside from India, Armenia, Turkey...

Osse si91 a day ago
One thing wrong is that Israel is guilty of war crimes and apartheid and while many countries are guilty of serious crimes, there is no need to single out Israel for praise and billions of dollars of aid and diplomatic support. Just treat them as yet another country with a rotten human rights record which pretends to be better than it is. Apartheid South Africa never had it so good.
si91 Osse a day ago
"Apartheid" Israel is actually the only apartheid free state in the region, and treats the Arabs better than any Arab state. In our conflict with the Islamic hordes, we don't have the luxury of nitpicking about Jews building houses on disputed land. In any case, while the apartheid charge is untenable against Israel, it would be instructive to remember that we allied with Apartheid South Africa against Communism and gave them diplomatic support while also supporting equality for the black Africans.
Name si91 2 hours ago
Which is why, it proposes to swap Arab Israelis to the Palestinian State? May be we can swap some US Jews to some other nation?
6stringfury Name an hour ago
Agree. Swap Schiff,Nadler, Schumer, Soros(jew in name only), Stelter, JZucker, Streisand, half of the media to Greenland. A lot of us remaining silent US Jews would be relieved.
FL_Cottonmouth si91 21 hours ago
Ah yes, the fearsome Indian, Armenian, and Turkish lobbies in Washington, D.C.
=marco01= si91 17 hours ago
I wonder how you would 'behave' if the land your ancestors lived on for untold centuries was suddenly stolen from you. So rude of the Palestinians to not just give up and move out when European Zionists immigrated and declared Palestine theirs.
si91 =marco01= 16 hours ago • edited
I know refugees from the Partition of India, the Expulsion of Asians from Uganda, and the Fall of Saigon personally. I've also met people who've fled Venezuela and Cuba. These are people who, unlike the Palestinians, fled very long distances, actually had an established state and national identity which was lost, had no way of avoiding war through a peace deal, and didn't have 20+ states to flee to. Not a single suicide bomber among them. The Palestinians, spoiled, petulant brats that they are, could learn a thing or two from other refugees on how to behave.
Name si91 2 hours ago
So your point is, too bad so sad, International Law is for suckers. How Tikkun Olam of you
si91 Name an hour ago
My point is that the Palestinian situation is no different from that of many other groups, and they should behave accordingly. What's wrong with that?
6stringfury =marco01= 26 minutes ago
Jews have been living there continuously for over 2500 years. Back around 1099, the Crusaders were murdering Jews in Jerusalem as a sideshow for warring with the Muslims there. Jews in Safed developed the Kabbalah in the 15th century. Jews and Arabs there all along. A lot of the Jews came from across the Ottoman empire, as did the Arabs. The place was a forgotten backwater. But a lot more Arabs showed up in the early 20th C as Jews were building and cultivating the land...availability of work played a part. Read my reply to the guy from Denmark.
stephen pickard a day ago
Did I see the proposed map correctly, because that map looks like the reservations that we permitted the sovereign indigenous people to have here in the US. What could go wrong when the Palestinians do not have a way out except through Israeli territory.
si91 stephen pickard a day ago
Lesotho has no way out except through South Africa, Vatican City and San Marino except through Italy, etc. Not really a problem.
Sid Finster stephen pickard 11 hours ago
The Bantustans of South Africa appear to be the model here.
Clyde Schechter a day ago
"the Trump plan grants the Palestinian homeland autonomy over civil matters like education and healthcare, while critical areas such as trade, immigration, and security will remain under Israeli control. "

So there isn't even a pretense of an independent Palestinian homeland in this. Education and healthcare are always the purview of subordinated entities, while trade, and immigration are the perogatives of superordinate entities. Just think about the Federal government in the US vis-à-vis the states (whose sovereignty, by now, everyone agrees is a joke), or the EU vs the member states.

Except the Israel/Palestine case there isn't even an accession of the subordinate to superordinate power by consent (as when the US and EU were formed).

FL_Cottonmouth 21 hours ago
The U.S.A. and Israel are far too entangled for the former to continue to play the part of a peacemaker between the latter and Palestine with any credibility. Indeed, The Donald's own family - the Kushners - are far too entangled with Israel!
Jens Christian 16 hours ago
Not uncritically against Israel and its policies against the Palestinians, the settlements on the west bank was a giant mistake by Israel., and a crime against international law... but lets be realistic, Israel are not going to forcefully remove the 300.000 jews in east Jerusalem and the 400.000 in the settlements on the west bank. But you are calling israel apartheid if they don't remove them and move back to un partition plan of 1947.

And lets be honest. A sizable proportion of Palestinians will fight and never allow Israel rights to exist peacefully in any shape or form A view point im suspecting Daniel Larison share. If not, he would be more nuanced in his description of how Israel and the Palestinians got to this point.

Red brick Jens Christian 5 hours ago
The Jews in Israel won't let what happened to the Boers in South Africa happen to them. They are not going to end their policies toward the Palestinians and they have the Nukes to tell the rest of the World to shove off.
Fatnot 9 hours ago
Dead on arrival...and justifiably so.
Dollface 4 hours ago • edited
Colonial scamming.

[Jan 30, 2020] Trump as a wonderfully ignorant baby for one small country

Great strategy. Especially if Trump thinks that association with Kushner and Netanyahu can help him to win 2020 election. God help him... I think he put the final nail into his defeat in 2020, especially if Sanders is his opponent.
Jan 30, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Serge | 30 January 2020 at 11:56 AM

I don't believe Trump was invited either:

"Kushner and Greenblatt have limited the plan's distribution over the two years they have been crafting it. It has been kept secret "to ensure people approach it with an open mind" when it is released, a senior administration official said.

"Only four people have regular access - Kushner, Greenblatt, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz, the official said."
What's the common denominator among these men here? The nose knows.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinian-trump/in-leaky-white-house-trump-team-keeps-middle-east-peace-plan-secret-idUSKCN1RM2GQ

Or for the Golan decision:

"Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas, Trump said he made the snap decision during a discussion with his top Middle East peace advisers, including the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"I said, 'Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I'm working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie," Trump said to laughter from the Las Vegas crowd.

"'How do you like the idea of me recognizing exactly what we're discussing?'" said Trump, recounting the conversation.

Trump, who typically demands short sharp briefings and is known for his colorful retelling of stories, said Friedman was shocked, "like a wonderful, beautiful baby," and asked the President if he would actually do it.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-israel/trump-says-he-made-golan-heights-decision-after-a-quick-history-lesson-idUSKCN1RI0N7

A wonderful, beautiful baby INDEED.

[Jan 30, 2020] Trump and son-in-law Jared's vision laid bare: cloaked as "let's legitimize stollen property and steal more"

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 30 2020 14:22 utc | 19

Trump and son-in-law Jared's vision laid bare: cloaked as "let's legitimize stollen property and steal more"

it also allows Jerusalem to extend Israeli law to all the existing settlements, which is tantamount to annexation.
in a closed door meeting of the usual suspects-

Times of Israel:
Israeli Envoy to US Says Palestinians Won't Have a State in a Long Time Under Trump's Plan

WASHINGTON -- US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told a gathering of American Jewish and Christian Evangelical leaders that it would take a long time for a Palestinian state to emerge under the White House's Middle East peace plan, according to sources in the room.

Shortly after US President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited proposal Tuesday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flanked by his side, Friedman met with a group of more than 20 Jewish and Evangelical leaders for an off-the-record briefing.[.]

and Bibi smiles. ... a long time if ever.

Kabobyak , Jan 30 2020 14:35 utc | 21

Florin @ 3

Thanks for your thoughtful post, and the Mondoweiss article was very good. It presents a useful comparison between ethnonationalism here in the US and in Israel. While one is condemned (by "woke" and almost all "unwoke"!), the other is accepted or ignored by many of the same folks. I will use this when discussing the issue with those with open minds; the challenge is finding the key to open minds, without moving into polarity which entrenches folks in their views.

As to the term "anti-semitism" it is so ingrained into usage I don't see it going away any time soon. I could see the narrative shifting as more people become aware that criticizing Israel or opposing their actions is not "anti-semitic", and maybe they could also learn the points you make about who semites actually are.

As to "Zionism", most people don't even know what it is (at least in the area where I live). They have heard the term but make little connection with it actually being Jewish ethnonationalism. I feel the term Zionism is valid for usage, but once again the challenge is shifting the narrative so that people understand what it truly entails. Years ago, the UN passed a resolution equating Zionism with Racism; of course the usual suspects voted against that.

[Jan 30, 2020] Flash! Trump has solved the Israeli-Palestinian problem. (irony)

Rephrasing Lenin: hate became a material force when it is shared by the large number of people
Now the defeat of Trump in 2020 elections looks much more probable... Being considered a puppet of Kushner and being closly associated with Natuanyhu does not look like a winning strategy. He might lose Florida.
Notable quotes:
"... Mahmoud Abbas has stated that his side will not accept this ..."
"... the optics look bad with one criminal supporting another. ..."
"... IMHO the mindset and agenda behind this is as follows: ..."
"... Offer the Palestinians something they only can refuse ..."
"... Then say those damn Palestinians dont want peace, we tried it, they dont even want to discuss our very generous terms (sic) ..."
"... Then the Nethanyahus and fellow imperial Zionists take this narrative to claim talking with Palestinians will never work ..."
"... Which then will open up the road for their long term plan to totally and forever reject any rights of the Palestinians, and go full force into annexing all they can get ..."
"... It is not some naive plan to bring peace, but to give the Likudniks what they have dreamed of for so long: To not having to give even the smallest shit about international law, to never having to be bothered with it, and just rely totally on the military force to expand their growing regional-imperial ambitions. ..."
"... ''The proposals laid out by President Trump yesterday seemingly cement "unshakeable, unbreakable" U.S. support for Israel by offering the Israeli government unconditional American support for immediate annexation of land in the West Bank, while conditioning and constraining Palestinian self-determination to meet any and all Israeli security needs.'' ..."
"... IMO the Israelis who are overwhelmingly a tribal and exclusionist people will never allow Palestinian prosperity. ..."
"... Allow prosperity for the Palestinians? They view the Palestinians as little more than chattel under their feet. It's documented that the IDF's head Rabbi said so openly. And any Jew who dares to stand up against their aggression against the Palestinians, are labeled as a self-hating Jew. ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson and prominent Zionist leaders were present for Trump Deal. But not one Palestinian. ..."
"... William Polk has a nice article by Gershon Baskin of what the future could bring. I find it a quite plausible prediction. The legislation for confiscating Palestinian property in Jerusalem is in place. "Encountering Peace: Have We No Shame?" http://www.williampolk.com/assets/israel--yesterday%2c-today-and-tomorrow.pdf ..."
Jan 30, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Palestinians are offered very little in this final reconciliation between the US and the forces of Zionisn within and without the US. If the sons and daughters of Ishmael (look it up) behave and cooperate with their Israeli guardians, they will be rewarded with development money intended to comfort them in their helotry. Trump did say to Bibi at the ceremony that Bibi would have the Palestinian money with which to influence future events, but perhaps that was merely clumsy. Trump also referred to "Israel's Holy Land." I suppose that still leaves open the possibility of "religious tourism" as the Israelis call pilgrimage?

In Trump's plan Israel will forever control a strip of territory along the Jordanian border as sovereign to themselves. But, in return the Palestinian "state" might receive an embassy from the US, located in "eastern" Jerusalem. I suppose that would be out in that valley to the east that the mandatory British government included as being within the boundaries of Jerusalem.

Trump seems really to think that Palestinians are like stray dogs who will lick your hand if you give them something, anything, to eat. Perhaps that is the general attitude in New York City.

Mahmoud Abbas has stated that his side will not accept this, but at least there is peace between the US and Israel. pl

the optics look bad with one criminal supporting another... someone said israel is like nazi germany... the analogy seems to fit..

james | 28 January 2020 at 07:32 PM

So Trump has elevated himself as a Muktar for Bibi as well as MBS. Hmmm...... We saw him dancing the sword dance with MBS's servants, guess we will now see him dancing the Horah for Bibi.

This whole scenario smacks of the Keystone Cops segment, without the laugh track.

J | 28 January 2020 at 08:32 PM
So this is the result of three years of effort from Jarred? At least he hasn't been working on the economy. Does Trump really think the Palestinians are going to unilaterally disarm, have their borders controlled by the IDF with future cross border inspections run by the same folks doing so now, all in exchange for some nebulous funding and promises of some land swaps? It might serve as a distraction from Bibi's troubles but I can't see anyone taking this "deal" seriously.
Fred | 28 January 2020 at 09:25 PM
I'm much taken by the two bumps of territory along the Egypt/Israel border that stick out like sore-thumbs in Trump's let's-pretend map.

Where will the Palestinians come from to inhabit those "industrial" and "residential" parcels of land?

I suspect that those two bumps of land represent the two bantustans that are going to be created (out of thin-air, apparently) specifically to house "Israeli Arabs".

If I'm right then Trump's plan is simply Apartheid on steroids.

Yeah, Right | 28 January 2020 at 09:32 PM
The possibility of a formal, however unreal, Palestinian state is being cast [so as not to anger those to the right of Netanyahu] as something for the future if all goes well. As for the money, it is to be geared towards tying the Palestinians even tighter into the economy of Israel than has been the case since the Oslo accords.

No, it cannot fly and certainly not with Jordan. The King of Saudi Arabia [not MbS, I note] called Mahmoud Abbas to state that his country stands firm behind the Palestinians. Of course, the proposed "Steal of the Century" is a non-starter for Jordan. What actually is done unilaterally by Israel could actually put into jeopardy some or all of the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel.

Netanyahu made clear that the issue of the '48 refugees is not theirs to solve. There is one far out idea being shaped by the Saudis/Israelis/the US/and some Sunni leaders in Anbar as a bonus to their plan of separating Sunni territories from the Shia dominated state, using the legal methods employed by the KRG. That is to settle any stateless Palestinians looking for a place to live to move to sparsely populated Anbar. The immediate impetus for this developing plan is a way to maintain troops in Iraq even if ordered out by the Baghdad government. Anbar abuts Sunni dominated areas of Syria the US sees as critical to its policies.

The question now is just how vindictive Trump will be when the Palestinians say not. He has already taken away assistance, so it might be in the form of green-lighting more dramatic actions by Israel. And what will various other players in the region and around the globe do?

As for an "embassy" in the outer areas of Jerusalem, this is, I assume, Israel's way of saying forget about any PA capital, even if it is in Abu Dis.

Jane | 28 January 2020 at 11:41 PM
Nice plan for a change. Definitely got potential for the long term. Once the old guard hit forgetful age the youth can look forward to a peaceful coexistence. Gaza linked to the westbank is a great idea.

Politically this is the best possible scenario. The arab side should be aware after soliemani that trump and co.mean business. Probably same applies to Israeli leadership. Unless anyone has a better solution that does not involve war this is the deal worth supporting.

anon | 29 January 2020 at 02:41 AM
Only God can bring peace to that part of the world. My immediate thought after reading this post was of the last lines of Moby-Dick. It comes from the only survivor of the Pequod: "Call me Ishmael."

I'm praying that Melville was not prescient in his assessment of our society.

Diana Croissant | 29 January 2020 at 03:56 AM
IMHO the mindset and agenda behind this is as follows:
  • -Offer the Palestinians something they only can refuse
  • -Then say those damn Palestinians dont want peace, we tried it, they dont even want to discuss our very generous terms (sic)
  • -Then the Nethanyahus and fellow imperial Zionists take this narrative to claim talking with Palestinians will never work
  • -Which then will open up the road for their long term plan to totally and forever reject any rights of the Palestinians, and go full force into annexing all they can get
  • -Peace process will be officially buried forever

That is the true purpose of this charade. It is not some naive plan to bring peace, but to give the Likudniks what they have dreamed of for so long: To not having to give even the smallest shit about international law, to never having to be bothered with it, and just rely totally on the military force to expand their growing regional-imperial ambitions.

It sadly will work as intended.

DontBelieveEitherPr. | 29 January 2020 at 07:07 AM
@james - Do you not know that making such a comparison is a hate crime? You are (for now) permitted to make a comparison between contemporary Israeli policy and the creation of South Africa's colonial Bantustans. However, I'm sure the Strategic Affairs Ministry are on it and will shortly arrange for this too to be denoted as hateful expression.

I am pleased to see our visitor @anon recognize the workability of the plan. His paymasters in Tel Aviv will be happy. FYI there are many who have a better solution in mind. These groups can often be recognized by "al-Quds" somewhere in their name. All of them are perfectly happy to consider warfare as the means of implementing their plan.

Barbara Ann | 29 January 2020 at 09:39 AM
سال بعد در اورشلیم
Translation here
Per/Norway | 29 January 2020 at 11:59 AM
@barbara - laws are written by those in power.. what else is new? it is up to people to question and challenge who is lording it over them...
james | 29 January 2020 at 12:21 PM
What is telling is that with the exception of Turkey and Iran against and UK for this deal. It has been absolutely crickets chirping in the international community. All that money the US poured into building Israel up has worked. Every one including the UNSC members who voted for Obama's last stop measure at the UN are ready to trade the Palestinians lives for access to the tech in Israel.

This deal will only bring more misery on both sides.

BraveNewWorld | 29 January 2020 at 02:12 PM
Dear Colonel,

The plan also promises ports, which appear unconnected from any Palestinian territory - I guess there will be a "Palestinian building" surrounded by Israeli customs on an Israeli port?

One wonders how much whiskey (or whatever Israeli's drink) was required to come up with such an evidently lame plan (maybe it was a first year intern)? Hmm what was Jared's budget to develop it?

Transactional Trump clearly believes that the Palestinians (are naive enough) to sell out for a promise of $$ - as if such promises are worth more than the paper of Native American treaties. Funny, thing, though, with the Fed printing $16 trillion for the Repo market since Sept., the Fed could slip an extra trillion or so into the mix allowing Trump to make a real offer (which would be hard to campaign on).

ISL | 29 January 2020 at 04:47 PM
So many small minds here who cant envision a Gaza strip filled with Trump casinos and towers. With the right tax structure it could be the next Monte Carlo. Perhaps a bullet train to the West Bank.

Of course it might not work as a democracy, but a royal family could fix that. Perhaps Prince Harry, or Jared? Ivanka could make a fine queen.

HK Leo Strauss | 29 January 2020 at 04:59 PM
''The proposals laid out by President Trump yesterday seemingly cement "unshakeable, unbreakable" U.S. support for Israel by offering the Israeli government unconditional American support for immediate annexation of land in the West Bank, while conditioning and constraining Palestinian self-determination to meet any and all Israeli security needs.''

When pray tell are Americans going to find their balls and refuse to have their country used by that little outlaw country' and our treasonous Fifth Column Politicians?

Really, to think we once threw out King George and now we are reduced to being drooling eunuchs in service to a foreign and domestic cancer.

"Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius."

catherine | 29 January 2020 at 05:37 PM
HK Leo Strauss

IMO the Israelis who are overwhelmingly a tribal and exclusionist people will never allow Palestinian prosperity.

turcopolier | 29 January 2020 at 05:49 PM
The residential and industrial areas appear on the map to be in the Sinai Desert on the Israeli side. Originally, consideration was given to providing Gaza with land on what is now the Egyptian side of their mutual border, but the public reaction made Sisi rule it out. That original plan assumed that West Bankers would want to move there to work and live as well as Palestinian refugees from elsewhere.

It was to be part of the grand plan by Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia to "solve" the Palestinian problem through industrial development and employment.

This new apparition would seem to imply that Israel was willing to add a couple of additional carefully guarded bantustans to the current mix. My suggestion is that if the Israelis wanted to help someone, it might be better to allow the native Bedouin who have been forcefully uprooted from their traditional grazing lands.

Jane | 29 January 2020 at 05:51 PM
A couple of comments about this trump farce Peace Plan.

1- Trump keeps saying the Palestinian capital will be East Jerusalem. This is not true, the Palestinian capital that the plan specifies will be in Abu Dis, just outside East Jerusalem and in fact on the other side of the wall surrounding East Jerusalem.

2 - The 3 little bumps of territory along the Egyptian border allocated to the Palestinian state are now heavily populated by Israeli Arabs. If this plan goes through, they will lose their Israeli citizenship and travel rights to Israel proper. This is done to reduce the Arab portion of Israeli citizens making Israel even more Jewish.

3- The annexation of the Jordan Valley takes away the breadbasket of the Palestinians. It is far and away ther most fertile land in either Israel or the West Bank.

4 - Israsel will still have complete security control of every part of the West Bank which means Palestinian travel between their bantustans will be subject to IDF approval.

5 - The $50 billion in illusionary aid is supposed to be divided between Egypt, Lebanon, Syria etc. It is an open question how much will remain for the West Bank.

jdledell | 29 January 2020 at 06:03 PM
Allow prosperity for the Palestinians? They view the Palestinians as little more than chattel under their feet. It's documented that the IDF's head Rabbi said so openly. And any Jew who dares to stand up against their aggression against the Palestinians, are labeled as a self-hating Jew.
J | 29 January 2020 at 06:27 PM
Sheldon Adelson and prominent Zionist leaders were present for Trump Deal. But not one Palestinian. I don't believe that the Palestinians were invited.
J | 29 January 2020 at 08:13 PM
BraveNewWorld - I don't agree with you about Israeli tech being so attractive. I visit at least once a year having relatives there and am always surprised at how low tech the country actually is. My son works in that industry as well as my Wife's nephew and they are talking about stuff which is fairly out of date. Maybe they have something unseen by society but in general it is not particularly high tech at all.
OldMicrobiologist | 30 January 2020 at 05:45 AM
William Polk has a nice article by Gershon Baskin of what the future could bring. I find it a quite plausible prediction. The legislation for confiscating Palestinian property in Jerusalem is in place. "Encountering Peace: Have We No Shame?" http://www.williampolk.com/assets/israel--yesterday%2c-today-and-tomorrow.pdf
Poul | 30 January 2020 at 06:04 AM
J,

I don't believe Trump was invited either:

"Kushner and Greenblatt have limited the plan's distribution over the two years they have been crafting it. It has been kept secret "to ensure people approach it with an open mind" when it is released, a senior administration official said.

"Only four people have regular access - Kushner, Greenblatt, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz, the official said."
What's the common denominator among these men here? The nose knows.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-palestinian-trump/in-leaky-white-house-trump-team-keeps-middle-east-peace-plan-secret-idUSKCN1RM2GQ

Or for the Golan decision:

"Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition gathering in Las Vegas, Trump said he made the snap decision during a discussion with his top Middle East peace advisers, including the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

"I said, 'Fellows, do me a favor. Give me a little history, quick. Want to go fast. I got a lot of things I'm working on: China, North Korea. Give me a quickie," Trump said to laughter from the Las Vegas crowd.

"'How do you like the idea of me recognizing exactly what we're discussing?'" said Trump, recounting the conversation.

Trump, who typically demands short sharp briefings and is known for his colorful retelling of stories, said Friedman was shocked, "like a wonderful, beautiful baby," and asked the President if he would actually do it.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-israel/trump-says-he-made-golan-heights-decision-after-a-quick-history-lesson-idUSKCN1RI0N7

A wonderful, beautiful baby INDEED.

[Jan 30, 2020] The foreign government that has long been most active in interfering in US politics and US elections is that of Israel by Paul R. Pillar

Jan 30, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

The misconduct for which Donald Trump has been impeached centers on an attempt to drag a foreign government into a U.S. election campaign. That caper has increased public attention to the problem of foreign interference in U.S. politics, but the problem is more extensive than discourse about the impeachment process would suggest.

[Jan 30, 2020] Kushner deal makes me think of a mobster saying Nice home you have there, be a shame if something happened to it

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bubbles , Jan 30 2020 18:37 utc | 72

Posted by: Peter | Jan 30 2020 18:19 utc | 67

The so called deal makes me think of a mobster saying Nice home you have there, be a shame if something happened to it.

Watch this interview with Kushner, if you can stand it, and see what comes to mind.

https://twitter.com/BradCabana/status/1222299392574537730

[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] Brits in 1812 and Kushner plan

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

the pair , Jan 30 2020 16:04 utc | 33

i always thought it a shame that the war of 1812 ended in a (more or less) draw. the brits had ideas for cutting up the US that would have been similar to that fake map (which was kinda amusing until i saw the "derpa derp russia" bit) and kept the settler trash from moving west and genociding everything that wasn't nailed down.

oh well...at least it's comforting to think ahead a few decades when most of the southwest will be "little mexico".

Walter , Jan 30 2020 16:12 utc | 35

BM | Jan 30 2020 15:50 utc | 29 (map)

I see Alaska and Hawaii have presumably gone back to the original owners, but it's not shown.

I assume Alaska went to Russia (which is what a pal who fishes there expects!) (there is a plan, I am told, to run a rail tunnel under Bering Strait, Canada, America, and further South all the way as part of the OBOR project.). But that can happen if the natives wish association with Ru and Chin...

(I'm not terribly serious about this, but Times do change and stuff does happen)

I assume the Monarchy is re-established in Hawaii.

In all seriousness, the DoD plans for Alaska if nukewar with USSR went against the US, was to use Gladio teams to control the natives, who were regarded as unloyal and sympathetic to the "commies"... no url, but I read this in FOIA stuff years ago.

Jackrabbit | Jan 30 2020 17:14 utc | 55

I assume that American Indians have already agreed to the North American Peace Plan (NAPP)so they can now go ahead and take 30% of the land that the NAPP grants them - just as with the Trump-Jared Plan to settle the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Will homes of White Americans that disagree be bulldozed like the Israelis do to Palestinians?

[Jan 29, 2020] Trump will be kept in play for as long as the rulers decide, the voters/rabble can shout all they want, dogs barking at the Moon. Their puppet is delivering

Jan 29, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Jack_Garbo ,

Trump will be kept in play for as long as the rulers decide, the voters/rabble can shout all they want, dogs barking at the Moon. Their puppet is delivering: Most bombs dropped in Afghanistan (stock prices & divs up), racism simmering nicely on southern border, the Fed rampant with QE4 driving the NASDAQ & Dow to mythic heights before the Crash, the Impeachment Show dithering along distracting even those not brain dead from the relentless thuggery of the Trump administration. The show must go on, and it will, until the producers have pocketed their profits. Relax, folks, it's not personal it's (show) business. So smile

George Marchand ,

Amusing if the Democrats get their way and face President Pence and Vice President Ted Cruz in the fall😱

RobG ,

I haven't had time to read all the comments here (usual excuse!). This recent piece by Whitney Webb, on Mint Press News, might have been linked to before. Whatever, I feel it's worth me linking to again because it gives a very good insight into what's going on in the Middle East at the moment, and the fact that we are ruled by gangster psychopaths

https://www.mintpressnews.com/hidden-parliamentary-session-revealed-trump-motives-iraq-china-oil/264155/

Einstein ,

Sounds like a come-on for Tulsi Gabbard.

Dungroanin ,

HRC is going for some bazookas as along with a face lift?
BIll's always been a giant tit. Maybe she could get away with just one upgrade.

paul ,

No. 1 Shabbos goy Trump is currently down on his hands and knees licking Netanyahu's boots, rubber stamping each and every one of the demands of the fake Jew Khazars in Occupied Palestine.

paul ,

The Palestinians are being offered an incredibly generous deal of a Bantustan on a few acres of scruffy desert somewhere the Jews don't want. An incredible vision of peace! The deal of the century! Tremendous! Amazing!! Terrific!!! Wonderful!!! Historic!!! A Triumph!!!!

Hugh O'Neill ,

The penultimate link above was an article on CIA assassinations. It somehow elided their successful jobs on JFK, MLK and RFK. Credit where it's due. Too modest. What self effacing heroes. Not to mention Dag Hammarskjold, maybe Olof Palme, and dozens of other democratically elected leaders. So they missed Fidel. You can't win them all.

Einstein ,

And don't forget the third-worlders, like Allende and Lumumba.
And mass killing using the now default fanatical Muzzies backed up by "contractors", as happened in Indonesia in 1965. Several millions were murdered then, more than the Khmer Rouge atrocities and approaching the WWII Holocaust in magnitude. It continues in Papua.

Jihadi Colin ,

Anyone with two thinking neurons knows that 2020 Trump, unlike 2016 Trump, is completely and unequivocally a creature of the zionist lobby and the military industrial complex, and therefore guaranteed re-(s)election in November. Since he is guaranteed a second term, the duty of the Daymockratic Party is to make sure he doesn't lose by accident. This they will do by, first, making certain nobody remotely electable is put up against der Twitterführer, and, second, by making such a ludicrous spectacle of themselves that even fence sitters and those who detest Trump (not a hard thing to do) will end up voting for him out of disgust. That is all.

csc61 ,

Hey look, yet another low-information voter (who probably doesn't vote) regurgitating the hate his mainstream media overlords told him he must have for the president. Couldn't articulate a single thought on why he finds the president so distasteful or how the Trump presidency has effected his life in any way shape or form other than to lower his taxes. Still these useless bottom-feeders persist. "Orange man bad!" Look mom, I had an original thought oh, wait, no, never-mind.

Antonym ,

Even the Trump administration keeps on shielding Saudi 9/11 perp investigations : the Anglo Arab oil dollar protection pact stays paramount!

Antonym ,

Robert Mueller III buried any FBI case against HRC; he also buried any 9/11 FBI case against any Saudis!

Einstein ,

Mueller doesn't know how to wield a shovel.

paul ,

He couldn't find his own arse with both hands.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Come on Ant-everybody knows that it was the MOSSAD, allied to US sayanim and rogue elements of the US elite who did 9/11. The Saudis were just the patsies, Oswalds one and all.

Antonym ,

Did you know that even Hamas and Iran are run by the Mossad? And Xi Jinping too! Me too, you too. No more need for an Off Guardian site, all riddles solved.

paul ,

No, they don't run Hamas any more. They did create it and gave it money and guns. To undermine Yasser Arafat and his organisation. Standard dirty colonial gam of divide and rule.

paul ,

People fixate too much on Trump.
In due course he will be replaced with another trained monkey serving the same organ grinders, and the game of musical chairs will continue.
The organ grinders are fond of nothing if not variety. They will give us a black monkey, an orange monkey, a gay monkey, a monkey with a vagina, a foul mouthed oafish monkey or a polished well behaved monkey. Just so long as it rattles its tin cup for the organ grinder.
At Davos he promised more tax cuts for the rich if re elected.
He threatened 25% tariffs on the car industries of his most faithful satraps if they tried to tax Silicon Valley.
God forbid that Amazon should have to pay a cent in tax on its $11 billion profits.
You might think the organ grinders are being a bit hard on the Orange Man, trying to impeach him.
After all, he has increased the military budget to $1,134 billion, (real figure), more than the rest of the world combined. You'd think that would buy him a bit of gratitude from Lockheed and Raytheon.
And his fellow billionaires increased their wealth by 12% last year. That should stand him in good stead with Adelson, Saban and Singer.
And the people who rule the roost should be happy with his Gives to the kosher folk. Jerusalem, Golan, West Bank, ever more billions, free weapons and unlimited political cover.
And all that nonsense about Draining The Swamp and Building The Wall is just so much ancient history, though a few of the Deplorables probably still believe in it.
And Obomber deported far more illegals than he has.
So why are they so hard on poor old Donny?
He upset the apple cart. He wasn't supposed to win. And however much grovelling he does to Israel and Wall Street, it just doesn't matter. They hate him. They will take all his Gives without any gratitude.

Because he is a loose cannon, an unprincipled opportunist. He is not a true believer waiting for the Rapture like Pence and Pompeo. Or someone as corrupt and compromised and easily controlled as Clinton.

Syria was supposed to have been destroyed by now. Assad was supposed to be dead. The war with Iran was scheduled for 3 years ago. But Trump screwed up their plans, and nothing he can do will ever deflect their hatred.

So he will either be re elected in November, or replaced with some mediocrity like Creepy Joe or Pocahontas or an even more dodgy billionaire like Bloomberg.

But it is all kabuki theatre. Nothing will change. There will still be 1,000 plus military bases all over the planet. The rich will get richer and the poor 99% will get more austerity.

And the Magic Roundabout will keep on turning round and round and round till the inevitable collapse. Trump is just another Goldstein for the Woke and the Deluded to hate.

csc61 ,

That all seems rather cynical to me. But just to keep facts straight, the US currently has 900 bases in 137 countries. Close to '1000 plus' but not quite. Just thought you'd appreciate the fact checking.

paul ,

We live in a rather cynical world. If you count those in 50 African countries which aren't included, it's well in excess of 1,000. Though the Pentagon seems confused on the subject itself. It seems to have "lost" a lot of them, like it "lost" $21 trillion from the military budget.

walter hewitt ,

Meanwhile back on the Farm we're still suffering Why Trump? Why? This is not a joke or a debate. Not a possibility or a maybe. Millions of children in UK are suffering now. Millions. Families are under the cosh. We all have been for decades. You've read the headlines. Grenfall. Hillsbough etc etc. And you wanna chat about trump trump trump mr televison mr mind control meanwhile in the real world millions of children in UK are suffering now.
Fuck off.

[Jan 29, 2020] People are fixated on Trump way too much

Jan 29, 2020 | off-guardian.org

paul People fixate too much on Trump.
In due course he will be replaced with another trained monkey serving the same organ grinders, and the game of musical chairs will continue.
The organ grinders are fond of nothing if not variety. They will give us a black monkey, an orange monkey, a gay monkey, a monkey with a vagina, a foul mouthed oafish monkey or a polished well behaved monkey. Just so long as it rattles its tin cup for the organ grinder.
At Davos he promised more tax cuts for the rich if re elected.
He threatened 25% tariffs on the car industries of his most faithful satraps if they tried to tax Silicon Valley.
God forbid that Amazon should have to pay a cent in tax on its $11 billion profits.
You might think the organ grinders are being a bit hard on the Orange Man, trying to impeach him.
After all, he has increased the military budget to $1,134 billion, (real figure), more than the rest of the world combined. You'd think that would buy him a bit of gratitude from Lockheed and Raytheon.
And his fellow billionaires increased their wealth by 12% last year. That should stand him in good stead with Adelson, Saban and Singer.
And the people who rule the roost should be happy with his Gives to the kosher folk. Jerusalem, Golan, West Bank, ever more billions, free weapons and unlimited political cover.
And all that nonsense about Draining The Swamp and Building The Wall is just so much ancient history, though a few of the Deplorables probably still believe in it.
And Obomber deported far more illegals than he has.
So why are they so hard on poor old Donny?
He upset the apple cart. He wasn't supposed to win. And however much grovelling he does to Israel and Wall Street, it just doesn't matter. They hate him. They will take all his Gives without any gratitude.
Because he is a loose cannon, an unprincipled opportunist. He is not a true believer waiting for the Rapture like Pence and Pompeo. Or someone as corrupt and compromised and easily controlled as Clinton.
Syria was supposed to have been destroyed by now. Assad was supposed to be dead. The war with Iran was scheduled for 3 years ago. But Trump screwed up their plans, and nothing he can do will ever deflect their hatred.
So he will either be re elected in November, or replaced with some mediocrity like Creepy Joe or Pocahontas or an even more dodgy billionaire like Bloomberg.
But it is all kabuki theatre. Nothing will change. There will still be 1,000 plus military bases all over the planet. The rich will get richer and the poor 99% will get more austerity.
And the Magic Roundabout will keep on turning round and round and round till the inevitable collapse.
Trump is just another Goldstein for the Woke and the Deluded to hate. 19 0 Reply Jan 28, 2020 4:16 AM


csc61 ,

That all seems rather cynical to me. But just to keep facts straight, the US currently has 900 bases in 137 countries. Close to '1000 plus' but not quite. Just thought you'd appreciate the fact checking.

paul ,

We live in a rather cynical world.
If you count those in 50 African countries which aren't included, it's well in excess of 1,000. Though the Pentagon seems confused on the subject itself.
It seems to have "lost" a lot of them, like it "lost" $21 trillion from the military budget.

walter hewitt ,

Charlotte Russe ,

Trump doesn't have a thing to fear he's been a huge asset to the security state, whose Russiagate theatrics provided mainstream media news with just enough bullshit to distract the public, so that Trump could never be aggressively attacked from the Left. For the last three years, all the "resistance oxygen" was sucked up by the warmongering against Russia. Meanwhile, this enabled Trump to successfully pass a slew of reactionary legislation and fasttrack numerous lifetime appointments to the federal court without barely a whimper from the phony Dems. In fact, the Democrats unanimously voted for Trump's military budget. The same idiot they called unhinged was given the power to start WWIII.

No matter how much liberals complain–the wealthy are happy with the status quo and the right-wing Evangelicals are as pleased as punch. However, there's quite a large number of disaffected Trump voters looking at Tulsi, but could eventually come Bernie's way. Especially, if Tulsi endorses Bernie. This discontented bunch includes the working-poor, the indebted young, and all the folks who are not doing economically well under Trump's fabulous stock market. It especially includes the military families who were promised an end to the miserable foreign interventions. Bernie, has some appeal to these folks. His platform certainly resonates with all those who can barely pay their health insurance
premiums, and whose salary is NOT nearly considered a living wage. But Bernie could win hands-down and steal Trump's base, if he only had the courage to UNAPOLOGETICALLY speak out against US imperialism and connect all the dots explaining how the security state plundered the treasury for decades f–king over the working-class.

[Jan 29, 2020] Speech Donald Trump Addresses the Israeli American Council Summit in Florida

This is probably the most Pro-Israel speeches of the President. 54 min long
20:19 is an interesting "brutal killers" quote... See also 'The Biggest Thing You Did for Israel' Was Breaking Iran Deal -- Adelson Tells Trump
Dec 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Donald Trump delivers a speech at the Isreli American Council Summit in Hollywood, Florida on December 7, 2019. Uploaded to YouTube for archival purposes by Factba.se ( https://factba.se )

samteedum , 1 month ago (edited)

From 20:17 very funny!!! Why he's president

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo about Hezbollah threat

Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

J Villain 19 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the interview:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 29, 2020] Turkey isn't amused

Jan 29, 2020 | twitter.com

"Turkey: The goal of American peace is to destroy and plunder Palestine."

"Turkish Foreign Ministry:
The fake US plan for peace in the Middle East was born 'dead'.
We will not allow actions to legitimize Israeli occupation and oppression."

Yet another cord in the knot tying Turkey to the West is severed. Word is the Turkish convoy has turned around and will not be constructing another OP near Saraqib.

This may surprise some people :

"Denouncing Trump Plan as 'Unacceptable,' Sanders Declares It Is Time to 'End the Israeli Occupation:'

"'Trump's so-called 'peace deal,' warned the White House hopeful, 'will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians.'"

But isn't that exactly what the plan's supposed to do?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:12 utc | 33

Posted by: dltravers | Jan 28 2020 21:23 utc | 35 Laguerre @28--

Here's UAE's response via tweet :

"Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Statement on Peace Plan:

"The United Arab Emirates appreciates continued US efforts to reach a Palestine-Israel peace agreement. This plan is a serious initiative that addresses many issues raised over the years. (1/3)"

From what I've read, Egypt also favors the plan, although I've yet to read anything official from Egypt's government. But Hezbollah's correct, IMO.

"The only way to guarantee a lasting solution is to reach an agreement between all concerned parties. The UAE believes that Palestinians and Israelis can achieve lasting peace and genuine coexistence with the support of the international community. (2/3)"

"The plan announced today offers an important starting point for a return to negotiations within a US-led international framework. (3/3)"

Part of Hezbollah's response :

"This deal would not have taken place without the collusion and treason of a number of Arab regimes, both secret and public. The peoples of our nation will never forgive those rulers who forsook resistance to maintain their fragile thrones."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:26 utc | 36

Oman and Bahrain join UAE :

"Trump greenlights Netanyahu to annex at least 1/3 of the West Bank.

"Never forget that Oman, Bahrain and the UAE were present in that room [where the speech was made]."

I'm very surprised at Oman. This indicates to me both the Iranian and Russian collective security proposals are now dead and the situation will now escalate further.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:41 utc | 39

But isn't that exactly what the plan's supposed to do?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 28 2020 21:12 utc | 33

"In the remaining weeks before the March 2 Israeli elections, and the few months left until elections in the United States, Trump's peace plan will primarily serve the goal for which it was designed: election propaganda for Israel's right-wing."

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/01/israel-us-palestinians-iran-donald-trump-benjamin-netanyahu.html#ixzz6CMb2xwxV

+Bonus prize = Stay out of jail card for Netanyahu if he remains Prime Minister.


"In the near term, the 80-page plan is most likely to stir up Israeli and American politics. Mr. Trump is sure to cite the plan's pro-Israel slant on the 2020 campaign trail to win support from conservative Jewish Americans in Florida and other key states, along with the Evangelical Christians who are some of his strongest backers and support Israeli expansion in the Holy Land."

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/28/world/middleeast/peace-plan.html

Let's not forget the far right Zionist money men AIPAC members who lavish millions on trump and GOP campaigns. ie Sheldon Adelson was seated in the front row when trump and netanyahu made their announcement. I would say these are the things it's intended to do.

Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 28 2020 21:44 utc | 40

[Jan 28, 2020] Pompeo's Petty Despotism

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

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

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

[Jan 28, 2020] 'Mideast Peace Plan Trump Unveils His 'Deal of the Century'

Notable quotes:
"... Trump was adamant that Palestinians would be forced to accept his plan in the end. "We have the support of the prime minister, we have the support of the other parties, and we think we will ultimately have the support of the Palestinians, but we're going to see," he said on Monday. ..."
"... Trump has largely outsourced the creation of the plan to his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The initial idea was to publish it after the April 2019 election in Israel, but the uncertainty hanging over the Knesset over the past year has delayed the announcement. ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | sputniknews.com

The announcement comes after Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival Benjamin 'Benny' Gantz. The Palestinian authorities have repeatedly objected to the plan, as its details were trickling out, and mass protests are expected in the Palestinian territories as Israel tightens security measures. US President Donald Trump has unveiled his long-anticipated Middle East plan – effectively his administration's vision for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Trump said that under his plan Jerusalem will remain Israel's 'undivided' capital.

Israel's West Bank settlements would be recognised by the United States.

However, Israel would freeze the construction of new settlements on Palestinian territories for four years while Palestinian statehood is negotiated. Trump said that the US will open an embassy to Palestine in East Jerusalem.

The US president said that his Palestine-Israel map would "more than double" the Palestinian territory.

"I want this deal to be a great deal for the Palestinians, it has to be. Today's agreement is a historic opportunity for the Palestinians to finally achieve an independent state of their own," Trump said. "These maps will more than double Palestinian territory and provide a Palestinian capital in Eastern Jerusalem where America will proudly open its embassy."

He added that the US and Israel would create a committee to implement the proposed peace plan.

"My vision presents a win-win opportunity for both sides, a realistic two-state solution that resolves the risk of Palestinian statehood to Israel's security," Trump said during a press conference.

On Monday, Donald Trump held separate meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz. Neither of the two managed to achieve a decisive victory in general elections in April or September last year, and a third vote is scheduled for March to break the impasse.

Benny Gantz, the leader of the centre-right Blue and White alliance, praised Trump's plan following Monday's meeting in Washington and promised to put it into practice if he wins the March election. Netanyahu has not commented publicly on it yet.

There has been some speculation in the media that Trump wants Netanyahu and Gantz to work together toward implementing the plan.

No Palestinians at the table

Trump had not met with any Palestinian representatives prior to the announcement; Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had reportedly turned down several offers to discuss the proposal.

Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza have called for mass protests against the peace plan, prompting the Israeli military to reinforce troops in the Jordan Valley.

President Abbas reportedly greenlighted a "Day of Rage" over the Trump plan on Wednesday, paving the way for violent clashes between protesters and Israeli forces. He is currently holding an emergency meeting of the executive bodies of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Fatah party.

Palestinians have also floated the possibility of quitting the Oslo accords, which created the Palestinian Authority and regulate its relations with the state of Israel.

The Oslo accords, signed in the 1990s, officially created the Palestinian Authority as a structure tasked with exercising self-governance over the territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

A long path behind
Trump was adamant that Palestinians would be forced to accept his plan in the end. "We have the support of the prime minister, we have the support of the other parties, and we think we will ultimately have the support of the Palestinians, but we're going to see," he said on Monday.

Trump has largely outsourced the creation of the plan to his adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The initial idea was to publish it after the April 2019 election in Israel, but the uncertainty hanging over the Knesset over the past year has delayed the announcement.

Jared Kushner unveiled the economic portion of the plan this past summer at a conference in Bahrain, but failed to shore up support from Palestinians and faced widespread condemnation instead.

Israelis and Palestinians have been embroiled in a conflict ever since the State of Israel came into existence. Previous American administrations, in line with the United Nations's approach, had long favoured an arrangement that envisaged an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

The Trump administration reversed that policy and made a series of decidedly pro-Israel moves in the past three years. Those included moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognising the Golan Heights (which it annexed illegally from Syria) and Israeli settlements in the West Bank (illegal under international law) as parts of Israel.

[Jan 28, 2020] Trump's Annexation and Apartheid Plan

Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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[Jan 27, 2020] Guess Who Was In Charge Of Reviewing Bolton's Leaked Book At The NSC

Bolton is pretty dangerous neocon scum... Now he tried to backstab Trump, so Trump gets what he deserves as only complete idiot or a fully controlled puppet would appoint Bolton to his Administration.
Notable quotes:
"... Breitbart News ..."
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
Jan 27, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Breitbart News , which would include the recently leaked manuscript of former National Security adviser John Bolton.

The report describes the reviews as a "standard process that allows the NSC to review book manuscripts, op-eds, or any other material for any classified material to be eliminated before publication."

The New York Times reported Sunday evening that Bolton's draft book manuscript, which had been submitted to the NSC for prepublication review on Dec. 30, alleged that President Trump told Bolton in August 2019 that he wanted to withhold security assistance to Ukraine until it agreed to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, among others.

It was not clear if the Times had seen the Bolton manuscript; its sources were "multiple people" who "described Mr. Bolton's account of the Ukraine affair."

Bolton's lawyer, Chuck Cooper, issued a statement in which he said: "It is clear, regrettably, from The New York Times article published today that the prepublication review process has been corrupted ." He did not confirm or deny the Times ' reporting on the content of the manuscript. - Breitbart News

What a coincidence! While Alexander Vindman at the NSC testifies against Trump at the House impeachment, the other brother (Yevgeny) appears to be in charge of clearing John Bolton's book for publication.

If you believe in coincidences. https://t.co/qtpoqeGpaj

-- Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) January 27, 2020

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman famously testified against President Trump during House impeachment hearings in November, where he admitted to violating the chain of command when he reported his concerns over a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky.

Nunes: Did you know that financial records show a Ukrainian natural gas company, Burisma, routed more than $ 3 million to American accounts tied to Hunter Biden?

Vindman, whose job is to handle Ukraine policy: "I'm not aware of this fact." pic.twitter.com/6yFbWkufmH

-- Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) November 19, 2019

Breitbart notes that the Vindman brothers have offices across from each other at the NSC , and that the Wall Street Journal describes Vindman as "an NSC lawyer handling ethics issues." Alexander Vindman, meanwhile, has said that his brother was the " lead ethics official " at the agency.

Meanwhile, looks like people are already distancing themselves from Bolton's claims that President Trump explicitly linked Ukraine aid with an investigation into the Bidens.

And now contradicted by Mick Mulvaney. https://t.co/1dhuCQ8UHZ

-- Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 27, 2020

hooligan2009 , 39 seconds ago link

remember seth rich!

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/breaking-exclusive-christopher-wrays-fbi-caught-in-another-lie-and-cover-up-fbi-emails-on-seth-rich-uncovered/

"Today, January 27, 2020, we have a stunning update ==>>

After previously claiming no FBI records could be found related to Seth Rich, emails have been uncovered. These emails weren't just from anybody. These emails were between FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the two most corrupt individuals involved in the Russia Collusion Hoax.

In a set of emails released by Judicial Watch on January 22, 2020, provided by a FOIA request on Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two pages on emails refer to Seth Rich:"

https://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/JW-v-DOJ-Strzok-Page-Prod-16-00154.pdf

Moneycircus , 1 minute ago link

The Vindman brothers are being "handled" by someone.

I wager they have political "groomers", just like Obama did.

A Jewish photographer has been capturing Alexander Vindman and his twin for nearly 4 decades
https://www.jta.org/2019/11/06/culture/a-jewish-photographer-has-been-capturing-alexander-vindman-and-his-twin-for-nearly-4-decades

They were also featured in a 1985 Ken Burns documentary about immigrants.

Crush the cube , 7 minutes ago link

These guys are Ukrainian mob moles, sent here by their Ukie Jewish oligarchs when their positions of privilege went into decline with the collapse of communism. Because its typical for three first generation schmucks fresh off the immigrant boat to end up with two as officers both working in the white house, and the third brother back in Ukie Euro land controlling a major bank hip deep in all the scandal.

Think any investigative agency will touch it, don't **** with the mossad.

Attitude_Check , 7 minutes ago link

The rats are starting to tear into each other - good.

Moneycircus , 13 minutes ago link

Retired Army Officer Remembers Lt. Col. Vindman as Partisan Democrat Who Ridiculed America

https://tennesseestar.com/2019/11/05/retired-army-officer-remembers-lt-col-vindman-as-partisan-democrat-who-ridiculed-america/

Nov 5, 2019In an eye-opening thread on Twitter last week, retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Jim Hickman said that he "verbally reprimanded " Vindman after he heard some of his derisive remarks for himself. " Do not let the uniform fool you," Hickman wrote. "He is a political activist in uniform."

Harley Vet , 14 minutes ago link

Donald Trump is the most unqualified person ever to be elected president.

Southern_Boy , 19 minutes ago link

So why isn't Vindman doing contracts in North Alaska or deputy attache in Namibia tonight until he gets passed over 3 times for promotion and forced to retire unless Durham can find evidence of his guilt?

Obake158 , 26 minutes ago link

Speaking of Vindman, an Obama holdover, White House HR head, has prohibited Vindman's removal from the NSC. He even gets a $30k raise and is permitted to serve out his term until June. You can't make this **** up:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AV9-7R5or6w

Deep Snorkeler , 30 minutes ago link

John Bolton Trump's Sidekick

  1. manifestly guilty of the planning, preparation, initiation and execution of the crime of aggression against Iraq
  2. promoted the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal
  3. setting the stage for an unlawful US military intervention in Venezuela - plotting a coup against a foreign government
  4. hates the United Nations and international law
  5. protected Israel by vetoing all UN resolutions targeting Israel and supported Jerusalem as Israel's capital
  6. against the International Criminal Court

[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] Zionism is used as a smoke scree for Full Spectrum Dominance drive. It is effective in silencing US opponents

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jan 26 2020 23:40 utc | 57

Phil @35:

Wait and see? Hope for change?

Western Democracies have fallen to the secretive Zionist Death Cult.

We need Movement(s) to restore democracy.

"Democracy Works!" propagandists will tell you that you only need YOUR VOTE. That is false. They ask for unilateral disarmament. We will never restore democracy by voting in rigged elections.

Zionist Death Cult? is no exaggeration. IMO The Zionist Movement has been hijacked by those who see ANY opposition as an existential threat. Thus, they MUST smash countries in the Middle East, and they MUST rule the world, even if that means conflict with Russia and China.

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

I see Zionism not as a bad expression.... Zion and Zionism is, in my view, only a necessary expression of an oppressed people ...

Massaging Zionist egos with happy talk is counter-productive. (Yeah, I know you qualify your happy talk later, but still ...) THEY DON'T CARE. They are only interested in POWER and keeping it.

Whatever it started out as, Zionism has morphed into a Movement that has brought misery to millions and threatens the extinction of humanity via WWIII. The Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight .

Just imagine if your culture, your tribe, was abolished and persecuted for centuries ...

Whatever was learned from that persecution seems to have been co-opted by ruthless Zionists who don't just want a homeland but the defeat of everyone that might restrict or restain them in any way - thus, the alliance with USA Empire-builders that to rule the world (NWO).

Just imagine if ... : your country has been subverted by a secretive Movement that bypasses Democratic process and corrupts your leaders via money and relentless organizing - including illegal blackmail operations that subvert anyone that doesn't approve of their goals and means of achieving them. At some point, they get to a point where their undermining is essentially more than paid for by grants from the government that they now control.

=
That the state of Israel is oppressing other people today, and is secured by the 'empire' and the holocaust emblem, is certainly a sad period of history.

You're forgetting the Christian Zionists, MIC, and others that have a financial interest in continuing the farce.

USA and Western political elites are virtually ALL corrupted by Zionist influence.

=
It inverted the role play entirely, even perverted it. There is some hope in the citizens of Israel and the Jews that live abroad to find a way to end this insanity.

We should not rely upon that faint hope. The people in the West need to take back their democracies via MOVEMENTS.

They we might see a quick rush by Israel embrace those "simple solutions" that you talked about and to be less like the belligerent rogue State that they are today.

=
[Jews are] ... a people that is suffering from finding a place to be, to find a home. Palestine is somehow their home, but it must be shared with the Arab people who also call Palestine their home. Of course there is no simple solution to that question.

Well, the "simple solutions" that have been rejected by Zionist Death Cult.

The Zionist Death Cult decided that if they gain political control of USA, then they don't need to agree to "simple solutions". And "Zionist" Empire-builders in USA decided that they could use Israel to control the region and increase MIC profits. And the Zionist Death Cult mentality applies not just to Middle East but the World.

=
We, as a global community, have to bring separated tribes together. We have no other choice. Else, there is war. Constant war. Which is of course the plan for a certain elevated upper realm that is playing the part of the bad guy.

Yeah, well hoping for the best is not a plan.

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

Laguerre @40:

[Phil @35] Jews are a separate identity ... If they wish to remain a separate identity, then there are consequences.

As I see it, the problem is not Jews but Zionists, neocons, and other warmongers.

Too often, criticism of Israel or Zionism is wrongly translated into criticism of Jews.

ben , Jan 27 2020 0:38 utc | 63

Jrabbit @ 57 said;

"As I see it, the problem is not Jews but Zionists, neocons, and other warmongers."

"Too often, criticism of Israel or Zionism is wrongly translated into criticism of Jews."

Absolutely!!

[Jan 24, 2020] Martin Indyk An Important Neoliberal Defects From the Blob

Notable quotes:
"... Today Israel's IDF faces a combat hardened army in Syria, a combat hardened irregular military force in Lebanon, and increasingly hardened resistance in its own backyard with Hamas. And Iranian ground forces are not pushovers. ..."
Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Martin Indyk: An Important Neoliberal Defects From the Blob

Let's hope the former ambassador's heresy about withdrawing from the Middle East catches fire and spreads. Then-VP of Brookings Martin Indyk in 2017. (Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks)

January 22, 2020

|

12:01 am

Andrew J. Bacevich Within the inner precincts of the American foreign policy establishment, last names are redundant. At a Washington cocktail party, when some half-sloshed AEI fellow whispers, "Apparently, Henry is back in Beijing to see Xi," there's no need to ask, "Which Henry?" In that world, there is only one Henry, at least only one who counts.

Similarly, there is only one Martin. While Martin Indyk may not equal Henry Kissinger in star power, he has for several decades been a major player in U.S. policy regarding Israel and the Middle East more broadly. Founder of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, senior director on the National Security Council, twice U.S. ambassador to Israel, assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, presidential envoy -- not a bad resume for someone who was born in London, raised in Australia, and became a U.S. citizen only in his 40s.

Throughout his career, Martin has been deeply invested in the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and in the proposition that the United States has a vital interest in pursuing that process to a successful conclusion. More broadly, he has subscribed to the view that the United States has vital interests at stake in the Middle East more generally, with regional stability and the well-being of the people living there dependent on the United States exercising what people in Washington call "leadership." In this context, of course, leadership tends to be a euphemism for the use or threatened use of military power.

These are, of course, establishment notions, to which all members of the "Blob" necessarily declare their fealty. Indeed, at least until Trump came along, to dissent from such views was to become ineligible for appointment to even a mid-level post in the State Department, the Pentagon, or the White House.

Yet Martin has now publicly recanted.

In an extraordinary op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal (of all places), he asserts that "few vital interests of the US continue to be at stake in the Middle East." Policies centered on ensuring the free flow of Persian Gulf oil and the survival of Israel have become superfluous. "The US economy no longer relies on imported petroleum," he correctly notes. "Fracking has turned the US into a net oil and natural-gas exporter." As a consequence, Persian Gulf oil "is no longer a vital interest -- that is, one worth fighting for. Difficult as it might be to get our heads around the idea, China and India need to be protecting the sea lanes between the Gulf and their ports, not the US Navy."

As for the Jewish State, Martin notes, again correctly, that today Israel has the capacity "to defend itself by itself." Notwithstanding the blustering threats regularly issued by Tehran, "it is today's nuclear-armed Israel that has the means to crush Iran, not the other way around."

Furthermore, Martin has had his fill of the peace process. "A two-state solution to the Palestinian problem is a vital Israeli interest, not a vital American one," he writes, insisting that "it's time to end the farce of putting forward American peace plans only to have one or both sides reject them."

Martin does identify one vital U.S. interest in the Middle East: averting a nuclear arms race. Yet "we should be wary of those who would rush to battle stations," he cautions. "Curbing Iran's nuclear aspirations and ambitions for regional dominance will require assiduous American diplomacy, not war."

That last sentence captures the essence of Martin's overall conclusion: he proposes not disengaging from the Middle East but demilitarizing U.S. policy. "After the sacrifice of so many American lives, the waste of so much energy and money in quixotic efforts that ended up doing more harm than good," he writes, "it is time for the US to find a way to escape the costly, demoralising cycle of crusades and retreats."

Now such sentiments appear regularly in the pages of The American Conservative and on the website of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft . Yet in establishment circles, a willingness to describe U.S. policy in the Middle East as quixotic is rare indeed. As for acknowledging that we have done more harm than good, such commonsense views are usually regarded as beyond the pale.

Martin deserves our congratulations. We must hope that his heresy catches fire and spreads throughout the Blob. In the meantime, if he's in need of office space, the Quincy Institute stands ready to help.

Welcome to the ranks of the truth tellers, comrade.

Andrew Bacevich is TAC's writer-at-large and president of the Quincy Institute. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , has just been published.

ReplyShare › Show more replies Show more replies Show more replies − +

Mark Thomason 2 days ago

"Martin has been deeply invested in the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and in the proposition that the United States has a vital interest in pursuing that process to a successful conclusion. More broadly, he has subscribed to the view that the United States has vital interests at stake in the Middle East more generally, with regional stability and the well-being of the people living there"

No. The only use he ever had for the peace process was as cover for what Israel was really doing.

The only interest he ever cared about was Israel, not the stability or well-being of any other people but the hawks among Israelis.

He perverted US policy from the inside, in pursuit of those ends of those Lobby partisans. He has never been anything else.

Bianca Mark Thomason 10 hours ago • edited
And is about to pervert it AGAIN. One must be a total ignoramus not to notice American public's changing attitude towards Israel, as well as Israel's high powered lobbyists.
Before the change turns into an outright hostility, the apologists of the Empire are defusing the nascent rage. So, HE is the one to be PRAISED for being so wise, and deserving our support?
This leopard will keep on changing spots, but never his nature.
He is and will remain ardent apologist of American Empire -- for as long as this Empire serves his primary interest. And that interest is clear -- interest of Israel AND all of its citizens around the globe.
Joao Alfaiate a day ago
It is disheartening to read Bacevich praise Indyk-who was, after all, one of the architects of our disastrous Middle East "policy". I guess the Quincy Institute wants to hew a path closer to the mainstream narrative. What will be next? An apologia for Doug Feith and Richard Perle?
liveload 20 hours ago • edited
Indyk's comments read like a neo-con who's lost favor and power. This is not a good sign. This points to the internecine warfare within the halls of conceptual power being closer to decided. With the diplomats out, it leaves the apocalypse cult as the de-facto winner.

Expect more ludicrous demands of US vassals and more effort to attack Iran. They're not going to stop. Where the oil comes from doesn't matter, what currency is used to conduct trade does.

Bianca liveload 9 hours ago
It is exactly so -- internecine warfare. But I do not see them loosing power. They are losing NARRATIVE both internationally and domestically. This is a beginning of crafting a new narrative to stem the rising hostility against Israel centric militaristic foreign policy orientation.

Thus switching to "diplomacy", as military posturing just brings about dead ends to defend.
He wants results, So, change the narrative, diffuse anti-Israeli tide, and become a beacon of reason and wholesomeness. Who can resist these new spots?

foodoo 17 hours ago
Martin Indyk has already done maximal damage. His opportunity to actually help the situation has long past.
He is and always was an Israeli-firster
redsocs 13 hours ago • edited
There was never anything Quixotic about US foreign policy in the ME. As for Israel/Palestine, the policy, and "Martin" was central to it, was to pretend to negotiate in good faith while Israel occupied "the land from the river to the sea." In Iraq, except for Cheney's oil lust, it was to carry out the neo-con chant of "the road to Iran is through Iraq." As for Iran, it has been to barely resist Israel's, and US Israel-firster's, pressure for war, though it may still happen.
Steve Naidamast 4 hours ago
You mean to say that some establishment guy finally got fed up with all the bullshit?

In any event, Indyk is wrong to believe that Israel can defeat Iran in a conflict. Israeli nuclear weapons are really of little consequence in such a situation as the majority of them must be delivered by aircraft which Iran will simply shoot down. Those that are siloed will most likely meet the same fate. But in either case Russia will not allow any such conflict to go nuclear.

In terms of conventional capabailities, the IDF has never been a very good military unit since it basically has only entered engagements with less than equally capable opponents. However, that has all been changing since Hezbollah's defeat of the IDF in 2006.

Today Israel's IDF faces a combat hardened army in Syria, a combat hardened irregular military force in Lebanon, and increasingly hardened resistance in its own backyard with Hamas. And Iranian ground forces are not pushovers.

The Israeli navy is meaningless in this situation so it is only in the air that Israel now has any claim to fame. However, instead of increasing its Air Force with modernized F15x models, Israel has opted to acquire the F35, which no amount of avionics can make the air-frame fly better. Iran still uses the F14 as a heavy fighter, which Israel also requires for her situation making the acquisition of the F35 rather odd.

In the end, it will be Iranian missile development that places that nation in a position to deal a death blow to the Israeli state.

[Jan 24, 2020] Is Trump Offering West Bank to Bibi In His 'Deal of the Century'

Trump pro-Israel policy looks more and more like t "How to get Adelson money and lose the re-election" Pandering to Israel Likud leadership should not be the priority task for the USA. And violating UN resolutions to please Netanyahu does not get Trump any additional voters iether.
Jan 24, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

And he's bringing Netanyahu and Benny Gantz here on Tuesday, smack in the middle of impeachment. Benjamin Netanyahu stands near a photo showing him and US President Donald Trump shake hands as he speaks to supporters at a Likud Party campaign rally on January 21, 2020 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Amir Levy/Getty Images)

January 24, 2020

|

9:43 am

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos In his bid to detract from his impeachment and to help out his friend Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under indictment and facing a fierce election March 2, is Trump willing to light the Middle East on fire?

That is what the news suggests this morning. The details are vague but it appears that Trump may be planning to announce his "peace deal of the century" for Israel and the Palestinians soon, and has invited Prime Minister Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz to the White House next week. He has not invited Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who would be the other signatory if a "peace deal" would in fact be in the offing.

More importantly, reports indicate that the so-called deal might give Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley and illegal settlements in the West Bank. This is what Netanyahu has promised Israelis throughout this tumultuous election drama and his own indictment on charges of fraud and bribery , for which he has yet to stand trial. He is on a razor thin tightrope, but despite claims that he was finished (even from these pages!) he has managed to stay on. Trump's gambit -- -giving him everything he asked for right before the election, may be the greatest gift Trump could give.

And what does it do for Trump? On it's face, it's all upsides for him politically. He has not been hurt as he has made other brazen moves to put the American thumb on the scale for Israel's right wing throughout his three-and-a-half-year term -- including moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel's annex of the Golan Heights, withdrawing aid from Palestinian refugees, and declaring that Jewish settlements in disputed Palestinian territories were not illegal.

If he can bolster his Republican hawk base -- think Senators Rubio, Cotton, and Graham -- during impeachment, all the better. High profile Democrats are unlikely to make a fuss, either, as many of them are strong supporters of Israel, too. It would be no surprise to see several of them take time from the trial for an audience with Netanyahu when he is here.

Trump was characteristically banal in his comment about the plan Thursday: "It's a great plan. It's a plan that really would work," he told reporters on Air Force One en route to a Republican Party meeting in Florida. Sure, it would work for Netanyahu and the right wing Israelis who have been praying for a U.S. president to act so boldly biased in favor of them for decades. For their part, the Palestinians under Abbas have already rejected Trump's plan in the works and have cut off all diplomatic ties with Washington, for obvious reasons. There is no "peace" in this plan, the fix was in from the start. The whole business of the deal including a huge economic plan for the Palestinians is hooey and the world knows it -- that's why Trump son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner was widely panned when he announced that piece of the proposal last year.

For all the politics, even Israeli media sees the danger in the course, whether or not the people in Washington give a damn. From Haaretz this morning:

Before starting the celebrations, the officials would do well to consider the possible risks. For some three years, Military Intelligence has been warning the government about the risk of violence erupting in the West Bank. Since the last, short-lived, mini-intifada faded out in the summer of 2016, the West Bank has been mostly quiet .
But a peace deal that would be interpreted as an Israeli-American conspiracy could push the Palestinian Authority to desperate moves, like igniting a wave of protests or even, as happened after the failure of the Camp David peace conference in 2000, encourage large-scale terror acts. This would change everything.

There is a really skewed vision of "peace" in the White House and it has very little to do with foreign policy expertise, or well-informed ideas or plans. Trump has been led by members of his team with specific ideological interests from the start . He and his surrogates were very plain about this during his 2016 campaign. His vice presidential pick, plus his hiring of Pompeo, Bolton, Kushner and appointment of David "Israel is on the side of God" Friedman as U.S. ambassador only cemented it. He has been ratified by his base all the way. God help us if this latest political calculation is the one that goes too far.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, executive editor, has been writing for TAC for the last decade, focusing on national security, foreign policy, civil liberties and domestic politics. She served for 15 years as a Washington bureau reporter for FoxNews.com, and at WTOP News in Washington from 2013-2017 as a writer, digital editor and social media strategist. She has also worked as a beat reporter at Bridge News financial wire (now part of Reuters) and Homeland Security Today, and as a regular contributor at Antiwar.com. A native Nutmegger, she got her start in Connecticut newspapers, but now resides with her family in Arlington, Va.


Woland 4 hours ago

Nothing goes too far for Trump. Anyone opposing this so-called deal will have to face accusations of being Israel-haters and antisemites, and whatever the Palestinians do, they'll remain an ungrateful, violent people who just can't understand the wise decisions taken for them by their betters in Washington and Jerusalem.

Not that it matters. The EU is toothless, Russia and China don't care, and Saudi Arabia will somehow find a way to make this benefit whatever scheme they're currently running. Trump wins, if only because no one knows what the game is anymore.

scottrob 3 hours ago
Violence would be the dumbest move on the Palestinians part. The smartest would be to throw in the towel and demand full citizenship. Israel would have a choice: run an Apartheid state or become a totally secular society. Both losers for Israel in their eyes.
ZizaNiam scottrob 3 hours ago
Agreed, there would need to be massive demonstrations but I doubt BBC, CNN, MSNBC would cover those, and would only highlight the violent reactions.
cka2nd scottrob 3 hours ago
Israel is already an apartheid state, if not one quite as blatant as South Africa used to be, and becoming more of one every year. And many Israelis are not only fine with that, but would dearly love to expel all of the Arabs, from both the West Bank and Israel proper.
hooly scottrob 26 minutes ago
'demand' full citizenship? You mean like all the Illegal Aliens residing in the USA? Won't some Americans object, as would some Israelis? do they have the right to say no to open borders and mass immigration?
hooly 30 minutes ago
is Trump willing to light the Middle East on fire?

Seriously? I've been hearing this for years, ... oh please, get over it! The Middle East surely can't get any worse than it is now? I mean after the Iraq invasion, Syrian Civil War, Libyan regime change, Yemen War, growing Iranian influence, endless Color Revolutions and uprisings, etc, etc, ... do you really think a little Israeli land grab (and dispossession of Palestinians) will make things that much worse??

[Jan 21, 2020] Trump Tries Real Hard to Start a War for Israel. He Should be Impeached Because He is a War Criminal by Kurt Nimmo

Notable quotes:
"... In my last post, I said it was time to close down this blog, mostly due to its ineffectiveness, short reach, and choir preaching. I wrote that I might as well pound sand for all the good it did. ..."
"... The US began targeting Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This included "freezing" -- polite-speak for theft -- around $12 billion in Iranian assets, including gold, property, and bank holdings. After Obama agreed to return this filched property and money as part of the nuke deal (minus any real nukes), neocons said he gave away US taxpayer money to international terrorists. This warped lie became part of the narrative, yet another state-orchestrated fake news "alternative fact." ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

In my last post, I said it was time to close down this blog, mostly due to its ineffectiveness, short reach, and choir preaching. I wrote that I might as well pound sand for all the good it did.

A few days later, Trump killed a high level Iranian military leader and I have decided a post is in order, never mind that a round of tiddlywinks will have about the same influence as a post here. The wars just keep on coming, no matter what we do.

Let's turn to social media where dimwits, neocon partisans, and clueless Democrats are running wild after corporate Mafia boss and numero uno Israeli cheerleader Donald Trump ordered a hit on Gen. Qasem Soleimani and others near Baghdad's international airport on Thursday.

Let's begin with this teleprompter reader and "presenter" from Al Jazeera:

"This is what happens when you put a narcissistic, megalomaniacal, former reality TV star with a thin skin and a very large temper in charge of the world's most powerful military You know who else attacks cultural sites? ISIS. The Taliban." – me on Trump/Iran on MSNBC today: pic.twitter.com/YCRARB2anv

-- Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) January 5, 2020

It is interesting how the memory of such people only goes back to the election of Donald Trump.

The US began targeting Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This included "freezing" -- polite-speak for theft -- around $12 billion in Iranian assets, including gold, property, and bank holdings. After Obama agreed to return this filched property and money as part of the nuke deal (minus any real nukes), neocons said he gave away US taxpayer money to international terrorists. This warped lie became part of the narrative, yet another state-orchestrated fake news "alternative fact."

Here's another idiot. He was the boss of the DNC for a while and unsuccessfully ran for president.

Nice job trump and Pompeo you dimwits. You've completed the neocon move to have Iraq become a satellite of Iran. You have to be the dumbest people ever to run the US government. You can add that to being the most corrupt. Get these guys out of here. https://t.co/gQHhHSeiJQ

-- Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 5, 2020

Once again, history is lost in a tangle of lies and omission. Centuries before John Dean thought it might be a good idea to run for president, Persians and Shias in what is now Iraq and Iran were crossing the border -- later drawn up by invading Brits and French -- in pilgrimages to the shrines of Imam Husayn and Abbas in Karbala. We can't expect an arrogant sociopath like Mr. Dean to know about Ashura, Shia pilgrimages, the Remembrance of Muharram, and events dating back to 680 AD.

Shias from Iran pilgrimage to other Iraqi cities as well, including An-Najaf, Samarra, Mashhad, and Baghdad (although the latter is more important to Sunnis).

Corporate fake news teleprompter reader Stephanopoulos said the Geneva Conventions (including United Nations Security Council Resolution 2347) outlaw the targeting of cultural sites, which Trump said he will bomb.

Trump said there are 52 different sites; the number is not arbitrary, it is based on the 52 hostages, many of them CIA officers, taken hostage during Iran's revolution against the US-installed Shah and his brutal secret police sadists.

Pompeo said Trump won't destroy Iran's cultural and heritage sites. Pompeo, as a dedicated Zionist operative, knows damn well the US will destroy EVERYTHING of value in Iran, same as it did in Iraq and later Libya and Syria. This includes not only cultural sites, but civilian infrastructure -- hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, and mosques.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Geneva Conventions outlaws attacks on cultural objects & places of worship. Why is Trump threatening Iran w/ war crimes?

POMPEO: We'll behave lawfully

S: So to be clear, Trump's threat wasn't accurate?

P: Every target that we strike will be a lawful target pic.twitter.com/zOGTpfYmba

Invoking the United Nations' Historic "Uniting for Peace" Resolution 377 Before Trump Embroils Us in War with Iran

-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 5, 2020

Although I believe Jill Stein is living in a Marxian fantasy world, I agree with her tweet in regard to the Zionist hit on Soleimani:

Now THIS is grounds for #impeachment – treachery unleashing the unthinkable for Americans & people the world over: Trump asked Iraqi prime minister to mediate with #Iran then assassinated Soleimani – on a mediation mission. https://t.co/f0F9FEMALD

-- Dr. Jill Stein 🌻 (@DrJillStein) January 5, 2020

Trump should be impeached -- tried and imprisoned -- not in response to some dreamed-up and ludicrous Russian plot or even concern about the opportunist Hunter Biden using his father's position to make millions in uber-corrupt Ukraine, but because he is a war criminal responsible for killing women and children.

As for the planned forever military occupation of Iraq, USA Today reports:

Iraq's Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told lawmakers that a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops, including U.S. ones, was required "for the sake of our national sovereignty." About 5,000 American troops are in various parts of Iraq.

The latest:
-- Iraqi lawmakers voted to oust U.S. troops
-- U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS has paused operations
-- Hundreds of thousands mourned General Suleimani in Iran
-- President Trump said the U.S. has 52 possible targets in Iran in case of retaliation https://t.co/pmUuAQdKlc

-- The New York Times (@nytimes) January 5, 2020

No way in hell will Sec. State Pompeo and his Zionist neocon handlers allow this to happen without a fight. However, it shouldn't be too difficult for the Iraqis to expel 5,000 brainwashed American soldiers from the country, bombed to smithereens almost twenty years ago by Bush the Neocon Idiot Savant.

Never mind Schumer's pretend concern about another war. This friend of Israel from New York didn't go on national television and excoriate Obama and his cutthroat Sec. of State Hillary Clinton for killing 30,000 Libyans.

I'm concerned President Trump's impulsive foreign policy is dragging America into another endless war in the Middle East that will make us less safe.

Congress must assert itself.

President Trump does not have authority for war with Iran. pic.twitter.com/tra71uY9Ao

-- Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 5, 2020

Meanwhile, it looks like social media is burning the midnight oil in order to prevent their platforms being used to argue against Trump's latest Zionist-directed insanity.

It is absolutely crazy that Twitter is auto-locking the accounts of anyone who posts this "No war on Iran" image, and forcing them to delete the anti-war tweet in order to unlock their account.

Will @TwitterSupport say what's going on? Very screwed up https://t.co/zGTvVfNNqt

-- Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) January 5, 2020

More lies from The Washington Post, the CIA's crown jewel of propaganda:

Trump faces Iran crisis with fewer experienced advisers and strained relations with traditional allies https://t.co/Xi3vKw9Bw9

-- Steven Ginsberg (@stevenjay) January 5, 2020

This is complete and utter bullshit, but I'm sure the American people will gobble it down without question. Trump's advisers are neocons and they are seriously experienced in the art of promoting and engineering assassination, cyber-attacks, invasions, and mass murder.

Newsmax scribbler John Cardillo thinks he has it all figure out.

"In mid-October Soleimani instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran "

That's why we hit him https://t.co/56XKm9Kqwe

-- John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 5, 2020

Imagine this, however improbable and ludicrous: Iran invades America and assassinates General Hyten or General McConville, both top members of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Now imagine the response by the "exceptional nation."

We can't leave out the Christian Zionist from Indiana, Mike Pence. Mike wants you to believe Iran was responsible for 9/11, thus stirring up the appropriate animosity and consensus for mass murder.

Neither Iran nor Soleimani were linked to the terror attack in the "9/11 Commission Report." Pence didn't even get the number of hijackers right. https://t.co/QtQZm2Yyh9

-- HuffPost Politics (@HuffPostPol) January 5, 2020

Finally, here is the crown jewel of propaganda -- in part responsible for the death of well over a million Iraqis -- The New York Times showing off its rampant hypocrisy.

In Opinion

The editorial board writes, "It is crucial that influential Republican senators like Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and Mitch McConnell remind President Trump of his promise to keep America out of foreign quagmires" https://t.co/2swusvBWbg

-- The New York Times (@nytimes) January 5, 2020

Never mind Judith Miller, the Queen of NYT pro-war propaganda back in the day, spreading neocon fabricated lies about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction. America -- or rather the United States (the government) -- is addicted to quagmires and never-ending war. This is simply more anti-Trump bullshit by the NYT editorial board. The newspaper loves war waged in the name of Israel, but only if jumpstarted by Democrats.

Trump the fool, the fact-free reality TV president will eventually unleash the dogs of war against Iran, much to the satisfaction of Israel, its racist Zionists, Israel-first neocons in America, and the chattering pro-war class of "journalists," and "foreign policy experts" (most former Pentagon employees).

Expect more nonsense like that dispensed by the robot Mike Pence, the former tank commander now serving as Sec. of State, and any number of neocon fellow travelers, many with coveted blue checkmarks on Twitter while the truth-tellers are expelled from the conversation and exiled to the political wilderness.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[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.

Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?

Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media

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] Moving embassy to Jerusalem and reneging on Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) were Trump's campaign promises which he delivered

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

utu , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:35 pm GMT

@Chepo

At the time, there was minimal Zionist influence over the Trump campaign

You did not pay attention. Moving embassy to Jerusalem and reneging on Obama's Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) were Trump's campaign promises which he delivered but many Trump supporters did not hear them as they were gobbling up the MAGA stuff.

Realist , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:12 pm GMT
@Chepo

It is evident that Trump will win re-election and go to war with Iran afterwards.

Agreed.

Michael888 , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 8:25 pm GMT
@utu Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem happened by Law in 1995, adopted by the Senate (93–5), and the House (374–37); Clinton, Bush and Obama (and Trump initially) played a game of "waivers" to avoid going through with the move. "On June 5, 2017, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution commemorating the 50th anniversary of reunification of Jerusalem by 90-0. The resolution reaffirmed the Jerusalem Embassy Act and called upon the President and all United States officials to abide by its provisions. On December 6, 2017, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital" [from wiki].
Obama's (and John Kerry's) Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran nuclear deal) was dead on arrival no matter who became President in the 2016 Election. The worst part of the JCPOA was indirect, as Joe Luria reported at Consortium News; Obama bought off Saudi objections by agreeing to support the genocide in Yemen (Obama had already passed a National Emergency (SANCTIONS) against Yemen in 2012; and droned American citizens, the al-Awlaki family (including a 16 year old and an 8 year old) in multiple attacks between 2011-2017.)
Trump has prosecuted the Forever wars from Bush II and Obama viciously, but he is being played by the neocons who run DC and America. Wars no longer end. Too much money is being made.

[Jan 21, 2020] A New Definition of Warfare by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of "extreme pressure" on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about "regime change." In Pompeo's twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become "normal countries."

The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America's imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S. sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked, forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to survive.

The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December 29 th to January 3 rd , the American military, which operates out of two major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation of the country's government and that invitation had just been revoked by parliament.

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S. forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS, but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.

Washington's response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time table to create a "withdrawal mechanism" the Secretary of State made it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department written response entitled "The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq" asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a "force for good" in the Middle East and that it is "our right" to maintain "appropriate force posture" in the region.

The Iraqi position also immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about "sanctions like they have never seen," with the implication that the U.S. was more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq's financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that description.

After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian , a United States representative from the National Security Council named Richard Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: "The question for prime minister Johnson is: 'As you are moving towards Brexit what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?' It's absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain's interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe."

And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John Bolton protégé anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation , posits "Consider the following scenario: A Washington, DC–based, tax-exempt organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the enhancement of a foreign country's reputation within the United States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as 'fellows') embedded within the White House national security staff in order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization, which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton."

The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran, including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the president's ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House advocating a policy of "regime disruption" with the Islamic Republic that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to the assassination of Soleimani.

The good news, if there is any, is that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels, where much of the development and implementation of policy actually takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of state.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


TG , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:53 am GMT

Blockades are traditionally considered to be acts of war. Surely a trade embargo of sufficient degree should be considered the same thing.
onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:18 am GMT
This " just" in:

1] "war is the health of the state" Randolph Bourne https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

2] "Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed"or "improved",simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/

Therefor, if you have [always criminal] governments in the first place, then, as night follows day, you must have [always criminal] government-made wars .

Regards, onebornfree

Reality Check , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:16 am GMT
US President Donald Trump chose as the deputy chairwoman [also appointed by Trump, the current chairman is Steve Feinberg] of the intelligence advisory board a Jewish national security expert who is well known in the pro-Israel national security community.

Ravich, a former deputy national security adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, is a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an influential hawkish pro-Israel think tank. She is also a senior adviser to the Chertoff Group, founded by Michael Chertoff, a homeland security secretary in the George W. Bush administration, and has worked with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

She has also worked with the pro-Israel community helping to raise money for Israel Bonds.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-names-jewish-security-expert-to-senior-intelligence-post/

Chepo , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:31 am GMT
It is evident that Trump will win re-election and go to war with Iran afterwards. All this Impeachment mania is simply theatre created by Jews from both sides of the political spectrum in order to prepare Trump for the Zionist vs. Iran war.

The Greater Israel Project has always been the main objective of American foreign policy. Now, Israel hacked the 2016 election and selected Trump as he attains the required personality, theatre and following in order to deepen the control towards the masses.

Chepo , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:36 am GMT
@Reality Check Trump destroyed the Republican contenders in the 2016 Primaries, easily. At the time, there was minimal Zionist influence over the Trump campaign – the Jewish factor was heavily focused on the other Republican rivals. Trump won the Primaries in a generic and motivational fashion. Afterwards, the Zionists took over Trump and related entities. The real MAGA Trump factor ended once the Primaries were won – enter the Zionists.

Israel rigged the election by fixing the actual voting numbers.
Robert Mercer and Zuckerberg rigged the election by compromising the masses on Facebook.

Tony Hall , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:49 am GMT
For the government of one country to designate another country's armed forces as a "terrorist organization" is essentially a declaration of war. When in April of 2019 Netanyahu claimed credit for Trump's designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, he created the pseudo-law framework which became part of the justification for the Israeli-US war crime of 2 Jan. 2020.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-trump-designated-iran-guards-a-terror-group-at-his-request/

Now the pressure is being placed squarely on the NATO countries, but especially Canada, to follow the Netanyahu-Trump lead by designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The Canadian branch of the ADL has even gone as far as giving an ultimatum to Justin Trudeau, an ultimatum to make the designation within a month or else. Is the agenda to get NATO ensnared in a US war against Iran to serve Israel?

https://ahtribune.com/world/americas/canada/3826-act-of-war-to-designate-irgc-a-terrorist-organization.html

Ever since the misrepresentation of the events of 9/11 we have been engulfed in a massive propaganda campaign aimed at giving the appearance of legitimacy to pseudo-laws founded in major war crimes extending from Sept. of 2001 until today. The continuing reign of the ongoing lies and crimes of 9/11 has brought us to this point where the Axis of Deception, whose mascot of human degradation is Jeffrey Epstein, stands against the Axis of Resistance. In recent days a guiding spirit of the Axis of Resistance has become the martyred holy warrior, Qassem Soleimani.

mikemikev , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 10:38 am GMT
Coincidentally the FDD just produced an article agreeing that sanctions are a form of war.
https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2020/1/20/war-by-other-means
Naturally they're only concerned about Israel.
peter mcloughlin , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 11:31 am GMT
Sanctions can kill and cause great human suffering. Sanctions are presented as a humane alternative to war, cheaper and means to avoid military action with uncertain consequences. But history warns that sanctions aimed at bringing about capitulation or regime change lead to full-scale conflict. If they are too effective or ineffective one side must escalate.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

almondflake , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:19 pm GMT
Sanctions are the modern day equivalent of laying a siege on the enemy's castle. Such tactic has been an integral part of warfare ever since the first castles were built by man.

This 21st century crusade against the muslim world is fast approaching its final climax. Everything is going as planned by the ruler-wannabes and the whole of middle earth seems destined to be theirs for once and for all.

We are all contemporary witnesses to the war campaign of the MILLENNIUM that was prescribed by the bible and the tora and few recognize the historic significance.

Will we get to see which of the New Testament and the Tora prevails, not that we want to, but because we have no choice but to see? Or will there be a rarest of rare black swan event that will produce an unanticipated course of history?

JUSA , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:41 pm GMT
Protocol #1:
The Basic Doctrine: "Right Lies in Might"

Protocol #2:
Economic War and Disorganization Lead to International Government

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT
The war on Iran is in the formative stage with sanctions and the murder of Soleimani who was helping defeat the AL CIADA aka ISIS terrorists who were created and funded and armed by the US and Israel and Britain and NATO and for that reason he was murdered...
anastasia , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:46 pm GMT
Terrific article, but I would not use the word "infiltrate" when speaking of theneocons in the Trump administration. They are there by open invitation by the biggest neo-con of them all – Trump.
If you review newspaper articles concerning Iran from 2003 onward, you see very clearly the slow escalation to war and that that war with Iran is inevitable no matter who is in office. In my opinion, that is why Trump is in office. Maybe they thought there would be too much lag time with theother Republican or Democrat candidates when he was running in 2016, but if he gets re-elected, we will see war with Iran. That is thepurpose of the sanctions. To provoke not only thepeople to war against the gov't, but to provoke the government to war. We did it to the Japanese, we did it to Iraq during Saddam Hussein's time, and we are doing it now.

It is pretty obvious that they wish to keep the mid east in a state of complete and utter chaos,. That is what Israel wants, and that is exactly what they are going to get. Israel has been trying to help themselves to the land of other countries for many years. You cannot do that with a vialbe and unified country. You have to break it all up first – turn it tribal.

But when it is all over, and the Shia Muslims who hate us now, hate us more after their countries have been all bombedto smithereens, and when China and Russia, who are biding their time, are strong enough, we will eventually get a taste our just desserts.

I doubt I will be here for that last course.

Sir Launcelot Canning , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:08 pm GMT
I hope that if any Iranian or English people are reading this, that they know that none of this was the idea of the average American. That we have actually lost our nation and have no control over it anymore. And that the only Americans left supporting this foreign "policy" are Evangelical holy rollers from the South and Midwest, dinosaur Baby Boomers who still think it is civil defense, dupes and suckers who buy into the "support the troops" cult of military, and the slowly decreasing number of misinformed and brainwashed Americans who get their "news" from the (((corporate media))).
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm GMT
@anastasia Agree that "It is pretty obvious that they wish to keep the mid east in a state of complete and utter chaos ." In "Greater Israel and the Balkanization of the Middle East : Oded Yinon's Strategy for
Israel " globalresearch.ca , Adeyinke Makinde argues that balkanization has always formed a part of the rationalization of political Zionism stating "After the establishment of Israel in 1948 , a national policy of weakening Arab and Muslim states , balkanising them, or keeping them under a neo-colonial state of affairs has persisted . The prevailing logic was and always has been that any stable , nationalist government in the Arab world poses an existential threat to Israel ."

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact by Bill Martin

Notable quotes:
"... In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6). ..."
"... This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take. ..."
"... So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better! ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Let's be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of "opening" is presented in the long essay, "The Fourth Hypothesis," at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman's view -- regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and "Chief Intelligence Officer" of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide "non-ideological" strategic intelligence. My understanding of "non-ideological" is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come -- in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I've tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either -- in my terminology, it is "anti-politics."

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable -- because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project -- are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other "great powers" on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any "great nation-state" global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain "wise" courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn't really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a "subtle" approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman's decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there's a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman's calculations: "the rise of China."

It isn't that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, "China 2020: Paper Tiger," the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another "figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth -- or poverty " (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the "pass" that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal "free market" running, and this power is far from free.)

*

... ... ...

Two of the best supporters of Trump's stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie's positions (whatever their defects, which I'll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly "economic," while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don't agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I've quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn't mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week and it means finally accepting that it's not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the "intervening only in ways that help America"-bit -- that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one's "interests."

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren't bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are "thoughtful conservatives" in their "unschooled way" -- which is often better! -- but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That's a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and "pragmatism" of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates "pragmatism" in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism -- it is the "affirmative" other side to Tucker Carlson's critical, "negative" expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting "in" -- and of course they were not successful, which is why "get the hell out" is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and "progressives" and "the Left" join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, "The Next Revolution," on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West's involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don't need their oil and we don't need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We're never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don't care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the "nationalist" discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an "isolationist" sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called "nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact."

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals -- feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump's agenda.

But hey, don't worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden's "return to normalcy" won't happen at some point -- it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone's imagination at this point -- a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they're okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn't really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of "immense concern" about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump's agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, "The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory)." His most recent albums are "Raga Chaturanga" (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and "Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.


Dungroanin ,

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a 'seat at the table' of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I'll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn't use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn't able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10's of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine 'National Interests'. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the 'international rules' not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin ,

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the 'tank'.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

'Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as "losers." Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump's so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. '

Rhys Jaggar ,

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a 'Brexit Referendum' and Scotland held an 'Independence Referendum'?

How would a US Referendum in 'Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out' play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh

wardropper ,

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By "criticized", I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc ,

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world' s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It' s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ' middle income' by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ' Manchuria', Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym ,

In RlS's nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin ,

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ' Eretz Yisrael' , ' ..from the Nile to the Euphrates', and ' cleansed' of non-Jews, can' t you.

alsdkjf ,

I'm surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn't have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It's just amazing this Trump "left". Pathetic.

Antonym ,

Trump .. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don't own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf ,

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall ,

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that's scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn't recorded.

So much for "draining the swamp". The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym ,

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On 'All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin' | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one ,

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two ,

"israel is right in the cen "
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it's never never right . please avoid this usage.

three ,

There are 53 or 54 'I's in the article, including his partner's Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin ,

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won't comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

"Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,.."

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point see ya later.

paul ,

The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul ,

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul ,

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul ,

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Don' t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ' Damascus belongs to the Jews'.

bevin ,

" China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior."

This is not Bill, but Bill's mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett's 'Scotch Feelosophy') utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers' fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I'm not so sure about that, but isn't it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder's geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the 'west' borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master's ventriloquist's dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can't-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill's partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill ,

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ' China crumbling', their favourite wet-dream.

bevin ,

I agree about Mahan's importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain't.

Any article with mention of mother-'Tucker' Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid ,

"More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain'"
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don't like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe ,

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on.

alsdkfj ,

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you'd still apologize for him, is my guess.

Hugh O'Neill ,

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump's qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and 'entertainment' (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump's world view hasn't altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11 .(1966).

Dungroanin ,

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I'll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

The U.S. was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the U.S. presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no U.S. embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the U.S. will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the U.S. elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the U.S. cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the U.S. attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real U.S. channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 21, 2020] The Many Matryoska Dolls to America's Way of Imagining Iran -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... The Open Society and its Enemies ..."
"... "Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption ..."
"... "The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption. ..."
"... "Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak. ..."
"... "Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo. ..."
"... In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis. ..."
"... Coping with Crumbling States ..."
"... Clean Break ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

lastair Crooke January 20, 2020 © Photo: Flickr / DonkeyHotey On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England's enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of 'evil'. This 'evil', and the servitude that it beget, was the evil of a religion – Catholicism – that refused the English peoples' desire for simple liberties: " [an evil] that put men under restraint under which there was no freedom and under which, there could be 'no liberty of individual consciousness'".

That was how the English protestant leader saw Catholic Spain in 1656. And it is very close to how key orientations in the U.S. sees Iran today : The evil of religion – of Shi'ism – subjecting (they believe) Iranians to repression, and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the 'evil' of an imposed religious community (the Holy 'Roman' Axis, then) brought Europe to 'near-Armageddon', with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict.

Is this faction in the U.S. now intent on invoking a new, near-Armageddon – on this occasion, in the Middle East – in order, like Cromwell, to destroy the religious 'community known' as the Shi'a Resistance Axis, seen to stretch across the region, in order to preserve the Jewish "peoples' desire for simple liberties"?

Of course, today's leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants (though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell's 'Old Testament' literalism and prophesy). No, its lead ideologues are the neo-conservatives, who have leveraged Karl Popper's hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies – a seminal treatise, which to a large extent, has shaped how many Americans imagine their 'world'. Popper's was history understood as a series of attempts, by the forces of reaction, to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture:

Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption , and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary, and furthermore, the posit, poses a grave threat to Israel's self-proclaimed 'open society'.

The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. (which is obvious) – for the 'project' is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper's purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a "growing measure of humane and enlightened life" and a free and open society – period.

All this is but the outer Matryoshka – a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image – that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg , however, gives away the next doll:

"Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption

"The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption.

"Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak.

"Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo.

In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is – David Wurmser is the 'doll' within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Wurmser, Eli Lake reveals, has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Administration all along. This was the neo-con, who in 1996, compiled Coping with Crumbling States (which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper, written for Netanyahu, as a blueprint for destructing Israel's enemies). Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the Secular-Arab nationalist states – excoriated both as "crumbling relics of the 'evil' USSR" (using Popperian language, of course) – and inherently hostile to Israel (the real message).

Well ( big surprise ), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government.

Eli Lake seems, in his Bloomberg piece, to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Washington are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground – they simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani's cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested.

Now let us unpack the next 'doll': Trump bought into Wurmser's 'play', albeit, with Trump subsequently admitting that he did the assassination under intense pressure from Republican Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would 'be dancing in the street' at Soleimani's killing. In any event, Trump is not known, exactly, for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full 'salesman' persona: trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success – "They like us", Trump claimed of protestors in Iran.

Tom Luongo has observed : "Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it's clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is [occurring because it offers] the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp." Ah, so here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka.

This is Luongo's point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Republican neo-conservatives in the Senate – and Trump. And now the Pelosi pressure on Republican Senators is escalating . The Establishment threw cold water over Trump's assertion of imminent attack, as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran – by going the full salesman 'monte'.

On the campaign trail, the President goes way over-the-top, calling Soleimani a "son of a b -- -", who killed 'thousands' and furthermore was responsible for every U.S. veteran who lost a limb in Iraq. And he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani, and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership.

It is nonsense. There are no mass protests (there have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University). But Trump has dived in pretty deep, now threatening the Euro-Three signatories to the JCPOA, that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPOA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap an eye-watering 25% tariff on their automobiles.

So, how will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict if – and when – Americans die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia – and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim, baldly, 'Iran's proxies did it'? Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, or believe them, even if they did.

It all reeks of stage-management; a set up: a very clever stage-management, designed to end with the U.S. crossing Iran's 'red line', by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Here, finally, we arrive at the innermost doll.

Cui bono ? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Democrats, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name (Wurmser), immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate.

Matryoshka herself?

[Jan 19, 2020] Friedman s Hapless Fear-mongering

Notable quotes:
"... They have promoted dishonest claims about the JCPOA and made unfounded claims about Iran's so-called "nuclear ambitions" in order to make it seem as if the Iranian government is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. They have done this to justify their hard-line policies and to lay the groundwork for pursuing regime change and war. Every time that someone repeats false claims about a non-existent "nuclear weapons program" in Iran, it creates unnecessary fear and plays into the administration's hands. ..."
"... The administration is already working overtime to propagandize the public and scare Americans into supporting aggressive and destructive policies against Iran, and no one should be giving them extra help. ..."
"... "Friedman's claim that Iran restarted a "nuclear weapons program" is completely false. That isn't what the Iranian government did, and it is irresponsible to say this when it is clearly untrue." ..."
"... Friedman isn't usually thought of as a devotee of Truth, and the chance of him correcting even the most egregious falsehoods you point out is approximately zero. At heart he's a propaganda guy, not a fact-based analyst. ..."
"... Friedman does it for Israel. It is their line, their constant foreign policy push. The NYT lets him, seems to encourage it, due to its own complex ties to Israel. ..."
"... The Israel Lobby is behind vast wars, killing, and waste. It has become an endless evil. ..."
"... Friedman seems to forget that Iran is a signatory of the NPT and inspectors come and monitor activities, all outside JPCOA. But hey, Iraq had WMD at the time the international inspectors were saying that it didn't and their message and activities were obstructed and blocked by the US. Same as with the alleged gas attacks in Syria and the OPCW "mishandling" the reporting... US has learned since Iraq and wanted compliance from these types of organizations. ..."
theamericanconservative.com

Friedman's latest column obviously wasn't fact-checked before it was published:

And then, a few weeks later, Trump ordered the killing of Suleimani, an action that required him to shift more troops into the region and tell Iraqis that we're not leaving their territory, even though their Parliament voted to evict us. It also prompted Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program [bold mine-DL], which could well necessitate U.S. military action. And then, a few weeks later, Trump ordered the killing of Suleimani, an action that required him to shift more troops into the region and tell Iraqis that we're not leaving their territory, even though their Parliament voted to evict us. It also prompted Iran to restart its nuclear weapons program [bold mine-DL], which could well necessitate U.S. military action.
Friedman's claim that Iran restarted a "nuclear weapons program" is completely false. That isn't what the Iranian government did, and it is irresponsible to say this when it is clearly untrue. Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and it hasn't had anything like that for more than sixteen years. The Iranian government took another step in reducing its compliance with the JCPOA in the days following the assassination, but contrary to other misleading headlines their government did not abandon the nuclear deal. Iran has not repudiated its commitment to keep its nuclear program peaceful, and it doesn't help in reducing tensions to suggest that they have. Trump's recent actions are reckless and dangerous, but it is wrong to say that those actions have caused Iran to start up a nuclear weapons program. That isn't the case, and engaging in more threat inflation when tensions are already so high is foolish.

Friedman is not the only one to make this blunder, but it is the sort of sloppy mistake we expect from him. If this were just another error from Friedman, it would be annoying but it wouldn't matter very much. This has to do with the nature of our debate over Iran policy and the nuclear issue in particular. This matters because there is a great deal of confusion in this country about Iran's nuclear program that the Trump administration has deliberately encouraged. They have promoted dishonest claims about the JCPOA and made unfounded claims about Iran's so-called "nuclear ambitions" in order to make it seem as if the Iranian government is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. They have done this to justify their hard-line policies and to lay the groundwork for pursuing regime change and war. Every time that someone repeats false claims about a non-existent "nuclear weapons program" in Iran, it creates unnecessary fear and plays into the administration's hands.

The administration is already working overtime to propagandize the public and scare Americans into supporting aggressive and destructive policies against Iran, and no one should be giving them extra help. The second part of Friedman's sentence is also quite dangerous, because it encourages his readers to think that the U.S. would somehow be justified in attacking Iran in the unlikely event that they started developing a nuclear weapon. He suggests that an Iranian nuclear weapons program might "necessitate" military action, but any attack on Iran under those circumstances would be illegal and a war of choice just like the invasion of Iraq that Friedman supported almost 17 years ago. Even when Friedman seems to be skeptical of something that the government has done, he can't help but indulge in threat inflation and lend support to the idea of preventive war.

Friedman's claim that Iran restarted a "nuclear weapons program" is completely false. That isn't what the Iranian government did, and it is irresponsible to say this when it is clearly untrue. Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and it hasn't had anything like that for more than sixteen years. The Iranian government took another step in reducing its compliance with the JCPOA in the days following the assassination, but contrary to other misleading headlines their government did not abandon the nuclear deal. Iran has not repudiated its commitment to keep its nuclear program peaceful, and it doesn't help in reducing tensions to suggest that they have. Trump's recent actions are reckless and dangerous, but it is wrong to say that those actions have caused Iran to start up a nuclear weapons program. That isn't the case, and engaging in more threat inflation when tensions are already so high is foolish.

... ... ...

He suggests that an Iranian nuclear weapons program might "necessitate" military action, but any attack on Iran under those circumstances would be illegal and a war of choice just like the invasion of Iraq that Friedman supported almost 17 years ago. Even when Friedman seems to be skeptical of something that the government has done, he can't help but indulge in threat inflation and lend support to the idea of preventive war. The second part of Friedman's sentence is also quite dangerous, because it encourages his readers to think that the U.S. would somehow be justified in attacking Iran in the unlikely event that they started developing a nuclear weapon. He suggests that an Iranian nuclear weapons program might "necessitate" military action, but any attack on Iran under those circumstances would be illegal and a war of choice just like the invasion of Iraq that Friedman supported almost 17 years ago. Even when Friedman seems to be skeptical of something that the government has done, he can't help but indulge in threat inflation and lend support to the idea of preventive war.


Gospel Free3 days ago

"Friedman's claim that Iran restarted a "nuclear weapons program" is completely false. That isn't what the Iranian government did, and it is irresponsible to say this when it is clearly untrue."

Friedman isn't usually thought of as a devotee of Truth, and the chance of him correcting even the most egregious falsehoods you point out is approximately zero. At heart he's a propaganda guy, not a fact-based analyst.

Mark Thomason2 days ago
Friedman does it for Israel. It is their line, their constant foreign policy push. The NYT lets him, seems to encourage it, due to its own complex ties to Israel.

The Israel Lobby is behind vast wars, killing, and waste. It has become an endless evil.

Donna2 days ago
Friedman's readers are the choir, and he's just singing to them. People who have seen through his fabrications stopped reading him years ago. Friedman will always have his little clique of deluded pseudo-intellectuals, but truly intelligent people don't waste their time with him.
blimbax2 days ago
I think the picture of Friedman that accompanies this article tells a big part of the story. His furrowed brow, the intensity of his studied gaze, his penetrating and knowing look into the the complexities that only someone of his intelligence can unravel. It is really the picture of a stuffed shirt.

Friedman represents something really wrong with our society and culture: The incompetent, the ignorant, and the arrogant ones are given positions of power and influence, and the wise and knowledgeable are marginalized.

Taras772 days ago
It is difficult to name a more odious shill for Israel war mongering than friedman but than he does have competition in the NYT staff. NYT is a bugle for Israel.
FL_Cottonmouth2 days ago • edited
Mr. Friedman recently called Gen. Soleimani "the dumbest man in Iran" for sponsoring terrorist forces in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen backing paramilitary forces fighting terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.

Mr. Friedman is one of the dumbest pundits in the media class and almost certainly the dumbest ever to work for The New York Times. He just can't help himself...

kouroia day ago
Friedman seems to forget that Iran is a signatory of the NPT and inspectors come and monitor activities, all outside JPCOA. But hey, Iraq had WMD at the time the international inspectors were saying that it didn't and their message and activities were obstructed and blocked by the US. Same as with the alleged gas attacks in Syria and the OPCW "mishandling" the reporting... US has learned since Iraq and wanted compliance from these types of organizations.

[Jan 19, 2020] The Empire strikes back. Netanyahu, Trump and the Neocons by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Nov 01, 2020 | www.defenddemocracy.press

For the time being it seems we avoided the global disaster of an all-out confrontation between US, Israel and their allies on the one hand, Iran and its allies. Going to the edge of the precipice and then backpedaling has become a quite usual pattern as far as the Iranian question is concerned, since 2006, the first time the Neocon Party of War pushed hard for an attack on Iran, most probably with "tactical" nuclear arms .

Is this sui generis truce the end of the story? No, it is not. As experience proved time and again, the forces promoting this war are very strong to accept defeat, as for the deep underlying causes pushing to such a confrontation remain very much at work. This is what makes a near certainty the return, sooner or later, in one form or another, of the war scenario. And it is hard to imagine that this situation of oscillation between a pseudo-peace and an open war can last forever. Only very deep and very radical changes in the world system can ban for good the war perspective.

The article that follows was written just before the recent Iranian missile attack to the US bases in Iraq. But we believe everything said here is still valid and maybe more valid after the attacks.

A world in chock

"Cry 'Havoc!' And let's slip the dogs of war". It is Marcus Antonius who says that in front of the assassinated Ceasar (Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar). And it is Richard Haas, president of the CFR, the most prestigious, bipartisan US think tank on foreign policy, who is using this phrase to begin his article in the Financial Times . Haas grasps well the dramatic nature of the moment. He also warns the scope of the conflict is the whole world. But then, his analysis degenerates, and could not be otherwise, into a rather deplorable attempt to discuss a legal basis justifying General Soleimani's assassination in Baghdad and a not-so-convincing search for a place for diplomacy after a murder which probably took place exactly to wipe out any such place. The article is absolutely indicative of the embarrassment, despair and shock of a large part of the international establishment.

Die Zeit , perhaps the most serious newspaper in Germany, compares General Soleimani's murder with that of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, back in 1914, by which WWI was launched. The same analogy is adopted by Mediapart, one of the few remaining media outlets in France with some element of credibility and seriousness.

In the meantime, the Israeli PM Netanyahu has used a supposed "tongue lapsus" to remind that Israel is a "nuclear power" .

We urge our readers to study very carefully New York Times ' shocking reportage on Israeli and American extremists' decades-long effort to wage war on Iran, the fierce conflict over this issue for years, between Obama and Netanyahu, and the equally fierce battle inside Israel, between Netanyahu on the one hand, Israeli army and services on the other. You must read it if you want to know what is happening in the Middle East and what can happen to you tomorrow .

The war with Iran has come much closer, but it will not be conventional, says Soraya Lennie of London's SOAS University, Britain's "colonial school".

First but also the Second World War

The unprecedented shock of the international system is also reflected in the astonishing lack of any serious reaction of the "international community" to one of the most serious and dangerous crises humanity is facing. They speak saying nothing or they put on the same footage the offender and the victim of the offense.

But shocks you suffer only if you have made very wrong assessments of the situation and of the the forces in action, or if you take your wishes as realities.

Unfortunately, there is no analogy only with the outbreak of World War I. It can also be established with the situation prevailing during the period preceding World War II in Europe, between 1933 and 1939-41. Then, as it happens now, the world was in front of the emergence of an extremist core in the center of the Western system, but it sharply underestimated its dynamics and its potential. European capitals believed they can handle the situation by maneuvering, appeasing, compromising. Some, who understood nothing of the force they were facing and of its project, were even believing it is possible to cooperate or even ally with it. We know too well where all that has finally led.

Anyway, the analogy with WWI seems to have crossed simultaneously a lot of minds after Soleimani's assassination. Many former senior US intelligence officials, now critical of the policy of their government, adopted also this analogy, in a memorandum addressed to President Trump with the plea not to double the Iraqi "madness" in Iran .

The memorandum is signed, among others, by Graham Fuller, former vice president of the National Intelligence Council, Daniel Ellsberg, known in particular for his Pentagon Papers , the former technical director of the NSA Edward Loomis, the senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, daily briefer on USSR of five US Presidents. Our readers can watch a debate of this writer with Ray McGovern on Iran and Trump, three years ago, just after Trump's election.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/t9ppwjpC8vY

In the memorandum, the intelligence veterans criticize the President and his son in law Kushner for pursuing blindly Netanyahu's policy on Iran, as Bush and Cheney followed blindly Ariel Sharon's policy by invading Iraq. They also recall Netanyahu's own confession of the way he fooled President Clinton to make him believe he was working on implementing the Oslo agreements with the Palestinians, while he was working to destroy them.

The period ahead is very critical, not only for the factors we know but also because of the possibility of the War camp launching a second provocation as the first, Soleimani's murder, did not suffice for the launching of an all-out war.

Read more at https://uwidata.com/7039-the-empire-strikes-back-netanyahu-trump-and-the-neocons/

[Jan 16, 2020] Trump is working hand in hand with Netanyahu, Adelson and the rest of the far far right weirdos, he's their bum boy.

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bubbles , Jan 15 2020 20:35 utc | 182

Bedrock of American Conservative ideology The National Review recently expressed concerns regarding trump's behaviour, and were not inclined to praise Caesar. Choosing to speak to his state of mind instead.

"And there's the larger fact that since America's withdrawal from the Iran deal, the nation's policy toward Iran seems to be one of drifting toward war lazily and thoughtlessly. Making unreasonable demands, imposing sanctions, and then watching Iranian provocations roll in.

But most important, we don't live in a vacuum. And perhaps you've noticed that since the news of this assassination broke,

the president has sounded out of his mind.

He has returned to his idea of vandalism, blasphemy, and outrage as strategy. Contradicting his own secretary of state, Trump promised that the United States would respond to further Iranian provocation by deliberately bombing cultural sites in Iran. "They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people. They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural sites," he said. "It doesn't work that way."

This disgusting threat is in many ways worse than his promises of "fire and fury" in North Korea. The punishment would fall not on the government, or on the military that tortures and maims, but on the whole Iranian people -- and really all of humanity that has an interest in the preservation of great treasures of antiquity, of which there are many in Iran. These are jewels of ancient civilization that ought to outlast Iran's current government, and that deserve a better custodian than the mullahs. That aside, the threat carries zero strategic value for us while offering infinite propaganda value for the Iranian regime."

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/qasem-soleimani-killing-trump-rhetoric-dangerous-unproductive/

Again, from the above: "the president has sounded out of his mind."

However, to trump's base his actions may not appear to be those of a madman, and I sincerely doubt the National Review is on their reading list. If they read at all that is. Case in point, why go to all the effort to attend his weird rallies just to hear the same lies they could have read at multiple sources from the comfort of their homes?


Oui , Jan 15 2020 20:37 utc | 183

Threat has been hanging over relations with Europe for over a year. What's changed? Brexit, GE2019 and new ally Boris Johnson.

Trump has threatened to impose the 25% car tariffs by invoking "Section 232" national security tariffs under 1962 Cold War trade law.

Russ , Jan 15 2020 20:38 utc | 184
Posted by: b | Jan 15 2020 19:40 utc | 175

"WaPo: Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't...The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to "extortion," represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States' oldest allies...
U.S. officials conveyed the threat directly to officials in London, Berlin and Paris rather than through their embassies in Washington, said a senior European official."

Good! Couldn't happen to a more deserving mob of bootlicks. Their compliance proves they want and deserve it.

I agree with those who say, This is exactly the kind of thing I hoped for from Trump.

On the other hand this is exactly why the likes of the WaPo hate him - although not a fascist, he's too directly thuggish for the neoliberal formula. Too much stick, not enough (poisoned) carrot.

Russ , Jan 15 2020 20:45 utc | 185
Posted by: Bubbles | Jan 15 2020 20:35 utc | 182

"He has returned to his idea of vandalism, blasphemy, and outrage as strategy. Contradicting his own secretary of state, Trump promised that the United States would respond to further Iranian provocation by deliberately bombing cultural sites in Iran...

This disgusting threat is in many ways worse than his promises of "fire and fury" in North Korea. The punishment would fall not on the government, or on the military that tortures and maims, but on the whole Iranian people -- and really all of humanity that has an interest in the preservation of great treasures of antiquity, of which there are many in Iran."

Here too Trump is only the most openly thuggish face and voice of relentless general practice.

I'll make a rare link to my own blog since this was the subject of my most recent post.

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2020/01/11/cultural-genocide-is-as-american-as-poison-apple-pie/

In modern times the destruction has become less overtly religious, more secularized, mundane, assembly-line and industrial. Therefore it is vastly more comprehensive and horrific.

Capitalism, productionism, "Progress", the economic civilization devour and eradicate vastly more historic sites and sacred lands, by many orders of magnitude, than all the religious and nationalistic hatreds thruout history put together...

In these ways, as always, Trump is nothing but the more openly scabrous and brutish incarnation of the essence of the US and especially of all US economic and political activity. He is by far the most typical and characteristic of all US presidents. He is the most logical production of the US to date.

Looking at a president Americans look at themselves in a mirror. With the likes of Obama, the Clintons, George Bush, plus scammers like Sanders, they see skillfully idealized, romanticized, flattering fake reflections of themselves...

james , Jan 15 2020 20:55 utc | 186
@ 182 bubbles... that quote you highlight show you just how sick trump and the usa is at present to try to pass off that type of lie to the public to be broadcast wide and far..

"They're allowed to kill our people. They're allowed to torture and maim our people. They're allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we're not allowed to touch their cultural sites."

no - usa invaded iraq and some of ''your'' people were killed actively invading another country. blame it on yourselves, but don't try to pass off this shit on the public.. it is the worst form of propaganda you can generate...

i am speaking generally here to the usa public.. obviously the americans here are aware of this, but i am not following who in the usa has challenged this outrageous propaganda...

and, i agree with others here - trump - for just how ugly he is, is really highlighting just how bad things in the usa has gotten.. and it will get worse if they can't figure out a way to get their shit together too..

dh , Jan 15 2020 20:59 utc | 187
@182 "Case in point, why go to all the effort to attend his weird rallies just to hear the same lies they could have read at multiple sources from the comfort of their homes?"

That's easy. They go to the rallies because they like the solidarity. It is comforting to hear their leader speaking surrounded by thousands of like-minded people. Plus it's a great opportunity to wear their MAGA hats and wave flags.

james , Jan 15 2020 20:59 utc | 188
@185 russ.. i went to the article you posted and read it.. - keep on speaking out and get your message out far and wide russ... i agree with your viewpoint expressed...
DFC , Jan 15 2020 21:19 utc | 189
Posted by: kooshy | Jan 15 2020 18:22 utc | 173

Yes, in fact one of the big "advantages" of the Trump presidency is that everyone for sure knows that US is an Empire, so every Storm Trooper knows that they are not fighting "to defend" nothing, they are pawns, cannon fodder of an Empire fighting in other lands to grab resources and impose "tax" (in a subtle way through the financial system) fot he global "Wealth Pump" from all the world to send it to the center of the Empire in exchange of "protection" (Vito Corleone) and to spread "freedom", "democracy", "human rights", "prosperity", and all that vacuous BS.

Now the Storm Troopers fully know they are in Syria and Iraq to "protect our oil" (from the Iraqis) and to fight those who oppose the grabbing (Iraqis, Iranians, Syrians, etc...).
But they will have a hard time in the future, this will not be Desert Storm 2.0 or Iraqi Freedom 2.0, this will be like Lebanon 2006 but against a kind of Hezbollah x100 more powerful and they are so far far far away from home...

Bubbles , Jan 15 2020 21:23 utc | 190
Posted by: Russ | Jan 15 2020 20:45 utc | 185

Dehumanizing. By order of the Overlords, who of course know better than all those folks they view as inferior. Messianic is one applicable term.

George Soros once subtly agreed he had Messianic tendencies in an interview that used to be available on utube.

Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of having the same flaw by some learned persons. He of course follows the 'admit nothing' doctrine. But his actions speak for themselves. Including his 'alleged' criminal activities.

The United States doesn't have a culture, unless by some queer assessment consumerism could be called a culture. That is the basis for it's disrespect.

Clearly you're a thinker but I don't follow your opinion on Sanders. He seems a decent sort to me. Thanks for you reply btw and I will go to your site and explore your thoughts.


Bubbles , Jan 15 2020 21:49 utc | 191
That's easy. They go to the rallies because they like the solidarity. It is comforting to hear their leader speaking surrounded by thousands of like-minded people. Plus it's a great opportunity to wear their MAGA hats and wave flags.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2020 20:59 utc | 187


Some decades ago, there were other's who posed as Nationalists, and they caused a world of hurt.

Descendant's of those people who were sent off to defend Democracy understand the sacrifice. What some don't understand, is that sacrifice being grossly abused and has the enemy they were sent to defeat actually been defeated? Or were they simply pawns in a rich mans contest, where the rich men threw trinkets their way after the War was won?

Who was the enemy then? Who is the enemy now? Are they the same?

Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why


dh , Jan 15 2020 22:13 utc | 192
@191 I get what your saying but I think comparing Trump with Hitler is a bit of a stretch. Circe will vehemently disagree but I think Trump is smart enough to know that his supporters don't like being called Nazis. They are the 'good guys'. They really want to 'make America great again' whatever that means.
Bubbles , Jan 15 2020 22:47 utc | 193
@191 I get what your saying but I think comparing Trump with Hitler is a bit of a stretch.

True, Hitler was smarter. And even more insane than trump. But, let's look at some clear differences.. Hitler wasn't a pampered boy whose father worked all the angles of corruption to make a lot of money.

Hitler was a combat veteran. A veteran of the trench wars of WW1. A Veteran of the horrors of that ugly war of attrition.

Trump sought 5 deferments to avoid serving in ANY capacity in America's war in Vietnam. FIVE DEFERMENTS.


His father faced inquiries about his abusive behaviour related to war profiteering and he proudly defended his right to use levers afforded to him to use local officials so he could profit on the backs of WW2 Veterans and their families.

Little wonder he maintained his father's relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu.

james , Jan 15 2020 23:04 utc | 194
hell of a guy that trump.. has the ancestry to go with it too..
dh , Jan 15 2020 23:12 utc | 195
@193 Hitler was evil. That seems to be generally agreed. But he won elections. He was popular with ordinary people in pre-war Germany. Obviously the Versailles Treaty was a big factor.

I can see a few similarities. Trump was elected on a nationalist platform too. How far can Trump push it? The Wall hasn't been a huge success so far. ICE has started rounding up illegal immigrants. Trumpists approve of that. Would people feel OK if he started gassing them? That would be the logical outcome of MAGA. But I like to think it would be step too far for most Americans. He's on fairly safe ground beating up on furriners though.

Bubbles , Jan 15 2020 23:59 utc | 196
195 "I can see a few similarities. "

Read this, think Treaty of Versailles.

" "First, Iran must declare to the IAEA a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program, and permanently and verifiably abandon such work in perpetuity."
"Second, Iran must stop uranium enrichment and never pursue plutonium reprocessing. This includes closing its heavy water reactor."
"Third, Iran must also provide the IAEA with unqualified access to all sites throughout the entire country."
"Iran must end its proliferation of ballistic missiles and halt further launching or development of nuclear-capable missile systems."
"Iran must release all U.S. citizens, as well as citizens of our partners and allies, each of them detained on spurious charges."
"Iran must end support to Middle East terrorist groups, including Lebanese Hizballah [Hezbollah], Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad."
"Iran must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi Government and permit the disarming, demobilization, and reintegration of Shia militias."
"Iran must also end its military support for the Houthi militia and work towards a peaceful political settlement in Yemen."
"Iran must withdraw all forces under Iranian command throughout the entirety of Syria."
"Iran, too, must end support for the Taliban and other terrorists in Afghanistan and the region, and cease harboring senior Al Qaida leaders."
"Iran, too, must end the IRG [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] Qods Force's [Quds Force's] support for terrorists and militant partners around the world."
"And too, Iran must end its threatening behavior against its neighbors – many of whom are U.S. allies. This certainly includes its threats to destroy Israel, and its firing of missiles into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It also includes threats to international shipping and destructive – and destructive cyberattacks."

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20989/pompeos-12-demands-for-iran-read-more-like-a-declaration-of-war-than-a-path-to-peace

The trump Regime, who clearly covet AIPAC $ and hope to take away the dems primary spot, dance to the Nethanyahu / far right tune. It's as obvious as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

dh , Jan 16 2020 0:11 utc | 197
@196 The Allied Powers were dictating terms to a defeated Germany in Versailles. Trump is dictating terms to an undefeated Iran on behalf of Israel. The act of dictation is certainly similar. Are we arguing about something?
Bubbles , Jan 16 2020 0:28 utc | 198
Are we arguing about something?

Posted by: dh | Jan 16 2020 0:11 utc | 197

No we aren't, you got the point.

Trump is dictating terms as if his adversary was already vanquished. Clearly it ain't over, but the bloviator in Chief and his Lobbyist appointed advisors would very much like people to believe their goading Iran will result in capitulation, Versailles style. But who in their right mind would believe the foreign affairs neophyte and tabloid princeling, donald trump?

trump is working hand in hand with Netanyahu, Adelson and the rest of the far far right weirdos, he's their bum boy. Their agenda is clear, provoke Iran to retaliate to US and Israeli provocations so the Cabal can howl at the top of their lungs and demand Vengance. On American tax payers dime, not Israeli taxpayers dime. Heck, when did they ever pay for all those aggression's dating back to Desert Storm?

dh , Jan 16 2020 0:47 utc | 199
@198 Yes all of that about Trump and Netanyahu, Adelson, provoking Ira etc. is well known here at MOA. I was more interested in the similarities between Trump and Hitler. I find it hard to imagine the US slipping into full blown Nazism. Maybe some kind of happy-face fascism is a possibility.
bevin , Jan 16 2020 0:55 utc | 200
"Hitler was evil. That seems to be generally agreed. But he won elections."
dh195
No he didn't. The only elections that he won were after he had taken power and put his opponents in jail. Then he campaigned, using the Storm Troopers and the police forces of the various states-Prussia most notably where Goering was Minister-President and controlled the police- to intimidate any opposition.
It is an old Conservative talking point and a prime argument of enemies of democracy to insist that Hitler won elections. In fact he lost lots of them. It was this unpopularity that gave the militarist/industrialist coterie surrounding Hindenburg confidence that they could control the Bohemian corporal they despised.

[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 15, 2020] Democracy in action: voters choice in 2016 was limited to the choice between brain cancer and leprosy

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Jan 8 2020 16:32 utc | 105

Trump is such a douchebag. He claims there were no lives lost due to their "early warning system" -- no mention that the "early warning system" was a phone call!

Now he's once again justifying assassination, etc.

pretzelattack , Jan 8 2020 16:39 utc | 110

there was no "better choice" between trump and clinton. i still think clinton represented a greater danger than trump of getting into a war with russia, but they are both warmongers first class. for our next election, we may have a choice between ebola and flesh eating bacteria, or brain cancer and leprosy. if the game is rigged there's no winning it playing by the game's "rules".

[Jan 12, 2020] Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

Notable quotes:
"... What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | smoothiex12.blogspot.com

Axiosromano 2 days ago

The tramp & nutNyahoo machismo show continues to be fun to watch. Both show off their penis worms as they arrogantly claim they can crush iran. Both the usa and israel keep banging on the doors and walls of their pissed-off neighbors' houses. That eventually gets you murdered whether in baltimore or baghdad.

A crushable iran is true if and only if they can mount a full-on nuclear war on Iran. But such horrendous cheating means all bets are off, and iran's allies will provide the nukes required to melt down the American homeland too. Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land. Sitting ducks, with nice armor, nukes and all, are ... still sitting ducks. nutNyahoo should ask his technical crew just how few megatons are needed, or just a few thousand modern missiles are required to transform sitting ducks into nicely roasted peking ducks.

So a conventional war it is. The usa and israel has exactly zero, zilch and nada chances of winning a war with iran. The usa keeps forgetting that it is a dying empire with dying funding value and mental resources. Just like israel which oddly thinks dozens of f-35s will give it immunity through air superiority. Proof of this fact that iran will win comes from simply asking american and israeli war experts to go on cnn or the washington post on how they intend to win a war with iran.

Im sure these expert bloviators will say that it is as easy as winning a naval war against china, which is capable of launching only 3 new warships in a week. Or an even easier time against russia, which can launch only a few thousand hypersonic nuke missiles because its GDP is no bigger than that of texas.

Rob Naardin 2 days ago

The Pentagon is super slow to adapt and learn. If you understand that bureaucracy is an ancient organizational structure and that the organizational culture of the Pentagon is pathologically dysfunctional you could have predicted the moral and financial bankruptcy of America 15-20 years ago. The "Why?", finally made sense when I discovered what a sociopath was.

It's about time the US practices what it preachs and start behaving like a normal country instead of a spoiled narcissistic brat. see more

tic_Fox Rob Naardin2 days ago • edited

US military & strategic thought became lazy during the late days of the Cold War. It mirrored the decline & fall of the foundations of its opponent, USSR. Post-Cold War, US military & strategic thinking flushed into the sewer. It was all about maintaining the military as some sort of a social policy jobs program, operating legacy tech as the mission. And then came the "world-improvers" -- beginning w the Clinton Admin -- who worked to turn the world into a global "urban renewal" project; meaning to mirror the success US Big Govt showed in the slums of American cities from sea to sea. The past 30 yrs of US strategic thinking and related governance truly disgusts me. see more

Vasya Pypkin Arctic_Fox2 days ago

Soviet union fall had very different reasons and Soviet military thought was doing quite well then along with military. Current russian military wonders is completion of what was started then and not finished earlier because of the disintegration of the Soviet state.
The soviet fall however is extremely regrettable because there was a new way how things can be done that Soviet union was showing to the world. USA fall long term is a very good thing because USA is a paragon of how things should be done the old way and basically a huge parasite. Many negative trends that are afflicting the world were started by USA. Unlimited individualism and consumerism would be a couple of those. see more

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago
Why does almost every person on Earth feel the need to force others to bend the knee to their beliefs?

Religious beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in an afterlife, political beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in this world.

The world would be a far better, more civilized, of world if such beliefs were only shared on a voluntary basis.

As for individualism, I would rather be free than live in a modern day egalitarian hunter-gatherer tribe run by modern day psychopathic alpha-males.

That is certainly not a recipe for success. see more

AriusArmenian Arctic_Fox2 days ago

It also mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It was Emperor Augustus that decided the costs to further expand the Empire were too great after losing one (or two?) legions against the Germanic tribes.

The US has reached its greatest extent. We are living through it. The US didn't go forward into war with Iran twice. The odds of humanity surviving this immense turn of history is looking better. see more

Vasya Pypkin AriusArmenian2 days ago • edited

Frankly, nothing in common. I read this comparison all the time. Yes, Augustus decided not to continue along with expansion into Germany after losing 3 Varus legions due to ambush.

But he famously noted that it does not worth to go fishing with golden hook. Basically speaking, Germany was not worth fighting for. Poor and remote it had nothing to offer. Just a drain on resources. As long as conquest was moving smoothly it was ok, but after losses were inflicted Augustus decided it was not worth it.

Roman expansion under augustus was carried mostly to consolidate previous conquests and create strategical debth along core and strategical provinces also creating linkage.

When enemy far stronger than germans posed resources which made the whole conquest worthy no amount of resistance saved Dacians and Parthia also almost died under Trajan attack.

Roman policies were adequate and wise. Treaties were respected, allies supported and benefited. Empire was build around Mediterranean creating good communication and routes considering obviously limits of that day technology.

Rome did not behave like crazy and did not deliver threats that she could not follow through. When war was decided upon thorough preparations were taken. Political goals were achieved. Wars were won. When Adrian considered that empire was overextended in Parthis, he simply abandoned all conquered territories. Just like that.

Logical calm thinking USA,is not capable of. Rome truly based upon superior military and diplomacy dominance lasted many centuries. USA few decades. One hit wonder, lucky fool I would call it. see more

Arctic_Fox Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago

Interesting account of Roman strategic concept of forward presence, versus administering the internal lines of communication... see more

WHAT2 days ago

They left equipment in the open on that base and ran away. No AA fire whatsoever. This is how much they are ready to take a punch. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod WHAT2 days ago

Yes, this is somewhat puzzling. As I said, let's wait and see where it all develops to, but as Twisted Genius succinctly observed -- Iran now controls tempo because she has conventional superiority. Anyone who has precision-guided, stand off weaponry in good numbers will be on top. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .2 days ago

The old submarine saying is, "There are two kinds of ships; submarines, and targets."
.
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets." (And per the photos, those Iranian missiles were quite precise; bulls-eyes.)
.
Iran and its missiles demonstrated that the entire strategic foundation for US mil presence in the Middle East is now obsolete. Everything the US would ever want to do there is now subject to Iran's version of "steel rain." Every runway, hangar, aircraft parking area; every supply depot or warehouse; every loading pier, fuel site, naval pier. Everything... is a target. And really... there's no amount of US "airpower" and "tech" than can mitigate the Iran missile threat.
.
Meanwhile, related thinking... Iran's true strategic interest is NOT fighting a near-term war w/ USA. Iran wants US to exit Middle East; and Iran wants to be able to pursue its nuclear program. Soleimani or no, Iran appears to have its eyeballs fixed on the long-term goals. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod Arctic_Fox2 days ago • edited
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets."

Exactly, and Iran has long-range TLAMs in who knows what numbers, That, in its turn, brings about the next issue of range for Iranian indigenous anti-ship missiles. Not, of course, to mention the fact of only select people knowing if Russia transferred P-800 Onyx to Iran She certainly did it for Syria. If that weapon is there--the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait will be shut completely closed and will push out CBGs far into the Indian Ocean. see more

Vasya Pypkin smoothieX12 .a day ago

It is simply pathetic after decades of talking non stop about developments of anti missiles and huge amounts wasted and nobody is responsible. This is the way capitalism works.profits is everything and outcomes secondary. Thankfully russia has got soviet foundation and things so far are working well. I come to think that in our times no serious industrial processes should be allowed to stay in private hands. Only services and so.e other simpler stuff under heavy state control to ensure quality. Otherwise profit orientation will eventually destroy everything like with Boeing.

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin16 hours ago observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I know, i already wrote a full scale war scenario in one of the comments. Iran can destroy all US bases in 2000 km range. But this does not mean that it can not be bombed back to the stone age, if the US really wishes so. The problem for the US is the high cost as well as the high debt levels, but it does have the technical capability to do that after 2 - 3 years of bombing.

Also low yield tactical nukes are designed to lower the treshold of the use of nukes in otherwise conventional war, producing less international outrage than the megaton city buster bombs. Why do you think the US is developing them again? Because they would want to use them in conventional conflicts.

Here btw is Yurasumy, he also says that the US can technically bomb Iran back to the stone age, but the cost will be too high.

Play Hide

https://cdn.embedly.com/

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited
if the US really wishes so.

Again--what's the plan and what's the price? Iran HAS Russia's ISR on her side in case of such SEAD.

Does the United States want to risk lives of thousands of its personnel (not to speak of expensive equipment) in Qatar, KSA, Iraq. Does Israel want to "get it"?

There are numbers which describe such an operation (it was. most likely, already planned as contingency). Immediate question: when was the last time USAF operated in REAL dense ECM and ECCM environment? I do not count some brushes with minimal EW in Syria.

Russia there uses only minimally required option, for now. Iran has a truck load EW systems, including some funny Russian toys which allowed Iran to take control of US UAVs, as an example. As I say, this is not Iraq and by a gigantic margin. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I already said that debt levels do not allow it and the price would be too high, but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means. It is another question that it is not in good fiscal shape. Anyway, US ballistic missiles (non nuclear armed) will be hard to stop by EW. Even if Iran gets rid of 50 % of incoming TLAMs, the US will keep sending more and more until most infrastructure, bridges, oil refineries, power plants, factories, ports etc. are destroyed. This is why i said it would take 2 - 3 years. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago
but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means

That is the whole point: NO, it doesn't. Unless US goes into full mobilization mode and addresses ALL (plus a million more not listed) requirements for such a war which I listed in the post. Well, that or nukes. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Yurasumy is a pretty good analist and he thinks that they can. I do not see it for the US being too hard to produce more TLAMS, ICBMs and IRBMs (conventional) to sustain the effort for 2 years, by that time most iranian infrastructure will be destroyed. If the fiscal situation allowes it. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

I don't know who Yarasumy is and what is his background, but unlike him I actually write books, including on modern warfare. This is not to show off, but I am sure I can make basic calculations. This is not to mention the fact that even Sivkov agrees with my points and Sivkov, unlike Yarsumy, graduated Popov's VVMURE, served at subs, then graduated Kuznetsov Academy, then Academy of the General Staff and served in Main Operational Directorate (GOU) until retiring in the rank of Captain 1st Rank from the billet of Combat Planning group. So, I would rather stick to my opinion. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Why do you think that the US can not destroy Iran with IRBMs? Actually this is their strategy vs China. If they think its viable vs China, then it should be viable vs Iran too. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited

Because unlike the US, Russia's Air Defenses have a rather very impressive history of shifting the balance in wars in favor of those who have them, when used properly. But then I can quote for you a high ranking intelligence officer:

A friend of mine who has expertise in these matters wrote me:

Any air defense engineer with a securityclearance that isn't lying through his teeth will admit that Russia'sair defense technology surpassed us in the 1950's and we've never been able to catch up. The systems thy have in place surrounding Moscow make our Patriot 3's look like fucking nerf guns.

Read the whole thing here:

https://turcopolier.typepad...

Mathematics is NOT there for the United States for a real combined operations war of scale with Iran. Unless US political class really wants to see people with pitch-forks. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .17 hours ago

"Mathematics is not there..."
.
Neither is the industrial base, including supply lines. Not the mines, mills, factories to produce any significant levels of warfighting materiel such as we're talking about here. Not the workforce, either. Meanwhile, where are the basic designs for these weps? The years of lab work, bench tests, pilot specimens & prototypes, the development pipeline? The contractors to build them? the Tier 2, 3, 4 suppliers? Where are the universities that train such people as are needed? Where is the political will? Where is the government coordination? Where is the money? Indeed, every Democrat and probably half the Republicans who run for office campaign on controlling military spending; not that USA gets all that much benefit from the current $800 billion per year. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

That would require S-500 - ballistic missile defense. Maybe 15 - 20 S-500 in Iran will be needed. And it is not yet in the army. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

You see, here is the difference--I can calculate approximate required force for that but I don't want to. It is Friday. You can get some basic intro into operational theory (and even into Salvo Equations) in my latest book. Granted, my publisher fought me tooth and nail to remove as much match as possible. But I'll give you a hint--appearance of S-500 on any theater of operations effectively closes it off effectively for any missile or aircraft operations when deployed in echeloned (multi-layer) AD. see more

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"

---------

Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 12, 2020] Luongo Fears "An Abyss Of Losses" As Iraq Becomes MidEast Battleground

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The future of the U.S.'s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.

The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.

Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.

Now with Turkey redeploying its pet Salafist head-choppers from Idlib to Libya to fight General Haftar's forces there to legitimize its claim to eastern Mediterannean gas deposits, the restoration of Syria's territorial integrity west of the Euphrates River is nearly complete.

The defenders of Syria can soon transition into the rebuilders thereof, if allowed. And they didn't do this alone, they had a silent partner in China the entire time.

And, if I look at this situation honestly, it was China stepping out from behind the shadows into the light that is your inciting incident for this chapter in Iraq's story.

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

It doubles China's investment in Iraq while denying the U.S. that money and influence.

This happened after a massive $53 billion deal between Exxon-Mobil and Petrochina was put on hold after the incident involving Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk drone in June.

With the U.S balking over the Exxon/Petrochina big deal, Iraqi Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi signed the new one with China in October. Mahdi brought up the circumstances surrounding that in Iraqi parliaments during the session in which it passed the resolution recommending removal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Did Trump openly threaten Mahdi over this deal as I covered in my podcast on this? Did the U.S. gin up protests in Baghdad, amplifying unrest over growing Iranian influence in the country?

And, if not, were these threats simply implied or carried by a minion (Pompeo, Esper, a diplomat)? Because the U.S.'s history of regime change operations is well documented. Well understood color revolution tactics used successfully in places like Ukraine , where snipers were deployed to shoot protesters and police alike to foment violence between them at the opportune time were on display in Baghdad.

Mahdi openly accused Trump of threatening him, but that sounds more like Mahdi using the current impeachment script to invoke the sinister side of Trump and sell his case.

It's not that I don't think Trump capable of that kind of threat, I just don't think he's stupid enough to voice it on an open call. Donald Trump is capable of many impulsive things, openly threatening to remove an elected Prime Minister on a recorded line is not one of them.

Mahdi has been under the U.S.'s fire since he came to power in late 2018. He was the man who refused Trump during Trump's impromptu Christmas visit to Iraq in 2018 , refusing to be summoned to a clandestine meeting at the U.S. embassy rather than Trump visit him as a head of state, an equal.

He was the man who declared the Iraqi air space closed after Israeli air attacks on Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) positions in September.

And he's the person, at the same time, being asked by Trump to act as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran in peace talks for Yemen.

So, the more we look at this situation the more it is clear that Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.

It's clear that Trump doesn't want to fight a war with Iran in Iran. He wants them to acquiesce to his unreasonable demands and begin negotiating a new nuclear deal which definitively stops the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and as P atrick Henningsen at 21st Century Wire thinks ,

Trump now wants a new deal which features a prohibition on Iran's medium range missiles , and after events this week, it's obvious why. Wednesday's missile strike by Iran demonstrates that the US can no longer operate in the region so long as Iran has the ability to extend its own deterrence envelope westwards to Syria, Israel, and southwards to the Arabian Peninsula, and that includes all US military installations located within that radius.

Iraq doesn't want to be that battlefield. And Iran sent the message with those two missile strikes that the U.S. presence in Iraq is unsustainable and that any thought of retreating to the autonomous Kurdish region around the air base at Erbil is also a non-starter.

The big question, after this attack, is whether U.S. air defenses around the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi were active or not. If they were then Trump's standing down after the air strikes signals what Patrick suggests, a new Middle East in the making.

If they were not turned on then the next question is why? To allow Iran to save face after Trump screwed up murdering Soleimani?

I'm not capable of believing such Q-tard drivel at this point. It's far more likely that the spectre of Russian electronics warfare and radar evasion is lurking in the subtext of this story and the U.S. truly now finds itself after a second example of Iranian missile technology in a nascent 360 degree war in the region.

It means that Iran's threats against the cities of Haifa and Dubai were real.

In short, it means the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq now measures in months not years.

Because both China and Russia stand to gain ground with a newly-united Shi'ite Iraqi population. Mahdi is now courting Russia to sell him S-300 missile defense systems to allow him to enforce his demands about Iraqi airspace.

Moqtada al-Sadr is mobilizing his Madhi Army to oust the U.S. from Iraq. Iraq is key to the U.S. presence in the region. Without Iraq the U.S. position in Syria is unsustainable.

If the U.S. tries to retreat to Kurdish territory and push again for Masoud Barzani and his Peshmerga forces to declare independence Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go ballistic.

And you can expect him to make good on his threat to close the Incerlik airbase, another critical logistical juncture for U.S. force projection in the region.

But it all starts with Mahdi's and Iraq's moves in the coming weeks. But, with Trump rightly backing down from escalating things further and not following through on his outlandish threats against Iran, it may be we're nearing the end of this intractable standoff.

Back in June I told you that Iran had the ability to fight asymmetrically against the U.S., not through direct military confrontation but through the after-effects of a brief, yet violent period of war in which all U.S., Israeli and Arab assets in the Middle East come under fire from all directions.

It sent this same message then that by attacking oil tankers it could make the transport of oil untenable and not insurable. We got a taste of it back then and Trump, then, backed down.

And the resultant upheaval in the financial markets creating an abyss of losses, cross-asset defaults, bank failures and government collapses.

Trump has no real option now but to negotiate while Iraq puts domestic pressure on him to leave and Russia/China come in to provide critical economic and military support to assist Mahdi rally his country back towards some semblance of sovereignty

* * *

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MalteseFalcon , 3 minutes ago link

OK kids,

Play time is over.

China needs Iraqi oil to build the BRI.

Last one into Africom is a rotten egg!!!!

daveeemc2 , 14 minutes ago link

This is the most delicious of irony

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

The american imperial style of intervention is dead.

China debt trap model of belt and road is the path forward.

They will win hearts and minds, and not a single shot fired.

USA gets debt from paying war machine and killed and maimed soldiers whose personal psychiatry will haunt them for an entire lifetime.

In the end, Americans get nothing but debt and risk their own soverignty as a population ages and infrastructure crumbles....kinda like now.

MalteseFalcon , 1 minute ago link

The last 30 years of American foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.

yerfej , 26 minutes ago link

How about "what is the goal?" There is none of course. The assholes in the Washington/MIC just need war to keep them relevant. What if the US were to closed down all those wars and foreign bases? THEN the taxpayer could demand some accounting for the trillions that are wasted on complete CRAP. There are too many old leftovers from the cold war who seem to think there is benefit to fighting wars in shithole places just because those wars are the only ones going on right now. The stupidity of the ****** in the US military/MIC/Washington is beyond belief. JUST LEAVE you ******* idiots.

Rusticus2.0 , 22 minutes ago link

Your comment should have been directed at Trump, the commander in chief.

I guess that's still a bridge too far, but sooner than later you're going to have to cross it.

BobEore , 29 minutes ago link

Excellent Smithers, excellent:

Sometimes, in treading thru the opaque, sandstorm o ******** swept wastes of the ' desert of the really real '...

one must rely upon a marking... some kind of guidepost, however tenuous, to show you to be still... on the trail, not lost in the vast haunted reaches of post-reality. And you know, Tommy is that sort of guide; the sort of guy who you take to the fairgrounds, set him up with the 'THROW THE BALL THRU THE HOOP... GUARANTEED PRIZE TO SCOOP' kiosk...

and he misses every time. Just by watching Tom run through his paces here... zeroing in on the exact WRONG interpretation of events ... every dawg gone time... one resets their compass to tru course and relaxes into the flow agin! Thanks Tom! Let's break down ... the Schlitzy shopping list of sloppy errors:

  • Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government. / umm Tom... the Russkies just ONCE AGIN... at Ankaras request .. imposed a stop on the IDLIB CAMPAIGN. Which by the way... is being conducted chiefly by the SAA. Or was that's to say. To the east... the Russkies have likewise become the guarantors of .... STATIS... that is a term implying no changes on the map. Remember that word Tom... "map" ... I recommend you to find one... and learn how to use it!
  • Now with Turkey redeploying its pet Salafist head-choppers from Idlib to Libya to fight General Haftar's forces there to legitimize its claim to eastern Mediterannean gas deposits, the restoration of Syria's territorial integrity west of the Euphrates River is nearly complete. See above... with gravy Tom. Two hundred jihadists moving to Libya has not changed the status quo... except in dreamland.

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, f ollowing President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Urusalem.. and its pathetically obedient dogsbody USSA ... are busy setting up RIMFISTAN Tom.. you really need to start expanding your reading list; On both sides of that border you mention .. they will be running - and guarding - pipeline running to the mothership. Shia miitias and that project just don't mix. Nobody gives a frying fluck bout your imaginary 'land bridge to the Med'... except you and the gomers. And you and they aren't ANYWHERES near to here.

  • Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.
  • Ok... this is getting completely embarrassing. The man is a 'caretaker' Tom... that's similar to a 'janitor' - he's on the way out. If you really think thats' being pivotal... I'm gonna suggest that you've 'pivoted' on one of your goats too many times.

Look, Tom... I did sincerely undertake to hold your arm, and guide you through this to a happier place. But you... are underwater my man. And that's quite an accomplishment, since we be traveling through the deserts of the really real. You've enumerated a list of things which has helped me to understand just how completely distorted is the picture of the situation here in mudded east.. is... in the minds of the myriad victims of your alt-media madness. And I thank you for that. But its time we part company.

These whirring klaidescope glasses I put on, in order to help me see how you see things, have given me a bit of a headache. Time to return to seeing the world... as it really works!

simpson seers , 14 minutes ago link

says the yankee chicken ******......

Fireman , 32 minutes ago link

Like Ukraine, everything the anglozionazi empire of **** smear$...turns to ****.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVMbCTWRcSs

https://theduran.com/ukranian-whistleblower-reveals-mh-17-tragedy-was-orchestrated-by-poroshenko-and-british-secret-service/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=wR1NFI6TBH0

BGO , 39 minutes ago link

The whole *target and destroy* Iran (and Iraq) clusterfuck has always been about creating new profit scenarios, profit theaters, for the MIC.

If the US govt was suddenly forced to stop making and selling **** designed to kill people... if the govt were forced to stopping selling **** to other people so they can kill people... if the govt were forced to stop stockpiling **** designed to kill people just so other people would stop building and stockpiling **** designed to kill people... first the US then the world would collapse... everyone would finally see... the US is a nation of people that allows itself to be propped up by the worst sort of people... an infinitesimally small group of gangsters who legally make insane amounts of money... by creating in perpetuity... forever new scenarios that allow them to kill other people.

Jesus ******* Christ ZeroHedge software ******* sucks.

Fireman , 40 minutes ago link

Understanding why Agent Orange is a meat puppet.

The following has been known to cure T.D.S.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NJF06yjvdErM/

Wantoknow , 44 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option? What do you believe are the limits of Trump's options that assure he must negotiate? Perhaps all out war is not yet possible politically in the US, but public sentiment has been manipulated before. Why not now?

One must not yet reject the idea that the road to Moscow and Beijing does not run through Iran. Throwing the US out of the Middle East would be a grievous failure for the deep state which has demonstrated itself to be absolutely ruthless. It is hard to believe the US will leave without a much more serious war forcing the issue.

So far Trump has appeared artless and that may continue but that artlessness may well bring a day when Trump will not back down.

Fireman , 39 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option?

Ask the towel girls at Maralago and Jeffrey Pedovore.

Rusticus2.0 , 49 minutes ago link

The motivation behind Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action wasn't because, after careful analytical study of the plan, he decided it was a bad deal. It was because Israel demanded it as it didn't fit into their best interests and, as with the refreezing of relationships with Cuba, it was a easier way to undo Obama policy rather than tackling Obamacare. Hardly sound judgement.

The war will continue in Iraq as the Shia majority mobilize against an occupying force that has been asked to leave, but refuse. What will quickly become apparent is that this war is about to become far more multifaceted with Iraqi and Iranian proxies targeting American interests across numerous fronts.

Trump is the head of a business empire; Downsizing is not a strategy that he's ever employed; His business history is a case study in go big or go bust.

not-me---it-was-the-dog , 32 minutes ago link

so it will work like this....

trump's zionist overlords have demanded he destroy iran.

as a simple lackey, he agreed, but he does need political cover to do so.

thus the equating of any attack or threat of attack by any group of any political persuasion as originating from iran.

any resistance by the shia in iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the currect governement of iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the sunni in iraq will be considered subversion by iran, or a false flag by iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

trump's refusal to follow the SOFA agreement, and heed the call of the democratic government we claim to have gone in to install, is specifically designed to lead to more violence, which in turn can be blamed on iran's "malign" influence, which gives the entity lackeys cover to spread more democracy.

MIGA!

Brazen Heist II , 55 minutes ago link

America is a nation of imbeciles. They have meddled in Iraq since the 1980s and still can't subdue the place to their content.

Dey hate us for our freedumbs!

Ghost who Walks , 54 minutes ago link

I'm more positive that Iraq can resolve its issues without starting a Global War.

The information shared by the Iraqi Prime Minister goes part way to awakening the population as to what is happening and why.

Once more information starts to leak out (and it will from those individuals who want to avoid extinction) the broad mass of the global population can take action to protect themselves from the psychopaths.

new game , 1 hour ago link

This is what empires in decline do. Hubris...

meanwhile China rises with Strategic economic investment.

And the econ hitmen aren't done yet...

moar war...

Arising , 1 hour ago link

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

Come on Tom, you should know better than that: the U.S will destroy any agreements between China and the people of Iraq.

The oil will continue to be stolen and sent to Occupied Palestine to administer and the people of Iraq will be in constant revolt, protest mode and subjugation- but they will never know they are being manipulated by the thieving zionists in D.C and Tel aviv.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

Agreed. It will take nothing short of a miracle to stop this. Time isnt on their side though so they better get on it. They will do something big to get it going.

RoyalDraco , 14 minutes ago link

This isn't "humanity." Few people are psychopathic killers. It is being run by a small cliche of Satanists who are well on their way to enslaving humanity in a dystopia even George Orwell could not imagine. They control most of the levers of power and influence and have done so for centuries.

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

- Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's testimony before the Nuremberg tribunal on crimes against humanity

[Jan 11, 2020] Sheldon Adelson the casino mogul driving Trump's Middle East policy by Chris McGreal

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line ..."
"... Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state. ..."
"... Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets . ..."
"... That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton. ..."
"... The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence. ..."
"... Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .) ..."
"... "Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project. ..."
"... He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities. ..."
"... In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry. ..."
"... Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign. ..."
"... Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname. ..."
"... In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?" ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

The Las Vegas billionaire gave Republicans $82m for the 2016 elections and his views, notably staunch support for Netanyahu's Israel, are now the official US line

Sheldon Adelson has spent millions on backing Israel and attacking supporters of Palestinian rights in the US. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP In 2015, the billionaire casino owner and Republican party funder Sheldon Adelson spent days in a Las Vegas courtroom watching his reputation torn apart and wondering if his gambling empire was facing ruin.

An official from Nevada's gaming control board sat at the back of the court listening to mounting evidence that Adelson bribed Chinese officials and worked with organised crime at his casinos in Macau – allegations that could have seen the magnate's Las Vegas casinos stripped of their licenses.

The case, a civil suit by a former manager of the Macau gaming operations who said he was fired for curbing corrupt practices, was another blow in a bad run for Adelson.

He had thrown $150m into a futile effort to unseat the "socialist" and "anti-Israel" Barack Obama in the 2012 election. His credibility as a political player was not enhanced by his backing of Newt Gingrich for president.

But three years on from the court case, Adelson's influence has never been greater.

The imprint of the 84-year-old's political passions is seen in an array of Donald Trump's more controversial decisions, including violating the Iran nuclear deal , moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem , and appointing the ultra-hawkish John Bolton as national security adviser .

"Adelson's established himself as an influential figure in American politics with the amount of money that he has contributed," said Logan Bayroff of the liberal pro-Israel group, J Street. "There's no doubt that he has very strong, very far-right dangerous positions and that – at very least – those positions are really being heard and thought about at the highest levels of government."

As the 2015 court hearing unfolded, the billionaire swallowed his considerable pride and paid millions of dollars to settle the lawsuit, heading off the danger of the graft allegations being tested at a full trial.

The casinos stayed in business and continued to contribute to a vast wealth that made Adelson the 14th richest person in America last year with a net worth of $35bn, according to Forbes.

Adelson has put some of that money toward pushing an array of political interests ranging from protecting his business from online gambling to opposition to marijuana legalisation.

But nothing aligns more closely with his world view than the intertwining of the Republican party and Israel .

Adelson's considerable support for Republicans is in no small part motivated by what he regards as their more reliable support for the policies of Benjamin Netanyahu , which appear intent on preventing the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Adelson gave $82m toward Trump's and other Republican campaigns during the 2016 election cycle – more than three times the next largest individual donor, according to Open Secrets .

That commitment bought him an attentive hearing from the new administration as he pushed for the appointment of Bolton as national security adviser knowing that he would be an important ally in getting the White House to kill the Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times reported that Adelson is a member of a " shadow National Security Council " advising Bolton.

The day after Trump announced that the US was pulling out of the Iran agreement, Adelson was reported to have held a private meeting at the White House with the president, Bolton and Vice-President Mike Pence.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Sheldon Adelson attends the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in Jerusalem in May. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

The casino magnate also pushed hard to see the US embassy moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – an action previous presidents had shied away from because of the diplomatic ramifications.

Adelson was so enthusiastic about the move that he offered to pay for some of the costs and provided a jet to fly Guatemala's official delegation to Israel for the ceremony. (The Central American country has also announced plans to follow Trump and move its own embassy .)

Daniel Levy, a former member of Israeli negotiating teams with the Palestinians and policy adviser to the then Israeli prime minister, Ehud Barak, said that Adelson's money had helped resurface neoconservative policies which had been discredited after the US invasion of Iraq.

"Adelson is a linchpin in bringing together the radical extremists on the Israeli right and this group of hardliners on Israel and neoconservatives," said Levy, who is now president of the US-based Middle East Project.

The billionaire is also deeply committed to protecting Israel within the US.

An example of an anti-BDS poster funded by Sheldon Adelson. Photograph: Courtesy of Robert Gardner

He paid for a new headquarters for the most powerful pro-Israel lobby group in Washington (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), spent $100m to fund "birthright" trips for young Jewish Americans to Israel, and funds a group opposing criticism of the Jewish state at US universities.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently revealed that Adelson funded an investigation by an Israeli firm with ties to the country's police and military into the American activist Linda Sarsour, a co-chair of the Women's March movement who campaigns for Palestinian rights and supports a boycott of the Jewish state.

Adelson also funds Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and his World Values Network which published a full-page personal attack in the New York Times on the actor Natalie Portman for refusing an award from Israel because of its government's policies.

For his part, the casino magnate does not take criticism well.

In 2015 he secretly bought the Las Vegas newspaper, the Review-Journal , which had led the way in critical coverage of the billionaire's business dealings. Several reporters subsequently left the paper complaining of editorial interference and curbs on reporting of the gambling industry.

Right now, Adelson is concentrated on ensuring the Republicans remain in control of Congress, and is pouring $30m into funding the GOP's midterm elections campaign.

Adelson is no less active in Israel where he owns the country's largest newspaper, a publication so closely linked with Netanyahu's administration it has been dubbed the "Bibipaper" after the prime minister's nickname.

Personal relations with Netanyahu have soured but Adelson remains committed to the prime minister's broader "Greater Israel" political agenda and to strengthening ties between the Republicans' evangelical base and Israel.

It's not always a welcome involvement by a man who is not an Israeli citizen – not least because Adelson's vision for the Jewish state does not represent how many of its people see their country.

In 2014, he told a conference during a discussion about the implications for democracy of perpetual occupation or annexation of parts of the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote in Israeli elections: "Israel isn't going to be a democratic state. So what?"

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

Jan 11, 2020 | www.theguardian.com

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

Julian Borger in Washington

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The relationship between evangelicals and the president himself is complicated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 10, 2020] Pompous killer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 10, 2020] Trump decided to play the role of Benjamin Netanyahu Santa Claus again

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 8 2020 19:20 utc | 198

Probably in the medium term the situation for the US in ME will be worse, but in the short term (in an electoral year) the people I talked, with some knowledge of the recent history of the ME, and me, we think:

a) Trump dares to do what at least 3 former administration did not dare to do: kill the first "terrorist" on the list (as ex-admiral William J. Fallon has said, Suleimani was the Nº 1 in his list for 12 years), so for the American people is the more resolute and brave POTUS of at least 10 administration (somebody says from Lincoln times). Obama was a coward.

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

c) People say that after killing Al-Bagdadi, Suleimani, Muhandis, the next in the list is Nasralah (pure wishful thinking but right now, why not thinking that?)

d) The USA did no use their AA system to shut-down the incoming missiles to not give a clue to the Iranians of their real effectiveness in combat situation and because the Russians have many SIGINT platforms following the events to capture the signals, methods, tactics and technology of the US anti-ballistic missiles systems. So now the Iranians are blind of the real effectiveness of their missiles in a real combat situation and the Russians do not have a clue also. For sure USA can take down at least some modified SCUD C missiles, simply it was not worth to do.

e) The fact that Trump did not retaliate is not a symptom of weakness, simply no American was hurt after killing Suleimani (an act of war), only some holes in the sand.

f) In the speech of today Trump is defiant with the killing of Suleimani and with more economic sanctions to Iran, that will be more crippling than now. He does not want to escalate (more). There will be a deal in the future, but much less good for the Iranians than the Obama's JCPOA (it was an electoral promise).

g) The retaliation of the PMU, they say, "will be similar than that of Iran", translating it : "lob some katyusha rockets in the backyard of few US bases giving advice to the Americans do not go out". No risks at all, the se-escalation is complete.

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

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

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

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


Petri Krohn , Jan 8 2020 19:22 utc | 199

The 5 lightweight hangars at the Ain al-Asad airbase that were destroyed in the Iranian bullseye hit housed US drones. Possibly the very one used to assassinate General Qassem Soleimani.

See this tweet by Babak Taghvaee from yesterday with photos:

#BREAKING: It is now confirmed that the #IRGC backed Kataib Hezbollah (45th Brigade of #PMU) launched 40 unguided rockets at Ain Al Asad Air Base where the #USArmy's MQ-1Cs are based. At-least one of them participated in the operation for elimination of #Soleimani in #Baghdad!

arby , Jan 8 2020 19:22 utc | 200
The US contractor that was killed worked for Valiant Integrated Services.

https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article239053173.html

valiant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 08, 2020] If Dems play their cards right Trump might well be one time president

Two helicopters and several fixed wing aircraft destroyed in Kenia, several buildings demolished by Iran rockets. For what? For the the guy who was instumental in driving ISIS out of Syria and Iraq?
Jan 08, 2020 | www.theguardian.com
Democratic 2020 candidate Cory Booker just tweeted about the Capitol Hill briefing on the US-Iran crisis.
Cory Booker (@CoryBooker)

Just stepped out of a 75-minute briefing regarding President Trump's military actions in Iraq -- we were provided no evidence of an imminent threat. I remain deeply skeptical that he had justification for this attack.

[Jan 08, 2020] Trump: The American Netanyahu by Marwan Bishara

Jan 08, 2020 | www.aljazeera.com

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/trump-american-netanyahu-200107145858311.html

On Iran and the Middle East, the Trump administration is following Israel's playbook.

US President Donald Trump and Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu hold up a proclamation recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019 [File: Reuters/Leah Millis]
more on Soleimani assassination
Supporters of Donald Trump think of the US president as an exceptional one-of-a-kind force of nature - a sui generis leader. His detractors like to compare him to Russian President Vladimir Putin or describe him as a Putin stooge, and since he ordered the "vengeful" or "reckless" assassination of Iranian General Qassim Solemani, some have likened him to a Middle Eastern despot. But a more pertinent comparison lies elsewhere.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump's dramatic positions and pronouncements on the Middle East and beyond have shocked and dismayed much of the US foreign policy establishment, especially on three main challenges facing the US in the region: security, diplomacy and democracy and human rights.

Trump has not only undone much of his predecessor's legacy, both domestically and internationally, he also trashed Barack Obama's doctrine and policies in favour of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's. For the past three years, he has been re-coupling US and Israeli strategies, especially towards Iran and the global "war on terror" which Obama spent eight years decoupling.

This is not to say, Obama was not a staunch supporter of Israel and defender of its "security" or was not trigger happy with the US drone assassination programme. He certainly was. He just did not like Netanyahu and did not appreciate his deceit.

Obama tried to pursue an independent US policy free from Israel's narrow constraints and considerations, after eight years of the Bush administration's wars and blunders in the region.

By contrast, Trump embraced all things Netanyahu as soon as he stepped into the White House.

It helped that the two men have far more in common than meets the eye.

Eerie similarities

Both men are thrice married with a history of adultery, are facing charges for misusing their office for personal gain, and have a problematic relationship with the truth.

And yet, both Netanyahu and Trump remain all too popular with their right-wing base.

Even religious fanatics, both in Israel and the US, consider these two secular, undevout, and morally challenged leaders as God's vessels on earth.

Both are able showmen , who have pursued, and mastered, populist, theatrical and divisive policies that have rallied their rightist constituencies around their populist personas.

But most importantly in this context, Trump has pursued the same ultra-nationalist securitarian, some say racist, agendas that Netanyahu has long championed in Israel and the Middle East.

This is especially important today, as both commanders-in-chief are exploiting foreign policy to deflect attention from their domestic troubles with the law.

Embracing Netanyahu's positions

Trump's knowledge of the Middle East was dismal prior to taking office. He was an empty page ready to be filled, but only with the ideas which helped guide and propel his presidential campaign towards victory, such as infringements on rights of immigrants and minorities, a ban on Muslims travelling to the US, and all things anti-Obama.

A number of Middle Eastern despots like those of Egypt and the UAE did try to fill in some of the blanks. But no one had the ability, style, record, and diligence of Netanyahu, who also enjoyed unfiltered access to the president-elect through his three ultra-Zionist lieutenants, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman.

First among these ideas, was the radical departure from a quarter of a century of US policy towards Israel and Palestine , namely moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, accepting the legitimacy of the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, abandoning the two-state solution, and recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

It is Netanyahu's dream come true.

Trump also embraced Netanyahu's view on the Arab world in support of friendly despots and dictators and against democracy and human rights. He aligned US policy toward the Gulf and Arab affairs with the interests of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt and embraced Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite his reckless policies domestically and regionally - all in the hope of paving the way for Arab normalisation of relations with "colonial" Israel.

Another Netanyahu dream come true.

Attacking Iran

Nowhere was Netanyahu's influence on Trump more pronounced than on Iran.

The Trump administration abandoned the Iran nuclear deal against the advice and urging of its NATO allies, Russia and China.

It then pursued a punitive policy of containment through tough economic sanctions, an option unavailable to Israel, in order to strong-arm Iran into a humiliating new deal that not only bans all its nuclear activity, but also curtails its military and regional outreach.

When maximum pressure did not produce the desired results, as Iran continued its bellicose regional policies, Trump adopted both Netanyahu's means and endgame, starting with the assassination of Soleimani, widely seen as a "declaration of war" with untold consequences for the region.

Israel has been carrying out targeted killings and preemptive strikes against Iranian targets in Syria; in 2013, it was accused of being behind the killing of another Revolutionary Guard general, Hassan Shateri .

To be clear, Trump did not order the assassination to avenge the killings of countless Syrians and Iraqis; he did so to deter Iran from escalating its attacks on US interests and allies.

Although Netanyahu tried to distance himself from the targeted assassination of the Iranian general in Iraq, make no mistake, this is a third Netanyahu dream come true, in a span of three years. He is said to have been the only world leader with prior knowledge of the planned assassination.

Regional crisis

Nothing is more satisfying for an Israeli leader than having the US embrace Israel's strategy and fight Israel's wars in the region. And nothing is more dangerous for the rest of the world - we all know how the last conflict Tel Aviv incited ended in disaster in Iraq.

The last thing any Israeli leader wants is for the US to withdraw from the region, leaving Israel to fend for itself in a hostile environment. Same goes for Saudi Arabia .

That is why it is important to underline that while the Trump administration may seek to reposition its forces out of the hotspots of the Middle East, including Iraq (just as Israel redeployed out of Lebanon and Gaza) the US will still maintain formidable projection of forces throughout the region.

The question is, will this strategy enable future US diplomacy, which also served Israel's interests during the so-called "peace process", or lead to the further escalation of violence and war?

Alas, the ongoing bluster about imminent attacks, counter-attacks, and disproportionate responses and bombings of cultural sites do not bode well for diplomacy.

With naval fleets, military bases and some 60,000 troops deployed around Iran and throughout the Middle East, the Trump administration could pursue an Israel-like air-land-sea strategy of drones, fighter jets, guided missiles, cyber and Special Forces attacks and targeted assassinations that exhaust its enemies and destabilises the region as a whole.

That would be another Netanyahu dream and another Middle East nightmare come true.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marwan Bishara Marwan Bishara

Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

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

Jan 08, 2020 | news.antiwar.com

Antiwar.com Regional News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 08, 2020] Assassination of Soleimani was done on false pretences much like Bush II Iraq war justification. Trump abused his power and now needs to be impeached

The neocon cabal of Pompeo, Ester and O'bian needs to be fired immediately and investigated by FBI.
Notable quotes:
"... As for the war powers resolution justification provided by the administration, that legislation was not designed to alter the fundamental constitutional balance, but to restore it, Healy says. Critically, it does not give presidents a free pass to carry out military action for 60 days without congressional approval, as some have suggested. ..."
"... The war powers resolution itself was introduced after Congress discovered Nixon's secret war in Cambodia in 1973. It was designed to allow Congress to terminate any unauthorized actions taken by the executive branch and to require transparency. If the president responds to any "imminent threat" not covered by an existing statute or law authorizing use of force, then the president must within 48 hours report to Congress what actions have been taken. ..."
"... "With the Soleimani strike, the administration is saying they're responding to an imminent threat, but they have not publicly stated what that threat is," said Kate Kizer, policy director at Win Without War, in an interview with TAC. "From reporting, there's not a lot of evidence of an imminent attack. So they should have come to Congress first and said what they were going to do." ..."
"... The Constitution clearly gives the power to declare war to Congress. Article II states that the president can act without Congress only when it is necessary to do so against imminent threats to U.S. territories, possessions, or citizens.​ ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
claims the strike was "authorized" in part by the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which provided the legal basis for the war in Iraq. ​

"Unless Trump is using his presidential sharpie, it's not at all clear how this 17-year-old statute authorizes what seems to be a major escalation that could start a whole new war," said Gene Healy, vice president of the Cato Institute, in an interview with The American Conservative. ​

As for the war powers resolution justification provided by the administration, that legislation was not designed to alter the fundamental constitutional balance, but to restore it, Healy says. Critically, it does not give presidents a free pass to carry out military action for 60 days without congressional approval, as some have suggested.

The war powers resolution itself was introduced after Congress discovered Nixon's secret war in Cambodia in 1973. It was designed to allow Congress to terminate any unauthorized actions taken by the executive branch and to require transparency. If the president responds to any "imminent threat" not covered by an existing statute or law authorizing use of force, then the president must within 48 hours report to Congress what actions have been taken.

In the case of Soleimani, "the Pentagon statement doesn't mention any imminent attacks," notes Healy . Secretary of State Mike "Pompeo says Soleimani was planning an attack that could have killed hundreds of lives, but he's provided no evidence for that. I think it's hardly cynical to verify, instead of blindly trusting, given the track record of this administration and recent past administrations."

"With the Soleimani strike, the administration is saying they're responding to an imminent threat, but they have not publicly stated what that threat is," said Kate Kizer, policy director at Win Without War, in an interview with TAC. "From reporting, there's not a lot of evidence of an imminent attack. So they should have come to Congress first and said what they were going to do."

​That's because there's ​simply ​ " no viable argument " that the 2002 AUMF authorizes force against Iran ​, according to ​ Brian Egan, a former legal adviser to both the State Department ​ and the NSC, and ​Tess Bridgeman, a senior fellow at NYU School of Law and former a ssociate ​c​ ounsel to the ​p​ resident. ​ ​

The 2002 AUMF allows the president to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq " and "enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq " ​ ( e mphasis added ).

"Those are plainly not relevant to the situation" today, Egan and Bridgeman write.​

The ​Trump administration also said it does not ​"​ need congressional sign off from a legal standpoint" for the Soleimani strike because ​of the president's authority​ as​ commander-in-chief under Article II of the Constitution ​, CNN reported.

The Constitution clearly gives the power to declare war to Congress. Article II states that the president can act without Congress only when it is necessary to do so against imminent threats to U.S. territories, possessions, or citizens.​

That's why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Pentagon chief Mark Esper, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley were so emphatic Monday that the U.S. was responding to an "imminent threat."​ But so far, no evidence of that has been provided.

​While a 2018 Office of Legal Council (OLC) opinion offers a very liberal definition of executive authority and provides ​ " very little constraint on modern presidential uses of force," it appears to classify the Soleimani strike as an act of war, since Iran is a nation state that will likely escalate its military retaliation in response to the killing of their uniformed military member.

Indeed, the U.S. has already said it will send 3,500 additional troops to the Middle East "after Iran vowed to exact 'severe revenge.'" ​The U.S. has warned its citizens to leave Iraq​, and Iran has already begun firing at housing for American forces in Iraq: all signs that point to escalation.

Moreover, targeted political assassinations, like the kind used against Soleimani, have been banned by executive order since the Ford administration. Ronald Reagan signed Executive Order 12333, which reads: "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination."

Soleimani was "not a rogue outlaw, but a military official of a sovereign government we were not at war with, making his killing an assassination," writes Ben Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities. "His actions, however evil, served Iranian policy."

"The idea that the president can, without going to Congress, take out a top level official of a country we're not in an authorized war with, is crossing a Rubicon," said Healy.

So what happens now?

Congress has several choices to make in the days ahead. It can pass empty, non-binding resolutions, that require the president's sign-off, like the kind suggested by Kaine and Pelosi. Or it can repeal the decades-old AUMFs that have been used to justify continuing U.S. escalations in the Middle East. Congress could also pass bills like those by Representative Khanna and Senator Sanders to strip funding for offensive military action against Iran from the NDAA.

It remains to be seen if Congress will choose substantive actions, like defunding unauthorized wars, over window dressing.

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

Jan 08, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

StSarkiscathedraltehran2016

(Tehran Armenian Cathedral)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 08, 2020] Three major Trump accomplishments

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bubbles , Jan 8 2020 16:29 utc | 103

arby @90

Trump has accomplished 3 things in 3 years.

1. Being Santa Claus to Netanyahu, the far right and the very rich (Generous donors)
2. Doing the impossible, making Hillary look like the better of 2 terrible choices
3. Proving 42% of the American public aren't too swift.


[Jan 08, 2020] "Debt Wish 2020" Did Iran strike affects dollar status as the world reserve currency, because it is a clear sign the the period of the USA absolute hegemony after the dissolution of the USSR came the end?

Jan 08, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 8 2020 0:02 utc | 110

psychohistorian @88--

What was your take on "Debt Wish 2020"?

Jezabeel @82--

"U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses" provides numerous methods besides simply the cessation of dollar use for international commercial transactions. Along with watching the "Debt Wish 2020" vid linked above, I also suggest reading/watching this program . And lastly, I suggest reading this analysis here , although it only tangentially deals with your question.

[Jan 08, 2020] Trump: The American Netanyahu

Jan 08, 2020 | www.aljazeera.com

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/trump-american-netanyahu-200107145858311.html

https://twitter.com/Tweeterist_

On Iran and the Middle East, the Trump administration is following Israel's playbook.

Marwan Bishara by Marwan Bishara 11 hours ago
US President Donald Trump and Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu hold up a proclamation recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019 [File: Reuters/Leah Millis]
US President Donald Trump and Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu hold up a proclamation recognising Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights on March 25, 2019 [File: Reuters/Leah Millis]
more on Soleimani assassination
Supporters of Donald Trump think of the US president as an exceptional one-of-a-kind force of nature - a sui generis leader. His detractors like to compare him to Russian President Vladimir Putin or describe him as a Putin stooge, and since he ordered the "vengeful" or "reckless" assassination of Iranian General Qassim Solemani, some have likened him to a Middle Eastern despot. But a more pertinent comparison lies elsewhere.

Since taking office in January 2017, Trump's dramatic positions and pronouncements on the Middle East and beyond have shocked and dismayed much of the US foreign policy establishment, especially on three main challenges facing the US in the region: security, diplomacy and democracy and human rights.

Trump has not only undone much of his predecessor's legacy, both domestically and internationally, he also trashed Barack Obama's doctrine and policies in favour of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu 's. For the past three years, he has been re-coupling US and Israeli strategies, especially towards Iran and the global "war on terror" which Obama spent eight years decoupling.

This is not to say, Obama was not a staunch supporter of Israel and defender of its "security" or was not trigger happy with the US drone assassination programme. He certainly was. He just did not like Netanyahu and did not appreciate his deceit.

Obama tried to pursue an independent US policy free from Israel's narrow constraints and considerations, after eight years of the Bush administration's wars and blunders in the region.

By contrast, Trump embraced all things Netanyahu as soon as he stepped into the White House.

It helped that the two men have far more in common than meets the eye.

Eerie similarities

Both men are thrice married with a history of adultery, are facing charges for misusing their office for personal gain, and have a problematic relationship with the truth.

And yet, both Netanyahu and Trump remain all too popular with their right-wing base.

Even religious fanatics, both in Israel and the US, consider these two secular, undevout, and morally challenged leaders as God's vessels on earth.

Both are able showmen , who have pursued, and mastered, populist, theatrical and divisive policies that have rallied their rightist constituencies around their populist personas.

But most importantly in this context, Trump has pursued the same ultra-nationalist securitarian, some say racist, agendas that Netanyahu has long championed in Israel and the Middle East.

This is especially important today, as both commanders-in-chief are exploiting foreign policy to deflect attention from their domestic troubles with the law.

Embracing Netanyahu's positions

Trump's knowledge of the Middle East was dismal prior to taking office. He was an empty page ready to be filled, but only with the ideas which helped guide and propel his presidential campaign towards victory, such as infringements on rights of immigrants and minorities, a ban on Muslims travelling to the US, and all things anti-Obama.

A number of Middle Eastern despots like those of Egypt and the UAE did try to fill in some of the blanks. But no one had the ability, style, record, and diligence of Netanyahu, who also enjoyed unfiltered access to the president-elect through his three ultra-Zionist lieutenants, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman.

First among these ideas, was the radical departure from a quarter of a century of US policy towards Israel and Palestine , namely moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, accepting the legitimacy of the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands, abandoning the two-state solution, and recognising Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

It is Netanyahu's dream come true.

Trump also embraced Netanyahu's view on the Arab world in support of friendly despots and dictators and against democracy and human rights. He aligned US policy toward the Gulf and Arab affairs with the interests of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt and embraced Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman despite his reckless policies domestically and regionally - all in the hope of paving the way for Arab normalisation of relations with "colonial" Israel.

Another Netanyahu dream come true.

Attacking Iran

Nowhere was Netanyahu's influence on Trump more pronounced than on Iran.

The Trump administration abandoned the Iran nuclear deal against the advice and urging of its NATO allies, Russia and China.

It then pursued a punitive policy of containment through tough economic sanctions, an option unavailable to Israel, in order to strong-arm Iran into a humiliating new deal that not only bans all its nuclear activity, but also curtails its military and regional outreach.

When maximum pressure did not produce the desired results, as Iran continued its bellicose regional policies, Trump adopted both Netanyahu's means and endgame, starting with the assassination of Soleimani, widely seen as a "declaration of war" with untold consequences for the region.

Israel has been carrying out targeted killings and preemptive strikes against Iranian targets in Syria; in 2013, it was accused of being behind the killing of another Revolutionary Guard general, Hassan Shateri .

To be clear, Trump did not order the assassination to avenge the killings of countless Syrians and Iraqis; he did so to deter Iran from escalating its attacks on US interests and allies.

Although Netanyahu tried to distance himself from the targeted assassination of the Iranian general in Iraq, make no mistake, this is a third Netanyahu dream come true, in a span of three years. He is said to have been the only world leader with prior knowledge of the planned assassination.

Regional crisis

Nothing is more satisfying for an Israeli leader than having the US embrace Israel's strategy and fight Israel's wars in the region. And nothing is more dangerous for the rest of the world - we all know how the last conflict Tel Aviv incited ended in disaster in Iraq.

The last thing any Israeli leader wants is for the US to withdraw from the region, leaving Israel to fend for itself in a hostile environment. Same goes for Saudi Arabia .

That is why it is important to underline that while the Trump administration may seek to reposition its forces out of the hotspots of the Middle East, including Iraq (just as Israel redeployed out of Lebanon and Gaza) the US will still maintain formidable projection of forces throughout the region.

The question is, will this strategy enable future US diplomacy, which also served Israel's interests during the so-called "peace process", or lead to the further escalation of violence and war?

Alas, the ongoing bluster about imminent attacks, counter-attacks, and disproportionate responses and bombings of cultural sites do not bode well for diplomacy.

With naval fleets, military bases and some 60,000 troops deployed around Iran and throughout the Middle East, the Trump administration could pursue an Israel-like air-land-sea strategy of drones, fighter jets, guided missiles, cyber and Special Forces attacks and targeted assassinations that exhaust its enemies and destabilises the region as a whole.

That would be another Netanyahu dream and another Middle East nightmare come true.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Marwan Bishara Marwan Bishara

Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

[Jan 07, 2020] a popular figure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totally normal. pic.twitter.com/FDWtpfItEp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then there's what actually happened.

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

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

-- Sam (@sonofnariman) January 5, 2020

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

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

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

WOW,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 06, 2020] Whether he is eating ice cream or not, Trump appears to be on a rampage to recreate the end of The Godfather.

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

Cloak And Dagger , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 12:16 am GMT

Doubling down on stupid:

Whether he is eating ice cream or not, Trump appears to be on a rampage to recreate the end of The Godfather.

Less than 24 hours after a US drone shockingly killed the top Iranian military leader, Qasem Soleimani, resulting in equity markets groaning around the globe in fear over Iranian reprisals (and potentially, World War III), the US has gone for round two with Reuters and various other social media sources reporting that US air strikes targeting Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shi'ite militias near camp Taji north of Baghdad, have killed six people and critically wounded three, an Iraqi army source said late on Friday.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/round-two-us-drone-airstrikes-kill-six-pro-iran-militia-commanders

Gleimhart Mantooso , says: Show Comment January 4, 2020 at 12:55 am GMT
Now would be the perfect time for the Mossad to do its false flag shtick. They wouldn't even have to try very hard to pin it on Iran. I'll bet that when the news came out that the Iranian guy had been killed, every neocon on the planet popped a boner that will last for days. Michael Ledeen is probably mazel tov-ing his ass off.

I don't care about the dead Muslim who got killed, since that's the only kind of "good Muslim" you're ever going to find, but I would still prefer for the U.S. to get out of the Middle East altogether. Let those two warring anti-Christ peoples kill each other to their hearts' content.

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

Jan 06, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

[Jan 06, 2020] Warren Questions if Soleimani Strike Linked to Impeachment -- Look at the Timing Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.breitbart.com

On Sunday's broadcast of CNN's "State of the Union," 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) questioned if President Donald Trump's reasons for the Qasem Soleimani assassination was to distract from impeachment.

Warren said, "I think that the question that we ought to focus on is why now? Why not a month ago, and why not a month from now? And the answer from the administration seems to be that they can't keep their story straight on this. They pointed in all different directions. And you know, the last time that we watched them do this was the summer over Ukraine. As soon as people started asking about the conversations between Donald Trump and the president of Ukraine and why aid had been held up to Ukraine, the administration did the same thing. They pointed in all directions of what was going on. And of course, what emerged then is that this is Donald Trump just trying to advance Donald Trump's own political agenda. Not the agenda of the United States of America. So what happens right now? Next week, the president of the United States could be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate. We know that he is deeply upset about that. I think that people are reasonably asking why this moment? Why does he pick now to take this highly inflammatory, highly dangerous action that moves us closer to war? We have been at war for 20 years in the Middle East, and we need to stop the war this the Middle East and not expand it."

Tapper asked, "Are you suggesting that President Trump pulled the trigger and had Qasem Soleimani killed as a distraction from impeachment?"

Warren said, "Look, I think that people are reasonably asking about the timing and why it is that the administration seems to have all kinds of different answers. In the first 48 hours after this attack, what did we hear? Well, we heard it was for an imminent attack, and then we heard, no, no, it is to prevent any future attack, and then we heard that it is from the vice president himself and no, it is related to 9/11, and then we heard from president reports of people in the intelligence community saying that the whole, that the threat was overblown. You know, when the administration doesn't seem to have a coherent answer for taking a step like this. They have taken a step that moves us closer to war, a step that puts everyone at risk, and step that puts the military at risk and puts the diplomats in the region at risk. And we have already paid a huge price for this war. Thousands of American lives lost, and a cost that we have paid domestically and around the world. At the same time, look at what it has done in the Middle East, millions of people who have been killed, who have been injured, who have been displaced. So this is not a moment when the president should be escalating tensions and moving us to war. The job of the president is to keep us safe, and that means move back from the edge."

Tapper pressed, "Do you believe that President Trump pulled the trigger on this operation as a way to distract from impeachment? Is that what you think?"

Warren said, "I think it is a reasonable question to ask, particularly when the administration immediately after having taken this decision offers a bunch of contradictory explanations for what is going on."

She continued, "I think it is the right question to ask. We will get more information as we go forward but look at the timing on this. Look at what Donald Trump has said afterward and his administration. They have pointed in multiple directions. There is a reason that he chose this moment, not a month ago and not a month from now, not a less aggressive and less dangerous response. He had a whole range of responses that were presented to him. He didn't pick one of the other ones. He picked the most aggressive and the one that moves us closer to war. So what does everybody talk about today? Are we going to war? Are we going to have another five years, tens, ten years of war in the Middle East, and dragged in once again. Are we bringing another generation of young people into war? That is every bit of the conversation right now. Donald Trump has taken an extraordinarily reckless step, and we have seen it before, he is using foreign policy and uses whatever he can to advance the interests of Donald Trump."

Follow Pam Key On Twitter @pamkeyNEN

[Jan 06, 2020] Trump's Cartoon Imperialism and War Crimes by Daniel Larrison

Notable quotes:
"... Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred. ..."
Jan 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

he Iraqi parliament approved a measure that called for an end to the U.S. military presence in Iraq. The prime minister spoke in favor of a departure of U.S. forces, and it seems very likely that U.S. forces will be required to leave the country in the near future. The president's response to this was in keeping with his cartoon imperialist attitudes about other countries:

Trump threatens Iraq with sanctions if they expel US troops: "If they do ask us to leave, if we don't do it in a very friendly basis. We will charge them sanctions like they've never seen before ever. It'll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame."

-- Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) January 6, 2020

Trump doesn't see other countries as genuinely sovereign, and he doesn't respect their decisions when they run counter to what he wants, so his first instinct when they choose something he dislikes is to punish them. Economic war has been his preferred method of punishment, and he has applied this in the form of tariffs or sanctions depending on the target. Iraq's government is sick of repeated U.S. violations of Iraqi sovereignty, and the U.S. strikes over the last week have strengthened the existing movement to remove U.S. forces from the country. One might think that Trump would jump at the chance to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq and Syria that the Iraqi parliament's action gives him. It would have been better to leave of our own accord before destroying the relationship with Baghdad, but it might be the only good thing to come out of this disaster. It is telling that Trump's reaction to this news is not to seize the opportunity but to threaten Iraq instead. Needless to say, there is absolutely no legitimate basis for imposing sanctions on Iraq, and if Trump did this it would be one more example of how the U.S. is flagrantly abusing its power to bully and attack smaller states.

In another instance of the president's crude cartoon imperialism, he repeated his threat to target Iran's cultural heritage sites:

President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, breaking with his secretary of state over the issue.

Aboard Air Force One on his way back from his holiday trip to Florida, Mr. Trump reiterated to reporters traveling with him the spirit of a Twitter post on Saturday, when he said that the United States government had identified 52 sites for retaliation against Iran if there were a response to Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani's death. Some, he tweeted, were of "cultural" significance.

Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred.


OrthoAnabaptist 19 hours ago

When o when will this man leave the stage? Who oh who will stand up against him and save the world from this man? God have mercy on us all and deliver us from this anti-christ.
Brandon Falusi 18 hours ago
Trump really really enjoyed telling his "Black Jack Pershing's bullets dipped in pig's blood" fairy tales during the campaign, and so did the rallygoers. He loves reveling in the amoral gutter, and his base loves him unconditionally. Ailes, Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Hannity, and now Trump: their aggresive, barbaric, venal leaders and spokesmen. Whaddayagonnado? They can't help it. They follow the guy who calls the opposition within his own party "human scum." Takes one to know one, right? That's right. Trump is a visceral hedonist, so yes, he likes aggression.
Clyde Schechter 17 hours ago
Bravo, Mr. Larison! Well said!

As reactions are emerging around the world, it seems pretty clear that the US will be almost completely isolated in this situation. Europe may finally be growing a spine.

Most interesting is the reaction from the UK. Dominic Raab initially made some "balanced" remarks pointing out that Soleimani was a bad actor but counseling restraint. The next day, presumably under directions from Boris Johnson, he retracted that and said that the UK is on the same page as the US. This is a portent of things to come. I think that most people who voted for Brexit did so because they wanted to take back their sovereignty from Brussels. But this weekend is probably the first step in the UK's march towards becoming, in practical terms, a US colony. The UK's economy and other influence are simply not large enough to stand alone against those of the US, the EU, and China. They will be in something of a beggars can't be choosers position when negotiating trade deals with these larger entities. They can expect the EU to do them no favors given their chaotic dealings with them. China will probably take a pragmatic approach to them. Their best hope for favorable treatment is with the United States, and Johnson has fawned over Trump enough to have reason to believe it might happen. But it also entails that the UK will not be free to dissent from US foreign policy in the slightest way. In fact, if we end up in a conventional war with Iran, I suspect that the UK will be the only nation in the world that sends troops there with us. (The UAE, Israel and the Saudis will, of course, cheer us on, even goad us, but will not risk any of their own blood.) I wonder how Brexit supporters will feel about that. At least Brussels never dragged them into any stupid wars.

Remember this date. It marks the date the UK began its journey from the frying pan into the fire.

SFBay1949 15 hours ago
At this point the question is, can Trump have even a vaguely normal conversation about anything? Certainly not foreign policy. Just how much of this manure can he spew before the Republican Party responds? My guess is they've gone so far past the point of normal that there's no coming back This is both sad and frightening.
Begemot 15 hours ago
One common response to Trump's threat to attack Iranian cultural sites is that the military would not carry out such obviously illegal orders

I wouldn't put any hope in the US military disobeying such orders. It's not what they are really trained for. They may pay lip service to having respect for laws of war but they won't actually pay any attention to them. Respect for culture? Remember Dresden? The crude barbarism of Sherman and Sheridan is the spirit of the US military.

Daniel (not Larrison) 9 hours ago
As a conservative (not a Republican, but certainly not a Democrat) who cannot abide thinking of any of the democratic candidates as President, I would love to see impeachment. Mike Pence would be infinitely preferable as President to this little psychopathic bully.

Seriously, the last few days should principled non-interventionists know that Trump is empjatically not one of us. He'd gladly sabotage the future of the United States on the alter of his own ego.

K squared 8 hours ago
Vandal
Fran Macadam 7 hours ago
"He sees war only in the crudest terms of plunder and atrocity."

It's a blunt but true observation. We spend most of our time justifying wars as noble and moral, using euphemism to disguise the reality to ourselves and others. Two cheers for being truthful.

I also note that destroying cultural monuments is claimed to be a war crime, while inevitable civilian deaths are just acceptable collateral damage.

Let's not pretend that the long history of the imperial coveting of either Iraq's or Iran's resources has ever been much more than plunder, often making use of atrocity. What doesn't qualify as that, is great game imperialist jockeying for geostrategic advantage against commercial rivals.

Of course "things" would be sacrosanct, while human lives are not, in the wholly materialist calculus of warmongering.o

FL_Cottonmouth 7 hours ago
Attacking cultural-heritage sites, Pres. Trump? Like what the Taliban did to the Buddhas of Bamyan? Or what ISIS did to ancient art, architecture, and artifacts in Mosul, Palmyra, Raqqa, and more? What a barbarian!
Fuzzy 6 hours ago
I think he has finally crossed the line. There really IS something wrong with him and he should be removed from office.
kouroi 6 hours ago
Will Congress dare to eliminate funds for the occupation of Iraq and for attacking Iran? Will all those that would vote for continuation of funding will be removed from office through elections, in the very gerrymandered locales, in a FPTP system, with no ability to leave work early to go to vote, with so many disenfranchised? The system is fully rigged to be a dictatorship all but in name...
Daniel (not Larrison) 6 hours ago
Another thing: Trump's decrying of the Iraqi war was merely a way he could rail at the other Republican candidates. If the establishment was for it, he was against it. That's how he works.

Maybe he fools himself into thinking he's got principles. Maybe he even thinks he has a coherent foreign policy (or policy of any kind). But no, he's just narcissism and id all the way down.

There's still no border wall. Still troops in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Planned Parenthood is still funded.

Oh, but he waves the flag, doesn't he? That makes up for everything...right?

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

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

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

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

Things are not true because a government official says them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This brings us to #2:

Do not be bullied into accepting simple-minded sloganeering

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

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

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

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

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

Scrutinize the arguments

Here's Mike Pence again:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep the focus on what matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emphasis matters

Consider three statements:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch out for euphemisms

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

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

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

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

Remember what people were saying five minutes ago

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

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

Let us say Iran responds to this extrajudicial murder with a colossal act of violent reprisal, after the killing unifies the country around a demand for vengeance. They kill a high-ranking American official, or wage an attack that kills our civilians. Perhaps it will attack some of the soldiers that are now being moved into the Middle East. The Trump administration will then want you to forget that it promised this assassination was to " stop a war ." It will then want you to focus solely on Iran's most recent act, to see that as the initial aggression. If the attack is particularly bad, with family members of victims crying on TV and begging for vengeance, you will be told to look into the face of Iranian evil, and those of us who are anti-war will be branded as not caring about the victims. Nobody wants you to remember the history of U.S./Iran relations, the civilians we killed of theirs or the time we destabilized their whole co