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Pompous Pompeo as a symbol of Trump betrayal of his foreign policy promises

Mike "we killed up to 200 Russians" Pompeo: a liar, a killer, a war criminal, a lobbyist for MIC should remember that  waging aggressive wars is a crime for which we hung people at Nuremberg

News NSC -- a sinister organization that controls the President and ensure militarization of the USA foreign policy Recommended Links Iran saberrattling Soleimani assassination opened Pandora box in the Middle East Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Neoconservatism Doublespeak  
Deception as an art form  Diplomacy by deception Neocons Credibility Scam Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Nation under attack meme Threat inflation as neocon primary tool Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine NSC -- a sinister organization that controls the President and ensure militarization of the USA foreign policy
Trump as America’s First Zionist President Trump's impulsivity and incompetence Trump as rabid militarist Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Do the US intelligence agencies attempt to influence the US Presidential elections ?  Conversion of Democratic Party into War Party and Hillary Clinton policy toward Russia Color revolutions Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
John Bolton US and British media are servants of security apparatus  The Deep State Predator state  Hillary as a pathological liar  Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Noble Lie Gina Haspel
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Cold War II Demonization of Putin Machiavellism Mayberry Machiavellians      
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism  Hawks in Trump administration Leo Strauss and the Neocons Neoliberalism and Christianity  Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Israel lobby Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
  Pompeo created a new term -- "evilgelical": "Beware the leaven of the Pharisees, which is a pious, hollow hypocrisy" ~Luke 12:1

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees— hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which appear beautiful, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. You outwardly appear righteous, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness." ~Matthew 23:27-28

Pompeo appointment first as Director of CIA and then, even worse, as the  Secretary of State was an astonishing display of political opportunism on the part of Trump or a sign of his control by the donors and fist of all by Adelson.  Compete betrayal of his voters, especially anti-war republicans  and independents.

Pompeo is a symbol of what is wrong with  Trump and his administrating.  His Obama "change we can believe in" betrayal of his voters.  What Neoliberal Dems call him with various words, they stick if we view them in context of appointing Pompeo as the Secretary of State.

Pompeo is a lobbyist of MIC, neocon and warmonger who like Pence pretends to be a religious nut (mainly for the purposes of career advancement).  His trademark hypocrisy and glibness is a serious obstacle, which prevents him to be even mediocre diplomat. Truth be  told any Secretary of State during the period of "full spectrum dominance" which started in 1991 does not need to be a diplomat at all. Starting with Madeline "not so bright" Albright the selection was made in favor of unhinged bullies and ruthless opportunists.   The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani can serve as an example of Pompeo inflince ont he US forign policySecret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who Is Really in Charge of the U.S. Military – OffGuardian:

The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

Easer Trump was set up by Pompeo )acting in tandem with Bolton, who unfortunately was also a member of NSC ) via the official designation of the IRGC as “terrorist organization”:

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as “terrorist” occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time.

This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani’s assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet “Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.” Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

While his tenune of CIA was very brief, ideologically he is not that different from  typical CIA crazies like CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin. In  his 2016 interview with Charlie Rose he famously said that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to ‘pay the price’.

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Reprehensive before getting positions of Director of CIA (which suggests his previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, So before jointing Trump administration he has just 8 years of high level political experience. In other words at 56 he was an amateur.  His main qualification is tank repair mechanic (with the only oversees assignment in Western Germany 1986-1991). 

His military experience is also highly questionable. Hi did finished first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in engineering management in 1986. Which means that he is not stupid (But that  does not mean that he is not evil.) He retired from the army in 1991 in the rank of captain and never participated in any real battles. He serves only in Germany, and thus can be classified as a West-point educated chickenhawk.

He never performed any diplomatic duties in his life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a  military contractor.  Which creates a certain worldview. His first venture included funding  for the aqusition(1998) of three aircraft-part manufacturers in Wichita, Kansas (Aero Machine, Precision Profiling, B&B Machine) and in St. Louis (Advance Tool & Die). It came from Bain & Company (remember Romney)  and Koch Industries.  In his second venture Pompeo then became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment manufacturer which was a partner of Koch Industries (2006)

With his glib smile and the past of such diplomatic statement as  We Lie, We Cheat, We Steal' he is that last person who should be appointed as the Secretary of State. What is even worse he also is Israel Firster.  In a talk at The Heritage Foundation on May 21, 2018, entitled, "After the Deal: The New Iran Strategy", Pompeo said: "First as a private citizen and then as a member of Congress, and even today, the Heritage Foundation has shaped my thinking on matters of the world and public policy issues." Like Trump (and all Israel Firsters)  he is obsessed with Iran, which is just a sign of common handlers. In 2018 this "diplomat" gave a silly speech on Iran  in which he tried dictate the Iranian leadership and its people: “Do what we want, or else!

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, Pompeo rattled off a 12-point list of what he called “basic requirements” of a new way forward with Iran (really little more than a rehashing of the decades-old laundry list of Washington’s beefs with the country).

Pompeo wants Iran to give up its ballistic missile program, cease and desist its involvement in every country it’s currently involved in, completely shut down its nuclear enrichment, and at the same time release Americans unjustly imprisoned in Iran – all just because we say so.

Sounds great. But it’s also completely divorced from reality.

... ... ...

Pompeo referred to recent anti-government protests in Iran that he says “show that the Iranian people are deeply frustrated with their own government’s failures. The Iranian economy is struggling as a result of bad Iranian decisions. Workers aren’t getting paid, strikes are a daily occurrence, and the rial is plummeting. Youth unemployment is at a staggering 25 percent.”

All of these things may be true. But there is nothing new about any of them, and assuming that this time around the Iranian people can compel their government to bend to America’s will seems — at least to anyone who has spent significant time in Iran in recent decades — fantastical.
 

Pompeo served as a local church deacon from 2007 to 2009 and taught Sunday school. He made several stupid statement like Pompeo says God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran

Here is how Fred Reed characterized Pompeo ( Pussy John Bolton and His Codpiece Mustache ):

Michael Pompeo

Another pathologically aggressive chickenhawk. In a piece in Foreign Affairs he describes Iran as a "rogue state that America must eliminate for the sake of all that is good.

Note that Pompeo presides over a foreign policy seeking to destroy Venezuela's economy and threatens military invasion, though Venezuela is no danger to the US and is not America's business; embargoes Cuba, which in no danger to the US and is not America's business; seeks to destroy Iran's economy, though Iran is no danger to the US and none of Americas business; sanctions Europe and meddles in its politics; sanctions Russia, which is not a danger to the United States, in an attempt to destroy its economy, pushes NATO up to Russia's borders, abandons the INF arms-control treaty and establishes a Space Command which will mean nuclear weapons on hair trigger in orbit, starts another nuclear arms race; wages a trade war against China intended to prevent its economic progress; sanctions North Korea; continues a seventeen-year policy of killing Afghans for no discernible purpose; wages a war against Syria; bombs Somalis; maintains unwanted occupation forces in Iraq; increasingly puts military forces in Africa; supports regimes with ghastly human-rights records such as Saudi Arabia and Israel; and looks for a war with China in the South China Sea, which is no more America's business than the Gulf of Mexico is China's.

But Pompeo is not a loon, oh no, and America is not a rogue state. Perish forfend.

What is interesting is that the USA often appoints to key position persons who are least suitable for them. For example you would expect that the position of Top US diplomat requires knowledge of foreign languages and some period or working  in Europe or other  key for the USA interests areas at least as an Ambassador of the USA. You would think that Ambassadors in such countries as France, Japan, Germany, Russia, China would be naturally preferred candidates for the top diplomat positions as they got some experience of dealing with those foreign powers (some vassals, some not)  and  know some of the ropes and people involved.  In some countries, who employ professional diplomats in his position, often the preliminary step to serve of Minister of Foreign Affair is serving as the country ambassador to the US.

The USA the position of the Secretary of state is reserved to top political allies of the current  President (as is the case with Trump), or as a "rollback" to the former opponent in the same Party in the elections (like Hillary got it from Obama during his first term, or Johnson under JFK). 

Selection of Pompeo by Trump produces mixed feeling. His insincere smile and cocky demeanor ("I am the smartest guy in the room")  is an anathema for diplomats. His statements during his short stint as the head of CIA were sophomoric at best. And he always was very jingoistic (which put big question marks about real level of his IQ. or the level of his corruption).  A warmonger who would make Hillary to feel proud about her (distant) successor in this position (and get some applause from other female warmongers like Victoria Nuland, Samatha Power, etc) 

Pompeo (born Dec 30, 1963) is a former lawyer with probably just two years of practical experience in the field (1995-1997). After Harvard he was hired by Washington-based prominent law firm Williams & Connolly ( which  is known  for highest  salaries for first-year associates). Before graduating from Harvard in 1996 Pompeo worked for 4 years (1986-1991) as a military mechanical engineer. He is aircraft mechanical engineer by training graduating first in his class from West Point in 1986) with some experience in the area of aircraft parts and their manufacturing. He never studied International Relations and never was stationed abroad for a considerable period of time. He might know some Italian, but that's probably it. The main part of his  career was his role as a founder and CEO of of aircraft part maker company (1998-).  This was his only long-term job experience  (1998-2011 -- 13 years) before he fully engaged himself into political career, spending 6 years in the House(2011-2017) as a representative from Kansas. During his political career he received substantial donations from Koch Industries ($80K in 2010, $110K in 2012).  So in a way he is might be viewed as representative of MIC who got into plitics to get lucrative deals from the government.

In 1998 Pompeo dropped his lawyer profession and moved to Wichita when he and three other West Point graduate friends, Brian Bulatao, Ulrich Brechbuhl, and Michael Stradinger, acquired three aircraft part makers companies (Aero Machine, Precision Profiling, B&B Machine) and one in St. Louis (Advance Tool & Die) and renamed this congromerate Thayer Aerospace (named for West Point founder Sylvanus Thayer). Venture funding for the private organization came a 2% investment from Koch Industries as well Dallas-based Cardinal Investment and Bain Capital (Pompeo's friend Brechbuhl worked for Bain at the time).  Brechbuhl and Stradinger left the company shortly after it was founded. But Pompeo and Bulatao continued until 2006. 

He became associated with  Tea Party (which is a shame for anybody gradated from Harvard ;-) and served for 8 years in the United States House of Representatives  (2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016) as a Tea Party candidate.

As a lawmaker Pompeo supported restoring the National Security Agency's bulk collection of telephone metadata, a contentious terror-fighting tool Congress eliminated after Snowdens revelations. Looks like Pompeo's views on using harsh interrogation techniques completely mirror those of Trump, who says: We should go tougher than waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

Politically he is an unrepentant war hawk, a neocon positioned to the right of other members of Trump cabinet including Mattis.  In 2017, when Pompeo became head of the CIA. As a CIA director In September 2017, Pompeo sought authority for the CIA to make covert drone strikes without the Pentagon's involvement, including inside Afghanistan

Colonel Pat Lang, who previously worked for DIA, thinks that Pompeo is suffering  from "Smart Guy Syndrome" (Let Mikey do it Maybe not):

Aug 01, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

IMO Mikey Pompeo suffers from Smart Guy Syndrome. My wife calls it Great Man Syndrome. In both of these a delusion of centrality sets in based on a belief in one's own superiority. This rots the mind. Mikey has always been the smartest kid in the room. You know his resumé. And, pilgrims, he has a smiley face welded onto his real sharkey face. These attributes have carried him far but he has a weakness or two. He really does think he is a being above the ken of mortal men AND he is a hyper-nationialist neocon ideologue through and through and in many ways immune to appeals to reason. He surely think that Trump is a dolt. Look at the picture. He has contradicted the president several times. This is a very dangerous thing to do. Trump is a reality based self-centered hustler who is used to dealing with supercilious p---ks who want to manipulate him.

Now Mikey has John-John Bolton as ally and playmate. Bolton is, IMO, more than a little crazy. Bolton loves his place in an NSC made over into extensions of his neocon craziness. He thinks that he has the Iranians right where he wants them. He believes that we could fight a maritime campaign in the Gulf with next to no losses and that if necessary we can bomb the Iranian people into unleashing their economic deprivation wrath against the mullahs.

Pompeo agrees with him. He is trying to keep the president buttered up while pursuing his shared goals with Bolton both cleverly and surreptitiously. Well, folks, Trump is a master of the art of BS detection. Those who try to fool him are taking a great risk.

Off to one side in this drama, stand the inbred caste of generals and admirals. Trump professes to admire them, but Mattis, Dunford and CENTCOM are steadily losing real power in the contest for the president's attention. IMO there will be a unifying deal between Damascus and the YPG Kurds and Trump knows all about progress toward that goal. Do the generals want that? No. They have their own desired foreign policy. They want to make the casualties of the last 15 years meaningful through victory somewhere, anywhere would do. They also want revenge against Iran for men lost in Iraq. They listen to the Israelis far too much.

IMO Trump has a private line of communication to Russia. This is perfectly legal and probably is conducted over CIA communications links or through the ambassador in Moscow, Jon Huntsman or both.

Pompeo may or may not know what is being said in those channels. pl

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/399597-pompeo-sets-conditions-for-iran-meeting-after-trump-says-hell-meet

Larry Kart , 20 hours ago

If Trump is such a reality-based hustler who knows how to deal with supercilious p--cks" like Pompeo and Bolton, why the heck does he keep bringing those p--cks on board and then waste so much time and energy on dealing with them? Are there no prospective officials around who are not of that stripe? Or is it that Trump is unable to detect them and/or unwilling for some reason to bring them in and put them to work?

I'm reminded of a point made throughout Vol.1 of Michael Broers' brilliant new biography of Napoleon -- that Napoleon, who despised the talk-talk-talk of parliaments and liked best to work with and through committees, had a near-infallible gift for detecting the best and the brightest, whether or not they had impressive credentials or even if they had opposed or still opposed some of his policies. In these committees, which dealt with both political and military matters, all were expected to speak freely, while Napoleon listened like a hawk. For him the key test, aside from the committee members' intelligence and energy, was whether they were men of honor -- by which he meant that when agreements had been reached after all had had their fair say and Napoleon had put his stamp on them, they would abide by what had been thoroughly vetted and agreed to. An autocrat, for sure, and yet...

In April 2018 Mike Pompeo became the top US diplomat and he managed instantly to make a mark on diplomatic front, trying to outcompete Haley. At least in the  areas of jingoism and the breathtaking hypocrisy. Here is one  example  (Newsweek,

Mike Pompeo, the CIA director nominated to be secretary of state, told lawmakers Thursday that the U.S. killed up to 200 Russians in airstrikes conducted against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in February.

U.S. officials have so far remained silent about the number of casualties inflicted by a coalition assault on pro-Syrian government fighters that the Pentagon claimed opened fire on Syrian Democratic Forces in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. Both a U.S.-led coalition and the Russia-backed forces supportive of Assad are battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in the region, but recent tensions have produced fears of a conflict erupting between Washington and Moscow.

As Daniel Larison, who is a very keen observer of the US foreign policy, noted in his article in The American Conservative his position  on Yemen war is dishonest to say the least (Pompeo's Perverse Yemen Rhetoric):

The Senate didn't go for Pompeo and Mattis' sales pitch for the war on Yemen on Wednesday. That's because it was filled with dishonest nonsense like this:

... ... ...

The absurdity of Pompeo's position becomes clear when we remember that Yemen would not be suffering from the world's worst humanitarian crisis were it not for the Saudi coalition's intervention, blockade, and interference in Yemen's economy. The governments responsible for causing the displacement of millions of people and creating famine conditions potentially affecting up to 14 million do not merit praise for throwing a little money at the catastrophe they have unleashed. Iran's interest in assisting suffering Yemenis or lack thereof is truly beside the point when it is the Saudi coalition backed by the U.S. that has caused so much of that suffering. War criminals do not get credit when they throw some cash at the wreckage of the country they have destroyed, and Pompeo's attempt to give Saudi Arabia credit for "relieving" suffering in Yemen is as perverse and disgusting as it gets.

The problem with Pompeo is that he believes in his exceptional intellect way too much. While in reality in diplomacy he is a novice of this skating ring. He never served as an Ambassador or lived in a major European capital, China or Japan. But what you can expect from the Tea Party rep?   Looks like he is yet another, but more dangerous, Haley.  Or even Hillary. Yet another MIC stooge.

Recent attempt to cancel midrannge missles with Russia exeplifies the problems with Pompeo and neocons in general. The treaty really was heavily tilted to the USA favor as Gorbachov essentially betrayed the USSR security interests signing it. At the time the USSR mostly have ground-based missiles(SS-20, SS-4, and SS-5) and destroyed all of them. They were forced to develop a sea-based alternative which took decades at huge (and unnecessary) cost for themselves. Now when they have such missiles (as they demonstrated in Syria) the USA say -- OK let's drop the treaty and unleash a new phase of arms. But Russians learned their lesson and promised "asymmetrical" response.  Moreover, who will sign any significant treaty with this administration after that?  North Korea? You are joking, right?

And only God knows how dangerous and destabilizing will be Russia asymmetric response, which they promised. Autonomous robot submarines able to reach the USA from Sakhalin and destroy coastal cities launching rockets at for some distance? They definitely do not need to replicate the USA moves, and the USA costs.   

This is one of most nasty anti-Russia moves after Ukrainian coupe d'état of 2014 and probably will be treated by Putin administration as such.  Essentially blocking any productive contacts for the rest of Trump term.  So much for Russiagate.

And with partially outsourced high tech the USA can't press Russia into submission too easily. The sanctions game might backfire. 

All-in-all Pompeo is a neocon hell bent of world domination, hostile to Russia and China,  with a special hate for Iran which he compared to ISIS . His appointment was a bad omen for the nuclear agreement with Iran. The deal is now dead (Meet Mike Pompeo, Trump's New Hardliner Secretary of State ):

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trumps soon-to-be Secretary of State is a hard-line Republican who shares the president-elects pugnacious worldview and, like Trump, spent years as a businessman before becoming a politician.

Pompeo, served three terms in the U.S. Congress from conservative Kansas, was a member of the House intelligence committee and has served as the director of the CIA since. During the 2016 presidential election Pompeo was an outspoken critic of former President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, Hillary Clinton's handling of the Benghazi attack and has said former National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is a traitor who deserves a death sentence.

During an appearance on C-SPAN last February, Pompeo said Snowden should receive the death penalty for his actions.

Despite having high academic achievements in the past, Pompeo's performance as a Secretary of State reminds Nikki Haley performance as an ambassador to the US.  In other word this is jingoism, exceptionalism and  "strong arm" policies mixed with blunders.  He don't care about consistency of his views and advocates "brute force" "might makes right"  approach to international affairs. Sometimes like a bull in  a china chop much  like Trump himself. Armed conflict between the US and Iran and full scale war in Ukraine are becoming more probable by the day as super-hawks replaced hawks in the Trump administration:

The US will lead a new liberal world order, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared. Organizations and treaties not fitting this picture must be scrapped or reformed, so that non-compliers could not use them against America. The vision of the bold new and prosperous (for the US and its supporters) world was delivered by Pompeo in a keynote speech to the German Marshall Fund on Tuesday.

The senior member of the Donald Trump administration said a multilateral approach is failing to produce a world of unrestricted capitalism, so the US should rule supreme – sorry, assume a leadership role – to ensure that countries like China didn't try to offer an alternative way.

China, as well as Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela and other nations on the US grudge list got their share of bashing in the speech, but its focus was more on international institutions, which Pompeo claimed to be incompatible with his grand vision.

The UN is a vehicle for regional powers to "collude" and vote in bad actors into the Human Rights Council. "Bad actors" are of course not Saudi Arabia. The World Bank and the International Monetary fund are in the way of private lenders. The EU is good, but Brexit should be a wake-up call for its bureaucracy, which doesn't know how good nationalism actually is. The International Criminal Court is "rogue" because it attempts to hold Americans accountable for crimes in Afghanistan.

As counterpunch noted: "The new line-up in Washington is being described as "a war cabinet" and it may turn out to be just that. But looking at ignorant, arrogant men like Bolton and Pompeo, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that it will all end in disaster."

Political positions(Wikipedia)

Military and national security

Surveillance

Pompeo supports the surveillance programs of the National Security Agency, referring to the agency's efforts as "good and important work".[49]

Pompeo stated, "Congress should pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database. Legal and bureaucratic impediments to surveillance should be removed. That includes Presidential Policy Directive-28, which bestows privacy rights on foreigners and imposes burdensome requirements to justify data collection."[50]

Terrorism and Islam

In a 2013 speech on the House floor, Pompeo said Muslim leaders who fail to denounce acts of terrorism done in the name of Islam are "potentially complicit" in the attacks.[51] The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on him to revise his remarks, calling them "false and irresponsible".[52] In 2016, ACT! for America gave Pompeo a "national security eagle award" for his comments on Islam.[53] Pompeo has been a frequent guest on Frank Gaffney's radio show for the Center for Security Policy.[53] As a congressman, Pompeo cosponsored legislation to add the Muslim Brotherhood to the United States State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.[54][55]

Prisons

Pompeo opposes closing Guantanamo Bay detention camp.[56] After a 2013 visit to the prison, he said, of the prisoners who were on hunger strike, "It looked to me like a lot of them had put on weight."[57]

He criticized the Obama administration's decision to end secret prisons and its requirement that all interrogators adhere to anti-torture laws.[58]

North Korea

Pompeo desires regime change in North Korea.[59] In July 2017, he said "It would be a great thing to denuclearize the peninsula, to get those weapons off of that, but the thing that is most dangerous about it is the character who holds the control over them today."[60]

Iran

Pompeo worked to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Iran that was supported by the Obama administration. Referring to the agreement, he stated, "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism."[61] He also stated that a better option than negotiating with Iran would be to use "under 2,000 sorties to destroy the Iranian nuclear capacity. This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces."

On July 21, 2015, Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton alleged the existence of secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on procedures for inspection and verification of Iran's nuclear activities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal. Obama administration officials acknowledged the existence of agreements between Iran and the IAEA governing the inspection of sensitive military sites but denied the characterization that they were "secret side deals", calling them standard practice in crafting arms-control pacts and arguing the administration had provided information about them to Congress.[62]

Israel

In November 2015, Pompeo visited Israel and stated that "Prime Minister Netanyahu is a true partner of the American people" and that "Netanyahu's efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons are incredibly admirable and deeply appreciated". He also stated that "In the fight against terrorism, cooperation between Israel and the United States has never been more important" and that "[w]e must stand with our ally Israel and put a stop to terrorism. Ongoing attacks by the Palestinians serve only to distance the prospect of peace".[63]

He opposed Trump's 2017 decision to move America's embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.[64]

Russia

During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo stated that Russia "has reasserted itself aggressively, invading and occupying Ukraine, threatening Europe, and doing nearly nothing to aid in the destruction and defeat of ISIS".[65]

Syria

Pompeo accused President Obama of inviting Russia into Syria.[42]

WikiLeaks

In a 2017 speech addressing the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Pompeo referred to WikiLeaks as "a non-state hostile intelligence service" and described founder Julian Assange as a narcissist, fraud, and coward.

... we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us. To give them the space to crush us with misappropriated secrets is a perversion of what our great Constitution stands for. It ends now ... Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. Yes, they try unsuccessfully to cloak themselves and their actions in the language of liberty and privacy; in reality, however, they champion nothing but their own celebrity. Their currency is clickbait; their moral compass, nonexistent. Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.[66]

Edward Snowden

In February 2016, Pompeo said Edward Snowden "should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence".[67] But he has spoken in favor of reforming the Federal Records Act, one of the laws under which Snowden was charged, saying "I'm not sure there's a whole lot of change that needs to happen to the Espionage Act. The Federal Records Act clearly needs updating to reflect the different ways information is communicated and stored. Given the move in technology and communication methods, I think it's probably due for an update."[68]

In March 2014, he denounced the inclusion of a telecast by Snowden in the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, and asked that it be cancelled, predicting that it would encourage "lawless behavior" among attendees.[69]


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Old News ;-)

[May 24, 2020] About Pompeo threat to cut Australia from the fives eyes intelligence flows

May 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , May 25 2020 0:44 utc | 56

vk #4
Pompeo Warns US May Stop Sharing Intelligence With Australia Over Victoria Inking Deal With China's BRI

The battle for Australia's soul has begun.

Lets reverse that point, shall we. There is a US spy base in Australia at a place called Pine Gap. Without it being operational the USA would lose its 3 dimensional vision across the planet.

This Bannon/Trump bluster is weak as p!ss as 'sharing intelligence' is the cornerstone of the five eyes perversion that gives the USA some superiority in intelligence matters. So if sharing intelligence were withdrawn by the USA with Australia it would have meaningless consequences.

On the other hand if Australia ceased its intelligence sharing and shut down all the data traffic out of Australia - the USA would go ballistic. Not that the Oz government would ever do such a thing being a craven water carrier for the new world order etc...

Pompeo is blathering bullsh!t and he knows it and we all know it.
Odd that you would reiterate his brainless threat vk.

[May 19, 2020] America: "We demand an coronavirus origin investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Highly recommended!
May 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

William Gruff , May 18 2020 15:40 utc | 13

America: "We demand an investigation, but the investigators must agree on the outcome that we specify before they begin investigating!"

Why not? It works for gas attacks, chemical weapons poisoning, and airliner shoot downs, so why not biological weapons attacks too?

[May 18, 2020] Trump Fires State's IG to Protect Pompeo from Investigation

May 18, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Yhe president announced on Friday that he was firing Steve Linick, the State Department's Inspector General. One possible reason that Linick was removed may have been that he was conducting an investigation into the bogus emergency declaration that the administration used to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE last year:

House Democrats have discovered that the fired IG had mostly completed an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's widely criticized decision to skirt Congress with an emergency declaration to approve billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia last year, aides on the Foreign Affairs Committee tell me.

"I have learned that there may be another reason for Mr. Linick's firing," Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), the chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement sent to me. "His office was investigating -- at my request -- Trump's phony declaration of an emergency so he could send weapons to Saudi Arabia."

If Linick was investigating the bogus emergency declaration, he would have come across reporting that showed how a former Raytheon lobbyist serving at the department was instrumental in pushing through the plan to expedite arms sales that benefited his old employer. He would have discovered that there was no genuine emergency that justified going around Congress. Once his investigation was concluded, it would have found that the emergency declaration was made in bad faith and that the law was abused so that the administration could proceed with arms sales that Congress opposed.

Another reason for the firing was to protect Mike Pompeo from an investigation into the Secretary's abuses of government resources for personal purposes:

The State Department inspector general fired by President Trump was looking into allegations that a staffer for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was performing domestic errands and chores such as handling dry cleaning, walking the family dog and making restaurant reservations, said a congressional official familiar with the matter.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a statement immediately on Friday objecting to Linick's firing and suggesting that it might be an illegal act of retaliation. There will now be a Congressional investigation into the circumstances surrounding Linick's firing. If Trump hoped to reduce the scrutiny on Pompeo by getting rid of Linick, he will be disappointed. It remains to be seen how much of a price Pompeo will pay for this, but the price is likely higher now than it would have been if he hadn't pushed for removing the inspector general.

Pompeo reportedly recommended Linick's removal. This is not the first time that Pompeo has been accused of misusing government resources. There was a report last summer that a whistleblower alleged that Pompeo and his wife were using Diplomatic Security agents as their personal errand boys:

Democrats on a key House congressional committee are investigating allegations from a whistleblower within the State Department about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his family's use of taxpayer-funded Diplomatic Security -- prompting agents to lament they are at times viewed as "UberEats with guns".

Congressional investigators, who asked for the committee not to be named as they carry out their inquiries, tell CNN that a State Department whistleblower has raised multiple issues over a period of months, about special agents being asked to carry out some questionable tasks for the Pompeo family.

Pompeo has also repeatedly used government resources for domestic travel that seems to have more to do with advancing the Secretary's political ambitions in Kansas. There has been widespread speculation that he has used official trips in an attempt to lay the groundwork for a possible Senate campaign . If so, it would be a flagrant violation of the Hatch Act. That prompted a call for a special counsel investigation into Pompeo's travel. If Pompeo and his wife have been using a political appointee as a gofer, that would be more of the same abusive behavior.

Linick has previously clashed with other Trump administration officials at State. Last year, he released a damning report on Brian Hook over his treatment of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iranian-American official who was apparently targeted for political retaliation because of her policy views and ethnic background. The fired inspector general was well-respected at the department, and his firing at Pompeo's urging will likely cause further demoralization at a department that has already been run into the ground under the Secretary's dismal leadership.

The Secretary of State seems to think that government funds and personnel are at his disposal for his personal errands and political activities. Linick was doing exactly what an inspector general is supposed to be doing by investigating the allegations against him, and then he was conveniently fired on Pompeo's recommendation. You could hardly ask for a more straightforward case of a corrupt official using his influence to remove the person responsible for scrutinizing his conduct. If Linick was also fired because he was in the process of exposing the administration's dishonest push for more arms sales to the Saudi coalition, that makes his removal all the more outrageous and sinister.

JMWB an hour ago

Mike Pompeo is a Tea Party darling. The Tea Party's motto should be : Austerity, fiscal responsibility, and integrity for Thee, but not for Me.
Feral Finster JMWB 33 minutes ago
Mike Pompeo's idea of austerity is only a double order of french fries.

[May 15, 2020] "We lied, we cheated, we stole", version 2.0

May 15, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

WHY IS THE US IN SYRIA?

Washington longer bothers to prettify – the boot is straight to the face. ISIS?

Forget ISIS says Jeffrey : " My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians ".

An amazing confession, in the same class as " We lied, we cheated, we stole ".

[May 13, 2020] Dramatic change of direction for Syrian envoy

Highly recommended!
This is MIGA in action...
Notable quotes:
"... former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ). ..."
"... Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute : ..."
"... He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government." ..."
May 13, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Washington now says it's all about defeating the Russians . While it's not the first time this has been thrown around in policy circles (recall that a year after Russia's 2015 entry into Syria at Assad's invitation, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell admitted in a TV interview he views that the US should be in the business of "killing Russians and Iranians covertly" ).

And now the top US special envoy to region, James Jeffrey, has this to say on US troops in Syria :

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Ironically, Jeffrey's official title has been Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, but apparently the mission is now to essentially "give the Russians hell". His comments were made Tuesday during a video conference hosted by the neocon Hudson Institute :

Asked why the American public should tolerate US involvement in Syria, Special Envoy James Jeffrey points out the small US footprint in the fight against ISIS. "This isn't Afghanistan. This isn't Vietnam. This isn't a quagmire. My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

He also emphasized that the Syrian state would continue to be squeezed into submission as part of long-term US efforts (going back to at least 2011) to legitimize a Syria government in exile of sorts. This after the Trump administration recently piled new sanctions on Damascus. As University of Oklahoma professor and expert on the region Joshua Landis summarized of Jeffrey's remarks: "He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government."

"My job is to make it a quagmire for the Russians."

Special US envoy to Syria - James Jeffery

He pledged that the United States will continue to deny Syria - international funding, reconstruction, oil, banking, agriculture & recognition of government. https://t.co/MSAkQqAmdh

-- Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) May 12, 2020

But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks). But no doubt both Putin and Assad have understood Washington's real proxy war interests all along, which is why last year Russia delivered it's lethal S-300 into the hands of Assad (and amid constant Israeli attacks).

As for oil, currently Damascus is well supplied by the Iranians, eager to dump their stock in fuel-starved Syria amid the global glut. Trump has previously voiced that part of US troops "securing the oil fields" is to keep them out of the hands of Russia and Iran.

* * *

Recall the CIA's 2016 admission of what's really going on in terms of US action in Syria:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OJ3fTFHQ0KA

[May 07, 2020] Is "raptuted" Pompeo functionally illiterate?

May 07, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 5 2020 22:22 utc | 29

Haven't heard from Iranian FM Zarif in awhile. Here he is calling Pompeo illiterate or so it seems:

".@SecPompeo pretends UNSCR 2231 is independent from #JCPOA.

"He should READ 2231.

"JCPOA is PART of 2231. That's why it's 104 pages -- & why he's not read it.

"2231 for Dummies:

"-It would NOT EXIST w/o JCPOA

"-US violated it & prevented others from complying

"-US has NO standing."

[May 07, 2020] Bolton and the culture of corruption and intimidation

May 07, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sam 12123 , says: Show Comment May 6, 2020 at 8:39 pm GMT

The OPCW is claimed to be an independent agency but we know that it suppressed the results of its own engineers when it reported that the Syrian government was responsible for the alleged chemical attack in Douma. The former head of the agency has publicly asserted that when John Bolton demanded that he step down, he added, "We know where your children live." The US has a history of corruption and intimidation. Any investigation would result in finding China responsible just as Russia was found to be responsible for the airliner that was shot down over Ukraine.

[May 06, 2020] McMaster and the Myths of Empire by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Myths of Empire ..."
May 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
| Ethan Paul dismantles H.R. McMaster's "analysis" of the Chinese government and shows how McMaster abuses the idea of strategic empathy for his own ends:

But the reality is that McMaster, and others committed to great power competition, is actually playing the role of Johnson and McNamara. This shines through clearest in McMaster's selective, and ultimately flawed, application of strategic empathy.

Just as Johnson and McNamara used the Joint Chiefs as political props, soliciting their advice or endorsement only when it could legitimize policy conclusions they had already come to, McMaster uses strategic empathy as a symbolic exercise in self-validation. By conceiving of China's perspective solely in terms of its tumultuous history and the Communist Party's pathological pursuit of power and control, McMaster presents only those biproducts of strategic empathy that confirm his policy conclusions (i.e. an intuitive grasp of China's apparent drive to reassert itself as the "Middle Kingdom" at the expense of the United States).

McMaster calls for "strategic empathy" in understanding how the Chinese government sees the world, but he then stacks the deck by asserting that the government in question sees the world in exactly the way that China hawks want to believe that they see it. That suggests that McMaster wasn't trying terribly hard to see the world as they do. McMaster's article has been likened to Kennan's seminal article on Soviet foreign policy at the start of the Cold War, but the comparison only serves to highlight how lacking McMaster's argument is and how inappropriate a similar containment strategy would be today. Where Kennan rooted his analysis of Soviet conduct in a lifetime of expertise in Russian history and language and his experience as a diplomat in Moscow, McMaster bases his assessment of Chinese conduct on one visit to Beijing, a superficial survey of Chinese history, and some boilerplate ideological claims about communism. McMaster's article prompted some strong criticism along these lines when it came out:

I have heard from other colleagues that several CN scholars met w/ McMaster before he wrote this (while working on his book) and corrected him on many issues. He apparently ignored all of their views. This is what we face people: a simple, deceptive narrative is more seductive.

-- Michael D. Swaine (@Dalzell60) April 20, 2020

McMaster's narrative is all the more deceptive because he claims to want to understand the official Chinese government view, but he just substitutes the standard hawkish caricature. Near the end of the article, he asserts, "Without effective pushback from the United States and like-minded nations, China will become even more aggressive in promoting its statist economy and authoritarian political model." It is possible that this could happen, but McMaster treats it as a given without offering much proof that this is so. McMaster makes a mistake common to China hawks that assumes that every other great power must have the same missionary, world-spanning goals that they have. Suppose instead that the Chinese government is not interested in that, but has a more limited strategy aimed at securing itself and establishing itself as the leading power in its region.

Paul does a fine job of using McMaster's earlier work on the Vietnam War to expose the flaws in his thinking about China. McMaster has often been praised for his criticism of the military's top leaders over their role in running the war in Vietnam, but this usually overlooks that McMaster was really arguing for a much more aggressive war effort. He faulted the Joint Chiefs for "dereliction" because they didn't insist on escalation. Paul observes:

McMaster's tale of Vietnam is, counterintuitively, one of enduring confidence in the U.S.'s ability to do good in the world and conquer all potential challengers, if only it finds the will to overcome the temptations of political cowardice and stamp out bureaucratic ineptitude. This same message runs through McMaster's tale about China: "If we compete aggressively," and "no longer adhere to a view of China based mainly on Western aspirations," McMaster says, "we have reason for confidence."

McMaster would have the U.S. view China in the worst possible light as an implacable adversary. Following this recommendation will guarantee decades of heightened tensions and increased risks of conflict. McMaster's dangerous China hawkishness calls to mind something that Jim Mattis said about him regarding a different issue when they served together in the Trump administration: "Oh my God, that moron is going to get us all killed." His aggressiveness towards China is not driven by an assessment of the threat from China, but comes from his tendency to advocate for aggressive measures everywhere.

As Paul notes, McMaster is minimizing the dangers and risks that his preferred policy of confrontation entails. In that respect, he is making the same error that American leaders made in Vietnam:

Like Johnson and McNamara before him, McMaster is misleading both the public and himself about the costs, consequences, and likelihood for success of the path he is committed to pursuing, and in so doing is laying the groundwork for yet another national tragedy.

McMaster's China argument is reminiscent of other arguments made by imperialists in the past, and he relies on many of the same shoddy assumptions that they did. Like British Russophobes in the mid-19th century, McMaster decided on a policy of aggressive containment and then searched for rationalizations that might justify it. Jack Snyder described this in his classic study Myths of Empire thirty years ago:

Russia is portrayed as a unitary, rational actor with unlimited aims of conquest, but fortunately averse to risk and weak if stopped soon enough. (p. 168)

McMaster uses the same "paper tiger image" to portray China as an unstoppable aggressor that can nonetheless be stopped at minimal risk. He wants us to believe that China is at once implacable but easily deterred, insatiable but quick to back off under pressure. We have seen the same contradictory arguments from hawks on other issues, but it is particularly dangerous to promote such a misleading image of a nuclear-armed major power. about the author Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

[May 05, 2020] Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??

Notable quotes:
"... The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow... ..."
May 05, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

farm ecologist , May 4 2020 18:53 utc | 4

RADDATZ: Do you believe it was manmade or genetically modified?

POMPEO: Look, the best experts so far seem to think it was manmade. I have no reason to disbelieve that at this point.

RADDATZ: Your -- your Office of the DNI says the consensus, the scientific consensus was not manmade or genetically modified.

POMPEO: That's right. I -- I -- I agree with that. Yes. I've -- I've seen their analysis. I've seen the summary that you saw that was released publicly. I have no reason to doubt that that is accurate at this point.

To summarize: Pompeo does not doubt that the virus has been genetically modified, but he also does not doubt that is has not been genetically modified.

Could there be a more obvious demonstration that the man is FULL OF SHIT??


Jpc , May 4 2020 19:13 utc | 8

To Farm ecologist.

You are totally on the money. How or why is he in this job?
It's demented!

Sol Invictus , May 4 2020 19:16 utc | 12
Those incompetent neo-confederates leading america into oblivion will jumble strategic defeats with winning. So much for accountability, hard work and personal responsability... Seems they can't compete fairly without superior military variable of adjustment and threat of violence against adversaries. Orange springs eternal and their great white hope has now adopted a paralizing rhetoric of victimization - republican lawmakers follow suit and are going so far as invoking a western bid for monetary reparations from Chinese depredations. # the art of winnig for maggots, derp.
Daniel , May 4 2020 20:56 utc | 34
The bungling, toxic incompetence of this administration is quite something to behold. Wow...

[May 04, 2020] Pompeo believes coronavirus was 'man-made,' also agrees with intelligence that it was not

Notable quotes:
"... "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I don't have reason to disbelieve them at this point," ..."
"... "I don't believe the virus was man-made." ..."
May 04, 2020 | www.rt.com

In his rush to accuse Beijing of unleashing the scourge of Covid-19 on an unsuspecting world, the US Secretary of State said the coronavirus was man-made, before making a U-turn without even blinking. "The best experts so far seem to think it was man-made. I don't have reason to disbelieve them at this point," Mike Pompeo told ABC's 'This Week' when asked about a statement from the US intelligence community that unequivocally said the opposite.

Host Martha Raddatz twice asked Pompeo to clarify whether his view differed from that of American intelligence, and he voiced his total support for the spies – though he stopped short of actually saying "I don't believe the virus was man-made."

See also : 'We lied, we cheated, we stole' Pompeo offers honest, if disturbing admission about CIA activity , Apr 29, 2019

[May 02, 2020] For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

Notable quotes:
"... The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic. ..."
"... Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us. ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
"... Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed ..."
May 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Christian J Chuba , May 1 2020 13:17 utc | 9

Spy vs Spy

For brevity, I always post that our IC (Intelligence Community) is masterful in shaping U.S. public opinion and causing problems for targeted countries but terrible in collecting and analyzing Intel that would benefit the U.S. The truth of course, is more complicated.

There is a remnant that is doing their jobs properly but is shut out from higher level offices. But I cannot give long disclaimers at the start of my posts, (I'm not talking about the men and women ...) where 50 words later I finally start to make my point. It's boring, sounds insincere, and defensive.

This is yet another effective defense mechanism that protects the troublemakers in our IC bureaucracy.
1. The person trying to tell the truth is forced to defend, 'Communist China' (Tom Cotton thinks that is one word), Russia, or Iran and to the U.S. public this is toxic.

2. These rogues get to use the remaining good people as human shields.

3. They know their customers, it gives the politicians a way to turn themselves into wartime leaders rather than having to answer for their shortcomings.

Someday it just won't matter anymore. We will have deceived ourselves for so long that we have squandered so much of our power that no one will pay attention to us.


/div> Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill , May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

Intelligence is a rare commodity in American politics and diplomacy even more elusive so the consequences of malicious rumours are never weighed nor assessed . The American public are easily enough fooled being constantly fed a racist diet, especially Sinophobia, Russophopia and Iranophobia and the drumbeats for war, financial or military, are easily banged to raise the public's blood pressure....but what about the consequences? America can win neither, even with he assistance of a few vassal states. What happens if, and when, normal service is resumed? If they managed to succeed with any of their hair-brained ideas, what are the consequences for American companies in China, rare earth minerals, the IT industries etc etc. Guard your words wisely for they can never be retracted.

Posted by: Séamus Ó Néill | May 1 2020 13:46 utc | 13

dan of steele , May 1 2020 14:32 utc | 23
GeorgeV

I think there is very good intelligence in the US. so much data is collected and there are many analysts to go over the data and present their forecasts. The World Factbook is an example of collected intelligence made available to the unwashed masses.

what you are thinking is that this information should be used to your benefit. that is where it goes wrong. the big players are able to access and exploit that mass of data and use it to their benefit.

Billmon used to say that this is a feature, not a bug.

Piero Colombo , May 1 2020 15:08 utc | 28
s @19

"Not precluded" are also a Fort Detrick origin and contagion taken to Wuhan by the US military, staying at a hotel where most of the first cluster of patients was identified. So why wouldn't you always mention both in the same breath?

concerned , May 1 2020 15:27 utc | 31
First hollywood movie I am aware of that deals with pandemics and has Fort Detrick front and center was "Outbreak" 1995. In this film, the "Expert" played by D. Huffman uncovers a plot by a rogue 2 star general sitting on the serum from another outbreak years ago, and how he witheld this information and the serum to "protect their bioweapon". There is also a very overt background sub-plot about Dod and CDC being at odds.

DoD is not listed in the credits for Outbreak. Many of the scenes are supposed to take place in CDC and Fort Detrick.

--

Last hollywood movie was "Contagion" 2011. In this film, which pretty much anticipates Covid-19 madness but with an actually scary virus, the "Expert" in charge tells the DHS man that "Nature has already weaponized them!".

So this lie about the little bitty part "function gain" man-made mutations being the critical bit for "weaponizing" viruses is turned on its head. It was "Nature" after all. A wet market, you know.

Contagion does list DoD in its credits. Vincent C. Oglivie as US DoD Liason and Project Officer.

Just some 'fun' trivia for us to while away our lives. Remember that consipirational thought is abberational thought. Have a shot of Victory Gin and relex!

md , May 1 2020 15:34 utc | 32
Ten questions the US needs to answer
https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesDaily/posts/3243339602384501

[May 01, 2020] Coutriers and coutisans vs neocon blobsters and blobstresses in State Department and elsewhere

Blobsters are simply prostitute to the military industrial complex. No honesty, no courage required (Courage is replaced with arrogance in most cases.) Pompeo is a vivid example of this creatures of Washington swamp.
Notable quotes:
"... historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses. ..."
"... In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about. ..."
May 01, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 13 hours ago

Courtiers and courtesans. That's rich.

On the other hand, though, historically courtiers themselves led their troops on the battlefield and considered it a question of honor for one or both of their oldest sons pursuing a military career, while Renaissance courtesans were among the most intellectual and educated women of their epoch. Neither is true for blobsters and blobstresses.

LFM Alex (the one that likes Ike) 5 hours ago
In French and (I think) most other romance languages, the words for courtier and courtesan are the same. Something to think about.

[Apr 29, 2020] Trump, despite pretty slick deception during his election campaign, is an typical imperialist and rabid militarist. His administration continuredand in some areas exceeded the hostility of Obama couse against Russia

Highly recommended!
One of trademarks of Trump administration is his that he despises international law and relies on "might makes right" principle all the time. In a way he is a one trick pony, typical unhinged bully.
In a way Pompeo is the fact of Trump administration foreign policy, and it is not pretty
Apr 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Passer by , Apr 29 2020 17:32 utc | 7
It is mostly, though not only, Trump related or libertarian pseudo "alt media" behind "just the flu" theories or "China unleashed virus to attack US".

There is a small military/zionist cabal at the White House that is pushing for that information war in order to prop up the dying US empire as well as US oligarhic business interests, and to secure Trump reelection prospects.

It is enough to see how Zerohedge have been turned into full blown imperialist media with many "evil China" outbursts every day.

Beware of Trumptards infiltrating alt media to prop up the dying US Empire and its business interests.

Trump is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years. He made a good job at deceiving many anti-system voices.

His WTO attacks are too part of US efforts to take over the organisation. His has no problem with international institutions as long as they are US empire controlled (such as OPCW, WADA, etc.)

Trump-tards and related libertarians (Zerohedge etc.) made their choice on the side of global US imperialism (driven by their hidden racism, hence the evil "chinks" making a good enemy) and are now the enemy of the multipolar world.

Trump is scum. He turned on Russia and Assange after he got into the White House and did far more against Russia than even Obama. I say that as someone who initially made the mistake to support him.

[Apr 28, 2020] Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia

Apr 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Stonebird , Apr 27 2020 19:17 utc | 28

Background reading on Pompeo and his mafia.

This is part of Tom's description of the Article on Pompeo, Esper and the gang of 1986 (west pointers). They are well embedded.
In fact, one class from West Point, that of 1986, from which both Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo graduated, is essentially everywhere in a distinctly militarized (if still officially civilian) and wildly hawkish Washington in the Trumpian moment.

In case you missed it the first time, I repeat this link from the beginning of April,

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176686/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_trump%27s_own_military_mafia_/

-----------------
Red Ryder | Apr 27 2020 17:07 utc | 14

One addition there. The EU lost "market share" in Iran due to US sanctions. (As they did with Russia). What they would like to do is to get it back. (France was one of the bigger losers)


Yeah, Right , Apr 27 2020 22:48 utc | 45

"Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a legal argument"...

Oh, a LEGAL argument? In that case the articles of the Vienna Convention On The Law Of Treaties is going to be our friend.

Article 31(b) prohibits any legal argument that leads to a result that "is manifestly absurd or unreasonable".

Granted that the JCPOA is not a treaty, as such. But it is an international agreement, and that nobody disputes.

Just as nobody disputes that the Vienna Convention is the codification of what had hitherto been accepted as International Customary Law.

LEGALLY-speaking - as we are, apparently - Pompous has handed his lawyers a task that they would call "a hopeless brief".

Dick , Apr 27 2020 23:08 utc | 47
The US is very good at making enemies and loosing friends, simply due to their treatment of other nations in the same manner they treat their domestic population.
Arch , Apr 28 2020 5:12 utc | 61
@jiri #75

The United States announced its withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the "Iran nuclear deal" or the "Iran deal", on May 8, 2018.

This document discusses the legal rationale for the US withdrawal from tje JCPOA in detail:


https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R44761.pdf

Since when does announcing your "withdrawal" from a contract NOT mean "leaving the agreement" ?

Mina , Apr 28 2020 11:19 utc | 73
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04/27/pompeo-gantz-and-the-end-of-the-two-state-solution/

[Apr 27, 2020] Pompeo is steering the US Department of State into becoming arm of the Central Intelligence Agency

Apr 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 26 2020 23:02 utc | 37

The gloves are now off as China has called out Pompeo quite correctly saying, "Pompeo an enemy to world peace" --and we ought to expect more disruptions here at MoA. Here's just one of several slaps in Pompeo's face:

"The former top intelligence official is steering the US Department of State into becoming the Central Intelligence Agency. He is playing with fire, making the 21st century an era of major power confrontation and undermining the foundations for peace. Despite being the chief diplomat of the US, he totally betrayed the basic responsibility with which he is entrusted to promote international understanding. He has become the enemy of world peace."

What's most unfortunate is few seem to consult Global Times , as I was rather surprised this major editorial wasn't already linked. Here's yet another slap:

"Geopolitics cannot dominate the world anymore. Pompeo and his like are desperately pulling the world backwards. They are unable to handle a diverse and complicated new century and so they attempt to resume the Cold War. They can only 'realize their ambition' in polarized confrontation."

And that clearly wasn't enough as yet another slap's delivered in the closing two sentences:

"Lies may fulfill Pompeo's personal ambition, but they will never accomplish the US dreams to be "great again." Pompeo is not only a figure harmful to world peace, but also should be listed as the worst US secretary of state in its history."

Hmm... Don't know if he qualifies as "worst" yet as he must still top Ms. Clinton, but she certainly didn't treat China as has Pompeo.

[Apr 24, 2020] They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again

Apr 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:03 utc | 30

If ever there was a time, it's now. Oil has bottomed out. They can top off the national reserves on the cheap and profit when their war sends prices up again. Maybe it's why The Orange Goober has ordered the Navy to "shoot down" any Iranian boats that harass/approach/rudely gesture at US ships.

Musburger , Apr 23 2020 18:08 utc | 31

@30

Scott Ritter thinks this is quite possible.
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/486598-trump-iran-war-oil/

Tuyzentfloot , Apr 23 2020 18:23 utc | 36
Ritter's article worries me. There is now a sales argument for war: "don't worry about oil prices going sky high, Iran can't use that weapon against us now!".
LOL , Apr 23 2020 18:38 utc | 38
You over excitable little Iran war-monkeys really should take time out of your busy war-monkey daily-schedules to learn something about the topography of Iran and it's defensive and offensive military capabilities.

It would certainly save everyone else from having to listen to you being wrong yet again.

karlof1 , Apr 23 2020 18:53 utc | 39
dh @34--

You're on the right track. There's a huge supply glut as all forms of storage are mostly filled as proven by the negative WTI pricing. Global demand is still being destroyed. War in the Persian Gulf region will further destroy demand; and since very little oil's being shipped from there, the supply glut won't be used up anytime soon--certainly not quickly enough to see a sharp rebound in oil price. The crucial point is domestic US refineries have cut back their runs as their margins are even thinner than before, plus demand destruction is still occurring, thus the domestic storage glut. The wife and I jested last night if we only had a rail spur we could order up a couple of tank cars full of unleaded at the current very distressed price and be set for a longtime.

As The Saker notes in his latest , Trump must make the voting public look everywhere except at him and Congress, the bellowing at Iran being part of that entire theatre. Yes, a mistake could have very negative consequences for the USN and all US assets in the region as well as Occupied Palestine--the overall underlying dynamic hasn't changed since Trump broke the Iran Nuclear Treaty. Too add further insult to Trump and Pompeo, Iran's doing a much better job at containing COVID-19 than the Outlaw US Empire :

"The US pandemic death toll is this week heading above 50,000 compared with Iran's figure of 5,300. Considering the respective population numbers of 330 and 80 million that suggests Iran is doing a much better job at containing the virus. On a per-capita basis, according to publicly available data, Iran's mortality rate is less than half that of the US.

"This is while the US has sanctioned Iran to the hilt. American sanctions – arguably illegal under international law – have hit Iran's ability to import medical supplies to cope with COVID-19 and other fatal diseases, yet Iran through its own resources is evidently managing the crisis much better than the US."

As with the Tar Baby, the more wrestling the Outlaw US Empire does the weaker it gets.

Zengine3 , Apr 23 2020 18:55 utc | 40
@LOLtroll

They can't invade. That's your own moronic straw-man. And yes, it would further cut supply and prices would go up. The current bottom is due to overproduction but so long as civilization cranks along the oil gets used eventually.

[Apr 06, 2020] Pompeo problem: how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Apr 06, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Apr 6 2020 15:25 utc | 187

Posted by: Walter | Apr 6 2020 15:03 utc | 185

Re: Pompeo and his West Point clique and their associates, I have not spent much time on it, didn't seem like a useful or entertaining thing to do, but my impression is they have lots of plans and very little grasp of what is required to carry them out. (One thinks of Modi here.) This has been ongoing since the Iranians shot our fancy drone down there last year. The first shot across the bow. We are now withdrawing from Syria, Iraq & Afghanistan, however haltingly, as it has dawned on the commanders on the ground there how exposed they really are to Iranian fire, and that of their allies. Israel seems to be struggling with the same problem, how to continue to bully when the bullied can very effectively shoot back?

Many unseemly things being said about Crozier and the Teddy R. situation too. Lot's of heat, very little light. Trump says there is light at the end of the tunnel, I seem to remember that from somewhere in the past. I think that's about where we are again.

[Mar 30, 2020] Pompeo as a sign of more serious problem with the US military

Mar 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Mar 29 2020 18:13 utc | 23

Posted by: Noirette | Mar 29 2020 17:09 utc | 13

I think you have the main danger (some nitwit using a "small nuke") to try to make a point about right.

Other than that, the impression I get from Pompeo and his ilk is that the main thing is having someone to threaten and abuse to show "leadership" and "manhood", at least one shitty little country we can still throw up against the wall and slap around to show we mean business. Dangerous times for Nicaragua.

Neither he nor his other West Point friends seems to have much clue about military affairs either, which is strange. I mean we've always had our George Armstrong Custers, but they didn't run things. Now they seem to have some sort of cult mentality. One is reminded of the French before WWI: "De L'audace, Encore De L'audace, Et Toujours De L'audace ..." and we know how that worked out.

[Mar 29, 2020] United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a slip of the tongue while addressing the American people from the White House when he stated that COVID-19 is a live military exercise.

Mar 29, 2020 | twitter.com

"This is not about retribution," Pompeo explained. "This matter is going forward -- we are in a live exercise here to get this right."

@realDonaldTrump is mad that the deep state took control through Continuity of Government, there has been a coup? pic.twitter.com/GcrjNNvVsc #Covid_19 #CoronavirusPandemic #MartialLaw

-- Shepard Ambellas (@ShepardAmbellas) March 21, 2020

With a disgusted look on his face, President Trump replied: "You should have let us know."

Military Exercise meaning (from Wikipedia): "A military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3Qscuw_3aUk

What is actually going on here? Does the White House care to explain?

*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.

Featured image is from Gage Skidmore CC BY 2.0

[Mar 29, 2020] The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths

Mar 29, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Timothy Hagios , Mar 28 2020 18:14 utc | 44

The essence of Trump's psychology is that he likes to dominate people. He accomplishes this by hiring incompetent psychopaths who make him legitimately look good by comparison. This is why he's constantly overruling their worst plans. But once every so often, his incompetent underlings convince him to do something exceptionally stupid. This is because occasionally going along with them allows him to feel like a wise, discerning ruler who occasionally follows his advisors' guidance and occasionally overrules them.

[Mar 26, 2020] Pompeo is on record having said that our government "lies, cheats, and steals" in order to accomplish its anti-Christian objectives.

Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sokrates , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:54 am GMT

@37 Yesterday I went to Home Depot to buy some water tubing for my ice-maker.

I noticed all doors were blocked with a tape, except one with at least 25 people waiting to get in and a female employee holding a sign "the line starts here".

I ask the lady what was all about and she said because of the virus etc.

I said to her "You must be kidding" and I start going back to my car.

Some old lady from the line waiting to get in she scream to me something about "we protect ourselves" and similar nonsense.

I turn around and I said to her: Quit watching TV you idiot. They rob your money on broad daylight and send your kids to die fighting israels enemies.

RichardTaylor , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
The overreaction to the virus makes no sense. Is something being hidden from us? The freak out over this virus – to the tune of $trillions – is all out of proportion.

2.8 million Americans die every year. Why the obsession with this one virus which may kill in the thousands?

Something is off. But Trump should have known early if there was some other hidden danger. If there is some hidden suspicion by the people obsessing over this, please share it!

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 20, 2020] Pompeo myth that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Mar 19 2020 20:16 utc | 161

@b Another myth to add to your collection ...

... that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 18:20 utc | 106

The "Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19" states that China transparently reported the identification of virus to the WHO and the international community on January 3rd, and a WHO investigative team was invited to Wuhan a week after that.

From January 3rd, 2020, information on COVID-19 cases has been reported to WHO daily.

On January 7th, full genome sequences of the new virus were shared with WHO and the international community immediately after the pathogen was identified.

On January 10th, an expert group involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese technical experts and a World Health Organization team was invited to visit Wuhan.

From page 31 of:
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

[Mar 20, 2020] That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Twodees Partain , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 3:02 am GMT

@SBaker "It's beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19originated in Wuhan, China."

No, it's being disputed every day. That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 09, 2020] COVID-19 burst the asset price bubble. In a new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

Mar 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

CitizenX , Mar 9 2020 2:58 utc | 57

"Perhaps this will finally burst the out-of-control asset price bubble and drop-kick the Outlaw US Empire's economy into the sewer as the much lower price will rapidly slow the recycling of what remains of the petrodollar. Looks like Trump's reelection push just fell into a massive sinkhole as the economy will tank."

Posted by: karlof1 | Mar 9 2020 1:29 utc | 49
....

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.

Don't worry...just continue to go shopping and take those selfies.


vk , Mar 9 2020 3:37 utc | 60

Pompeo accuses China of giving "imperfect data" on COVID-19, blame it for US failure in containing the virus:

In new low, Pompeo passes buck to Beijing

It will be hard for the American people to swallow that one. From day 1 I've read a lot of "articles" and "papers" from know-it-all Western doctors and researchers from commenters here in this blog, all of them claiming to have very precise and definitive data on what was happening. A lot of bombastic conclusions I've read here (including one that claimed R0 was through the roof - it's funny how the R0 is being played down after it begun to infect the West; suddenly, it's all just a stronger cold...).

And that's just here, in MoA's comment section. Imagine what was being published in the Western MSM. I wouldn't be surprised there was a lot of rednecks popping their beers celebrating the fall of China already.

--//--

China to back global virus fight with production boost

Since China allegedly had a lot of idle industrial capacity - that is, if we take the Western MSM theories seriously (including the fabled "ghost towns" stories) - then boosting production wouldn't be a problem to China.

Disclaimer: it's normal for any kind of economy - socialist or capitalist - to have a certain percentage of idle capacity. That's necessary in order to insure the economy against unexpected oscillations in demand and to give space of maneuvre for future technological progress. Indeed, that was one of the USSR's mistakes with its economy: they instinctly thought unemployment should be zero, and waste should also be zero, so they planned in a way all the factories always sought to operate at 100% capacity. That became a problem when better machines and better methods were invented, since the factory manager wouldn't want to stop production so that his factory would fall behind the other factories in the five-year plan's goals. So, yes, China indeed has idle capacity - but it is mainly proposital, not a failure of its socialist planning.

--//--

... ... ...

vk , Mar 9 2020 3:56 utc | 61
This is important. The only reason I didn't comment about it is I hadn't the data:

Follow the money: Understanding China's battle against COVID-19

By the latest count, in addition to yuan loans worth 113 billion U.S. dollars granted by financial institutions and more than 70 billion U.S. dollars paid out by insurance companies, the Chinese government has allocated about 13 billion U.S. dollars to counter fallout from the outbreak.

The numbers could look abstract. However, breaking the data down reveals how the money is being carefully targeted. The government is allocating the money based on a thorough evaluation of the system's strengths.

...

Local governments are equipped with more local knowledge that allows them to surgically support key manufacturers or producers that are struggling.

Together, they have borne the bulk of the financial responsibility with an allocation of equivalently more than nine billion U.S. dollars. It is carefully targeted, divided into hundreds of thousands of individual grants that are tailor-made by and for each county, town, city and business.

This is the mark of a socialist system.

The affected capitalist countries will simply use monetary devices (so the private sector can offset the losses) and burn their own reserves with non-profitable palliatives such as masks, tests, other quarantine infrastructure etc.

Pft , Mar 9 2020 4:44 utc | 64
Sounds like US socialism. Basically corporate socialism. Loans are just dollars created out of thin air, same as in US. Insurance payouts come from premiums, nothing socialist about that, pure capitalism. Government hand outs to provinces, cities, state owned corporations,well all of these are run by the party elite, its called pork. US handed out a lot of pork during the last financial crisis. None of it trickled down to the little people. I doubt it does in China either.

All crisis are opportunities for the elite to get richer. Those Biolake firms in Wuhan will make out like bandits. Chinese firms will double the price of API's sold to India and US. China will knock out the small farmer in the wake of concurrent chicken and swine flu so the big enterprises take over, a mimicry of the US practice over the last century. China tech firms will double up on surveillance apps, censoring tools, surveillance and toughen up social credit restrictions. 5G will allow China to experiment with nanobots to monitor citizens health from afar (thanks to Harvards Dr Leiber).

Oh yes, socialism with Chinese characteristics is a technocratic capitalists dream. Thats why the West has never imposed sanctions on China since welcoming them to the global elites club. Sanctions are reserved for those with true socialism, especially those who preach equality and god forbid, democracy.

uncle tungsten , Mar 9 2020 8:35 utc | 83

CitizenX #57

Call me crazy- but this Virus provides great cover as to why the economy plummets, the Murikan sheeple will eat it up. Prepare for the double media blitz on the virus AND the economy tanking as its result.


Don't forget the Russians.. They have to be to blame. See they just kept the price of oil low so now the rest of the world gets gas cheaper than the USA. The USA motorist now has to bail out the dopey frackers and shale oil ponzis.

Global envy will eat murica. Maybe they will just pull out all their troops and go home. ;)

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

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

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

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STEVE DOOCY: According to the Secretary of Defense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All because of a lie.

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

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

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

10:03 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feral Finster 5 hours ago

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

[Feb 24, 2020] Missiles Attack on Al Assad Base was a message: Iran is No Paper Tiger

Feb 24, 2020 | www.winterwatch.net

Although Trump decided to call this as "Iran standing down," analysts on both sides can work the calculus of this test run. I have been suggesting that Iran's cheaper technology is quite effective and an advantage near their "home court."


Read "The Van Riper Gambit: Iran Scores Against Expensive High-Tech US Gadgetry"

The Iranians used a third- or fourth-generation Fateh 110, which was generally given a range of 300 km. But the Al Assad base is 370 km from the border, so it seems the Iranians squeezed out some extra range. The fourth generation Fateh 100 carries a 650 kg warhead. Iran certainly has missiles with more punch. The Quim 1 is essentially a similar missile.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/63ehLAg7mSU

Iran showed that it can put most of Iraq in range of these low-cost missiles should it become a battleground. The Al Assad base is large and target-rich.

Leaked pictures taken by a Puerto Rican soldier of the damage to the Al-Asad US airbase in Iraq, after being hit by Iranian missiles.

The Pentagon have told soldiers not to film the damage. #NoWarWithIran #Iran pic.twitter.com/Kl4WF6tmy0

-- Ian56 (@Ian56789) January 9, 2020

Meanwhile, Russia offered Iraq its state-of-the-art S-400 air defense to defend its air space.

Besides the added range, the accuracy looks impressive.

"Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center," said David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute.

Numbers and production information relating to the Fateh 110 are currently uncertain, yet Iranian media sources claim that facilities have been created to mass produce the weapon.

Michael Elleman, director of the Nonproliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, estimates that Iran has numbers "in the high hundreds" of the Fateh-110.

Our takeaway is that this night demonstration is hardly a dud and will give Americans some pause. It shows this key base at Al Assad will be vulnerable. If one night Iran threw a hundred of these missiles up and aimed them at personnel, things could get ugly fast.

Observers are asking "where was the Patriot defense missile?" The problem is economic. The cost of each missile is $2.75 million. A Rand study estimated that a Patriot will need three rounds to take down basic short-range ballistic missiles like the Fateh-110. That's 30 times more than the cost of Fateh. Iran would hope the Patriot is wasted on Fatehs and Quims, and they would gladly run that kind of cost-benefit math all over the region.

"For the time being, the Americans have been given a slap, revenge is a different issue," Iran's Fars News Agency quotes Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying Wednesday. "Military moves like this are not enough. The Americans' corruption-stirring presence will come to an end."

Winter Watch Takeaway

U.S. vulnerability at Al Assad has now been well demonstrated. If anything -- especially as more sanctions are being slapped on -- the War Party in Iran will be emboldened to run with their advantages and do so well before more American troops and aircraft build up in the theater.

[Feb 23, 2020] Did not Pompous Pompeo accidentally found a good method to ensure vassals compliance?

Notable quotes:
"... He is making the USA a laughing stock, very threatening for sure, but he is a laughing stock and he perfectly sets up the scenario to ridicule his mongrel stupid president. ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Feb 11 2020 23:08 utc | 26

On the big issue though I cant help seeing Pontious Pompeo as hurling himself about the globe tilting at windmills. He is making the USA a laughing stock, very threatening for sure, but he is a laughing stock and he perfectly sets up the scenario to ridicule his mongrel stupid president.

uncle tungsten | Feb 11 2020 22:52 utc | 30

Isn't it a good method? This way, the vassals can comply with a smile.

[Feb 22, 2020] The Coming Constitutional Crisis Over Iran

Feb 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sakineh Bagoom , Feb 22 2020 2:35 utc | 73

Sorry OT.
Great read, by professor Bruce Ackerman.
Had to share. Amazingly succinct.
The Coming Constitutional Crisis Over Iran
https://prospect.org/justice/trump-pelosi-coming-constitutional-crisis-over-iran/

[Feb 16, 2020] Pompeo's Empty Boasting in Munich

These demented human beings are miserable, self seeking failures by any measurement of dignity. In a way they are possessed with "Full Spectrum Dominance" delution.
Feb 16, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
tone-deaf, arrogant speech in Munich this weekend in which he proclaimed that "the West is winning." In the most hypocritical and absurd section of the speech, Pompeo railed against other states' violations of sovereignty:

Look, this matters. This matters because assaults on sovereignty destabilize. Assaults on sovereignty impoverish. Assaults on sovereignty enslave. Assaults on sovereignty are, indeed, assaults on the very freedom that anchors the Western ideal.

Trump administration officials like talking about the importance of sovereignty almost as much as they enjoy trampling on the sovereignty of other states. The problem with Pompeo's sovereignty talk is that the U.S. obviously doesn't respect the sovereignty of many countries, and almost every criticism that he levels against someone else can be turned around against the U.S. The U.S. daily violates Syrian sovereignty with an illegal military presence. U.S. forces remain in Iraq against the wishes of the Iraqi government, and our military has repeatedly carried out attacks inside Iraq over their government's objections in just the last two months. The Trump administration respects sovereignty and territorial integrity so much that it has endorsed illegal Israeli annexation of Syrian territory and it has given a green light to more annexations in the future. It is now supporting an illegal Turkish incursion into Syria.

Pompeo said at one point:

Respect for sovereignty of nations is a secret of and central to our success. The West is winning.

As we look back on the record of how the U.S. and our allies have behaved over the last 30 years, respect for other nations' sovereignty is not what we see. On the contrary, there has been a series of unnecessary and sometimes illegal wars that the U.S. and its allies have waged either to overthrow a foreign government, or to take sides in an internal conflict, or both. The U.S. and our allies and the other countries certainly would have been better off if that hadn't happened. Our recent record is nothing to boast about. It is typical of Pompeo that he celebrates successes where there aren't any. He says that "the West is winning," but what exactly have we won? The U.S. is still involved in multiple desultory conflicts, and relations with many of our most important allies are more strained than at any time since the start of the Iraq war. If "the West is winning," what would repeated failures look like?

Pompeo calls out economic coercion as one of the harmful things that other states do, but he is part of an administration that has used economic warfare more than anyone else against more targets than ever before. If the U.S. refrained from using economic coercion as one of its main tools in trying to compel other states to do what Washington wants, the attacks on other states' use of economic coercion might carry some weight. As things stand, Pompeo's words are just so much wind.

The theme of Pompeo's speech is refuting criticism from allies about how the U.S. is conducting its foreign policy, but I doubt that many Europeans in the audience were reassured by his hectoring, triumphalist tone. It doesn't help when he is accusing many of our allies of being fools and dupes:

When so-called Iranian moderates play the victim, remember their assassination and terror campaigns against innocent Iranian civilians and right here on European soil itself.

When Russia suggests that Nord Stream 2 is purely a commercial endeavor, don't be fooled. Consider the deprivations caused in the winters of 2006 and 2008 and 2009 and 2015.

When Huawei executives show up at your door, they say you'll lose out if you don't buy in. Don't believe the hype.

Needless to say, many of our European allies have very different views on all of these issues, and berating their position isn't going to make them agree with the Trump administration's unreasonable demands. Pompeo wants to tout the virtues of sovereignty, but as soon as our allies take decisions that displease him and Trump he castigates them for it. Respecting the sovereignty and independence of other states includes respecting their right to make decisions on policy that our government doesn't like. Of course, Pompeo would rather have our allies behave like vassals and expects other partners to obey as if they are colonies. Behind all the sovereignty rhetoric is an unmistakable desire to dictate terms and force others to do the administration's bidding. The countries that are on the receiving end of this insufferable arrogance can see through Pompeo's words. All three of those issues touch on areas where the U.S. insists that our allies abandon their own interests because Washington tells them to. That is exactly the sort of heavy-handed "leadership" that our allies resent, and Pompeo's speech will just remind them why they hate it.

[Feb 16, 2020] Ultimately, a soldier would be diagnosed with a concussion because the soldier (who has financial benefits to gain) says so, and a physician does not dispute it.

Feb 16, 2020 | www.unz.com

The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 7:04 am GMT

I posted this on an earlier thread, but it is relevant here.

I have been a working full time in Emergency Medicine for over 20 years. I was a "Flight Surgeon" in the Army. Soldiers are notorious for playing up any combat related injury in order to qualify for disability and the financial benefits that flow from being categorized as being disabled. As far as we know, the most serious claimed injuries were "concussions." As a practicing specialist in Emergency Medicine, I can explain that the diagnosis of "concussion" means, by definition, that no abnormality is seen on CT scanning of the brain. The diagnosis is made based on the injured person's purely subjective complaints, i.e. whatever the allegedly injured person says. If the allegedly injured person says the right things, then a physician may call the symptoms that of a concussion.

So, ultimately, a soldier would be diagnosed with a concussion because the soldier (who has financial benefits to gain) says so, and a physician does not dispute it.

I have seen hundreds if not thousands of diagnoses of "concussion". That diagnosis does not have to be supported by any specific findings or even a proper understanding of the diagnosis. It simply has to be entered in the record by a licensed physician. Once that diagnosis is on the medical record, it is up to subsequent providers to refute that diagnosis if they desire to do so.

This is something subsequent providers are very unlikely to want to dedicate the time and effort required to accomplish. There is usually no financial or professional incentive to do so – often the opposite. There is no specific test to definitively say one way or the other if a person had a "concussion". Like PTSD it is a "functional" diagnosis based mainly on subjective symptoms and not objective test results. This is not to say such things do not exist. They do exist. It is only to say that they can be faked or misinterpreted and that will happen if there is a financial incentive to do so.

Intelligent Dasein , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 3:26 pm GMT
@The Scalpel I'm sure your assessment is accurate, and is symptomatic of a much more general problem affecting the axis of medicine, insurance, pharma, and state pension systems (military or civilian), not to mention all corporations and agencies to various degrees.

When doctors' medical opinions are considered sacrosanct and sufficient to secure payouts, excuse time off from work, and add one's name to the list of medically "made men," they are certain to be pursued like bounty on the high seas. No small number of doctors are content to play along with this system, as it secures a steady stream of income for them as well. Foreign doctors, who are often perfectly comfortable with graft and fraud, are especially bad in this regard.

Employers are left with no recourse except to eat the cost of malingering employees and ever swelling pension rolls, which no employeer can long afford at the micro level and which society itself cannot afford at the macro level.

Another complicating factor is added by the cultural obsession with business efficiency. When the VA scandal broke in 2014, a lot of people were upset by the thought that veterans were receiving shoddy care and insisted that "more must be done," not realizing that this very insistance was at the root of the problem. I said at the time that the real lesson here was that the VA had been "Six-Sigma'ed" by incompetent management who demanded faster claims processing and unrealistic expenditure reductions.

These schizophrenic cultural trends -- viz. , on the one hand, greater and greater demands for doles by an aging and sickening population; and, on the other hand, the feckless attempts to mitigate the very real unaffordability of this by an oligarchic business philosophy that knows only how to downsize, offshore, and automate based on a naive reliance on the dubious benefits of technology -- are going to culminate in an epic breakdown of social functioning over the next decade.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 7:19 pm GMT
@The Scalpel Perhaps you need to return to medical school for a refresher. A "concussion" may, or may not, be seen as an abnormality, usually subdural haematoma, on a CT scan. The reason for requesting the CT scan would be from the patient reported complaints, but also from the objective medical examination for things like pupils and reaction. Radiation is not good for you. If you are ordering CT scans before examination, you've got it backwards.
Max Payne , says: Show Comment February 13, 2020 at 10:37 pm GMT
There are no causalities you guys over estimate the steadfastness of the US military.

Purple heart = disability cheque.

No one can disprove a concussion.

And that's the real embarrassment that the Pentagon is trying to hide.

These guys (US forces) teach other how to fake PTSD to get on disability. I've seen it countless times in Western armed forces. Its how I know Iran will never be invaded or even bombed back to the stone age. You have to have balls for that and clearly the West and Israel have none. (Bush invaded Iraq on the premise of an empty vial; the Iranian counterattack was a legit no-shit missile attack on US forces and . NOTHING HAPPENED).

As for reality I have colleagues who are so disconnected from international politics that reality (past their 9-5 job) means nothing. Reality won't kick in until it comes home to bite them in the ass. It's that simple. A programmer who does nothing for 10 years but play games and write software, what does he care about causalities in Iraq? Seriously. For him that was a 20 second twitter feed which entertained him on his way to work and that's it.

GuestAug , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 12:10 am GMT
This should be no surprise. "The first causality of [any] war is the truth."
The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 3:12 am GMT
@Curmudgeon Perhaps you have heard the old proverb, "It is best to keep your mouth shut and have people suspect you are ignorant, than to open it and prove to people that you are ignorant"

A subdural hematoma is (let me say this slowly for you) a sudural hematoma. A concussion is (again slowly) a concussion. They are two separate diagnoses.

Concussion: ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code S06.0
Traumatic Subdural Hematoma: ICD-10-CM Diagnosis Code S06.5X0A

Pretty good chance you don't know what these codes mean. If not, there is this thing called Google. Look it up.

"things like pupils and reaction"

WTF? I think you might be trying to describe testing for pupils being reactive to light (the normal state of affairs.) Abnormally reactive pupils are not required for the diagnosis of concussion and, in fact, are not usually present.

Radiation is not good for you. If you are ordering CT scans before examination, you've got it backwards.

That, in fact, is all true. What is not true is that I made any sort of suggestion at all to order tests before an exam. You need to lay off the hash pipe.

FYI:

Concussion: A concussion is a type of brain injury. It is a short loss of normal brain function in response to a head injury. Concussions are a common type of sports injury. You can also suffer from one if you suffer a blow to the head or hit your head after a fall. After a concussion, you may have a

headache or neck pain. You may also experience nausea, ringing in your ears, dizziness, or tiredness. You may feel dazed or not your normal self

for several days or weeks after the injury.

https://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/S00-T88/S00-S09/S06/S06.0-

All these symptoms are subjective, i.e. they are basically what the patient reports – truthfully or not.

FWIW, I have found the most reliable symptom in diagnosing concussion is short term memory loss. The patient asks the same question over and over as if he never got an answer.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:14 pm GMT
@The Scalpel I'm well aware of what a CT is, I was doing them more than 40 years ago, likely before you were in med school. I know what a concussion is, I've had one, and went through the examination. If you actually read my response, I did not say that every concussion resulted in a subdural haematoma.
Patient reaction includes memory loss. Dizziness is what a patient reports. Of course what patients report is subjective, just as pain tolerance is, but it doesn't invalidate them.
The Scalpel , says: Website Show Comment February 14, 2020 at 8:47 pm GMT
I never said or implied that you did not know what a CT scan is. I think I get it now. You really are a curmudgeon (as in elderly) and your cognitive abilities are flagging. I am sorry for being rude earlier. As you may recall, the point being made was that a simple concussion is not visible on CT scan. A subdural hematoma is visible – as well as many other traumatic brain injuries, . A concussion is not visible. Subjective complaints are not invalid. They are as honest as the person making the complaint.
Buck Ransom , says: Show Comment February 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm GMT
@The Scalpel Are you suggesting that The Greatest Fighting Force in the Galaxy in All of History, the military of the world's Exceptional Nation, is riddled with grifters?

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

Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Dungroanin ,

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

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

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

[Feb 16, 2020] Imperialism and Liberation in the Middle East Feb 14, 2020 Written by P l Steigan, translated by Terje Maloy

Notable quotes:
"... Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism ..."
"... Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel. ..."
"... How ligitimate is that? ..."
Feb 16, 2020 | off-guardian.org

At the moment, the United States has great difficulty in retaining its hegemony in the Middle East. Its troops have been declared unwanted in Iraq; and in Syria, the US and their foreign legion of terrorists lose terrain and positions every month. The US has responded to this with a significant escalation, by deploying more troops and by constant threats against Iran. At the same time, we have seen strong protest movements in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran.

When millions of Iraqi took to the streets recently, their main slogan was "THE UNITED STATES OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST!"

How should one analyze this?

Obviously, there are a lot of social tensions in the Middle East – class based, ethnic, religious and cultural. The region is a patchwork of conflicts and tensions that not only goes back hundreds of years, but even a few thousand.

There are always many reasons to rebel against a corrupt upper class, anywhere in the world. But no rebellion can succeed if it is not based on a realistic and thorough analysis of the specific conditions in the individual country and region.

Just as in Africa, the borders in the Middle East are arbitrarily drawn. They are the product of the manipulations of imperialist powers, and only to a lesser extent products of what the peoples themselves have wanted.

During the era of decolonization, there was a strong, secular pan-Arab movement that wanted to create a unified Arab world. This movement was influenced by the nationalist and socialist ideas that had strong popular support at the time.

King Abdallah I of Jordan envisaged a kingdom that would consist of Jordan, Palestine and Syria. Egypt and Syria briefly established a union called the United Arab Republic . Gaddafi wanted to unite Libya, Syria and Egypt in a federation of Arab republics .

In 1958, a quickly dissolved confederation was established between Jordan and Iraq, called the Arab Federation . All these efforts were transient. What remains is the Arab League, which is, after all, not a state federation and not an alliance. And then of course we have the demand for a Kurdish state, or something similar consisting of one or more Kurdish mini-states.

Still, the most divisive product of the First World War was the establishment of the state of Israel on Palestinian soil. During the First World War, Britain's Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour Declaration , which " view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

But what is the basis for all these attempts at creating states? What are the prerequisites for success or failure?

The imperialist powers divide the world according to the power relations between them

Lenin gave the best and most durable explanation for this, in his essay Imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism . There, he explained five basic features of the era of imperialism:

The concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; The merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this "finance capital", of a financial oligarchy; The export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; The formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves; The territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

But Lenin also pointed out that capitalist countries are developing unevenly, not least because of the uneven development of productive forces in the various capitalist countries.

After a while, there arises a discrepancy between how the world is divided and the relative strength of the imperialist powers. This disparity will eventually force through a redistribution, a new division of the world based on the new relationship of strength. And, as Lenin states :

The question is: what means other than war could there be under capitalism to overcome the disparity between the development of productive forces and the accumulation of capital on the one side, and the division of colonies and spheres of influence for finance capital on the other?"

The two world wars were wars that arose because of unevenness in the power relationships between the imperialist powers. The British Empire was past its heyday and British capitalism lagged behind in the competition. The United States and Germany were the great powers that had the largest industrial and technological growth, and eventually this misalignment exploded. Not once, but twice.

Versailles and Yalta

The victors of the First World War divided the world between themselves at the expense of the losers. The main losers were Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia (the Soviet Union) and the Ottoman Empire. This division was drawn up in the Versailles treaty and the following minor treaties.

Europe after the Versailles Treaties (Wikipedia)

This map shows how the Ottoman Empire was partitioned:

At the end of World War II, the victorious superpowers met in the city of Yalta on the Crimean peninsula in the Soviet Union. Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin made an agreement on how Europe should be divided following Germany's imminent defeat. This map shows how it was envisaged and the two blocs that emerged and became the foundation for the Cold War.

Note that Yugoslavia, created after Versailles in 1919, was maintained and consolidated as "a country between the blocs". So it is a country that carries in itself the heritage of both the Versailles- and Yalta agreements.

The fateful change of era when the Soviet Union fell

In the era of imperialism, there has always been a struggle between various great powers. The battle has been about markets, access to cheap labor, raw materials, energy, transport routes and military control. And the imperialist countries divide the world between themselves according to their strength. But the imperialist powers are developing unevenly.

If a power collapses or loses control over some areas, rivals will compete to fill the void. Imperialism follows the principle that Aristotle in his Physics called horror vacui – the fear of empty space.

And that was what happened when the Soviet Union lost the Cold War. In 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and soon the Eastern bloc was also history. And thus the balance was broken, the one that had maintained the old order. And now a huge area was available for re-division. The weakened Russia barely managed to preserve its own territory, and not at all the area that just before was controlled by the Soviet Union.

Never has a so large area been open for redivision. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Pål Steigan, 1999

"Never has a so large area been open for re-division. It was the result of two horrible world wars that anew was up for grabs. It could not but lead to war." Map: Countries either part of the Soviet Union, Eastern Bloc or non-aligned (Yugoslavia)

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, both the Yalta and Versailles agreements in reality collapsed, and opened up the way for a fierce race to control this geopolitical empty space.

This laid the foundation for the American Geostrategy for Eurasia , which concentrated on securing control over the vast Eurasian continent. It is this struggle for redistribution in favor of the United States that has been the basis for most wars since 1990: Somalia, the Iraq wars, the Balkan wars, Libya, Ukraine, and Syria.

The United States has been aggressively spearheading this, and the process to expand NATO eastward and create regime changes in the form of so-called "color revolutions" has been part of this struggle. The coup in Kiev, the transformation of Ukraine into an American colony with Nazi elements, and the war in Donbass are also part of this picture. This war will not stop until Russia is conquered and dismembered, or Russia has put an end to the US offensive.

So, to recapitulate: Because the world is already divided between imperialist powers and there are no new colonies to conquer, the great powers can only fight for redistribution. What creates the basis and possibilities for a new division is the uneven development of capitalism. The forces that are developing faster economically and technologically will demand bigger markets, more raw materials, more strategic control.

The results of two terrible wars are again up for grabs

World War I caused perhaps 20 million deaths , as well as at least as many wounded. World War II caused around 72 million deaths . These are approximate numbers, and there is still controversy around the exact figures, but we are talking about this order of magnitude.

The two world wars that ended with the Versailles and Yalta treaties thus caused just below 100 million dead, as well as an incredible number of other suffering and losses.

Since 1991, a low-intensity "world war" has been fought, especially by the US, to conquer "the void". Donald Trump recently stated that the United States have waged wars based on lies, which have cost $ 8 trillion ($ 8,000 billion) and millions of people's lives. So the United States' new distribution of the spoils has not happened peacefully.

"The Rebellion against Sykes-Picot"

In the debate around the situation in the Middle East, certain people that would like to appear leftist, radical and anti-imperialist say that it is time to rebel against the artificial boundaries drawn by the Sykes-Picot and Versailles treaties. And certainly these borders are artificial and imperialist. But how leftist and anti-imperialist is it to fight for these boundaries to be revised now?

In reality, it is the United States and Israel that are fighting for a redistribution of the Middle East. This is the basis underlying Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century", which aims to bury Palestine forever, and it is stated outright in the new US strategy for partitioning Iraq.

Again, this is just an updated version of the Zionist Yinon plan that aimed to cantonize the entire Middle East, with the aim that Israel should have no real opponents and would be able to dominate the entire region and possibly create a Greater Israel.

It is not the anti-imperialists that are leading the way to overhaul the imperialist borders from 1919. It is the imperialists. To achieve this, they can often exploit movements that are initially popular or national, but which then only become tools and proxies in a greater game.

This has happened so many times in history that it can hardly be counted.

Hitler's Germany exploited Croatian nationalism by using the Ustaša gangs as proxies. From 1929 to 1945, they killed hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma people. And their ideological and political descendants carried out an extremely brutal ethnic cleansing of the Krajina area and forced out more than 200,000 Serbs in their so-called Operation Storm in 1995.

Hitler also used the extreme Ukrainian nationalists of Stepan Bandera's OUN, and after Bandera's death, the CIA continued to use them as a fifth column against the Soviet Union.

The US low-intensity war against Iraq, from the Gulf War in 1991 to the Iraq War in 2003, helped divide the country into enclaves. Iraqi Kurdistan achieved autonomy in the oil-rich north with the help of a US "no-fly zone". The United States thus created a quasi-state that was their tool in Iraq.

Undoubtedly, the Kurds in Iraq had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. But also undoubtedly, their Iraqi "Kurdistan" became a client state under the thumb of United States. And there is also no doubt that the no-fly zones were illegal, as UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali admitted in a conversation with John Pilger .

And now the United States is still using the Kurds in Northern Iraq in its plan to divide Iraq into three parts. To that end, they are building the world's largest consulate in Erbil. What they are planning to do, is simply "creating a country".

As is well known, the United States also uses the Kurds in Syria as a pretext to keep 27 percent of the country occupied. It does not help how much the Kurdish militias SDF and PYD invoke democracy, feminism and communalism; they have ended up pleading for the United States to maintain the occupation of Northeast Syria.

Preparations for a New World War

Israel and the US are preparing for war against Iran. In this fight, they will develop as much "progressive" rhetoric as is required to fool people. Real dissatisfaction in the area, which there is every reason to have, will be magnified and blown out of all proportion. "Social movements" will be equipped with the latest news in the Israeli and US "riot kits" and receive training and logistics support, in addition to plenty of cold hard cash.

There may be good reasons to revise the 1919 borders, but in today's situation, such a move will quickly trigger a major war. Some say that the Kurds are entitled to their own state, and maybe so. The question is ultimately decided by everyone else, except the Kurds themselves.

The problem is that in today's geopolitical situation, creating a unified Kurdistan will require that "one" defeats Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. It's hard to see how that can happen without their allies, not least Russia and China, being drawn into the conflict.

And then we have a new world war on our hands. And in that case, we are not talking about 100 million killed, but maybe ten times as much, or the collapse of civilization as we know it. The Kurdish question is not worth that much.

This does not mean that one should not fight against oppression and injustice, be it social and national. One certainly should. But you have to realize that revising the map of the Middle East is a very dangerous plan and that you run the risk of ending up in very dangerous company. The alternative to this is to support a political struggle that undermines the hegemony of the United States and Israel and thereby creates better conditions for future struggles.

It is nothing new that small nations rely on geopolitical situations to achieve some form of national independence. This was the case, for example, for my home country Norway. It was France's defeat in the Napoleonic War that caused Denmark to lose the province of Norway to Sweden in 1814, but at the same time it created space for a separate Norwegian constitution and internal self rule.

All honor to the Norwegian founding fathers of 1814, but this was decided on the battlefields in Europe. And again, it was Russia's defeat in the Russo-Japanese War that laid the geopolitical foundation for the dissolution of the forced union with Sweden almost a hundred years later, in 1905. (This is very schematically presented and there are many more details, but there is no doubt that Russia's loss of most of its fleet in the Far East had created a power vacuum in the west, which was exploitable.)

Therefore, the best thing to do now is not to support the fragmentation of states, but to support a united front to drive the United States out of the Middle East. The Million Man March in Baghdad got the ball rolling. There is every reason to build up even more strength behind it. Only when the United States is out, will the peoples and countries in the region be able to arrive at peaceful agreements between themselves, which will enable a better future to be developed.

And in this context, it is an advantage that China develops the "Silk Road" (aka Belt and Road Initiative), not because China is any nobler than other major powers, but because this project, at least in the current situation, is non-sectarian, non-exclusive and genuinely multilateral. The alternative to a monopolistic rule by the United States, with a world police under Washington's control, is a multipolar world. It grows as we speak.

The days of the Empire are numbered. What this will look like in 20 or 50 years, remains to be seen.

This article is Creative Commons 4.0. Pål Steigan is a Norwegian veteran journalist and activist, presently editor of the independent news site Steigan.no . Translated by Terje Maloy. Facebook Twitter Reddit Pinterest WhatsApp vKontakte Email Filed under: 20th Century , historical perspectives , latest Tagged with: Croatia , Egypt , historical perspectives , imperialism , Israel , Jordan , Lenin , Middle East , Pal Steigan , Palestine , russia , Saudi Arabia , Stepan Bandera , Terje Maloy , ukraine , WWII can you spare $1.00 a month to support independent media

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George Mc ,

Off topic – but there's nowhere else to put this at the moment:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/16/fran-unsworth-bbc-election-coverge-licence-fee

The BBC was taken aback by leftwing attacks on its general election coverage

No idea what they are talking about. They patiently explained that Corbyn was Hitler. What more could they do?

Dungroanin ,

Ok roll up the sleeves, time to concentrate. I've had enough of being baited as a judae- phobe.

The 'Balfour Declaration' – he didn't write it and it was a contract published in the newspapers within hours of it being inveigled.

Ready?

'Balfour and Lloyd George would have been happy with an unvarnished endorsement of Zionism. The text that the foreign secretary agreed in August was largely written by Weizmann and his colleagues:

"His Majesty's Government accept the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object and will be ready to consider any suggestions on the subject which the Zionist Organisation may desire to lay before them."

Got that – AUGUST?

Dungroanin ,


The leading figure in that drama was a charismatic chemistry professor from Manchester, Chaim Weizmann – with his domed head, goatee beard and fierce intellect. Weizmann had gained an entrée into political circles thanks to CP Scott, the illustrious editor of the Manchester Guardian, and had then sold his Zionist project to government leaders, including David Lloyd George when he was chancellor of the exchequer.

Dungroanin ,

Author(s)
Walter Rothschild, Arthur Balfour, Leo Amery, Lord Milner

Signatories
Arthur James Balfour

Recipient
Walter Rothschild

Dungroanin ,

'In due course the blunt phrase about Palestine being "reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people" was toned down into "the establishment of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine" – a more ambiguous formulation which sidestepped for the moment the idea of a Jewish state. '

Dungroanin ,

'Edwin Montagu, newly appointed as secretary of state for India, was only the third practising Jew to hold cabinet office. Whereas his cousin, Herbert Samuel (who in 1920 would become the first high commissioner of Palestine) was a keen supporter of Zionism, Montagu was an "assimilationist" – one who believed that being Jewish was a matter of religion not ethnicity. His position was summed up in the cabinet minutes:

Mr Montagu urged strong objections to any declaration in which it was stated that Palestine was the "national home" of the Jewish people. He regarded the Jews as a religious community and himself as a Jewish Englishman '

Dungroanin ,

'Montagu considered the proposed Declaration a blatantly anti-Semitic document and claimed that "most English-born Jews were opposed to Zionism", which he said was being pushed mainly by "foreign-born Jews" such as Weizmann, who was born in what is now Belarus.'

Dungroanin ,

The other critic of the proposed Declaration was Lord Curzon, a former viceroy of India, who therefore viewed Palestine within the geopolitics of Asia. A grandee who traced his lineage back to the Norman Conquest, Curzon loftily informed colleagues that the Promised Land was not exactly flowing with milk and honey, but nor was it an empty, uninhabited space.

According to the cabinet minutes, "Lord Curzon urged strong objections upon practical grounds. He stated, from his recollection of Palestine, that the country was, for the most part, barren and desolate a less propitious seat for the future Jewish race could not be imagined."

And, he asked, "how was it proposed to get rid of the existing majority of Mussulman [Muslim] inhabitants and to introduce the Jews in their place?"

Dungroanin ,

Sorry for the length of this bit – but it only makes sense in the whole:

'Between them, Curzon and Montagu had temporarily slowed the Zionist bandwagon. Lord Milner, another member of the war cabinet, hastily added two conditions to the proposed draft, in order to address the two men's respective concerns. The vague phrase about the rights of the "existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" hints at how little the government knew or cared about those who constituted roughly 90 per cent of the population of what they, too, regarded as their homeland.

After trying out the new version on a few eminent Jews, both of Zionist and accommodationist persuasions, and also securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October. By now the strident Montagu had left for India, and on this occasion Balfour, who could often be moody and detached, led from the front, brushing aside the objections that had been raised and reasserting the propaganda imperative. According to the cabinet minutes, he stated firmly: "The vast majority of Jews in Russia and America, as, indeed, all over the world, now appeared to be favourable to Zionism. If we could make a declaration favourable to such an ideal, we should be able to carry on extremely useful propaganda both in Russia and America."

This was standard cabinet tactics: a strong lead from a minister supported by the PM, daring his colleagues to argue back. And this time Curzon did not, though he did make another telling comment. He "attached great importance to the necessity of retaining the Christian and Moslem Holy Places in Jerusalem and Bethlehem". If this were done, Curzon added, he "did not see how the Jewish people could have a political capital in Palestine".'

Dungroanin ,

Dates again crucial and the smoking gun:

'securing a firm endorsement from America's President Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George and Balfour took the issue back to the war cabinet on 31 October.'

Dungroanin ,

The two conditions had bought off the two main critics. That was all that seemed to matter, even though the reference to the "rights of the existing non-Jewish communities" stood in potential conflict with the first two clauses about the British supporting and using their "best endeavours" for the "establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Dungroanin ,

There is MORE but I'll pause and see how many are really interested in FACTS, as opposed to invented History, Economics and Capital instead of the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

George Mc ,

the only real human motivations of the ages – Money and Power.

If this is true then we are all doomed.

Dungroanin ,

Not if we are aware of it George.

Dungroanin ,

Ok a summary fom Brittanica:

'Balfour Declaration Quick Facts

The Balfour Declaration, issued through the continued efforts of Chaim Weizmann and Nahum Sokolow, Zionist leaders in London, fell short of the expectations of the Zionists, who had asked for the reconstitution of Palestine as "the" Jewish national home. The declaration specifically stipulated that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine." The document, however, said nothing of the political or national rights of these communities and did not refer to them by name. Nevertheless, the declaration aroused enthusiastic hopes among Zionists and seemed the fulfillment of the aims of the World Zionist Organization (see Zionism).

The British government hoped that the declaration would rally Jewish opinion, especially in the United States, to the side of the Allied powers against the Central Powers during World War I (1914–18). They hoped also that the settlement in Palestine of a pro-British Jewish population might help to protect the approaches to the Suez Canal in neighbouring Egypt and thus ensure a vital communication route to British colonial possessions in India.

The Balfour Declaration was endorsed by the principal Allied powers and was included in the British mandate over Palestine, formally approved by the newly created League of Nations on July 24, 1922.

In May 1939 the British government altered its policy in a White Paper recommending a limit of 75,000 further immigrants and an end to immigration by 1944, unless the resident Palestinian Arabs of the region consented to further immigration.

Zionists condemned the new policy, accusing Britain of favouring the Arabs. This point was made moot by the outbreak of World War II (1939–45) and the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.'

Dungroanin ,

But what about the timing?

Well there are twin tracks, here is the first.

'But talking about the return of the Jews to the land of Israel was only meaningful because that land seemed up for grabs after the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany in 1914. For Britain, France and Russia – though primarily focused on Europe – war against a declining power long dubbed the "Sick Man of Europe" opened up the prospect of vast gains in the Levant and the Middle East.

The Ottoman army, however, proved no walkover. In 1915 it threatened the Suez Canal, Britain's imperial artery to India, and then repulsed landings by British empire and French forces on the Dardanelles at Gallipoli. Although Baghdad fell in March 1917, two British assaults on Gaza that spring were humiliatingly driven back, with heavy losses. Deadlock in the desert added to Whitehall's list of woes.

In this prescribed narrative of remembrance for 1914-18, what happened outside the Western Front has been almost entirely obscured. The British army's "Historical Lessons, Warfare Branch" has published in-house a fascinating volume of essays about what it tellingly entitles "The Forgotten Fronts of the First World War" – with superb maps and illustrations. The collection covers not only Palestine and Mesopotamia (roughly modern-day Iraq and Kuwait), but also Italy, Africa, Russia, Turkey and the Pacific – indeed much of the world – but sadly it is not currently available to the public. '

Dungroanin ,

The second track is the 'money' track and what everything is about and why we live in such a miasma of blatant lies.

IT can only make sense by asking questions such as :

Can we follow the money?

When was the Fed set up? Why? By whom?
How much money did it lend &
to whom?

When was the first world war started?

When did US declare war?

When did US troops arrive in numbers to enter that war?

What happened in Russia at the same time?

And in Mesopotamia?

How did it end?

How did it fail to end?

What happened to the contract?

Etc.

I have attempted to research and answer some of these already above.

Next I will attempt to walk the other track but be warned that opens more ancient tracks.

Dungroanin ,

'On 2 November, Balfour sent his letter to Lord Rothschild.

7 November, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had seized power in Petrograd. ransacked the Tsarist archives, they published juicy extracts from the "secret treaties" that the Allied powers had made among themselves in 1915-16 to divide the spoils of victory.
The same day the Ottoman Seventh and Eighth Armies evacuated the town of Gaza

9 November Letter published in Times.

Mid November – The Bolsheviks did not discover that the British were also playing footsie with the Turks. In the middle of November 1917, secret meetings took place with Ottoman dissidents in Greece and Switzerland about trying to arrange an armistice in the Near East. The war cabinet recognised that, as bait, it might have to let the Ottomans keep parts of their empire in the region, or at least retain some appearance of control. When Curzon got wind of this, he was incensed: "Almost in the same week that we have pledged ourselves, if successful, to secure Palestine as a national home for the Jewish people, are we to contemplate leaving the Turkish flag flying over Jerusalem?"

End November. The Manchester Guardian's correspondent in Petrograd, Morgan Philips Price, was able to examine the key documents overnight, and his scoop was published by the paper at the end of November. It revealed to the world, among other things, that the British also had an understanding with the French – the Sykes-Picot agreement of January 1916 – to carve up the Near East between them once the Ottoman empire had been defeated. In this, Palestine was slated for some kind of international condominium – not the British protectorate envisaged in the Balfour Declaration.

11 December Allenby formally entered Jerusalem. '

So just a few loose ends left to tie up anyone actually want to go there?

George Mc ,

No.

Dungroanin ,

🤣

Dungroanin ,

Ok on the back stretch:

https://www.federalreservehistory.org/essays/feds_formative_years

The paramount goal of the Fed's founders was to eliminate banking panics, but it was not the only goal. The founders also sought to increase the amount of international trade financed by US banks and to expand the use of the dollar internationally. By 1913 the United States had the world's largest economy, but only a small fraction of US exports and imports were financed by American banks. Instead, most exports and imports were financed by bankers' acceptances drawn on European banks in foreign currencies. (Bankers' acceptances are a type of financial contract used for making payments in the future, for example, upon delivery of goods or services. Bankers' acceptances are drawn on and guaranteed, i.e., "accepted," by a bank.) The Federal Reserve Act allowed national banks to issue bankers' acceptances and open foreign branches, which greatly expanded their ability to finance international transactions Further the Act authorized the Reserve Banks to purchase acceptances in the open market to ensure a liquid market for them, thereby spurring growth of that market.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act on December 23, 1913.

The task of determining the specific number of districts, district boundaries, and which cities would have Reserve Banks was assigned to a Reserve Bank Organization Committee.

On April 2, 1914, the Committee announced that twelve Federal Reserve districts would be formed, identified the boundaries of those districts, and named the cities that would have Reserve Banks.1 The Banks were quickly organized, officers and staff were hired, and boards of directors appointed. The Banks opened for business on November 16, 1914.
..

The Federal Reserve Act addressed perceived shortcomings by creating a new national currency -- Federal Reserve notes -- and requiring members of the Federal Reserve System to hold reserve balances with their local Federal Reserve Banks.

World War I began in Europe in August 1914, before the Federal Reserve Banks had opened for business. The war had a profound impact on the US banking system and economy, as well as on the Federal Reserve.

War disrupted European financial markets and reduced the supply of trade credit offered by European banks, providing US banks with an opening. Low US interest rates, abundant reserves, and new authority to issue trade acceptances enabled American banks to finance a growing share of world trade.

Dungroanin ,

So the denouement :

It appears that the 'first world war' was designed to diminish European banks and boost the US banks.

However the fuller history of the US bankers is worth knowing- the Jekyll Islanders story is widely publicised.

Into this time track enters the Balfour Declaration addressed to Lord Rothschild, steered by Milner (heir to Rhodes empire building and the old EIC), approved by the potus Wilson (another hireling) that finally sent US troops to overwhelm the Germans, while the great gamers took out the Romanovs and the Ottoman Empire.
-- --

When we try to understand such facts and timelines and are attacked as Judaeo-phobes, because we identify Bankers and Robber Barons, it becomes even clearer how deep and wide they have controlled history and it has NOTHING to do with RELIGION (except perhaps Ludism). Nothing to do with Judaism (except perhaps Old Jewry in the City, but Lombard Street was most powerful!) and EVERYTHING to do with POWER and it's representation MONEY. The obscuring of that through various Economic theories including Marxism is the work of the same old bastards who are responsible for all our current malaises.

Thankyou and good evening, if anyone made it this far!

😉

George Mc ,

Well OK Dunnie, let's say I go along with you and assume that all the shit we are facing has nothing to do with religion or all that "Marxian porridge" (as Guido Giacomo Preparata called it). The question is: What do we do about it?

Speaking of GGP , it seems to me that you and him have much in common. He also goes on about "Power" but seems to be on the verge of referring this "Power" to mystical entities in a disconcertingly Ickean manoeuvre. Not that I'm attibuting such a thing to yourself. (No irony intended.)

Dungroanin ,

George – i don't want you or anyone to just go along with me.

I want everyone to make their minds up on FACTS. That is the only way humanity has actually progressed by inventing the only self correcting philosophical system and method of the ages that goes beyond 'personal responsibility teligions' – SCIENTIFIC METHOD – that takes away arbitrary power to rule, from these that inhabit the top of the human pyramid by virtue of being born there and having control over the money and so the power to remain in these positions, which does not benefit the totality of humanity or all life on Earth.

I am not a messiah, I am angry as fuck and I am not going to sit around enjoying whatever soma has been handed to us to keep compliant and leave this Planet worse than I found it. That is the scientific conclusion I have reached.

I suppose some proto buddhist / zoroastrianism / animalist / Shinto / Jain & Quakers seek religious truth in inner experience, and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality.

I suppose Ghandi's non-violence rebellion against Imperialists is a model as are various peasants revolts – the Russian / Chinese / Korean / Vietnamese couldn't have survived without the literal grassroots!
..

As for Guido Giacomo Preparata that you have introduced to me – i had nevet heard of him before this morning – my first take on him is that he seems to have arrived at similar conclusions by similar methodology. He seems to have a lot of formal education and a enviable career so far – i'll have to look into him further but the interview that i just read seems to indicate concurrence with what i said above. I see no Ickean references – please give a link.

-- -

As a observation do you not find it funny that there is not a single objection to the verity of the facts which I have presented above?

Good luck George if you are a real seeker of truth. If not insta-karma awaits.

George Mc ,

The Preparata statement I was referring to is in this interview:

https://www.larsschall.com/2012/06/10/the-business-as-usual-behind-the-slaughter/

The statement itself is this:

Power is a purely human suggestion. Suggested by whom? That is the question. The NSDAP thus appeared to have been a front for some kind of nebula of Austro-German magi, dark initiates, and troubling literati (Dietrich Eckhart comes to mind), with very plausible extra-Teutonic ramifications of which we know next to nothing. Hitler came to be inducted in a lodge of this network, endowed as he seemed with a supernatural gift of inflaming oratory.

This is a theme that I am still studying, but from what I gathered, the adepts of the Thule Gesellschaft communed around the belief of being the blood heirs of a breed that seeks redemption / salvation / metempsychosis in some kind of eighth realm away from this earth, which is the shoddy creation of a lesser God -- the archangel of the Hebrews, Jehovah. It all sounds positively insane to post-modern ears, but it should be taken very seriously, I think.

Admittedly it isn't quite interdimensional reptiles but there is a distinct metaphysical flavour there.

I wouldn't go along with everything Preparata says but he is a wonderful writer and I have bought almost everything I can find by him. His "biggie" is "Conjuring Hitler". It was Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed that brought GGP to my attention via that book.

milosevic ,

images on this website look terrible, with very little colour. the problem seems to be caused by this rule, from the file "OffGstyle.css":

.content-wrap-spp img {

filter: sepia(20%) saturate(30%);

}

Open ,

This sepia effect usually works well with Off-Guardian articles, but with these maps in today's article it is definitely terrible. Why have maps if they don't want to show them clearly?
(any extra steps for the user to see the pictures clearly is not the answer)

Another area neglected on this website is crediting photos. The majority of images carry no atribution/credit, despite it [crediting photos] is the best ethical practice even for public domain pictures. I wish Admin gets expert advice on this.

Open ,

Look at the language used by the americans:

On feb. 12 [2020], Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria , encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian .. forces .

So, the supremacist unites states' army has found that Syrian forces are occupying Syrian land .. wow wow wow .. according to this logic, Russian forces are occupying Russian land. Iranian forces are occupying Iranian land (how dare they?!). But american forces are not occupying any land, and Israel is not occupying Palestinian and Syrian lands.

This language needs to be known more widely.

Open ,

The americans always use the term 'Coalition forces' when they talk about their illegal presence in Syria. I tried to search online for what countries are in this coalition. I recall I was able to find that in the past, but now, it seems this information is being pushed under wrap.

What are they afraid of? What are they hiding?

Joe ,

Just bring about the end of "Israel" and there'll be peace in the Middle East, and probably in the wider world, too.

Open ,

Ending the Israeli project is certainly a step in the right direction to improve global stability. However, alone, it will not bring about peace because the British/Five-Eyes/Washington's doctrine of spreading disorder and chaos permeates (saturates) the planet.

In fact, current disorders are the results of convergence of Israeli interests with those of Western White Supremacy's* resolve to dominate, erh, eveything.

* Western White Supremacy can also be called Western White Idiocy and Bigotry.

Israel manipulates the West's political and military might. The West also uses Israel to spread Chaos and Disorder.

Antonym ,

Right, back to the good old peace of the graveyard inspired by Mohamed's male sex riot ideology and plunder legitimization before the Westerners showed up with their superior (arms) tech legitimization for their plunder.
Before Israel's 1947 creation the world was a bed of roses .

Open ,

"srael's 1947 creation"

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Ukranians and Germans, and later South Americans, found home in the Middle East.

How ligitimate is that?

Antonym ,

Without the natives' consent and without the neighbouring countries approval, Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians, found home in the EU thanks to madame Merkel.

How ligitimate is that?

Open ,

"Moroccans, Somalis, and later Afghans and Syrians .. etc.."

Do these comments reflect the Zionists' perspective? This is important because they prove that the whole existence of Israel is based on total fabrication and lies.

Maggie ,

Did you have to practice at being THAT stupid! Or did they lobotomise you in Langley?
Somalis, Afghans, Syrians would not have had any cause to leave their homeland had it not been for your employers the CIA/MOSSAD facilitating the raping and pillaging of their homes by the Oil Magnates, leaving them starving and desolate.
https://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2007/may/somalia_the_other_hidden_war_for_oil.aspx
and where does our Aid money go?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5OInaYenHkU?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
But of course Antonym, if you were in their situation, you would just stick it out?
Shame on you .

To those who care, read "The confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins" to understand how this corrupt system is conducted.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Its 'creation' in blood, murder, rape and terror, in a great ethnic cleansing-the sign of things to come, ceaselessly, for seventy years and ongoing.

paul ,

Ask the people in Gaza about the Zionist "peace of the graveyard."

Antonym ,

Gaza before 2005 was relatively peaceful + prosperous. After the Israeli withdrawal the inhabitants messed up their own economy but kept on making lots of babies just like before.
Quite the opposite of a graveyard or a Warsaw ghetto or a Dachau.

George Mc ,

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

Despite the disengagement, the United Nations, international human rights organisations and most legal scholars regard the Gaza Strip to still be under military occupation by Israel, though this is disputed by Israel and other legal scholars. Following the withdrawal, Israel has continued to maintain direct external control over Gaza and indirect control over life within Gaza: it controls Gaza's air and maritime space, and six of Gaza's seven land crossings, it maintains a no-go buffer zone within the territory, and controls the Palestinian population registry, and Gaza remains dependent on Israel for its water, electricity, telecommunications, and other utilities.

Interesting definition of "withdrawal". It's amazing those Gazans even managed to have babies!

Richard Le Sarc ,

You would have made a grand Nazi, Antsie-cripes, you have!

paul ,

Gaza was, and is, a huge Zionist concentration camp hermetically sealed off from the outside world and blockaded just like the Warsaw Ghetto. With Zionist thugs and kiddie killers shooting hundreds of kids in the head for the fun of it with British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets, and periodically dropping 20,000 tons of bombs at a time on it, a higher explosive yield than Hiroshima. With parties of Jews going along to hold barbecues and picnics to watch all the fun. Nice people, those chosen folk.

Richard Le Sarc ,

I rather think that Epstein, Weinstein, Moonves and all those orthodox and ultra-orthodox who are such prolific patrons of the sex industry in Israel, know a bit about 'male sex riot ideology', Antsie.

Dungroanin ,

Pathetic.
'Nandy won a major boost when members of the Labour affiliate Jewish Labour Movement gave her their backing after a hustings, saying she understood the need to change the party's culture.'
From the Groaniad

How many members? How many by denomination?

As for the Balfour Contract there were actual English Jewish establishment figures against its premise. Actual imperial servants. The declaration was a stitch up by the new banking powers in the US which then sent in the yanks to stop the Germans in 1917.

History is rewritten daily to memory hole such facts.

Capricornia Man ,

The 'Jewish Labour Movement' is so Jewish that most of its members are not Jewish. And it is so Labour-affiliated that it did not support Labour in the December general election. But it has no shortage of money. It exists solely to prosecute the interests of a foreign power. Much the same could be said for any politician who accepts its endorsement.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Given that Jews are vastly outnumbered by non Jews, the simplest way to stop Jewish manipulation of politics is to form a party from which Jews are specifically banned.

You will not propose any policies harming Jews in any way, you will just make it clear that this is a party free from any Jewish influence in its constitution.

If Jews cannot accept that, then they are utterly racist and must be dealt with without sensibility.

Maggie ,

A better solution Rhys would be to form a party that denies all and any dual citizens
That way all the Zionists would be barred.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Full public financing of political parties would end Zionist control.

paul ,

Thornberry has just thrown in the towel.
She will now have more time to "get down on her hands and knees" and "beg forgiveness" from the Board of Deputies.
Those good little Shabbos are so easily trained.

Dungroanin ,

BoD's??? Another random organisation!

Who are they? Who do they represent? How many people? Which people? How did they get elected? How can they be fired?

Richard Le Sarc ,

The next world war has already started, with the bio-warfare atttack on China aka Covid19.

lundiel ,

Why no comment on the government reshuffle? I don't agree with the Indian middle-class uplifting but totally agree with neutering the ultra-conservative treasury.

Maggie ,

I think it's a case of who gives a fck. We now know that our elections are rigged, and so there is no point in us being involved. My family and I all realised and voted for the last time.
They are all bloody crap actors reading their scripts and playing their parts, whilst the never changing suits in the background pull the strings.
I had to explain to my 10 year old Grandson how politics work, and he said "Why doesn't anyone know the names of, or see the suits?"
What I want to know is why no-one ever asks this question or demands an answer?

tonyopmoc ,

Completely Brilliant Article, but it is Valentines Day, so as I am 66 years old, and in love with my wife (nearly 40 years together = LOVE), I wrote this in response to Craig Murray, who has banned me again.

It may be off topic for him, but it ain't off topic for me. I am still in Love.

"Churchill's mental deterioration from syphilis – which the Eton and Oxford ."

Never had it, and she didn't either. We were young and in love, but we didn't know, if either of us had sex before, but I had a spotty dick, and went to the VD clinic. I had a blood test, and they gave me some zinc cream.

She also had the same thing, and showed her Mum.

We were both completely innocent, and had a sexually transmitted disease called Thrush. It is relatively harmless, but can also give you a sore throat.

We both laughed at each other, and nearly got married.

Natural Yoghurt, is completely brilliant at preventing it.

Far better than Canestan.

Happy Valentines Day, for Everyone still In Love.

Let us all look forwad to a Brighter Day for our Grandchildren.

Tony

Loverat ,

Hey Tony

Dont worry. Craig Murray might not like you but I do. Your stories, here and elsewhere have entertained me for many years.

Mind you, if I were your other half I would have chucked you years ago.

paul ,

Tell him how much you like haggis and tossing your caber.

Dungroanin ,

Without Stalins say so Poland would not have had its borders at the end of ww2.
Also,
On these maps just off the right hand edges is missing Afghanistan.. which the imperialists invaded in 2002 as the Taliban wiped out the opium crops. Back to full production immediately after invasion and 18 years later secret negotiations to hand over to Taliban while leaving 8,000 CUA troops delivering the huge cash crop.

binra ,

Seeking possession and control – in competition with those you see as seeking to dispossess and control or deny you – is the identity or belief in 'kill or be killed'.
This belief overrides and subordinates others – such as to subsume all else to such private agenda that will seek alliance against common threat but only as a shifting strategy of possession and control.

One of the things about this 'game' of power struggle, is that it loses any sense of WHY – and so it is a driven mind or dictate of power or possession for it own sake that cannot really ENJOY or HAVE and share what it Has. The image of the hungry ghost comes to mind here. It will never have enough until you are dead – and even then will offer you torment beyond the grave.

Until this mindset is recognised and released as an 'insanity' it operates as accepted currency of exchange, and maps our a world of its own conflicting and conflicted meanings.

The willingness to destroy or kill, deny or undermine and invalidate others in order to GET for a private agenda set over the whole instead of finding balance within the whole – is destructive to life, no matter how ingenious the thinking that frames it to seem to be progressive, protective, or in fact powerful.
But in our collective alignment and allegiance with such a way of thinking and identifying – we all give power to the destructive – as if to protect the life that it gives us.

The hungry ghost is also in the mass population when separated from their land and lives to seek connection or meaning in proffered 'products and services' instead of creating out of our own lives. Products and services that operate a hidden agenda of possession and control or market and mind capture under threat of fear of pain of loss in losing even the little that we have.

Having – on a spiritual level is our being – and not a matter of stuffing a hole.
Madness that can no longer mask as anything else is all about – and brings a choice to conscious awareness as to whether to persist in it or decide to find another way of seeing and being.

This is not to say there is no place to call upon or seek to limit people in positions of trust from serving an unjust outcome by calling for transparency and accountability – but not to wait on that or make that the be all and end all.

If there is another way and a better way than war masking in and misusing and thus corrupting anything and everything, then it has to be lived one to another.

Everyone seeks a better experience – but many seek it in a negative framing. Negative in the sense of self-lack seeking power in the terms of its current identity. Evils work their own destruction, but find sustainability in selling destructive agenda or toxic debt as ingeniously complex instruments of deceit – by which the targeted buyer believes they have or shall save their 'self' or add to their 'self' rather than growing hollow to a driven mindset of reactive fear-addiction.

I don't need to 'tell this to those who refuse to listen' – but I share it with any moment of a willingness to listen. In the final analysis, we are the ones who live the result of choices in our lives, whatever the times and conditions.

The 'repackaging' of reality to self-deceit, is not new but part of the human mind and experience throughout history. The evil changes forms – as if the good has and shall triumph. But truth undoes illusion by being accepted. It doesn't war on illusion and thus make it real – and remain truth.

Judgement divides to rule.
Discernment arises from the unwillingness to division.
One is set apart from and over life as the invocation of an alien will, dealing death, and the other as the will of true desire revealed.

The idea of independent autonomy is relative to a limited sphere of responsibilities in the world.
The idea of living our own life is an alignment within the same for others and the freedom to do so cannot take from others without becoming possessed by our denials, debts and transgressions – no less so in the driven mind of ingeniously repackaged and wilfully defended narrative identity.

In our own experience, this is not a matter of applied analysis, so much as awareness or space in which to seek and find truth in some willingness of recognition and acceptance or choice, while the triggering or baiting to madness is loud or compelling as the dictate of fear seeking protection and grievance seeking retribution – as if these give freedom and power rather than locking into a fear-framed limitation as substitution for life set in defiance and refusal to look on or share in truth – and so to such a one, war is truth, and love is weakness to exploit, use and weaponise for getting.

paul ,

If you look at the proposed new map of the Middle East, it mirrors Kushner's Deal Of The Century for Palestine – because it has the same Zionist authorship.
The same old dirty Zionist games of divide and rule – break up countries in the region into tiny defenceless little statelets setting different ethnic and religious groups at each others' throats, so that they can rule the roost and steal whatever they wish.
You see this in the past and the recent past. The way Lebanon was torn away from Syria. Or Kuwait from Iraq. Or the Ruritanian petty Gulf dictatorships like Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai.
Trump was being honest for the first time in his miserable life when he said none of these satellites and satraps would last a fortnight if they were not propped up by the US.

paul ,

George Galloway described the whole region as a flock of sheep surrounded by ravenous wolves.

At the same time, there is more than a grain of truth in the Zionists' contention that the people of the region are to some extent the authors of their own misfortune.

They always fall for the divide-and-rule games of outside powers, Britain, America, Israel, who invade, bomb, slaughter, humiliate and exploit them. If they had been united, Israel would not have been created. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, would not have been destroyed and bombed back to the Stone Age. These countries would be genuinely independent and at peace.

When I speak to ordinary moslems, it is surprising and depressing to see how much visceral hatred they express for Shia moslems. They seem blind to the way they are being manipulated to serve outside interests.

So we see moslem Saudi Arabia trying to incite America and Israel to destroy Iran, and offering to pay for the whole cost of the war. Or S. Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, UAE et al, in bed with Israel, paying billions to bankroll the terrorist head choppers in Syria. Or Egypt, which does not even protest, let alone lift a finger, when Israeli aircraft use its air space to carpet bomb Gaza. Or going further back in history, when countries like Egypt and Syria sent troops to join the 1991 US invasion of Iraq. Even though Iraq had sent its forces to the Golan Heights in 1973 to fight and die to prevent Syria being overrun by Israel. How contemptible is all that? Yet those are just a few of many examples of all the backstabbing that has occurred over the years. If these people don't respect themselves, why should anybody else?

paul ,

And this has been going on for hundreds of years.
1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?
Because the Arabs were so busy fighting a civil war at the time they barely noticed the foreign invaders. The old, old story. Civil war between Sunnis and Shias.

One day, they will wake up and realise that they have to hang together, or hang separately.
But I wouldn't hold your breath.
There seems to be an endless supply of quisling stooge dictators ready to do the bidding of hostile outside powers. The Mubaraks, the Sisis, the King Abdullahs, the Sinioras, the MBS's, to name but a few.
Conforming to all the worst stereotypes about Arabs and moslems.
You could argue that they deserve all they get, when they are ever ready to bend over and drop their trousers.
Is it really any surprise that they have been invaded, slaughtered, bombed back to the Stone Age, robbed, exploited and humiliated from time immemorial.
Maybe one day they will discover an ounce of dignity and self respect. Who knows?

Maggie ,

"1096 marked the beginning of The Crusades, a disaster for the region on a par with the creation of Israel.
At that time, London was a little village of 25,000. Baghdad and Alexandria and Cordoba were sophisticated modern cities with populations of hundreds of thousands. They dismissed the Crusaders as mere bandits who would do some looting, steal some cattle, and go home. But 3 years later Jerusalem had been conquered and its inhabitants slaughtered, the start of a 200 year disaster for the region. How? Why?"
Because despite the mendacious lies that are told about Muslims, they are tolerant and forgiving. They believe in one God, and live exemplary modest, generous lives in the belief that they will enter in to the kingdom of heaven.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_2LEgowbzSc?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGz6nrWTsEI

And these are the people we are being encouraged to hate and fear? To enable the neo cons to invade and destroy everything in their path to get their oil.

Hundreds of millions of Muslims the world over 'live in democracies' of some shape or form, from Indonesia to Malaysia to Pakistan to Lebanon to Tunisia to Turkey. Tens of millions of Muslims' live in -- and participate in' -- Western democratic societies. The country that is on course to have the biggest Muslim population in the world in the next couple of decades is India, which also happens to be the world's biggest democracy. Yet a persistent pernicious narrative exists, particularly in the West, that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Islam is often associated with dictatorship, totalitarianism, and a lack of freedom, and many "well paid" analysts and pundits claim that Muslims are philosophically opposed to the idea of democracy .

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Democracy' as practised in the neo-liberal capitalist West, is a nullity, a fiction, a smoke-screen behind which the one and only power, that of the rich owners of the economy, acts alone.

Gall ,

I know. These Zionist morons droning on about how violent Islam is as religion yet ignoring the fact that the Bible is based on the God of Abraham granting them Canaan (like Trump giving the Israelis the Golan Heights, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) and urging them to commit complete and utter genocidal annihilation of the inhabitants by not leaving a single living thing breathing.

No violence there folks. Nope. The book of love my ass!

paul ,

Their God was a demented estate agent, rather like Trump or Kushner.

Gall ,

Personally I believe that the chapters of the bible were written after their genocidal blood lust simply to justify their despicable acts. Claiming that God made 'em do it.

Loverat ,

My experience of muslims in the UK is many express support for the Palestinians but don't identify or understand those states which still speak up for their rights, Syria, Iran and a few others.

Sadly like the general UK population they have been exposed to propaganda which excuses evil and mass murder carried out by Saudi Arabia and their lackeys and Israel. This is changing however. People are gradually waking up. Muslims and the general UK public if they really knew the extent of this would be out demonstrating on the streets.

The realisation these policies have exposed all of us to nuclear wipe out in seconds should be enough motivation for any normal person.
The wipe out or (preferably) demonstrations will happen. Just a question of when. You can see why the establishment and people like Higgins, Lucas and York are so active recently. These idiots, blinded by their pay checks can't see the harm they are causing through their irresponsible lies even to their own families. Perhaps they all have nuclear shelters in their back garden.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Saudi Arabia is NOT 'Moslem'. It is Wahhabist, a genocide cult created by doenmeh, ie crypto-Jewish followers of the failed 17th century Messiah, Sabbatai Zevi, which is homicidally opposed to all Moslems but fellow Wahhabists.

milosevic ,

I thought it was created by the British Empire, in order to provide reliable stooges and puppet regimes.

Richard Le Sarc ,

What people must realise is that,for the Zionassty secular and Talmudic religious leaderships, by far the dominant forces in Israel and among many of the Diaspora sayanim, the drive to create 'Eretz Yisrael', '..from the Nile to the Euphrates' (and some include the Arabian Peninsula as well), is a real, religious, ambition-indeed an obligation. With the alliance with the 'Christian Zionist' lunatics in the USA, the fate of humanity is in the hands of the Evil Brain Dead.

BigB ,

I despair. This is why there is 'No Deal For Nature' because the hegemonic cultural movement is to extend cultural hegemony over nature. We cannot seem to help it or stop ourselves. Do we suppose a glossy website will change that? Or empty sloganneering subvertisements? Or waiving placards outside banks? Or some other futile conscience salving symbolic gesture?

No, we have to subvert the cultural hegemony over nature at every point at every chance. Which is thankless because cultural normativity is ubiquitous. And it's killing us. And BRI is the very antithesis of alternative an eternal return into the cultural consumerism and commodification that is the global hegemony at least at an elite level. And we are among that elite – in terms of consumption and pollution. We are the problem. If we seek to extend or preserve our own Eurocentric priviliges and consumptions we can only do so by extracting evermore global resources and maldeveloping the Rest. Which is also what Samir Amin said: following Wallerstein's World Systems Theory.

The progressive packaging of all our sins and transferring them to something called 'American Imperialism' is nothing less than mass psychological transference to a Fetish. By which we maintain autonomy from any blame in the ecological disaster we are co-creating. Which is why it is a powerful cultural narrative constructivism. 'We' do not have to reform: the scapegoated Otherised 'they' do. Whilst we all sit smugly in our inauthentic imaginary autonomy: the ecological destruction caused entirely by our collectivist consumption carries on. 'They' have to clean up 'their' act – not us. 'We' align with the 'counter-hegemonic alliance': the alternative BRI. 'We' are so bourgeois and progressive in our invented independence and totally aligned with the destructive forces of capitalist endocolonised culture because of our own internalised screening discourse. Which is why there is #NoDealForNature. 'We' don't actually give a flying fuck not beyond some hollow totemic gestures in transference of our own responsibility.

'We' are pushing for the financialisation of nature: as the teleology of our particular complicit cultural narratives. It's not just 'them'. Supply and demand are dialectically exponential. Who is demanding less, more fairly distributed North to South? Exponential expansionism via BRI is no more alternative than colonising the Moon or Mars. For nature to have a deal: we have to stop demanding growth. And in doing that: become self-responsible right through to the narratives we produce. For which every person in the global consumer bourgeoisie – that's us – will have to change their imperatives from culture to nature. Which means a new naturalised culture: not just complicitly advocating the 'same old, same old' exponential expansionism of the extractivist commodification of every last standing resource. Under the guise of new narrative constructions like this. That's not progress: it's capitalist propaganda and personal self-propaganda. We are among the consumer elite. Which is driving the financialisation and commodification of everything. For us.

#NoDealForNature until we take full and honest self-responsibility to create one with our every enaction including speech-enactivism.

Gall ,

I'm sure Thomas Robert Malthus and Charles Darwin are smiling upon you my child from their very special place in hell.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Charles Darwin? What on Earth are you on about?

Gall ,

Ever heard of social Darwinism? This is how the elite justify genocide and theft of resources. It is one of the basics of Neoliberalism.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Darwin had NOTHING to do with 'social Darwinism'. It's like blaming Jesus for the KKK.

Gall ,

Uh huh:

"With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly an incidental result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered, in the manner previously indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our sympathy, if so urged by hard reason, without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself whilst performing an operation, for he knows that he is acting for the good of his patient; but if we were intentionally to neglect the weak and helpless, it could only be for a contingent benefit, with a certain and great present evil. Hence we must bear without complaining the undoubtedly bad effects of the weak surviving and propagating their kind; but there appears to be at least one check in steady action, namely the weaker and inferior members of society not marrying so freely as the sound; and this check might be indefinitely increased, though this is more to be hoped for than expected, by the weak in body or mind refraining from marriage."
― Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

BigB ,

Every appraisal from a cultural POV extends the cultural hegemony over nature – with no exceptions. If we do not address the false dichotomy of culture and nature – and invert the privileged status of cultural domination over nature – this never changes. If nothing changes its going to be a very short century the last in the history of culture.

I'm expressing my own private POV with the intention of at least highlighting the issue of only ever expressing the distorted cultural-centric POV. It would be nice if we could all agree to do something other than waste our privileged status and access to resources for other than meaningless sarcasm. It's not like we'd all benefit from a change in POV and the entailed potential in a change of course that can only happen if we think of nature first, is it? 😉

Gall ,

The only thing I don't like about the environmentally "woke" is that many are easily manipulated by the neoliberal elite. Greta is a perfect example.

That is they go after the little guy while the Military and big industry continue to pollute unhampered.

George Mc ,

I despair.

Well that's what you do.

Dungroanin ,

The M5 highway is secured. Allepo access points too and Idlib is surrounded- where are the US backed /Saudi paid / Tukish passport holding Uighars and various Turkmen proxy jihadist anti Chinese / anti Russian, Central asian caliphate establishing mercenaries supposed to go now??

Pompeo is buzzing around Africa now like a blue bottomed cadaverous fly, non-stop buzzing from piles of shot, trying to find them homes – no Libya doesn't want anymore of them, nor the UAE and Saudis, or Turks maybe dump them in Canada with all these ex Ukrainian still nazis? Its a big country nobody will know!
Or bring them to the US and give them a ticker tape parade?

Or let them surrender and have them testify as to how the fuck they let themselves be bought for $$$$ maybe just fry them with the low yield nuke and blame Assad for it!

Dumbass yanks, fukus, 5+1 eyed gollum and Nutty- 'it's the Belgian airforce bombing Russian weapons in Syria' -yahoo!

Up-Pompeos farce and buzzing is about to sizzle in the blue light of death for dumbfuck poison spreading flies.

normal wisdom ,

so much disrespect here hare here.

these takfiri these giants these beards are hero

of the oded yinon plan

they raped murdered and stole
dustified atomised the syriana so
is rael can become real

the red heffers have been cloned the temple will grow

the semites must leave for norway,sweden wales scotland and detroit
already

the khazar ashkanazim need the land returned to it's true owners from the turkic russio steppe

tonight back to back i watch reality
fiddler on the roof and exodus and schindlers lists.
i watch bbc simon scharmas new rabbi revised history of mighty israel.
every day it grows massive every day hezbollah become weak husk

shirley you can sea more that

my life already

Francis Lee ,

Very interesting and informative article. Lenin's 5 conditions of the imperialism of his time have been matched by similar conditions in our own time, as listed by the Egyptian Marxist, Samir Amin. These conditions being as follows.

1. Control of technology.

2. Access to natural resources.

3. Finance.

4. Global media.

5. The means of mass destruction.

Only by overturning these monopolies can real progress be made. Easily said. But a life and death struggle for humanity.

The collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the space for increased penetration of Europe to the East by the US and its West European allies in NATO. At that time the subaltern US powers in Europe were the UK and West Germany, as it then was. There was a semblance of sovereignty in France under De Gaulle, but this has since disappeared. Europe as a whole is now occupied and controlled by the US which has used EU/NATO bloc to push right up to the Russian border. Most, if not all, the non-sovereign quasi states, in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, are Quisling-Petainist puppet regimes regardless of whether they are inside our outside of the EU. (I say 'states' but of course if a country is not sovereign it cannot be a 'state' in the full meaning of the word).

A political, social and economic crisis in Europe seems to be taking taking shape. Perhaps the key problem, particularly Eastern Europe, has been depopulation. There is not one European state in which fertility (replacement) rates has reached 2.1 children. Western European imperial states have to large degree been able to counter-act this tendency by immigration from their former colonies, particularly the UK and France. But this has not been possible in states such as Sweden and Germany where the migration of non-christian guest workers from Turkey to Germany and Islamic refugees
from the middle-east hot-spots have had a free passage to Sweden. This has become a serious social and economic problem; a problem resulting from a neoliberal open borders policy. The fact of the matter is that radically different cultures will tend to clash. Thank you Mr Soros.

British immigration policy was successful in so far as immigrants from the Caribbean were English speakers, they were also protestant Christians, and the culture was not very different from the UK. Later immigration from the Indian sub-continent and Indian settled East Africa were generally professional and middle-class business people. Again English speakers. Assimilation of these newcomers was not unduly difficult.

However it wouldn't be exaggerating to say that Eastern Europe is facing a demographic disaster. This particular zone is literally bleeding people. Ukraine for example has lost 10 million people since 1990. Every month it is estimated that 100,000 Ukrainians leave the country, usually for good. In terms of migration – no-one wants to go to Eastern Europe, but everyone wants to leave, asap. This process is complemented by low birth rates, and high death rates. These are un-developing states in an un-developing world. But now we have new kids on the bloc. A counter-hegemonic alliance. No guesses who.

BigB ,

Rubbish. There is no 'counter-hegemonic alliance' to humanities rapacious demand for fossil fuels and ecological resources. Where are the material consumption resources for BRI coming from – the Moon, Mars? Passing asteroids? Or from the Earth?

When its gone: its gone. Russia and China provide absolutely no alternative to this. China's consumption alone is driving us over the brink. To which the real alternative is a complicit silence. As we all align with culture-centric capitalist views: there is no naturalistic 'counter-hegemonic alliance'. Just some hunters in the Amazon we are having shot right now so we can have the privilige of extending cultural hegemony over nature.

When it's gone: it's gone. And so will we be too. Probably as we are still praising the wonders of the 'counter-hegemonic alliance' that killed us.

Gall ,

Actually there is a naturalistic alliance forming but it seems you haven't been paying attention because you seem stuck in some Malthusian mind set. In order to defeat capitalism you have to defeat Globalism so you first have to eliminate the Anglo-American Hegemony and get back to a multipolar world.

Ranting on about like Gretchen doesn't do any good.

BigB ,

Resources are finite and thermodynamics exist. These are the ineliminable, indisputable, and rock solid epistemology of the Earth System. Everything else is metaphysics – literally 'beyond nature; beyond physics'. Or, as it is more commonly known – economics. The imaginary epistemology of political economics and political theory. 'Theory' is the non-scientific sense of unfounded opinion and non-sense. A philosophical truth-theory that is not and cannot ever be true. Hypothetical non-sense.

I get my information from a wide range of sources that realise these foundational predicates. That is: a foundational set of beliefs that require no underpinning. I can only paraphrase Eddington on thermodynamics: "if your theory is found to be against the second law I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation."

Which is to say all modern political theory and economics – and by extension all opinions based on its internalisation – is the product of vivid and unfounded imagination. To which a naturalised epistemology is the only remedy.

There are lots of people working on the problem: but not in the political sphere. Which is why we are stuck in a hallucinated metaphysical political-economic theatre of the absurd and absolutised cultural non-sense. Which is not beyond anyone to rectify: if and when we accept the limitations of the physical-material Earth System. And apply them to our thinking.

#NoDealForNature until we accept that the thermodynamics of depletion naturally limit growth. Anything anyone says to the contrary should be treated with scepticism and cause a collapse into deepest humiliation of any rational thinker.

Richard Le Sarc ,

'Depopulation' is only a problem if you believe in the capitalist cancer cult of infinite growth on a finite planet, ie black magic. If you value Life on Earth, and its continuance, human depopulation is necessary. Best done slowly and humanely, by redistributing the wealth stolen by the capitalist parasites. The process seen in the Baltics and Ukraine is the capitalist way, cruel and inhumane. Even worse is planned for the Africans, south Asians and Chinese etc.

Gall ,

They don't for a minute believe in "infinite growth". They believe in the "bottom line","instant gratification" and "primitive accumulation". "Infinite growth" is a sales pitch that they use to sell the unwary on their rapaciousness. That is all. If they actually believed in "infinite growth" they've be investing in renewable resources not fracking, strip mining and other environmentally unfriendly practices.

Gall ,

The problem for Imperialists is that they only know how to plunder, rape and destroy thus all their weaponry and tactics is used for aggression they know nothing about actual defense which is their weak point. General George C Custer found this out some time back and so did Trump just recently when the American were assaulted by a barrage of missiles they couldn't stop.

Iran, Russia and China have one of the most advanced arsenal of defensive weapons ever developed such as the S- series of air defense system that can turn a Tomahawk attack into a turkey shoot. What was it? I think it was 100 Tomahawks fired on Syria after that false flag chemical attack and only 15 or so got through and this was the earlier version of the S missile defense S-300. They've already developed 500 which practically makes them impervious and is a true iron dome compared the iron sieve that the Israelis got for free during GW1 and then repackaged and sold back to the US Military for 15B with very few improvements except maybe for a pretty blue bow.

Not only that but they can return fire with hypersonic weapons that are unstoppable and can turn a base or Aircraft Carrier into a floating pinnate.

lundiel ,

Very well presented. Excellent article.

Gall ,

Actually the US proudly waving the banner of the East India Company is following in the footsteps of the deceased British Empire into the boneyard of empires which is Afghanistan. Iraq, Syria and Ukraine are just side shows. America can not escape history no matter what it does now since its days of empire are now numbered. Just as they were for the late unlamented Soviet Union.

The "New American Century" is ending preemptively early like Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich" and we can all breath a sigh of relief when it does.

Frank ,

The only thing that will get the bastard yanks out of the middle east is dead Americans.

Lots and lots of dead Americans.

Enough dead Americans to make the braindead jingoistic American masses notice.

Enough dead Americans to touch every family that produces grunts that serve their criminal state by raping and pillaging foreign countries.

Enough dead Americans to make dumbfuck Americans who say, 'Thank you for your service" squirm in literal pain at the words.

Dungroanin ,

They got brain damage in their bunkers in the best US base in the ME from just a handful of Kinetic energy missiles.

Their low yield nuke is their response.

The Israelis keep prodding the Bear – they even targeted a Russian Pantir system in Syria!

I suppose only a downing or infact destroying on the ground of a squadron of useless F35's with a threat to escalate into a full blown mobilisation is ever going to stop these imperialist chancers. Or a fully coordinated assassination campaign of the leads and their heirs as they frolic on their superyachts and space stations and secret Tracey islands.

And they can pay their taxes in full.

The Third world war is already fought – this really is a world war rather than some Anglo Imperialist bankers playing king of the castle – and they have LOST – the Empire is dead.

Long live the new Empire – the first not beholden to the bankers.

wardropper ,

Even with a new empire, our godless world would soon enough breed another generation of bankers to which we would be beholden.
That's what the fundamentally dishonest people in any society do.
Something wrong? Oh, well, we'll form a committee to discuss it, and in future we will look into creating a banking system which will enable us pay ourselves high wages for our invaluable contribution to human evolution.
It's MORALITY which is lacking today, not more legislation or a new constitution.

Gall ,

All one has to do is move off the centralized banking system developed and controlled by the Rothschilds that is totally based on creating finance out of thin air and return to a commodity based currency (not gold!!) that represents actual value like scrip or wampum or barter and the bankers will eventually starve.

Actually this system is starting to take hold in the US to a small extend to avoid the depredations of the IRS since Tax is based mostly on currency.

Stop using fiat currency and the problem's solved.

After WW II the French didn't have a press to press Francs so their standard of exchange became cigarettes and chocolate. It worked quite well until the presses started churning out paper again.

wardropper ,

My fear is that without the Rothschilds, some other over-ambitious family would simply step in and fill their shoes. It's the motivation to be greedy and wicked which needs addressing. How that would be done, of course, I have no idea.

Gall ,

This is only if you embrace the concept of centralized banking and the "magic" of compound interest. Current "banking" is all smoke and mirrors that favors the parasite who lives on the production of others through what is called "unearned income".

wardropper ,

I agree. But how to stop it?

Gall ,

Ignore the bastards instead. Just go off the grid.

wardropper ,

I can't deny the wisdom in that.

Dungroanin ,

The Red Shield ancient silk road trader and slaving company employees are only a family as say the Vatican is a family

wardropper ,

I know, but "only a family" with the wealth to buy whole nations
I find that very unsettling, to say the least.

Dungroanin ,

Indeed but there is always hope as the poet saw – THEY are the few, we are many.

Gall ,

Actually the Israelis are going a little slower now that isolated reports indicate that those flying turkeys AKA F-35s are getting popped out of the skies of Syria by antiquated Soviet SAMs. Of course there is no mention of this in the Mainstream Press. Just like there wasn't a word of a IDF General and his staff taken out by a shoulder launched RPG fired by Hezbollah in retaliation for attacking their media center in Beirut.

Antonym ,

Anybody who believes that the Israeli tail wags the US mil-ind. complex dog is contributing to the Jewish superiority myth.

Ken ,

They're not superior, but they do wag the US MIC dog in and ebb-and-flow kind of way. That 9/11 thing was quite the wag. Read Christopher Bollyn and study other aspects of the event if you're not sure of this.

Antonym ,

Langley and Riyadh love you; you fell for their ploy. See: Tel Aviv is much worse them.
The CIA/FBI failure explained.

The Mossad loves you too: for keeping mum on this Entebbe Mach 2.0 on their familiar New York crap they got huge US support in the ME.
Makes them look invincible too as a bonus .

5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history.

Ken ,

"5 dancing guys was all the proof needed – cheapest op in history"

Oh please, that was such a minor bit of evidence of any Zionist/Israeli involvement, which spanned nearly every facet of the event and its aftermath.

The list of false flagging Zionist Jews in love with you is too long to list.

Gall ,

Oh please. What about the close to 200 Israelis who were arrested that day? Not to mention the helpful warning by Odigo which was only given to citizens of Israel?

Also one has to act who benefitted? Definitely not the Saudis or the Americans leaving Sharon who was trying to suppress a Palestinian uprising that he arrogantly started.

Speaking of your friendly five doing a fiddler on the roof on top of an Urban Moving Van that just happened to owned by another Israeli who fled the country. Didn't they say something stupid when arrested like "we are not your problem. It's the Palestinians who are your problem!"?

A pathetic frame up attempt but a frame none the less. Speaking of frame ups wasn't Fat Katz at SiteIntel (propaganda) who posted some stock footage of Palestinians celebrating which has been proven to be false since the only people who seem to celebrating that day was your friends the Dancing Israelis which doesn't prove their mental superiority at all but their arrogant stupidity,

Richard Le Sarc ,

The three, the USA, Saudi Arabia and the USA, are allies in destruction-the Real Axis of Evil. The dominant force, these days, given the control of the USA by Israel First Fifth Columnists, in the MSM, political 'contributions', the financial Moloch etc, is most certainly the Zionassties. Why don't you, like so many other Zionassties, glory in your power, Antsie. Nobody believes your ritual denials.

Gall ,

They don't really wag the dog by themselves. They have a lot of help from the Stand with Israel brain dead Christian Zionists who like Israelis consider themselves the chosen ones as well.

Ken ,

@Gall Yep! I had a long time friend who went Pentecostal and we drifted apart but still kept in touch. I lost him completely just after telling him that Israelis played a big part in 9/11.

Gall ,

Chuck Baldwin and a few other it seems have seen the light and are now questioning their colleagues undying support of Israel. Maybe you could show this article to your friend who seems enthralled by the terrorist snake er I mean state:
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/13/emperor-trump/

Ken ,

Thanks for that article. Were I ever able to get it in front of my estranged friend, it would make his head explode and kill him. Baldwin does seem to nail it. Chuck for president! I came across this rather intersting piece on 9/11 while at VT for your article.
https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/02/10/9-11-the-bottom-line-an-open-letter-to-all-researchers/

Gall ,

Yes that pretty much sums up how 9/11 was carried on. Both Heinz Pommer and VT have done some excellent research based on facts not fantasy.

As far as your friend and many Christian Zionists in general. They seem to live in some alternative universe and dislike being confused by such irrelevant things as facts.

binra ,

It is a story that can be told in some detail – but when you say myth do you actually mean fallacy – ie – are you saying that Jewish power doesn't exercise considerable influence – if not control over US social and political and corporate development across of broad spectrum of leverages?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-all those addresses of Congress, by Bibi, where the Congress critters compete to display the most extreme groveling and adulation, are just the natural expression of reverence and awe at his semi-Divine moral excellence. Denying the undeniable is SOP for Zionassties.

normal wisdom ,

what jews?
i do not see any jews
just a sea of khazar ashkanazim pirates
a kaballa talmudick race trick
a crime syndicate pretending to be semite
jew is just the cover
init

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feb 15, 2020 | www.wsws.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That is the unfortunate reality in America today.



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

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

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

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

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The IRGC is going to make mincemeat of these chumps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"By way of deception thou shalt make war."

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

[Feb 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.

Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.

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

Washington is into full-frontal lawlessness now.

'Keeping the Oil'

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

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

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

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

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

At Baghdad's Throat

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

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

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

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

Blueprints for Reprisal

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

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

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

Here is a snippet from Pompeo's remarks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please donate to the Winter Fund Drive.


Jeff Harrison , January 21, 2020 at 19:38

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

Antiwar7 , January 21, 2020 at 13:46

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

rosemerry , January 21, 2020 at 13:28

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

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

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

Abby , January 21, 2020 at 20:15

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

dfnslblty , January 21, 2020 at 12:43

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

Cheyenne , January 21, 2020 at 11:49

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

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

Dan Kuhn , January 21, 2020 at 13:08

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

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

Caveman , January 21, 2020 at 11:30

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

Vera Gottlieb , January 21, 2020 at 11:19

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

Michael McNulty , January 21, 2020 at 11:01

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

paul easton , January 21, 2020 at 12:55

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

Gary Weglarz , January 21, 2020 at 10:34

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

ML , January 21, 2020 at 10:31

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

Michael Crockett , January 21, 2020 at 09:40

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

Sally Snyder , January 21, 2020 at 07:28

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

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

[Feb 09, 2020] Trump Secretly Threatened Europe With Auto Tariffs If It Didn t Declare Iran In Breach Of Nuclear Deal

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson. ..."
"... Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said . ..."
"... The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" . ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

A bombshell revelation from The Washington Post a day after France, Britain and Germany took unprecedented action against Iran by formally triggering the dispute resolution mechanism regulating conformity to the deal, seen as the harshest measure taken by the European signatories thus far. The European powers officially see Iran as in breach of the deal which means UN and EU punitive sanctions are now on the table.

But according to The Post , how things quickly escalated to this point is real story : " Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't," says the report.

This came as a "shock" to all three countries, with one top European official calling it essentially "extortion" and a new level of hardball tactics from the Trump administration.

After the US leveraged the new tariffs threat according to the report, European capitals moved quick to trigger the mechanism, which involved the individual European states formally notifying the agreement's guarantor, the European Union, that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal.

This followed the Jan.6 declaration of Tehran's leadership to no longer be beholden to uranium enrichment limits. And that's where things got interesting as Washington's pressure campaign dramatically turned up the heat on Europe.

"Within days, the three countries would formally accuse Iran of violating the deal, triggering a recourse provision that could reimpose United Nations sanctions on Iran and unravel the last remaining vestiges of the Obama-era agreement," the report continues .

However, the report notes France, the UK, and Germany were already in deep discussion on moving forward with triggering the mechanism. "We didn't want to look weak, so we agreed to keep the existence of the threat a secret," a European official cited by WaPo claims.

Trump's threats of auto tariffs to gain trade concessions with the Europeans is certainly nothing new, but using the same to dictate foreign policy is, notes WaPo's diplomatic correspondent John Hudson.

Interestingly, in Wednesday's joint statement the European signatories attempted to distance their drastic action away from Washington's so-called "maximum pressure" campaign. "Our three countries are not joining a campaign to implement maximum pressure against Iran," they said .

The statement also underscored Europe hopes to use the mechanism "to bring Iran back into full compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA" and in the words of one official quoted in The Guardian to prevent nuclear advancement to the point that the Iranians "learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn" .

Now that the mechanism has been enacted, the clock starts on 65 days of intensive negotiations before UN sanctions would be reimposed if no resolution is reached. Specifically a blanket arms embargo would be imposed among other measures, and certainly it would mark the deal's final demise, given the Europeans are Iran's last hope for being equal partners in the deal.

Also interesting is that in the hours before The Washington Post report was published, Iranian FM Zarif charged that the EU investigation into Iran's alleged non-compliance meant Europe is allowing itself to be bulled by the United States .

Indeed the new revelation of the secret threats attempting to dictate Europe's course appear to confirm precisely Zarif's words to reporters earlier on Wednesday : "They say 'We are not responsible for what the United States did.' OK, but you are independent" he began. And then added a stinging rebuke: "Europe, EU, is the largest global economy. So why do you allow the United States to bully you around?"

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

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

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

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

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

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Boundless Energy , 1 minute ago link

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

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

Noob678 , 8 minutes ago link

For those who love to connect the dots:

Iran Situation from Someone Who Knows Something

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

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

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

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

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

Abdul Mahdi continued:

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

.........


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

... ... ..

Thom Paine , 9 minutes ago link

When Iran has nukes, what then Trump?

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

TupacShakur , 13 minutes ago link

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

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

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

Stalking Wolf , 12 minutes ago link

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

[Feb 07, 2020] The Facts About Iran and Terrorism by Larry C Johnson

Jan 10, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

The Facts About Iran and Terrorism

When emotion rules the day facts do not matter. Sadly, that is the reality we confront when it comes to talking about Iran and terrorism. The U.S. Government and almost all of the media continue to declare that Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism. That is not true. That is a lie. I realize that calling this assertion a lie opens me to accusations of being an apologist for Iran. But simply look at the facts.

Here is the most recent U.S. State Department claim about Iran and terrorism :

Iran remains the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism. The regime has spent nearly one billion dollars per year to support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and expand its malign influence across the globe. Tehran has funded international terrorist groups such as Hizballah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. It also has engaged in its own terrorist plotting around the world, particularly in Europe. In January, German authorities investigated 10 suspected Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force operatives. In the summer, authorities in Belgium, France, and Germany thwarted an Iranian plot to bomb a political rally near Paris, France. In October, an Iranian operative was arrested for planning an assassination in Denmark, and in December, Albania expelled two Iranian officials for plotting terrorist attacks. Furthermore, Tehran continued to allow an AQ facilitation network to operate in Iran, which sends fighters and money to conflict zones in Afghanistan and Syria, and it has extended sanctuary to AQ members residing in the country.

You notice what is absent? A list of specific attacks that caused actual casualties. Plans and plots are not the same as actions. If Iran's malevolent influence was so powerful, we should be able to point to specific attacks and specific casualties. But you will not find those facts in the U.S. State Department report because they do not exist. The statistical annex that details the attacks and the groups responsible reports the following:

The Taliban was responsible for 8,509 deaths and 4,943 injuries, about 25 percent of the total casualties attributed to terrorism globally in 2018. With 647 terrorist attacks, ISIS was the next-most-active terrorist organization, responsible for 3,585 fatalities and 1,761 injuries. Having conducted 535 attacks, al-Shabaab was responsible for 2,062 deaths and 1,278 injuries. Boko Haram was among the top-five terrorist perpetrators, with 220 incidents, 1,311 deaths, and 927 injuries. It should be noted that local sources do not always differentiate between Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.

Not a single group linked to Iran or supported by Iran is identified. Look at the this table from the statistical annex:

Table-3.1.-Top-10-Known-Perpetrator-Groups-With-the-Most-Incidents-2018

No Hezbollah and no Hamas. If a country is going to "sponsor" terrorism then we should expect to see terrorist attacks. The attacks that are taking place are predominantly from Sunni affiliated groups that have ties to Saudi Arabia, not Iran.

The State Department's explanation about Iranian support for terrorism exposes what the real issue is (I am quoting the 2016 report but, if you read the 2017 or 2018 versions there is no significant difference):

Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran continued its terrorist-related activity in 2016, including support for Hizballah, Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in Syria, Iraq, and throughout the Middle East. Iran used the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps‑Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East. Iran has acknowledged the involvement of the IRGC-QF in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria and the IRGC-QF is Iran's primary mechanism for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.

In 2016, Iran supported various Iraqi Shia terrorist groups, including Kata'ib Hizballah, as part of an effort to fight ISIS in Iraq and bolster the Assad regime in Syria. Iran views the Assad regime in Syria as a crucial ally and Syria and Iraq as crucial routes to supply weapons to Hizballah, Iran's primary terrorist partner. Iran has facilitated and coerced, through financial or residency enticements, primarily Shia fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan to participate in the Assad regime's brutal crackdown in Syria. Iranian-supported Shia militias in Iraq have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians and Iranian forces have directly backed militia operations in Syria with armored vehicles, artillery, and drones.

The United States is upset with Iran because it has thwarted the U.S. covert action in Syria. It was the United States, along with the U.K., Saudi Arabia and Turkey, that helped ignite and escalate the civil war in Syria. Why? The Saudis and the Israelis were growing increasingly concerned in 2011 about Iran's spreading influence in the region. And what enabled Iran to do that? We did. When the United States removed Saddam Hussein and destroyed the Baathist movement in Iraq, the Bush Administration thought it was a dandy idea to install Iraqi Shia in positions of leadership. Not one of the key policymakers on the U.S. side of the equation expressed any qualms about the fact that these Iraqi politicians and military personnel had longstanding relationships with Iran, which included financial support.

Iran also had a longstanding relationship with Syria. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton decided that if we could eliminate Bashir Assad, the Syrian leader, then we would weaken Iran. This was a policy that many Republicans, most notably John McCain and Lindsey Graham, supported. But the scheme to weaken Iran backfired. Iran, along with Russia, came to the aid of the Government of Syria in full blown counter-insurgency campaign. Iran, the Russians and the Syrian Government were fighting radical Sunni islamists, many of whom were funded by the Western alliance.

Iran's military support for the Government of Syria clearly rankles U.S. policymakers, but it is not "terrorism." It is pure counter insurgency.

Wikipedia offers additional evidence about the true nature of international terrorism. I have reviewed the lists of incidents, which includes the description of the attacks, the perpetrators and the number of casualties for 2016-2018. I have only been able to put the 2016 incidents into a spreadsheet. Here are the actual facts.

In 2016 there were seven terrorist attacks that caused at least 100 casualties. All were attributed to ISIL aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Not one was linked to Iran or any group receiving financial support from Iran. There were a total of 1753 terrorist attacks and at least 15,993 deaths during 2016.

Here is the monthly breakdown for 2016:

The U.S. State Department continues to insist that Iran is providing indirect support to Al Qaeda. That is pure nonsense. Iran is fighting and killing Al Qaeda forces inside Syria. They have no ideological affinity with Al Qaeda.

I wish the American people would take the time to be educated about the actual nature and extent of "international terrorism." There was a time in the 1980s when Iran was very active in using terrorism as weapon to attack U.S. military and diplomatic targets. But even those attacks were focused in areas where Iran's perceived national interests were at stake. I am not excusing nor endorsing their actions. But I do think we need to understand that terrorism usually has a context. It is not the actions of a mentally ill person who is angry and lashing out at the nearest available target. Those attacks were planned and very calculated.

The real issue that we should be focused on is whether or not we can halt the expansion of Iran's influence in the Middle East. This remains a major concern for Israel and Saudi Arabia. U.S. policymakers are betting that isolating Iran diplomatically, ratcheting up economic pressure and using some military power will somehow energize the regime opposition and lead to the overthrow of the Mullahs. We tried that same policy with Cuba. It did not work there and will not likely work now in Iran.

Iran has options and is pursuing them aggressively. China and Russia, who are facing their own bullying from the United States, already are helping Iran tweak the the nose of the Trump Administration. In late December 2019, Iran, Russia and China carried out a joint military exercise . The Iranians were very clear about their view of this cooperation:

"The most important achievement of these drills . . . is this message that the Islamic republic of Iran cannot be isolated," vice-admiral Gholamreza Tahani, a deputy naval commander, said. "These exercises show that relations between Iran, Russia and China have reached a new high level while this trend will continue in the coming years."

The Trump Administration needs to stop with its infantile ranting and railing about Iran and terrorism. The actual issues surrounding Iran's growing influence in the region have little to do with terrorism. Our policies and actions towards Iran are accelerating their cooperation with China and Russia, not diminishing it. I do not think that serves the longterm interests of the United States or our allies in the Middle East.

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

Feb 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

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

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

Things seldom go as planned in these circumstances.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clouds gathering...


Minamoto , 23 minutes ago link

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

francis scott falseflag , 41 minutes ago link

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

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

Ruler , 1 hour ago link

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

Bokkenrijder , 1 hour ago link

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

RafterManFMJ , 1 hour ago link

Dude, it's 666D chess!

The Real John Bolton

[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] This neocon snake Pompeo

Feb 02, 2020 | newrepublic.com

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

[Jan 31, 2020] Two "nice" Americans

Jan 31, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Norn ,

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

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

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

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

[Jan 30, 2020] The Neocons Strike Back by Jacob Heilbrunn

Notable quotes:
"... A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it." ..."
"... Neoconservatism as a foreign policy ideology has been badly discredited over the last two decades, thanks to the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation. It now appears that Trump intends to make Soleimani's killing -- which has nearly drawn the U.S. into yet another conflict in the Middle East and, in typical neoconservative fashion, ended up backfiring and undercutting American goals in the region -- a central part of his 2020 reelection bid . ..."
"... The neocons are starting to realize that Trump's presidency, at least when it comes to foreign policy, is no less vulnerable to hijacking than those of previous Republican presidents, including the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The leading hawks inside and outside the administration shaping its approach to Iran include Robert O'Brien, Bolton's disciple and successor as national security adviser; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook; Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; David Wurmser, a former adviser to Bolton; and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton. Perhaps no one better exemplifies the neocon ethos better than Cotton, a Kristol protégé who soaked up the teachings of the political philosopher Leo Strauss while studying at Harvard. Others who have been baying for conflict with Iran include Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer and partner in Ukrainian crime. In June 2018, Giuliani went to Paris to address the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose parent organization is the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK. Giuliani, who has been on the payroll of the MeK for years, demanded -- what else? -- regime change. ..."
"... The fresh charge into battle of what Sidney Blumenthal once aptly referred to as an ideological light brigade brings to mind Hobbes's observation in Leviathan : "All men that are ambitious of military command are inclined to continue the causes of war; and to stir up trouble and sedition; for there is no honor military but by war; nor any such hope to mend an ill game, as by causing a new shuffle." The neocons, it appears, have caused a new shuffle. ..."
"... the killing of Soleimani revealed that the neocon military-intellectual complex is very much still intact, with the ability to spring back to life from a state of suspended animation in an instant. Its hawkish tendencies remain widely prevalent not only in the Republican Party but also in the media, the think-tank universe, and in the liberal-hawk precincts of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the influence and reach of the anti-war right remains nascent; even if this contingent has popular support, it doesn't enjoy much backing in Washington beyond the mood swings of the mercurial occupant of the Oval Office. ..."
"... The neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré. ..."
"... But it was the neoconservatives, not the paleocons, who amassed influence in the 1990s and took over the GOP's foreign policy wing. Veteran neocons like Michael Ledeen were joined by a younger generation of journalists and policymakers that included Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol (who founded The Weekly Standard in 1994), Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas J. Feith. The neocons consistently pushed for a hard line against Iraq and Iran. In his 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed, for example, Ledeen, an expert on Italian fascism, declared that the right, rather than the left, should adhere to the revolutionary tradition of toppling dictatorships. In his 2002 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, Ledeen stated , "Creative destruction is our middle name. We tear down the old order every day." ..."
"... Still, a number of neocons, including David Frum, Max Boot, Anne Applebaum, Jennifer Rubin, and Kristol himself, have continued to condemn Trump vociferously for his thuggish instincts at home and abroad. They are not seeking high-profile government careers in the Trump administration and so have been able to reinvent themselves as domestic regime-change advocates, something they have done quite skillfully. In fact, their writings are more pungent now that they have been liberated from the costive confines of the movement. ..."
"... And so, urged on by Mike Pompeo, a staunch evangelical Christian, and Iraq War–era figures like David Wurmser , Trump is apparently prepared to target Iran for destruction. In a tweet, he dismissed his national security adviser, the Bolton protégé Robert O'Brien, for declaring that the strike against Soleimani would force Iran to negotiate: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate," he said . "Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters.'" Neocons have been quick to recognize the new, more belligerent Trump -- and the potential maneuvering room he's now created for their movement. Jonathan S. Tobin, a former editor at Commentary and a contributor to National Review , rejoiced in Haaretz that "the neo-isolationist wing of the GOP, for which Carlson is a spokesperson, is losing the struggle for control of Trump's foreign policy." Tobin, however, added an important caveat: "When it comes to Iran, Trump needs no prodding from the likes of Bolton to act like a neoconservative. Just as important, the entire notion of anyone -- be it Carlson, former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, or any cabinet official like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- being able to control Trump is a myth." ..."
"... One reason is institutional. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Hudson Institute, and AEI have all been sounding the tocsin about Iran for decades. Once upon a time, the neocons were outliers. Now they're the new establishment, exerting a kind of gravitational pull on debate, pulling politicians and a variety of news organizations into their orbit. The Hudson Institute, for example, recently held an event with former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who exhorted Iran's Revolutionary Guard to "peel away" from the mullahs and endorsed the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Wolfowitz, also writing in the Times , has popped up to warn Trump against trying to leave Syria: "To paraphrase Trotsky's aphorism about war, you may not be interested in the Middle East, but the Middle East is interested in you." With the "both-sides" ethos that prevails in the mainstream media, neocon ideas are just as good as any others for National Public Radio or The Washington Post, whose editorial page, incidentally, championed the Iraq War and has been imbued with a neocon, or at least liberal-hawk, tinge ever since Fred Hiatt took it over in 2000. ..."
"... Above all, Trump hired Michael Flynn as his first national security adviser. Flynn was the co-author with Ledeen of a creepy tract called Field of Fight, in which they demanded a crusade against the Muslim world ..."
"... At a minimum, the traditional Republican hard-line foreign policy approach has now fused with neoconservatism so that the two are virtually indistinguishable. At a maximum, neoconservatism shapes the dominant foreign policy worldview in Washington, which is why Democrats were falling over themselves to assure voters that Soleimani -- a "bad guy" -- had it coming. Any objections that his killing might boomerang back on the U.S. are met with cries from the right that Democrats are siding with the enemy. This truly is a policy of "maximum pressure" at home and abroad. ..."
Jan 23, 2020 | newrepublic.com

There was a time not so long ago, before President Donald Trump's surprise decision early this year to liquidate the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, when it appeared that America's neoconservatives were floundering. The president was itching to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He was staging exuberant photo-ops with a beaming Kim Jong Un. He was reportedly willing to hold talks with the president of Iran, while clearly preferring trade wars to hot ones.

Indeed, this past summer, Trump's anti-interventionist supporters in the conservative media were riding high. When he refrained from attacking Iran in June after it shot down an American drone, Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared , "Donald Trump was elected president precisely to keep us out of disaster like war with Iran." Carlson went on to condemn the hawks in Trump's Cabinet and their allies, who he claimed were egging the president on -- familiar names to anyone who has followed the decades-long neoconservative project of aggressively using military force to topple unfriendly regimes and project American power over the globe. "So how did we get so close to starting [a war]?" he asked. "One of [the hawks'] key allies is the national security adviser of the United States. John Bolton is an old friend of Bill Kristol's. Together they helped plan the Iraq War."

By the time Trump met with Kim in late June, becoming the first sitting president to set foot on North Korean soil, Bolton was on the outs. Carlson was on the president's North Korean junket, while Trump's national security adviser was in Mongolia. "John Bolton is absolutely a hawk," Trump told NBC in June. "If it was up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, OK?" In September, Bolton was fired.

The standard-bearer of the Republican Party had made clear his distaste for the neocons' belligerent approach to global affairs, much to the neocons' own entitled chagrin. As recently as December, Bolton, now outside the tent pissing in, was hammering Trump for "bluffing" through an announcement that the administration wanted North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. "The idea that we are somehow exerting maximum pressure on North Korea is just unfortunately not true," Bolton told Axios . Then Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani, drastically escalating a simmering conflict between Iran and the United States. All of a sudden the roles were reversed, with Bolton praising the president and asserting that Soleimani's death was " the first step to regime change in Tehran ." A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it."

Neoconservatism as a foreign policy ideology has been badly discredited over the last two decades, thanks to the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation. It now appears that Trump intends to make Soleimani's killing -- which has nearly drawn the U.S. into yet another conflict in the Middle East and, in typical neoconservative fashion, ended up backfiring and undercutting American goals in the region -- a central part of his 2020 reelection bid .

The anti-interventionist right is freaking out. Writing in American Greatness, Matthew Boose declared , "[T]he Trump movement, which was generated out of opposition to the foreign policy blob and its endless wars, was revealed this week to have been co-opted to a great extent by neoconservatives seeking regime change." James Antle, the editor of The American Conservative, a publication founded in 2002 to oppose the Iraq War, asked , "Did Trump betray the anti-war right?"

In the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation.

Their concerns are not unmerited. The neocons are starting to realize that Trump's presidency, at least when it comes to foreign policy, is no less vulnerable to hijacking than those of previous Republican presidents, including the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The leading hawks inside and outside the administration shaping its approach to Iran include Robert O'Brien, Bolton's disciple and successor as national security adviser; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook; Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; David Wurmser, a former adviser to Bolton; and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton. Perhaps no one better exemplifies the neocon ethos better than Cotton, a Kristol protégé who soaked up the teachings of the political philosopher Leo Strauss while studying at Harvard. Others who have been baying for conflict with Iran include Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer and partner in Ukrainian crime. In June 2018, Giuliani went to Paris to address the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose parent organization is the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK. Giuliani, who has been on the payroll of the MeK for years, demanded -- what else? -- regime change.

The fresh charge into battle of what Sidney Blumenthal once aptly referred to as an ideological light brigade brings to mind Hobbes's observation in Leviathan : "All men that are ambitious of military command are inclined to continue the causes of war; and to stir up trouble and sedition; for there is no honor military but by war; nor any such hope to mend an ill game, as by causing a new shuffle." The neocons, it appears, have caused a new shuffle.


Donald Trump has not dragged us into war with Iran (yet). But the killing of Soleimani revealed that the neocon military-intellectual complex is very much still intact, with the ability to spring back to life from a state of suspended animation in an instant. Its hawkish tendencies remain widely prevalent not only in the Republican Party but also in the media, the think-tank universe, and in the liberal-hawk precincts of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the influence and reach of the anti-war right remains nascent; even if this contingent has popular support, it doesn't enjoy much backing in Washington beyond the mood swings of the mercurial occupant of the Oval Office.

But there was a time when the neoconservative coalition was not so entrenched -- and what has turned out to be its provisional state of exile lends some critical insight into how it managed to hang around respectable policymaking circles in recent years, and how it may continue to shape American foreign policy for the foreseeable future. When the neoconservatives came on the scene in the late 1960s, the Republican old guard viewed them as interlopers. The neocons, former Trotskyists turned liberals who broke with the Democratic Party over its perceived weakness on the Cold War, stormed the citadel of Republican ideology by emphasizing the relationship between ideas and political reality. Irving Kristol, one of the original neoconservatives, mused in 1985 that " what communists call the theoretical organs always end up through a filtering process influencing a lot of people who don't even know they're being influenced. In the end, ideas rule the world because even interests are defined by ideas."

At pivotal moments in modern American foreign policy, the neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré. Jeane Kirkpatrick's seminal 1979 essay in Commentary, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," essentially set forth the lineaments of the Reagan doctrine. She assailed Jimmy Carter for attacking friendly authoritarian leaders such as the shah of Iran and Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza. She contended that authoritarian regimes might molt into democracies, while totalitarian regimes would remain impregnable to outside influence, American or otherwise. Ronald Reagan read the essay and liked it. He named Kirkpatrick his ambassador to the United Nations, where she became the most influential neocon of the era for her denunciations of Arab regimes and defenses of Israel. Her tenure was also defined by the notion that it was perfectly acceptable for America to cozy up to noxious regimes, from apartheid South Africa to the shah's Iran, as part of the greater mission to oppose the red menace.

The neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré.

There was always tension between Reagan's affinity for authoritarian regimes and his hard-line opposition to Communist ones. His sunny persona never quite gelled with Kirkpatrick's more gelid view that communism was an immutable force, and in 1982, in a major speech to the British Parliament at Westminster emphasizing the power of democracy and free speech, he declared his intent to end the Cold War on American terms. As Reagan's second term progressed and democracy and free speech actually took hold in the waning days of the Soviet Union, many hawks declared that it was all a sham. Indeed, not a few neocons were livid, claiming that Reagan was appeasing the Soviet Union. But after the USSR collapsed, they retroactively blessed him as the anti-Communist warrior par excellence and the model for the future. The right was now a font of happy talk about the dawn of a new age of liberty based on free-market economics and American firepower.

The fall of communism, in other words, set the stage for a new neoconservative paradigm. Francis Fukuyama's The End of History appeared a decade after Kirkpatrick's essay in Commentary and just before the Berlin Wall was breached on November 9, 1989. Here was a sharp break with the saturnine, realpolitik approach that Kirkpatrick had championed. Irving Kristol regarded it as hopelessly utopian -- "I don't believe a word of it," he wrote in a response to Fukuyama. But a younger generation of neocons, led by Irving's son, Bill Kristol, and Robert Kagan, embraced it. Fukuyama argued that Western, liberal democracy, far from being menaced, was now the destination point of the train of world history. With communism vanquished, the neocons, bearing the good word from Fukuyama, formulated a new goal: democracy promotion, by force if necessary, as a way to hasten history and secure the global order with the U.S. at its head. The first Gulf War in 1991, precipitated by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, tested the neocons' resolve and led to a break in the GOP -- one that would presage the rise of Donald Trump. For decades, Patrick Buchanan had been regularly inveighing against what he came to call the neocon " amen corner" in and around the Washington centers of power, including A.M. Rosenthal and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom endorsed the '91 Gulf War. The neocons were frustrated by the measured approach taken by George H.W. Bush. He refused to crow about the fall of the Berlin Wall and kicked the Iraqis out of Kuwait but declined to invade Iraq and "finish the job," as his hawkish critics would later put it. Buchanan then ran for the presidency in 1992 on an America First platform, reviving a paleoconservative tradition that would partly inform Trump's dark horse run in 2016.

But it was the neoconservatives, not the paleocons, who amassed influence in the 1990s and took over the GOP's foreign policy wing. Veteran neocons like Michael Ledeen were joined by a younger generation of journalists and policymakers that included Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol (who founded The Weekly Standard in 1994), Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas J. Feith. The neocons consistently pushed for a hard line against Iraq and Iran. In his 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed, for example, Ledeen, an expert on Italian fascism, declared that the right, rather than the left, should adhere to the revolutionary tradition of toppling dictatorships. In his 2002 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, Ledeen stated , "Creative destruction is our middle name. We tear down the old order every day."

We all know the painful consequences of the neocons' obsession with creative destruction. In his second inaugural address, three and a half years after 9/11, George W. Bush cemented neoconservative ideology into presidential doctrine: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The neocons' hubris had already turned into nemesis in Iraq, paving the way for an anti-war candidate in Barack Obama.

But it was Trump -- by virtue of running as a Republican -- who appeared to sound neoconservatism's death knell. He announced his Buchananesque policy of "America First" in a speech at Washington's Mayflower Hotel in 2016, signaling that he would not adhere to the long-standing Reaganite principles that had animated the party establishment.

The pooh-bahs of the GOP openly declared their disdain and revulsion for Trump, leading directly to the rise of the Never Trump movement, which was dominated by neocons. The Never Trumpers ended up functioning as an informal blacklist for Trump once he became president. Elliott Abrams, for example, who was being touted for deputy secretary of state in February 2017, was rejected when Steve Bannon alerted Trump to his earlier heresies (though he later reemerged, in January 2019, as Trump's special envoy to Venezuela, where he has pushed for regime change). Not a few other members of the Republican foreign policy establishment suffered similar fates.

Kristol's The Weekly Standard, which had held the neoconservative line through the Bush years and beyond , folded in 2018. Even the office building that used to house the American Enterprise Institute and the Standard, on the corner of 17th and M streets in Washington, has been torn down, leaving an empty, boarded-up site whose symbolism speaks for itself.


Still, a number of neocons, including David Frum, Max Boot, Anne Applebaum, Jennifer Rubin, and Kristol himself, have continued to condemn Trump vociferously for his thuggish instincts at home and abroad. They are not seeking high-profile government careers in the Trump administration and so have been able to reinvent themselves as domestic regime-change advocates, something they have done quite skillfully. In fact, their writings are more pungent now that they have been liberated from the costive confines of the movement.

It was Trump -- by virtue of running as a Republican -- who appeared to sound neoconservatism's death knell.

But other neocons -- the ones who want to wield positions of influence and might -- have, more often than not, been able to hold their noses. Stephen Wertheim, writing in The New York Review of Books, has perceptively dubbed this faction the anti-globalist neocons. Led by John Bolton, they believe Trump performed a godsend by elevating the term globalism "from a marginal slur to the central foil of American foreign policy and Republican politics," Wertheim argued . The U.S. need not bother with pesky multilateral institutions or international agreements or the entire postwar order, for that matter -- it's now America's way or the highway.

And so, urged on by Mike Pompeo, a staunch evangelical Christian, and Iraq War–era figures like David Wurmser , Trump is apparently prepared to target Iran for destruction. In a tweet, he dismissed his national security adviser, the Bolton protégé Robert O'Brien, for declaring that the strike against Soleimani would force Iran to negotiate: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate," he said . "Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters.'" Neocons have been quick to recognize the new, more belligerent Trump -- and the potential maneuvering room he's now created for their movement. Jonathan S. Tobin, a former editor at Commentary and a contributor to National Review , rejoiced in Haaretz that "the neo-isolationist wing of the GOP, for which Carlson is a spokesperson, is losing the struggle for control of Trump's foreign policy." Tobin, however, added an important caveat: "When it comes to Iran, Trump needs no prodding from the likes of Bolton to act like a neoconservative. Just as important, the entire notion of anyone -- be it Carlson, former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, or any cabinet official like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- being able to control Trump is a myth."

In other words, whether the neocons themselves are occupying top positions in the Trump administration is almost irrelevant. The ideology itself has reemerged to a degree that even Trump himself seems hard pressed to resist it -- if he even wants to.

How were the neocons able to influence another Republican presidency, one that was ostensibly dedicated to curbing their sway?

One reason is institutional. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Hudson Institute, and AEI have all been sounding the tocsin about Iran for decades. Once upon a time, the neocons were outliers. Now they're the new establishment, exerting a kind of gravitational pull on debate, pulling politicians and a variety of news organizations into their orbit. The Hudson Institute, for example, recently held an event with former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who exhorted Iran's Revolutionary Guard to "peel away" from the mullahs and endorsed the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign. The event was hosted by Michael Doran, a former senior director on George W. Bush's National Security Council and a senior fellow at the institute, who wrote in The New York Times on January 3, "The United States has no choice, if it seeks to stay in the Middle East, but to check Iran's military power on the ground." Then there's Jamie M. Fly, a former staffer to Senator Marco Rubio who was appointed this past August to head Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; he previously co-authored an essay in Foreign Affairs contending that it isn't enough to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities: "If the United States seriously considers military action, it would be better to plan an operation that not only strikes the nuclear program but aims to destabilize the regime, potentially resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis once and for all."

Meanwhile, Wolfowitz, also writing in the Times , has popped up to warn Trump against trying to leave Syria: "To paraphrase Trotsky's aphorism about war, you may not be interested in the Middle East, but the Middle East is interested in you." With the "both-sides" ethos that prevails in the mainstream media, neocon ideas are just as good as any others for National Public Radio or The Washington Post, whose editorial page, incidentally, championed the Iraq War and has been imbued with a neocon, or at least liberal-hawk, tinge ever since Fred Hiatt took it over in 2000.

But there are plenty of institutions in Washington, and neoconservatism's seemingly inescapable influence cannot be chalked up to the swamp alone. Some etiolated form of what might be called Ledeenism lingered on before taking on new life at the outset of the Trump administration. Trump's overt animus toward Muslims, for example, meant that figures such as Frank Gaffney, who opposed arms-control treaties with Moscow as a member of the Reagan administration and resigned in protest of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, achieved a new prominence. During the Obama administration, Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the White House and National Security Agency.

Above all, Trump hired Michael Flynn as his first national security adviser. Flynn was the co-author with Ledeen of a creepy tract called Field of Fight, in which they demanded a crusade against the Muslim world: "We're in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people." It was one of many signs that Trump was susceptible to ideas of a civilizational battle against "Islamo-fascism," which Norman Podhoretz and other neocons argued, in the wake of 9/11, would lead to World War III. In their millenarian ardor and inflexible support for Israel, the neocons find themselves in a position precisely cognate to evangelical Christians -- both groups of true believers trying to enact their vision through an apostate. But perhaps the neoconservatives' greatest strength lies in the realm of ideas that Irving Kristol identified more than three decades ago. The neocons remain the winners of that battle, not because their policies have made the world or the U.S. more secure, but by default -- because there are so few genuinely alternative ideas that are championed with equal zeal. The foreign policy discussion surrounding Soleimani's killing -- which accelerated Iran's nuclear weapons program, diminished America's influence in the Middle East, and entrenched Iran's theocratic regime -- has largely occurred on a spectrum of the neocons' making. It is a discussion that accepts premises of the beneficence of American military might and hegemony -- Hobbes's "ill game" -- and naturally bends the universe toward more war.

At a minimum, the traditional Republican hard-line foreign policy approach has now fused with neoconservatism so that the two are virtually indistinguishable. At a maximum, neoconservatism shapes the dominant foreign policy worldview in Washington, which is why Democrats were falling over themselves to assure voters that Soleimani -- a "bad guy" -- had it coming. Any objections that his killing might boomerang back on the U.S. are met with cries from the right that Democrats are siding with the enemy. This truly is a policy of "maximum pressure" at home and abroad.

As Trump takes an extreme hard line against Iran, the neoconservatives may ultimately get their long-held wish of a war with the ayatollahs. When it ends in a fresh disaster, they can always argue that it only failed because it wasn't prosecuted vigorously enough -- and the shuffle will begin again.

Jacob Heilbrunn is the editor of The National Interest and the author of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. @ JacobHeilbrunn

Read More Politics , The Soapbox , Donald Trump , Islamic Republic of Iran , Qassem Soleimani , Bill Kristol , Irving Kristol , David Frum , John Bolton , Norman Podhoretz , Doug Feith , Paul Wolfowitz , George W. Bush , George H.W. Bush , Ronald Reagan , Pat Buchanan , Mike Pompeo , Tom Cotton , Lindsey Graham , Rudy Giuliani , Gulf War , Iraq War , Cold War , Francis Fukuyama , Jeane Kirkpatrick

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

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

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

Thanks b, that is a mighty good post:

This man had a mighty wish too

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

Bemildred , Jan 30 2020 23:27 utc | 126

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Jan 30, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 30 2020 21:45 utc | 108

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

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

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

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

[Jan 29, 2020] Pompeo about Hezbollah threat

Jan 29, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

J Villain 19 hours ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the interview:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 28, 2020] Pompeo's Petty Despotism

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

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

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

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

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

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

Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Jan 27 2020 16:43 utc | 7

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

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

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

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

( source )

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

( source )

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


c1ue , Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

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

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

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

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

----

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

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

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

EveryoneIsBiased , 26 January 2020 at 04:40 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

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

Jan 27, 2020 | www.unz.com

From the Peace of Westphalia to the Law of the Jungle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Rise and Kill First" ORDER IT NOW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Elora Danan , 26 January 2020 at 11:24 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An even worse decade seems to be ahead.

turcopolier , 26 January 2020 at 05:15 PM
everyoneisbiased

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nobody gives a shit about the Middle East.

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

[Jan 27, 2020] Pompeo's Revealing Meltdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

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

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

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

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

Jan 27, 2020 | warontherocks.com

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

Griffiths may have spoken too soon.

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

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

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

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

Yemen's Fragile Status Quo

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

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

What Will Happen Now in Yemen?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image: Wikicommons (Photo by Fahd Sadi)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We suspect they might be waiting a while...


CarteroAtómico , 5 minutes ago link

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

MOLONAABE , 8 minutes ago link

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

Goodsport 1945 , 11 minutes ago link

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

carman , 13 minutes ago link

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

CarteroAtómico , 1 minute ago link

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

kindasketchy , 17 minutes ago link

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

Collectivism Killz , 21 minutes ago link

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

roach clipper , 21 minutes ago link

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

morefunthanrum , 27 minutes ago link

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

roach clipper , 22 minutes ago link

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

[Jan 25, 2020] Pompeo Crumbles Under Pressure

Jan 25, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

January 24, 2020

|

9:21 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

QUESTION: How?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

QUESTION: Sanctions?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Thanks for bringing this to light, Mr. Larison.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the humanity!

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

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

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

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

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

Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities

ANSWER: Key Judgements

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

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

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

Page 53, 2nd paragraph -

Iran's Nuclear Program: Status

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

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

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

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

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

Ayatollah Khamenei

The Killing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was the week that was.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dressed to Kill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There Will Be Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baghdad today. pic.twitter.com/RlVU5K1RnP

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

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

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

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

ZizaNiam a day ago

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

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

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Danny , Jan 24 2020 15:11 utc | 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

Jan 24, 2020 | ronpaulinstitute.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reprinted with permission from 21st Century Wire .

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

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

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

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

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

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

@Not Henry Kissinger

From the link in b's post.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now Trump is adopting Biden's plan.

Same as it ever was....

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

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

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

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

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

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 24 2020 13:32 utc | 11

Dissociated Press Sees "Hundreds" Where Pictures Show Millions

mpn , Jan 24 2020 13:44 utc | 15

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

Thanks for all your effort.

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

Iraqi demonstrators demand withdrawal of U.S. troops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge rally as Iraqis demand US troops pull out

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Paging Dr. Donald J. Trump

Paging any available Dr. or resident at Mayo Clinic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jayc , Jan 24 2020 19:33 utc | 62

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

Sasha , Jan 24 2020 19:36 utc | 63

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

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

Elijah Magnier says,

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

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

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

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

Jan 24, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Laguerre , Jan 24 2020 11:44 utc | 1

This seems more relevant here than on the open thread:

Apparently this is the new US policy in Iraq.

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

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

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

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

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


Willy2 , Jan 24 2020 12:03 utc | 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love these arabs´humor when they protest...

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

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

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

Crowd demonstration against US military presence in Iraq


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 24, 2020] This shows how the steady stream of propaganda impacts.....

Jan 24, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/479795-poll-41-approve-of-trump-airst...

A new poll shows a plurality of Americans approve of President Trump's decision to order the drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Forty-one percent of Americans agreed with the decision, according to the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released Friday. Thirty percent disapproved and the remaining 30 percent were indifferent.

On Jan. 3 the U.S. killed Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. The move raised tensions in the Middle East and fears of a new war. Iran launched rocket attacks on two bases with U.S. personnel in Iraq days later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Jan 23, 2020] In a day like yesterday....US merits to remain in Iraq getting 50% oil revenues while contributing zero to rebuilt the country they previosuly destroyed and funding and spreading chaos, unrest and terrorism...

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 23 2020 23:09 utc | 116

In a day like yesterday....US merits to remain in Iraq getting 50% oil revenues while contributing zero to rebuilt the country they previosuly destroyed and funding and spreading chaos, unrest and terrorism...
On this day in 1991, the US bombed an infant formula production plant in Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm. The US lied, calling it a biological weapons facility, but in actuality, "it was the only source of infant formula food for children one year and younger in Iraq."

https://twitter.com/Americas_Crimes/status/1219824455712694272


Lurker in the Dark , Jan 23 2020 23:29 utc | 119

This is already a hot war the US is prosecuting against Iran.

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

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Beibdnn , Jan 23 2020 15:44 utc | 5

@Likklemore No 1.

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

xLemming , Jan 23 2020 16:25 utc | 15

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bruce , Jan 23 2020 18:02 utc | 38

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

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

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


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

[.]

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

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

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

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

Yes and soon.

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

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

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

Likklemore @1

Red line / Green light

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

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

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

PS Did any media confirm the death of the US translator that caused USA to bomb the Iraqi PMU? His name wasn't even released for a couple of week AFTER he was killed and AFAIK no one really knows who killed him.

<> <> <> <> <> <>

Probably little happens until UN sanctions "snap-back". That will light the fuse and the fireworks start a number of weeks later but certainly before July (somebody wrote about Russia's being able to sell arms to Iran on the 5th-year anniversary of the JCPOA on July 14th).

Sadly, the false-flag needed to energize the masses with "war fever" (like after 9-11) is likely to require that many Americans are killed. And possibly not just military but civilians.

Aside: The cover of the 2015 Economist comes to mind. Two arrows on the lower right contain the numbers "11.5" and "11.3". The sand behind the arrows might represent the middle east. Do the two arrows represent a date range (European-like dates) of March 11th to May 11th? FYI: Persian New Year is March 21st, UN sanctions are likely to "snap-back" by mid-March.

The eleventh of the month has gained significance due to 9-11 and 7-11 (in England). Thus, 3-11, 4-11, and 5-11 would have symbolic value as for a "terrorist" incident.

How could the Economist have predicted such a date range? I've said many times that I thought that the JCPOA was a delaying tactic that was needed simply because Syrian regime change was taking longer than expected. From such a point of view, it's reasonable to assume that steps are taken to end the agreement and/or prompt strikes (symbolized by the arrows on the Economist's cover) prior to the end of the agreement or important anniversary milestones (like Ruissia's being able to sell arms after 5 years).

While some might say that such musings are irrational "conspiracy theory", I bring it up because neocons and other bad actors engage in long-term planning to achieve their goals. We are not suppose to notice such planning and then when things happen (like 9-11 and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis) it is quickly claimed that "no one could've foreseen" such things - which becomes an excuse for the bad actors to go unpunished.

!!

Jackrabbit , Jan 23 2020 18:36 utc | 46

3.11.2004 Madrid Atocha train station attacks happened...allegedly AQ autorship...

1.7.2015 Charlie Hebdo attack...IS/AQ autorship...allegedly...

1.7.2020 Soleimani´s muder...US autorship....confirmed....

Already exposed that IS/AQ is a byproduct of US

@

[Jan 23, 2020] The USA threatens with more extrajudicial killing of Iran officials

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 23 2020 15:29 utc | 1

The murder of Soleimani was not a one-off: it will be the policy to take out leaders and US vassals dare not speak up: Murder and Sanctions (aka "Financial Warfare" ) is what they do.


US Warns New Quds Force Commander Could 'Meet Same Fate' as Slain Predecessor.

[.]

The US will assassinate Quds Force Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani if he targets Americans, US special representative for Iran Brian Hook has warned.

"If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans then he will meet the same fate," Hook said, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, in an interview published Thursday.

According to the US diplomat, President Trump has made it very "clear that any attack on Americans or American interests will be met with a decisive response, which the president demonstrated on January 2".

Hook also said he believed that "the Iranian regime" now "understands that they cannot attack America and get away with it".

Yes and soon.

Europe needs new instruments to be able to defend itself from licentious extraterritorial sanctions.

The World Looks to Abandon the Dollar as US Sanctions Tighten Their Grip

[Jan 23, 2020] Trump's Katyusha Conundrum

Jan 23, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

by William Walter Kay Posted on January 23, 2020 January 22, 2020 Katyushas are short-range, unguided artillery rockets typically fired in salvos from truck-mounted launch-tubes. Iraq's insurgents deploy three types.

The smallest is 107 millimeters in diameter and 1 meter long. Its 19 kilogram weight includes an 8 kg high-explosive, shrapnel-bearing warhead. The 107mm is often fired from a 12-tube launcher, however, infantry-portable single-tube tripods are common. An experienced crew with a standardized weapon can hit a 400 X 400 meter target from 8 kilometers away. During the Vietnam War the US Army considered the 107mm to be their adversaries' most formidable weapon.

The 122mm 'Grad' Katyusha is 3 meters long and weighs 75 kg. Its warhead spans a third of its length and weighs 18 kg. It has a 20-kilometer range and a 30-meter lethal radius.

220mm Katyushas hurl 100 kg warheads 30 kilometers.

Katyushas have advantages over mortars. They deliver the same payload twice the distance and they fire multiple ordnance more rapidly. The globally ubiquitous BM-21 Grad fires forty 122mm rockets in three minutes. Reloading takes 10 minutes. Thus, Katyushas excel at "shoot-and-scoot" operations. As well, Katyushas' flat trajectories permit line-of-sight attacks and their 700 meter-per-second velocities provide unique anti-building potential.

After helping suppress the ISIS-led insurgency (2014-17) US forces defaulted to their previous occupation plan. Central to this program are segregated compounds situated inside Iraqi Armed Forces bases. These installations, always near airstrips, contain mere hundreds (not thousands) of US and Coalition troops who ride herd over the Iraqi Army whilst grooming and directing Iraq's 15,000-strong Special Forces.

Embassies and consulates are integral to the occupation. The sprawling US Embassy compound dominates Baghdad's fortified "Green Zone" which also houses Coalition partners' embassies, and the headquarters of the many NGOs insinuated throughout Iraqi society.

The occupation facilitates local activities of American and European businesses. These require office blocks, oil-field infrastructure; and, gated communities for imported talent.

Pre-2011 Americans relied on bases containing thousands of troops. These were remotely located and allocated substantial resources to thwart indirect (mortar and rocket) attacks through: counter-artillery, drone surveillance, and fighting patrols. Despite this, indirect fire inflicted 3,000 casualties (including 211 fatalities) on American forces; many occurring inside 'secure' bases.

The US-led Coalition's current archipelago of military, diplomatic, intelligence, business and NGO installations are ill-equipped to defend themselves against indirect fire. Proximity to cities makes them sitting ducks.

In September 2018 persons unknown began targeting US installations with Katyushas. This list chronicles these attacks. * (A dozen mortar attacks are not listed; Katyushas being the weapon of choice.)

  1. September 8, 2018 – four rockets (three 107mms and one 122mm) fall near the Green Zone.
  2. September 8, 2018 – two salvos of 107mms land near the US Consulate beside Basra Airport.
  3. September 28, 2018 – three 107mms are fired at the Basra Consulate; two land on site.
  4. December 27, 2018 – two 107mms are fired at Al-Asad Airbase (160 kilometers west of Baghdad) during Trump's visit.
  5. February 2, 2019 – an attack on Al-Asad Airbase is aborted. Three ready-to-launch 122mms are captured.
  6. February 12, 2019 – three 107mms hit Q-West Airfield (an off-the-books base south of Mosul).
  7. May 1, 2019 – two 107mms hit Camp Al-Taji: a 'training' institute, 40 kilometers north of Baghdad.
  8. May 19, 2019 – two rockets land near the US Embassy.
  9. June 10, 2019 – rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  10. June 12, 2019 – rocket attack on a "northern air base" starts a fire.
  11. June 13, 2019 – rocket attack on Nineveh Command Headquarters (Mosul Presidential Palace).
  12. June 14, 2019 – a rocket lands near the US Embassy.
  13. June 17, 2019 – three rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  14. June 18, 2019 – Nineveh HQ is attacked by two 122mms; one hits, one misses.
  15. June 19, 2019 – rockets strike a gated community outside Basra (home to Exxon staff).
  16. September 23, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone; one lands near the US Embassy.
  17. October 30, 2019 – two rockets hit the Green Zone, killing an Iraqi soldier.
  18. November 8, 2019 – seventeen rockets target Q-West Airfield.
  19. November 17, 2019 – rockets hit the Green Zone.
  20. November 29, 2019 – a rocket hits the Green Zone.
  21. December 3, 2019 – Al-Asad Airbase is "rocked" by five 122mms.
  22. December 5, 2019 – five 107mms hit Balad Airbase (80 kilometers north of Baghdad).
  23. December 6, 2019 – a 240mm rocket lands near Baghdad Airport (then housing a US base).
  24. December 9, 2019 – four 240mms strike Baghdad Airport killing 2, and wounding 5, Iraqi soldiers.
  25. December 11, 2019 – two 240mms land outside Baghdad Airport.
  26. December 27, 2019 – thirty-six 107mms hammer K1 Base (15 kilometers northwest of Kirkuk); killing an American translator and wounding several US troops.
  27. December 29, 2019 – four rockets hit Camp Al-Taji.
  28. December 29, 2019 – five rockets hit Al-Asad Airbase.
  29. January 4, 2020 – two rockets hit Balad Airbase.
  30. January 4, 2020 – several rockets hit the Green Zone. One lands near the US Embassy; another closes a major street.
  31. January 5, 2020 – six rockets are fired at the Green Zone; three hit the target.
  32. January 8, 2020 – two rockets hit the Green Zone.
  33. January 12, 2020 – eight rockets hit Balad Airbase, wounding several Iraqi soldiers.
  34. January 14, 2020 – a five-rocket attack on Camp Al-Taji.
  35. January 20, 2020 – three rockets hit Green Zone. They were fired from Al Zafraniya (15 kilometers away).

Attacks are becoming more frequent and are trending toward bigger rockets and higher volume salvos.

The insurgents' strategy is working. Katyusha attacks shuttered the US Basra Consulate in September 2018. Attacks in May and June 2019 forced Exxon to evacuate much of its foreign staff. Throughout 2019 the US State Department extracted personnel and the Defense Department consolidated bases into more secure facilities. By late 2019 US authorities were begging Iraqis for help whilst threatening retaliation.

The last straw came December 27 when the barrage onto K1 Base killed an American translator. The US responded with airstrikes on five Kata'ib Hezbollah bases (90 casualties) and with the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Soleimani. (The decision to assassinate Soleimani – in the event of an American fatality – was made June 24, 2019 following a week of near daily Katyusha attacks.)

While Iran and Iran's Iraqi allies are blamed for these attacks; this is dubious. Reportage following attacks invariably drops the phrase " no one claimed responsibility " – which is notable because perpetrators often boast of such achievements. Ten years ago, when Kata'ib Hezbollah targeted US facilities with "lob bombs" (improvised rockets), they posted videos of their handiwork. They deny involvement in these recent attacks as do other Iranian-linked militias.

The reportage often describes the attacks as " mysterious " or as a " whodunit. " Authors relay US intelligence theories of Iranian involvement without evidence.

On several occasions insurgents abandoned launchers and/or launch vehicles after the attack, often with fail-to-launch rockets inside. Investigators also possess fragments of successfully fired rockets. Tellingly, US officials, renowned for straining at gnats for evidence of Iranian complicity, do not utilize this material to incriminate Tehran.

The launchers themselves are obviously manufactured by local artisans. Moreover, an article from Kurdistan24 describes the rockets as " locally made ." Even globalist-militarist instrumentalities like the Washington Institute, Long War Journal, and Center for Strategic and International Studies concede some Katyushas are manufactured in Iraq.

Iraq has a burgeoning steel industry and, due to the calamities of the past 20 years, an enormous scrap metal industry. Katyushas' cardinal virtue is their simplicity.

Circa 2014 twelve countries hosted non-state armed groups that deployed Katyushas. (Post-2014 Yemen's Houthis joined this list, then outdid the pack in innovation and output.)

During the 2003-11 era Iraqi insurgents looted Katyushas from local arsenals. Other Katyushas came from Iran (officially or via the black market) and possibly from any of 32 other countries manufacturing them. Experts bemoan the difficulty of determining a rocket's origin.

Circa 2008 Iraqi artisans manufactured a variety of launchers. A 2009 raid in Maysan Governorate discovered 107mm, 122mm and 220mm rail launchers; and 1,700 carjacks. (Jacks were affixed to the bottoms of stationary tripods to permit changes in launch angle.) Insurgents developed creative mobile launch platforms i.e. inside ice cream trucks or towed behind motorcycles etc. They debuted remote control triggers and GPS reconnaissance.

Circa 2011 poor quality of locally acquired rockets compelled insurgents to continue to rely on imports. The insurgents were, however, manufacturing "lob bomb" rockets and anti-armor mines; although Iran stood accused of being their sole supplier.

Post-2011 insurgents honed their craft. Remember: Hamas, operating inside Gaza with a tiny fraction of the resources of Iraq's insurgents, manufactures crude Katyushas.

Prime suspects in the Katyusha campaign are not pro-Iranian militias; but rather the milieu around Mahdi Army successor, the Promise Day Brigades (PDB). This political tendency, nominally led by Moqtada al-Sadr, is concentrated in Iraq's densely populated central and southern regions, but boasts a militant contingent in Mosul. This milieu overlaps the Saairun Alliance which includes Iraq's far left; who carry their own legacy of armed struggle.

The insurgency's Von Braun might be Jawad al-Tulaybani. An Iran-Iraq War veteran, al-Tulaybani possesses 40 years of combat rocketry experience. A war wound left him partially disabled. He appeared on US radar in 2008 after masterminding a barrage that wounded 15 US soldiers.

The org-chart of the Saairun/PDB/al-Sadr movement remains obscured. Notably, on January 8, 2020 al-Sadr counseled refrain from military actions. Four Katyusha attacks happened since.

What is clear is that this general political tendency is not particularly beholden to Iran. They appear nonsectarian, if not secularist, and they advance a left-nationalist agenda. Prior to the 2018 election (wherein Saairun emerged as the most popular bloc) Iran's Foreign Minister warned Iran would never tolerate an Iraq run by " liberals and communists " – meaning Saairun.

Then again, Trump's thrill kill of Soleimani (and Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units' Deputy Commander) completely reshuffled the deck, creating unprecedented unity amongst hitherto rivals.

As Katyushas veto pacification efforts, US forces return to square one. They must retreat to sprawling, remotely situated camps equipped to suppress indirect fire. This, however, means surrendering Iraq's political theater to adversaries who will marshal Iraqi Government resources against them.

Katyushas are driving the Trump Administration's Iraq policy. Prisoners of groupthink they react by doubling-down on the Big Lie that Iraq's national liberation movement consists only of "Iranian terrorists." In reality, their most effective opponents are as indigenous and legitimate as the French Resistance.

*Note on Sources

Data came from scanning 1,000 articles then parsing several dozen of them. Preference went to state media: i.e. Voice of America, Al Jazeera, Xinhua et al; although Military Times and Kurdistan-24 proved germane. Rogue Rocketeers: Artillery Rockets and Armed Groups (Small Arms Survey, Geneva Switzerland, 2014) is a must-read. Data on the first 7 Katyusha attacks was lifted without corroboration from Michael Knights' Responding to Iranian Harassment of U.S. Facilities in Iraq (Washington Institute, May 21, 2019). As Knights is the only analyst to grasp the seriousness of the Katyusha attacks. His reports are a trove. Being intimately connected to US and Israeli intelligence, he slavishly relays the anti-Iran party line.

Major attacks generate scores of reports. Lesser attacks are mentioned only in passing. Some articles tally the attacks but the numbers do not jibe. Certain attacks go unreported. Probably, 50+ mortar and Katyusha attacks hit US facilities between September 8, 2018 and January 14, 2020.

William Walter Kay is a researcher and writer from Canada. His most recent book is From Malthus to Mifepristone: A Primer on the Population Control Movement.

[Jan 23, 2020] Iraq's paramilitary force Hashd Shaabi said on Thursday that it opened fire at an unidentified drone flying over its bases near the border with Syria in the western province of Anbar

Jan 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Qparticle , Jan 24 2020 0:32 utc | 133

Xinhua repoted:

BAGHDAD, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Iraq's paramilitary force Hashd Shaabi said on Thursday that it opened fire at an unidentified drone flying over its bases near the border with Syria in the western province of Anbar.

On Dec. 29, the Hashd Shaabi's 45th and 46th brigades belonging to Kata'ib Hezbollah in Iraq were attacked by U.S. airstrikes, leaving more than 25 Hashd Shaabi members killed and 51 others injured.

... ... ...

[Jan 23, 2020] Who Created the Persian Gulf Tinderbox

Jan 23, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

Joe Biden's statement that "President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox" by assassinating Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was not inaccurate. But it skirts an all-important question: who created the tinderbox in the first place?

The answer, of course, is the United States.

In the long history of imperial folly and recklessness, nothing compares to U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Yes, the British shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in 1838, and, yes, JFK shouldn't have backed the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. If they had thought things through more carefully, one wouldn't have lost an entire army in the retreat from Kabul while the other wouldn't have stumbled into a dozen-year-long quagmire that would leave the U.S. military depleted and demoralized – not to mention killing more than a million or more Vietnamese.

But those were momentary miscalculations compared to the slow-motion disaster in the gulf. For nearly half a century, every U.S. president – liberal, conservative, or whatever – has pumped up a regional arms race that has set the stage for ever more destructive wars. The death and destruction have been incalculable. Yet not once throughout the long sorry saga have Americans paused for even a moment to consider where it was all going.

The process began in 1973 when Arab oil exporters quadrupled prices after Richard Nixon provided Israel with $2.2 billion in emergency aid in the midst of the nineteen-day Yom Kippur War. America considered seizing Saudi oil fields in retaliation. But once passions cooled, it opted for a pragmatic policy of mutual accommodation in which Arab oil producers and western consumers would accept Israeli victory and higher energy prices alike as faits accomplis and forge a workable settlement out of the rubble.

The result from a U.S. point of view was a win-win situation if ever there was one. At a stroke, it acquired a powerful military ally in the Jewish state, a valuable export market in the gulf, and a much-needed conservative Muslim ally at a time when secular Arab radicalism was shooting through the roof. The big payoff came in 1989 when a US-backed Saudi-organized jihad drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, causing the entire Soviet bloc to unravel just two years later.

Washington was dizzy with success. "What is more important in world history," exulted Zbigniew Brzezinski, the architect of the Afghanistan plan, in 1998. "The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?" A top CIA strategist named Graham Fuller added a year later:

"The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Red Army. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia."

What could go wrong? Plenty, as it turned out: the emergence of jihad as a global phenomenon, the birth of hyper-sectarian Sunni terrorists like Al Qaeda and ISIS, and a cycle of violence that has since proved unstoppable. Since Carter declared unilateral U.S. military jurisdiction over the Persian Gulf in January 1980, the region has seen no fewer than seven major wars:

Toss in such "minor" incidents as the Saudi-UAE invasion of Bahrain in order to crush democratic protests in March 2011 or the Saudi economic blockade of Qatar in June 2017, and the list grows to nine, surely a record for American "peacekeepers."

Yet the United States, the world's leading military exporter, has piled up the tinder ever higher by accelerating military exports to absolutist states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that, as even Hillary Clinton has admitted , "are providing clandestine financial and logical support to ISIL [i.e. Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups in the region."

Never has imperialism been more nihilistic. Yet Donald Trump has dialed up the craziness even more by abrogating the 2015 Iran nuclear accord and imposing a trade embargo that has brought the Iranian economy to its knees. Not content with economic warfare, he's now advancing to physical warfare by "droning" Soleimani and threatening massive retaliation against both military and cultural targets if Iran dares raise a hand in response.

The effect is to propel himself into the front ranks of international war criminals. But Trump could never have done it on his own if a long line of American militarists hadn't paved the way. Daniel Lazare January 8, 2020 | Security Who Created the Persian Gulf Tinderbox? Joe Biden's statement that "President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox" by assassinating Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani was not inaccurate. But it skirts an all-important question: who created the tinderbox in the first place?

The answer, of course, is the United States.

In the long history of imperial folly and recklessness, nothing compares to U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Yes, the British shouldn't have invaded Afghanistan in 1838, and, yes, JFK shouldn't have backed the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. If they had thought things through more carefully, one wouldn't have lost an entire army in the retreat from Kabul while the other wouldn't have stumbled into a dozen-year-long quagmire that would leave the U.S. military depleted and demoralized – not to mention killing more than a million or more Vietnamese.

But those were momentary miscalculations compared to the slow-motion disaster in the gulf. For nearly half a century, every U.S. president – liberal, conservative, or whatever – has pumped up a regional arms race that has set the stage for ever more destructive wars. The death and destruction have been incalculable. Yet not once throughout the long sorry saga have Americans paused for even a moment to consider where it was all going.

The process began in 1973 when Arab oil exporters quadrupled prices after Richard Nixon provided Israel with $2.2 billion in emergency aid in the midst of the nineteen-day Yom Kippur War. America considered seizing Saudi oil fields in retaliation. But once passions cooled, it opted for a pragmatic policy of mutual accommodation in which Arab oil producers and western consumers would accept Israeli victory and higher energy prices alike as faits accomplis and forge a workable settlement out of the rubble.

The result from a U.S. point of view was a win-win situation if ever there was one. At a stroke, it acquired a powerful military ally in the Jewish state, a valuable export market in the gulf, and a much-needed conservative Muslim ally at a time when secular Arab radicalism was shooting through the roof. The big payoff came in 1989 when a US-backed Saudi-organized jihad drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, causing the entire Soviet bloc to unravel just two years later.

Washington was dizzy with success. "What is more important in world history," exulted Zbigniew Brzezinski, the architect of the Afghanistan plan, in 1998. "The Taliban or