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Gangster Capitalism:
Financial oligarchy and the Globalization of Organized Crime

News Neoliberalism Recommended Links Financial Looting Financilization of economy as the mechanism of redistributing the wealth up Crony Capitalism as Neoliberalism "new normal" Classification of Corporate Psychopaths Neoclassical Pseudo Theories and Crooked and Bought Economists  
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" The Danger Imposed by Financial Financial Sector Induced Systemic Instability of Economy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers The Deep State Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism
The Great Transformation Neoliberalism as secular religion, "idolatry of money" The Iron Law of Oligarchy Senator Bob Menendez Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Over-consumption of Luxury Goods as Market Failure Globalization of Financial Flows Globalization of Corporatism
Greenspan as the Chairman of Financial Politburo Friedman --founder of Chicago school of deification of market Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism Neoliberalism and the crash on Boeing 737 MAX Techno-fundamentalism Neoliberalism Bookshelf Greenspan humor Etc

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist" 

Thomas Friedman 

Free market is possible only under strict government regulation. Without government regulation free market quickly deteriorates into the law of jungles. Such a paradox ;-)
And if financial oligarchy gets to power as they got via coup d'état in the USA in late 7th, it is only a matter of time before the society collapses. They are very destructive to the society at large. Probably more so then organized crime. But wait. They actually can be viewed as special type of organized prime as is "The best way to rob the bank is to own it".

If you think that Yeltsin privatization (see  Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia) and rise of organized crime in Russia are two distinct phenomenon, think again. Neoliberalism which declare profit as single and only moral value is in reality deeply interconnected with organized crime both in methods and personalities.  This is not very noticed in the USA, but quite so in, say, Ukraine.

It's not accidental that Forbes magazine recently placed two Mexicans, Carlos Slim and Joaquín Guzmán, high on their list of the most powerful people in the world. Carlos Slim is the world’s third-richest man and CEO of a telecommunications company and Joaquín Guzmán is the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

US Big Banks Are A Culture of Crime!

TheTradingReport

Organized crime. This phrase is now a precise synonym for big-banking in the United States. These Big Banks commit big crimes; they commit small crimes. They cheat their own clients; they swindle outsiders. They break virtually every financial law on the books. What do all these crimes have in common? The Big Banks commit all these crimes again and again and again – with utter impunity.

These fraud factories commit their serial mega-crimes, year after year, because the Big Banks know that they will never, ever be punished. On rare occasions, their crimes have been so egregious that U.S. ‘justice’ officials could no longer pretend to be oblivious to them. In such cases, there was a token prosecution, there was a settlement where the law-breaking banks didn’t even have to acknowledge their own criminality, and there was a microscopic fine – which didn’t even force the felonious financial institutions to disgorge all of their profits from these crimes.

Criminal sanctions, by definition, are supposed to deter criminal conduct. The token prosecutions against U.S. Big Banks didn’t deter Big Bank crime, they encouraged it. But even these wrist-slaps were becoming embarrassing for this crime syndicate, so they dealt with this problem. The Big Bank crime syndicate told its lackeys in the U.S. ‘justice’ department that they were not allowed to prosecute one of its tentacles, ever again.

The lackeys, as always, obeyed their Masters, and issued a new proclamation. The U.S. ‘Justice’ Department would never prosecute a U.S. Big Bank ever again – no matter what crimes it committed, no matter how large the crimes, no matter how many times the same Big Banks committed the same crimes. Complete, legal immunity; totally above the law. A literal culture of crime.

What happens when you create a culture of crime in (big) banking? Not only the banks break laws – with impunity – their bank employees do so as well. Case in point: Warren Buffett’s favorite Big Bank – Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo employees came up with a good idea for boosting their salaries: stealing money directly out of the accounts of the bank’s clients.

Consider how large this crime became, in just one of these tentacles of organized crime.

L.A City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a $185 million settlement reached with Wells Fargo, after thousands of bank employees siphoned funds from their customers to open phony checking and savings accounts raking in millions in fraudulent fees.[emphasis mine]

Thousands of bank employees stealing millions of dollars from bank customers, in tiny, little increments, again and again and again. But the story gets much worse. Why was a lowly city attorney involved with the prosecution of this organized crime?

So where is the FBI? Where is the Department of Justice? How about California Attorney General Kamala Harris? Too busy campaigning for the Senate to notice? How about L.A. District Attorney Jackie Larry?

Only City Attorney Mike Feuer took action, and he only has the authority to prosecute misdemeanors…

There are only two ways in which the non-action of the U.S. pseudo-justice system can be explained:

  1. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney, are completely bought-off, and refuse to prosecute one of the corporate fronts of their (real) Masters.
  2. All of the layers of “justice” above the City Attorney considered this systemic crime by Wells Fargo’s employees to be nothing more than a misdemeanour.

Take your pick. The U.S. pseudo-justice system is used to seeing so many multi-billion dollar mega-crimes being committed by these fraud factories that the systemic crime at Wells Fargo (which was ‘only’ in the $millions) didn’t even attract their attention. Or, the entire U.S. pseudo-justice system is completely bought-off and corrupt – and they refuse to prosecute Big Bank organized crime.

A culture of crime.

It gets still worse. Thousands of Wells Fargo employees stole millions of dollars, from countless clients. They were caught. But not even one banker was sent to jail. In a real justice system, systemic crime of this nature would/could only be prosecuted in one of three ways. Either every Wells Fargo criminal would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (given the egregious nature of the crime), or Wells Fargo management would be prosecuted – because they would have/should have known about this crime-wave. Or else both.

Bankers stealing money, directly and brazenly, right out of customer accounts, but no one goes to jail? A culture of crime.

Understand that endemic, cultural changes of this nature don’t originate at the bottom of the corporate ladder. They originate at the top. In the case of the Wall Street crime syndicate; we already know that their management personnel are criminals, because they haveadmitted to being criminals.

Many Wall Street executives says [sic] wrongdoing is necessary: survey

If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest man today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK [New York and London], 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful… [emphasis mine]

One-quarter of Big Bank management admitted that they “need” to commit crimes. A culture of crime. More needs to be said about the rampant, disgusting criminality among upper management in the Big Banks of the U.S. (and UK).

A known whistleblower was conducting a public survey, asking known criminals how many of them were engaging in criminal behavior. What percentage of respondents would lie when answering such a survey? Three-quarters sounds about right. One-quarter of Wall Street executives admitted that committing crimes was a way of life. The other three-quarters lied about their criminal acts.

Monkey see; monkey do. The lower level foot soldiers see their Bosses breaking laws, with impunity, on a daily basis. Their reaction, at Wells Fargo? “Me too.”

Most if not all of the Wall Street fraud factories conduct detailed “personality testing” on their bank personnel. Are they looking to weed-out those with criminal (if not psychopathic) inclinations? Of course not. They conduct this personality testing to find which employees have no reservations about engaging in criminal conduct – so they can be fast-tracked for promotion.

There is no other way in which the systemic criminality of senior banking personnel can be reconciled with the detailed personality-testing in which they participated, in order to reach that level of management. The Wall Street fraud factories look for the most amoral criminals which they can find. And with the exorbitant, ludicrous “compensation” they award to these criminals for their systemic crimes, they end up with (literally) the best criminals that money can buy.

A culture of crime.

As a final note; the U.S. system of pretend-justice already has a powerful weapon in its arsenal to fight organized crime: the “RICO” act. This anti-racketeering statute was created for one, precise purpose: to not merely prosecute/punish organized crime, but to literallydismantle the crime infrastructure which supports the organized crime.

Not only does the statute confer strong (almost limitless) powers in gathering evidence of organized crime, it also permits mass seizures of assets – anything/everything connected to the organized crime of the entity(ies) in question. In the case of the Big Bank crime syndicate, where all of its operations are directly/indirectly tied into criminal operations of one form or another, if RICO was turned loose on these fraud factories, by the time the dust had settled there would be nothing left.

Oh yes. If the U.S. ‘Justice’ Department ever went “RICO” on U.S. Big Banks, lots and lots and lots of bankers would go to prison, for a very, long time.

Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime

The first researcher who explored this uncanny relationship between that two and strong links between the neoliberal system of governance and organized crime was Michael Woodiwiss with his influential book Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime (Paperback):

Everyone knows what organized crime is. Each year dozens of feature films, hundreds of books, and thousands of news stories explain to an eager public that organized crime is what gangsters do. Closely knit, ethnically distinct, and ruthlessly efficient, these mafias control the drugs trade, people trafficking and other serious crimes. If only states would take the threat seriously and recognize the global nature of modern organized crime, the FBI's success against the Italian mafia could be replicated throughout the world. The wicked trade in addictive drugs could be brought to a halt.

The trouble is, as Woodiwiss demonstrates in shocking and surprising detail, what everyone knows about organized crime is pretty much completely wrong. In reality the most important figures in organized crime are employees of multinational companies, politicians and bureaucrats. Gangsters are certainly a problem, but much of their strength comes from attempts to prohibit the market for certain drugs.

Even here they are minor players when compared with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that selectively enforce prohibition and profit from it. Woodiwiss shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence...

A very timely book, November 16, 2008 Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews

What makes "Gangster Capitalism" so worthwhile is that it helps in understanding what has led us to the 2007-8 financial meltdown. As the book shows, like during the 1920's, deregulation led the way for powerful companies to allow the very wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of average people by using poor working conditions, low wages, etc, plus at the same time supporting supposedly moral movements (against gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc) which mainly served the purpose of making these trades more profitable to crooks and therefore created rampant gangsterism there. The result was such a society wracked with gangsterism at all levels, but because most people felt they were prospering, few complained.

But, then it all collapsed with the 1929 crash and resulting Depression, which led the way for FDR and the New Deal programs which increased regulation of corporations, repeal of Prohibition, etc. Though the Depression lingered until WWII, the New Deal was successful in restructuring our laws and public infrastructure to create a better footing for the prosperity which would follow.

The book effectively traces how much of this regulation was reduced piece by piece, beginning in earnest with Nixon, using Cold War fears to tilt the nation toward more corporate power and away from reform, support of right-wing dictators around the world, re-energizing a 'moral crusade' especially by beginning the War on Drugs, thereby making the illegal drug trade super profitable, etc.

The nation had shifted Right and even Democratic presidents like Carter who was instrumental in deregulating industry and Clinton who signed into law the repeal of Glass--Steagle weren't able to stop the shift. Then, the 'Gangster Capitalism" went on steroids with G. W. Bush. By 2003, corporate taxes only amounted to 7% of revenues, while payroll taxes amounted to 40%.

Of note, the book makes clear it is opportunity which leads to much crime, so the approach of massive deregulation of corporations, plus focusing on arrests and imprisonment for victimless crimes ends up with the wrong results, more entrenched crime, even allowing corporations to capitalize on a prison industry.

The book is also good at highlighting how corporations and outright gangsters were able to corrupt legal drugs (price-fixing), tobacco, asbestos, body parts, autos (Pintos), etc. Some other things in the book, of note: Hamid Karzai included drug traffickers in his Afghan administration.

And, our support of Suharto (Indonesia), Mobuto (the Congo), and Marcos (the Philippines) allowed 'looting' of these countries.

A corrupt financial infrastructure included the BCCI bank and offshore banking to evade taxes also developed. Plus, laundering money from illegal arms sales, drugs, and so many other illegal activities passed through our financial system.

The book is definitely tilted toward a liberal way of looking at things, therefore it doesn't go into the good things about capitalism, but there are disturbing patterns which are important to understand, and this book does that very well.

Wasted opportunity, September 6, 2006

By James R. Maclean (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite the fact that I was predisposed to agree with many of the author's views, this book was a huge disappointment. First, the basic premises:
  1. American business enterprise is singularly corrupt;
  2. Most of the crime that Americans suffer from is corporate crime;
  3. American methods of fighting crime focus on lurid fantasies of underworld conspiracy;
  4. The USA exports criminality through its foreign & trade policies.

Each of these premises could have been, and in other venues have been, well-argued. The first three suffer from a lack of generally accepted, objective measures, but experts on criminology have overcome worse obstacles. What we get instead is an unfocused, rambling listing of claims (plausible, but very poorly documented) about the criminal underworld, anecdotes about corporate crime, and extreme statements. No doubt "legitimate" business enterprise does rip off more money from customers each year than do gangsters or mafiosi; but the latter also account for a tiny fraction of the total US labor force. And comparing deaths from industrial accidents to mob hits is just over the top.

Woodiwiss says that the book "had its inception during a seminar series on transnational organized crime run by Adam Edwards and Peter Gill... Adam and Peter put together several of the best academic researchers from Europe and North America...." Yet the book is exasperatingly badly substantiated. I noticed almost no original research. Woodiwiss's footnotes, which--like cops--are never around when you need them (viz., when he is actually saying something that requires documentation), are almost exclusively from articles in the *Guardian* or from other sensational exposes. Radical literature has its place, of course, but saying, "US capitalism is just like organized crime... see, it says so in 'The New Left Review'" is just a harangue, not evidence.

The back cover declaims: "..[T]he position of large multinational corporations...actually provide the most enticing opportunities for illegal profit...Gangster Capitalism shows how respectable businessmen and revered statesmen have seized these opportunities in an orgy of fraud and illegal violence that would leave the most hardened mafiosi speechless."

In fact, it's a disappointing pile of clippings. With the exception of his claims--again, plausible but unsubstantiated--you are not going to find any surprises here.

As I mentioned, he attacks conventional wisdom regarding the mafia and J. Edgar Hoover (who comes off surprisingly well); unfortunately, Woodiwiss offers almost no support for those contentions that are likely to be controversial. For example, on p.78 he mentions President [Nixon]'s Advisory Council on Executive Organization, "Organized Crime Strike Force Report" [1969], which included a vaguely worded remark that the reliance on legal sanctions to fight drug abuse was actually causing organized crime to flourish." This is footnoted. Then he says that Nixon was so horrified by this that he ruthlessly suppressed the report. This is not footnoted. The next pargagraph (p.49) includes a quote from a law enforcement officer claiming that gambling arrests were made just to pad the arrest numbers; this is footnoted. The next paragraph declares that gambling is no more corrupt than the rest of the economy. A surprising observation, it is predictably not footnoted.

The result: lots of footnotes documenting that water is a bit on the damp side, but nothing to support the controversial stuff. Only a small part is devoted to crime; the rest is a paste-up job from two dozen radical critiques of the USA. Anything from the 1971 ditching of the gold exchange standard to the various covert activities of the CIA are brought up, with no more compelling a connection to Woodiwiss' original point than being bad things that Americans did.

< are so insipid (it calls for "fair trade" with no further specification of how that would be any different... capital punishment for corporations--evidently Mr. Woodiwiss has never heard of 'money laundering,' in which a vehicle corporation commits suicide), that it is pointless to spend any time on them. Woodiwiss needs to actually learn something about economics; ironically enough, for someone who claims business is closely tied to crime, he knows almost nothing about it. He needs to know, and say what he knows, about law enforcement and business practices abroad, so he can make a comparison. And finally, he needs to actually learn how to write.


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[Jan 21, 2020] US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests

Notable quotes:
"... Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... "We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," ..."
"... they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/20/2020 - 21:55 0 SHARES

After major protests hit multiple cities across Iran in November following a drastic government slash in gasoline subsidies which quickly turned anti-regime, broad internet outages were reported -- some lasting as long as a week or more nationwide -- following Tehran authorities ordering the blockage of external access.

And during smaller January protests over downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, more widespread internet outages were reported recently, likely as Iranian security services fear protest "crackdown" videos would fuel outrage in western media , and after months ago Mike Pompeo expressly urged Iranians in the streets to send the State Department damning videos that would implicate Tehran's leaders and police.

But now Washington appears to have initiated the "Syria option" inside Iran: covertly fueling and driving "popular protests " to eventually create conditions for large-scale confrontation on the ground geared toward regime change.

Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com

Financial Times reports Washington's 'covert' efforts are now increasing, and are more out in the open :

US government-funded technology companies have recorded an increase in the use of circumvention software in Iran in recent weeks after boosting efforts to help Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart internet censorship and use secure mobile messaging .

The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world .

Similar efforts had long been in place with anti-Assad groups prior to the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, WikiLeaks cables previously revealed.

The US State Department is now openly boasting it's enacted this program for Iran , which includes "providing apps, servers and other technology to help people communicate, visit banned websites, install anti-tracking software and navigate data shutdowns," according to FT .

Confirmed: Drop in internet connectivity registered at #Sharif University, Tehran from 11:50 UTC where students are protesting for colleagues and alumni killed on flight #PS752 ; national connectivity remains stable despite sporadic disruptions on third day of #Iran protests📉 pic.twitter.com/LjaNNd4Ut2

-- NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) January 13, 2020

And dangerously, many Iranians may not even realize they could be in some instances relying on such US-funded countermeasures to circumvent domestic internet blockages:

"Many Iranians rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) that receive US funding or are beamed in with US support , not knowing they are relying on Washington-backed tools."

Iran is on occasion known to round of citizen-journalists and accuse them of being CIA assets -- thus the State Department's open boasting about its program, which is further connected to a broader $65.5 million "Internet Freedom program" in troubled spots throughout the world -- could only serve to increase this trend.

"We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," one US state department official told the FT. "We are able to sponsor VPNs -- and that allows Iranians to use the internet."

So there it is: US officials explicitly admitting they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests which followed Soleimani's killing and the Ukrainian airliner shoot down.

I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime's crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses. https://t.co/korr5p0woA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2019

At least one circumvention software is actually identified in the report as being produced by Canada-based Psiphon, which receives American government funds. Of course the company sees its role more as facilitating "free flow of information" and less as essentially a willing asset in pursuing covert regime change in Tehran.

Interestingly, the revelation comes just as other US-funded propaganda campaigns related to Iran are coming to light:

One of the most viral videos about Iran last week -- and a reason #IraniansDetestSoleimani was trending -- was made by a lobbyist who had worked for a militia group in Libya https://t.co/fN7v6Vztyo

-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 17, 2020

All of this suggests neocons in Washington could be a big step closer to fulfilling their long-term dream of seeing US-sponsored regime change come to Iran -- a policy plan which goes back to at least the 1990's and was given greater impetus and urgency under the Bush administration.


VodkaInKrakow , 6 hours ago link

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" - Wm. Casey, former Director of the CIA under President (and Iranian arms dealer) Ronald Reagan(R).

So, when does Trump send ISIS to Iran? Oh, MEK is already there.

I remember when Trump supporters pointed out how Hillary supported a coup in Honduras. Well, Trump has Bolivia.

Then Obama created ISIS. Well, ISIS has been around since about 2000. And Trump signed NDAA's that sent money to "freedom fighters" in Syria.. .guess who...

Obama is a loser in Afghanistan and so are the Generals. Well, there was Bush. And now? Trump... going on 4 years of losing in Afghanistan with his own Generals.

Hillary and Libya. Trump and Libya.

Obama and NK? Trump and NK.

Obama and Venezuela? Trump and Venezuela. And what threat does Venezuela pose to The US? No one can answer that question.

Trump says "no more wars", is engaged in wars and trying to start one with Iran.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME.

The Program is complete...

QABubba , 9 hours ago link

And are the protesters in Iran getting a paycheck too?
Those in the Ukraine did. Those in Libya did. Those in Syria did.

Put's the lie to indigenous protest.

Son of Captain Nemo , 10 hours ago link

"The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world ."...

VOA LIVE$...

Sure wish somebody in our government could have alerted Bobby McIIlvaine ( https://www.ae911truth.org/get-involved/bobby-mcilvaine-act ) with "emergency" internet services to his phone nearly 18 1/2 years ago to what his own government was about to do to him before he went into the office that day along with the other 2,976 victims?!!!

One thing I'll say for the American government since the banker bailouts, they "don't hide what they are doing" when it comes to subverting governments for looting purposes ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o )!... At least the Iranian leadership knows what is coming before it happens these days!...

Davidduke2000 , 15 hours ago link

The Iranian people are not stupid to commit suicide , they have seen the us handy work in 1953 when Iran had the first democracy in the middle east to be bamboozled by the cia who removed their elected prime minister and installed the shah.

of course some university students want a sexual revolution like in the us are revolting but they are a handful and they are being subdued .

mark1955 , 13 hours ago link

Agree 100%!

The Iranian people lived through CIA/MOSSAD style "Democracy" from 1953-1980 and will fight "Tooth and nail" not to return to those Horrific days of the Shah!

MARDUKTA , 15 hours ago link

BEHIND IT ALL:

https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/10-reasons-why-switzerland-is-home-to-the-cia-central-intelligence-agency/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Thinking123 , 18 hours ago link

Yes, this is what US government has been doing all over the world "Wars and Regime Changes".. Bowing down to Israel to accomplish "The Greater Israel Project". : https://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

STR88 , 18 hours ago link

How naive do you have to be to think the US is just giving out free internet for the sake of the Iranian people? even after they've done the same thing all throughout the middle east to cause mass riots and civil unrest.

The last thing you will ever get from the US government is the truth.

[Jan 21, 2020] The first term of the Trump administration has revealed that the US war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus, not by President administration. Trump is simply a puppet.

Notable quotes:
"... Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda? ..."
"... Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally from: Opinion - The Angry Arab US Violated Unspoken Rule of Engagement with Iran

As'ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration's decision

to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.

By As`ad AbuKhalil

January 21, 2020 " Information Clearing House " - S omething big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran's top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.

The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian "resistance-axis" in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander's death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.

The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.

The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.

For many years Israel did perpetrate various assassinations against Iranian scientists and officers in Syria during the on-going war. But Israel and the U.S. avoided targeting leaders or commanders of Iran. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the U.S. and Iran collided directly and indirectly, but avoided engaging in assassinations for fear that this would unleash a series of tit-for-tat.

But the Trump administration has become known for not playing by the book, and for operating often according to the whims and impulses of President Donald Trump.

Different Level of Escalation

The decision to strike at Baghdad airport, however, was a different level of escalation. In addition to killing Suleimani it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a key leader of Hashd forces in Iraq. Like Suleimani, al-Muhandis was known for waging the long fight against ISIS. (Despite this, the U.S. media only give credit to the U.S. and its clients who barely lifted a finger in the fight against ISIS.)

On the surface of it, the strike was uncharacteristic of Trump. Here is a man who pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Middle East turmoil -- turmoil for which the U.S and Israel bear the primary responsibility. And yet he seems willing to order a strike that will guarantee intensification of the conflict in the region, and even the deployment of more U.S. forces.

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

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The first term of the Trump administration has revealed the extent to which the U.S. war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus. There is not much a president -- even a popular president like Barack Obama in his second term -- can do to change the course of empire. It is not that Obama wanted to end U.S. wars in the region, but Trump has tried to retreat from Middle East conflicts and yet he has been unable due to pressures not only from the military-intelligence apparatus but also from their war advocates in the U.S. Congress and Western media, D.C. think tanks and the human-rights industry. The pressures to preserve the war agenda is too powerful on a U.S. president for it to cease in the foreseeable future. But Trump has managed to start fewer new wars than his predecessors -- until this strike.

Trump's Obama Obsession

Trump in his foreign policy is obsessed with the legacy and image of Obama. He decided to violate the Iran nuclear agreement (which carried the weight of international law after its adoption by the UN Security Council) largely because he wanted to prove that he is tougher than Obama, and also because he wanted an international agreement that carries his imprint. Just as Trump relishes putting his name on buildings, hotels, and casinos he wants to put his name on international agreements. His decision, to strike at a convoy carrying perhaps the second most important person in Iran was presumably attached to an intelligence assessment that calculated that Iran is too weakened and too fatigued to strike back directly at the U.S.

Iran faced difficult choices in response to the assassination of Suleimani. On the one hand, Iran would appear weak and vulnerable if it did not retaliate and that would only invite more direct U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets.

On the other hand, the decision to respond in a large-scale attack on U.S. military or diplomatic targets in the Middle East would invite an immediate massive U.S. strike inside Iran. Such an attack has been on the books; the U.S military (and Israel, of course) have been waiting for the right moment for the U.S. to destroy key strategic sites inside Iran.

Furthermore, there is no question that the cruel U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran have made life difficult for the Iranian people and have limited the choices of the government, and weakened its political legitimacy, especially in the face of vast Gulf-Western attempts to exploit internal dissent and divisions inside Iran. (Not that dissent inside Iran is not real, and not that repression by the regime is not real).

Nonetheless, if the Iranian regime were to open an all-out war against the U.S., this would certainly cause great harm and damage to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Iran Sending Messages

In the last year, however, Iran successfully sent messages to Gulf regimes (through attacks on oil shipping in the Gulf, for which Iran did not claim responsibility, nor did it take responsibility for the pin-point attack on ARAMCO oil installations) that any future conflict would not spare their territories.

That quickly reversed the policy orientations of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which suddenly became weary of confrontation with Iran, and both are now negotiating (openly and secretively) with the Iranian government. Ironically, both the UAE and Saudi regimes -- which constituted a lobby for war against Iran in Western capitals -- are also eager to distance themselves from U.S. military action against Iran . And Kuwait quickly denied that the U.S. used its territory in the U.S. attack on Baghdad airport, while Qatar dispatched its foreign minister to Iran (officially to offer condolences over the death of Suleimani, but presumably also to distance itself and its territory from the U.S. attack).

The Iranian response was very measured and very specific. It was purposefully intended to avoid causing U.S. casualties; it was intended more as a message of Iranian missile capabilities and their pin point accuracy. And that message was not lost on Israel.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, sent a more strident message. He basically implied that it would be left to Iran's allies to engineer military responses. He also declared a war on the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, although he was at pains to stress that U.S. civilians are to be spared in any attack or retaliation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6yyC897UliI

Supporters of the Iran resistance axis have been quite angry in the wake of the assassination. The status of Suleimani in his camp is similar to the status of Nasrallah although Nasrallah -- due to his charisma and to his performance and the performance of his party in the July 2006 war -- may have attained a higher status.

It would be easy for the Trump administration to ignite a Middle East war by provoking Iran once again, and wrongly assuming that there are no limits to Iranian caution and self-restraint. But if the U.S. (and Israel with it or behind it) were to start a Middle East war, it will spread far wider and last far longer than the last war in Iraq, which the U.S. is yet to complete.

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the "Historical Dictionary of Lebanon" (1998), "Bin Laden, Islam and America's New War on Terrorism (2002), and "The Battle for Saudi Arabia" (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhal

This article was originally published by " Consortium News " -

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

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

Let's be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of "opening" is presented in the long essay, "The Fourth Hypothesis," at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman's view -- regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and "Chief Intelligence Officer" of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide "non-ideological" strategic intelligence. My understanding of "non-ideological" is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come -- in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I've tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either -- in my terminology, it is "anti-politics."

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable -- because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project -- are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other "great powers" on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any "great nation-state" global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain "wise" courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn't really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a "subtle" approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman's decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there's a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman's calculations: "the rise of China."

It isn't that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, "China 2020: Paper Tiger," the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another "figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth -- or poverty " (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the "pass" that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal "free market" running, and this power is far from free.)

*

... ... ...

Two of the best supporters of Trump's stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie's positions (whatever their defects, which I'll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly "economic," while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don't agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I've quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn't mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week and it means finally accepting that it's not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the "intervening only in ways that help America"-bit -- that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one's "interests."

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren't bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are "thoughtful conservatives" in their "unschooled way" -- which is often better! -- but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That's a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and "pragmatism" of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates "pragmatism" in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism -- it is the "affirmative" other side to Tucker Carlson's critical, "negative" expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting "in" -- and of course they were not successful, which is why "get the hell out" is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and "progressives" and "the Left" join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, "The Next Revolution," on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West's involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don't need their oil and we don't need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We're never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don't care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the "nationalist" discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an "isolationist" sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called "nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact."

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals -- feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump's agenda.

But hey, don't worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden's "return to normalcy" won't happen at some point -- it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone's imagination at this point -- a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they're okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn't really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of "immense concern" about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump's agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, "The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory)." His most recent albums are "Raga Chaturanga" (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and "Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.


Dungroanin ,

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a 'seat at the table' of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I'll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn't use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn't able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10's of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine 'National Interests'. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the 'international rules' not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin ,

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the 'tank'.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

'Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as "losers." Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump's so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. '

Rhys Jaggar ,

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a 'Brexit Referendum' and Scotland held an 'Independence Referendum'?

How would a US Referendum in 'Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out' play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh

wardropper ,

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By "criticized", I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc ,

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world' s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It' s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ' middle income' by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ' Manchuria', Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym ,

In RlS's nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin ,

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ' Eretz Yisrael' , ' ..from the Nile to the Euphrates', and ' cleansed' of non-Jews, can' t you.

alsdkjf ,

I'm surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn't have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It's just amazing this Trump "left". Pathetic.

Antonym ,

Trump .. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don't own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf ,

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall ,

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that's scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn't recorded.

So much for "draining the swamp". The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym ,

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On 'All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin' | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one ,

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two ,

"israel is right in the cen "
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it's never never right . please avoid this usage.

three ,

There are 53 or 54 'I's in the article, including his partner's Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin ,

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won't comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

"Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,.."

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point see ya later.

paul ,

The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul ,

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul ,

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul ,

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Don' t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ' Damascus belongs to the Jews'.

bevin ,

" China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior."

This is not Bill, but Bill's mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett's 'Scotch Feelosophy') utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers' fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I'm not so sure about that, but isn't it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder's geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the 'west' borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master's ventriloquist's dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can't-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill's partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill ,

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ' China crumbling', their favourite wet-dream.

bevin ,

I agree about Mahan's importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain't.

Any article with mention of mother-'Tucker' Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid ,

"More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain'"
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don't like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe ,

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on.

alsdkfj ,

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you'd still apologize for him, is my guess.

Hugh O'Neill ,

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump's qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and 'entertainment' (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump's world view hasn't altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11 .(1966).

Dungroanin ,

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I'll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

The U.S. was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the U.S. presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no U.S. embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the U.S. will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the U.S. elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the U.S. cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the U.S. attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real U.S. channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 21, 2020] The Many Matryoska Dolls to America's Way of Imagining Iran -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... The Open Society and its Enemies ..."
"... "Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption ..."
"... "The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption. ..."
"... "Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak. ..."
"... "Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo. ..."
"... In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis. ..."
"... Coping with Crumbling States ..."
"... Clean Break ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

lastair Crooke January 20, 2020 © Photo: Flickr / DonkeyHotey On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England's enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of 'evil'. This 'evil', and the servitude that it beget, was the evil of a religion – Catholicism – that refused the English peoples' desire for simple liberties: " [an evil] that put men under restraint under which there was no freedom and under which, there could be 'no liberty of individual consciousness'".

That was how the English protestant leader saw Catholic Spain in 1656. And it is very close to how key orientations in the U.S. sees Iran today : The evil of religion – of Shi'ism – subjecting (they believe) Iranians to repression, and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the 'evil' of an imposed religious community (the Holy 'Roman' Axis, then) brought Europe to 'near-Armageddon', with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict.

Is this faction in the U.S. now intent on invoking a new, near-Armageddon – on this occasion, in the Middle East – in order, like Cromwell, to destroy the religious 'community known' as the Shi'a Resistance Axis, seen to stretch across the region, in order to preserve the Jewish "peoples' desire for simple liberties"?

Of course, today's leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants (though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell's 'Old Testament' literalism and prophesy). No, its lead ideologues are the neo-conservatives, who have leveraged Karl Popper's hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies – a seminal treatise, which to a large extent, has shaped how many Americans imagine their 'world'. Popper's was history understood as a series of attempts, by the forces of reaction, to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture:

Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption , and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary, and furthermore, the posit, poses a grave threat to Israel's self-proclaimed 'open society'.

The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. (which is obvious) – for the 'project' is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper's purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a "growing measure of humane and enlightened life" and a free and open society – period.

All this is but the outer Matryoshka – a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image – that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg , however, gives away the next doll:

"Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption

"The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption.

"Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak.

"Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo.

In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is – David Wurmser is the 'doll' within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Wurmser, Eli Lake reveals, has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Administration all along. This was the neo-con, who in 1996, compiled Coping with Crumbling States (which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper, written for Netanyahu, as a blueprint for destructing Israel's enemies). Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the Secular-Arab nationalist states – excoriated both as "crumbling relics of the 'evil' USSR" (using Popperian language, of course) – and inherently hostile to Israel (the real message).

Well ( big surprise ), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government.

Eli Lake seems, in his Bloomberg piece, to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Washington are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground – they simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani's cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested.

Now let us unpack the next 'doll': Trump bought into Wurmser's 'play', albeit, with Trump subsequently admitting that he did the assassination under intense pressure from Republican Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would 'be dancing in the street' at Soleimani's killing. In any event, Trump is not known, exactly, for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full 'salesman' persona: trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success – "They like us", Trump claimed of protestors in Iran.

Tom Luongo has observed : "Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it's clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is [occurring because it offers] the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp." Ah, so here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka.

This is Luongo's point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Republican neo-conservatives in the Senate – and Trump. And now the Pelosi pressure on Republican Senators is escalating . The Establishment threw cold water over Trump's assertion of imminent attack, as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran – by going the full salesman 'monte'.

On the campaign trail, the President goes way over-the-top, calling Soleimani a "son of a b -- -", who killed 'thousands' and furthermore was responsible for every U.S. veteran who lost a limb in Iraq. And he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani, and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership.

It is nonsense. There are no mass protests (there have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University). But Trump has dived in pretty deep, now threatening the Euro-Three signatories to the JCPOA, that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPOA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap an eye-watering 25% tariff on their automobiles.

So, how will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict if – and when – Americans die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia – and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim, baldly, 'Iran's proxies did it'? Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, or believe them, even if they did.

It all reeks of stage-management; a set up: a very clever stage-management, designed to end with the U.S. crossing Iran's 'red line', by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Here, finally, we arrive at the innermost doll.

Cui bono ? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Democrats, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name (Wurmser), immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate.

Matryoshka herself?

[Jan 21, 2020] Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran's military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law."


Likklemore , Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Bubbles , Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?


Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

[Jan 20, 2020] Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq,

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 25

b said:

"During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian front lines and cities. Ten thousand Iranians died of those and many more were wounded by them"

Nope, in fact the estimate body count is much higher:

"According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger, 20,000 Iranian combatants and combat medics were killed on the spot by nerve gas." (this was only a part, there were also many civilians killed)

"In a declassified 1991 report, the CIA estimated that Iran had suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq's use of several chemical weapons,[10] though current estimates are more than 100,000"

"Reporter Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post stated that Reagan's administration was well aware that the materials sold to Iraq would be used to manufacture chemical weapons for use in the war against Iran"
"According to Reagan's foreign policy, every attempt to save Iraq was necessary and legal.[4]"

All of this is in the wikipedia, hardly a "hardcore iranian trolls" web:

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

Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq, and then you attack Iran with sanctions and threats again and again, and at the peak of hypocrisy in 2003 USA invaded Iraq "to counter the threat of WMD" (sold by the US)...What do you think of the US if you are an Iranian were living all your live under the "Damocles sword" of the threats and sactions of the Empire?

DFC , Jan 20 2020 22:27 utc | 52

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 21:48 utc | 38

Let me see if I understand your point:

First US give permissions in September 1980 (if not encouraged) to Saddam to invade Iran, to finish the new Islamic regime that was seen as an enemy by Washington; and then when Iranians, at a huge costs, retaliates and turn the tide, then the US thought it was justified to supply Iraq with the chemicals (the "dual-use" technology) to make huge amounts of nerve gases and support the use against Iranian soldiers (with some unavoidable thousands of "collateral damages"), and also helping them with intelligence, satellite imagery and etc...Is that your point?

Do you think US would have permitted Iraq attacks Iran if the Shah was governing Iran? Do you think all the US did is justified? Do you think the people of Iran has no reasons for not "loving" America?

[Jan 19, 2020] The USA is in the middle east and is fighting a war with Iran due to three factors: Full Spectrum Dominance, oil, and Isreal

Jan 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

TheSnark a day ago

The general gist of this article is on target, but I feel some of the details are off.

First off, Iran does want to be a region hegemon, they have wanted that for 5,000 years. But they only succeeded, and then only temporarily, when the opposition was weak. Today they are opposed by Israel, which is far stronger them Iran militarily, and by the Saudis, who are far richer. Those two can contain Iran by themselves with little US support.

Secondly, Iran getting nuclear weapons is a problem. If they do, next will be the Turks and Saudis, then the Egyptians and then who know who else. Having several nuclear powers in an unstable part of the world is a bad thing in general, and when (not if, but when) one of those state collapses like Iran did in 1979 or the USSR did in 1989, the risk of loose nukes floating around is far too real. Better nobody has them (I am not a particular friend or foe of Israel, but I trust them more than the Arab states on this score).

But our aggressive policy and troop deployments give the Iranians every incentive to build nukes. Their previous incentive was to counter Saddam Hussien's Iraq, but we graciously eliminated threat. But then we provided them with our own incentive to nuclearize. Very dumb.

Clyde Schechter TheSnark a day ago
I don't fully agree that Iran having nuclear weapons would be a problem for us. To the extent that any country's having them is a problem, sure. But Iran lacks the means to deliver such a weapon to US territory, and their regime, which has, for better or for worse, been rather stable over 40 years, has, notwithstanding aggressive rhetoric, been pragmatic: they know the awful consequences that would come from unleashing a nuclear attack on us. They wouldn't even think of it. Even attacking Israel, something within their capabilities, would certainly unleash nuclear retaliation and mutually assured destruction. The mullahs are not into that.

I think that nuclear non-proliferation became a dead letter when Pakistan and India acquired nuclear weapons and the world shrugged. Pakistan has one of the least stable governments around, having frequent coups, an intelligence service brimming with religious and ideological fanatics, and a history of repeated wars with neighboring India. If ever a red line should have been drawn, that was it. But nothing was done, barely anything was even said. From that point on, nobody really has any basis to complain if Iran (or any of the other countries you mention) goes nuclear.

Worse, US foreign policy is almost perfectly designed to maximize nuclear proliferation around the world. We have clearly and repeatedly sent the message to all nations that nuclear weapons are the only deterrent to US aggression, and that giving up your nuclear weapons (or agreeing not to make them, as Iran did) is suicidal. The world already knows that the US is a lawless, rogue nation, and that its treaty promises are not worth the paper they are written on. You really have to question the sanity of any government that has the resources to develop nukes and isn't doing that.

Tom Riddle Clyde Schechter 16 hours ago

to the extent that any country's having them is a problem, sure.

This is a pretty big "but", though? Nuclear proliferation is a huge danger and it's why a country like Germany without a huge middle east presence or danger of getting attacked with Iranian nuclear weapons would so forcefully back the JCPOA.

The existence and success of the JCPOA should be indictivative of the correct method to fight proliferation and the importance of doing so. To the degree that the US should be involved with the affairs of the Middle East, it should be done through the State Department (or what's left of it when the Republicans are finished with it).

As for Pakistan's nukes means "nobody really has any basis to complain if Iran (or any of the other countries you mention) goes nuclear." IR doesn't run on moral consitency. We should complain about countries that start up nuclear programs, but we should also complain about how the US's action have made nuclear proliferation more likely and not less. I'd rather not the US give up on non-proliferation just because Pakistan has the bomb. We just need to pretending our military can find solutions to political problems.

AlexanderHistory X Clyde Schechter 8 hours ago
It's not relevant that they can't strike America. They have the means to deliver a nuclear warhead to Israel, which is all that matters to the people in charge of this country.
Steve Naidamast AlexanderHistory X 7 hours ago
And Iran does not even need nuclear weapons to completely destroy the Israeli state. They have more than enough conventional missiles to do the job. And such anti-missile defense systems such as the Patriot and Iron Dome implementations have both been shown to be completely

inadequate against the type of missile onslaught Iran could deliver against Israel...

Clyde Schechter AlexanderHistory X 4 hours ago
Yes, Iran could strike Israel with a nuke. Or, as Steve Naidamast has pointed out in his response to you, they could obliterate Israel with conventional ballistics as well. In 40 years, they haven't done that. And they know that Israel would respond in kind, or with nuclear weapons, and they would be destroyed. So they will not do that.

In any case, while it is true that the people running the country view the defense of Israel as our responsibility, even as a top priority. In my opinion, and I think many readers here agree, that is precisely the problem. There is no reason we should commit to the defense of Israel: its existence and well being is not relevant to the defense of the United States. In fact, our unconditional support of everything Israel does, no matter how blatantly wrong it may be, is one of the things that fuels anti-American hatred around the world and motivates terrorists. Pulling away from our connection to Israel would be one of the best things we could do to enhance our national security.

Steve Naidamast a day ago
The US is in the Mid East for Israel's interests and Israel's interests only. This article completely ignores this reality and tries to obfuscate it with a lot of air over how another analyst views the situation there.

Had the US not recognized partition in 1947/1948 and then the subsequent state of Israel, much of the violence in the Mid East would have never occurred in the first place. This combined with assassination of the Iranian head of state in 1953 (over the move to nationalize Iranian oil and thus pushing out the British and Dutch oil industry) by Eisenhower only served to seriously complicate the matters in this region.

Iran would have most likely never had felt the need to develop nuclear weapons if the United States had simply just left well enough alone.

Unfortunately, the United States with few exception has never had anything but dim light bulbs in the presidency. Even Truman's senior military leaders, Mid East Foreign Service policy experts, and Secretary of State Marshall all warned him of the consequences of recognizing an Israel state and they were all correct...

AlexanderHistory X Steve Naidamast 8 hours ago
You are correct. All of this nonsense makes me question how much of a conspiracy theory ZOG is.
kouroi 16 hours ago
Mr Larison,

You know it, I know it, and pretty much everyone lurking around knows it: The US is in the ME for very basic things that insure its primacy:
- the control of the oil flow;
- the control of the way that oil is being transaction-ed, must be US dollars. The flow of dollars, especially the excess dollars needs to be controlled and be returned back to fund US deficit - which of course US has no intention of repaying (external creditors only), and the Feds, which are private bodies of financiers which benefit tremendously from controlling the world's reserve currency, understand this;
- Oiled ME countries must be run by autocracies in fear of revolutions so they need US support;
- Nationalist movements and republicanism are to be killed and persecuted;
- While a nuclear Iran might pose a threat to Israel, like India/Pakistan, US/Russia, it would be all MAD, so not much to worry about.

US will stay in the ME as long as it will take to insure its primacy. And they will kill any external or internal threats to this primacy.

Furthermore, there is a stirred appetite in the US and what its elites stand for. Look at TPP, at the proposed treaty on services, etc. The intention is to privatize everything in the world and have it in the hands of some, few. Thus State Owned Enterprises are to be shunned and ultimately appropriated. This is all what TPP was about, this is all what the trade war with China is about, and this is all the upset with Russia and Putin is about.

It is a very simple equation, that had the US population (military/intelligence) harnessed to be the slave drivers of the rest of the world, while they themselves think they are free, and liberators. This is the content of the red pill.

Not much different than the story told in the "Against the Grain A Deep History of Earlier States" by James C. Scott
https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lse...

Alex (the one that likes Ike) 9 hours ago • edited
And how can it be the other way if there are only two parties making decisions, and both of them are committed as hell to staying bogged down in the Middle East whatever the cost even to American troops and America's own economy , not to even mention the poor peoples of that region? Just the latest example: Democrats received a totally free and unprovoked electoral gift from Trump in the form of his administration committing an unmitigated idiocy regarding Iran (which, probably, resulted in dead American soldiers, not only wounded ones, given that even those wounded were concealed in the beginning). A real, not clownish cause for an impeachment investigation, against which Republican senators would have a very hard time looking honest and non-partisan in defending the president. A dream for any half-literate opposition political strategist in an election year. Their actions? They didn't think even for a minute that maybe - just maybe - they should not squander that gift. Instead they threw it - a real (and their last) opportunity to look solid in trying to impeach Trump - down the drain, industriously flushed the closet and kept on digging some clownish personalities from Ukraine, who are not even Ukrainian residents due to living in the US for years. You know how it looks like? The Democratic Party's neolib bosses (also known as the Republican Party's neocon bosses) called the DNC and said: keep on playing in your political sandbox, babies, but don't even dare to pester the POTUS on those issues that further our policies.

To say that I'm eager to read a reply from that miserable partisan hack which shall have a cheek to claim that either of the American institutional parties is not controlled by neocons/neolibs after all this is to say nothing.

AlexanderHistory X 8 hours ago
There are too many Jews and Christian Zionists involved with America's foreign policy, who are happy to sacrifice America's well being for the sake of israel.
Until that changes, which I can't see how it will while America exists in its current form, we are doomed to continue wasting blood and treasure in the region. It's tragic really, that this nations elite doesn't care much for America, but only what America can do to further their interests abroad.
ZOG is considered to be a conspiracy theory. These days, I'm not so sure it is.
Disqus10021 AlexanderHistory X 6 hours ago
At least part of the blame should go to the religious conservatives on the US Supreme Court which, with its Citizens United decision in 2010, opened the floodgates for large scale campaign contributions in Federal elections. The five Catholic conservatives voted in favor of Citizens United. The three Jewish members of the court along with the sole liberal Catholic (a woman) voted against it.

If you happened to watch candidate Trump's address to the 2016 AIPAC convention on TV (which I did), you might recall that he promised to be the best president that Israel ever had. It reminds me of that old Chinese proverb "Be careful what you wish for." Trump appears to be more popular in Israel than in the US.

Being on the Supreme Court means that you never have to say that you are sorry.

Osse 4 hours ago
I couldn't read the article because I don't subscribe to the WSJ, but I was wondering what he meant by solving the Israel- Palestine conflict. I don't think we should " solve" it by supplying the Israelis with weapons and almost unlimited support. We have been pretending to be an honest broker for decades and we aren't. I doubt we could be. A President Sanders might try, but I doubt he would succeed. He would have enough battles to fight on both domestic policy and ( hopefully) pulling back from our endless interventions to put too much effort into the I- P conflict. Most of the other possible Presidents would probably just be Israel's lapdog, as usual.

I think the US government should pull back from Israel. Have relations, but don't treat them like they are the 51st state. In theory I wish we could be an honest broker, but it hasn't happened so far.

Steve Naidamast 3 hours ago
I have to say that the style of comments being posted as they regard Israel demonstrate that a tide may be changing. I have noticed a slow but increasing negative response by serious commenters on several sites not only toward the US commitment to Israel also to Israeli policies and military capabilities as not being what everyone has promoted them to being.

This could be indicative of a sea change in US opinion, isolating most US politicians...

[Jan 19, 2020] Back in the day when Iran was a pariah state in 1988 (under full embargo from USA and the USSR), they almost sunk the frigate Samuel B Roberts with a very old WWI mine

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 19 2020 11:40 utc | 110

@ Posted by: psychedelicatessen | Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98

You are right one of the pillars of the Iranian asymmetric strategy to counter the USN is using thousands of mines in the Strait of Hormuz and beyond, and probably also around the US bases inside the Persian Gulf.

Back in the day when Iran was a pariah state in 1988 (under full embargo from USA and the USSR), they almost sunk the frigate Samuel B Roberts with a very old WWI mine:

https://news.usni.org/2015/05/22/the-day-frigate-samuel-b-roberts-was-mined

But forget it, they have now thousands of modern mines of Russian, Chinese, north Koreans origin and inverse engineered Iranian mines, even better than those.

To try to clear the mines with wooden minesweepers in the Strait of Hormuz is a joke; to clear the mines they have to move sloooowly and they will be sitting ducks to the Iranian coastal defenses in this narrow pass; good luck using slow moving helicopters also, and using hi-tech subs drones taking one by one will take months or years to clear them, if not detected and destroyed before.

As in the case of the missiles threat, USN has no good solutions to the massive minelaying in the Strait of Hormuz, and without massive resupply of the troops inside the Persian Gulf by sea (of weapons, men, spare parts, evacuate wounded, etc...) they do not have a good prospect to continue the war after few weeks; remember that the Iranians missiles have the capacity to destroy all the airstrips of the US air bases in ME and cut dry the use of them for bombing Iran and re-supply (trying to re-suppy a complete army only with helicopters is not an option)

The iranians even do not need high-tech supersonic anti-ship missiles to close the Strait of Hormuz, but they need them to maintain the US air carriers far enough from the iranians eastern shores that their air wings will sit iddle inside the carriers (the operational range of the F15, F16, F18 is around 700-800 Km), so they cannot support the troops in the opposite side of the Persian Gulf, and even the SCG cannot use their cruise missiles (range 1700 Km) against the western part of Iran where their missile force is allocated pounding the US bases all around the Gulf

For US the only remained option would be to use long range bombers and cruise missiles from subs, but they do not have enough of them to stop the rain of missiles and really destroy the command and control centers, especially if they have not destroyed the huge multilayered aerial defense Iran has (that seems to be much better than the american one)

The US then could think to use nukes, and then call a draft, but I do not recommend it, it is better to ask for a truce

[Jan 19, 2020] Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington

Jan 19, 2020 | www.politico.eu

Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in European foreign policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers and sanctions policy.

... ... ...

The response from Tehran could be immediate or more long term, ranging from military action in the region to cyber attacks inside the U.S. and heavy political pushback. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned that there would not be war with the U.S. and Iran has so far acted in a calculated and rational fashion to Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign. If this position holds, Tehran will attempt to manage the risk of direct conflict, continuing to deploy asymmetric tactics to undermine U.S. interests, albeit with the red lines now redrawn.

The gravity and scale of Iranian compliance will be influenced by the recent escalation with the U.S.

The extensive U.S. military presence in the Middle East and Afghanistan means the U.S. is likely to bear the brunt of retaliation. Iran has deep ties to both state and non-state actors across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Yemen that can be utilized to inflict pain on America. Soleimani's death has already triggered a new decline in the Trump administration's relations with Baghdad that may extend to Kabul, and is also likely to heat up the long debate inside Tehran over how far to push U.S. military forces out of neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

If Tehran takes drastic steps on the nuclear file, it could mark the total collapse of the agreement.

... ... ...

In the space of six months, the U.S. and Iran have gone from targeting drones, oil installations and bases, to killing personnel. It is still unclear how and when Iran will choose to respond to Soleimani's assassination. But the new commander of the Quds Force -- appointed within 12 hours of Soleimani's death -- will no doubt be eager to demonstrate his willingness to exact revenge against America.

When that happens, neither the Middle East nor Europe will be isolated from the blowback.

[Jan 19, 2020] The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 10:57 utc | 104

The murder of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis will resonate hugely throughout Iraq. Trump in so many ways represents the bad ruler Gilgamesh who is poorly advised in his conquest by Enkidu (Pompeo) and they brutally slay the guardian of the forest to steal the precious timber. Then they murder the sacred bull of heaven (Soleimani and al-Muhandis) for prowess and nothing more. This slaughter of the sacred bull enrages the gods and they slay Enkidu which breaks Gilgamesh heart. etc etc. (drastically simplified and likely contested).

This tale is deeply known throughout the lands of the Middle East in all manner of old and modern iterations.

Trump is so unwise and devoid of subtlety that he has ended any chance of salvation in that land and has started every chance of retribution on a scale he could not conceive. His assault on all culture and sacred leaders is bonded to the deepest sense of existential being that any further aggression will simply escalate the payback. The USA urgently needs some cooler heads to intervene but they are not yet impacting on him. Indeed Trump is so eager to pat himself on the back with his adrenalin rush of murdering other leaders that it is disgusting.

[Jan 19, 2020] ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed.

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

michael888 , Jan 19 2020 13:19 utc | 114

Almost all of the "terrorism" affecting the West has been Wahabbi Salafist Sunni driven. Iran, despite their religious head, is a more modern sectarian nation than Saudi Arabia. ISIS had become a proxy army of the CIA; that's likely why Soleimani had to be killed. It is time to align with Iran and the Shia for a change. They also have oil! Would send a nice message to our "allies" Israel and Saudi Arabia as well.

Sasha , Jan 19 2020 13:23 utc | 115

Trump has given signals of opposition to the wisdom of the use of jihadi proxies,

@Posted by: BM | Jan 19 2020 11:09 utc | 107

Really?

Revealed: US moves IS leaders to Al-Anbar, Iraq

After only a week or so after this heinous crime, we are assisting already to a new campaign on whitewashing Trump at each of the US military blogs...SST at the head...as always...but following the rest...be it a editorial level, be it at commentariat level...

What part of Trump admitting he personally ordered the murder you have not understood?

What part of Soleimani and Al Muhandis being the main strategic heads of real anti-IS front have you not understood?

[Jan 19, 2020] They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14

What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15

I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?

[Jan 19, 2020] The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Murder Of Qassem Soleimani Will Deter No One

The Trump administration sees the U.S. assassination of Qassem Soleimani as a form of deterrence not only with regards to Iran but also towards Russia, China and others. That view is wrong.

The claim that the murder of Soleimani was necessary because of an 'imminent threat' has been debunked by Trump himself when he tweeted that 'it doesn't really matter' if there was such a threat or not.

In a speech at the Hoover Institute Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the assassination was part of a new deterrence strategy. As Reuters reported:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said Qassem Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by U.S. foes that also applies to China and Russia, further diluting the assertion that the top Iranian general was struck because he was plotting imminent attacks on U.S. targets.

In his speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institute, Pompeo made no mention of the threat of imminent attacks planned by Soleimani.

The speech itself, headlined The Restoration of Deterrence: The Iranian Example , makes that less explicit as Reuters lets it appear:

On the 3rd of this month, we took one of the world's deadliest terrorists off the battlefield for good.
...
But I want to lay this out in context of what we've been trying to do. There is a bigger strategy to this.

President Trump and those of us in his national security team are re-establishing deterrence – real deterrence ‒ against the Islamic Republic. In strategic terms, deterrence simply means persuading the other party that the costs of a specific behavior exceed its benefits. It requires credibility; indeed, it depends on it. Your adversary must understand not only do you have the capacity to impose costs but that you are, in fact, willing to do so.
...
And let's be honest. For decades, U.S. administrations of both political parties never did enough against Iran to get the deterrence that is necessary to keep us all safe.
...
So what did we do? We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence.
...
Qasem Soleimani discovered our resolve to defend American lives.
...
We have re-established deterrence, but we know it's not everlasting, that risk remains. We are determined not to lose that deterrence. In all cases, we have to do this.
...
We saw, not just in Iran, but in other places, too, where American deterrence was weak. We watched Russia's 2014 occupation of the Crimea and support for aggression against Ukraine because deterrence had been undermined. We have resumed lethal support to the Ukrainian military.

China's island building, too, in the South China Sea, and its brazen attempts to coerce American allies undermined deterrence. The Trump administration has ramped up naval exercises in the South China Sea, alongside our allies and friends and partners throughout the region.

You saw, too, Russia ignored a treaty. We withdrew from the INF with the unanimous support of our NATO allies because there was only one party complying with a two-party agreement. We think this, again, restores credibility and deterrence to protect America.

This understanding of 'deterrence' seems to be vague and incomplete. A longer piece I am working on will further delve deeper into that issue. But an important point is that deterrence works in both directions.

Iran responded with a missile strike on U.S. bases in Iraq. The missiles hit the targets they were aimed at . This was a warning that any further U.S. action would cause serious U.S. casualties. That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action. Iran also declared that it will expel the U.S. from the Middle East. How is Iran deterred when it openly declares that it will take on such a project?

Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounds as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might.

Russia and China already had no doubts that the U.S. is immoral and willing to commit war crimes. And while 'western' media avoid that characterization for the assassination of Soleimani there is no doubt that it was one.

In a letter to the New York Times the now 100 years old chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin B. Ferencz, warned of the larger effects of such deeds when he writes :

The administration recently announced that, on orders of the president, the United States had "taken out" (which really means "murdered") an important military leader of a country with which we were not at war. As a Harvard Law School graduate who has written extensively on the subject, I view such immoral action as a clear violation of national and international law.

The public is entitled to know the truth. The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague are all being bypassed. In this cyberspace world, young people everywhere are in mortal danger unless we change the hearts and minds of those who seem to prefer war to law.

The killing of a Soleimani will also only have a short term effect when it comes to general deterrence. It was a onetime shot to which others will react. Groups and people who work against 'U.S. interests' will now do so less publicly. Countries will seek asymmetric advantages to prevent such U.S. action against themselves. By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicated.

Posted by b on January 18, 2020 at 19:28 UTC | Permalink


james , Jan 18 2020 19:52 utc | 1

next page " "And let's be honest." anyone who starts off with those words - run the other way when they say that.. pomparse is a real embarrassment to the usa on the world stage at this point... there is no international law that the usa will not completely bypass / lie / or obfuscate to push its uni-polar exceptional agenda at this point.. anyone paying any attention can see this clearly.
Soleimani's Ghost , Jan 18 2020 19:53 utc | 2
In terms of deterrence re Iran, these people don't seem to know much about the role of martyrdom in Shi'ism
lysias , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 3
Pompeo speaks as though he wants to provoke an assassination attempt on himself.
chet380 , Jan 18 2020 19:59 utc | 4
If push comes to shove, the Iranians are well aware that the US would, by its bombing and missiles that the Iranians cannot completely withstand, cause many deaths and massive destruction to its cities and infrastructure ... BUT the Americans are very much aware that the Iranian response would be devastating -- all US ME military assets would come under massive fire resulting in many deaths; all Gulf State oil infrastructure would be destroyed; Tel Aviv and Riyadh would be attacked; the Strait of Hormuz would be blocked, and on and on.

It seems highly unlikely that the US would take such a risk -- let us call it Mutual Assured Destructiveness

exiled off mainstree , Jan 18 2020 20:00 utc | 5
It is interesting that the commentary closes with a letter by Benjamin Ferencz, perhaps the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor. As he indicates, the assassination is a war crime, and, in my view, even the threat of such an assassination is a serious breach of international law. Regimes following such a policy have gone rogue, and cabinet ministers making such a pronouncement that the assassination was carried out as a deterrent are, in effect, confessing to war crimes. In future the reach of the offending regime may be much less than it is now, and, if that occurs, the rogue minister better be careful if he travels outside of his home country.
1 , Jan 18 2020 20:02 utc | 6
Thanks B, for your continued articles that are never mentioned elsewhere. I completely agree with your assessment. War used to have rules. Any american army brass or higher ups in USA, Britain, Israel and allies will have to keep looking over their shoulder when they leave their own country. Israel already cancelled trips to Saudi Arabia over security concerns. The gloves are off and targeted assignation will hit allies of USA. The president family are fair game, People who sponsor the the orange prophet of misery, Pompous Pompeoo, Esper or any general will have a very paranoid time knowing that the rules of war that once protected them from targeted assignation no longer apply. After all if america can do this, what's stopping their adversaries from doing the same.
ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 20:05 utc | 7
Benjamin B. Ferencz, his touted Harvard Law School pedigree Nuremberg Trial experience have precisely ZERO persuasive value.

Ferencz was one of the most vicious and manipulative of the Nuremberg prosecutors. In a BBC interview he stated boldly that he threatened to kill detainees or their families unless they confessed:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=48&v=jmFg_ZkKo8M

Interviewer: "In previous interviews you've described how in gathering testimonies you did resort to duress, for instance, lining up villagers and threatening to shoot them if they lied. Such methods now would amount to witness harassment of the most extreme order.

Ferencz: Perhaps it would. but it's only because the people who make allegations don't understand what war is about -- bring a room of 20 people together -- this is an actual case -- and say I want you all to write out what happened, what your role was, what others did. Anybody who lies will be shot.
"Oh, how can you do a thing like that!" You're threatening them, it's torture! What am I going to tell 'em? That you won't get your patty-cake tonight? ' Please be honest, please confess that you're a murderer. Please do that, I don't want to have to ____ you of anything.'
What are you talking about? There's a war going on! They will kill you if they could. They were killing some of their buddies before. So what am I going to do? I didn't shoot them. But I threatened to , and that's the only weapon I had. And if that be torture, then call me a torturer."

Moreover, Rabbi Stephen Wise, one of the key instigators of World War II and US involvement in it, recorded a Personal Letter he sent to his wife / daughter (probably) shortly after Germany's surrender. The Rabbi wrote that he and Nahum Goldmann had lunch with Justice Robert Jackson, and that

"Justice [Robert] Jackson. . . .has grand and spacious ideas on the Nuremberg trials in mid-October, with Weizmann, Goldmann or S.S.W. [Stephen S. Wise] as Jewish witnesses to present the Jewish Case –not permitted as Amicus Curiae!

In itself it becomes the greatest trial in history, with what Jackson calls its broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition.
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

If Ferencz has an ounce of integrity, he will condemn as "aggressive war-making" every person who voted for an illegal war against Iraq, and every person involved in imposing sanctions on Iran -- themselves acts of "aggressive war."

But he won't because he doesn't.

Piotr Berman , Jan 18 2020 20:06 utc | 8
"By committing the crime the U.S. and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate."

USA is not exactly the sole economic superpower, but as long as the allies, EU, NATO, major allies in Asia and Latin America, behave like poodles, USA pretty much controls what is "normal". After Obama campaigns of murder by drone, now Trump raises it to a higher level, and Europe, the most critical link in the web of alliances, applauds (UK) or accepts and cooperates. That can be a useful clarification for US establishment.

So the bottom line is that while it is hard to show constructive goals achieved by raising murder policies to a more brazen level, nothing changes for the worse. Allies tolerate irrationality, cruelty etc. and to some extend, join the fun.

William Gruff , Jan 18 2020 20:07 utc | 9
Pompeo: "In all cases, we have to do this."

In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that.

America disconnected from reality years ago. I rather doubt they could even find their way back if they were to somehow return to their senses.

Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:13 utc | 10
IMO, from what I understand of Shia mentality, after immoral assassination of general Soleimani the only thing can prevent a violent revenge against US military or political staff would be a Fatwa by a grand ayatollah to nullify a fatwa by any junior Ayatollah authorizing (sanctioning) specific action. It was an incalculably caster F* mistake that can last for a generation at least.
John Dowser , Jan 18 2020 20:16 utc | 11
"t̶h̶e̶ U̶.̶S̶.̶ Israel and Trump made the global situation for themselves more complicate"

Not if the purpose was more pressure by complication. The goal then to create a pretext: a pressure cooker which will cause military exchange or, especially after some limited violent exchange, increasing internal strife inside Iran which can't afford more war.

The conditions for this tactic would be clear: containing all the likely fall-out of the above unraveling, namely:

- contain China with the trade war no one can win but will make it near impossible for China to deal with Iran, Iraq and Syria.
- increased containment Palestine and Lebanon by Israel. Make very move there seem way too expensive for especially Hezbollah.
- prevent any kind of weapon transport or technology transfer to Lebanon which could break above containment.
- vastly improved border security and travel limitations
- increasing War on T̶e̶r̶r̶o̶r̶ Blow Back related powers for Homeland Security, NSA etc.

Russia is seen as less of a problem as any potential military support would be simply too costly and too little gain for Putin.

And make no mistake, Trump is fully ready to display nuclear might the moment Iran would demonstrate their own remarkable advances. And he would make it very clear that the US is willing. The new policy of deterrence is very simple and yet horrible: examples have to be made to demonstrate that "all options are still on the table". If he wants to keep declining America great but not have expensive wars and yet force others to still follow American lead: there's only one cold logical solution to that.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:19 utc | 12
The glaring fact of the matter is that the us president and his accomplices useld false allegations as an excuse to murder these men. They also did so in a cowardly manner, under a false invitation to negotiate (and, Yes I do believe that).
In my country, when a person orders someone to murder someone else in exchange for compensation (in this case salaries), the police call it murder for hire.
Paul Damascene , Jan 18 2020 20:20 utc | 13
Deterrence and decapitation strikes ...

Idle speculation on my part, but I am not alone in wondering if the Soleimani assassination accelerated Putin's restructuring agenda. (I'm not suggesting it was generated or even influenced in substance by the strike, just that the timing may have been.) Given the power of the President in Russia, as the CIA itself very well understands, there is perhaps no more tempting target for an overt military assassination strike than President Putin.

Of course, deterrence of rational actors is precisely what would prevent this, but I imagine Russian strategic thinkers have wondered whether or for how long the US remains a rational actor. Moreover, this would be the sort of thing that a fanatical faction could pull off. In some Strangelovean bunker somewhere, there may be those who would actually welcome a last gasp of large-scale warfare before the Eurasian Heartland is lost and the Petrodollar-fueled global finance empire, nominally sheltered in the US, dies away.

Creative destruction ... a last chance to shuffle the cards, and perhaps reset a losing game to zero.

Joshua , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 14
What manner of nation does these things? What manner of man? Why are these criminals not facing arrest and trial at this very moment? Is it because they all had their magical 'I'm a special guy' hats on? Justice will come to us all.
Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:22 utc | 15
I don't think what Pompeo was saying is vague, it is really just a way to con the US media into believing that what they did was anything other than what it really was. They are trying to couch their violent threatening behavior aimed at Iraqi leaders to keep them out of the China-Iran orbit, as part of "The Patriotic Duty of Team America World Police". It is like a mafioso saying to the police about their protection racket: "I'm doing you'se a favor by keeping everyone in the neighborhood safe from criminals."

"It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name."

Kali , Jan 18 2020 20:25 utc | 16
"This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything."
james , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17
yeah - mafia tactics as offered by trump /pompeo and etc is exactly what it is... and when Benjamin B. Ferencz calls it what it is, apologists show up to can ferencz @ 7.. so what will persuade you chasmark?? do i need to send a hit man over to your place?
Jay , Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 18
It's odd to see Reuters get the name of the Hoover Institution wrong, and also be wrong about the Institution's association with Stanford University. The Institution is on the Stanford campus but has a separate board of directors.

Okay, Reuters is making typically sloppy errors about the name and the amount of control Stanford has over the rightwing "Institute" on its campus. Stanford, the university, has plenty of US military intelligence (and actual black world) ties, but almost no one working at Stanford would think killing Soleimani a good idea. Though plenty of the "thinkers" at The Hoover Institution would.


Right, Pompeo is delusional. Murdering Soleimani will deter no one. Nor of course do the Iranian missile strikes on US bases in Iraq mean the end of Iran's response to the act of war.

nietzsche1510 , Jan 18 2020 20:29 utc | 19
all this rhetoric says the obvious: the USA wants to destroy physically the Near East (Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, etc). either he destroys the whole region or he cannot be reelected or better he gets impeached in the Senate.
Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 20:37 utc | 20
I am surprised at how many establishment media have actually labelled this murder as "assassination" instead of the usual euphemisms. I think nearly everyone in the world understands that bragging about international murder completely changes international relations. Except for Pompous and Trumpet, of course.

Everyone will be filing their hair-triggers. There seems to be a general world-wide mobilization but no one is calling it that. It is all "war games" and such. At some point before the 2003 Iraq invasion it was clear to me that the decision for open war had been made. It is now clear to me that there will be an invasion of Iran, starting with Iraq. I think the B-52s sent to the area are for killing Iraqis, since they have no air defense.

At the same time, the US asset bubbles are nearly "priced to perfection". That means they have no where to go except down. Debts that can't be paid won't be paid. All it takes is a break in the chain of payments and the next financial panic is ON! Can Uncle Sam greatly expand his War on the World in the middle of financial chaos? I think he will probably try.

I speculate that Uncle Sam believes Iran and Iraq will simply cower and wait for the next blow. I predict they will not. Soleimani's assassination and the subsequent Iranian attack have not substantially changed the strategic situation, except to tie down the boiler relief valve and turn up the heat. God, if there is one, help us all. We're sure gonna need it.

Ian2 , Jan 18 2020 20:46 utc | 21
Does this idiot Pompeo not realize the door swing both ways? Unless he plans to live his remaining days bunkered in NORAD, he's just as vulnerable as the rest.
Kooshy , Jan 18 2020 20:49 utc | 22

Should have add to my earlier comment (10) , the missile attack on American bases on Iraq was Iran's military/ government response for killing General Soleimani, by no means was the Shia' response since that would need a Fatwa and not necessary by an Iranian cleric or even by Iranian Shia. Is now a religious matter for all believers.
El Cid , Jan 18 2020 20:51 utc | 23
Sooner or later, Saudi Arabia will make peace with Iran. It will improve relations with Russia and China, and will reduce ties with Israel. Soon, Turkey will be completely out of Syria, and Idlib will be entirely liberated. The US, in Iraq, will slowly be drained of vitality with a death of a thousand cuts. Medium range missile production in conjunction with Russian S-300 air defense will will spread throughout the Middle East, and Israel's air force will be neutralized. Then the pipeline from Iran to Syria will be completed.
Willy2 , Jan 18 2020 21:17 utc | 24
- I think that EVERYONE who is involved in the Middle East will think twice before one makes a (provocative) move. Tensions will remain high. But some people may (and will) do (deliberately) something (provocative) that will ratchet up tensions even more. With the intent of ratcheting tensions higher.
- There was someone who said that in 2020 World War III would start. For a long time I thought this person was nuts. But now I am not so sure anymore that this person was nuts.
- There were also people who said that we were "sleepwalking" into WW III, something along the lines of what happened before WW I. These persons were talking about a war between the US (+ NATO) and Russia. But now I think that if a war would break out that then not only Russia but also China and Iran are going to be part of that war. No, I am not sure anymore that this going to end well.

- I also think that everyone haas become (more) cautious. And that an act of A-symmetric warfare has become (more) unlikely.

psychohistorian , Jan 18 2020 21:22 utc | 25
Pompeo is the spokesman for the rules based Western empire mafia don, Trump.

The event is now being turned into a US media event (real time movie making here) by Trump letting out text versions of the backroom chatter around the murder. This will not sit well with the ME, IMO.

What late empire keeps pushing for is some event that can be blown into global support for war escalation....but it hasn't happened, yet

And all this over public/private global control of value sharing in the social human contract....what a way to run a railroad/species......

cirsium , Jan 18 2020 21:26 utc | 26
@William Gruff, 9
"In all cases they have to murder? That is psycho killer talk. Notice how comfortable the American public is with that."

Maybe that's because
"The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer." D H Lawrence

Zee , Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27
The most depressing thing about the assassination's aftermath is that Western Europe's leaders are as bad as America's - "It's the economy, stupid!" So, a threat to their auto manufacturers is a threat to jobs, and one has to consider the next election. They were already controlled thanks to the NSA's eavesdropping on their cell phones, a threat to individual politicians - no need for them to worry about physical elimination, then; Trump threatened via economics their parties' chances of reelection, meaning they have support for knuckling under. China, Russia and Iran are on their own - China was still working on its economic might, Russia was still working on building a strong political foundation, and Iran already has its hands full with internal and external threats. The fence-sitters (India, smaller Asian and African countries) will sit on the sidelines, working to improve their own economies and waiting to see who looks more powerful before joining one side or the other to break down or uphold the international norms and laws it took centuries to build. Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
cdvision , Jan 18 2020 21:33 utc | 28
Be careful what you wish for Mr Pompeo, the sword has 2 edges. I don't think turning the other cheek is in the Shia lexicon.
Curtis , Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29
Trailer Trash 20
The only reason I wouldn't be surprised at big media calling Soleimani's murder an "assassination" is how the media politics is played by party. Since the media tends to lean left, they want to be thorns in Trump's side. Neither party is against war; they want to be the instigators to get the glory (while shifting/limiting blame). Amid the media's stories on this were the talking points of Trump going too far by DEMs in congress.
Recall Libya. The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
blues , Jan 18 2020 21:39 utc | 30
Maybe I stupidly posted this in the wrong thread?

Trump is simply a third-rate Godfather type gangster, with a touch of the charm and a lot of the baggage. I think his murder of General Qassem Soleimani was not something he would have done if he had any choice. It was a very stupid move, and Trump is just not that stupid. I really think this was demanded by the 'churnitalists'. These churnitalists are probably the psychos of the predatory arm of the CIA, and their billionaire allies.

See, it all works like this:

These churnitalists (who supposedly provide us with 'protection', or 'security') are the real rulers (because everybody who defies them ends up dead). Now just ask your self: How does rulership actually really work? It's really kind of simple. The only actual way to establish rulership over other people is to prove, again and again, that you can force them to do stupid things, for absolutely no reason. This is called 'people-churning', and all you have to do is just keep churning out low-class 'history' by constantly forcing the weaker ones to do stupid things. Again and again. This happens constantly in a churnitalist gangster society. Even in schools and legislatures, and so on. Haven't you noticed it yet?

Ron , Jan 18 2020 21:41 utc | 31
Kali 15

Ten reasons why the US is the Beast of Revelation

james , Jan 18 2020 21:44 utc | 32
@ 24 willy2... i have been talking about war in 2020 for some time based off the astrology..i have mentioned it in passing here at moa a few times in the past couple of years.. see my comments in this skyscript link from june 2015..
ptb , Jan 18 2020 21:58 utc | 33
Not only will it not deter anyone, it is loudly signaling that third rate neocons are the only decision makers left in the room.

You're likely to see more provocations, since it's now such an easy button to push. i.e. for any regional or global powers who need US forces to be diverted for a while. Any bullshit they manage to sell to the young Bolton's in the bureaucracy will do.

While not exactly unprecedented, the change is how much the mask is off now.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 34
The part of Pompeo's speech quoted by b above is American to the core: every sentence or short paragraph contains at minimum one outright lie; the entire quote selected is also both palpably delusional and stupid.

But having said that, there is something uniquely refreshing about the Trump/Pompeo tag team's capacity for blurting out lies and inanities, and furthermore, they do it with gusto. Guile is not Pompeo's strong suit.

One might say that the criminality of the 'new deterrence' is as American as apple pie, except that apple pie in my experience is innocent of all that, unless I suppose it contains a deadly poison, and is fed to a political or ideological foe.

What is new about the 'new deterrence' that will surely make life far more dangerous for Americans, is that it publicly declares itself as a policy with no bounds, no ethical, or logical, or legal constraints. So what the Americans have been doing for generations, often but not by any means always with 'plausible denial', and sometimes quite brazenly, is now explicitly underlined policy.

Previously, the fight was 'against communism', or 'for democracy', or for 'national security'.

So for example, when Nicaragua during the "Reagan Revolution' was sanctioned, attacked, vilified, subjected to uncounted atrocities, because those dastardly Nicaraguans had replaced their loathsome monster dictator with a government trying to do the right thing for the people, the war against that country was under the rubric of protecting American 'national security', with bits of domino theory and communist hordes concerns thrown in.

So what is the difference between deploying tens of thousands of maniacal murderous 'contras' as 'deterrence' against a small country's attempts at making a decent life for its people, and a drone attack on Soleimani and his companions?

I think one main difference is that the 'world has changed' around the perpetrators, but they are still living the delusions of brainwashed childhood, the wild west, white hat un-self conscious monstrosities riding into town, gonna clean the place up. Pathetic and extremely dangerous.

Kali , Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35
@31 Ron

There are 2 beasts, the first is either America or NATO, or basically "The Empire" or The Neocon Oligarchy--all work well but America is a bit too broad since there are many good people in America. The second beast whose number is 666, is Trump. Search: Trump 666 and be amazed.

And of course The Pièce de résistance

les7 , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 36
Gruff @ 9

So sadly but profoundly true

vk , Jan 18 2020 22:01 utc | 37
There's another logical flaw in Pompeo's argument.

The USA is a nuclear power. If you claim to assassinate other countries' generals as a deterrent, then that signals America's true enemies - Russia and China - that it will vacilate in using its own nuclear deterrent if an American target is to be neutralized. That would bring more, not less, instability to the world order.

But maybe that's the American aim with this: to shake the already existing international order with the objective to try to destroy Eurasia with its massive war machine and, therefore, initiate another cycle of accumulation of American capitalism.

Another potential unintended blowback of Soleimani's assassination lies in the fact that the USA is not officially at war with Iran. Iran was being sanctioned by the UN. That poses a threat in the corners of the American Empire, since it sends a message that the USA doesn't need to be at war with a nation in order to gratuitously attack it; it also sends the message that it is not enough to play by the rules and accept the UN's sanctions - you could still do all of that and submit yourself and still be attacked by the Americans.

The endgame of this is that there's a clear message to the American "allies" (i.e. vassals, provinces): stay in line and obey without questioning, even if that goes directly against your national interests. This will leave the Empire even more unstable at its frontier because, inevitably, there'll come a time where the USA will directly command its vassals/provinces to literally hurt their own economies just to keep the American one afloat (or not sinking too fast). Gramsci's "Law of Hegemony" states that, the more coercion and the less consensus, the more unstable is one's hegemony.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:03 utc | 38
>Tottering as it appears to be, the U.S. looks to be
> ready to burn the world; its "adversaries" aren't yet
> strong enough to avoid the flamethrower.
> Posted by: Zee | Jan 18 2020 21:30 utc | 27

Indeed. But the longer Iran can delay the inevitable, the stronger and better prepared it becomes, while Uncle Sam is busy burning the furniture and getting financially more precarious. US planners seem to think that one can build an economy around poor people giving each other haircuts while rich people keep trading the exact same assets back and forth while steady driving asset prices higher.

Somewhere in the economic cycle someone has to actually make stuff and grow food. But planners have allowed the manufacturing (and associated engineering, etc.) to leave while driving farmers into bankruptcy. They are mortgaged to the hilt. When land prices quit rising, there is no additional collateral and no new credit. With no additional credit, no one will sell them seeds and equipment. So they are out of business. It's scary to think how few people actually grow all the food to feed millions and millions.

Asset bubbles have real consequences, such as millions can not afford rent anymore while millions of housing units remain empty because their value still goes up even without rental income. Scenes from Soylent Green come to mind, thinking about how more and more people are crammed into fewer living quarters.

Our brain-dead leaders have created a situation where they must continue to inflate bubbles to keep increasing collateral to back more debt. But the bubbles impoverish the rest of us. And bubbles always pop. Always.

I'm not sure how much the next financial crisis will affect the US killing machine, but I doubt it would make the war machine stronger.

Trailer Trash , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 39
>The GOP criticized Obama for Libya but only because they
> wanted to be able to say they were the tough guys. The
> media was oh-so-happy to harp on the Iraq after Bush's
> destruction of Iraq but very quiet on the aftermath of Libya.
> Posted by: Curtis | Jan 18 2020 21:37 utc | 29

Yes to this. There is no disagreement in DC on the goals, just fussing over the tactics and who takes credit. Two right wings on the war bird. Maybe that is why it is on a downward spiral.

~~~ , Jan 18 2020 22:08 utc | 40
Via ZH :

Describing that the drone strike took out "two for the price of one" -- in reference to slain Iraqi Shia paramilitary commander Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, who had been at the airport to greet Soleimani, Trump gave a more detailed accounting than ever before of proceedings in the 'situation room' (which had been set up at Mar-a-Lago) that night.

He went on to recount listening to military officials as they watched the strike from "cameras that are miles in the sky."

"They're together sir," Trump recalled the military officials saying. "Sir, they have two minutes and 11 seconds. No emotion. '2 minutes and 11 seconds to live, sir. They're in the car, they're in an armored vehicle. Sir, they have approximately one minute to live, sir. 30 seconds. 10, 9, 8 ...' "

"Then all of a sudden, boom," he went on. "'They're gone, sir. Cutting off.' "

"I said, where is this guy?" Trump continued. "That was the last I heard from him."

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 18 2020 22:09 utc | 41
b: Usage or typo alert - about 2/3 of the way through your piece.
Reuters makes it seem that the U.S. would not even shy away from killing a Russian or Chinese high officer on a visit in a third country. That is, for now, still out of bounce as China and Russia deter the U.S. from such acts with their own might...

The English language expression is "out of bounds" as in, of course, outside the bounding lines defining a field of play.

E Mo Scel , Jan 18 2020 22:19 utc | 42
"We put together a campaign of diplomatic isolation, economic pressure, and military deterrence."

"diplomatic isolation" - when I read this I thought of the Ukrainian plane and the demand for an "investigation according to international guidelines" (well, Syria got that investigation according to international guidelines with the OPCW and we know how that went) - it may lead to diplomatic isolation. Watch it. As such, Pompeo might have laid out a motive for a potential US involvement.

"economic pressure" - while the E3 did not sanction Iran, with their lack of action in regards to find working mechanisms and their depending on the US, that goal has been achieved.

"military deterrence" - Pompeo thinks in CIA terms which can be seen as a covert weapons trafficking organization (Timber Sycamore) and something like a secret military organization. The murder of Suleimani is a war crime and as such a criminal act; it can hardly be considered a military deterrence - although the murder was carried out by the US military (maybe by CIA embedded in base?).

I don't know. It's a lot of speculation. Iran may have a reason to not state their systems got hacked. But in the current context it may be advisable to do so, turn a potential cyberattack back to its place of origin.

dorje , Jan 18 2020 23:18 utc | 43
Pompeo and Trump have no concept of personal honour as they come from a sub-culture that has none.

In the rest of the world, honour-integrity is very important. Throughout MENA to Pakistan, the US was viewed as treacherous for using Sadaam to fight Iran then turning on him in service of Israel's goals. Bush 2 contributed, through his blatant financial criminality (much of this remains unknown to average Americans), to the perception that the US is incapable of honouring ANY agreement (re:oil and other sub-rosa deals the US made).
The decimation of Syria, Iraq and Libya was not enough; criminal elites in the US have now completely exposed themselves to the Muslim world. I am firmly convinced that the Arab 'street' has concluded the US and Israel are inseparable in their policy of murder and mayhem. I am betting the elites view reconciliation within the Arab and Islamic world as the way forward with input from Russia, China when and if needed. Turning away from US-Israeli meddling and treachery will be a primary concern for the 20's.
I don't believe Pompeo or Trump have the foresight to understand killing Soleimani has sealed how the US is perceived: Indonesia, Malaysia, Muslim India (all 250+million), Afghanistan and Pakistan will accelarate the turning away.
This 'decision' to murder Soleimani will be cited by future non_court historians as seminal. The US murdered the 2nd most important person in Iranian politics. This has to be one of THE STUPIDEST DECISIONS I have seen come out of the Washington, D.C--Tel Aviv--London axis. I really cannot think of any other official action by the US that compares in stupidity. Unofficially, 911 was the stupidest act of the last 2 decades but as for official I believe this takes the cakes.
In essence, screaming to the world that you are a gangster is not a very graceful way to wind down an Empire. Pompeo-Trump-BoBo should have looked at a map. I see a hemisphere that is geographically isolated that has to make a case for why anyone should interact with it. Currently, all they have is the petrodollar system that supports 1, 000 military bases. Problem: they have just given many of the (often unwilling) participants in that system a big reason to leave it. I believe this is referred to as 'suicide'?
Correct me if I'm wrong. I would be happy to be.

Dick , Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44
Anyone who has studied the history of the Third Reich would note a curious similarity between Germany's behaviour under Hitler and the current behaviour of the US both internally and externally. Is it just me, or have other's noted the similarity of Pompeo to Herman Goering in looks and behaviour?
Clueless Joe , Jan 18 2020 23:28 utc | 45
That's one of the good aspect of Trump administration, in the long run. With these psychos openly plagiarizing Grand Moff Tarkin ("Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."), it will be pretty had for any sane and sensible observer not to come to the conclusion that, deep down, the USA *is* an Evil Empire that has to be fought and brought down - and thankfully, this time, one saner Obama-like presidency, if it ever happens after Trump, won't be enough to change that perception.
Sunny Runny Burger , Jan 18 2020 23:47 utc | 46
I can only guess what Toynbee would think of the US now, it certainly looks like suicide to me and if the US actually had any friends left they would be busy trying to talk the US out of it. From this point of view the relative silence speaks loudly and says something quite different than at least some people think.

US NATO "allies" haven't exactly been enthusiastic. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking the UK came closest with Johnson's "not crying" remark, everything else seems to be tortured statements walking on eggshells. 2nd biggest NATO member Turkey cooperates with Iran and plenty of others in NATO have wanted and worked towards normal relations despite differences, some more publicly than others. It might not have amounted to anything but that's my impression at least.

Any support for war against Iran is microscopic. Against Russia? Except for the rarest of the worst of fools not a chance. Against China? People would have trouble comprehending the question itself due to how absurd the notion is.

ChasMark , Jan 18 2020 23:56 utc | 47
Dick | Jan 18 2020 23:25 utc | 44

"Is it just me" who makes the argument reductio ad Hitlerum?

No, it's you and every other moron who gets his history from teevee and Hollywood.

If the compulsion to resort to WWII analogies is too compelling to overcome, flip the script:

US and Britain 'won' the war in Germany by deliberately firebombing civilian targets, over and over and over and over again.
United States Dept. of Interior records in detail how Standard Oil engineers, USAF, Jewish architects, and Jewish Hollywood studio set designers constructed and practiced creating firestorms with the stated goal of killing working class German civilians, including "infants in cribs."

In a discussion of his book, The Fire, Jörg Friedrich emphasized that Allied bombers dropped leaflets telling the Germans they were about to kill that their only recourse was to overthrow their government -- to topple or kill Hitler: the "greatest generation" killed civilians as "deterrents" to Wehrmacht's defensive actions against Allied invasion.

Since at least 1995 US tactics against Iran have been similar: Ed Royce spelled them out: US will sanction Iranian citizens in an effort to make life so miserable for them that they will riot and overthrow their government.

So yes, it IS "just like the Nazis" -- US-zionists are running a similar playbook as that used to prostrate Germany.
And Iraq.
And Libya.
And Syria.

Notice that wrt Syria, having reduced that ancient place to rubble, much like Allies reduced Germany's cultural heritage to rubble, US 'diplomats' are steadfastly refusing to allow Syria access to resources with which to finance its reconstruction, and are also blocking any other country's attempt to aid Syria in reconstruction: Destroying Syria was 'hi-tech eminent domain,' and now USA intends to be the only entity to finance and rebuild Syria -- or else US will continue the destruction of Syria.

Most Americans think Marshall plan was an act more generous than Jesus Christ on the cross, but in fact it was a cynical strategy to completely dominate Germany in saecula saeculorum. (US LOANED the money, and far more-- about 2.5 X more-- was committed to England -- relatively undamaged -- than to Germany, where 70% of infrastructure was rubble.)
You won't learn that from the Hollywood version of WWII.

Roberto , Jan 18 2020 23:58 utc | 48
the Nuremberg trials:

Was Nuremebrg trial a fair trial? Not, it was not. It was very unfair.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:10 utc | 49
I recall RT reported on December 31. 19 Trump warned

LINK

"This is not a Warning, it is a Threat," Trump declared in a tweet on Tuesday afternoon, adding that Iran will "pay a very BIG PRICE" for the embassy siege earlier in the day."

They sure did. So who is next?

Yesterday Trump warned the supreme leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khameni:

'Be very careful with your words': Trump warns Iran's Khamenei after ayatollah delivers fiery sermon slamming 'American clowns'

US President Donald Trump has warned the supreme leader of Iran to watch his language, following a heated sermon in which Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slammed American leaders as "clowns."
Leading a prayer in Tehran on Friday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei boasted that Iran had the "spirit to slap an arrogant, aggressive global power" in its retaliation to the assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, which he said struck a "serious blow" to Washington's "dignity" – triggering a response from the US president.

"The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe," Trump tweeted. "Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!"

In his sermon, Khamenei blasted "American clowns," who he said "lie in utter viciousness that they stand with the Iranian people," referring to recent comments by Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

How dare he?


Pft , Jan 19 2020 0:28 utc | 50
Lets face it, assassinations are not a new thing. It became more organized with Lord Palmerstons gangs of thugs in the mid 19th century (one of which took out Lincoln) . Since the end of WWII the global mafia jumped across the pond and assassinations have been covert actions arranged by the CIA , with operations having a high degree of plausible deniability. But most higher ups had a pretty good idea who was behind it . Trumps just continued this but like Bush and Obama have made clear its their right to do so against terrorists . Of course the definition of terrorist has become rather broad. Trump recently said he authorized the hit because he said bad things about America. Maybe saying bad things about Trump can get you labelled the same. Watch out for those drones barflies.

So basically the main change is they no longer care about plausible deniability . They are proud to admit it. And nobody seems to care enough to express any outrage. Name any countries leader who has except in muted terms. Europe, Russia, China, etc everyone quiet as a mouse. China so outraged they signed a trade deal giving them nothing. UN? Might as well move it to Cuba , Iran or Venezuela for all the clout it has.

So you know, maybe the deterrence is working. Terrorism works both ways. The world seems terrorized and hardly anyone in the US dares criticize Trumps action without saying the general was evil and deserved it. Its not just drones they fear as financial terrorism (sanctions, denied access to USD) works quite well also (except in Irans case).

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 51
james | Jan 18 2020 20:28 utc | 17

The argument is correct.
(Although the mafia label bespeaks a limited frame of reference and it's inappropriate in any event -- crime families do not have the reach or power of state assassination squads.)

Ferencz does not have the moral standing to make the argument.
It's like granting Ted Bundy credibility for criticizing police brutality.

mcohen , Jan 19 2020 0:30 utc | 52
What a story.
Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:32 utc | 53
Posted by: Kali | Jan 18 2020 22:00 utc | 35

The beast rises from the bottomless pit, it is written in the book you quoted!
How do you suggest a mere mortal and retard like trump does that?
The murcanized xtianity eschatology you have been reading is stupid and in NO WAY SHAPE OR FORM Orthodox(Orthodox=Christian)

"ORTHODOXESCHATOLOGYdotBLOGSPOTdotCOM"
"orthodoxinfoDOTcom"
"preteristarchiveDOTcom"
You will find info that is not xtian but Christian @ those blogs..
The last one is a library with ancient and old texts about Christianity!
If you search "THEOSIS THE TRUE PURPOSE OF HUMAN LIFE" on orthodoxinfo you will also find a book WELL worth reading if you are/want to be Christian.

Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway

"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them."

Per/Norway , Jan 19 2020 0:36 utc | 54
Kali @35
i messed up and hit post b4 i pasted this..
"'The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that was, and is not, although it is."
Per
Russian Orthodox
Norway
BLP , Jan 19 2020 0:40 utc | 55

several additions if i may:

first speculation. however it happened, "deep state" power or factions now have a jacket
on Trump. he can't disown what happened. Brennan and Stephen Schwarzman are safe.
the Money and the MIC get what they want. Trump's agenda of converting the common good
to corporate profit is acceptable. they can use Trump to defeat Sanders.

it's quite possible American power is unimpressed by the Russia-China alliance which has
just revealed it's limitations. i think this link has already run on this site:
https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/05/fragmentation-in-the-axis-of-resistance-led-to-soleimanis-death/.

here's a welcome dose of realism from the Holy Russia Neverland to substantiate this view:
https://thesaker.is/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/
3 comments from India by Anaam esp this one: Anaam on January 17, 2020 · at 10:32 am EST/EDT

and lastly this outlier from ibm.com. a new, more powerful battery made from sea water.
charges in 5 min. in California this means electricity off your roof for everything including
your car plus a surplus for export. how soon? doesn't say. oil dependent economies
want to know. and we won't need the "petro" for the petrodollar.
https://www.ibm.com/blogs/research/2019/12/heavy-metal-free-battery/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56
The truth of it is Trump murdered General Soleimani because the general was very effective in defeating ISIS - the U.S. created and funded - terrorists in Syria and Iraq. The neocons were none too pleased.

Release Jan.18 2020 21st centurywire audio Interview with Dr. Mohammad Marandi, Tehran University

America's Miscalculation with Iran

LINK

@ ChasMark 7 - not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?

How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips. Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?

How about the U.S. waterboarding and torturing Muslims at Gitmo? 19 years on with NO TRIALS!!! That's OK, right?

karlof1 , Jan 19 2020 0:58 utc | 57
As far as b's premise goes, he's proven it IMO. Looks like the CIA made the next move in Lebanon. IMO, Asia plus Russia & Belarus hold the geoeconomic and geopolitical deterrence cards. The Financial Parasite continues hollowing out what remains of US industry and retail helped along by Trump's Trade War. I presented the fundamental economic info and arguments on the prior threads, so I don't have anything to add.
pretzelattack , Jan 19 2020 1:08 utc | 58
the price of fake freedom is remaining ever vigilant to prevent peace breaking out. trump's as much a warmonger as any of them (which is to say impeachment won't make a bit of difference).
Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 1:27 utc | 59
F. William Engdahl asks,

Unintended Consequences: Did Trump just give the Middle East to China and Russia?

[Before] the US assassination of Soleimani, there were numerous back-channel efforts for détente in the costly wars that have raged across the region since the US-instigated Arab Spring between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran and Iraq. Russia and China have both in different ways been playing a key role in changing the geopolitical tensions. At this juncture the credibility of Washington as any honest partner is effectively zero if not minus.

[.] The US president just tweeted his support for renewed anti-government Iran protests, in Farsi. We are clearly in for some very nasty trouble in the Middle East as Washington tries to deal with the unintended consequences of its recent Middle East actions.[.]

Run home as fast as you can. In this election year, an observation; 10% of companies are losing money but thanks to the Feds, the Markets are making ATH ...all time highs. On main street Joe and Jane are in a well of hurt "it's the economy, stupid."

Copeland , Jan 19 2020 1:28 utc | 60
There is nothing ambiguous about Pompeo's statement. It is evidence of a profound psychotic break. It is a megalomaniac delusion of godlike power, a deterance not attainable on a human scale. "In all cases, we have to do this."

The masters of the universe will kill those who do not comply. The projection of their psychic power to intimidate the world goes well beyond Iraq and Iran, brushing aside all the little insubstantial nations that are constantly underfoot. Russia and China are to take heed now, it is they too who must sleep with one eye open. The deterrence necessary to keep us all safe means to go ahead and challenge those islands China built in the South China Sea.

The smiling villains do not accept that Crimea is part of Russia. Pompeo compares Soleimani to bin Laden. There are so many departures from reality in the speech amidst all the levity that it seems like someone has opened the doors of the Asylum.

ChasMark , Jan 19 2020 1:50 utc | 61
Likklemore | Jan 19 2020 0:44 utc | 56

Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted.

"not an ounce of integrity! Trump or Ferencz?"
Neither.

"How is it I posted days ago that link to Ferencz's letter to New York Times and not a pips."

U can't fool all of the people all of the time. I wasn't fooled by Ferencz's claim to righteousness based on Harvard when his Nuremberg activities were outrageous and the Nuremberg set-up itself was that of a kangaroo court.

"Are you defending Trump's war crimes as against bringing the Nazis to justice?"

Trump's war crimes are indefensible; the Nuremberg trials were not about "bringing Nazis to justice," they involved, as Rabbi Wise said, a largely Jewish exercise in revenge. If Nuremberg were about "justice," Wise himself would have been in the dock along with FDR (post mortem), Churchill, Stalin, and Truman + + +
If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

But that does not make the Nuremberg trials the model of justice: they were not: as Rabbi Stephen Wise wrote to his family, months before the trials began, they were set up by FDR's man Robert Jackson as a

" broad departure from Anglo-Saxon legal tradition. [in which]
Retroactively "aggressive war-making" becomes criminally punishable–with membership in the Gestapo prima facie proof of criminal participation."

Ferencz's co-ethnics participated in the creation of the kangaroo court that Ferencz himself utilized more to vent his spleen than to establish international models of justice.

That is why the so-called Nuremberg principles have not and cannot be properly applied to the war crimes committed by Bush (I and II), by Clinton (Bill & Hill), Obama, Trump -- not to mention FDR, Truman & Churchill.

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless: if they were effective bodies for meting justice, even the sanctions on Iran would be subject to judgment under United Nations Charter, along with Victoria Kagan Nuland's subversion of Ukraine and every other 'color revolution' US has engaged in: the UN Charter proscribes interference in the internal affairs of member states.

ak74 , Jan 19 2020 2:13 utc | 62
In the Orwellian value system of America, Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak for America's brazen war crimes, wars of aggression, and shredding of international law.

America is a mafia nation masquerading as a democracy.

And Donald Trump is a two-bit New York mafioso don in charge of this America Mafia state.

JC , Jan 19 2020 2:29 utc | 63
@El Cid 23

Hey you missed out Israel - "will be completely out of Palestine and return Golan Height to Syria"

Wishfool thinking !

james , Jan 19 2020 2:31 utc | 64
@51 chasmark.... thanks.. got it.. i don't much much of anything about the man..
Dr. George W Oprisko , Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
To ChasMark........

You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

So.........

You won't mind............ will you.............

IF someone chooses to put a hellfire missile up your ASS!!

INDY

Idland , Jan 19 2020 3:01 utc | 66
Just monitor any of Pompeo's HD presentations. Look for blink rate and eye micro movements, (saccades).Real evidence of lizard brain psycopathy.
Circe , Jan 19 2020 3:03 utc | 67
Trump recounts minute by minute details of Soleimani assassination at a fundraiser held at his Florida resort. Cause that's what normal people do; brag about murdering someone. I'll bet his fat cat Zionist friends emptied their coffers. SICK.

trump-brags-killed-2-for-price-of-1

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:09 utc | 68
ak74 @62: Mike Pompeo's idea of "deterrence" is really NewSpeak ...

Exactly. And we might add:

"America First" means America is the Empire's Fist;

"Stand with the people of " is 'New World Order' psyop;

"Economic sanctions" is the economic part of hybrid warfare;

"War on terror" is the war on ALL enemies of the empire via terrorist destabilization;

"Russiagate" is McCarthyist war on dissent;

"Trump" is the latest dear leader whose flaws are blessings and whose 'gut instinct' is God's will. We know this because his fake enemies (like the Democrats, "fake news", and ISIS) always fail when they confront him.


!!
V , Jan 19 2020 3:12 utc | 69 Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 19 2020 2:46 utc | 65
You are a CIA/NSA TROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!

Are you sure you actually read Chasmark @ 61?
Nowhere does he; You condone pre-meditated MURDER!!!
What Chasmark did, was to post the truth of the Nuremberg Trials.
They were an out and out sham...
You definitely need to up your reading comprehension and or, your knowledge of history...

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:22 utc | 70
And the other countries of the world whine, but do nothing. I'm afraid they've become as shallow and self-absorbed as most Americans, afraid to confront the world's bully.

Torches and pitchforks are needed, and we get marches. I'm afraid the depravity has to get worse before direct action is taken.

I only hope to live long enough to see the debacle that is inevitable, even if takes me with it.

Justice and truth demand a reckoning..

Sounds dark, I know, but these are very dark days.

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 3:26 utc | 71
@ ChasMark 61 in reply to mine @ 56

Among some of very good points you made, I take issue:

"Your retorts don't make sense relative to anything I've posted."

Perhaps you should re-read my comment vs what you posited. Look to Gitmo; is it any different to your critique of Nuremberg where there was a trial, albeit with deficiencies, vs holding and torturing prisoners over 18 years without a trial? that was my point.

You continue to offer up Rabbi Wise who proffered the Nuremberg trials were [.] "a largely Jewish exercise in revenge"

I may add, they are also continuing to take out their revenge on Palestinians who had nothing to do with events in Germany. The once oppressed have become oppressors.

If Congress were just, it would be impeaching Trump, Pompeo, Pence etc. for war crimes.

Don't expect justice from Congress they are all too busy at the money trough to recognize war crimes.
War crimes are prosecuted by the ICC which the US and Israel do not recognize. US is not a state party; have threatened, denied visas and barred entry to ICC investigators of war crimes

Further, as Ferencz surely realizes, "The United Nations Charter, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice in The Hague" are toothless:

Toothless! Perhaps but
Don't tell that to Africans or Slobodan Milosevic while ELITES residing on that sliver of the "occupied lands of Palestine" continue to roam free. Oh wait, they are the chosen ones who rule the world!

ben , Jan 19 2020 3:31 utc | 72
@71 said in part; "The once oppressed have become oppressors."

A succinct description of the Israelis..

fundas , Jan 19 2020 3:39 utc | 73
Pompeo's speech may just be an attempt to reduce the cost of a future false flag assassination that could be blamed on one of the enemies. If the enemy does what we do, no need for an all out war. There will be a range of response options including just firing a few missiles. Cost of war with the chosen enemy may be too high or the timing just not right.
snake , Jan 19 2020 3:41 utc | 74
William Gruff @ 9 Expressions of <=reality-disconnected human behavior=> describes victim response to rules, enforcement behaviors and media products that bathe the differentiation space that allows to produce human automatons. An examination of the forces at work inside of the nation state container (differentiation space) will likely reveal private and external forces that produce in these public containers, reality-disconnected human responders (human behavior is a function of its environment; all learning is a result of personal experience). No one can learn from another, but everyone can learn from the behaviors of that other.

The physical environment is nature's doing, but the non physical environment is man's doing. We can organize content as a product of the physical environment ( we build a home) or as a product of the virtual environment (we produce a movie).

Conscious physical man is a highly differentiated product of both environments. A person growing up in the jungles of Belize, will not learn to operate a sled designed to operate in snow, and a person in the cold north will not learn to survive in the topical jungles of the Amazon. Experience is the only teacher, human expression is the experience modified product of sets of expressed genes. Experience in both the physical environment and the virtual environment contribute to the human response to the challenges of life. The virtual environment is about knowledge, habit, privilege, opportunity and a host of other non physical components. see Law, Moral attitudes, and behavioral change, p. 243 ref and to be clear behavior has three components. ref 7

What is this virtual space (environment) that allows differentiated humans to be manufactured from genetic material in to adult automatons. How are these automatons programmed? Since is it rarely possible to modify the physical space; most human differentiation occurs in virtual space. How many such digital spaces are there? virtual content means<= the verbal and non verbal (ref.12) discourse that engages interactively with the mind (conscious and unconsciousness). Environments can be natural or manufactured. Environment then is the container space. The contents of the manufactured environment are psycho-econo-socio-metically designed, media engineered, sets of media products. Each nation state supports a different set of contents within its container space. The order, arrangement and time of environments presented controls the mental behaviors of the media connected humans who reside within the container space environment.

The content of each nation state in the system is a set of environment variables operative in each human container. Two hundred and six different container spaces (the global nation state system=NSS) divides and separates the 8 billion humans in the world. Human differentiation is a product of the 206 different container environments. Your observation that "Pompeo is a psycho"; expresses the real problem for humanity; its leaders are the products of the physical and virtual content of the host nation state within the system of nation states. Each nation state is led by a few. I say to solve this always war condition it is necessary to control the humans that occupy the positions in the nation states or to eliminate the nation state system, and find some better way to address human need for governance.


1. VR empathy
2. self regulation in response to?
3. developing ideas into simulated experiences
4. regulated behavior
5. modify behavior
6. understanding conditions where regulation succeeds or fails to change underlying attitudes.
7. behavior has three components
8. drivers of behavior
9. basic-behavior-components/
10. learning to respond appropriately
11. genetic variables impacting responsive behavior
12. Communication is actually a constant flow of nonverbal and verbal details

The container space supports 24/7 digital presentations. humans animate the human containers, and the human containers constitution the nation states.

Pompeo is a victim of nation state programming, the question is, which nation state programmed him?

Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 3:45 utc | 75
That strike, which was only the first part of Iran's response to the murdering of Soleimani, deterred the U.S. from further action.

Is USA really 'deterred' or just didn't want war at this time? USA is 'deterred' if the Iranian response actually stopped them in some way.

But they took Iran's 'slap' and RESPONDED (though not militarily) with more sanctions and even tried to turn the attack to their advantage by saying (initially) that Iran missed on purpose ( as I explained here ) and conducting Electronic Warfare/Info War that may have contributed to Iran's mistaken downing of a commercial airliner.

And, as bar patrons know only too well, Pompeo has refused to negotiate a USA exit from Iraq, saying that "USA is a force for good in the Middle East".

IMO USA wants to put on UN sanctions (now in progress) and, when war comes, USA will portray it as entirely Iran's fault. The claim will be that Iran is "lashing out" due to "sanctions imposed by the world community" .

!!

tjfxh , Jan 19 2020 3:54 utc | 76
Why does anyone gives either the president or US officials credence regarding what they say, especially Secretary Pompeo, not to mention POTUS? Taking Pompeo at this word and responding to it strikes me as a waste of time. These people are never going to say publicly what they are up to, which is world domination. Nor is it their own ideal. This has been the policy of the US elite at least since WWII, which was simply a transfer of the seat of power from London to Washington as the British Empire morphed into the Anglo-American Empire. Global domination through sea power was British policy for centuries and the US just recently joining the game, especially when the game expanded to air power as well. Arguably, this goes back to the end of WWI, if not the Spanish-American war that embarked the US on empire.
Idland , Jan 19 2020 4:00 utc | 77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 4:39 utc | 78
Deterrence, I guess is the politically correct term for what Trump is doing.
He sees that the Dollar hegemonic empire was crumbling same as most who don't rely on MSM for their news.
Trump believes US can hold its position in the world through pure military power, or the threat of military power.
He wants to regain what he calls importance from early 90s when US was sole undisputed superpower.
Iran though, he believes is a blot on USA's past that needs erasing.
Throughout the election campaign, Trump's big thing was rebuilding US military. He believes this will restore US power in the world. Ruling through the world fear rather than soft power and blackmail.
juliania , Jan 19 2020 4:54 utc | 79
Well said, dorje @ 43. That is how it is.

Today is Theophany in the Orthodox Christian Church, the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan:

Today Thou hast appeared to the universe
and Thy light, O Lord, hast shone on us,
who with understanding praise Thee:
Thou hast come and revealed Thyself
O Light Unapproachable!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 5:03 utc | 80
The 2000 page report about Afganistan sums up USA's criminal insanity. Further, Trump says the response attack from Iran did not harm troops nor do anything of significant damage. Indeed Iran's missiles are far superior than the USA's and the counter attack for the General's assassination. I have mused, that, perhaps the USA was/is set up in this scenario via Iran, Et Al.
ak74 , Jan 19 2020 5:09 utc | 81
The basis of the American Empire and its parasitic economy and Way of Life(TM) itself are premised on what should be called America's Dollar Dictatorship.

Because of the US Dollar, America is able to wage economic siege warfare (aka economic sanctions) on multiple nations around the planet--all in order to impose the Land of the Free's imperial dictates on them.

This is American global gangsterism in everything but name--and disguised behind the founding American deceptions of "Freedom and Democracy."

The vast majority Americans--including some fake "alternative media" shills--will attempt to spindoctor this issue by avoiding such blunt description of this system.

Instead, they prefer to employ Orwellian euphemisms about the "US PetroDollar" or the "US Dollar Reserve Currency" or how America's superpower status is dependent on this dollar syistem.

But former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accurately calls out this system for what it is: America's global dictatorship of the Dollar.

This is another reason why America has such hatred for Iran:

Dollar dictatorship the foundation of American empire - Iran's Ahmadinejad
https://www.rt.com/business/435310-dollar-us-empire-reorder-ahmadinejad/

America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East
https://michael-hudson.com/2020/01/america-escalates-its-democratic-oil-war-in-the-near-east/

Mike Javaras , Jan 19 2020 5:13 utc | 82
Best explanation I've seen yet of the 752 jet takedown. It was a false flag attack by the US or its allies intended to frame Iran. The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger and was several seconds from crashing anyway. The rich kids of Tehran were in the housing complex at 6 AM to film the Stinger shootdown by their terrorist buddies. They have properly been arrested. There have been other arrests too. I wonder what they will come up with.

This makes more sense than any other theory I have seen.

https://beyondhighbrow.com/2020/01/18/false-flag-flight-752-in-iran-was-shot-down-by-us-allies-with-a-stinger-missile-not-by-an-iranian-missile/

Likklemore , Jan 19 2020 5:20 utc | 83
@ Peter AU1 78

Tom Luongo, who frequently cites b, has coined a new word for Trump's and his minions tactics. Tom asks:

Does Gangsternomics Meet its End in the Iraqi Desert?

In the aftermath of the killing of Iranian IRGC General Qassem Soleimani a lot of questions hung in the air. The big one was, in my mind, "Why now?"

There are a lot of angles to answer that question. Many of them were supplied by caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi who tried to let the world know through official (and unofficial) channels of the extent of the pressure he was under by the U.S.

In short, President Trump was engaged in months of what can best be described as gangsternomics in directing the course of Iraq's future economic and political development.[/]

Iraq's importance goes much farther than just protecting the petrodollar to the U.S. It is the fulcrum now on which the entire U.S. defense against Eurasian integration rests. The entire region is slipping out of the grasp of the U.S.


And this started with Russia moving into Syria in 2015 successfully. We are downstream of this as it has blown open the playbook and revealed it for how ugly it is.

Trump's crude gangster tactics in Iraq, Venezuela, Bolivia and to a lesser extent in Syria cannot be hidden behind the false veil of moral preening and virtue signaling about bringing democracy to these benighted places.[/]

What began in Syria with Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and China standing up together and saying, "No," continues today in Iraq. To this point Iran has been the major actor. Tomorrow it will be Russia, China and India.

And that is what is ultimately at stake here, the ability of the U.S. to employ gangsternomics in the Middle East and make it stick.[.]

By the time Trump is done threatening people over S-400's and pipelines the entire world will be happy to trade in yuan and/or rubles rather than dollars.[.]


full article here

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 5:40 utc | 84
"...deterrence to protect America."

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

While this might be obvious to us, the narrative that US foreign policy is about protecting citizens, values and apple pie from 'bad guys' -- and indeed that the militaries of all Western countries are benign police forces preventing ISIS from burning your old Eagles albums and other violations of 'freedom' -- is such a regular part of the MSM/cinema diet masticated by the general public that we have completely forgotten that the basic function of the armed forces is the pursuit of vested interests through superior violence. It always seemed strange to me that the post-ww2 cinematic template for war-movies, and by extension the basic plot of all reporting of western military activity in the media, always represented the enemy as evil precisely because they use militaries in an instrumental way (i.e for the purpose they were designed). The Germans, or for that matter the Persians in 300 , or any baddies in war films, seek to extend and protect their interests (real or imagined) by deploying armed forces. The good guys are always identifiable through this idea of 'deterrence': "hey man, all we want is just to live and let live, but you pushed us so we pushed back." Then one stirs in a little 'preemptive deterrence': you looked like you were going to push so we acted. If we 'accidentally' go too far, it's because there is a deranged C-in-C: Hitler, or Xerxes, or some other naughty boy who can be the fall-guy, scapegoat, etc. To get serious we need to go back a very long way, to, say, the Iliad , which, like all Greek (and Roman) literature, assumes as a premise (and it's tragedy) that the warrior's basic function is to kill, pillage, rape and occasionally protect others from the same. But mostly take by force . No qualms or BS 'deterrence', armies are for taking other people's stuff by force (land-grabs, etc). I would respect Pompeo a whole lot more (but not much more...) if he just once came out and said: "Iran is run by people who don't want us to take their stuff; we want to undermine them and replace them with paid yes-men who will let us take Iran's stuff. We will use violence and armed force to make this happen. But we have no intention of distributing this loot evenly among our citizens. Instead it will be paid as dividends to select shareholders and spent retooling the military for next poor bastards who stand up to us."

Just once.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85
Patroklos 84
Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?
Jackrabbit , Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 86
Mike Javaras @82: The Iranian missile hit second after the plane had already been hit by the Stinger ...

MANPADs like Stingers are heat-seeking. They go after ENGINES. On a big plane like PS732, a MANPADs is unlikely to have stopped the transponder and communications.

Philip Giraldi points a finger at US/Israeli Electronic Warfare:

Who Targeted Ukraine Airlines Flight 752?
Iran Shot It Down But There May Be More to the Story

Giraldi thinks the transponder was hacked. But the article he cites also talks about a device on board that would've allowed for EW. And he notes that Israel probably ALSO has the capability to have been responsible for the EW and/or device on board.

!!

Biloximarxkelly , Jan 19 2020 6:01 utc | 87
All sentinent beings are working on the evolution of our planet & humanity. Problem is the very worst of our species are incurably criminally insane.

Love your blog MOA

Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 6:05 utc | 88
Likklemore 83

Thanks. Gangsternomics seems a good term for Trump's vision of US world power. Trump is pragmatic or realist in that he knows there is no court or authority to hold the US to account.
As to US holding power purely through military power, that can only happen long term if he gets hold of a good chunk of the worlds energy reserves (as in Persian gulf and Venezuela oil). If he doesn't achieve that, then the US goes down. Iran needs to ensure it stays under Russia's nuclear umbrella as there are no rules.

V , Jan 19 2020 6:21 utc | 89
MOSCOW – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated there is unverified information that at least six American F-35 jets were in the Iranian border area at the time when Tehran accidentally downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 last week.

www.fortruss.com

krollchem , Jan 19 2020 6:27 utc | 90
Sickening series of Trump interviews and speeches demanding that Iraq pay America and its allies over a trillion dollars for liberating Iraq (time stamp 8:20 to 12:00).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWZfDJerI0o

This demonstrates that US attacks in Iraq over the last 30-40 years was mostly about the control (including transportation routes) and than profiting from its oil and gas reserves.

A secondary reason is to put troop on the border with Iran to further destabilize it via state terrorism to overthrow the government and then take its oil and gas too.

It will get interesting when a pro Iranian new Prime minister takes office and China offers Iraq a line of credit equivalent to the funds that would be frozen in Western bank accounts if Iraq actually demands the troops to leave.

"The Iran-linked Binaa parliamentary voting bloc has nominated Asaad al-Edani, a former minister and governor of oil-rich Basra province. Binaa's bloc is mostly made up of the Fatah party led by militia leader turned politician Hadi al-Ameri, who is close to Tehran."

The Kurdish President of Iraq has stated that "Out of an eagerness to spare blood and preserve civil peace, I apologize for not naming Edani prime minister," the letter continued. "I am ready to submit my resignation to parliament."
https://time.com/5755588/iraq-president-resignation/

Currently, the rival Sairoon bloc, headed by populist Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it would not participate in the process of nominating a new premier."
https://www.ft.com/content/50f09fe4-27f4-11ea-9a4f-963f0ec7e134

However, "Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded that Iraqis stage a "million-man march" against the continued US military presence in the country"
https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981025000319

I close with a visionary French rock opera Starmania "story of an alternate reality where a fascist millionaire (read Trump) famous for building skyscrapers is running for president on an anti-immigration policy, and where the poor are getting more and more desperate for their voices to be heard."
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78LytR-6Xmk


Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91
@hopehely | Jan 19 2020 6:00 utc | 85

Xerxes wanted water from Spartans, Hitler wanted land from "subhumans", but I don't see what kind of stuff Americans want from Iranians. When they had Iran under control during Pahlavi rule, what stuff did they take from Iran? They were giving Iran lots of money - didn't give them USD printing press machine too?

Assuming that your post was serious...

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;
2. Lebensraum was indeed a specific war aim of Hitler;
3. Under the Shah Anglo-American (not mention Dutch, French and other) interests skimmed all Iranian energy resources, kept the USSR under pressure on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and provided a key friendly power in the most important region of central Asia. Petro-dollar supremacy could not have been established without control of the Persian Gulf. The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

psychohistorian , Jan 19 2020 6:47 utc | 92
@ krollchem #90 with the Starmania link that is not working

I get the following error from Oregon, USA
"
Video unavailable
This video contains content from WMG, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
"

Thanks for the rest of the comment and agree with the sickness of demanding Iraq pay for being invaded.

When will all this idiocy end? Soon I hope.

hopehely , Jan 19 2020 7:08 utc | 93
Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 19 2020 6:39 utc | 91

1. Water from the Spartans? That makes absolutely no sense as a glance at any historical map of the Achaemenid Empire will show;

That was in the movie 300. I guess you did not watch it. :-)

The Persian elite were given wonderful opportunities while the rest... well we know what the rest get.

Not just the elite. Persian middle class was pretty well off too. Spending vacation in Europe was easy, quite affordable. Not any more. I know I know, those dang sanctions... well that is what you get when you piss off the big dawg.

uncle tungsten , Jan 19 2020 7:20 utc | 94
Idland #77
Anybody know what's up with Andrew Peek getting sacked from the NSC Russia desk tonight?

Odd that, and he seemed like such a trustworthy chap as indicated in his twitter feed.
Perhaps he has some Ciaramella connections that would make Trump uncomfortable. Or Trump is taking absolutely no more chances with any insider he has no control over when attending high level meetings.

Patroklos , Jan 19 2020 7:34 utc | 95
@ hopehely 93

Are you talking about 'earth and water' ? The symbolic gesture of submission to the Great King? That's a very different thing altogether. You make it sound like 'water rights'... I did indeed watch the film I'm sad to say, but Xerxes was not after water.

I'd like to know what proportion of the pre-1979 population of Iran qualified as 'middle-class' and what that meant in real terms. Outside of Tehran, Shiraz, etc there probably weren't a lot of Iranians skiing in St Moritz.

Richard , Jan 19 2020 7:35 utc | 96
There are certain signs that nations exhibit when they slide into becoming 'regimes'...targeted, illegal assassinations of opponents is one of these; America's recent political trajectory has been from oligarchy to kakistocracy and now, it seems, to regime - banana republic next, perhaps?...

https://richardhennerley.com/2020/01/14/welcome-to-the-american-regime/

arata , Jan 19 2020 8:22 utc | 97
Soleimani had delivered an speech on 2 August 2018 in Hamadan, in his speech he read 5 verses poems from Rumi the famous Persian poet lived on 13 century. You can watch and listen minute 35:45 of the film , if you know Farsi. He said let enemy pay attention to these poems.

He has selected 5 verses from two locations from Book3 of Masnavi.

How the lover, impelled by love, said "I don't care" to the person who counseled and scolded him.

Verse 3833 : Do not thou threaten me with being killed // For I thirst lamentably for mine own blood.

V-3838 : If that One of friendly countenance shed my blood, // dancing (in triumph) I will strew (lavish) my soul (life) upon Him.

Story of those who ate the young elephant from greed and because they neglected the advice of the sincere counselor.

V-96 : Men dance and whirl on the battle-field // They dance in their own blood.

V-97 : They clap a hand when they are freed from the hand of ego // They make a dance when they jump out from their own imperfection,

V-98: The inner musicians strike the tambourine // The Oceans burst into foam from their ecstasy

I think Soleimani selected last 3 verses from this story of baby elephant killer, and revenge of the mother elephant, without intending the content of story. But the coincidence is striking.

psychedelicatessen , Jan 19 2020 9:14 utc | 98
Peter AU1 @78

No fault in your reasoning, particularly when expressing this from Trump's point of view. I'd go a bit further and suggest he understands Iran, North Korea and Cuba are the only remaining nations without a Rothschild central bank. Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency. Upgrading hardware with a tactical nuclear weapon preference, isn't synonymous with rebuilding. What's neglected are the people operating any apparatus. As an example, there is no timely military action to counter mining of the Strait of Hormuz as illustrated by Death and Neglect in the 7th Fleet . A firsthand account from a U.S. Naval officer is eye opening (emphasis mine).

He'd seen his ship, one of the Navy's fleet of 11 minesweepers, sidelined by repairs and maintenance for more than 20 months. Once the ship, based in Japan, returned to action, its crew was only able to conduct its most essential training -- how to identify and defuse underwater mines -- for fewer than 10 days the entire next year . During those training missions, the officer said, the crew found it hard to trust the ship's faulty navigation system: It ran on Windows 2000.

Sonar which identifies dishwashers, crab traps and cars as possible mines, can hardly be considered a rebuilt military. The Navy's eleven minesweepers built more than 25 years ago, have had their decommissioning continually delayed because no replacement plan was implemented. I'll await the deeper understanding of 'deterrence' from b, even as I consider willingness to commit and brag about war crimes as beyond the point of no return.
Peter AU1 , Jan 19 2020 9:32 utc | 99
psychedelicatessen "Thinking he's successfully rebuilt the U.S. military could be the single most critical failure of his presidency."

I would be in agreement on the overall gist of your reply, but on Trump thinking he's successfully rebuilt the US military, I'm not so sure. He is a pragmatic gangster when it comes to world affairs which is why his Nuclear Posture Review lowered the threshold of first use of nukes. b's previous post on 'How Trump rebelled against the generals' also fits in with this line of thought.
I believe Trump needs to be thought of as a CEO brought in to pull a company back from the edge of bankruptcy. I think that is the way he sees himself, and as I have put in previous comments, there are no rules. I had thought Trump may be adverse to pure terrorism but depending on what comes of the Ukie airliner shootdown in Iran, there may be absolutely no rules as far as Trump is concerned.

ADKC , Jan 19 2020 9:33 utc | 100
Jackrabbit @86

The article linked by Mike Jarvis @86 makes observational comments about the behavior of the first missile strike in PS752 and that it must have been a stinger/manpad (and not a Tor). The same article also concludes that EW must also have been involved. Everything I have read indicates that the first missile strike behaved like a stinger/manpad - until this can be disproved it must remain a valid theory.

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

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

IronForge , Jan 18 2020 3:03 utc | 93

The MIC were running about without leashes.

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

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

That would include BoneShards' Adult Children and Spouses.

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

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

lysias , Jan 18 2020 3:24 utc | 97

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

[Jan 19, 2020] Iran has long been viewed as central for securing US hegemony over Eurasia

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul , Jan 18 2020 0:29 utc | 74

Iran has long been viewed as central for securing US hegemony over Eurasia and the US/UK have not recovered from the 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran has: 1) large reserves of oil and natural gas, 2) key Geo-strategic position- near the convergence of three continents, straddling the Middle East and Central Asia, and abutting the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman, a strategic "choke point" through which circa 25% of the world's energy transits. As summarized by Dan Glazebrook- "The reason for this obsession with destroying Iran – shared by all factions of the Western ruling class, despite their differences over means – is obvious: Iran's very existence as an independent state threatens imperial control of the region – which in turn underpins both US military power and the global role of the dollar."
During the 2016 campaign, then candidate Trump constantly railed against the JCPOA ('Iran nuclear deal'), as the 'worst' treaty the US ever signed. After becoming President, Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018 and immediately imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran, vowing to reduce energy exports to zero, effectively declaring economic war on Iran. I suspect Trump represents a faction in the US ruling establishment committed to regime change in Iran. Trump may have believed that Iran would buckle under the weight of US economic sanctions and capitulate to US demands. These include instillation of a US- friendly government that will: 1) stop supporting Hezbollah, Bashar Assad in Syria and the Houthi-Ansarullah movement in Yemen, and 2) allow US energy firms to loot Iran's energy reserves. As this approach has not worked, Trump is now aggressively pursuing the military arm of this policy.
The New Year started with a proverbial 'bang' with Trump giving the go ahead for the targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi General Abu Madhi al-Muhandis, which had been long in planning. As pointed out by Pepe Escobar- 'It does not matter where the green light for the assassination.... came from....This is an act of war. Unilateral, unprovoked and illegal.' Not surprisingly, Trump's actions have been generally well received by Congress and corporate media. We are now seeing US vassals- UK, France and Germany line up behind Trump to enact the dispute resolution mechanism (DRM) and sanctions snapback provision, resulting in the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Apparently, this action was prodded by Trump's threats to apply 25% tariffs to EU auto exports to the US.
It appears Pentagon war plans for Iran are being put in place. As per a recent piece by William Arkin in Newsweek- prior to Trump's inauguration, the US military carried out an exercise "Global Thunder 17", simulating a nuclear response against Iran in retaliation for the sinking of an American aircraft carrier and use of chemical weapons against US troops. This war scenario was chosen because it "allowed the greatest integration of nuclear weapons, conventional military, missile defense, cyber, and space into what nuclear strategists call '21st Century deterrence.'" The Pentagon now has a 'low yield' nuclear warhead- W76–2, apparently developed for an Iran-type of scenario. These weapons are deliverable by submarine-launched Trident II missiles.
So where do we stand?
It is doubtful that Trump will be convicted by the Republican- controlled Senate. This will only embolden him more. US vassals- UK, France and Germany are lining up behind Trump to enact the dispute resolution mechanism (DRM) and sanctions snapback provision, resulting in the re-imposition of UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Apparently, this action was prodded by Trump's threats to apply 25% tariffs to EU auto exports to the US. Canada, Australia and New Zealand have also expressed support for Trump's position. France is deploying her only aircraft carrier to the ME to 'fight ISIS'.
Corporate media is largely on board with Trump's plan.
Over the last two decades, the US has expended (squandered) astronomical sums of taxpayer money (>$6 Trillion) and lives of thousands of troops on ME wars. After committing such large amounts of financial and human capital, the Pentagon has no intention of admitting their mistakes or changing their behavior. Doing so is an acknowledgement of failure and by extension military weakness. Further, the strength and stability of the dollar and more broadly US global power, is contingent on maintaining control of ME energy reserves. The financial elite/directors of US foreign policy are well aware of continuing US economic decline and looming strategic debacles confronting the Pentagon in Afghanistan (longest war in US history), Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Logic dictates that the US cannot 'win' a war with Iran, but this assumes one is dealing with rational thinking. By exiting the JCPOA, Trump put the US on a collision course with Iran. Alea iacta est (l. 'The die is cast'). Links of potential interest follow.
Notes
1. With a New Weapon in Donald Trump's Hands, the Iran Crisis Risks Going NuclearBy William Arkin Jan 13, 2020; Link: www.newsweek.com/trump-iran-new-nuclear-weapon-increases-risk-crisis-nuclear-1481752
2. Washington continues war buildup against Iran By Bill Van Auken Jan 17, 2020; Link: www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/01/17/iran-j17.html

[Jan 19, 2020] Jim Webb The Iran crisis isn't a failure of the executive branch alone

Jan 19, 2020 | www.washingtonpost.com

Jim Webb: The Iran crisis isn't a failure of the executive branch alone - When did it become acceptable to kill a top leader of a country we aren't even at war with?

Visitors walk around the stairs inside of the Rotunda to the top of the Capitol dome last month in Washington. (Samuel Corum/AFP/Getty Images) By Jim Webb January 9

Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, served in the U.S. Senate from 2007 to 2013 and was secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan from 1987 to 1988.

Strongly held views are unlikely to change regarding the morality and tactical wisdom of President Trump's decision to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani as he traveled on a road outside the Baghdad airport after having arrived on a commercial flight . But the debate regarding the long-term impact of this act on America's place in the world, and the potential vulnerability of U.S. government officials to similar reprisals, has just begun.

How did it become acceptable to assassinate one of the top military officers of a country with whom we are not formally at war during a public visit to a third country that had no opposition to his presence? And what precedent has this assassination established on the acceptable conduct of nation-states toward military leaders of countries with which we might have strong disagreement short of actual war -- or for their future actions toward our own people?

With respect to Iran, unfortunately, this is hardly a new issue.

In 2007, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution calling on the George W. Bush administration to categorize Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as an international terrorist organization. I opposed this proposal based on the irrefutable fact that the organization was an inseparable arm of the Iranian government. The Revolutionary Guards are not independent actors like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State. They are part of the Iranian government's formal military structure, with an estimated strength of more than 150,000 members . It is legally and logically impossible to define one part of a national government as an international terrorist organization without applying the term to that entire government.

Definitions define conduct. If terrorist organizations are actively involved against us, we attack them. But a terrorist organization is by definition a nongovernmental entity that operates along the creases of national sovereignties and international law. The Revolutionary Guards are a part of the Iranian government. If they are attacking us, they are not a terrorist organization. They're an attacking army.

The 2007 proposal did not succeed. But last April the State Department unilaterally designated the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist entity. Although more than 60 organizations are listed in this category, this is the only time our government has ever identified an element of a nation-state as a terrorist organization. And the designation was by many accounts made despite the opposition of the CIA and the Defense Department.

Which leads us to Soleimani.

The assassination of the most well-known military commander of a country with which we are not formally at war during his visit to a third country that had not opposed his presence invites a lax moral justification for a plethora of retaliatory measures -- and not only from Iran. It also holds the possibility of more deeply entrenching the U.S. military in a region that most Americans would very much prefer to deal with from a more maneuverable distance.

No thinking American would support Soleimani's conduct. But it is also indisputable that his activities were carried out as part of his military duties. His harm to American military units was through his role as an enabler and adviser to third-country forces. This, frankly, is a reality of war.

I fought as a Marine in Vietnam. We had similar problems throughout the Vietnam War because of Vietnam's propinquity to China, which along with the Soviet Union provided continuous support to the North Vietnamese, including most of the weapons used against us on the battlefield. China was then a rogue state with nuclear weapons. Its leaders continually spouted anti-U.S. rhetoric. Yet we did not assassinate its military leaders for rendering tactical advice or logistical assistance. We fought the war that was in front of us, and we created the conditions in which we engaged China aggressively through diplomatic, economic and other means.

Now, despite Trump's previous assertions that he wants to dramatically reduce the United States' footprint in the Middle East, it seems clear that he has been seduced into making unwise announcements similar to the rhetoric used by his immediate predecessors of both parties. Their blunders -- in Iraq, Libya and Syria -- destabilized the region and distracted the United States from its greatest long-term challenge: China's military and economic expansion throughout the world.

At a time when our political debates have come to resemble Kardashian-like ego squabbles, the United States desperately needs common-sense leadership in its foreign policy. This is not a failure of the executive branch alone; it is the result of a breakdown in our entire foreign policy establishment, from the executive branch to the legislative branch and even to many of our once-revered think tanks. If partisanship in foreign policy should end at the water's edge, then such policies should be forged through respectful, bipartisan debate.

The first such debate should focus on the administration's unilateral decision to label an entire element of a foreign government an international terrorist organization. If Congress wishes to hold Iran to such a standard, it should then formally authorize the use of force against Iran's government. The failure of congressional leadership to make these kinds of decisions is an example of why our foreign policy has become so militarized, and of how weak and even irrelevant Congress has allowed itself to become in the eyes of our citizens.

Read more:

[Jan 19, 2020] The Suleimani assassination, imperialist strategy and the crisis of the Iranian regime by Keith Jones

16 January 2020
Notable quotes:
"... In diplomatic terms, the US drive to force Iran into neo-colonial subjugation is expressed in Trump and Pompeo's demand that Tehran negotiate a replacement to the "flawed" Iran nuclear deal -- a "Trump deal" that would severely limit Iran's military, "roll back" its influence across the Middle East, and permanently bar it from a civil nuclear program. ..."
"... it is animated by the calculation that a "grand bargain" more favorable to US imperialism can be extorted from the crisis-ridden and deeply divided Iranian bourgeoisie, under conditions where it is facing not only ever-escalating external pressure, but also massive social opposition, above all from the working class. ..."
"... The Iranian regime was shaken by an explosion of popular anger against austerity and social inequality at the beginning of 2018. Last November, when massive gas price hikes sparked demonstrations in more than 100 cities, some of them violent, the Iranian government again responded with brutal repression, reportedly killing scores of protesters ..."
"... The assassination of Suleimani was itself clearly targeted at more than "just" threatening and destabilizing the Islamic Republic. It was aimed at shifting the internal dynamics of the Iranian regime. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

As with any sudden turn in world geopolitics, the true purpose and full implications of Washington's criminal assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard General Qassem Suleimani are emerging only with the passage of time.

The Trump administration's claims that the assassination was in response to an imminent threat to American lives have been exposed as blatant lies. Suleimani's murder was months in the planning and long advocated by key figures in the US military-foreign policy establishment, including CIA head Gina Haspel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton.

The killing of the military leader, who was widely viewed as second only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Iran's power structure, constitutes a dramatic escalation of the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" on Iran. This campaign combines unrelenting diplomatic and military pressure with devastating economic sanctions -- that are themselves tantamount to an act of war -- cyber-warfare and other "special ops."

It is aimed at "turning" Iran and bringing to power -- whether through the reconfiguration or outright overthrow of Iran's Shia clergy-led bourgeois nationalist regime -- a government in Tehran, akin to the Shah's bloody quarter-century-long dictatorship, that will be at American imperialism's beck and call.

Iran has long been viewed by US imperialist strategists as central to its drive to secure hegemony over all Eurasia. This is because of its vast oil wealth and its geo-strategic position, near the convergence of three continents and straddling the Middle East and Central Asia, the world's two most important oil exporting regions.

In diplomatic terms, the US drive to force Iran into neo-colonial subjugation is expressed in Trump and Pompeo's demand that Tehran negotiate a replacement to the "flawed" Iran nuclear deal -- a "Trump deal" that would severely limit Iran's military, "roll back" its influence across the Middle East, and permanently bar it from a civil nuclear program.

Washington's maximum pressure campaign against Iran is predicated on the "credible" threat of all-out war, and is intimately bound up with its preparations for "strategic conflict" with Russia and China. It could rapidly cascade into a catastrophic war with Iran that would engulf the entire Mideast and draw in the other great powers.

But it is animated by the calculation that a "grand bargain" more favorable to US imperialism can be extorted from the crisis-ridden and deeply divided Iranian bourgeoisie, under conditions where it is facing not only ever-escalating external pressure, but also massive social opposition, above all from the working class.

The Iranian regime was shaken by an explosion of popular anger against austerity and social inequality at the beginning of 2018. Last November, when massive gas price hikes sparked demonstrations in more than 100 cities, some of them violent, the Iranian government again responded with brutal repression, reportedly killing scores of protesters .

The assassination of Suleimani was itself clearly targeted at more than "just" threatening and destabilizing the Islamic Republic. It was aimed at shifting the internal dynamics of the Iranian regime. It removed the military leader responsible for overseeing Iran's attempts to counteract US pressure through a network of foreign militia groups, most of them based on Shia populism. Suleimani, moreover, was a leader, as the subsequent mass demonstrations protesting his murder and the US war threats attested, who had a broad base of popular support.

Given the manner in which Suleimani died, including his evident lack of security, it is legitimate to ask whether factional opponents within the Iranian state facilitated his murder.

What is incontrovertible is that in the wake of his assassination and the tumultuous events it precipitated, the factional warfare has intensified, culminating in last week's inadvertent downing of a Ukrainian International Airlines plane by an Iranian Revolutionary Guard missile, its cover-up, and the outbreak of student demonstrations denouncing government negligence and repression.

Yesterday, President Hassan Rouhani, who spearheaded the push for the rapprochement with the European imperialist powers and Washington that resulted in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, denounced the military for failing to "apologize" for the downing of the passenger jet. He also criticized the recent decision of the Guardian Council to exclude many sitting parliamentarians from standing in the coming elections. He called for "national reconciliation" -- a slogan long raised by supporters of the Greens, a movement based in dissident sections of the bourgeoisie and upper-middle class, which, with imperialist backing, disputed the outcome of the 2009 presidential election.

Meanwhile, on a visit to New Delhi in which he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif declared that the Indian government, a key US ally, could play an important "role in de-escalating tensions in the Gulf."

A major element in the Trump administration's drive to leverage the crisis of the Iranian regime and the longstanding cleavages within it has been the effort to cajole the European imperialist powers -- Germany, France and Britain -- into joining Washington in repudiating the Iran nuclear accord.

On Tuesday, the so-called E-3 took a giant step in this direction by initiating the accord's disputes resolution mechanism, thereby placing themselves on a fast track to join Washington in imposing and policing the sanctions that are strangling Iran's economy.

It is Washington that trashed the nuclear accord and is pursuing "maximum aggression" against Iran. Through its dominance of the world financial system, it has successfully shut down the world's trade with Iran, thereby making the quid pro quo underlying the nuclear accord -- the removal of sanctions in exchange for the dismantling of much of Iran's civil nuclear program -- null and void.

Yet, in what could only be music to Trump and Pompeo's ears, France, Germany and Britain are blaming Iran for violating the agreement, cynically citing Tehran's attempts to gain leverage by exceeding various JCPOA stipulations and accusing it of seeking nuclear weapons.

The European imperialist powers have been rattled by provocative and unilateral US actions that cut across their interests. Suleimani's assassination was just the latest rude shock.

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

That said, as in the case of Washington, a key factor in the Europeans' calculations is the character of Iran's bourgeois regime and its manifest crisis.

The European imperialist powers have clearly been emboldened by the Iranian regime's response to Suleimani's assassination, which was limited to missile strikes of which the Pentagon was given advance warning and which resulted in no casualties, and by its ham-fisted attempt to cover up its responsibility for the downing of Ukraine Air Flight 752.

For all its anti-American bluster, the Iranian regime is a bourgeois national regime. In so far as it has come into conflict with Washington, it has always been from the standpoint of increasing its own possibilities for exploiting the working class and boosting its regional influence.

The growing opposition from the working class impels Iran to intensify what has been a decades-long attempt to effect a rapprochement with every US administration, dating back at least to that of George H.W. Bush.

If it can, the Islamic Republic's elite, or sections of it, will strike a deal with imperialism at the expense of the masses. Even before Rouhani came to power in 2014 on a program that coupled overtures toward Washington and Europe with further privatizations, subsidy cuts and other anti-working class measures, the Iranian regime was involved in behind-the-scenes talks with the Obama administration on removing the sanctions.

Similar talks could happen in the future or even be underway though back channels now. Trump has shown in his dealings with North Korea that he is capable of pursuing such a two-track policy.

As for the so-called Iranian "hardliners," they are no less hostile to the working class than their factional opponents, as evidenced by the implementation of neo-liberal "reform" measures by every Iranian government since the late 1980s, and their readiness to unite with their factional opponents to suppress any challenge from below.

Ultimately, the "hardliners" supported the nuclear deal and the pursuit of closer relations with the US and the EU. Even more importantly, their strategy for opposing Washington--based on seeking close military-strategic ties with Russia and China and the use of Shia populism and religious sectarianism to rally support across the Middle East--is a blind alley that risks plunging the region and the world into a conflagration.

... ... ...

Keith Jones

[Jan 19, 2020] The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 11:21 utc | 120

The leadership in the US need to stop thinking that they are impervious to revenge. Very small drones can fly autonomously and each can carry 2 Kg of cargo which can be explosives, chemical or bioweapons or a combination. They are cheap, easy to build and can operate autonomously. With only using relatively simple algorithms they can be made to fly in groups and track using already extant facial recognition software. I can envision a scenario where drones are flown to the top of a semi-trailer somewhere south to hitch a ride north on I-95 until they get into DC near Fort Belvoir or Andrews AFB. They could then lift off and loiter perched on transmission lines where they can easily recharge using rf energy and wait. Once a target arrives, say a President on the golf course or perhaps Air Force 1 taxiing on the runway or even perhaps perch outside a window, they can then lift off and conduct an attack either directly or as limpet mines. With swarming you can send a mass of drones all flying autonomously with varied patterns. It would be impossible to stop them. Because they are autonomous jamming won't work. They would be impossible to trace back to their origin and most could be 3D printed and use off the shelf parts. If I can think this way, I am certain others are as well. Snake drones would be particularly difficult to stop.

Old Microbiologist , Jan 18 2020 18:23 utc | 155

Old hippe @128.yes, but these were being guided remotely from a US Navy aircraft and somewhat controllable from remote which is what happened. I think inside the US they don't think that far ahead and jamming would interfere with wifi etc. so not palatable. I Ave in mind they would be sitting in the grass or on a nearby telephone pole waiting for the target and travel less than 100 meters to hit. Autonomous means flying without any external controls and would be committed once set out. One perched on a window with 2kg of C4 waiting for whatever executive to sit down next to it would be another scenario. A snake drone could navigate in the sewers up to an executive toilet. The possibilities are endless. It is just a matter of time.

[Jan 19, 2020] Did Washing played on oil price hike threat to achive Genramny, France and GB compliance

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.wsws.org

Britain and the EU powers fear Washington's ever-escalating aggression against Iran will spark an all-out war that will redound against their own imperialist interests, even if it doesn't immediately draw in Russia and China. A war would send oil prices soaring, roil the European economy, spark another massive refugee crisis and further radicalize a growing working class counter-offensive.

No doubt Pompeo and others have told the Europeans that if they want to restrain Trump, avert a major conflagration and retain influence in the Middle East, they must rally behind Washington and its maximum pressure campaign.

To these dubious incentives, the Trump administration added a trade war threat, according to a report published yesterday by the Washington Post under the title, "Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25 percent tariff on European autos if they didn't."

[Jan 18, 2020] The US is already and has been for the longest time at war with Iran

Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Seer , Jan 18 2020 14:13 utc | 137

Lysander @ 30

Got it right, IMO.

Trump doesn't give a crap about wars killing people. He's about the bottom line. The business of the US is business. Further consider the Belt And Road Initiative (karlof1 briefly mentioned this). There's an underlying strategy of the empire. Only thing is a difference in how to make sure that it achieves it's goal: domination of world currency and business. The strategy is how to break the Russia-China coalition. Some believe that making friends with Russia could have caused them to detach from China (with the target being to tamp down China [again, think Belt and Road Initiative]). I cannot say for sure, but I do kind of think that this was the position that Trump had/has. This suspicion has legs if you consider the Russia-gate crap. And, the wars in the ME that Trump has vocalized against don't necessarily line up with being on the strategy path of using Russia to smack down China. Others believe it's better to go directly against China (and allow Russia to just kind of be isolated). The ME wars are, essentially, taking out the Road in Belt and Road. Having the area in a perpetual war makes business really difficult. This go-after-China-directly approach is seen in the Uyghur and Hong Kong battle fronts. Iran is made common to both strategy paths because, well, because of Israel (its overarching influence over US policies).

It's a left wing or a right wing of the same bird. The mechanism (bird) isn't the issue, it's the strategy (which wing). Chomsky really spells this out:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/noam-chomsky-america-has-built-a-global-dystopia

Perhaps the US doesn't want China to perfect the same authoritarian system the US is looking to achieve? The attempt to block Huawei from international markets is about who controls information (information flow).


Dave , Jan 18 2020 14:19 utc | 138

"I want to win," he said. "We don't win any wars anymore . . . We spend $7 trillion, everybody else got the oil and we're not winning anymore."

These wars where never intended to be won. If you win a war you have to go home. It's pretty difficult to exploit natural resources and threaten other countries geopolitically without military and covert agency bases all over the region.

I'm not sure Trump even understands this strategy. As disgusting as it may be, the thought of someone actually believing we entered these wars for any other reason than to cripple and control them for the interest of our (not so)leader elite class is astonishing.

But, at the same time we are left with few alternatives due to the coup de 'etat perpetrated by the elite who stack the slate we vote from and use the legacy media to propagandize as many as possible into supporting this sociopathic/psychopathic foreign policy agenda.

All we are ever offered is slight changes in tactics while maintaining the original goal of world domination and total control of everyone in order to keep those on top, on top.

Nothing will change until the enforcers begin to fight back against the people showering them with unlimited budgets and propagandize adoration to the point of military/police worship.

Walter , Jan 18 2020 14:50 utc | 139
Sabine | Jan 18 2020 5:03 utc | 101

"the US is already and has been for the longest time at war with Iran. "

Add to that the fact that in 1946 (or maybe '47?) Truman specifically threatened the Red Army in Northern Iran with the atom bomb. They withdrew. But the point is that Iran was the first defined target after Japan nuked in a display of "Overwhelming Power" (Stimson) deliberately to bring USSR to obey the US, or at least to intimidate Stalin.

Threatening Russians is just plain stupid. Threats are almost always stupid, unless you're trying to force an opponent into an attack-trap. Which "attack-trap" is what the Imperial Wizards are doing. The assumption, a chauvinist and incorrect assumption, is that the opponent is stupider than the attacker. Don't bet on that...it's a sucker bet.

[Jan 18, 2020] While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful

Yankistan most potent weapon isn't military, it's economic, and through it the US government controls the world. That weapon is the US Dollar and ever since Nixon took it off the gold standard it has been used to further the Empire's imperial hold on the global economy.
Jan 18, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
arby , Jan 16 2020 19:16 utc | 19
Stephen Gowans' latest'

https://gowans.blog/


"While the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of international barbarity, emblematic of the thuggish nature of US foreign policy, it was neither the only de facto act of war the United States has undertaken against Iran, nor the most harmful. Indeed, against the total embargo Washington has imposed on Iran with the intention of starving Iranians into submission or inducing them to overthrow their government, the killing of Soleimani is a act of little consequence, even if its significance in provoking widespread outrage and galvanizing opposition to US aggression is undoubted."

[Jan 18, 2020] events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Neoliberal MSM try to hide or obscure this fact.

Jan 18, 2020 | www.unz.com

Swedish Family , says: Show Comment January 3, 2020 at 8:28 pm GMT

@Oscar Peterson

Significantly, events appear to have escalated from the 25 December killing of five PMF guys on the Syria-Iraq border by an unattributed drone or missile strike. Our media is doing its best to obscure this event as the probable starting point. Two days later on 27 December, the rocket fire near Kirkuk killed the US contractor. Then came the strike on KH troops back out in the West and now the assassination of Soleimani et al.

[ ]

So the trigger was the 25 December attack, and all the timing flows from that, not from any great real estate developer savvy. Frankly, in my view, you give Trump way to much credit for systematic thought. I don't think he really does that at all.

This is also the view of the Middle-East veterans over at Patrick Lang's blog:

Last weekend, in response to a rocket attack on a base outside Kirkuk that left one US contractor dead and four US servicemen wounded, we launched drone strikes on five Iraqi PMU outposts in Iraq and Syria near Abukamal killing 25 members and wounding scores more of the Kata'ib Hezbollah brigades of the PMU.

We blamed Iran and the Kata'ib Hezbollah for the rocket attack near Kirkuk. That may be true, but the Kata'ib Hezbollah is not some rogue militia controlled out of Teheran. It is an integral part of the PMU, its 46th and 47th brigades and has been for years. The PMU is an integral part of the Iraqi military and has been for years. The PMU played a major role in defeating IS in both Iraq and Syria. Our attack on the Kata'ib Hezbollah outposts was an attack on the Iraqi military and government. We informed PM Abdul-Mahdi of our intended attacks. Abdul-Mahadi warned us not to do it, but, of course, we conducted the attacks despite his warning. We were proud of the attacks. The Pentagon even released footage of the attacks. It was supposed to be a clear message to Teheran.

Unfortunately for us, the message was also heard by Iraqis. After the funerals of many of the victims of our attacks on the PMU outposts, a large crowd of protestors headed for the US Embassy in the Green Zone. For weeks prior to this, Iraqi security forces kept protestors from entering the Green Zone and approaching the US Embassy. Not this time. The crowds, including mourners fresh from the funerals of their family members and many PMU soldiers, unarmed but in uniform, poured into the Green Zone right to the gates of the Embassy itself. A reception area was entered and burned. Iraqi security forces of the PrimeMinister's Counter Terrorism Command were among the protestors. I surmise that PM Abdul-Mahdi was sending his own message back to the US.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/our-embassy-in-baghdad-ttg.html

The protests at the American embassy, then, were over Iraqi servicemen murdered in American drone strikes

Qasem Soleimani was an Iranian soldier. He lived by the sword and died by the sword. He met a soldier's destiny. It is being said that he was a BAD MAN. Absurd! To say that he was a BAD MAN because he fought us as well as the Sunni jihadis is simply infantile. Were all those who fought the US BAD MEN? How about Gentleman Johhny Burgoyne? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Sitting Bull? Was he a BAD MAN? How about Aguinaldo? Another BAD MAN? Let us not be juvenile.

The Iraqi PMU commander who died with Soleimani was Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. He was a member of a Shia militia that had been integrated into the Iraqi armed forces. IOW, we killed an Iraqi general. We killed him without the authorization of the supposedly sovereign state of Iraq.

We created the present government of Iraq through the farcical "purple thumb" elections. That government holds a seat in the UN General Assembly and is a sovereign entity in international law in spite of Trump's tweet today that said among other things that we have "paid" Iraq billions of US dollars. To the Arabs, this statement that brands them as hirelings of the US is close to the ultimate in insult.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/will-trump-welcome-the-ejection-of-the-us-from-iraq-he-should.html

and now the Americans went one better and murdered an Iraqi general.

[Jan 16, 2020] https://iadllaw.org/2020/01/iadl-condemns-us-assassination-of-gen-qassem-soleimani-as-an-illegal-act-of-aggression/

Jan 16, 2020 | iadllaw.org

In this sense Soleimani assassination opened such a huge can of worms that the results can be judged only in several years.

It exposes Trump and his cronies as one trick ponies who does not think strategically or are manipulated (for all practical purposes the hypothesis that Trump is a puppet is stronger that then the hypothesis that he is an independent player)

In some way It might well be that Trump put the final nail into the global, led by the USA,neoliberal empire and legitimized the existence of two competing economic blocks. That's a huge change, if true (the fact that China folded contracts that)

He also implicitly acknowledged that the USA no longer can attack on Iran military without the danger of suffering large losses and profound negative consequences itself. Including Russia and China support for Iran in such a war, which would make it the second Vietnam. That's another huge change -- the end of "Full Spectrum Dominance" doctrine as we know it. .

Now we known that Trump bullied EU threating auto-tariff to support him. That a clear return to the Wild West in international relations and it another nail into the empire coffin. Esper recently blabbed that the US has the right under Article II of its Constitution to attack Iranian territory in response to offensive action by Iranian-backed militia in Iraq. So UN does not matter, right ? The UN Charter was created to stop WWIII. Under Trump, it again became a real possibility with the USA taking the central the role in creating the conditions for unleashing it.

Here is an interesting quote from yesterday (Jan 15, 2020) article by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times (

https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/battle-of-the-ages-to-stop-eurasian-integration/

Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff from 2001 to 2005, cuts to the chase: "America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It's part of who we are. It's part of what the American Empire is. We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as Pompeo is doing right now, as Trump is doing right now, as Esper is doing right now and a host of other members of my political party, the Republicans, are doing right now. We are going to lie, cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That's the truth of it. And that's the agony of it."

Moscow, Beijing and Tehran are fully aware of the stakes. Diplomats and analysts are working on the trend, for the trio, to evolve a concerted effort to protect one another from all forms of hybrid war – sanctions included – launched against each of them.

For the US, this is indeed an existential battle – against the whole Eurasia integration process, the New Silk Roads, the Russia-China strategic partnership, those Russian hypersonic weapons mixed with supple diplomacy, the profound disgust and revolt against US policies all across the Global South, the nearly inevitable collapse of the US dollar. What's certain is that the Empire won't go quietly into the night. We should all be ready for the battle of the ages.

.P.S. To me it looks that Trump lost all antiwar republicans and independents , as well as a part of military who voted for him in 2016 (and who now are Tulsi supporters)

The Senate trial, if it materializes, now can become the leverage point to drive a wedge between moderate Republicans and Trump via his Iran policies.

[Jan 16, 2020] Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Jan 15 2020 17:53 utc | 172

@ Carciofi 158

Observe how the West dances with Kim?

Pakistan should slip one across the border in a rail car of elephants.

We now shift the focus unto the Impeachment Trial. Shifty Schiff leads the prosecution. Should be interesting spectator sport. Never be too certain of the outcome. Some are positing Trump could be removed. Many Republicans are uneasy. The guy is unfit to have the nuclear codes, displays impaired emotion - schizophrenia. Others, Independent and Republican turncoats consider Trump embarrassing. Over the last days Trump's Sec. of Defense, Esper threw him under the bus.


This opinion piece should not be dismissed.

Impeachment, Soleimani and the Pull of the Swamp

[Because] Trump is going to be taken out.

The events of the past twelve days since Trump murdered IRGC General Qassem Soleimani prove this beyond any doubt. Impeachment was the leverage point to drive open a wedge between Republicans and Trump through Iran.

Pelosi slow-walking the articles of impeachment to the Senate was all part of the pantomime, folks. She gets what she wants: Congress asserting more power and the Democrats shoring up their base by taking out an eyesore in Trump.

She waits just long enough for Trump to do something questionable and for it to be made known publicly.[.]

The Swamp Strikes Back and puts Trump in a no-win situation.

The Wall St. Journal article from this weekend which intimated that Trump made the decision to kill Soleimani was motivated by shoring up his support in the Israeli Occupied Senate is further proof.

"Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said," the newspaper reported.[.]

kooshy , Jan 15 2020 18:22 utc | 173

@Lysander | Jan 15 2020 2:04 utc | 111

"That is why Trump's presidency is a blessing for Iran. "
It's real blessing to the entire world, otherwise how else the world would have come to see the real ugly face of Americans

@Rd | Jan 15 2020 1:01 utc | 98
This is now beyond government and oligarchy , and laws, this is now about a national/religious demand for revenge, on killing a true national shia muslim hero away from any political or difference in opinion.
IMO, the demand for revenge can not be even controlled by military and it's leaders, the order for revenge can even be sanctioned by a relative unknown cleric in a shia village.

@moon | Jan 15 2020 7:52 utc | 136
Thanks, PL banned me over a year ago , for calling US military (yeman) a mercenary force, Now Trump is proud he sold 3000 US trops to Bone saw for 1 billion.
I also believe that Iranian military has understood for some time now, that US (Military) is not willing to enter a war with Iran at this time, which makes me believe that a low intensity, long, covert attritional war across the western Asia will finally make US to leave. IMO pre announced without casualty attack on AalA US base by Iran Military was to allow any future covert low intensity attack by Iranian regional allies on US forces as non-sanctioned or related by Iranian government or military.
Which makes it hard to fight directly.

[Jan 16, 2020] Angry Bear " Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Jan 16, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination

Barkley Rosser | January 15, 2020 6:13 am

Journalism Politics Further Followup On The Soleimani Assassination I wish to point out some matters not getting a lot of attention in the US media.

An important one of those was reported two days ago by Juan Cole . It is that apparently it has not been determined for certain that the initial attack that set off this current round of deaths when a militia in Iraq attacked an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk in which an American contractor was killed, almost certainly a matter of collateral damage although not recognized as such, was actually done by Kata'b Hezbollah, the group reported to have done it. That group was commanded by al-Mushani, who was also assassinated with Soleimani, with whom he was allied. But it is not certain that they did it. As it is, the Kirkuk base is dominated by Kurdish Pesh Merga, with whom it is not at all obvious the pro-Iranian militias like the Kat'b Hezbollah have hostile differences. This may have been cooked up to create an excuse for assassinating Soleimani.

Indeed, it has now been reported that seven months ago Trump had approved killing Soleimani essentially at the first instance there would be a good excuse for doing so. In fact it is now reported that although Trump had not heard of Soleimani during th 2016 election, within five minutes of his inauguration he suggested killing Soleimani. SecState Pompeo been encouraging and pushing this action, but it has been something Trump has been hot to do for some time. Going up for an impeachment trial looks like a really good time.

We have now seen quite a dance around reasons to justify this. We must keep clear that it is a matter of both US and international law that this sort of killing of a foreign national official such as General Soleimani is that there be an "imminent threat." I shall not drag through the various versions of what was supposedly the imminent threat was here, but it has finally become clear that there was none. And as of today both Pompeo and AG Barr have now pivoted to saying that it was done for "deterrence," but that leaves this assassination as illegal, with US troops in Iraq now declared to be"terrorists."

Now indeed the further followup has become quite a mess, although hopefully the escalation has stopped and war will not happen, despite getting very close to the brink. So Iran made its strike on two bases with US troops in Iraq. While it initially looked like the Iranians were going out of their way to avoid killing any Americans, local US commanders now say that it appears that the strikes were in fact aimed at killing some Americans, and some were in fact injured. I do not know if this is true or not, but it is disturbing and shows how close we have gotten to heightened war.

Then we had this disaster of the Iranians themselves shooting down a commercial Ukrainian airplane (oh, the irony), killing 176 civilians, mostly Iranians, Canadians, and Ukrainians, plus some others. With the admission by the regime, anti-government demonstrations have broken out at universities especially in Tehran where many of the Iranians on the plane were from, and many of the university students heading to Canada. Those demos have gone on for three days bringing forth a harsh put down from the government, but with news people quitting their jobs out of disgust. The government has now arrested some supposedly responsible for the erroneous shootdown under heightened alert status, which would not have come to pass without the illegal assassination. It is unclear if these arrests will bring an end to the demonstrations, but it should be kept in mind that these involve much smaller numbers of people than turned out in the aftermath of Soleimani's assassination.

Underlying this most recent uprising is the fact that Iran is suffering serious econoimic problems. Much of this is due to the Trump sanctions, but they also reflect entrenched corruption and spending on foreign adventures, such as support for foreign militias. These are difficult times, and let us hope that all sides step back and reduce the heightened tensions.

Barkley


  1. run75441 , January 15, 2020 12:23 pm

    Barkley:

    Good post and thanks for the follow-up.

    Normally when something happens in the Middle East, I head over to Informed Comment to see what Juan is saying about the situation. You have added information I was not aware of as I had not been over to Juan Cole's Informed Comment in several days. Also from a January 11th column of his:

    "Lest the Trumpies imply that only Obama de facto allied with Soleimani and his Iraqi Shiite militias, it should be pointed out that they played an important role in the defeat of ISIL at Mosul during Trump's presidency. Although they did not fight their way into the city, they fanned out to the west and north to prevent ISIL terrorists from escaping to Raqqa in Syria. That was why Kata'ib Hizbullah had a base at Qa'im, a checkpoint between Iraq and Syria, where they were preventing ISIL agents from going back and forth. Trump kicked off the current crisis by bombing his allies at Qa'im, killing some 26 militiamen. And then he droned his sometime ally Soleimani to death at Baghdad airport as Soleimani was about to begin covert peace talks with Saudi Arabia."

    All the Times the US allied with Gen. Soleimani against Common Enemies, giving him Air Support at Tikrit

Barkley Rosser , January 15, 2020 8:12 pm

I must walk back one speculation I made in this post. It is not the case that the base attacked near Kirkuk held Kurdish Pesh Merga. It indeed houses US and Iraqi national troops dedicated to fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Four US service people were injured along with two national Iraqi troops. The US citizwn killed was naturalized and born in Iraq.

It remains possible that it was IAIA/ISIL/Daesh carried out the attack as they are active in that area. However, most think it was Kata'b Hezbollah, enocuraged and suppliled by Soleimani.

run75441 , January 15, 2020 8:21 pm

Barkley:

Ok, so you missed some detail. The drone attack on Soleimani and others did not have to occur. Furthermore, it appears this was planned months earlier and just never carried through. To me, it is just another Trump distraction away from his impeachment.

[Jan 16, 2020] The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down

Jan 16, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Carolinian , , January 14, 2020 at 10:08 am

Thanks for the shrewd analysis. The problem is that Trump appears to be morphing from the mad negotiator into someone who really is mad. I think he knows he screwed up with Soleimani and there's no taking it back, only doubling down . You can't talk your way out of some mistakes. Trump is shrewd, but not very smart and like most bullies he's also weak. He gets by being such an obvious bluffer and blowhard but when you start assassinating people and expect to be praised for it it's no longer a game.

Carolinian , , January 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm

I'd say the solution is to give Trump the heave ho this November and not play his game of me me me. Indeed the Iranians seem to be biding their time to see what happens.

Trump was always only tolerable as long as he spent his time shooting off his mouth rather than playing the imperial chess master. This reality show has gone on long enough.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , , January 14, 2020 at 5:10 pm

And to give Trump the heave-ho, we have to know how to play the man. (Then, Iran doesn't have to.)

But if we don't fully know -- if he is unpredictable in how he starts out at the beginning -- it makes the venture harder (but not impossible).

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , , January 14, 2020 at 7:39 pm

Not sure he "screwed up" with Suleimani. He now has something to point to when Adelson and the Israel Firsters ring up. He has red meat for his base ("look what a tough guy I am"). He can tell the Saudis they now owe him one.

He added slightly to the fund of hatred for America in the hearts of Sunnis but that fund is already pretty full. If they respond with a terror attack Trump wins because people will rally around the national leader and partisan differences will be put aside. Notice how fast de-escalation happened, certainly feels alot like pre-orchestrated kayfabe.

[Jan 16, 2020] US Attack on Soleimani is a Signal to Russia-Iran-China Triumvirate to Cease Cooperation by Ekaterina Blinova

Jan 07, 2020 | sputniknews.com

The US is trying to stop Eurasia's economic and political integration in order to delay its own demise, say international observers, explaining what message the US sent to the Russia-China-Iran "triumvirate" by killing Quds Commander Qasem Soleimani. The assassination of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and commander of the Quds Force, in a targeted US air strike on 3 January came on the heels of joint naval exercise launched by Russia, Iran and China in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Oman.

The "growing Russia-China-Iran trilateral convergence", as The Diplomat dubbed it in late December, is seemingly hitting a raw nerve in Washington : speaking to Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) on 2 January, Rear Admiral Khanzadi, the Iranian navy commander, said that Washington and its allies had held an emergency meeting aimed at disrupting the drills.

US Opposes Rapprochement of Russia, China and Iran Amid Policy of 'Maximum Pressure'
"Recent violent US attacks against Iranian allies in Iraq and Syria, culminating in the killing of Iran's Major General Qasem Soleimani, are, in the wider geopolitical sense, meant to send signals to the building Eurasian triumvirate to cease their collaborative activities, let alone longer-term strategic and Belt and Road Initiative-linked designs," says Pye Ian, an American economic analyst and private equity executive.

According to Ian, the US decision to step up pressure on Tehran might be stemming from Washington's apparent belief that Iran is "the 'weakest link' in the strengthening Eurasian alliance".

However, "Russia, China and Iran cannot be attacked overtly, let alone invaded, occupied or 'regime changed'," the economic analyst highlights.

Christopher C. Black, a Toronto-based international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations, echoes the American economist.

"It is in response to the close relationship between Russia, Iran and China and it is no coincidence that this murder took place just as the joint naval exercises in the Persian Gulf came to an end," he said. "Further, it is a threat to Russian strategic interests in Syria and to Syria itself."

Apart from this, the move indicates that "one of the reasons for US pressure on Iran is to control the oil supply to China in order to cripple China's development," Black suggests.

Russia and its military successes in the region have become yet another irritant for Washington, according to Max Parry, an independent American journalist and geopolitical analyst.

"The US likely feels the need to re-assert itself as a hegemonic power in the region, considering it is Moscow that emerged as the new honest peace broker in the Middle East with the Syrian conflict," Parry notes. "Russia completely outmanoeuvred Washington and by the end of the war, Turkey was practically in Moscow's camp. Trump has reset US foreign policy with the withdrawal from Syria and the targeting of Iran."

By killing Soleimani, the US "has completely overplayed its hand and this could be the beginning of the end for Washington because a war with Iran would be no cakewalk", he emphasises.

© AFP 2019 / ALY SONG / POOL Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attend the Expo Center before the opening ceremony at the Expo Center at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai on May 21, 2014 Eurasian 'Triumvirate' is Moving Away From the US Dollar

According to Ian, in addition to being a thorn in Washington's flesh, Moscow, Beijing and Tehran have something else in common: the three nations have increasingly been drifting away from the US dollar.

The trend followed the Trump administration's:

· unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Actions (JCPOA) in May 2018;

· trade war waged against the People's Republic of China by Washington since March 2018;

· series of anti-Russian sanctions imposed against Moscow under the pretext of the latter's interference in the US 2016 presidential elections, something that Russia resolutely denies.

The economic analyst explains that "the dollar's universal confidence trick requires uniform adherence, by natural adoption or by force". While the US allies remain obedient to the dollar- dominated system, those who resisted it such as Iraq under Saddam, Libya under Gaddafi and Venezuela under Chavez "triggered some Atlanticist force, either overtly or clandestinely, in order to try and put those nations back on a compliant page."

However, "the current state of dollar printing by the US Fed ad infinitum cannot last forever," Ian stresses.

"The global East and South are already ahead of Transatlantic banking, in a sense, by shifting further out of the dollar and Treasury securities into their own, or bilateral, currency exchanges, gold, and/or domestic or collaborative cryptocurrency endeavours," he says.

Russia, China, Iran, as well as India and some other Eurasian nations are switching to trading in local currencies and continuing to amass gold at a steady pace . Thus, for instance, Russia produced over 185.1 tonnes of gold in the first six months of 2019; the country's bullion reserves reached 72.7 million troy ounces (2,261 tonnes) as of 1 December 2019. For its part, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) has accumulated 1,948.3 tonnes of the precious metal as of December 2019, according to World Gold Council.

Ian foresees that if the world's nations continue to shift out of US Treasury obligations and choose alternative currencies for energy pricing, trading and reserves recycling, it may "cause US interest rates to fly higher, cratering consumer, institutional and public debt obligations and re-importing an obscene level of inflation back into the US".

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

[Jan 15, 2020] Is the US Now at War Against Iraq AND Iran – OffGuardian

Jan 15, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Search Jan 12, 2020 40 Is the US Now at War Against Iraq AND Iran? Editor Eric Zuesse

Iraqi Parliament – recently voted unanimously to expel US troops from their country.

On January 9th, Iraq's Prime Minister and Parliament again ordered all American troops out , but on January 10th the AP headlined "US dismisses Iraq request to work on a troop withdrawal plan" and reported that the U.S. State Department "bluntly rejected the request, saying the two sides should instead talk about how to 'recommit' to their partnership."

It was not a "request" from Iraq; it was a command from them; and the U.S. and Iraq relate as conqueror and conquered, not as "partners." Consequently: the U.S. Government, now that it has been so unequivocally ordered to leave, is back again, unequivocally, to its invader-occupier role in Iraq.

The AP report went on to say that, "The request from Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pointed to his determination to push ahead with demands for U.S. troops to leave Iraq."

Again there was that false word "request."

The AP report said that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted, in reply:

"Our mission set there is very clear. We've been there to perform a training mission to help the Iraqi security forces be successful and to continue the campaign against ISIS, to continue the counter-Daesh campaign."

Though that's the invader-occupier's excuse, the reality is that the US needs Iraq in order to invade Iran, which is the US Government's objective, though not overtly stated.

Already, America's assassination in Iraq of Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani on January 3rd is an enormous act of war against Iran.

It is intended to obliterate Iran's main strategist, and this successful attack against Iran inside Iraq is a devastating first strike, by the U.S. Government against Iran.

So: now, the U.S. is at war against both Iraq and Iran.

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Harry Stotle ,

I see Tony is inconsolable after the death of a dictator who failed to hold an election for 50 years?

Britains foremost war criminal said, "I heard the news about His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman with great sadness. He was a leader of vision and purpose who took over the leadership of his country at a difficult time and raised it to an entirely new level of development and prosperity. He was a man of culture, humanity and deep conviction who strove to make his nation and the world better and more peaceful. He was kind, thoughtful and with a big heart. He had great wisdom and insight from which I benefited often as did so many others. My deepest sympathy, prayers and condolences are with the people of Oman. He will be sorely missed. – Tony Blair.
https://twitter.com/InstituteGC/status/1215920898966020096

Yes, I'm sure you did 'benefit', Tony – blood money I think they call it, you amoral scumbag.

Frank Speaker ,

I'm really disappointed to read yet another article on OffG about Iran. It's getting really boring and those backward desert dwellers deserve all they get anyway. Let's get it over and done with and takeover their oilfields and make lots of money. What I really want to see here instead are lots of articles about Meghan and Harry.

(note to non-British readers, it's called irony)

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The ever cowardly United States of America is officially at war with everyone in the world except the uneducated dolts & imbeciles that support the Imbecile-in-Chief narcissist whackjob nutbar effin' retard run amok.

Fuck America & the Republican Party that lives on forever war with everyone in the world including American taxpayers.

Screw the imbecile-in-Chief to a wall of his making.

Death to America!

MOU

Harry Stotle ,

Oh, you are a wag, Eric – is the US killing machine that just incinerated the Quds foremost military strategist 'now at War Against Iraq AND Iran' – well its hardly an act of peace, is it?

By the way, has anyone been listening to Raab pontificate about 'international law' – apparently the minister for Tory lies appears to be oblivious to the fact that Soleimani's execution was almost certainly illegal, and was only possible because Britain and American actions are always placed above the law.

Lets just remind Raab, and murder apologists like him that, "Outside of an on-going armed conflict, the first use of military force is regulated under the jus ad bellum. The first principle of the jus ad bellum is the prohibition on the use of force, a peremptory norm codified in United Nations Charter Article 2(4). The only possible exception to the prohibition applicable in this case is self-defense. The exception is narrow. Some restrictions are provided in UN Charter Article 51; others in the general principles of international law. Article 51 permits the use of military force in such as the Hellfire missiles carried by Reaper drones, if "an armed attack occurs". The International Court of Justice has emphasized that the attack must be "grave".
https://www.ejiltalk.org/the-killing-of-soleimani-and-international-law/

Neocons want to start killing Iranians (which they already are doing via economic sanctions) – time for the west to grasp this inescapable reality.

nottheonly1 ,

What do these countries have in common?

U.S. IR UK FR AUS DE CAN NZ PL UK ES BR COL SA UAR NL SW NOR ET AL?

They are all

M O ☐ H ☐ R ☐ A R ☐ H ☐ ☐ C K ☐ R ☐

Yes, you may buy an 'F'.

That includes its populations, that do it by default. They are programmed and conditioned from early on to be in harmony with the Pompeos, the Busches, Obamas, Trumps and whatever their names are that have this planet in stranglehold.

U.S. MUST PAY for all damages it inflicted over the last ~213 years. The ticket is endless – and with the indiscrininate use of weapons of mass destruction, very expensive.

In a world of justice, the rich people would be given the shittiest places in these countries and the rest be divided among the victim Nations of these pathetically religiously fascist psychopaths.

Is the use of the term 'religiously fascist psychopath' now reason for a drone strike?

Well, what are you waiting for? You are okay with the above fascist nations to do pre-emptive murders, but hesitate to do the same?

What an epic Upfuckery.

Because – in other words – nobody capable to do the one act that is excempt from Karmic retribution? Rather than doing that, saner beings are actually leaning back in the most fatalistic way. What is it good for, if the sane let the insane do whatever they please – or their mental illness dictates them to do?

Hitler was a good example. He was not mandated to undergo a psychological evaluation. And I don't care where you set the red line. Being part of genocide is plenty enough at any given day. And there can be no more limitations of terms.

Maybe the prevailing opinion about all this is for it to be a joke. But that only appears to be so, because the populations of the above listed nations et al, are murdering innocent women and children (future population reduction) in the Nations on the receiving fascist shit end of the stick.

On a side note and only marginally related:

Listening to the early Beatles and their 'depressing' songs, the mind drifted to 'The Man in Black' (that I adore) and his song about why he is wearing black and likely to do so into his grave, which he did. The song I have on mind changes the lyrics a bit, but stays true, or emphasizes the new expression.

Well, you wonder why I'm always using 'fuck'.
Why you'll never hear me leaving out the muck.
And why my words have such a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things I'm bringing on.

Oh, and yes, for what its worth: invest yourself in aeroponics. Learn everything about it and start your own food production – using very little, very clean water and clean air, delivering healthy greens. It will work in an apartment as well as in a large greenhouse. The REAL Foodevolution.

Dungroanin ,

Yes the US has been at war in the ME for a very very long time Eric.

Their advance was halted and is now in retreat, bar a few 'battles of Bulges' false hopes – they are heading back to their bunkers and throwing the kiddy corps into the front lines to take on hardened campaigners. They have even resorted to assassination of the Generals and leaders – opening the way and hoping for equal retaliation, to sway the public perception.

The Iraqis want the US out – and are threatened with economic sanctions and freezing of their US$ accounts!

Just like Venezuela and Iran and Libya and Yemen ..,

The Iraqis are proceeding with their closer ties with the winners – the Eurasian conglomerate, the Belt & Road investments; the superior Russian weapons systems and no doubt the disengagement from the petrodollar, ball and chain of a slave.

Like an abused woman who wants to remove the 'ex boyfriend' who moved in a decade ago – has never paid any bills, doesn't do housework or maintenance and brings round his mates to wreck the place

Iraq has served a legal order to remove the abusive bastard !

Get the fuck out – or the bailiffs will be called to do it – and that will mean MORE cost you bully!

If that is MORE war then retreating Empire will see a REAL war on all fronts including for the first time ever in their own country – the bodybags will be required domestically – just like the poor civilians have been dying in theit tens of thousands at the proxy US forces hands for decades.

The people of the US need to get past their daily diet of super sugared Hollywood superiority and understand THEY are the EVIL EMPIRE and THEY are LOSING as the downtrodden ewoks of the many countried are fighting back!

GEOFF ,

After the USS Vincennes in 1988 had shot down Iran Air Flight 655 and killed 290 people, including many children, the U.S. government denied any culpability. George H. W. Bush, the vice president of the United States at the time, commented: "I will never apologize for the United States – I don't care what the facts are I'm not an apologize-for-America kind of guy." Despite its "error" the crew was given medals and the captain was even awarded a Legion of Merit "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as commanding officer

GEOFF ,

The above is from moon of Alabama I forgot to mention

Yarkob ,

Have a listen to Whitney Webb on QTR podcast giving her take: https://youtu.be/dmaypBvuNzs?t=376

George Mc ,

Example an American "request":

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SeldwfOwuL8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Antonym ,

That's the CIA today; not the USA.

George Mc ,

Granted that it's not the whole of the USA – but it's not just the CIA and it's certainly not merely "today". Incidentally, Brando said his attraction towards playing the Godfather is that he thought it was a prefect demonstration of how the American political system really works.

Protect ,

From Zero Hedge / The Strategic Culture Foundation:
"Abdul-Mehdi [The Iraqi prime minister] 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"."
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/deeper-story-behind-assassination-soleimani
and there is this:
"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."

lundiel ,

Here's your answer from the state department, it appears to be both yes and no (depending on financial incentives).

America is a force for good in the Middle East. Our military presence in Iraq is to continue the fight against ISIS and as the Secretary has said, we are committed to protecting Americans, Iraqis, and our coalition partners. We have been unambiguous regarding how crucial our D-ISIS mission is in Iraq. At this time, any delegation sent to Iraq would be dedicated to discussing how to best recommit to our strategic partnership -- not to discuss troop withdrawal, but our right, appropriate force posture in the Middle East. Today, a NATO delegation is at the State Department to discuss increasing NATO's role in Iraq, in line with the President's desire for burden sharing in all of our collective defense efforts. There
does, however, need to be a conversation between the U.S. and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership. We want to be a friend and partner to a sovereign, prosperous, and stable Iraq.

Gall ,

Typical imperialistic boiler plate. America being a "force for good in the Middle East" or anywhere else is a lie. Remember Vietnam? As for "continu(ing) the fight against ISIS" the SOS really means to continue to finance and supply ISIS while pretending to "fight against" them. There whole statement is a Stygian Stable full of total BS.

The Iraqis should tell them again to get the f-k outta Dodge or they'll go Wyatt Earp on their sorry lying asses.

Frances ,

Pardonnez-moi, but why do Canada and Australia also UK (Boris) take their 'cue' on foreign policy from the USA? Sending defence forces to fight Washington's wars and banker's wars for resources?

austrian peter ,

I answer to your question, Frances, take out an hour of your day to find out:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/np_ylvc8Zj8?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Andy ,

This edition of Crosstalk seems to encapsulate perfectly US arrogance and stupidity/disingenuity.

https://youtu.be/Rlkeyl4adJ0

Brian Harry ,

That assertion by Mike("We lied we cheated we stole" ..)Pompeo is a total lie. The USA invaded Iraq under a complete pack of lies, about Saddam Hussein's "Weapons of Mass Destruction" back in 2003 and are still there after having murdered Hussein and now occupy Iraq.
The Elected Leader of Syria has also told the USA to "Get out of Syria", but the USA has not done so.
The USA(and it's 'owners" Israel, are the problem in the Middle East, NOT IRAN or Iraq.
Israel's anaesthetised donkey, The USA, is completely controlled by Israel .It's pathetic. but it's true.

austrian peter ,

In the sixties we all knew that "NO" meant "YES" and these guys are from that era.

Brian Harry ,

I think that the World has grown sick and tired of the LIES, spewing out of the Military Industrial Complex ..In the highest levels of the USA Government, "if their lips are moving, they're LYING .

austrian peter ,

Yep, with you 100% and the bulk of the 99% are getting the message too.

Yarkob ,

"the bulk of the 99% are getting the message too."

Don't kid yourself, Peter. I'd love to agree with you, but there is little evidence of that on those sites that allow comment on this. the masses have drunk the kool aid long and deep. Yes, there's some pearl-clutching going on but he was "still a trrst" so it's all ok. Back to sleep.

Look! Harry and Meghan!!

austrian peter ,

Take your point Yarkob, thank you. I was trying to be optimistic – in my world my network is gradually becoming more aware – I hope that my book, due to publish this quarter, will ride the wave; fingers crossed!
:-))))

Admin ,

Where are you seeing this BTL? Bear in mind that comments in most corporate media sites are heavily censored these days, and replete with sock puppets manipulating debate & seeding talking points.

George Mc ,

As I have often said, the MSM not only lies but gives a false image of public opinion. Granted that it is not easy – or even possible – to really know what the population is tending towards in their opinion, I think we can safely say that the MSM always bullshits about it. I love it especially when they not only bullshit about what "everyone thinks" abut also about what everyone "WILL" think e.g. the blathering about what party is "electable".

I am not, by any stretch, a subscriber to David Icke but he did come up with one wonderful expression when he described what the MSM pump out as "the movie". That is exactly what it is. And I'd like to believe that less and less people believe it. Of course the big problem is that even if you reject it, you have to put up with the fact that, obviously as far as the "mainstream" goes, it's the only show in town. And a lot of people still regurgitate what they hear. So e.g. a lot of people go along with the manufactured outrage over Corbyn "refusing to apologise" while these same people have no idea what he is apologising for – other than a vague notion that he must be some kind of Hitler guy. It all comes down to vibrations set up in the MSM. If you shit enough and often enough then eventually many will swallow it.

falcemartello ,

Since when has pax-americana not been at war. The only administration since ww2 that has not been at war was the Peanut farmer from Georgia The Carter administration and it was his secretary of state Brezinski that created the Takfiri army to disrupt Afghanistan in 1979.
Post Scriptum: The Iranian missile strike in western Iraq and Erbil was a historical event.
It is the second time in Us military history that pax-americana had not responded to a direct attack on a military barracks , the first time was in 1982 in Beirut where a suicide bomber killed over 200 people.
Docius in Fondem:Wesley Clarke statement from when he was alluded to the Likudniks plan & countries in 5 years Iran was last on the list.
US have declared war on both Iraq and Iran with the assassination of the IRGC General and the PMU General. Simple facts tend to allude we the exceptional civilized west

austrian peter ,

love the Latin:
Caesar ad sum iam forte
Pompei ad erat
Caesar sic in omnibus
Pompei sic in hat

Brian Harry ,

"Don't talk to me about the bloody Romans, what have they ever done for us"?
Try as I may, I cant get Google to translate that .what does it mean, please?

Brian Harry ,

.although, when I read it 'phonetically', it sounds like a "big night out, and lots of vomit sprayed around but, I'm Australian, and we don't do things like that .much

austrian peter ,

:-)))))
Use DuckDuckGo:
Non me loqui Romani sanguinis quid unquam fecit u

Brian Harry ,

I'll take your word for it Thanks for the laugh ..!

austrian peter ,

:-))))) "Laughing is the best policy and is generally better than getting hit by a taxi!" – Spike Milligan – another comic messiah.

austrian peter ,

No worries, cobber, have a smiley day and always remember: " If you see a man without a smile, give him one of yours".

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SJUhlRoBL8M?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

austrian peter ,

This should help, Brian:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Y7tvauOJMHo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Brian Harry ,

Monty Python the Greatest .There weren't many Romans in Australia 2000 years ago. Too busy invading and really irritating Europeans and British people, but, somehow, it all worked out ok Always look on the bright side of life, huh ?

austrian peter ,

Yep, and you Brian are in the right place to see the sunny side. We here in old Blighty are suffering the gloom, doom and damp. I lived in Cape Town for ten years (same latitude as Sydney and similar climate) and miss it dreadfully – the climate that is – the rest is isht; power cuts (load shedding they call it), water shortage (drought they call it), pollution and infrastructure failure all round, Nuff said! Go well cobber.

Mike Ellwood ,

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

Not quite the same thing but interesting:

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

Especially the parodies towards the end.

There are some good pastiche French rhymes / songs around as well. Don't have any links to hand ..aha, found what I was thinking of:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mots_d%27Heures

Gall ,

Actually Jimbo the Peanut Farmer was involved in a covert war in Angola and also covertly arming the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Not to mention operation Eagle Claw that failed against the Iranians.

GEOFF ,

In 240 years since its inception warmongering yanky land has been at war in the last 224 years with someone, 50 in the last 10 years, not a bad record.

[Jan 14, 2020] The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos

Jan 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Moon of Alabama Brecht quote " The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-03 | Main January 13, 2020 The Long Planned U.S. Assassinations In Iraq Will Increase Its Political Chaos

The Trump administration has given various justification for its assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. It claimed that there was an 'imminent threat' of an incident, even while not knowing what, where or when it would happen, that made the assassination necessary. Trump later said the thread was a planned bombing of four U.S. embassies. His defense secretary denied that.

Soleimani and Muhandis during a battle against ISIS

That has raised the suspicion that the decision to kill Soleimani had little to do with current events but was a long planned operation. NBC News now reports that this is exactly the case:

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said.

The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war, came like many other bad ideas from John Bolton.

After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.

But Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.

Then unknown forces fired 30 short range missiles into a U.S. base near Kirkuk. The salvo was not intended to kill or wound anyone:

The rockets landed in a place and at a time when American and Iraqi personnel normally were not there and it was only by unlucky chance that Mr. Hamid was killed, American officials said.

Without presenting any evidence the U.S. accused Katib Hizbullah, an Iraqi Popular Militia Unit, of having launched the missiles. It launched airstrikes against a number of Katib Hizbullah positions near the Syrian border, hundreds of miles away from Kirkuk, and killed over 30 Iraqi security forces.

This led to demonstrations in Baghdad during which a crowd breached the outer wall of the U.S. embassy but soon retreated. Trump, who had attacked Hillary Clinton over the raid on the consulate/CIA station in Benghazi, did not want to get embarrassed with a full embassy breach.

The media claim that it was the embassy breach that the led to the activation of an operation that had already been planned for a year before Trump signed off on it seven month ago. As the New York Times describes it :

For the past 18 months, officials said, there had been discussions about whether to target General Suleimani. Figuring that it would be too difficult to hit him in Iran, officials contemplated going after him during one of his frequent visits to Syria or Iraq and focused on developing agents in seven different entities to report on his movements -- the Syrian Army, the Quds Force in Damascus, Hezbollah in Damascus, the Damascus and Baghdad airports and the Kataib Hezbollah and Popular Mobilization forces in Iraq.

It was the embassy breach and a war-industry lobbyist who convinced Trump to finally pull the symbolical trigger :

Defense Secretary Mark Esper presented a series of response options to the president two weeks ago, including killing Soleimani. Esper presented the pros and cons of such an operation but made it clear that he was in favor of taking out Soleimani, officials said.

Trump signed off and it further developed from there.

There was no intelligence of any 'imminent threat' or anything like that.

This was an operation that had been worked on for 18 month. Trump signed off on it more than half a year ago. Those who had planned it just waited for a chance to execute it.

We can not even be sure that the embassy bombing had caused Trump to give the final go. It might have been that the CIA and Pentagon were just waiting for a chance to kill Soleimani and Muhandis, the leader of Katib Hizbullah, at the same time. Their meeting at Baghdad airport was not secret and provided the convenient opportunity they had been waiting for.

Together Soleimani and Muhandis were the glue that kept the many Shia factions in Iraq together. The armed ones as well as the political ones. Soleimani's replacement as Quds brigade leader, Brigadier General Ismail Qaani, is certainly a capable man. But his previous field of work was mainly east of Iran in Afghanistan and Pakistan and it will be difficult for him to fill Soleimani's role in Iraq :

After Soleimani's death, Ayatollah Khamenei appointed Soleimani's deputy Ismail Qaani to succeed him. Qaani does not speak Arabic, does not have an in-depth knowledge of Iraq, nor the insight of Soleimani and his ability to balance the different positions of Iraq's factions with the opinions of Ayatollah Khamenei and the religious authorities in Najaf.

The question is how the successor of Soleimani will manage his new responsibility including the thorny issues in Iraq. The escalation of the Iranian-American conflict is, according to many, an escalation towards war and the destabilization of the region in which the rules of engagement have changed. The question remains how, and not whether all of this will impact the situation in Iraq.

Today the Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who has his on militia, and Iraqi PMU leaders met in Qom , Iran, to discuss how the foreign troops can be expelled from Iraq. Gen. Qaani will likely be there to give them advice.

Yesterday Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Hizbullah, gave another speech . In it he called on the Kurds in Iraq to pay back their debt to Soleimani and Hizbullah, which is owned for their fight against ISIS, and to help to evict the foreign soldiers from Iraq:

85-Nasrallah: Now, the rest of the path. 1) Iraq: Iraq is the first country concerned w/responding to this crime, because it happened in Iraq, and because it targeted Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a great Iraqi commander, and because Soleimani defended Iraq.

86-Nasrallah: I ask Masoud Barazani to thank Soleimani for his efforts in defending Erbil and Kurdistan Region, because Soleimani was the only one to respond to your call. Soleimani and with him men from Hezbollah went to Erbil.

87-Nasrallah: Barazani was shaking from fear, but Soleimani and the brothers from Hezbollah helped you repulse this unprecedented threat; and now you must repay this good by being part of the effort to expel the Americans from Iraq and the region.

The Barzani family, which governs the Kurdish part of Iraq, has since long sold out to the Zionists and the United States. It will certainly not support the resistance effort. But Nasrallah's request is highly embarrassing to the clan and to Masoud Barzani personally.

So far I only found this rather confusing response from him:

Nihad N. Arafat @NihadArafat - 7:44 UTC · Jan 13, 2020

The Kurdistan Regional Government's response to the immoral speech uttered by Hassan Nasrallah through the anti-terror apparatus is a clear message from the regional government to those terrorists that the response to the terrorists must be through the anti-terror apparatus.

As military leader both Soleimani and Muhandis are certainly replaceable. The militia groups they created and led will continue to function.

But both men also played important political roles in Iraq and it will take some time to find adequate people to replace them in that. That makes it likely that the already simmering political situation in Iraq will soon boil over as the Shia factions will start to fight each other over the selection of a new Prime Minister and government.

The U.S. will welcome that as it will try do install a candidate that will reject the Iraqi parliament decision to remove the foreign forces from Iraqi grounds.

Posted by b on January 13, 2020 at 17:32 UTC | Permalink


Zanon , Jan 13 2020 17:43 utc | 1

next page " As expected, war against Iran is the focus for west.

Ukraine, Canada, Germany, Sweden seeks to punish Iran, call iranian claims of what happend "nonsense"
https://sputniknews.com/world/202001131078024553-london-talks-on-plane-downing-to-include-possible-action-against-iran---ukraine-foreign-minister/

Maracatu , Jan 13 2020 17:48 utc | 2
The United States has truly become a rogue state. John Helmer pointed out that when Putin visited Damascus recently to meet with Assad, he did so at a Russian military facility as a safety precaution because you can no longer put it by the USA that it won't target people of such hierarchy.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 17:57 utc | 3
Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and explaining the importance of Qassem Suleiman in the Iran hierachy of government????

Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and explaining the illegality of assassinating such a leader when he was traveling openly to discuss matters of defense on a mission of diplomacy???????????

Was there not anyone in all of those previous discussions and planning sessions objecting and resigning or going public to attempt to stop this infamy????????????

A P , Jan 13 2020 18:00 utc | 4
So were the Saudis genuine in their "peace attempt" or were they simply working with CIA/Mossad to lure Soleimani and Muhandis into a situation where they could be droned?

If the Saudis were genuine, they would be much more vocal in their opposition to these murders, which completely derail any potential Iraq-brokered peace process.

Norumbega , Jan 13 2020 18:01 utc | 5
To the best of my recollection, Elijah Magnier, on a recent appearance with Joanne Leon on the Around the Empire Podcast, says it is erroneous to identify Muhandis as the leader of Katib Hizbullah. Actually, he was the highest military official of the PMU (excepting only its nominal head, a civilian), the umbrella organization of the (mainly) Shia militia which are part of the Iraqi military.
Noirette , Jan 13 2020 18:01 utc | 6
US biz persons in NY RE, in Florida, (etc.) as well as tv 'moguls' - do transactional power-play interactions, not Int'l diplomacy. (Whatever that is, pretty worthless actually, but = other topic.)

Obviously, Trump's order to murder Soleimani was partly due to impeachment pressure, as he has said himself.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/01/report-trump-cited-impeachment-pressure-to-kill-soleimani.html

Plus, Soleimani insulted him gravely. From tabloids and women's mags, which I read on occasion.

NK (Kim + spokespersons) called Trump a heedless and erratic old man. Also a dotard iirc, but all this was in an exchange of insults which could be taken as mimicking that between equals, Trump calling Kim Rocket Man, etc. (Everyone knew nothing would happen.) There was also that kerfuffle when Trudeau (sleazy hypocrite) and others were caught open-mick gossiping about Trump taking too long for his pressers or whatever. No doubt others and Dem public insults are politically calibrated in a known landscape and Trump of course initiates and has no problem with riposte.

2018. Soleimani speech. The Sun: vid. eng subs.

Very demeaning: gambler - bartender - casino manager that hits hard.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/10668165/donald-trump-iran-general-death-warrant/

When much is hung on 'identity politics' and 'personalia' - ppls identity, character, beliefs, personal interaction with others, etc. take up too much air (like in Hollywood movies), institutional or other long-worked out arrangements (like Int'l law based on upholding the existence of Wilsonian Nation-States..) are simply scuttered.

psychohistorian , Jan 13 2020 18:05 utc | 7
Thanks for the reporting b and I am not surprised about the background behind the assassination of Soleimani and Muhandis

I would also not be surprised to read that my country was complicit to some degree in the Ukraine plane shoot down by Iran.

The West is a very sick world run by the dictators that own global private finance. Those dictators have managed to even brainwash the public into not understanding their illness and believing it is a good force in our world.

I am glad to read less of the belief that Trump is being played by the system and not an active actor within it. I continue to hope that other groups of our species continue to stand up to the anti-humanistic social contract of the West and end its centuries old reign of terror.

Igor Bundy , Jan 13 2020 18:08 utc | 8
Before Putin left for Damascus he already mentioned something about he wont be so easily removed without any consequence.. most likely meaning Russia would probably neutralize all US bases in close proximity and get on the stick to fire strategic nukes for any US response.. But we know the US has hit a lot of Russian assets without seeing any Russian response. So who knows..
Pandora , Jan 13 2020 18:10 utc | 9
The idea to kill Soleimani, a regular General in an army with which the U.S. is not war ...

The US has been at war with Iran for 40 yrs ...(hybrid war)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8NHawXaOPc (Christopher Black)

War without limits: using all domains (pol, fin, econ, media, com, legal inst) to subvert and destroy an enemy, where the objective is to obliterate the state itself as a political entity
Aside from genocide, what greater crime can there be than the complete annihilation of the state itself, as we saw happening in the NATO-attack on Libya and the state's total destruction and re-invention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the NATO-attack against Yugoslavia and now Ukraine and Syria.

.. a complete negation of the concept of state sovereignty and self-determination of peoples enshrined in the UN-Charta. It is a form of aggression of the worst kind and the type of total war that the Nazis waged against the SU. (obliterate state, people, social & econ system and culture).

...So the term HW first appears in American military literature and as practised by NATO means the commission of multiple war-crimes against the people of the targeted state. In Libya we saw conventional military style ops by NATO (massive bombing over many months) simultaneous with unconventional operations (local and imported proxy forces, subversion, assassinations, terrorism against civilians, use of social and mass-media to distribute false information about the regime, criminal actions, cyberattacks to shut down communication and the use of quasi legal bodies (ICC) to criminalize the leadersip, to accuse Gadhafi of being a war-criminal; use of mercenaries, destruction of infrastructure to break the will of the people to resist.

The subject is one of immediate concern because the Americans have begun using the term hybrid warfare in their propaganda accusing Russia of engaging in it in Ukraine and now raising the alarm that (they believe) Russia will engage in HW in the Baltic. Therefore the Americans argue, they have to react to prepare for this eventuality which they claim to be inevitable. And that indicates to me where we can expect the next operations against Russia to take place (and it may explain the exercises NATO has been running all summer, landing of airborne troops, combined sea-operations, etc.)

But the American claim of Russia using HW is in fact a mirror of their own image as we see these methods being used by them as a matter of routine.

(... used in the Indian wars, in 19th century, starvation, prop and other techniques to destroy their cultures, in Mexico, Philipines, Korea and Vietnam, in Central America (i.e. Nicaragua) and in Ruanda....

All the accusations against Iran ("greatest sponsor of terrorism", aligning Iran with AQ, etc.) are a projection of their own crimes ..


Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 18:27 utc | 10
It was explained by Craig Murray in his blog (replicated in a few websites) that the usage of "imminent" adjective is created by a certain lawyer who first worked for Netanyahu, then for Blair etc. The usage does not convey ANY information about the nature of a "danger", but the attitude, judgement if you will, of the institution that commissioned the opinion.

And "immanent" or "eminent" (Trumpian tweet) would fit equally well, but legalistically, the confusion raised by "imminent" is more useful.

juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:29 utc | 11
Noirette @ 6, it is my belief that an irrational US president, under the constant pressure of attack from the Russiagate and Ukraingate instigators (you know who you are) from the instant he became president and took on those responsibilities, volatile and insecure as he was from the getgo, has finally cracked and is now very much in need of retirement from the highpressure stage of politics in a time of potential war. It would be in the interests of everyone in the world for his family to ask him, for his doctors to require of him, that he resign. Certainly the alternatives to his remaining in office are grim, but not as grim as having a president who is mentally incapacitated.

It would seem that an entire warmaking apparatus of government is similarly dysfunctional. I don't know how that can be remedied, but it must.

Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 18:34 utc | 12
Muqtada al-Sadr, who has his on militia

whose militia is "on", active, rather than "off"? In any case, separating this guy from microphones would require an Amored Personal Carrier or something heavier.

bevin , Jan 13 2020 18:35 utc | 13
juliania@3
The answer to your questions lies in the reality that for years a sure means of not being promoted or even being fired from a government job in the US is to know anything about the Arab or Islamic world. Or to act as if knowing anything about such inferior beings is necessary for making judgements.
This idea, that ignorance is bliss, has spread from Israel, not because the Israelis practise it-they don't- but because they want DC to be entirely reliant on them for intelligence and direction in the Middle East.
pretzelattack , Jan 13 2020 18:42 utc | 14
consistent from trump, he appointed bolton, this is all very characteristic.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 18:46 utc | 15
Although only one battle in what will be a longer war, Trump has won that round. More confusion and disarray in Iraq, bad PR for Iran after the Uki plane shootdown. Bad PR allows western vassals to move closer to the US side of the fence, and also provides fuel for US regime change operations within Iran.
The two generals that were assassinated - there will be others that can plan military strategy, but a big part, perhaps more important than strategy, is the personality to be able to hold disparate groups together so they act as one and all tactics by separate groups fit into a larger strategy.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:47 utc | 16
Thank you, bevin. That is a sad explanation, though to me it doesn't obviate what should be inherent in any normal human person, as I myself know very little about the Middle East, relying indeed upon b's excellent and nearly objective (as objective as any human can be) reporting on the facts and his interpretation of them. That which ought to be inherent is the human desire not to inflict pain on another human if that can be avoided. Those who are in government service ought to have that moral incentive front and center. We see it in the great leaders, and surely in this country there are some among the elite who haven't lost this natural instinct? It is very problematic if that has been thoroughly weeded out in those now occupying powerful positions.

This country has been fortunate in the past to select persons of high moral compass as our heroes. We the people still want to do that, I am convinced. Perhaps there is still time, and we can re-order our own hierarchy now that what has been done is this terrible, an enormous reductio ad absurdum, front and center.

This is not going away.

wendy davis , Jan 13 2020 18:48 utc | 17
@ Piotr Berman #10

yes, the Bethlehem Doctrine made this reTweet from john steppling even more outrageous a psyop:

'Israelis: Soleimani Intercept Sparked Drone Strike; US Reinforces Region', jan. 3, 2020, breaking defense

"TEL AVIV: Five days ago, an undisclosed intelligence agency intercepted a telephone call made by the head of Iran's Quds Force, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in which he was heard ordering his proxies in Iraq to attack the US embassy in Baghdad, as well as other Israeli and American targets, with the aim of taking hostages, Israeli sources say.

It's unclear whether this was a lapse in tradecraft on the part of the usually savvy Soleimani or whether the notorious Iranian military leader's phone calls were being routinely intercepted. Nor is it clear whether it was the US or another foe of Iran that made the intercept. Regardless, the intelligence seems to have led directly to Soleimani's killing yesterday, which has thrown the Mideast into uproar."

https://breakingdefense.com/2020/01/israelis-soleimani-intercept-sparked-drone-strike-us-reinforces-region/?_ga=2.263021516.1146847899.1578081532-904925514.1578081532


karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 18:48 utc | 18
psychohistorian @7--

In the chain of cause & effect, the Outlaw US Empire is definitely responsible for the airliner shootdown; that must be seen as 100% irrefutable. The Outlaw US Empire has executed numerous high ranking political and military people beginning with Yamamoto in 1943, although I'll admit he was a legitimate target; yet, the seed was planted then. I recall Diem being killed with the approval of JFK just weeks prior to his own execution. As I wrote at Escobar's Facebook over the weekend, the Great Evil in the world resides within the Outlaw US Empire and must be expunged even if Nukes must be used. Yes, that conclusion was painful to arrive at and write, but the horrors have lasted for 3,000+ years now. The crop of Current Oligarchs are the most aggressive ever and won't stop their rampage until they Own Everything . In the overall scheme of things, getting Imperial forces ousted from Southwest Asia will be a good thing but only a small portion of what must occur.

Jase , Jan 13 2020 18:53 utc | 19
What does a single word of Nihad N. Arafat's response even mean? How is Nasrallah's speech immoral by any stretch of the imagination? Do the Kurd's have no gratitude for Hezbollah and Qud's laying down their lives to save them from mass rape and genocide? What is the "anti-terror apparatus", does he mean fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria must be done only by US supported forces like the SDF? The Kurds siding with the US occupiers and Israel is one of the most disgusting developments in recent history, its no wonder these people have been so distrusted and abused for so long, their power hungry leadership betrays their allies like snakes.
juliania , Jan 13 2020 18:57 utc | 20
Apologies, karlof1; you know I value your input. But that is one very crazy post.
Red Ryder , Jan 13 2020 18:58 utc | 21
@8, Igor Bundy

Russia takes its vengeance cold, often with no flair or notoriety. They often take in multiples for their losses.

In Syria, a Russian missile into a mountain cave where US, Israeli, Saudi and AQ Intel leaders were meeting cost over 50 high value lives. It was Russian payback for when some Colonels and a General were hit by Coalition air strikes. Auslander, on the Saker blog, has written about this. 2016, as I recall.

In Donbass, there have been many paybacks by Russia for Ukie and NATO acts. Some even taken inside Russia.
A number of the culprits who killed over a hundred people and set fire to the Trade Union building in Odessa have met Russian justice. Same with some of the criminal SBU who tortured Berkut who came from Crimea. And others have been liquidated for murders done by Ukies in Mariupol.

People who know and need to know are aware that Russia always more than evens the score.

They just recently eliminated the head Turkmen who was responsible for shooting the pilot of the jet the Turks shot down as he parachuted. It wasn't enough that when they rescued the co-pilot navigator of the jet (rescue led by General Soleimani), the Aerospace forces bombed the hell out of the area the Turkmen populated. They got the names and tracked for years the commander.

Never assume because you don't know, it hasn't happened. And if it hasn't yet, it will.

DM , Jan 13 2020 19:06 utc | 22
Dear juliania,
Perhaps there is still time, and we can re-order our own hierarchy

Seems highly unlikely.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 19:06 utc | 23
I don't like to say it but b's article doesn't support his headline. And I don't like to repeat myself, but I've already commented this subject earlier today @ open thread 55 , but he doesn't seem to have taken it into account. We should not expect a powerful Iraqi reaction to the events.
Firstly remember that Abd ul-Mahdi is a weak leader, only there because the US agreed to him. The US has made sure that the Iraqi leadership is not strong. Secondly, there was always going to be a time necessary for a new militia leader to emerge. Instant reaction was just about impossible.

However in the long term, the prospects are good. The Shi'a are in power in Iraq without question. The Sunnis are out of it, the Kurds no longer intervene outside KRG. All the cr*p about civil war is nonsense. The Shi'a factions all have basically the same interest, and conflict is only between different leaders of the same grouping. Things could turn around in an instant.

The anti-US movement is popular sentiment, not govt led. The more the US offends that sentiment, as will inevitably happen, the stronger the movement will be. We already have seen the way things will go. US bases are being sprayed with rockets. That will make life difficult for the US. The more they punish the culprits, the more resentment there will be. There's no way things can work out well for the US.

b has been reading the instant reaction, breast-beating, woe-is-me, articles like Salhy in Middle East Eye, without looking further.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:10 utc | 24
juliania 20

US aggression is at the stage of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan around the start of WWII.
Rather than seeing that their unipolar world is ending, the US is prepared to use military power to hold its position in the world.
The exceptionalist mindset is not just one small faction in the US hierarchy, it is the mindset of the hierarchy plus a good proportion of the population.
Throughout history, countries or nations like that always end up destroyed as they fight for their position until the very end rather than step down.

Piotr Berman , Jan 13 2020 19:24 utc | 25
What does a single word of Nihad N. Arafat's response even mean?

Posted by: Jase | Jan 13 2020 18:53 utc | 19

Upon quick inspection, N.N. Arafat is not a real person. For few months he (it?) only retweeted, mostly a pro-Kurdish US senator, and now produced a test of his (its?) own. The text is weird, which may corroborate the purported education -- radiologist who graduated in Dohuk (the capital of one of the three provinces of Kurdistan autonomous area in Iraq). Actual on-line Kurdish publication have a rather sketchy English, although not as bad.

james , Jan 13 2020 19:27 utc | 26
dang, i was too long and my comment is in moderation... oh well..
Passer by , Jan 13 2020 19:30 utc | 27
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 18:46 utc | 15

>>Although only one battle in what will be a longer war, Trump has won that round. More confusion and disarray in Iraq, bad PR for Iran after the Uki plane shootdown. Bad PR allows western vassals to move closer to the US side of the fence, and also provides fuel for US regime change operations within Iran.
The two generals that were assassinated - there will be others that can plan military strategy, but a big part, perhaps more important than strategy, is the personality to be able to hold disparate groups together so they act as one and all tactics by separate groups fit into a larger strategy.

Yup. Some people like to underestimate the US Empire, because it is easier to wear rose coloured glasses, rather than face unpleasant reality.

Even b changed from US will leave Iraq to there will be chaos in Iraq and the US will try to stay.

Although personally i think that the US will be kicked out because most of the Shia leaders would like to be killed by a US drone for whatever. Especially Sadr, who has the biggest political block, and whose Mahdi Army killed plenty of americans back then. He knows that he is a potential target too, so he will work to make this expulsion happen.

There was also an assasination attempt against iranian official in Yemen. This is all part of a Cold War, a hybrid war against Iran. To break it. There is no isolationism. No one will leave Iran or Syria unless they are actually kicked out.

And yes, Trump is a willing imperialist. He likes it. He can't do much on the domestic front but he is allowed to show his violent tendencies on the foreign front. As a zionist and a military puppet.

Trump loves the sanction weapons and financial-banking weapons the US possesses. He's all in on using every coercion to strangle, starve and screw everyone, friend, foe, ally, adversary. A power-hungry guy who has all the power to dominate the globe, yet not his own country, break sovereignties, ignore laws and trample opponents to get his way.

And he likes it.

Trump has taken on the personification of the Hegemon. It is a form of Wizard of Oz syndrome. If the Deep State and MIC allows him, he is "powerful". This suits his dysfunctionality as a man. He has big inadequacies. They manifest in his need to be big, wealthy, #1, first, triumphant in all deals.

In the Oval Office, he is powerless to get the wall built, infrastructure legislation passed, health reform, or even announce he will consider pardons for all those entrapped by Comey and the Russiagate hoax. He's being impeached.

But as the Hegemon, when the handlers around him allow it (advise him), he gets to kill people. This is heady stuff that captivates him.

I would predict that Assad is on the top of Trump's hit list too.

snake , Jan 13 2020 19:41 utc | 28
sponsor of terrorism", aligning Iran with AQ, etc.) are a projection of their own crimes ..by: Pandora @9..<=many Domestic Americans may be at risk for elimination ..If I were an aspiring Democrat I would wear my anti-drone outfit ?

Americans used to pride themselves that their government promised those accused of wrongdoing to be treated as "innocent" until guilt was established by a due process procedure known as a fair open trial. These trials were a source of information that allowed the governed to keep somewhat honest those who were running the government. many Americans chose to become American Citizens in order to gain access to the due process procedures. Humanity in the world has a problem it needs to define and solve because death by drone is not an acceptable line item in the statistics.

Red , Jan 13 2020 19:48 utc | 29
I gleaned this off the saker, https://twitter.com/Azof313/status/1216717472780505093?fbclid=IwAR1pJTv4a5BxI9Ov7IQKUYo5FuhkzluCBUCC7ocsduuATQL4UxRQG5JLLAM .I don't read the language but commenter speaks of cyber attack on the uki plane.
Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 19:50 utc | 30
Actually, I don't think the Shi'a militias are that divided at all. Sistani's call was classic and unifying.
I was quite interested by the remarks of Ayatullah Sistani last Friday, I think it was, criticising Iran and the US equally for illegal attacks on Iraqi soil.

The context is of course that Sistani is Iranian, but has never taken a pro-Iranian position. He is aged now, and his view is expressed by his aides, so it can be taken that this is the view of the Sistani organisation, not so necessarily of the man himself. It is quite nationalistic, and not subservient to Iran, as everybody is currently claiming. Iraqi Shi'a independence from Iran has always been the policy, and its being reaffirmed. Iran remains an ally, naturally.

That doesn't mean that the Iraqi state is strong and can dictate to the US. The US ensures that doesn't happen. But the positions of Sistani, Muqtada al-Sadr and the others are all pretty similar, and concentrate on Iraqi nationalism, which equals opposition to the US, and non-dependence on Iran.

Of course Shi'a Iraqi nationalism is a little bit particular, as no concessions are made to the Sunnis. It's as though they don't exist. For the moment that doesn't matter, as the Sunnis are thoroughly defeated, and if they have rebels, they join Da'ish, who are discredited. The Kurds have had their fingers burned, and won't venture outside KRG again. If the US wants to stir them up, it won't work.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:51 utc | 31
Passer by

I agree with all of that, though on Trump as trying to make up for inadequacies I would differ.
More a very aggressive, competitive mindset and very self confidant in his abilities.
He had held no political positions in the past, runs for president of the US and wins.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 19:55 utc | 32
Laguerre 30

It looks as though much rides on whether the Shia groups can put aside domestic differences for the duration and agree on and stick to a common strategy to oust the US.

powerandpeople , Jan 13 2020 19:58 utc | 33
https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1216466497901596675

This tweet by Mike Pompeo has triggered a large response condemning USA hypocrisy.

But the murder of the Iranian General does highlight the difficulty of the militias throughout the Middle East.

Middle East is tribal, militias, as far as I understand, can be paid by Sheiks, by local religous leaders, by some arm of the relevant government, by foreign governments. And by foreign governments, I mean Turkey, USA, Iran, UK and so on.
Or a mix of all the above.

So Pompeo has a point - the sooner Middle East governments bring militias fully into the armed forces, the clearer the applicable law will be.

What caused this mess?

Lack of a robust governmental process.

Whose problem is it? At base, the national government in question.

If clear lines of control and command and full integration can't happen due to political divisions and corruption, poor popular control of politicians, then the country (and others around the region) are doomed to endless trouble, from home, from abroad.

Sad fact, IMO.

Sovereignty starts with responsive, effective, reliable, accountable, transparent, and widely accepted, clear, principles-based governance.


psychohistorian , Jan 13 2020 20:02 utc | 34
@ Posted by: Passer by | Jan 13 2020 19:30 utc | 27
with the comment about Trump with which I agree...thanks

Trump is a very hurt human being that is not recognized as such because of a skewed view of what mental health is.....aggression, bullying, and murder have all been normalized to be acceptable mental health in top/down world that is never discussed as being the source of the Trump type of mentality.

I agree with your call out:
"
I would predict that Assad is on the top of Trump's hit list too.
"
and want to add that I expect there are active hit list plans for all world leaders that conflict with the dictatorship of global private finance.

juliania , Jan 13 2020 20:02 utc | 35
b's last comment is:


"...The U.S. will welcome that [the Shia factions will start to fight each other over the selection of a new Prime Minister and government] as it will try do install a candidate that will reject the Iraqi parliament decision to remove the foreign forces from Iraqi grounds."

If the US hopes this will happen to deflect Iraqis from their shock at US assassination on their soil of their military leader as well as Iran's, surely they are as mistaken as they were in perpetrating the atrocity. That's not what happens - we saw it first in Russia. There will be unity against a common enemy, would be my take. As has been happening all along with less important 'sanctions' than this. They always backfire.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:06 utc | 36
My view is that the iraqi shia will work towards expulsion of the US and will make it happen. They will also buy capable anti-air defense from Russia, no matter the threats. Because having US drones over your head is simply unacceptable, and many leaders, including Sadr, know that they are a potential target for "misbehaving" or past grievances. This lurking theat is simply too much. That's not to mention the israeli strikes in Iraq. They also do not want Iraq to turn into US-Iran battlefield. Which will inevitably lead to killings of Shia leaders and groups.

But there will be lots of bullying coming from Trump and some US companies could get large deals as a price for the withdrawal, maybe some expensive military equipment will be sold too.

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 20:12 utc | 37
The middle east, particularly the Arab world have always been susceptible to divide and conquer.
Clans, Tribes, Religions, Ethic groups and nations - all fault lines that the imperial countries have and still do, easily drive wedges into and turn one against another.
Mao , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 38
Putin jokes Assad should invite Trump to visit Damascus. The leaders were referring to the Straight Street, which leads to Mariamite Cathedral of Damascus, & to Apostle Paul whose life was transformed after a vision he had as he walked on that road.


https://twitter.com/RT_com/status/1216797057639337984

Tuyzentfloot , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 39
Since the attack on Suleimani, Al Muhandis and that officer in Yemen, Reza Shahlai, were the result of long planning the question is what else is part of the plan, and its possible opportunistic addons. Trump was very fast in following up with new sanctions. The current demonstrations in Iran were probably(my guess) planned. I don't understand how they can get traction so close to the funeral.
Also I wonder to what extent the US/Israel are strenghtening IS near the Syrian border.
lex talionis , Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 40
@21 Red Ryder - I am going to put something on the open thread to you. My question doesn't pertain to this ghastly Iraq/Iran business.
Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 20:18 utc | 41
Passer by "They also do not want Iraq to turn into US-Iran battlefield."

This is the part that annoys me about the Iraqi's. Trump stated bluntly that US is in Iraq and will be staying in Iraq to watch Iran. That was at the time of the Syrian pullback and oilfield grab.

US is using Iraq to attack Iran. It killed and Iran military officer and diplomat on Iraqi soil. It is constantly striking Iraqi militia groups on Iraqi soil.
By stating Iran violated Iraqi sovereignty with its strike on the US base, Iraq is giving sanctuary to the US.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:21 utc | 42
Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jan 13 2020 20:15 utc | 39

>>the question is what else is part of the plan

The plan seems to be israeli one, and it will be about what will benefit Netanyahoo.

This means a continuous near war situation between the US and Iran, but without the actual large scale war. A covert war involving killings, sabotage, everything other than a large scale war. The US will be the meat-shield for Israel. Untill the elections. Then we will see.

Passer by , Jan 13 2020 20:26 utc | 43
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 20:18 utc | 41

I think no one believed that the US will start killing senior iraqis and iranians. Soleimani was even seen together with US troops in Iraq, and was visiting often. Iran certainly did not believe that either. But now things changed.

Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 20:26 utc | 44
@ Passer by 24; ph 34

Trump is one sick pup. He now defends that it does not matter if there was an imminent threat [his] .... "killing of Soleimani regardless of 'imminent' threat, says he had a 'horrible past'

Mike Bloomberg Says He's Spending 'All' His Money 'to Get Rid of Trump'

May need to invoke the 25th Amendment. 11 months is a very long time and we may not all be here. In the previous post I linked to a Tass report Iran has declared their revenge is not over. More to come.

Guy THORNTON , Jan 13 2020 20:34 utc | 45
"Several troops CNN spoke to said the event (al-Assad base) had shifted their view of warcraft: the US military is rarely on the receiving end of sophisticated weaponry, despite launching the most advanced attacks in the world.
"You looked around at each other and you think: Where are we going to run? How are you going to get away from that?" said Ferguson.
"I don't wish anyone to have that level of fear," he said. "No one in the world should ever have to feel something like that.""

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/13/middleeast/iran-strike-al-asad-base-iraq-exclusive-intl/index.html

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ....and Iran is even 5th Division compared with Russia.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 20:37 utc | 46
Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 13 2020 19:55 utc | 32

Yeah, the way I see things going, I wouldn't call it a strategy, is that the Iraqi parliament continues to vote against any proposal the US makes, while at the same time random militias continue to fire off Katyushas against US bases, making life difficult.

US pressure on Abd ul-Mahdi can't disarm the militias, as he doesn't have the power to do so. There's no scenario where the US could agree to the appointment of a strong PM, who might master the militias, and be accepted by the parliament, and yet guarantee to stop militia attacks. The different elements are contradictory.

DontBelieveEitherPr. , Jan 13 2020 20:39 utc | 47
Yeah, Peter AU1 is right. Iran lost that round.
With the plane shot down, they fucked it totally up. Trump can (somewhat with a basis in reality) point to Iran, the "evil Regime" that prefers to shoot down 100+ civilians instead of closing airspace for "a strategic gain" (Bernards words defending this).
A PR nightmare for Iran. And sadly a deserved one in this case of not closing the airspace.

Had this catastrophe not happend, it would have been a brilliant operation, which would have turned the US standing upside down militarily.
But with shooting themselves in the foot, they managed to paint themselves as the paraiah regime that cares not about human life, as Trump and the NeoCons have painted them all along.

Now i understand why Trump did not respond that night and happily went to bed tweeting that all is well. The US knew Iran shot it down in that night, and they knew that Iran would have hurt itself more then they hurt the US from a PR and propaganda standpoint.

And with Soleimani gone, and a replacement that does not even speak Arabic (WTF?!), how can they even dream of rallying all the tribes in Syria and Iraq behind their game plan??
Personality is key in politics. And when such a person can not even speak the language of the people he should unite, then this looks futile IMHO.

All in all, a very telling development. Telling about both the US and Iran, but also about Alt Media and us readers+commenters.

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 20:51 utc | 48
Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jan 13 2020 20:39 utc | 47

What does that have to do with Iraq?

ben , Jan 13 2020 21:01 utc | 49
IMO, the sad truth is, that the new 4th Reich owns the globe, because of their grasp of the reserve currency system, and NO nation, at this point in time, can reverse that fact.

I've been reading people talking about the demise of the empire for years now. Until the reserve currency issue is changed,
NO NATION on earth can challenge the monstrosity of the new 4th Reich.

The empire will continue to control the world with economic and military terrorism.

To coin an old saying, "It's just business, get over it"....

Laguerre , Jan 13 2020 21:11 utc | 50
Suppose that the US wants to stay in Iraq, as they've said. What strategy could they follow to make it possible? I'm at a bit of a loss there. Full military occupation, with 100,000 US troops? Unacceptable in the US. Change the Iraqi PM? Would someone else be better? Another PM would still be subject to parliament votes. Impose a dictator? Dictators aren't in fact absolute rulers, but still depend on public acquiescence.

Anyone else have a better idea?

nemo , Jan 13 2020 21:13 utc | 51
"Now i understand why Trump did not respond that night and happily went to bed tweeting that all is well. The US knew Iran shot it down in that night, and they knew that Iran would have hurt itself more then they hurt the US from a PR and propaganda standpoint."

Except Trump's stupid tweet came 4 hours BEFORE the plane was downed. Seriously delusional stuff you are spouting.

Alpi , Jan 13 2020 21:13 utc | 52
We have been talking for about 7 days venting our anger and frustration with US empire and its puppets. Also, talking about the why's and The Who's and How's.

I think it is time to concentrate on the " now what" question. What can be done to get the US out of West Asia and keep them away?

The key to all of this and the future of West Asia's peace, IMHO, is Saudi Arabia. Iran and its allies have to concentrate and preempt in changing the Saudi regime. Time is ripe for this and they are on the defensive as well. Taking out the Saudis will:

1. Finish the Wahabi- Saud axis and weaken it tremendously (weaken ISIS, AlQueda, etc if not end them)
2. It will cut off the financial source of much of evil going on in West Asia and beyond
3. No oil, no Americans in the region and a gradual end of petrodollar and hopefully the empire(of course, easier said than done but it has to start somewhere)
4. That will also have a chain reaction in the gulf monarchies with the majority non-Sunni population. So it goes for the other West Asian fiefdoms.
5. The end of ERETZ ISRAEL
6. Realignment of North African alliances and shift away from US and the west, especially Egypt.
7. Bring OPEC under a more democratic control
8. Facilitating Belt and Road and possibly more prosperity for the region as a whole although China and Russia should be watched and dealt with very carefully. They are not the angels that they have been made to be in these forums. They are just the lesser evils, comparatively. Much less.
9. A gradual growth away fanaticism and more toward secularism. Maybe even Iran can restart the first true democracy in the region, if such a thing exists outside of books and novels.

I'm sure others can add to this list. It sounds like fantasy but like i said before it has to start somewhere and Iran is in a position to make this happen and it should be sooner than later. Once Saudis have been dealt with, comes next, Israel. 1967 lines or get the hell out of West Asia. No ifs or buts. No negotiations.

It is a nice dream anyway. I truly believe it is the only hope for the region, otherwise we are looking at 50 more years of this shit if a global war hasn't happened in between.

ted01 , Jan 13 2020 21:31 utc | 53
karlof1 @ 18

"...the Great Evil in the world resides within the Outlaw US Empire and must be expunged even if Nukes must be used. Yes, that conclusion was painful to arrive at and write, but the horrors have lasted for 3,000+ years now."

Is this the real karlof1? Or his alter ego Major karlof1 Kong riding the bomb.

When you say "...Nukes must be used." Would it be correct to assume you mean on yourselves? or some innocent third party in the Middle East?


I thought I despised you Americans, but there is a lot of self loathing here.

Guy THORNTON @45 - should be mandatory viewing. The American needs to feel abject fear, helplessness and loss before anything can even begin to change.


karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 21:34 utc | 54
juliania @20--

Sorry to confound you with my 18! Cause & Effect in this case began in 1953. If 1953 hadn't occurred and nothing similar in-between, then the dead would be alive. Peter AU 1's 24 explained the middle portion well enough. The 3,000+ years refers to the amount of time an oligarchy consisting of landed rich, rentiers and such have subjugated humanity in the West as seen by the numerous proofs offered in the numerous publications by the team Hudson assembled at the Peabody Museum at the same time the Berlin Wall was falling, which Hudson's trying to make more accessible via a series beginning with and forgive them their debts... which I very much encourage you--and everyone reading this comment--to read as it really is that important. The bits and pieces provided in the related essays at Hudson's website are not a sufficient substitute for the series of books, although they ought to be enough to motivate.

b4real , Jan 13 2020 21:38 utc | 55
@50 Laguerre

" What strategy could they follow to make it possible?"

The same strategy they use in Korea, Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, ......etc... Bribery, threats and violence.

@52 Alpi

"What can be done to get the US out of West Asia and keep them away? "

Kill a couple of few hundred American troops in a very rapid fashion or close the straits and collapse the economies.


b4real


Really?? , Jan 13 2020 21:41 utc | 56
Juliania 16
"This country has been fortunate in the past to select persons of high moral compass as our heroes."

Really?
Who?
Can you be more specific?
I am sure there are a few genuine heroes, but I am curious as to whom you mean specifically?
Anyone in the Oval Office?

Josh , Jan 13 2020 21:43 utc | 57
Finally a top Canadian businessman who points the finger for this tragedy to Trump: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51095769. Of course there's not a single politician who has the guts to speak this truth out loud. Trump, the narcissist cum laude, demonstrates how the whole world has to count on others having more common sense than the crazy Americans who bully whoever they don't like, damn the consequences. Let's not forget that it is this ongoing verbal adolescent barrage and unnecessary hyping that almost got us into a nuclear holocaust twice (1963 and 1983) - and both times we were saved by the sound and sober Russians. What if the Russian then would have been the Iranian now?
Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 21:54 utc | 58
@ ben 49

I've been reading people talking about the demise of the empire for years now. Until the reserve currency issue is changed,
NO NATION on earth can challenge the monstrosity of the new 4th Reich.


The USD$ will follow all the others that went before.

just a little more faith ben. The collapse is not one event like an explosion, "boom" it's a process over time. U.S'. 'perceived prosperity' is built on debt or by another name, printing fiat which is unsustainable.

Watch the new QE repo fail, also derivatives and prepare.
U.S. Fed is working hard to save the financial system that is leaking like a sieve. One Fed governor said it [the Repo] was a plumbing exercise. How apt. In 2006 global debt was $125 trillion now stands at $260 trillion.

I mentioned watch derivatives. These banks with the biggest derivative positions - DB, JPM, Citigroup and GS - list their official position a tad below $200 trillion. When it blows? could be another 6 years but collapse it will.

Actually, imo we are in the collapse. Why are interest rates in negative territory? It is a theft of pensioners' savings to keep the casino standing. I suspect the warmongering is a distraction.

When all else fails, they take us to war.


Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 21:56 utc | 59
DontBelieveEitherPr. 47 "A PR nightmare for Iran. And sadly a deserved one in this case of not closing the airspace."

It is not deserved. Decisions are easy to ridicule in hindsight, very difficult to make make at the time. War is all about deception. Did Iran know US had the ability to spoof what they were seeing on their radar screens. There is a good chance the US have made some deliberately failed attempts in the past to set them up for something like this. Iran is in a fight with an exceptionally dirty fighter that knows all the tricks. They will take more hits before this is over.
not understanding that and disparaging Iran when it does take hits is part of US calculations. That is human character. Everyone likes a winner type mindset. Part of human character.

xLemming , Jan 13 2020 21:58 utc | 60
Posted by: Josh | Jan 13 2020 21:43 utc | 57

Thanks Josh for that
Unfortunately your link doesn't work (due to the period included at the end)

Canada business chief lashes Trump over Iran plane crash

james , Jan 13 2020 22:02 utc | 61
"pr nightmare." the west can win the pr war, but the actual war is different.. the 2 aren't connected as some might like to think..
Canthama , Jan 13 2020 22:03 utc | 62
Thanks b, Elijah's newest article touches on this very subject, the situation will get hot in Iraq should the Us occupiers do not leave the country. The situation will aggravate, maybe slowly, then speed up, the US will most likely retaliate with sanctions and other usual crimes.
I do see China and Russia stepping up in Iraq and Iran, there is a clear alignment forming, backstage talks must be very busy at the moment, many countries aligning such as Qatar and Turkey, while the traditional allies of Israel and US continue to drag on their knees, such as UAE and KSA.
I do expect the war of aggression in Yemen to get hotter, since KSA is kicking the can down the road instead of true commitment to a peace deal, while in eastern Syria we may see US mercenaries being most likely killed by Syrian insurgency, lots of mercenaries there vs US soldiers.
dh , Jan 13 2020 22:06 utc | 63
@61 Here is a good example of the pr war. As you can see the US army is a real nice bunch of guys and gals doing a tough job fighting ISIS.

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-51100129/inside-a-us-air-base-attacked-by-iranian-missiles

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 22:10 utc | 64
james

Trump US has had problems getting vassals on board for war against Iran. With the recent incident, more have moved to Trumps side. Winning the PR war means puppet leaders are free to do as US tells them as even puppet leaders are keeping an eye on re-election and public opinion and so forth.
Trumps war on Iran will not be well publicised build up to Iraq shock and awe. It will be Trident missiles with no warning.

foolisholdman , Jan 13 2020 22:11 utc | 65
Piotr Berman | Jan 13 2020 18:34 utc | 12

I thought "his on militia" was a typo for "his own militia".

karlof1 , Jan 13 2020 22:13 utc | 66
Canthama @62--

I just read your comment at SyrPers:

"Something very odd is happening in the past 24 hours and today:

"The Qatari Emir was in Tehran yesterday, long talks with Iranian leadership.

"Also yesterday, basically all top Syrian Gov leaders (except President Assad apparently), went to Iran as well, a very rare and could say rather risky move of a large group from the Syrian leadership."

Do you have anything to add or further speculation about those events? And thanks for all your efforts!!

Peter AU1 , Jan 13 2020 22:18 utc | 67
karlof1

Almasdarnews had a piece on the Syrian delegation vist.

""Today, a high-level government delegation headed by Prime Minister Imad Khamis, began a trip to the Iranian capital, Tehran, during which they will discuss with senior officials there the current bilateral relations between the two countries and work to strengthen them at all levels, as well as accelerating developments in the regional and international arenas," Al-Watan reported, quoting a diplomatic source.

The Al-Watan source said that consultation and coordination between the two countries at this stage is necessary because after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the two allies need to strengthen their alliance.

The newspaper added that the delegation will include in the foreign and defense ministers."
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/high-level-syrian-govt-delegation-heads-to-iran-for-important-meeting/

Alpi , Jan 13 2020 22:22 utc | 68
@ 45

I think this is the first time the American military has tasted a pushback like this. A clear feeling of defeat and demoralization among those interviewed. It is good for them to be at the receiving end and feel helpless and to know what they have been wreaking on the region for the past 16 years. Maybe they will start questioning their role in these atrocities and pass on the word to new recruits: " Don't join in".

Bubbles , Jan 13 2020 22:27 utc | 69
Meanwhile, the US Pivot to Asia grand plan seems to be in a state of hiatus. Skirmishes and a potential uprising in the Provinces have disrupted the once all important thrust to confront China and curb it's expansion on all fronts.

OBOR strategy continues undeterred, drawing more and more interest and solidifying influence as the months pass. China quietly gives support to the Empire's targets on 2 continents and expands largely unopposed in a 3rd. The Empire's debts to finance it's interests and militarism grows at a never b4 seen rate. It's own military industrial complex robbing it's treasury almost at will, while it's foes grow in size and number.

Looking at it all in Grand Chess Board sort of way, it brings to mind Muhammed Ali's 'Rope a dope' strategy. Let the big dope punch himself out before taking him down was the essence of it.

Another of his most memorable quotes, "No Vietcong ever called me n****r".

No Chinese ever called people in the Provinces hadji either. But hey why go to all that bother of wining hearts and minds and investing in local economies when bribery, corruption and killing dissenters has worked so well in achieving your goals?

'We have the right to stay as a force of good.' Buffalo Wings Mike Pompeo

Oui , Jan 13 2020 22:39 utc | 70
Explanation #99 and counting from the US NSC:

Disclosure Mike Pompeo: Bigger Strategy of Real Deterrence

Not an imminent threat

blues , Jan 13 2020 22:51 utc | 71
In my very most humble opinion, I think this whole 'episode' (starting with the USSA droning of the very high profile military officers in Iraq) must be all just theater. A very large crowd of the most knowledgeable experts in (real) economics are quite certain that the USSA is on the brink of total collapse. So the population is in dire need of distractions. I also am pretty sure that if the USSA were to attack Iran the result would be 'instant' collapse, so that won't happen unless 'they' are slightly stupider that I suspect them to be. I think the 'world' is simply death-watching the USSA. All they have to really do is to avoid being crushed when the Big Dummy goes full Humpty Dumpty.
james , Jan 13 2020 23:04 utc | 72
@ 63 dh.. thanks.. i guess that is similar to the link @ 45 guy thornton shared? bbc verses cnn... they are all tied at the hip..

quote from one of the men at the site - ""I don't wish anyone to have that level of fear," he said. "No one in the world should ever have to feel something like that." well holy fuck... welcome to the reality you have been putting on all of the people in middle east in what seems like forever!! maybe you want to think that thru??

@64 peter au... you're right... this war porn for the kiddies back home is all used for the same purpose.. keeping all the folks back home as braindead as possible.. and yes - when the shit hits the fan, it will be without warning.. great place to be in.. thanks trump, usa, neo con warmongering group.. great place to be here in 2020..

Cynica , Jan 13 2020 23:09 utc | 73
@nemo #51

Trump's "stupid tweet" coincided with UIA Flight 752 crashing.

brian , Jan 13 2020 23:18 utc | 74
Tehran Plans to Take Trump to International Court for Soleimani's Assassination – Iran's Top Judge
Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp's Quds Force, died in Baghdad on January 3 when the vehicle he was traveling in was struck by a missile launched by a US drone. Soleimani's death brought relations between Iran and the US to a new low.

The Iranian government will seek to prosecute US President Donald Trump for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Soleimani, Iranian Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi has said
etc

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001131078026671-tehran-plans-to-take-trump-to-international-court-for-soleimanis-assassination--irans-top-judge/?fbclid=IwAR3PQWAd9LWPKyULZUP15oo_FlGjBvTYPaXyPTsGXnCJr0ZC9BmN4f-0B_E

ted01 , Jan 13 2020 23:24 utc | 75
karlof1 @ 54

juliania - you poor confused women.
Classic gaslighting.

You should know that there are things you are not allowed say, no matter how polite you are.
Criticism will not be tolerated.

That explanation makes Masoud Barzani sound coherent.

Now we shall never talk of this again.

dh , Jan 13 2020 23:24 utc | 76
@72 To be fair james the average US servicemen/women are probably pretty decent guys. They genuinely don't know why anyone would try to kill them. It never occurs to them that they are being manipulated.
brian , Jan 13 2020 23:25 utc | 77
Assad Awarded Qassem Soleimani, the Highest Medal in Syria (Photo + Video)

5 hours ago News 809 visits

Assad awarded Qassem Soleimani, the highest honor in Syria (photo + video)

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad granted the highest honor in the Republic to the commander of the "Quds Force" Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in an air strike carried out by the American forces, on January 3, 2020, in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

On Monday, Syrian Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, said that President al-Assad granted the commander of the "Quds Force" of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, the highest honor in Syria.

He added, during his meeting with the first vice-president of the Iranian President, Ishaq Jahangiri, in Tehran, that "the award of the medal reveals the deep affection of Assad for Soleimani and his brothers in Iran," according to the agency "Tasnim".
https://shaamtimes.net/218591/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D8%B3%D8%AF-%D9%8A%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AD-%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85-%D8%B3%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D8%A3%D8%B1%D9%81%D8%B9-%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88/

RT video
https://youtu.be/ZnRo-JkKtRE

Likklemore , Jan 13 2020 23:33 utc | 78
@ Josh 57

Minds are a changing.

Trudeau endorses Maple Leaf Foods CEO who flays the U.S on the Ukraine plane crash.

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that the victims of the Ukrainian airliner shot down in Iran would still be alive if the recent escalation of tensions in the region had not happened, according to a transcript of an interview with Global News TV.

"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," Trudeau said in the interview.

Trudeau said Canada did not receive a heads up before the United States killed Soleimani, and that he "obviously" would have preferred one.

"The U.S. makes its determinations. We attempt to work as an international community on big issues. But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies," he said


james , Jan 13 2020 23:36 utc | 79
@76 dh.. i agree with you and i think the same applies to the average westerner, whether american, canuck or etc. etc.. people are manipulated without much awareness of it.. however, thinking something thru would be a good exercise for many, especially those cheering for the west in it's war on iran.. that is the part i have a hard time comprehending, absent the constant pr sell... thus the pr becomes a pivotal piece in the war movement.. they have to sell it to the public.. from reading the cbc comments on the maple leaf foods ceo, it is not apparent to me that the pr act is working fully here.. in fact, some people seem to be waking up to where this is all headed and don't like what it looks like..
dh , Jan 13 2020 23:38 utc | 80
@78 Poor Justin. He has to be so careful what he says. He doesn't want the Canadian economy to get trashed.
james , Jan 13 2020 23:38 utc | 81
@ 78 likklemore.. thanks for that.. the maple leaf ceo is getting a lot of airplay, but that bit from trudeau is a departure from his usual acceptance of the official agenda here. thanks..
imo , Jan 13 2020 23:49 utc | 82
@ blues | Jan 13 2020 22:51 utc | 71

"A very large crowd of the most knowledgeable experts in (real) economics are quite certain that the USSA is on the brink of total collapse. So the population is in dire need of distractions. ..."

This crowd of 'economists' and their like have been sprouting this scenario for decades. Why believe any of these characters? The whole basic premise of std economics is now dated and largely BS. Obviously, they have not updated on "modern monetary theory"?

There is no market economy in 'equilibrium' run on rational basis. That ideology's shell cracked with Nixon and completely broke with blow-job Willy Clinton when he had time not playing with the kids on Epstein's Express (and Island).

It is a political economy now. Hegemony first, second and third. Vassal states (plantations) and Colony-economic all the way with LBJ (& the Fed) etc. The only place 'normal' economics applies is at the margins for the working class -- like your credit card and the local hardware store.

However, your general sentiment is on the mark if you change the key phrase from "brink of total collapse" to " brink of major reset."

Sasha , Jan 13 2020 23:50 utc | 83
It has already started...The Mahdi is coming! En marche!

Soleimani´s Curse....

Floods cause millionaire damage to Israeli fighter jets in their hangars

Sasha , Jan 13 2020 23:59 utc | 84
Damage count...

'Pence secretly visits Ain Al-Asad base, attacked by Iran'

He is probably in the hope that someone would retaliate by killing him so as to he becomes an American hero....but to no avail...in his insignificance...

The current state of affairs in the US and for extension in the resto fo the world is a byprosuct of at least three men in the WH who feel so littel that they think they need to produce so much noise to be noticed...

b4real , Jan 14 2020 0:07 utc | 85
CNN interview American troops who survived attack

b4real

Rd , Jan 14 2020 0:16 utc | 86
Do you have anything to add or further speculation about those events? And thanks for all your efforts!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 13 2020 22:13 utc | 66


RT is now reporting on the reason for the assassination. Iran and KSA were about to settle differences. the empire was not too happy about that. these meeting may well be related to regional settlements among the regional countries.

Dennis , Jan 14 2020 0:17 utc | 87
@ karlof1 (18)

JFK did not order the Diem assassinaton. The "cables" that purport to show that were long ago revealed to have been forged by the infamous EH Hunt. Kennedy's Ambassador Lodge (a Republican) conspired with CIA station chief Lucien Conein and a small group of administation officials in Washington to remove Diem when JFK was away on a weekend. I believe Lodge was on his way back to US where JFK was going to fire him to his face over this when he was himself assassinated.

jayc , Jan 14 2020 0:17 utc | 88
Apparently one of the issues for Iraq is that its oil revenue gets directed to an account at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, and access to that account would be the first order of any prospective retaliatory sanctions by the U.S., and it was likely that account that Trump referred to when warning of crippling sanctions if Iraq should attempt to remove US / NATO forces.

https://news.yahoo.com/u-could-reportedly-bar-iraq-174900741.html

Carson , Jan 14 2020 0:30 utc | 89
@85, remarkable video. Damage is more extensive than I expected. Grateful none of our troops was killed or physically injured (if that report is correct). However, those soldiers certainly experienced trauma and will likely endure long-lasting mental and emotional effects.

It all makes me angry that our President so cavalierly put our young men and women in harms way. They should be home with family.

Likklemore , Jan 14 2020 0:30 utc | 90
@ james 81

Quite the turn. On Saturday Trudeau wanted "clarity" asked Iran " if it [the downing of the plane] was a mistake?"
I suspect Trudeau received a lot of emails from Quebec..Trudeau's party lost out to BQ; understand a majority of Quebecois are not enamoured or impressed by the brain dead D.C. leadership.

Carson , Jan 14 2020 0:33 utc | 91
I hope that Iran can get the protests under control peacefully. ISTM that the Iranian protesters and the Venezuelan protesters both appear to be upper class. I don't see peasants protesting; I see a privileged class that probably stand to gain in the event there is a regime change.
Theophrastus , Jan 14 2020 0:35 utc | 92
Soraya Sepahpour and Finian Cunningham has a very interesting take on this. Their hypothesis fits remarkably well, in regard to motive, means, and opportunity.

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202001131078026961-iran-jet-disaster-setup/

Jen , Jan 14 2020 0:40 utc | 93
Really @ 56:

You're not the only one looking for genuine heroes of high moral compass.

Iran Cleric: We Have No Good Revenge Targets, Only US Heroes Are SpongeBob and Spider-Man

The learned mullah laments:

"Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob? ... All of their heroes are cartoon characters."
b4real , Jan 14 2020 0:41 utc | 94
@89 Carson


Thanks but props go to Canthama, vid purloined from his twitter feed. Recommend bookmarking his twitter, Link to Canthama's twitter feed he is one of those extraordinary persons. No twitter account necessary.

b4real

karlof1 , Jan 14 2020 0:48 utc | 95
Rd @86--

Do you have a link to that info? I found nada on RT or on its Twitter, nor is there anything at Sputnik.

Dennis @87--

Outlaw US Empire assassination policy isn't 100% governed by POTUS as you show.

james , Jan 14 2020 0:49 utc | 96
@90 likklemore... i think its true what you say about quebec.. ask lozion, lol! either way i commend him for putting some space in our position from the usas!
Peter AU1 , Jan 14 2020 1:01 utc | 97
Jen
Not all are cartoon characters. Would be well worth Iran taking a look at who receives medals and awards in the US. Captain of a certain ship comes to mind. But forget the heroes. Pompeo would make a good 'eye for an eye'. Secretary of state and a nasty one at that. His job is somewhat similar to Soleimani's.
Virgile , Jan 14 2020 1:05 utc | 98
If Trump is not reelected, I don't give much of his head. Thousands are ready to make him pay for his crimes. He and his advisors will remain the targets of revenge for years to come
Liklemore , Jan 14 2020 1:40 utc | 99
@ Karlof1 95

I read it as well, ready to make nice - linked in this article sourced to

The Independent.co.uk


Writer Kim Sengupta from The Independent explains this incredible twist in the story:

Iraq's prime minister revealed that he was due to be meeting the Iranian commander to discuss moves being made to ease the confrontation between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia – the crux of so much of strife in the Middle East and beyond.

Adil Abdul-Mahdi was quite clear: "I was supposed to meet him in the morning the day he was killed, he came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered from the Saudis to Iran."

The prime minister also disclosed that Donald Trump had called him to ask him to mediate following the attack on the US embassy in Baghdad. According to Iraqi officials contact was made with a number of militias as well as figures in Tehran. The siege of the embassy was lifted and the US president personally thanked Abdul-Mahdi for his help.

There was nothing to suggest to the Iraqis that it was unsafe for Soleimani to travel to Baghdad – quite the contrary. This suggests that Trump helped lure the Iranian commander to a place where he could be killed.

Lurker in the Dark , Jan 14 2020 1:44 utc | 100
Red @ 29 -

I posted what I believe might be a translated version of the document you linked to above, but I as well do not speak the language.

This may be a related Twitter stream on the Iranians ruling out human error and pointing the finger at U.S. electronic warfare malfeasance being used to trick the Iranians or their systems into making the shoot down.

https://twitter.com/khoosh_/status/1216782662968455168?s=20

University of Tehran Cyperspace Research Lab:

On the matter of the Ukrainian plane accident in Iran, the role of human error has been ruled out [as it has been discovered that] deception operations were carried out on the air control & command system.

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[Jan 14, 2020] Trump's Killing of Soleimani New "Worst Mistake in US History" by Kevin Barrett

Jan 14, 2020 | www.unz.com

Kevin Barrett January 12, 2020 2,000 Words 135 Comments Reply Email This Page to Someone
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Donald Trump occasionally utters unspeakable truths. In March 2018 he called Bush Jr.'s decision to invade Iraq "the worst single mistake in US history." Earlier, Trump had said that Bush should have been impeached for launching that disastrous war.

Yet on January 2 2020 Trump made a much bigger mistake: He launched all-out war with Iran -- a war that will be joined by millions of anti-US non-Iranians, including Iraqis -- by murdering Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the legendary hero who defeated ISIS, alongside the popular Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Gen. Soleimani was by far the most popular figure in Iran, where he polled over 80% popularity, and throughout much of the Middle East. He was also adored by millions even outside that region, non-Muslims as well as Muslims. Many Christians throughout the world loved Gen. Soleimani, whose campaign against ISIS saved the lives of thousands of their co-religionists. Even Sunni Muslims (the people, not the billionaire playboy sheikhs) generally loved and admired the Shia Muslim Gen. Soleimani, a saintly warrior-monk who was uncommonly spiritual, morally impeccable, and the most accomplished military genius of this young century.

The strategic stupidity of Trump's order to murder Soleimani cannot be exaggerated. This shocking, dastardly murder, committed while Soleimani was on an American-encouraged peace mission, has unleashed a "Pearl Harbor effect" that will galvanize not just the nation of Iran, but other forces in the region and around the world. Just as the shock effect of Pearl Harbor helped the American war party overcome domestic political divisions and unite the nation in its resolve for vengeance, so has the Soleimani murder galvanized regional groups, led by Islamic Iran and Iraq, in their dedication to obliterate every last trace of any US-Israeli presence in the region, no matter how long it takes, by any means necessary.

Most Americans still don't understand the towering stature of Soleimani. Perhaps some comparisons will be helpful.

To understand the effect on Iran and the region, imagine that Stalin had succeeded in murdering George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Douglas MacArthur, all on the same day, in 1946. These US generals, like Soleimani, were very popular, in part because they had just won a huge war against an enemy viewed as an embodiment of pure evil. How would Americans have reacted to such a crime? They would have united to destroy Stalin and the Soviet Union, no matter how long it took, no matter what sacrifices were necessary. That is how hundreds of millions of people will react to the martyrdom of Gen. Soleimani.

But even that comparison does not do justice to the situation. Patton, Eisenhower, and MacArthur were secular figures in an increasingly secular culture. Had Stalin murdered them, their deaths would not have risen to the level of religious martyrdom. Americans' motivation to avenge their deaths would not have been as deep and long-lasting, nor as charged with the avid desire to sacrifice everything in pursuit of the goal, in comparison with the millions of future avengers of the death of Gen. Soleimani.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4nKSlbFCJwo?feature=oembed

The tragedy, from the US point of view, is that this didn't need to happen. Iran, a medium-sized player in a tough neighborhood, is a natural ally of the United States. As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in The Grand Chessboard , "Iran provides stabilizing support for the new political diversity of Central Asia. Its independence acts as a barrier to any long-term Russian threat to American interests in the Persian Gulf region." (p. 47) Obama, guided by Brzezinski and his acolytes, set the US on a sensible path toward cordial relations with Iran -- only to see his foreign policy triumph sabotaged by the pro-Zionist Deep State and finally shredded by Netanyahu's puppets Trump and Pompeo. Iran, dominated by principled anti-Zionists, is a thorn in the side of Israel, so the unstable Iranophobe Trump was inserted into the presidency to undo Obama's handiwork and reassert total Israeli control over US policy -- the same total control initially cemented by the 9/11 false flag.

If the murder of Soleimani bears comparison to Pearl Harbor, it also echoes the October 1914 killing of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, the first domino in a series that ended in a world war. The dominos are lined up the same way today, though it may take longer for all of them to fall. Due to the enormity of its psychological effect, the Soleimani assassination irreversibly sets the US at permanent war with Iran and the rest of the Axis of Resistance. That war can end in only two ways: The destruction of Islamic Iran, or the complete elimination of the US military presence in the region. The first alternative is unacceptable not only to Iran, its regional friends, and the conscience of the world, but also to Russia and China, who would be next in line for destruction if Iran is annihilated. The second alternative is probably unacceptable to the permanent National Security State that governs the US no matter who is in office, and to Israel and its global network (and its agents in the "US" National Security State). So the irresistible force will soon be meeting the immovable object. It is difficult to see how this could possibly end well.

Ironically, given Trump's well-justified scorn for Bush's invasion of Iraq, the first front of the world war unleashed by Soleimani's killing will be in that long-suffering nation, whose government has just ordered US troops to depart posthaste. If Trump wants to keep US forces in Iraq he is going to have to re-invade that nation, attack and destroy its government and military, fight a long-term counterinsurgency (this time against the vast majority of the population) and take far more casualties than Bush Jr. did.

Trump's decision to martyr the great Iranian general and the celebrated Iraqi commander was perfectly timed to unite Iraq against the American occupation. Prior to the murder, Iraq was in the midst of color-revolution chaos, as demonstrators protested against not just the US and Israel, the real culprits in the destruction of their country, but also Iran, Iraqi politicians, and other targets. Those demonstrations, and the murders that marred them, were orchestrated by Gladio style covert US forces. As Iraqi Prime Minster Abdul Mahdi explained :

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

"Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me. I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

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

"I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis (as part of a peace initiative)."

So Trump lured Soleimani to Tehran with a peace initiative, then ambushed him. That's why Soleimani was traveling openly on a commercial flight to Baghdad International Airport. He thought he was under US protection.

Abdul Mahdi's explanation rings true. It reflects the views of most Iraqis, who will be galvanized by Trump's atrocious actions to resume their insurgency against US occupation.

As Iraqis continue to attack the hated US presence in their country, Trump will undoubtedly blame Iran, whatever its actual role. So this time the Iranians will have no motivation to avoid helping the Iraqi liberation struggle -- they would be blamed even if they didn't. Though Soleimani was a relatively America-friendly stabilizing force after the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan -- the claim that he was behind IEDs that killed US troops is a ridiculous lie -- in the wake of his death Iran will respond positively to Iraqi requests for help in its national liberation struggle against the hated US occupier.

A rekindled anti-US insurgency in Iraq, and various forms of ambiguous/deniable retaliation for the murder of Gen. Soleimani throughout the region and the world, will force Trump up the escalation ladder. Iran, and the larger eject-the-US-from-the-Mideast project, will not back down, though they may occasionally stage tactical retreats for appearance's sake. The only way Trump could "win" would be by completely destroying Iran. Even if Russia and China allowed that, an unlikely prospect, Trump or any US president who "won" that kind of war would be remembered as the worst war criminal in world history, and the US would lose all its soft power and with it its empire.

Russia now faces the same kind of decision it had to make when the Zionist-dominated US tried to destroy Syria: stand by and let Tehran be annihilated, with Moscow next in line; or use its considerable military power to save its ally. Putin will have no choice but to support Iran, just as he supported Syria. China, too, will need to ensure that the USA loses its Zionist-driven war on Iran. Otherwise Beijing would risk facing the same fate as Tehran.

Even if the only help it gets from Russia and China is covert, Iran is in a strong position to wage asymmetric war against the US presence in the Middle East. Almost two decades ago, the $250 million war game Millennium Challenge 2002 blew up in the neocons' faces, as Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper commanded Iranian forces against the US and steered them to victory. Though some technological developments since then may favor the US, as Dr. Alan Sabrosky recently pointed out on my radio show , others favor Iran, which now has missiles of sufficient quality and quantity to rain down hell on US bases, annihilate much of if not all of Israel, and send every US ship anywhere near the Persian Gulf to the bottom of the ocean. (Anti-ship missiles have far outstripped naval defenses, and Iran has concealed immense reserves of them deep in the Zagros Mountains overlooking the Persian Gulf.)

So Trump or whoever follows him will eventually face a choice: Accept defeat and withdraw all American bases and forces in the region; or continue up an escalation ladder that inexorably leads to World War III. The higher up the ladder he goes, the harder it will be to jump off.

The apocalyptic scenario may not be accidental. Mike Pompeo, who is widely believed to have duped Trump into ordering the killing of Gen. Soleimani, may have done so not only on behalf of the extremist Netanyahu faction in Israel, but also in service to an apocalyptic Christian Zionist program that yearns for planetary nuclear destruction . Pompeo is ardently awaiting "the rapture," the culmination of Christian Zionist history, when a global nuclear war begins at Megiddo Hill in Occupied Palestine and consumes the planet, sending everyone to hell except the Christian Zionists themselves, who are "beamed up" Star Trek fashion by none other than Jesus himself.

Whether it goes down in radioactive flames or in a kinder and gentler way, the US empire, as unstable as its leaders, is nearing the final stages of collapse. "Very stable genius" Trump and Armageddonite Pompeo may have hastened the inevitable when they ordered the fateful killing of Gen. Soleimani.

[Jan 14, 2020] Trump First OK'd Killing Soleimani 7 Months Ago If Americans Killed

Jan 14, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

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https://www.dianomi.com/smartads.epl?id=4777 Trump First OK'd Killing Soleimani 7 Months Ago "If Americans Killed" by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/13/2020 - 13:05 0 SHARES

There's been a number of theories to emerge surrounding President Trump's incredibly risky decision to assassinate IRGC Guds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, including that it was all the brainchild of hawkish Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

But an emerging reporting consensus does indicate that the public justification for the strike -- that Soleimani posed an "imminent" threat as he was orchestrating an attack against American troops and sites in the region -- was manufactured based on flimsy intelligence. The evolving and contradictory statements within the administration itself demonstrates at least this much.

And now according to the latest NBC bombshell it's becoming clear that the top IRGC general's killing was actually months in the works :

President Donald Trump authorized the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani seven months ago if Iran's increased aggression resulted in the death of an American, according to five current and former senior administration officials.

2018 file photo, Getty images.

Apparently the "option" to take him out was already on the "menu" of Pentagon contingencies long before Soleimani's fateful Jan.3 early morning passage through Baghdad International Airport.

Reports NBC based on multiple officials , "The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have final signoff on any specific operation to kill Soleimani, officials said."

The Dec.27 Kataeb Hezbollah rocket attack on a US base in Kirkuk then became a core element of the official rationale, given it killed an American contractor later identified as 33-year old Sacramento resident Nawres Waleed Hamid, who had been assisting the Army as a linguist.

The new report confirms further that it was both National Security Advisor at the time John Bolton as well as Mike Pompeo that had Trump's ear on the subject .

"There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time" related to bold steps to curtail Iranian aggression, a senior administration official told NBC, which reports further:

The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.

The origins of the plan to assassinate the top IRGC elite force general and popular "national hero" inside Iran actually evolved initially out of 2017 discussions involving Trump's national security adviser at the time, retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster.

Burning convoy near Baghdad International Airport, via Iraq government/EPA.

The report explains :

The idea of killing Soleimani came up in discussions in 2017 that Trump's national security adviser at the time, retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, was having with other administration officials about the president's broader national security strategy, officials said. But it was just one of a host of possible elements of Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran and "was not something that was thought of as a first move," said a former senior administration official involved in the discussions.

The idea did become more serious after McMaster was replaced in April 2018 by Bolton , a longtime Iran hawk and advocate for regime change in Tehran. Bolton left the White House in September -- he said he resigned, while Trump said he fired him -- following policy disagreements on Iran and other issues.

So there it is: Bolton's ultra-hawkish influence is still in effect at the White House.

Congratulations to all involved in eliminating Qassem Soleimani. Long in the making, this was a decisive blow against Iran's malign Quds Force activities worldwide. Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran.

-- John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) January 3, 2020

And the torch is being carried further by Mike Pompeo.

But again while none of this should come as a surprise, it's yet further proof on top of a growing body of evidence that Washington is yet again telling bald-faced lies to the public about a major event that could lead America straight back into another disastrous Middle East quagmire. Tags Politics

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[Jan 12, 2020] MIC along with Wall Street controls the government and the country

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. likbez , January 12, 2020 5:30 pm

    Everyone keeps dancing around it: Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. Who profits from Peace? Who does not?

    The killing of Soleimani, while a tragic even with far reaching consequences, is just an illustration of the general rule: MIC does not profit from peace. And MIC dominates any national security state, into which the USA was transformed by the technological revolution on computers and communications, as well as the events of 9/11.

    The USA government can be viewed as just a public relations center for MIC. That's why Trump/Pompeo/Esper/Pence gang position themselves as rabid neocons, which means MIC lobbyists in order to hold their respective positions. There is no way out of this situation. This is a classic Catch 22 trap.

    The fact that a couple of them are also "Rapture" obsessed religious bigots means that the principle of separation of church and state does no matter when MIC interests are involved.

    The health of MIC requires maintaining an inflated defense budget at all costs. Which, in turn, drives foreign wars and the drive to capture other nations' resources to compensate for MIC appetite. The drive which is of course closely allied with Wall Street interests (disaster capitalism.)

    In such conditions fake "imminent threat" assassinations necessarily start happening. Although the personality of Pompeo and the fact that he is a big friend of the current head of Mossad probably played some role.

    It's really funny that Trump (probably with the help of his "reference group," which includes Adelson and Kushner), managed to appoint as the top US diplomat a person who was trained as a mechanic engineer and specialized as a tank repair mechanic. And who was a long-time military contractor. So it is quite natural that he represents interests of MIC.

    IMHO under Trump/Pompeo/Esper trio some kind of additional skirmishes with Iran are a real possibility: they are necessary to maintain the current inflated level of defense spending.

    State of the US infrastructure, the actual level of unemployment (U6 is ~7% which some neolibs call full employment ;-), and the level of poverty of the bottom 33% of the USA population be damned. Essentially the bottom 33% is the third world country within the USA.

    "If you make more than $15,000 (roughly the annual salary of a minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week), you earn more than 32.2% of Americans

    The 894 people that earn more than $20 million make more than 99.99989% of Americans, and are compensated a cumulative $37,009,979,568 per year. "

    ( https://www.huffpost.com/entry/income-inequality-crisis_n_4221012 )

[Jan 12, 2020] Iran's accidental downing of a Ukrainian plane is already being used to smear MH-17 skeptics by Max Parry

Notable quotes:
"... What no one is mentioning is: the US airstrikes on Iraqi military bases, and Soleimani's murder contributed greatly to the hair trigger response of Iran's air defense forces. If Washington did not turn the heat up on both Iraq and Iran there would have been no need for Iran's retaliation, and thus the level of Iran's domestic defense forces would not have been so nervous as to pull the trigger downing the airliner. ..."
"... Former CIA high-ranking official accidentally reveals the type of the false flag operation that the US imperialists will orchestrate to start a war with Iran https://failedevolution.blogspot.com/2020/01/former-cia-high-ranking-official.html ..."
"... It reminds me too much of MH-17, which was not hit with a BUK but with bullets. Iran should have closed its airspace because such tricks are to be expected, irrespective of the cause of the current accident. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.unz.com

When the Pentagon confirmed the assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, U.S. President Donald Trump took to social media to post a single image of the American flag to the adulation of his followers. Unfortunately, most Americans are ignorant of the other flag synonymous with U.S. foreign policy, that of the 'false flag' utilized to deceive the public and stir up support for endless war abroad. While the chicken hawk defenders of Trump's reckless decision to murder one of the biggest contributors in the defeat of ISIS salivated over possible war with Iran, their appetite was spoiled by Tehran's retaliatory precision strikes of two U.S. bases in Iraq that deliberately avoided casualties while in accordance with the Islamic Republic's right to self defense under Article 51 of the United Nations charter. The reprisal successfully deescalated the crisis but sent a clear message Iran was willing to stand up to the U.S. with the backing of Russia and China, while Washington underestimated Tehran which forewarned the Iraqi government of its impending counterattack so U.S. personnel could evacuate.

In the hours following the ballistic missile strikes, reports came in that a Boeing 737 international passenger flight scheduled from Tehran to Kiev, Ukraine had crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini International Airport, killing all 176 passengers and flight crew on board. Initial video of the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 (PS752) showed that the aircraft was already in flames while descending to the ground, leading to speculation it was shot down amid the heightened political crisis between Iran and Washington. In the days following, a second obscure video surfaced which only increased this suspicion. Meanwhile, Western governments quickly concluded that an anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile brought PS752 down and were eager to point the finger at Iran before any formal investigation. Many people, including this author, were admittedly skeptical as to how a plane taking off from Tehran could have been mistaken five hours after the strikes in Iraq.

Nevertheless, those with reservations turned out to be wrong when days later the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) came clean that its aerospace forces made a "human error" and accidentally shot the passenger plane down after mistaking it for a incoming cruise missile when it flew close to a military base during a heightened state of alert in anticipation of U.S. attack. Many have noted that Iran's honorable decision to take responsibility for the catastrophe is in sharp contrast with Washington's response in 1988 when the U.S. Navy shot down Iran Air Flight 655 scheduled from Tehran to Dubai over the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 occupants, after failing to cover it up. Just a month later, Vice President George H.W. Bush would notoriously state he would " never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don't care what the facts are ." Although he was not directly referring to the incident, one can only imagine what the reaction would be if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani were to say the same weeks after shooting down the Ukrainian plane, let alone an American one. Predictably, Tehran's transparency has gone mostly unappreciated while the Trump administration is already trying to use the disaster to further demonize Iran.

Oddly enough, Ukrainian International Airlines is partly owned by the infamous Ukrainian-Israeli oligarch, politician and energy tycoon Igor Kolomoisky, who was notably one of the biggest financiers of the anti-Russian, pro-EU coup d'etat which overthrew the democratically elected government of Viktor Yanukovych in 2014. Kolomoisky is also a principal backer of current Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose dubious phone call with Trump resulted in the 45th U.S. president's impeachment last month. In another astounding coincidence, Kolomoisky's Privat Group is believed to control Burisma Holdings, the Cypress-based company whose executive board 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter was appointed to following the Maidan junta. The former Vice President admitted that he bribed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor who was looking into his son's corruption by threatening to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees.

Kolomoisky, AKA "the Chameleon", is one of the wealthiest people in the ex-Soviet country and was formerly appointed as governor of an administrative region bordering Donbass in eastern Ukraine following the 2014 putsch. He has also funded a battalion of volunteer neo-Nazi mercenaries fighting alongside the Ukrainian army in the War in Donbass against Russian-speaking separatists which the military aid temporarily withheld by the Trump administration that was disputably contingent upon an investigation of Biden and his son goes to. In 2014, another infamous plane shootdown made international headlines when Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) scheduled from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

From the get-go, the Obama administration was adamant that the missile which shot down the Boeing 777 came from separatist rebel territory. However, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad denounced the charges brought against the Russian and Ukrainian nationals indicted in the NATO-led investigation, dismissing the entire probe as a politically motivated effort predetermined to scapegoat Moscow and exclude Malaysian participation in the inquiry from the very beginning. Mohamad is featured in the excellent documentary MH17: Call for Justice made by a team of independent journalists which contests the NATO-scripted narrative and reveals that the Buk missile was more likely launched from Ukrainian Army-controlled territory than the DPR. One of Kolomoisky's hired guns could also have been responsible.

Shamefully, Iran's admission of guilt in the PS752 downing is already being used by establishment propagandists to discredit skeptics and conflated with similar contested past events like MH17 in order to intimidate dissenting voices from speaking up in the future. The Bellingcat 'investigative journalism' collective which made its name incriminating Moscow for the MH17 tragedy are the principle offenders. Bellingcat bills itself as an 'independent' citizen journalism group even though its founder Eliot Higgins is employed by the Atlantic Council think tank which receives funding from NATO, the U.S. State Department, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), George Soros' Open Society Foundation NGO, and numerous other regime change factories. Despite its enormous conflict of interest, Bellingcat remains highly cited by corporate media as a supposedly reputable source. At the outset, nearly everything about the PS752 tragedy gave one déjà vu of the MH17 disaster, including the rush to judgement by Western governments, so it was only natural for many to distrust the official narrative until more facts came out.

None of this changes that the use of commercial passenger jets as false flag targets for U.S. national security subterfuge is a verifiable historical fact, not a 'conspiracy theory.' In 1997, the U.S. National Archives declassified a 1962 memo proposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Department of Defense for then-Secretary of State Robert McNamara entitled " Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba ." The document outlined a series of 'false flag' terrorist attacks, codenamed Operation Northwoods, to be carried out on a range of targets and blamed on the Cuban government to give grounds for an invasion of Havana in order to depose Fidel Castro. These scenarios included targets within the U.S., in particular Miami, Florida, which had become a haven of right-wing émigrés and defectors following the Cuban Revolution. In addition to the sinking of a Cuban refugee boat, one Northwoods plan included the staging of attacks on a civilian jet airliner and a U.S. Air Force plane to be pinned on Castro's government:

"8. It is possible to create and incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner enroute from the United States to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama or Venezuela. The destination would be chosen only to cause the flight plan route to cross Cuba. The passengers could be a group of college students off on a holiday or any grouping of persons with a common interest to support chartering a non-scheduled flight.

9. It is possible to create an incident which will make it appear that Communist Cuban MIGs have destroyed a USAF aircraft over international waters in an unprovoked attack."

Although Operation Northwoods was rejected by then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy which many believe was a factor in his subsequent assassination, Cuban exiles with the support of U.S. intelligence would later be implicated in such an attack the following decade with the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 in 1976 which killed all 73 passengers and crew on board. In 2005, documents released by the National Security Archive showed that the CIA under then-director George H.W. Bush had advanced knowledge of the plans of a Dominican Republic-based Cuban exile terrorist organization, the Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), at the direction of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles to blow up the airliner. The U.S. later refused to extradite Carriles to Cuba to face charges and although he never admitted to masterminding the bombing of the jet, he publicly confessed to other attacks on tourist hotels in Cuba during the 1990s and was later arrested in 2000 for attempting to blow up an auditorium in Panama trying to assassinate Castro.

In 1962, the planners of Operation Northwoods concluded that such deceptive operations would shift U.S. public opinion unanimously against Cuba.

"World opinion and the United Nations forum should be favorably affected by developing the international image of Cuban government as rash and irresponsible, and as an alarming and unpredictable threat to the peace of the Western Hemisphere."

The same talking points are used by the U.S. government to demonize Iran today. Initially, some Western intelligence sources also concluded that it was a malfunction or overheated engine that brought PS752 down in corroboration with the Iranian government's original explanation until the narrative abruptly shifted the following day. That they were so quick to hold Iran accountable without any investigation gave the apparent likelihood that PS752 could have fallen prey to a Northwoods-style false flag operation designed to further isolate Iran and defame its leaders after they took precautions to avoid U.S. casualties in their retaliatory strikes for the killing of Soleimani. Maintaining the image of Iran as a nefarious regime is crucial in justifying hawkish U.S. policies toward the country and Iran's noted restraint in its retaliation put a dent in that impression, so many were suspicious and rightly so.

It was also entirely plausible that U.S. special operations planners could have consulted the Northwoods playbook replacing Cuba with Iran and the right-wing gusanos who were to assist the staged attacks in Miami with the Iranian opposition group known as Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK/People's Mujahedin of Iran) to do the same in Tehran. In July of last year, Trump's personal lawyer and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gave a paid speech at the cult-like group's compound in Albania where he not only referred to the group as Iran's "government-in-exile" but stated the U.S's explicit intentions to use them for regime change in Iran. The MEK enjoys high level contacts in the Trump administration and the group was elated at his decision to murder Soleimani in Baghdad.

From 1997 until 2012, the MEK was on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations until it was removed by the Obama administration after its expulsion from Iraq in order to relocate the group to fortified bases in Albania and the NATO protectorate of Kosovo. The latter disputed territory is a perfect fit for the rebranded group having been founded by another deregistered foreign terrorist organization, the al-Qaeda linked Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose leader, Hashim Thaçi, presides over the partially-recognized state. The MEK are no longer designated as such despite the State Department's own account of its bloody history:

"During the 1970s, the MEK staged terrorist attacks inside Iran to destabilize and embarrass the Shah's regime; the group killed several US military personnel and civilians working on defense projects in Tehran. The group also supported the takeover in 1979 of the US Embassy in Tehran. In April 1992 the MEK carried out attacks on Iranian embassies in 13 different countries, demonstrating the group's ability to mount large-scale operations overseas."

Declassified documents revealing the sinister plans in Operation Northwoods which shockingly made it all the way to the desk of the president of the United States and the foreknowledge of Cubana Airlines Flight 455 are just two examples of solid proof that false flag attacks against civilian passenger planes are a part of the Pentagon's modus operandi as disclosed in its own archives and there is no reason to believe that such practices have been discontinued. That the U.S. is still cozy with "former" terror groups like MEK seeking to repatriate is good reason to believe its use of militant exiles for covert operations like those from Havana has not been retired. If there were jumps to conclusions that proven serial liars could be looking for an excuse to stage an attack to lay the blame on Iran, it is only because the distinct probability was overwhelming. Even so, a stopped clock strikes the right time twice per day and that is all Iran's acknowledgment of its liability proves -- that even the world's most unreliable and criminal sources in Washington and Langley can be accurate sometimes


the grand wazoo , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 2:34 am GMT

What no one is mentioning is: the US airstrikes on Iraqi military bases, and Soleimani's murder contributed greatly to the hair trigger response of Iran's air defense forces. If Washington did not turn the heat up on both Iraq and Iran there would have been no need for Iran's retaliation, and thus the level of Iran's domestic defense forces would not have been so nervous as to pull the trigger downing the airliner.
But, if's a huge word.
Flint Clint , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 5:41 am GMT
I disagree.

https://m.jpost.com/Defense/WikiLeaks-Russia-gave-Israel-Iranian-codes

Israel has had control of Iran's Russian middle systems for years. Russia gave them the codes.

I think Israel blew up the aircraft. I can't find a link but I heard a huge number of Soleimani loyalists were arrested in Iran. Someone should have a link to that from Twitter or somewhere.

I think that there was some kind of collaboration between Khamenei, Israel and the US to remove Soleimani who had designs on a coup.

I don't know if this is a good or bad thing.

I also don't know who was on that plane. So it's unclear if it was good or bad it was destroyed. Who knows who those 176 dual Iranian Nationals were.

I just know that if Israel had control of those missile units and it would embarrass Iran for that to be revealed it makes sense for Iran to claim the lesser of two deep shames.

Particularly if there has been some kind of tacit acceptance of a status as a vassal state to either the US or Israel behind the scenes to preserve the regime.

Perhaps the MEK or a different vassal ruler who is really crypto Jewish will be appointed in Solemeinis place, and Iran will hence offer a symbolic enemy to justify the continuation of the military industrial complex in both Israel and the US.

Just one feasible theory.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 6:46 am GMT
Even a blind squirrel, even a broken clock twice a day.. The Empire's statements and blind accusations could have been for any tragedy in a country they were psyopsing, only a matter of chance for them to be right at some time. In any case, it wasn't intentional on Iran's part.
nmb , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 7:27 am GMT
Former CIA high-ranking official accidentally reveals the type of the false flag operation that the US imperialists will orchestrate to start a war with Iran
https://failedevolution.blogspot.com/2020/01/former-cia-high-ranking-official.html
Lol just lol , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 8:09 am GMT
"Accidental" lol

Only if accidental means a joint Russian/Iranian hit on a Ukrainian plane carrying fleeing cia/mossad agents.

This whole situation has once again displayed how easy it is for the zio-media to control what we see and hear and believe. Disturbingly, that means that things like metoo and "believe all women" are operations too.

We are f*cked no matter what.

Crazy Horse , says: Website Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 8:56 am GMT
@the grand wazoo I wouldn't be surprised it the FDR shows that the plane strayed off its registered Flightpath and was involved in a covert recon mission that went bad.
Antares , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 9:15 am GMT
It reminds me too much of MH-17, which was not hit with a BUK but with bullets. Iran should have closed its airspace because such tricks are to be expected, irrespective of the cause of the current accident. There is no immediate reason for Iranians to fly to Ukraine, or anywhere else. It may sound silly but flying is still a special and dangerous thing and should not be taken for granted.

For someone who doesn't watch television or read Iranian newspapers it was only reported on Twitter and then repeated by PressTV and others on internet. Which parts of the story are real?

Alfred , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 9:30 am GMT
Of course, it was a huge and most regrettable mistake. Doubtless, the Iranians will compensate the victims for what that is worth. Most of the passengers were Iranians. I suspect that many of the "Canadians" Trudeau is on about are of Iranian descent. They would certainly be considered to be Iranians in Iran.

The series of coincidences highlighted in this article are remarkable. It has synchronicity splashed all over it.

I worked at Tehran airport for some years prior to the Revolution. After the Revolution, I volunteered to return on behalf of Raytheon (of all companies) to get some money owing. No one else was prepared to go there. Iran Air personnel were delighted to meet me again and they promptly paid the bill. I took a holiday to the Caspian with my ex-girlfriend.

A further piece of synchronicity is that I am currently visiting Kiev. The world is a truly incestuous place.

... ... ...

Wizard of Oz , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 10:15 am GMT
@the grand wazoo "What no one is mentioning ."??? Really? That's almost exactly what some Iranian spokesmen have been saying.
Wizard of Oz , says: Show Comment January 12, 2020 at 10:29 am GMT
Set aside the beatup of two operations that neither the CIA or any American agency carried out the author has apparently failed to see the obvious. That is that the Iranians had no possibility of covering up the missile strike. Or did he imagine that everyone who might tell the truth could be kept permanently separated from plane parts and bodies which would have shown unmistakeable and undeniable evidences of the strike.

[Jan 12, 2020] Our Orwellian surveillance state the term imminent has been redefined ala doublespeak to mean at any time possible.

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

UserFriendly , Jan 12 2020 0:53 utc | 338

Can there be any "imminent threat" when one does not know the "who, what, when, where" of the threat?

Ahh you made the common mistake of thinking words have meaning. Just like our Orwellian surveillance state the term imminent has been redefined ala doublespeak to mean at any time possible.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2020/01/lies-the-bethlehem-doctrine-and-the-illegal-murder-of-soleimani/

[Jan 12, 2020] Iran Has Effective Military Advantage Over US, Allies in Mideast, New Report Claims

Notable quotes:
"... The 16-month study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) called Iran's Networks of Influence claims that the networks, including Shia militias fighting in what it says is a "grey zone", for instance, are something Iran heavily relies on, even to a greater extent than conventional military forces. ..."
"... Although the report concedes that overall military balance is still in favor of the US and allies, the balance of effective forces has shifted towards Iran and is currently in the Islamic Republic's favour. The study goes on to claim that "Iran is fighting and winning wars 'fought amongst the people', not wars between states". ..."
"... The study has also come up with a number of calculations: the extraterritorial al-Quds force and various militias reportedly amount to 200,000 fighters. Meanwhile, the total cost of Iran's activities in Iraq and Yemen was $16 billion, and Lebanon's Hezbollah reportedly receives $700 million in grants from the Islamic Republic. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | sputniknews.com

A fresh in-depth study of Iran's military capabilities and balance of power in the embattled Middle East has assumed that regional wars are being waged on two layers - between states and in a so-called "grey zone", where no conventional force can counterbalance Iran's sovereign dominance. As one of the most detailed assessments of Iran's military strategy suggests, the Islamic Republic's "third party capability" has becomes Tehran's most prominent weapon of choice.

The 16-month study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) called Iran's Networks of Influence claims that the networks, including Shia militias fighting in what it says is a "grey zone", for instance, are something Iran heavily relies on, even to a greater extent than conventional military forces.

The network is said to be operating differently in most countries, having been designed by Tehran as a key means of countering regional instability and international pressure alike, with the policy "having consistently delivered Iran advantage without the cost or risk of direct confrontation with adversaries".

Although the report concedes that overall military balance is still in favor of the US and allies, the balance of effective forces has shifted towards Iran and is currently in the Islamic Republic's favour. The study goes on to claim that "Iran is fighting and winning wars 'fought amongst the people', not wars between states".

The report details at length the balance of power in the region painting it as "complex and congested battle spaces involving no rule of law or accountability, low visibility and multiple players who represent a mosaic of local and regional interests".

The study has also come up with a number of calculations: the extraterritorial al-Quds force and various militias reportedly amount to 200,000 fighters. Meanwhile, the total cost of Iran's activities in Iraq and Yemen was $16 billion, and Lebanon's Hezbollah reportedly receives $700 million in grants from the Islamic Republic.

The report comes as Iran continues to battle US-imposed economic sanctions, which closely followed Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in May 2018.

On 8 May, the first anniversary of the move, Tehran announced that it would start scrapping its nuclear obligations stipulated by the JCPOA every 60 days unless European signatories did their best to save the agreement, safeguarding Iran's interests amid Washington's re-imposed sanctions.

[Jan 12, 2020] Comment on Sen. Tom Cotton lauding the murder of Suleimani

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Jan 12 2020 5:02 utc | 373

NYT posted editorial by Sen. Tom Cotton (nincompoop, Arkansas) lauding the murder of Suleimani. This is one of the readers' comments:

Bill
Nova ScotiaJan. 10
Times Pick
I don't understand how the USA can kill a military leader of a country we are not at war with in a third country no less and claim it was legal. The resulting high-pressure in the aftermath has left 63 Canadian citizens dead. Yes, at the hands of an Iranian missile - but many of those dead were dual Iranian Canadians. The blood is not just on Iran's hands, it is on the USA and on trump.

[Jan 12, 2020] The United States has murdered one of Iran's top personalities who was officially visiting a friendly country on a diplomatic mission

Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 11 2020 22:39 utc | 298

... ... ...

Killing a General

The United States has murdered one of Iran's top personalities who was officially visiting a friendly country on a diplomatic mission.

The message of the assassination of Gasem Soleimani is the persistence of Washington in the effort to keep the world's first energy region revolt and prevent any distension between Iran and Saudi Arabia...

(...)Soleimani was a great strategist who achieved three notable victories in the last seventeen years: He was one of the organizers of the armed resistance to the American occupier in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, played a great role in the expulsion of the Islamic State from Iraq and defeated then the jihadist conglomerate in Syria (Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, etc.) financed and supported by the CIA and the Gulf oil monarchies. It was Soleimani who in 2015 convinced Vladimir Putin of the advisability of helping the Syrian government militarily, which has ended up restoring its control of the country by thwarting a new regime change operation that has resulted in another huge slaughter.

(...)Since Friday, January 3, all commentators announced an Iranian response to this "declaration of war" by Trump, or his generals, does not matter. It is forgotten that this war has been a fact for many years. Historically it began with the coup d'etat against Mossadeq, the Iranian prime minister who nationalized oil, and continued with the reaction to the Khomeinist Revolution of 1979, which induced the West to provoke the bloody war between Iraq and Iran in the 1980s with hundreds of thousands of dead.

(...)The unilateral withdrawal of the United States, in May 2018, from the nuclear agreement reached with Iran, as well as the sanctions suffered by that country, the murders of Iranian scientists and the attacks, sanctions and the financial and oil blockade that suffocates the Iranian economy, form Part of that war. For 19 months, Iranian oil exports, which in 2017 were 2.5 million barrels per day, have fallen to a few hundred thousand as a result of Trump's sanctions.

(...)And in the meantime in Europe ...

On Sunday, January 5, 48 hours after the murder in Baghdad, the leaders of the three main European powers, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johson, released their joint statement. In it the murder of Soleimani is not even mentioned. "We have denounced the recent attacks on coalition troops in Iraq and are deeply concerned about the negative role played by Iran in the region, especially through the guards of the revolution and of the al-Quds unit under the command of General Soleimani", says the statement. "We especially call on Iran to refrain from more violence", it continues. In other personal statements Johnson told Trump that Soleimani "posed a threat to all our interests" and that "we do not regret his death". Macron expressed concern about the destabilizing role of the forces led by the assassinated general and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated that the General "had left a trail of devastation and blood in the Middle East" and that "the European Union had good reasons to have him on its list of terrorists". This statement prompted Tehran to summon the German ambassador and censor him for his support of the "terrorist attack by the United States". For its part, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has held Iran alone responsible for escalating tensions in the Middle East and has justified the murder as a reaction to the provocations suffered by the Americans in Iraq. Once again the "European foreign policy" is portrayed.

It is in Germany, at the base of Ramstein, where the command and control point of drone attacks by US forces is located. An anonymous German citizen has filed a complaint in the town of Zweibrücken to be elucidated if the murder was piloted from Ramstein. Such action being a violation of international law and German law, it has filed a complaint "against all suspects of such crime in Germany and the United States." Those who still believe in the European "rule of law" for international purposes, can hold on to this symbolic gesture without the slightest future.

[Jan 12, 2020] It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake: Soleimani was crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq

Jan 10, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
... He was viewed as crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq, much feared by Iranians. Shia take martyrdom seriously, and he is viewed as a martyr. It appears that even Trump took notice of the massive outpouring of mourning and praise for Soleimani there up to the point of people dying in a stampede in a mourning crowd in his hometown. But, hey, obviously these people simply do not understand that he was The World's Number One Terrorist! Heck, I saw one commenter on Marginal Revolution claiming Soleimani was responsible killing "hundreds of thousands." Yes, this sort of claim is floating around out there.

A basic problem here is that while indeed Soleimani commanded the IGRC al Quds force that supported and supplied various Shia militias in several Middle Eastern nations, these all were (and are) ultimately independent. Soleimani may have advised them, but he was never in a position to order any of them to do anything. Al Quds itself has never carried out any of the various attacks outside of Iran that Soleimani is supposedly personally responsible for.

Let us consider the specific case that gets pushed most emphatically, the 603 Americans dead in Iraq, without doubt a hot button item here in the US. First of all, even if Soleimani really was personally responsible for their deaths, there is the technical matter that their deaths cannot be labeled "terrorism." That is about killing non-combatant civilians, not military personnel involved in combat. I do not support the killing of those American soldiers, most of whom were done in by IEDs, which also horribly injured many more. But indeed this awful stuff happened. But in fact this was all done by Iraqi -based Shia militias. Yes, they were supported by Soleimani, but while some have charged al Quds suppplied the IEDs, this turns out not to be the case. These were apparently made in Iraq by these local militias. Soleimani's al Quds are not totally innocent in all this, reportedly providing some training and some inputs. But the IEDs were made by the militias themselves and planted by them.

It is also the case that when the militias and Americans were working together against ISIS/IISIL/Daesh, none of this happened, and indeed that was still the case up until this most recent set of events, with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group. Of course with Trump having Soleimani assassinated, this cooperation has ceased, with the US military no longer either fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor training the Iraqi military. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament has demanded that US troops leave entirely, although Trump threatened Iraq with economic sanctions if that is followed through on.

As it is, the US dating back to the Obama administration has been supplying Saudi Arabia with both arms and intelligence that has been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. Frankly, US leaders look more like terrorists than Soleimani.

I shall close by noting the major changes in opinion in both Iran and Iraq regarding the US as a result of this assassination. In Iran as many have noted there were major demonstrations against the regime going on, protesting bad economic conditions, even as those substantially were the result of the illegal US economic sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, to which Iran was adhering. Now those demonstrations have stopped and been replaced by the mass demonstrations against the US over Soleimani's assassination. And we also have Iran further withdrawing from that deal and moving to more highly enrich uranium.

In Iraq, there had been major anti-Iran demonstrations going on, with these supported to some degree by the highest religious authority in the nation, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. However, when Soleimani's body was being transferred to Iran, Sistani's son accompanied his body. It really is hard to see anything that justifies this assassination.

Barkley Rosser


  1. JDM , January 10, 2020 12:32 pm

    I think this quote is apropos in this situation: "It was worse than wrong. It was a mistake."

Bert Schlitz , January 10, 2020 3:46 pm

They had a handshake agreement, which was why Solemiani wasn't under protection. The Solemiani killed Americans stuff cracks me up. He was a military advisor for the Shia militia's who were attacked by US forces during a unsanctioned war in 2003 .uh derp derp. There have been many other generals that have committed "death of american" crimes that the Trump Admin seems to love.

As my father used to say "homosexuals make great commie fighters"(homosexuals like Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin agree lol). The zionists so badly want this war in the Trump administration, but Trump doesn't have the guts to just invade like Iraq.

rjs , January 10, 2020 5:26 pm

it appears i had a comment on this same post removed from Naked Capitalism

i asked "was his assassination due to the impeachment proceedings, and should the Democrats in Congress be held responsible for the deaths on Ukrainian flight 752?"

sure, that's off the wall, but i still think it addresses a legitimate question i don't think one can separate the personal situation a megalomaniac president like Trump finds himself in from his behavior .i was a news junky back during the Iraq war era, & what i remember most about the runup was that the big story in all the news mags the week before the war started was that Neil Bush, George's son, had lost millions of depositor's money playing poker in the back offices of Silverado Savings and Loan in Denver, and that you then could't find a word about that story anywhere the next week cause George & Saddam had all the coverage .so i have always felt that Bush might have pushed that war forward to take the media heat off his kid

run75441 , January 10, 2020 5:38 pm

No surprise, when I preempt their article on healthcare with commentary; my comments disappear. Get used to it when you can say more than they can.

rjs , January 11, 2020 11:03 am

well, here you go, Trump actually admitting to what i've been banned for suggesting via Jonathan Chait:

Report: Trump Cited Impeachment Pressure to Kill Soleimani – Deep inside a long, detailed Wall Street Journal report about President Trump's foreign policy advisers is an explosive nugget: "Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said." This is a slightly stronger iteration of a fact the New York Times reported three days ago, to wit, "pointed out to one person who spoke to him on the phone last week that he had been pressured to take a harder line on Iran by some Republican senators whose support he needs now more than ever amid an impeachment battle."This would not mean Trump ordered the strike entirely, or even primarily, in order to placate Senate Republicans. But it does constitute an admission that domestic political considerations influenced his decision. That would, of course, constitute a grave dereliction of duty. Trump is so cynical he wouldn't even recognize that making foreign policy decisions influenced by impeachment is the kind of thing he shouldn't say out loud. Of course, using his foreign policy authority for domestic political gain is the offense Trump is being impeached for. It would be characteristically Trumpian to compound the offense as part of his efforts to avoid accountability for it. What kind of pressure could Trump have in mind? It seems highly doubtful that he is worried 20 Republican senators would vote to remove him from office. He could be concerned that one or two of them would defect, denying him the chance to present impeachment as totally partisan (as he did following the House vote.) More plausibly, Trump might be worried a handful of Republicans would join Democrats to allow testimony from witnesses, like John Bolton, Trump has managed to block.

likbez , January 11, 2020 10:24 pm

@JDM, January 10, 2020 12:32 pm

I think this quote is apropos in this situation: "It was worse than wrong. It was a mistake."

This is a very deep observation. Thank you. BTW the original quote is attributed to Talleyrand and is more biting:

C'est pire qu'un crime, c'est une faute.

It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake.

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

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

[Jan 12, 2020] Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

Notable quotes:
"... What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | smoothiex12.blogspot.com

Axiosromano 2 days ago

The tramp & nutNyahoo machismo show continues to be fun to watch. Both show off their penis worms as they arrogantly claim they can crush iran. Both the usa and israel keep banging on the doors and walls of their pissed-off neighbors' houses. That eventually gets you murdered whether in baltimore or baghdad.

A crushable iran is true if and only if they can mount a full-on nuclear war on Iran. But such horrendous cheating means all bets are off, and iran's allies will provide the nukes required to melt down the American homeland too. Nobody, not even Russia and china, can afford to stay in the sidelines in a nuclear war in the 2020s.

What i find truly amazing is that American Zionists still believe crushing Iran is easy enough. Israel, with 8 million jews stuffed in a small country, is nothing more than a carrier battle group marooned on land. Sitting ducks, with nice armor, nukes and all, are ... still sitting ducks. nutNyahoo should ask his technical crew just how few megatons are needed, or just a few thousand modern missiles are required to transform sitting ducks into nicely roasted peking ducks.

So a conventional war it is. The usa and israel has exactly zero, zilch and nada chances of winning a war with iran. The usa keeps forgetting that it is a dying empire with dying funding value and mental resources. Just like israel which oddly thinks dozens of f-35s will give it immunity through air superiority. Proof of this fact that iran will win comes from simply asking american and israeli war experts to go on cnn or the washington post on how they intend to win a war with iran.

Im sure these expert bloviators will say that it is as easy as winning a naval war against china, which is capable of launching only 3 new warships in a week. Or an even easier time against russia, which can launch only a few thousand hypersonic nuke missiles because its GDP is no bigger than that of texas.

Rob Naardin 2 days ago

The Pentagon is super slow to adapt and learn. If you understand that bureaucracy is an ancient organizational structure and that the organizational culture of the Pentagon is pathologically dysfunctional you could have predicted the moral and financial bankruptcy of America 15-20 years ago. The "Why?", finally made sense when I discovered what a sociopath was.

It's about time the US practices what it preachs and start behaving like a normal country instead of a spoiled narcissistic brat. see more

tic_Fox Rob Naardin2 days ago • edited

US military & strategic thought became lazy during the late days of the Cold War. It mirrored the decline & fall of the foundations of its opponent, USSR. Post-Cold War, US military & strategic thinking flushed into the sewer. It was all about maintaining the military as some sort of a social policy jobs program, operating legacy tech as the mission. And then came the "world-improvers" -- beginning w the Clinton Admin -- who worked to turn the world into a global "urban renewal" project; meaning to mirror the success US Big Govt showed in the slums of American cities from sea to sea. The past 30 yrs of US strategic thinking and related governance truly disgusts me. see more

Vasya Pypkin Arctic_Fox2 days ago

Soviet union fall had very different reasons and Soviet military thought was doing quite well then along with military. Current russian military wonders is completion of what was started then and not finished earlier because of the disintegration of the Soviet state.
The soviet fall however is extremely regrettable because there was a new way how things can be done that Soviet union was showing to the world. USA fall long term is a very good thing because USA is a paragon of how things should be done the old way and basically a huge parasite. Many negative trends that are afflicting the world were started by USA. Unlimited individualism and consumerism would be a couple of those. see more

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago
Why does almost every person on Earth feel the need to force others to bend the knee to their beliefs?

Religious beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in an afterlife, political beliefs are what one thinks should be done to promote survival in this world.

The world would be a far better, more civilized, of world if such beliefs were only shared on a voluntary basis.

As for individualism, I would rather be free than live in a modern day egalitarian hunter-gatherer tribe run by modern day psychopathic alpha-males.

That is certainly not a recipe for success. see more

AriusArmenian Arctic_Fox2 days ago

It also mirrors the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. It was Emperor Augustus that decided the costs to further expand the Empire were too great after losing one (or two?) legions against the Germanic tribes.

The US has reached its greatest extent. We are living through it. The US didn't go forward into war with Iran twice. The odds of humanity surviving this immense turn of history is looking better. see more

Vasya Pypkin AriusArmenian2 days ago • edited

Frankly, nothing in common. I read this comparison all the time. Yes, Augustus decided not to continue along with expansion into Germany after losing 3 Varus legions due to ambush.

But he famously noted that it does not worth to go fishing with golden hook. Basically speaking, Germany was not worth fighting for. Poor and remote it had nothing to offer. Just a drain on resources. As long as conquest was moving smoothly it was ok, but after losses were inflicted Augustus decided it was not worth it.

Roman expansion under augustus was carried mostly to consolidate previous conquests and create strategical debth along core and strategical provinces also creating linkage.

When enemy far stronger than germans posed resources which made the whole conquest worthy no amount of resistance saved Dacians and Parthia also almost died under Trajan attack.

Roman policies were adequate and wise. Treaties were respected, allies supported and benefited. Empire was build around Mediterranean creating good communication and routes considering obviously limits of that day technology.

Rome did not behave like crazy and did not deliver threats that she could not follow through. When war was decided upon thorough preparations were taken. Political goals were achieved. Wars were won. When Adrian considered that empire was overextended in Parthis, he simply abandoned all conquered territories. Just like that.

Logical calm thinking USA,is not capable of. Rome truly based upon superior military and diplomacy dominance lasted many centuries. USA few decades. One hit wonder, lucky fool I would call it. see more

Arctic_Fox Vasya Pypkin17 hours ago

Interesting account of Roman strategic concept of forward presence, versus administering the internal lines of communication... see more

WHAT2 days ago

They left equipment in the open on that base and ran away. No AA fire whatsoever. This is how much they are ready to take a punch. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod WHAT2 days ago

Yes, this is somewhat puzzling. As I said, let's wait and see where it all develops to, but as Twisted Genius succinctly observed -- Iran now controls tempo because she has conventional superiority. Anyone who has precision-guided, stand off weaponry in good numbers will be on top. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .2 days ago

The old submarine saying is, "There are two kinds of ships; submarines, and targets."
.
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets." (And per the photos, those Iranian missiles were quite precise; bulls-eyes.)
.
Iran and its missiles demonstrated that the entire strategic foundation for US mil presence in the Middle East is now obsolete. Everything the US would ever want to do there is now subject to Iran's version of "steel rain." Every runway, hangar, aircraft parking area; every supply depot or warehouse; every loading pier, fuel site, naval pier. Everything... is a target. And really... there's no amount of US "airpower" and "tech" than can mitigate the Iran missile threat.
.
Meanwhile, related thinking... Iran's true strategic interest is NOT fighting a near-term war w/ USA. Iran wants US to exit Middle East; and Iran wants to be able to pursue its nuclear program. Soleimani or no, Iran appears to have its eyeballs fixed on the long-term goals. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod Arctic_Fox2 days ago • edited
The new version for land ops is, "There are two kinds of land-based military assets; precision-guided missiles, and targets."

Exactly, and Iran has long-range TLAMs in who knows what numbers, That, in its turn, brings about the next issue of range for Iranian indigenous anti-ship missiles. Not, of course, to mention the fact of only select people knowing if Russia transferred P-800 Onyx to Iran She certainly did it for Syria. If that weapon is there--the Persian Gulf and Hormuz Strait will be shut completely closed and will push out CBGs far into the Indian Ocean. see more

Vasya Pypkin smoothieX12 .a day ago

It is simply pathetic after decades of talking non stop about developments of anti missiles and huge amounts wasted and nobody is responsible. This is the way capitalism works.profits is everything and outcomes secondary. Thankfully russia has got soviet foundation and things so far are working well. I come to think that in our times no serious industrial processes should be allowed to stay in private hands. Only services and so.e other simpler stuff under heavy state control to ensure quality. Otherwise profit orientation will eventually destroy everything like with Boeing.

Drapetomania Vasya Pypkin16 hours ago observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I know, i already wrote a full scale war scenario in one of the comments. Iran can destroy all US bases in 2000 km range. But this does not mean that it can not be bombed back to the stone age, if the US really wishes so. The problem for the US is the high cost as well as the high debt levels, but it does have the technical capability to do that after 2 - 3 years of bombing.

Also low yield tactical nukes are designed to lower the treshold of the use of nukes in otherwise conventional war, producing less international outrage than the megaton city buster bombs. Why do you think the US is developing them again? Because they would want to use them in conventional conflicts.

Here btw is Yurasumy, he also says that the US can technically bomb Iran back to the stone age, but the cost will be too high.

Play Hide

https://cdn.embedly.com/

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited
if the US really wishes so.

Again--what's the plan and what's the price? Iran HAS Russia's ISR on her side in case of such SEAD.

Does the United States want to risk lives of thousands of its personnel (not to speak of expensive equipment) in Qatar, KSA, Iraq. Does Israel want to "get it"?

There are numbers which describe such an operation (it was. most likely, already planned as contingency). Immediate question: when was the last time USAF operated in REAL dense ECM and ECCM environment? I do not count some brushes with minimal EW in Syria.

Russia there uses only minimally required option, for now. Iran has a truck load EW systems, including some funny Russian toys which allowed Iran to take control of US UAVs, as an example. As I say, this is not Iraq and by a gigantic margin. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

I already said that debt levels do not allow it and the price would be too high, but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means. It is another question that it is not in good fiscal shape. Anyway, US ballistic missiles (non nuclear armed) will be hard to stop by EW. Even if Iran gets rid of 50 % of incoming TLAMs, the US will keep sending more and more until most infrastructure, bridges, oil refineries, power plants, factories, ports etc. are destroyed. This is why i said it would take 2 - 3 years. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago
but yes, the US does have the military capability to destroy Iran. By conventional means

That is the whole point: NO, it doesn't. Unless US goes into full mobilization mode and addresses ALL (plus a million more not listed) requirements for such a war which I listed in the post. Well, that or nukes. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Yurasumy is a pretty good analist and he thinks that they can. I do not see it for the US being too hard to produce more TLAMS, ICBMs and IRBMs (conventional) to sustain the effort for 2 years, by that time most iranian infrastructure will be destroyed. If the fiscal situation allowes it. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

I don't know who Yarasumy is and what is his background, but unlike him I actually write books, including on modern warfare. This is not to show off, but I am sure I can make basic calculations. This is not to mention the fact that even Sivkov agrees with my points and Sivkov, unlike Yarsumy, graduated Popov's VVMURE, served at subs, then graduated Kuznetsov Academy, then Academy of the General Staff and served in Main Operational Directorate (GOU) until retiring in the rank of Captain 1st Rank from the billet of Combat Planning group. So, I would rather stick to my opinion. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago

Why do you think that the US can not destroy Iran with IRBMs? Actually this is their strategy vs China. If they think its viable vs China, then it should be viable vs Iran too. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago • edited

Because unlike the US, Russia's Air Defenses have a rather very impressive history of shifting the balance in wars in favor of those who have them, when used properly. But then I can quote for you a high ranking intelligence officer:

A friend of mine who has expertise in these matters wrote me:

Any air defense engineer with a securityclearance that isn't lying through his teeth will admit that Russia'sair defense technology surpassed us in the 1950's and we've never been able to catch up. The systems thy have in place surrounding Moscow make our Patriot 3's look like fucking nerf guns.

Read the whole thing here:

https://turcopolier.typepad...

Mathematics is NOT there for the United States for a real combined operations war of scale with Iran. Unless US political class really wants to see people with pitch-forks. see more

Arctic_Fox smoothieX12 .17 hours ago

"Mathematics is not there..."
.
Neither is the industrial base, including supply lines. Not the mines, mills, factories to produce any significant levels of warfighting materiel such as we're talking about here. Not the workforce, either. Meanwhile, where are the basic designs for these weps? The years of lab work, bench tests, pilot specimens & prototypes, the development pipeline? The contractors to build them? the Tier 2, 3, 4 suppliers? Where are the universities that train such people as are needed? Where is the political will? Where is the government coordination? Where is the money? Indeed, every Democrat and probably half the Republicans who run for office campaign on controlling military spending; not that USA gets all that much benefit from the current $800 billion per year. see more

observerBG smoothieX12 .2 days ago • edited

That would require S-500 - ballistic missile defense. Maybe 15 - 20 S-500 in Iran will be needed. And it is not yet in the army. see more

smoothieX12 . Mod observerBG2 days ago

You see, here is the difference--I can calculate approximate required force for that but I don't want to. It is Friday. You can get some basic intro into operational theory (and even into Salvo Equations) in my latest book. Granted, my publisher fought me tooth and nail to remove as much match as possible. But I'll give you a hint--appearance of S-500 on any theater of operations effectively closes it off effectively for any missile or aircraft operations when deployed in echeloned (multi-layer) AD. see more

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"

---------

Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 11, 2020] "When They Kill One Sureimani, A Thousand More Are Born": spectacular betrail by Trump of his voters

Notable quotes:
"... Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of Foreign Policy In Focus. ..."
Jan 03, 2020 | fpif.org

Originally published in OtherWords .

Trump's Iran Aggression Deserves Full-Throated Opposition - FPIF By Peter Certo

Trump is betraying his voters and threatening millions of lives.

In a full-blown U.S. war with Iran, up to a million people could die initially.

Hundreds of thousands more could die in the vacuum to follow. Millions would be made refugees. That's the conclusion of experts surveyed by Vox reporter Alex Ward . "The worst-case scenarios here are quite serious," Middle East scholar Michael Hanna warned.

With the brazen assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, President Trump has brought us leaps and bounds closer to that conflagration -- a decision Trump appears to have made while golfing at Mar-a-Lago .

Lawmakers need to move before it's too late.

The Iranians may respond cautiously , perhaps forestalling a full-blown conflict. But there can be no doubt the White House has been driving in that direction from day one.

In a few short years, Trump has blown up the Iran nuclear deal, put a horrific economic stranglehold on the country, and sent a stunning 14,000 new troops to the Middle East since just last spring. Some 3,500 more are now on their way.

"Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran," John Bolton tweeted about the assassination . Bolton may have left the White House, but clearly his spirit lives on.

What next? Get ready to hear a lot about what a " bad guy " Soleimani was, and how Iran is a "state sponsor" of terrorism.

No doubt, Soleimani had blood on his hands -- he was a general. Yet after two decades of U.S. wars in the Middle East, that's the pot calling the kettle black. It was the U.S. who invaded Iraq, started a civil war, and paved the way for a literal terrorist state, ISIS, to occupy the country afterward (a force Soleimani himself was instrumental in dismantling).

That senseless war caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, exploded the terrorist threat, and is destabilizing the region to this day. Yet somehow, war hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo can go on TV and -- with a straight face -- predict ordinary Iranians will essentially thank the U.S. for murdering their general.

"People not only in Iraq but in Iran will view the American action last night as giving them freedom," Pompeo said the morning after the assassination. You couldn't caricature a better callback to Dick Cheney's infamous prediction that Iraqis would "greet us as liberators" if you tried.

This war-mongering should be as toxic politically as it is morally . Trump rode into office promising to end America's wars, winning him crucial votes in swing states with large military and veteran populations. Huge bipartisan majorities, including 58 percent of Republicans, say they want U.S. troops out of the Middle East.

Trump is betraying them spectacularly.

Yet too many Democrats are merely objecting to Trump's failure to consult them. Speaker Nancy Pelosi complained the strike "was taken without the consultation of the Congress." South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg offered colorlessly that "there are serious questions about how this decision was made." Others complained about the apparent lack of a "strategy."

It's illegal for a president to unilaterally launch a war -- that's important. But these complaints make it sound like if you want to kill a million people for no reason, you just have to go to the DMV first. As if Trump's base doesn't love it when he cuts the line in Washington.

Senator Bernie Sanders, who warned that "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars," came closer to communicating the real threat.

Millions of lives are at stake. Trump's aggression demands -- and voters will more likely reward -- real opposition. Call him on it before it's too late.

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of Foreign Policy In Focus.

[Jan 11, 2020] Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified by Barkley Rosser

Notable quotes:
"... We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. ..."
"... As Sergey Lavrov and President Putin have stated for a long time (and long before President Trump came along), the USA is 'agreement incapable'. However, now you have to wonder if any country really trusts any agreement they will make with the USA. Without trust on any level, cooperation/trade treaties and so on on are impossible or eminently disposable, i.e., not worth the paper upon which they are written. ..."
"... 603 Americans killed in Iraq, he says Trump supporters claim, but we had millions of Iraqi's, Syrians, Libyans and others killed or their lives uprooted by Bush and Obama and company – yet they were not assassinated. ..."
"... NO. Shockingly bad decision; you can just manage to glimpse around the edges of the war propaganda the embarrassment and backpedaling for having willingly stepped into such a gigantic steaming pile of excrement. The parade of smooth-faced liars on the MSM asserting that the US is now safer (the "war is peace" crowd) is sickening. Some even have the gall to assert that the enormous crowds in Iran are forced to attend by the repressive regime. Of course, there's no evidence of a provocation and they'll never produce any. ..."
"... I find it interesting that Pompeo was "disappointed" – what did he think would happen? For a Secretary of State, he's obviously extremely out of touch with the rest of the world if he didn't have some realistic idea of how this would go down. ..."
"... One other glaring omission from the article – the only reason there was a US military contractor in Iraq available to be killed in the first place is due to the illegal war based on false premises launched almost two decades ago by the US, which continues to occupy the country to this day. ..."
"... Pretty clear who the terrorists are on this case. ..."
"... Fascinating developments on this issue today. Pompeo admits that nothing was "imminent." Given the very specific definitions of Imminence that draw red lines between what is or is not legal in international law, this could get big very quickly. ..."
"... War hawks dressed in red or blue can become mercenaries and create Go Fund Me drives to protect their investments and any particular country which they have a personal affinity or citizenship. ..."
"... Lest we forget: "War is a racket." ..."
"... How does this meet the internationally recognized legal requirement of "imminent" danger to human life required to kill a political or military leader outside of a declared war? All public statements by the U.S. political and military leadership point to a retaliatory killing, at best, with a vague overlay of preemptive action. ..."
"... If you agree that the "Bethlehem Doctrine" has never been recognized by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, or the legislatures of the three rogue states who have adopted it, the assassination of Suleimani appears to have been a murder. ..."
"... "I cross-checked a Pentagon casualty database with obituaries and not 1 of the 9 American servicemen killed fighting in Iraq since 2011 died at the hands of militias backed by Suleimani. His assassination was about revenge and provocation, not self-defense." ..."
"... The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration's killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated. ..."
"... For some "exceptional" reason we don't recognize international law! We are the terrorists not them. ..."
Jan 11, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Can The US Assassination Of Qassem Soleimani Be Justified? Posted on January 10, 2020 by Yves Smith Yves here. Even though the angst over "what next" with the US/Iran confrontation has fallen a bit, there is still a depressingly significant amount of mis- and dis-information about the Soleimani assassination. This post is a nice high level treatment that might be a good candidate for circulating among friends and colleagues who've gotten a hefty dose of MSM oversimplifications and social media sloganeering.

Update 6:50 AM: Due to the hour, I neglected to add a quibble, and readers jumped on the issue in comments. First, it has not been established who launched the attack that killed a the US contractor. The US quickly asserted it was Kat'ib Hezbollah, but there were plenty of groups in the area that had arguably better motives, plus Kat'ib Hezbollah has denied it made the strike. Second, Kat'ib Hezbollah is an Iraqi military unit.

By Barkley Rosser, Professor of Economics at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Originally published at EconoSpeak

We know from various Congressional folks that briefers of Congress have failed to produce any evidence of "imminent" plans to kill Americans Soleimani was involved with that would have made this a legal killing rather than an illegal assassination. The public statements by administration figures have cited such things as the 1979 hostage crisis, the already dead contractor, and, oh, the need to "reestablish deterrence" after Trump did not follow through on previous threats he made. None of this looks remotely like "imminent plans," not to mention that the Iraqi PM Abdul-Mahdi has reported that Soleimani was on the way to see him with a reply to a Saudi peace proposal. What a threatening imminent plan!

As it is, despite the apparent lack of "imminent plans" to kill Americans, much of the supporting rhetoric for this assassination coming out of Trump supporters (with bragging about it having reportedly been put up on Trump's reelection funding website) involves charges that Soleimani was "the world's Number One terrorist" and was personally responsible for killing 603 Americans in Iraq. Even as many commentators have noted the lack of any "imminent plans," pretty much all American ones have prefaced these questions with assertions that Soleimani was unquestionable "evil" and "bad" and a generally no good guy who deserved to be offed, if not right at this time and in this way. He was the central mastermind and boss of a massive international terror network that obeyed his orders and key to Iran's reputed position as "the Number One state supporter of terrorism," with Soleimani the key to all of that.

Of course, in Iran it turns out that Soleimani was highly respected, even as many oppose the hawkish policies he was part of. He was viewed as crucial to the victory over ISIS/ISIL/Daesh in Iraq, much feared by Iranians. Shia take martyrdom seriously, and he is viewed as a martyr. It appears that even Trump took notice of the massive outpouring of mourning and praise for Soleimani there up to the point of people dying in a stampede in a mourning crowd in his hometown. But, hey, obviously these people simply do not understand that he was The World's Number One Terrorist! Heck, I saw one commenter on Marginal Revolution claiming Soleimani was responsible killing "hundreds of thousands." Yes, this sort of claim is floating around out there.

A basic problem here is that while indeed Soleimani commanded the IGRC al Quds force that supported and supplied various Shia militias in several Middle Eastern nations, these all were (and are) ultimately independent. Soleimani may have advised them, but he was never in a position to order any of them to do anything. Al Quds itself has never carried out any of the various attacks outside of Iran that Soleimani is supposedly personally responsible for.

Let us consider the specific case that gets pushed most emphatically, the 603 Americans dead in Iraq, without doubt a hot button item here in the US. First of all, even if Soleimani really was personally responsible for their deaths, there is the technical matter that their deaths cannot be labeled "terrorism." That is about killing non-combatant civilians, not military personnel involved in combat. I do not support the killing of those American soldiers, most of whom were done in by IEDs, which also horribly injured many more. But indeed this awful stuff happened. But in fact this was all done by Iraqi -based Shia militias. Yes, they were supported by Soleimani, but while some have charged al Quds suppplied the IEDs, this turns out not to be the case. These were apparently made in Iraq by these local militias. Soleimani's al Quds are not totally innocent in all this, reportedly providing some training and some inputs. But the IEDs were made by the militias themselves and planted by them.

It is also the case that when the militias and Americans were working together against ISIS/IISIL/Daesh, none of this happened, and indeed that was still the case up until this most recent set of events, with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group. Of course with Trump having Soleimani assassinated, this cooperation has ceased, with the US military no longer either fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh nor training the Iraqi military. Indeed, the Iraqi parliament has demanded that US troops leave entirely, although Trump threatened Iraq with economic sanctions if that is followed through on.

As it is, the US datinrg back to the Obama administration has been supplying Saudi Arabia with both arms and intelligence that has been used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. Frankly, US leaders look more like terrorists than Soleimani.

I shall close by noting the major changes in opinion in both Iran and Iraq regarding the US as a result of this assassination. In Iran as many have noted there were major demonstrations against the regime going on, protesting bad economic conditions, even as those substantially were the result of the illegal US economic sanctions imposed after the US withdrew from the JCPOA nuclear deal, to which Iran was adhering. Now those demonstrations have stopped and been replaced by the mass demonstrations against the US over Soleimani's assassination. And we also have Iran further withdrawing from that deal and moving to more highly enrich uranium.

In Iraq, there had been major anti-Iran demonstrations going on, with these supported to some degree by the highest religious authority in the nation, Ayatollah Ali Sistani. However, when Soleimani's body was being transferred to Iran, Sistani's son accompanied his body. It really is hard to see anything that justifies this assassination.

I guess I should note for the record that I am not a fan of the Iranian regime, much less the IGRC and its former and new commander. It is theocratic and repressive, with many political prisoners and a record of killing protestors. However, frankly, it is not clearly all that much worse than quite a few of its neighboring regimes. While Supreme Jurisprudent Khamenei was not popularly elected, its president, Rouhani, was, who obeyed popular opinion in negotiating the JCPOA that led to the relaxation of economic sanctions, with his power reduced when Trump withdrew from the agreement. Its rival Saudi Arabia has no democracy at all, and is also a religiously reactionary and repressive regime that uses bone saws on opponents and is slaughtering civilians in a neighboring nation.


xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 6:12 am

with the death setting off all this an American civilian contractor caught on a base where several Iraqis were killed by a rocket from the Kat'b Hezbollah Iraqi group.
Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding this, but it appears to be presented here as a fact.
Kat'b Hezbollah have denied responsibility for that rocket attack. To the best of my knowledge, no proof whatsoever has been presented that it was not an attack by jihadis in the area, whom Khat'b Hezbollah were fighting, or by others with an interest in stirring the pot.

Cat Burglar , January 10, 2020 at 12:37 pm

They are having a hard time coming up with public evidence to support any justification, aren't they?

The latest was Pence's "keeping it secret to protect sources and methods" meme. Purely speculating here, but I immediately thought, "Oh, Israeli intelligence." Gotta protect allies in the region.

xkeyscored , January 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Debka, run by supposedly-former Israeli military intelligence, was enthusing about upcoming joint operations against Iran and its allies a month or two ago. In contrast, they've been uncharacteristically quiet, though supportive of the US, regarding recent developments.

Trump and Netanyahu confirm US-Israel military coordination against threatened Iranian attack

A US-Iran military front is fast shaping up on the Syrian-Iraqi border – with a role for the IDF

Dwight , January 10, 2020 at 6:32 am

Secretary of State Pompeo claimed that Soleimani was responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Syria. Basically blaming Iran for all deaths in the Syrian war.

Donald , January 10, 2020 at 8:35 am

People more commonly do this with Assad. A complicated war with multiple factions fighting each other, armed by outside sources including the US, most with horrific human rights records, but almost every pundit and politician in the US talks as though Assad killed everyone personally.

Once in a while you get a little bit of honesty seeping in, but it never changes the narrative. Caitlin Johnstone said something about that, not specifically about Syria. The idea was that you can sometimes find facts reported in the mainstream press that contradict the narrative put out by pundits and politicians and for that matter most news stories, but these contradictory facts never seem to change the prevailing narrative.

ChrisFromGeorgia , January 10, 2020 at 9:15 am

That sounds suspiciously like sour grapes and another possible motive for the killing – revenge.

Soleimani led a number of militias that were successful in defeating the Saudi (and CIA) sponsored Sunni jihadis who failed to implement the empire's "regime change" playbook in Syria.

No doubt a lot of guys like Pompeo wanted him dead for that reason alone.

Thuto , January 10, 2020 at 6:36 am

The simple answer NO, killing a sitting army general of a sovereign state on a diplomatic mission resides in the realm of the truly absurd. Twisting the meaning of the word "imminent" far beyond its ordinary use to justify the murder is even more absurd. And the floating subtext to all this talk about lost American lives is that the US can invade and occupy foreign lands, engage in the sanctimonious slaughter of locals and whoever else gets in the way of feeding the bloodlust of Pompeo and his ilk (to say nothing of feeding the outsized ego of a lunatic like Trump), and yet expect to suffer no combat casualties from those defending their lands. It's the most warped form of "exceptional" thinking.

As an aside, I wonder if the msm faithfully pushing the talk about Iran downing that Ukrainian commercial jet is designed to take the heat off a beleaguered Boeing. The investigation hasn't even begun but already we have the smoking gun, Iran did it.

Olga , January 10, 2020 at 8:27 am

Even the question is wrong. The killing was cowardly, outside all international norms (this from a country that dares to invoke "international order" whenever it is suitable), a colossal mistake, a strategic blunder, and plain destructive.
The more one learns about QS' activities, the more it seems that he was "disposed of" precisely because of his unique talent and abilities to bring together the various local faction