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Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Pompeo Can’t Blame Iran For Attacking Itself – Gold Goats ‘n Guns

Posted by M. C. on October 12, 2019

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

https://tomluongo.me/2019/10/11/pompeo-cant-blame-iran-for-attacking-itself/

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”

–Jaws

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water someone poked a couple of holes in an oil tanker belonging to Iran. This sent oil prices up briefly in the vain hope of stabilizing them. But, strangely, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was silent.

This was a warning to Iran from someone on the Saudi/Israeli/U.S. side, “You won’t win without costs.”

Well, of course, that’s true. The big question everyone is asking is, of course, “Who did this?”

Details are sketchy with a lot of back and forth. Iran initially reported missile strikes.

But Iran’s national tanker company, the owner of the boat, is now ruling out missiles.

But who did this is honestly not even relevant at this point. It could be Israel, the Saudis, rogue U.S. or British agents, etc.

Once we started down this path of sanctions, attacks on oil assets, and the like, it opened up the possibility of anyone with an axe to grind creating an incident for their purposes and blaming someone else for it…

The people squawking the loudest about the President’s recent policy decisions in the Middle East are the ones most likely behind this. They are the ones with the most to lose if Saudi Arabia falls and the U.S. pulls much of its force out of the Middle East.

The most likely candidate is the one actor who has consistently overstepped its bounds in attacking neighbors it considers hostile for any reason. Israel…

But the reality is that the partitioning of Syria has been a U.S. neoconservative project from the beginning of the civil war. Israel has given aid and comfort to ISIS fighters along the Golan Heights. This is not news, folks.

And the use of the Kurds to destabilize not only Syria but Iraq, Iran and Turkey by outside actors, like the U.S., Saudi Arabia and YES, Israel, is well established.

Pompeo has helped preside over sending the Kurds more than 30,000 truckloads of weapons. Who paid for those weapons, by the way?

We did.

How many of these SDF fighters are nothing more than foreign mercenaries paid by us to hold strategic areas of Syria– the oil fields and the border crossings –to starve Assad out of power?

It’s been long established that the U.S. presence in Syria is unsustainable. But who keeps the pressure on Trump politically to maintain the situation?

Israel.

There comes a point where the evidence of influence is overwhelming and the state of the game board so degraded that it’s time for someone to make a bold call and change tactics.

If the neocons and Israeli Firsters in Congress (and formerly in his cabinet) have turned on Trump to the point of starting impeachment proceedings against him for not going to war with Iran, then Trump is free to finally just blow it all wide open.

Which is exactly what he is doing. The Kurds were simply mercenaries to help us defeat ISIS. Job’s done, your beef with Turkey is your problem.

Remember that Russia’s intervention in Syria outed who was really behind the coalition to overthrow President Assad and when Turkey’s Erdogan was framed into a fight with Russia, shooting down an SU-24 in November 2015, Erdogan realized he would be the scapegoat for the entire operation and swiftly began changing his tune.

Don’t you think Trump can see the same setup happening here now with the Kurds?

They jumped the gun on impeachment. They didn’t neuter Trump, they unleashed him. Because he simply has nothing left to lose…

So, to me, it makes perfect sense to see rogue elements around the region acting independently to try and revive the war footing while cynically supporting a collapsing oil price.

It’s clear that no one in the U.S. or Saudi Arabian power circles wants oil collapsing below $50 per barrel. The Russians and the Iranians don’t care, they trade oil now mostly outside the dollar and their currencies immunize them to the fluctuations.

Trump watches the stock market like a hawk and the Saudis watch the price of Brent like their lives depend on it, because they do.

So, some noises that talks are good and an attack on Iran’s tankers are good for oil prices. An end to the trade war (very unlikely) and Iran bowing to U.S. demands to stop exporting oi (even less likely) is doing nothing more than creating yet another opportunity to short oil.

That’s the legacy of the chaos created by making terrible decisions intervening in other people’s affairs. That’s why it really doesn’t matter who attacked the Iranian tanker. It was a bad move. All it does it convince Trump further that it’s time to get out of the way and cut bait.

The Saudis and the Israelis are harboring huge and ancient grudges against Iran that can no longer be tolerated in U.S. political circles. This is crippling U.S. politics.

Regardless of who actually attacked this tanker their collective grudge and control over the corridors of power in the U.S. is the fuel that keeps these conflicts ongoing.

Trump, to his credit, is now finally voicing and acting on his long-held beliefs that the Iraq War was a mistake, that Syria is an Obama/Clinton quagmire and that Russia has a strong role to play in cleaning up their messes.

And the less we listen to the cries of anguish from “the usual suspects” the quicker we can back away from war.

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Just as Iraq begins to find peace, it once again becomes the battleground for an American proxy war | The Independent

Posted by M. C. on October 1, 2019

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iraq-us-iran-israel-proxy-war-middle-east-peace-abu-alaa-al-walai-shia-a9123436.html

Baghdad is full of new restaurants and shops and the streets are thronged with people until late at night. But many Iraqis wonder how long this will last if the US-Iran confrontation escalates into a shooting war

People in Baghdad are fearful that the next war between the US and Iran will take place in Iraq, which is only just returning to peace after the defeat of Isis. Alarm that Iraq will be sucked into such a conflict has increased here because of recent Israeli drone attacks on the bases of the Iraqi paramilitary group known as the Hashd al-Shaabi, which is accused by the US and Israel of acting as a proxy of Iran.

“The new development is that Israel has entered the conflict in Iraq,” says Abu Alaa al-Walai, the leader of Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, a militant Shia paramilitary movement with ties to Iran, speaking in an exclusive interview with The Independent in Baghdad. He says that three Israeli drones attacked one of his bases in the Iraqi capital, called al-Saqr, on 12 August, leading to the explosion of 50 tons of weaponry. The Israelis confirm that they carried out the raid, which was preceded by several others, claiming that they hit Iranian missiles on their way to Syria and Lebanon.

It is the likelihood of US complicity in the Israeli action which could provoke a political crisis in Iraq. Abu Alaa says that an unpublished Iraqi government report on the attack reveals that the Israeli drones were launched from a US base called Kassad in Kurdish-controlled northeast Syria. “Iraqi radar tracked one out of three of the drones travelling at 140km before, during and after the attack,” he says.

US policy in the Middle East is notoriously incoherent and contradictory under President Trump, but allowing Israel to make pin-prick attacks from a US base against the Hashd looks peculiarly like self-destruction from an American point of view. It has already led to a bill passing through the Iraqi parliament demanding the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

Asked if Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada would attack US forces, if there is a war between the US and Iran, Abu Alaa replies: “Absolutely, yes”. He expresses enthusiasm for drone warfare, saying that the successful drone assault on the Saudi oil facilities on 14 September makes battlefields more equal for groups like his own. “We are working day and night to develop drones that can be put together in a living room,” he says…

There are good reasons for them to be worried: US and Saudi authority in the Middle East has been damaged by Iranian-inspired attacks – the Iranian modus operandi is normally to act through others – on oil tankers in the Gulf, a high-flying US drone, and the Saudi oil industry. So far, Mr Trump has not thought it is in the US’s interest to hit back, but he cannot indefinitely absorb this kind of punishment without looking weak.

Iraq is one place where the US and its allies could try to retaliate and their main target is likely to be the Hashd. This could in turn provoke attacks on US bases which look vulnerable in the age of the drone. Iraqis dread the idea of another military conflict, but they fear it may in any case be heading in their direction.

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The U.S. Dilemma in the Middle East Isn’t Really a Dilemma – LobeLog

Posted by M. C. on September 25, 2019

https://lobelog.com/the-u-s-dilemma-in-the-middle-east-isnt-really-a-dilemma/

by Lawrence Wilkerson

The Persian Gulf and its entryway, the Strait of Hormuz, have been a cockpit of U.S. strategic interest since President Jimmy Carter declared, in his January 1980 State of the Union address, that “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America…” Today, however, a different waterway is swiftly becoming the Persian Gulf’s equivalent, if not surpassing it.

The Red Sea’s Importance

It is the Red Sea and its entryway, the Bab el-Mandeb (“Gate of Tears”), though which more than half the world’s most important commerce—from fossil fuels to Chinese toys—flows. That waterway is the object of significant strategic cooperation and competition among the U.S., China, France, Japan, India, Turkey, and others, and its flanks are home to tumultuous conflicts or potential conflicts such as those in Sudan, Somalia, and the bugbear of them all, Yemen. Daily, refugee flows out of Yemen alone generate crime, dislocation, and death. But the flow of refugees out of Yemen is nearly matched by the flow of refugees from the Horn of Africa, who arrive seeking employment in the Gulf states and as refugees from conflicts in eastern Africa, such as in Somalia. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, these flows have helped push the total number of refugees in the world from 65 million to 70 million.

Moreover, while Iran has been—according to the U.S. and its regional allies—the primary threat to Persian Gulf commerce in oil and gas, the multi-state presence in the Red Sea area presents a kaleidoscopic array of potential contenders. Nowhere perhaps is this array more instantly visible than in the tiny East African state of Djibouti, where as one U.S. Marine put it recently, “deploy one more trooper to Djibouti and it might sink.” And he didn’t mean just a U.S. “trooper,” because there are French, Chinese, Italian, and Japanese forces there as well. One can imagine how the government of Djibouti plays off these states against one another to get the best possible deals for itself.

In addition to the military forces semi-permanently stationed in Djibouti, the region is also home to an almost constant presence of several navies. These were once led by the multilateral and seemingly semi-permanent anti-piracy task force established as Operation Ocean Shield (U.S./NATO), which lasted from its creation in 2009 to its stand-down in 2016. More than two dozen nations, from NATO and elsewhere—including, prominently, India—participated. Today, absent the task force, piracy is picking up again.

Beyond anti-piracy, the U.S. Navy has several reasons for its continued presence in the Red Sea, ranging from general Freedom of Navigation Operations (FON) to anti-Iran patrols. The latter are aimed primarily at arms smuggling under the aegis of the alliance of convenience between Tehran and the rebel Houthis fighting—and winning—in Yemen.

The most recent major state to arrive in the Red Sea area with an interest beyond simply commerce is one of the most powerful of the NATO states—though a bit wayward in that regard of late—Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. It seems in some respects and in some quarters that such a move on Turkey’s part might signal a “return of the Ottomans,” a disturbing development for most regional players who have a knowledge of history as well as an inkling of the struggle in the Islamic world—at least the Middle Eastern portion—among several state powers for the moniker of “the leader of Islam.”

As if this cocktail of state interests and powers were not sufficient, transnational criminal elements are finding the area highly conducive to their interests, whether the illicit traffic is in people, drugs, or arms. In the case of the arms trade, a new development is “toy pistols.” These are purchased as non-lethal arms—thus quite easily bought, shipped, and received—and then later reworked to be quite lethal weapons. The surmise by experts is that mostly individual civilians are purchasing such arms, individuals not very confident of their security in some of the area states, such as Ethiopia and Eritrea.

All Eyes on Yemen

At the moment, almost every state in the region (as well as the larger powers) is focused, to an extent at least, on the conflict in Yemen as the most destabilizing situation in the Red Sea area. They are correct…

But this isn’t a game or a bet. This is America’s real security. In the Middle East and the Red Sea area, it is past time to make a choice. The right and strategically sound choice is to end U.S. support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, then use that pressure to forge politically and swiftly an end to that war—and, if need be, to write off the Saudis if that is what they choose in the aftermath.

Political and moral courage coupled with diplomatic skill are the requirements of the day.

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Saudi Arabia won’t attack Iran. But it may pay someone else to | Nesrine Malik | Opinion | The Guardian

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2019

It is baffling, in the light of last week’s attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, that there is so much speculation about Saudi and Iran going to war. Saudi does not “go to war”: it hires proxies, and depends on US gullibility to continue the lie that it is the regional peacekeeper…

Meanwhile, Saudi looks on – as ever, the indulged and unpunished provocateur of the Middle East.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/sep/22/saudi-arabia-iran-us-middle-east-saudis

The US is being fooled that it needs to rescue its ally in the Middle East. The Saudis always get others to fight for them

There is a longstanding joke told in the Middle East about Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to fight its own wars. “Saudi Arabia will fight until the last Pakistani,” the punchline goes, in reference to the fact that Pakistani troops have long supported Saudi’s military endeavours.

The punchline has expanded lately to include the Sudanese, a recent addition to the Saudi army’s ground troops. Saudi Arabia is accustomed to buying labour that it deems too menial for its citizens, and it extends that philosophy to its army.

There is always a poorer country ready to send cannon fodder for the right price. The military assault in Yemen is sometimes referred to as “the Arab coalition”, a respectable term for a Saudi-led group of combatants that, in addition to allies in the Gulf, includes forces from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, as well as Sudanese child soldiers, whose deaths are handsomely compensated for with cash paid to their families back home. When asked what fighting in Yemen under the command of the Saudis had been like, some returning Sudanese troops said that Saudi military leaders, feeling themselves too precious to advance too close to the frontline, had given clumsy instructions by satellite phones to their hired troops, nudging them in the general direction of hostilities. Where things were too treacherous, Saudi and coalition airforces simply dropped bombs from high-flying planes, inflating civilian casualties. This is how Saudi fights: as remotely as possible, and paying others to die.

It is baffling, in the light of last week’s attacks on two Saudi oil facilities, that there is so much speculation about Saudi and Iran going to war. Saudi does not “go to war”: it hires proxies, and depends on US gullibility to continue the lie that it is the regional peacekeeper, and that any threat to the country destabilises the region. The US and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly accused Iran of being behind the attacks, which were claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and fighting the Saudi-led alliance in Yemen’s civil war. The Pentagon has announced that it will be sending hundreds of US troops, in addition to air and missile defence equipment, to Saudi Arabia as a “defensive” move.

Why does a country that was the world’s largest arms importer from 2014 to 2018, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, need so much help?

In 2018, the US provided 88% of all weaponry sold to the country. By the end of 2018, Saudi was responsible for 12% of global arms purchases. It is clearly not in need of more military kit from the US to defend it against drone attacks.

What, then, does a country that is involved in one military campaign, in Yemen, and which appears so vulnerable to attack and in need of constant protection, do with so many weapons? Buying the weapons, rather than deploying them, is the point. These multimillion-dollar purchases maintain commercial relations with western allies from whom it imports arms, and who in return turn a blind eye to Saudi’s human rights abuses, assassinations and kidnappings, because there is too much money at stake. Saudi Arabia’s entire foreign policy model is based on using its wealth to buy friends and silence….

Saudi is currently locked in escalating conflicts with Iran, Qatar and Yemen, propping up military regimes in Sudan and Egypt, messily meddling in Lebanon, and continuing to fund random Sunni hardline endeavours all over the world – and generally getting away with it. Saudi will not go to war with Iran, but the US may do so on its behalf. Meanwhile, Saudi looks on – as ever, the indulged and unpunished provocateur of the Middle East.

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Notes From the Edge of the Narrative Matrix – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 21, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/09/no_author/notes-from-the-edge-of-the-narrative-matrix/

By Caitlin Johnstone
CaitlinJohnstone.com

Most human suffering is due to believed mental stories, from the psychological suffering of the individual to the large-scale suffering caused by international power structures who advance violence and oppression via propaganda. We must evolve a new relationship with narrative.

Most people’s lives are dominated by mental story, so whoever can control those stories controls the people. The good news is that all we need to do to reclaim our world from the controllers is to reclaim our stories. The barrier between us and freedom is as thin as a fairy tale.

I talk about fighting establishment narrative control a lot, not because it’s the best way to change things, but because it’s the only way. The public will never, ever use the power of their numbers to change things so long as they’re being successfully propagandized not to.

We are bulldozing a paradise while praying we go to Heaven when we die. We are killing off giant-brained leviathans in our own oceans whose mental lives we know little about while searching the stars for intelligent life. We are burning our home in our search for a sense of home.

The most condescending sound in the known universe is Bill Maher’s voice.

Joe Biden could slip into a coma tomorrow and they’d still wheel him out to the debates with the words “NOT TRUMP” scribbled on his forehead in sharpie. And he’d continue to poll in the mid-to-high twenties.

We are about three years from watching President Biden say he’s working with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to win the Cold War, soiling himself at the podium, and then CNN pundits earnestly discussing his similarities and differences to President Obama.

It feels like we’re overdue for another media tour by Steven Pinker to tell us that things are better than ever and our discontent is just imaginary.

“Why doesn’t the left look at Israel exactly the same as every other country, hmmmmmmm???” Because it isn’t exactly the same as every other country. It plays a crucial role in the empire’s geostrategic maneuverings in the Middle East. It’s not about Jews or Judaism, it’s about imperialism.

One of the absolute stupidest things about US politics is how they made regime change in Iran vs regime change in Syria a partisan wedge issue, and partisans only question possible false flags based on which of those agendas their team cheers for.

If the political/media class wants to treat “proxy forces” and “Iran” like they mean the same thing, then they should have also been saying things like “USA fires rockets into Damascus” and “American troops sodomize Gaddafi with bayonet”.

It infuriates the empire propagandists to no end that after years of carefully crafting a very specific narrative about what’s happening in Syria, anti-imperialist journalists can just fly on over there and look around and report on the things they are seeing.

The US outsources all its ugliest aspects so that American voters don’t have to look at them. It outsources its torture, it outsources its slavery, it outsources its wars, and it outsources the the holding cells for its political prisoners.

In old-style British imperialism, they’d invade your country and replace your flag with theirs. In new-style US imperialism, your country keeps its flag, and the takeover can happen so slyly that the nation’s citizens sometimes don’t even know it’s occurred. It’s much more efficient.

All empires throughout history have had some kind of positive narrative about why it’s right that they should be conquering and dominating the world. The US-centralized empire with its bogus “freedom and democracy” schtick is no different.

If you were to combine all the very worst possible kinds of government with all the very worst possible government actions and roll them all together to create a single nation, that nation would look exactly the same as Saudi Arabia.

The maneuverings of establishment power structures are always made to protect the power they already have and/or to try and obtain more. It’s never anything more exotic or otherworldly than that: the mundane, primitive drive to try and control as many other humans as possible.

International alliances are often thought of as matters of secondary importance, as just something governments do when possible to make themselves a bit safer, wealthier, etc. Actually, uniting nations into one power structure is the goal, and it’s what alliances are really for.

I love a conspiracy enthusiast who can research with an open mind and live comfortably with the fact that there’s a lot we don’t know due to government opacity. I dislike the all-too-common other kind who pretend they know everything about everything and scoff at everyone else.

There are two kinds of people in conspiracy circles: those who have an intellectually honest relationship with what they know and don’t know, and the bullshitters who fake knowing things they don’t. It’s possible to get quite popular in conspiracy circles by faking it. Many do.

There’s an implicit default assumption among the political/media class that US government agencies have earned back the trust they lost with Iraq, despite their having made no changes whatsoever to prevent another Iraq-like horror from reoccurring, or even so much as apologizing.

I talk about Iraq all the time because that’s what everyone should be doing. It’s never been addressed, never been resolved, yet the US war machine and its propaganda apparatus have marched on as though it never happened. It’s a very large elephant in a very important room.

The Trump administration’s relentless fumbling, ham-fisted attempts to manufacture consent for a war with Iran remind me of of a really awkward loser constantly asking the prettiest girl at the office for a date again and again. Give it up, dude. She ain’t into you.

Many on the left care about domestic policy a lot more than they care about foreign policy. Meanwhile, foreign policy is the foremost priority of the establishment they’re trying to take down. This arrangement works out very nicely for the powerful.

“Peace through strength” just means “We’ll take money away from the poor and the needy and use it to beef up our already bloated military so we can bully the world into obedience.” That’s not peace, that’s tyranny.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask for one of America’s two mainstream parties to put forward at least one presidential candidate who opposes all military mass murders and has no plutocratic loyalties. That is not actually an unreasonable thing to demand. Don’t lose sight of this.

You can thank Obama for normalizing the “campaign as a progressive and govern as a Reaganite” strategy which now has Americans mostly clueless as to which Democratic primary candidate will actually represent their interests.

You are infinitely more qualified to report the news than the propagandists of the mainstream media. Even a teenager making a sloppy, amateurish first-time Youtube video about current events is superior to an MSM talking head who’s paid to lie. Be the press.

The establishment doesn’t fear Trump. It doesn’t fear Bernie, and it doesn’t fear Tulsi. It fears you. It fears the people. A single politician they can deal with. The public rising up and using the power of their numbers to force change is what keeps your rulers up at night.

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U.S., Saudi Military Forces Failed to Detect Attack on Oil Facilities

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2019

U.S. and Saudi officials didn’t anticipate a strike from inside Iran, officials said, rather than through one of its proxy forces or elite military units.

It sounds better than admitting complete incompetence.

flew low to the ground on their way to slamming into the heart of the Saudi oil industry early Saturday.

So the first thing to go in an Iran war will be completely unprotected Saudi refineries.

This should give us a clue regarding how this war will go.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/saudi-arabia-increasingly-confident-iran-launched-oil-attack-11568733861

By

Nancy A. Youssef,
Gordon Lubold,
Summer Said and
Dion Nissenbaum

WASHINGTON—U.S. and Saudi military forces and their elaborate air-defense systems failed to detect the launch of airstrikes aimed at Saudi Arabian oil facilities, allowing dozens of drones and missiles to hit their targets, U.S. officials said.

Saudi and U.S. focus had been largely on the kingdom’s southern border with Yemen, where Riyadh has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen’s civil war, the officials said. The attacks, however, originated from Iranian territory in the northern Persian Gulf, people familiar with the investigation into the strikes said.

As Saudi officials review information coming in from the U.S., Kuwait and their own investigators, they are increasingly confident that drones and missiles launched near Iran’s southern border with Iraq flew low to the ground on their way to slamming into the heart of the Saudi oil industry early Saturday…

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Houthi Forces in Yemen Warn of More Attacks on Saudi Oil ...

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‘Locked and Loaded’ for War on Iran? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 18, 2019

If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday – shutting down about 6% of world oil production – imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy.

Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?

All the hundreds of U$ billions in military aid and SA pipelines are completely unprotected and vulnerable.  Now SA is going broke getting it’s ass kicked in Yemen even with U$ help.

That will give you a clue as to how US war will go against Iran.

We can’t win against countries barely out of the stone age, some of the poorest and most backward on the planet.

Russia backed Iran is a horse of a different color.

SA (Israel) is thinking “better US soldiers die in an unwinnable war than Saudi (Israeli) citizens”.

https://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2019/09/16/locked-and-loaded-for-war-on-iran/

“Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply,” declared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Putting America’s credibility on the line, Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out the devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities that halted half of the kingdom’s oil production, 5.7 million barrels a day.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump did not identify Iran as the attacking nation, but did appear, in a tweet, to back up the secretary of state:

“There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) as to who they believe was the cause of this attack and under what terms we would proceed!”

Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been fighting Saudi Arabia for four years and have used drones to strike Saudi airport and oil facilities, claim they fired 10 drones from 500 kilometers away to carry out the strikes in retaliation for Saudi air and missile attacks.

Pompeo dismissed their claim, “There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.”

But while the Houthis claim credit, Iran denies all responsibility.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says of Pompeo’s charge, that the U.S. has simply replaced a policy of “maximum pressure” with a policy of “maximum deceit.” Tehran is calling us liars…

Before Trump orders any strike on Iran, would he go to Congress for authorization for his act of war?

Sen. Lindsey Graham is already urging an attack on Iran’s oil refineries to “break the regime’s back,” while Sen. Rand Paul contends that “there’s no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran.”

Divided again: The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war.

How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see.

John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.

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Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike? – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2019

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for
war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim
of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia
in 2015. It was the other way around.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove,

Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Bolton by proxy.

https://original.antiwar.com/paul/2019/09/16/will-trump-take-neocon-bait-and-attack-iran-over-saudi-strike/

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years.” True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran’s role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

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Sen. Graham Wants to Bomb Iran in Response to Houthi Attack on Saudi Oil – Global ResearchGlobal Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2019

But then Graham, as a neocon fellow traveler, is enthusiastically in favor of Israel’s wars in the Middle East. If it takes a few lies to get things moving, so be it.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/graham-wants-bomb-iran-response-houthi-attack-saudi-oil/5689229

By Kurt Nimmo

Following the early morning attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil processing facility—the largest oil processing plant in the world—and a similar drone attack at the Khurais oil field on Saturday, the neocon senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, has called for attacking Iran.

Although the Houthis claimed responsibility for the crippling attack, there is little evidence who is actually responsible. It is just as likely the Saudis did this to 1) ramp up hostilities against their arch enemy, Shia Iran, 2) jack up the price of oil, and 3) in the process make the impending Aramco IPO more lucrative.

In addition, the Saudis fear the end of the illegal war on the people of Yemen negotiated by the US:

Zerohedge notes:

According to Reuters reports the drone attacks will impact up to 5 million bpd of oil production, which suggests that the price of oil—already severely depressed by the recent news that John Bolton is out, making de-escalation with Iran far more likely—is set to soar when trading reopens late on Sunday, just what the upcoming Aramco IPO desperately needs, which in turn has prompted some to wonder if the “Yemen” attack on Saudi Arabia wasn’t in fact orchestrated by Saudi interests. (Emphasis mine.)

Meanwhile, the corporate media, as should be expected, is placing the blame indirectly on Iran. From the beginning of the Saudi campaign to bomb the daylights out of Yemen, creating one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent memory, the corporate media has stated as an indisputable fact the Houthis are an Iranian proxy doing the bidding of the mullahs in Tehran.

On the contrary, the Iranians have very little to do with supporting the Houthis, a fact rarely mentioned because it conflicts with the narrative that fallaciously states Iran is the most vicious terror state in the world (that designation is better suited for the United States and Israel).

Thomas Juneau, the assistant professor at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and an analyst with Canada’s Department of National Defense, wrote for The Washington Post in 2016, “Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited, and its influence in Yemen is marginal. It is simply inaccurate to claim that the Houthis are Iranian proxies.”

Iran’s assistance “remains limited and far from sufficient to make more than a marginal difference to the balance of forces in Yemen, a country awash with weapons. There is, therefore, no supporting evidence to the claim that Iran has bought itself any significant measure of influence over Houthi decision-making.”

Graham sits on a number of committees—including the Foreign Relations Committee, and he is the chairman of the Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs—so it really isn’t possible he doesn’t know the oft-claimed accusation Iran controls the Houthis is little more than war propaganda…

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Pompeo’s Constant, Shameless Lying About Iran | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on September 11, 2019

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/pompeos-constant-shameless-lying-about-iran/

By Daniel Larison

Mike Pompeo can’t get through a single interview without telling a bald-faced lie. Here he lies about Iran again:

They’re investing in missile systems that they’re not allowed to have. They continue – indeed, they announced just yesterday that they’re going to continue to do more research and development on their nuclear weapon systems [bold mine-DL]. Those things are unacceptable.

The Iranian government announced no such thing, and Iran has no “nuclear weapon systems.” Iran has no nuclear weapons program, and hasn’t had anything like that for more than fifteen years. Pompeo is promoting an extremely dangerous lie here, and as usual he is never challenged on what he says. The Trump administration is desperate to deceive the public into thinking that Iran seeks nuclear weapons when that is not happening. They dishonestly put modest Iranian responses to U.S. violations of the JCPOA in the worst light in the hopes that people don’t realize that their reckless and destructive Iran policy has failed and has brought us dangerously close to an unnecessary war.

The so-called “third step” that the Iranian government announced this week was that they were no longer going to respect the JCPOA’s limits on research and development. They taking this step in response to the continued economic war being waged against them by the Trump administration after it violated the deal and reimposed sanctions. The purpose of these limited, reversible steps is to pressure the other parties to the agreement to deliver on their end of the bargain. To date, our European allies have failed to deliver, and so Iran keeps taking these steps.

The Times article on the announcement makes another important point:

Rescinding the limits on research and development violates one of the accord’s core principles, but does not necessarily put the Iranians any closer to the ability to make a bomb.

Iran continues to reduce compliance with an agreement that the U.S. reneged on more than a year ago, and it is going to continue doing that as long as the U.S. keeps illegitimate sanctions in place. That doesn’t mean that Iran is going to start pursuing nuclear weapons, and it is important to understand that none of this would be happening had the U.S. not broken its word and violated the agreement first. If the U.S. eased or lifted the sanctions, it is likely that Iran would respond in kind by reversing some of its recent actions. Of course, the Trump administration wants to drive Iran out of the JCPOA because they want the deal to collapse, and they want it to collapse because they see it as an obstacle to creating a pretext for conflict.

The administration’s Iran policy is a complete failure that has needlessly increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran to the detriment of both countries, and the only way that Pompeo can sell this policy to the public is by constantly, shamelessly lying about Iran and the nuclear deal.

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