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Posts Tagged ‘Persian Gulf’

Tomgram: Michael Klare, It’s Always the Oil | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176584/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_it%27s_always_the_oil/#more

Michael Klare

What more did you need to know once Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban, was Iranian-inspired or plotted, one “in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests”? In other words, behind the Sunni extremist insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 lurks the regime of the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran that many in Washington have been eager to fight since at least the spring of 2003 (when, coincidentally enough, the Bush administration was insisting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime had significant ties to al-Qaeda).

It couldn’t have made more sense once you thought about it. I don’t mean Pompeo’s claim itself, which was little short of idiotic, but what lurked behind it.  I mean the knowledge that, only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress had passed an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that allowed the president (and any future president, as it turned out) “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

In other words, almost 18 years later, as Pompeo knows, if you can link any country or group you’re eager to go to war with to al-Qaeda, no matter how confected the connection, you can promptly claim authorization to do your damnedest to them. How convenient, then, should you be in the mood to make war on Iran, if that country just happens to be responsible for terror attacks linked to the Taliban (which once did harbor al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden). Why, you wouldn’t even need to ask Congress for permission to pursue your war of choice. And keep in mind that, recently, Congress — or a crew of corrupted, degraded Republican senators — simply couldn’t muster the votes or the will to deny President Trump the power to make war on Iran without its approval.

Let me hasten to add that the supposed link to al-Qaeda isn’t the only thing the Trump administration has conjured up to ensure that it will be free to do whatever it pleases when it comes to Iran. It’s found various other inventive ways to justify future military actions there without congressional approval. Pompeo and crew have, in that sense, been clever indeed. As TomDispatch regular Michael Klare, author of the upcoming book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, points out today, there’s only one word largely missing from their discussions of the increasingly edgy situation in the Persian Gulf, the most obvious word of all. But read him yourself if you want to understand just how, when it comes to Iran and that missing word — to steal a phrase from the late, great Jonathan Schell — the fate of the Earth is at stake. Tom

The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis
Oil’s Enduring Sway in U.S. Policy in the Middle East
By Michael T. Klare

It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II)….

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MoA – No, Iran Is Not Rushing To Build A Nuclear Weapon

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2019

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/07/no-iran-is-not-rushing-to-build-a-nuclear-weapon.html

John Mearsheimer is a political science scholar who adheres to the realist school of thought. He developed a theory of offensive realism that at times produces valid predictions of the behavior of some states. But his theory does not account for cultural factors and its predictions fail when these predominate in a state’s decisions.

His ridiculous op-ed in today’s New York Times is proof for that.

Mearsheimer may not be responsible for that fakenews headline. The NYT is generally anti-Iran and some of its editors are the worst warmongers.  But even as the claims made in the headline are false, they are not far from what Mearsheimer writes.

For the record: No, Iran is not rushing to build a nuclear weapon. And if it would do such Trump could stop it.

Mearsheimer starts:

President Trump says he wants to make sure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons. His policy, however, is having the opposite effect: It is giving Tehran a powerful incentive to go nuclear, while at the same time making it increasingly difficult for the United States to prevent that. On Monday the official Iranian news agency announced that the country had breached the limits for enriched uranium imposed on it by the 2015 international agreements.Indeed, American policy toward Iran over the past year makes it clear that Iranian leaders were foolish not to develop a nuclear deterrent in the early 2000s.

The Iranians had good reason to acquire nuclear weapons long before the present crisis, and there is substantial evidence they were doing just that in the early 2000s. The case for going nuclear is much more compelling today. After all, Iran now faces an existential threat from the United States, and a nuclear arsenal will go a long way toward eliminating it.

The current “existential threat” against Iran, says Mearsheimer, is the economic war and blockade the U.S. wages against it.

But where is the evidence that nuclear weapons would prevent the economic war and blockade? North Korea, which has nuclear weapons and even the ability to strike the United States with them, is under similar measures. In sight of that how does this make the case to go nuclear more compelling for Iran?

Before 2003 Iran likely had a nuclear research program to find out what it would take to make a nuclear weapon. But the reason to pursue that was not the threat from the United States. The threat to Iran was a potentially nuclear Iraq, a country which had already used weapons of mass destruction against its cities. When the U.S. invaded Iraq that threat went away and Iran’s nuclear weapon research program was canceled.

Iran has a much better weapon than nuclear devices to deter the U.S. from threatening its existence. It can block the flow of oil from the Gulf to the global economy. It is a relatively cheap capability and nothing but a full fledged invasion of Iran can take it away.

Mearsheimer believes that Iran would need nukes to do that:

[I]f its survival was at stake, Iran could credibly threaten to use a few nuclear weapons to completely shut down the flow of oil in the Persian Gulf.It might seem hard to imagine Iran using nuclear weapons first in a crisis, but history tells us that desperate states are sometimes willing to pursue exceedingly risky strategies […] The Trump administration would surely be aware of the dangers of provoking a nuclear-armed Iran. In short, nuclear weapons would profoundly alter Iran’s strategic situation for the better.

If Iran destroys the loading stations for oil along the western Persian Gulf coast with conventional ballistic missiles it would slow the flow of oil to a trickle. Additional attacks on tankers would bring it to effectively zero. There are no nukes needed to achieve either.

By not pursuing nuclear weapons and by adhering to the framework of the nuclear agreement, Iran has kept the Europeans on its site. If it goes nuclear Iran will bring the world into a united position against it. UN Security Council sanction would immediately be back. Other Persian Gulf states would soon try to also acquire nukes. Iran would be confronted by a large coalition of states whereas today only the U.S., Israel and some of their Gulf minions are hostile to it. Which is the better strategic situation for Iran?

There is absolutely no need for Iran to go nuclear and there would be no strategic advantage for it in possessing nukes…

The first one is the spending that is necessary to build a military advantage over other states. What are the marginal returns for investing more money into military might? The population of a state may well prefer peaceful consumption over an increase of its hegemony.

The second point is even more cultural. States have characters. While some are aggressive others are not.

Iran is an Islamic Republic led by jurists of Shia believe. Its leader issued a religious verdict against making and possessing nukes. Under Shia doctrine outward Jihad, religiously justified war, is only legitimate in defense, not as aggression. During the last 300 years Iran behaved  non-aggressive. Despite having the financial means and population size to fight its smaller neighbors, it did not initiate any war. Its military posture and doctrine is defensive.

Mearsheimer ignores these facts. Most likely because they contradict his political theory.

Iran will not go nuclear and it will not start a war. It is Israel that is threatening to do that over Iran’s slightly increased stockpile of low enriched Uranium…

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Doug Casey: Iran Is a Danger to No One – Casey Research

Posted by M. C. on May 25, 2019

https://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/doug-casey-iran-is-a-danger-to-no-one/

Justin: Doug, how do you see the situation in the Middle East playing out? Do you think we’re on the verge of a major shooting war?

Doug: The way the U.S. is antagonizing Iran is stupid, criminal, dangerous, and counterproductive.

Right now, one or more carrier groups are sitting in the Persian Gulf. Presumably to intimidate the Iranians – which makes no sense. It amounts to bullying, going out of your way to pick a fight. The U.S. had better hope this adventure doesn’t spin out of control, because the Gulf is a narrow, shallow sea. Those ships are sitting ducks. A number of them, including a $15 billion carrier, could wind up as a new artificial reef.

How can that happen? U.S. carrier groups are well defended with all kinds of advanced weaponry. But every country today, absolutely including Iran, has supersonic sea-skimming missiles. In addition to ballistic missiles. Even poor backward places like North Korea, with the gross domestic product the size of a medium U.S. city, is a dangerous opponent.

Taking out a carrier in the Gulf, which Caesar would have called a “narrow and difficult” place, won’t be hard. But there won’t just be one missile approaching at 2000 mph from perhaps 30 miles away. They’ll launch them by the hundreds, and quantity has a quality all its own.

That could happen if the U.S. provokes the Iranians. And if that happens, the U.S. will feel obligated to counter attack. The cat’s out of the bag at that point. This could go in any direction, unpredictably, and get completely out of control. It could lead to something resembling World War III. It’s criminally stupid to go looking for trouble – pointlessly – on the other side of the world. The Iranians pose no threat to anyone. In fact, they have cordial relations with everyone in the region, and the world, except the Israelis and the Saudis.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Do Iranian ‘Threats’ Signal Organized U.S.-Israel Subterfuge? | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2019

The New York Times revealed the answer to the mystery on May 16: “In meetings in Washington and Tel Aviv in the past few weeks,” the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent wrote, “Israeli intelligence warned”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/do-iranian-threats-signal-organized-u-s-israel-subterfuge/

By Gareth Porter

President Donald Trump’s national security team has been leaking “intelligence” about Iranian threats for a week now in an attempt to justify escalating tensions, including moving American air attack assets to the Persian Gulf. But a closer look suggests that National Security Advisor John Bolton and other senior officials are trying to pull off an intelligence deception comparable to the fraudulent pretense for war in Iraq.

There’s also credible evidence that Israel could be playing a key role in this subterfuge.

This deception has served to defend not only a U.S. military buildup in the region, but an expansion of the possible contingencies that could be used to justify military confrontation. In Bolton’s White House statement on May 5, he said the deployment of assets to the Gulf would “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

But public claims by the White House about Iran don’t reflect “intelligence” in any technical sense of the word. No one has cited a single piece of hard evidence that justifies these claims of threats, let alone any that are “new,” as press leaks have suggested. All of them appear to be deliberate and gross distortions of actual facts. Thus do they parallel the infamous aluminum tubes of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, which were presented as proof of an incipient Iraqi nuclear weapons program, despite the fact that technical analysis had shown that they couldn’t have been used for that purpose.

The Washington Post reported on May 15 that Pentagon and intelligence officials had cited three “Iranian actions” that had supposedly “triggered alarms”:

  • “Information suggesting an Iranian threat against U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Iraqi cities of Baghdad and Irbil.”
  • “U.S. concerns that Iran may be preparing to mount rocket or missile launchers on small ships in the Persian Gulf.”
  • “A directive from [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and regular Iranian military units that some U.S. officials have interpreted as a potential threat to U.S. military and diplomatic personnel.”

None of those three claims describes actual evidence of a threatening Iranian “action”; all merely refer to an official U.S. “concern” about a possible Iranian threat.

The notion of missile launchers on small Iranian boats threatening American ships has been the subject of extensive leaks to the media. But a closer examination of that story shows that it’s an entirely artificial construct.

Multiple news outlets have reported that the concerns over missiles launchers are based on aerial photographs showing Iranian missiles in small fishing boats, or dhows, that are “believed” to be under the control of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. An ABC News story claims that these photos were “taken by U.S. intelligence” above the Iranian port of Chabahar. This is said to have stoked fears that the IRGC would use them against U.S. naval ships.

This, however, makes no strategic sense. Read the rest of this entry »

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US pulls nonessential staff from Iraq amid Mideast tensions

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2019

U.S. Central Command said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats” from Iranian-backed forces.

The UK isn’t following the warmonger script.

After 17 plus years of constant war, we have to bail.

At least our people aren’t standing on the roof waiting for a chopper.

https://apnews.com/d2fc57fd74bb45eabdcc15338277ed2d

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran.

Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.

At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the U.S. from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran’s supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn’t be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains unclear. A high-ranking British general said there was no new threat from Iran or its regional proxies, something immediately rebutted by the U.S. military’s Central Command, which said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating…

The unspecified threats reported by U.S. last week from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests contradicted remarks by British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a senior officer in the U.S.-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group. He said Tuesday that “there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.”

Later, in a rare public rebuttal of an allied military officer, U.S. Central Command said Ghika’s remarks “run counter to the identified credible threats” from Iranian-backed forces. In a statement, Central Command said the coalition in Baghdad has increased the alert level for all service members in Iraq and Syria.

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dying for nothing

Dying for nothing in the middle of nowhere. How is this defending the USA?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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US Navy Shocked to Find Persian Ships in Persian Gulf

Posted by M. C. on March 11, 2017

http://theduran.com/us-navy-shocked-find-persian-ships-gulf/?_sm_byp=iVV7ZnvNMVJD0pWH

It’s those crazy Iranians again.  They probably think the US will do something wild like overthrow their government and install a brutal dictator.

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