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Posts Tagged ‘Persian Gulf’

Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US, unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE — RT Op-ed

Posted by M. C. on January 7, 2020

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/477558-iran-trump-nuclear-fordow/

Scott Ritter
Scott Ritter
Iran has promised retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. Donald Trump said this will lead to a disproportionate response from the US. One side can deliver on its threats, the other can’t, unless it goes nuclear.

Iran means business

“Our reaction,” Iranian general Hossein Dehghan said at the weekend, “will be wise, well considered and, in time, with decisive deterrent effect.”

Dehghan also noted that Iran was not seeking a wider confrontation with the US.

“It was America that has started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted.”

 

Dehghan is no run-of-the-mill former Iranian general officer, but was one of the major decision makers within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq War, and later went on to command the IRGC Air Force, before eventually being appointed Iran’s minister of defense. After stepping down from that position, Dehghan became a special advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei.

His words must be viewed as representing those of Khamenei himself.

Iran’s three likely targets

A closer assessment of Dehghan’s statement, when considered in the context of the vote by the Iraqi Parliament this Sunday to remove all foreign troops from Iraq, provides clarity as to what the US and the Middle East can expect from Tehran.

First and foremost, the response will not be carried out by proxy.

The attack will be military in nature. Assaults on the oil and gas infrastructure of America’s Gulf Arab allies, similar in nature to the drone attacks on Saudi oil production facilities last May, are not in the works. The same holds true for shipping transiting the strategic Strait of Hormuz, as well as US diplomatic facilities in the region.

Likewise, Iran must respect the will of the Iraqi Parliament regarding the operation of foreign troops on its soil, which means that the response will most probably not be conducted against US military forces currently stationed in Iraq.

This does not mean US troops and facilities in Iraq will be immune to attack; Khaitab Hezbollah, the Iraqi militia whose leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the same attack that took Qassem Suleimani’s life, have pledged their own retaliatory attacks separate from those promised by Iran.

There are a host of viable US military targets in the Persian Gulf region that are of high enough stature as to qualify as “an equal blow” in the eyes of Tehran.

Three come to mind; the concentration of US forces based in Kuwait, the headquarters of the 5th Fleet in Bahrain, and the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Of these three, only one, Al Udeid Air Base, has a direct connection to the Suleimani assassination; the drones that fired the missiles that killed Suleimani were operated from there. Al Udeid is host to critical US command and control facilities, as well as the bulk of the American combat aircraft operating in the region. It is well within the range of Iranian ballistic missiles and armed drones, which could be expected to operate in concert with one another to defeat air defenses and then saturate the base with precision strikes which could destroy hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft and equipment, and potentially kill and wound hundreds of US service members.

Trump’s all tweets, no capacity

President Trump has promised that the US will not tolerate any attack against its personnel or facilities. “If they do anything,” he told reporters, referring to Iran, “there will be major retaliation.”

Earlier, Trump had tweeted a very explicit warning, telling Iran that he had already designated some 52 sites inside Iran, “some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” for destruction. “[T]hose targets,” Trump declared, “and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”

Trump’s threat, however, rings hollow. First, his tweet constitutes de facto evidence of a war crime (Section 5.16.2 of the US Department of Defense Law of War Manual prohibits threats to destroy cultural objects for the express purpose of deterring enemy operations), and as such would likely not be implemented by US military commanders for whom niceties such as the law of war, which forbids the execution of an unlawful order, are serious business.

Of more relevance, however, is the fact that Trump has been down this road before, when he threatened massive military retaliation against Iran for shooting down an unarmed drone over the Strait of Hormuz last May. At that time, he was informed by his military commanders that the US lacked the military wherewithal to counter what was expected to be a full-spectrum response by Iran if the US were to attack targets inside Iran.

In short, Iran was able to inflict massive harm on US and allied targets in the Middle East region, and there was nothing the US could do to prevent this outcome…

Trump has hinted that any future war with Iran would not be a drawn-out affair. And while the law of war might curtail his commanders from executing any retaliation that includes cultural sites, it does not prohibit the US from using a nuclear weapon against a known nuclear facility deemed to pose a threat to national security.

This is the worst-case scenario of any tit-for-tat retaliation between Iran and the US, and it is not as far-fetched as one might believe.

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After Army Col. Warns of False Flag to Start War with Iran ...

 

 

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Responsible Statecraft Wearing Out a Welcome in Iraq

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2020

Deja Vu All Over Again – Yogi Berra

https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2019/12/31/wearing-out-a-welcome-in-iraq/


Paul R. Pillar

The scene in the Green Zone in Baghdad easily evokes memories of Tehran forty years ago. A U.S. embassy in the Persian Gulf region is under siege by an angry mob.  The protestors, predominantly young, break through the outer walls of the compound as U.S. diplomats take refuge in a safe room. President Trump implicitly extends the parallel by reacting in the narrowly anti-Iran terms that have defined his policies in this part of the world.  Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq,” Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago. “To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!”

But a closer look at what has been happening in Iraq suggests that genuine anger had much more to do with events than any orchestration did. The protestors who smashed their way into the embassy compound did so in defiance of appeals from leaders armed with loudspeakers. And the popular anger displayed at the embassy was also quite visible elsewhere in Iraq. If there is a parallel with Tehran in 1979, it is to be found primarily in a U.S. failure to anticipate and understand the nature of the anti-U.S. anger so much in evidence.

The newest outburst in Baghdad is in response to U.S. airstrikes Sunday on facilities in Iraq of the Kataib Hezbollah militia, which killed at least 25 and wounded at least 55 more. The airstrikes were billed as retaliation for a rocket fired two days earlier at an Iraqi naval base that killed an American civilian contractor and wounded “several” other Iraqi and U.S. personnel. Iraqis noticed the obvious disproportionality between the U.S. airstrikes and what they were retaliating for, and this disproportionality was part of what underlay the angry popular response. Another part was the fact that a foreign power was taking it on itself to conduct a military attack inside Iraq against Iraqi citizens.

The senior Shia cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was reflecting the sentiments of many Iraqis when he condemned what he called “atrocious aggression” by the United States and violation of Iraqi sovereignty “under the pretext of responding to some illegal practices by some sides.” Sistani said that “only Iraqi authorities are entitled to deal with these practices and take necessary measures to prevent them.”

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi condemned the U.S. attack as “an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences.”  Iraq’s National Security Council stated that it would have to reconsider its relationship with the U.S.-led coalition working against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq.

Before the events of the past few days, recurrent popular protests in Iraq had acquired an anti-Iran tinge. The Trump administration may have interpreted this as Iraqis finally deciding to go all in with the administration’s own nothing-but-hostility posture toward Iran that has been the basis of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran. If so, this interpretation was mistaken. Most Iraqis do not want endless confrontation with Iran and a risk of once again suffering, as they did in the 1980s, from open conflict with Iran.

Most Iraqis are dissatisfied with the performance of their own government. Given that Iran is the most influential foreign power in Iraq today, it became an auxiliary target of the popular dissatisfaction with the Iraqi regime. If the United States had instead been the most influential foreign power in Iraq today, it would have been that auxiliary target.

The U.S. knack for counterproductive military actions in Iraq continues. The war that the Bush administration launched in 2003 provided the biggest single boost to Iranian influence in Iraq, or for that matter to Iranian influence in the Persian Gulf region generally. Now this week’s U.S. airstrikes have converted what had been a story of popular protests with an anti-Iran tinge into a story of strongly anti-U.S. protests.

If there has been Iranian orchestration behind any of this—including the rocket attack on the Iraqi naval base last week—it would have been a calculated attempt to provoke just the sort of unpopular U.S. response that in fact occurred, thereby taking the focus of angry Iraqi citizens away from Iran and redirecting it toward the United States.

U.S. military personnel are in Iraq supposedly on an anti-ISIS mission.  Under the Trump administration, there appears to have been mission creep, in Iraq as well as Syria, in which somehow confronting Iran has become part of a new mission. That mission has never been justified. No one has explained exactly how the current state of Iraqi-Iranian relations threatens U.S. interests—beyond any threat to the very same U.S. military personnel in Iraq, which brings circular reasoning into play. Seemingly forgotten among all this is how Iran, and the Iraqi elements it supports, also have been performing an anti-ISIS mission.

The United States would serve its own interests by letting that mission be performed by the locals best in position to perform it, and moving toward a withdrawal of its forces from Iraq. Let someone else worry about inflaming popular sentiment through perceived violations of sovereignty. Such a redirection of U.S. policy would take those troops out of harm’s way. It would reduce the risk of a U.S.-Iranian clash, benefiting nobody, on an Iraqi battlefield. And it would reduce the chance of anther U.S. embassy being overrun by an angry mob.

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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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Blog Archives - JESUS, OUR BLESSED HOPE

 

 

 

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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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Sold: Oil Rack - Ampol with six bottles, reproduction sign ...

 

 

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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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U.S. firm facing allegations of bribery and war ...

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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.

Be seeing you

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