Archive | Middle East

How and Why Iran Shot Down Ukrainian Boeing

By South Front

On January 10, SouthFront released a video entitled “What’s Behind Boeing Crash In Iran” on the January 8 airliner crash near Tehran. This video was produced because the Iranian side released new facts and details regarding the incident.

The Iran Air Defense Forces brought down the Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Flight PS752) near Tehran due to “a human error”, the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said in an official statement on January 11. The statement denounced the previous Iranian main version that the tragedy was a result of technical malfunction.

The data provided in the statement of the General Staff, and the press conference of the Head of the Aerospace Division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) provide the following chain of events:

  1. At approximate 23:00 UTC, on January 7, the IRGC carried out a missile strike on US military targets in Iraq;
  2. The country’s air defense network was on highest alert amid reports on a possible cruise missile strike by the United States and increased flights of US warplanes near Iranian airspace;
  3. At 2:38 UTC, January 8, the PS752 took off from Imam Khomeini International Airport and moved close to a “sensitive” facility of the IRGC “when completing a loop”. The aircraft reportedly deviated from the general PS752 course for around 2km;
  4. The altitude and the direction of the flight’s movement “were like an enemy target”. The surface-to-air missile system operator mistakenly identified as the plane as an incoming “cruise missile” 19km away;
  5. The missile system operator acted independently because of a failure in the communication system;
  6. The operator then “took the wrong decision” of firing on the perceived threat in a “ten-second” time span to shoot or ignore the flying object. During the night, the operator repeatedly called for a halt in flights in the area. This was not done.
  7. A “short-range missile” exploded next to the plane. After this, the plane continued flying for a while, and “exploded when it hit the ground.” The Iranian side did not mention the missile system used. Supposedly, it was the Tor low to medium altitude, short-range surface-to-air missile system.

Thus, Iran described the situation with the Boeing as a result of the combination of aforementioned factors in the “atmosphere of threats and intimidation by the aggressive American regime against the Iranian nation”. Nonetheless, the real picture of events may have been different.What’s Behind Boeing Crash in Iran?Video Player00:0004:59

It remains unclear how the Boeing 737-800 may have been mistaken for an incoming cruise missile, especially taking into account that this situation developed near the capital’s working airport. If one takes this explanation with a grain of salt, the scenario could have been the following.

The plane experienced some technical difficulties during or immediately after the take-off and deviated from the course moving closer to the IRGC military site. Information appeared that the preflight inspection checklist was not signed by Iranian airport engineers, but the Ukrainian side insisted to fly at its own risk and responsibility.

Therefore, the system operator, that experienced a communication failure, considered the plane as a ‘military threat’ because it may have been hijacked for a 9/11-style attack, got under control via a cyber-attack and/or used as a cover for a pinpoint missile strike on the IRGC site.

This version does not explain how the communication failure could appear at the air defense post that must have two shielded communication channels: primary tactical circuit and the alternative. The possible explanation with an electronic warfare attack does not hold up against criticism civilian communication channels remained operational with routine flights continuing from the Tehran airport. Another factor is the video of the missile hit that appeared online. How this person, could have known when and what exactly to film without advance knowledge of the developments?

Then, there is one more explanation: The plane was shot down deliberately to exert additional pressure on Iran from the United States during the alleged acute phase of the crisis between Iran and the United States, which had a chance to develop into an open regional war. In the framework of this version, it could be suspected that the operator may have been recruited by US intelligence or blackmailed, or the system was captured in an act of sabotage by the US or its affiliated forces.

Regardless the existing gaps in the current official version of the events and the real course of the developments, Iran will and further be forced to claim that the airliner shoot down was a “human error”. Iran can ill-afford to admit the lack of control over key objects of military infrastructure in the heart of the country.

Posted in Iran, Middle East, Ukraine0 Comments

Putin’s Orthodox Christmas Visit to Damascus

Putin’s Orthodox Christmas Visit to Damascus Plays Up Assad’s Syria as Enclave of Peace – While Rest of Middle East Burns

By Scott Ritter

Global Research,

Russian leader Vladimir Putin made a surprise Christmas visit to Syria, where he met with the country’s president, Bashar Assad. The tranquility of their meeting was in sharp contrast to the hell breaking out in neighboring Iraq.

The unannounced visit to Syria, where Putin also delivered a Christmas address to Russian forces deployed in that nation, was remarkable. Any visit by a national leader to a foreign war zone is, in and of itself, notable, and let there be no doubt – Syria is an active war zone. But Syria is no run of the mill conflict zone. It is at the center of a complex web of violence involving a myriad of state and non-state actors, including two adversarial nuclear powers – the US and Russia.

The conflict also involves separatist Kurds, Syrian rebels, foreign Islamist terrorists, Hezbollah, the Turkish Army, Israeli and Iranian forces, and the Syrian Army. And while the Syrian conflict has entered what most observers believe is the end game, with the Syrian Army, backed up by the Russian Air Force, engaged in a final offensive against the last militant bastion in Idlib Province, the potential for Syria to explode in violence involving some or all of the forces listed above is a real and present danger.

While Putin was on the ground in Syria, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired at least a dozen medium-range ballistic missiles at US bases on Iraqi soil. These attacks were in retaliation for the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a senior IRGC general who was much beloved and respected inside and outside of Iran.

The Iranian government has stated that if the US does not respond to this retaliation, then General Soleimani’s death will have been revenged, and the crisis terminated. If, however, the US were to attack Iran, then Tehran has threatened to attack additional targets in the region, including Israel and the UAE. If this were to transpire, then the situation in the Middle East would devolve into general war that would undoubtedly spread to Israel.

Putin has a record of visiting Russian troops who are deployed in harm’s way. Shortly after taking over the presidency from Boris Yeltsin, Putin made a scheduled trip to Chechnya, where he met with soldiers in Grozny. He has made several similar visits to troops in the troubled Caucasus region since then. In 2017, the president visited Russian troops stationed at the Khmeimim Airbase in Latakia, Syria. Seen in this light, the current trip can not be said to be a particularly unique event. However, the timing of the visit, coinciding as it does with the escalation of violence between the US and Iran in neighboring Iraq, is auspicious.

Putin met with Assad in a joint military operations center, where they received a briefing on the current situation in Syria. The two leaders then went on a tour of the Syrian capital of Damascus, visiting cultural and religious sites. The imagery of these moments, memorializing as they did the close relationship between two wartime allies, contrasted sharply with what was transpiring in Iraq. There, President Donald Trump had deliberately acted in a manner which violated Iraqi sovereignty while breaking international law, assassinating an Iranian official, Soleimani, who had arrived in Iraq at the invitation of the country’s prime minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi, an erstwhile ally of the US. Following this attack, Mahdi made a presentation to the Iraqi parliament, supporting the passage of a resolution ordering all foreign troops out of Iraq. And now Iranian ballistic missiles have rained down on US bases on Iraqi soil.

In the days, weeks and months to come, regional and world leaders will be engaged in concerted diplomacy to contain the US-Iran crisis and prevent a larger conflict that could have extremely detrimental consequences for regional and world peace and security. In the past, the US has stepped forward to assume a leadership role in helping to craft a diplomatic or military solution. But leadership is a two-way street – respect is earned, not assumed. As things currently stand, the US under President Trump has seen its moral authority to lead eroded to such an extent that American diplomacy is little more than an empty vessel.

While the US maintains a sizable and capable military force, which the Iraqi parliament has voted to evict from its soil, force alone cannot compel compliance with Washington’s objectives. In many ways, the chaos unfolding in the Middle East is reflective of the overall unraveling of US credibility brought about by the dysfunctional policies of President Trump.

While there is no way to predict with any degree of certainty how events will ultimately transpire in the Middle East, this much is sure: nations will be looking for someone to fill the vacuum created by the collapse of US authority and influence in Iraq. It is in this context that the visit to Syria by President Putin must be evaluated. It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. The image of Putin shaking hands with Assad, in contrast with the pictures of Iranian missiles fired at US bases in Iraq, provides a point of comparison that will resonate in the minds of anyone looking for stability over chaos, and peace over war. From this perspective, it speaks volumes.

Posted in Middle East, Russia, Syria0 Comments

US Defense Secretary Esper Says Trump Lied to Justify Killing Soleimani

By Arabi Souri

Global Research,

Mark Esper, the former US Secretary of Defense (it’s a matter of time now) said that his chief Donald Trump lied to the US citizens about the justification to carry out the most heinous murder crimes against two top commanders who fought ISIS and saved US and European lives, including the soldiers from the USA and Europe.

That’s how I read the ‘breaking news’ I received from The New York Times in my inbox. Other info about this is nothing but useless details, especially to those who are concerned.

New York Times Mark Esper

Screenshot of The New York Times ‘breaking news’ email notificationTrump and Esper: No Evidence, Just a “Sneaky Feeling”. Time for the Invaders to Go Home

This might be breaking news to ignorant people, but there was no planned attack against any US interest in the region or elsewhere by the murdered commanders Iranian IRGC’s top General Qasim Soleimani and Iraqi top security force commander and Deputy Head of the PMU Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis.Trump killed these two top commanders based on his own lies by the orders of the Israeli embattled Netanyahu to save the necks of both of them.

It was totally the contrary, the Iranian General Soleimani was on a PEACE Mission to defuse tensions between Iran and Saudi carrying a reply message from Iran to the Saudis through the Iraqi mediator Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, and what drove the Iranians and the Iraqi officials further mad at the US President Trump and the US Army is that Trump knew about the mission of General Soleimani and when he was arriving from the Iraqi PM by a phone call the same day.

This is what Mr. Abdul-Mahdi told the Iraqi Parliament during the historic session which voted to expel the US forces out of the country.

Everything else you heard of from the western mainstream media propagandists is full of their usual Pentagon propaganda, but wait, maybe the Pentagon itself is not happy about what happened like what its chief has come out to tell.

Mark Esper spilled out what could be his last statement as the Defense Secretary of the US, since his chief the absolute dictator of large Trump Inc., ie. the USA, doesn’t like other opinions than his and has a short but rich history of firing those who have any other opinions ‘You’re Fired’.

Don’t blame Trump or even his contenders at the US presidential race in 2016 especially crooked Hillary, it’s the USAians who look through the bottom of the degenerated society that thrives among them and pick the worse of it to lead them. They turned a Republic into a ‘Lobbycracy’ and called it ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ and they want to export the surplus of their invention by all means of force, terror, and intimidation to the rest of the world.

Side note: Why does the US ‘Vile‘ President Pence keep staring at his boss throughout all the conferences when they’re together?

Posted in USA, Iran, Middle East0 Comments

Soleimani and Engineer: martyrdom: It is war

By: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis were not taking unusual security measures. On the contrary, their movement was almost natural and semi-public. In Baghdad, the date of the arrival of the “Al-Hajji” from Tehran or elsewhere was known to the Iraqi capital by most workers in public affairs. He knew who had met, and who would meet. The two men were close to death many times. At the axis of the fighting, in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria, or at the targets of the Nazi Gestapo Mossad and CIA killers more than once. But the decision not to assassinate them previously was a result of the power of deterrence in the axis of resistance. 

And their assassination at dawn today was not a complicated security operation, but it is, in the political and military balance, the cruel process to which the Axis has been exposed, since Hajj Imad Mughniyeh’s martyrdom, to say the least, and at a broader level. A mean blow opens the door of madness in the region. Whoever makes the decision is either stupid and does not know what to do, or, most likely, it opens the door to a war that was prepared for it in advance. It is a decision that the United States wants him to say to the axis of resistance that “your deterrent force is eroding, and nothing will prevent us from preventing you from expelling us from the region, and we will target all your leaders and your strengths.” It is a “zero” equation, which the axis of the resistance will have to deal with only with what necessitates revenge, not just to seek revenge, but to restore consideration to its deterrent power and consolidate its achievements over decades. 

The assassination of the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad, before midnight Thursday – Friday (2-3 January 2020), cannot pass like other events in the region . It is a “zero” equation, which the axis of the resistance will have to deal with only with what necessitates revenge, not just to seek revenge, but to restore consideration to its deterrent power and consolidate its achievements over decades. The assassination of the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad, before midnight Thursday – Friday (2-3 January 2020), cannot pass like other events in the region . It is a “zero” equation, which the axis of the resistance will have to deal with only with what necessitates revenge, not just to seek revenge, but to restore consideration to its deterrent power and consolidate its achievements over decades. The assassination of the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Authority, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, in Baghdad, before midnight Thursday – Friday (2-3 January 2020), cannot pass like other events in the region .

Soleimani is the most famous Iranian general, Hajj Imad Mughniyeh’s partner in defending Lebanon in the July-August 2006 war, the first supporter of the Iraqi resistance against the American-British occupation of Iraq, the engineer of the defense lines of Damascus, and the field partner to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the major Syrian battles (as a battle The restoration of Aleppo, to name a few), the man who negotiated with Russian President Vladimir Putin to persuade him to interfere in Syria, and the partner of Turkish intelligence chief Haqqan Fedan in the North and other Syrian settlements, and the first link between Iran and the Palestinian resistance factions. 

During his reign, the Qods Force in the Revolutionary Guard turned into a regional military superpower, operating as a military and “logistical” support force in the areas from Yemen in the south, beyond Iraq in the north, through Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, especially in the Gaza Strip, where it has a major share in developing Resistance capabilities.

Hajj Qassim Soleimani spent on the road from Baghdad Airport to the Iraqi capital. It is the same, in the eyes of the axis of resistance, the Jerusalem road. He was coming from Damascus, so the engineer went out to meet him at the airport. They left in a simple “procession”, consisting of only two cars. They were targeted by American planes, shortly after their departure from the airport, so that everyone in the two cars, including Soleimani and the engineer, official of the eminence in the popular crowd, Muhammad Reza Al Jabri, and a number of members of the crowd.

As for the engineer, (his real name is Jamal Muhammad Ja`far) he is, in practice, the chief of staff of the “Popular Mobilization Authority”. The former Member of Parliament, he returned to Baghdad in 2003, coming from Tehran after more than twenty years’ displacement. His opposition to the rule of “the Baath” and President Saddam Hussein led him to the end of the day as the leader of the “Badr Corps”, the mid-eighties. During that period, he gained extensive military experience, which he soon developed in resisting the American occupation and fighting ISIS. The 60-year-old, the son of Basra, is accused of a number of “terrorist” cases, such as the Kuwait bombings that targeted the US and French embassies in 1983.

Washington was quick to adopt their assassination, through an official who spoke to Reuters. Their assassination came in a highly complex Iraqi political and military context. A popular uprising by Washington seeks to invest its results in its favor, build on it to reduce Tehran’s influence in Mesopotamia, and implement a coup against the popular crowd and the Iraqi resistance factions. As for the military, the American occupation forces resorted, last Sunday, to attacking the headquarters of the popular crowd at the Iraqi-Syrian border, near the city of Qaim, which led to the death of more than 25 fighters, and dozens wounded. This was not a response to a topical targeting of an American military base in Baghdad, but rather the endeavor of the occupation forces to install new political bases, the title of which is the separation of Syria and Iraq, and the curbing of the “crowd” and the rest of the axis of resistance forces in Mesopotamia.

The American-Gulf rumor machine was launched immediately after the crime was committed. The names of leaders of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement were deliberated to say that they were martyred with Soleimani and the engineer, but Iraqi and Lebanese sources denied that there was any martyr from the party in the operation. Then, the Saudi Al-Arabiya channel reported that the Marines arrested the leader of the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Party, Sheikh Qais Khazali, and the leader of the Badr Hadi al-Amiri organization. The news is not true, but it is an indication of the list of American goals in “The Land of Blackness.” Al-Khazali and Al-Amri were next to the engineer and other leaders of the popular crowd and the factions of the Iraqi resistance, leading the masses that stormed the American embassy compound in Baghdad last Tuesday, in an expression of anger at the existing aggression.

The assassination of Soleimani and the engineer is not a passing event. It is a decision taken by the American administration to ignite the region, at the very least, in an attempt to return time, erase the results produced by the resistance of the axis of resistance in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Palestine, and to seek more aggression that is intended to destroy all the cumulative achievements of this axis. Without any “information” from any “reliable source” on the axis, his reaction can be expected. There are red lines that were specifically shot down by Soleimani’s assassination … Accordingly, the United States will pay a heavy price. The red lines do not fall from one side.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Middle East0 Comments

While Americans Slept in 2019, Uprisings Reshaped Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Algeria

All four of these popular revolts caused a sitting prime minister or president to step down.

by: Juan Cole

As 2019 began, Saad Hariri was prime minister of Lebanon. On 17 October small street protests broke out against corruption, gridlock, lack of services, failure to collect garbage, lack of electricity, sectarianism and new taxes on the Whatsapp messaging program. (Photo: Javier Barrera/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As 2019 began, Saad Hariri was prime minister of Lebanon. On 17 October small street protests broke out against corruption, gridlock, lack of services, failure to collect garbage, lack of electricity, sectarianism and new taxes on the Whatsapp messaging program. (Photo: Javier Barrera/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In 2019, the Middle East was shaken by a new round of street revolts. As the year began, Abdelaziz Bouteflika had announced a fifth run for the presidency of Algeria. Then the peaceful “revolution of Smiles” broke out and by April he had resigned. A small elite has for decades monopolized Algeria’s oil resources and has rewarded its supporters while marginalizing everyone else. On December 12, Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected president, amid continued massive demonstrations in major cities and a protester boycott of the election itself. The crowds are clearly unconvinced that switching out one president for another, when both are lackeys of the small Oil elite, will actually change things.

As 2019 began, Omar al-Bashir was president of the Sudan, as he had been for 30 years. A brutal dictator implicated in genocide in Darfur he was widely considered a war criminal after an International Criminal Court ruling. By April 11, continued urban unrest and strategic rallies led by the leftist Sudanese Professionals Association and, behind the scenes, by mystical Sufi orders, had pressured the officer corps into making a coup against al-Bashir. Not satisfied with replacing one general with another, the crowds continued to pressure the military to step down in favor of a civilian government. Saudi Arabia and the UAE appear to have backed the military junta against the people, but could not forestall a compromise. In the end a form of cohabitation developed, with a new civilian government but continued military oversight and a promise of transition to pure civilian rule. Sudan lost the revenue for South Sudan’s oil in 2013 when that region became an independent country, and its elite floundered in finding a new business model. Inflation was running at 75%, hurting people on fixed incomes or who depended on imports.

All the air in American politics seems to have been sucked up by Trump and his Power Tweets, so that cable television seemed to have little energy to spare for the big developments in the world that had the potential to affect the United States.

In ordinary times, the fall of al-Bashir should have been a huge story in the US, where at least lip service has been paid to caring about his Darfur genocide.

As 2019 began, Adel Abdulmahdi was prime minister of Iraq. Although voters had indicated in the 2018 election that they were fed up with the handful of parties that has dominated Iraq since the Bush era, Abdulmahdi was nevertheless chosen as PM. He came out of the pro-Iranian Islamic Supreme Council. Massive protests broke out at the beginning of October in Shiite cities like Nasiriya and in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. The Iraqi security forces and Shiite paramilitaries replied with deadly force, killing over 500 in October, November and December. Abdulmahdi was forced to resign. The crowds had demanded an end to corruption and to the party spoils system whereby the bigger parties in parliament were rewarded with government jobs for their supporters. They also wanted electoral reforms to block the dominance of the parties that keep winning the elections. Just last week, the Iraqi parliament moved away from the list system, in which you vote for a party list, and toward a system were voters can vote for individual politicians. Although Iraq is pumping 3.5 million barrels a day of petroleum, the billions in receipts that go to the government have not been invested in Iraqi jobs or infrastructure. Corruption runs so rife that the Iraqi treasury is said to be dry. All the $500 billion earned from oil sales since the Bush era seems to have just disappeared into the pockets of politicians. Crowds wanted more services and a share in the national oil wealth. Yesterday, Assad al-Eidani was nominated as prime minister. A member of the 2005- elite from the pro-Iran Islamic Supreme Council and the governor of Basra, his nomination holds out little hope of improvement of the sort the crowds demand.

As 2019 began, Saad Hariri was prime minister of Lebanon. On 17 October small street protests broke out against corruption, gridlock, lack of services, failure to collect garbage, lack of electricity, sectarianism and new taxes on the Whatsapp messaging program. By 18 December, Hariri had bowed out of consideration for another term as prime minister. The crowds are not mollified by simply switching out the prime minister for someone equally bad, and clearly intend to keep the government’s feet to the fire. Trump all this fall withheld military aid from Lebanon.

All four of these popular revolts caused a sitting prime minister or president to step down. All four demanded an end to corruption and an end to government inaction on providing jobs and infrastructure. Many wanted more and better jobs. All were nationalistic rather than fundamentalist in character. Sudan’s Association of Sudanese Journalists is a leftist organization.

Algeria, Sudan, and Iraq are all oil states where the distribution of oil proceeds was closely held by the state.

All the air in American politics seems to have been sucked up by Trump and his Power Tweets, so that cable television seemed to have little energy to spare for the big developments in the world that had the potential to affect the United States.

In 2011 the American public was mesmerized by the youth street revolts that overturned governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and which plunged Bahrain into a further authoritarian miasma and kicked off an 8-year civil war in Syria. Yet they showed little interest in the similar movements this year.

Posted in USA, Africa, Iraq, Lebanon, Middle East, Sudan0 Comments

The Deeper Story Behind the Assassination of Soleimani. Washington Threats to Engage in False flag Sniper Shootings. Iraq Prime Minister

By Federico Pieraccini

Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani’s assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the U.S. dollar’s role as the global reserve currency.

The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani’s assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.

Here is the reconstruction of the story:

[Speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq] Halbousi attended the parliamentary session while almost none of the Sunni members did. This was because the Americans had learned that Abdul-Mehdi was planning to reveal sensitive secrets in the session and sent Halbousi to prevent this. Halbousi cut Abdul-Mehdi off at the commencement of his speech and then asked for the live airing of the session to be stopped. After this, Halbousi together with other members, sat next to Abdul-Mehdi, speaking openly with him but without it being recorded. This is what was discussed in that session that was not broadcast: 

Abdul-Mehdi spoke angrily about how the Americans had ruined the country and now refused to complete infrastructure and electricity grid projects unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mehdi refused.

The complete (translated) words of Abdul-Mahdi’s speech to parliament:

This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.

Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.

I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.

After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this “third party”.

Nobody imagined that the threat was to be applied to General Soleimani, but it was difficult for Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to reveal the weekslong backstory behind the terrorist attack.

I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis.

We can surmise, judging by Saudi Arabia’s reaction, that some kind of negotiation was going on between Tehran and Riyadh:

The Kingdom’s statement regarding the events in Iraq stresses the Kingdom’s view of the importance of de-escalation to save the countries of the region and their people from the risks of any escalation.

Above all, the Saudi Royal family wanted to let people know immediately that they had not been informed of the U.S. operation:

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia was not consulted regarding the U.S. strike. In light of the rapid developments, the Kingdom stresses the importance of exercising restraint to guard against all acts that may lead to escalation, with severe consequences.

And to emphasize his reluctance for war, Mohammad bin Salman sent a delegation to the United States. Liz Sly, the Washington Post Beirut bureau chief, tweated:

Saudi Arabia is sending a delegation to Washington to urge restraint with Iran on behalf of [Persian] Gulf states. The message will be: ‘Please spare us the pain of going through another war’.

What clearly emerges is that the success of the operation against Soleimani had nothing to do with the intelligence gathering of the U.S. or Israel. It was known to all and sundry that Soleimani was heading to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity that acknowledged Iraq’s efforts to mediate a solution to the regional crisis with Saudi Arabia.

It would seem that the Saudis, Iranians and Iraqis were well on the way towards averting a regional conflict involving Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Riyadh’s reaction to the American strike evinced no public joy or celebration. Qatar, while not seeing eye to eye with Riyadh on many issues, also immediately expressed solidarity with Tehran, hosting a meeting at a senior government level with Mohammad Zarif Jarif, the Iranian foreign minister. Even Turkey and Egypt, when commenting on the asassination, employed moderating language.

This could reflect a fear of being on the receiving end of Iran’s retaliation. Qatar, the country from which the drone that killed Soleimani took off, is only a stone’s throw away from Iran, situated on the other side of the Strait of Hormuz. Riyadh and Tel Aviv, Tehran’s regional enemies, both know that a military conflict with Iran would mean the end of the Saudi royal family.

When the words of the Iraqi prime minister are linked back to the geopolitical and energy agreements in the region, then the worrying picture starts to emerge of a desperate U.S. lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar about which I have long written.

The US, now considering itself a net energy exporter as a result of the shale-oil revolution (on which the jury is still out), no longer needs to import oil from the Middle East. However, this does not mean that oil can now be traded in any other currency other than the U.S. dollar.

The petrodollar is what ensures that the U.S. dollar retains its status as the global reserve currency, granting the U.S. a monopolistic position from which it derives enormous benefits from playing the role of regional hegemon.

This privileged position of holding the global reserve currency also ensures that the U.S. can easily fund its war machine by virtue of the fact that much of the world is obliged to buy its treasury bonds that it is simply able to conjure out of thin air. To threaten this comfortable arrangement is to threaten Washington’s global power.

Even so, the geopolitical and economic trend is inexorably towards a multipolar world order, with China increasingly playing a leading role, especially in the Middle East and South America.

Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Qatar and Saudi Arabia together make up the overwhelming majority of oil and gas reserves in the world. The first three have an elevated relationship with Beijing and are very much in the multipolar camp, something that China and Russia are keen to further consolidate in order to ensure the future growth for the Eurasian supercontinent without war and conflict.

Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is pro-US but could gravitate towards the Sino-Russian camp both militarily and in terms of energy. The same process is going on with Iraq and Qatar thanks to Washington’s numerous strategic errors in the region starting from Iraq in 2003, Libya in 2011 and Syria and Yemen in recent years.

The agreement between Iraq and China is a prime example of how Beijing intends to use the Iraq-Iran-Syria troika to revive the Middle East and and link it to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.

While Doha and Riyadh would be the first to suffer economically from such an agreement, Beijing’s economic power is such that, with its win-win approach, there is room for everyone.

Saudi Arabia provides China with most of its oil and Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, supply China with most of its LNG needs, which lines up with Xi Jinping’s 2030 vision that aims to greatly reduce polluting emissions.

The U.S. is absent in this picture, with little ability to influence events or offer any appealing economic alternatives.

Washington would like to prevent any Eurasian integration by unleashing chaos and destruction in the region, and killing Soleimani served this purpose.  The U.S. cannot contemplate the idea of the dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency. Trump is engaging in a desperate gamble that could have disastrous consequences.

The region, in a worst-case scenario, could be engulfed in a devastating war involving multiple countries. Oil refineries could be destroyed all across the region, a quarter of the world’s oil transit could be blocked, oil prices would skyrocket ($200-$300 a barrel) and dozens of countries would be plunged into a global financial crisis. The blame would be laid squarely at Trump’s feet, ending his chances for re-election.

To try and keep everyone in line, Washington is left to resort to terrorism, lies and unspecified threats of visiting destruction on friends and enemies alike.

Trump has evidently been convinced by someone that the U.S. can do without the Middle East, that it can do without allies in the region, and that nobody would ever dare to sell oil in any other currency than the U.S. dollar.

Soleimani’s death is the result of a convergence of U.S. and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project. While Israel has never had the ability or audacity to carry out such an assassination itself, the importance of the Israel Lobby to Trump’s electoral success would have influenced his decision, all the more so in an election year .

Trump believed his drone attack could solve all his problems by frightening his opponents, winning the support of his voters (by equating Soleimani’s assassination to Osama bin Laden’s), and sending a warning to Arab countries of the dangers of deepening their ties with China.

The assassination of Soleimani is the U.S. lashing out at its steady loss of influence in the region. The Iraqi attempt to mediate a lasting peace between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been scuppered by the U.S. and Israel’s determination to prevent peace in the region and instead increase chaos and instability.

Washington has not achieved its hegemonic status through a preference for diplomacy and calm dialogue, and Trump has no intention of departing from this approach.

Washington’s friends and enemies alike must acknowledge this reality and implement the countermeasures necessary to contain the madness.

Posted in USA, Iran, Iraq, Middle East0 Comments

The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act: Why Washington Is Both Corrupt and Ignorant

By Philip Giraldi

The creatures that lurk through the corridors of power in Washington DC have refined corruption to the point where almost anything goes and almost no one is ever held accountable. Traditionally, Congressmen reward their various constituencies by inserting riders into larger pieces of legislation that grant money, exemptions or favors to certain groups or individuals. It is sometimes referred to as “pork.” The recent bloated omnibus spending bills totaling $1.4 trillion, which passed through Congress and were signed off on by President Donald Trump, were for the shameless denizens of Capitol Hill a gold mine. The process was so corrupt that even some Senators like Ted Cruz joked that “Christmas came early in Washington. While you were with your family, while you were shopping for Christmas, the lobbyists were spending and spending. I present to you, the massive omnibus bill that Congress is voting on.”

And no one is more corrupt in Congress than some of those at the top of the food chain, where the Speaker and the Minority leader in the House and the Majority and Minority leaders in the Senate have the final say on what gets cut and what remains. The lugubrious Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is one of the most adept at milking the system to buy his continued reelection in a state where he is actually not very popular, with an approval rating of only 37%. Within the current spending bill he has managed to include more than $1 billion worth of federal spending and tax breaks for some choice constituencies among the Kentucky voters. A tax break for the state’s whisky distillers alone came to a projected $426 million for 2020 and there were also breaks for the state’s thoroughbred horse industry as well as hundreds of millions of dollars more for new federal construction.

One can only wish that politicians would actually commit themselves to doing good for the American people, but the sad reality is that they spend so much time raising and distributing money that they only respond to constituents with the deepest pockets or those who make the most noise. Rarely does anyone actually read the bills that are being voted on. Part of the omnibus spending bills was the $738 billion dollar defense policy component, and, as in the case of the larger amounts intended to keep the federal government funded, the devil is frequently found in the details.

One part of the defense spending is called the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act,” which is intended to punish Syria and its President Bashar al-Assad with sanctions for alleged crimes committed during the country’s eight year civil war. The Caesar Act is named after a Syrian military photographer who reportedly took and then smuggled tens of thousands of photographs out of the country that provided evidence for claims that war crimes had been carried out by the Syrian government. “Caesar” eventually wound up in Washington where he briefed sympathetic lawmakers on the regime’s alleged crimes.

The Caesar Act will impose new sanctions on Syrian leaders and also on companies, states and even individuals that support the Assad government militarily, financially or technically. It will include placing new sanctions on Russia and Iran. Enab Baladi, a website run by opponents of the al-Assad government praised the move, writing that “[The bill] imposes sanctions on military contractors and mercenaries who are fighting for the Syrian government, Russia, Iran, or any of the parties against which sanctions have been previously imposed.” It also observes that the act would be a “deterrent” for anyone seeking to work with or help the al-Assad regime. The US, for its part, has pledged to support international prosecution of criminals in the Syrian government.

The use of sanctions is reminiscent of recent US action directed against Iran, Russia and Venezuela. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the White House have been boasting of how Iran’s economy is being destroyed through economic warfare and it is clear that the intention is to do the same to Syria. The United States has been destabilizing Syria since the passage of the Syria Accountability Act in 2004. It imposed sanctions on the country even before the 2011 Arab Spring uprising, and they were regularly expanded by the Obama administration prior to the 2016 election.

Treasury Department sanctions have frozen assets of the Syrian government and also of hundreds of companies and individuals. They also ban most interactions with Syria by any US person, which means that anyone traveling to Syria and returning to report favorably on the al-Assad government can be plausibly prosecuted for providing a service to the regime.

To be sure no one is completely blameless amidst the turmoil that has engulfed Syria since 2011. Respectable organizations including Human Rights Watch have been able to identify some of the victims in the Caesar photos and have verified tales of torture and abuse, though it must be observed that fake photos and false testimony are easy to obtain.

But the Syrian regime response to the uprising against its authority is only part of the story, as the violence was fomented largely by Saudi Arabia, and Gulf States and the United States. And by far the worst atrocities against civilians have been committed by the groups actively or tacitly supported by the US, Turkey, the Gulf States and the Saudis, many of which have cooperated openly with the genuine terrorist groups that have been operating in Syria.

There also has to be some question raised about the general credibility of attacks directed against the al-Assad government. It has recently been revealed that both the United Nations Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the US media were pressured to cover-up the fact that Syria did not use chemical weapons against its own civilians in terrorist infested areas. A Newsweek reporter even resigned when he wrote a story seeking to expose the scandal. The magazine had refused to print the piece.

The US sponsored Syrian National Council has been most active in spreading reports about regime activity, much of which has been proven to be little more than propaganda. Caesar’s trip to Washington in 2015 to show his photos was, in fact, sponsored by the SNC and there is a whole series of fabrications spread by a number of groups supported by those who desire regime change in Damascus.

Consider for a moment the Oscar Award winning White Helmets, “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” The group, which cooperates with the terrorist groups operating in its area, travels to bombing sites with its film crews trailing behind it. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of “eyewitness” news regarding what was then going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go, all part of a broader largely successful “rebel” effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians

The mainstream media is a major part of the problem as it generally only reports stories, like the White Helmets, that denigrate the Syrian government and its allies. Watching the recent BBC reporting of the Syrian Army’s push into Idlib province one learns that “Russian backed Syrian groups are attacking Idlib and creating a humanitarian crisis with 230,000 civilians fleeing the fighting.” The only problem with the coverage is that it does not really make clear that Idlib is terrorist occupied territory. Nor does it say where the civilians are fleeing to – nearly all have headed for the safety of Syrian government held areas.

And particularly for those strivers in Congress who are out hustling for money rather than finding out what is really going on in the world, it might be wise to recollect how gullible the Solons on the Potomac have been in the past. Going back to Ahmed Chalabi, who more than any single individual led the US government to believe that the invasion of Iraq would be a cakewalk, there has been a series of disastrous policy choices made after swallowing whole cloth lies and fabrications made by interested parties. Chalabi provided false intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties of the Iraqi government to al-Qaeda. It turned out that he was working for several of the sides in the conflict that ensued, including the Iranian government.

And then there is the Magnitsky Act, sponsored by Russia-phobic Zionist Senator Ben Cardin and signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, which continues to be expanded and exploited by virtue of 2016’s Global Magnitsky Act to intervene in countries that are alleged to be human rights violators. In its original iteration, the Magnitsky Act, sanctioned individual Kremlin officials for their treatment of alleged whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, arrested and imprisoned in Russia. Billionaire Bill Browder has sold a contrived narrative which basically says that he and his “lawyer” Sergei Magnitsky uncovered massive tax fraud and, when they attempted to report it, were punished by a corrupt police force and magistracy, which had actually stolen the money. Magnitsky was arrested and died in prison, allegedly murdered by the police to silence him.

Browder and his apologists portray him as an honest and honorable Western businessman attempting to operate in a corrupt Russian business world. Nevertheless, the loans-for-shares scheme that made him his initial fortune has been correctly characterized as the epitome of corruption by all parties involved, an arrangement whereby foreign investors worked with local oligarchs to strip the former Soviet economy of its assets paying pennies on each dollar of value. Along the way, Browder was reportedly involved in money laundering, making false representations on official documents and bribery.

Browder, who renounced his US citizenship in 1997 reportedly to avoid taxes, has been a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill where he tells congressional committees all about the corrupt and evil President Vladimir Putin. He is also a darling of the completely corrupted mainstream press because he is saying what they want to hear.

So, is the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act just another bit of nonsense, like Chalabi and Magnitsky? Probably, and all it will do is punish the Syrian people by trying to wreck the country’s economy while also limiting the ability of Americans to go independently to the region and see for themselves what is actually going on. It will prolong the pain being experienced by all involved while the legitimate government in Damascus seeks to restore its pre-war borders. It is, unfortunately, a prime example of the United States government in action.

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Posted in USA, Middle East, Syria0 Comments

Hezbollah: U.S. forces in Middle East to go home in coffins

By Laila Bassam and Nadine Awadalla,

Reuters

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By Laila Bassam and Nadine Awadalla

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday the U.S. military in the Middle East would pay the price for the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, warning that U.S. soldiers and officers would return home in coffins.

In a speech marking the death of Soleimani and a top Iraqi militia commander in a targeted U.S. air strike, Nasrallah said responding to the killing was not only Iran’s responsibility but the responsibility of its allies too.

But U.S. civilians should not be targeted, he said.

Founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982, Lebanese group Hezbollah is a critical part of an Iranian-backed regional military alliance.

Soleimani, Iran’s pre-eminent military commander, was killed on Friday in an attack that took long-running hostilities between Washington and Tehran into uncharted territory and raised the spectre of wider conflict in the Middle East.

“Fair punishment is (aimed at) the American military presence in the region: American military bases, American naval ships, every American officer and soldier in our countries and region,” Nasrallah said.

“The American army is the one that killed them and it is the one that will pay the price,” Nasrallah said, although U.S. civilians in the region “should not be touched” because this would serve the agenda of U.S. President Donald Trump.

“When the coffins of American soldiers and officers begin to be transported … to the United States, Trump and his administration will realise that they have really lost the region and will lose the elections,” Nasrallah said, referring to the 2020 U.S. presidential vote.

SUICIDE BOMBINGS

The United States holds Hezbollah responsible for the suicide bombing that destroyed U.S. Marine headquarters in Beirut in October 1983, killing 241 servicemen, and a suicide bombing the same year on the U.S. embassy.

U.S. forces withdrew from Lebanon the following year.

In an apparent reference to those attacks, Nasrallah said potential suicide attackers were present in the region in greater numbers than in the past.

Hezbollah has helped establish Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Syria and Iraq and inspired the Iran-aligned Houthis. Together with Palestinian groups and the Syrian government, they are part of what Iran calls the “axis of resistance”.

Posted in Middle East, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Uncategorized, Iran, Iraq, Middle East0 Comments

Hezbollah chief: American bases, warships and soldiers are ‘all fair targets’

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group has vowed to end the US military’s presence in the Middle East, saying American bases, warships and soldiers are all fair targets following the recent killing of an Iranian general.

Hassan Nasrallah said the US military “will pay the price” for the drone strike that killed General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on Friday.

His comments further heightened tensions in a region already on high alert and bracing for Iranian retaliation.

President Donald Trump has threatened to bomb 52 sites in Iran if it retaliates by attacking Americans.

Though it is unclear how or when Iran may respond, any retaliation was likely to come after three days of mourning declared in both Iran and Iraq.

Iranians march with a banner bearing the portraits of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C), Lebanon's Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah (L), and Iran's slain commander Qasem Soleimani (AFP via Getty Images)
Iranians march with a banner bearing the portraits of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (C), Lebanon’s Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah (L), and Iran’s slain commander Qasem Soleimani (AFP via Getty Images)

Iran vowed to take an even-greater step away from its unravelling nuclear deal with world powers as a response to Gen Soleimani’s death.

“The suicide attackers who forced the Americans to leave from our region in the past are still here and their numbers have increased,” Mr Nasrallah said.

He spoke from an undisclosed location and his speech was played on large screens for thousands of Shi’ite followers in southern Beirut, interrupted occasionally by chants of “death to America”.

The comments were Mr Nasrallah’s first since Gen Soleimani’s killing.

Mr Nasrallah spoke shortly before the Iraqi Parliament voted in favour of a Bill to expel the US military from Iraq by cancelling the military agreement between the two countries.

Members of the Iraqi parliament are seen at the parliament in Baghdad, Iraq January 5, 2020.
Members of the Iraqi parliament are seen at the parliament in Baghdad, Iraq January 5, 2020.

More than 5,000 US soldiers are in Iraq, based on an invitation by the Iraqi Government in 2014 to help fight the Islamic State group.

Earlier on Sunday, tens of thousands of mourners accompanied a casket carrying the remains of Gen Soleimani through two major Iranian cities as part of a grand funeral procession across the Islamic Republic for the commander killed by an American drone.

Mr Nasrallah said Gen Soleimani was not only Iran’s concern but the entire so-called “axis of resistance”, a term used to refer to anti-Israel militant groups in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Palestinian territories.

He said it was up to those groups to decide if and how they would retaliate as he praised Gen Soleimani and said “the shoe of Qasem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders”.

Gen Soleimani’s killing escalated the crisis between Tehran and Washington after months of trading attacks and threats that have put the wider Middle East on edge.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Middle East0 Comments

No, a War with Iran Won’t Help Trump Win Re-Election

By Andrew Korybko

Global Research,

One of the most common opinions circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani’s assassination is that Trump is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election, but this isn’t the case since he first of all doesn’t believe that he’s provoking anything (irrespective of his military’s actions), and secondly, the immediate costs of such a conflict could actually capsize his re-election bid.

***

Trump never made any secret of his hatred for the Iranian government so it’s easy for many observers to agree with the common opinion circulating around the Alt-Media Community after Major General Soleimani‘s assassination that the President is provoking a war with Iran in order to help win re-election. This is the wrong assessment to make since the US military that’s most directly shaping the course of events doesn’t believe that it’s provoking anything (irrespective of objective fact), hence Trump doesn’t think so either. The Pentagon exudes the ideology of American Exceptionalism and is convinced that it has the right to use all means possible to remove Iran and its allied militias (including the PMU’s Kataib Hezbollah that’s integrated into the Iraqi Armed Forces) from Iraq in the interests of “national security”, to which end it and its “Israeli” ally have bombed these units several times over the past month. It doesn’t matter whether this is the “right” or “wrong” policy to have, but simply that it exists and is how such actions are understood by American decision makers.

Given that the US believes that it has the “right” to carry out such attacks, it therefore perceived the PMU’s subsequent large-scale protests outside of its Iraqi Embassy to pose an imminent threat to its citizens inside the world’s largest diplomatic facility. Since Kataib Hezbollah and the rest of the PMU more broadly have excellent working relations with Iran’s IRGC, it was extremely easy for the US to spin the narrative that there “must” have been a “hidden Iranian hand” behind that high-profile incident, which immediately called to mind Obama’s Benghazi moment and thus compelled Trump to respond in the complete opposite way as his predecessor by doubling down on the US’ military units there and proudly boasting that this is his “anti-Benghazi” moment. Making matters worse from the American perspective (which is simply to explain their thought process and not excuse it), the Ayatollah taunted Trump by saying that he “can’t do anything” in response to the President promising that “Iran will be held fully responsible” and “pay a very BIG PRICE” if Americans are killed.

Maj. Gen. Soleimani was certainly already on the US’ “decapitation strike” kill list even before the embassy siege, but that comment might have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and convinced Trump that he needed to assassinate the brilliant anti-terrorist tactician in order to prove the point that he will not tolerate being “talked down to” by his foe. It might sound petty to some and scary to others, but Trump takes his “twitter beef” real seriously, so much so that he just proved that he’s willing to kill in order to defend his international reputation after being publicly mocked. Iran totally miscalculated Trump’s response to the PMU’s embassy siege and the Ayatollah’s taunt, but it must be said that the President wouldn’t have climbed the escalation ladder as brazenly as he did had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” after the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal. It was ironically because of his predecessor that Trump figured that the maximum costs that Iran could inflict on the US in response to that assassination could be “manageable”/”acceptable”.

As the author wrote in his earlier piece on the topic about how “Major General Soleimani’s Assassination Isn’t Going To Start World War III“, the US could utterly destroy every single one of Iran’s fixed assets (be they bases, cities, or whatever else) if Trump had the political will to do so in “responding” to any conventional tit-for-tat by the Islamic Republic, whether done so “preemptively” because of supposed “intelligence” that it was preparing a missile strike for example or “retaliatory” in the unlikely event that the aforesaid actually occurs. Iran can therefore only respond asymmetrically lest it wants to commit national suicide, which Trump would be more than happy to assist it with if it comes to that. He doesn’t want to do that, but would believe that he has “no choice” should Iran launch a missile salvo against his country’s regional bases, the GCC’s, and/or “Israel’s”. The military costs of such an unprecedented “punishment” against Iran are manageable because the Islamic Republic doesn’t have nuclear weapons, but the short-term political ones could cost Trump his re-election bid.

There’s no doubt that the aforementioned scenario would result in the deaths of countless people, which Trump would surely be blamed for, including the loss of American and especially “Israeli” lives. The short- and medium-term regional chaos that the collapse of the Islamic Republic would generate in the humanitarian, geopolitical, and economic senses would create such uncertainty across the world that the Democrats might easily be able to portray him as even more “evil” than they already make him out to be and thus scare Americans into not voting for him a second time. The US itself wouldn’t be too directly affected since it’s already pretty much energy self-sufficient as it is so possible disruptions in the Strait of Hormuz won’t affect it, though they could cripple the Chinese economy depending on how long they occur. America is therefore relatively “insulated” from the consequences that could transpire in the “worst-case scenario”, though Trump would probably be sacrificing his political future if he went through with that course of events.

The state of affairs is therefore more complex than it might appear at first glance. Trump doesn’t want to start a war with Iran because it could greatly jeopardize his re-election prospects, though he won’t back down if Iran responds conventionally, and he also won’t shy away from ordering more “decapitation strikes” if he can claim that any of its asymmetrical responses were somehow supposedly linked to the country (regardless of where they were allegedly organized). Iran, though, cannot let this assassination go unanswered, so there’s sure to be an escalation of some sort in the coming future. If events quickly climb the escalation ladder, then both Iran and possibly even Trump himself might end up the losers, with only the Democrats and the US’ military-industrial complex cynically emerging as the “winners” (since “Israel” might be wiped out by Iran before the Islamic Republic is destroyed). In hindsight, this makes one wonder who ordered Iran’s militant removal from Iraq in the first place and whether it was a “deep state” plot to entrap Trump by provoking this very scenario.

Trump is wholly responsible for his own actions, but he — just like the Ayatollah — is being pushed in a direction where it’s impossible to back down and still “save face”. Neither men can afford to do so, which makes it likely that a lot more people than just Maj. Gen. Soleimani might be about to die. To remind the reader once more, however, none of this would be happening had Iran not abandoned its “nuclear ambiguity” by agreeing to the 2015 Rouhani-Obama deal, with that event in hindsight being the tripwire that provoked the American military into wantonly escalating tensions with Iran (despite believing that they’re doing so in “self-defense) because they realized that the maximum costs that the Islamic Republic could inflict on it in response to their actions could be “manageable”. The lesson to be learned from all of this is that the possession of nuclear weapons safeguards a country’s sovereignty by enabling it to inflict “unmanageable”/”unacceptable” costs on its foes and thus deter their aggression, failing which leaders on both sides can be manipulated into a serious crisis.

Posted in Middle East, USA, Iran, Middle East0 Comments

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