Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 04, 2017

The Empty Threat Against Iran - National Security Advisor Flynn Embarrasses Himself

Trump's National Security Advisor Flynn keeps demonstrating the limits of is strategic-intellectual capacity. He went in front of the cameras and issued this empty threat:

The international community has been too tolerant of Iran’s bad behavior. The ritual of convening a United Nations Security Council in an emergency meeting and issuing a strong statement is not enough. The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests.

The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.

What is such bluster supposed to achieve?

Interestingly the statement came out just an hour after Donald Rumsfeld left the White House where he had talked about "process" with Flynn and NSC staff.

The neo-conservatives are of course very happy about such nonsense talk. Obama Should Thank Trump for Putting Iran on Notice writes Eli Lake. James Rubin intones: Finally, the president made a smart move on foreign policy. For the very first time the neoconned Washington Post editors are lauding Trump and highlight Flynn's juvenile outburst.

But the U.S. has no way to coerce the 80 million Iranians into anything. The Bush administration learned that (it was one reason why Rumsfeld was fired), the Obama administration acknowledged it and the Trump administration will have to accept that too.

Iran has been under U.S. sanction since 1979. A few more years of unilateral U.S. sanctions will not change its positions one iota. The "international community" supports the nuclear deal and encouraged the lifting of international sanctions. It will not agree to new ones just because some Trump flunky says so.

Iran is needed to achieve peace and to fight Islamic terrorism in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. To even try such without Iranian involvement would require hundred-thousands of U.S. troops. They would fail should Iran decide to not support them. Indeed there is nothing that can be achieved in the Middle East without Iran. While it has only limited capabilities to actively interfere in other countries it can throw up hurdles everywhere and block U.S. controlled solutions.

Smaller direct U.S. attacks on Iran would be responded to with attacks by Iranian proxies elsewhere. U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially their resupplies, would be in imminent danger. A large attack on Iran itself would lead to the destruction of U.S. military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Every U.S. ship passing through the Street of Hormuz would come under fire.

There will be no significant international support for any U.S. move against Iran. Sending the USS Cole to the Yemeni coast while fantasizing about Houthi mining the waters is a just too obvious setup for a "Gulf of Tonkin" replay.

Any significant military move against Iran would be a strategic foreign policy disaster just like the Bush administration attack on Iraq was one. That attack strengthened Iran's long term position. An attack on the country itself would achieve the same on a much larger scale.

The more grown ups in the Trump administration know all this. Secretary of Defense Mattis, no friend of Iran at all, pulled the rug out from under Flynn's empty threat:

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Saturday that the threat from Iran’s missile program does not currently require the realignment of U.S. forces in the Middle East, striking a note of restraint shortly after the White House issued a strong warning to Tehran.

The U.S. Central Command on the Middle East was not even informed about the Flynn threat towards Iran. The move is obviously no a thought through administration policy.

Is Flynn freelancing with such threats trying to prove his worthiness for the administration? Or was he set up by others to embarrass himself?

 

Posted by b on February 4, 2017 at 09:13 AM | Permalink

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Thanks but this could be a game of good cop vs bad cop. In this case both are evil. Then there are more stupid sanctions.

It's going to be a long 4yrs.

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 4, 2017 9:25:58 AM | 1

Hopefully the new SecDef will use more common sense like SecDef Gates than others in the position have. At least Gates and his JCS were resistant to such escapades at Libya. They can still be overruled by the elites and their puppets but it is a positive sign.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 4, 2017 9:30:02 AM | 2

The elephant in the room regarding US/Iran policy is Israel. US policy toward Iran is not a stand alone. The potential for another war for the US in this region should not be minimized. Rhetoric has a way of spinning out of control.

Posted by: simjam | Feb 4, 2017 10:06:11 AM | 3

i don't know if tee-rump & co. have convinced their designated targets that they are fools and madmen, liable to do anything - but they have certainly convinced me. if tee-rump is approaching this as a bluff, as he did in his real-estate / tv life, he's going to discover the difference between greed with a bankruptcy backstop and warfare - to all of our regret.

his targets are going to arm and armor to the teeth, prepare for the worst and act accordingly as soon as tee-rump & co. make their first irretrievable mistake that convinces the folks he's trying to shake-down that the time to act has arrived.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 4, 2017 10:27:30 AM | 4

"Smaller direct U.S. attacks on Iran would be responded to with attacks by Iranian proxies elsewhere. U.S. troops in Iran and Afghanistan, and especially their resupplies, would be in imminent danger."

Perhaps b can replace "in Iran" with "in Iraq" and delete my post.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 4, 2017 10:29:31 AM | 5

Two weeks into the Trump administration, it is still too early to tell. It is entirely plausible that he is setting up future war plans against Iran. Also plausible that Trump harbors hope that Russia would stand aside as he ratchets up tensions against Iran. Trump's tweets seem to back up Flynn.

Then again, it is also plausible that he intends only to use hostile language to keep the crazies happy and to distract them from policies of real rapprochement with Russia. I notice his sanctions see to have no effect on the 17 billion$ Boeing deal.

At this point it could go either way. Trump must be smart enough to know that an actual war with Iran is hardly going to get him much support. Besides, it seems they are toying with the idea of war with China(!?!?) So maybe they have bigger fish to fry.

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 4, 2017 10:31:43 AM | 6

@3 SimJam, I agree.

Posted by: Au | Feb 4, 2017 10:40:08 AM | 7

@6 - mostly mass distractions, imo.
If they war with Iran it will be in Iraq.
Watch the other hand at work: removing the Dodd-Frank fiduciary rule to help his business banker buddies bleed the suckers dry.
The only real thing changed so far is the skin color and the noise levels.
Trending towards -ve interest rates in the entertainment dept, imo.

Posted by: x | Feb 4, 2017 10:45:59 AM | 8

Is this dust up with Iran by the Israeli surrogate (the US for those who don't get it) any surprise? I think not.

Now this (https://www.sott.net/pic-of-day/373736) is what the world should look like!

Ya think the Trumpsters would go for it? I mean it is a free wall and Mexico might just gladly pay for it?

Posted by: C de Toro | Feb 4, 2017 10:52:53 AM | 9

The attacker in Paris Louvre must really be anti-US: he is a real headache just because he is an Egyptian who was a long-term resident in the UAE and had visas for KSA and Turkey on his passport. He tweeted hate messages all day and weeks before acting, including support to djihad etc.
But he got his visa, managed to buy a ticket Dubai-Paris, to rent an expensive appartment near Champs-Elysées, to walk around Bastille and buy two machetes...

Posted by: Mina | Feb 4, 2017 11:06:47 AM | 10

At the risk of being naive, I'm thinking that Trump's style is to let all his advisers, officers and departments play out their current correct scripts, and see which ones work.

Indeed he intimated this in a tweet last month: "All of my Cabinet nominee are looking good and doing a great job. I want them to be themselves and express their own thoughts, not mine!"

His main concern seems to be to "get the economy working again" and he has to use his own ideas and those of his advisers to do this. I think his greatest strength is that he is ready to fire anyone who doesn't perform. He's being very CEO-like about all this.

I'm not a big fan, and I'm made wary by lots of recent moves and pronouncements, but I tend to think it's all one big clusterf*ck right now, and things will sort themselves out according to corporate and international realpolitik. In all theaters, ultimately, reality will be acknowledged. This will all probably make things uncomfortable for lots of people and some nations. Not clear yet who they'll be.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 4, 2017 11:07:34 AM | 11

Israel, Saudi Arabia, oil companies and Christian crusaders all demand that their present stooges in the white house and congress undermine, attack and destroy Iran. The financial rape and plunder along with religious and racial persecution rolls on under ever increasing conservatism. Train wreck immanent.

Posted by: Charles Misfeldt | Feb 4, 2017 11:21:29 AM | 12

"@6 - mostly mass distractions, imo.
If they war with Iran it will be in Iraq.
Watch the other hand at work: removing the Dodd-Frank fiduciary rule to help his business banker buddies bleed the suckers dry.
The only real thing changed so far is the skin color and the noise levels.
Trending towards -ve interest rates in the entertainment dept, imo.

Posted by: x | Feb 4, 2017 10:45:59 AM | 8

Yep, DITTO me.

Posted by: ben | Feb 4, 2017 11:29:45 AM | 13

Give Persia nukes and it all calms down.

Posted by: Pandos | Feb 4, 2017 11:30:59 AM | 14

This is the same ship that got the 'October Surprise' in 2000 from a Popeye cruise missile launched from an Israeli sub, but blamed on al CIA Duh, but it cinched the election for Bush the Deranged. Now it's back in Yemeni waters?

Washington (AFP) - The US Navy has sent a destroyer to waters off Yemen in response to an attack by Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a Saudi frigate, a defense official said Friday.
The USS Cole, which had been conducting operations in the Gulf, is now stationed in the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen, the official said.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/us-navy-sends-destroyer-yemen-172340268.html

Posted by: Greg Bacon | Feb 4, 2017 11:35:42 AM | 15

thanks b... as @3 simjam points out - you forgot to mention the elephant in the room.. @12 charles.. ditto your comment..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2017 11:49:52 AM | 16

@9 Enjoy the Vatican,...enjoy the Mexico ;)

Posted by: Brad | Feb 4, 2017 11:51:13 AM | 17

So far Trump is like some satanic combination of W and Obama

Posted by: paul | Feb 4, 2017 11:51:20 AM | 18

15

It's not really consistent with a cruise missile, if you want to see that kind of major damage look here.

Posted by: chipnik | Feb 4, 2017 11:54:11 AM | 19

The western apex elites are stymied into repeating their same mantra over and over again knowing that if they can't pry a member of the SOC free for hybrid war destruction their irresistible force has come up against the immovable object. Any play to overt war against any member of the SOC would entail a WW III scenario and the unthinkable becoming a very real possibility. Look to see more of the same only more so as the new management team installed in Washington adheres to Continuity of Agenda while advancing new protocols to advance the apex elites strategic end goal.

To these ends I view the elite sponsored and orchestrated domestic protests in America as a set up in the whole as a grand agent provocateur event for the Deep State to have its casus belli for a further devastating State crack down on civil liberties, democracy and the general shutting down of dissent opinion within the USA and eventually throughout the west in general. This will secure the apex elites backyard as they need to get on with the real international match play before economic hell breaks loose and throws their best laid plans into disarray.

These elites and their brain trust can't seem to fathom that their plans cannot prove successful even as they proceed with them, blinded to this reality by their own psychological make up. Adding people like Bannon, a haunted house if there ever was one. to the mix proves this point.

Posted by: BRF | Feb 4, 2017 11:56:40 AM | 20

You left out the other part of what Mattis said b.

"Mattis: Iran world’s ‘biggest state sponsor of terrorism’"

http://www.timesofisrael.com/mattis-iran-worlds-biggest-state-sponsor-of-terrorism/

The guy is truley bat shit crazy which is why Obama had to fire him.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/james-mattis-iran-secretary-of-defense-214500


I wish some one in the media had the balls to ask what evidence there is that Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism? Trump and team buy Netanyahu's BS hook line and sinker. The meeting on Feb 15 between Trump and Netanyahu is mostly going to be about an attack on Iran. The IDF refused the order last time it was given so the US is going to have to do the deed for them. The US was staging a naval attack against Iran just off shore of Iran last week. The US is trolling for a fight with Iran over Yemen. The chances of the US going to war with Iran are extreme. Every one in the Trump administration wants it. The Republicans and most of the Democrats in the House and Senate want it. Saudi Arabia wants it. But more important than any of that Netanyahu wants it.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Feb 4, 2017 11:59:26 AM | 21

@20 bnw.. it is why some of us run the thought that the msm is zionist controlled territory..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2017 12:03:11 PM | 22

- After the US invaded Iraq in 2003, the US have helped the shiïtes to power in Iraq.
- The net outcome of all US (military) actions in Iraq was that the US helped the shiïtes to ethnicly cleanse Baghdad of sunnis.
- When the Bush administration realized that they had helped Iran to get rid of the iranian's largest enemy called Saddam Hoessein they tried to undermine Iran.

See e.g. this article:
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

And one of those people who tried to get rid of iranian influence in Iraq was one Micheal Flynn. That's why Flynn still has a grudge against Iran.
- It will be interesting to see how this will play out. I could imagine that Flynn could/will be replaced in the not too distant future.
- This kind of action only undermines the influence of the US in the Middle East.
- I think that if Russia & the US would join forces then they could stabilize and even bring peace to the Middle East. But there're still A LOT OF interests that are opposed to peace in the Middle East. Like the US & UK arms manufacturers.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 4, 2017 12:15:21 PM | 23

I was hoping for a change in Foreign policy, guess not. Seems like there will be war.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Feb 4, 2017 12:16:59 PM | 24

- Did the readers of this blog realize that Flynn co-authored a book with the well known islamofoob called Michael Ledeen ?

https://www.amazon.com/Field-Fight-Global-Against-Radical/dp/1250106222

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 4, 2017 12:19:06 PM | 25

Even empty threats can move the price of oil, as we've seen this week.

Iran is a big pain in the ass. We've wrecked Iraq, Libya and Syria and oil is still too cheap. Our frackers need $70 oil to break even. We need more oil taken off-line.

Target ..... Iran.

Posted by: woogs | Feb 4, 2017 12:20:23 PM | 26

@21 james,
One example of that is the refusal to compare Iran and Israel side-by-side, in terms of weapons development.
Take the Israeli nuclear weapons program - like all others, it's based not on uranium enrichment alone, but also on plutonium production from nuclear reactors (all taking place at their Dimona complex). That's how all real nuclear weapons programs operate, including Pakistan, India, North Korea, etc. So unless Iran has a working nuclear reactor where it controls the fuel, it won't have a nuclear weapons program, period.
Or, look at the Israeli ballistic weapons program, the Jericho series of ballistic missiles, which have a 5,000 km range and a 1,000 kg payload - so they could nuke anyone in their vicinity with dozens of warheads. And their leadership is kind of paranoid and unstable, isn't it?
Here's one of very few articles the even mention this - complete media blackout in the U.S., though:
http://www.ibtimes.com/israels-defense-ministry-successfully-tests-missile...
The reason for this silence is that Israel is for some reason afraid of IAEA inspections of its arsenal, and so is the US government - probably because those inspections would reveal the scale of support by the US for the Israeli nuclear weapons program. Embarrassing to all parties if it turns out many of Israeli's plutonium cores were manufactured in the United States, for example, which is very plausible.

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 4, 2017 12:26:05 PM | 27

Greg Bacon 15
https://theintercept.com/2017/02/02/press-secretary-sean-spicer-falsely-accuses-iran-of-attacking-u-s-navy-vessel-an-act-of-war/
They're quick to throw a lot of things together to point the finger and bang the drums for war on iran. They've blamed Iran for the alleged attack on the Saudi ship. I wonder if Bashar Assad will put western countries and Gulf States "on notice" for their support of opposition terrorist forces. For now, it's bang the drums and squeeze Iran to see what happens until an attack plan can be pushed. Will Trump use the UN as an excuse for action like Bush and Obama?

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 4, 2017 12:29:37 PM | 28

World's three leading terrorist states IMO, KSA, U$A/NATO, Israel. Not necessarily in that order.

Posted by: ben | Feb 4, 2017 12:41:04 PM | 29

Connect this to Nikki Haley chastizing Russia for invading and occupying Ukraine and warning them to withdraw their military forces from that nation.

Posted by: Bill H | Feb 4, 2017 12:42:18 PM | 30

Sending the USS Cole as a staked goat to Yemen coast? Not too stupid and obvious, eh? Good luck with your false flag, boys and girls.

Posted by: Bravo3 | Feb 4, 2017 12:45:58 PM | 31

'Davos man is dead' – Ted Malloch, tipped to be Trump's pick for EU ambassador:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vJtV4dSh3s

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 4, 2017 1:01:57 PM | 32

Seems like two competing colo(u)r revolutions are ripping at Merka's innards. You got your Koch type, The Trumpeteers, on the right and the Soros style, Clintonians, on the left. Each one with their own focus groups, twitterers, flash mobs, celebrities, pundit cliques...

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 4, 2017 1:18:17 PM | 33

...and each vying for the brass ring from the Shtetl State.

Posted by: ruralito | Feb 4, 2017 1:20:38 PM | 34

America is like the old bodybuilder. Still trying to flex, but all everybody sees is wrinkles, age spots and sag. Richly deserving of the inevitable ridicule.

Posted by: telescope | Feb 4, 2017 1:25:23 PM | 35

the US military is only adept at killing civilians, and maybe the occasional ragtag militants. oh yeah, and at killing its own,

but the US military is really good at spending money. lots of it.

Posted by: john | Feb 4, 2017 1:32:59 PM | 36

when people speak of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, they really mean Hezbollah

maybe a new war by Israel against Lebanon is brewing; just think of it: avenge the 2006 humiliation, destroy Hezbollah, bring Lebanon in the "normalized" and anti-Assad camp, create safe zone for Isis (Turkey and Jordan aren't willing anymore), maybe even chew up some more territory around the Golan heights ...

all this chest-beating directed at Iran mighty simply be "suppressive fire" so that Iran doesn't react if Israel attacks Lebanon

Posted by: claudio | Feb 4, 2017 1:40:03 PM | 37

The biggest sponsor of global terrorism and committer of same is the Outlaw US Empire. Exhibit #1: Ukraine; overthrowing the government and creating a civil war are two gross acts of terror, with the Outlaw US Empire 100% responsible for every death and every cent of damage wrought since its coup. Numerous other exhibits could follow to provide even more evidence proving my accusation's validity. Nor am I the only person who knows the Truth of the matter.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4, 2017 1:45:32 PM | 38

It really seems like there has to be an enemy/enemies at any given time. In order to allow normalization with Russia, Iran and China have to take centre stage and immediately be threatened for invented transgressions just like the Russians have been throughout the Obama administration.
With the MIC consuming approximately $1 trillion dollars a year it seems impossible to have no 'military threat', at any given time. The real canary in the coal mine will be if the US media starts to single out a major leader in Iran / China for personal demonization, then you'll know priorities have truly shifted.

Posted by: WG | Feb 4, 2017 1:57:11 PM | 39

Have little to add to previous posts on topic. However, we can also now add re-igniting the six decade old Mini-Cold War with Cuba:

Donald Trump 'reviewing Cuba policy', says White House
Possible hardening of stance towards communist island follows improving relations under Barack Obama

Donald Trump is to conduct a "full review" of America's foreign policy towards Cuba, White House press secretary Sean Spicer has announced.

He said the President planned to look at "all" aspects of how the US deals with its historic enemy, which lies just 90 miles south of Florida.

Human rights would be a key part of Mr Trump's revised policy towards Cuba, the press secretary said.

Mr Spicer's comments suggest Washington may take a harder line with Cuba, raising the possibility of new trade embargoes and the cancellation of commercial flights from the US, which were only recently introduced...

Concerns over Human Rights ?! What BS.

Trump and his advisors are re-igniting potential for conflict around the globe, whilst simultaneously aggravating allies and neutrals, with an eye to throwing red meat to their base domestically.

And the gorilla in the room re all this BS re terrorism and Iran, is Sunni/Wahhabist/ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Al-Saud/Qatar/GCC Terrorism, and the active creation, support and plausibly-deniable directions thereof by the US and suborned allies to a lesser degree going back decades, yet most blatantly the last 16 years.

Iran a State sponsor of Terrorism ? Hah! No, the US of A, is. And so too are the rest of the 'Usual Suspects'.

Perfidious Albion in partnership with France started all this 100 years ago with classic Divide & Rule. Created Saudi Arabia and elevated the insignificant tribe of Al-Saud Wahhabists when they were drawing lines on maps in the ME during and subsequent to WWI, in service of their Empire, command authority and control was handed off to the US after WWII when the Brits became a lapdog junior partner with a mythical 'Special Relationship'. And the drivers and 'Interests' have not substantially changed since 1916 ...

The Sykes–Picot Agreement, officially known as the Asia Minor Agreement, was a secret 1916 agreement between Great Britain and France,[1] to which the Russian Empire assented. The agreement defined their mutually agreed spheres of influence and control in Southwestern Asia. The agreement was based on the premise that the Triple Entente would succeed in defeating the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The negotiations leading to the agreement occurred between November 1915 and March 1916 [2] and it was signed 16 May 1916.[3] The deal was exposed to the public in Izvestia and Pravda on 23 November 1917 and in the British Guardian on November 26, 1917.[4][5]...

Leading up to the centenary of Sykes-Picot in 2016, great interest was generated among the media[50] and academia[51] concerning the long-term effects of the agreement. The agreement is frequently cited as having created "artificial" borders in the Middle East, "without any regard to ethnic or sectarian characteristics, [which] has resulted in endless conflict."

House of Saud - Saudi Arabia

From 1915 to 1927, Ibn Saud's dominions were a protectorate of the British Empire, pursuant to the 1915 Treaty of Darin.

By 1932, Ibn Saud had disposed of all his main rivals and consolidated his rule over much of the Arabian Peninsula. He declared himself king of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that year. Previously, he had gone through several titles, starting with "Sultan of Najd" and ending with "King of Hijaz and Najd and their dependencies."

Unification of Saudi Arabia

The unification of Saudi Arabia was a military and political campaign, by which the various tribes, sheikhdoms, emirates, and kingdoms of most of the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by the House of Saud, or Al Saud, between 1902 and 1932, when the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed under the leadership of Ibn Saud, creating what is sometimes referred to as the Third Saudi State, to differentiate it from the Emirate of Diriyah, the First Saudi State and the Emirate of Nejd, the Second Saudi State, also House of Saud states.

The Al-Saud had been in exile in British protected emirate of Kuwait since 1893 following their third episode of removal from power and dissolution of their polity, this time by the Al Rashid emirate of Ha'il. In 1902, Ibn Saud recaptured Riyadh, the Al Saud dynasty's former capital. He went on to subdue the rest of Nejd, Al-Hasa, Jebel Shammar, Asir, and Hejaz (location of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina) between 1913 and 1926. The resultant polity was named the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz from 1927 until it was further consolidated with Al-Hasa and Qatif into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

Same as it ever was ...

Re ongoing delusions and sponsorship, see:

Reza Pahlavi & the 'Government in Exile of Iran'

Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran, born 31 October 1960) was the last heir apparent to the defunct throne of the Imperial State of Iran and is the current head of the House of Pahlavi. He is the older son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi. A resident of the United States, he is the heir to the former Persian throne. Reza Pahlavi is the founder and leader of National Council of Iran, a government in exile of Iran. As Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi left Iran at the age of 17 for air force training at Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas,[2] two years before the Iranian Revolution...

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 4, 2017 1:58:30 PM | 40

@22 not sure how much USA 'helped' Iran gain influence in Iraq. They guarded a base with MEK members and later used them for targeted assassinations of nuclear scientists apparently.
Shiites just shoved their way into power in Iraq due to sheer umbers.
Also, Sadr does not seem to be much of a reliable ally to the Iranians. That's what I gleamed from another forum, a while back

Posted by: aaaa | Feb 4, 2017 2:13:03 PM | 41

Claudio @36 It's unlikely Israel would go after Hezbollah full on. Israel don't like it when the enemy can fight back, especially not as proficiently as Hezbollah are capable of doing. This is what the Syria conflict is about, weakening Nasrallah's friends. What Netanyahu didn't factor into the equation is that Syrian and Hezbollah soldiers are now extremely well battle conditioned. Maybe this is why Israel want Iran taking care of so desperately. Israeli's are only ferocious when the odds are stacked heavily in their favour and of course when stones and rocks are their enemies only means of defence.

Posted by: Andy | Feb 4, 2017 2:18:05 PM | 42

Is Trump hanging Flynn and Nicki Haley out to dry? It's a possibility, but Trump's campaign rhetoric hints to the contrary. He's been hostile to Iran through and through.

To Washington, Iran war has to be an inevitability. It's the one rival entity in the region that stands in the way of unfettered Anglo market control of ME oil.

Unfortunate for Iran, it's absolutely alone in this resistance. Russia nor China will defend it as far as I can see. There's no NATO equivalent in that hemisphere. I would imagine that everybody understands this already.

There are targets for limited engagement type warfare. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shiite militias in Iraq, Houthis in Yemen..

Keep your expectations low for Trump and you won't be so disappointed

Posted by: aaaa | Feb 4, 2017 2:29:28 PM | 43

claudio @36

The Iran-Syria-Hezbollah link is one of Israel's reason for supporting/enabling the destruction of Syria. Once that happens, Hezbollah's resupply route is cut and it can be worn down courtesy of unlimited munitions paid for by the US taxpayer. The US military has a forward munitions store in Israel supposedly for its own use in any ME action. However, Israel is allowed to dip into it, and I bet the replenishment costs fall on the US.

With Hezbollah out of the way, Israel could either take over the Lebanese coastal zone or more likely, put in a puppet to run it on their behalf. Why? because of the Lebanese share of the oil/gas deposits off the coast. Israel surely wants control or a major cut of that piece of action.

Ditto Syria. Early on in the Syria game, when it looked like Syria would fall, Netanyahu offered the coastal-based Alawites sanctuary (form Israel's very own takfiris). The price presumably again being a major cut or control of the oil/gas off Syria's coast. This would be followed by a gas pipeline from Lebanon/Syria to Cyprus and then Europe. The supposed Qatar pipeline would go the same way as the supposed UNOCAL pipeline through Afghanistan, i.e. nowhere, and for the same reason that no one can build such a system through territory in a perpetual war state.

Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 4, 2017 2:35:36 PM | 44

Re links between MEK & Pahlavi, Neocons & the Trump-faction, France, UK re overthrow of Iran, false 'Intel' re the 'Iran Nuclear program', the Iraq-Iran War of '80-'88, etc

An Iranian Exile Cult Jockeying for War Could Have the Ear of Trump's White House (AlterNet November 15, 2016)
Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani are both backers of the Mojahedin-e Khalq regime change lobby...

Gingrich is not the only close Trump associate with ties to MEK. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, also a vice chair of the transition team, has thrown his support behind the organization, declaring at a speaking engagement for the MEK in 2011, "We need regime change in Iran, more than we do in Egypt or Libya, and just as we need it in Syria.”

The People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran or the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK, PMOI or MKO)

The MEK is an Iranian far-left political–militant organization[5] in exile that advocates a violent overthrow of the government of Iran while claiming itself as the replacing shadow government.[28][29] The group has no popular base of support inside Iran, but maintains a presence by acting as a proxy against Tehran.[30]

It is designated as a terrorist organization by Iran and Iraq, and was considered a terrorist organization by the United Kingdom and the European Union until 2008 and 2009 respectively, and by Canada and the United States until 2012. Various scholarly works, media outlets, and the governments of the United States and France have described it as a cult.[b] The organization has built a cult of personality around its leaders Massoud and Maryam Rajavi...

While the MEK's leadership has resided in Paris, the group's core members were for many years confined to Camp Ashraf in Iraq, particularly after the MEK and U.S. forces signed a cease-fire agreement of "mutual understanding and coordination" in 2003.[42] The group was later relocated to former U.S. military base Camp Liberty in Iraq[43] and eventually to Albania...

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 4, 2017 2:36:53 PM | 45

Full denial
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38868971

Posted by: Mina | Feb 4, 2017 2:48:41 PM | 46

chipnik @19

If you want to see what a real anti-ship cruise missile does to a ship, in comparison to damage suffered by the USS Cole, then this is more appropriate. It shows a destroyer target ship after being hit by an AGM-84A Harpoon cruise missile.

Posted by: Yonatan | Feb 4, 2017 3:17:02 PM | 47

It's unlikely Israel would go after Hezbollah full on. Israel don't like it when the enemy can fight back, especially not as proficiently as Hezbollah are capable of doing.
Indeed. The IDF was utterly humiliated the last time around by Hezbollah, and the military 'balance/capabilities' has only gotten worse for Israel re Hezbollah, ever since.

This is what the Syria conflict is about, weakening Nasrallah's friends. What Netanyahu didn't factor into the equation is that Syrian and Hezbollah soldiers are now extremely well battle conditioned.

Absolutely! SAA & Hezbollah Brigades have 5 years of continuous experience re the 'Darwinism of the Battlefield'. Veterans of comprise a very real battle-hardened elite, and even more importantly a core cadre to pass on knowledge/experience/competence to greater numbers and less experienced/hardened. The failure re ambitions in Syria has only exponentially worsened the situation for the Israelis. Haha.

Israeli's are only ferocious when the odds are stacked heavily in their favour and of course when stones and rocks are their enemies only means of defence.

Very true ... :(

The Lessons of the Israel-Hezbollah War 2006

...the resurgence of the Hezbollah, and its partial rearming, have demonstrated just how difficult it can be to defeat an asymmetric enemy fighting on its own soil and with a popular base.

The need to properly characterize the enemy, the consequences of going to war, and the ability to achieve successful conflict termination: ... that one of the most critical single choices in war is the choice of where, when, and why to fight. (or if at all,)

The need for realism in assessing the ability to use airpower. At a tactical level, Israel placed reliance on air power that cannot be compared to the way the US has used air power in the Afghan and Iraq conflicts, but which repeated many of the miscalculations about the ability of strategic bombing to achieve decisive political and military effects that characterized at least some of the strategic air and interdiction campaign in the Gulf War in 2001. These limits to airpower are as old as, Douhet but they are lessons that military forces seem to have to constantly relearn.

...One was how ineffective most IAF close air support sorties were in dealing with a Hezbollah that could take advantage of tunnels, sheltered buildings, and well-prepared concealment.

•The dangers of “proliferating” advanced light weapons to asymmetric and insurgent forces: Another warning comes from the Hezbollah use of advanced anti-tank weapons; manportable and light surface-to-air missiles, and anti-ship missiles... a major impact on the use of tactical airpower, but it would raise far more serious questions about the value of uparmoring and the security of tactical and logistic movements.

A brief, largely objective, summary:

The Israel-Lebanon/Hezbollah War (July-August 2006)

From

Wikipedia
... On 12 September 2007, former defense minister Moshe Arens spoke of "the defeat of Israel" in calling for a state committee of inquiry. He said that Israel had lost "to a very small group of people, 5,000 Hezbollah fighters, which should have been no match at all for the IDF", and stated that the conflict could have "some very fateful consequences for the future."[306] Disclosing his intent to shortly resign, Ilan Harari, the IDF's chief education officer, stated at a conference of senior IDF officers that Israel lost the war, becoming the first senior active duty officer to publicly state such an opinion.[307] IDF Major General Yiftah Ron Tal, on 4 October 2006 became the second and highest ranking serving officer to express his opinion that the IDF failed "to win the day in the battle against Hezbollah" as well as calling for Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz' resignation.[308] Ron-Tal was subsequently fired for making those and other critical comments.Text

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 4, 2017 3:21:27 PM | 48

If the Outlaw US Empire halted its attempt at attaining Full Spectrum Dominance, actually began to withdraw in an Isolationistic manner from its Empire of Bases, and told the Zionists No More, would violence elsewhere rise or fall?

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 4, 2017 3:28:22 PM | 49

>> Russia nor China will defend it as far as I can see.
>> There's no NATO equivalent in that hemisphere.

They better form one, real quick, if they don't want to be assimilated by the Borg.

Posted by: dumbass | Feb 4, 2017 3:28:58 PM | 50

Saudi Arabia may raise U.S. oil investments: energy minister

Duh.


The US army in Iraq (and Israel, and Saudi Arabia) are Iran's defense against a US attack - they are sitting ducks for retaliation.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 4, 2017 3:44:41 PM | 51

Tomorrow is Super Bowl.
Such events have in the past been used to divert attention away from important events. Not saying let alone hoping it's going to happen again this time, just let's keep in mind this possibility.

Posted by: smuks | Feb 4, 2017 4:04:32 PM | 52

What had been carefully built up over a decade or two runs the risk, with Trump, of being smashed to pieces. A very aggressive US foreign policy combined with a brutality in the economic/workplace sphere was somehow hitched up with a touchy-feely identity and pc politics at the social level.

In academia and the media the social has been elevated over all else, so that it appeared to be worse for Trump to talk about banning some Muslims than for Hillary to bomb the shit out of Libya. Of course, the whole idea is to de-testosterone young males, who are those most likely to protest or carry out violent actions against the thieves and crooks that rule us. The idea of gun control was similarly to de-arm the populace and had nothing to do with reducing violence (the elites love violence among the plebs).

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 4, 2017 4:07:03 PM | 53

Mattis also said: “As far as Iran goes, this is the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world,” “I think it is wise to make certain that Iran recognizes that what it is doing is getting the attention of a lot of people.” So we clearly have Bush redux as everybody knows and even people like Mattis before his inauguration, that it's Iran mortal enemy, KSA, who's the single biggest state sponsor of religious inspired terrorism in the world.

Although the US war aggression against Iraq made Iran stronger as it was able to fill a leadership vaccuum, Iran would never remain strong or the same but instead would be bombed to rubles like Libya. The US wouldn't do another war adventure alone obviously and Israel, KSA the UAE and some western poodles would likely join the aggression. Russia however wouldn't appreciate another failed state in its lower belly and would probably do everything to stop that.

But still, I'm sure that with an economy in decline, Trump will go for overt war (by proxy?) against either Iran or China. At least he won't be able to co-opt the political "left" in his war effort as would Hillary would have been able to do (and did with Libya).

Posted by: xor | Feb 4, 2017 4:13:24 PM | 54

@jfl 4

Good point: 'Make your enemies believe you're crazy, capable of anything' is a strange and irresponsible, but sometimes successful tactics. But it won't work with Iran, and we'd better hope T.& Co. realize that.

Strange days. One order more lunatic than the other, hard to know what's distraction from what, imo.

Posted by: smuks | Feb 4, 2017 4:21:16 PM | 55

Of all the various opinions and viewpoints expressed so far about Trump's government, I find the one that makes the most sense is Grieved's comment (11).

This chimes with some other posts that I have seen elsewhere on the Internet about Trump's style of leadership, that he gathers around him advisors of differing views and persuasions, plays them off against one another, and the best or most realistic or pragmatic idea that emerges becomes policy.

I believe that the Russian President Vladimir Putin operates in a similar way by keeping the neoliberal economist Alexei Kudrin close by as part of an advisory group (so his ideas can be pilfered in such a way that at the same time they don't do too much damage), and by also keeping economists with views at polar opposites to Kudrin's views close by as well.

I think it is likely that Trump has studied Putin and his leadership style, and has followed the ways in which Putin has turned around the Russian economy and government from the wreck that was handed him by Boris Yeltsin in 2000. This might explain Trump's admiration for Putin and willingness to cooperate with Russia in the Middle East. Trump obviously wants to do something similar for the US. One question is whether Trump will have the time (four years) and the strength and energy (he is 70 years of age as well) to even begin the work of reforming the US economy. Another question is surely whether he has enough support within the government and across America generally to do what he can. The speech he made to the 400 rank-and-file employees of the CIA at its Langley headquarters should be seen in that light.

The Iranian leadership for its part would be wise to continue treating Trump as "inexperienced" and wait out the first 100 days of his administration to see if a clear and more coherent foreign policy towards the Middle East emerges.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 4, 2017 4:29:05 PM | 56

@26 nonsense factory.. thanks. it really is bad isn't it, when everyone except the msm is in the know about these kinds of details.. alternatively the msm is in the know, but never allowed to mention it out of fear of job loss and etc.. no one can compare iran and israel on this level and not come away shaking their head in disbelief. and yet, that is what some are hoping folks will continue to agree with - ignoramus's and that's about it..

@36 claudio - reasonable speculation on your part. thanks. @43 yonatan - thanks for your reply to claudio!

@ 38 WG quote "With the MIC consuming approximately $1 trillion dollars a year it seems impossible to have no 'military threat', at any given time. The real canary in the coal mine will be if the US media starts to single out a major leader in Iran / China for personal demonization, then you'll know priorities have truly shifted." yep.. it happens every time.. they were working hard with ahmadinejab while he was in power - 2005 - 2013, but it got derailed somehow.. someone instead of him being the next hitler and the green revolution being a non starter in 2009.. according to this article from august 2016, we have obama to thank for that! gotta love the western msm, lol..

@53 xor.. yeah, maybe.. i would prefer to believe something else, but your comments are very reasonable..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2017 4:34:02 PM | 57

Jen, I think you are being idealistic about Trump. He's is just a landlord and a good salesman. He is good with media.
He got lucky when Bannon wrote his script but now he has to live with Bannon.


Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 4, 2017 4:42:00 PM | 58

@outraged 47 here's a good article on Hezbollah recently:

However, the most remarkable thing about the bloc’s statement was its position on four regional issues, in addition to the local matter of the draft laws: offering condolences for the death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; condemning Bahraini authorities for executing three young men and renewing support for the Bahraini Shiite uprising; condemning the silence of international human rights organizations over the rebels in Wadi Barada near Damascus cutting drinking water to millions of Syrians; and condemning the US-Saudi aggression against the Yemeni people.

. . . lebanon-hezbollah-resistance-military-regional-role.html
At the same time, they're acting more like a regular political party in Lebanon in cooperation with Michel Aoun and the Harriri people, hardly a "terrorist group."

It's too bad that so many of the neocons who were attacking Trump months ago now seem to have so much influence in his administration, though.
GOP Hawks declare war on Trump, 03/03/16

Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 4, 2017 4:48:58 PM | 59

I think many are underestimating Trump deal capacity. How far did you think he could go a year ,6 months 2 months ago? If you had put less energy in writing how bad Trump is and instead listen to his crowded speeches you may have picked up how he works. Now to your latest about Iran. Trump have stated many times how bad deal USA got with Iran. Now he is renegotiating and put in some new parameters to the deal that will come when time is ready. Until then he should have the most dangerous Jews on his side. This gay is dynamite he has started investigation in vaccination, on holocost day he wanted to remember all civilian deaths during 2:nd WW. He have also been interviewed and pointed the finger that one of US best allies in ME is supporting ISIS. I don't really have the energy to write this because i have spent time to listen to Trump since 1.5 half year back and i think i have a good picture about him. He is a brutal man compared to current time. He never excuse himself. But i know that he is really doing this for US and he also have some pity for Europe and just want to withdraw US tropes and let other countries take care of themselves.

Posted by: Sveno | Feb 4, 2017 4:50:21 PM | 60

Sveno #59 - a good theory. Lots of well placed smore and mirrors perhaps.

Except when you said "this gay" you made me think you were actually talking about the former POTUS Obama.

Posted by: Quadriad | Feb 4, 2017 5:03:07 PM | 61

Thanks for the correction , i saw that also but i hope you understand anyway. The reason i missed it is that english is not mine native language.

Posted by: Sveno | Feb 4, 2017 5:08:42 PM | 62

@40:

- Iraq under Saddam Hoessein & Iran "didn't like" each other. When the US invaded Iraq they got rid of Iran's enemy called Saddam Hoessein and his government.
- Under Saddam Hoessein the Sunnis (~20% of the population) were in control of Iraq. After Saddam Hoessein's government the shiïtes (~60% of the iraqi population) were able to take over control in Iraq. Due to the inept US behaviour in Iraq the shiïtes were effectively able to cleanse Bahgdad of sunnis.

- Muqtada Al Sadr is an iraqi nationalist who wants to keep a warm relationship with Teheran but wants to keep Teheran at arm's lenght as well. I think Al Sadr who has the best cards to re-unite Iraq again (with Shiïtes, sunnis & Kurds) but I fear that re-unification of Iraq is no longer possible any more today or in the future.
- If the US wants to bring peace to Iraq then they should talk with Al Sadr AND Teheran.

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 4, 2017 6:36:02 PM | 63

if there's anything that the US Establishment can't tolerate, it's a runaway slave.

Posted by: mijj | Feb 4, 2017 7:29:04 PM | 64

BraveNewWorld |11:59:26 AM | 20
Hate to write it but I agree 100 %. And the bloody europeans are to dumb to put a brake. Instead they too tend to bash Iran.

Posted by: Pnyx | Feb 4, 2017 7:40:43 PM | 65

Russia suggesting federalism in Syria.

Xinhua: Turkey will have to face Kurdish autonomy in Syria

Posted by: somebody | Feb 4, 2017 7:46:53 PM | 66

@49

An attack on Iran by either the US or Israel would mean Iran unleashing it's missiles on Israel which is extremly vulnerable to missile attack no matter how many missile defence systems they put in. An attack on Iran would likely drag in Hezbollah, Hamas and possibly Syria. That is why the 3 military/intelligence heads refused the order last time. The entire IDF knows it is a bad idea and most of the US military brass know it is a bad idea. But the politicians in both Israel and the US think they know better than the military. If they move the embassy first it will likely drag in half the Middle East.

@54,55

The problem with Trumps chaotic nonsense is that when you are talking military matters, when people feel threatened they will attack first because they may not be able to attack second. Think "Its all fun and games until some one looses and eye" but with missiles. Every one has been watching what happened to Kahdafi, Saddam etc. Waiting around for the US to attack first hasn't exactly been a winning strategy.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Feb 4, 2017 7:58:38 PM | 67

@55 jen, 'Trump's style of leadership, that he gathers around him advisors of differing views and persuasions, plays them off against one another, and the best or most realistic or pragmatic idea that emerges becomes policy.'

i think that's an attempt to 'create' a style of leadership around tee-rump who hasn't got a clue. he gathers the motley mob all right, then let's them go, then chops off the heads of the ones who've done the most damage. we're supposed to thank him at that point. the policy that emerges from such triage is then supposed to be viewed as much better than what might have happened if tee-rump hadn't 'saved us' from the lunatics he put in charge originally ... they're there to make him look good by comparison.

tee-rump has no idea. no plan at all. some vague advertizing slogan ... make america great again. he's into levering and looting what's left of the usa, already forsaken by the 'techies' who manufacture their latest spy devices at the lowest possible cost elsewhere and sell them by the billions to the world's population to entertain, entrance, and control. digital 'money', digital tolls, digital debt.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 4, 2017 8:00:40 PM | 68

Bill H 29
I've wondered about some of these people going off the Trump message of Pax w/Russia. It's like Trump is having second thoughts or is letting them vent and waiting to let things settle down.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 4, 2017 8:10:01 PM | 69

Woogs 25
That was one of the themes from Greg Palast for W's invasion of Iraq. 1. Some neocons wanted Iraq for the oil - pump hard to break OPEC. 2. Some wanted Iraq's oil to stay in the ground. The second group won proven by their/Cheney's announcement that Iraq would abide by and rejoin OPEC. Second winner in this was the Saudis who would also benefit if same happened to Iran.

Posted by: Curtis | Feb 4, 2017 8:12:49 PM | 70

jfl @67. You are completely wrong about Trump's process. He lets people debate their ideas and rewards the person he perceives as the winner. The problem most people have with this is that the policy isn't uniform between different issues or can change from day to day and the positions depend on the types of people invited to debate. It does lead to some original ideas though and the world is in need of some of those.

Posted by: mischi | Feb 4, 2017 8:31:17 PM | 71

excellent analysis of Trump

Act One, Scene One
David Bromwich

https://www.lrb.co.uk/v39/n04/david-bromwich/act-one-scene-one

Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 4, 2017 8:59:49 PM | 72

@67 well said as always jfl. Glad to have you commenting as always.

@68 Also, this whole 'Trumps bad ideas are just internal policy debate' is a strange line to take. If he had a cabinet of people with widely varying political positions maybe, maybe you could make that argument. But when the debate ranges from military members, Exxon mobile and Goldman Sachs (voices installed by trump directly mind you) its hard to say he's just wanting a range of opinions by ppl of different stripes. Bannons appointment speaks volumes to this effect. Its def not going to lead to original ideas but likely the same neocon & corporate wet dreams that have been perpetuated for decades.

Bomb Iran / sanction Iran / attack Iran by proxy =/= a wide range of opinions. If there was one sane voice speaking out I could maybe see your point. But no one is attempting to offer those opinions. Not even close. Notice the US media is now 100% fully on board regarding Iran AFAIK.

There might be a number of differences between what trump and hillary's presidency would have looked like, but I think people overestimate difference at this at the same time.

ALSO let's not judge trump by campaign speeches, etc. Let's judge him by his actions! If only people did this for Obama's term a lot of distressing events might have been mitigated or atvleast be brought to the publics attention. Most politicians have a divide between words and deeds and recognising this is imperative to any kind of democracy. Just because trump said something you like doesn't mean he means it or will do it. And brushing off the rhetoric you don't like is just as bad. This selectivity I see often here.

For the record the rhetoric of his first couple weeks re Iran makes me shiver. But I'll wait to see what he does I guess. Not engage in wishful thinking on account of one speech nor blame him for anything he hasn't done yet. But let's not be naïve at the same time.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Feb 4, 2017 9:26:40 PM | 73

@68 should be @70 (mishi). Apologies.

Posted by: FecklessLeft | Feb 4, 2017 9:28:03 PM | 74

An optimist (curable?): "This chimes with some other posts that I have seen elsewhere on the Internet about Trump's style of leadership, that he gathers around him advisors of differing views and persuasions, plays them off against one another, and the best or most realistic or pragmatic idea that emerges becomes policy."

With all seriousness, a debate happens when there is a disagreement about what is most realistic, pragmatic or otherwise beneficial, e.g. one can argue that it is OK to make impossible demands toward country A and punish it so severely that when we later make possible demands on country B, C, and D, they will not dare to object. The whole concept of "pragmatism" hinges on defining what is a desirable outcome. Should we eradicate legal abortions in as many countries as possible, given that it is actually doable to influence some countries in Africa or Oceania in that direction? The base will be more devoted, the "libruls" will raise very convenient ruckus (music to the ears of the base), and polls show that "folks in the middle" will not care?

As I age, my faith in humanity decreases. Consider: faking empty threats is possible! Today I read that fur of raccoon dogs was fraudulently used in garments claimed to be made of "faux fur".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 4, 2017 9:35:47 PM | 75

57

Ironically, Bannon's takeover of Breitbart, which was once devoted more to financialand political corruption under Andrew, and only became an alt-right fascist propaganda rag after Bannon took over, is, in many ways, similar to the takeover of Israel by the former-Soviets emigrating in after the wall fell, and pushing the original Sephardim Kibbutzim out of power, creating the alt-right fascist state of Israel today. Even more ironic, Trump-Bannon 'won' by the same low ratio of (total potential) voters, as Netanyahu-Likkud 'won', about a 1/3 super-minority, the same ratio as number of former Soviets who emigrated. Then you hold these two warm piles of sticky poo in your hands, and ask yourself, if these two get together, will it create a critical mass and turn the Earth into a steaming phosphorescent radioactive s'hole?

Posted by: Even More Outraged Ji | Feb 4, 2017 9:59:46 PM | 76

Is Trump allowing excessive language against Iran just to please Israel and Saudi Arabia, before coming down on them with tough demands?
Flyn's rantings seems to be without consequences, except sanctions that are mostly symbolic.
This may be a carrot for Saudi Arabia that will be followed with a stick.

We know that Trump wants Saudi Arabia to stop funding ISIS and Al Qaeda. Appeasing it first to hit later could be smart tactic.

Posted by: virgile | Feb 4, 2017 10:32:54 PM | 77

"... similar to the takeover of Israel by the former-Soviets emigrating in after the wall fell, and pushing the original Sephardim Kibbutzim out of power, creating the alt-right fascist state of Israel today."

We all remember the earlier Jewish immigrants like Mr. Jabotynski from Odessa (Russian Empire, not some shabby Soviet Union) who created a delightful youth organization Betar, with summer camps in friendly Italy (before Pact of Steel, Benito Mussolini was pretty cordial with Jewish fascists). Jabotynski's Revisionists, mostly from Russian Empire, but also from Poland, Hungary etc. took power with some help from "Russians" and Sephardim, but this way or another, most parties are headed by "Khazars", some liberal, some "fascist". And some of the most rabid representatives of the latter hail from USA.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 4, 2017 10:35:12 PM | 78

@76 virgile.. a nice thought, but i don't get the impression trump is that sophisticated or cunning.. i hope i'm wrong..

Posted by: james | Feb 4, 2017 10:46:14 PM | 79

War with Iran is the endgame in the Middle East. There is no doubt about it. Relax on reason and logic all you wish, but that is not what this administration was chosen for.

Posted by: relament | Feb 4, 2017 10:52:56 PM | 80

In spite of all things the US has done there's something very special about their system of government.

Neither Xi or Putin has to worry about any flak from the plebes. What they say goes. Not in the US. If you get too goofy in the US, like Trump has, then you have to deal with a pissed off electorate. Every single executive order that has been out of line has been met with considerable pushback and in some cases reversed.

I'm no fan of Trump. But I am a fan of the way the American system can put him on his back foot. I'm a fan of Putin. But you can't say a fucking thing against him or you die. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: peter | Feb 5, 2017 1:16:39 AM | 81

@ Posted by: nonsense factory | Feb 4, 2017 4:48:58 PM | 58

Agreed. Are not and never were, 'terrorists'.

They grew out of a social and community support system. They were primarily responsible(with help from Amal) for throwing the Israeli's and their sad border proxy mercs, the South Lebanon Army out of Lebanon, resulting from the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Lebanon would have payed an even higher price re the Israeli 2006 invasion if Hezbollah had not strategically prepared well in advance for the inevitable, with virtually the full support of the population of Southern Lebanon.

Since then they have become integrated into the political state of Lebanon and even draw support from other religious and ethnic factions. Their Counter-Intelligence network works closely with the State and is highly efficient & capable. Essentially they exist as the de facto State guarentors of Lebanon because the Lebanese Army and State had been utterly compromised & riven from within & without.

Anyone who craps on about the attack on the Marine Barracks in Lebanon, either doesn't care or has no knowledge of what the US forces, Marine & Navy, were actually doing ...

Let's cut to the chase. No more dancing around the issue:

The greatest State sponsor of Terrorism is the Unites States & it's various 'Coalition' partners, through the unlawful use of lethal force, often wildly indiscriminate, by their military & covert agencies.

People are conditioned from birth, indoctrinated to believe in the Lawful/Righteous aspect of formal military forces. Frankly, it is all Bullshit, especially under the banner/facade of the, GWOT.

The 'Raid' on the village in Yemen was a Terrorist act. Every Droning, every 'targeted killing', every covert assassination, every 'Military' attack on civilian infrastructure, etc, around the globe, is a terrorist act. Every life taken by US & coalition forces, directly or indirectly in Yemen/Syria/Libya/Afghanistan/Iraq/Somalia, etc, in undeclared War & breach of a nation States sovereignty, is a terrorist act.

The Battle of Algiers: 1966 Film Depicting Algerian War of Independence Against French Occupation - Parallels Brutal U.S. Occupation of Iraq

This is an excerpt of The Battle of Algiers. This is a scene of a press conference where the Algerian resistance fighter, Ben M’Hidi, is answering questions from reporters.

REPORTER: Mr. Ben M’Hidi, isn’t it a filthy thing to use women’s baskets to carry explosives for killing people?

LARBI BEN M’HIDI: Doesn’t it seem even filthier to drop napalm bombs on defenseless villages, wreaking even greater havoc? It would be better if we, too, had planes. Give me the bombers, and you can have the baskets.

REPORTER: Mr. Ben M’Hidi, in your opinion, does the FLN still have some chance of defeating the French army?

LARBI BEN M’HIDI: The FLN has more possibility of beating the French forces than they have of stopping history.

Aerial bombs as deadly as suicide bombers [what an understatement ...]

"It is a predictable consequence of using this type of weapon," says study author Michael Spagat of the Royal Holloway, University of London. "Once you understand that, you can't completely say this is unintentional, in that it is understood that this is going to happen."

Another scene a little later in the movie with the colonel from the French paratroopers holding a news conference with reporters.

REPORTER: Colonel Mathieu, the spokesman of the resident minister, Gorlin, states that Ben M’Hidi hung himself in his cell, tearing up his shirt to make a rope which he tied to the bars of the window. In an earlier statement that same spokesman said that because the prisoner said he would escape on the first possible occasion, it was thought advisable to keep him permanently bound hand and foot. According to you, Colonel, is a man in this condition capable of ripping up a shirt, making a rope and tying it to the window bars?

COLONEL MATHIEU: You should ask the spokesman about that. I didn’t make the statements. From my part, I appreciated Ben M’Hidi’s moral strength, intelligence and the way he stuck to his ideals. And so, even though I recognize that he was dangerous, I pay homage to his memory.

REPORTER: Colonel, there’s been talk recently of the para’s successes and of the methods they said to use. Could you say something on this?

COLONEL MATHIEU: The successes result from these methods. The one presupposes the other.

REPORTER: I feel that being excessively careful, my colleagues keep asking roundabout questions to which you can only reply in a roundabout way. It would be better to call a spade a spade. If it’s torture, let’s speak of torture.

COLONEL MATHIEU: I understand. You have no questions?

REPORTER: The questions have been asked. We would like the answers.

COLONEL MATHIEU: Let us be exact. The word "torture" does not appear in our orders. We ask questions as in any police operation against an unknown gang. The FLN asks its members to keep silent for 24 hours if they are captured. Then they can talk. That’s the time required to render any information useless. How should we question suspects? Like the courts and take a few months over it? The legal way has its drawbacks. Is it legal to blow up public places? When he asked Ben M’Hidi, what did he say?

Believe me, it’s a vicious circle. We could talk for hours without reaching a conclusion. The problem is quite different. The FLN wants to kick us out of Algeria. And we want to stay. Even though we have different ideas, I think we all want to stay. When the rebellion started, there were no nuances. All the papers, even those of the left, wanted it suffocated. We’re here for that. We are neither mad nor sadists. They call us fascists. They forget what we did in the resistance. They say Nazis, but some of us survived Buchenwald. We are soldiers. Our duty is to win; thus, to be quite clear, I’ll ask you a question myself: Must France stay in Algeria? If the answer is still "yes," you must accept all that this entails.

Fundamentally, until people come to understand that the application of lethal force by a conventional military, simply because they may wear a uniform, etc, does not exempt that use of lethal force from the Geneva Conventions, International Law, Sovereign State rights, nor the Laws of War ... and therefore reject such State funded/sanctioned/ordered terrorism/barbarism, the Global War on Terra,, will continue ...

My 2c is up

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 5, 2017 2:08:21 AM | 82

Great Article b as usual !

About the fact that "Smaller direct U.S. attacks on Iran would be responded to with attacks by Iranian proxies elsewhere. U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially their resupplies, would be in imminent danger. A large attack on Iran itself would lead to the destruction of U.S. military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia. Every U.S. ship passing through the Street of Hormuz would come under fire." I have no doubts entering a full out war with Iran would be a greater disaster than the one against Iraq,obviously.But as things are now I don't really know where Iran military capacity stands.Interestingly ,it seems to me the united state war on Iraq strengthened Iran on every front.Now Iraq is control by Shia that leans toward iran As long as Iraq was there they could be played on against each other.What makes me believe the US won't attack Iran is their too many military operations in the region.A full out war against Iran will Force the us to disengage from Afghanistan and Iraq which will be a disasters as those regions are not under their control yet it will definitively open a can of worms and let flourish forces they won't be able to control.Honestly The war in Iraq was strategically doomed from the beginning when seeing its geopolitical consequences.they underestimate the ground resistance that will be worst in the case of Iran which is more unified than Iraq ever was. Just like the Vietnam war The US would have to pull out of Iraq and probably of Afghanistan at some point and accept its defeat there and alliance with Iran.There is no way around it if they wanna keep some oversight and leverage in the middle east.

Posted by: Pierre | Feb 5, 2017 2:25:32 AM | 83

Followup to 81 Feb 5, 2017 2:08:21 AM | 81

And also re historical responses to small attacks on Iran via proxies ... elsewhere ...

The South Lebanon conflict (1985–2000) or the Security Zone conflict in Lebanon refers to 15 years of warfare between the Israel Defense Forces and its Lebanese Christian proxy militias against Lebanese Muslim guerrillas led by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, within what was defined by Israelis as the "Security Zone" in South Lebanon...

Occupation period 1982–1985 – the emergence of Hezbollah

Increased hostilities against the US resulted in the April 1983 United States Embassy bombing. In response, the US brokered the May 17 Agreement, in an attempt to stall hostilities between Israel and Lebanon. However, this agreement eventually failed to take shape, and hostilities continued. In October, the United States Marines barracks in Beirut was bombed (usually attributed to the Islamic Resistance groups). Following this incident, the United States withdrew its military forces from Lebanon.

Suicide bombings became increasingly popular at this time, and were a major concern of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) both near Beirut and in the South. Among the most serious were the two suicide bombings against the Israeli headquarters in Tyre, which killed 103 soldiers, border policemen, and Shin Bet agents, and also killed 49–56 Lebanese. Israel believes those acts were among the first organized actions made by Shi'ite militants, later forming into Hizbullah. Subsequently, Israel withdrew from the Shouf Mountains, but continued to occupy Lebanon south of the Awali River.

An increased number of Islamic militias began operating in South Lebanon, launching guerrilla attacks on Israeli and pro-Israel militia positions. Israeli forces often responded with increased security measures and airstrikes on militant positions, and casualties on all sides steadily climbed. In a vacuum left with eradication of PLO, the disorganized Islamic militants in South Lebanon began to consolidate. The emerging Hezbollah, soon to become the preeminent Islamic militia, evolved during this period. However, scholars disagree as to when Hezbollah came to be regarded as a distinct entity. Over time, a number of Shi’a group members were slowly assimilated into the organization, such as Islamic Jihad members, Organization of the Oppressed on Earth, and the Revolutionary Justice Organization...

1983 United States embassy bombing - Lebanon

The April 18, 1983, United States embassy bombing was a suicide bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 63 people, including 17 Americans. The victims were mostly embassy and CIA staff members, but also included several U.S. soldiers and one U.S. Marine Security Guard. It was the deadliest attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission up to that time, and is considered the beginning of Islamist attacks on U.S. targets...

Following the attack, the embassy was moved to a supposedly more secure location in East Beirut. However, on September 20, 1984, another car bomb exploded at this embassy annex, killing twenty Lebanese and two American soldiers.

The April bombing was one of the first suicide attacks in the region. Other suicide car bombings over the next eight months included one against the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait, a second attack on Israeli Army's headquarters in Tyre, and the extremely destructive attacks on the U.S. Marine and French Paratrooper barracks in Beirut on October 23, 1983.

Along with the Marine Barracks bombing, the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing prompted the Inman Report, a review of overseas security for the U.S. Department of State. This in turn prompted the creation of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Diplomatic Security Service within the U.S. State Department...

Why all the, 'Bombings', including the Marine/French Barracks ? (Because of the actions of the 'Usual Suspects')

The Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF) was an international peacekeeping force(supposedly) created in August 1982 following the 1981 U.S.-brokered ceasefire between the PLO and Israel[3] to end their involvement in the conflict between Lebanon's pro-government and pro-Syrian factions...

The relatively benign environment at the beginning of the mission gave way to chaos as the civil war re-escalated following the assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel in September 1982. Subsequent political and military developments on the ground caused the MNF to be viewed not as a peacekeeper, but as a belligerent.[7] In early 1984, after it became apparent that the government of Lebanon was no longer able to impose its will on warring factions as they entered Beirut and hostilities renewed,[7] the MNF ended its presence mission in Beirut and went offshore before completely leaving Lebanon in July of the same year in the aftermath of the October 1983 barracks bombing that killed 241 U.S. and 58 French servicemen...

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 5, 2017 2:51:35 AM | 84

Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States

Indeed, Iran building defensive measures is a very hostile action to US interests, how dare they? :)

Trump is simply blustering to satisfy neocons and zionists, some non-essential unilateral sanctions is the "best" they can do.

As for US war on Iran, I can assure you it wont happen. US neither can afford it nor would be capable of winning, Iran's asymmetric capabilities is one of the best in the World and specifically tuned to repel USrael's attack and make them pay. US military knows, so does IDF, and while they can keep on dreaming of "real man goes to Tehran", but in real life they arent suicidal and will block any such attempt.

Posted by: Harry | Feb 5, 2017 4:37:26 AM | 85

Agree with Harry @85. In addition to the asymmetrical capabilities deterrent, there is the highly advanced missile deterrent. The fact is that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. And the entire Western economic system with its multi-trillion dollsar derivatives bubble is just that. It cannot withstand a severe shock to the system, which is what a single Noor missile aimed at the Ra's Tanura deep water port complex would be; the port of exit for most of Saudi's 10 mbd of crude. A single missile would put that out of operation for months. That is why Cheyney and Rummy were overruled back in the day by the NYSE.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Feb 5, 2017 5:05:17 AM | 86

Outraged says:

Fundamentally, until people come to understand that the application of lethal force by a conventional military, simply because they may wear a uniform, etc, does not exempt that use of lethal force from the Geneva Conventions, International Law, Sovereign State rights, nor the Laws of War ... and therefore reject such State funded/sanctioned/ordered terrorism/barbarism, the Global War on Terra,, will continue ...

back in May of 2003 our Congress passed the 2004 Defense Authorization Bill which allocated a whopping 400.5 billion to the Department of Defense. Inside this Bill was the authorization for research into 'low-yield' nuclear weapons for battlefield use, thus overturning the 1993 Spratt-Furse amendment which had banned such research and development. Contingency plans for an attack on Iran (or wherever) now have the green light to use tactical nukes.

and of course all defense bills allocate the funds necessary to retain all 450 intercontinental ballistic missile silos in at least a “warm” status.

and while i don't doubt that shit can happen, i still say, it's all about the money. the gravy train. i don't think the US military's gonna attack anyone who can actually shoot back.

Posted by: john | Feb 5, 2017 5:33:08 AM | 87

#81 peter

I am not sure if it is that dangerous being against Putin in Russia, the Russian Communist Party seems to be doing quite well.

Being sponsored by Khodorkovsky or getting involved in Chechnya though appears to be bad for people's health.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5, 2017 5:53:51 AM | 88

@ Posted by: john | Feb 5, 2017 5:33:08 AM | 87

and while i don't doubt that shit can happen, i still say, it's all about the money. the gravy train.

Indeed. The very reason the MICC has existed for ~71 years. Yet, an endless strategy of 'tension' can go awry ... mistakes can happen ... why take the unnecessary risk when it is really all just about maintaining corrupt, 'Snouts in the Trough', and ultimately benefitting the 0.01% ...

i don't think the US military's gonna attack anyone who can actually shoot back.

Not likely, given past history.

However, rational realist commanders with 'character' have over time been systematically 'weeded-out' and replaced with politically careerist/opportunistic suborned officers. Ie, Chief of Staff of the Army Shinseki removal for questioning the insufficient troop numbers planned for post Invasion Iraq, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace for daring to correct Donald Rumsfeld during a public Congressional hearing on Torture & the UCMJ, Admiral Fallon re the 'consequences' of launching any war against Iran, the removal of General Taguba for conducting an actual investigation as opposed to a whitewash re Abu Ghraib, and so on ...

The officers below, see and learn, 'The lesson' or resign ... so there can only be less and less confidence in current senior military leaders being willing or capable of 'Speaking Truth to Power', or even considering refusing an order from the CIC, SecDef, etc. No ?

In this situation, the risks re misjudgements and accidents, increase yet again ... :(

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 5, 2017 6:47:34 AM | 89

Posted by: virgile | Feb 4, 2017 10:32:54 PM | 77

Trump is backed by US gas and oil, same as Bush was when occupying Iraq.

Saudi Arabia seems to have decided their best insurance is to get invested in US oil and gas. Buying useless US weapons does not seem enough any more.

Trump is very unlikely to switch allies. But if the Saudi Iranian proxy war was fuelled by the US/Russian prolonged Cold War - that is a big if - an agreement between the US and Russia might also bring Saudi Iranian peace.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 5, 2017 7:00:22 AM | 90

"The sanctions target 13 individuals and 12 companies that have ties to Iran, including one Chinese national."

Democrats back Trump administration’s new sanctions against Iran
By Joseph Kishore, 4 February 2017
The sanctions are part of an aggressive shift of the new administration and follow the declaration of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn that Iran was being put “on notice.”

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/02/04/iran-f04.html

Posted by: Robert Beal | Feb 5, 2017 7:01:28 AM | 91

Mike Pompeo (now CIA director) talks about "ransom money" that the US (supposedly) paid to Iran. That was iranian money and was blocked in 1979 when the Shah of Persia was kicked out of Persia/Iran.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XahXFkw5HE&feature=youtu.be

Posted by: Willy2 | Feb 5, 2017 7:31:48 AM | 92

@73, feckless

thanks for the kind words.

even folks like virgile ...


Is Trump allowing excessive language against Iran just to please Israel and Saudi Arabia, before coming down on them with tough demands?

... seem trying to wish tinkerbelle back to life. i suppose anything's possible, but i think trump is just what he appears to be. and he is president of the usa.

it is not clear that we'll be worse off at the end of 4 more years of clinton, bush, obama, trump than we would have been after 4 more years of clinton, bush, obama, clinton ... and it never will be ... but we are definitely not going to break out of this cycle by continuing to alternate between our punishers.

either we seize power, or the beatings will continue. there are 639 days between Sunday 5 February 2017 and Tuesday 6 November 2018. no sense talking about it. head down, shoulder to the wheel in 150,000 precincts nationwide. seize power. elect ourselves to the congress. there are 1367 days between Sunday 5 February 2017 and Tuesday 3 November 2020. definitely enough time to change the world. it's the first step that's hard to take.

2102 days between Sunday 5 February 2017 and Tuesday 8 November 2022. 2830 days between Sunday 5 February 2017 and Tuesday 5 November 2024. all those dates are going to arrive, one way or another.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 5, 2017 8:48:08 AM | 93

@81 peter. that is the regular bs the western msm feeds those crazy enough to believe it. looks like you bought it hook, line and sinker..

Posted by: james | Feb 5, 2017 11:41:27 AM | 94

The US accusing Iran of belligerence is like a fresh turd telling an old slipper there's an odor about you.

Posted by: Michael McNulty | Feb 5, 2017 12:37:41 PM | 95

Russia disagrees with Trump labeling Iran ‘number one terrorist state’

Russia disagrees with a remark recently made by US President Donald Trump’s that branded Iran as “the number one terrorist state,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, citing partnership between Moscow and Tehran.

We do not agree with the definition,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. “All of you know that Russia enjoys warm relations with Iran, we do cooperate on a range of issues, and we do appreciate our economic ties which, we hope, will go further,” he added...

A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, is currently being arranged, Dmitry Peskov also said on Monday...

During the talks with the Russian leadership, [the sides] will discuss the main aspects of bilateral relations concerning the political and trade and economic sectors. Aside from this, attention will be paid to the most urgent issues on the regional agenda, such as the situation in Afghanistan, the Caspian problem, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Dzhagaryan said.

The Syrian issue will also “take up significant space in the agenda of negotiations,” the ambassador added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov echoed the Kremlin’s statement, stressing that Tehran takes an active part in fighting Islamic State (IS, previously ISIS/ISIL).

Iran has never been complicit in any links to IS or Al-Nusra Front whatsoever,” the minister said.

Moreover, Iran contributes to combatting IS. We have long advocated the idea of creating a unified anti-terrorist front. I am convinced that Iran must be part of our common effort if we evaluate potential contributors to such an alliance objectively,” Lavrov said.

Posted by: Outraged | Feb 6, 2017 11:33:42 AM | 96

Iran dismissed further trade in Untied Snakes' money hence the barking dogs. Iran should check the fat stacks of cash they just got for counterfeits; if most US$ is outside the 50 states and guam ,then most otherwise phony bills are too. There was a press in Hungary that had a tie to money bound for Ukr militias and proxy mercenaries. Part of Hindustan's recent big bill purge. Or "You've mixed your Tungsten with my gold." A promise is a comfort for a fool... I'd like some direction on commodity price deflation and dollar demand if there are insights around here, please.

Flood the swamp, and go to the mound builder sanctuaries of a postal or state bank. Throw gmo bread sticks at the banksters and tell them their just desserts will only be a moment. Permaculture futures and beaver canals to let bigger fish in ( I'm Canadianoid). Cooperation and acts of goodwill are tried and true. Thanks b. and all.

Posted by: failure of imagination | Feb 6, 2017 3:39:27 PM | 97

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, it was after sanctions had driven it into a corner. Any cornered animal is liable to attack if it cannot run. Thus Sun Tzu advises that an escape way must be left open so the vanquished enemy may escape.

Whenever Iran feels really threatened, it will pounce on it's tormentor/s and the response will not be mild. It will inflict the greatest amount of damage on the enemy in order to escape Japan's fate. It has no other alternative than destroying Tel Aviv and Dimona as well as the US presence in the Persian Gulf. All Saudi export facilities will be destroyed or harmed big time as well as the other accomplices. What will ensue will be serious damage to the whole world economies.

I can see the MSM already trumpeting Iran's MP defiant stance as a mean to ratchet pressure and gather viewers around a conflict that will "amuse" their audience.

Will Russia and China stay uninvolved?

Therein lies the question.

Posted by: CarlD | Feb 6, 2017 5:39:04 PM | 98

@98 That is indeed an astute question.

When push comes to shove will Trump dump the Putin/Ping alliance to address Iran or will it be vice-versa?

Posted by: Lozion | Feb 6, 2017 7:37:14 PM | 99

Flood the swamp, and go to the mound builder sanctuaries of a postal or state bank. Throw gmo bread sticks at the banksters and tell them their just desserts will only be a moment. Permaculture futures and beaver canals to let bigger fish in ( I'm Canadianoid). Cooperation and acts of goodwill are tried and true. Thanks b. and all.

Posted by: failure of imagination | Feb 6, 2017 3:39:27 PM | 97

Could not agree more with these sentiments, especially those bolded. Indeed, ethical institutions do currently exist where, at a local level, communities can disarm the private debt levers that currently control - correction - enslave populations, and also increases TPTB money supply... If only a given population wishes to free itself.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Feb 6, 2017 9:17:36 PM | 100

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