Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 21, 2015

What Is The Purpose Of This U.S. Fleet Concentration Next To Iran?

The Obama regime claims that it wants to hold the Saudis back from further killing in Yemen:

Top Obama administration officials have failed for several days to persuade Saudi Arabia’s government to limit the scope of its airstrikes on cities and towns in Yemen, a campaign that authorities said killed nearly 50 people Monday in Sana, the capital.
The White House would like Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies to curtail the airstrikes and narrow the objective to focus on protecting the Saudi border, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing internal deliberations.

The problem with this story is the acknowledged fact that the U.S. is still heavily supporting the Saudi attacks:

U.S. officials in Riyadh and Qatar are sharing intelligence from surveillance drones and spy satellites with officers from the Saudi-led coalition but are not approving individual targets, according to Pentagon officials.

“The air component is providing the Saudis intel on potential targets that include … civilian casualty mitigation procedures,” Lt. Col. Kristi Beckman, Air Force spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, said Monday.

If the White House would really want to stop the Saudis it could simply stop supporting them. Without U.S. intelligence the Saudis would be blind. It could stop providing more bombs and the Saudis would eventually run out of ammunition.

The Obama regime is simply not serious about this. It does not care one bit about Yemenis or about the expansion of AlQaeda in the Arab Peninsula (which renamed itself into "Sons of Hadramout" to get more official Saudi support).

Meanwhile the U.S. is building up a fleet concentration in the Arab sea next to Yemen. Some 10 to 12 capital ships will soon be there. Several destroyers. Three helicopter carriers/landing ships with a battalion of Marines each, one air craft carrier and an unknown number of nuclear submarines. All this to prevent a non existing threat to international shipping lanes and to stop non-existing supply convoys from Iran to the Houthies. Claims by the White House that Iran supplies the Houthies are ludicrous propaganda. There is not much love between Houthis and Iran, Yemen is full of weapons anyway and there is no evidence that any supplies have ever been provided. Why then this propaganda and fleet concentration?

The administration has a problem. Sanction against Iran are coming to an end no matter how the nuclear talks with Iran will end. Iran has shown its willingness to resolve the issue. The U.S. is the party blocking it. If there is a pact signed in June sanctions will end. If there is no pact signed in June the U.S. will be blamed and the sanction regime will fall apart. The Russian decision to finally provide S-300 air defense to Iran was an explicit sign for that. The Chinese are currently heavily bribing Pakistan to get a land route to Iranian gas. The U.S. will soon no longer able to constrain Iran through an internationally supported "crippling sanctions" regime.

Before the U.S. attacked Iraq the sanction regime there was also falling apart. Without sanctions increased Iraqi oil production would have lowered the price of oil. The oil men, and the Bush administration had many of them, would have made much less money. The attack on Iraq prevented that oil dump.

Similar conditions apply to the Iran sanction regime. As soon as Iran can sell as much as it wants oil prices will go down even more. The major oil companies would suffer. The Saudis would lose market share. Is the Obama administration willing to go to war, or to at least create some "incident", to prevent that?

Why else is that fleet in the Arab sea? Pat Lang fears that some new Gulf of Tokin incident might unfold. Why would he think that?

Posted by b on April 21, 2015 at 18:38 UTC | Permalink


I think the point you make, b, about the Iranian sanctions regime falling apart regardless of the final outcome of P5+1 talks is an important one. That is why a Gulf of Tonkin event should be feared. The Saudis and Israelis need an attack on Iran in the next two months that will herd the U.S. into a war.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Apr 21 2015 18:51 utc | 1

Coalition ends Operation Decisive Storm begins Operation Restore Hope in Yemen – ZeroHedge

Posted by: jaqwith | Apr 21 2015 19:06 utc | 2


It's entertaining to watch ZeroHedge backpedal after their report of an imminent invasion by the Saudis. They did try to revive that rumor with the claim about the activation of the SNS which actually appears to be for internal security.

Now comes the boring parts, negotiations, diplomacy and a political solutions, the Houthis are already on board.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 21 2015 19:57 utc | 3

thanks b.. good questions as always..

the optics don't look good..pats rationale is sound. one has to watch what is happening on the ground as opposed to reading the la times or any other usa propaganda outlet which always paints the usa out in such glowing terms on the international front..the exceptional nation is standing on high moral ground i tell ya!~

the usa is a run by a bunch of warped neo-con liars of the first order. the corporate media in the usa are willing to go along with the lies, as we have witnessed so clearly - saddams wmds on down.. and all the needless murder, wars and mayham is swallowed up by those proud americians who are having none of any alternative world view..

Posted by: james | Apr 21 2015 20:16 utc | 4

Well, we can only speculate.

The Russians and Iranians almost certainly know more than we bloggers do. Any changes in their military posture?

Wasn't there talk of Egyptian troops being sent to Yemen? Maybe the US Navy is there to provide support for a landing of Egyptian troops?

If the Iran peace talks fall apart, Western M$M will blame Iran. US friends and allies could probably be convinced to continue, and even deepen, sanctions (is that insufficient without Russian and Chinese participation?).

The M$M has pushed the illusion that Obama has defied the neocons to get to an peace Agreement with Iran. This is counter to the reality that Obama lacks the spine for that kind of defiance and there is NO deal with Iran (and given the bickering that started almost immediately, it appears that there may not even be a real understanding on a framework for a possible peace agreement).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 21 2015 20:50 utc | 5

@5 There was talk about Egyptian troops, but the chatter waned. My guess is Cairo asked what good is a poor conscript? Sisi isn't Nasser or in his shadow. A military disaster could cause internal hiccups especially if they are perceived as Saudi dogs while doing so. Pakistan isn't providing cover as a democracy, so given the last few years, there isn't enough money for Sisi to risk upheaval.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Apr 21 2015 22:00 utc | 6

M.K. Bhadrakumar speculates that it might be an evacuation task force.

Posted by: etienne marais | Apr 21 2015 22:15 utc | 7

Saudi cries uncle, suspends the bombing.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 21 2015 23:02 utc | 8

@8 That's my feeling too. Billionaires bombing poor tribespeople. Never a good PR move.

Posted by: dh | Apr 21 2015 23:10 utc | 9

Please the neo=-cons are crazy they don't go away

Posted by: jo6pac | Apr 22 2015 0:37 utc | 10

What is the purpose of the US Fleet concentration next to Yemen?

To enforce an Israeli type Gaza blockade of that poor nation, of course? I'm sure the US is advising the Saudis to buy a navy. From the US, of course. I wonder if the Battleship Missouri is still afloat? In addition to blackade picket duties the US/Saudis could be fring 16-in shells at Northern Yemen - just as Ronald Reagan did in Lebanon in 1983?

Posted by: jfl | Apr 22 2015 1:10 utc | 11

I think the Saudis have got themselves into something they can't fix with more violence. Their troubles are probably just beginning. The Houthi fighters are unlikely to give up; and as has been reported, the people of Yemen will unify across religious/political factions against as crude, and indiscriminate an attack, as the Saudis are making. And war crimes are already visible with the collective punishment that would starve a nation into submission.

Posted by: Copeland | Apr 22 2015 1:26 utc | 12

This seems to be another one of those "Let's do Something, even if it's stupid" scenarios which Xymphora drew attention to a few months ago when the Coalition of the Obedient-but-brainless were sending fighter jets to Iraq to "fight JSIS."
(The UK discovered that Denmark (or somesuch) had sent one more jet fighter than Cameron had sent - so Cameron sent two extra UK jet fighters, presumably to avoid looking too thrifty.)

I'm completely convinced that Russia does not want an "Iranian Refugee" problem on its doorstep and will move Heaven (and Nukes) to to prevent such a deliberate catastrophe. If Obama is too stupid to allow Iranian Diplomacy to solve His fake Iranian Nuke fantasy, then the only alternative will be a (very unfunny) Russian Humour solution.

It's time for the Yankees to stop believing their own Superpower bullshit because what they're doing now in the ME (at "Israel's" behest) makes them look like a bunch of drunken bums with a Masada complex.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 22 2015 3:53 utc | 13

A Saudi prince offers the Saudi pilots Bentleys for bombing Yemen,
serious, no joke

I think the sudden stopping of the indiscriminate bombing has more to do with the arrival of the IRIN convoy just out of the Yemen and Oman waters. this can turn into a serious escalation. Now rumours has it that the Saudi UN delegation threatened to bomb Syria. there is more to come yet.

Posted by: papa | Apr 22 2015 4:18 utc | 14

I refuse to send my mind down the labyrinthine passageways of reasoning of amerika, israel, iran and russia vis-à-vis their actual realpolitik positions on the Yemen rather than their ersatz humanist pseudo-empathetic public positions, because doing so requires needlessly wading in a cesspit of effluent created from a concentration of the lowest scumbags to ever walk the earth.

Instead I prefer to celibrate humankind at their best - which is what the broad ranging assemblage of Yemenis, sick and tired of being the filling in a particularly evil shit sandwich, and contemptuously referred to by fUSukiS and al Jazeeri as 'the Houthi' actually are.

Saudi has managed to pressure a couple of units of former Yemeni border protection companies to stand on the sidelines temporarily, but I reckon that over the last decade things have gotten so bad from random amerikan drone attacks plus unjust and ill-informed 'police' action against citizens that just about every Jawad Shitkicker Yemeni citizen has decided enough is enough, that they would rather die fighting the gutless cannon fodder fUSukiS sends at them than live grovelling under said cannon fodder's jackboot.

These born in the heat of battle alliances that have formed between once rival Yemen clans won't be easily broken. These groups have grown closer in battle against a common enemy and if you stop to think about it, trying to separate them by attacking them, is just plain stupid.
fUSukiS actions against the people of Yemen can only aid their opponents into becoming stronger and more resolute.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 22 2015 4:25 utc | 15

Why would Saudi lose? They have in fact won since they themselves say they have bombed majority of aims in Yemen.

Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 22 2015 5:23 utc | 16

Meanwhile, back in Ukraine ...

Blackwater Mercenaries Spotted in East Ukraine

The private military company was brought into further disrepute earlier this month when four ex-Blackwater guards were sentenced for the massacre of unarmed civilians killed in Baghdad.

“In the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces, namely, in Volnovakha, the presence of 70 representatives of the private military company Academi has been revealed,” explained Eduard Basurin, Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

The short story comes with the video of the Academi (?) - 'Outa my face, outa my face, please' - mercenary in Mariupol.

Pressing on at least two fronts at once ... they must 'have the feeling' that their checks are about to fail to cash ...

Posted by: jfl | Apr 22 2015 5:48 utc | 17

An interesting German graphic showing state endebtedness in the year 2015

Posted by: jfl | Apr 22 2015 6:04 utc | 18

The USA has devolved into a corrupt, power-mad 3rd world nation with an over-the-top military that we use to prop up our rotten economy with endless wars.
We keep waging endless wars to support the worthless petrodollar.

Posted by: Catman | Apr 22 2015 8:30 utc | 19

Brilliant military action, brilliant American diplomacy.

Saudi and Gulfies proved that they can actually fly the planes they have purchased at such an expense. The world is amazed. One of the princes got so elated that promised a new Bentley for every pilot.

United States of America got 48 billions in new military contracts.

Pakistan could show national independence from the Saudis by letting the parliament refuse the permission to send the troops. Turkey could show diplomatic mettle as well. Egypt proved that it is worthy another tranche of Gulf subsidies by not refusing to send the troops (not that they were lined to embark ships, but hey! it WAS a short notice!).

New king of KSA showed that he is capable of decisive action, all Altzheirmer rumors notwithstanding. Any rumors that the bombing ended when he forgot what was it about are unworthy even of denying.

Yemen … o well. Who cares.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2015 10:02 utc | 20

NYT, probably no bluff
Iran’s Foreign Minister Warns of Unlimited Atomic Fuel Enrichment if Talks on Final Agreement Fail


Iran’s foreign minister raised the prospect on Friday of unlimited Iranian atomic fuel enrichment if the final phase of talks with the United States and other big powers on Iran’s disputed nuclear program does not achieve an agreement by a June 30 deadline, with all sanctions dropped.

The foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, also said the Americans had diverged from a framework agreement reached on April 2 by publishing what they described as a fact sheet about the framework’s basic provisions. Contrary to that assertion, Mr. Zarif said, there would be no phased removal of sanctions to ensure Iranian compliance.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 22 2015 11:20 utc | 21

yemen is just a stepping stone to ethiopia where a resource more important than oil lies....water for the nile and fertile land to grow food

ethiopia is sacred land and must not be destroyed by war.the islamists should be mindful of this

that is where president obama,s destiny lies,not in europe or the middle east or asia but in africa in ethiopia

there is an old woman north of jijiga that can undo the five sided knot ,perhaps he should seek her out

Posted by: mcohen | Apr 22 2015 12:51 utc | 22

@B: Disagree !!!

From say 2001 up to mid 2008 the price of oil went up from ~ $ 20 to over $140. One MAJOR reason oil went up was that the US Dollar went down against a whole range of currencies. (e.g. Brazilian real, Canadian dollar, Aussie dollar, Euro). Whenever the US dollar goes up then commodity prices go down and vice versa.

But a falling US dollar (e.g. against the Euro) also means higher US PRICE inflation. The EUR/USD went up from 0.80 in 2001 up to 1.60 in mid 2008 It meant that over there in Europe (oil) PRICE inflation was in that same time frame only 50% of what it was here in the US.

Waging all those wars in the Middle East meant that the outflow of US dollars from the US increased and weakened the US dollar more. And as a result oil & commodities went higher.

Same thing happened from mid 2014 onwards. Oil went down in price and the USD went UP ! It's the same teeter-totter effect.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 22 2015 13:14 utc | 23

- The saudis are sending their army into Yemen because then the army has something to do, it's kept busy. Then they can't overthrow the saudi rulers.
Saddam Hoessein sent his soldiers into Kuwayt in august of 1990 for the same reason. "Keep them busy". That was - at least - ONE reason but not the only one.
- I continue to think that US support for the saudi invasion is a price the US has to pay for being able/allowed to make a deal with Iran.
- Egypt is also in (financial) trouble and supporting the war in Yemen is a good way to fill the egyptian TV time & filling news papers.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 22 2015 13:23 utc | 24

@Willy2 #23:

I continue to think that US support for the saudi invasion is a price the US has to pay for being able/allowed to make a deal with Iran.

I agree with you. I made a post earlier describing what the Wash Post is publishing in which I noted that there does not appear to be a US elite agenda to attack Yemen.

Nevertheless, speaking of a "saudi invasion" is premature, since KSA is just bombing, not sending in any ground troops.

In the larger scheme of things, I think that what is going on here is death throes of another appendage of the Empire.

Posted by: Demian | Apr 22 2015 14:25 utc | 25

Anyone else see the story in one of the enemy papers about how South Korea does US PR by announcing they eschew nuclear energy and weapons,at least for now,and casts aspersions on Iran's legitimate energy concerns and rights under international law.Poodles,like Graham and McCain.

Posted by: dahoit | Apr 22 2015 15:09 utc | 26


Iran had a perfect opportunity to outmaneuver the West on the Nuke question when Fukushima showed the dangers of this technology. Other countries have rejected or plan to phase out this dirty energy source and Iran could have avoided the humiliation of Western demands and sanctions by following their lead.

Iran has huge solar/wind potential and massive natgas reserves to make the transition so the claim that they need this energy source is weak. I'm sure they have the ability to make Nuke weapons and maintaining their enrichment capabilities is a way to match the Israeli threat even if they don't actually make a weapon.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 22 2015 16:16 utc | 27

Obama sincerely wants to avoid an Iran war

by an anon on the previoud thread. Jack Rabbit responded that peace would not be achieved.

I gave the Iran deal a 50% chance of succes a while ago. Now I make it 60 :) b says the Iran sanctions are coming to an end, which is true, everyone is acting as if they were lifted. Cautiously, but that can’t be stopped now.

Some additional remarks. The USA’s main aim as is now clear, is to prevent an alliance between Europe (specially Germany) and Russia. Such an alliance would put an end to US hegemony, and it was edging closer, though the cordon sanitaire around Russia (e.g. NATO expansion, arm twisting, funding, etc. in the Baltics and other ex-USSR like Moldavia, see also Georgia etc., recently erupted spectacularly into genocidal war in Ukraine) are long standing. The EU hs been shown up to be a vassal (camouflaged before.)

The US cannot fight so many wars at once. An Iran-Russia-Syria-plus x axis is too powerful. So relations with Iran have to be normalised, Iran needs be neutralised, brought out of opposition, into ‘normal’ international relations where it can be manipulated. A mantra of sanctions don’t work is taking hold…and Iran can be seduced, Russia, no longer, aggro towards it has gone too far.

One aim is that Iran could serve to furnish FF (fossil fuels) to Europe, thus cutting off EU dependence on Russian supplies, as these are the sticking point in getting the EU ultimately on board, some sacrifices can’t be made as all might be at risk. Hungry, cold ppl tend to rebel, right? (If they are Ukrainians that is of no account. This can in any case be contained.) That trade needs to be opened up, sanctions lifted. All the other plans in this direction, bruited about, are pipe dreams, such as LNG from the US…where the fracking industry has collapsed. I have always said that the US, as the more powerful partner, would not support Isr. (or fight wars for the Jews or whatever expression one favors) when push comes to shove. As we see playing out now.

— The mollahs in Iran are not religious fanatics, they are oligarchs, and control (estimated..? who knows?) 40% of the economy. They use religious repression / control to their own ends, and the sanctions have served them in a way (an enemy, etc.), but it has gone on for too long, they are facing some oppo at home. Which means they are very open to new deals, for more profits, also to show the Iranian ppl that ‘normalisation’ can take place, GDP can be upped, more jobs, some modernity, etc. Provided they are left alone to control their ppl, which the US will guarantee, see KSA.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 22 2015 16:36 utc | 28

Noam Chomsky on Yemen and the crisis of democracy in Europe and S America

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 22 2015 16:37 utc | 29

There are concerning aspects about the Yemeni conflict and its regional implications, one of them is the recent announcement by Russia lifting the ban on the sale of the S-300 system. Even when Putin signed a decree to be carried out “without delays,” (more?) the reality is that Russia doesn’t have the S-300s it promised to sale Iran in 2007. The announcement got the usual jackals and hyenas howling to high heaven about how Iran will use its protected airspace to build a nuclear bomb, or to start an arms race, even though Putin try his best to clarify the “defensive quality” of the S-300s. The S-300s marked for sale to Iran have been either sold or disassembled; the reality is Russia doesn’t have them and is not producing them anymore, the system having been upgraded to S-400/S-500. That means Iran, who is sticking to the original contract and refused to get the Antey-2500, an upgraded version of the S-300, will not get its defensive system “without delays” as Putin promised. According to Russia & India Report,

There is also the issue of which missiles Russia will supply to Iran and when. According to Director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Alexander Khramchikhin, the S-300 PMU-1 missiles are no longer being produced. It is still unclear whether Iran will accept the systems with the new modification, since Tehran had earlier refused similar proposals.

Furthermore, Khramchikhin believes that it will be difficult to supply systems that are already being used in the Russian armed forces, since they will need to be altered significantly. However, this alteration would be unrealistic to carry out in any acceptable period.

There are also problems regarding the supplies of the perfected S-400 systems. According to Khramchikhin, it will be difficult for Russian companies with the current potential to build the systems since they are already overloaded with orders up to 2020 for the army's rearmament program. Khramchikhin believes that in this case the supplies may be postponed for eight to 10 years, which will is unlikely to suit Tehran.

Russia promised to deliver the S-300s in 2015, and Iran’s media has been saying the same. Regardless of the time taken for the delivery, there is a dangerous gap that can be exploited to prevent Iran from getting the S-300s on time for a showdown with KSA, Israel, and/or the US. Even if the S-300s are delivered this year, it will take about a year to make them operational, which means Iran will have only Putin’s promise to defend its airspace. Iran is boasting about its Bavar (Belief) 373 missile defense systems which were paraded on Army Day, and according to them are “even more powerful and more advanced than the Russian S-300.” That remains to be seen, and it raises the question of why they are so insisting on buying the Russian system, if they have an “even more powerful” one, an obvious contradiction in terms, objectives and cost effectiveness. Why don't just ask for their money (plus penalties for breach of contract) back?

The other dangerous variable is the offer by Iran’s Defense Minister, at the recent Moscow’s International Security Conference, of a political-military alliance between Iran, Russia, and China. Any potential alliance between those giants (India may or may not partake of it), will kill once and for all the West’s ambitions in Eurasia, as the nature of it will be to prepare the burial ceremony of the Empire of Chaos global domination. Yemen might provide, as b pointed out, a Gulf of Tonkin that could nip in the bud the possibility of that alliance, and/or the delivery of the S-300s. OTOH, Israel will not miss any opportunity to hit Iran before securing its airspace. According to the President of the Institute of Middle East, Evgeny Satanovsky,

Israel has three options:

a) Destroy whatever they can, even the entire Iran, if they cannot destroy all the nuclear facilities, it is easier to destroy Iran. 15-20 objects, out of almost 40, Israel can destroy without America's help. They don't have enough for Iranian nuclear complex, but enough for the entire Iran. They have time until the systems are delivered and made operational, probably a year after they are delivered.

b) If a miracle happens, and God intervenes personally: Iran hates Israel, and it is mutual, but they enter a mode of mutual containment, just what happened between us and Americans after the Caribbean crisis.

c) Very similar to the first one: Israel learns to block radio-location systems of S-300. S-300 doesn't work when Israeli programmers don't want it to.

After all, Putin’s assurances to Israel that the S-300s are not a threat to Israel, might not be far from the truth, as ZeroHedge let us know in this video. Given the heated environment of Iran’s surroundings, with so many conflicts unfolding at the same time, the potential for a major eruption is always present. So far, Iran has been able to navigate among the rocky waters of sanctions, Iraq, Syria, ISIS, Lebanon, and now Yemen, with a steady hand. Let’s hope that continues to be the case, before its enemies take advantage of the gap between promises and their fulfillment.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 22 2015 22:40 utc | 30

Saudis stopped bombing for few hours, apparently, so it is a bit of the mystery why they announced it. Perhaps indeed the king forgot what is it about and it took a few hours for the "war party" to change the standing order back.

Concerning the aims of the American fleet, they can "help" with the blockade, although it is a bit hard to see why. Would an Iranian vessel dock in a Yemeni port, KSA could bomb it. Although Iran has means to retaliate against KSA, given their position at the Strait of Hormuz, so there is that. The aims of such idiotic wars are another things altogether. One side declares that it bombed all "targets", hence the victory, and the other sides declares that they won by surviving. Latest war of Israel were all of that kind. It is harder to do in a democratic system where you whip up the war fever and then, whenever you end it some folks are still unsatisfied. But KSA should have no problem getting all media astounded with the military genius of the armed forces.

About the Eurasian block. A loose block exists, and by putting pieces together, "preventative bombing" of Iran would have some huge consequences. Details are unclear, but high establishment (US military, various heads of states including even Harper of Canada) is dead set against such bombing, and that gives me a clue that there is something to various somewhat vague announcements of China and Russia. If all bets are off, China could even take Taiwan, Russia could disassemble a little part of the pipeline from Azerbaijan to the Black Sea, there is a smorgasboard of options. But this is reserved for dire circumstances,

China and Russia actually made a pair of big signals. One is S-300 announcement -- the importance extends beyond the delivery that may happen or not. The second is that China will provide funds for Iran-Pakistan pipeline. They promised years ago, but due to some arm twisting they withdrew, Pakistan claimed that they can do it without foreign financing, but they did not -- I assume again, American arm twisting. But Pakistan needs more electricity quite badly, so with China once again behind the deal they will go forward. And once the pipeline reaches Karachi, Indian market will be very close. Result one: scenarios how the economic stranglehold on Iran will be broken is already pencilled out, so Obama is indeed squeezed in that respect. Result two: no conflict between Russia and Iran in terms of gas markets. This already happened with Turkmenistan, Russia had a huge problem, but finally it was arranged that the gas from Turkmenistan goes to China (the story was almost funny, Russia made a big blunder and recovered using quite underhanded ways, but at the end of the day, Russia, Turkmenistan and China were all happy). And once the subcontinent gets Gulf gas, it can increase exponentially, we have a huge workforce ready for more manufacturing with insufficient electricity. In the same time, the market in Europe is somewhat limited, the economies there are expending slowly if at all.

The way I see it, USA was unexpectedly successful in meddling that hurt the economies of Iran, Pakistan and to a lesser extend, India, but that cannot go on forever.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Apr 22 2015 23:20 utc | 31


Jack Rabbit responded ... that peace would not be achieved.
I didn't say that peace wouldn't be achieved, I questioned the assumption that Obama "sincerely" wants peace. (I encourage readers to read what I wrote by clicking on the link that Noirette provided.)

People seem to forget that Obama has promoted many "deals" that have not been delivered:

- "Change You Can Believe In"
A 'deal' with the American people for a transparent government that works for ordinary Americans, an end to wars, closing Guantanamo, end to torture and pervasive spying, etc.

- Dodd-Frank Financial Reform
Watered-down by later rules-making - as critics said it would be.

Home Affordable Modification Program was supposed to help homeowners that faced foreclosure. It was later revealed to be just 'foaming the runway' for the banks (a way to spread foreclosures over time so banks could better process them). Many homeowners found that their applications were ignored or used against them.

- Fiscal Cliff / Deficit Negotiations
Kabuki theatre that resulted in cut-backs to social programs via "the sequester".

- 'Reset' with Russia / "New beginning" with the Arab World
But: Ukraine coup; support for extremists fighting Syria; etc.

- Obamacare
Widely viewed as a give-away to corporate interests. The 'public option' never saw the light of day.

- Obamatrade
Trade deals - promoted as jobs programs - that will destroy sovereignty.

I hope that peace can be achieved. But Obama's track record regarding big 'deals' makes me skeptical.

b says the Iran sanctions are coming to an end ...
How they come to an end is the big question. They can come to an end because a because a) there is a peace deal, or b) because some countries refuse to continue the sanctions regime, or c) via war.

The USA's main aim ...
The USA's main aim is to not allow any challenger to emerge. Russia and China and other countries are developing competing organizations and structures that -do- represent a challenge.

The US cannot fight so many wars at once....
You present a list of all the good reason why peace with Iran should be made. But that is wishful thinking if the neocons block any peace.

Also: a) the "wars" are, for the most part, wars of attrition fought via proxy/propaganda/economics (so far); and b) US military spending, even in peacetime is huge (I've read that it is more than the rest of the world combined).

The mollahs in Iran are not religious fanatics, they are oligarchs...
They are both. They toned down the religious aspect a bit because the Iranian people were unhappy with that. Of course, they look like saints when compared to ISIS. I freely admit that my perspective is one which values the separate of church and state.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 23 2015 0:10 utc | 32

We have many recent years of Russian actions to help us analyze.

Russia has proven it will act decisively when its core interests are threatened. It has proven this again and again - by defending South Ossetia against Georgian assault, but pushing ships in between Syria and US bases in Europe, and by securing Crimea from its potential take over by NATO. The flip side to this is Russia standing aside while Libya was mugged.

The question then is how core of an interest to Russia is Iran's independence of action in the Middle East. I'd suggest it is at the very center of Russia's strategy towards the Middle East. And I think the relationship is symbiotic - both have to have support each other to save Syria. Without the help of both, Syria falls, and with it all the power of each in the Arab world. For Iran, this is the loss of its entire regional role and much of its legitimacy at home (a big part of which is they're pledge to defend Palestine). For Russia, it means being bottled up in the Black Sea, and maybe even the pressure of separatism building up in its Southern regions.

So Russia will do, I imagine, everything it can do to save Iran from US and Israeli aggression. It has for sure its own complicated relationship with Iran - it doesn't want Iran to have nuclear weapons for a host of reasons - mostly because it would much rather keep Iran dependent on its security umbrella rather than have to rely on it. Not to mention that Iran has been through two major changes of regime since the Second World War and is clearly one of the #1 targets of the United States for a third. But I think at this point, considering the threats it is facing, Russia would allow Iran almost any freedom and any leverage in the region to keep it on its side. And they would, I'd guess, do everything in their power to spoil an attack on Iran. As much or more than it did to spoil an attack on Syria.

If the United States, Israel, or KSA think otherwise - they're tilting at World War 3 more blithely than anyone would wants to contemplate. The idea that Israel would wage a nuclear war on Iran is absolutely insane. Though their might be some in Netanyahu's government crazy enough to contemplate it, I think it would lead to a military coup, mostly because I don't think there is any doubt that the Russians would announce that they'd defend Iran with their own nuclear weapons (the words being cheaper, at least, than the action). And that's a bet no one would dare match.

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 23 2015 0:38 utc | 33

@31 LOL. An attempt to compile a list of Obama's let downs? That's a bold endeavor. Let's hope the infinite scroll goes far enough....

Posted by: guest77 | Apr 23 2015 0:39 utc | 34


' I gave the Iran deal a 50% chance of success a while ago. Now I make it 60 ... '

But which Iran deal?

1. The one between Iran and the US?
2. The one between Iran and the world?
3. The one between Iran and the world minus the US?

I think deal number 3 100% likely, is in fact done.


' China and Russia actually made a pair of big signals. One is S-300 announcement -- the importance extends beyond the delivery that may happen or not. The second is that China will provide funds for Iran-Pakistan pipeline. ... scenarios how the economic stranglehold on Iran will be broken is already penciled out, so Obama is indeed squeezed in that respect. '

Iranian sanctions are over, first the trickle then the flood, no matter what the US says. Obama signed a 'compromise' allowing the congress ... to take the blame for missing out on the upcoming 'trade with Iran rush'.

The collapse of the US' Empire has begun ... first the tinkle, then the crash, boom, thud.

So, what is the purpose of this US Fleet concentration next to Iran? Having lost in the real world the US is trying to remind everyone of death, devastation, and destruction. The only realm in which the US is still the champ. But ... it's so over. Nobody wants more war. All that's left of 'war' is the high-tech and brutal Israelis killing defenseless children in Gaza and now the high-tech and brutal Saudis killing defenseless children in Yemen. And the US supplying both. The rest of the world is repulsed and waiting for the 'triumvirate' of losers - as though there were any real men among them - to realize their 'wars' are over, and so to stop ... to just stop the shameful behavior they're still so fruitlessly pursuing.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 23 2015 1:06 utc | 35


From previous thread...

One really can not be too cynical these days.

I agree. Peace is not the mere absence of war, and Obama's "peace" with Iran looks more like this than a real and lasting peace.

Absence Of War

Silently we have been observing you
Watching closely your every move
Taking notes of your sickening motives
Gaining information of your forces
Preparing our men for the impending fight
As the ultimate plague is upon us

[Cho:] Absence of war does not mean peace
It is just a temporary phase
When all hell breaks loose
It is the war to end all wars

Silently all the killing will start
We will hunt you down one by one
We will destroy all your religious relics
We will burn down the places of worship
We will cut all your children's throats
And bury them under camel shit

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Apr 23 2015 1:28 utc | 36

The main factor is keeping the Ponzi expanding. Actual war would create major problems, but pushing everyone a little bit and a little bit more is necessary.

Posted by: brodix | Apr 23 2015 2:01 utc | 37

"As soon as Iran can sell as much as it wants oil prices will go down even more." Isn't Iranian oil production somewhat controlled by OPEC? Isn't Iran a member of OPEC?

Posted by: ak | Apr 23 2015 2:21 utc | 38


The Saudis refused to cut their production to stabilize prices when the other OPEC members requested a cut so I doubt Iran would listen to anyone telling them to not raise their production back to pre-sanction levels.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Apr 23 2015 4:00 utc | 39

During the fake "end of operations" announcement the Houthis released the Defense minister they had kidnapped 1 month before (kidnapping in Yemen is a normal vendetta practice; it does not involve the elements of kidnapping in Syria such as blackmailing and tortures, on the contrary kidnappers are supposed to show generosity)

Posted by: Mina | Apr 23 2015 7:06 utc | 40

Not meaning to be contrarian, but why does there have to be a "purpose"?

The US military is a creature very much driven by Stimulus/Response.

Here is a country, and it is currently bombing another country.
Here is some water, and it is right next to those two warring countries.

Admiral Guts'n'Glory: Quick! Move a carrier battle group in there!
Lieutenant Bendover Flunky: Err, why, sir?
Admiral Guts'n'Glory: Because.. umm.. becau.. Damn It! Don't Question My Orders, Flunky!

It may be as simple as that: the US has moved a carrier battle group in there because that's what they always do when there is some shootin' 'n' hollerin' goin' on.

Posted by: Johnboy | Apr 23 2015 10:11 utc | 41

@40 I always assumed the Pentagon and defense companies jumped on board with Libya largely because they feared a successful action being undertaken without them would undermine "the global force for good" crap.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Apr 23 2015 13:44 utc | 42

jfl @ 34: " But ... it's so over."

From your lips, to the ear of the Universe.

Posted by: ben | Apr 23 2015 14:25 utc | 43

@willy2 #22
Your statement is idiotic. The US dollar did not decline in strength by 85% leading up to the oil peak, nor did it double in strength from August 2014 until now.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Apr 23 2015 15:05 utc | 44

Jack Rabbit, @ 31, i summarised, why i put in the link.

As for Obama’s lies and broken promises, enough said about them.

Err.. one early one that stuck in my craw was that he ensured getting about 98% of the black vote by promising to do something to compensate black farmers which then languished for years and finally fizzled out (iirc, a little something was done many years later, I forget the details.) A despicably low move. (As to morality, not measuring the result.)

As for the Iranian rulers, perhaps they are oligarchs first, religious fanatics second is sorta acceptable - but which position comes first and overrides considerations from the other?

For the rest, ok, and, details aren’t important. The neo-cons can perhaps stop the US from dropping sanctions, but the US is not the be-all end-all in this affair.

jfl @34, the ‘Iran deal’ is signing some sort of document (the actual content matters little) in June between Iran and the ‘world’ as embodied in international accords (UN, the 5+1 powers, etc.) Individual countries can more or less do what they wish, as long as they don’t cross UN official sanctions boundaries - provided they want to remain mealy-mouthed respectable looking!.. In any case sanctions are violated all the time, all over the board. All this is more psych (as you know) than legalistic.

For ex. Russia now proposing to sell/deliver those missiles to Iran is not afaik even ‘illegal’ according to *present* UN sanctions, one can argue they are ‘merely defensive’ and non-nuclear. (Experts can have a field day with this.. i have no informed opinion.) The ban on the sale was made by Mevdevev, to please the US. Putin is defending the Russian arms industry, first foot in the door, all that.

60% - 100% - let’s wait for the outcome. In any case history is on the march and Iran is to be opened up for various trades. That is inevitable.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 23 2015 15:26 utc | 45

The U.S. Defense Department opposed the intervention in Libya. The policy was imposed on them by the "humanitarians" in the White House and the State Department. Largely women, with Hillary at their head.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 23 2015 15:27 utc | 46

Gatilov: Russia opposes a ground operation in Yemen

Posted by: Alan | Apr 23 2015 15:40 utc | 47

ot @45 lysias.. that was one hell of a successful humanitarian thing they did there in libya.. i note the boatloads of dying lbyians searching for the supposed humanitarian aid still.. so you are telling us the us dod is run, or strongly influenced by the warm and fuzzy thoughts of humanitarians- hilary being one of them? anyone who believes that may as well check into a nuthouse.. what? you say the white house is the nuthouse? - well then hilary is a perfect person for the job!

Posted by: james | Apr 23 2015 16:29 utc | 48

Iran sanctions. Document from the US treasury dept. From *nov. 2014.* (before the recent made-public and pending deals with Iran.)


The JPOA provides for the temporary suspension of U.S. sanctions on “Iran’s petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on any associated services.” To implement this provision of the JPOA during the JPOA Relief Period, the USG will take the following steps to allow for the export of petrochemical products from Iran, as well as associated services, by non-U.S. person….

> Iran should export to Europe, etc.

The USG will not impose correspondent or payable-through account sanctions under section 1(a)(iii) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13622 (as amended by section 16(b) of E.O. 13645); section 3(a)(i) of E.O. 13645; and sections 561.204(a) and 561.204(b)(3) of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 561 (IFSR), on foreign financial institutions that conduct or facilitate transactions that are initiated and completed entirely within the JPOA Relief Period by non-U.S. persons not otherwise subject to the ITSR for exports of petrochemical products from Iran that are initiated and completed entirely within the JPOA Relief Period, including transactions involving the petrochemical companies listed in the Annex to this guidance, provided that the transactions do not involve persons on the SDN List other than the petrochemical companies listed in the Annex to this guidance or any Iranian depository institutions listed solely pursuant to E.O. 13599.

apologies for the long quote.

Inpenetrable obfuscation - no way anybody can read, absorb, interpret these texts and act in consequence. Bureaucratic hysteria is a staple of fascisitc regimes. If they can’t even be understood, they have no effect, can’t be applied.

What about US sanctions as applied to US cos. that deal with Iran? Where to begin?

The Department of State has sanctioned 19 entities for their commercial activities in Iran, pursuant to its authorities under the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended, the Iran Freedom and Counter Proliferation Act, or Executive Order 13622.

or read the OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL: Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List April 21, 2015.

PDF 100s of pages (al Nursa btw is on it) and very heavy, but if one can have a look, go for it. Just to see the madness. .

The US has traded with Iran all the time, and the EU complained bitterly they were prevented from doing so.

While Europe’s trade with Iran still dwarfs that of the U.S. by more than 20-to-one, American business has climbed 35 percent since 2011, compared with a 77 percent drop for the European Union, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 2014:

Just pointing to confusion...say.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 23 2015 18:11 utc | 49

@14 -- "A Saudi prince offers the Saudi pilots Bentleys for bombing Yemen,..."

London will be pleased!

Win-win UK no comment 'hush' money?

Personally autographed and delivered by a British Prince (I'm not) Charlie?

Posted by: nobody | Apr 25 2015 11:59 utc | 50

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