Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 15, 2019

The Lunacy Of Waging A War On Iran From Which China And Russia Will Win

The scare mongering about an attack on Iran continues. Bolton must be laughing his ass off how easy he can play the issue based on nothing. He simply counters any debunking of the alleged 'thread from Iran' by upping the ante. Yesterday a British general in Iraq denied that any such threat exists in the area of his responsibility:

“No – there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria,” Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the coalition responsible for counter-terrorist operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a video briefing, according to the Guardian.

Today Bolton countered that by again raising the noise level around the imaginary threat:

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran.

The alert, published on the embassy's website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests.

Bolton is for now achieving the results he wants. He systematically fills the public space with talk about the non-existing 'threat from Iran'. If that threat is established in the public mind by its constant repetition, it will be used for the usual false flag incident to justify to launch a war on Iran.

Bolton's power might change though. The knifes are out against him and there are rumors that he might get fired:

Two sources familiar with the matter tell me President Donald Trump’s rumbustious National Security Council chief is headed for the exits, having flown too close to the sun on his regime change efforts for Iran, Venezuela and North Korea. “Hearing that Trump wants him out,” a former senior administration official told me.

Bolton (and maybe Trump too) want a war on Iran because Bibi Netanyahoo asked for one, because the anti-Iranian MEK cult and Zionists paid him to wage one, and because he thinks he can do so without damaging the United States.

by Ted Rall (used with permission) - bigger

It is the last point where he is completely wrong. The war on Iraq destroyed the position of the U.S. as the 'sole superpower'. Russia used the aftermath to come back into the Middle East while China gained time to fortify its position in Asia. The once sole superpower is now only a primus inter pares with China and Russia. A U.S. war on Iran would further diminish its position. China and Russia would both end up with an increased standing in the world while the U.S. would lose out.

Here is why.

Yesterday the New York Times promoted the options the Pentagon gave to the White House for a war on Iran. It led with the 120,000 troops option which made no sense:

The number is too high for an attack by air and on sea and too low for an attack on land, i.e. an invasion of Iran.

Newsweek now says that the 120,000 troop option is only the prelude for an invasion of Iran:

Pentagon officials told Newsweek that if deployed, the role of the 120,000 U.S. forces would center on logistical support and developing infrastructure to preposition U.S. forces for the option of a ground invasion. The original 120,000 would integrate into an additional surge of U.S. forces sent into the region.

These "Pentagon officials" are not "military officials", i.e. not soldiers. They seem to have no idea what they are speaking about. An invasion and occupation of the mountainous Iran would require over half a million soldiers just for the start. Even an invasion of only the oil rich areas on Iran's west coast and on its border with Iraq would require a force of some 300,000 men. Without a draft the U.S. military is unable to sustain such a large operation for more than two or three months.

And invade from where please? Iraq would certainly not allow U.S. forces to attack its neighbor from its grounds. An invasion by sea is prohibited by the confined water of the Persian Gulf, the lack of minesweepers, and of other maritime assets.

The people who talk up such a war have a serious case of delusion:

A Pentagon source told Newsweek if anything is likely to happen involving the preliminary Iran options, it would involve a heavy guided missile strike campaign in an attempt to lead Tehran to the negotiation table with Washington.

"It depends on the escalation of force. But no matter the bravado from Iran’s side, when you get hit it with 500 missiles every day, it degrades you, which is the objective. When your opponent is weak, you get more out of any negotiation," said one official with knowledge of the Iran plans.

Once upon a time one Saddam Hussein, egged on by the U.S. and Arab Gulf dictators, had similar ideas. When he attacked Iran in 1980 he thought that he could seize Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province within a month or two. After the 1979 Islamic revolution the Iranian military was in disarray. Many officers had been dismissed or had left. Iran was under a global weapon embargo while Iraq had support from all large powers. The war did not take too month. It took eight years, the use of chemical weapons against Iranian cities, a large U.S. operation against the Iranian navy, and over a million death on both sides before Iran was willing to accept a ceasefire. In the end the border was restored to its prewar state. Iraq nearly went bankrupt due to the war which is the reason why it later seized Kuwait and had to endure the consequences.

In light of that history it is hilarious to believe that one would "get more out of negotiations" with Iran by each day launching 500 missiles at it.

And what about Iran's retaliation capabilities? Iran has a large missile force and drone fleet of its own. It has well equipped proxy force in Lebanon and elsewhere. Each cruise missile hit on Tehran can and will be countered by one on Tel Aviv. Iran would also have support from China and from Russia which can provide all kind of weapons it needs through the Caspian Sea, while the U.S. would lack capable allies.

Iran's missiles can hit any country in the Middle East that hosts U.S. forces. It can target Saudi desalination plants, UAE refineries and various oil shipping ports. Energy prices would go through the roof. The recent incidents near the UAE port Fujairah and the attack on the Saudi east-west pipelines were likely not caused by Iran. But they give a minor taste of what Iran's asymmetric capabilities could achieve.

The 'Pentagon officials' should reread their briefings on the Millennium Challenge exercise which simulated a U.S. (blue) attack on Iran (red):

At the start of MC ’02, to fulfill the forced-entry requirement, blue issued red an eight-point ultimatum, of which the final point was surrender. Red team leader Van Riper knew his country’s political leadership could not accept this, which he believed would lead the blue forces to directly intervene. Since the George W. Bush administration had recently announced the “preemption doctrine,” Van Riper decided that as soon as a U.S. Navy carrier battle group steamed into the Gulf, he would “preempt the preemptors” and strike first. Once U.S. forces were within range, Van Riper’s forces unleashed a barrage of missiles from ground-based launchers, commercial ships, and planes flying low and without radio communications to reduce their radar signature. Simultaneously, swarms of speedboats loaded with explosives launched kamikaze attacks. The carrier battle group’s Aegis radar system — which tracks and attempts to intercept incoming missiles — was quickly overwhelmed, and 19 U.S. ships were sunk, including the carrier, several cruisers, and five amphibious ships. “The whole thing was over in five, maybe ten minutes,” Van Riper said.

The war hawks' inability to learn from history is quite remarkable:

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover - @FiringLineShow- 20:14 utc - 14 May 2019

Senator @TomCottonAR tells Firing Line if it comes to war with Iran, he is confident the United States would win, and would win swiftly. “Two strikes, the first strike and the last strike,” says the Senator. (video)

We have heard such talk before:

"I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk."
    Ken Adelmann, February 13 2002, Washington Post
"The idea that it's going to be a long, long, long battle of some kind I think is belied by the fact of what happened in 1990. Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."
    Donald Rumsfeld, November 15 2002, CBSNews
"This is going to be a two-month war, not an eight-year war."
    Bill Kristol, March 29 2003, CSPAN

The war on Iraq would be a short simple affair, said the Tom Cotton like nutters. It was also said to cost next to nothing. Sixteen years later, after a million dead, $2 trillion spent and after enduring a huge economic crisis, the U.S. is still fighting in Iraq.

There are no short or cheap wars. War is by its very nature unpredictable, costly, and hardly ever ends as desired.

John Bolton has long argued for a war on Iran. Should he get his will and push the U.S. into launching a war, both sides of it will lose out. There will also be a lot of collateral damages in several other countries in the Middle East, and other severe consequences we can not yet foresee.

What is assured though is that the biggest winners of such a war, and maybe the sole ones, will be Russia and China.

The Democratic opposition in the U.S. seems to have little time to argue against another war in the Middle East. It is still busy subpoenaing the remnants of the Russiagate investigations. But isn't it evident that Putin is -right now- using the infamous pee-tape to push Trump into a war on Iran from which Russia's standing in the world will profit? What are they doing to prevent that?

Posted by b on May 15, 2019 at 16:33 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The 1:08h video Targeting Iran was published 4 month ago. Its from the book "Targeting Iran" by David Barsamian and Noam Chomsky. Haven't had time to see it yet, but thought you may be interested in it.

Posted by: b | May 15 2019 16:42 utc | 1

Isn't the lesson since at least Vietnam that is isn't about waging or winning but that the goal is to get paid for waging? There is no winning... but there is getting paid. Hence the military-industrial complex's cheerleading national media. Life as a pep rally and 'game' all bought on credit/debt while health care; infrastructure; schools; other institutions crumble. Those who govern don't even pretend to serve anything other than their private interests.

Posted by: stevelaudig | May 15 2019 17:06 utc | 2

Crazy. What do people make of Rudy Giuliani's MEK connections?


Posted by: roza shanina | May 15 2019 17:14 utc | 3

Putin,..."I have repeatedly said in conversations with [our] Iranian partners that, in my opinion, it would be more rational for Iran to remain in this treaty, no matter what. Because as soon as Iran takes the first steps in response [to the US' exit from the JCPOA], declares that it is withdrawing, tomorrow everyone will forget that the United States was the initiator of the destruction, and everything will be blamed on Iran", he told reporters."...

I am not sure what words were used with Pompeo in Moscow, but I think the fat man did not like the response he got. Putin and Lavrov are very crafty an smooth as the cream ale I am drinking right now. They will not back down from supporting Iran. The USA has started too many fires and not able to put any out without getting burned now.

Posted by: Taffyboy | May 15 2019 17:17 utc | 4

It seems likely that Bolton's smoke an mirrors is preparing us for war in Lebanon or Syria, not Iran.

In particular, this 'preparation' serves as a warning to Russia and Syria not to proceed with an operation to retake Idlib. The Syrian occupations (Idlib, Northeastern Syria, al Tanf, and Golan Heights) are strategic strangleholds which, along with economic sanctions, are designed to achieve 'Assad must go!' Coalition objectives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 17:24 utc | 5

Yesterday, I posted a link to a twitter comment made by Khamenei who was conducting a meeting attended by "the heads of power branches, officials and government authorities as well as a group of senior managers of various sectors, members of parliament, political, social and cultural activists," which was subsequently posted as an article on his English language website.

Some of his observations follow:

"[Trump] claims there is a protest against the establishment in Tehran every Friday. First off, it is not on Fridays, but on Saturdays. Second, it is not in Tehran, but in Paris."

"There is no doubt that the U.S.'s animosity—which started with the Revolution—has taken a more overt form today. This animosity existed previously, but not as explicit as it has now become. Now they explicitly announce it and threaten us. It is important to know the one who makes an uproar threatening others is actually weaker than they claim."

"The U.S. government is in need of making uproars. They claim their behavior has changed Iran. They are right; the change brought to Iran was that the Iranian people's abhorrence towards the U.S. regime increased tenfold; their chance of infringing upon the interests of the Islamic Republic grew slimmer; the zeal of our youth for maintaining the country prepared has increased; and our police and security forces have become more vigilant."

"No one should fear the apparent grandeur of the U.S.; neither their grandeur nor the wealth of the Qaruns of the Persian Gulf: their real power is much less than their uproar. No one should fear the apparent grandeur of the U.S.; this is a big mistake."

"So beware not to glorify the enemy. Of course, we cannot underestimate them either; but they are not that strong and they suffer from a lot of problems."

Khamenei sounds like a MoA commentator! In extracts I didn't cite, he seems to be saying Iran will do what it must do.

IMO, it's the Outlaw US Empire that fears Iran, but not because Iran wants to conquer the USA or damage it one iota. In fact, that's THE question that ought to be posed to TrumpCo--Why does the USA fear Iran so much despite the fact that it presents no actual threat to the physical security of the USA?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2019 17:30 utc | 6

But isn't it evident that Putin is -right now- using the infamous pee-tape to push Trump into a war on Iran from which Russia's standing in the world will profit?

Nice touch, B!

You could use the same argument for much of what Trump has done since becoming President - indeed also Obama. Everything the US tries to do backfires. The Elite are desperate, and desperate people tend to do dangerous things that cause themselves (and others) a lot of harm. The dire result increases the desperation, which escalates the process. Rinse and repeat.

Posted by: BM | May 15 2019 17:31 utc | 7

"Bigger" link to Ted Rall cartoon is broken, B.

Posted by: Dan Lynch | May 15 2019 17:33 utc | 8

The easiest way to get ground forces into Iran would be to invade somewhere like Chabahar and work your way up (see Anabasis by Xenophon).

Alternatively 300,000 troops could go in from Afghanistan or Turkmenistan after being ferried there secretly by rail across Russia.

Posted by: dh | May 15 2019 17:39 utc | 9

The US has stopped using smoke and mirrors long ago. The infighting, leaks, loose neocons, and rabid Russiagaters has made it impossible for this country to behave rationally, let alone have a smoke and mirror strategy. Trump likes chaos and so do the US olygarchs. So they are happy with this.

This is probably the war they will start using tactical nukes thus why they recently changed the doctrine and the little hints from Rubio and that other idiot who talked about 2 strikes.

Posted by: Comandane | May 15 2019 17:42 utc | 10

My view has always been that these threats against Iran are just hot air. A war on Iran can't be finished in one night, so Trump won't agree. He wouldn't at all enjoy spending long hours in the war room, as Obama did. Especially if it's true that he spends all his time watching the TV in his apartment. The temperature will cool.

Jackrabbit might be right that it's a diversion, but I doubt that's right either. The war in Syria can't be turned around now. Attacking Hizbullah is too risky for Israel. Half Tel Aviv might be taken apart. Netanyahu is more risk averse than that. He's like the US - he'll do anything as long as there's no risk of losses. Unfortunately there is such a risk. So a big movement is unlikely.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 15 2019 17:43 utc | 11

I get what folks say about potential misdirection, i.e. Syria/Lebanon instead of Iran (@5 jr), but honestly, from where I sit, it seems no matter WHERE the U.S. wants to stir up sh!t next, they are already snookered

The Operation Gladio playbook is already well known now by all who matter (many thanks W.Blum RIP)

And certainly Russia, China & Iran have the intelligence gathering skills now in place to tip-off the next target(s) of ZATO, in addition to putting mechanisms in place (read S-300+) to thwart such attempts, should they be so foolish to even try (see Venezuela)

As depressing as ZATO's machinations of late have become, there is some semblance of hope on the horizon, as b illustrates.

And all this time I was led to believe Sun Tsu was american /s

Posted by: xLemming | May 15 2019 17:43 utc | 12

"[Trump] claims there is a protest against the establishment in Tehran every Friday. First off, it is not on Fridays, but on Saturdays. Second, it is not in Tehran, but in Paris."
"The U.S. government is in need of making uproars.
Posted by: karlof1 | May 15, 2019 1:30:52 PM | 7


The pussycat roaring through a megaphone! One swipe at the cat from the bear watching on, and the cat is gone ... but the cat is so sure it is a lion it arrogantly continues roaring through the megaphone regardless. Will the bear be stirred into action?

Posted by: BM | May 15 2019 17:44 utc | 13

Analysis is NOT advocacy.

If Trump gives the order to attack Iran, we can be certain there will be no ground invasion. There'll only be massive air & missile attacks. The goal would be to make many Iranian cities rubble. Naval vessels will be at a distance beyond Iranian missile range. Standoff weapons will be the primary ones used until all Iranian air defense & missile batteries are destroyed. Russia and China will not directly intervene militarily however they will provide intelligence support. This will enable the US military unfettered ability to achieve complete air dominance.

On the other side Iran and its proxies in Iraq, Syria & Lebanon will use asymmetric strategies. Before all Iranian missile systems are destroyed they'll attack Gulf, Saudi & Israeli assets to the best of their abilities including military bases in Qatar, Saudi & Iraq. Hezbollah will rain as many missiles and rockets it can on Israel. Iraqi Shia militias will attack US military installations in Iraq.

The net net would be chaos in world financial & commodities markets as oil prices skyrocket amid a complete shutdown of Gulf oil.

I agree with b's analysis that Russia and China will be the biggest beneficiaries as their primary adversary the US will be substantially weakened. All the US can achieve is the complete destruction of Iranian cities & infrastructure. The Islamist government in Iran will be strengthened and any domestic dissent will be crushed.

Posted by: ab initio | May 15 2019 17:45 utc | 14

Bolton (and maybe Trump too) want a war on Iraq because Bibi Netanyahoo asked for one, because the anti-Iranian MEK cult and Zionists paid him to wage one, and because he thinks he can do so without damaging the United States.

Typo, B, should be Iran.

Posted by: BM | May 15 2019 17:53 utc | 15

Iran essentially already has a nuke: it can shut down the straights of Hormuz and blow up the world economy. Does Trump want that when he is running for re-election or any other time?
I would expect that Irani sympathizers will blow up pipelines, sabotage tankers, etc. because it will raise oil prices, make Irani oil more desirable, and will put a big stick in the eye of the USA.
The perception that it is USA/Israel/Saudi Babaria that has the upper hand is a delusion.
The impotence of the old men running the USA is sad.

Posted by: geoff | May 15 2019 17:56 utc | 16

Bolton has achieved a major Iran goal, the US withdrawal from Iraq, a country which the US propaganda machine has painted as a US ally since Operation Iraqi Freedom but is actually an Iran ally.
The US will probably have to down-size its military force, an objective already stated in the Iraq parliament by the new pro-Iran government. Recall the Beirut Marine barracks bombing. The Pentagon, as others have pointed out, actually has some adults in it who recognize a no-win situation when they see it, one which puts troops in a non-defendable bad situation. If they don't leave they will have to hunker down and limit their exposure to the locals.
The announcement of a US embassy withdrawal of "all non-essential, non-emergency government staff" also benefits Iran. The Baghdad embassy is reportedly the largest US embassy in the world in terms of physical size and in manning. . .from an article by Eric Zuesse...

The world's largest embassy is situated in the Green Zone and fortified by three walls, another barrier of concrete slabs, followed by barbed wire fences and a wall of sandbags. It covers an area of 104 acres, six times larger than UN headquarters in New York and ten times larger than the new embassy Washington is building in Beijing – which is just 10 acres.. . . The database displaying worldwide US embassy orders of goods and services reveals Baghdad as a postal and shipping centre for tonnes of freight. Though military freight might be expected between the US and Iraq, records show that embassies across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Africa are all receiving deliveries from Baghdad too. According to Wikileaks' database, orders to ship more than 540 tonnes of cargo to the US were made in May 2018. The same document shows other main delivery destinations included 120 tonnes of freight to Europe, and 24 tonnes to South Africa, South America and Central Africa respectively. …here

Way to go Johnny - Iran's best friend.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 17:59 utc | 17

karlof1 @7

“In fact, that's THE question that ought to be posed to TrumpCo--Why does the USA fear Iran so much despite the fact that it presents no actual threat to the physical security of the USA?”

I think you know the answer.......ISRAEL. Israel’s fear is US’s fear through so many proxies in government and congress.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 15 2019 18:16 utc | 18

Comic Relief, Perhaps?
Poll: Should schools in America teach Arabic Numerals as part of their curriculum?

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2019 18:18 utc | 19

BM @10

“Alternatively 300,000 troops could go in from Afghanistan or Turkmenistan after being ferried there secretly by rail across Russia.”

I am afraid that ship has sailed. Russia has too many strategic points in common with China and Iran to do a complete U-turn and support this lunacy by allowing its borders to be used by US for an invasion. Putin has worked too hard to establish his credibility to lose it in an instance with a stunt like that. No way.

IMHO, Russia and China are dug in. They can see blood and they will go for the jugular in the event of a war with Iran.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 15 2019 18:24 utc | 20

I dont think we should see it so non threatening at all, this is very serious -
this is what Bolton have waited for for decades now - I dont see how Bolton would let this situation go by, and US can hurt Iran really bad, that is also a fact.

Considering the warming relations Russia right at this moment (Pompeo meeting) Russia will not help Iran in anyway. Pompeo is talking to Russia just because to get this confirmed.
Russia will absolutely not transfer arms, I think that is pure fantasy.

I dont see where this Russia China on the one side is the good guys. Exactly what are they doing to stop US threats and wars? Russia even talk with Pompeo these days is staggering.

Posted by: Zanon | May 15 2019 18:31 utc | 21

"Why does the USA fear Iran so much?"
Actually it doesn't fear Iran. The US hates Iran not only due to the Operation Iraqi Freedom US loss but also because the US had a lot invested in Syria regime change -- it was Hillary's primary effort -- and that US effort was scuttled primarily by Iran.

So Iran with its strong ME allies, Iraq and Syria, has become predominate in the Middle East thanks to the huge US investments by the US, and the US hates that, and needs to do something about it. It's the main US interest to remain predominate in the world, and its ME losses threaten that policy and encourage other countries to reject US dominance also.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 18:32 utc | 22

Air strikes upon Iran will likely kill some of the Jewish people still living there.

Posted by: Ozzie Maland | May 15 2019 18:34 utc | 23

geof @17

Agree 100%. I believe Iran has more than a few dirty nukes. Effect will be the same. Uninhabitable environment. Israel knows it too. That is why they are so afraid of the missiles. All it takes is one bomb to make Israel vanish for all practical purposes. Of course, in the event of such an attack, that would be the end of civilization as we know it.

This scenario was depicted in the movie Dirty War. Outcomes were devastating.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 15 2019 18:35 utc | 24

dh @10 after being ferried there secretly by rail


Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 18:38 utc | 25

@25 Uncle Jon - I think you're taking @17 literally when he was talking about Iran's ability through normal munitions to close down the Persian Gulf. There's no evidence I'm aware of to suggest that Iran has any nukes of any kind. Their conventional deterrence is sufficient for their needs and they don't need a shock and awe attack that would come in response if they were found in possession of anything nuclear.

Posted by: worldblee | May 15 2019 18:39 utc | 26

Laguerre @12 The war in Syria can't be turned around now.

War is politics by other means. And the political war in Syria is far from over.

US+allies seek to strangle Syria economically while offering Syrian citizens incentives to overthrow Assad and enact a Constitution that's favorable to the 'Assad must go!' Coalition.

Each of the various occupations in Syria contribute to this strategy.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 18:47 utc | 27

Worldbee @27

Understood. He was speaking metaphorically. But I am opining literally. To underestimate Iranians is an absolute mistake.

They have learned from North Korea. That is the only thing that would guarantee their survival and avoid a full scale war. With the crazies in the US government and Israel’s machinations, anything is possible. To underestimate the sheer stupidity and hubris of these groups is also a horrendous mistake.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 15 2019 18:48 utc | 28

Posted by: Taffyboy | May 15, 2019 1:17:05 PM | 4

I always enjoy reading Putin’s and Lavrov’s statements. I was in a lousy mood til I read your Putin quote.

I’m glad that Iran and Russia are working together on this. Probably find a nice middle road.

Of course part of me wants the red/blue war simulation scenario to happen for real, with Iran destroying a whole bunch of US military and other assets. Of course US soldiers would die too. Which might be a tragedy if they died defending their country, but since it’s an offensive war, they can all go to hell.

Maybe the US getting its military and other shit destroyed might make it more amenable at the negotiation table ?

Posted by: Featherless | May 15 2019 19:08 utc | 29

Iran does have a nuclear option: an ICBM landing on Dimona.

Posted by: lg | May 15 2019 19:09 utc | 30

Otoh, one more embarrassing miscue and Bolton will be likely to become the next Apprentice to be fired.

Posted by: Roy G | May 15 2019 19:17 utc | 31

The global fight against ISIS created strange alliances—and the de facto one between the U.S. military and Iraq’s Shiite militias, some of whom are backed by Iran, was among the most striking. While the two sides had a shared interest in defeating the Sunni extremist group, the alliance was never going to be enduring, and there was always the risk that if tensions between America and Iran ever ignited, the militias could be a flash point. Those tensions have now spiked.

In the fight against ISIS, US troops in Iraq have been allied with Iraq’s Shiite militias, some of whom are backed by Iran. That shared interest is now over, and the US troops will again be viewed as an occupying force. Some Iran-backed militias have made open threats against U.S. forces in recent years. Some militia groups are seen as Iranian proxies and have been trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, recently declared terrorists by the US. Also the Iraqi parliament might vote to expel U.S. troops from the country, which has happened before the ISIS campaign.

Eric Brewer, a former senior official on the Trump administration’s National Security Council who is now a fellow at the Center for a New American Security:
“We are entering a somewhat more dangerous and escalatory period. Those of us watching this have been warning that the administration’s maximum-pressure campaign was—at some point—going to generate an Iranian response.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 19:19 utc | 32

Trumo just Tweeted:

"The Fake News Washington Post, and even more Fake News New York Times, are writing stories that there is infighting with respect to my strong policy in the Middle East. There is no infighting whatsoever...."

....Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision - it is a very simple process. All sides, views, and policies are covered. I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon."

Posted by: Lozion | May 15 2019 19:19 utc | 33

@ Posted by: lg | May 15, 2019 3:09:16 PM | 32

Yes, that was my thought as well. Many seem to go out of their way to avoid contemplating this possibility.

Posted by: Ash | May 15 2019 19:23 utc | 34

@Jackrabbit 28.

War is politics by other means. And the political war in Syria is far from over.

US+allies seek to strangle Syria economically while offering Syrian citizens incentives to overthrow Assad and enact a Constitution that's favorable to the 'Assad must go!' Coalition.

Wars are wars. That is over. The war can be prolonged, but not won. In this context, Syrians who have supported Asad are not going to abandon him in favour of a jihadi regime, just because the US prolongs sanctions they have already suffered.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 15 2019 19:38 utc | 35

Gordon @37

Wow. You actually got posted.

I guess b felt a light hearted laugh was necessary in the midst of this serious subject.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 15 2019 19:48 utc | 36

Have not been able to shake the thought that Hodeidah, Yemen is where they are going to try something.

Third parties could blow up the deteriorating tanker(FSO SAFER) and blame it on Iran via the Houthis. Think the drone "attack" may have been part this setup. They could then blame them for worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen complete with pictures of people now starving and animals dying from oil contamination to pull on people's emotional strings.

Was being reported that the Houthis had withdrawn from this port area, but now it's reported that they are fighting again. In addition the Guardian appears to be referencing this same tanker in an article today.

Guardian:5/15/2019:Yemen: ceasefire broken as fresh fighting breaks out in Hodeidah

Saw this last night as well.
Yemeni army kills 97 militiamen, captures 120 following attack on Houthi sites

Posted by: Zack | May 15 2019 20:00 utc | 37

great quotes, karlof1@7

Posted by: spudski | May 15 2019 20:08 utc | 38

@ Uncle Jon #21

IMHO, Russia and China are dug in. They can see blood and they will go for the jugular in the event of a war with Iran.

I agree. The Russians and Chinese will see Iran just as Iran sees Lebanon. "Once it goes, I'm next." Except for smashing a lot of infrastructure, I don't see many viable "violence" options for the US. An invasion of any kind seems to me to be quite out of the question.

Since this entire Chinese Fire Drill is being performed for the apartheid Jewish state, I can't get away from the nagging notion the real target is Lebanon and Hezbollah. There are many land airbases and a land border for this target, quite unlike Iran.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 15 2019 20:08 utc | 39

Please tell me what’s wrong with peaceful Russia&China winning this & every war against an empire that lives for war theft & destruction of everything that isn’t neoCapitalist & Zionist. Bolton is the result of his country not a cause. His fame comes in exposing the very essence of what the ‘West’ is today for everyone to see, so, well played Bolton for playing this Trumpet tune of force way or another

Posted by: Sadness | May 15 2019 20:09 utc | 40

Featherless 31

I do not wish to clutter up B's site, but, this fellow Lavrov, is sheer brilliant, period. No other person comes close to his acumen and brain speed. I know he smokes and I have quit thirty five years ago, but for one evening I would gratefully supply the beer and certainly smoke up with him for the night of conversation.


Posted by: Taffyboy | May 15 2019 20:12 utc | 41

@ Uncle Jon #39

That person isn't as bad as a troll I saw here earlier today or yesterday. That post was so bad I decided the pissant state is now encouraging grade-school kids to do hasbara/propaganda work.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 15 2019 20:14 utc | 42

thanks b - especially for the laugh at the end with your russiagate part 2 concept!

lets be clear... usa is threatening war for it's good buddy.. everything is for israel / war-finance machine..

i agree these freaks will go nuclear.. there is only one country that has used them - the usa.. they are the most likely to use them again.. either them or israel.. we are talking really crazed leadership and people - usa-israel.. either that or a non stop air raid.. are they stupid enough to do something like this? i say yes.. they are that stupid.. it isn't about winning.. it is about destroying.. they are destroying themselves in the long term.. as for jrs theory on idlib - i don't think they are that smart.. they just want to get something going, no matter where..

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 20:17 utc | 43

Laguerre @38

War are wars. That is over.

You're asking that we ignore the US threat of August 2018 to bomb Syria if Idlib is attacked, continued US occupation and recognition of Golan Heights as part of Israel, and US actions that have cause severe fuel shortages in Syria, etc.

If it was 'over', the US wouldn't be there anymore.

Syrians who have supported Asad are not going to abandon him in favour of a jihadi regime

Well, I doubt it will be presented as such. You're underestimating the asshat cunning and determination. The Jihadi's were/are used for a purpose. They will be moved/re-purposed as necessary.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 20:22 utc | 44

Another reason the US hates Iran is its growing alliance with China, which is actually being promoted by US self-harming policy.

Iran is important to China and their ties are increasing. Iran is part of the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) through the China Central-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCWAEC), which, in addition to Iran, includes Turkey, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In the Gulf, China is involved in Khalifa port in Abu Dhabi, Duqm port in Oman, Jizan in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and Port Said in Egypt and coming is a huge China investment in Kuwait.

China has made significant investments in Iranian energy infrastructure, especially through Chinese state-owned energy companies. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has invested heavily in the North Azadegan and Yadavaran oil fields and has taken a major stake in developing South Pars gas field.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 20:27 utc | 45

Zack @40

What strategic objective would the false flag you describe be in service to?

USA doesn't need to rush to war, just keep everyone in line with bluster as the Iran sanctions destroy Iran from within. Only a threat to Turkey's control of Idlib might cause USA+allies to take action that might disturb the status quo.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 15 2019 20:33 utc | 46

I think Russia and China are poised to make it look like they took advantage of the situation because that is in the bankers plan.(city of London). see above.. ?? IMO, nothing about this run up to war is other than a good guy bad guy scenario.. even if the target turns out to be Lebanon, Syria, Yemen or whatever Trump, Putin, and Xi are puppets of those who put this whole thing together..
millions of humans are about to be wasted.. as nuclear weapons will be used to continue the shuffle of the possession of the earth to be funneled into the ownership of the few.. humanity will be the loser until it wakes up..

Posted by: snake | May 15 2019 20:40 utc | 47

In comparing the war threats to the mistaken US invasion of Iraq, we must remember that Iran compared to Iraq is almost four times the size with three times the population, which would require millions of occupying troops especially against the two million active and paramilitary Iran forces. Also Iran has a stronger majority government and a powerful missile force than Iraq, while the US has a divided government and a proven ineffective military force. It took the US several years to pacify the Iraq capital, Baghdad, back when there were many US allies. Now there are essentially none.
The US Congress hasn't been briefed on the current situation yet, but when they are offered a glimpse of the Iran situation some of these considerations are bound to be raised.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 20:41 utc | 48

Prediction here and now is no war or hot conflict because of Russia and China standing in the way. And hey if Bolton gets fired after this then that's one positive outcome from this clusterfuck.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gillispie | May 15 2019 20:46 utc | 49

Don Bacon

I think they dont even think in terms of occuption or invasion at all, rather, a greater risk is that of destabilization inside Iran, ethnic, political along with airbound missiles from jets and ships as the so called war on terror and color revolutions have played out past 15 years.

Posted by: Zanon | May 15 2019 20:48 utc | 50

those stooges in the usa congress... all one has to say is it it for israel and they will all bow down and be subservient.. usa congress - bought and paid for...

Posted by: james | May 15 2019 20:50 utc | 51

Russia and China can only hope for primus inter pares status. The US is much stronger than Russia in the economic and financial and military spheres, as Russia has retrogressed from the USSR. Its inherited nuclear capability helps it punch above its true weight. But no, Russia is not in the same league. And Russia is tied down in wars in Ukraine and Syria with no end in sight. Putin's babble about superweapons almost certainly guarantee the Russian military knows it is hopeless to tackle much more.

China is closer, but it's industrial capacity per capita and infrastructure per area still does not match the US, despite US decay. Financial capacity is measured by the ability to attract foreign investment, control over international finance, reserve currency status, etc. and China still doesn't measure up as an equal there either. Worse, billionaires make a country weaker, so China is weakening. Military capacity despite their ego depends upon an experienced cadre of noncommisioned officers with an experienced commissioned officer corps. China purged its experienced military with Lin Biao. It appears the remnants were much more into imitating the US way of war, with a quasimercenary "professional" officer corps relying largely on machinery. And there has been no significant military experience to counteract the PLA's turn to building a US-style military industrial complex. Worse, the current Chinese leadership wants to limit growth to what is profitable, which requires cooperating with the US against its lowers, like it does in Korea.

The problem is thinking the US has to actually conquer, win a war. All it needs to do is trash a country. It has to trash countries, which is why it always does it, no matter what liberal is president (Clinton, Obama) or which shameless reactionary (Reagan, Bushes, Trump.) Cut off a huge hunk of world energy? The US will weather that storm better than China. Endless suffering to no point in the Middle East? There's no reason to think this is a problem for anyone in power in the US.

Posted by: steven t johnson | May 15 2019 20:52 utc | 52

I still believe Bolton and Trump are bluffing. This is theater.

The problem is that this theater could prompt something real.

Posted by: Alaric | May 15 2019 21:00 utc | 53

@ Zanon 52
>The US has had an ongoing strategy of destabilization inside Iran, it hasn't worked.
>Trading missiles (and their casualties) is a step to nowhere, and could include vulnerable Israeli cities as targets for thousands of Iran and Hezbollah rockets.
>Iran has suffered in a US-sponsored war before, by Iraq, and is psychologically able to absorb large losses and keep fighting. The US is not, and there could be many US losses due to the US policy of "forward presence," nearby installations and ships.
>There can be no chance of victory w/o an occupation.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 21:00 utc | 54

re Jackrabbit 47. I'm always amazed by people who think that the US is omnipotent, even if evil, as Jackrabbit proposes. Frankly the US has failed in Syria, but they can prolong the war, if they want.

Posted by: Laguerre | May 15 2019 21:03 utc | 55

Sounds like Iraq is targeted not Iran.

Iraq to purchase Russia's S-400 missile systems

Posted by: somebody | May 15 2019 21:15 utc | 56

BM #14
Well said and on a lighter note all Putin or Lavrov need too is make some 'accidental' live microphone aside to the effect that 'their man Bolton is doing fine rescueing Trump and the huge cost to the USA should crash their economy any day'.

Given the ridiculous hysteria in USA a gentle push like that would guarantee apoplexia and cardiac arrest. Imgine the clown outbursts from Maddow and Pelosi. Ted Rall would be suffering cartoon cramp.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 15 2019 21:18 utc | 57

The USA failed in Syria and Iraq. The MIC did alright, but the USA oil companies did not benefit. Instead, Chinese and Russian oil companies benefited from the ham fisted USA.

"...If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail". - General Wesley Clark murderer of Yugoslavia

Will MAGA fans have the stomach for a military draft?

Here's more bad news reported just today (note the potentially bogus ship attack):

Iraq is a major oil producer and is OPEC’s No.2, producing 4.630 million bpd in April according to OPEC’s most recent Monthly Oil Market Report. If Iraq’s oil production is disrupted as a result of foreign oil company personnel exiting the country, it will further add to other OPEC production losses in Venezuela and Iran at a time when the market is already skittish due to attacks in the region on four oil tankers and Aramco’s oil pipeline.

By Julianne Geiger for

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 15 2019 21:21 utc | 58

Posted by: Alaric | May 15, 2019 5:00:17 PM | 55

Yep. Just one miscalculation.

Posted by: somebody | May 15 2019 21:22 utc | 59

This is gangster diplomacy. Threatening to kneecap you if you don’t pay protection money. It got Kim Jong-un to the summit but it won’t work with the Iranians. There is too long of a history of religious wars going back thousands of years. The trouble with the addled elderly, true believers and psychopaths in the White House is that there is no grasp of reality. They won’t back down. The governments of the USA and UK have been reduced to incompetent blubbering by tax cuts, austerity and deregulation. The forever wars are supported by war profiteers who get their cut of military spending. The oligarchs dismantling of democracy succeeded.

An American War with Iranian proxies or Iran itself at Israel’s request will escalate the current Syrian War into a World War involving China and Russia who must support Iran. Inevitably the war will go nuclear, ending civilization; even if, a habitable earth somehow survives.

Posted by: VietnamVet | May 15 2019 21:25 utc | 60

Why think of wars at all, when the real battle is the dollar- Have you forgotten that one of the basic reasons Iran is targeted is that their Oil is now sold in currencies other than the dollar? The US "war effort" seems to be to cut out all the countries that do not sell in U$ dollar's.

Thinking about that and the recent "attacks" on the tankers off Oman (2 of which were Saudi), and the equally "fortuitous" attack on the pipeline across Saudi Arabia, from the Persian Gulf to Yanbu (nearer the entrance to the Suez canal) - I would say that someone has rudely pointed out that in the case of an Iran-US "war" that ALL Saudi/Gulf oil exports would be cut. Not just those that transit through the strait of Hormuz.

So will the US attack ? - it might not even be the aim IF the "plan" is to force countries to re-use the "dollar standard", and to reinstate it as "the" reserve currency once again.
Such a motive would also explain why the US is causing trouble in so many places at once. Military invasions then become unnecessary.

Posted by: stonebird | May 15 2019 21:35 utc | 61

Only two leaders in history have completely conquered Persia, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Trump wants to be the third. Can you blame him?

This is the holy grail of conquest. His place in history will be secured for thousands of years. Let's face it, both Trump and America need a big win, and it doesn't get any bigger than this. Below is the speech Genghis Khan made to the Persians after their fate was sealed. Trump has shown us that his Twitter rants are up to the task.

Genghis Khan ascended the pulpit and spoke to the crowd of civilians. "I am the punishment of God," he told them. "If you had not committed great sins, he would not have sent a punishment like me."

Posted by: RenoDino | May 15 2019 21:35 utc | 62

Don Bacon @23--

Yes, the hatred the Outlaw US Empire has for Iran is easy to pin down, but I'll continue to insist that based on the warnings it issues a clear element of fear is present. Uncle Jon @19 says it's Zionistan's fear of Iran that's routed through Washington, but I see that for the bologna it is since there's still zero threat to the security of the USA. Lets then ask why Zionistan fears Iran. It must be because it's guilty of the crimes it commits against Palestinians on a daily basis and Iran threatens to put a stop to those crimes--it's the fundamental fear of the criminal for the policeman since the former knows it's committing crimes that are wrong. But does the USA share that guilt/fear since it abets the crimes? Perhaps. But even if Iran were to force Zionistan to cease its crimes, IMO the USA would still fear Iran. So, we still haven't reached the actual answer as to WHY the Outlaw US Empire fears Iran. Recall that the current fear's been evident since the Islamic Republic's birth in 1979, so its genesis must be from that era. Perhaps its been the unwavering judgment by Iran's leaders which declared at the time the truth that the USA is The Great Satan--a fundamental truth too powerful and backed by more than enough evidence that it's undeniable yet the Empire's spent huge amounts of energy trying to sweep that truth under the carpet. The USA fears the Truth about itself; and that Truth is Invincible.

Thus, the fear isn't that of a physical threat; rather, it's 100% psychological. The paranoia that's lodged inside the criminal brain that it will at some point be caught by the policeman, jailed, tried, found guilty, and punished. The great fear that the ongoing, living American Lie will finally be openly exposed to the entire world and thus the ever escalating levels of paranoia we see daily.

Or am I projecting? No, I believe not as I would rejoice for the world to see and treat the Outlaw US Empire for what it is--The Criminal Threat to Humanity.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2019 21:39 utc | 63

This may be what is behind current US moves in Iraq.
"Pompeo said he discussed on his Baghdad visit “crude oil and natural gas ... (and) ways we could ... make those projects move forward very quickly,” a reference to efforts to wean Iraq off crucial Iranian energy imports.

He urged Iraq to sign oil and power deals being negotiated with American companies, two energy officials said.

U.S. energy giant General Electric is seeking a share of a $14 billion scheme to develop electricity infrastructure, and Iraq is close to signing a $53 billion oil infrastructure contract which includes Exxon Mobil.

This is another way in which the United States is seeking to pressure Iraq’s major electricity supplier Iran and force Iraq to choose between Washington and Tehran as its chief ally, said Renad Mansour, a research fellow at Chatham House.

“The U.S. is ... going to Iraqi leaders and saying you’re either with us or with them,” Mansour said."

Worth reading the complete article as it also covers US threats against the Iraqi militias.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 15 2019 21:44 utc | 64

There have been a number of countries shut down their training missions in Iraq. Yet alls say they see no Iranian threat. The bottom line of the section I have quoted below - "However, Flosdorff said the move was not a response to a “concrete threat” but rather to a general security situation being viewed as more tense" Perhaps what they at is an Iraqi rather than Iranian response to the US walking in throwing orders and demands and threats around and trying to take over their oil and electricity, also telling Iraq where they can or cannot station their militias which are under Iraq government control.
"Germany and the Netherlands have suspended their military training programmes in Iraq because of a perceived security threat in the wake of rising US-Iranian tensions in the region.

The announcements came after the US embassy in Baghdad ordered all but emergency staff to leave Iraq. No details of the supposed security threat were provided.

A German defence ministry spokesman, Jens Flosdorff, said that by pausing its small-scale training missions north of Baghdad and the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Germany was “orienting itself toward our partner countries, which have taken this step”.

However, Flosdorff said the move was not a response to a “concrete threat” but rather to a general security situation being viewed as more tense."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 15 2019 22:01 utc | 65

Jackrabbit @49

The US would be on the getting served end of this by reacting their way into a war with Iran. Falling into a trap that has been laid for them. Serving Israeli and Saudi strategic interests.

I fear the US decision makers may not even have strategic objectives right now. They appear to be too busy trying to extinguish their own fires or falling for their own propaganda to see very far into the future.

Posted by: Zack | May 15 2019 22:02 utc | 66

somebody 58
Had not seen your post before posting the rueters link and quote. That Iraq has decided to buy the S-400 further reinforces my thought that US is preparing for an Iraqi response to their threats and demands.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 15 2019 22:14 utc | 67

At least twice, Trump on the Iraq war, has said "we should have taken the oil". At least twice during the election campaign or just after taking office, Trump has said "Who knows, we may still get the chance to get the oil".
I think what we are seeing now in Iraq is Trump trying to take the oil.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 15 2019 22:23 utc | 68

Boeing aircraft were perhaps the best thing America ever produced and the company’s demise is symbolic of the fate of the nation. The 737 Max is Trump and Bolton – a disaster waiting to happen. Trump must be in a sweat. His only intelligence – the hunch – must be telling him that he must fire Bolton. But the desire to be Israel’s saviour and smash Iran must weigh against that to the extent of paralysis and shutdown. What will he do?

Posted by: Lochearn | May 15 2019 22:32 utc | 69

It is interesting and pertinent that Campaign Trump named Bolton as a FP expert he admired.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | May 15 2019 22:42 utc | 70

My position is always the same: discover a diabolical plan performed by Tuvalu to take over the world, and remove the threat by invasion. Tuvalu has a very modest military force (is it one patrol boat and 5 crew members), it lacks mountains, jungles, deserts, the climate is pleasant. The islands are relatively close to Guam, 2-3 days of sailing, and Guam forces would need no reinforcements.
Replacing Tuvalian government will provide numerous benefits. The least predictable vote in UN will be now as predictable as Palau and Micronesia. They could allow a modest military base (there is no room or need for a larger one). The cost would be much lower than in the case of Grenada (that may be actually demerit, but you can't have everything).

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 15 2019 22:44 utc | 71

Slightly off-topic, but nobody reads old threads.

Re: oil sanctions on the Syrians

How does Israel get oil? If it's by ship, then it seems to me that the same tactics used against Syria could easily be used against Israel too. For instance, someone could quite casually mention that a tanker may not last long after visiting an Israeli port. Will any shipping company want to risk an extremely expensive vehicle?

Posted by: Cyril | May 15 2019 22:49 utc | 72

Stonebird @63
Yes I was thinking about that today as well.
We can include China in that group as well.
China is spending their US dollars on their Belt and Road initiative and not buying US treasuries with it.

That was the deal the US made with the Saudis when they went off the gold standard creating the petro-dollar. Saudis bought treasuries and then spent the interest payments on hiring US companies to build infrastructure projects.

I recall when China tried to purchase a large US firm and the US forbade them.

Apparently those dollars are not to be spent.

Posted by: arby | May 15 2019 22:52 utc | 73

The US has had designs on Iraq petroleum since the invasion.
>In May 2003, following the invasion of Iraq in March of that year, the Central Bank of Iraq-Development Fund for Iraq (DFI) account was created at the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the request of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Administrator. A part of the fund has been transferred to Baghdad and Iraq, and the DFI-Baghdad account was opened at the Central Bank of Iraq "for cash payment requirements.. ."here
>Later that month President Bush signed Executive Order 13303. "I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the threat of attachment or other judicial process against the Development Fund for Iraq, Iraqi petroleum and petroleum products, and interests therein, . ."here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15 2019 22:53 utc | 74

Karlof1 @ 65:

Even before 1979, the US has always tried to control Iran. The Iranian Revolution that brought the current Islamic government to power was a reaction to US suppression of Iranian desire for self-rule and dislike of the Pahlavi monarchy, its corruption and the police-state terror it wielded through SAVAK, since the overthrow of the populist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, who nationalised the oil industry, in 1953.

(Aside: Of course no-one could have anticipated the kind of government that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini brought with him or the 8-year war that Saddam Hussein, with assistance from the West, brought to the country that had the effect of grounding the Islamic government and its institutions deeply in Iran.)

The 1953 putsch had the support (and insistence) of the British government who had interests in the country through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

Even before the 1950s, the British and Americans kept the Iranian government on a tight leash. The founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah Pahlavi, was forced to abdicate as Shah in 1941 by the British and Soviets when they invaded Iran to secure the oil fields for the Allied side. The Shah then was considered to be too friendly towards Nazi Germany. He was replaced by Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (the second and last Shah).

From the viewpoint of general geopolitics and past history, controlling Iran was always considered necessary by the British because of its oil fields and its proximity to British India. Controlling Iran also meant the ability to control the Caspian Sea and its oil and gas deposits, and stopping the Russians from proceeding farther south to the Persian Gulf.

There are probably also other complicated and linked existential and historical reasons for the US, the British and Israel to want war against Iran. Iran boasts a Jewish community that is now the world's oldest surviving Jewish community (after the community in Iraq died out some time in the last ten years). It is the country where Judaism picked up those elements (during the rule of Cyrus the Great) that have become its main characteristics and those of Christianity and Islam: a prophetic tradition, the idea of an eternal battle between good and evil and humanity's role in that battle, the notion that people must self-censor themselves to be on the side of good. As such, Iran probably represents a challenge to Israel as a viable and stable nation where Jews can exist more or less peacefully with gentiles.

Iran is also a country which, during World War I, endured a famine imposed by the British (and compounded by disease epidemics) that led to the deaths of at least 2 million people.

Posted by: Jen | May 15 2019 23:18 utc | 75

In his title, b presents the point that ongoing Outlaw US Empire Iranian policy is "Lunacy," which complements my idea that it's driven by the paranoia residing within the criminal mind.

Peter AU 1 @70 suggests it's the theft of Iraqi oil that's the crime Trump wants to commit that's threatened by Iran, thus the fear of a failed heist. Why am I harping on fear? IMO, the entire post-WW2 imperial construct of the USA is based on fear as is the 1947 National Security Act that created the entity that now controls the Outlaw US Empire--the CIA and its spawn. It's the same fear that underlies the premise for Eric Blair's 1984. It's the same fear that permeated Rome--that the Oligarchy--the Controllers--would lose control. FDR was famous for saying "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" which he linked to the lack of action being undertaken to overcome the Great Depression--but I would argue he had two distinct audiences in mind for that statement for it was FDR who wrote that small but massively important part of his speech, not Raymond Moley. (Yes and this all relates to psychohistorian's hypothesis about private finance.)

IMO, the Great Fear consuming today's Controllers is that residing within the Criminal Mind of being found-out, caught and being deposed as Controllers for evermore. The core of Trump's advisors are criminals controlled by the Controllers, which includes Trump. Thus they project more fear and paranoia since they are constantly in the public eye. Thus the criminality is ongoing and can never cease lest the underlying secret be exposed, which is what Iran has already done. Chavez, too, did the same at the UN when he spoke after Bush--he left the aroma of sulfur hanging in the UNGA Hall, Chavez intoned to much applause. And the only way to ensure control's maintained is to gain control of everything, thus the policy of Full Spectrum Domination, that although published few people know about or discuss. The resulting chaos keeps most minds from trying to discover the underlying root of it all as I'm attempting. And thanks to all here at MoA, I think we've got it.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 15 2019 23:20 utc | 76

Don Bacon@18: The Iraq embassy, America's largest, is being used as the major logistics hub to run guns to every "moderate jihadi" project in most of the hemisphere. See ZH commentary expanding Zaidan. It will not be shut down I believe, no matter what Iraq may say or what kabuki may appear in the news.

Posted by: Imagine | May 15 2019 23:31 utc | 77

@Jackrabbit @Zachary Smith,

I concur that the war on Iran talk will lead to a false flag provocation (Israeli) involving an attack by Hezbollah on US "interests." The US will then bomb the Lebanese side of the Israeli-Lebanon border to smithereens. Iran can be taken on only after Hezbollah has been decimated otherwise Tel Aviv will go down in flames. The big bet here is that Iran will not directly respond to a bombing campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Posted by: WJ | May 15 2019 23:39 utc | 78

Jen @77--

I just accidentally deleted my long reply to your comment--Grrrr!!!! My main point was that MacKinder's Heartland strategy is shared by the USA as are numerous aspects of their Imperial basis and motives/behaviors. On the previous thread, I delved into the epistemological nature of our quest of which my writings on this thread is a continuation. The Ron Unz essay I linked to shows that much is hidden but that the effort required to conceal all is fantastical. The great example of what Michael Hudson and his team at the Peabody Museum exposed provides us with a revolutionary insight into what was thought to have been expunged via the familiar narratives we have drummed into us now. That's why I was and remain so excited by them. Well over 100 years ago, Dostoyevsky wrote about it all but had to fictionalize it since he didn't have all the facts. Others have also tried; Joyce's Ulysses being my latest discovery of that sort.

We may be a small collective, but I believe we are onto the Big Truth.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2019 0:00 utc | 79

Any capability to retaliate by Iran is meaningless in the eyes of these madmen. It will smash the Gulf up and that is their goal. The fact that some of the EU contingents are bailing out on "no threat seen" means somebody sees something sinister on the horizon.

IF Bolton is given a rabies shot and show the door we still have Nicky Haley wearing her leather dress and whip, among others, to deal with in the future.

There may be many in the US military who saw the madness in Iraq and Afghanistan putting a stop to this; lets hope. There is no doubt that China and Russia come out big winners if the Gulf gets smashed up by these madmen.

Posted by: dltravers | May 16 2019 0:15 utc | 80

US moves in Iraq in relation to Lebanon and hezbollah. From the link I posted @66
"BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s surprise visit to Baghdad this month came after U.S. intelligence showed Iran-backed Shi’ite militias positioning rockets near bases housing U.S. forces, according to two Iraqi security sources.
He told Iraq’s top brass to keep the militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and now form part of its security apparatus, in check, the sources said. If not, the U.S. would respond with force...

...“The message from the Americans was clear. They wanted guarantees that Iraq would stop those groups threatening U.S. interests,” a senior Iraqi military source with knowledge of Pompeo’s trip said.

“They said if the U.S. were attacked on Iraqi soil, it would take action to defend itself without coordinating with Baghdad.”They said if the U.S. were attacked on Iraqi soil, it would take action to defend itself without coordinating with Baghdad.”...

..."The United States says Iran is the biggest threat to peace in the region. It wants to weaken the paramilitaries which have expanded their sway over land stretching to Syria and Lebanon, and for Iraq to decrease dependence on Iranian gas exports."...

..."The Iraqi security source said U.S. officials discussed with Iraqi officials Iran-backed militia deployed along the Syrian border, where U.S. troops have helped fight Islamic State.

Pompeo said last week: “We’ve urged the Iraqi government ... to get all of those forces under Iraqi central control.”

Rather than being a distraction, Iraq is the preliminary. My post @66 was about US moves to have US companies take control of at least a percentage of Iraqi oil. Perhaps a year back, list of demands by Trump US (apparently leaked by iraqi's at the meeting) appeared on the internet, I think Escobar published it and possibly Magnier. I wasn't sure what to make of it at the time, but one of those demands was that US companies own thirty percent of Iraqi oil production.

On US moves against Hezbollah, much of the article covered US moves against the Iraqi militia. The US most likely sees cutting the land link between Iran and Lebanon a necessary preliminary to acting against Hezbollah in Lebanon.
What the US is doing now will most likely unite much of Iraq against the US. Although US is publicly saying threats come from Iran, they they are most likely expecting strong push back from Iraq as US publicly tries to take control of what little sovereignty Iraq has.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 16 2019 0:23 utc | 81

On the modern military doctrine of Iran.

Posted by: alaff | May 16 2019 0:25 utc | 82

Yesterday I couldn't preview long posts - both Firefox and Chrome would lock up and do nothing. Short ones went on through. Just now I've been trying to preview a 221 word post with one link, and again nothing happened. Finally I hit the "Post" button and it disappeared instantly - into 'moderation?'.


Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 16 2019 0:28 utc | 83

An aspect of US leadership to look at is their habit of projecting onto others what they themselves are doing. That many of them may actually believe it. I have run onto one or two people like that. Although they can put on a pleasant face andv say the right words, they have absolutely no ethics, conscience or feeling of guilt over any nasty stuff they have done. They fully believe that others are the same and doing the same as them.
For the US leadership there may be some feeling of fear about being caught out and judged, but much of that fear may be that if they are not top dog, they will be treated the same as they treat others.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 16 2019 0:36 utc | 84

Peter AU 1 @82--

Thanks for fleshing that out. The order clearing out non-military US personnel now makes sense. But you can easily see how these decisions are all based on fear. If the Outlaw US Empire wasn't present within Iraq, the fear wouldn't exist.

On one level, the subject matter here is OT, but on another level it's right on target. Clearly, we at MoA aren't alone with our concern.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2019 0:41 utc | 85

Peter AU 1 @85--

I see we cross-posted! I agree with you and my link at 86 will add to our thesis. Indeed, I think it explains a lot, but what that article reveals is only one small crime among many. The more lies that are told thus require even more lies to be told in service of those lies, compounding in a manner similar to compound interest. Thus the fear and paranoia of those fronting for the Controllers.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 16 2019 0:49 utc | 86

reply to
" According to Wikileaks' database, orders to ship more than 540 tonnes of cargo to the US were made in May 2018. The same document shows other main delivery destinations included 120 tonnes of freight to Europe, and 24 tonnes to South Africa, South America and Central Africa respectively. …here"
Posted by: Don Bacon | May 15, 2019 1:59:41 PM | 18

I read the article, a large portion of the deliveries are measured in kilos. The US controls the world's poppy/heroin trade does it not, they have to have a shipping hub somewhere, why not the Iraq embassy. The balance of shipments appear to be weapons.And with the DoD budget a black hole, its a robber baron's dream.

Posted by: frances | May 16 2019 0:52 utc | 87

Peter AU 1 @ 82

Lots of unilateral threats being thrown around as usual. From the day they built that massive Baghdad embassy it was obvious to me that it was like waving a red cape in front of a bull. I have always thought that someday that compound will go up in a massive clouds of smoke with few escaping.

Some of the US Naval vessels operating in the Gulf are nuclear powered. Cracking one of those reactors open is really going to be bad for business.

All In all the madmen are shooting a game of craps with the planet on the pass line again.

Posted by: dltravers | May 16 2019 0:52 utc | 88

I am not understanding what leverage the US has over Iraq at this point.

We cannot sanction their oil exports given capacity issues, and even Bolton might have doubts about the US "re-invading" and occupying all of Iraq outside of the Kurdish regions. Americans exactly don't have fond memories of the Iraq war. Pompeo could tell them that they are next after Iran (if that is order), but Iran's oil will be shutdown for at least a year if we either invade or simply bomb them, and Trump will be gone shortly thereafter if he approves something this idiotic.

Posted by: Schmoe | May 16 2019 0:56 utc | 89

Now for a completely 100% contrarian assessment!

Suppose this whole entire narrative is 100% fake? Not real at all!

And suppose this "threat" of a war with Iran (or anybody) is just pure theater?

All the smart folks are now saying that the USA economy is just a giant house of cards that is simply waiting for some slight breeze to make it all collapse.

So now the only real question is "how do we explain that to the seething hordes?"

Is the answer not totally obvious?

The collapse was due to the disastrous (fake) war with Iran, which itself was due to the monstrous (false flag) provocation.

So now, it all makes perfect sense. No further excuses necessary!

Posted by: blues | May 16 2019 1:03 utc | 90

Iran serves as a useful ‘bogey man’ to : 1) justify continued US military presence in the ME; 2) feed the military industrial complex, increase arm sales to Iran’s neighbours, justify maintenance and expansion of US intelligence/military departments and their budgets; 3) enact authoritarian measures at home; 4) manipulate global oil prices to US advantage; 5) send a warning message to other countries who might seek to challenge US hegemony; 6) distract public from domestic issues, among other things. There will be no all out war between the two countries. Iran serves too useful a purpose as a manufactured perceived threat to be eliminated or overthrown.

Posted by: Ninel | May 16 2019 1:06 utc | 91

HAve not time to elaborate the fraud of Britain' and US' previous boycott of Iran's sale oil. So in case you do not remember or, more likely were never told, here follows a quote from Wikipedia that will serve to light-up your interest [ my edit for brevity, in [brackets]
"...March 1951, the Iranian parliament... voted to nationalise the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) and its holdings, and shortly thereafter the Iranian public elected a champion of nationalisation, Mohammed Mossadegh, Prime Minister... This led to the Abadan Crisis, in which, under British pressure, foreign countries agreed not to purchase Iranian oil... The AIOC withdrew from Iran..."

CIA and MI6 shortly thereafter overthrew Mossadegh and re-installed the Shah Pahlevi. AIOC, later re-named BP, had 100% rights to crude production.

Posted by: chu teh | May 16 2019 1:07 utc | 92

By the way dear readers, the body of water is called the Persian Gulf. That is the historically and international legally recognized name. The term ‘Gulf’ was manufactured by the British to stoke tensions between Iran and its neighbours in the 19th century. The Americans more or less borrowed the term from the British.

Posted by: Ninel | May 16 2019 1:11 utc | 93

@ Jen 77

You left out a few key details about the late Shah. After, his 2500th anniversary celebrations in 1974, the Shah took an air of nationalism that worried many western countries/corporations. Of course, that fear was solidified with his refusal to renew the oil consortium contracts as they were previously. By 1976, the Seven Sisters were in the process of planning for ousting the Shah with CIA’s help.

In his interviews with Mike Wallace, David Foster and Le Monde he was downright arrogant about his country’s future and resources, albeit justified. He told the British interviewer why should Iranian people subsidize the comfortable lifestyle of the British through cheap oil and etc. And many more comments like that.

SAVAK and political torture were more or less window dressing. They weren’t any more brutal than Mossad, KGB, MI6 or the CIA, especially since these are the organizations that trained SAVAK and show them the tricks of the trade.

So the revolution, although not so hard to conjure up, was not an organic movement as advertised. It just needed a trigger. But the end result was one that got away from the west with Khomeini betraying his promises through pressure from the student groups and even more so from his handlers.

A clue that would tell you this was not a natural movement was the fact that Khomeini was under the protection of French Secret service for years through CIA funding. They have a habit of always keeping a foe of a despot in the wings just in case, e,g. Gulen, Chalabi, etc.

Posted by: Uncle Jen | May 16 2019 1:13 utc | 94

Peter AU 1, Karlof1 @ 85 - 87:

At an individual level, the phenomenon is known in Freudian psychology as psychological projection.

At a collective level, several psychological phenomena (depending on how they're chopped, sliced and diced into categories) may be involved.

There is a recent famous case of collective psychosis here in Australia in which a family of five adults piled into a car and fled all the way from Melbourne deep into New South Wales, all of them convinced someone was out to get them and steal their money. They had been experiencing some financial distress connected to a family business.

I've read about another similar case that occurred in Australia decades ago in which a migrant family (in Perth, I think) also had delusions of being persecuted. In that case, the migrants suffered from social isolation. The wife was the one with the primary condition: from what I remember reading, I think she'd been something similar to a mail order bride from Europe. The husband and child recovered very quickly in hospital when they were separated from her.

The condition can also spread to animals living with humans.

Posted by: Jen | May 16 2019 1:34 utc | 95

The USA might “lose” a lot here soon, regardless of whether they attack Iran.

An attack will ruin the last bit of patience the world has shown it.

A non-attack will prove the unipolar moment is over. With absurd deficits and far less interest in buying Treasuries, the currency could plunge. Cutting the deficit means a structural change and a medium economic depression.

Nice job, CFR. No, actually, GFY.

Posted by: oglalla | May 16 2019 1:51 utc | 96

Uncle Jen (?) @ 95:

"... In his interviews with Mike Wallace, David Foster and Le Monde [the Shah] was downright arrogant about his country’s future and resources, albeit justified. He told the British interviewer why should Iranian people subsidize the comfortable lifestyle of the British through cheap oil and etc. And many more comments like that ..."

I certainly did leave out a few key details about the Shah including the one about how he and members of the Imperial Family also had a comfortable lifestyle subsidised by the Iranian people.

Herewith a code of conduct that the Shah approved in 1978 but never had published:


In order to maintain the high status of the Imperial family, which is respected by all Iranians, the following principles are instituted as the Code of Conduct of the Imperial family:
1) Refraining from conduct considered distasteful by social custom.
2) Refraining from any acts or actions not in keeping with the high status of the Imperial family.
3) Refraining from direct contact with public officials for the purpose of handling personal business. These matters will be handled through the Ministry of Court or His Imperial Majesty’s Special Office.
4) Refraining from contacts with foreign companies or organizations which are parties to contracts and deals with Iranian public organizations.
5) Refraining from receiving commissions for any reason whatsoever, from companies and organizations, foreign or Iranian, which are parties to contracts or deals with the Iranian government.
6) Refraining from receiving valuable gifts from persons, companies, or organizations.
7) Refraining from deals of any kind with public organizations, be it the government, organizations associated with the government, municipalities, or public organizations.
8) Refraining from direct or indirect (through third person or persons) partnership or holding shares in companies or organizations that are parties to deals with the government or public organizations.
9) Refraining from founding or holding shares in organizations or companies whose activities are not compatible with the high status of the members of the Imperial family, such as restaurants, cabarets, casinos, and the like.
10) Refraining from the use of facilities and properties belonging to government and public organizations for private use.
11) Refraining from the use—for private or commercial purposes—of the services of the employees of the government and associated organizations who also have responsibilities and duties in foundations associated with the Imperial family, or related organizations.
12) Refraining from asking for special favors or making recommendations to public officials in the interest of members of the Imperial family or others.

13) Refraining from the use of legal exemptions for persons outside of the Imperial family.
14) Refraining from the use of nationalized lands belonging to the government or public organizations for the purpose of profiting, for example, through construction projects or establishing commercial, service, or industrial organizations.
15) Refraining from receiving anything from persons (natural or legal) in lieu of influencing public officials in order to legalize acts which would not otherwise be eligible for profit-making (such as partnership in ownership of large pieces of land in return for registering such lands for the purpose of making profit).
16) Refraining from the use of nationalized lands for agriculture and dairy projects.
17) Refraining from accepting positions on the boards of insurance, banking, and other companies.
18) Voluntary compliance with security regulations and whatever relates to public order.
19) Protecting the prestige and respect of national values and beliefs outside of the country.
20) Refraining from contacts with foreign embassies in Iran unless through the Ministry of Court.

That Code of Conduct tells you something about what the Shah's family was getting into during his period of rule.

Posted by: Jen | May 16 2019 1:54 utc | 97

Nice Read:

Posted by: Uncle Jon | May 16 2019 1:59 utc | 98

Circe, I am sorry I wasn't able to post earlier, I am sorry for your loss.

Posted by: frances | May 16 2019 2:02 utc | 99

The comment by Really? @141 in the last thread. " Who can best rule? Oligarchs? A Senate? A chief who dukes it out with other chiefs? Has it ever brought good? certainly Alexander was a great warrior but one whose goal was to impose peace and prosperity on the smaller and larger political entities he subdued. Literally, to pacify warring tribes and provide, through law and trade, a better way to make a living than raiding other tribes, looting all that they had, raping the women, then selling all the captives into slavery, etc. Namely, respecting their cultures and their leaders, but imposing peace."

Part of my impression gained from my reading is that occasionally leaders arise that bring about peace and prosperity for their people. The age of military empires ended with the arrival of nuclear weapons, although the US still pursues this through both conventional and unconventional or hybrid warfare.
China and Russia on the other hand have put forward visions of the future that do not include conquest. China through the last few decades has seen peace and constantly increasing prosperity. Many border disputes have been resolved. how did the Putin leadership arise out of the Russia of the nineties. Chechnya given much autonomy to live by their traditional culture but have the full power of the Russian federation to keep the wahhabi's and CIA out.
Both have sufficient military power that the US cannot attack them directly.
Can culture give rise to good leadership. If so, what is it in US culture that raises the character types we have been looking at to positions of leadership.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 16 2019 2:07 utc | 100

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