Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 14, 2019

U.S. Increases Risk Of War On Iran Without A Path To De-escalation

Is the U.S. military, which lost its powerful positions in the White House, trying to get National Security Advisor John 'Stache' Bolton fired? 

A 'leak' to the New York Times accuses Bolton of preparing for war on Iran:

At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. It does not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.

The development reflects the influence of Mr. Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

If asked for 'options' the military typically lays out three scenarios. The first is very minor action unlikely to have any effect. The second is what the military sees as reasonable or wants. The third option is fantastically exaggerated. The 120,000 troop deployment is the third option. 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. Releasing the third option number is likely designed to rally against such a move.

More than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity.
Among those attending Thursday’s meeting were Mr. Shanahan; Mr. Bolton; General Dunford; Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

In a possible quit pro quo the delivery of 'options' by the Defense Department happened on the same day that acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan was finally nominated for the permanent position. The previous Secretary of Defense James Mattis had ignored similar options requests from the White House. Trump fired Mattis at the end of last year.

An alternative view is that Bolton himself leaked the briefing to shore up the Trump administration's propagandistic threat against Iran.

Still, it is obvious that that some of those present at the meeting disagree with whatever Bolton's plans are.

In another sign of disagreement within the Trump administration the State Department just fired a Bolton ally:

A top U.S. arms control official and prominent Iran hawk has resigned from the State Department after serving just over a year in the position, said U.S. officials and congressional aides familiar with the decision.

The State Department on Monday did not offer a statement explaining the planned departure of Yleem Poblete, the assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance.
In April, Reuters reported that some U.S. officials were concerned that the compliance report politicized and slanted assessments about Iran, which the Trump administration has singled out as the country’s principal foe.
Poblete was a favorite among hard-line anti-Iran groups such as the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which hosted her for a speech in July 2018 in which Poblete praised the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal.

The news comes after mysterious reports of damage on allegedly four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers and a Norwegian vessel, anchored near the United Arab Emirates oil port Fujairah. The incident is said to have happened on Sunday morning but the official report came only some 36 hours later. Only one of the ships was pictured with damage that seems to have resulted from a collision and not from explosives:

The owner of the Norwegian vessel, Thome Ship Management, said the vessel was “struck by an unknown object”. Footage seen by Reuters showed a hole in the hull at the waterline with the metal torn open inwards.


Fujairah lies east of the Strait of Hormuz. The UAE built a pipeline from its oilfields on its west coast to Fujariah to avoid that its oil exports have to pass through the Strait which Iran can control. The attack near Fujairah will be interpreted as a warning from Iran that no oil export from the Gulf is safe unless Iran can export too.


But it is far from assured that Iran was involved in the incident:

It was a similar situation when a Japanese tanker, the M. Star, was damaged by a bomb in 2010 about 14 miles (22 kilometers) off the U.A.E. coast near Fujairah. The Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, a Sunni militant jihadist group, claimed responsibility.

The UAE is actively involved in a the war against the Houthi in Yemen and against Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda affiliates in Libya. It has hostile relations with Turkey and Qatar. There are many who would like to send it such a message.

That the damage appeared to have come from a collision points to another possible culprit. U.S. submarines are known to move submerged in and around the Strait of Hormuz . There are two known incidents, in 2007 and in 2009, in which submerged U.S. submarines collided with other ships in the area.

Curiously the news of the damaged ships came after false reports of fire in the UAE appeared in Iran friendly media:

Earlier, the UAE was the subject of false accounts of an attack after news outlets with links to the Kremlin, Hezbollah and Iran spread claims that a series of explosions had occurred on land at Fujairah’s port.

Reports that between seven and 10 oil tankers anchored at the port were in flames were shared widely on social media accounts on Sunday.

Some reports said that American and French warplanes had been flying over the port at the time of the incident.
The reports of fire and explosions that emerged on Sunday morning apparently originated in Al Mayadeen, a Lebanese broadcaster and news outlet regarded as pro-Hezbollah.

Burning ships near Fujairah would be widely seen from land, sea and air. No pictures of any such fire appeared on social media.

The Al Mayadeen report may have been part of a warning from Iran. Or it may have been a preemptive move to undermine a false flag incident that was to be blamed on Iran. Iran seemed to deny any involvement in the incident:

In a statement issued early Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Moussavi described the incident as "lamentable" and "worrying" and called for thorough investigations.

He also warned Persian Gulf neighbors to stay vigilant in the face of plots by "ill-wishers" to undermine maritime security.

On May 10 the U.S. warned that Iran might target commercial vessels. That, together with the lack of information and of visible damage on other ships, points to a false flag incident initiated to slander Iran. A U.S. official blamed Iran but provided no evidence:

A U.S. official in Washington, without offering any evidence, told The Associated Press that an American military team’s initial assessment indicated Iran or Iranian allies used explosives to blow holes in the ships ...

An attempt on Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to rally European countries against Iran failed:

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may have been hoping that a hastily arranged stop in Brussels today would allow for photos and headlines showing American and European unity and joint resolve in the face of rising tensions with Iran, European allies did not seem interested in playing along.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini did little to hide her irritation that the Americans had abruptly decided to make a show of consulting the Europeans on rising Iran tensions.
“We were told during the night that [Pompeo] was planning to change his travel plans and to have a stopover here in Brussels,” Mogherini told journalists ahead of the EU foreign ministers meeting. “We will be here all day with a busy agenda so we will see during the day how and if we manage to arrange a meeting. He is always welcome, obviously, but there are no precise plans for the moment.”

“Any escalation should be avoided,” she said.

El Pais reports (Spanish) that Spain withdrew its frigate 'Méndez Núñez' from the US carrier strike group that is moving towards the Persian Gulf.

To counter the increased war talk emanating from the White House, Iran put some of its military on alert:

Iran has deployed its ballistic and cruise missiles, some in positions visible to US satellites and drones. They are ready for any confrontation with the US military apparatus, in case the US administration decides on war. Iran is responding to President Donald Trump’s belligerent declaration that he is gathering more naval forces in the Persian Gulf as a possible preparation for war. The Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a full readiness of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the army for the worst-case scenario. According to Iranian officials, “Iran will consider itself at war with every country in the Middle East that allows the US to use it as a base for its military campaign against Iran, the day Trump decides to go to war”.

It is difficult to judge if the rhetoric and moves against Iran, amplified by gullible media, are just propaganda aimed at pushing Iran towards negotiations, or if they are a build up of a realistic military threat against that country. What is assured though is that the current situation increased the chance of an incident - caused willfully or by accident by Iran, the U.S., or interested third parties - that could lead up to a war or at least some intense military exchanges. The all-out economic war the U.S. wages against the people of Iran increases this instability. There are no communications between the U.S. and Iran and the Trump administration seems to have no de-escaltion strategy:

“This administration’s maximum pressure campaign, and Pompeo’s 12 demands from Tehran, leaves little room for Iran to conduct face-saving negotiations,” Geranmayeh said, echoing the concerns of many who fear that Washington has left no room for Iran to walk back its threats and come to the table.

Posted by b on May 14, 2019 at 8:39 UTC | Permalink

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The thing that concerns me most about this war rhetoric, is that un-elected men like Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams etc, seem to have complete freedom to move large military assets about the globe and start wars entirely on their own say so. How can it be that these wretched few men (and one ghastly woman (Haspel), have such power and exercise it without a mandate from the people?

Posted by: john wilson | May 14 2019 9:03 utc | 1

1.) They want war to justify autocratic rule, and to justify using our military to destroy their enemies, they don't care what happens to us or our military in the process. (They being various foreign/foreign-affiliated funders of our elections, e.g. Adelson, Iranian/Cuban/Venezuelan/Saudi ex-sell-your-own-people money.)

2.) The Iranians (unlike Saddam) are not going to wait around for us to build our forces up, they will start right in on our Israeli and Saudi buddies and local exposed positions, once it is clear death-from-above is coming, to make sure they get them in the process. That is the message of the ship sabotage, "we're coming for you first Bucko". The Syrians, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Hash'd al-Shabi can be expected to join in enthusiastically too, and their countries being already destroyed, they will have not-much to lose. Attacking Israel & Saudi would be the first thing to do. Syria will attack the Golan for sure.

Posted by: Bemildred | May 14 2019 9:25 utc | 2

The best next move for the ‘sane world ‘,would be for all the third party country’s who have had enough of u s bully boy tactics to achieve world domination. Should stand up and condem u s actions against Iran and us actions generally.
The school bully only can get away with what others allow that bully to get away with.
Wringing of hands and pearl twisting is a sign of weakness to a bully’s eye.
Enough surly is enough now !!!

Posted by: Mark2 | May 14 2019 10:36 utc | 3 outlets with links to the Kremlin, Hezbollah and Iran spread claims that a series of explosions had occurred on land at Fujairah’s port.

Messages in the Russian media were almost immediately refuted by them themselves.

News on the fire on tankers - May 12, 11:17 (Moscow time)

Disproof - May 12, 12:29 (Moscow time)

The news contained a direct reference to AI-Mayadeen.

Posted by: alaff | May 14 2019 10:42 utc | 4

Houthi-run TV says Yemeni group targeted vital Saudi installations
BREAKING: Two oil pumping stations attacked by drones on Saudi East-West pipeline transferring crude from the Gulf to Yunbo refinery on Red Sea. Attacks occurred 300km west of Riyadh at Daradi & Afif according to Saudi oil minister. Saudi-owned media blaming #Iran.
Saudi ARAMCO announces East-West pipeline now off-line after drone attacks targeting pumping stations. Fire brought under control but damage assessment & repair needed before pipeline can return to service

The east-west pipeline is the Saudis only possible way to transfer oil should the Straight of Hormuz be closed. Iran willl be blamed for the incident.

This -like the incident in the UAE- can again be interpreted as an Iranian warning that no oil will flow, independent of what happnes at Hormuz, unless Iranian oil can be sold too.

Posted by: b | May 14 2019 11:10 utc | 5

I'm more troubled that the NY Times' "reporting" contains a massive lie, it just states that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, you quoted it:

"Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said."

This is such an egregious lie, that the rest of the "article" isn't credible. And of course, the reporters and whatever editor posted it, need to be fired.

The NY Times, if it doesn't do those things, the paper can't ever be taken seriously on Iran again. (Of course the NY Times won't fire anyone for this.)

Posted by: Jay | May 14 2019 11:38 utc | 7

As the elections approach, the timing becomes critical.
I imagine that going into election, one does not want to be starting a war, but is helpful to be engaged in an on going war.
At this point it is important to the owners of the U.S. to ensure that Trump is re-elected. He has been made into workable stooge. Which is not to say that another could not be persuaded similarly without difficulty but the timing is not good.

Posted by: jared | May 14 2019 12:17 utc | 8


I think it is time that we stopped wishing that things would be other than what they are.
NYT is propaganda organ, it's not a bug and its not new and of course its not alone, act accordingly.
Russia nor China is coming to anyone's rescue.
Similarly, Trump is not haplessly trapped by rogue administration, they are operating with his acceptance.
The people of the U.S. are not innocent bystanders, they are selfish and indifferent and no amount of preaching will change that - stop wishing that they would realise what is happening.

Posted by: jared | May 14 2019 12:23 utc | 9

Very impressive capability for the Houthis to hit something as small as a booster station from such a great distance! Might there have been clandestine "ground controllers" to facilitate the attack? Which, of course, would be even more scary from the Saudi's point of view.

Posted by: TheBAG | May 14 2019 12:27 utc | 10

TheBAG @ 12:

I'm pretty sure that huge numbers of Saudi soldiers have defected to the Houthi side and have brought with them guns, tanks, ammunition and military advice and expertise. That would explain how the Houthis not only have been able to hold their ground against the Saudi government forces but even to fire rockets deep into Saudi Arabia and landing not far from Riyadh. I can't prove that my hunch is correct but certainly it would not be in the Saudis' interest to admit that they are losing fighters and huge amounts of equipment to the Houthis, because then the US, the British, the French and others would refuse to sell them any more hardware if they knew it was all slipping through Saudi fingers.

Posted by: Jen | May 14 2019 12:44 utc | 11

Saudi soldiers defecting would put their family members in grave danger it would seem.
Many single men with nothing further to lose, perhaps. The high tech drone attack by the Houthis does indeed get one's attention.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | May 14 2019 12:58 utc | 12

NYT has never seen a war which it did not promote. This being the case, it is safe to assume that the NYT is not gullible, but complicit in war making plans.

Posted by: Fastfreddy | May 14 2019 13:03 utc | 13

Well put. I can say with a degree of certainly that in the USA there is a lingering near mythological sense of being the good guys. I suppose its a carry-over from the post War generation but it lingers. The notion of 'oh we would never do THAT' kind of thinking pervades. The notion that publications only occasionally make propogandistic mistakes rather than it being the norm is a widespread view. There are however a number of USAns that do not buy the official narrative and actively attemepts to decode the the various streams of information that constantly flow around us.
I can only describe the attitude of the so called left in the USA as polyanna-ish. They are constantly lead around by the nose-ring to whatever the false gatekeepers have cooked up for the week and winge uselessly about it until the next prompt. Even when confronted with evidence to the contrary, they refuse to even consider it lest it jar their shoddily constructed reality-tunnel. The crowing jewel is the utter hippocracy when it comes to intervention and justification. No matter how "compassionate" the people of means in say, Berkeley California pretend to be there is the inescapable truth that they really do not give two fhaaks about the various nations that their nation has laid waste to. And they for damn sure do not want them flooding into their back yards, but somebody else is welcome to take them. Phew, rant over....

Posted by: Chevrus | May 14 2019 13:06 utc | 14

A photo of one of the Saudi ships involved. Listing slightly.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 13:21 utc | 15

The good news is that there seems to be no possibility of an international "coalition of the willing" coupled with stout domestic resistance in the Congress to any war on Iran w/o congressional approval, and no interest by Americans in general, major differences from Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Also Iran is much stronger (and smarter) than Iraq was, with many options and support from US enemies Russia and China. So this matter has all the appearance of yet another US foreign policy loss.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14 2019 13:31 utc | 16

Posted by: b | May 14, 2019 7:10:14 AM | 5

Iranian official media reported on the incident first, when Saudi/UAE took a while before they were prepared to talk about it.
There was some hidden sarcasm in the reporting, too.

Saudi and Israel may hate Iran but any real war with Iran has the potential to destroy both countries. Never mind the price of oil.

So I guess Iran has called Bolton's bluff.

Israel had to get Qatar to save it from Trump's Palestinian defunding, Saudi and Israel will have to get Russia now to save them from US war mongering. Bolton's/Trump's policy de facto would make Iran acquire a nuclear bomb and might do the same to Saudi. Of course the US are isolated.

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 13:35 utc | 17

Sounds familiar?
However, just before Monday night's violence, both sides announced they had agreed on the structure of a new administration.

The gunfire on the streets may point to a division within the military and an attempt to destabilise this process, says the BBC's Alastair Leithead.

Some generals may feel frustrated that the sit-in continues despite major concessions from the military, while demonstrators feel they cannot leave the streets until they get what they want, our reporter adds.

The transitional military council pointed the finger at people trying to sabotage talks.

"Behind this are groups that... are working hard to abort any progress in negotiations," it said, Reuters reports.

Posted by: Mina | May 14 2019 13:37 utc | 18

Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran......

Gosh funny how the War on Terror precipitated by those "Muslims" responsible for 9/11 has ended up being a war on nation states Israel doesn't like. Almost like 9/11 benefitted them more than it did the "terrorists"!

Posted by: WJ | May 14 2019 13:49 utc | 19

add to 19

There seem to be some baby steps

Iran Ends Its Boycott Against Israeli Judokas

That would have almost certainly been mediated by or for Putin.

Iran Actively Looking for Missing Israelis in Lebanon, Syria

Last month, Israel received the remains of missing soldier Zecharia Baumel, Hy”d, 37 years after he went missing. Baumel was one of three IDF soldiers, together with fellow soldiers Yehuda Katz, and Zvi Feldman who went missing in a key battle in the Lebanon War on June 11, 1982 at Sultan Yakoub in Lebanon. Iran is said to be looking for these soldiers, as well as missing airman Ron Arad, and Cohen. ... Israel released two Syrian prisoners after Baumel’s remains were returned, but said that there had not been a specific deal to do so. The Independent said that Syria had sought to attain the release of two Syrian spies who had helped Iran and Hezbollah, but that Israel refused.

In other news Israel keeps testing Syria's S300.

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 13:52 utc | 20

The Lincoln carrier group is now reported to be in the vicinity of Iran here as planned long ago.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14 2019 13:59 utc | 21

Trump tweet:
Reporter: Are we going to war with Iran?
President Trump: "I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens with Iran." . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 14 2019 14:03 utc | 22

Tellingly russians have no problem to work with the same warmongers,

Pompeo says Trump wants to improve Russia relations as talks with Lavrov begin in Sochi

We see their response to US attack on Assad, we see their response to the on going coup in Venezuela and now we see their attitude towards threats against Iran.
Russia's response to all this? Lets work with the US!

Posted by: Zanon | May 14 2019 14:06 utc | 23

A photo of one of the Saudi ships involved. Listing slightly.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14, 2019 9:21:30 AM | 17

FAKE NEWS! From the link:

"Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal."

Iran trying to negotiate a new deal??? With a lie like that, why believe anything in the article, such an article is worth less than toilet paper.

Posted by: BM | May 14 2019 14:10 utc | 24

Spain pulls frigate from U.S. Gulf mission amid differences over Iran

"The U.S. government has taken a decision outside of the framework of what had been agreed with the Spanish Navy," acting Defense Minister Margarita Robles told reporters in Brussels.

That led to the temporary pullout of the 215-sailor Mendez Nunez from the group led by aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as the mission no longer had the objective of celebrating 500 years since the first circumnavigation of the world, as envisaged by a bilateral U.S.-Spanish agreement, she said.

What a $hit show. Reeks of desperation.

Current war mongers in DC celebrate nothing, but death, destruction and misery. Smart move by the Spanish.

Posted by: Zack | May 14 2019 14:21 utc | 25


What exactly would you propose that Russia do? It is a good thing, not a bad thing, that the two major nuclear powers on the planet improve their relations, even if both are corrupt and one is sociopathic.

Posted by: WJ | May 14 2019 14:21 utc | 26

Posted by: WJ | May 14, 2019 9:49:02 AM | 21

Sure. Israel "withdrew" from Gaza in 2005, Hamas took over in 2007. In 2019 Hamas and Islamic Jihad have the ability to force Israel into negotiations via rocket power.

I know about the Neocon/Netanyahu "A clean break: A strategy for securing the realm"".
It was complete, absolute failure. A murderous folly.

Maybe Bolton will now achieve Armageddon. Any sane person in Israel should do their best to stop him.

Posted by: somebody | May 14 2019 14:23 utc | 27

Video the stills were taken from here.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 14:27 utc | 28

Why would Amnesty International risk falsely accusing Assad of torture?

Posted by: Bob Moore | May 14 2019 14:29 utc | 29

Many do not appear to recognise the significance of a visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st by Albanian President Ilir Meta along with top Albanian military leaders and diplomats.

Albania is now home to the Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist cult (MEK) and John Bolton has long believed he can use the MEK to facilitate regime change in Iran. One of those ways is to create false flag ops which can be blamed on Iran as a means to provoke a military response. In Europe, several unresolved incidents have been blamed on Iran. This activity has now shifted to the Middle East.

An Albanian source has stated that alongside the delegation to the USS Abraham, he witnessed the presence of Shish operatives taking some Farsi speakers on board the USS Abraham Lincoln who were not disembarked before the ship moved on.

Kuwaiti media also reports that MEK operatives have been arrested attempting to buy speed boats in the Persian Gulf. MEK operatives were trained as suicide bombers by Saddam Hussein. The CIA has transferred there training camp to Albania.

Bolton support the MEK terrorist cult. Bolton is on the payroll of the MEK. These MEK terrorist, will be deployed to carry out false flag ops that can be blamed on Iran – such as a suicide attack. Their unique value is that as Iranians they can be passed off as Iranian naval personnel. The recent attacks on commercial vessels in the gulf are just trial run to see what Iran’s reaction would be.

Bolton is a terrorist and he is endangering the world with his terrorist activities.

Posted by: bluey | May 14 2019 14:31 utc | 30

“In 2014, it will cost an average of an eye-popping $2.1 million for every U.S. troop serving in Afghanistan, according to a report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA)”.
US efforts to bring Iran’s exports of oil and other products to zero are acts of war, the Iranians have every right to defend themselves against aggression by the US, especially when the US say they are protecting their allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. Any war would be disastrous for all concerned and bring economic instability to the whole world. Bolton and Pompeo appear to be calling the shots here, but the Policy is Trumps , it’s his way, notice the carrier groups surrounding N Korea last year.
Everyone should realize he is ‘willy waving’ [or should I say ‘little mushroom waving’] the American political class and their backers [the ‘Great Wurlitzer’ media] by sanctioning and threatening war on almost everyone, have taken leave of their senses.

Posted by: Harry Law | May 14 2019 14:38 utc | 31

Iran Alarms

— early 2012, the ‘nukulear’ crisis. War mongering:

Ex. Foreign Affairs by M. Kroenig

Time to attack Iran, Why a strike is the least bad option.

excerpt “…Critics, meanwhile, have warned that such a raid would likely fail and, even if it succeeded, would spark a full-fledged war and a global economic crisis…”

Full PDF and critiques can be googled

— Operation House of Cards. May 2018, when Trump announced the US withdrawal from the JCPOA. Some minor confrontations between Israel and Iran in Syria.

(wiki may be BS, I didn’t read it, just to recall the MSM narrative)

What happened? Nothing much. No war, bombs, invasion, etc. (Sanctions other topic.) That is not to say that this time round some war-mongers won’t be more effective.

Still, the ‘nuke’ argument is now a stretch, whole story already gone into many times, ppl know this, attacks contra Israel can’t be pointed to right now, etc. Maybe some ‘false flag’ op, as b points out this one ain’t convincing. Why attempt it when it looks lame?

The posturing, knee-jerk moves, are part of the ingrained, conventional actions and reactions that are haplessly entered into, adopted, without much thought. Like on some Biz Chart, PDF in color, done by the nephew of the CEO.

Posted by: Noirette | May 14 2019 14:40 utc | 32

Sorry I messed up my comment above, it should have been led by this paragraph......
So much for Trump’s pre election claims of no more wars in the Middle East, he claimed that the 7 Trillion dollar wars [that figure is correct counting in the long team costs of injured soldiers etc] in Iraq and Afghanistan should be spent on US infrastructure. How times have changed 120,000 soldiers abroad would cost 240 billion dollars per year, before a shot has been fired.

Posted by: Harry Law | May 14 2019 14:41 utc | 33

Seeing as how the US is the only country to have used atomic weapons on another country, letting them decide who can and who can't have nuclear weapons is like letting the Nazis decide who can and who can't have gas chambers.

Posted by: Michael McNulty | May 14 2019 14:58 utc | 34

@ John Wilson #1

The US is not a democracy it is an oligarchy. The "State" which is the US has been captured by oligarchs and operates entirely in their interests. The US is the HQ of the empire, where its institutions of power are housed, it is where the imperial military has its command.

US foreign policy is a reflection of the desires of the oligarchy. No US war for the last 120 years (including WWI & II) has ever been waged for any reason other than to enrich the global power elite.

It can be expressed in financial terms, the global power elite have a commingled cash pot which is over 50 trillion dollars - the US gov is 22 trillion in debt - and to whom is it indebted?

Noam Chomsky could be elected president tomorrow - then the oligarchy would call in its debts and the US gov would collapse, their interest and power are grater than the US by far, the military could not act against the oligarchy because the oligarchy controls all the necessary supplies it needs. 85% of the resources, copper, oil of course, bauxite and every other metal or substance necessary for modern life is controlled by the imperial oligarchy - they own the world and they intend to use it as their playground. There are no good guys or bad buys because there is no morality - there are only winners and losers.

Posted by: Babyl-on | May 14 2019 14:59 utc | 35

Don Bacon@23... President Trump: "I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, they will suffer greatly. We’ll see what happens with Iran." He should have said, 'I haven't a clue,you had better ask my boss Mr Netanyahu' or his willing helpers John Bolton or Mike Pompeo'.

Posted by: Harry Law | May 14 2019 15:01 utc | 36


Yes both Russia and US are corrupt and I agree that talking is great but not when the same party threat Iran/Syria/Venezuela, that just appease the same warmonger. But as we have seen Russis do not understand what is going on until its too late - as usual.
Pompeo now suddenly travels to EU and Russia to talk about Iran. Its because he want their help or understanding that they wont work against US interests. Here Russia could use that power as EU but both play along - as usual.

Posted by: Zanon | May 14 2019 15:08 utc | 37


It's the flagrant nature of the Iran nuclear weapons lie the NY Times published that's so incredible.

There are all sorts of ways the NY Times can have the lie included in the paper and present is as credible--example pretend that Netanyahu's secret team really had found evidence of some weapons program in a basically unguarded warehouse in Tehran. (The NYT has already done that, and ignored the well documented fact that Netanyahu simply released well known documents more than a decade out of date.)

Posted by: Jay | May 14 2019 15:20 utc | 38

Another version of the Houthl (claimed) attacks in Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Possibly as serious, is the withdrawal of the Spanish ship from the US carrier group, after the meeting in Brussels on May 13th.

"The Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, has ordered the temporary withdrawal of the Spanish frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104), with 215 sailors on board, from the combat group led by the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln."
Perhaps the Spanish thought they were going to be used as the "fall guy" in another FF attack to be blamed on Iran.... or that they thought they were going to be asked to be the ones to carry out the first retaliatory strike. (US tactic used in Syria with Australian and I think, Canadian planes). Either way, NATO could use this as an excuse to get involved, - as in Yugoslavia and Libya. It has been rumoured that an eventual US strike on Iran would be massive and mainly by air, to avoid engaging ground troops and minimizing losses.
I can see why the EU is less than enthusiastic being decieved into Boltoon's war. (NATO = US organized war using EU troops.)

Posted by: stonebird | May 14 2019 15:20 utc | 39

I've previously proposed that the tensions with Iran are deliberately overblown. It started with Bolton's hyped announcement of what was pre-planned military maneuvers.

And now we have this ship attack non-event.

Why would Iran "send a message" like this? They've already made it abundantly clear that they will shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Did anyone really think they would do so but allow oil to move past the Strait by other means? C'mon.

IMO the occupations of Syria (Idlib, Northeastern Syria, al Tanf, and Golan Heights) are strategic levers in the quest for control of Syria. USA+allies will do everything they can to keep these occupations in place.

A Iraq War style attack on Iran would be foolhardy. However, the increased tensions with Iran are useful to convince the public (and US military) that Syria-Iran WMDs threaten civilians in Idlib. We may be seeing preparation for such an eventuality:

Syrian Army Once Again Shelled Turkish Observation Post In Northwestern Hama: Opposition Sources
"Opposition Sources" LOL

Unguided Bombs And Indiscriminate Strikes: Russian Aerial Campaign In Syria
Oh noes! What can be done?

Turkish Defense Minister: Syrian Army Should End Its Attack Around Idlib And Withdraw

HTS, Al-Qaeda & Turkish-Backed Militants Form Joint Operations Room In Idlib

Even Opposition Admits Hayat Tahrir al-Sham ‘May Have’ Chemical Weapons
Chemical weapons false flag to be blamed on Iran (as supplier of WMD to Syria)?

U.S. Special Representative For Syria: Ongoing Operation Around Idlib Is “Limited”
What will USA do if it is not so "limited"?

Wither Turkey? Turkey still remains highly dependent on the West. Analysts ignore this at their peril. Erdogan has been playing both sides but we should never forget that he supported ISIS and still favors objectives of the 'Assad must go' Coalition. Some food for thought: Waging War on Iran without Turkey? Is Turkey Sleeping with the Enemy? The Russia -Turkey -Iran “Triple Entente”

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 15:25 utc | 40

Stars and Stripes has published the AP article entitled "Satellite images show no major damage to 'sabotaged' ships".

Posted by: Hal C | May 14 2019 15:38 utc | 41


To your first part. If Iran has any communication with the Houthi, they probably warned them that whatever attack on Saudi or UAE they carry out is done overtly in defense against the ongoing Zionist proxy assault on Yemen, and at this time, not covertly to trigger an international incident.

I would first suspect Mossad operatives in collaboration with their Gulf stooges of the tanker sabotage. Israel has everything to gain from a false flag casus belli.

To your second part after the link you provided: it's a cockamamie theory you laid out. Israel is the impetus for war with Iran. Zionist billionaires chose Trump to spearhead this operation. Also, the fact that Qatar is helping the Palestinians in some way has absolutely ZERO to do with Israel that hates Muslim Brotherhood influence almost as much as Iranian influence.

@20 Mina

You could have posted that on the open thread. Why do you not mention the country you're referring to and instead waste people's time with that BLATANT off-topic deflection??? You could have at the very least mentioned off topic if you don't want to broach the subject of Iran.


War on terror was an invention created to put Clean Break and PNAC into action both undersigned by the Zionist Mafia that runs the U.S. government.


Trump is setting the stage for war to rally everyone around the flag and vote patriotism in the coming election. Stupidly, middle working-class Americans are grooming their children to once again be the fallen casualties for the Zionist cause while blowhard Trump inflates an economic Hindenburg that will end up going down in flames.

Then, in his second term, Trump might just reintroduce war bonds to help fund with idiotic patriotism, the disaster he's busy devising and generating in this term. Trump has the uncanny gift of making chaos appealing to reality-show saturated sheeple breathless for the next armchair drama. So why vote for a boring candidate who will reinstate the Iran deal when they can get patriotic fervor and high drama c/o Zionist Donald J. Trump? French fries will change name, people will burn disks in the streets and shout down the mere whisper of sanity drowning out peace and diplomacy with the cacophony of drumming for war, while the Zionist gatekeeping media will again help to drive the crazy crescendo with wall to wall propaganda about the new evil boogeyman, Iran.

If I had a magic wand I'd turn all dumb ignoramuses among us into cattle, ox, goats, sheep and Trump into the fascist Pig leading the cattle to certain slaughter so that all would be easily recognizable for what they are, and I'd put an Oxford cap on those Zionist cackling chickenshits using their intellect and degree to spin the narrative for war. Then the picture would become crystal clear. Oh, and Israel would be turned into a land of laughing hyenas forever mocking American stupidity.

Posted by: Circe | May 14 2019 15:38 utc | 42

Reuters: May 13, 2019-Saudi ship leaves Spain with ceremonial, exhibition materials

A Saudi ship that was blocked from loading a weapons cargo in France left the Spanish port of Santander on Monday carrying material destined for Saudi Arabia that could be used in military ceremonies, but not wars, a Spanish government source said.

The vessel, that carries a separate consignment of arms loaded in Antwerp, set sail from Santander at 1:50 p.m. (1150 GMT) bound for Genoa, Italy, according to ship tracking data.

The Spanish source said the material could be used for cannon salutes in military ceremonies in Saudi Arabia. The vessel was also carrying exhibition materials for the United Arab Emirates.

“There are two loads,” the source said. “They comply with all the norms, they are not for the war in Yemen, they are not for use in war.”

The equipment was made by Spanish firm Instalaza, according to the source. The company was not immediately available for comment. Santander port authorities could not immediately be reached.

Posted by: Zack | May 14 2019 15:42 utc | 43

Pat Lang also sees Bolton-Haspel as behind increased tensions but fails to connect their mischievousness to Idlib.

Once again:

1) USA+allies could not prevail in Iraq so why would they attempt a similar invasion of Iran?

2) USA+allies economic embargo has only just begun. This 'war of attrition' needs time to work its magic: spark civil strife that the West can turn into a civil war.

So the increased tensions with Iran likely have a different and more tactical purpose: retaining Idlib.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Notice how this allows US and Turkey to dismiss accusations that they are working together. USA would NOT be supporting Turkey but responding to "Iranian aggression".

Oh so clever. LOL.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 15:48 utc | 44


Most likely it is Israel, the sabotage come just days after Trump's threats again Iran. Sabotage, that would further put pressure on Iran by Trump. It is so apparent - a false flag. Mossad must laugh right now.

It reminds me of this from 2011:
"'Second sabotage' of Gaza-bound flotilla"

Activists on Irish ship in Turkey bound for Gaza Strip claim Israel behind sabotage of vessel's propeller.

Posted by: Zanon | May 14 2019 15:56 utc | 45

@bluey #31

Read an article about this last night.

Can't make this stuff up, crazier than fiction.

Appears that Giuliani has ties to MEK as well.

Posted by: Zack | May 14 2019 15:59 utc | 46

@ b #5

This -like the incident in the UAE- can again be interpreted as an Iranian warning that no oil will flow, independent of what happnes at Hormuz, unless Iranian oil can be sold too.
.I expect the Saudis will see more than that in the attacks. IMO Iran is gently pointing out that if it gets hurt by an aerial or continued economic attack, Saudi Arabia is going to catch hell too. SA is a large place with thousands of targets, and it's impossible to defend most of them from saboteurs, guerillas, drones, or missiles. It won't surprise me if that nation suddenly become far less enthusiastic about attacking Iran.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | May 14 2019 16:24 utc | 47

Jackrabbit @46

"1) USA+allies could not prevail in Iraq so why would they attempt a similar invasion of Iran?"

How did they "not prevail" in Iraq? They took out Hussein, demolished a functional secular-democratic state, killed millions of Arabs. This is all that Israel wants.

Posted by: WJ | May 14 2019 16:29 utc | 48

I have not seen any photos of the UAE ship involved. UAE are in damage control mode, waiting thirty six hours before saying anything then calling it sabotage rather than terrorism.
There may be something in the early reports that UAE calls fake news.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14 2019 16:40 utc | 49

thanks b.. the country that doesn't know how to ''de-escalate'' is also the country that is non-negotiable... anyone stupid enough to do a '''deal''' with the usa, may as well be doing a deal with the devil.. it won't work out like you planned, or like they said..

exhibit 1 - JCPOC... plenty more where that came from...

the usa-israel terrorists are in bed with the ksa / uae terrorists.. what could possibly go wrong?? maybe if i was an evangelical, i would be looking for the quickest way to heaven... it seems like they are.. fucking freaks - all of them..

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 16:49 utc | 50

they have a lot on their plate as well...

escalate with iran and escalate with venezuala... lots to keep the neocons busy at present... meanwhile trump rubs his hands with glee thinking of all the money he can make off all of it... nothing like having a first class sicko as leader of neo-con central.. some folks are crazy enough to think trump is going to stop the madness, lol... good luck with that!

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 16:54 utc | 51

karl @ 7

LOL. I don't think every comment so plainly written as satire needs to be identified as such. On the other hand, if you are indeed serious that should clearly stated in your comment.

Posted by: Nobody | May 14 2019 16:58 utc | 52

Nobody @52--

I've yet to comment on this thread, and there's no other "karl" commenting @7, which was from Jay's keyboard.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 17:04 utc | 53

Khamenei just tweeted:

"Iranian nation’s definite option is resistance against U.S. and in this confrontation, U.S. will have to withdraw. This is not a military confrontation because no war is to happen. We don’t seek a war nor do they. They know a war wouldn’t be beneficial for them."

Three hours prior, Zarif tweeted this:

"In interviews in April, I predicted “accidents”—not because I'm a genius— but because #B_Team is so brazenly following @AmbJohnBolton's script ( …).
After all, half of B-Team were co-conspirators in disastrous Iraq war.
Stark reminder …"

Rouhani has yet to tweet anything and nothing since the 8th.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 17:17 utc | 54

@ karlof1 with the comment to Nobody about a "karl" comment

I read it too and noted it was not karlof1 and continued on....there is no comment from karl in this thread now......Hmmm

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 14 2019 17:19 utc | 55

WJ @48: How did they "not prevail" in Iraq?

Maybe "prevail" was the wrong word.

They failed in many ways:

> The invasion didn't pay for itself. By some estimates USA wasted trillions;

> Iran-allied Shias were left as the strongest group, causing much heartburn for the Empire's Sunni allies;

> War crimes like Abu Ghraib, indiscriminate killing of civilians (as published by Wikileaks), and the subsequent revelations about the propaganda lies leading up to this "war of choice" caused a world-wide backlash - Western public opinion turned sharply against military interventions so that the Obama/Deep State/neocons had to turn to covert ops.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 17:23 utc | 56

Wow! This gets even better! Trump: 120,000 troops "Fake News".

"US President Donald Trump slammed the report about a possible deployment of 120,000 troops to the Middle East in order to counter Iran as 'fake news' and expressed hope that such a plan won't be needed. At the same time, he said that he would 'absolutely' send 120,000 troops more to the Middle East, or even more, if necessary.

"'Would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that', Trump said."

How many MoA barflies recall the Keystone Kops? Too bad the topic's so serous; otherwise, this entire affair would be rather humorous.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 17:25 utc | 57

Bolton and Pompeo are crazy and have risen the risks of an accident or something like that happening in the last six months. That said a war or hot conflict with Iran is still very unlikely simply because it would be disaster everyone on both sides geopolitical and economic wise. I voted for Trump and his foreign policy is a disaster. But when he approaches the abyss of hot conflict so to speak he's backed away from it albeit very slowly and quietly. We saw that with both the tomahawk missile strikes in Syria in response to the fake chemical attacks. We may start to see that in Venezuela after that failed PR stunt on part of that CIA boy. When things start to cool off with Iran I don't know and I'm not trying to understate the intensity of the situation. Just because something is unlikely doesn't make it not dangerous. But likewise something dangerous doesn't make it likely to happen either.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gillispie | May 14 2019 17:27 utc | 58

continuing @56

The 'pivot' to covert ops and color revolution required a President that could sell a change in US behavior: Obama.

The 'pivot' back to overt US action required a MAGA nationalist that could reboot US patriotism: Trump.

Clinton - Bush - Obama - Trump all in service to the Deep State.

Welcome to the rabbithole.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 17:32 utc | 59

JR @40
Another great post; thanks for links.
What's really confusing to me in all this is the damage (or lack of) to the ships, particularly the one in the above photo. I'm inclined to agree with b that it looks more like collision damage than explosive damage (one'd think an explosive device would create a more jagged hole). And then there's the denial/lukewarm confirmation/"solid" confirmation by the regional gov't in Fujairah, reports of US/French planes in the early morning skies (I don't know how light it is in the area at that time, but I'm sure it can't be that easy to distinguish the nationality of a plane flying at high altitude with an unaided eye), the report by the Lebanese news outlet, and then this attack on a Saudi pipeline...yeef!
My own guess is, Iranian intelligence (which has burned the US in the past) got word of a potential US/French plan to hit some tankers at this port and blame it on Iran; the Iranians pass the info along to this news outlet with the implication that it's "current," and thereby blowing the lid on what was supposed to be an out-of-the-blue occurrence (the Russians and Syrians have successfully preempted locked and loaded false flags by the "rebels" in Syria).
With the attack on the Saud-owned pipeline (allegedly by Houthi forces in Yemen), things are a little more clear; the Houthis have shown the capability to hit Saud territory before. The reported high-tec nature of this particular attack may be a signal to dipsticks planning to attack Iran that none of their sheise in the surrounding area is safe from counterattack, and that these counters won't be coming from Iran alone.
I sense an acute bout of overreach in the near future for a certain degenerate empire.
Thanks again for all the great work, b.

Posted by: robjira | May 14 2019 17:35 utc | 60

Khamenei's statement that the Outlaw US Empire will "have to withdraw" is going to chaff some hides amongst the swamp critters! The Sputnik item citing Trump I linked above has some excellent comments by Iran's UN Rep which essentially are "We won't be pressured into anything," but are worth reading directly.

And just where would the Outlaw US Empire station 120,000 troops? Iraq and Syria are out. Kuwait and/or Saudi--perhaps. Qatar IMO's out. Bahrain or UAE seem more likely. But such a large contingent would require massive support that isn't budgeted.

Some comedian's going to come up with an excellent ridicule-based routine!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 17:36 utc | 61

This is like the previous agitprop and disinformation campaigns leading to war like Clinton on Yugoslavia, Bush on Iraq, and Obama on Syria (and the too-many others to list here).

But unlike those previous US engineered wars a US war on Iran will reset the world from the US position after the end of Cold War v1. It is not obvious that Russia and China will never allow the US to rule over Iran? They will make sure the US cannot defeat Iran and that the US bleeds itself out.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | May 14 2019 17:42 utc | 62


Well there was a comment @7 by somebody called karl and I thought it was funny. Apparently not everyone has the same sense of humour.

Posted by: Nobody | May 14 2019 17:47 utc | 63

I have noticed that comments on websites tend to turn into closed circles. I am an outsider here, but I read Moon every day in order to inform myself better about what is actually going on. I am grateful for the information, including info often found in the comments.

You have all probably seen that Pompeo said today that the US does not "fundamentally' want war with Iran, and wants to improve relations with Russia. I don't believe a word of it, simply because there is no evidence at all, especially in the Trump presidency, that the US can be trusted. None.
On the contrary, there is a clear pattern - talk of negotiations, of a 'deal', some spectacular meetings which result in - NOTHING. More of the same: more lies, more sanctions, more trampling on the law, on morality, on decency. This repugnant arrogance, bullying and terrorising of targeted countries, and at a minimum psychological terror of the entire world population is nauseating to observe and be subjected to. But the Trump recipe (modus operandi) is simple - talk tough (vulgar), then talk nice, add a meeting or two with memorable photos for spice, then throw in some blackmail, draw the dagger and stick your photo-op 'partner' in the back. Repeat many times, and Israel will applaud it as the best recipe before the Rapture. That is 100% Donald Trump.
The US is "fundamentally" untrustworthy, unreliable and undesirable as a player in anything. There are many dark days ahead in the second Trump presidency.

Posted by: JB | May 14 2019 17:55 utc | 64

Iran dismisses Reuters knowledge re Iran-EU talks, says Iran d/n demand 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude guarantee.. in exchange for staying in the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal.

Fake news is more potent than the explosion at a target. Its more powerful than a weapon of mass destruction, and there is no means what so ever to punish those that invent, design, produce and publish such..

Posted by: snake | May 14 2019 18:10 utc | 65

Agree with you, JB @64.

Posted by: spudski | May 14 2019 18:15 utc | 66

@ karlof1 with the good cop/bad cop example of 120000 troops in the ME

It is not funny that these folks are committing war crimes, one after another, and setting up to commit more if none put an end to it.

Trump is a worse actor than Ronnie Raygun and that is saying something.....he will always be the Liberace grifter to me, even if he kills us all.

I read a article title on the BBC web site today that stated the the US doesn't want a war with Iran in big bold it must be true....

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 14 2019 18:16 utc | 67

Posted by: WJ | May 14, 2019 9:49:02 AM | 19

Gosh funny how the War on Terror precipitated by those "Muslims" responsible for 9/11 has ended up being a war on nation states Israel doesn't like. Almost like 9/11 benefitted them more than it did the "terrorists"!

Dancing Israelis FOIA Photos REVEALED!!!

Posted by: John Smith | May 14 2019 18:19 utc | 68

robjira @60

You thanked me for the links but then talked past my analysis.

Just to be clear: Bolton's bluster and the UAE false flag attacks MAY NOT BE intended to lead to a war with Iran but as justification for defending the occupation of Idlib. Except it would be presented as "responding to Iranian aggression" instead of supporting Turkey.

It's easy to get caught up in the 'sexy' talk of war but a war on Iran is foolhardy. I'm not saying its impossible, just stupid. USA doesn't need to rush to war with Iran - they are using sanctions and MEK to destabilize Iran.

They may bomb Iran but a ground attack seems very unlikely. Russia and China are unlikely to sit idly by as Iran is invaded.

Idlib and Lebanon are much more pressing matters (in terms of Israel's perceived defense requirements). IMO US+allies militaries are much more likely to insert ground troops in Lebanon. Especially if Hezb launches missile attacks against Israel after US bombs Iran.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 18:20 utc | 69

9/11 Revisited: Declassified FBI Files Reveal New Details About ‘The Five Israelis’

Editor’s Note: The story of the Dancing Israelis remains one of the most controversial and explosive untold stories of Sept. 11, 2001. Previous efforts to analyze this aspect of 9/11 have been mostly emotive OpEds and conspiratorial rants – until now. Writer Greg Fernandez presents some new declassified FBI material as part of a newly compiled and highly detailed account of this chilling chapter in the 21st century’s most iconic event.

Posted by: John Smith | May 14 2019 18:24 utc | 70

9/11 Revisited: Declassified FBI Files Reveal New Details About ‘The Five Israelis’

Editor’s Note: The story of the Dancing Israelis remains one of the most controversial and explosive untold stories of Sept. 11, 2001. Previous efforts to analyze this aspect of 9/11 have been mostly emotive OpEds and conspiratorial rants – until now. Writer Greg Fernandez presents some new declassified FBI material as part of a newly compiled and highly detailed account of this chilling chapter in the 21st century’s most iconic event.

Posted by: John Smith | May 14 2019 18:24 utc | 71

9/11 Suspects: The Dancing Israelis

Posted by: John Smith | May 14 2019 18:29 utc | 72

Dancing Israelis Photos Analysis w/ Ryan Dawson

Posted by: John Smith | May 14 2019 18:29 utc | 73

Nobody @63--

Too bad you didn't copy/paste what you thought funny.

JB @64--

Agree with much of what you say, but I doubt Trump will be elected to a second term as the blowback from his policy choices are devastating the agrarian part of his voting base as this article reports and the entire spectrum of consumers as his tariffs bite.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 18:31 utc | 74

reply to Jen 11
re possible defection of SA troops
I think the majority of SA troops in Yemen are mercenaries, so defections are quite possible is Yemen is able to pay. Hard to imagine that mercs would follow their hearts:)

Posted by: frances | May 14 2019 18:58 utc | 75

Karlofi @74
I can confirm there was a different comment at 7. It was pretty obnoxious so I guise b took it down.
Some red neck psychopath in my opinion. Different comment there now !

Posted by: Mark2 | May 14 2019 19:03 utc | 76

reply to
Russia's response to all this? Lets work with the US!
Posted by: Zanon | May 14, 2019 10:06:36 AM | 23

But what would you have them do, the US has 13,000 aircraft alone, China and Russia combined have only 7,000. When you are in a small locked room confronted by a belligerent drunk holding a loaded gun, you play for time as long as possible.

Posted by: frances | May 14 2019 19:14 utc | 77

Pompeo and Lavrov hold joint press conference in Sochi (vid, 34 min).

Here's what Pompeo said on Iran (21:45):

Natalya Litovko, Rossiya 24: You just came back from Brussels, where you discussed with your European colleagues the nuclear deal with Iran. Well, the latest news about possible relocation of troops to the Middle East, that sounds concerning. Does that mean that Washington chose a strategy of force against Iran? Are European leaders on board with you on that?

Mike Pompeo: [?] talk about my conversations with Brussels and then more broadly about U.S. policy with respect to Islamic Republic of Iran. So I went to Brussels to share with our European friends the threats and concerns we have about actions that the Iranians are taking or potentially taking, and we wanted to make sure they understood the risks as we saw them, and I shared that with them in some detail. As for our policy, it's been consistent now for the entire Trump administration, and the decision to withdraw from the JPCOA now just over a year ago made clear what our objectives are, we've laid them out in May of last year. We're looking for Iran to behave like a normal country. And that's [?]. We have applied pressure to the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to achieve that. We fundamentally do not seek war with Iran. We're looking for the regime to simply stop conducting assassination campaigns throughout Europe. To cease their support of Hezbollah that threatens interests all across the Middle East, their support for the Houthis that are launching missiles into areas where there are Russians and Americans travelling, these missiles could easily kill a Russian or an American. We laid them out in some detail, our position hasn't changed. And the movement of troops that you described are [?] to the Department of Defense, but we've also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.

Posted by: S | May 14 2019 19:16 utc | 78

@ 74 karlof1

Comment numbers changed up-thread. Probably "karl" was the resident surrealist with the ever-changing names, and b deleted it.

Posted by: Grieved | May 14 2019 19:18 utc | 79

Looks like collision damage.

Expect it was another navy pilot error.

Posted by: jared | May 14 2019 19:18 utc | 80

reply to
Iran trying to negotiate a new deal??? With a lie like that, why believe anything in the article, such an article is worth less than toilet paper.
Posted by: BM | May 14, 2019 10:10:54 AM | 24

The article misstates what Iran said, they are saying that if the planned European payment system (proposed by the EU signers)to circumvent US sanctions is not operable in 60 days they will consider the deal null and void.

As for Iran continuing to sell heavy water and enriched uranium which it was allowed to do, the US has sanctioned that as well.

Thereby creating a situation where Iran will end up with levels of the stuff that the US can then cry agreement breach even though the agreement is dead and the increase is because Iran can't sell the stuff.

Nasty, ugly, treacherous, duplicitous, unless the US changes its tactics when the US finally falls as all empires do; few will morn its passing.

Posted by: frances | May 14 2019 19:23 utc | 81

obviously the comment got deleted, and yet folks still talk about i, myself included! obviously zanon asks the same stupid questions and people still engage.. go figure, lol...

@64 jb.. i liked your comment as well.. the way i see it there is never any accountability in the usa's word or actions.. until their is, bullshit is the law of the land.. this is strengthened more thanks the msm which is only to happy to comply... lying is what the usa and it's leaders do.. when they don't lie - that will be the shocker...

Posted by: james | May 14 2019 19:38 utc | 82

@ 30 If you are quoting from an article please indicate that you are doing so and inform us of the source. In this case almost the enire comment has been lifted from Massoud Khodabandeh’s article at the Where you have changed it, it is to the detriment of the article

@ 69 Jackrabbit
While I somewhat disagree I like to see well-argued positions.

Idlib is a relatively new development while Iran goes all the way back to 1979. Syria has been if not destroyed then substantially weakened. But desire to crush the Islamic leadership is so long-lived and deep among types like Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams etc., and Zionist leaders and followers that it has become pathological. It is both Bolton and Netanyahu’s lifelong mission, their obsession and now they are in a perfect position to carry it out. People with intense obsessions often do not think clearly but are prepared to pay a heavy price.

I believe Lebanon, not Idlib, is a huge concern as Israelis see it. The SAA does not need Iran to clean up Idlib, therefore mounting pressure on Iran will not change events in idlib. But Iran is the key to Hezbollah strength, so by attacking Iran you attack the problem at source.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 14 2019 19:47 utc | 83

Mark2 & Grieved--

Thanks for the info about what happened earlier today.

psychohistorian @67--

We discussed the Keystone Kop aspect of propaganda once before, and this is no different. In other headlines, Putin said he wants to "restore full relations" with the Outlaw US Empire; but, when has he said anything different. Having full relations isn't any guarantee that the Empire will suddenly become trustworthy and agreement capable. I wonder if Tehran's streets are as littered with homeless as Portland's are. Judging by my just concluded weekend there, you'd think it was Oregon being squeezed to death by sanctions given their vast numbers.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 14 2019 19:49 utc | 84

JR @69
Your astute analysis on the relationship between this event and the ramping up of operations to retake Idlib (and the empire's Quixotic effort to occupy the area) speaks for itself, and hardly needs any superfluous elaboration from li'l-ol'-hophead-me; only thanks for the continued edification.

Posted by: robjira | May 14 2019 19:56 utc | 85

The US doesn't have 120,000 combat troops. They have a lot of support troops, however.

And 120,000 is probably how many you'd need to seize the Iranian coast line - or part of it anyway - and hold it to prevent Iran from releasing mines into the Persian Gulf. The US Navy alone could not prevent Iran from mining the Gulf. The last time they conducted a mine clearing exercise in the Gulf, they only found fifty percent of the dummy mines used.

The problem is that sort of "occupation" - supported by US airstrikes against the rest of Iran - would subject those troops to constant attack by whatever remained of the Iranian military, the IRGC, and the one million strong Iranian Basij militia. And that would keep coming for the next twenty years because Iran would never surrender.

The other place 120,000 troops - or rather less - would be useful would be in temporarily occupying Southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley until Israel could consolidate its control of the area, and in supporting Israel to cleaning out Hezbollah missile emplacements and underground bunkers, supported by US airstrikes from those B-52s the US is flying around the Persian Gulf for propaganda purposes. Israel can't afford a war with Iran until Hezbollah is defanged, and can't do it by itself. But with US direct assistance, Israel could defang Hezbollah enough to be able to deal with whatever resources Hezbollah has left in the event of war with Iran. So the real *immediate* target of these troops would be Lebanon.

It's also possible that the US would use its occupation of Lebanon to extend the war into Syria, although how it would deal with Russia's potential involvement is unclear. While Russia's assets in Syria are completely insufficient to prevent a US full-scale attack on Syria, Russia could deploy assets sufficient to risk WWIII with the US if it decided to do so. I doubt Trump is willing to go that far.

But I can easily see Trump authorizing thousands of US troops to work with Israel in destroying Hezbollah, hoping to get a "poll bump" in the 2020 elections by "destroying a terrorist group that threatens Israel." Then the Iran war itself could be started. Then those troops could be moved to Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and the UAE and then sent to invade Iran's coastline after the US Air Force and Navy have bombed the crap out of it.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 14 2019 20:07 utc | 86

Lochearn @85

I understand the reasoning for the concern about an attack on Iran. Iran is in the cross-hairs, no doubt. But is it smart to repeat Iraq or to attack Iran before the embargo has had time to attain maximum effectiveness?

I'm not saying that an attack on Iran will not happen. But few are considering alternative targets: Idlib and/or Lebanon.

What has been accomplished in the last two weeks is simply this: the western public has been made aware that Iran is a threat and has been prepared to receive the "news" that some Iranian activity needs to be countered/responded to.

I see the UAE attack as a red-herring. It's being interpreted as either an Iranian terrorist attack, failed false flag, or a smart pre-emptive "message". But IMO such an attack by Iran makes no sense and it ALSO makes no sense as a false flag because the limited damage and no casualties mean no case for war. Instead, IMO it's a pre-cursor to the real false flag.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 20:08 utc | 87

Well, i for one tend to believe Elijah J manigner.
He has excellent connections to Iran and Hezbollah, probably like no other Journalist. And he is pretty firm in that his sources told him that this is Irans work.

And IMHO he is also right with his analysis: That this was a genius move by Iran. With a small, low cost operation, that let the US and their corrput gulf vassel states FEEL what they could do.
And this is the ONLY language that the US understands.

And Iran denying is no argument what so ever. The Shia doctrine that saved them for over 1000 years: The taqiyah. Just like Israel does never admit their special ops. Everyone should know, but no one can be 100% sure.

So when a serious and trusted Journalist like Elijah with the best possible connections to Iran, IRGC, Hezbollah is sure what those deeply informed sources tell him, i would advise to take it seriously, and not to totally go on board the train that screams "FALSE FLAG".
Yeah, maybe it was a flase flag, but the probality is pretty low compared to the obvious.
Those who think in their pathologic black and white world view and always just claim the opposite of the official narrative, may look like the tin foil hat wearers the MSM wants us to be.

Iran has done this before, and again: Its a pretty genius move. And SOMETHING like this had to be done, because always talking but no action makes you a bitch in US eyes. Iran knows this, opposed to some Oligarch friend of the Yeltin family.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | May 14 2019 20:11 utc | 88

reply to
I have not seen any photos of the UAE ship involved. UAE are in damage control mode, waiting thirty six hours before saying anything then calling it sabotage rather than terrorism.There may be something in the early reports that UAE calls fake news.
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | May 14, 2019 12:40:43 PM | 49

My guess; the UAE and other ME carrier owners are all on the phone with their respective carrier insurance companies. If the insurance companies decide to withdraw coverage because of a perceived "war situation" this entire "war" may become a nonstarter.

Posted by: frances | May 14 2019 20:14 utc | 89

b says: "The 120,000 troop deployment is the third option. 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."

invasion from Iran might be more to the point. The deployment of that size might be what the Pentagon thinks they need to protect their airfields in SA and UAE once they commence an air assault on Iran.

Posted by: NOBTS | May 14 2019 20:18 utc | 90

120000 troops for Iran?

US military doctrine calls for a ratio of not less that 3 US troops per enemy soldier.
The IRCG alone gathers more than three times this number.

Then you would have to land them on the coast which is not easy matter.

An invasion of Iran is too far fetched to even think about it considering terrain and relief.

Even with a million troops.

The US is surely bluffing unless their leaders are deranged.

Posted by: CarlD | May 14 2019 20:31 utc | 91

The American empire is completely addicted to WAR, even with all the geo-political and economic experts, Russia, China, even Europe (in its' own spineless way) telling the US don't do it, don't attack Iran. The US will attack Iran eventually for the simple reason the US political elite is talking itself into a crisis and words can have a life of their own once countries or powerful individuals make decisions based on what other parties are saying or worst yet when people start believing their own lies. The US political and economic elite have been lying to the public and themselves for at least 30 years on all manner of subjects, but most relevantly, they have lied to themselves regarding their ability to attack major countries with impunity (remember the US missile defense shield, ever since Putin revealed Russia's hypersonic weapons no one seems to be talking about expanding that program). They might have backed off from their hoped for first strike ability against Russia or China, but they still think they can annihilate Iran with their conventional military without suffering any consequences (military or economic). I see little sign that the US has been chastened by the last 30 years of horror in the Middle East to start behaving differently.

Posted by: Kadath | May 14 2019 20:37 utc | 92

@ 89 Jackrabbit “it's a pre-cursor to the real false flag.”

Yes, sure looks like a trial run.

I guess Pompeo will be/was sounding out Russia about possible support for Iran, possibly offering carrot - some sanctions lifted – with vague threats accompanied by a softening towards Russia, which is the other key player. In a now ideal US scenario Russia could increase oil supply to make up some of losses due to a Hormuz blockage and refrain from sending anything especially lethal over the Black Sea.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 14 2019 20:39 utc | 93

@ 94 Should have said the Caspian Sea.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 14 2019 20:43 utc | 94

"'Would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that', Trump said."
Posted by: karlof1 | May 14, 2019 1:25:00 PM | 57

If we are very, very lucky, someone is going to get fired, yes, I'm looking at you Bolton.

Posted by: frances | May 14 2019 20:53 utc | 95

Lochearn @94: ... sure looks like a trial run.

Just to be clear, a "trial run" is done to gain experience for a similar operation.

I don't think the UAE attacks qualify. I doubt that the real false flag will be similar.

Instead, the UAE attacks help to establish a mindset for a follow-up false flag that will causes the requisite sympathy/anger that prompts a military response.

This is manufactured consent 101.

With that said, there is great risk that at some point in the not-too-distant-future there is a war with Iran because: 1) Iran lashes out; 2) USA+allies 'enter' an Iranian civil war directly or indirectly, 3) USA bombs Iranian nuclear and missile installations. But IMO its highly unlikely that USA tries to occupy Iran as a conquering power like it did in Iraq.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | May 14 2019 20:56 utc | 96

Many US americans (already predisposed to the concept of evil Iran) will hear about the damaged ship or ships and the implication that Iran is responsible. They won't look into it any further. Facebook memes will reinforce the narrative. This establishes the beginning of manufactured consent.

Any events which may follow will add further reinforcement.

Educated people murmuring about Iran "doing things" - USA is of course a victim of these things - USA may have to act to restrain Iran.

Posted by: fastfreddy | May 14 2019 21:11 utc | 97

john wilson # 1

The Bolt-on and Pompous etc have a free hand to do whatever they wish and that free hand is given to them by Trump. It is how he presides. Trump is solely responsible for what they do and is fully aware of what they are doing.
If in doubt, ask Jared Kushner.

Trump runs his mafia so he can always wash his hands of any guilt or responsibility. Unfortunately here in this role he is the President and cannot evade the accusations of being a war mongering, murderous git. There is no defence for a President to say he didn't know when it is front page/screen news everywhere.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 14 2019 21:14 utc | 98


Guess my point was unclear. 120,000 US troops might be sufficient to deter an Iranian invasion of SA and UAE to take out US airbases once an air assault begins. The number probably reflects Pentagon's doubts about the ground force's (mercenaries') of SA and UAE ability to withstand a serious attack from Iran.

Posted by: NOBTS | May 14 2019 21:16 utc | 99

@ 97 Jackrabbit

I fail to see the difference betwen a "pre-cursor" and a "trial run" unless we are in the realms of the pedantic. In response to your comment I was looking for a synonym. End of. Of course the next false flag will be different.

As to 1) Iran lashes out. This is highly unlikely. 2) USA + allies enter a civil war. What civil war? Again highly unlikely. 3) USA bombs nuclear and missile installations. Highly likely. It would be a Serbia on steroids- destroy all the miltary hardware but including electricity, water, factories, transport hubs, etc.

Posted by: Lochearn | May 14 2019 21:38 utc | 100

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