Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 14, 2019

Iran Decided To Put Maximum Pressure On Trump - Here Is How It Will Do It

Thirteen month ago the United States launched a total economic war against Iran. It demands its capitulation. Now Iran decided to respond in kind. It will wage a maximum pressure campaign on U.S. economic interests until the Trump administration concedes its defeat. Shipping in the Middle East will soon become very hazardous. Oil prices will go through the roof. Trump will be trapped between two choices neither of which he will like.

In early May 2018 U.S. President Trump broke the nuclear deal with Iran and sanctioned all trade with that country. Iran reacted cautiously. It hoped that the other signatories of the nuclear deal would stick to their promises and continue to trade with it. The year since proved that such expectations were wrong.

Under threat of U.S. sanctions the European partners stopped buying Iranian oil and also ended their exports to it. The new financial instrument that was supposed to allow payments between European countries and Iran has still not been implemented. It is also a weak construct and will have too little capacity to make significant trade possible. Russia and China each have their own problems with the United States. They do not support trade with Iran when it endangers their other interests.

Meanwhile the Trump administration increased the pressure on Iran. It removed waivers it had given to some countries to buy Iranian oil. It designated a part of the Iranian armed forces, the Revolutionary Guard Corp (ICRG), as a terrorist entity. On Friday it sanctioned Iran's biggest producer of petrochemical products because that company is alleged to have relations with the ICRG.

The strategic patience Iran demonstrated throughout the year since Trump killed the deal brought no result. Trump will stay in power, probably for another five and a half years, while Iran's economic situation continuous to get worse. The situation requires a strategic reorientation and the adoption of a new plan to counter U.S. pressure.

On the strategic side a long term reorientation in four different fields will counter the effects the economic war on Iran. Foreign imports to Iran will be reduced to a minimum level by increasing production at home. Iran will ally with no one, not even China and Russia, as it recognizes that relying on partners has no value when those partners have their own higher interests. The third step is to loosen interior pressure on the 'reformist' who argued for a more 'western' orientation. Trump, and the cowardice of the Europeans, have proven that their arguments are false. The last measure is to reorientate exports from global oil trade to other products, probably derived from oil, and to neighboring countries.

All four steps will take some time. They are at large a reorientation from a globalization strategy to a more isolationist national one. Some first steps of this new plan are already visible. A common bank will be set up by Syria, Iraq and Iran to facilitate trade between those countries.

The economic reorientation is not sufficient. To directly counter Trump's maximum pressure campaign requires a tactical reorientation.

Trump continues to call for negotiations with Iran but he can accept nothing but a total capitulation. Trump also proved that the U.S. does not stick to the agreements it makes. There is therefore no hope for Iran to achieve anything through negotiations. There is only one way to counter Trump's maximum pressure campaign and that is by putting maximum pressure on him.

Neither Washington, nor the anti-Iranian countries in the Middle East, nor the other nuclear deal signers have so far paid a price for their hostile acts against Iran. That will now change.

Current loaded tanker traffic in the Middle East

via Tanker Trackers - bigger

Iran will move against the interests of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It will do so in deniable form to give the U.S. and others no opening for taking military actions against it. Iran has friends in various countries in the Middle East who will support it with their own capabilities. The campaign Iran now launches will also create severe damage for other countries.

In mid 2018, after Trump began to sanction Iran's oil exports, its leaders explained how it would counter the move:

‘If Iran can't export oil no-one in Middle East will,’ Tehran warns.

Last December Iran's President Rouhani repeated that position:

“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf,” [Rouhani] said.

In mid May 2019, one year after Trump destroyed the nuclear deal, a demonstration of capabilities damaged four tankers which anchored near Fujairah in the UAE. There was no evidence to blame the attack on Iran.

The incident was a warning. But the U.S. ignored it and increased the sanction pressure on Iran.

Yesterday two tankers with petrochemical products were attacked while crossing the Gulf of Oman. Coming only a few days after Trump sanctioned Iran's petrochemical exports points to Iran's involvement. But again no evidence was left in place to blame the incident on Iran.

The U.S. published a grainy black and white video which it says shows an Iranian Search and Rescue crew removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the tankers. No mine in visible in the video. The Iranian crew seems to inspect the damage on the tanker.

The U.S. itself admits that the video was taken several hours after the incident. The U.S. also says that one of its ships was nearby. Why did it take no steps to remove the claimed mine itself?

Meanwhile the owner of the Kokuka Courageous, one of the stricken ships, said that the damage to its ship was not caused by mines but by drones:

Two “flying objects” damaged a Japanese tanker owned by Kokuka Sangyo Co in an attack on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, but there was no damage to the cargo of methanol, the company president said on Friday.
“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” Katada said. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”

Katada also rejected speculation that the tanker, which sailed under the flag of Panama, was attacked because it was a Japanese owned vessel:

“Unless very carefully examined, it would be hard to tell the tanker was operated or owned by Japanese,” he said.

Despite the obvious lack of knowledge of who or what caused the incident the U.S. immediately blamed Iran:

Secretary Pompeo @SecPompeo - 18:27 UTC - 13 Jun 2019

It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. These attacks are a threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable escalation of tension by Iran.

Iran pushed back:

Javad Zarif @JZarif - 12:11 UTC - 14 Jun 2019

That the US immediately jumped to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence—only makes it abundantly clear that the #B_Team is moving to a #PlanB: Sabotage diplomacy—including by @AbeShinzo—and cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran.

I warned of exactly this scenario a few months ago, not because I'm clairvoyant, but because I recognize where the #B_Team is coming from.

The "B-team" includes Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahoo, Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE.

To say that the attacks were provocations by the U.S. or its Middle East allies is made easier by their evident ruthlessness. Any accusations by the Trump administration of Iranian culpability will be easily dismissed because everyone knows that Trump and his crew are notorious liars.

This cat and mouse game will now continue and steadily gain pace. More tankers will get damaged or even sunk. Saudi refineries will start to explode. UAE harbors will experience difficulties. Iran will plausibly deny that it is involved in any of this. The U.S. will continue to blame Iran but will have no evidence to prove it.

Insurance for Middle East cargo will become very expensive. Consumer prices for oil products will increase and increase again. The collateral damage will be immense.

All this will gradually put more pressure on Trump. The U.S. will want to negotiate with Iran, but that will be rejected unless Trump rejoins the nuclear deal and lifts all his sanctions. He can not do that without losing face and his allies. By mid 2020 the maximum pressure campaign will reach its zenith. Oil prices will explode and the U.S. will fall into a recession. The world economy will tank and everyone will know who caused the underlying issue. Trump's reelection will come into doubt.

There will also be pressure on Trump to take military action against Iran. But he knows that a war would be equally disastrous for his re-election chances, and for the United States. A war against Iran would put the whole Middle East in flames.

The maximum pressure Trump hoped to wage against Iran will turn into maximum pressure on him and his allies. He will be trapped and there will be no way out.

Posted by b on June 14, 2019 at 17:04 UTC | Permalink

next page »


Interesting reading but I was hoping you'd have found some info on the alleged attacks/sabotage on the Iranian oil platforms that the Western media is ignoring, and which was said to have pre-empted Thursday's actions against tankers.

Posted by: KC | Jun 14 2019 17:10 utc | 1

A possible scenario. But this ignores that there are others who do not care about US losses (Israel) or are willing to underwrite them (Saudi Arabia, UAE), plus plenty of gung-ho neocons. So, an over-reach by the US (or a feeble US-Arab coalition, the most obvious lackey Britain being caught in its own psychodrama) is entirely plausible in this time frame.

Posted by: fx | Jun 14 2019 17:28 utc | 2

thanks b... regarding the magneir article, i am surprised they didn't put all this in moment a number of years ago.. anyone could see the writing on the wall for iran for some time.. as regards trump not getting elected again if war - bush 2 did a 2nd term after the war on iraq..

bottom line - financial sanctions like this are an act of war... for the usa to expect any other response is non rationale..the usa is not a rational player as witness the 3 stooges they have running it on the front end - trump, pompeo and bolton..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 17:29 utc | 3

Well-written, intriguing analysis. However, one line in the thesis dangled a bit for me: "The U.S. will continue to blame Iran but will have no evidence to prove it."

Since when has evidence mattered to the U.S. when determining what actions they will take? Iran covering its tracks is no guarantee that the U.S. will not respond by upping the military pressure or the pressure on its allies to increase Iran's isolation (if that is still possible).
Having said that, it makes sense for Iran to engage in these tactics - which appear to be limited to causing moderate incapacitation of the vessels rather than the deaths of crew. As you suggest, it is supremely ironic that when there might be truth to the allegation, the U.S. leaping to blame Iran falls on deaf ears internationally given their track record of deception.

Posted by: Activist Potato | Jun 14 2019 17:32 utc | 4

Excellent assessment! This is right on the point, and in fact it is a very clever take. Unlike many other articles, this article explains it all on what is happening.

Posted by: STAN | Jun 14 2019 17:35 utc | 5

Yes, that's a very plausible strategic laydown and appropriately non-committal on what exactly happened with the tanker "attacks."

For those unhappy that any scenario aside from a false flag is being considered in this forum, it's worth keeping in mind that what the US, under the whip of Israel and with the inept assistance of Saudi Arabia and UAE, has done is tantamount to an act of war, and, though it's risky, there is nothing monstrous about an active Iranian response, if that is what is beginning to happen, as b suggests. That's especially so given the terror acts that have taken place inside Iran of late.

I will say that if that's what the Iranians are doing, they are going to have to be more careful than simply driving a boat up to the side of a tanker. That is not the way to maximize deniability even if the "limpet mine" turns to be a fantasy. Actioning against the interests of all the countries b lists while maintaining deniability will not be easy. But one thing on Iran's side is the economic consequences of a significant US response. The US is potentially caught in a bind, which does support the basic strategic concept that b outlines here.

"Cat and mouse" is definitely the operative phrase.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 14 2019 17:37 utc | 6

Here are pictures of the damage by two flying objects.

BREAKING: Pompeo’s FALSE FLAG REFUTED by Japanese Media Authority – Tanker hit by flying object, not mine – confirms onsite worker
By Joaquin Flores On Jun 14, 2019

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 14 2019 17:37 utc | 7

I will say this for b's scenario: At this point, there are three countries around the Ormuz Strait that have hardly anything to lose if petroleum stops flowing: Iran, being largely embargoed; and Yemen and Oman, having no oil and gas. Two of these will be better off if current oil exporters from the region suffer. Only one has effective state capabilities.

Then there is the question of how Iraq turns in this situation.

Posted by: fx | Jun 14 2019 17:46 utc | 8

Here is an interesting look at why the United States could lose its next war:

The old ways of fighting a war are no longer valid and, until Washington comes to the realization that their strategy no longer works, there is a great risk that the United States could find its position at the top of the world's "military heap" under significant threat.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Jun 14 2019 17:47 utc | 9

PRC has to simple open "counterfeit" US dollar accounts that are cleared by way of renmimbi and or gold, and bypass the NY Fed USD clearing altogether. In time this R$ will become more trusted than the Ponzi USD and finally usher in the renmimbi as a reliable world reserve currency. And the great satan will turn into a pet of the PRC/Russia then.

Posted by: Observer | Jun 14 2019 17:57 utc | 10

Do not underestimate the likelihood of an Israeli false flag action that it will make the weapons used to conclusively appear to be Iranian and thereby provide a plausible reason for an American response.
Israel has been waiting for this opportunity for years.

Posted by: chet380 | Jun 14 2019 17:59 utc | 11

@Activist Potato Since when has evidence mattered to the U.S. when determining what actions they will take? Iran covering its tracks is no guarantee that the U.S. will not respond by upping the military pressure or the pressure on its allies to increase Iran's isolation (if that is still possible).

Evidence matters if you want allies and support for going to war. The lack on evidence for Iraq's alleged WMDs led to a rejection of that war but many European countries. The U.S. went in (mostly) alone and failed.

Posted by: b | Jun 14 2019 18:00 utc | 12

The Bolton method:
Speaking incoherently and unconvincingly and carry a really big stick.

Posted by: jared | Jun 14 2019 18:01 utc | 13

There is persistent trend of portraying Trump as being duped into this inept and violent and short-sited foreign policy by bad guys.
As if to suggest: If only he could see the light and remove the bad guys, then we could be great again.

Posted by: jared | Jun 14 2019 18:04 utc | 14

I doubt that Iran will ally with no one.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Iran’s president on Friday that China will promote steady development of ties with Iran no matter how the situation changes

The US have a very simple way out of this. They can just stop doing what they are doing, ie. threatening secondary sanctions to others dealing with Iran.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 14 2019 18:16 utc | 15

Who actually evacuated (rescued) the crews?

This is a small detail but it is bugging me. Both Iran and the U.S. are taking credit and of course the U.S. MSM is routinely crediting the U.S. Navy. I just want to know if this is one of those gratuitous lies that my govt tells because they are compulsive liars.

I love how CBS news refers to the mine in the video. I watched the grainy b/w video and I did not see any mine, just people on a boat.

Posted by: Christian J Chuba | Jun 14 2019 18:18 utc | 16

Activist Potato @4--

Evidence--extraordinary evidence--is required when one has zero credibility, or have you forgotten the USN/Russian ship event from last week which was clearly the USN's fault despite all the media ballyhoo?

The scenario b suggests is rather elegant. But it doesn't explain the oil market moves I reported on the previous thread that clearly show prior knowledge. As for the photo linked by Krollchem @7, Outlaw US Empire is saying the furthest forward blip on the hull is a limpet mine, not an impact hole. IMO, the impact holes look consistent with an RPG hit, which could be confirmed through forensic recovery of fragments. RPGs make much more sense than the impossibility of placing limpet mines via drone.

IMO, the next move has already come from Yemen as the Houthis have again targeted Saudi's Abha International Airport, this time with a suicide drone swarm. More is surely happening that's unreported or not published in English.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 18:18 utc | 17

CC @16--

Tradewinds reported that the Frontline owned tanker crew, which was half Russian/half Filipino, was safely ashore in Iran, while the other was aboard a USN ship:

"Frontline crew taken to Iran, Schulte crew on US navy ship

"Iranian rescue teams pick up Frontline crew, while the crew of Kokuka Courageous are on a US navy vessel."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 18:25 utc | 18

I dont get it, who is supposed to start bombing tankers?

I think the text is wrong on many points, mainly that Iran will start applying pressure, that is not what iranian foreign policy is about at all.

Trump also have all the power. US could strike an iranian boat tommorow and Iran wont do anything and the attacks will go through in the media with as smoothly as his syrian attacks.

Posted by: Zanon | Jun 14 2019 18:35 utc | 19

The Americans threatened the Europeans with sanctions directed at any individual associated with Instex, to include visa restrictions and financial penalties. Contributing to a Europe-Iran workaround could then mean being permanently barred from the USA and other restrictions, a potential personal price-to-pay that not many would be willing to assume, just as threats against corporations and businesses dealing with Iran present a challenge to their bottom line which "trumps" continuing relations with Iran. Instex will probably never become really functional, which may be cowardly but also rational on a cost/benefit calculation.

Posted by: jayc | Jun 14 2019 18:36 utc | 20


Here is one of many articles on Oman gas reserves that disproves the statement that Oman has no oil or gas reserve. Apparently Oman has discovered 4 trillion cubic feet (TCF) and 112 million barrels of condensate.

As for Yemen, it has proven oil reserves of about 4 billion barrels which corresponds to about 10% of the US proven oil reserves.

Here is a detailed USGS analysis of Yemen oil reserves with detailed geological background information. The report states that Yemen oil reserves could be as high as 9.8 BBOI, or about 25% of US proven oil reserves for a country that has about 9% of the US population.

Other reports claim that Yemen's has even greater oil reserves bordering on Saudi Arabia.

As for the grainy US photo of a Iranian vessel next to the Japanese tanker, the pictures are of the tanker if you compare them to the Fort Russ article picture I posted earlier. You will recall that the Iranians were involved in rescue operation.

As for false flag attacks see the Israeli attack on the US Liberty. The attack by unflagged gunboats (stolen from France) and planes (gifted by the US) were meant to get the US to believe it was an attack by Egypt with hopes that the US would nuke Cairo. Only a heroic effort by Seaman Terry Halbardier The deck was still being strafed, but Halbardier who "grabbed a reel of cable, ran out onto the deck, and attached new cable to the antenna so a radioman could get an SOS out to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean." which stopped the Israeli attack.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that Israel was responsible for all six of the the tanker attacks since Israel wants the US to attack Iran and has used false flag attacks before.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 14 2019 18:37 utc | 21

If one put himself in Iran’s position, and consider all the hostilities toward Iran over the years, form toppling of democratically elected prim minister by US, and then 8 years of war that was imposed on Iran, which had close to a million people dead and many more injured, and was backed by the regional and western governments. Followed by many years of sanctions by western countries and then again followed by betrayal of west on the nuclear agreement, and the new sanction round. You would come to this point that, it may be the time to inflict some pain back, and what better way than inflicting some financial pain. Evidently the entire world would suffer, but from Iran’s point of view they deserve it, because of them closing their eyes for so many years for what has been done to them and not doing anything about it. After all, enough is enough.

Posted by: Stan | Jun 14 2019 18:40 utc | 22

The Iranians did it. The issue is not which side was responsible but how the Iranians did it without being detected. That area is heavily patrolled and under surveillance. The Iranians are showing a very high degree of stealth and sophistication by pulling off these incidents without being caught red handed.

The Houthis also attacked another airport in SA, just like they said they would, with drone strikes. I’m not sure if the drones were intercepted like the Saudis claim.

Also the death count in Yemen seems to have fallen to 7,000, from the previously low and stagnant cited number of around 10,000.

Posted by: Ninel | Jun 14 2019 18:41 utc | 23


I’m surprised your comment got in. Since any mention of Israel is considered anti-Semitic, even here. Too bad.

I agree hundred percent. Israel has its own agenda and it actually has nothing to do or even contrary to American national interest. Moreover, they are shameless and unafraid to carry it out. The only thing that would appease them from carrying out another dirty false flag or instigate another war is by way of giving them another 2-3 billion dollars of bribe, sell our secrets and outsource our most vital technology/sensitive materials or jobs to them, just to keep them in their place a year or two.

Furthermore, this is the most oversimplified and unrealistic statement in this whole article:

“......the world economy will collapse and ..........”

If history has taught us anything, US will destroy any country that would remotely stand in its way of hegemony, threaten the dollar, and especially if it threatens its economic viability, despite the cost.

Moreover, b’s assessment of Chinese and Russian reaction is contrary to all the other assessments with respect to BRI, and ME economic corridor. That is more important than fuel and petroleum to China. Without Iran, there is no BRI. As many historical books mention, Iran was the crossroads for trade and commerce in the antiquities and with BRI that is being resurrected again. There is no bypassing Iran.

So Russia and China will not sell out, as that will destroy any credibility they have achieved with their partners in the region and beyond. Otherwise, they will be lumped with the US in trying to carve the world and they will quickly find themselves on the other side of the fence.

Branding Russia and China as spectators in this fight is utterly laughable. Russia did not go to all the trouble in Syria just to sit this one out.

Sorry b, but I am afraid your assessment in this article is off the mark and is ignoring the elephant in the room, Israel and its agents.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 14 2019 18:52 utc | 24

“Unless very carefully examined, it would be hard to tell the tanker was operated or owned by Japanese,” [Japanese shipping company Kokuka Sangyo Ltd.’s president Yutaka Katada] said.

I think if Yutaka-kaichou doesn’t want people to know his company’s tankers, such as the Kokuka Courageous, are affiliated with Japan, he should probably stop painting the first half of the Japanese name of his Japanese shipping company on their sides as part of the ship’s name.

It’s amusing the stories people tell themselves.

Posted by: David G | Jun 14 2019 18:53 utc | 25

Regards the discussion of if the US needs evidence. I agree it needs it for allies and that that could possibly be a concern, but I suspect the calculation from Iran is also, at least in part, that they (the regime) don't need to fear war with the US - or at least not too much more than continued isolation via sanctions.

Obviously it would involve deadly attacks on Iran, increased suffering for ordinary Iranians, but I would guess they think it would not be an existential crisis for the regime. They would be bombed, but are unlikely to be invaded and the most likely reaction for a good proportion of Iranians is to rally to support its continued independence. Things would be worse, but not that much worse.

Posted by: pyatnitski | Jun 14 2019 19:04 utc | 26

Just after publication of Magnier's article b linked above and I linked on the previous thread yesterday Magnier produced this thread that provides some insight into his further thoughts on the topic starting with a possible solution to what he sees as Tanker Wars 2.

I want to remind all that Iran has another interesting partner that's also plagued by the B-Team: Qatar. Also, Iran will certainly be interacting with SCO members at the Summit currently taking place, with today's evening session about ready to end.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 19:09 utc | 27

..."A common bank will be set up by Syria, Iraq and Iran to facilitate trade between those countries."...

Ah, yes the new bank, that will not be tolerated, with Syria and Iran not being in the Zionist Bank of International Settlements sphere, the two nations are effectively under siege by the gang to have them capitulate. Further Syria has a gold holdings of excess of 25 tonnes. Iran is not mentioned in the World Gold Council list! But rumors have Iran well over 300 hundred tonnes, on the cusp of UK no less. Certainly prizes to capture in their total capitulation to the Zionists. Funny though, China and Russia are folded under the BIS. Food for thought.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Jun 14 2019 19:10 utc | 28

“I really cannot begin to fathom how stupid you would have to be to believe that Iran would attack a Japanese oil tanker at the very moment that the Japanese Prime Minister was sitting down to friendly, US-disapproved talks in Tehran on economic cooperation that can help Iran survive the effects of US economic sanctions.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 14 2019 19:11 utc | 29

A Trump tweet yesterday--


While I very much appreciate P.M. Abe going to Iran to meet with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, I personally feel that it is too soon to even think about making a deal. They are not ready, and neither are we!"

This sounds to me like Craig Murray sees it that way as well. Not a US inspired meeting at all.

Posted by: arby | Jun 14 2019 19:19 utc | 30

@Uncle Jon 24

What response have the Russians made in Syria to all the Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets? None. Russia also wants a good relationship--at least for now--with Israel. And how many provocations from the US and Turkey has Putin eaten, because he felt he had to?

It's not a question of selling out. Different counties have different interests. Neither Russia nor China is happy about what the US is doing to Iran, but that does not mean they will be there when Iran needs them--certainly not in all cases.

Central to the US global strategy right now is to attack everywhere at once--I mean attack financially, not militarily--in order to impede any one "adversary" from being able to effectively support another. The idea is that, for example, China is so focused on responding to the trade/tech/propaganda war we are launching against them that they have minimal time, energy and resources to suck up the pain of taking us on in regard to Iran sanctions. With the feckless, divided EU, this works particularly well; China is certainly a tougher nut. But that's the idea.

Not sure that Iran can really go it alone completely. Food imports from Russia across the Caspian Sea if the worst comes to the worst and some backing from China does seem pretty important. But Khamenei's idea is to minimize what Iran needs so as to maximize its leverage in potentially blocking/impeding traffic in and out of the Gulf. The only other choices are capitulation or passive resistance with no end at all for the Iranian people to look forward to.

China, though perhaps not Russia, must be a bit nervous about what Khamenei has articulated, since a fight in the Gulf would certainly be bad for them. But in that case, the shoe is on the other foot. Just as China doesn't put Iranian interests before its own, neither do the Iranians prioritize China's needs.

And graduated, surreptitious escalation my be Iran's best strategic bet, though it's certainly risky.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 14 2019 19:20 utc | 31

Millennium Challenge 2002

Millennium Challenge 2002 (MC02) was a major war game exercise conducted by the United States Armed Forces in mid-2002. The exercise, which ran from July 24 to August 15 and cost $250 million, involved both live exercises and computer simulations. MC02 was meant to be a test of future military "transformation"—a transition toward new technologies that enable network-centric warfare and provide more effective command and control of current and future weaponry and tactics. The simulated combatants were the United States, referred to as "Blue", and an unknown adversary in the Middle East, "Red", with many lines of evidence pointing at Iran being the Red side

Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue's sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue's approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue's fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces' electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. This included one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue's navy was "sunk" by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue's inability to detect them as well as expected.

At this point, the exercise was suspended .....

Posted by: somebody | Jun 14 2019 19:27 utc | 32

Further evidence of ship attacks contrary to the narratives and the article above.

The damages are on the starboard side of the ship, facing south, i.e Oman and UAE, as they were leaving the gulf not coming in. That means that the the “flying objects, hitting the hull above water had to come form South-North trajectory. A bit difficult to do for Iranians on the north side.

If they can produce the video of the supposed “mine rescue”, surely they can produce the video and tracking the drones coming from the port side. Not likely.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 14 2019 19:30 utc | 33

The third step is to loosen interior pressure on the 'reformist' who argued for a more 'western' orientation. Trump, and the cowardice of the Europeans, have proven that their arguments are false. The last measure is to reorientate exports from global oil trade to other products, probably derived from oil, and to neighboring countries.

That would require Iran to become socialist, since it is a Third World country.

By mid 2020 the maximum pressure campaign will reach its zenith. Oil prices will explode and the U.S. will fall into a recession.

Actually, it is possible the US enters into recession this year. That 3.2% GDP growth in Q1 is a farce, since it is a result of a change in the methodology. Consumption -- the main factor of American GDP growth -- is staganant.

Posted by: vk | Jun 14 2019 19:35 utc | 34

@31 Oscar Peterson

“It's not a question of selling out. Different counties have different interests. Neither Russia nor China is happy about what the US is doing to Iran, but that does not mean they will be there when Iran needs them--certainly not in all cases.”

I disagree. That means China is willing to put on hold and possibly throw away a trillion dollar investment/project just to wait and see what happens with Iran. What will the other countries involved in BRI and SCO think of this whole debacle?That China is not a reliable partner and they will just sit and watch at the first sign of American aggression with respect to their involvement with China?

You are grossly underestimating the will of China and overestimating the American influence over those countries and basically saying there is no remedy to Empires aggression. Sorry but I can subscribe to that. Russia and China have invested too much to be spectators in this fight.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 14 2019 19:36 utc | 35

Sanctions by the US and its allies seems to be a lose-lose proposition. For examples the UAE is also facing economic troubles due to sanction against Iran by losing the opportunity to trade with Iran for a variety of non-petroleum goods. Past readers will recall that Iran stepped in to provide goods to Qatar when it was under a blockage by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

"Iran's non-oil trade with the UAE was worth $16.83bn in 2018, most of which takes place via Dubai. Now, as a result of the latest round of sanctions, many Iranian firms are being forced out, to the benefit of Oman, Qatar and Turkey. This, in turn, has created tensions between Dubai and Abu Dhabi."

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 14 2019 19:36 utc | 36

Am I the only one who finds the pan away between 36s and 39s in the grainy 'mine removal' video suspicious? Pan away seems unnecessary and it just happens to focus far enough back on the hull to show the hole seen in the photos. Of course if you did want to make a video of a small boat next to a tanker match the photos, both of which may or may not show events happening in the same timescale and may or may not have manufactured 'mine' or 'hole' artifacts, it would be useful to 'inadvertently' evidence their consistency.

Posted by: Barbara Ann | Jun 14 2019 19:37 utc | 37

Continuing to import some oil from Iran could become a string for China to pull in getting the US to back off in the trade/tech war waged against it.

In fact there are some indications of a trickle of activity. One tanker owned by a Chinese state owned bank was allegedly carrying oil from Iran to China at the beginning of the month according to the US government.

Posted by: Calendar | Jun 14 2019 19:39 utc | 38

b notes that there is no evidence that Iran is behind any of these tanker attacks, and states the arguments against the grainy video and the reports about drones instead. But his article seems to imply that Iran is in fact behind these attacks, using terms such as "Iran will move against the interests of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It will do so in deniable form to give the U.S. and others no opening for taking military actions against it." and "Iran will plausibly deny that it is involved in any of this." So does b really think that Iran is indeed behind these tanker attacks?

To me, b's scenarios of how Iran would decide to attack tankers reminds me of analyses that show how economic pressures imposed on Japan made it feel compelled to attack Pearl Harbor.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jun 14 2019 19:41 utc | 39

As suspected, Rouhani's in Bishkek meeting with Putin, Xi and the rest of the gang at the SCO Summit. Here's a recap as of noon today local time. No elaboration on the content of the Putin/Rouhani talks aside from the usual introductory pleasantries. IMO, behind the closed doors, some very serious discussions are taking place between all actors.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 19:49 utc | 40

This is as plausible scenario as any b. and it sets the stage for proper discussion.

Japan is a US proxy, in event of war it will not be a friend . Main trade by Iran is China Russia, they will be spectators but concerned spectators, as in Syria maybe. The BRI is fundamental. Oman and Yemen may benefit economically, likely not though in near term as production is not online and much wealth flows via gulf oil sales of northern countries. Oman is British aligned but generally neutral in policy. Russia has offloaded its US treasuries, and benefits from higher oil prices ( as do all producers globally).

On the other hand the US economy is running on fumes now, nor international trade nor rebalancing is happening. The US deal of the century is not happening either. Iraq is aligning with Iran. Isra. has a big trade deficit going and is in bubble. Syria is not dealt with. So there is motive around to move on Iran.

So cannot make out properly what is going on here. Plausible deniability is to use Houthi proxy. There are countries willing to bring the whole region down also. Iraq was on purpose that way, the US has shale production set up to see it through a few years. I don't know, but I don't like what is going on at all. When they attack shipping lanes it is to get a reaction, they will continue till they achieve the one sought.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 14 2019 19:54 utc | 41

Judging for Iran's performance at the SCO, I think Iran is just going to integrate more into the Pan-Eurasian economic ecosystem. They're just saying "F*ck the west"

Posted by: Jezabeel | Jun 14 2019 20:07 utc | 42

Limpet mines work by harnessing the mass of surrounding water to channel the explosion into the hull. Placing one above the waterline is pointless, the explosion would just pop outwards. We are told all these mines have been placed by experts in their field.

That said, I think the Iranians will drive Trump crazy by upping and upping the ante until there is no commercial shipping in the gulf. They will goad him...knowing that there is no way he can take on a country the size of Iran,impossible to invade, defended by religious fanatics who regard death as a ticket to would be like VietNam on crack cocaine...and if push comes to shove Iran will destroy Gulf states oil producing capacity, unleash Hezbolleh on Israel, etc, etc.

Uncle Sam will quietly fold.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Jun 14 2019 20:10 utc | 43

Iran is not yet a full member in SCO. But the need to be so has never been greater. The SCO challenge is the inner routes of the BRI-EAEU project of Eurasia Development. Iran will be a player in this project because of energy, market size, and the threats of terrorism and criminal activities (drugs, arms, human smuggling). SCO deals with all these issues.

Where Russia and China will aid Iran is with economic issues brought on by US sanctions, and with the JCPOA. Both Russia and China do not want Iran to have nukes nor for nukes to proliferate in the ME.

The dustup with tankers is a taste from whoever staged it for whatever reason. B's insight that it really might be the Iranians showing all stakeholders (Abe and Japan, included) what might be coming if the US starts more economic sanctions is brilliant, true or not.

What matters is the cruise missile strike at the Saudi airport, and these tanker strikes, as well as recent overwhelming of Israeli defenses by rockets from Palestinians, and Syrian missile defenses against Israeli air strikes are a buffet of strengths Iran wields. They are capabilities which are scalable for Iran and indicative of an asymmetrical war the US/Israel/Saudis cannot win.

The only thing that the Hegemon has to defeat Iran is nukes.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Jun 14 2019 20:20 utc | 44

Trump blames Iran for tanker attacks, but calls for new talks: 'We want to get them back to the table'

At the Pentagon, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Iran is not just a U.S. problem. He said the U.S. goal is to "build international consensus to this international problem," and to ensure that U.S. military commanders in the region get the resources and support they need.

In remarks to reporters later, Shanahan noted the commercial and strategic importance of the Strait of Hormuz, through which passes about 20 percent of the world's oil.

"So, we obviously need to make contingency plans should the situation deteriorate," he said. "We also need to broaden our support for this international situation."

Broaden support by attacking Japanese and Norwegian vessels to try and get them to join your unwilling coalition?

B-team's fingerprints are all over this.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 14 2019 20:22 utc | 45

I do not agree. The Iranian leadership is not gambling. The probability of enormous damage in their own country is too great to risk war.

The oil price is difficult to raise because there is an oversupply due to recessive signs. Moreover, Tronald himself is interested in it, because the current price level is too low for the domestic fracking industry.

Posted by: Pnyx | Jun 14 2019 20:22 utc | 46

--OT, but about the overall War--

Xenophobia's now official policy at many Outlaw US Empire federal agencies as this report details. Just as during WW2 when all Japanese--citizens and non-citizens alike--were automatically deemed spies, today it's Chinese that are getting similar treatment, resigning from prominent research positions due to unproven allegations of "theft of US innovation." The linked case deals with cancer research, but it's all over the place. China was correct to issue its recent warning to its citizens to be extremely careful when planning to do anything within the USA and West generally. Esquire magazine provides a different view with its publication on an article entitled, "An Expert on Concentration Camps Says That's Exactly What the U.S. Is Running at the Border."

Someone upthread stated they don't pay any mind to Trump's domestic policies, which is what was said about Hitler's. TrumpCo's inhumane and immoral domestic policies further curtail what little remains of its credibility and need to be protested as the vassal governments and sycophantic media won't. As b points out in his scenario, Maximum Pressure can work both ways. What's expressed by global public opinion matters!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 20:24 utc | 47

Here is Craig Murrays' assessment, and it makes sense: 'The Gulf of Credibility':

Posted by: Paul Barbara | Jun 14 2019 20:24 utc | 48

nifty analysis b, could be one for the ages, break the status quo…

thanks, i was nodding off...

Posted by: john | Jun 14 2019 20:29 utc | 49

How convenient - bill to ban sales of arms dies hours after US accuses Iran of attack.
No news afterwards - the subject is dead (unless you are Houthi)

Posted by: Michael Droy | Jun 14 2019 20:49 utc | 50

The theory that Iran is ultimately behind the attacks is intriguing. Certainly the truth of it will be borne out over time. But for now, IMO the theory has the following short-comings:

1) No one is preventing Iran from exporting, the US is using it's soft power to prevent countries from importing. So Iran's statement that:

“If one day they want to prevent the export of Iran’s oil, then no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf..."
has no meaningful effect.

2) Implementation: why attack these ships at this time? Attacking Japanese-connected ships while talking with the Japanese PM makes no sense to many people because it's abhorrent behavior. If you see Abe as Trump's messenger boy, shooting the messenger is counterproductive as it alienates allies and spurs on adversaries.

The attack on Japanese-connected shipping is also counter to the strategy that b outlines: that Iran would slowly and quietly, without attribution, cause insurance rates to rise dramatically. It draws attention toward Iran because its very difficult to believe that those ships were chosen at random.

3) b's proposed Iranian "go it alone" strategy seems like foolish stubbornness by Iran and meekness by it's SCO "allies". Doesn't it makes a lot of sense for Iran to trade with Russia and China and any others that are also at odds with Washington? Why couldn't Iran hook up with the Russian pipeline system? What does Russia have to lose under such an arrangement?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 14 2019 20:58 utc | 51

As always, China and Russia are playing a very selfish and cowardly game. The US is handing out death penalties to countries whose policies US elites don't like. Faced with this brutality/insanity, China and Russia continue to hedge like crazy. It looks like they are hoping for side deals. I give you Iran, you give me Crimea; that kind of thing. They will find out the hard way what they already know: the Don doesn't make deals. The Don makes offers that can't be refused. Maybe.

Posted by: paull | Jun 14 2019 20:58 utc | 52

In response to the tanker attacks, ANNA News has published an article about Iranain Air Defenses in Russian, which machine translates well. Many here will have a good idea what they'll read, and I wasn't at all surprised. But it must be noted that neither the Outlaw US Empire nor Russia cover their entire nation with air defense assets, nor does Iran.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 21:05 utc | 53

Ingenious, but impossible. No way would Iran do this at the exact moment when the Japanese PM had come to Tehran and was sitting down for wide-ranging discussions.

Posted by: Nick Kollerstrom | Jun 14 2019 21:13 utc | 54

There are arguments for and against; there are valid arguments for any agent involved in the Middle-East to be behind this. So at least B's hypothesis makes some sense and isn't crackpot. That said, as B himself said, there has been so much false flags, lies and deceptions that unless Iran openly admits it did it, a lot of people will have very serious doubts that they're guilty.
I haven't made up my mind and will wait to see how things will evolve, if anyone provides good evidence (including Iran, who allegedly caught a dud mine and might be able to analyze it and reveal who did it, if it comes from someone else).
That said, even if Iran didn't do it and it's someone on the US/Israel/Gulf States side who did it, that should still be a welcome warning sign that things could go very ugly very fast in that area, and that everyone needs to calm down and step away from escalation and violence - basically, if Iran isn't guilty at all, this should still make everyone else wary of waging war on them, because they can retaliate in a very hurtful manner, so this might actually help them and, hopefully, make them a bit safer from military aggression.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 14 2019 21:17 utc | 55

Iran has the most important ally of all. Iran is a Rothschild satrap and the City of London needs a big kerfuffle to clear it's accounts of trillions upon trillions of bad debt -- the very same debt they accumulated whilst buying up the planet over 5he last 40 odd years. The game remains the same.

So Russia, itself effectively a satrap of the Rothschilds, has passed the eschatological baton to Iran. Even the better NWO promised by Rothschild BRICS will be still born without a crisis of epic proportions so the globalists will take us there with war and crisis and plently mini 9/11's on the home front to make sure the reluctant ones can be crushed.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jun 14 2019 21:22 utc | 56

i think one concept that is hard for many to understand is the bank of international settlements and what it means if a country is shut out of this.. it acts as a bank for central banks.

you will note usa, uk, russia, china and etc. etc. are a part of this, but that iran is not..

@51 jr quote "1) No one is preventing Iran from exporting..."
from 2010, and it has gotten much worse since..
"Effective September 29, 2010, the authorization to import into the United States, and deal in, certain foodstuffs and carpets of Iranian origin was revoked pursuant to section 103 of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. The exceptions to the prohibition on importing goods and services are listed in the IMPORTS FROM IRAN section of this document."

basically the usa in collaboration with it's partners in crime, will continue to label iran as supporting terrorism when in fact the opposite is the case.. anyone interested in doing any trades - export or import - with iran are subject to this fanatical agenda put in place by neo con central... neo con central is operating out of international institutions like the bis and etc..

i think without an understanding of how interconnected the world is on a financial level, some folks will not be able to appreciate the type of dance different countries have to do in order to continue to play in this game.. this is also why you see an increased attempt to find alternatives to the us$ and etc. etc..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 21:22 utc | 57

One thing to bear in mind is that Trump hasn't done well at the wars he has inherited. All of them, from the Caribbean East remain either fetering ulcers, misfires, failures-to-win or unfinished works. He doesn't want to be the first 'loser', so they will go on.

Thetre's cachet in being a wartime President in America, a significant population bloc supports adventure and has a global warming perspective on war debt. Trump would be praised for starting a war of his own. But why another one somewhere his predecessors have never won? There are lower haning friuit just 90 miles away from CONUS, and in oil-soggy Venezuela. There, at least some of the prople are yearning to be free. Maybe even make a third column to help out.

A war with Iran is a mug's game and it makes no sense - the kind of thing Trump notices. Let them stew until his term ends.

Posted by: Baldurdasche | Jun 14 2019 21:27 utc | 58

The Saker has published an analysis of the attack that provides additional details many will want to read about along with a curious author who also interjects in the comments.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 21:30 utc | 59

I'm afraid I see not evidence supplied in this post, which seems to be written as if the facts are in evidence and beyond dispute. It has value as a thought experiment, of course.

I fear also that the B team does not need evidence--that plausible deniability seems to presuppose a level disinformation playing field. But Mike the Pompous already makes endless claims without the pretext of evidence, and his media stenographers simply relay it, with the credibility brought by endless repetition from all quarters.

Still, things may well be about to become much messier.

I will confess that Iran would seem to have some cause for disappointment in Russia and China's public actions, given how important Iran is seen to be for the BRI...

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jun 14 2019 21:32 utc | 60

Wow. I have a lot of respect for MoA, who has been right on practically everything I've read. It's one reason I am a monthly supporter of the site.

But I gotta say this is INSANE. For Iran to play this sort of game, running the risk of REAL evidence arising (like the capture of a limpet-mine crew), is unthinkable. Iran has world opinion on its side now, and a waiting game would work in its favor since the only thing keeping the sanctions in place is US power, which is waning. Even if they had to wait 5 1/2 years, eventually the sanctions will dissolve of their own uselessness as Iran and its allies work around them. On the other hand, Netanyahoo, facing indictment for a little of his great criminality, would be ready, willing and able to start a war that the US would carry the load for as a distraction. And the neocons in the US government are literally insane, and would provoke a war even if it meant burning down Washington along with the rest of the planet.

I think some sort of crazy is at work here, either US or Israeli. It is simply not characteristic of Iran to do this when there's so much reason to suspect the usual false-flag-mongering suspects.

Posted by: Alan McLemore | Jun 14 2019 21:40 utc | 61

james @57--

Did you see this from earlier today: "EU and Russia Reportedly Agree to Ditch Greenback in Bilateral Transactions."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 21:41 utc | 62

I think this marks the first time I flatly disagree with this astute author.

I just don't think Iran did this. The risk was too great. The Iranians are not, so far as I can tell, big risk takers.

There's the matter of Japanese ships being attacked just as Iran's Supreme Leader meets with Japan's Prime Minister.

Then there's the matter of it being done so near a major Iranian base.

Those just don't not pass the smell test. They both seem very contrived.

As to the kind of Iranian pressure campaign to ensue, I think that is getting far-fetched.

I'm sure they are looking for ways to apply pressure back, but I think the author's concept involves far too much risk.

I will apologize if I'm wrong.

Posted by: JOHN CHUCKMAN | Jun 14 2019 21:41 utc | 63

@62 karlof1... no i didn't see that, but i wonder how long it will take to implement? it won't happen overnight, or soon enough..

i think the usa dropping out of the jcpoa is a small step for the rest of the world to regain their independence.. the usa-financial bullies, need to do a few more boneheaded moves like this to seal great clarity in the worlds mind over who is actually the terrorist-bully on the world stage at present..

Posted by: james | Jun 14 2019 21:49 utc | 64

My take: the limpet mine (the one indeed removed by the Iranian ship, from above its waterline) was placed by someone who wanted to make a point, but not sink the ship.
That doesn't help.
But if that's correct, the Iranians now
a) have their own unused limpet mine back, or
b) have a US/Israeli/Saudi limpet mine.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 14 2019 21:54 utc | 65

"I think some sort of crazy is at work here, either US or Israeli. It is simply not characteristic of Iran to do this when there's so much reason to suspect the usual false-flag-mongering suspects."
Alan McLemore@61

Agreed. The universe is unfolding-and the Empire unravelling- pretty well as China and Russia have predicted.
There is no need for Iran to attempt to hasten things up. The world under sanctions or threat of sanctions from the US is growing all the time. The heartland of the Empire is shrinking. Even where it appears to be expanding-Brazil, Argentina- it is crumbling from the inside. Even the UK, most reliable and loving of lap dogs, is now only one election away from Corbynism which, if it means nothing else in foreign affairs, is committed both to opposition to Likud and support for Cuba-putting it directly at issue with the Empire.
Similar earnests of independence are springing up all over western Europe.
Iran has simply to hold tight, strengthen its bonds with other US enemies, be kind to Turkey and watch the madmen in Washington and the Sunni kleptocracies do increasingly stupid things. That and building up its own agricultural and horticultural strength.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 14 2019 22:04 utc | 66

I too doubt that Iran would, at this time, engage in sabotage liable to provide excuses to Imperial attack. I too respect MoA's well-considered views and information.

Coincidences happen, maybe the UAE, Saud, or zion, did this one, but the outlined strategy long-term makes sense too. It's a multi-body problem - not a predictable machine beyond a few rotations.

Iran has a Boltor and Stach and Clown are innocent of. The history of how Salamis was won by the Greeks and lost by Persia is in reality a story of intelligence and deceptions and double-dealing.

I would look to Persian history to understand Iranian strategy. I would look to US history to understand the US's strategy. Since 1492...

The campaign of sabotage bit has been tried against the US in WW1. It tends to backfire.

Posted by: Walter | Jun 14 2019 22:05 utc | 67

I don't think any of the power players on the world stage are stupid or ignorant. We may not understand their constraints or their worldview. That is our problem. What needs to be done is to find a model of events that makes sense.

Magnier's article makes clear the strategy of the Iranian government: autarky, being able to withstand any embargoes. Iran certainly doesn't want war with the US. Iran appears to have decided that the US does not want war either, contrary to the drum beating in the MSM. If the US wanted war, there are enough pretexts for it to bomb Iran today, if past history is any guide.

Why doesn't the US really want war? Because of the Hezbollah threat to Israel. Then what is the US trying to do? Instigate a color revolution within Iran. Strangle Iran economically until the people say "enough", have a CIA/MEK-induced revolt, kick out the theocratic leaders and install a "democratically" elected western-leaning dictator, e.g., a new Shah. Then life will be good once again.

But Iran is not playing by the rule-book. They were suppose to wither away in silence but Iran is subtlety fighting back with various acts of sabotage through its proxies. This works because Iran knows that the US does not want a war because of the threat to Israel. As b suggests, this sabotage can be ramped up to a level that forces the US to cry "uncle." It doesn't even matter if the US has unimpeachable proof of Iran's hand in the sabotage. The US does not want a war that might cause Hezbollah to attack Israel.

On the other hand, if Hezbollah can be neutered than Iran can be bombed. Not before.

Posted by: TheBAG | Jun 14 2019 22:10 utc | 68

I don't know. The idea of any state actor behind this attack does not make sense to me.

Have anyone considered non state actors? For example, a hedge fund betting on oil going up and then paying a mercenary group to stage a couple of drone attacks? It is easy with today's tech.

Posted by: Noname | Jun 14 2019 22:13 utc | 69

Excellent analysis. I would just add that people should not sell Iranians short. These neo-Persians have demonstrated their mettle in ancient history and in recent history, standing up to the US-backed Iraqis in a major war, and now standing up for their own freedom when heavily attacked and financially injured by the Great Satan, the leader of the free world, etc.

Good for them, and readers who suggest that Iranians ought to just sit down and take their medicine, that they shouldn't kick some ass, because it might be dangerous to buck the US, that it must be somebody else acting for them, are seeing what is possible when people actually have to fight for their freedom, not the bogus freedom-fights that "thank you for your service" Americans have been engaged in for twenty years.

Iran has been a model of resistance against the US for forty years, a model for other countries, a precedence to follow by larger countries who now see themselves as genuine US enemies, which Iran has been for a long time. Now Iran seems ready to step up the game, sensing that the US is now relatively weak, morally and militarily, and can be defeated in asymmetric warfare. It is possible. The bigger they are. . .We're about to see more of it. And this time Iran is stronger militarily and it won't be alone.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 14 2019 22:15 utc | 70

OT--But All about Cold War 2.0--

Michal Hudson's latest was republished by The Saker and CounterPunch and who knows where else. Essentially, Hudson deems TrumpCo delusional, although he employs different adjectives. The little fires started in Hong Kong and Taiwan will produce opposite results from their intent. And China will do what its White Paper on the subject said it will do--continue along its Win-Win/BRI path and await for reasonableness to return to the White House. The SCO/ASEAN/EAEU can already do without the dollar and its related financial institutions to do business/conduct interstate commerce, and those conditions will soon apply across the BRI's entire breadth--and there's nothing the Outlaw US Empire can do to prevent that evolution other than fuss and fume as it's already doing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 22:16 utc | 71

@bjd #64

So the attackers used both mines and airborne projectiles as the Japanese crew and captain unequivocally state they saw? Nah - that wasn't a mine; it was some means of attaching their ship to the damaged tanker which they were then removing. They wouldn't have so many crew members milling about on the deck of that little frigate or whatever it's called to remove a mine....just silly.

And what's with the 1980s quality of the video? The whole thing played out during the daylight hours. So why some piss poor resolution infrared footage? I smell a false flag.

Posted by: KC | Jun 14 2019 22:23 utc | 72

Candidate Trump lied to America. He presented himself as a nationalist who was tired of international intervention. Once elected he broke every campaign promise except the one to Israel. That in itself should reveal truth. Now that pretense has been put aside, Trump takes the actions of a warmongering lunatic who will bully, threaten, and attack anyone or any country that disagrees with him. The US and their western allies, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have declared economic war on China and Russia and their allies. The US is in rapid decline and is thrashing like a wounded beast. This will not end well.

Posted by: John Roberts | Jun 14 2019 22:23 utc | 73

I for one am quite pleased that Russia and China do not jump into the frays with both feet.

Posted by: arby | Jun 14 2019 22:24 utc | 74

Bolton was part of the Cheney cabal who promoted war with Iran in the early 2000s.
"Bolton’s high-profile advocacy of war with Iran is well known. What is not at all well known is that, when he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security, he executed a complex and devious strategy aimed at creating the justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. Bolton sought to convict the Islamic Republic in the court of international public opinion of having a covert nuclear weapons program using a combination of diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and fabricated evidence."

Could Bolton be reviving the TIRANNT style playbook in 2019?
"In 2004, drawing upon the initial war scenarios under TIRANNT, Vice President Dick Cheney instructed U.S. Strategic Command (U.S.STRATCOM) to draw up a “contingency plan” of a large scale military operation directed against Iran “to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States” on the presumption that the government in Tehran would be behind the terrorist plot. The plan included the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state"

See also

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 14 2019 22:27 utc | 75

You talk about a war with Iran like it would be a bad thing for Trump. On the contrary, it will win him reelection as the world explodes into chaos and Trump assumes the roll of Commander and Chief and Destroyer of Worlds. His revivals will be shunted aside or maybe even locked up for sedition. The national security state will be in its full glory. Patriotism will be the supreme test of character. America is always primed for another war and Trump needs this one to stay in power indefinitely.

Posted by: RenoDino | Jun 14 2019 22:32 utc | 76

Iran is smart not to trust China and Russia , both of whom play the good cop to the US bad cop role. In the end they all trap you into debt or surrendering assets in return for help or capitulation.

Can Iran go it alone and withstand the global forces against it? I have no idea. I imagine the greatest threat is from their own elites. Much like the FSU elites turned their back on socialism so as to enjoy the same benefits as Western elites, its likely the same could repeat in Iran. The main difference is religion. I think people in The West have underestimated religions ability to maintain the cohesiveness of a population and its elite in tough times, probably because religion and its cohesive effect have been destroyed in the West by the forces behind the Enlightenment and Cultural Marxism.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 14 2019 22:33 utc | 77


Hudson thinks the China can run out the clock on Trump and America. They do not appreciate our desire for confrontation to stop their state controlled market economy. The fact that it is a great success seals their fate. America believes that the market forces must determine all outcomes free of the rule of law and government interference. It is the only credo we live for and are willing to die for in great numbers. It is a righteous cause and the only one we have left.

Posted by: RenoDino | Jun 14 2019 22:50 utc | 78

Venezuela has held off the empire and it's not religious cohesiveness, same with North Korea , same with Syria.
I think the good cop/bad cop analogy is projection.

The US believes in market forces until it has the upper hand.

Posted by: arby | Jun 14 2019 22:55 utc | 79

If Iran actually launches a covert war, there will at some point be genuine evidence. It doesn't matter whether it convinces the larger part of ordinary people or not, any more than it matters whether they simply accept official claims without evidence, just because. In neither case does their opinion actually matter. But true evidence will completely change the line up against Iran. Every country hurt by the oil cut off will be immediately opposed, and even those few benefiting from higher oil prices will not care to risk anything: The military destruction of Iran will serve that interest as well. This course is the worst of both worlds. In particular, the fifth column of capitalist stooges in Iran will become more powerful than ever, especially since the mullahs are not friends of the people.

Further, the notion that the economy tanking really matters is also doubtful, in several ways. First, as long as financial profits are up, the stock market, there is no crisis. That's why the economy under Obama and Trump hasn't well served the larger part of the population but the media insist on how rosy things are. Second, capital flight into the US precisely because of world economic crisis. Lastly, domestically the invocation of war time loyalty may seem to Trump to offer enormous gains, military spending soaring at the expense of social spending, accusations of disloyalty against opponents, and maybe even sequestration of enemy assets at his personal will.

Lastly, war will not turn into a disaster for Trump unless the US loses. Nukes offer the opportunity to declare anything a victory.

The whole post is still permeated by nonsense about Trump being antiwar. Trump was never antiwar, he was just against losing.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 14 2019 22:57 utc | 80

'Trump's continued call to negotiations with Iran with unacceptable preconditions is reminiscent with Israeli negotiations with Palestinians. Its the same ploy.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 14 2019 23:08 utc | 81

This is a replay of the MH-17 shot down that was used to restart the Cold War. The Iranian State would not target a Japanese tanker while meeting with PM Abe any more than the Russian Federation would shot down a 777 over Donbass. I’m not a sailor but it seems impossible for submerged “SEALS” to attach magnetic limpet mines well above the waterline on two moving tankers at the same time. If the attacking airplane or drones were flown from Iran they would have to fly to an attack position south of the tankers which were not near each other. There has been no release of forensic information on the earlier tanker attacks but they appear to be similar. Forces in the area are in combat ready conditions with signet, satellite, radio and radar systems fully operational. A drone would have to be light airplane size to carry the equivalent of two Hellfire missiles.

I agree that the attacks are intended to raise insurance rates and halt the fall in the price of petroleum. A signal of the future costs of the conflict with Iran. All the rest is propaganda to get Iranians to kowtow to Washington DC. This has to be a state player. It is a step too far for the Honuthi rebels to fire Hellfire type missiles from drones at moving tankers, hit them and escape undetected. It also seems a step too far for the incompetent MBS clique in Saudi Arabia which will also lose revenue with increased petroleum shipping costs.

This more or less leaves the USA, Israel or the Revolutionary Guard. Except that Donald J Trump is a political savant. Kamala Harris has mentioned the unmentionable. It he does not win in 2020 he will be indicted. The President is well aware that Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson were one term Presidents because they started wars they couldn’t win. He’d be a jailed loser. Not building homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter who lost after the debacle in the Iranian desert. I assume Israel has submarine launched conventional anti-shipping missiles. If they fired six of them off of Oman you’d think everybody in the world would know it.

That leaves the Revolutionary Guard. Maybe they did do this, but do you want to start a war with someone this competent when the only outcome will be defeat or a nuclear holocaust.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Jun 14 2019 23:10 utc | 82

KC @61
“Nah - that wasn't a mine; it was some means of attaching their ship to the damaged tanker which they were then removing.”

That does make sense, that it was a mooring magnet device to hold the boat next to the ship while they boarded the stranded crew. That is why the blurry video, to make us think otherwise.

Posted by: Stever | Jun 14 2019 23:10 utc | 83

I don't know -- maybe it's just me, but how can the now world-famous video released by CENTCOM of the
Iranians allegedly removing a limpet mine, be squared with this photo of the 'Kokuka Courageous', also by CENTCOM(!), showing the damage to the ship's hull, and with the limpet mine still attached to the hull?

Posted by: bjd | Jun 14 2019 23:13 utc | 84

As to the feasibility of submarine launching explosive flying object (from underwater). Evidently this was first done in May/June of 1942 using the U511 and a type 41 Wurfgerat rocket bomb. says so anyway. Since 1942 some technical improvements may have occurred.

This is to say that it is technically trivial. Amateurs can do it.

I simply do not buy the thesis that Iran did's a classical tonkin game.

Posted by: Walter | Jun 14 2019 23:13 utc | 85

Wow! I thought Quaaludes went out of fashion a long time back, but it seems that RenoDino is stuck back in the days of the Tube's World Tour. I wonder which team it belongs to. Maybe I should remind it that China's internal market consists of 1.1 billion more people than the entire population of the Outlaw US Empire and that their purchasing capacity is rising rapidly while that of the average American is eroding quickly thanks to Trump's tariffs.

steven t Johnson @79--

And Trump's still losing, and he cannot win with his strategy or with his advisors. And you are wrong about the relationship between Iranians and their clergy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 23:16 utc | 86

Btw., here's the corrected image of the Japanese tanker...
Eat sh*t, CENTCOM.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 14 2019 23:27 utc | 87

How many recall that the backstory for 7 Day in May was a stalemated war in Iran between Russia and USA.

Good book, dated but good, and the simplicity of those days makes ya'cry. The movie's good too (free on yt)

(spoiler, The Iran war led to a coup in US.) JFK liked the book.

Does anybody read books? Does Clowner, Stasher, or Pomper?

Posted by: Walter | Jun 14 2019 23:31 utc | 88

bjd @86

A package of C4 as big as that "mine" would make a somewhat larger hole than what we see.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 14 2019 23:34 utc | 89

From Pepe Escobars 6/5/19 Why Trump now wants talks with Iran article.

"An American source said a series of studies hit President Trump’s desk and caused panic in Washington. These showed that in the case of the Strait of Hormuz being shut down, whatever the reason, Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart.

The Bank for International Settlements said last year that the “notional amount outstanding for derivatives contracts” was $542 trillion, although the gross market value was put at just $12.7 trillion. Others suggest it is $1.2 quadrillion or more."

An interesting read and it contains points which support and contradict b's theory.


Posted by: b4real | Jun 14 2019 23:37 utc | 90

@ 79
Wow is right Karlofi--

"Nukes offer the opportunity to declare anything a victory."

Super tough.

Let me see, the mighty US is stymied in Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, etc.,

Posted by: arby | Jun 14 2019 23:40 utc | 91

Here is the text of the Mangier article about self-reliance:

The second recommendation is for Iran to behave on the premise that it has no loyal and established friends. The Leader of the revolution indicated that relationships with countries should be based on mutual interest rather than strategically established. Iran should count on its capabilities to defend its existence and continuity, without isolating itself. Countries may stand with Iran for their common benefit and interest, but such alliances should be considered related to circumstances and opportunities rather than taken for granted.

I see this as a version of the Precautionary principle - which generally defines actions on issues considered to be uncertain, for instance applied in assessing risk management. The Iranians realize that China and/or Russia may be on their side in a particular issue, but they’re going to make their plans on the assumption nobody will lift a finger to assist them. Recall how this ‘principle’ was one waved around by the Bushies to justify invading Iraq. They created a passel of lies, then used those lies to justify the attack on a 1% chance of Iraq possessing WMDs. (The very same neocon rightwingnuts reject their own 1% Doctrine when the certainty of Climate Change arises.)

Now onto the mechanism of the attack. As of this posting I count 8 mentions of the word “drone”, but only Ninel at #23 has used the word “stealth”.

The issue is not which side was responsible but how the Iranians did it without being detected. That area is heavily patrolled and under surveillance. The Iranians are showing a very high degree of stealth and sophistication by pulling off these incidents without being caught red handed.

Every nation which really wants a piece of “stealth” material from the F-117 has it by now, for the plane was shot down 20 years ago. Any nation with a high-powered radar can make their own tests of radar-absorbent materials. Keep in mind the US probably has a lead in this research, and all those recent UFO sightings may well be a cover story for ‘our’ latest and greatest stealth planes.

Stealth drones already exist.

Has Russia Outdone the U.S. With Its New Stealth Attack Drone?

Now consider a couple of facts. Iran took physical possession of a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel. Except for a somewhat mangled bottom, their copy was in flyable condition. The Iranians have also been behaving like total fools with their claims of making a piloted stealth fighter. I must ask if that might not be deliberate – to divert attention from a very real stealth drone program. Assuming I’m not barking up the wrong tree here, the attacks up to now may be a warning - “lay off or some real attacks will begin.

So I’m quite partial to our site owner’s essay – it all holds together in a tight little bundle. That’s not to deny that all this could still be a false flag, for the US and its wag-the-dog master – the apartheid Jewish state - will surely also possess stealth attack drones.


All this has got me to thinking of another use for the stealth drones. China has built a very large one capable of carrying two tons of munitions. Assuming they’ve made this thing almost as invisible as the B-2 bomber, what are the chances for a US aircraft carrier if one or more of these came flying in at 500 mph on a dark and overcast night? Would a single person on the ship see it with either eyeballs or radar before the explosions started? I hope some naval people are working on this, for I’m as allergic to dead sailors on carriers as I was to the ones on the USS Liberty.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 14 2019 23:40 utc | 92

If they could pull it off and get global media to buy it, Iran might be wise to do a false false flag attack. Do an attack that initially looks like Iran did it, but leave clues/evidence that (ideally of course) will be found by independent or official investigators that it wasn't Iran but actually a Western false flag. Could be Western materials, or individuals' movements or Western falsifying of ship records or something. This incident already got comparisons to the Gulf of Tonkin as a West false flag within hours, so the stage is set.

So, Iran would be behind such an attack. They'd make it look like the West tried to make it look like Iran was behind it, when it wasn't. Best case is that there's an actual media or government outrage at the US trying to manufacture a new war. Decent case is that it raises doubt as to who did it, which can be used to doubt other actual Iran attacks in the future (in case they want to do attacks). Bad case is a repeat of the recent "attacks", which I guess tend to lend towards the Western narrative of provocative Iran. Worse case is a war and nuclear armageddon. Anyway, just an idea.

They could also do a simpler false flag of an attack by MEK or a US missile strike or something. Surely the West aren't the only ones who should get to do false flags, even if they're unethical and terrible.

Posted by: Soft Asylum | Jun 14 2019 23:44 utc | 93


Posted by: NOBTS | Jun 14 2019 23:44 utc | 94

Cui bono? Well, MIC got a payday.

Senators Switched Key Votes On Gulf Arms Ban Hours After Tanker Attacks. Rand Paul pleas were of no avail:

The Kentucky Republican and prominent Libertarian argued passionately that the US should not be supporting authoritarian governments who are known backers of extremists and who are conducting mass atrocities in Yemen.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 14 2019 23:50 utc | 95

Bernhard, see this too:

Is this video of a rescue operation? Why was it changed to black and white from color (so that the orange life vests won't stand out)? Why are there 10 people on a tiny boat, doing demining? Where is the mine to be seen?

Posted by: Paul | Jun 14 2019 23:54 utc | 96

Some reports from Twitter: Balad airbase in Iraq where US troops are stationed was shelled. A rocket just missed the US Embassy in Baghdad. The video released of the alleged Iranian gunboat is now a global laughingstock. Pinpricks and friendly fire damage.

In Putin's speech at the SCO, amongst other things he said "Our immediate task now is to ensure the complete elimination of hotbeds of terrorism that remain in Syria, primarily in Idlib,..." And there was the promise to increase pressure on the EU signatories to the JCPOA: "While presiding in the SCO, we intend to work to ensure that the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action fulfil their obligations. We consider this to be the only logical and correct path."

So Trump, want a deal with China or Russia? You'll need to rejoin JCPOA first and drop all unilateral sanctions. Those are most likely the terms that will be spelled out to him in no uncertain terms at the G-20.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14 2019 23:58 utc | 97

somebody @ 15 said;"The US have a very simple way out of this. They can just stop doing what they are doing, ie. threatening secondary sanctions to others dealing with Iran."

Absolutely, but, don't hold your breath until that happens..

There's a street saying, "that what goes around comes around". I would love to see that happen to the real "triad of evil", the U$A,KSA, and Israel. I sincerely hope Iran can provide a little "push-back", financially, by forming alliances that can break the economic terrorism being inflicted by the U$A and their minions on other nations of the globe.
The world would rejoice....

Posted by: ben | Jun 15 2019 0:03 utc | 98

The theory is plausible, but that would not make it correct. Stikes me the attcks are very amatuerish - unsuccessful ineffective. Would expect better if it were the iranians.
- Its Iran
- Its Saudi Arabia
- Its Isreal
- Its Yemen
- Its Turkey

Plug for cool lady, Eva Bartlett on Venezuela:

Posted by: jared | Jun 15 2019 0:20 utc | 99

@92 Soft Asylum - I have always wondered when such things would begin. After all, there are some manuals from the School of the Americas and Gene Sharp to pull off some unconditional warfare / color revolution business. Totally with you.

Posted by: roza shanina | Jun 15 2019 0:24 utc | 100

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