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

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VietnamVet @81

Trump has nothing to worry about after he leaves office. If their was a trial he would select a jury trial and all it takes is one Trump nut huger which is guaranteed on any jury and you have a hung jury. Beyond that the American people would never put up with the spectacle of a president sitting in a jail. The American Constitution has been tested and failed spectacularly. We now know why every country that the US has forced to use a copy of the US constitution has become a failed state.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jun 15 2019 0:25 utc | 101

A few thoughts on the means of the tanker attack.

There are versions of the Russian RPG and equivalent US Army LAW that are small, lightweight and very potent--the linked RPG can penetrate 400mm of armor. They could easily be mounted to a number of drones readily available in the Gulf region. Although I don't know how the drone would react to the firing of a mounted RPG, it's mission would be over with the projectile's firing. The crew testimony mentioned hearing at least one drone, the explosion, but nothing afterward--or at least news reports don't mention them saying anything after the explosions. Clearly, more crew testimony's required to determine the actual mode of attack. The owner is the one reported to say "the flying objects might have been bullets" but bullets cannot be seen while flying unless they're tracers. The hull damage I've seen is consistent with an RPG hit. Closely examining the photo showing the "likely mine" it appears to also be an impact hole in the hull as nothing seems to be protruding or causing a shadow as such an object ought. The Iranian boat was likely measuring the impact damage given the number of gawkers.

Okay. Enough. Past time for a beer.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2019 0:29 utc | 102

"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."

Whom are we kidding? The Empire does not need proofs. When the Empire has an urge to attack, what passes for a proof can be always claimed, and when it does not have such an urge, expect a meticulous forensic attitude. Scratch that. Badmouthing the adversaries, proof or no proof, is practice without interruptions, and our cowboys do not believe in hiring graduates of Creative Writing, so stories like "limpet mine" are often on a limp side. But this is a side show of limited importance. To wit, in the case of Iranians proudly boarding ships and moving them to anchorages near their coast on a large scale, or even more openly violent actions, USA rulers may feel compelled to send some missiles and/or bombers.

The crux is, what may dampen the warrior spirit in those "several states"? [US constitution does not refer to "united states" but "those several states" etc.]

Wailing and weeping of the stalwart Gulfie allies imagining their precious oil ports, oil storage facilities, assorted factories etc. etc. getting wasted in flames?

Wailing and weeping of Trump cronies (and, perchance, members of Trump organization) about properties, some in the Gulf but also elsewhere, becoming insolvent?

Can we imagine 10 reasons like that?

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 15 2019 0:29 utc | 103

Seven Reasons To Be Highly Skeptical Of The Gulf Of Oman Incident

Posted by: C I eh? | Jun 15 2019 0:40 utc | 104

karlof1@85 "And Trump's still losing, and he cannot win with his strategy or with his advisers. And you are wrong about the relationship between Iranians and their clergy." To me, Trump losing against Iran would be other countries trading in oil with Iran. I don't know what it looks like to you, but I'm not seeing it. Sorry, the Islamic clergy is no more interested in the welfare of its people than any other state clergy endowed with massive property and income.

arby@90 "'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."

The US government or military considered using nukes in Korea, Vietnam and Cuba. And yes I think it's considering using them in Iran.

As for "stymied?" In Syria, the national secular government does not control Idlib or Afrin or the northeast of the country. Venezuela's people are suffering under a blockade. Afghanistan is still occupied. Russia is tied down in Syria, at a standstill with fascists in eastern Ukraine, NATO has moved hundreds of miles to the east and the Baltic statelets and Poland are raving about war with Russia. And its economy is being pressured by low oil prices, with most of the country heading back to Yeltsin days. China is under trade war and Xi is slowing growth as much as he can and Hong Kong is gearing up another rebellion. Iran is isolated and being blockaded. North Korea is under blockade. Stymied is when the US starts withdrawing troops, closing foreign bases, can't make other countries enforce bloackade, stops moving eastward in Europe, stops color revolutions. The only way you can say the US is "stymied" is to insist the only meaning of victory is foreigners literally crawling on their bellies when they see an American president.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 15 2019 0:46 utc | 105

@104 steven t johnson.. if that is what the usa winning looks like, it is going to look very bad when the usa is losing.. and that time will come soon enough for the simple reason one can't trash everyone on the planet who has a different concept and expect it not to come back and bite you in the ass one way or the other... so, enjoy the bully empires dying days here because that is what it looks like to me.. it might take another 50 years, although i think it is less.. it's coming.. the arrogance of insulated americans who think i dead american is equivalent to a 100 dead of some other country demands it..

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 0:57 utc | 106

@ b4real who wrote
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."

It is so telling about folks that refuse to discuss reality, eh The elite have had 10 years to set up this casino situation where derivative owners rule the world when TSHTF. The only problem with the plan is who they go to for settlement. If it is the wink, wink, nod, nod BIS then the elite are safe but what if they had to take their casino bet derivatives to the PBOC for settlement?

The war we are in is about global private finance led society or the China/Russia led alternative where the state controls finance for the public good. You can write all you want to obfuscate the core issue at stake but forces bigger than you are going to show you the casino folks are holding a broken flush.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 15 2019 1:04 utc | 107

Iran's oil continues to flow to China, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Russia, and India. By your criteria, Trump has lost. And it's abundantly clear you know very little about the internal workings of Iran.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2019 1:04 utc | 108

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 14, 2019 8:29:12 PM | 102

Trump needing reelection.

There is a good analysis in the Guardian

Trump now appears to realise that the train he boarded is not heading to a glorious summit, but a potentially devastating conflict in the Gulf, and that some of his own officials, notably the national security adviser, John Bolton, are quite content – enthusiastic, even – to keep driving in that direction. Trump wants to get off and make a deal, but the Abe mission suggests he has no idea how to.

Iran, meanwhile, has found its strongest point of leverage – Trump’s fears about his chances of re-election against the backdrop of a new war in the Middle East. To play on those fears is a gamble with very high risks. Every cycle of escalation brings the region closer to a point where the slide towards war goes beyond anyone’s control.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 1:06 utc | 110

Read this over at Roaming Pages on Counterpunch which seems to be unpopular here:

Saree Makdisi: “Crisis in the Gulf: on the one hand, a careful, canny, prudent, calculating & strategically rational power, and on the other hand, the USA.”

As for the rest:
1. If Iran is behind the attacks on the tankers, they need to be very careful as if they continue, the Iranians will almost certainly make a mistake at some point and be caught out.
2. The neo-cons have no muscle and the US military really hate them so they have no real power, only what Trump deigns to give them. If Trump decides to get rid of them, they'll be gone in a flash - hopefully from Secret Service machine pistols.
3. The US military don't want a war with Iran (or anybody else for that matter), because wars have a very dramatic effect on their careers and lead to the loss of all their shiny new toys.
2. However blatant Iran's involvement in such attacks is, the US military could defang Iran by saying there is no evidence of Iranian involvement and do nothing in response.
5. If the United States does go to war with Iran, the Iranians are not going to sit around and be bombed to pieces like Saddam was - they'll use their arsenal of missiles to destroy oil facilities on the other side of the Persian Gulf before they lose them.
6. The most effective strategy for the Iranians is make it clear that they escalate again in response to each American escalation and draw the United States into invading the coastal areas of Iran to stop attacks on ships - commercial and military - in the Persian Gulf, then escalate further to draw the real men in Washington into going to Tehran. The United States might win the battle but they'll lose the war.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 15 2019 1:25 utc | 111

the nature of a false flag is you make it look like the ones you want to frame - did it.. if this was a false flag, i think it would have to be a bit more spectacular too which is why i think it is conceivable iran did something here.. personally i don't believe they did, but i can't rule it out.. i think it depends on how much financial pressure they are under and whether they would have to resort to something that might make things a lot worse for them if they were to get caught in it.. that is why i doubt they're behind this.. it's too convenient for this to happen here as it has... that is the long way of me saying 90/10 odds usa-isreal-ksa-uae tag team are behind this.. i am waiting for the next one too, as i think that's a given here... there has been too much bad mouthing and 24 propaganda on iran for it to stop here..

@89 b4real... pepe escobar quote - "Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart." now, being a realist here, what are the chances that the 1% who control most of the money and derivative markets would want to position themselves to take advantage of something like this? really, the only people who get hurt are the little people... if they can engineer it, they will be gaming this for sure...they will do exactly like they did in 2008, on a bigger scale and bring it back from the edge after everyone has thrown in their hand... and on we go to a bigger boom and bust cycle until at some point we find an alternative - like psychohistorian and some others here likes to dream about!

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 1:36 utc | 112

Not so sure the conclusions are correct. If it was a drone attack the drones could have been launched from a tanker nearby that is staffed with a crew of third party actors friendly to the cause of destroying Iran. If that is true one would need to look at the weather conditions and the ships nearby at the time of the attack.

It could be some hardcore Revolutionary Guards or other groups inside Iran doing this without official government sanction. They probably do not completely control the militias associated with them in Iraq either which may hit back at US targets in anger. Hitting a Japanese tanker while you are talking to the Japanese PM face to face is just not going to happen anywhere at anytime.

I think Iran knows what it could be in for at the end of this, that is a total demolition of its country by US aviation and naval forces. They would be smart to play the long game, ship out whatever oil they can, and cultivate relationships with other powers. Time is on their side as the US empire is slowly imploding but always a very potent military threat. Of course, they will always undercut the US in the region any way they can.

There will be no revolution overthrowing the Iranian government from the inside and the players know this. The government is in firm control. The haters have no option but to destroy the country.

This may the first time the US has tried to demolish a country militarily that has ballistic missiles and very close to producing a few nukes. They may already be polishing them underground somewhere. Lets hope some sane people stand up in government in the West and get a handle on these nut jobs. Somehow I think this is what they want and they are going to have it one way or another.

Posted by: dltravers | Jun 15 2019 1:43 utc | 113

Heheheh -
So many heavily invested in a particular theory expounding kneejerk positions one thing is amply demonstrated, that is when types such as most of those who lurk around here who pride themselves on their "critical thinking" are presented with something which conflicts with their hand crafted, jealously guarded 'worldview' all pretense of logic, rational thinking is tossed aside as they emotively defend their alleged 'rational position'. F++kin droll.

The most plausible explanation for the disc on the side of the tanker is that it is likely a homing target attached to the boats during loading or pilot towage. As anyone who has flown a drone, that is A) unlikely to be able to benefit from satellite global positioning and B) aimed at one particular boat in a sea lane crowded with boats of a similar appearance will tell you that accuracy is vital but close to unachievable.

Hell, the us used similar targeting devices in the early days of their drone murders.
The homing device failed to be detected by the third drone so Iran chose to remove it during the crew rescue either because they don't want 'the enemy' examining it and developing a counter measure too fast, or because they need to examine and build a counter measure.

No one here has the access to really know what happened yesterday and even in a few decades time the odds are high that any truth will be heavily dependent on whatever facts the particular historian selects as the basis for his/her thesis.

So given that this debate can never resolve, how about confining yourselves to more accessible and no less interesting ruminations such as, Whether or not it was the Iranians who were behind the attacks, why does the SVR want to put it about that they were?

Posted by: van der polk | Jun 15 2019 2:08 utc | 114

"But he knows that a war would be disasterous for his election chances..."

That sounds like the giveaway. Just kinda late for April Fools.

It might be, that it would be true. But that he knows that? It's hard to believe he even fears it. Every con believes himself and in his own teflon.

Posted by: Charles Peterson | Jun 15 2019 2:28 utc | 115

james @111:

if this was a false flag, i think it would have to be a bit more spectacular too which is why i think it is conceivable iran did something here..

I think you bring up an important point.

b has outlined the case for why it may be Iran's interest to conduct (or have proxies conduct) attacks of this kind: as part of a long campaign of non-attribution attacks as part of a reverse maximum pressure strategy (though it's unlikely that the stealth of these increasingly severe attacks could be maintained).

But how is a non-attributable or ff attack that doesn't start a war worthwhile for US or US allies? I've provided 3 reasons for how this has "moved the ball" for the warmongers:

1) positions for a rebuff of attack on Idlib;

2) MIC sales of military equipment (posted link to ZH post in the other thread);

3) Likely movement of more US troops into the region (as mentioned at SST post).

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 15 2019 2:48 utc | 116

John Kiriakou has learned Bolton might be on his way out. This will change everything.

Couldn’t happen sooner.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 15 2019 2:51 utc | 117

@115 jackrabbit.. the way i see it is that with regard to your 3 points - the usa at this point is playing - heads it wins and tails it wins for those 3 bullet points... i really don't see any change in any of that, but maybe you are right and it helps it along further..

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 2:55 utc | 118

PressTV article refutes US claims

Posted by: ninel | Jun 15 2019 3:53 utc | 119

Trita Parsi would not implicate the Iranian government unless there was a good possibility that it was them. He was recently quoted in a NY Times article about the untrustworthiness of Trump. Rich coming from the NY Times, for sure.

“Look, it could very well have been the Iranians,” said Trita Parsi, a scholar at Georgetown University and the founder of the National Iranian American Council. “I don’t think anyone can say they’re innocent.”

Posted by: ninel | Jun 15 2019 4:03 utc | 120

U.S. Puts Iran on Notice and Weighs Response to Attack on Oil Tankers
(Sorry behind paywall)
“But tension remained high, with a senior official confirming that Iran had fired a surface-to-air missile on Thursday at an American drone flying over the Gulf of Oman, where the attacks on the tankers occurred. The episode took place early that morning, between the distress calls from the two ships crippled by explosions that day.”

We learned that the owner of the ship said it was a projectile in the air that caused the explosions not the mines. This article points out that the US was flying drones at the time near the ship - is this showing that the US drones were responsible for firing on the ship?

Posted by: Stever | Jun 15 2019 4:05 utc | 121

This will push the oil price high and the oiligarchs will love that. Russia will no doubt appreciate it too as will many others. Trump's base will hate it as they are about to enjoy their summer motoring season. The shale miners will get a moments relief as they sting the motorists and blame it on Iran.

Trump's oiligarch mates will be happy and help his reelection. What's to lose? voters will be furious and simply see it as Trump f#cking up and letting those Iranians hang it on him ... Just like Carter!!

All we need is a bunch of yellow ribbons around petrol and diesel bowsers as a signal of Trump as hostage to his total stupidity. The pain of that old memory will scorch yankee brains. I can see it now at the Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard rallies with yellow ribbons tied around MAGA hats. YES. Post me that image.

Regardless of who done it, another one next week and periodically will just bring Trump to the brink. Even now he is demanding that Iran come to the bargaining table to sort the tanker attack out but not the uranium deal. FOOL!

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 15 2019 4:08 utc | 122

The US bombs various countries in Asia and north Africa every day, for years now, killing injuring and displacing thousands, and Iran's symbolic attacks in its waters "demonstrate the clear threat that Iran [the subject of US financial aggression] poses to international peace and security" as the US claimed at the UNSC?" . . .That doesn't pass the giggle test and the world knows it, so I look for more. Just do it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 15 2019 4:24 utc | 123

If mentally defective Donald is having trouble sleeping, worrying about Iran etc, I can recommend a large dose of Valerian before bed, works wonders 👎

Posted by: Bob Knob | Jun 15 2019 4:32 utc | 124

A credible scenario; but a very risky one that can really backfire for Tehran. All the US has to do is start escorting ships through Hormuz, and suddenly US warships are in Iranian territorial waters. Not good. Furthermore, the US can seek a UN Sec Council resolution... which it will probably obtain, since no one on the Sec Council really wants high oil prices when demand is collapsing in a global recession that will only be intensified by high oil prices. It's hard to see how Iran wins.

Posted by: posa | Jun 15 2019 4:40 utc | 125

Oh and I forgot to mention that if oil price goes up the gas price follows. USA still trying to sell gas to EU states?? think again chumps. The Gazprom line is a guaranteed profit winner for Russia. Then there is the new Turkey line steadily completing.

As you can see there is collusion between Trump and Putin. Putin just won.

In this game any tanker anywhere is vulnerable to any one who has a grudge against the USA and a drone and rpg (just a drone and firecracker will do). Insurance costs will rocket. It will be hard to tell where the next sting will come from but come it will. There is a real possibility that the B team have opened pandora's box and have already sold the lid to the other side. The enemies of the USA will see this Achilles heel and go for it.

I think I will open a beer and join karlof1.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 15 2019 4:46 utc | 126


“if this was a false flag, i think it would have to be a bit more spectacular too which is why i think it is conceivable iran did something here.. “

I don't follow the logic. Why the need for it to be more spectacular? Perhaps if the desired action to be taken in response is to be on the same scale as after 9/11, but not for something on a lesser scale. False flags come in all shapes and forms, from low key to spectacular. Far more risk with the latter despite the higher payoff. Those are once in a generation or decade type events which are typically preceded by smaller false flags. For example before 9/11 you had USS Cole and embassy bombings which conditioned people to accept the official explanation of 9/11

The majority of people, on both sides of the Atlantic have proven themselves to be gullible enough to believe anything, so long as its repeated often enough by so called credible sources. I suspect most of these international headline events (exclude natural disasters although even there its possible) , that stay in the news for days at a time are actually false flag events designed to influence opinions and set conditions that would support responses that benefit the global elite.

Posted by: Pft | Jun 15 2019 4:50 utc | 127

Don Bacon @122--

"Just do it."

Idlib campaign will restart over the weekend; perhaps already has. Iraq is becoming hot for US troops. Congress is pushing the Turks to the point where they may well leave NATO and create a real mess. Serbia has lost its patience with Kosovo and is ready, willing and able to do something about it--NATO be damned. An alliance has formed amongst Greece, Cyprus and Zionistan aimed at denying Turkey energy rights in that sector of the Med. And that's just what's visible on the surface in that small region. Brent crude--the international benchmark price--sits at $62, too low for Saudi and US frackers. We'll know more about tanker day rates and insurance come Monday--both were headed up. Rouhani had fruitful meetings at Bishkek's SCO Summit. Putin and Xi are going to increase pressure on the European signers of JCPOA to uphold their end. SCO is well aware of the need to heighten their defenses against Outlaw US Empire proxy attacks, diplomatically euphemized as extremism and terrorism in speeches and documents--the participants all know the actual score. What's at stake is clear enough for all to see, and they're all together on one team.

Indeed, the last sentence sums up things for much of the world's nations. There's no more rug to pull over naïve eyes. BigLie Media's narrative is moth-eaten. The war against Assange and Truth is very apparent and exacerbates the lack of Outlaw US Empire credibility. A great number of psychohistorian's spinning plates are wobbling as their momentum slows, a sure signal that some will soon cascade downward and smash into bits.

I'd say there's a lot of Doin' it goin' on.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2019 5:14 utc | 128

If in the future a mine "attack" happens in the Persian Gulf it might be worth remembering that loose mines pop up in unexpected places from time to time. Just last year an old WWII mine drifted close to the Kitsap naval base in Washington.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 15 2019 5:19 utc | 129

karlof1 101

No need for a drone to launch an RPG rocket. A shaped charge similar size to RPG charge set to detonate on impact. Armour piecing drone.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 15 2019 5:23 utc | 130

Peter AU 1 @131--

I thought of that too given Houthi use of Kamikaze drones. That's one reason for my curiosity about the crew hearing a flying object before the explosion but no mention of afterwards. The drone blows itself up, causes some damage and sinks into the sea taking its forensic evidence with it. Makes me muse about the previous attacks. Could be same tactic and equipment but with different aiming points. When I was a kid, we had those balsa wood rubber band powered kit airplanes that we'd strap an M-80 firecracker to, twist up the rubber band, light the fuse and toss the plane into the air to watch it explode about 10 seconds later. What fun that was 50+ years ago!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 15 2019 5:46 utc | 131

Could be an Eric Prince operation simply to boost oil prices for his oil producing friends, or, to carry out the diabolical intentions of his fellow renegade deep state compatriots...

Posted by: Lawrence Hill | Jun 15 2019 5:51 utc | 132

More details on the two ships by a guest poster at the Saker.

He points out that the Master of the Hyundai Dubai was Russian which may explain why the Russian crew was transferred to the Iranian Naji 10 for quicker transport back to Russia.

The author makes the point that "Does it occur to anyone that it might be a person releasing something so that the boat can leave the tanker’s side, a mooring line attachment, a magnetic device? There is no proof to suggest it was a limpet mine removed from the tanker."

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 15 2019 5:53 utc | 133

@134 Krollchem

I was just going to post that link.

Since we're dealing with the Ministry of Trump deception, critical thinking is required at all times. The Zionist media are all in with Trump on his Iran obsession, but others need more convincing. Israel and KSA need an excuse to bring the EU on the same page on Iran by creating false flag incidents to pin on Iran?

After reading that article at the Saker's call me skeptical on Iran's hand in this.

I'm reminded of the fuzzy, infrared video the IDF put out to justify their attack on the humanitarian aid ship en route to Gaza, the Mavi Marmara. Similar quality.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 15 2019 6:14 utc | 134

The Daily Beast:

Japanese oil tanker’s owner: Pentagon has it wrong on what happened during attack in Gulf

Sen. Mike Gravel:

They lie.

They lie to pour money to military contractors. They lie to enforce American hegemony. They lie to send children to the slaughter. They lie for their relection campaign. They lie, they lie, they lie.

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 15 2019 6:22 utc | 135


I'm not sure its the same tactics and equipment. From what I understand The earlier ships were holed at or below the waterline while at anchor, so perhaps divers placing small charges.
The latest two were holed above the waterline while moving. There is a possibility magnetic charges were stuck to the ships while loading (US or proxies), but a good chance they would be seen before the ships arrived at the point for the charges to be detonated.
Possibly magnetic mines stuck on from small boats shortly before hand but again, a good chance small boats would be seen. Sunrise time in the Persian Gulf at the moment is 4.39am and first explosion was reported shortly after 6.00am
Drone sounds the best method, coming in at a meter or so off the sea.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 15 2019 6:23 utc | 136

karlof1 | Jun 14, 2019 5:05:49 PM | 53 wrote:

But it must be noted that neither the Outlaw US Empire nor Russia cover their entire nation with air defense assets, nor does Iran.

Sun Tzu said something like "leave openings where you want the enemy to go", it could be a reason.


C I eh? | Jun 14, 2019 5:22:49 PM | 56 makes as much sense as anything in my opinion; it is impossible to take world "politics" at face value.


I disagree about Iran being behind any of this or out to provoke or pressure anyone, I don't see the need or use.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 15 2019 6:39 utc | 137

Taking this one step further... it appears the vessels attacked were owned by operators friendly to Iran.
Could it be possible the attacks were conducted with the approval of the owners, keen to help out a decade-long good customer and confident their insurance would have them covered anyway? Its all a bit 5D chess but, seeing the reaction of the Japanese owner... he must also be suspecting Iran, yet didnt seem too bothered and contradicted the US version rather quickly.

Posted by: EtTuBrute | Jun 15 2019 7:46 utc | 138

Pompeo: 'I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole'

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 15 2019 8:27 utc | 139

Interesting Carlucci article on topic

Posted by: Blue | Jun 15 2019 8:27 utc | 140

Pompeo Gulf of Oman Narrative Torpedoed by Vessel’s Japanese Owner

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 15 2019 8:32 utc | 141

Patrick Clawson of the influential neo-con Washington Institute for Near East Studies OPENLY suggests that the US should provoke Iran into taking the first shot.Israel Lobbyist suggests False Flag attack to start war with Iran. Just like 911 in New York causing the deaths of American civilians and soldiers, a million dead Iraqis and for what?

Israel Lobbyist - We Need a False Flag to Start War with Iran!

Posted by: John Smith | Jun 15 2019 9:11 utc | 142

Iran puts maximum pressure on the US by doing... nothing. Don't fall for the provocations, weather the economic storm, just wait until the US finds another victim to bully around. Has anyone heard from Random Guido lately?

Full SCO membership is more important than engaging in a futile tit for tat.

The US is overextended. They can't maintain pressure for a significant amount of time since they are juggling too many balls, constantly trying to keep their vassals and adversaries in line. S-400's in Turkey, S-400's in India, the South China Sea, Nordstream 2, Venezuela, the Ukraine, Syria, Lybia, Huawei, Uyghurs, Mexicans, the list goes on and on.

This reckless escalation with Iran only serves the US MIC, the UAE and Saudi Arabia will be pressured to buy tens of billions of US arms to "protect themselves from Iran".

Sheldon Adelson and Bibi will be happy that they got some political ROI on their investment in Trump and the Ziolobby.

Iran is best served with some Russian and Chinese "observers" to deter Boltonesque adventurism.

Posted by: Symen Danziger | Jun 15 2019 9:15 utc | 143

First of all, there wont be an actual war against Iran - US would choke hard (it would end worse than Millennium Challenge 2002) and it would effectively end the illusion of 'a sole superpower.' US knows it, therefore all talks about the war is just a hot air.

Second, I disagree with 'b that Iran is behind these amateurish small scale attacks, it seems more false flag frame job by the usual suspects. Its not Iran's style and they dont even have the need for it now - China is buying more (under the table if need be) and Russia is happily reselling as their "own". Also China, Russia and Turkey are becoming 3rd party goods hub for Iran.

“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.

This threat is meant ONLY if US starts physical blockade of Iran's crude exports. Only then Iran will make sure nobody else is exporting through Hormuz either, and believe me Iran has far better tools for it than a couple of toy drones.

The part about Iranians being friendly to friends but not exclusively relying on anybody - it was the case since 1979, nothing changed.

About more self-reliance and domestic production - it was heavily emphasized in Iran for more than a decade (and they achieved a lot too), so its again nothing new, just more drive to the same direction.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 15 2019 9:22 utc | 144

Posted by: Harry | Jun 15, 2019 5:22:19 AM | 144

Second, I disagree with 'b that Iran is behind these amateurish small scale attacks, it seems more false flag frame job by the usual suspects. Its not Iran's style and they dont even have the need for it now .

Actually, it is Iran's style.

The US Army says Iran is the only victor of the Iraq War

The US Army has concluded that Iran was the only victor of the eight-year US campaign to remove Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and replace him with a democratic regime.

That’s one of the findings of a massive historical study released Jan. 17, the first major military review of the Iraq war’s lessons. Commissioned in 2013 by General Ray Odierno, then the Army’s top commander, it was conducted by half a dozen field grade officers at the US Army War College.


Repeating the mistakes made in Iraq would be costly. That war cost the US more than $2 trillion. Almost 4,500 American service members died, with an additional 32,000 wounded in action. Credible estimates of Iraqi civilian casualties during the war reach as high as 500,000.

They mention Syria here but Iran did the same. They fought the US in Iraq via proxies. The US thought they had learnt the proxy war using it in Syria. They failed.

So "quite likely" it was a Houthi drone that attacked the tankers.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 10:29 utc | 145

add to 145
in other news Houthis are getting quite good with drones.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 10:34 utc | 146

karlof1 @ 97 says:

The video released of the alleged Iranian gunboat is now a global laughingstock

yeah, really. Iranian? gunboat? limpet mines? y'all remember mr. Pavlov's experiment, no? and that was with dogs.

i like b's hypothesis. the calibrated escalation from the previous episode off the coast of the UAE to this latest one has the tenor of a chess move and i would agree that stalemate under uncle sam's clock is unacceptable. also, we'd be wise to keep in mind the fact that all this shit is going down in Iran's backyard. that is, Iran's backyard for the last how many thousands of years? knowledge of the territory is by now in their DNA.

the point that some have raised that the Iranians would never attack Japanese assets while Abe was in Tehran is a valid one. on the surface this would be a violation of elemental Muslim etiquette... which could suggest the possibility of deep state cooperation?

Posted by: john | Jun 15 2019 10:53 utc | 147


You misunderstood me, its not Iranian style to attack (even with its proxies) friendly tankers near its shores (run by Russians and Japanese, when their PM is visiting). Especially when Iranians dont need to! Their export of crude is ongoing, we dont even know how much - Iranians mastered how to circumvent sanctions many years ago, all channels already in place - including on high-level governments level on mass scale (Chinese, Russians, Indians, Turkey, etc).

My emphasis again - Iranians dont need to do such attacks now, it doesnt make any sense, nor targets choices. If anything, Iranians are the most rational and calculating country in the region, why unnecessarily rock the boat, and in a way which would lead all suspicions to them? Therefore I can guarantee you it wasnt Iranians.

Now, there are OTHER ways to put pressure on Trump, which could definitely involve proxies, and put Iran far away from any culpability, now THATS Iranians tyle.

Posted by: Harry | Jun 15 2019 10:59 utc | 148

To "somebody": that's not Iran doing anything much except existing compared to the US continuously and hyper-actively alienating both those they're lying about protecting or helping as well as anyone who believed such lies back then (like me, sadly). No blame can be put on Iran for any of it. The "Americans" aren't just sore losers; they're shit "winners" too (they did win against Saddam Hussein in about three days, then they threw it away by mission creep and vampiric intents and the whole "hegemon" bullshit —to be a bit crude they wanked themselves to defeat in front of an image of their own mostly imagined power).

The word hubris does not seem to exist in US English.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 15 2019 11:40 utc | 149

Posted by: Harry | Jun 15, 2019 6:59:02 AM | 148

It is difficult. "Front Altair" seems to be owned by a Norwegian company and was chartered by Taiwan. "Kokuka Courageous" has a Panama flag, is owned by a Japanese firm but managed by a Hamburg company. It was on its way to Singapore.

Shipping is very much outsourced and international. There is no way to distinguish between friend or foe.

That is why secondary sanctions on Iranian oil and gas are so difficult to circumvent. It affects anybody in the shipping industry getting close to Iranian cargoes, from owners to charteres to insurers.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 11:43 utc | 150

The Grauniad, Bellingcrap, and the New York Langley Times are all CIA assets. They lie on all issues of any significance to the empire, and they have all tried to cast doubt on the narrative that the Iranians were behind the attacks, at least in some of their articles. Either the tanker attacks are not significant to the empire, or the Iranians are behind them but the CIA wants to obscure that fact with some hastily contrived obfuscation.

Why would the CIA obfuscate on this issue? Quite likely it is exactly as b says and these attacks put pressure on the empire that the empire is not in a position to respond to. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the empire is not in a position to respond in any way that benefits the empire, so the CIA's obfuscation is intended as a way to disperse some of the pressure that Iran's alleged attacks are putting on America. The only options America has right now are bad ones so a rationale for inaction has to be manufactured. If this is really the case then we will see more of these minor and non-life-threatening but highly visible incidents in the area.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 15 2019 12:04 utc | 151

Who did the attack?
It's John Bolton and his team. Maybe Trump is aware of it too. The whole thing was to increase pressure on Iran to start the negotiations and the other thing to remove the ban from selling more weapons to Gulf states.
America is very well known with these dirty tricks. And when I say America I also mean the Zionist lobby that is controlling everything there.

Posted by: Freedom | Jun 15 2019 12:05 utc | 152


Citing presstv: I'd be extremely cautious citing presstv; why? because in its reporting it cites Bellingcat. Even though Bellinggcat is expressing doubts about the attibution to Iran of this incident this time, next time some better performed false flag occurs, you'll find yourself critical of presstv because.... it cites Bellingcat -- this time Bellingcat straight in line with the 'allied' narrative. Bellingcat is trying to build a reputation here, of 'critical scepticism'. It isn't and it can't. Bellingcat is a NATO 'narrative creation and control' outfit if there ever was one. Anyone that cites it is dubious.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 15 2019 12:22 utc | 153

add to 149

This here is the Norwegian "friend of Iran" whose tanker was hit (I guess he was insured)

Naturally, Saddam Hussein repeatedly attacked Fredriksen’s tankers because they were carrying the enemy’s crude. One time, Iraqi fighter jets killed two of his crew members in a missile strike.

But the attacks weren’t Fredriksen’s only problem.

At one point, Iran fell over $10 million behind in payments. So Fredriksen confiscated ships loaded with Iranian oil. He promptly moved them out of Iranian-controlled waters and refused to give them back until the Ayatollah paid up.

Iran sent a warship to “persuade” Fredriksen to return its oil. But a US warship intercepted it before it could reach Fredriksen’s tankers. With little recourse left, Iran came to terms with Fredriksen.

Despite these close calls, Fredriksen made huge profits. It was the beginning of a multibillion-dollar fortune and a shipping empire.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 12:32 utc | 154

james@106 ...if that is what the usa winning looks like, it is going to look very bad when the usa is losing..."
When the US really starts losing is when they start nuking, then declaring victory. The people nuked are not going to put up a very convincing argument about how they really won. In the end, ashing your empire is like disguising a going-out-of-business sale a fire sale. I suspect there is some weird notion China and Russia are fighting against US imperialism. They aren't. Russia let fascists into Ukraine and NATO across the Dnieper. China cooperates in the economic war against Korea. China and Russia are just trying to get the US to play nice. That policy is as foolish as it sounds.

karlof1@108 "Iran's oil continues to flow to China, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Russia, and India. By your criteria, Trump has lost. And it's abundantly clear you know very little about the internal workings of Iran."

Russia is an oil exporter, so, no oil flowing to Russia and Iraq is not a market that will sustain the Iranian economy. It's like claiming WV is exporting coal to Kentucky, and makes me wonder what color your spectacles are. Oil to Syria is Iranian oil sustaining Syria. Oil to Turkey is nice but not enough. China trade with Iran in oil is very much like China trade with N. Korea...just enough to give leverage but never anywhere near enough to break the blockade. India is getting ever more friendly with Trump, not least because the abominable Modi is the kind of man Trump is. The oil trade that sustains Iran includes the EU, and that's not happening. If your point is the blockade is leaky, yes, you win. But Iran isn't.

Overall, the mullahs preferred Rouhani to Ahmadinejad. Even the OP says the government will slack off its opposition to the economic liberals (aka pro-imperialist) who want free trade with the Europe etc.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jun 15 2019 12:48 utc | 155

Unless Trump steps up the pressure on the "plan" (refer back to General Wesley Clark's mentioning of the "7 countries" memo) the clock is going to run it out.

World opinion has been steadily shifting against Zionism (joined at the hip with American imperialism). The window of "opportunity" is starting to close. There is no certainty of Trump winning a second term, and the odds would be vastly reduced if he were not a "War President" come the next election. Starting a war this early would be problematic in that the US economy couldn't be protected from the likely horrendous fallout (would play out as in the Greer book mentioned below). BUT, the DNC debates are just around the corner (less than two weeks), and the populace will be exposed to big anti-war hitters (at least anti-regime-change war) in Sanders and Gabbard: the establishment has no real counter here; the desperation is evident with Biden's entrance (he's already put the rope around his neck, all that needs to be done is kick the chair out, something that Joe himself will probably manage to do!). The longer into the campaign the shorter the time for public to be suckered into a war with Iran.

It's a fight to sell a war to the US population. So far it's failing. The Zionists only have Trump to hitch their wagon to. The ride is quite rough, and it's looking like it's going to be too short to make it to the final destination. Watch out for something happening to Trump: the Zionists would likely be able to command Pence to initiate "End Days" within a matter of hours after assuming the POTUS seat (yes, Iran would be blamed for whatever happens to Trump- convenient, no?).

WHO is responsible for this recent "ship show" is less important than what political forces are in play.

I'm beginning to think that John Michael Greer's "Twilight's Last Gleaming" was quite prescient: I see Gabbard, or Sanders, being the real life character Bridgeport.

Posted by: Seer | Jun 15 2019 13:29 utc | 156

It's so simple. Just nuke all the countries that don't bow down.
Wonder why they haven't figured that out yet?

Posted by: arby | Jun 15 2019 13:35 utc | 157

Sen. Graham suggests starting with nuking Cuba and Venezuela first to put some proper fear and awe into the Iranians.

Posted by: arby | Jun 15 2019 13:46 utc | 158

My guess is deep state actors with ties to the DNC were responsible...a "threatened" American public will prefer a war mongering centrist Biden over non-interventionist democratic socialist Bernie....and notice the attack occurred right after a defining Bernie speech promoting "democratic socialism," thus taking the air out of what promises to be a locus point of the 2020 election...

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 15 2019 14:12 utc | 160

@vk (159)

Pricesless: the NYT: "and [Trump] has sometimes raised the possibility of military action. "
I remember a tweet a couple of weeks ago that announced "the end of Iran".

Also "[Iran] continue working to thwart American objectives in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere across the region"
Yes, the Middle East is for the US to have objectives for.

In reality the NYT article should be parsed as another step in the process intended to pave the way for military 'intervention'.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 15 2019 14:30 utc | 161

@142 John Smith

That right there is the EVIL that Americans feel but rarely have dared to express out loud until Trump came along. Trump embodies the ugly American and inspires other Americans to dare to be who they have always been without filters or shame. Trump wanted to release war criminals who urinated on enemy combattant corpses and tortured to death enemy pow's and someone may have convinced him that that was too drastic for America's now fragile fake image of values and decency. America is about domination by any illicit means. The good thing about Trump is that he is NORMALIZING EVIL, NORMALIZING DEPRAVITY. It's good because, while Trump shows the world just how CONniving and ugly he is; in other words, just how truly American he is, he's inspiring other Americans to come out and dare to be themselves, no more pretence! So they are finally known by their fruits, their hypocrisy and EVIL. He has removed all doubt. America isn't the shining beacon on the hill it pretends to be. America has destroyed millions of lives around the world for DOMINATION and GREED.

The American pretence is over and Americans led by the loudmouth Trump mouthpiece are finally free to be themselves. We are dirty; but we rule, so get used to it!

Trump is a slice of the real America that will cheat, lie, defy the rule of law and destroy to dominate. That's America. The Christian-values America is a CONJOB. America is Zionist country where there is no real democracy, anything-goes stealth fascism progressively undermines individual rights, and the Constitution is no better than toilet paper for the powerful 1% and the majority of Americans in service of the almighty dollar that owns them completely.
The Dems are part of that CON as well, but have only hidden it better than the Republicans. Their hypocrisy all these years in service of Zionism and the greenback is glaring. Trump is the karma they can't get rid of. They were caught off guard by this exposure. Trump is here to enforce the American way without filters and pretence and with all the hubris of a Zionist Empire that has arrived and that rules the world with psy-op CIA, economic and military tyranny and try to do something about it now, you vassal suckers ! Trump is here to let the world know who rules and that it's with ugly, put up, shut up, suck it up domination.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 15 2019 14:38 utc | 162

For purely sentimental reasons I like b's hypothesis:
"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."

It would be a pity if Iran felt powerless to respond to The Swamp's mendacity and bogus threats. However, Iran's threat to discourage other Gulfies from using the Hormuz route for their oil exports, while Iran's oil customers are being bullied and punished by The Swamp, suggests that Iran doesn't feel powerless.

Unfortunately for The Swamp, and fortunately for Iran, Russia (via Navalny et al) & China (via Hong Kong) are being regularly reminded that they're on the same Regime Change hit-list as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and, recently, Venezuela. So it doesn't matter if Russia & China aren't "in the mood" to help Iran or not. If they don't protect Iran from The Swamp then Russia & China will move one step closer to the top of the hit-list.

Being an optimist, I'm inclined to disagree with b's conclusion:
"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."

If Trump intends to stick to his 'promise' not to start a new war, AND he's not yet ready to Drain The Swamp, as CIC the logical 'way out' of any pushback from Iran would be to thwart any scheme The Swamp is hatching. He's already said that he doesn't want war with Iran so no-one will be surprised if he nips any attempt by The Swamp to start one, in the bud.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 15 2019 14:47 utc | 163

"..Israel has been waiting for this opportunity for years."
Posted by: chet380 | Jun 14, 2019 1:59:59 PM | 11

Bibi needs a war to win the coming elections, for if he loses, he goes to jail. These attacks are his work IMO with Pompeo and Bolton running the US disinfo side of the story.
Bibi will sink a tanker or more likely a US ship and start his war. I believe it will happen this summer, it is most likely to be a US ship (USA!USA!USA!) because if it is just a tanker Trump will lose the election.

Posted by: frances | Jun 15 2019 15:04 utc | 164

@127 pft.... what i was trying to say in that line is that i think it is conceivable that iran was behind this.. i can't rule it out... however my logic is telling me the usa and friends are behind this... where i might be wrong is being logical here.. this is the 2nd time this has happened... they are minor looking events and not your typical hollywood style false flag, if they are a false flag..

@155 steven t johnson.. i agree with you in that when the usa starts using nukes, that is a clear sign they are losing.. having to do the financial sanction and false flag routine appears like operating from a weakened position too, but until something major happens, the usa is still winning here.. i think of it like some front that looks good on the outside but is rotting from within.. it is hard to tell where we are at here and we can't bite into it like an apple to really tell..

as for china and russias actions, i agree with you on that too, except what are their choices? if they go in direct opposition to the usa, they are immediately targeted... as i see it they are doing a certain type of dance that they will have to drop at some point.. i am not as sanguine and idealistic about the role of russia and china here as some others are... they seem very much caught up in empire building with oligarchs in tow and all serving for lack of a better term - neoliberalism...

does it matter whether we are ruled by multi corporations run by americans or chinese or russians? personally, i don't think it does.. we need to figure out a way to get beyond being run by corporations period...

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 15:28 utc | 165

I greatly appreciate b's analysis, if for no other reason than it is a reminder that just because there are bullies in the room doesn't always mean that the bully "done it." One should always strive to be intellectually honest, and in this case it would be wrong to say that there is zero chance Iran is involved on some level. They clearly have the capacity, and as b points out, in this particular case the play is somewhat in Iran's favor, such that there would be a motive.

But in law, the standard at (civil) trial would be "is it more likely than not?" So while Iran might indeed not be displeased with the goings on, I believe it remains more likely that it was a different actor. While b is correct that there would be advantages to Iran being able to provide a taste of consequences to the West without attribution, and they would be justified in doing so, I think that the strong official denials, and the timing of attacking a Japanese ship while receiving Abe as a guest, seems pretty un-Persian.

So that leaves the Houties and the Zionists. In what is MOST likely analysis, I tend to lean toward the Houties, primarily because they are in the midst of an almost frenzied escalation to hit the Saudis where they live, and have been using drones extensively. Strapping the warhead from an RPG to a drone would be childs play, and the location of the strikes and witness reports make it almost certain this was the method of attack. I can also see them realizing the positive bonus for their friends in Iran, and taking the position "you can thank us later." All in all, the whole demonstration of capabilities tone of the attack tends to support this. [As an aside, it is pure poetry that the CIA spent so much time and money teaching terrorists in Idlib that drones could be quite effective, only to have such predictable blow-back from the Houties.]

Of course it could also be the Zionist Israelis/US-Brit Neocons behind it. They might have been a little panicked by Trump's tweets about the possibility of renewed negotiations with Iran, and felt the need to ramp things back up--and as pointed out, would not mind the boost in oil prices without the meltdown of a full-fledged war breaking out. The recent deployment of Brit naval commandos to the area, and ubiquitous Mossad presence, would certainly make it possible. However, the Israelis/Neocons have tended to be more ruthless, and I doubt would have been satisfied with anything less than sinking/loss of life to blame upon Iran (necessitating the use of the Brit/Israeli UDTs to plant underwater charges to ensure sinking). In sum, in the "what seems more likely" analysis, and without ruling out any, I would vote for 1. Houtie 2. False flag 3. Iran 4. Angry ex-wife.

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 15 2019 15:30 utc | 166

@160 donkeytale

I have to disagree with your post. The Dems have no executive power over government agencies to authorize this. They are forced to go through Congress. However, Trump is very disturbed by Biden stealing the media limelight and also Bernie trying to explain that his social justice platform is not communist socialism as Trump paints it. Trump wants to hog media attention and keep Bernie boxed into the red corner. If anything Trump would have authorized a covert distraction to rally the media around his Iran cause, instead of around Biden and distract the public from Sander's attempt to free himself from Trump's red socialist branding strategy. Trump would be killing off two birds with one stone.

However, my money might be on the Israelis and their weasel fair-weathered Saudi/UAE friends. But who knows? Trump benefited from this distraction.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 15 2019 15:31 utc | 167

@166 j swift... @145 somebody was suggesting that too.. one can't rule that out...

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 15:35 utc | 168

Oh, and I should add to my comment above that even if Western intelligence was sure it was Houti, they would have no choice but to blame Iran...not only because it's what they do, but also, can you imagine the panic in the markets if they admitted that the lowly Houties now have demonstrated the ability to strike tankers at sea?

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 15 2019 15:42 utc | 169

@163 Hoarsewhisperer

Whatever intelligent comment you offer is always then self-destructed by your delusional projection on Trump. Tump brought the Neocon/Goldman Sachs into his administration and got millions from Adelson and a list of Zionist billionaire oligarchs to take on Iran. Stop projecting that bullshet redemption fantasy on Trump that undermines your intelligence and insults ours.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 15 2019 15:48 utc | 170

Circe @ 167

My comment wrt DNC/Biden was tongue in cheek.

As for you and others noting possible Israeli involvement, I tend to believe this...or non-state actors who could act as proxy for either side in this political dispute between US and Iran are also plausible.

The point is no one knows for sure so we are once again frolicking solidly inside the infotainment rabbit hole for days on end while an important exposition by Bernie goes totally unremarked...and yes I grok that political speech is meaningless except for its ability to affect and change the narrative discourse over time...witness the rhetorical impact of the rightwing since 2009 eventually leading to Trump...

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 15 2019 15:54 utc | 171

I notice a lot of skepticism about b's analysis here and I get it, it seems a bit much based on what little evidence we have of the recent incidents. Because b has been the most accurate commentator on all matters to do with geopolitics and military affairs in the region for the decade or so I've read him, I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I've often wondered how b and his team get the information they publish and the answer has to be that they get info from various intel services including, I suspect, dissidents within the UK/US services. There is no other way for anyone to be as accurate as he has been not only in on the tactical front but the strategic front--or he's psychic which is also possible I suppose.

The Iranians are a perennial Washington punching bag and know how to survive. The difference with Trump is that he genuinely wants to "get" Iran while the other Presidents just used the Iranian "threat" as part of their own and their staff's jostling for power within Washington. Iran also has had decades to develop tactics and strategies in asymmetrical warfare that mine every defect of US power. And, as b points out, a lot of that weakness stems from the growing weakness of Washington's zany policies that appear to be incoherent and due largely to whatever is happening inside Washington politics. Finally, we are ready for a major re-alignment in the world political situation and I believe this time is as a good a time as any (with a US election near) to call out Washington when it is at its weakest. Iran's proxies, operatives, agents can start to harass shipping and, at minimum, see what happens. If the US strikes back then Iran can escalate from harassing to, virtually stopping all traffic in the Gulf. That will force the US to decide whether to stand down or launch a full-scale invasion and air attack against every single possible military installation in Eastern and Southern Iran including a semi-permanent/permanent occupation of those sections of Iran with the possibility of a permanent war between Lebanon and the Pakistan border.

The finance oligarchs, who are still the dominant force in Washington have no problem with a certain level of chaos and they would and I believe are going to veto any major war in the Gulf when they realize the Iranian are willing to go to the mattresses on this. War with Iran has been vetoed by senior uniformed military leaders already and I think, along with the oligarch class, they will also sign up for the veto. The only "side" Trump would have would be, of course, the media hyenas and the jackals of both political parties. So calling Washington's bluff is a rational choice by the Iranians who will need to escalate in order to scale back Washington's hostility. If it came to war, and the veto were ignored because, yes, there are elements in the military and within the corps of the finance oligarchs who would welcome a war for long-term results (a permanent police/military dictatorship instituted in Washington that would guarantee oligarch power for decades) then we will have a long period of international chaos and crime on a level not seen in the world.

War with Iran could be the spark that could destroy the West already weakened by massive corruption and internal instability. People in the West spoiled by consumer culture and ubiquitous entertainment if ever forced to deal with serious privations would exact revenge on the ruling elites and the rich would then be forced to move the inverted totalitarianism upright into full-fledged Stalinist style regimes.

Posted by: Chris Cosmos | Jun 15 2019 16:01 utc | 172

@ psychohistorian | Jun 14, 2019 9:04:10 PM | 107

"The war we are in is about global private finance led society or the China/Russia led alternative where the state controls finance for the public good. You can write all you want to obfuscate the core issue at stake but forces bigger than you are going to show you the casino folks are holding a broken flush."

Psycho, you are a false prophet and a hypocrite. You pollute threads here regularly with your anti-finance rhetoric all the while participating in the very system you rail against. You sold your house recently and put the money into an etf? You have credit cards, a mortgage, a house note? Everytime you are caught out, you blame it on your ADD, medical side effects or prior brain injury. You probably vote too. You have no skin in the game. Me, no loans, credit cards, mortgage or any vehicle which allows the system to profit from me, except property taxes. Why don't you go study up on Tacoma power so the next time you use it as an example you can give some relevant example of how the system you envision actually would operate.

Please feel free to disregard anything I choose to comment on, as you have zero credibility other than as a vuvuzela, (i.e. a loud annoying noise).

Thank you

@ james | Jun 14, 2019 9:36:49 PM | 112

" now, being a realist here, what are the chances that the 1% who control most of the money and derivative markets would want to position themselves to take advantage of something like this? really, the only people who get hurt are the little people..."

Hey James,

The 1% are going to crash the system. These derivatives only serve as an indicator that they are not ready to bring it all down just yet, or we would have attacked Iran already. Of course the little people are the ones who are going to be hurt because they are the ones who have allowed this system to persist. Sheep get shorn, surprised? There is too much money left in pension funds for the bankers to ignore, and they are going to come for all of it this time. I see the rich folks fighting among themselves for the last few crumbs americans have managed to accumulate, or think they have in these last few months/years before the dollar dies. This time when they bring it down, it will be the end of the USA capitalist system as we know it. There is absolutely nothing that will be done to prevent this. Americans will be told, (once again) "no one could have foreseen...) People have choices and there are consequences.

The reason the system is running roughshod over americans is because of individual value systems. No one is forcing people to take out loans, no more than anyone is forcing people to smoke crack cocaine.

For instance, although I live a debt free existence, I know that all it takes is one policeman to come knocking on my door to put everything I am at risk. No fear. Huey Newton was quite accurate in his statement that "The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man.” Kennedy, McVeigh, Malcolm, Aristotle, Martin, Jesus.... all killed. The list goes on and there are many more who remain nameless, their struggle affecting but a few. If you have one life, how would you choose to live it? I choose to follow my conscience and do what I believe is right and will forcefully resist anyone who attempts to dictate otherwise.

Only a fool would let a government with the record of the US dictate their actions. Its obvious they cannot manage their own affairs and I'll be damned if I let them manage mine. Yet they keep getting re-elected... That is the problem with a democracy, and although the us is supposedly a democratic republic, the federal government has expanded its powers beyond what it was initially allowed and there are no signs of any abatement on their part of engineering a society that continues to benefit the few with nothing but words of concern for the disadvantaged.

If Americans wanted to change this system, they would cease participation. Don't feed the beast. I believe if you vote, you consent. Imagine an american presidential election with less than 10% participation... The government would have zero credibility. Right now approximately 1/3 of eligible voters do not vote, (although I am certain it is not for the same reason) there are those of like mind. Keeping in mind at all times, that my freedom is not everyone's freedom and while I might disagree with much that I see, I would in no way interfere with someone who continues to vote, take out loans, give loans, occupy, antifa, republican, democrat, because they are free to design their prisons as I have mine.

Another peeve I have is non-americans always berating americans for being the sheep that they are. It would take me less than 30 minutes to both start and finish my revolution. End result would of course be one dead man. This would not serve anyone. What is needed for americans to coalesce is a catalyst, because there are many who are ready to rock and roll, but recognize their limitations. If someone has a plan one man could pull off and bring this system to its knees, I'd be glad to hear it. In the meantime, I will continue to not feed the beast because that is the only course of action my intellect is capable of formulating that has an effect as minimal as it is.

There is much I don't put online, because attracting attention hastens my demise and it is not necessary. Before our government capitulates, there will be blood, lots of blood, and any thought otherwise are fantasy.

Americans will never defeat their 'deep state', because by definition they have made the problem too big to handle. Anytime, I see the phrase, I read 'surrender'. The finanial system must be destroyed. The MIC needs to be reined in. The federal bureaucracy needs to be streamlined. The congress needs to be executed. The corporate capture must end. There is no deep state, there are a bunch of predators of diffferent persuasion in need of head removal. Talk about tilting at windmills. The owner of a business should not make a penny more than the janitor. There will be blood.

I'm going to stop now, because I talk too much sometimes and I'm really feeling this is one of those times. I was hoping b put up an open thread before I finished typing this, cuz he might not let this slip through....


Posted by: b4real | Jun 15 2019 16:16 utc | 173

Iran's oil continues to flow to China, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Russia, and India.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 14, 2019 9:04:16 PM | 108

India and Turkey recently stopped buying iranian oil as well. Europe gave up on trade with Iran and INSTEX.

Man, the there the "US is collapsing rapidly" thing, and then there is the real world, where you have BRICS countries such as India and Brazil moving closer towards the US.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15 2019 16:20 utc | 174

Moon of Israel

Posted by: Ali | Jun 15 2019 16:23 utc | 175


Excellent comment.

Posted by: donkeytale | Jun 15 2019 16:37 utc | 176

not too OT
in two weeks the UN is supposed to renew its forces in Darfur (joint operation MINUAD-African Union). It was initially planning to reduce the troops but the situation has led Europeans and African to plea for a renewal of the mandate. RFI states that those opposing the renewal are China, Russia, Kuwait and Indonesia, as they are the main providers of troops in th region. Who knows...

Posted by: Mina | Jun 15 2019 16:48 utc | 177

@ b4real | Jun 15, 2019 12:16:52 PM | 173

Second donkeytale @ 176.

Disagree though. Participation is vital to change the system, it cannot be done outside a very violent revolution otherwise. The purpose of participation is to never vote for an incumbent in any public office, ever. It is incumbency that allows the corruption. Once U.S. Senators were named by State Legislatures, a very expensive group for wealth to buy but "Democracy" saved the day as it is a lot cheaper to buy the man. Same logic applies: make it exceedingly expensive for wealth to have their stables of politicians to do their bidding.

Agree fully with your § one, the cacophony happening in the echo chambers of said mind must be deafening. Sad. Private banking at one time was the most sophisticated system of delivery of credit for production. That has long been destroyed but it will take more than a crackpot historian to write that narrative. Another generation will have to take up that torch. A Res Publica requires an involved, educated citizen to prosper; those do not grow on trees.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 15 2019 17:00 utc | 178

steven t johnson | Jun 14, 2019 8:46:56 PM | 105

steven t johnson | Jun 15, 2019 8:48:28 AM | 155

Finally a sober commenter. Yup, i'm fed up with the cringe worthy "USA is rapidly collapsing" children talk.

We can have a good discussion with you. I'm estimating a slow US decline and looots of geopolitical fighting in the coming 15 years. Loss of dollar world reserve currency status after 2040, not tomorrow.

Now, about your comment, things are not too bad though. Yes, the US is fighting hard, but also yes, the US is a declining country. This is why they are so triggered btw.

"As for "stymied?" In Syria, the national secular government does not control Idlib or Afrin or the northeast of the country."

Correct. Syria is in far worse position than before 2011. And the European sanctions against the country are continuing, it is not only a US blockade. But i do think that Syria will get Idlib sooner or later.

"Venezuela's people are suffering under a blockade."

Yes. And coup attempts will continue into the future. None of this will stop, the point is to surround and strangle the country like Anaconda. Maybe the country will break, maybe it won't, can't say for sure.

"Afghanistan is still occupied."

The US lost the war there. Taliban is on the offensive. The US is asking for peace with the taliban. In the long term, their presence there in unsustainable, considering the need to focus on battling Russia and China. The afghan government does not have the money to sustain its own security forces. Its all paid by the US. It will collapse the moment the US is no longer there. In my estimate, aroung 2025.

"Russia is tied down in Syria"

I would not call it tied down, they do not lose much money or people these days. It is quite cheap presence.

"at a standstill with fascists in eastern Ukraine"

Ukraine is on downward trajectory, terrible demographics plus gas transit bypassing the country soon. This country is going down. It does not look good to me.

"NATO has moved hundreds of miles to the east and the Baltic statelets and Poland are raving about war with Russia."

Europe does not have the money to sustain war mongering against Russia. Europe is declining entity, and many countries are heavily indebted, with bad demographics. Plus the US will have to cut their military budget due to debt issues too, not to mention to focus on rising China more and more. There is no real military danger in Europe against Russia, it is mostly posturing, but there is no real capability, especially in future scenarios, considering the ongoing decline of Europe and the US.

"And its economy is being pressured by low oil prices"

Well, now oil prces will increase due to the tensions with Iran.

"with most of the country heading back to Yeltsin days"

In what way it is (Russia) heading back to Yeltsin days?

"China is under trade war and Xi is slowing growth as much as he can"

The US is under trade war too and they also suffer losses, although less than China. Still, China is growing faster than the US and will continue to do so in the future. The chinese economy IMO will dominate the US by 2040s.

"and Hong Kong is gearing up another rebellion."

I think the chinese can handle that.

"Iran is isolated and being blockaded."

Yes, but they proved that they can survivie under blockade. I do not think that the blockade can be sustained after 2030, based on US debt levels and decline in its share of world GDP.

"North Korea is under blockade."

Yes, but they proved that they can survivie under blockade too. Time is working for them as the US is declining.

"Stymied is when the US starts withdrawing troops, closing foreign bases, can't make other countries enforce bloackade, stops moving eastward in Europe, stops color revolutions. The only way you can say the US is "stymied" is to insist the only meaning of victory is foreigners literally crawling on their bellies when they see an American president. "

Agree with that, very good observation, too many childish comments of the type "the US is rapidly collapsing", "imminent US collapse", etc. It is boring really.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15 2019 17:00 utc | 179

After MoA's flawed analysis of the Russian/US Navy incident last week in the South China Sea, this analysis also appears flawed. The timing of the incident raises suspicions that the purpose was to scuttle the behind-the-scenes diplomatic contacts between Iran and the US over the last six weeks that Japan is facilitating. If so, cui bono? Neither Iran or the US. If either country wished to scuttle the talks, they'd just simply stop talking with no loss of face. So again, cui bono?

Posted by: Tyrtull | Jun 15 2019 17:03 utc | 180

@173 b4real... good rant... i agree with you in many regards... the facade would be hard to maintain if everyone stopped voting..i always thought a democratic system would have an option on the ballot for none of the above, or something like that.. living in canada - we are no different.. it's not fair to blame americans for everything.. they're just the focal point of the same shite happening most everywhere else.. how we get to the next place is not easy to see, which is why i am always rooting for collapse.. people say that would be very bad which i am sure is true... but this slow motion bringing frogs to a boil isn't any better as i see it...

Posted by: james | Jun 15 2019 17:04 utc | 181

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15, 2019 12:20:18 PM | 174


India has just raised tariffs on US goods in a retaliatory move. It's the art of the deal, you know.

Bolsonaro might not survive Trump.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 17:05 utc | 182

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15, 2019 1:05:40 PM | 182

Raised tarrifs on 200 million $ of goods. Yup, such a big deal. Call be back when you have something real.

re Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro is supported by the deep State and his pals at the CIA, not simply Trump. The CIA is a democratic party supporter, by the way. But they do support far right foces too, as long as it is in the US interest.

Overall in Latin America the trend has been towards right wing governments replacing left wing governments, we will see what will happen in the future.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15 2019 17:16 utc | 183


Excellent post. Chris Hedges makes the same point in great detail in his presentation "Fascism in the Age of Trump"

Over 50 years ago I lived in Ashland Oregon where in 1968 we had an antiwar demonstration involving 10,000 people in a town that had a population of little over 10,000. Furthermore, the High School Valedictorian, captain of the basketball team and student body president chose prison over being drafted in the US Vietnam war. He emerged a broken man as those who fight the system. I chose to become a 1-AO medic/laboratory specialist during the genocide called the Vietnam War an treated those who came back but would have chose prison, or Canada, rather than Vietnam.

The system cannot be redeemed from the inside only collapsed under its own weight. Admittedly, the cities will burn and millions will die- but this is the only choice. Lets hope the bat-shit crazy US politicians do not take the world with them in a nuclear war.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 15 2019 17:20 utc | 184

An interesting post, and many interesting comments. A little chaotic, but there is so much more intelligence here than you will get on CNN or the NYT...

But just as a reminder: the United States does not need to invade and conquer Iran. It only needs to destroy it as a centralized state, and that it can surely do. Just like in Libya, just like what almost happened in Syria. Blow up the electrical generators, and the key bridges, and the water pumping stations, jam and cripple their computer systems, give arms and air support to rebel factions.... and remember, thanks to the Ayatollah's creation of a population explosion, Iran is becoming resource poor with a lot of unhappy unemployed angry young men. Perhaps the United States would pay a big price for starting a war with Iran. But likely as not, Iran would cease to be a unified industrial state. Which, as many commentators here have pointed out, would suit Isreal just fine.

And also a war with Iran would be a great distraction from the government-sponsored invasion of the United States over its southern border (because cheap labor). Frickin amazing that this country is being INVADED and all we can talk about is fighting Iran. Maybe Americans really are just too dumb to deserve this prosperity for much longer...

The Iranians should be afraid. Very afraid.

Posted by: TG | Jun 15 2019 17:33 utc | 185

thanks to the Ayatollah's creation of a population explosion

TG | Jun 15, 2019 1:33:28 PM | 185

That thing is over, Iran has negative birth rate currently.

"War against Iran coming"

Are you from the kindergarten? There will be no war against Iran, iran has ballistic and cruise missiles that can wipe out oil and gas productuon in 2000 km radius, which will collapse the world economy. Not to mention cause a taliban take over in Afghanistan, destroy US bases in the area, start a war with Israel via Hezbolla, etc.

Start reading a lot and then maybe we can talk after a few years.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15 2019 17:46 utc | 186

Meanwhile ...

In Video: Turkish Military Deploys Additional Troops, Armored Vehicles At Observation Posts In Idib Zone:

Less than 24 hours after Turkey’s threats to the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Turkish military reinforced two of its main observation posts around Syria’s Idlib.

. . .

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a warning to the SAA a day earlier in the wake of a mortar attack on a Turkish observation post around Idlib. At least four Turkish service members were injured in the attack.

The Turkish military blamed the SAA for the attack. However, the Ministry of Defense of Russia rejected these accusations and said that its warplanes had hit the militants responsible for the attack upon a request from Ankara.

The hopium that Erdogan is turning east lives on: Erdogan seems to have every reason to comply with Russian wishes. He is fighting US over the S-400 and F35; he would benefit greatly from Southstream; he was saved from a coup by Russia (according to many Erdogan is turning East theorists); USA hasn't handed over Manjib and has blocked Erdogan's desire to attack the Kurds in northeastern Syria (USA was forced! FORCED! to keep their troops in Syria to protect Kurds from Erdogan, despite Trump's ORDER to 'pull out' the troops).

What happens if more "attacks" (blamed on Russia & SAA, of course) occur? What happens if these attacks are depicted as an attempt to 'blind' Turkey to human rights abuses (chemical attacks on civilians)?

USA is said to prepare for a war against Iran but those preparations can also be used to support Turkey's occupation of Idlib.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 15 2019 17:47 utc | 187

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15, 2019 1:16:32 PM | 183

No. The tariffs will place a burden of $220-290 million on the U.S., about the same amount imposed by Washington on India in 2018.

Tariffs usually make products more expensive to the customer. So 29 US products have now become uncompetitive in India and the US companies/workers who produce them are hit.

Same with US tariffs on Indian goods - they become more expensive for the consumer in the US, therefore uncompetitive and businesses in India are hit.

It is lose - lose. Trump has been protectionist for the US steel industry to curb export opportunities for US farmers.

But - US steel industry is not competitive world wide (that's why the tariffs are needed). Producing steel in an uncompetitive ie more expensive way is a drag on other stuff produced in the US like cars.

Trump is trying to solve complex economic and international problems with an axe. All his measures have a tendency to bite back.

Plus, Financial Times

There is also tension over the Trump administration’s threat to impose sanctions on India if it purchases oil from Iran and if it proceeds with its planned acquisition of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missiles.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 17:50 utc | 188

@TG 185
“But just as a reminder: the United States does not need to invade and conquer Iran. It only needs to destroy it as a centralized state, and that it can surely do.”

No, you are fundamentally wrong. Factually backed by 40 years of actual experience US is truly incapable of destroying Iran, if she could she had done so in this last 40 years when Iran was much weaker and US much internationally stronger. Not that US didn’t tried in numerous ways, and by her numerous regimes, ever since the Iranian revolution. Not only she couldn’t destroy Iran, she wasn't even capable of stoping Iran’ influences spreading in Wester Asia. These are facts not rhetoric. Iran is a civilizational state meaning like India or China her civilization and culture spreads much behind her borders is not easy to destroy a civilization. At end maybe a few years from ow when US becomes weaker and lose er exceptionalism will come to term to accept Iran as the most influential independent state in Western Asia.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jun 15 2019 17:59 utc | 189

Sorry, but 200-300 million "punishment" by India is not a big deal.

On the other hand you have ever incteasing US share in the Indian defence market, and ever decreasing russian share. I will say that matters a lot more.

"Trump is trying to solve complex economic and international problems with an axe. All his measures have a tendency to bite back."

I agree with that, but in the Indian context that i was discussing there hasn't been much push back against the US. Before you mention S-400 read the above again.

Posted by: Passer by | Jun 15 2019 18:01 utc | 190

Opposing those saying that Iran has a way around sanctions, note tanker traffic down to near 0 and guesses exports halved. Also note the rial has devalued greatly over the ladt year. Also note Russia Iran dispute over Caspian, Iran feeling under Russia's thumb wrt. Also note Japan celebrated 90 yr relations by following sanctions. Also note China imports double Saudi crude than from Iran.

Those saying war with Iran is not possible. We thought the US had lost it invading Iraq, it was known that there was no stated outcome to be had. This is the US way maybe, if it goes against then destabilise, the rest is secondary. Forgetting maybe Iran will prefer war than own destruction. The region is in flux.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15 2019 18:13 utc | 191

Circe 2 162 said in part;" America isn't the shining beacon on the hill it pretends to be. America has destroyed millions of lives around the world for DOMINATION and GREED."
"The American pretence is over and Americans led by the loudmouth Trump mouthpiece are finally free to be themselves. We are dirty; but we rule, so get used to it!"

"Trump is a slice of the real America.."

Absolutely the truth about the U$A. Nice to see it stated...About time the curtain was pulled back.

"The American pretence is over and Americans led by the loudmouth Trump mouthpiece are finally free to be themselves. We are dirty; but we rule, so get used to it!"

"Trump is a slice of the real America"

Needs to be printed on a handbill, and passed out around the U$A..

Posted by: ben | Jun 15 2019 18:14 utc | 192

B, thank you for providing this platform and information for everyone. Very few places left on the internet like this.

Every time I visit this site I learn more from your analysis and the commenters.

Posted by: Zack | Jun 15 2019 18:21 utc | 193

Japan should know better.The below quote is from mises dot org on the lead up to Japan's entry to WW2 . Bitter irony is that Japan is the only country to have had nuclear weapons used against it, and by the US:

Having broken the Japanese diplomatic code, the American leaders knew, among many other things, what Foreign Minister Teijiro Toyoda had communicated to Ambassador Kichisaburo Nomura on July 31: "Commercial and economic relations between Japan and third countries, led by England and the United States, are gradually becoming so horribly strained that we cannot endure it much longer. Consequently, our Empire, to save its very life, must take measures to secure the raw materials of the South Seas."

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15 2019 18:44 utc | 194

Posted by: b4real | Jun 15, 2019 12:16:52 PM | 173

Take care of your sanity.

Your list of "revolutionaries" - well pick your poison.

Kennedy - Bay of Pigs
McVeigh - killed 186 random human beings and injured some 800 - "for revenge" - kids are collateral damage
Malcolm X ok, though neither Islam nor Christianity are about equality in life. People are equal before god but not in life. And women seem to have a problem in a Muslim paradise.
Aristotle - died in his bed, you mean Socrates? Well, continuously asking questions tends to get on people's nerves.
Martin Luther King - ok.
Jesus - it is pretty clear that he is a fictitious personality. His supposed birth is dated by a historic event, and the Qumran Caves Scrolls contain content of the New Testament but are much older than Herodes' census.
No, this is not a conspiracy theory.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 15 2019 18:44 utc | 195

Zack @193, I completely agree with you.

Posted by: spudski | Jun 15 2019 18:56 utc | 196

Excellent analysis. Time will show its veracity.

We're not playing QAnon 4d chess, just 2d. Well laid out.

Posted by: yesxorno | Jun 15 2019 18:58 utc | 197

@ Formerly T-Bear | Jun 15, 2019 1:00:20 PM | 178

Disagree though. Participation is vital to change the system, it cannot be done outside a very violent revolution otherwise.

Hi Formerlly T-bear,

Long, long time no read. Glad to read you now though.

The only people seeking office are 99.8% those who should not be allowed anywhere near any reins of power/control. I feel America would be better off choosing officials via lottery than a democratic election. MOST people lack the knowledge/intellect necessary to make an informed choice. This is capitalized upon by the 99.8% mentioned above with the end result being our descent into slavery. Aristotle and Thomas Jefferson would concur.... If I vote, I must accept and abide by the outcome and I honestly will not make that commitment. If I go into a casino and put a $100 on black and it comes up red, I'm out $100 only because I chose to play and chose black.

@james | Jun 15, 2019 1:04:04 PM | 181

" good rant."

Stephen Donaldson wrote in one of his books, "I have seen the plight of my people, and it is an abomination".

For the life of me, I cannot comprehend acceptance of a system that lets people sleep in the street when there are vacant houses in every city. Yet America finds money to blow up countries and peoples world wide which does nothing for the people sleeping under the freeways.

re: "rooting for collapse..."

War would be better than collapse for the average man. I fully expect that when the dollar system collapses, people will be eating people in the USA. It wouuldn't even take a complete collapse. Merely discontinuing SNAP, (the usa food stamp program) would unleash havoc across the country, and in the poorer sections of the country it would be chaos. One need look no further than the days following Hurricane Katrina and speculate that had not the government been able to step in when it did, what the results would have been. Imagine that the government itself was unable to provide any assistance (which will be the case in a collapse) and the Superdome would have become a bloodbath.

@Krollchem | Jun 15, 2019 1:20:34 PM | 184

"chose prison over being drafted in the US Vietnam "

Hi Krollchem,

They are to be commended. Muhammad Ali also chose prison over being sent to vietnam. 'Principle' has become a foreign concept to too many Americans.

I was a couple of years too young to be drafted for Vietnam, but did not escape totally unscathed by that injustice. My father was drafted and returned to the U.S. in '65 with a heroin addiction that put him in the grave,(actually found butt naked in a gutter in L.A.) a year or so later. Think that could have something to do with my politics? :)


Posted by: b4real | Jun 15 2019 19:19 utc | 198

Could someone give analysis on the kind of mine that was (purported) photographed on the hull? The film of (purported) removal of the mine is being excused as low quality due to night time. What raises suspicion is that if the event was so, that they should go at night and remove the mine without effort. Mines often have anti handling capacity, so they would have either known or figured out the type, but to go at night? Maybe delay for receiving information on type or to wait while fire extinguished. Will be interesting if they do or do not display the mine as evidence. Nothing conclusive here, just thinking around the topic.

Posted by: Anon | Jun 15 2019 20:02 utc | 199

"...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."
Posted by: Alan McLemore | Jun 14, 2019 5:40:30 PM | 61

I totally agree, my money is on an Israeli drone shooting two holes into the ship, the fact that they are Japanese affiliated tankers makes it all the more likely it is Israel and the "B Team." Their arrogance is only exceeded by their stupidity.

BTW, the "mine" video is garbage IMO, the reason it pans so quickly from the "mine" is because to linger on it, would even in this dog's breakfast of a video, show that it is a shell hole. Just my two cents:)

Posted by: frances | Jun 15 2019 20:02 utc | 200

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