Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 24, 2019

Trump Seeks 'Coalition Of The Willing' Against Iran

After a somewhat quiet weekend the Trump administration today engaged in another push against Iran.

Today the Treasury Department sanctioned the leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It also sanctioned Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and his office! There will be no more Disney Land visits for them.

There is more to come:

Josh Rogin - @joshrogin - 16:18 utc - 24 Jun 2019

Mnuchin: "The president has instructed me that we will be designating [Iran's foreign minister Javad] Zarif later this week." cc: @JZarif

The Treasury Secretary will designate Javad Zarif as what? A terrorist? Zarif is quite effective in communicating the Iranian standpoint on Twitter and other social media. Those accounts will now be shut down.

The Trump administration's special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said today that Iran should respond to U.S. diplomacy with diplomacy. Sanctioning Iran's chief diplomat is probably not the way to get there.

All those who get sanctioned by the U.S. will gain in popularity in Iran. These U.S. measures will only unite the people of Iran and strengthen their resolve.

Iran will respond to this new onslaught by asymmetric means of which it has plenty.

On Saturday Trump said that all he wants is that Iran never gets nuclear weapons. But the State Department wants much more. Hook today said that the U.S. would only lift sanctions if a comprehensive deal is made that includes ballistic missile and human rights issues. Iran can not agree to that. But this is not the first time that Pompeo demanded more than Trump himself. Is it Pompeo, not Trump, who is pressing this expanded version to make any deal impossible?

Brian Hook is by the way a loon who does not even understand the meaning of what he himself says:

laurence norman @laurnorman - 10:53 utc - 24 Jun 2019

US Hook says Iran knew what getting into when struck deal with president who had 1 1/2 yr left in office. "They knew what they were getting into...They knew that there was a great possibility that the next president could come in & leave the deal." Note: US elections 17 months away

Those are two good arguments for Iran to never again agree to any deal with the 'non-agreement-capable' United States.

It seems obvious from the above that the Trump administration has no real interest in reasonable negotiations with Iran:

“The administration is not really interested in negotiations now,” said Robert Einhorn, a former senior State Department official who was involved in negotiations with Iranian officials during the Obama administration. “It wants to give sanctions more time to make the Iranians truly desperate, at which point it hopes the negotiations will be about the terms of surrender.”

That is part of the strategy. But the real issue is deeper:

Max Abrahms @MaxAbrahms - 16:41 utc - 24 Jun 2019

Pro tip: Sanctions against #Iran aren’t to retaliate for the downed drone or to punish tanker attacks or to improve the nuclear deal or to help the Iranian people but to foment revolution against the regime. The strategy is regime change with velvet gloves.

The U.S. now tries to build an international coalition against Iran. Trump invited China and Japan to protect their tankers in the Middle East:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 0:08 utc - 24 Jun 2019

China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation. All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been....
....a dangerous journey. We don’t even need to be there in that the U.S. has just become (by far) the largest producer of Energy anywhere in the world! The U.S. request for Iran is very simple - No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!

One wonders what the U.S. Central Command and the U.S. Navy will say when that Chinese carrier group arrives in the Gulf region.

Who else will join this?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday he wants to build a global coalition against Iran during urgent consultations in the Middle East, following a week of crisis that saw the United States pull back from the brink of a military strike on Iran.

Pompeo spoke as he left Washington for Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates, ..
"We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe, that understands this challenge as it is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” Pompeo said about Iran.

Pompeo was hastily sent to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Brian Hook is now in Oman and Bolton is in Israel. The U.S. will also pressure Europe and NATO to join a new 'coalition of the willing'. The UK will likely follow any U.S. call as it needs a trade deal to survive after Brexit.

Other countries are best advised to stay out.

Posted by b on June 24, 2019 at 18:05 UTC | Permalink

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mk 199

I'm not sure what to make of it. When I researched the P-8, I found the P-8 and the MQ-4C Triton were designed to work together as a pair or in conjunction as wikipedia has it. From that, I take it there was a P-8 in the vicinity and most likely the aircraft that photograghed the missile strike on the MQ-4C.
Iran says they shot the drone down eight miles from the coast - four miles inside the twelve mile limit. The photogragh of the missile strike on the drone used by the pentagon has the distance from camera to target. 4.2 nautical miles. About the distance of the drone inside the twelve mile limit.
Some distance outside the twelve mile maritime border is the Iranian FIR. Flight information region. In the area of the drone shootdown, this is also in the vicinity of the negotiated sea border between Iran and Oman. Iran considers the FIR their air border and US military aircraft recieve warnings if they cross this line.

The 35 people mentioned... F-35 as Paveway speculated may be the meaning, but it does seem like a message to team Trump of some sort rather than the number of people on the P-8.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 25 2019 16:42 utc | 201

"Brian Hook is by the way a loon who does not even understand the meaning of what he himself says"

Love the writing on this site!

Posted by: Zack | Jun 25 2019 16:44 utc | 202

Bernhard writes: It seems obvious from the above that the Trump administration has no real interest in reasonable negotiations with Iran: “The administration is not really interested in negotiations now,” said Robert Einhorn, a former senior State Department official who was involved in negotiations with Iranian officials during the Obama administration. “It wants to give sanctions more time to make the Iranians truly desperate, at which point it hopes the negotiations will be about the terms of surrender.”

But it's much simpler than that. Trump, Adelson, Netanyahu, Bolton et al., were opposed to Obama's deal with Iran, because it legitimized Iran, made it a member of the community of nations, and importantly removed some of the sanctions against it so that it could continue opposing Israel's and the US's policy of oppression against the Palestinians and the U.S.’s Global War on Terror, especially in Syria and Iraq.

Trump withdrew from the Iran deal so that the U.S. could reimpose sanctions and economic suffocation on Iran. Trump (at least) seems to understand that actual war-fighting vs Iran would not be a good thing: but sanctions and keeping Iran from normal economic intercourse with the world indefinitely is the object. Surrender is not the goal, but would be a nice cherry on top of the cake. Obama and Netanyahu pursued a similar policy against Syria: not victory or regime change, but indefinite war, maximum suffering. Fortunately Putin stepped into that one.

Posted by: Ronald | Jun 25 2019 16:45 utc | 203

Phew! I'm glad we're on a new page and moved past the Pahlavi propaganda that infiltrated this thread.

No doubt Zionist and Saudi hasbara is working overtime to sway the dumb American mass on the web these days. Alas, I also see the Trump whitewashers resorting to their standard bullshet...Trump is Bolton and Pompeos's hostage.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 25 2019 17:03 utc | 204

Hillary Clinton promised to bomb Iran. Presumably, this was critically important to her and an attack would have been forthcoming early in her presidency. She said that the USA could "totally obliterate" Iran.

Trump, the anti-politician promised to drain the swamp, MAGA, bring back jobs, America First and no more regime changing.

Now Trump says, "Obliterate Iran".

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jun 25 2019 17:07 utc | 205

c1ue @201: I would take the oil derivatives numbers with a huge grain of salt.

Actually, the focus on oil derivatives is misplaced. In fact, the derivatives market is highly dependent on low interest rates. When oil prices skyrocket, ALL derivatives will be affected, not just oil derivatives.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25 2019 17:10 utc | 206

@ PavewayIV 183
A USN P-8A pilot somewhere safely ashore would be flying it via satellite just like regular drone pilots. etc
Yes, the US had large drone fixed-wings in 1946 here . They should have them now except the Air Force is run by pilots. The Navy is more liberal, hates the F-35 and has tested drones off carriers but they are not supported and short of funds for that. It's not good for Lockheed Martin nor for pilots.

It's telling that while this operation was run by Navy it was air force CENTCOM that put out the sketchy report on it. They didn't know much and didn't say much. Navy has not made any statement on it and has refused requests for information. . .here.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 25 2019 17:11 utc | 207


“Iran has been and will be an ally and partner of ours, with which we have gradually developing ties for quite some time, both bilaterally and multilaterally. Any attempts to make Tehran look like the main threat to global security, to put it in the same basket as ISIS or any other terror group, are unacceptable.

“Iran has been contributing a lot to the fight against terrorism in Syria, helping to stabilize the situation. We call upon our partners to exercise restraint and to take efforts to alleviate the concerns and tensions. Efforts should be made to decrease tensions between Israel and Iran,” Patrushev said.

Jerusalem Post

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 25 2019 17:19 utc | 208

c1ue @203:

... reinforcement for what Magnier and b noted regarding Iran's strategy. An Iranian general says that if their oil can't get shipped, neither will anyone else's.

Not sure what General you're referring to, but Iranian Armed Forces Chairman Major General Mohammad Baqeri has shot down Magnier and b's theory of "Iranian stealth attacks", saying:
“If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces.”

Iran doesn't need to conduct "stealth attacks" to apply pressure and any such campaign would be foolish as it plays into the hands of Iran's enemies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25 2019 17:20 utc | 209

Trump has no defense secretary (none with any power - 'acting' doesn't count) - and a crew in top diplomatic posts who don't believe in diplomacy (other than issuing threats and levying sanctions and tarriffs). This is not some kind of grand strategy playing out, but just the antics of a bunch of naive bumbling bullies who've happened upon the keys to the sorcerer's magic room as I see it. Now the only leverage they have left is to threaten to destroy everything if others don't do as demanded.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 25 2019 17:21 utc | 210

fastfreddy @209

Trump acknowledges that USA doesn't need ME oil and calls upon other countries to protect their shipping ... then threatens to "obliterate" Iran.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25 2019 17:24 utc | 211

Ahhhrgh.. The never ending grammar police strikes again (Or Rechtschreib-Nazis as we say in German). B has adressed this numerous times over the years. He takes much times for editing, correcting, and if then still something slips through, he asked for your understanding. Not nitpicking.
Especially from english native speakers, that according to statistic can not even remotely speak another language as good as B.

I guess B would be okay when you nitpickers could donate monthly some 100s $ or more for a professinal editor if it hurts your anglosaxon eyes so much to see an occasional mistake.

@Don Bacon: Well, after i binge watched "The Wire" i wrote in the ghetto slang of B-More, Murderland.
Thanks to the omnipresence of US popular culture it is not unexpected when a not native speaker picks up slang words that they had no exposure to in their oxford english based school lessons. ;)
As i watch all my movies and tv shows in their original english language, i even find english spoken with a considerable local accent (e.g. Texan, the before mentioned east Baltimore) to be easier to understand than the standard UK english i learned at school.
Funny facts. But true! So B. is truely a German and not a undercover amercian.

Proof: I wrote with him in German, and his 100% what you expect from a fellow German speaker.

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPr. | Jun 25 2019 17:39 utc | 212

This, posted by Bemildred @212, is interesting. "Iran has been and will be an ally and partner of ours..."

Since Putin stated 'a nuclear attack on an ally would be considered the same as a nuclear attack on Russia', I had wondered what countries Russia considered allies.

Read an article a day or two back about the freshly minted US acting secretary of defence trotting off to NATO to inform them how bad Iran was.
Today this...
"He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 25 2019 17:40 utc | 213


Thanks. The grammar police do nothing to add content to this MoA. I did notice that no one took me up of correcting either the Grammar or technical errors in Trump's sentence.

I hope my criticism of Trump's American English was not misconstrued as criticism of Bernard.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 25 2019 18:09 utc | 214

@216 Completely agree. And forget about Americans writing in German or any other foreign language. You can compare b's English to native writers of English and he will come out on top against many native speakers to include even such prominent ones as, oh...I don't know...the current president of the United States? His English pretty much sucks ass. If anyone wants to improve the quality of written and spoken English then it's better to start there.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 25 2019 18:13 utc | 215

@191 d

Sorry, but Kelli @17 is correct. Zionism didn't just appear recently, it's been around a LONG time, and under various guises, be it Private Finance, as psychohistorian correctly notes

Do I really need to quote Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812)?

"Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws!"

These scoundrels are like shape-shifters, and morph as they go along, parasitically feeding off their host(s)

And then in the late 1800s Theodor Herzl comes along and adds his Talmudic influence into this satanic cocktail...

The US may (or may not) have started off with the best of intentions, fleeing English tyranny... but without eternal vigilance, we were bound to succumb eventually to the influence of greedy, evil, psychopathic men

The spirit of the East India Trading company, and much worse, lives to this day... IMHO

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 25 2019 18:20 utc | 216

@ 218 krollchem.. i enjoyed your earlier post... it's only people who lack imagination or understanding who focus on these minor details, and as you say - provide no relevant content whatsoever.. it is best to ignore them..

Posted by: james | Jun 25 2019 18:22 utc | 217

At the Syrian Perspective site is a new post with part of the title being “WHY RUSSIA WON’T SELL S-400 TO IRAN”.

The reason is quite simple: The Russians don’t trust the Iranians to simply buy the system and the Iranians have a proven record of reverse-engineering everything they get a hold of.

The modern Russians aren’t very much into charity, and their expensive S-400 has turned into an unexpected gold mine for them. Having the Iranians selling a half-price model in a few years must not look very appealing.

Things which may end up benefiting Mother Russia is another matter, especially when they’re nickel/dime stuff. And I suspect the same is true for the Chinese and North Koreans. The US has the B-2 bomber, and is in the process of building a new version which is supposed to be even more immune to detection. Every single nation in the crosshairs of US Imperialism is obviously frantically at work on systems which will be able to counter the B-2 and B-21. Obviously any progress will automatically include the F-35 and F-22, for neither plane is in the ballpark with the bigger bombers in “invisibility”.

It’s ‘common knowledge’ on the internet tubes that the US often sends a stealth fighter along as a companion to drones. Remember the 2013 story about an F-22 spooking a pair of Iranian F-4s who had come to shoot down a snooping drone? The Iranians sure won’t have forgotten! So assumption #1: Iran has been very hard at work on systems to detect the B-2 and its kinfolk. Bolting an IR pod on the top of a big surface-to-air missile is an obvious plan of attack. Even if your radar images are fuzzy and weak, the blast of hot air out of an airplane’s engines can’t be made to disappear.

So we have the big US drone flying by the Iranian coast on the first pass. There is nothing at all stealthy about it, and the radar screens light up. The Iranians can ignore it, send up a fighter, or try a missile shot. The latter is what they chose, and the RQ-4 fell out of the sky. Was this part of the US plan? For now I doubt it. The drone was expensive, and the Trumpies ended with egg on their face. The RQ-4 reportedly has at least one radar jammer, but as PavewayIV suggests, that was somehow bypassed, and a good IR detector on the missile is the best explanation I know of.

What about that hypothetical P-8? If there was one, I’d assume it was well out of range to the West, for not only are these planes expensive, but the crewmen tend to be highly and expensively trained. Besides, offering them up as a sacrifice would do infinite harm to US military morale. Nobody wants to become a sacrificial lamb. I’d suggest there was at least one US stealth aircraft pacing the drone. Possibly several if the US planned to use an attack on the RQ-4 as an excuse for smashing a bunch of Iranian military sites. Something happened to stop any US escalation. Can an F-35 detect a radar with a missile lock on it? Meaning, what if the Iranians showed they had one or more stealth planes in their gunsights, but didn’t pull the trigger?

This is all speculation, of course. But I’m beginning to worry that if a US B-2 is sent to drop a couple of the monster GBU-57 MOP bombs on that deep factory fortress in Iran, it could be in for trouble. Iran (with a lot of help from its friends) may have made more progress than anyone has believed possible.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 25 2019 18:28 utc | 218

Peter AU 1@205 - You had mentioned the P-8 'version'. The U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon is the only operational version in the U.S. The other P-8 variant - the P-8 AGS for the USAF - was never produced. It was offered as a contender for the USAF E-8 JSTARS and E-3 AWACS replacement, both of which are based on the ancient, four-engine 707-200. That replacement program was cancelled last year. The USAF doesn't want/need another small batch of 737-sized aircraft to replace them. It would rather have more, smaller, cheaper-to-operate business-jet sized aircraft.

The USAF also doesn't need to carry all the extra martime sensors and electronics that the Navy does in the P-8A. Smaller jets are fine for modern ground surveilance radars and sensors. The USAF also wouldn't network ground surveilance aircraft to its MQ-4 Global Hawks - they would both talk to a command center. If the USAF did use a direct-networked drone for ground surveillance with a JSTARS replacement, it would go with a smaller, cheaper turboprop Reaper. That's another reason why a P-8A shadowing a MQ-4A is more likely an all-Navy operation. The USAF doesn't use P-8As and retired all its MQ-4As years ago, transferring some to the Navy for 4N testing and development. The Navy doesn't need all the ex-USAF ones it has. Perfect, cheap bait.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 25 2019 18:29 utc | 219

@221 I doubt such a movement (US B2) could be hidden from the Russians and they would likely share such a development with Iran.

"Russia may start S-500 deliveries to troops ahead of schedule after successful trials":

Why is Russia moving ahead with export versions of the S400? Because it is already a generation old, but despite that is a credible threat to all current US and European aircraft. As to providing such to Iran - just as in Syria there are geopolitical considerations that are important regarding other countries in the region. Russia can assist Iran in other ways without such provocative moves.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 25 2019 18:43 utc | 220

@Jackrabbit #210
You said that derivatives were highly dependent on interest rates.
Can you elaborate?
The derivatives that were a big part of the 2008 crash were specific mortgage and interest rate derivatives and thus can be understood to be sensitive to interest rates, if not directly dependent.
However, derivatives in general just mean some type of secondary contract associated with a primary good - whether stock, commodity, who is President, etc.
The only relationship I can see is potentially the margin interest charge, hence my question.

@Jackrabbit #213
The John Helmer article - at the end, there is a quote from Major General Mohamed Baqeri, Iran chief of staff, “As oil and commodities of other countries are passing through the Strait of Hormuz, ours are also moving through it," "If our crude is not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, others’ [crude] will not pass either.”

This was April 28, so earlier - I presume - than what you posted.

However, the statement you refer to: even if Iran were responsible, they would not want to officially claim responsibility if at all avoidable.

Just because one side lies, does not mean the other side is telling the truth.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 25 2019 19:19 utc | 221

@Jackrabbit #213
I would also note that a careful parsing of that statement doesn't actually say that Iran wasn't involved in the tanker incidents.
It merely states that if Iran wanted to stop Persian Gulf oil completely, they'd just do it.
This doesn't mean that Iran doesn't want to introduce higher costs and increase fears of a Persian Gulf interruption in order to push China to break US sanctions, or get the US (with China and European urging) to back down on sanctions.
The tanker incidents were clearly not intended to stop Persian Gulf activity...

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 25 2019 19:24 utc | 222

Quite late today & just read Yeah, Right's 175, which is a scenario I never elaborated but is included in my Chess Match. Being ill has abbreviated a few things. Trump has now moved his "Obliterate" pawn to cover his King; but it won't last long, and he'll be forced to move again. As Yeah, Right describes and other second, the Outlaw US Empire is in very poor position and risks getting much of its regional forces Obliterated. Now back to reading the thread.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 19:38 utc | 223

Zach @222--

I guess you didn't see my comment contesting Ziad's premise, although he's correct about Iranian engineering.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 20:08 utc | 224

karlof1 227
Andrei Martyanov has a couple of posts up on Iran at his blog. Most recent is on the statement by Nikolai Patrushev on Iran being an ally. Both pieces are well worth a read.

PavewayIV As wikipedia lists the AGS as a variant and there seemed to be other information on it, I took it this version had been produced. In rereading the wikipedia entry I see that the radar I took to be installed on the AGS version is actually installed on the P-8A - "During the P-8A Increment 2 upgrade in 2016, the APS-149 Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS) will be replaced by the Advanced Airborne Sensor radar"
This is the page on the Advanced Airborne Sensor radar.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 25 2019 20:08 utc | 225

"The UK will likely follow any U.S. call as it needs a trade deal to survive after Brexit."

Utter bull pats. Wrong on so many levels - if only there weren't better things to do than deconstruct it.

Posted by: F for Fail | Jun 25 2019 20:58 utc | 226

@xLemming 220

Second that.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 25 2019 21:02 utc | 227

Peter AU 1 @229--

Thanks! I read and commented on Patrushev's statement on the current thread. Trump's King is back in check.

PavewayIV's drone shootdown scenario is mapcap, although historical analogs exist albeit used for different purposes. IMO, sure, the drone shootdown still has unresolved questions; but, they no longer appear relevant. Trump's Obliteration reaction and his sudden need to assemble a coalition all say the underlying message sent by Iran was received and understood by US military. I wonder how long the Marines will be targets until they're withdrawn?

Trump's personality is a lot like Hitler's; he cannot admit he's been beaten and lost.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 21:06 utc | 228

@139 james | Jun 25, 2019 1:01:57 AM | 139
do you ever have an opinion of your own?

Posted by: drill | Jun 25 2019 21:24 utc | 229

c1ue @ 201

‘And as you may have seen, the Fed printed literally trillions in 2008 to save the banks. The ECB did the same for European banks.

Really hard for me to see why they couldn't do it again.’

Most of this money went into the banks to shore up their toxic assets. This artificially reinflated real estate prices.

So we didn’t have a normal correction which would have allowed an average person to reasonably buy an average home. Millions were thrown out in the street but the homes maintained their value so the banks were saved.

Banks don’t make money on productive, socially responsible loans so they loan for speculation a lot of which is based on derivatives. They look to the shadow (non regulated) banking system (such as money markets and hedge funds) for liquidity. Good collateral is hard to find so they end up doing things such as rehypothecating which is pledging the same collateral multiple times.

I don’t think the Fed is going to be able to bail out this house of cards. That doesn’t mean that a lot of people won’t get hurt such as with bail ins of their savings accounts.

We need a public banking system that doesn’t pay out huge bonuses and isn’t oriented toward maximizing quarterly profits. Speculation should be banned and they should focus on productive lending.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 25 2019 21:35 utc | 230

karlof1 232

I am finding that my thoughts on current events often mirror yours.
Trump's recent reactions, I think show that the US is already a defeated force. Doesn't mean the war ius over, but the tide has strongly turned.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 25 2019 21:37 utc | 231

For All--What follows is a machine translation of a Russian article recapping Patrushev's talks with Bolton and Israel's National Security Man in Jerusalem that ended earlier today. Link to Russian original.

Russia has chosen an ally in the middle East

The escalation of the situation around Iran has brought the US to a standstill. The build-up of pressure and threats did not add weight to Washington in the international arena, did not break Iran. And senseless sanctions against the Supreme leader Khamenei led to Tehran's retaliatory statement about the "end of diplomacy". Russia is the mouth of the security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev reminded the US that Iran is our ally.

Three days before Putin and trump will arrive to Japan, negotiations of "second persons" in the Russian and American foreign policy – Nikolay Patrushev and John Bolton took place. In Jerusalem, they discussed for two days both the regional and middle East agenda, as well as important international issues for both countries – from Ukraine to Venezuela. Given that on Friday or Saturday the presidents of Russia and the United States will hold a meeting in Osaka, the current talks in Jerusalem can be considered their dress rehearsal.

But in the center of the Jerusalem meetings was, of course, the Iranian issue. It was important not only for the United States, but also for Israel, which also participated in the negotiations. Netanyahu generally filed this unique trilateral meeting (and in it except Patrushev and Bolton participated and the head of the national security Council of Israel Meir Ben-Shabbat) as his idea and merit. The Israeli Prime Minister held separate meetings with Patrushev and Bolton, and then opened the trilateral meeting itself, saying:

"I appreciate the strong relationship that Israel has with both countries and their leaders... I believe there is a broader basis for the cooperation of the three of us than many believe."

Israel's interest is clear – he wants to remove Iran from sight, that is, from Syria and Lebanon bordering the Jewish state (there are no Iranians, but there are Shiites friendly to them). To do this with the help of the US does not work, so it would be good to attract Russia to pressure on Iran. Completely unfounded dreams, but in Israel, many believe that Moscow for some reason need his help in the middle East game. Russia's cautious position on the Israeli-Iranian confrontation in the region (Syria, Lebanon, etc.). for some reason, Israel perceived the reluctance to get involved in the conflict between the two regional powers as an opportunity to turn Moscow against Tehran.

And now in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said that Israel "will continue to prevent Iran from using neighboring territories to attack us." That is, to strike on the territory of Syria and Lebanon, one of which last year has led to the death of a Russian military aircraft over the territory of Syria (when the Syrian air defense tried to get behind him an Israeli plane). This time Netanyahu said: "I would like to assure you that in protecting ourselves, we will not endanger the Russian forces in any way." That is, he promised to continue to beat Syria. And in fact – on the Iranian parts and friendly to Iran Lebanese "Hezbollah".

That is, Israel attacks Iran on the territory of a third state – and at the same time calls Iran an aggressor and demands to punish it. The theater is absurd, but its performances are forced to watch the whole world. The current phase of escalating the situation around Iran demonstrates this more than frankly. Netanyahu wants Iran to leave Syria, trump wants to earn the laurels of the "hard tamer of Iran" to put pressure on Europeans and return the favor of the Arabs. The whole world is on the ears, examining the next us-Israeli provocations against Tehran. In Jerusalem Patrushev listened to all the claims of Bolton and Netanyahu – and, in fact, all of them swept away. And so that questions do not arise.

For a start, the Secretary of the security Council, in fact, said that the last two provocations against Iran did not work. American drone Iranians shot down in its airspace, "some other evidence we have not received." And the evidence in favor of the version about the torpedo attack on tankers in the Gulf of Oman is unprofessional and of poor quality.

Speaking about the strategy, Patrushev said that Russia noted "the importance of progressive reduction of tension in Iranian-Israeli relations through the implementation of mutual reciprocal steps" and stressed that "Syria should not turn into an arena of geopolitical confrontation." Israeli strikes on Syria, the Secretary of the security Council of Russia called undesirable, saying that Israel could achieve many of its goals without them:

"Many attacks can be prevented in order to localize the situation that concerns Israel by non-military means."

To do this, Patrushev called for more effective cooperation between the ministries of defense of Russia and Israel. That is, if Israel is concerned about its security, we can talk to the Russians about those detachments or warehouses of Hezbollah in Syria that bother him, and not try to beat them.

The problem is that Israel doesn't want to report where it's going to hit, because the Russians might find out that there's nothing threatening Israel there. Israel cannot admit that it is not hitting what is threatening it now, but what may be threatening it in the future.

Russia does not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Not even because it fought side by side with us in Syria, but because it is in fact the Lebanese army, only created by the Shiite population of this country.

Israel, like the United States, considers not only Hezbollah terrorists, but also the whole of Iran. Sanctions and statements against Iran are increasingly aggressive, and the latest us measures imposed against the Supreme leader – Ayatollah Khamenei, and did cause a response statement by Tehran about the fact that "diplomacy is over."

Our leader has no millions, no foreign accounts, only prayers – this is how Tehran reacted to the sanctions against Khamenei. Rahbar (Supreme leader) and before that said that negotiations with the "false trump" impossible. And now the us President's calls for negotiations look like a mockery of common sense.

The US and Israel think they can bring discord between Russia and Iran, but Moscow has made it clear that these calculations are groundless. Last week, Nikolai Patrushev met in Ufa with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of the Supreme national security Council of Iran Ali Shamkhani. The meeting was timed to coincide with the international forum held in Bashkiria, but it is clear that the main topic was the upcoming Jerusalem talks. The day after the meeting between Patrushev and Shamkhani, Vladimir Putin, answering a direct line on the possibility of a deal between Russia and the United States and Israel (it was again about the information thrown in that Moscow can offer for the withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria), said:

"What does the deal mean? This is some kind of commercial enterprise, shares. We trade neither our allies, nor our interests, nor our principles. We can agree with our partners on the solution of certain urgent problems."

Well, now in Jerusalem Nikolai Patrushev said directly:

"In the context of the assessments made by our partners with regard to a major regional power, which is Iran, I would like to note the following: Iran has been and remains our ally and partner, with whom we are consistently developing relations both bilaterally and in multilateral formats. In this regard, any attempt to present Tehran as the main threat to regional security and even more so to put it on a par with ISIS* or other terrorist groups is unacceptable to us."

Patrushev directly called Iran an ally of Russia – the most important signal for the US and Israel. Earlier this year, one of the Deputy foreign Ministers of Russia in an interview with the American TV channel, answering the question of whether Iran is an ally of Russia, said that it would be wrong to say so: we just act together in Syria, while Russia adheres to agreements with Israel on its security in connection with the Syrian war. Then this statement made a lot of noise in Iran and Israel.

Formally, Russia has no military allies, except the CSTO member States. But in recent years, the SCO, expanding into Asia, is becoming more like if not a military Alliance, then an organization that guarantees the security of its participants – especially from external, Western pressure. Iran has not yet joined the Shanghai cooperation organization. It is an observer country and the first candidate for full membership. Nikolai Patrushev's statement not only brings Iran closer to joining the SCO, but also indicates Russia's attitude to its ancient and great neighbor.

End Machine Translation.

As you read, several very important points were made by Patrushev that will again be made to Trump in Osaka. The writer did a very good job of relaying events in a neutral manner, but at a few points he couldn't refrain from editorializing.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 21:49 utc | 232

Here's Trump's invitation for a false flag:
“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force,” Trump tweeted.
Of course any attack on anything American in the Middle East is BY DEFINITION an attack by Iran, no proof required.
At least Iran's destructive counter-attack -- sinking ships, destroying bases etc. -- won't be "unprovoked."
Provoked by whom doesn't matter to the US.
And all this in a place where the US has no reason to be.
So this is how the coming war will start, and it will be a doozy.
Wars don't have to make sense, as long as people die and great profits are made.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 25 2019 21:58 utc | 233

"OTTAWA (Reuters) - China will turn away any “meat products” shipped from Canada starting on Wednesday, according to a report in Le Journal de Montreal, citing an official in the office of the Chinese consulate general in Montreal.

The justification for the total block is that China said it had found a number of fake veterinary health certificates for meat products imported from Canada because of poor supervision, the newspaper said.

According to Le Journal de Montreal, Chinese diplomats said they hope Canada will take the necessary steps to “reduce the negative impact on the reputation of its products in order to restore the confidence of Chinese consumers.”

From 2017...
"Russian Pork Set to Tap World’s Largest Market in China After Xi Visits Moscow"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 25 2019 22:24 utc | 234

Trump's Iran Man illiterate about Constitution, which seems to be the norm for TrumpCo. Short :35 video lifted from C-SPAN.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 22:31 utc | 235

Should've included this with 239: Trump's exitless:

"'You're not going to need an exit strategy,' Pres. Trump says when asked if he has an exit strategy if war were to break out with Iran. 'I don't need exit strategies.'"

I guess a vaporized poof isn't much if an exit strategy. I wonder if anyone had the courage to ask Hitler that question.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 22:36 utc | 236

@236 karlof1 Thanks for posting that translation. Essentially they are saying "any aggressive military move against Iran [and even more so the use of nukes] will be a move against our ally and thus against us".

So, attack Iran at your peril, and if you don't then be assured that Russia (and China) will be working to alleviate the damage being caused by the US (illegal) sanctions.

Theoretically checkmate for the US/Israel 'maximum pressure' policy. Over time it will be guaranteed to fail and come to nothing.

So will the US (or Israel) call this 'bluff'?

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 25 2019 22:37 utc | 237

Peter AU 1 @238--

Fortunately, Canadian bacon's very easy to make as it's just brined then smoked pork loin roast. I make my own at a fraction of the cost at a market.

Apparently, Trump couldn't get the current Iranian Supreme Leader's name correct when sanctioning him, here.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 22:42 utc | 238

@200 "(Someone asked previously in another thread why Iran had upped production, the above is a good answer maybe)"

It is my understanding that Iran hasn't "upped production" at all.

It's just that under the JCPOA there was a mechanism for the Iranians to sell from their stockpile before they went over the stipulated limit, and now with Trump's unilateral sanctions that mechanism is no longer available.

The stuff therefore ends up being stockpiled, and it is that stockpile that will soon exceed the agreed-to limit.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 25 2019 22:46 utc | 239

US Constitution
The Congress shall have Power To declare War
. . .but war hasn't been declared anytime recently
...and it doesn't say that the President can't start a war (as many have)

The War Powers Act (in effect) authorizes the president to commit the US to armed conflict (war, to us) if US armed forces (which are about everywhere) are attacked. The WPA has been universally disregarded by every president.

The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548)[1] is a federal law intended to check the president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send the Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of each of the House and Senate, overriding the veto of the bill from President Nixon. (end wiki)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 25 2019 22:51 utc | 240

@ pessimist 241
any aggressive military move against Iran ...
It's no "checkmate;" it's not aggressive if its "provoked" -- see my 237.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 25 2019 22:54 utc | 241

@financial matters #234
I agree with you on the wrong policies of US Central banking, but that doesn't take away the fact that the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury has full power to print as many dollars as desired.
All you need to do is look at just how many trillions were funneled into Citibank and AIG alone.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 25 2019 23:07 utc | 242

@110 Uncle john
I really appreciate your comment, my thoughts exactly

Regarding how bad is the situation in Iran, it really depends on who you ask.
Im Iranian (Diaspora but sole one in my family) I travel back to Iran often (every few months)I travel extensively around rural Iran and smaller cities for work while there. In terms of politics I tend to disagree with much of IRI's domestic policies while generally agreeing with their external one.
Here's my take about the situation, The situation is bad enough for poorer/ working class/ lower middle class people to be food vulnerable this is the first time in decades that a considerable chunk of Iranian population has to deal with this, but its is slowly being remedied (although painfully) through a system of coupons and state welfare. The upper middle class/ richer class is worried about their investments loosing value, business's shut down, not being able to replace white goods or gadgets ( at least with ones of similar quality) or not being able to afford holidays in Antalya any more. The super wealthy class? well their getting wealthier, these are the people that feed through IRI's corruption and the bonyad's previously mentioned, they are the only group that have the means and resources to circumnavigate the sanctions as a result each time sanctions are tightened up they eat up a bigger share of the countries resources.
I also think the idea that in general the poorer classes support IRIis dated, yes that was through 15-20 years ago however many things have changed.In fact the most radical supporters of IRI atm are the super wealthy class mentioned above, of course some in the poorer class support it to but in my opinion not to any larger extent than the middle class.
One thing that has affected the lower class support massively is the perception (Whether real or imaginary in comparison with other countries) of wide scale corruption and nepotism this is not really a secret anymore and is openly talked about on state, the term "AghaZade" is nowadays casually thrown around in reference to the people that are beneficiaries of this system and the blame is put equally on both sides of political spectrum.
Overall however I dont think the current domestic dynamic is all that dangerous to IRI in the short term, Bread riots are not common in Iran and have almost never succeed in achieving much, The middle class is suspicious and afraid of the implications off a lower class movement succeeding and would not join in as we saw in the events of Dec 17 and Jan 18.

Posted by: ArioBarzanes | Jun 25 2019 23:16 utc | 243

According to this blog site, the Russians have been fairly active in assisting strengthening Iranian defenses:

Posted by: Thomas | Jun 25 2019 23:18 utc | 244

the pessimist @241--

Don't know how closely you've been following along, but when I was using the poker analogy I had Iran raising the stakes, thus only it was in the position to call Trump's bluff. I'm now using Chess, and Trump's King's again in check thanks to Patrushev's moves in Jerusalem. As you can see from the video segments I just posted, it appears that TrumpCo, very similar to BushCo, is akin to The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight, or a bit more modern--F-Troop. It's gotten to the point where I hope there's a General Officer within the military who recognizes what comprise the top-3 in the Executive differ little from the Three Stooges, except that they try to beat up on others instead of themselves.

It's been clear for years that Nuttyahoo wants the Outlaw US Empire to wage war on Iran preferably with nukes so Occupied Palestine's spared massive retaliation, although that's now quite doubtful. So that leaves Moe, oh Trump, who using another metaphor has climbed up into a tree and is now close to snapping off the very thin branches he's sitting on. Up thread, the dilemma faced by Trump's military was well described by Yeah, Right--Iran has hostages that it hasn't even taken hostage. And Russia totally outclasses the Outlaw US Empire's nuclear capability to the point where Trump's slogan will get turned on its head: Return America to Rubble Again. I'm rational, so I don't see any policy worthy of nuclear war. Unfortunately, as I alluded to above @232, I don't think Trump--or Pompeo or Bolton--are rational--although--Trump would certainly lose all his property in a nuclear war, which he seems to value more than himself; so perhaps, he might be reasoned with and finally backdown, fold, concede, climbdown.

But does even Trump know what Trump will do?

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 23:27 utc | 245

@245 Don Bacon, you miss my point I think. Russia has stated now, in various ways and in various venues, that Iran is a Russian ally. They have also stated, publicly, that they are prepared to work with Iran to circumvent the sanctions. Thus the US (and Israel)are on notice that Russia may respond in some way if Iran is attacked ('provoked' or not). They have not said, explicitly, that they would defend Iran militarily, but also haven't ruled it out. "Iran is our ally" implies that they might. If there is no attack then Russia will be working to help Iran deal with the sanctions problem, most likely with China's help, so over time the sanctions will fail to achieve anything. So, ball is in the US court - call the bluff, engineer an attack and deal with Iran's response to that plus possible aid from Russia (Russian satellite data and gps jamming at a minimum I would think), or wait and watch sanctions slowly fail.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 25 2019 23:33 utc | 246

the pessimist @250--

They were recently, again, provided in a thread: Putin's words about the use of Russian nuclear weapons in aid of an Ally. That's why the stress of Iran being once again named an Ally of Russia's. No, Iran isn't in the same class as China, but it rates Ally nonetheless. That's why the article's title is "Russia has chosen an ally in the middle East." [My Emphasis] Note that Syria doesn't rate that status level despite Russia's involvement there.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 25 2019 23:44 utc | 247

@ karlof1 with the interesting information about ally status with Russia being with Iran but not Syria.

That caught my attention.....Hmmmm

Immediately my mind asked why and almost immediately answered Iran is not beholding to empire where Syria is to some degree.

I could be wrong but it makes sense to me that the lines are being drawn carefully using the public/private finance position. That scenario supports my definition of the war being fought.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jun 25 2019 23:54 utc | 248

Yes karlof1, and in the commonly understood meaning of 'ally' that would include military defense. In this highly charged situation and without clearly having 'boots on the ground' I'm not sure what the meaning is. Would Russia use stand-off weapons to defend Iran? We don't know what has been said in private, warnings or assurances given, but the US must either make a move or back down I would think. If they back down then likely it will not be obvious at first, just nothing overt will happen. They may (will) try to disrupt attempts to circumvent sanctions...

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 25 2019 23:57 utc | 249

c1ue @226, the pessimist @250 and everyone

Russia's support also makes it even less likely that Iran would engage in a risky campaign of "stealth attacks" that accomplishes little more than playing into the hands of her enemies.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 25 2019 23:59 utc | 250

@233 drill.. sure.. did you miss my comment and question to don bacon on the bottom of the post?

@238 peter au... the huawei fallout continues..

Posted by: james | Jun 26 2019 0:05 utc | 251

c1ue @246

True enough. Rather than print they usually just credit bank accounts but that’s just semantics.

It would be useful I think if more people understood this and so better understood our policy options. Lawmakers understand this and have no trouble funding what you’ve mentioned. When it comes to things like social security, education and single payer medical care, things that would actually benefit society, that’s when we’re broke and don’t know how to pay for it.

Posted by: financial matters | Jun 26 2019 0:13 utc | 252

@ karlof1 | Jun 25, 2019 4:08:05 PM #228

I did indeed miss your post. It's getting hard to keep up with all the chatter around here!

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 26 2019 0:29 utc | 253

Zarif's Twitter lives!:

"Wanna know why those with proven record of detesting diplomacy are suddenly interested in talks?
Just read @AmbJohnBolton's 2017 recipe for destroying the #JCPOA:

"Iran never left the negotiation table. #B_Team dragged the U.S. out, while plotting for war."

Roughly 7 months after writing the linked article, Bolton found himself a member of TrumpCo as he explicitly wished. Was this article the reason, or was it something else? Bolton advocated breaking the law via an unconstitutional act; should that be considered Treason? IMO, the evidence suggests Bolton's an Israeli agent and a traitor to the USA demanding impeachment, arrest and trial.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 0:42 utc | 254

c1ue @225:

You said that derivatives were highly dependent on interest rates.
Can you elaborate?

Interest rates factor into derivative valuations in two ways: 1) asset valuation, and 2) "time value" of derivative contracts.

And then there's the market reaction (which I believe PavewayIV has covered). As valuations decline, everyone wants out of their derivative exposure at the same time.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 26 2019 0:42 utc | 255

Probably one reason that Russia is firming up its southern allies, is the US military provocations in northern Europe, and also new US concentration in the Baltic Sea, together with its puppet allies. It's called BALTOPS 2019 --

. . .Burns also noted the importance of the exercise’s scale this year, which is so large that it includes not only NATO allies’ forces and standing NATO surface and mine countermeasures groups, but also brings in the new U.K.-led Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime), which is using BALTOPS as one portion of its first-ever at-sea deployment.
“I think that combination of JEF (Maritime) and NATO is a very powerful statement of partnership, unity and cohesion in itself, but actually it’s bringing [JEF(M)] to a level where we can declare a genuine capability that we might have to deploy in anger on operations,” Burns said.

In anger on operations against guess who -- Russia. We all know that the Baltic Sea is a major factor in US national security. /s

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 1:51 utc | 256

The "story" is that Trump places opposites around him in order to get all opinions, and then decides himself what might work, that he has the strength to not follow wrongful opinions down the wrong path. . . .I guess we can put that puppy to bed.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 1:55 utc | 257

@258 karlof1 That Bonkers Bolton non-paper on How To Get Out Of The Iran Nuclear Deal is a slimy a piece of work.

I count five times where Bolton asserts that n essential component of building support for US abrogation of that agreement is for the USA to forcefully highlight Iranian "violations" of the JCPOA.

And in each of instance the concept of Iranian "violations" is presented as a self-evident truth i.e. in Bolton-world the USA need simply utter the accusation that Iran is violating that agreement and everyone will accept the essential truth of that accusation.

Certainly nowhere does he assert what those violations actually are i.e. as far as he is concerned merely shouting the accusation is enough.

Only it isn't enough, and that will explain why the USA will not be able to cobble together a "coalition of the willing".

At most he will get Saudi Arabia to commit (with Israel cheering from the sidelines), precisely because everyone - and I mean everyone - knows full well that the accusation is untrue. Even the venal Saudis and Israelis know perfectly well that the USA lied, though that won't matter to either of them.

Push comes to shove and it'll be the US military doing the fighting, with worthless Saudi troops protecting the flanks and self-interested Israeli politicians pushing for all they are worth from the safety of the rear.

What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 26 2019 2:09 utc | 258

Thomas@248 - Thanks for that link. Fascinating info and now I have a citation for this assertion that I remember seeing somewhere but could never find:

"This means that if the US is detected launching a swarm of missiles aimed at Iran’s air-defence sites, uranium mines, reactors, and military operations bunkers, Iran will launch its own swarm of missiles at the US firing platforms, as well as at Saudi and other oil production sites, refineries, and pipelines, as well tankers in ports and under way in the Gulf."

There's unfounded belief by many that Iran will launch retalitory strikes exclusively at ALL U.S. military targets in the region in retaliation for a strike on Iran's uranium industry and infrastructure, but especially against a massive strike on its air defenses or military C&C - both of the latter well-known U.S. first-strike targets. This statement in the article is also interesting:

"In briefings for sympathetic western reporters, Iranian commanders are emphasizing the Armageddon option; that is, however weak or strong their defences may prove to be under prolonged US attack, the Iranian strategy is not to wait. Their plan, they say, is to counter-attack against Arab as well as American targets as soon as a US missile attack commences; that’s to say, at launch, not inflight nor at impact.

So, massive immediate retaliation with the Saudi oil infrastructure in the crosshairs. Iran can't wait until a week or two into the conflict - they may not have much capability for such massive retaliation by then (at least by U.S. calculations).

The author also only mentions Iranian retaliation against firing platforms, very few of which will actually be in the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea. In fact, U.S. cruise missiles launched against Syrian targets were launched from the Persion Gulf. One would expect similar amounts of stand-off for U.S. attacks on Iran, i.e., from ships in places like the Mediterranean Sea or subs that won't expose themselves long enough to be counter-attacked after firing off a few cruise missiles.

In other words, Iran will have few U.S. launch platforms to counterattack. What does that leave? Saudi and GCC oil infrastructure and tankers. I really doubt the tanker part - of little use and unnecessarily pisses off shipping companies that Iraq, Iran and the few neutral Gulf nations that will still need to ship their oil - eventually. Burn Ras Tanura to the ground on day one, and the former Saudi customers (most notably China and Japan) will still have many tankers that they need filled with oil by somebody. Blowing away *their* tankers isn't going to put you on their preferred supplier list. Just the opposite.

This also goes with my contention that Iran does not honestly expect to hold out against U.S. attacks on its air defenses very long. Most will be destroyed and then the months of aerial bombardment against everything else in Iran starts. The U.S. wouldn't fare well with a land invasion, but I doubt we will ever bother. Neocons and Israel will insist on "Bombing them to the negotiating table". Which won't happen, but Israel and the U.S. will have a lot of other problems by then, and the Saudi/UAE royalty would have fled the region and left their militarys to die defending anything left (until the Shia uprisings take them out, too).

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 26 2019 2:33 utc | 259

Attempting to force another country to do anything has proven to be wrongful, so it's natural that all such attempts are wrong. Israel can have nukes and Iran can't, if they choose to, which they haven't? Iran has never obeyed their US "master" and will never. Good for them.
I'm looking at you, JCPOA. Good riddance. It was wrong to do it, and now look at the result. It was just an Obama ploy to get one "success" display, a conditional agreement, in his presidential library. Sorry, Barack. Now sovereign Iran is free again -- hallelujah. See how Trump did the right thing? /s
Now sanctions, that's a whole different kettle of fish. Iran's "friends and allies" better come up with something, or there will be trouble, and they will feel it too. That's a human rights problem. The US supposedly has deep feelings for Iranians, as the sanctions starve them? No.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 2:48 utc | 260

@ PavewayIV 263
>John Helmer has no military training or experience, so his focus on US firing platforms can be discounted.
>Iran will have its own choice of targets with its considerable inventory of largely-hidden rockets, missiles, mines and torpedoes. We know that Iran's missile inventory especially galls the US.
>This inventory may include (we don't know) some assets that the US would miss by their destruction, including Fifth Fleet HQ on Bahrain. the USS Lincoln with 5,000, the USS Boxer with a Marine battalion, army bases in Kuwait, and other high priority targets.
>Saudi oil infrastructure may or may not be a target. There would be no immediate benefit to Iran to waste ordnance on it.
>Iran's air defenses are mobile and not easily destroyed.
>Millennium Challenge 2002 was a major war game exercise conducted by the United States Armed Forces and resulted in Iran victory.
>Iran also has many other options to hurt the US, to include targeting the 5,000 troops in Iraq and a similar number in Afghanistan. We can be assured that Iran knows where they are and how to kill them.
>Whenever Hezbollah believes that the time is opportune, it has thousands of missiles that can destroy Israeli cities.

The US military knows all this which is why Obama's years of continuous "all options on the table" was totally discounted. The US is good at destroying cities, as in Syria, but would be militarily defeated.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 3:19 utc | 261

@265 Don Bacon - The US...would be militarily defeated."

Funny that it took 265 comments to establish this one overarching fact. It's true, of course, and the one fact that should have made 264 comments unnecessary.

Dmitry Orlov has a non-paywalled piece tonight that spells out what's really going on. The US has nothing real to offer to any theater except its own bluster, derived from a former stature that no longer exists. It will not dare to put this pretend-stature to the test because it knows that its hollowness will then be revealed. Therefore it continues to trade on its past glory for so long as anyone will buy it:

You Are Being Trolled

There being nothing better for it to do, the US is trying very hard to troll the whole world, but more and more the world is either refusing to be trolled or trolling the US right back.

• When the US threatens to cut off access to the US financial system, the world works on circumventing it.

• When the US imposes tariffs and sanctions, the world responds by reworking its trading relationships to exclude the US.

• When the US threatens countries with military intervention, the world responds by constructing new alliances and making security arrangements that isolate the US.

But most importantly, the world simply waits.

Old con-men don't die, they simply get pathetic.

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 26 2019 4:16 utc | 262

@ PavewayIV | Jun 25, 2019 10:33:22 PM #263

Launching on warning seems risky to me. A nation clever with electronics countermeasures could possibly "spoof" Iran into making an attack on "innocent" targets which hadn't launched anything.

In other words, Iran will have few U.S. launch platforms to counterattack. What does that leave? Saudi and GCC oil infrastructure and tankers. I really doubt the tanker part - of little use and unnecessarily pisses off shipping companies that Iraq, Iran and the few neutral Gulf nations that will still need to ship their oil - eventually.

The Saudis have an awful lot of soft targets, and they ought to be dreading the start of hostilities. I'd expect Iran to avoid destroying most of the Saudi drinking water plants, if only not to start a process leading to attacks on their own dams and the like.

With regard to the tankers, might not that issue be resolved with Iran permitting any boats carrying oil from "friendly" nations to pass unmolested?

I agree about the air defense systems, though they could be conserved by careful use. As for targets for a retaliation, here is one from a US neocon report:

On Monday, the Pentagon released a report titled “Challenges to Security in Space” in which a key claim is that Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea are in the process of developing technologies they could use to attack U.S. satellites.

In 1984 the US launched an ASAT from an F-15 to destroy an orbiting satellite 320 miles high. The old F-14s may not have enough left in them to do the same, but Iran has lots of fine missiles. And lasers? They're not talking about it, and neither is anybody else. Might the Chinese or Russians give (or have given) them an old laser system to play with? After only a few minutes of thought I came up with a lot of ideas for "targets", so imagine what hundreds of professionals might have done with years of brainstorming.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 26 2019 4:19 utc | 263

@ Grieved | Jun 26, 2019 12:16:26 AM #266

Orlov forgot the Ukraine drama - Russia Invaded Crimea, so sanction them!
Assad gassing his own people while wonderful White Helmets fight to save dying Syrians. Attack Syria!

Then of course there was the mini soap opera in Venezuela, and that's disappeared from sight with the Evildoer Of The Month now being Iran.

I suppose "trolling" is a pretty fair description of the process.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 26 2019 4:34 utc | 264

Don Bacon @265 & PavewayIV @263--

I only have one question about Iranian Air Defense--it's ability to intercept incoming missiles as we've seen so successfully done in Syria; we know Iran can see them. If possible, many will be hit over UAE and the Gulf well before Iranian mainland. One question many raise is the ammo issue--does Iran have enough ADMs in its inventory to do the job over the long haul. Production facilities are underneath mountains and essentially out-of-reach. Logistics for said production is certainly a state secret. Given Iran has had decades to prepare and continually absorbed new lessons while engineering new technology, I give them a better than even shot at persevering, particularly with all those nearby hostages ready to be taken.

In oh so many ways, TrumpCo is boxing well below the weight they claim. Such boxers usually don't do well.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 4:34 utc | 265

Grieved @266--

I seem to recall writing awhile ago that Iran had the best hand and would beat the Outlaw US Empire, although that wasn't as explicit as Bacon's judgment.

It's daybreak Over Iran. May they enjoy a peaceful day!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 4:45 utc | 266

@269 karlof1 That's actually the wrong question.

The best way to deal with incoming missiles is to force the launch platforms to take retreat.

So on day 1 the Iranians will launch everything they have at the US 5th Fleet to force those ships to retreat outside the radius of action of the F-18 Super Hornet and the launch range of ship-board Tomahawk missiles. The Iranians don't even need to hit them, they just need to put them in peril.

At the same time Iran could launch masses of precision missiles, ballistic rockets and suicide drones at every US fighter base in the Middle East. At worse they will suppress USAF sortie-rates. At best they'll actually catch the F-15 and F-35 on the tarmac.

Because I suspect very much that US military plans don't envision how unstealthy their stealth planes are when they are on the ground. And I would bet good money that their airfield defenses are poor.

Indeed, I suspect the USAF in the Middle East is just begging to be Six-Day-War'ed.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 26 2019 6:02 utc | 267

Doesn't all this make you wonder exactly why the US establishment is so opposed to the government in Iran? Note that I use the word government, and not regime - in this context, the word regime is used for purely propaganda purposes.

Is it because Iran is attempting to develop a nuclear weapon? No. Is it because Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism? Again, No.

The real reasons are, I think, that:

1. Iran offers practical assistance to the Palestinian people. Not the verbal support offered by the rest of the Arab world, but real, practical help: for example, Iran gives pensions to the widows of fighters who have died fighting the Israeli occupation.

2. Iran, having the second highest Jewish population in the middle east, offers living, breathing proof that anti-zionism does not equal anti-semitism. Iran therefore lends legitimacy to the opponents of Israeli expansion - which is unacceptable to both the Israeli and US establishments.

Posted by: Gerald | Jun 26 2019 13:10 utc | 268

While the destructive punishment the US can inflict is not to be underestimated, at the same time I get the distinct feeling that a "shock and awe" campaign against Iran might not go as well as scripted in the past. Why?

1. What has to be number one is that for the first time in memory, the US and its coalition will be taking on a foe with true offensive capabilities. This is why the Russians and Iranian military have been working hard to explain this to the US and Israel, in hopes that cooler heads will recognize the ramifications of this. Much as with MAD, Iran has no choice but to "launch on warning," and it is tough to distinguish a limited attack from a massive one in a couple minutes. Launch platforms being targeted will not only be those that launched the particular attack, but any platform capable of launching--that means all US and allied naval vessels, and all significant US and allied military bases, particularly air bases. When is the last time that the US military has had to function while under real threat of attack? It makes things different.

2. Having a foe with offensive capabilities will put much more strain on the logistical ability to maintain a pounding campaign. Iran certainly does not have a limitless supply of defensive missiles, but I think what they have will be leveraged somewhat by the fact that the US will be forced to rely much more upon long range, standoff missiles, because they don't dare send in bombers until they feel they have clear skies. They don't want to go back to the losses suffered in Vietnam, and even Serbia was not nearly as successful and lossless as portrayed. Furthermore, US planes require pristine airstrips and a lot of maintenance, and all relatively local bases will be unavailable. That means longer flights to launch attacks, which will also begin to become a logistical nightmare of its own for the US.

3. Russians are famous for their defense in depth, and I'm sure have advised their ally on the tricks learned throughout their history, as well as their friends the Serbs. While many fixed radar and launch facilities will be taken out in the first US strike, no doubt many missiles will be wasted on false or spoofed targets, and other systems which have never been turned on will pop up at random, continuing to make manned strikes very risky. And remember how long the Serbs hung on, and that was being in a much inferior position to what the Iranians would be...and the Serbs never were militarily defeated. And they were defensive only.

4. The Iranians have also obviously already grasped asymmetric warfare, and can leverage the power of their own military with that of others. They have a history of coordinating with Syria, Hizbollah, the Houthies, Afghans, etc., and made a point of mentioning that recently. Imagine ballistic missiles targeting all US bases in Syria...suddenly the survivors are going to have a hard time being resupplied, and the SAA can make a lot of strong moves to regain territory. Ditto Afghanistan. The Houthies and downtrodden Shia in SA can suddenly become a real threat if there is no Saudi plane able to take off from their airfields. Much harder to maintain a shock and awe campaign against Iran if you suddenly have lots of fires in your back yard.

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 26 2019 14:33 utc | 269

Great point there Gerald @ 268
I was thinking similar thoughts !
Part of negative propergander is ‘omission ‘ of all the positive points about a people or country. You have countered that, I would like to add. I think US hostility is partly about robbing the oil and land ect, but also jealousy of a culture unlike our own and yet successful ! If The US can’t possess it they want to distory it. We have seen countless examples of this I’ve no need to list them.
On this long thread we have covered all angles of the conflict ! But just who are the Iranians ? How lovely is there culture, ancient history and wonderful people.
Do we won’t to distroy all that ? Becouse they have what we want and dont look or act like us.

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 26 2019 14:48 utc | 270

@ Yeah, Right 267
Iran could launch masses of precision missiles, ballistic rockets and suicide drones at every US fighter base in the Middle East.
That's a bit of a sticky wicket, which is why I didn't mention it, because it would include attacks against large US air bases in Qatar, especially al Udeid, and Qatar is an Iran ally in the Gulf. (They share gas deposits, for one thing.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 14:54 utc | 271

@268 gerald.. it is that and more...

trump/usa are prepping the world for war on iran.. it is constant... today - US President Donald Trump has boasted that a military confrontation with Iran would be a quick affair, but also said that this is something he doesn’t want.

Trump spoke about the possibility of invading Iran during an interview with Fox Business News on Wednesday. “I hope we don’t, but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen,” Trump said.

Posted by: james | Jun 26 2019 14:55 utc | 272

Harry Law @ 1, bevin, yeah..

Jeremy Hunt (Tory facing Boris Johnson in the Tory Party-Leader election) immediately stated GB would join the Coalition of the Willing, bis, this time against Iran.

sidebar. He has made a public plea not to be called J. C***, which says a lot. Total Tory Sleaze, the pits, imho.

He reversed right quick. news reuters

The Brits have gone totally bonkers in the sense that politics has entered a terminal la-la land of "fake" - hallucinatory, propagandistic, quasi-cult like hopes and fears etc. - news, declarations; posturing, positions, power-grabbing, a madscape rife with irrationality..

Boris Johnson (besides tangential embroilment in one prisoner in Iran story -> goog Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe) hasn’t said anything of note afaik.

The days of the UK joining the US as support the old schema, as with Tony Blair in Iraq (Bliar had a hard time getting it all together .. delays…) are over.

Obama (old guard) spoke out loud against Brexit, and Trump “doesn’t care about the EU” and opines (rightly so) that great deals could be made with the UK after Brexit, the UK would be a minuscule begging country..

Trump does not adhere to the USA post-war 2 convention of a vassalized Europe (with promises of ‘defense’..NATO, etc.) - he will set them, it, adrift if he can. The tribute they pay is too low, he has said explicity.

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 26 2019 15:10 utc | 273

@ Gerald 268
Doesn't all this make you wonder exactly why the US establishment is so opposed to the government in Iran?
Good question, and you provide some answers. There are more.

First, generally speaking, the US security state that has existed since WWII requires enemies to sustain its military budget and its control over the populace. Thus the US has some appointed enemies in various world locations, mostly in Asia because that's where most of the world's people are. Iran, because it refuses to obey the US world hegemon, is one such enemy. Iran sets a bad example for other countries which might be tempted to disobey Washington.

Iran is top dog now in the Middle East, is another reason. The Iraq president just announced that Iraq could not be used by the US, which has troops there, to attack Iran! Imagine that. Quite a change over the old days when Iran lost a million people to a US-sponsored Iraq attack on Iran. Now Iran enjoys political allies all the way to the Mediterranean, while the US is stuck with unpopular regimes including Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking of the undemocratic Saudi royal regime, making Iran an enemy means huge arms sales to the Saudis, who have led the world's nations in buying weapons for the past two years. The US doesn't manufacture so much any longer, thanks to trade deals especially with Canada and Mexico, so arms sales are important.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 26 2019 15:23 utc | 274

Let me see if I have grasped this. Here we have a country 240 years old acting under the diktat of another country which is 70 years old (and totally controls first country's polity, it seems) threatening a country 5000 years old which is supported by other adjoinng countries which again, have histories running back thousands of years.
By this comparison the monkey empire and its Levant organ-grinder may win a battle or two but will lose the war.

If Chairman Kim is watching this play out he is congratulating himself on his sound policy of acquiring nuclear weapons. Nothing less is of any use in fending off the likes of Bolton and Pompeo, which Iran is discovering the hard way. American sanctions are supposed to foment internal revolt, but once American missiles start landing then the country will unite as no one likes to see fellow citizens bombed for no good reason. If Trump had stuck with the JCPOA we wouldn't have come to this. There is nothing here that cannot be resolved by negotiation, but we have a nuclear armed power being run by psychopaths and religious zealots who must achieve rapturous orgasm.....and I don't mean Iran.

Is there no-one in the US military with the backbone to neutralise these loutish lunatics before they do something truly monumentally stupid. This has now played out in the full view of the world, they haven't even the wit to hide it any more, and are reduced to the level of a nuclear-armed laughing stock, which is where they become dangerous....

Posted by: Emmanuel Goldstein | Jun 26 2019 16:35 utc | 275

You know I just realized we are going to be leaving the Middle East, withdrawing most of our forces. If we attack we most certainly will(*), and if we don't we will have to withdraw our exposed assets, which will be useless anyway if we don't.

(*) - Well consider the lineup of forces, absent nukes in the equation, we have air power and some air defenses, a modest complement of ground forces, most of whom are not combat troops, a very long logistics train, and an inadequate supply of ammo. They have a short and secure logistics train in the rear, plenty of native resources to work with, air defenses that were good enough to track and down that drone in one shot, conventional missiles and rockets or high quality, and a massive ground force in close proximity to all of our "advanced" bases. Plus a lot more friends.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 26 2019 17:23 utc | 276

Zachary Smith@263 - "Launching on warning seems risky to me. A nation clever with electronics countermeasures could possibly "spoof" Iran into making an attack on "innocent" targets which hadn't launched anything."

OK, we're not talking about tit-for-tat counterattacks. This is specifically in regards to Iran detecting the opening U.S. cruise missile attack on its air defenses - the start of the war.

Now could the U.S. trick Iran to make it look like THEY started it and hit 'innocent' targets? Sure, in fact I expect my country to do that, and so does Iran. P-8A posting NO threat to Iran itentionally shot down in 'international waters' killing all 45 heros aboard? (I randomly increased the number aboard like the U.S. DoD)? Casus belli - WAR:ON and it's Iran's fault. The U.S. blew that one.

Spoof an incoming cruise missile attack getting Iran to shoot first? Whatever. What's Iran got to lose at that point - support from the MSM? Ha.

Whether another 'blame' ruse is tried again or not, Iran knows the start of the hot war is a U.S. cruise missile launch or whatever against its air defenses. There is no stepped escalation plan by Iran - it's pointless. One cruise missile or a thousand sent to hit its air defenses is reason enough for them to react. THEY already made that decision for reasons important to them - Iran. They made the decision that destroying Saudi oil infrastructure is a far better use of their limited military resources (while they can use them) than just getting into a slug-fest with the U.S. which does nothing for Iran.

"I'd expect Iran to avoid destroying most of the Saudi drinking water plants, if only not to start a process leading to attacks on their own dams and the like."

- The few Saudi plants to treat seawater for oil extraction are, for the most part, not the multiple smaller ones used for drinking water desalination, but some exceptions.

- The U.S. WILL begin destroying Iranian civilian infrastructure from the start. It's always necessary as part of our usual incremental civilian punishment tough-love strategy. Sometimes you have to make people suffer horribly before they capitulate let you decide what's best for them. We don't like bad PR, so blowing big dams that cause immediate deaths are low on the list. We can take out a water pumping station or a remote power trasformer and causes immedate suffering for thousands, all from 45,000 ft. with zero risk and no bad press. Perfect for encourageing obedience to the U.S.! Infrasructure destruction will stop when 1) Iran is leaderless/powerless, and 2) 81 million Iranians install a U.S./Israeli/Saudi-approved government. That's always the plan for everywhere. It doesn't matter if it really ever works or not - it's just what psychopaths do.

"...With regard to the tankers, might not that issue be resolved with Iran permitting any boats carrying oil from "friendly" nations to pass unmolested?..."

No. It makes sense, but Iran's abilty to militarily enforce that are exactly what we (the U.S.) are intentionally trying to destroy in a war.

"...I agree about the air defense systems, though they could be conserved by careful use..."

Theoretically and against an all-aircraft attack. Pointless. We use cruise missiles and standoff weapons and will use A LOT. The U.S. has spent decades and millions analyzing the fastest and most effective way to destroy Iran's Air Defense capability and ALL military efforts at the start of the war will focus on that. Iran won't make it easy, but they're not magicians and they're not Russia or China.

The U.S. intent is not shock-and-awe armor or boots-on-the-ground invasion and occupation. It's Libya-style leadership beheading, destruction and chaos. We want to do that from the air, so war starts with eliminating that threat as much as possible. This is not for limited strikes Israel does in Syria. This is all-out war and we'll throw everything we have as fast as possible at those systems. It's just too much for their limited capability. Everyone else seems to think so (including Russia and China) and I think Iran would agree.

In addition, all the stuff protecting high-value sites like Bushir are useless if we get a couple of big penetrators in and destroy most of the plant. All that AD equipment protecting it is now relatively useless there - we're not coming back and there's nothign to protect. It must be moved (VERY vulnerable) or abandoned. Iran is determined, but simply does not have the AD capability to protect their AD capability for more than a few days. Our evil intent or lack of justification will not affect our ability to blow stuff up and kill people - we're good at that.

Regarding sat capability: undoubtedly any ballistic or space-capable rocket-related site will be targeted. That's no secret. Israel will not allow *any* Iranian space program and wants it destroyed. CENTCOM will follow their orders.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 26 2019 18:44 utc | 277

j Swift @269 & Bemildred 276--

Excellent list and good reasoning! There's a great deal to be considered in assessing the overall situation, but it's not as if I just began last week; I've been studying this for many years as potential direct conflict between Iran and Outlaw US Empire has waxed and waned for 40 years. With the proxy invasion of Syria, potential conflict again grew in its possibility. But in reality, Iran's been preparing since the truce with Iraq 30 years ago. And by "preparing," I mean the entire spectrum of preparation, not just military capabilities, the primary asset to develop being Iran's human capital and its fundamental socio-cultural-economic support systems--its basic resiliency. IMO, given the means at its disposal and the environment it had to operate within, Iran's done an incredible job that puts most every other nation to shame.

In many ways, Iran's already the superior over the Outlaw US Empire, and it may soon be able to justifiably claim so militarily.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 18:55 utc | 278

karlof1 @278: Funny you mention 40 years, that's about how long I've been waiting for this, (well I think we are there now, Trump with his failed attack has dramatically clarified where we are, and the Iranians exposed their claws and they were indeed sharp too) since Raygun came in and I realized our ruling elites had decided not to learn the lessons of Vietnam. After that I figured is was just a matter of time (I read a lot) and I set out to live long enough to watch it, jingo militarism leads in only one direction. I've known since I was ten or so the political system is corrupt and it's only gone downhill since then. So I pleased that I made it, hopeful for real political and economic reform at last, but worried sick about whether we can avoid the usual consequences of collapsing militaristic regimes.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 26 2019 19:19 utc | 279

PavewayIV @277--

I like that our assessments differ; it shows that neither of us OR the Outlaw US Empire really knows what to expect. The question I posed that Yeah, Right @267 objected to is clearly the #1 unanswered; secondarily being the ammo issue. If the stand-off weapons perform as poorly as in Syria, IMO Iran has an excellent chance. Oh, and I think we ought to agree this isn't really about Iran but all about BRI and Russia/China Eurasian Integration with Iran being an extremely important node.

Will the Current Oligarchy okay the sacrifice of all ready-made hostages Iran will grab/destroy and protracted damage and large losses to its own assets and future ability to conduct business? I'm sure you're aware as well as they that the World is not with them. IMO, their policy goal of Full Spectrum Domination has already failed. Even if they are able to inflict immense damage on Iran, they will still have failed. They have lost before they have begun. Look at their Figurehead and his minions--Gangsters, not Statesmen. Rightfully, Iran mocks them. I see the G-20 as Trump's Alamo, him being Jim Bowie. And he wanted to be better than Obama, while he works hard at becoming an even bigger failure.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 19:22 utc | 280

Bemildred @279--

I'd just turned 8 in November 1963 and was in the 2nd Grade. In 6th Grade I was reading at a 14th Grade level and checked out our school library's copy of The Warren Commission Report and learned how politics can alter physics and produce Magic Bullets. In 1968, I distributed fliers for the RFK Campaign in Davis where I lived prior to the California Primary. Not long after, this Boy Scout joined our school's hippies protesting The War. In 1979, my dad's business, him and our family life were destroyed by the recession engineered by Volker to save the bond holders at the onset of Neoliberalism. That recession forced me into the Economic Draft, but I had different plans and refused the 3 offers I got to attend Officer Candidate School, preferring resume enhancement instead. In 1989, I watched Ron Kovic's biographical film, Born on the Fourth of July, and saw myself in him as I'm sure millions of others did. His VA treatment foreshadowed what the Gulf War vets would have to deal with as Gulf War Syndrome replaced Agent Orange poisoning along with the other combat maladies.

You, I, PavewayIV, and so many others aren't alone, but we are disparate. There's only one way to defeat the Current Oligarchy, and that's to become a Collective, a Movement, which is what I wrote in 2016, but we're no closer now than then. My ancestors were classic conservatives, but they always intoned we do what's right and proper and were steadfast and supportive until the last passed a year ago. I really don't want to leave the current dilemma in the laps of my daughter, my wife's kids and grandkid's. 2020 is THE Crisis Year, far more critical than 1860 by a longshot. I see 2020 as the best chance to break the Current Oligarchy that's existed since 1992. Perot was imperfect then and Sanders is imperfect now, but perfection will never come.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 20:01 utc | 281

You're a busy guy ...

I can see a lot of commonalities in our histories, but I got you by about ten years.

Boy I don't know, and speculation just turns into babble. I expect that stymied in foreign affairs, we will turn inward, and that could get nasty, you can see the beginnings of it now. But the American people should not be underestimated either, any more than the Russians 30 years ago, or the Chinese 100. We might come into our own finally, like we should have done after WWII, before the spooks took over, once we get rid of some of the parasites now feeding off us.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 26 2019 20:21 utc | 282

@ karlof1 | Jun 26, 2019 4:01:06 PM | 281

Would note:
Probably the most important issue to address may be to begin assembling the information needed to formulate a viable alternative to MBA economic theology; nothing exists now and the changes that have happened since John Maynard Keynes have been so great that his economic perceptions, although still valid, are no longer sufficient. The intentional, purposeful destruction of Keynes had to take place to anchor the neoliberal thought collective. I do not think there will be any intellectual realisation of this goal during the current political era; time is needed for the complex to destroy itself first. Should violence break out, it is increasingly unlikely that a functional organisation can be established on the back of civil crisis, it's rarely done. But educating the select few teachers to mentor their pupils in hetero-economic theories and histories might be enough to rebuild once the hands of current power are prised from the leavers they posses can restoration begin to build a functioning society. A syllabus needs be created out of historical rubble (e.g. Steve Keen's Debunking Economics (Revised and Expanded Edition) ISBN 978-1-84813-993-0 Zed Books).

Trust you don't mind my book referencing while addressing you it is: 1) old habit, 2) others might be interested also. Always though by ISBN - International Standard Book Number. 3) I don't want to tell another what to think, therefore read the indicated and make up your own mind; the book is likely relevant.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 26 2019 20:59 utc | 283

Bemildred @282--

Yeah, but not busy enough to satisfy my cardiologist! I sorta guessed about 1/2 a generation. We here at MoA don't engage in much discussion of domestic US politics and events, although I'll interject them from time-to-time, while b focuses on Geopolitics and occasionally on The Big Picture, which differs greatly from The Big Picture we were offered to absorb as kids. You'd be a peer of Kovics; did you ever see the film? Don't know how long you've lurked at MoA, but we did dig into the 2016 election rather deeply, and the topic of constitutional change and most of the historical background of the USA's been covered at various points. In fact, Grieved and I have an unfinished thread topic from 2+ years ago that needs to be restarted related to our domestic dilemma.

Thanks for your comments and replies to mine! We can all learn more through our seminar-like environment if we strive to further cultivate it!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 21:17 utc | 284

Formerly T-Bear @283--

I agree with you 100%, which is why I've touted Michael Hudson's work so aggressively. I wish the world wasn't so damned hectic so I could take a month off to binge-read his general economics-related works, the latest 4 of which are shown on his website, particularly J is for Junk Economics. I wonder how Keen's work jibes with Hudson's? As for referencing books, go for it as I do it all the time thanks to my historian nature! A brief quote from the last link:

"In more than 400 concise and acerbic entries, several essays, and a full topic index, the book covers contemporary terms that are misleading or poorly understood as well as many important concepts that have been abandoned – many on purpose – from the official economics curriculum. The lessons of history cannot be learned if we no longer have access to them, and worse, if in a post-fact world they are inverted and weaponized."

Ought to see if I can find out what Hudson still teaches at UoMissouri--Kansas City and if he has an email contact there.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 26 2019 21:44 utc | 285

@ karlof1 | Jun 26, 2019 5:44:55 PM | 285

Have copy of Hudson's "J Is for Junk …" on my to read pile. I think he still has a site at UMKC but don't know how active, been long time since visiting. Most of their syllabus is reprise of 1960 Masters or PHD economics. I was exposed through talks with a cousin-in-law having the PHD (IIRC) in Economics at the time. I am unsure how connected Dr. Hudson might be with economic history. I recall he wrote something on Debt as well but haven't read it yet. Great care must be taken on that subject I fear since the conditions debt forgiveness no longer pertain and great damage can be caused by misrepresentation to uneducated publics.
Am currently on Gareth Steadman Jones' "Karl Marx, Greatness and Illusion", (a difficult start to read but promising) and Tom Holland's "Persian Fire" a difficult to put down history of the first world empire and their battle for the west. Trying to get my reading in before eyes go altogether. Holland also wrote "Rubicon" and "Millennium". Having read the J.M.Keynes collected works as well as Cannon edition Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" as well as several others including Marx an Oxford abridged version all of which still stand me in good stead. Not having letters following the name, I resist imposing anything on others but find much use in conversational dialogue.

It's about 1 AM here (UTC+2) and the damned coach is at the door. More later, 7 hours beauty rest needed not to shatter mirror in morning. Anon.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 26 2019 22:51 utc | 286

karlof1 @284:

I first ran into Moon in the oughts, but it is only last few years (since the commercial media became completely useless) that I've come to rely on long list of indy sites, foreign press, clickbait havens, and news aggregators, in which Moon is one of the handful I rely on.

I posted a lot at a board in the oughts up to 15, then spent a year at another, since then, a couple years, I haven't been posting at all and this is the only discussion board I still watch.

But this as I said is something I've been waiting for so I had to chime in.

I saw parts of it, not all, my movie viewing has been very spotty. I binge watched TV and movies for a few years a while back, but since then I gave it up. And I don't like Cruze.

I think Hudson has it about right.

I'm inclined to let b run his board like he wants, and glad he is up for it, and I think his English is quite good, he only misses an idiom once in a while and it's never hard to see what he means. His English prose is far better than most US media in any case. They just kind of throw words at whatevr it is they are trying to convey.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 26 2019 22:53 utc | 287

@271 Don …"because it would include attacks against large US air bases in Qatar, especially al Udeid, and Qatar is an Iran ally in the Gulf"

Iran will not hesitate to launch everything it has at those air bases irrespective of how that "hurts" its relations with Qatar.

And if they do that - and they will - then they may as well go all-out and send their army to overrun al Udeid and all other US bases in the area.

I'll repeat this, because it never gets old: Iran has over 500,000 troops that it can throw into that endeavour. Does CENTCOM have anything like the number of ground troops to defend against that onslaught?

I suspect not, and I suspect that if Trump is foolish enough to launch an air strike against Iran then we will see a repeat of what happened when Chinese forced launched themselves across the Yalu River in 1951.

UN Forces had all the airpower in the world and it didn't help prevent them for being routed.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 26 2019 23:02 utc | 288

Don Bacon, the likes of the US bases at Qatar, Kuwait and Turkey is perhaps the reason Iran said it had no allies. From this, I take it all US bases will be attacked irrespective of what country they are in.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 26 2019 23:22 utc | 289

Bemildred @287--

Thanks for your reply and continued discourse. I write here almost exclusively while monitoring Twitter but don't participate there or Facebook. Something new will happen and we'll dissect it tomorrow!

Formerly T-Bear @286--

I had a minor in Econ earned in 1998, but knew it was mostly junk thanks to having honest professors. What little I taught, tutoring actually, students was in pointing out the fallacies within the textbooks and how US government cooked its economic figures. Sorry to hear about your vision. My mom and her sister both had macular degeneration so I take Lutein, which is the only known preventative.

Yeah, Right @288--

Yes, there's a strong argument for proactively defeating and capturing the offered hostages. An amphibious assault on Qatar would be a huge surprise, perhaps being in tandem with the Turkish troops stationed there. As we've both noted, there're a great many possibilities where Iran certainly has the advantage.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 27 2019 0:50 utc | 290

I just gotta say, the calibre of comments on this thread (and pretty much every other here) is like "intellectual aromatherapy" to me... many thanks!

Posted by: xLemming | Jun 27 2019 3:23 utc | 291

@259 PavewayIV "This also goes with my contention that Iran does not honestly expect to hold out against U.S. attacks on its air defenses very long"

That is blinkered thinking, based on an assumption that Iran will fight the war the way that the USA wants them to fight.

They won't.

Iran has an army of 500,000. I would be very surprised if CENTCOM could muster 20,000 fighting men in total - and even then it has no way to concentrate those ground forces.

Iran could send 100,000 men into Afghanistan to route US forces there AND simultaneously send, oh, rough guess, 150,000 men marching around the Gulf to attack the scattered US forces protecting airbases and the 5th Fleet HQ.

The USA does *not* have the ground forces to prevent that.

Iran would have at least a 10:1 advantage in manpower and could increase that way, way faster than the USA could.

CENTCOM would have to resort to air power, and at that precise moment the USA will have lost the war.


Because that marks the moment the USAF will ditch all its carefully laid out plans and devote 100% of its sorties to ground support of fast-retreating CENTCOM troops.

The USA will very quickly find itself flying sorties in the same way that the IDF sent their planes against the Egyptian Army in the Yom Kippur War.

And all the while Iranian AA forces will laugh and laugh as they swat those F-18 jets out of the sky.

A this is a simple truth: air lower ain't much use if your afields are being overrun.

Iran has more than enough men to overrun CENTCOM bases with ease

The Iranians would certainly know that. I suspect very much that Bolton and Pompeo don't have a clue.

There are only a few golden rules to war
One is: play to your strength
Two is: do the unexpected

Iran will mobilize all its ground forces and send them on an offensive against CENTCOM anywhere and everywhere the Iranians can find them. And the instant they do that then *ALL* of the Pentagon's oh-so-well-game-planned plans will be out the window.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 27 2019 3:49 utc | 292

Yeah, Right@292 - "CENTCOM would have to resort to air power, and at that precise moment the USA will have lost the war."

'U.S. War with Iran' is imprecise. It's U.S. kinetic thuggery as a follow-on to our failed economic thuggery. We'll be there to execute a military beat-down on Iranians to further the interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia. That isn't a war. There is no victory or loss for the U.S. to be had.


Because that marks the moment the USAF will ditch all its carefully laid out plans and devote 100% of its sorties to ground support of fast-retreating CENTCOM troops."

Do you mean like CENTCOM troops retreating across the Arabian Desert from hundreds of thousands of angry, well-armed Iranian infantry running after them? Line at Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir in North Korea? I honestly never thought of that, but that would be problematic.

The initial attacks to take out Iranian air defenses will not involve that many US aircraft from al Udeid or other vulnerable coastal bases, and none of our transport aircraft. I'm guessing CENTCOM troops would be long gone if Iranian troops insisted on stopping by al Udeid. If you mean Iran stopping by MacDill AFB in Tampa to attack troops at CENTCOM HQ, they can't. We have strictly enforced immigration laws - our borders are impenetrable.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 27 2019 7:43 utc | 293

Here's a scenario:

1. US false flags in Iranian vicinity.
2. US military deaths due to provoked Iranian action.
3. US limited strikes.
4. US false flag Iranian dirty bomb in US city using surplus enriched material bought from Iran.
5. US submits evidence of Iranian nuclear attack in UNSC.
6. US attacks Iran using nuclear weapons.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 27 2019 8:00 utc | 294

@293 PavewayIV "Do you mean like CENTCOM troops retreating across the Arabian Desert from hundreds of thousands of angry, well-armed Iranian infantry running after them? Line at Changjin (Chosin) Reservoir in North Korea? I honestly never thought of that, but that would be problematic. "

That's my point - *nobody* is thinking of that. Everyone's thinking is along these lines:
a) Iran has 500,000 troops
b) CENTCOM has around 20,000 troops
c) Iran has a limited anti-air and anti-ship capability
d) CENTCOM has aircraft and ships aplenty

Soooooo, of course this is how the fight will develop: 500,000 Iranian troops will just sit around in their barracks twiddling their thumbs while an ever-decreasing number of Iranian anti-aircraft installations fight a losing battle against the USAF and US Navy carriers.

My point is exactly this: why on Earth would Iran be so obliging? Its one and only advantage over CENTCOM is its overwhelming number of soldiers compared to the handful of isolated US personnel in scattered US bases. If that's Iran's one and only advantage then that what Iran should deploy i.e. it should immediately attempt to Chosin Reservoir all US ground forces in both Afghanistan and in Saudi Arabia/Dubai/etc.

With enough speed and a modicum of luck they might even force the unconditional surrender of all US ground forces in the region. At worse it will cause the USAF to cease all air raids into Iranian airspace while they attempt to put the Army's arse out of the fire.

Iranian infrastructure would be saved.
Iranian AA defenses would get a reprieve.
Iranian civilian casualties will be reduced.
US prestige would be torn to shreds.

Why wouldn't Iran attempt something that bold when those issues are on the line?

I say it again: Iran has 500,000 ground troops. CENTCOM has 20,000 or thereabouts, with very few of them prepared for a fight.
And it wouldn't even be a fight, it'd be a flight and the Iranians would try everything in their power to turn it into a rout.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 27 2019 8:17 utc | 295

@ Formerly T-Bear 286 - addendum

Being acquainted with original writing it is easy to see the fallacies presented in what I refer to as MBA economic theology. The catechism of Econ 101, a.k.a. neoliberal economics appears devised to undo all economic thought prior to and contrary to the Austrian/Mises/Chicago school of political/economic charlatanism, (obviously now) as means to discredit and effectively destroy Keynes/FDR's New Deal, protected by rubric of conspiracy theory, TINA and indolent ignorance of economic history itself. Can you believe an economic theology without money, banks and even a theory of value can pass the economic smell test for shite? I think you'll find Steve Keen's "Debunking Economics" is exactly the remedy needed (and sounds very similar to your stated experience).

@ karlof1 | Jun 26, 2019 8:50:05 PM | 290
Both the mother and her mother as well as a cousin all had the wet form of Macular Degeneration. It is likely the father's father also had some form also as he was in his 80's. Mine is the dry form and there is nothing available to stall its progress until it changes to the wet form. The Dr. described the malady as result of cellular debris or drusen in the macula. The distortions to the visual field are presently mitigated through binocular vision; what one eye distorts is supplanted by normal vision in the other. Reading uses parts of vision immediately under centre vision having least distortion. Will have to look into Lutein but sounds like an inhibitor of blood vessel growth hormones that initiate the wet version of Macular Degeneration. Do keep close watch on your eye health and race to ophthalmologist at first sign of problem. All the best.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Jun 27 2019 8:22 utc | 296

1 to 25 ratio against geographically dispersed fortified targets in other countries with integrated air support and perhaps air dominance in their immediate vicinity doesn't sound tempting to me even if every one of those 20,000 had been a "shotgunner". Any success would not depend on the ratio.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 27 2019 8:41 utc | 297

To nitpick on myself I meant "25 to 1 ratio", the point remains that 25 times more people isn't as much as it sounds. One can divide 25 by 5 (actually 6 or more, this is not the 1940ies) simply due to one side being essentially dug in.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 27 2019 8:47 utc | 298

Formerly T-Bear @ 296

Re: Macular Degeneration. Please consider researching topics including inflammasome activation, zinc deficiency, hydroxycarboxylic acid 2 receptor (HCA2) and its endogenous ligands: nicotinic acid and beta-hydroxybutyrate. The latter is a ketone body produced from beta-oxidation of fat during fasting / strenuous exercise / low carb ketogenic diets. Lastly, melatonin is intimately affliated with zinc uptake/homeostasis.

Posted by: Avid Lurker | Jun 27 2019 9:43 utc | 299

@295 "To nitpick on myself I meant "25 to 1 ratio", the point remains that 25 times more people isn't as much as it sounds."

The US troops can't be concentrated, not without abandoning the bases that they are there to defend.

If they dig in and attempt to defend those bases then they will be defeated in detail i.e. Iran can roll up those bases one after another, which means that in each case the odds are going to be way, way more than 25/1.

If the US forces abandon the bases (and, really, that would be their only sensible option) then the USAF loses its runways. At the very least that means sortie-rates will be shot to pieces.

"with integrated air support and perhaps air dominance in their immediate vicinity"

But that's the thing: the USA won't be able to gain "air dominance".

They'll be able to do only one of two things:
1) concentrate on taking out the Iranian air defences (i.e. the original plan), which means abandoning the ground troops to certain defeat
2) concentrate on saving CENTCOM's sorry ass, which means abandoning the current plan to monster the Iranian air defences

One or the other, take your pick. But either option would be bad news for the USA.

Look, this is very, very, very simple: the Iranians can do exactly what the USA expects them to do.

If they doe that then they can kiss their air defences goodbye and then watch helplessly while every bit of infrastructure is reduced to rubble.

Or they can say "f**k this for a joke" and decide they need to do something to throw the USA off-kilter. Something like launching their entire army on CENTCOM in order to overrun US bases in the region as quickly and as ruthlessly as possible.

If you were in their shoes which option would you take?

Because I know which option I'd take, and it would be the one that gives them a fighting chance of up rolling up CENTCOM like a cheap Persian Rug.

Why wouldn't they take that chance?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 27 2019 13:46 utc | 300

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