Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 21, 2019

White House Pushes 'Trump Pulled Back' Story - He Likely Never Approved To Strike Iran

Last night U.S President Trump allegedly pulled back from a military strike against Iran after it had already been ordered.

That is the official story but there are doubts that it is true. The Iranian campaign of "maximum pressure" against Trump's sanctions is still on. But there are first signs that it is successful.

The New York Times headlines: Trump Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back

WASHINGTON — President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions.

As late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations.

Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.

The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said.

The NYT story blames the hawks in the Trump administration, Bolton, Pompeo and CIA torture queen Gina Haspel, for arguing for a strike. The Pentagon and some congressional leaders are said to have been against it. The NYT report includes this curious paragraph:

Asked about the plans for a strike and the decision to hold back, the White House declined to comment, as did Pentagon officials. No government officials asked The New York Times to withhold the article.

The Associated Press has a similar story: US prepped for strikes on Iran before approval was withdrawn. The Washington Post and ABCNews also report along the same line. The White House is clearly pushing this version of the story.

But not everyone is buying the claim of a planned attack that was called back. Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar on international conflicts, remarks:

Jeffrey Lewis @ArmsControlWonk - 3:43 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

I don’t buy this. Trump’s team is trying to have it both ways — acting restrained but talking tough. This is pretty much what Nixon did in 1969, too. Why not just admit that sometimes restraint is smart?

The @nytimes ran the same story Nixon in 1969. 🤷‍♂️ Nixon was not going to retaliate but he wanted people to think he almost did — and the Gray Lady obliged. ---> Aides Say Nixon Weighed Swift Korea Reprisal

Elijah Magnier, a journalist with excellent sources in Tehran, also rejects the NYT claim. Pointing to the NYT story he remarks:

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 4:02 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

This is highly inaccurate and Iran "knew" about it yesterday: the US administration whispered this info for Trump to save his face.

I hinted to this info yesterday before it was released this morning by the US media. Iran - sources - rejected the "war-theatre scenario". More details this evening.

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 19:41 UTC - 20 Jun 2019

I have very valuable information on US intel sending a message to the Iranians to agree on a certain scenario to happen.
This and much more information will force me to write an article tomorrow (hopefully) on #Iran and #US crisis.

After the drone shoot down the price of oil jumped 10%. Trump will have noticed that. He was also already warned by Iran that there is no room for talks and that any strike against it would have deadly consequences:

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump through Oman overnight warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent.
The second official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision ... However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”

The whole storyline of "a strike was ordered but Trump held back and saved the day" might well be fake.

When Trump spoke to the press yesterday afternoon he was already playing down the Iranian downing of a U.S. Global Hawk drone. As we wrote in the update to yesterday's drone story:

Trump just held a press conference in the Oval Office. He seemed to play down (vid) the event. He empathized that the drone was unmanned. He said he had "a big, big feeling" that "someone made a mistake", that "some Iranian general probably made a mistake". That means that he does not accuse the government of Iran of the shoot down, but some lowly grunt who "might have made a mistake."

That statement gives him room to avoid a large retaliation.

A strike in retaliation for the downed drone may have never been on the table. An alternative interpretation is that the U.S. sought agreement for a symbolic 'strike' from Iran. It would hit some empty desert place to allow Trump to save face. Iran would have disagreed with that plan.

But there are also signs that some strike was really in preparation:

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙄𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙡 𝘾𝙧𝙖𝙗 @IntelCrab - 3:26 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

Not sure I have an opinion yet on this NYT piece, but I will say one thing...the HF traffic we've seen today is consistent with the assertion that at least SOME sort of strike package was authorized.

Unusual High Frequency radio traffic pointed to strike preparation, says the open source analyst IntelCrab.

There is also a different plausible explanation why an imminent strike might have been called back. From the Wall Street Journal:

Saudi Plant Struck by Missile, Apparently From Yemen
Senior U.S. officials called back to White House after desalination facility in kingdom hit

Senior officials from a range of U.S. government agencies were called back to the White House to meet Wednesday evening, the official said.

“The President has been briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday. “We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies.”

The Houthi, aka Ansar Allah, yesterday hit the Saudi desalination and electricity plant at Al-Shuqaiq near the southern Saudi city Jizan. The Saudis confirmed the strike:

Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Ansar Allah, confirmed the attack, saying a hostile projectile that had yet to be identified landed near the Al-Shuqaiq water desalination plant, but caused no casualties or damage. He added that it was another example of the rebels deliberately attacking civilian targets.

This must have come as a shock for the Saudis. Some 75% of the water the Saudis use comes from desalination plants. Their people will die of thirst when those get destroyed. Did the Saudi King call the White House and urge it to call off the strike against Iran because he feared for his water resources? Was this the real reason why the White House called back its advisors and canceled the strike?

The Houthi also launched an large attack on Jizan airport:

Brasco_Aad @Brasco_Aad - 18:17 UTC - 20 Jun 2019

Mass Houthi drone attack on Jizan airport tonight.
Saudi witnesses are reporting significant damage in and around the airport.

Flights to Jizan were delayed after the reported strike.

The recent Houthi hits on Saudi Arabia are notable escalations in their quality and extent. The Houthi have obviously received new weapons. Their actions are part of the Iranian campaign to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. As Abdel Bari Atwan writes:

The US’ Israeli and Gulf allies have been exploiting Trump’s stupidity to try to drag him into a war against Iran on their behalf. The Iranians are trying to impress on him that any such war would incur an exorbitant cost on the US, and also on those allies – Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned that any war would not be confined to Iran but set the entire region ablaze.

Even if there is no direct US attack, the Iranians will not simply sit back and wait to be starved into submission by Trump’s embargo and halting of their oil exports. That is another thing the US president does not understand. And he may never understand it until he sees the extent of their retaliation against his country’s forces, warships and bases, and his allies’ cities, airports, and power and desalination plants.

Trump wages an economic war on Iran through sanctions on everything Iran exports or imports. Iran is doing its best to to push back against this by creating incidents that are plausibly deniable but put Trump under maximum pressure. But there are now signs that Trump is finally getting that.

Yesterday evening Tucker Carlson, a FOX News host with a direct line to the White House, had two strong anti-war segments on his show (vid). In the second segment Carlson talks with retired army Colonel Douglas McGregor. Both argue for pulling back on sanctions. This was likely a preplanned exchange (at 9:56 min) designed to give Trump cover for his decision:

Carlson: Is there some good reason to maintain this level of sanctions against Iran? Are we getting something out of that?

McGregor: Well, I think the idea was to destroy the Iranian economy to bring the nation to its knees. That is really not what we should be trying to do at this point. I think the president senses that there is now an opportunity for diplomacy, for a new approach to Iran that could deescalate this set of conditions and produce a positive outcome.

Look, this will ruin our economy if we engage Iran in a war. Iran will have instantly have support from around the world. They will be the victim of this "limited strike" that is being discussed. The limited strike idea is sheer insanity. It will provoke a war. Everyone, China, Russia, India, many European states will come to the aid of Iran. We will end up with a larger coalition of the willing against us, than we have seen in decades.

I think the president has figured this out. He's got good instincts. But he needs to get rid of the warmongers. He needs to throw these geniuses and their limited strikes out of the Oval Office. The last thing the America First agenda needs is a stupid pointless unnecessary war with Iran and he knows that and he needs to act.

[Tucker Carlson agrees]

Trump may well want some diplomatic exchange with Iran. But Iran will not talk to him as long as the sanctions against it are kept in place. It will continue its maximum pressure campaign by creating new incidents that will again increase the price of oil. The easiest way out for Trump is to abolish sanctions against Iran. He at least should issue waivers for China and others to allow them to again buy Iranian oil.

Unless he does so Iran will hit again and again against those who press for war against it. Yesterday it was a U.S. drone and a Saudi desalination plant that were the targets. The next incident could be in some oil facility in the United Arab Emirates or a symbolic strike against Israel.

The ball is still in Trump's court. He has to act further to avoid a larger war.

Posted by b on June 21, 2019 at 9:06 UTC | Permalink

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c1ue @86 sez: " mention whatsoever of the MQ4 being a stealth vehicle."

Looking at the engine air intake, exhaust, and tail geometry it is obvious that the RQ-4 was designed with reduced radar cross section in mind, as well as reduced infrared signature, which means that stealth is part of its design. Doubtless it is entirely invisible to goat herders armed with pointed sticks when flown at 60,000', but clearly not so invisible to homegrown radar employed by irritated Persians. I've not been able to find any official RCS numbers for the RQ-4, but I would bet it is quite a bit less than an F-16c, and considering the price tag it might be competition with the F-35.

Please note, people, that all of this "Well, we didn't really want that RQ-4 anyway. We were just going to throw it away." reeks of sour grapes. This was not some sort of sacrificial provocation. The Iranians were not supposed to be able to hit this thing, and its demise resulted in lots of Pentagon panties loading up with purple Twinkies.

Just to keep things in perspective a Freedom-class littoral combat ship costs about $360 million, or roughly only twice what this RQ-4 cost. Even as flush with cash as the US military is, that is a serious loss.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 21 2019 16:58 utc | 101

Pepe's been a busy, productive writer over the past few days! It's good to see him moving away from the ever-more neoconnish Asia Times. His current piece at Consortium News goes way beyond reporting on "Brazilgate" by addressing the underpinnings of what I've called the Hybrid Third World War. So, this Friday has already gone way beyond its usual reputation as a slow news day. About the only surprise remaining is discovering which Saudi targets will the Houthis will shoot their missiles and drones at.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 17:02 utc | 102

"Of course, another spy plane was flying near the plane, with 35 crew members, and we could hit it, and that was our right, but we only hit the drones."

That seems like a huge crew for such a mission, but I'm far from a military guy. Can anyone speak authoritatively as to the needed manpower for aerial espionage or SIGINT activities and whether that is an unusually large group?

Posted by: Ash | Jun 21 2019 17:02 utc | 103

@ Jackrabbit | Jun 21, 2019 7:07:54 AM #20

IMO, limited bombing of Iran would've set a precedent for more and more bombing of Iran. The attacks on shipping set up the excuse to demand that Iran accede to such an arrangement.

I'm still partial to the notion Iran arranged the tanker attacks as a carefully planned warning to the US, but your alternate scenario is equally plausible. From Mangier again:

According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

It looks from here that what actually got cancelled were the face-saving attacks on some sand dunes to enable Trump to declare victory. Obviously these would have left all the sanctions in place, and would have validated the US position of successful macho bully. Not a sensible game for Iran to play!

As you say, allowing the first round of bombings of Iranian territory would have been a huge mistake for Iran, for by allowing this precedent they'd be looking at future bombing runs from not only the US but from the apartheid Jewish state.

This matter is still unresolved, and IMO Iran has no alternative except to maintain and even increase the pressure on the Saudis and others in the area. One possible way out might be to "renegotiate" the Obama agreement.

In a new annex to that agreement Iran would agree to not build any offensive missiles with cast iron engine parts, and their rockets would contain no balsa wood or more than 3 kilograms of liquid mercury. Trump could wave this around as evidence of his great skill as a diplomat - much superior to those of Obama.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 21 2019 17:08 utc | 104

Ash @102--

Wikipedia says 5 work stations for 5 personnel and two on the flight deck for a total of 7 crew members, which is less than the PC-3 Orion it replaced. I don't know where Iran got the 35 number. The plane's based on the Boeing 737-800, so it could certainly hold more as it has the space.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 17:13 utc | 105

I agree with c1ue that a rise in oil price could bring some partial benefits to the US currently, but agree even more with those who remind that higher gasoline prices are not popular. Furthermore the global economy slows as the oil price rises - as I noted before, I've always seen the red line at around $100-$120. It may be a bit higher in today's dollars but at a certain point world demand falls and industry stagnates, in a global recession, from the oil shock. So as the price rises, many concerned voices make themselves heard on policy makers, I think.


What I find curious us that we are in the exact center of a highly military situation at the moment and yet I don't see the threads flooded with trolls. Why has the military not rushed its additional personnel into these discussions?

Is b doing superhero work policing the thread right now (as well as superb analysis, by the way)?

Or does no one in the military quite know what the narrative should be at present?

Posted by: Grieved | Jun 21 2019 17:22 utc | 106

Trump just confirmed my hunch that there was no final decision to strike.

Meet the Press @MeetThePress - 16:50 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn’t given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air.

Also Elijah Magnier's piece is out:

Iran and Trump on the edge of the abyss

The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign. According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran’s allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran’s allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

The NYT reports that the CentCom claim that the drone was in international airspace is in doubt:
Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was ‘Not Proportionate’

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official.
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down — hours after Iran did — and errors in the labeling of the drone’s flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable “hard evidence” about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary — this one with a proven ability to strike back.

Posted by: b | Jun 21 2019 17:23 utc | 107

Layman notion of aircraft stealth: from what I have read, stealth means "reduced radar signature" and it does not work in all directions. When the plane is "optically visible" to radars from multiple angles then it is not stealthy. An attacking plane would fly low to be in optical range of a single radar installation, or fly high through a border that has few if any such installations like eastern Syria. Vicinity of Hormuz Straight seems to have plenty of Iranian radars.

A spy place could use "fly low" approach but in that case it would not see much. On the eve of war, "suicidal drone missions" can be used to map radar installations to destroy in the first wave of attacks, but Iran presumably saturated their key coastal area with redundant and mobile radars and launching sites, imposing losses on the initial attack waves.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jun 21 2019 17:28 utc | 108

b, how can you believe any of Trump's versions? I can't see that one is more trustworthy than another

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21 2019 17:29 utc | 109

Idle thought: it begins to look as if the shootdown of that huge drone was an unexpected event. If that's the case, the the US has just handed the Iranians, Russians, and Chinese another big gift of our latest and greatest technology. Just like with the RQ-170 Sentinel loss in 2011.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Jun 21 2019 17:33 utc | 110

Refinery blast in Philadelphia - this is the largest refinery on the US east coast.

Interesting move by *someone*. Trump won't use false flags that kill US soldiers to start the war. On the other hand, the treasonous Israeli-firster U.S. Navy senior commanders and their CIA handlers will gladly roast a few sailors or marines for their idea of 'greater good' - a justification to go to war with Iran. Trump won't allow this (knowingly), so Pompeo sped off to Israel for 'further instructions'. The Saudis had offered to kill a few Americans for a false flag, but they're inept and would either botch the whole thing or be discovered and roll on American/Israeli intelligence.

After the refinery dancing Israelis (surely, they're out there) are safely back in their country and the pristine 'Iranian terrorists' passports are unearthed in the ruins of the refinery and the MSM Wurlitzer blows a gasket winding up in the frenzy, Trump will once again gauge public opinion. A skeptical public - I don't think they will buy it.

Israel is desperate and Trump is too unpredictable for them. Israel knows the sure way to get the U.S. to kill Iranians is a false flag where American military die. The Refinery? If it was them, it was only a lead-in to the real one. That's how you prep the U.S. public opinion battlefield. Pompeo is in Israel to covertly give them the green light to kill a few servicemen (to blame on Iran) without Trump's knowledge. Trump's outrage at the *real* false flag - resulting in American military deaths - will be enough. Iran is expecting this, and there's nothing they can do to prevent it.

Iran *can* however put a rocket in the Qurayyah seawater processing plant - the one that sends injection water to Ghawar and Khurais. Without killing anyone or blowing up any ports, Saudi oil production will drop 30%, their power plants will start running out of natural gas and parts of the Ghawar formation will begin to suffer permanent damage.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jun 21 2019 17:35 utc | 111

U.S War With Iran? Video PROVES New York Times LIES – FAILS To Kick-Start WAR WITH IRAN

Hours ago, the New York Times tried and failed to kick-start an American intervention in Iran. In their piece, they lied, misrepresented the official position of the US president, and then imagined that Trump had ‘reversed’ his position.

In point one above, this is in reference to a NYTimes claim that is unverified and by definition, unverifiable. The whole story that Trump approved a strike and then ‘reversed’ it as their headline claims, is based on an ‘unnamed source’. The history of the NYTimes working with the CIA and intelligence to do yellow journalism is long established.

Here is Craig Murray's take:

We have seen what appears to be the most unconvincing of false flags in the Gulf. I pointed out why it was improbable Iran would attack these particular ships. Since then we have had American military sources pointing to video evidence of a packed small Iranian boat allegedly removing a limpet mine from the ship the Iranians helped to rescue, which was somehow supposed to prove it was the Iranians who planted the alleged device. We also have had the Japanese owner specifically contradict the American account and say that the ship was hit by flying objects.

The Iranians certainly have a strange method of bomb disposal if they carry it out using unarmoured personnel, with as many as possible crammed into a small boat in immediate contact with the “mine”. It is also hard to understand why the alleged “limpet mines” would be four feet above the waterline.

Posted by: jsb | Jun 21 2019 17:41 utc | 112

From the Magnier piece: "According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face."

Amazing that the US would even think of telegraphing weakness like this. The idea that Iran would accept such a deal is so ludicrous that, if the story is true, it's clear that panic and incompetence are ruling the day in DC.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 17:48 utc | 113

Zionist Trump will have a hard time risking war at the end of this term, UNLESS, for some or any reason he's absolutely sure he will not be President after 2020, in which case, to help out his Zionist masters and fascist Neocon comrades, to whom he is eternally$$$ grateful, he may provoke military conflict, and saddle the new Dem President with a war legacy, just to ensure that the JCPOA part of Obama's legacy is not restored. Trump would be that dirty. Zionists are that dirty. Watch carefully.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 21 2019 17:53 utc | 114

Between the second warning and the shooting down there were 10 minutes. I wonder how long there was between first warning and second. Max speed of global hawk is 10km/min (but can of course vary a lot and this thing will have low stall speed). When you're working on such a small area 10 minutes is a lot so during those 10 minutes the distance to the national airspace limit of 20km could have been all over the map.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 21 2019 17:53 utc | 115

OP @112
"Amazing that the US would even think of telegraphing weakness like this. The idea that Iran would accept such a deal is so ludicrous that, if the story is true, it's clear that panic and incompetence are ruling the day in DC."

Mix in Arrogance to that salad.

Iran like any sane person would not make any deals with such a lying crooked reneging cheater.

Posted by: arby | Jun 21 2019 17:57 utc | 116

Khamenei on Twitter yesterday intoned Iran's patriotic ethnic diversity by singling out Kurdsish martyred during the Iraq-Iran War saying,

"Our duty is to honor the martyrs and their families; we should not forget that. The families of the martyrs are the top priority in terms of the value of their patience and their hard work. We should honor them and respect them."

I would remind all barflies that Iran has deemed the illegal sanctions and withdrawal by the Outlaw US Empire to be acts of war and for Iran to already be in a state of war with the Terrorist USA, which accounts for its perspective relative to its decision making. Such is also well understood by Iran's allies--especially Nasrallah. Therefore, any attack on Iran will launch a war few want but a great number are totally unafraid of for they well know it will be entirely Pyrrhic for its instigators.

Or is it all merely bluff? Does Trump have the cojones to think it is and challenge it given the likely outcome? Well, it's not really Trump who'll make the choice now is it; rather, it'll be the Current Oligarchy putting its $Trillions in risks on the line. IMO, they don't stand to gain A Few Dollars More unless peace prevails.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 18:02 utc | 117

This I've been writing all along: for political reasons (the better to fool the dumb mass) Trump will reserve war with Iran for Trump Presidency Part II, however, if he has certain knowledge he will NOT be President after 2020, he will tie the hands of the next President, preventing his successor from restoring the JCPOA. His Zionist masters have it all planned and Trump WILL DELIVER on the Iran agenda. This is the EVIL plan; mark my words.

Posted by: Circe | Jun 21 2019 18:04 utc | 118

Piotr Berman @107

Traditional radar has the transmitter and receiver integrated into the same unit. Since the advent of anti-radiation ordinances that can home in on the energy transmitted by radar systems there has been effort invested to separate the two functions so that the transmitter, which is the part that anti-radiation ordinance goes after, is located a safe distance from the equipment that processes the returned signals, as well as the human operators of the equipment. Some modern systems have cheap and easily replaceable emitters, while the expensive hardware and human operators emit nothing for the anti-radiation ordinance to zero in on. In other words, the radar dish on the vehicle is a passive receiver and not so easy to find and destroy. The quarter $million HARM missile blows up a disposable emitter worth a few $thousand and the crew just hauls a new emitter out and sets it up next to the crater where the old one was and they are back in business in minutes.

Even more sophisticated is passive backscatter radar (developed at Donetsk University, former Ukraine, no less!) which uses no emitter whatsoever. They just rely upon ambient EM radiation from commercial radio stations and cellular communications towers to illuminate the targets. They are completely invisible to anti-radiation ordinances.

I don't know if the Iranians use equipment like this, but it has been in development by the Russians and the Chinese (and, obviously, Eastern Ukrainians) since shortly after NATO's attacks on Yugoslavia (necessity is a mother...). I wouldn't be surprised if the Iranians have similar defenses against anti-radiation weapons at this point.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 21 2019 18:09 utc | 119

@ Billosky from the previous thread.

The US military knows full well what Iran's capabilities are. It is just that they are dictated to by a confederacy of dunces bought and paid for by Israel.

Here's an article about an interesting wargame that the US lost. The "Sunburn" missile refered to is what the Iranian military calls the Noor. Note that the native Iranian technology is over 15 years old.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 21 2019 18:15 utc | 120

Piotr Berman @94

Regarding the soybeans and Brazil and China and the possible use of them as a wedge to help break up BRICS *and* the Russia-China relationship - see Pepe Escobar "Brazilgate is turning into Russiagate 2.0," on CN.

Escobar points out it would likely take Russia several years to grow sufficient soybeans to supply China's needs.

Posted by: AnneR | Jun 21 2019 18:16 utc | 121

There must be variants of the RC-135 keeping tabs on Iran, no? Wonder if that's what the 35-crew plane refers to. Might even be a British one...

Posted by: bjd | Jun 21 2019 18:25 utc | 123

Ash @102 I don't think the number of 35 being a crew is accurate. Remember this info is coming from Iranian sources so translation of the Gen's comments may account for the word 'crew.'

But this P8 flight with 35 humans on board tailing the drone is a pretty critical detail that should be explored.

Just a hunch, but that flight may have been carrying a team of special forces with their radar and lights out and the drone was serving as their eyes or guide so to speak. Maybe?

60 thousand feet is like really, really friggin high so I think it is safe to assume neither the drone nor P8 wanted to be seen or tracked.

Maybe this was a covert operation that got caught by Iran and they made the wise decision to take out the guide rather than a team of U.S. Special Forces. Imagine for a moment if they shot down the P8. Whew! That would be like really, really bad.

What's intriguing is Iran knows 35 warm bodies were on that plane 60 thousand feet in the air. I'm thinking that's even a surprise to the Pentagon. Wink.

Posted by: h | Jun 21 2019 18:28 utc | 124

Next question:

If the US does start air strikes (beyond just missile strikes) where will they be flown from? Yes, there are carriers but as far as land-based strikes in the region goes:

Iraq and Oman will almost certainly say no.
UAE and Bahrain will certainly say yes.
Qatar and Kuwait: ??????
Back into Saudi if al-Udeid, al Jaber and Ali al Salem are denied?

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 18:29 utc | 125


Tom Cotton
‏Verified account @SenTomCotton
Jun 20

The Senate will vote soon on arms sales to our Gulf partners so they can defend themselves and thousands of Americans within their borders from Iranian aggression. Cancelling those sales endangers American lives and weakens those countries in a position to resist Iran’s rampage."

Posted by: arby | Jun 21 2019 18:35 utc | 126

@h 124

"But this P8 flight with 35 humans on board tailing the drone is a pretty critical detail that should be explored. Just a hunch, but that flight may have been carrying a team of special forces..."

A P8 is an anti-submarine and intelligence collection a/c. I think you can rule out SOF.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 18:36 utc | 127

@William Gruff #101
The air intake is not stealthy, there are 40 year Russian and American jet liners with similar setups like the Boeing 727 and the Falcon 900EX.
Equally the enormous wingspan is not at all stealthy: wider than a modern Boeing airliner.
But yes, it might be designed to be somewhat stealthy compared to say, a broadcasting FM station.

Posted by: C1ue | Jun 21 2019 18:36 utc | 128

@karlof1 #117
Iran may well believe it is at war with the US, but a shutdown of the Persian Gulf hurts China more than anyone else.
I have yet to see any response as to how this ultimately benefits Iran.
Does Iran really believe that China would join it in outright warfare OT "stealth" warfare with the US, including the enormous economic hit from losing 40%-55% of its imported oil?
Would China really want to, even given its present Cold War situation on trade?
I've noted before that a Persian Gulf shutdown threat would seem far more damaging to China than anyone else. In addition, I posted earlier in this comment section how higher oil prices actually help the US economy.
Sure, $100+ oil is likely damaging, but there's a lot if space between the present price and $100.
It is still unclear that the net impact of high oil prices is bad for the US (assuming no actual war or shutdown) vs the very clear negative impact on China.

Posted by: C1ue | Jun 21 2019 18:43 utc | 129

Here's an interesting article on RC-135 operations near Venezuela. The RC-135 comes closer to a crew of 35 than any Orion.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 21 2019 18:43 utc | 130

Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, “special” representative for Iran:

“According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region.

However, Hook blamed Tehran for rising tension in the region because of the refusal of any diplomatic initiatives.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force. Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force," the envoy added.”

Diplomacy needs to be met with diplomacy......Really???

Iran should impose sanctions on all of SA, UAE and US oil exports. How’s that for diplomacy Mr. Hook? In case you missed it that is exactly what they are doing. Meeting your brand of diplomacy head on.

We are living in the realm of absurd. How is it that we have left the welfare of our kids, families and the future of our country in the hands of these incompetent morons?

And why is the rest of the world sitting with their popcorn watching this horror show?

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21 2019 18:53 utc | 131

h @124--

After reading the wiki item on P-8s having a normal crew of 7, I got to thinking about the 35 number either being a botched translation or how many bodies were noted via thermal imaging radar, something I doubt Iran was thought to possess. As I wrote, Iran can see everything to its West, which is a very BigDeal.

I digested Magnier's latest. The following is an extremely important point:

"Ha’aretz described Netanyahu’s Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line."

Except that is an impossibility. The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists--they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life.

Every writer, Magnier, b, Escobar, and most all barflies, etc, are saying the decision lies with Trump. As I've written before and again above, I disagree. The decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire. And it's my belief that such a war will not bring them A Few Dollars More and instead make their Fistful of Dollars evaporate rapidly. thanks to their great outstanding, naked, risks. For perhaps the very first time, the Current Oligarchy is exposed to the risks involved in a war it initially though it could win. Last night, it seemed to awaken to the potential consequences and blinked. The Philadelphia refinery blast may be shear coincidence or not, but it also has likely helped since its right down the street from the Current Oligarchies penthouses.

Now, it's just about the time of day when the Houthis launch their attacks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 18:58 utc | 132

@C1ue 129

Good point on China. I've made it too. I've seen some analysis that says China articulated its concern about Iranian departure from JCPOA at SCO, and Iran promised that it would escalate in gradual steps. Yes, there is an inherent contradiction in that Iran could really use Chinese support, but China is hurt by what Iran must do to try and break the stranglehold.

When Khamenei issued his four "recommendations" to Rouhani and the GoI, the first was that Iran should pursue its own strategy and not depend on either Russia or China. K. was saying, "Well, if you won't help us meaningfully, we'll do what we have to do." So how China plays in this will be interesting to see.

The question is whether there is any way as yet untried for China and the EU to cooperate to relieve Iran's economic problems in a sustainable way and also evade US sanctions. Second question is whether China could function without Gulf oil for a while by substituting max production and pipeline flow of Russian oil and gas supplemented with African energy--Sudan and Angola--and whatever else they can get their hands on. They could even buy from the US! Wouldn't that be ironic?!

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 18:59 utc | 133

@127 said 'A P8 is an anti-submarine and intelligence collection a/c. I think you can rule out SOF.'

Okay, maybe not Special Forces but a covert team let's say SEALs being transported via a P8 through an area that is hostile? Seems to me that would be an ideal plane to get a team through that sticky wicket.

Just a thought. Everyone seems focused on the shiny thing rather than looking at what this Iranian General said about the P8 and 35 individuals being on it. I find this piece of info quite interesting. Why?

Trump said yesterday, clearly, that he was of the growing belief that an individual in the IRGC made a decision w/o running it up his chain of command or something to that effect. Right?

Today, we learn two key details - the P8 plane w/35 folk on board trailing the drone AND that the IRGC gave 2 if not 4 warnings.

Iran could have started WWIII yesterday by taking out that P8. They didn't. Thank you, Iran. And the info Trump related was inaccurate to say the least. But watch the vid of him saying it - he believed that info - his passion is his tell.

Given the fact the Iranians DID NOT TAKE OUT THE P8 with 35 military personnel being on board should settle the heat this blog owner took, that being 'b', for stating last week the facts as he saw them being Iran is engaging in a maximum pressure campaign. Kudos to b for sticking to his facts.

Posted by: h | Jun 21 2019 19:00 utc | 134

China’s Top Providers of Imported Crude Oil
Below are the top 15 countries that supplied 90.6% of the crude oil imported into China during 2018.

Russia: US$37.9 billion (15.8% of China’s total imported crude)
Saudi Arabia: $29.7 billion (12.4%)
Angola: $24.9 billion (10.4%)
Iraq: $22.4 billion (9.4%)
Oman: $17.3 billion (7.2%)
Brazil: $16.2 billion (6.8%)
Iran: $15 billion (6.3%)
Kuwait: $11.9 billion (5%)
Venezuela: $7 billion (2.9%)
United States: $6.8 billion (2.8%)
United Arab Emirates: $6.7 billion (2.8%)
Congo: $6.4 billion (2.7%)
Colombia: $5 billion (2.1%)
Malaysia: $4.8 billion (2%)
Libya: $4.7 billion (2%)

Together, five of China’s leading crude petroleum suppliers (Russia, Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq plus Oman) represent over half (55.2%) of overall Chinese crude oil imports for 2018.

China’s top 10 crude petroleum providers supply almost four-fifths (79%) of its imported crude oil.
Fastest-Growing Suppliers of China’s Imported Crude Oil
The value of Chinese purchases of crude oil from its 15 top suppliers amounted to a subtotal $216.7 billion in 2018, up by an average 50.7% from the $143.8 billion worth of imported crude from those same 15 providers during 2017.

Libya: Up 248.1% since 2017
United States: Up 112.8%
Malaysia: Up 79.9%
Congo: Up 76.7%
Brazil: Up 76.6%
Kuwait: Up 67.8%
Iraq: Up 62.3%
United Arab Emirates: Up 60.8%
Russia: Up 58.6%
Colombia: Up 50.6%
Saudi Arabia: Up 44.6%
Oman: Up 40%
Iran: Up 25.8%
Angola: Up 23.6%
Venezuela: Up 6.2%

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 19:04 utc | 135

Brigadier General Hajizadeh spared 35 guilty lives..?

Posted by: snake | Jun 21 2019 19:04 utc | 136

Stop with the breathless kabuki theatre criticism already. "After the drone shoot down the price of oil jumped 10%." Someone just made a whole lot of money in the futures market. Get it?

Posted by: yabbadabba | Jun 21 2019 19:09 utc | 137

@karlof1 (132)

Israel's always been keen to wage battles and wars where others do the dying for them. Not this time. Like you say, with Iran it is smack dab in the middle of the front line.
Here's George Galloway: Attacking Iran, US will open the gates of hell. I think there are few that see things differently. And even Netanyahu might be getting cold feet. He's been remarkably & pleasantly quiet lately. Conventional bombs do kill, you know.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 21 2019 19:09 utc | 138

@ c1ue 87
Thanks for your comment.
I put "stealth" in quotes in a mocking sense, with the US drone pilot thinking that his aircraft was somehow immune to any detection or destruction from the country he was illegally operating in (its airspace). [modified by WG in hs 101, that the plane DOES have some stealth] Or what the hell was he thinking, if at all? We don't know. We do know that it's normal to use a transponder in international airspace, and since it was OFF in this case we can assume that he wasn't planning to stay in international airspace, which ties into the plane's subsequent destruction.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 21 2019 19:12 utc | 139

This whole situation arose from Trump tearing up the deal. I think that Trump did that a lot when he was tower building. Sometimes it worked. If it didn't he could always get another contractor to take over the job.

He's been tearing up all kinds of treaties and trade agreements and anything else he can tear up.
The difference in his position now is that the people who negotiated these contracts, agreements and deals were the best the US could get.
He can't get another Iran to replace Iran.
He always says the same thing.. "This was the worst deal ever"
I doubt that he even read most of the treaties or deals.

He is not dealing with contractors anymore but he has all of this stuff in a nice little box in his head.

Guys like Bolton go along with this reneging style of his if it suits their goals.

But now it is backfiring.

Posted by: arby | Jun 21 2019 19:15 utc | 140

@ C1ue

Let me inject some thoughts until our esteemed poster karlof1 joins in.

Pepe Escobar had an interesting article that I posted in the last blog. He thinks a gulf shutdown will have far worse ramifications than just oil and it would bring the world economy to its knees and that is the question of derivative markets that are dependent on oil.

As for China and Russia, they have had ample opportunity to do more than just lip service. First, They could have called a UNSC meeting to hash this out albeit being vetoed by US. At least they would have shown spine. This should have been done the moment these sanctions against Iran was announced.

Next, if Chinese had grave concerns, they would have started moving their military assets into the gulf early on. But US preempted that by moving NATO into the South China Sea en masse just to keep them away from Iran. That leaves Russia relatively free to stand up and say NO, just like Syria and Venezuela. But nothing of substance happened.

Hence, the announcement by Khamenei, “Iran HAS no friends”, who clearly feels they have been betrayed by these “allies”. If this war breaks out, China can kiss their BRI and all their other plans goodbye, which is precisely what US wants. The proverbial shooting two birds with one stone.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21 2019 19:15 utc | 141

"We Were Cocked & Loaded" Trump said, "but all we ended up with is a bad case of Blue Balls".

Can't stop stupid.

Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 21 2019 19:20 utc | 142

c1ue @129--

IMO, China well understands Iran's position/dilemma and essentially shares it as they communicate openly and very often. IMO, China continues to get Iranian oil via Iran's swaps with Russia. Also, IMO, the situation is very similar to that with DPRK in that DPRK/Iran hold the ultimate trump cards which will cause the Empire to eventually backdown. Keep calling and raising such that the Empire either is forced to continue to call and raise or fold. High stakes brinkmanship? You bet! But the game with DPRK isn't nearly as critical as the one with Iran, which impacts the entire world. The Current Oligarchy is aware that the world's against it; that every day this continues its credibility with its few remaining friends will dwindle and they'll slowly melt away.

How to capitulate while saving face is now the crux of the dilemma, IMO, although I don't see how any face can be saved since the Empire's so obviously in the wrong. I'll paraphrase what Walter Scott wrote: Beware the deadly web we weave when we practice to deceive.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 19:21 utc | 143

Now were talking, snake @136.

Iran has stated unequivocally that they do not want war nor will they start a war.

The fact they could have taken that P8 down with their missiles but chose to take out the drone instead substantiates Iran's declaration of NO WAR.

Trump gets that no matter what haters of him say. Trump sent his signal this morning by calling off any strike that was not proportional. So far, both leaders - Khomeni and Trump - are keeping their word. Let's work to hold them to it - BOTH OF THEM.

And karlof1 @132 yeah, I'm thinking that round table of sociopaths/psychopaths you refer to as the Current Oligarchy is going to get their asses handed to them and soon. That fire in Philly is just way too coincidental and like you said just outside these warmongers front door.

Yes, it is about that time of day...

Posted by: h | Jun 21 2019 19:21 utc | 144

@Oscar Peterson #133
I've noted in a different post's comments that Iran's actions are more likely about getting Europe and China to break ranks with US sanctions than anything directly with the US.

Posted by: C1ue | Jun 21 2019 19:23 utc | 145

@Uncle Jon #141
I think it is extremely naive that China would deploy military forces to stop Iran from crippling it economically through an act of economic extortion.
As I've noted elsewhere, China just has to withhold it's UN security council veto and allow the US to "peacekeep" China.

Posted by: C1ue | Jun 21 2019 19:26 utc | 146

@C1ue 146

My statement was eluding to a Chinese force in the gulf in support of Iran and against the US belligerence. Not in reverse.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21 2019 19:30 utc | 147

On Iran's geopolitical situation relative to the rest of the world:

When the body was first created, all the parts wanted to be Boss. The brain said, "I should be Boss because I control all of the body's responses and functions."

The feet said, "We should be Boss since we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go."

The hands said, "We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money."

Finally, the asshole spoke up. All the parts laughed at the idea of the asshole being the Boss. So, the asshole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work.

Within a short time, the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic, and the brain fevered. Eventually, they all decided that the asshole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed. All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat and passed out the shit!

Moral Of The Story: You don't need a brain to be a Boss----any asshole will do.

Nuff Sed.

Posted by: Nuff Sed | Jun 21 2019 19:33 utc | 148

Here's more on RC-135's over the Gulf: USAF RC-135V Rivet Joint 64-14841 PYTHN57 AE01C9 over Persian Gulf.

Posted by: bjd | Jun 21 2019 19:42 utc | 149

Looking at this picture released by the pentagon, they have the missile strike on video. Looks like they were expecting it to be hit.

The Iranian version shows the drone turning directly towards Iran, then being hit.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 19:50 utc | 150

@C1ue 145

Well, they've never been on board with the sanctions, but how will they "break ranks" and still protect their banks and companies? That's the question. The arrogant unilateralism of the US is certainly alienating everybody, and that will have a long-term effect, but in the short term, could, for example, China and Russia get on board with the EU to repair the damage done to the Euro since 2008 and make it a true rival to the dollar? The Europeans are resentful yet submissive.

Until one or more of the major powers is able to devise a mechanism to protect against US financial hegemony, they can't break ranks in a meaningful way except by segregating their economies from the global market system as the USSR did. But since everyone knows the fate of the USSR, no one wants to do that.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 19:57 utc | 151

So the story is that (1) in the drone destruction no American died and so (2) it wouldn't be fair (Trump: "proportionate") to bomb Iran and kill 150 Iranians.
The assumption is no US casualties in the aerial bombing, and there would be no (3), (4), (5) etc.
Surely they can't believe this in Washington.
One factor might be that this is at a time when the the US commander-in-chief is starting a political campaign with a lousy 44 percent approval rating, which could decrease further if there were anti-war protests at his campaign rallies and dozens of US military body bags started arriving at Dover AFB . .and they would.
In fact Iran is taking advantage of that vulnerability and exploiting it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 21 2019 19:58 utc | 152

C1ue @146 sez:"As I've noted elsewhere, China just has to withhold it's UN security council veto and allow the US to "peacekeep" China."

You were wrong then and you are still wrong. It is the empire's "peacekeeping" that threatens the oil supply the most. America's "peacekeeping" would just be an extension of the imperial "regime change" policies that are causing the whole problem to begin with. The Chinese understand this, though you apparently do not. The problem ends not when Iran kneels to the empire but rather when the US gets a hobby and stops trying to remake the world in its cheesy subdivision/strip mall/clown restaurant image.

As well, the stealth geometry that I was talking about with regards to the RQ-4 intake and exhaust is the S-shaped ducting that hides the compressor and turbines from radar and IR. Airliners do not have that.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 21 2019 19:59 utc | 153

Was the drone the beginnings of a US op to hit Iranian SAM sites. A target designed to cause numerous sites to light up.
Strikes being called off due to decoy being downed by single missile. An expensive decoy, but one that the US expected Iran to react to so sites could be pinpointed in real time for immediate destruction.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 20:00 utc | 154

Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move.

If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing.

George Galloway has warned the US and its allies in the Gulf that if they were to start “World War III” with an attack on Iran they will live to regret it because, unlike Iraq in 2003, they are capable of fighting back.

The Scottish firebrand, who famously took US lawmakers to task over the Iraq war when he testified in front of the senate in 2005, has given his take on the recent ratcheting-up of tension in the Gulf region after Iran shot down a US drone, which, it says, had entered its airspace.

Washington maintains its UAV was shot down while patrolling over international waters in an “unprovoked attack.” On Friday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to claim the US were 10 minutes away from bombing three Iranian sites, before calling off the strikes.

Galloway believes that many Iranians would see it as a great “pleasure to fight the United States and its allies in the region."

In a stark warning to US allies such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudia Arabia, Galloway insisted that any country that allows “its land to be used for the launching for an American attack on Iran will itself be immediately in flames.”

The former Labour MP concludes his passionate message to the world by declaring: "No more war. No more war in the Gulf. No war on Iran."

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jun 21 2019 20:14 utc | 155

@karlov1 #143

"IMO, China well understands Iran's position/dilemma and essentially shares it as they communicate openly and very often. IMO, China continues to get Iranian oil via Iran's swaps with Russia."

Yes, but China only gets 6% or so of its oil from Iran. It gets over 35% from Saudi, Iraq, Kuwait, UAE, and Oman. So can it replace this oil (obviously at much higher prices if Gulf exports were arrested) from Russia (already its largest source), Africa, and Brazil?

Yes, China understands--and largely sympathizes with--Iran's dilemma, but it has its own problems which are, naturally, its highest priority. It's definitely a potential problem for Iran.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2019 20:17 utc | 156

The poseidon with 35 on board - most likely the aircraft that videoed the missile strike - was it there to detect mobile SAM sites and direct US strikes... that theory would explain the number of people on board.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 20:17 utc | 157

India gets a lot of hydrocarbons from the gulf too, and it has already decided to send some warcraft to "protect shipping". I wonder what Modi would do if Iran shut down the gulf? My.

I think the Russian POV would be along the lines that it is Iran's fight and they need to win it to assume their desired place in the multi-polar world, and further they are quite up to the job, and further that (like the N. Koreans as someone else mentioned) they are the ones with the US by the short and curlies, they can close the gulf, and there is not much we can do to stop them, aside from trying to get along.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 21 2019 20:27 utc | 158


... the decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire.

The decision rests with the Deep State as per my analogy with team sports. The Deep State are the coaches that call the plays. They get lucrative jobs/speaking fees/book earnings from the oligarchy afterwards when they deliver good results.

Deep State are hiding in plain site. They are the ones that are in the game into old age, their opinions shape the news and policy, and they are "untouchable": McCain (before he passed away), Clintons, Brennan, Bush (before he passed away), etc.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2019 20:34 utc | 159

It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 21 2019 20:36 utc | 160

the oil output is equal to russia. consumers consume. they do not produce. the other states have already been a drag. its not the cash that is king, it is the vehicle that delivers it, and it runs on oil.

Posted by: jason | Jun 21 2019 20:37 utc | 161

Adding to @159: and then there's also the prominent neocons.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2019 20:39 utc | 162

I don't think my opinion has changed. There've been several cases where they've been about to attack Iran, but then have drawn back. Spring 2018 (Israel), 2012, even the event of 1980, where they tried but failed. Trump's aborted attack is just another case.

Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21 2019 20:40 utc | 163

In the pentagon pic I linked to @150, target coordinates show at lower right. Converting these coordinates to decimal or GPS brings up this position.°57'42.0"N+54°28'52.0"E/@26.0147725,53.8210005,8.25z/
data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d25.9616667!4d54.4811167" (have split the link as it will not work in HTML as a short link. Copy and past and it will bring up the position on google maps)

Looks like the pentagon video of the shootdown is not genuine. Some old footage dug out of archives.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 20:54 utc | 164

@Oscar Peterson #151
China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran.
US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 20:54 utc | 165

C1ue @129:

I have yet to see any response as to how this ultimately benefits Iran... I've noted before that a Persian Gulf shutdown threat would seem far more damaging to China than anyone else.

Magnier's reporting that Iran would attack all oil installations, including those of allies seems very abnormal. Why would Iran make such a statement, even to a supposedly friendly reporter?

It's recognized by all parties that Iran has the capabilities to shut down or nearly shut down the Strait of Hormuz. Why do they need to go beyond that to destroying oil infrasture (except maybe some pipelines that might try to circumvent the Strait)? Claiming to target even allied infrastructure just seems nonsensical - but very much in line with Western propaganda that paints Iran as a terrorist nation.

This is all the more suspicious to me because I don't buy the theories that b and Magnier have developed: "stealth attacks" and "escalation dominance". It's difficult imagine narratives that work better for the anti-Iranian effort than these which clearly paint Iran as terrorist aggressor.

See my comment @84 and @85 for more.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 21 2019 21:02 utc | 166

@William Gruff #153
Sadly, you still confuse strategic and tactical goals.
Yes, China strategically has interests different than the US. However, if China tactically will suffer due to a Persian Gulf closing, that is what matters more.
As for stealth: You might provide more documentation than your unsubstantiated expertise on why the engine placement makes this a "stealth" aircraft, even when its wingspan is 40 meters wide.
To put this in perspective, the F35 is almost 1/4 the wingspan of the MQ4. The F22 is 1/3. Even the B2 bomber is only slightly wider, but of course is a radically different geometry.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 21:05 utc | 167

The Osaka meeting in late June provides an opportunity for Trump and Putin to have an off the record conversation. This prospect has previously seemed to terrorize the powers that shouldn't be. Putin may be able to add to, or subtract errors from, Trump's understanding of events; or provide means of possible relief from Trump's entanglements. Relief from 'Russiagate's' obsessions and diversions provides an opening for re-establishing Trump/Putin chitchat diplomacy.

Keeping US Presidents in the dark or manipulating them with say dead ducks to steer them astray is not an unknown sport in US institutions. Putin as potential corrective rudder, delivered with a dash of humour and panache?

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jun 21 2019 21:09 utc | 168

re my post @164.

retried both set of coordinates showing on the pentagon pic with the online converter and this time google maps bring up both as being in the approx position of the shootdown.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jun 21 2019 21:10 utc | 169

@Bemildred #158
India overall consumes 1/3 the oil China does, but the import data I've seen says India imports even less than that. Their total imports of oil, from all sources, is in the hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.
Not nothing, but a very different story than the multiples of millions of imported barrels of oil per day which China is facing.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 21:11 utc | 170

Uncle Jon @141--

Thanks for the recognition, however unwarranted! It seems to me there's little more to thrash about. Brent crude's only risen about $1 to $65 while Gold's just under $1400 after another big gain. Most news outlets have settled back to quiet Friday normality, although RT has the Galloway "Gates of Hell" warning and a curious op/ed on AOC's condemnation of TrumpCo's Concentration Camps. Sanders has produced a strong anti-war statement. And so far the Houthis are quiet.

I return to my conclusion @143--how to capitulate and save face simultaneously? For me, saving face doesn't matter. Perhaps it's easier to look at the dilemma from the Big Picture perspective; so, lets zoom out.

The Outlaw US Empire finds itself embroiled in a Hybrid Third World War of its own making that began while Obama was in office in an attempt to recoup and then expand its economic dominance. On several occasions Russia's Putin warned the West about the consequences of its intensions, but the West refused to listen. Putin followed by China decided to act, or rather accelerate the actions they'd already begun. Medvedev & Hu Jintao both erred by not vetoing the UNSCR regarding Libya. The subsequent change in heads-of-state to Putin & Xi also marked a sea change in treatment of West at UN and in Russia/China relations. Back at the helm, Putin returns to warning the West about consequences. Then came the demonization in the run up to Sochi Olympics and subsequent coup in Ukraine of 2014 followed by Crimea's rejoining Russia and successful resistance by Donbass against aggression. In 2015, Minsk 2 handcuffed NATO allied with Ukrainian fascists; JCPOA was finalized in July; Russia intervened in Syria at end of September--all turning points blunting Outlaw US Empire aggression. These events seem to help POTUS aspirations of Sanders and Trump, which Trump won in 2016 thanks to Sanders being stabbed in the back by the Democratic Party establishment. The 2016 POTUS campaign, election and aftermath indicate the breakout of a factional fight within the Current Oligarchy. Trump gets the green light from the prevailing faction within the Current Oligarchy to violate JCPOA and commence economic war with Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela while overseeing the lawfare coup in Brazil to attack BRICS. And that pretty much brings us to our current moment, although I omitted a few details like Trade War with the world.

Note that there's more than Iran to deescalate from. Indeed, there's a very big mess needing cleaning. The group that's ultimately responsible for the mess is the Current Oligarchy as they did this for their usual goal of attaining A Few Dollars More to further enlarge their Fistful of Dollars at what appeared to be little risk. But, their risk assessment was wrong thanks to decades of accumulated hubris. Trump finds himself the figurehead of the treed Current Oligarchy that at present can't figure out a way down. There's nothing symbolic to do. What needs to be done must be tangible. Removing its illegal sanctions and surrendering to the many WTO challenges to its illegal trade practices would be relatively quiet yet tangible ways to climb down without too much publicity. Abstaining at UNSC to sanctions removal from DPRK and Iran would also be substantive and relatively quiet. By then a new POTUS will be in charge and further changes can be made that can be attributed to it as part of usual policy change thus saving whatever face remains to be saved.

Trump and the Neocons will be sacrificed. But will the Current Oligarchy have learned its lesson, ceased its attempt at world domination, and become willing to settle for its slice of Win-Win are the big IFs. But for us to get to that point in 2021, we must get beyond the current inflection point here in 2019.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 21:12 utc | 171

China doesn't have the material means to intevene in Iran. If it could, it wouldn't be China, it would be the USA.

Only the USA has the means to intervene at any part of the globe for a sustainable period of time. Every argument you hear about "Russian and Chinese" imperialism is bogus for this very simple reason.

Posted by: vk | Jun 21 2019 21:13 utc | 172

I don't want to repeat the obvious, but if the arguments in 2018 and 2012 were sufficient to hold an attack back, they're still valid today. Whatever the wonderful armaments the Iranians might or might not have obtained from Russia, it's not that that is going to make the difference.

Iran is a populist regime, much like Trump, or the Brexiters in the UK, though 40 years earlier. Attack them and you're going to provoke nationalism.

The point is that an attack is likely to end in a quagmire. The US won't be defeated, but also can't win. That's going to do a lot for Trump's chances of re-election, I don't think.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21 2019 21:13 utc | 173

@Jackrabbit #166
Well, one strategem might be the crazy guy on the other side scenario.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 21:18 utc | 174

@ Laguerre 163
re: citizens and their governments
A lot of people, in many countries, hate their governments, even in America, where congressional job approval is 17% and the president is at 44% (RCP poll averages).
When the country is attacked, with destruction from the air and people dying, that all changes. They choose their own government (the devil they know) and hate the intruder in their lives.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 21 2019 21:21 utc | 175

@karlof1 132
"...the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire."

I agree with the gist of this, but would refine it a bit. Probably the majority of us bar flies have long accepted that there is a "deep state," "ruling plutocracy," call it what you will, effectively running the US...probably for most of its existence, truth be told. But the most interesting thing about the tail end of the Obama presidency, and amplified through the Trump term, was realizing that there is not a single monolith "Deep State." There are discrete groups. When things were going well for the sole superpower, in the '90s and 00's, all of the factions were able to loot to their hearts' content, so you didn't really notice their interests could diverge. But as the overreach became unsustainable, and the World began fighting back, you began to see infighting. I won't pretend to be smart enough to know who is who and how each faction's vision of the world fits or fights with each other, but I think we saw a bit of a glimpse here in Trump's actions.

Trump may or may not have much original thought--it's hard to tell, with presidents becoming largely weather vanes. But vanes can show how the winds are blowing. There certainly appears to be an extremely powerful Zionist faction, often allied with the NeoCon "might-makes-right" faction, and there is strong reason to believe Trump was largely bankrolled by and is extremely beholden to that group. Hence his strong pro-Israel/anti-Iran stance. But at the very last moment, one of the few groups who are more powerful--the NeoLiberal/Globalist/Financier faction, threw their weight in behind "No War Today." They certainly don't mind when Israel goes stirring shit here and there, as long as they're profiting greatly from low-level warfare and arms sales. But THIS kind of war, that would almost certainly devastate world markets? No. So the Pentagon drew the line, and Trump toed the line. The nut jobs may have painted everyone so far into a corner that a major conflict might still happen, but there are now truly powerful forces trying to throw cold water on it.

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 21 2019 21:26 utc | 176

c1ue @170:

It is indeed different for China, and the point about what China would do without the gulf is a good one. But of course they would have lots and lots of company in that.

Nevertheless I thought it was interesting the alacrity with which India sent ships, I wonder why they are so eager to get involved? Modi posturing again?

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 21 2019 21:26 utc | 177

Just a few thoughts... if the rq4 was being used as a decoy to get radar sites to light up, one would expect a different snooper plane than a p8, which as far as I know is more of a dedicated naval surveillance aircraft than an electronic warfare craft like one of the fancy shmancy rc's that they could really mine the juicy intel from. Also if the intent was to strike these specific sites one would expect that the actual strike elements would already be moving in (it takes a long time to get birds in the air), since of they were stationary odds are they already knew about them, and only a huge fool would just flash on a mobile radar and then leave it sitting for a few hours for you to launch actual fighters. I sort of wonder (the conspiratorial part of my mind reminds me of the crossover that occurred between KAL007 with a snooper aircraft flying racetracks just outside Soviet airspace during that tragedy) if the intent was for the P8 to get hit but Iran didnt play nice...

Posted by: Yetanotheranon | Jun 21 2019 21:28 utc | 178

Just out of curiosity, I looked up the U2's wingspan: 104 feet.
The relative wingspans of various aircraft:
B2 bomber: 172 feet
MQ4 drone: 130 feet
U2: 104 feet
F35: 35 feet
F16: 32 feet
So we have a lower flying, slower, significantly larger surveillance craft vs. the U2.
Stealth? Really good question.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 21:31 utc | 179

@Bemildred #177
Europe would also be significantly affected, but Russia, Norway etc would likely be able to make up at least some shortfall.
China, on the other hand, doesn't really have alternate sources. Russian capacity to supply China is constrained by transport as well as supply. China doesn't have a Norway/North Sea equivalent either. The non-Middle East suppliers to China in its top ten, in order, are: Angola, Brazil, Venezuela and the US.
Hardly a great situation, particularly the distance from each of these 4 to China (even disregarding other geopolitical goings-on).

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 21:35 utc | 180

c1ue @167 sez: "...the B2 bomber is only slightly wider [than the RQ-4]..."

40m vs 52m is "slightly wider" to you? Almost 30%?

I do not know what radar cross section an aircraft needs in your book to be considered "stealth" as there is no such thing as invisible planes in the real world, just ones that are more or less easy to track by radar or infrared. That said the RQ-4 was clearly designed to be less easy to track. Whether or not that passes the arbitrary RCS cutoff number you have in mind to differentiate non-stealth from stealth is irrelevant.

China is playing the long game right now. They are not in the mood to cripple their long term strategic plans for a brief and short-sighted tactical advantage. Indeed, nothing that China has done in recent decades could be characterized that way. Perhaps if aiding the empire's conquest of Iran somehow translated into progress on their long range plans then they would go along with it, but that is obviously not the case here.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jun 21 2019 21:40 utc | 181

c1ue @180:

That was the general picture I had. Iran does a pretty good version of the crazy guy strategy too. Trump may have met his match.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 21 2019 21:46 utc | 182

Thank you c1ue #69 and it sure is good for the oiligarchs who refine it but real bad for small folks that pick up the bowser pump and fill their tank with it. They wont vote for Trump if the price stays high. Cheap petrol is like a religion in the USA and clown presidents who fail that test fail entirely. Right now in the summer drivers drive and tour the country while workers work and have to scrape to get by.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2019 22:00 utc | 183

@William Gruff
The B2 is larger, but it also carries 40000 pounds of bombs.
It is also very clearly designed: the surfaces aren't planar, there is extensive layering of additional materials, etc
You still haven't addressed the primary point: what independent data do you have that says the mq4 is stealthy as opposed to brochure stealthy?
At for China, your singularly un nuanced understanding of China does not inspire me, at least, to have any faith in the credibility of your analysis.
I've put forward very straightforward rationales row what I am saying; you I turn are doing nothing but saying "believe me".
Well, other people should do what they feel they should, but I don't believe you.

Posted by: C1ue | Jun 21 2019 22:02 utc | 184

Oscar Peterson #100

What will Iran do with the excess low level refined uranium? Sell it as they are expressly permitted to under the JCPOA treaty agreement. Read the treaty that is why its there. That is what everyone signed up to. Many countries refine low level uranium products.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2019 22:07 utc | 185

The Babylon Bee: Report: Internet Users Who Call For Attacking Other Countries Will Now Be Enlisted In The Military Automatically

U.S.—A new policy issued by the United States Department of Defense, in conjunction with online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, will automatically enlist you to fight in a foreign war if you post your support for attacking another country.

People who bravely post about how the U.S. needs to invade some country in the Middle East or Asia or outer space will get a pop-up notice indicating they've been enlisted in the military. A recruiter will then show up at their house and whisk them away to fight in the foreign war they wanted to happen so badly.

"Frankly, recruitment numbers are down, and we needed some way to find people who are really enthusiastic about fighting wars," said a DOD official. "Then it hit us like a drone strike: there are plenty of people who argue vehemently for foreign intervention. It doesn't matter what war we're trying to create: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China---these people are always reliable supporters of any invasion abroad. So why not get them there on the frontlines?"

"After all, we want people who are passionate about occupying foreign lands, not grunts who are just there for the paycheck," he added.

Strangely, as soon as the policy was implemented, 99% of saber-rattling suddenly ceased.

Note: The Babylon Bee is the world’s best satire site, totally inerrant in all its truth claims. We write satire about Christian stuff, political stuff, and everyday life.

The Babylon Bee was created ex nihilo on the eighth day of the creation week, exactly 6,000 years ago. We have been the premier news source through every major world event, from the Tower of Babel and the Exodus to the Reformation and the War of 1812. We focus on just the facts, leaving spin and bias to other news sites like CNN and Fox News.

If you would like to complain about something on our site, take it up with God.

Unlike other satire sites, everything we post is 100% verified by

Posted by: interlocutor | Jun 21 2019 22:13 utc | 186

Thank you karlof1 #105 as regards the number of personnel on board the accompanying spy plane the number may have included trainees or additional specialists developing systems associated with the drone.

I read at

That it was only just relocated and deployed in the ME.

There is always the possibility that Iranian intelligence counted the number of personnel as they went on board just across the gulf. Mentioning an exact number could also be a very specific and intimidating message.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2019 22:15 utc | 187

How did the Iranians know how many people were on board the P8?

Posted by: lysias | Jun 21 2019 22:23 utc | 188

I'd like barflies to ponder the following thought/probability: Radar Saturated Environment--radiation not from just individual, discreet, identifiable points, but from such a vast multitude that no single point can be discerned.

To further my brainstorming de-escalation, I'd like to point out what Putin said in his Direct Line yesterday about the economic war being waged against Russia in accordance with the Ukraine Coup in 2014. Pavel Zarubin asks:

"Let’s go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West’s demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?"

I thought this a capital question very similar to Iran's dilemma. Putin's response is quite long, so I won't cite it all. Rather, I'll limit it to his initial reply and conclusion as they both deal with the Big Picture:

"First, what does it mean 'to make peace'? We have not fought with anyone and have no desire to fight with anyone.

"Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market....

"Now to the question of whether some things would be different if we give in and abandon our fundamental national interests. We are not talking about reconciliation here. Perhaps there will be some external signals, but no drastic change. Look, the People’s Republic of China has nothing to do with Crimea and Donbass, does it? We are accused of occupying Donbass, which is nonsense and a lie. But China has nothing to do with it, and yet the tariffs for Chinese goods are rising, which is almost the same as sanctions.

"Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen, so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis]

This year's Direct Line was as usual filled with domestic issues some that lead to foreign policy issues. The overall scope and distinctness of the minutia are as vast as Russia. I've followed these over the years and note they reveal Russia's strengths and fragilities. I'm tempted to cite more but will leave it to the reader to pursue, but after 90 minutes you still won't be finished because the transcript isn't yet complete, which while frustrating is also amazing.

Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance. What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 22:34 utc | 189


US threats and the drone shoot down did effect oil shipments from the gulf:

"Insurance rates also soared after those incidents, with companies charging at least $180,000 in premiums to go to the Persian Gulf. They were about $30,000 early this year before tensions began to escalate."

As a result:
"Oil tanker owners are raising the prices they charge to export Middle East crude as tensions surge in a region that accounts for about a third of all seaborne petroleum shipments."Rates for transporting 2 million-barrel cargoes from Saudi Arabia to China jumped to almost $26,000 a day on Thursday, more than double where they were at the start of June, according to Baltic Exchange in London."

Meanwhile, the punishing sanctions on Iran has been crafted and applied by an Israeli immigrant to the United States named Sigal Mandelker who is the Israeli-American dual national who runs the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) at the Dept. of the Treasury.

Posted by: Krollchem | Jun 21 2019 22:39 utc | 190

An afterthought, I wonder how many countries who have bought the American military hardware are having buyer’s remorse or cancelling their orders with this news. If a homemade missile can bring down the most sophisticated “stealth” whatever and distinguish/spare the plane with personnel then why should they spend these ridiculous sums when they can go to Iran and buy a deterrent for pennies on the dollar.

This should put a nail in the coffin of F-35. Feel bad for the MIC......... First Boeing and now L.M. Time to sell those shares.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21 2019 22:49 utc | 191

uncle tungsten @187 & lysias @188--

According to the link I provided, there are only 5 work stations within the P-8, which is much less than the PC-3 Orion it replaced, which I toured long ago. CENTCOM might be lying about aircraft type. The only way I know of counting the numbers aboard would be visually prior to takeoff or upon landing or via thermal imaging radar. As I wrote above, possession of the latter would likely be a surprise to Outlaw US Empire and yet another signal by Iran saying we are far more sophisticated than you imagine.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 22:50 utc | 192

If memory serves, there was a comment recently on moa about Iran from kushy, a handle I recall from years ago when we (assuming the same person) blogged on "Going to Tehran." Blogging on one country like that really sharpens one's learning and understanding. It was enjoyable.
But alas the blog (like others) is long gone. The blog was run by the Leveretts, man and wife, in a hopeful time of the Obama presidency, when many influential people believed (incorrectly, as it turned out) in changes for the better. The Leveretts had written a book on it, summarized here.
Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic is a book by Flynt Leverett, former senior fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and his wife Hillary Mann Leverett. It was first published in 2013. . . .According to the concluding pages, the issues between Iran and America cannot be resolved by isolating, strangling, bombarding, dislodging or waiting for Iran to fall. The American government must consider the Islamic Republic of Iran a strategic partner and both countries have to reach an agreement on controversial issues.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 21 2019 22:56 utc | 193

Saudi under maximum pressure if this is true:

"Exclusive: A Saudí intelligence chief has pleaded with British authorities to carry out limited strikes against Iranian military targets, limited strikes against Iranian military targets hours after Donald Trump aborted."

Houthis still quiet. At his Twitter, b said he read this:

"Suez, Iran, and the perils of imperial over-reach," by Helena Cobban, which was published today.

About Ike's response, Cobban writes:

"He used hardball to bend them to his will: not just a strong resolution passed in the United Nations, , but also swift U.S. steps to undermine the British pound." [My Emphasis]

What I'd like to know is that "special procedure" and whether it can be used again.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21 2019 23:09 utc | 194


Believe this: the Drone type is the latest stealth device. It was only introduced into the region a week or so ago. It got zapped on entry into the war game. Stealth drone downed by Iran! Mull that over for a minute. Go here to read all about this rather expensive heath robinson device:

Consider the crew count on the accompanying P38 or whatever it is. It isn't stealth by any stretch. Blob on screen, yes but not stealth. Note nearby but not targetted as the Iranian defensive system is that accurate and that effective.

The game has changed. This is the Tet moment of moral defeat for the USA and its B team but now in the middle east and the ignorant war mongers are getting a flogging again by one of the oldest (once was) empires on the planet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 21 2019 23:12 utc | 195

The numbers of people in the region backing the US seem so small, as an example Qatar home to a large US force and US airbase population approx 2.6 million [88% are foreign workers] UAE 9 and a half million [foreign workers 80%] the US surely would not expect backup from these satraps who could be overrun in hours. It is not exactly people evacuating the Gulf by hanging on to the skids of helicopters yet but US defense contractor personnel at the Balad Air Base in Iraq are preparing to evacuate over "potential security threats," Iraqi military sources said Friday. Nearly 400 contractors with the companies Lockheed Martin and Sallyport Global that are stationed at the Balad Air Base north of Baghdad will be departing the country in two stages amid rising tensions with neighboring Iran. . Maybe a harbinger of things to come.
The US may also get the backing of any mercenaries the Saudis will pay for because they are otherwise engaged in Yemen, other than that the US will be on their own to fight the resistance who Magnier writes about.. “According to sources, Iran’s allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months”.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 21 2019 23:15 utc | 196

@Krollchem #190
$150,000 in increased insurance costs on a 2 million bpd tanker = very tiny increase in oil cost.
It isn't nothing, but the primary issue is availability.
Oil price, as I've noted, can actually positively impact the overall US economy.
I'm certainly not saying this is the driver - very little that is politically, economically, morally etc makes sense about this ongoing Iran faceoff.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21 2019 23:16 utc | 197

@ 195
That is exactly the mindset that makes me feel certain that an attack will happen. The ogliarchy scenario karlof has laid out seems mostly correct IMO. I differ on thinking that the ogliarchs have realized the game has changed. The system is so far beyond broken that it needs an excuse to trim out some dead wood and reshuffle the deck/loot/position themselves for the next step in their feudal dreams. I think the ogliarchy has also painted themselves into this corner, somewhat, and are so conditioned to using "might makes right that which you can't buy (with fresh off-books fiat to boot)" that they won't change the previously-winning strategy until forced to do so. The US Empire is the continuation of centuries of the same behavior by the same group(s), even if the membership has changed a bit over time.

Posted by: Sorghum | Jun 21 2019 23:27 utc | 198

karlof1 @196: Special procedure:

United Nations

Posted by: Bemildred | Jun 21 2019 23:29 utc | 199

Iran has no right to respond to diplomacy 'with military force': US
Yes, the US considers diplomacy to include harsh financial sanctions which are designed to make beggars out of a disliked country, but only harm and kill people.

It's an extreme form of "tough love" exerted upon a country to change its behavior, a goal often iterated by the US State Department especially toward Iran, but also others like North Korea. It doesn't work, primarily because it violates the mood expressed in the UN Charter, "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members" and instead relies upon some western countries imposing strictures upon countries considered to be wayward and inferior, which of course these countries don't accept. That was the basic flaw of the JCPOA, so in that sense good riddance to that. Khamenei, for one , never liked nor trusted it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 21 2019 23:30 utc | 200

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