Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 08, 2019

"Pretty Please" - Trump Asked Iran To Allow Him To Bomb It

On June 20 Iran shot down a U.S. spy drone. U.S. President Trump decided not to retaliate. The White House and the media claimed that Trump had ordered a strike on Iran but pulled it back at the last minute. We said that this was likely bullshit:

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

The British ambassador to the U.S., who's briefings to London leaked yesterday, agrees with that take:

[Sir Kim Darroch] questioned Trump's recent claim that he aborted a missile strike on Iran because it would have caused a predicted 150 casualties, saying it 'doesn't stand up'.

'It's more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020' – at the next Presidential election.

Elijah Magnier reported that Trump had asked Iran to allow him to strike back, but was rebuffed:

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.

An Iranian general yesterday confirmed Magnier's take (also here):

A senior Iranian general has revealed that Washington, through diplomatic channels, recently asked Tehran to allow it to conduct a small-scale operation in the Iranian airspace in order to save its face following the IRGC’s shoot-down of a US spy drone.

Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the Head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organization, said Iran vehemently rejected the US request, saying that it will respond to any act of aggression.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran responded that it views any operation as a war and will give a crushing response to it. You may initiate a war but this is Iran which will finish it,” he said Sunday.

The idea that the U.S. would ask Iran to allow it to bomb some targets without hitting back sounds crazy.

Dear Mr. Rouhani,

could you please name me three targets in your country that I am allowed to bomb?

It is urgent as I need to look tough on Iran.

Pretty please!

Donald Trump

But this is the Trump White House and the only thing Trump really seems to care for is his own rating.

Trump wants a new nuclear deal with Iran. One with his signature, not Obama's, on it.

Trump's nuking of a deal while pressing for a new one shows that he has not the slightest idea how Iran, or any other independent country, reacts to such pressure. There will be no talks unless Trump rejoins the deal and lifts the sanctions:

The US sent over 60 diplomatic delegations to Iran as mediators to hold talks with Iran but the leader of the Islamic Revolution rejected the US calls for talks and Iran began to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA.

The Trump administration seems to have genuinely thought that Iran would not react to its ever tightening sanctions by exceeding the technical limits of the nuclear deal, which it now does. Back in November Secretary of State Pompeo opined that Iran would not do this:

Asked what the administration would do if the Iranians restart their nuclear program, Pompeo replied, “We’re confident that Iranians will not make that decision.”

That was of course nonsensical. Why was Iran expected to stick to a deal it does not benefit from? Such wishful thinking has no base in reality:

A U.S. official familiar with the issue told POLITICO on Sunday that the Trump team hopes for three things: that Europe imposes some sanctions on Iran to keep it from further violating the deal; that a financial mechanism the Europeans have set up to help Iran obtain non-sanctioned goods succeeds; and that recent U.S. military maneuvers in the Middle East are enough to deter Iran from further military escalation.

“Fundamentally, we want them to stay in the deal,” the U.S. official said, when asked why the Trump administration wants the European financial mechanism, known as INSTEX, to work. There’s no desire to engage in an all-out war with Iran or see it build a nuclear weapon, the official said.

Europe is for now unlikely to impose sanctions on Iran for a deal that Trump broke. If it does, the whole JCPOA deal is off. INSTEX is a joke. It 'allows' Iran to barter only something other than oil, and only against humanitarian goods which are not under sanctions. It is worse than the 1990s oil for food program that caused major economic destruction in Iraq. Iran does not fear U.S. military might. U.S. military assets in the Middle East do not deter. They are targets. Iran knows that Trump wants to avoid a war.

The little thought out U.S. policy gives Iran escalation dominance. It can and will increase its nuclear activities, as it announced, every 60 days. Tankers and other interests of its enemies around the Gulf will receive more damage. Trump will come under ever increasing pressure. Iran's actions, like the sabotage of some ships near Fujairah, already show results:

[D]emand for ship fuel at Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates coastal shipping hub close to the Strait, has waned as some tankers stay away, traders involved in the regional market said.

The British ambassador expects no change in the confused White House policy on Iran:

One memo, sent by Sir Kim on June 22, refers to 'incoherent, chaotic' US-Iran policy, adding: 'Its unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon. This is a divided Administration'.

But the British policy on Iran is no better. On one side it is a signatory of the nuclear deal with Iran and claims that it wants to uphold it. On the other side it follows orders from the White House and hijacks a tanker that carries Iranian oil which it claims is going to Syria. Britain has absolutely no legal basis to do such. Even the former Swedish prime minister and rumored CIA asset Carl Bildt finds that behavior too crude:

Carl Bildt @carlbildt - 9:24 PM - 7 Jul 2019

The legalities of the UK seizure of a tanker heading for Syria with oil from Iran intrigues me. One refers to EU sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU. And EU as a principle doesn’t impose its sanctions on others. That’s what the US does.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi called the British act "robbery" and said that the ship was not heading to Syria. Its real destination is said to be "a new southern European customer" for Iranian oil, probably Italy. Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami promised to respond to the British act of piracy.

As usual the response will be asymmetrical and will come at a time and place of Iran's choosing.

Posted by b on July 8, 2019 at 14:59 UTC | Permalink

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Copy e-mail to a pal who was looking into the situation. -I decided to do a bit more research this morning and found some posts by Tanker Trackers. com who have gone into quite a lot of detail.
I didn't know before but apparently crude oil is much lighter than fuel oil and the reason Grace 1 went around Africa was because she is 22.5 metres deep. Syria's Port of Baniyas has offshore facilities for processing crude (a company called SBS builds these things) but at 19 meters, which is too shallow.
The conclusion seems to be that Grace 1 is laden with fuel oil for ship to ship transfers and that its destination was Europe, not Syria. Another point is that fuel oil is a refined product and will not contain chemical signatures which will allow it to be traced back to Iran.
So in conclusion, a complete cock up!
Notwithstanding, a court in Gib has said Grace 1 can be detained for 14 more days while they work out what to do next.

Posted by: Steve | Jul 8 2019 15:12 utc | 1

Not sure what the Iranian response to the British seizing their oil would be? I’m surprised the UK did that to begin with. But is Iran really going to have a proxy group launch a rocket to sink a Royal Navy ship? Seems like they’re too smart to get Europe on board with the US push for a war

Posted by: Danny C | Jul 8 2019 15:14 utc | 2

The "Gibraltar" business was all about the race to the bottom between Hunt and Johnson. My guess is that Hunt, who would kill his granny and eat her for fifty cents, was behind the decision to do as Pompeo and Bolton wanted.
Now, in light of the wise observation that "U.S. military assets in the Middle East do not deter. They are targets." One naturally begins to wonder which of the UK's remaining assets in the region, which traditionally it dominated, it is going to lose as Iran makes it pay. Something in Bahrain perhaps.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 8 2019 15:21 utc | 3

. . .that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran,
Trump has experience in such a charade, when empty buildings were struck with US rockets after the fake Syrian "gas attack" in Douma, April 2018. Probably the details were worked out between US and Russia in that case. That it wasn't possible this time is a clear indication of Iran strength. Stronger than Russia! Imagine that.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 15:35 utc | 4

Alistair Crooke thinking about Iran and Israel
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/08/to-think-outside-box-helps-first-understand-whats-box/

Posted by: bevin | Jul 8 2019 15:36 utc | 5

That Trump would come begging hat in hand seeking for Tehran to let the US bomb the country unimpeded does not strike me as surprising or implausible. It fits Trump's trademark MO of "chaotic, incoherent" to a 't', with a heavy dash of megalomania thrown in as well. Just another day in the office for Trump.
The seizure of the Grace 1 is more intriguing for its brazen illegality as well as the reported circumstances (if one can believe the Brits in their claim of boarding 2.5 miles from shore). Was this another avenue of "maximum pressure" cooked up by Iran?
As for Iran seeking US military targets in the region, those sitting ducks will be the last targets sought. Not that they might not, but that certainly would be nuclear option for Tehran. There is much lower hanging fruit to target that would cripple the lackey Gulf states. Hitting the desalination plants of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain would ruin those economies overnight without risking environmental fallout. Iran would be hammered in the MSM, but would be no matter their course of action. Those countries would have strategic reserves of water, so I wouldn't imagine people actually dying of thirst in the desert, but the next day there would be a biblical exodus of the ex-pats that run those economies. The UAE would grind to a halt, there would be a possible overthrow of the monarchy of Bahrain, and massive unrest in Saudi Arabia, without risking immediate gloves-off war with the US.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Jul 8 2019 15:42 utc | 6

@ bevin 5
Crooke points out, correctly I believe, that the real issue is not nuclear, or the oft-repeated foolish "largest state sponsor of terrorism," it is the revolutionary basis of Iran's success in the Middle East, besting the Gulf dictators.
Crooke: "Shi’ism is experiencing a renaissance, just as the Arab ‘system’ continues its downward trajectory in terms of its popular legitimacy and credibility. For the US to think that the Gulf States are capable of confronting Iran – of quenching this Shi’a renaissance – is . . . naïve. ."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 15:42 utc | 7

The cartoon has an element of truth, but mainly Trump is doing the bidding of his pro-Israel billionaire funders, Sheldon Adelson and Robert Mercer. They are frustrated that Trump has not been forceful enough with Iran.

Mercer">https://www.salon.com/2019/06/18/robert-and-rebekah-mercer-bail-on-trump-campaign-they-spent-49-million-in-2016/">Mercer bails on Trump

Posted by: Dan Lynch | Jul 8 2019 15:50 utc | 8

.... and that recent U.S. military maneuvers in the Middle East are enough to deter Iran from further military escalation.

And what "maneuvers" would that be a reference to? The false-flagging of the tankers near Dubai with no evidence presented or the false-flagging of the other two tankers with limpet mines flying projectiles?

Posted by: KC | Jul 8 2019 15:51 utc | 9

INSTEX is a joke. It 'allows' Iran to barter only something other than oil, and only against humanitarian goods which are not under sanctions.

In contrast, Philip Giraldi recently wrote that Instex is an upgrade of a previous “Special Purpose Vehicle” set up by the Europeans a year ago and predicted that it could possibly be a model for mechanisms that will allow Iran to sell its oil without hindrance from Washington.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/07/04/goodbye-dollar-it-was-nice-knowing-you/

Might anybody out there be able to reconcile these two views? Thanks.

Posted by: farm ecologist | Jul 8 2019 15:58 utc | 10

Looking at Trump's tweets yesterday (about Foxnews becoming like NYT CNN etc) it is obvious that (and it's not the first time) a leak such as the comments on him by the UK ambass in post got him into full hysteria.
So maybe to get rid of him one just needs a few leaks of nasty comments on his psyche? Enough to send him to the lunatic asylum?

Posted by: Mina | Jul 8 2019 15:59 utc | 11

One piece of good news is that apparently the 'stache is out of the Iran strategy and has to be happy with the "national security" Venezuela portfolio, judging from Bolton's twitter feed.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:09 utc | 12

It'll be a steady drip-drip from Tehran now, and there's not a damned thing the US can do about it. Pom-Pom will stammer and stutter, but Iran controls the narrative.
Tehran Times..
Iran’s uranium enrichment degree reaches 4.5 percent

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:14 utc | 13

re Don 7

Crooke points out, correctly I believe, that the real issue is not nuclear, or the oft-repeated foolish "largest state sponsor of terrorism," it is the revolutionary basis of Iran's success in the Middle East, besting the Gulf dictators.
That bit about the revolution, I don't agree with. It's more the Iranian renaissance that the Gulf States fear.

Two separate aspects need to be distinguished:
1) It is the Iranian (upper/middle class) exiles who hate and detest the revolutionary regime, because the regime has deprived them of the right to rule, that they thought was their hereditary right. Even within Iran, upper/middle class people I met had the same attitude - a kind of hurt that they weren't running the country. The regime is of course populist.

2) But the Gulf States don't give a fig about that. They are concerned about the simple renaissance of Iranian power, which might deprive the Sunni potentates of their own position. The classic case is of course Bahrain, where the "king" is Sunni, and the vast mass of the population Shi'a, and they're kept down by force, supported by the guns of the US 5th fleet. But the case of Saudi is much more serious, because it's so much bigger, and every single oil well is sitting under the feet of the Shi'a, and there are none anywhere else, certainly not in the Saudi homeland of Najd, which is real camel-herder territory (to which we can expect the Saudi princes to return, if ever the poor suffering Shi'a ever manage a successful revolt).

I think Crooke confused the two issues a bit.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 16:29 utc | 14

I think anyone believing that the EU will act in the interests of its own people and show any backbone is ignoring history. Yes, the EU would prefer to keep trading with Iran, but the elites have much, much more exposure in dollar-denominated assets than they do skin in the game with Iranian trade. When push comes to shove, I think the EU (in the short term, at least) will continue to do the US's bidding while claiming not to be doing any such thing.

Posted by: worldblee | Jul 8 2019 16:41 utc | 15

Yes, it is precisely Iran's success that threatens the Gulf Autocrats, Israel, and Uncle Sugar, each for slightly different reasons, or perhaps the same reasons in different amounts.

Those being: it's Shiia, it's populist, and it was indeed a political revolution. And for all of them it represents a viable alternative to the way they wanted things to be. Now, I think, it's too late. Many will take note of what they have done and how, it will be studied.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 8 2019 16:43 utc | 16

Re: INSTEX is a joke.
Sure it is. The big banks don't know how to conceal financial transactions? Give me a break. And they have found it difficult to replace SWIFT, which is only a messaging system, not a financial system?
The EU has been working this story for a year, and still can't provide Iran more than aspirins and band-aids. So Iran will ditch Europe now and forever. It's real friends in Asia are closer in several ways.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:43 utc | 17

@ Laguerre 14
I'll still go with Crooke, b/c the royal Gulfer fat cats fear revolution more than anything. Like Muslim Brotherhood, for example.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:46 utc | 18

Gen. Jalali is likely the ultimate source for Magnier, so this is likely one claim.

As to whether it is a plausible claim, no, because the scheme is a confession of weakness. Especially to someone else's "diplomatic channels." True con men don't confess before they're in cuffs. Further, given the semi-independent role of the military---generals afraid of losing have been the biggest restraint on Trump in my opinion---the ingrained common sense idea you strike to kill or don't strike at all would play a role too. If anything of the sort happened, a third party intervened offering Iran a heads up that a meaningless strike and was ignored. Why would anyone think pointless personal humiliation of Trump with this story is useful?

Darroch may well be right that Trump never was on board, but his speculations about Trump's thinking on 2020 elections is hubris. There is also the very likely possibility that Trump did order the strike to play boss over his military advisers, who have disappointed him so often. During the campaign, Trump was not isolationist nor anti-war nor anti-imperialist, he said he would win, and fire generals who couldn't do the job. Well, he's been giving them the guns with his insane war budgets, at some point he expects them to deliver what he paid for.

Posted by: steven t johnson | Jul 8 2019 16:48 utc | 19

Zarif responded to Bildt on twitter (latest first) --

Javad Zarif
Iran is neither a member of the EU nor subject to any European oil embargo.
Last I checked, EU was against extraterritoriality.
UK's unlawful seizure of a tanker with Iranian oil on behalf of #B_Team is piracy, pure and simple.
It sets a dangerous precedent and must end now.

Javad Zarif Retweeted Carl Bildt
PRECISELY.

Carl Bildt
The legalities of the UK seizure of a tanker heading for Syria with oil from Iran intrigues me. One refers to EU sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU. And EU as a principle doesn’t impose its sanctions on others. That’s what the US does.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:54 utc | 20

@Steve 1

Very interesting. But do you think that the British did not know where this ship was bound for? I find that hard to believe.

The Brits have become a vassal. And it is amazing how they are playing both sides of coin. As b mentioned, stay tuned for a major op. against the British East India Company.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jul 8 2019 17:02 utc | 21


I'll still go with Crooke, b/c the royal Gulfer fat cats fear revolution more than anything. Like Muslim Brotherhood, for example.
Don Bacon @18

Right, plus: they are not very bright the rulers in the Gulf, probably because they spent too many of their formative years in the United States' education system. They forget where they are from which is the worst thing that can happen to one with political power.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 8 2019 17:04 utc | 22

@ UJ 21
As b mentioned, stay tuned for a major op. against the British East India Company.

from the Tehran Times:
TEHRAN – Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi has demanded an immediate release of an Iranian oil tanker seized by the British government, Fars reported.
“It seems that the British and Europeans are well aware of the Islamic Republic’s reach and potential, and accordingly, it is to their own benefit that they immediately release this oil tanker, otherwise they should await the ramifications of their action,” Raisi said on Monday.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 17:16 utc | 23

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 16:14 utc | 13

Iran’s uranium enrichment degree reaches 4.5 percent

Iran has warned its next step in reducing commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal will be stronger, with a senior nuclear official saying that 20% uranium enrichment is an option.

Spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Behrouz Kamalvandi said Monday Tehran has passed the 3.67% uranium enrichment cap set by a 2015 nuclear deal and reached about 4.5%.

"Twenty percent is not needed now, but if we want we will produce it. When we've put aside 3.67% enrichment we have no obstacle or problem with this action," Kamalvandi said.

Options for enriching at higher levels have been discussed with the Supreme National Security Council, the spokesman said.

"There is the 20% option and there are options even higher than that but each in its own place. Today if our country's needs are one thing, we won't pursue something else just to scare the other side a little more. But they know it's an upward trend," he said.

LINK

Posted by: curious man | Jul 8 2019 17:36 utc | 24

It's funny that Upper Class Twit Sir Kim Whatsisname 'forgot' that UK policy on Iran (& hijacking an Iranian ship) is even more 'incoherent' than Trump's Iran policy.
Since nothing I've heard and read recently suggests a practical way out of this dilemna for Trump, AND Bibi chimed in today, AND imo Trump ALWAYS knows what he's doing and no-one else does, I'll firm up my recent speculation about Trump keeping up the pressure on Iran until "Israel" begs him to stop.

Imo, Trump wants to kick "Israel" OUT of US politics. Therefore he's jumped on "Israel's" Iran hobby horse and will use it, and "Israel's" devotion to its own moronic bs, to do the heavy kicking. It's going to take longer than I thought it might but that's only because Bibi is dumber than I thought and still hasn't woken up to just how badly this could turn out for "Israel" if Trump makes the Iranians angrier than they already are; which he seems to be doing...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 8 2019 17:51 utc | 25

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 15:35 utc | 4

I doubt Russia would have agreed to PR attacks on its own soil.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2019 18:07 utc | 26

@Hoarsewhisperer

“Imo, Trump wants to kick “Israel” OUT of US politics........”

It’s a nice thought but a bit outlandish, don’t you think. He is where he is because of the pact he made with the devil. And if your assertions true, combining it with his character, he would have never allowed his daughter to be married a to a first rate Zionist spy and furthermore, convert to Judaism.

I think you are way off the mark there. Unless, you have solid evidence we don’t know.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jul 8 2019 18:09 utc | 27

I have a feeling that UK assets in the middle east are very unsafe these days..

Posted by: Per/Norway | Jul 8 2019 18:14 utc | 28

@ cm 24
Refined uranium is classified as heavy or light. High enriched uranium (HEU) is when the concentration of the U-235 isotope exceeds 20%, low enriched uranium is less than 20%.
Historically, typically, nuclear power plants have used LEU below 5%. Research reactors and nuclear marine propulsion reactors are built with assays ranging from below 20% to as high as 93%, and weapons HEU is at 90%. There has been a recent move promoted by the US to reduce power and especially research reactors from HEU to LEU to reduce risk.
My guess is that when Iran says they may go to 20% for the production of medical radioactive isotopes. and such, they will go to 19.75% which is still LEU and avoids the HEU label. If they go to nuclear submarines it would probably require HEU, over 20%, also weapons of course at 90%.
(any reader who actually knows this stuff pls correct me as necessary)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 18:18 utc | 29

@farm ecologist #10
I wrote about INSTEX in another thread. The reason INSTEX is a joke is because it is essentially a bartering setup. Any company buying from Iran is set up with a company selling to Iran; payments are routed from the buyer to the seller.
However, the joke part is that oil sanctions block the vast majority of Iran trade. Iran was selling $53.7B a year in export vs. $49.7B in imports (last data I saw), but $40B+ of the exports is oil. If Iran is not allowed to export 2M barrels per day (which is roughly $40B a year @ $55/barrel price), then what does Iran have to pay with?

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 18:23 utc | 30

Posted by: farm ecologist | Jul 8 2019 15:58 utc | 10

Instex does not have enough "only several millions of euros" credit - yet - but as a mechanism it could work.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told reporters after the meeting that the Europeans say "INSTEX is operational, but Iran's expectations have not been fully satisfied yet."

"It was a step forward, but it is still not enough and not meeting Iran’s expectations," Araqchi said.

"For INSTEX to be useful for Iran, Europeans need to buy oil or consider credit lines for this mechanism otherwise INSTEX is not like they or us expect," he added.

Minutes after the meeting, the Secretary-General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid also confirmed the reports that the European financial mechanism to work with Iran is operational.

"INSTEX is now operational, first transactions being processed and more EU members states to join. Good progress on Arak and Fordow projects," Helga Schmid twitted on Friday, June 28.

Europe's preferred option is for Iran to cave to the US and do a deal that would include Iran's "behaviour" in the Middle East.
Iran has called the bluff and now forces Europe to take sides - either go with sanctions or do full trade with Iran.
I don't know about France or Britain but Trump's administration has threatened vital business interest in Germany (Russian gas) with secondary sanctions.
So while German politicians might agree with pressure on Iran they also want a mechanism that could protect European/German business in the future.

Posted by: somebody | Jul 8 2019 18:27 utc | 31

It may seem like a minor difference, but it is ethnic revolt that the Gulf States fear, not revolution. The Iranian Revolution was an internal matter between classes in Iran, and Khomeini imposed a religiously dominated state with a philosophy, called Wilayat-i Faqih, the government of the religious scholar. The ethnic minorities played little role. No other Shi'a states have followed this model. Particularly not in Iraq, where the Shi'a Hawza (the body of religious scholars in Najaf and Kerbala) have strictly and deliberately remained outside of politics.

In Bahrain and Saudi it's an ethnic conflict between the Sunni regime and the Shi'a community. Bahrain is one thing, evident enough. Saudi another. The Saudis have done very little to develop a sense of national identity. It's just the territories conquered by Ibn Saud in the 1920s and 1930s, ruled by the Saudi princes. I was very struck last week when by chance I happened to be in a workshop devoted to the development of modern Oman. Most of the papers were devoted to different aspects of the great efforts Sultan Qabus has made to develop a sense of unified national identity (after the civil war in Dhofar in the 1970s). None of this has happened in Saudi. It's domination of the Saudi princes from Najd. There have been revolts, but you haven't heard about them. There was one in Najran in 2001, reported by the WarNerd on his blog, but news never got out to the outside world. It's why native Saudi troops aren't willing to defend the Yemen frontier against Houthi infiltrations. The mentality of the troops is take the money, and don't bother to do anything. Saudi works that way - people are paid off by the oil money, and that's all.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 18:29 utc | 32

@Don Bacon #17
Actually, concealment isn't so straightforward - particularly at volume.
For one thing, while I don't know the specific technical details of SWIFT - it is almost certainly a server based setup. Of so, this would mean the SWIFT organization has copies of all messages - and that a nation state like the US can either legally or illegally obtain access.
Even if it isn't a server setup - unless the network is both point to point and strongly encrypted data in transit, it would equally be possible to eavesdrop on message traffic. This would be done either by compromising one or more "high traffic" routing servers (i.e. not SWIFT but along the most heavily used routes) or tapping the traffic flow directly.

For example: Whatsapp is theoretically secure and has deployed encryption for data in transit for a long time. However, until fairly recently, all Whatsapp messages received/sent by users were duplicated in Whatsapp servers and could be accessed via court order (or espionage).
Whatsapp then enacted a version of PFE (Perfect Forward Encryption) which was supposed to remove/reduce this possibility by encrypting the messages both with a constantly changing encryption key and by encrypting the messages on the servers. However, I don't think that the Whatsapp version is correct because real PFE is extremely user unfriendly: loss of key means no recovery of messages by anyone, but Whatsapp clearly has the ability to recover lost keys - meaning they must retain the actual seed key in their PFE system.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 18:30 utc | 33

"Imo, Trump wants to kick "Israel" OUT of US politics. Therefore he's jumped on "Israel's" Iran hobby horse and will use it, and "Israel's" devotion to its own moronic bs, to do the heavy kicking."
Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 8 2019 17:51 utc | 25

Lol that is some serious pretzel logic.

Posted by: O | Jul 8 2019 18:33 utc | 34

SWIFT:
"Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication" was made and is used for financial transactions messaging concerning transfer of funds, saying only "messaging" is far too easily misunderstood in 2019 (it's not about lolcats although one could if one wanted to). More on Wiki article (it is mostly okay but a little old).

Some people got rich hacking SWIFT.

OT SWIFT:
Funny thing is the US are crap at doing SWIFT the right way (how everybody else in the world uses it), or at least that's what I was told when I did a small SWIFT transaction to the US not all that long ago and needed a little bit of help since the US was off living in their own fantasy world as usual. Makes one think that if the US had truly embraced metric they would have defined their own separate meter… :P

They're exceptional for sure. Exceptionally "special". The US flag ought to be a white icon of open scissors (✂) on a blood red background.

Carl Bildt:
Carl Bildt always lies even if he says something true, everyone (b, Iran, you, me) should ignore him.

Iran uranium enrichment:
The whole point of enriching is to show the world that Iran will not be dictated to so of course they'll go to 20% if no one listens. If they feel the need to there's no reason they shouldn't go higher.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jul 8 2019 18:52 utc | 35

Trump is destroying the environment - land, water, and air. He has initiated Reaganomic Trickle Down (disproven as economic stimulus, disproven as sound economic theory). He is embarrassingly ignorant. The tweets would be hilarious if he were someone else's "leader". He's a Zionist bull in a china shop.

The best thing about Trump is his alleged reluctance to blow up the planet.

Fake bmobing is better than fake news.

Posted by: fastfreddy | Jul 8 2019 18:54 utc | 36

@bevin (5)

Thanks for the link to that article by Alastair Crooke!

Posted by: bjd | Jul 8 2019 19:13 utc | 37

@ # 1, who wrote: "crude oil is much lighter than fuel oil and the reason..."

The terms "fuel oil" and "crude oil" define petroleum with specific gravity that overlaps. E.G a crude at the well head may be of lower S.G. than diesel oil...which is sort of "fuel oil", but itself a range of viscosities and densities. "Fuel oil" is really undefined... a range.

there's wiki on the subject.

Some oils have S.G. > 1, but not many.

I do not agree with the implication that draft and S.G./X are necessarily related. If the cargo is low density load more cargo... the densities are close anyway, mostly.

Posted by: Walter | Jul 8 2019 19:23 utc | 38

It certainly seems that Iran is pushing. The MSM claim that it is because Iran is desperate. I wonder more about opportunism. Trump's failure to follow through with an attack gave an opportunity.

Iran is too big to defeat conventionally in short order. I wouldn't be surprised, if the Iranians, profiting from Trump's initial quail, hadn't decided that it's a good moment to push back.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 19:25 utc | 39

Or Trump knows Iran won't renegotiate and so escalation is guaranteed. His idea of escalation being trade only and containment, Iran's view being that that is (or verges on) an act of war.

Equally Trump asking Iran for targets is Iran propaganda, the embassador only said Trump was not fully on board with a strike.


The UK illegality of detention of Grace 1 is contested by the twitter author, e.g.

"moving towards conclusion, the UK authorities - by seizing Grace 1 & its crude oil - either decided they are "freezing economic resources (i.e. oil)" of black-listed person (Baniyas refinery) or "preventing making them available" to a black-listed person."

but as questioned by myself and others, the application of jurisdiction to territorial sea is not obvious, nor by EU nor by UK nor by international law. The matter is going to be in EU hands to decide on, if not UN hands.

The order is EU (sanction) , not US. It is EU order that now has jurisdiction to release Grace 1. At most UK presented EU and Iran with a problem by overstepping UNCLOS.

Iran is selling crude to Italy ? You think Italy will buy against US sanctions?

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 19:30 utc | 40

@ c1ue 33
The answer -- 007 Emails, encrypted email messages that that will self-destruct in 7 seconds after being read.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 19:30 utc | 41

"Trump's nuking of a deal..." lovely turn of phrase, and here is hoping it stops at that.

Posted by: fx | Jul 8 2019 19:32 utc | 42

re Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 19:30 utc | 40

Trump has quailed on attacking Iran. He won't start again now.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 19:41 utc | 43

"Darroch refers to Trump as an “inept” and “dysfunctional” leader who “radiates insecurity,” and whose presidency could “crash and burn” at any moment."

@5 bevin - alastair crooke quote "Does Team Trump, Daniel Levy asks, really understand “how completely they are being played by various regional actors, in ways highly detrimental to American interests”?

Probably not – which is why the region is so on edge." thanks for the article..

it seems to me that iran, saudi arabia and israel are all in a state of change for different reasons.. the usa-uk duo are sure to mess it up too by pushing for war, whether it be thru stealing tankers, or flying drones inside iran's boundaries...

@ laguerre.. thanks for your insightful comments..

@ hoarsewhisperer - your comments on trump are whacked out as i read them..

@ b - i am not convinced of trumps 'no war' cred.. he's a first rate bozo. anything is possible with him at the controls..

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2019 19:45 utc | 44

europe = chamberlain...

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2019 19:47 utc | 45

What what what?!

Are you saying --

or is Elijah saying --

The United States gov't fakes military actions for political purposes?

Gawd, NO!

My world is just a-crumblin'.

Or like that big REAL genocide in Yemen which is falsely described as a war by WAPO and the NYT -- a narrative you helpfully reinforce by constantly repeating and where, as the story goes, medievil tribesmen aquire unusually accurate and really quite massive scud missiles, via an easy to blockade port, from a third country that doesn't have scud missiles (Iran), and perhaps including tall tales of courageous Hezbollah's participation, so as to sex it up for those gov't trolls who pretend to believe everything they read?

Starving to death sure makes those Houthis somethin' fierce tho, ain't that so?

And forgive my continued speculation but could that also mean Israel and Russia also FAKE attacks, and/or confirm fake attacks because everyone is following the SAME effing FAKE effing script?

Next you'll be saying they have repeatedly fake attacked Al-Tanf in Syria to ease pressure built up by British Rothschild Zionist MSM and MI6 alt media, to murder those sons o' bitches, cuz ya know, they had it coming ya'll.

Flabbergasted I am. Just flabbergasted.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jul 8 2019 19:49 utc | 46

The twitter info you use for other destination seems incorrect


" "a new Southern European customer" (probably Italy), not Syria. The kind of oil this tanker was carrying is not compatible with the refinery at the claimed Syrian destination. "

According to


https://www.euronews.com/2019/07/08/seized-supertanker-was-full-to-capacity-with-crude-gibraltar


Grace 1 is carrying crude, not fuel oil. Crude is suitable for refining in Syra it seems.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 19:53 utc | 47

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was absolutely right when he called our Generalissimo of Bone Spurs and President Chief Kaiser of the US of A a "moron." I'm not religious but God help the US if Donald Trump lasts another year and a half in office.

Posted by: GeorgeV | Jul 8 2019 19:56 utc | 48

"europe = chamberlain...

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2019 19:47 utc | 45"

That's what I'd expect from a Canadian who hasn't understood.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 20:02 utc | 49

The breaking of the Iran Nuclear Agreement has NOTHING to do with Obama signature and EVERTHING to do with Israel's veto of the agreement.

Posted by: El Cid | Jul 8 2019 20:05 utc | 50

@49 laguerre.. fair enough... i just see europe caving to usa demands 24/7... what do you call that?

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2019 20:06 utc | 51

@ Laguerre 43

I follow the reasoning, and I think it would be eye for eye, where the US is seen to be replying to aggression by Iran . That means a scenario of escalation is possible, but I don't think a pre-emptive flattening of Iran is the main idea at all for now - the plans are there for that if the escalation becomes unacceptably high.

It isn't a very happy balance of understanding though, a lot of loose ends.

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 20:11 utc | 52

gzon @52: "...where the US is seen to be replying to aggression by Iran."

I think that it is difficult to see things that way outside the US mass media echo chamber. The situation looks to be the opposite wherever reality leaks past the information gatekeepers in the corporate media.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 8 2019 20:17 utc | 53

Posted by: james | Jul 8 2019 20:06 utc | 51

The EU behaves to the US much as Putin does. They don't want confrontation, so they slide. Putin provides a good example.

The danger is that in the end confrontation is inevitable. That will be the choice of the US.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 20:19 utc | 54

Here is a list of recent fake news I can easily recall:

Fake Grace I piracy.

Fake reaction by Spanish PM, to both fake seizure of Grace I, and to fake but politically popularizing British accusations of anti-semetism.

Fake speculation about fake attack in Gulf.

Fake Wagner group stories including fake setup for fake killing of ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY Syrian soldiers/mercs, or am I mixing up plotlines again. Goodness knows how that could be possible.

That number sounds familiar though, doesn't it?

In 8 years of coming to this blog I have never been wrong when claiming one or another narrative is 99-100% bullshit.

Never once. Think about that for a moment.

Oh and can someone please tell me why lazy reporting about an apparently genuine earthquake, as described by a commenter on this blog, is worthy of any concern whatsoever?

It's as if someone wants me to go out and make a fool of myself decrying something as a confirmed fake (specifically an earthquake) so as to make me look foolish and alienate me from anyone with 3 or more functioning neurons.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jul 8 2019 20:32 utc | 55

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 20:11 utc | 52

"I follow the reasoning, and I think it would be eye for eye, where the US is seen to be replying to aggression by Iran . That means a scenario of escalation is possible, but I don't think a pre-emptive flattening of Iran is the main idea at all for now - the plans are there for that if the escalation becomes unacceptably high."

Your trollery is obvious, when it was the US that started the aggression. Trump quailed, and will quail again. An attack upon Iran is not doable, without a lengthy war, and US casualties, which may destroy his re-election chances. That kind of war of choice is disadvised by his political advisers.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 20:37 utc | 56

It is not reality that is fake. It is the narratives manufactured by corporate mass media that are fake.

It is a bad idea to confuse the two.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jul 8 2019 20:39 utc | 57

https://www.rt.com/usa/463684-trump-british-ambassador-not-liked/

I wonder how the fall out will figure into the current situation?

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jul 8 2019 20:47 utc | 58

The US can attack Iran, and maybe win, but it won't be over soon, even if nukes are used. Iran has a very strong national tradition, and they aren't about to collapse, in spite of what the exiles may be telling Washington. That's not the sort of war that Trump wants, and I have no doubt he will say no.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 21:03 utc | 59

Didn't we see the same 'save face' move in Syria, after the fake chemical attack, and bullshit response with an ineffective tomahawk missile attack by the USA on Syria? Rumors then mentioned targets that were pre-agreed upon by Russia, US and Syria. It makes sense that we would try it again.

Posted by: joetv | Jul 8 2019 21:10 utc | 60

Trump needed funding and money to get elected. We largely know that certain other countries that hate Iran indirectly provided such funding through their religious compatriots. The entire US middle eastern foreign policy is beholden to these interests. Ultimately I don't think that Trump is stupid enough to believe that US foreign policy will work at all, but he just needs the money to get re-elected. He is also not stupid enough to get into a shooting war with Iran which wouldn't play out very well with re-election. Ultimately, the attempts to preserve the uniqueness of the nuclear forces in the regions, will prove fruitless. Bombing enrichment centrifuges is one thing, but a functioning civilian nuclear reactor will prove impossible to bomb as fallout will hurt the neighbours. The little country that is nicking large chunks of palestine and the holy land will have a limited lifespan if it carries on the way it is doing.

Posted by: Kaiama | Jul 8 2019 21:13 utc | 61

@58 Both Hunt and Johnson, who seem to be the front runners in the Tory election, will support Darroch. It's a class thing. Some of the American public will
agree with Darroch's remarks. Some will like Trump sticking it to a snotty Brit.

Posted by: dh | Jul 8 2019 21:14 utc | 62

@Don Bacon #41
I'm not familiar with OPM Security, although the OPM moniker does not have a good history...
I would note that *any* email that doesn't use PGP type encryption, is inherently not secure.
While almost all emails are encrypted with StartTLS - the problem is that StartTLS is not secure if you have an email server...or an email forwarding server...or capture the email packets and feed it into a StartTLS enabled spoof server, etc etc. StartTLS is like https: secure only against the rankest amateurs.
So having a message that "disappears" after reading, isn't really secure if it was recorded on its way to the recipient.
Secondly, the "disappearing" part doesn't mean that a copy wasn't made and retained by the company hosting the service. This is where faith in the company offering the service comes into play. Faith not just that the company isn't making these copies, but also that company is going to fight government subpoenas and/or court orders. Both Lavabit and Silent Circle (the latter by PGP founder Phil Zimmerman) shut down explicitly due to actual or expected "government interference".
Thirdly, if you do use PGP, 0.35% of all emails are encrypted with PGP or similar - meaning PGP users (both senders and recipients) are very much the secure head sticking out of the pack.
The last part is usability. Email is as much about a record as it is about communication. Disappearing emails means having to remember everything receiving and/or sent - that's rarely optimal beyond a handful of messages. The most common consequence to these types of measures is physical notes, screen shots with phones, etc - which are not secure either and have the extra bonus of not being searchable.
Beware technological shortcuts to security - a significant number of them are really just safety blankets.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 21:15 utc | 63

The Strait of Hormuz is the sovereign and legitimate territory of Iran whereas the Strait of Gibraltar is the illegitimate possession of England from its colonial past disputed by its rightful sovereign Spain. It is time for the EU to support the return of Gibraltar back to Spain. England's use of Spanish land for piracy is patently illegal. It's time for the spineless Spaniard to awaken from their slumber.

Posted by: El Cid | Jul 8 2019 21:17 utc | 64

@ wg 53 Yes, that is why I used the word "seen", as in having a something to uphold that can be seen as the reason.

@ Laguerre 56

In a standalone window we only have disputed claims on tanker mining and drone positions, on whether voluntary /"voluntary" sanctions are justified or act of war. There is no trolling wrt. In fact discussion, other point of view, is needed for climbdown from this confusion.

In the bigger longer picture though, who started the aggression and is ultimately to blame, who is more right....


(is an open ended question we don't want more war over(?)...but that seems not to have a means of peaceful resolution when you factor in other realities of the region.)

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 21:18 utc | 65

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 21:15 utc | 63

If the UK Foreign Office don't have adequate encryption, they've failed entirely in their duties.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 21:30 utc | 66

Posted by: gzon | Jul 8 2019 21:18 utc | 65

"(is an open ended question we don't want more war over(?)...but that seems not to have a means of peaceful resolution when you factor in other realities of the region.) "

There won't be a war because it doesn't correspond to Trump's conditions: that there should be an easy victory, in order to ease a re-election.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jul 8 2019 21:44 utc | 67

Encryption only protects messages while they're being transmitted. It doesn't protect the text as originally composed or as it's recreated after being decrypted.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 8 2019 22:02 utc | 68

re: leak
The Cabinet Office has begun its inquiry into whether a civil servant or politician had released the documents to the pro-Brexit journalist Isabel Oakeshott.
wiki
Isabel Euphemia Oakeshott is a supporter of Brexit.[22] She was allegedly in possession of details about Russia's cultivation and handling of Brexit's biggest funder, Arron Banks, that he was in regular contact with Russian officials from 2015 to 2017, but publicly downplayed Russian involvement with Banks.[23][24]

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 22:05 utc | 69

Haven't caught up with comments yet, so I don't know if anyone has posted this yet.

The RT show, Renegade, Inc. has an interview with Sharmine Narwani published just today. I've cited this show before, largely for its economic material, but it has its finger very accurately on the geopolitical pulse also. The interview is excellent - Ashcroft is a great interviewer, and Narwani is always a sheer pleasure to listen to.

Her intimate and informed view is quite valuable describing the long-standing character and commitment of those players in the region we especially like. Too bad the US Administration won't watch the show. Anyone who thinks Iran is any kind of pushover is as crazy as the neocons, and, fortunately, less crazy than the Pentagon.

I happened to catch this one over a sandwich and a beer, may you be equally fortunate:
What’s the real plan with Iran?

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 8 2019 22:10 utc | 70

twitter--
Isabel Oakeshott Verified account
@IsabelOakeshott
Political Journalist and Commentator.
Professional feather ruffler . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 22:13 utc | 71

"..it is ethnic revolt that the Gulf States fear, not revolution." Laguerre@32
Do you mean 'ethnic' or sectarian? Surely there is little 'ethnic" difference between the Bahraini shia and their sunni overlords, is this not true too of the shia-wahhabi divide in saudi Arabia, too?

Then of course there is the question of the difference between a 'revolution' and a government being overthrown by a population organised on religious lines. To me it is not clear that there is one.

Posted by: bevin | Jul 8 2019 22:16 utc | 72

@Don Bacon (69)

Wouldn't it be something if the leak could be traced back to the Kremlin. ("Lather, rinse, repeat").
Kill a whole flock with one stone.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 8 2019 22:24 utc | 73

@ bjd
Yuppers, I smell Russkies (but Issy says she doesn't like them any more).

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 22:32 utc | 74

Today I found a Dawn Redwood tree that had survived the ice age that killed the dinosaurs. Thought to be extinct, some enthusiastic Communist botanists from the West went to China in 1949 and discovered whole forests of Dawn Redwoods from ancestors which had survived by clinging to uppermost rocks. The Dawn Redwood complement the Coast and Giant Redwoods in California. As I move away from humans I find solace in trees. I discovered a Deodar (Cedrus Deadora) that is worshiped by Tibetan Buddhist monks, Hindu Sages and is the national tree of Pakistan, so unites three of the world's great religions. There it stands all droopy branched and sort of wise.

What's this got to do with the topic being discussed. Probably nothing. Just to suggest a visit to trees provides a canopy of escape from the madness around us.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jul 8 2019 22:42 utc | 75

@Lochearn (75)

Beautiful!
Here's mine: you notice trees after they've been felled.

Posted by: bjd | Jul 8 2019 22:49 utc | 76

from the web --
SWIFT has been politicized, so go with a Russia or China system . . .connected to banks.

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) has long been the global banking transfer mechanism of choice, launched in 1973. However there is a problem – the system itself is prone to be under the demands of the United States, meaning that should the US request SWIFT services be dropped from dealing with specific banks or even countries, the network will typically follow suit. This has become increasingly politicized, what ought to be a payments network system has ended up being a service that will do as requested and be driven by US economic and trade policy.

SPFS, or System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has been under development by Russia since 2014 and is now up and running.

Another alternative is China’s CIPS (China International Payments System), which several Russian banks have also connected to, especially to ease banking operations between the two countries, according to Vladimir Shapvalov, also of the CBR, who said at last week’s SPIEF conference: “As for the cooperation on payment systems, a range of banks are already connected to CIPS, allowing to facilitate payments routing procedure.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 22:53 utc | 77

“The idea that the U.S. would ask Iran to allow it to bomb some targets without hitting back sounds crazy.”

No its not crazy, its just more proof of fake wrestling. Typical negotiations before the fake wrestling event, coming this fall no doubt.

Posted by: Pft | Jul 8 2019 23:09 utc | 78

It sounds plausible. Iran has an army. A big, well-equipped and well-led army that utterly and completely and totally dwarfs the ground forces that are currently available to CENTCOM. Starting a "real" air war against Iran under those circumstances is madness, precisely because Iran can respond by launching a ground war that will inevitably result in the defeat and surrender of all CENTCOM ground forces before the USA has time to send reinforcements i.e. a humiliation for the USA.

But a token strike against a worthless target?
A way to save face without actually doing anything worthwhile?

Trump: Yeah, OK, sound the Iranians out on the idea.
Flunky: Mr. President, they say if you launch a single air strike they will mobilize 500,000 and launch them into Saudi Arabia
Trump: And how many troops do we have there?
Flunky [shuffling paper] [mutters into phone]
Flunky: Around 20,000 men, sir, give or take.
Trump: Cancel the air strike! Cancel it now!!!!!

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jul 8 2019 23:12 utc | 79

Grieved @70--

Thanks for the FYI on that interview! IMO, you'll find this Global Times item about the Eighth World Peace Forum at Tsinghua University content fascinating. One statement said, "China is reforming the unreasonable part of the current international order," which I found humorous while also serious. Also, at the end of the item we learn about an open letter to the Trumper published on 3 July by the Bezos Post, "Making China an enemy is counterproductive" which can be read here. Of course, the same ought to be said about Iran.

IMO, more people of importance are listening to China and Russia while tuning out the familiar drone coming from the Outlaw US Empire's president and its gang du jour.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2019 23:17 utc | 80

Lochearn @75--

The small town's name I reside at is a Chinook jargon-word for where trees/forest meets water/ocean. It's promoters call it The Gem of the Oregon Coast. And I'd say they're close to being correct.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2019 23:30 utc | 81

80 cont'd--

Sorry, but should have added the following from the open letter which begins as delusionally as the recent defense posture regarding China:

"1.China’s troubling behavior in recent years — including its turn toward greater domestic repression, increased state control over private firms, failure to live up to several of its trade commitments, greater efforts to control foreign opinion and more aggressive foreign policy — raises serious challenges for the rest of the world. These challenges require a firm and effective U.S. response, but the current approach to China is fundamentally counterproductive.'

The delusional that signed the letter compose quite a faculty. Changing USG policy given such recommendations will be difficult. And as you might imagine, Iran's judged just as poorly. It's not just the system that's "unreasonable;" it's the people running it too!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 8 2019 23:40 utc | 82

This is a blatant UK and US intelligence hit job aimed at influencing the 2020 election:
- "UK hijacks oil tanker": Message="UK is prepared to take action against Iran, why is Trump so war shy"
- "Trump asks Iran before bombing": Message=ditto the above.
- "Diplomatic cables released "accidentally" by UK Foreign Office": Message="Even the UK is getting tired of confused Trump"

Come on folks, stop analysing it with endless "what if"'s and see it for what it is.

Prepare for much more of this: The UK's Skripal affair lured Trump into expelling diplomats, later making him look too trigger happy. Now they are trying to make him look indecisive, stupid and reluctant to stand with his closest allies: notice how Bolton has receded into the background to avoid the flak? In addition, I am sure the UK's intelligence would never do any of this without the OK from US intelligence.

Posted by: aspnaz | Jul 9 2019 0:02 utc | 83

@ aspnaz 83

If you replace “UK” with “Tel Aviv puppeteers”, your post will start making sense.

I am relieved you didn’t mention nukes in your comments though.

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jul 9 2019 0:11 utc | 84

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jul 9 2019 0:11 utc | 84
So the leaders of US intelligence would never do anything to make Trump look bad?

Posted by: aspnaz | Jul 9 2019 0:20 utc | 85

@Don Bacon #17
@c1ue #30
@somebody #31

Thanks for your insights. I guess there is limited reason to be optimistic regarding INSTEX...

Posted by: farm ecologist | Jul 9 2019 0:22 utc | 86

What I increasingly see, is more chaos between the brother and system corporations known as the western obeying nation states glued together by banking system enforced by the so called intelligence services. A nation states is an armed rule making resource-concentrating people-dominating structure.. Its ideal for the practice of economic zionism because the leaders of these different criminal groups can each prorata share in the nation state franchise scam and each war lord can attach his or her bank to a prorata portion of the global booty.

But I seem more and more that the governed in each of these Nation states are refusing to be lead by a guy sitting on the wagon pulled by a donkey with a hot dog swinging off a fishing cane in front of face of the donkey.. The jib is up.. from the bottom.. all that is missing is a leader.. IMO

Posted by: snake | Jul 9 2019 0:36 utc | 87

Thanks to Grieved for the RT link

It was interesting to listen to them talk about the rules/law based conflict but neither seems to dare say what is behind the rules based claim.....global finance

Them that controls finance makes the rules. This has been the behind the scene order for centuries while the public was fed Freedom and Democracy lies.

That is the war that is being fought out through proxies currently but the main event is coming soon I believe.

If there is going to be nuclear war it will be because those that make the rules in the West are poor losers after centuries of being on top of the heap.....a financial crisis is being precipitated that will result in some sort of crash/bankruptcies/reconciliation process and when the West comes to the table demanding ownership of everything, what will occur and who will be running the meeting?......China/Russia....this is when to be concerned about the future of humanity......until then we have kabuki misery and war criminality deaths/destruction.

I do agree with Sharmine Narwani that the sooner we get to the climax, then potentially there will be less suffering by the various nations getting attacked by failing empire sowing chaos and misery.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jul 9 2019 0:44 utc | 88

The UK badly needs the USA after Brexit, as it may go bankrupt.
It would do anything to please the USA.. total prostitution...

Posted by: Virgile | Jul 9 2019 0:48 utc | 89

Already BP is starting to feel the heat from Iran's threat to punish the British.

BP Oil Tanker Shelters in Persian Gulf on Fear of Iran Retaliation

Perhaps the panic and the fear are part of the punishment.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 9 2019 0:48 utc | 90

The Epstein case has all the earmarks of CIA protection of an asset.

Posted by: lysias | Jul 9 2019 0:53 utc | 91

An interesting article here...

Iran’s Oil Exports Implode As Sanctions Sting

I have read that Iran needs 600,000 BPD of exports to break even. The West is trying to push it to zero. If Iran survives the sanctions it will be because Russia and Iran helped it to export oil under the radar. It is in their interest to give the US a black eye.

Taking that oil off the market is good for the rest of the producers, it keeps the prices from crashing. The world is awash with oil.

The US is toothless in the region at this point. Trading sand dunes to bomb is typical of a toothless power. If they could not tame Vietnam they will not tame Iran. They can bomb it to oblivion but the Persians will never give up.

I do not think Trump's heart is in this, it looks like he is being pushed by the bureaucracy and he is pushing back in his own way. All the death and destruction of Vietnam and they turn out to be trading partners of the US in later years.

What a waste, what a moneymaker.


Posted by: dltravers | Jul 9 2019 0:54 utc | 92

If Iran survives the sanctions it will be because Russia and Iran helped it to export oil under the radar.
I meant China not Iran.

Posted by: dltravers | Jul 9 2019 0:55 utc | 93

Re: Don Bacon | Jul 8 2019 18:18 utc | 29

When U235 concentration exceeds 20% it becomes "weapons usable", that is, it becomes possible to create a nuclear detonation, i.e. a it can be made into a nuclear weapon. But such a weapon would be very bulky and probably not capable of being made into a bomb carried by a plane, certainly not into a warhead carried by a missile. This is why weapons grade HEU typically has U235 enriched to a concentration of at least 90% and higher. Once you get enrichment close to 20%, it takes a lot less time to further enrich to bomb grade, which is another reason why arms controllers want to keep the concentrations much lower.

Reactor grade plutonium can be made into a weapon, although it certainly is not ideal for the purpose, because it typically has higher concentrations of Plutonium 240, which tends to reduce the explosive power of the weapon (see http://www.ccnr.org/plute.html ). Japan has enough stockpiled plutonium to make 6000 nuclear weapons https://phys.org/news/2018-07-japan-plutonium-stockpile-fuels.html

Posted by: Perimetr | Jul 9 2019 1:51 utc | 94

@70 grieved.. thanks for the Sharmine Narwani interview...i think she's correct on most accounts.. the focus is still very much on syria and of course iran continues to help syria so it must be sanctioned and stopped for having a different concept as well... the whole concept of regime change has morphed into dividing up syria - east of the euphrates into some sort of kurdish area with assistance from ksa, israel, usa and the west...in fact, it did some time ago and they are still working hard on it at present..

this is where the oil in syria is too.. all attempts are being made to cut syria off of the oil, whether the taking of the iranian tanker (it's complicated) or keeping east syria in the hands of sdf under guidance from ksa-usa-israel and others.. i read today how ksa has offered large sums of money to the tribes to align with the kurds..
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980417000663

i am not sure when the climax happens, but she is right with her overview..

Posted by: james | Jul 9 2019 2:34 utc | 95

Ok, speaking of medievil societies with super advanced military industrial capabilities, check out these obviouly staged photos the White Russian is pushing, almost as if to answer my earlier comments.

https://thesaker.is/exhibition-of-houthi-military-industrial-achievements/#comments

Have all the real people who call out these elaborate but badly thought out hoaxes completely disappeared? It occurrs to me often, almost every comment made some days is made by pro Russian/Israeli hasbara, now one and the same.

Yemen is a Mossad/Pentagon/Globalist operation. The long term goal is to set whole population of the Arab and Islamic world to flight.

Posted by: C I eh? | Jul 9 2019 3:19 utc | 96

#79

If the downing of the Globalhawk was an major PR disaster of the US military, then Iran destroying just any one their uber-expensive "invincible" superstars like the F-22, F-35, B2, aircraft carriers will be the complete and irreversible end of their globally perceived military supremacy. I will not be surprised one bit when that happens, after all American military gear is built for maximum US corporate profit in mind.

Posted by: Jonathan | Jul 9 2019 3:29 utc | 97

@Laguerre #66
Diplomatic embassies should be using state of the art encryption - but yet again, the human factor comes into play.
As Snowden, Manning, and numerous government (US, UK, Brazil, other) leaks show, data in transit is only one part of the equation.

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 9 2019 3:46 utc | 98

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/07/08/trumpsteingate-the-coverup-of-donalds-little-girl-fetish-hits-high-gear/

Journalism. =>has disclosed the tunnel, and a few of its investigators are exploring its contents, expecting to find at the end of this tunnel Successful entry into politics requires candidates to first "tag themselves" with a "corrupted and venerable" "CAV" badge? Wonder if this has traction in the persons involved in Grace I, the failure of JCPOA. Is the CAV badge the weapon that has corrupted nearly every nation state in the western world? Politicians make promises, and then within hours for unexplained reasons, reverse them..Hmmm? Is the CAV Badge the weapon that has corrupted the intelligence services and stable of politicians in nearly every nation in the world? Did Colin Powell flash a CAV badge as he spoke to UN focus about the most likely presence of non existent WMDs that led to w__ in Iraq?

How can CAV badge victims be identified and isolated from politics?
The CAV badge could explain so many USA positive, American negative events?

Posted by: snake | Jul 9 2019 4:03 utc | 99

Posted by: c1ue | Jul 8 2019 18:30 utc | 33

For example: Whatsapp is theoretically secure and has deployed encryption for data in transit for a long time.
Posted by: lysias | Jul 8 2019 22:02 utc | 68
Encryption only protects messages while they're being transmitted. It doesn't protect the text as originally composed or as it's recreated after being decrypted.

Why WhatsApp Will Never Be Secure
https://telegra.ph/Why-WhatsApp-Will-Never-Be-Secure-05-15

Posted by: curious man | Jul 9 2019 4:07 utc | 100

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