Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 09, 2019

The U.S. Campaign To Weaken Iran's 'Axis Of Resistance' Is Failing

When Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo was indicted for several crimes we predicted that he would become more dangerous:

Netanyahoo will fight tooth and nail to gain and keep immunity. He will try to delegitimize the judicative and he will use any available trick to stay in office.

That makes him even more dangerous than he usually is.

He might even decide to do something, like starting a big war, to prevent his removal from power.

Lebanon, Syria and Iran must watch out.

Now the former MI6 agent and diplomat Alastair Crooke detects a new Israeli attempt to instigate a war on Iran:

“This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit (a leading Israeli journalist)’s ear this week: ..
What sort of history might that be? Why six months? Well, Caspit points up: “Netanyahu’s people, headed by minister Yuval Steinitz clearly state that a widespread war is likely to erupt in the next six months between Iran and its adversaries in the region, including Israel”. And the new Defence Minister, Bennett, threatens Iran on an almost daily basis.

“Perhaps Netanyahu simply needs a war with Iran in order to survive politically,” one of the Blue and White leaders told Caspit: “That is scary and dangerous …” .

There nothing new with that one might say. Netanyahoo has for years plotted to instigate a U.S. war on Iran. But there was so far no reason for the U.S. to wage one. War needs a narrative, a story than can be sold to the people who will have to pay for it. Crooke sees a possible one in the recent riots in Iran and elsewhere:

Well, here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire Iran-hegemony enterprise is at risk. Protests have been going on in Iraq and Lebanon for weeks, bringing their economies to a near standstill, and forcing their Iran-approved prime ministers to step down. There’s no end in sight to the protests …”.

And hence, the Israeli push – led by the newly-appointed Defence Minister, Bennet, that now – precisely – is the moment for the US to act against Iran. This is the narrative for war.

So the idea is that the current turmoils in the 'axis of resistance' countries - Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran - has weakened Iran so much that it can be attacked.

But a look at each of those countries shows that it is doubtful that the narrative is true.

Lebanon is in a currency crisis because the U.S. has sanctioned remittances from expatriates (around $8 billion per year) to the country. That has triggered the collapse of a fraudulent scheme used by the rich in Lebanon to increase public debt while channeling the state's money through the central Banque du Liban into their own pockets:

The BdL has issued Treasury bonds at very high interest rates; most of that debt has been bought by other Lebanese banks. Jad Chaaban, a professor at the American University in Beirut, has found “individuals closely linked to political elites control 43 percent of assets in Lebanon’s commercial banking sector.” He also calculated that, to take one example, the Hariri family had earned $108 million between 2006 and 2015 from interest on the public debt.

The idea behind the U.S. sanctions was to economically hurt Hizbullah, to instigate a civil war against it and to remove it from the Lebanese government. But the scheme failed. While the Lebanese pound lost some 40% of its value Hizbullah raised the pay for its people:

Today, no Lebanese citizen is able to dispose of his own saving or company assets in banks due to restrictions on withdrawals, effective “capital controls”. Only small amounts are allowed to be delivered to account holders–around $150-300 per week in a country where cash payments prevail. No one is allowed to transfer any amount abroad unless for university fees or special demands of goods import of first necessities.

However, Hezbollah, the US-Israel main target, was not affected directly by the US sanctions and by the new financial restrictions. Militants were paid, as is the case monthly, in US dollars with an increase of 40% (due to the local currency devaluation) with the compliments of “Uncle Sam”.

(As many Syrian banks and industries have used the Lebanese banking system, the currency crunch in Lebanon also led to a sharp drop of the Syrian pound. This is a problem for Syria but its allies will help to dampen the effects.)

The U.S. sanctions against Lebanon failed to have the desired effects. There will be no civil war against Hizbullah. The group and its missiles arsenal, which acts as deterrence against Israel, are as ready as ever.

The protests in Iraq are genuine and they have brought the government down. But the U.S. attempt to use them against the Popular Mobilization Forces (al-Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi), created in 2014 by Iran to defeat the Islamic state, is also failing. The U.S. position in Iraq is weak. It can not out-compete Iran's influence:

President Barham Salih launched talks immediately after Abdul-Mahdi’s resignation by making rounds with different political blocs. Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional security apparatus, also came to Baghdad to meet with key officials.

U.S. military bases in Iraq are increasingly coming under fire.

Genuine protests against fuel price increases in Iran were followed a day later by prematurely triggered attacks from underground groups against the country's infrastructure and banks. Iran reacted immediately to eliminate them. As Crooke describes it:

The security forces reacted militarily – arresting and killing many insurgents. And yes – the internet was shut down. But, not the internal Iranian internet – only the global internet. So, the Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph, and Iranian news channels were still accessible – though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess.

So what was going on? The Iranian government, it seems, had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by ‘activists’, as a part of an (externally formulated and resourced) disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year.

What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these ‘activists’ were given the go-ahead to ‘seize the moment’. In other words, they activated all their pre-prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to ‘smoke out’ the plot, and to arrest, or kill the ring-leaders.

To build the underground network of insurgents in Iran must have taken years. It was likely done by the CIA in collaboration with the MEK cult. The militants were supposed to be directed, like the rioters in Hong Kong, via Internet messaging services. When those command and control lines were cut Iranian security services had, as we predicted, no problems to eliminate the militant groups.

The U.S. has tried everything against Iran except waging an outright war. But its schemes against Iran and its friends are failing everywhere.

The U.S. pressure campaign against Iran was an item of a State Department press conference on Friday where Matt Lee of the Associated Press challenged Assistant Secretary Schenker's assertion that the campaign shows 'success':

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The Iranians oftentimes, or have certainly in the past taken aggressive action when they feel under pressure. We see that in the response to, for example, the maximum pressure campaign working over the months. The past five, six months, Iran has become increasingly more aggressive. There is a trajectory, right, where they have first increased the operational tempo of the Houthis against the Saudis, then raised the rhetoric and the temperature in Iraq against U.S. personnel, moving on from there scuttling boats in Fujairah, then kidnapping boats, then shooting down U.S. drones in international airspace, and most recently Abqaiq, targeting directly with their own missiles Saudi oil facilities.
QUESTION: And then you seem to suggest right now that the maximum pressure campaign is a success because it has resulted in greater Iranian aggression and shooting down U.S. drones.
QUESTION: Well, that’s —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: Maybe that’s what you inferred.
QUESTION: No, no, no, that’s – that’s – well, no, that’s I think the way —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The pressure campaign is working. They are clearly under fear and pressure, and they are lashing out. They are also —
QUESTION: Yeah, but if that’s a success, I mean —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: They’re also having double-digit negative growth.
QUESTION: Fair enough.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: The people in the streets are protesting against the regime for its corruption and for its economic mismanagement —
QUESTION: Yeah, but surely there’s —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: — for spending all the money of the Iranian people on militias abroad, like in —
QUESTION: Surely the metric – surely the metric for the success of U.S. policy, foreign policy anywhere, not just with Iran, is that the country – the other country is less aggressive and less likely to shoot down U.S. drones or attack U.S. bases or threaten —
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SCHENKER: There is – no, Matt, there’s – to be fair, there – things sometimes get worse before they get better in those terms.

The U.S. consistently overestimates its capabilities to bring Iran to its knees. While Iran's GDP is falling for lack of oil sales the internal economy is thriving and employment is on the rise as imports get substituted by local production:

The rise of the dollar brings a large change to the price structure in Iran, opening substantial opportunities for profitable production in the non-oil sectors that employ the 99% of the workforce. These are the sectors which are overwhelmed by cheap imports when oil income lowers their prices.

So, in reverse order, and as economic textbooks read, when oil income drop and prices of imports increase, demand shifts from foreign to home goods, encouraging firms to hire workers and expand production. For example, in the past visits to Iran I might have bought a box of Kellogg’s cereal because it tasted better than the Iranian brand and was only twice as expensive. But this past summer, with devaluation having increased the price ratio to four or five, I decided to buy the Iranian brand. Surprisingly, it tasted better, either because the quality had improved or because prices determine taste for Isfahanis!

Inflation in Iran, caused by the U.S. sanctions, is coming down to sustainable levels. The government's new budget is designed to depend to less than 10% on oil sales:

Rouhani told parliament that the budget of 4,845 trillion rials, or $36 billion at the current street rate, was devised to help Iran's people overcome difficulty.
Rouhani said that despite the US sanctions, his government expected to earn almost 455 trillion rials ($3.4 billion) from oil exports.

But he also said Iran's non-oil economy would "be positive" in the next year.

So while Iran and its allies are under stress they are certainly not in danger of collapsing. The Israeli war narrative is fraudulent.

Netanyahoo may want a war, if only to stay out of jail. But war is not popular in the U.S. and Trump will not start one during an election year.

What Trump needs is an off-ramp from his failing aggression against Iran. He needs talks with Iran but the country insists that he must first lift the sanctions.

I expect him to do that only after his reelection.

Posted by b on December 9, 2019 at 18:26 UTC | Permalink


Excellent journalism once again b! Thanks for that.

Control of the narrative to make it seem that things are supportive of a war against Iran are not working as you describe and this is making the US and Occupied Palestine more frantic in their attempts to start one.

Thanks for the part of your reporting that explained that Iran only cut off external internet access.....which neutered the CIA backed narrative support.....very smart on the part of Iran.

The US and Occupied Palestine need a serious war to keep the focus off their internal problems and social/economic disintegration.

As I wrote on the Open Thread, the world is in a standoff and it is coming down to who blinks first and my money is on late empire as represented by the US and Occupied Palestine. Trust goes downhill fast once it drops to a certain level and I think we are close to that tipping point.

And as us barflies have been writing for some time, empire needs to collapse of its own internal cancer and China/Russia, et al are being very good at keeping the bully from instigating obfuscatory conflict that draws all in.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2019 18:47 utc | 1

I enjoyed the Schenker back and forth. If you needed an example of inept Imperial propaganda, that would be a good one to cite. Still, Bibi can do a lot of shit-stirring to get what he wants from the Empire.

Posted by: casey | Dec 9 2019 19:11 utc | 2

Meanwhile, given that the Murkans are not getting their way in the Middle East, they are taking it out on South America: Bolivia; Venezuela of course; Ecuador, probably Peru; Nicaragua; and now Chile. Think about APEC. Ah-ha.

to psychohistorian : there is an interesting follow-up article on zero hedge today, entitled The Fed Was Suddenly Facing Multiple LTCMs. Worth a look if you haven't seen it. Sorry, I don't do links - but I do dance. Cheers

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Dec 9 2019 19:12 utc | 3

Thanks b for adding to the analysis of Crooke's fine article. It was good to get confirmation of my prediction that Iran had its own internal internet that can be sealed, which also means its internal military com system is separated from the global internet--external cyber attacks will no longer see success. Today Zarif said he wanted to exchange further prisoners with the Evil Outlaw US Empire, but the "ball's in Trump's court;" and after this latest failed operation, Iran likely has hundreds it could parlay. Some may have missed Pepe Escobar's reporting on Iran b posted in the weekly review listing, thus its inclusion. Iran's economy will continue to improve as it's now operating in markets and systems outside Imperial control thanks to the myopia blurring anything beyond its nose. Iran's key move along with Russia was to diversify its economy away from energy sales and focus on promoting its human capital.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 9 2019 20:01 utc | 4

RAI News interview (in English) with Assad now available on Youtube. SAG put it up after RAI News broke agreement to transmit it by a set date.
With the Washington Post reporting on Bush, Obama and Trump's lies about Afghanistan, it's becoming hard to understand why anyone still believes any of the bullshit about Syria propagated by the Washington elite including the CIA and State Department.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Dec 9 2019 20:05 utc | 5

I agree B, no way the bankers and their corporate scum can expect to defeat Iran at this point. Iranian response to an attack from anywhere might not be good for Israel.
Netanyohu and Google seem to be competing for the most dangerous entities award. very interesting the competition. The Iranian's seem intent on defending themselves.

On another note.. have a look at this

more fire the journalist to control the narrative stuff, very interesting

Posted by: snake | Dec 9 2019 20:06 utc | 6

I live in the south of France. Yesterday morning by opening the shutters at 6 o'clock, I saw in the night sky, facing east, a cohort of bright spots (lit by the rising sun of the east) as far as the eye can see. I went out and I understood, hearing a low continuous rumbling, that they were fighter planes over 8000 meters that were heading in the north-west-> southeast direction. I counted about 80 but I missed a lot. We are always worried when we see the pack ... Maybe it's future turbulence for the Middle East ...

Posted by: almare | Dec 9 2019 20:25 utc | 7

My Lebanese colleague explained to me last week that most wealthy Lebanese don't keep their money abroad, as you might suppose, but in Lebanon, in dollar accounts, because the interest rates are that much better. And so they're stuck with being limited to withdrawing $300 a week.

Posted by: Laguerre | Dec 9 2019 20:29 utc | 8

@ Posted by: Miss Lacy | Dec 9 2019 19:12 utc | 3 with the ZH call out of posting, thanks, I read that and it is too much in the weeds for MoA, IMO, but does point out another area where late empire is failing to maintain financial control, similar to the thrust of this posting.

Who is going to blink first? Or more the case, how much longer before the punch drunk bully collapses and the rest of the world picks up the pieces of humanity and moves on/evolves?

Miss Lacy, I do links and ecstatic dance at least twice a week

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2019 20:37 utc | 9

Patience if a virtue for the Iranian people, but never misunderstand it by weakness, Iran is doing everything right, it has brought a rather under developed country in the 40-70's to a highly advanced country in terms of technology and education. It partially reflects in its military, but it definitively reflects in the daily life for Iranians.
There is no doubt in my mind Iran will be a powerhouse a decade for now, there are few countries in the ME, northern Africa and southern Asia that will be able to compete with Iran in many areas.
The apartheid regime's nightmare is exactly that, and Iran thus share it with the key members of The Resistance, and that is very scary to the anyone in Occupied Palestine.
I see, absolutely no way, that the US will venture in a war with Iran, not for the apartheid regime and not for anyone, any war with Iran means one thing, the end of the Occupation in Palestine, and surely the US doesn't want that, so sanctions will continue, war rhetoric will continue, until cheap warmongers are removed or a change in US Dollar dominance happens to the point anyone depending on it is forced to look for a different route thus geopolitics are changed for good. We are closer to either options, closer and closer.

Posted by: Canthama | Dec 9 2019 21:02 utc | 10

thanks b... excellent reporting..

regarding the constant narrative on going to war with iran..some will do all in their power to continue to convince the need for this - netanyahu in particular.. but aside from it being a huge mistake, how much of this is driven by capitalism and its need to exploit every corner of the earth?? is this really what the narrative is about - chasing after money 24-7? it sure looks like it to me... how else do the financial sanctions get rationalized? and, they are not working as your example notes.. when they get applied, the countries in question, find alternatives to kelloggs corn flakes and etc. etc whether it be in russia or iran... the financial sanctions have unintended consequences for the empire.. the empire imposes them to control the real narrative - the financial narrative - capitalism... it ain't working! time for war is the answer to all this, if you side with the present capitalist system..

that bit about "the Hariri family had earned $108 million between 2006 and 2015 from interest on the public debt." is pretty shameful and embarrassing for the hariri family with it's ties to ksa... i can't see how this works out for them long term, not that the hariri family are any different then the bush family and etc.. being willing to exploit your fellow citizens seems to imply money trumps national identity.. of course everyone knew this already... all these kleptomaniacs need to go live on an island somewhere and kill themselves trying to up one each other over this world game called monopoly.. most of us aren't into this game.. why force it on the world?

Posted by: james | Dec 9 2019 21:20 utc | 11

Below is a new posting up at ZH about Iran/Occupied Palestine & Syria

Israel Threatens Iran With "Own Vietnam" In Syria, Hints At Major Pre-Emptive Strike

no quotes...go read

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 9 2019 22:02 utc | 12

@Canthama #10
Indeed, it is ironic that Iran - despite literally decades of sanctions and international isolationism plus a long shooting war - has managed to create a very credible military and economy.
This is especially in contrast to all of its neighbors.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 9 2019 22:13 utc | 13

even if trump lifts sanctions, which i doubt, iran would not renegotiate the jcpoa. iran's missiles are off limits.

Posted by: Toxik | Dec 9 2019 22:54 utc | 14

The brief interchange with Assistant Secretary Schenker, shows a man believing his own propaganda, and believing in his exceptionalism. The belief in one's own exceptionalism leads one to view oneself as superior to others (ie. Aryan Supremacy under the Nazis). Unfortunately, this belief leads to hubris, which leads to arrogance where one overestimates one's own capabilities and underestimates the capabilities of one's adversary; this always leads to fatal misjudgments.

Posted by: Dick | Dec 9 2019 23:31 utc | 15

psychohistorian @ 12

Either complete BS from Bennett or he's a fucking moron. Perhaps even both. There are no parallels between the American War on Vietnam and the current conflict in Syria except perhaps for the United States abusing the Kurds as they did the Hmong in Vietnam.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Dec 9 2019 23:33 utc | 16

The problem I have with the notion that Netanyahu has become more dangerous is that it downplays the long-term planning for war and deep-seated animosity toward Iran.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 9 2019 23:47 utc | 17

It's just as likely that "Netanyahu is more dangerous!" is a negotiation tactic meant to convince Putin to force Assad to eject Iranians from Syria.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 9 2019 23:47 utc | 18

jackrabbit... it is all 4 d chess, no doubt.. nothing is as it seems.. however, on the face of it netanyahu is your typical warmonger, saber rattling bozo that is still the pm of israel.. his stupid comments still have to be processed one way or the other... btw, your comment on the open thread supporting john brewsters viewpoint.. thanks for sharing that.. i appreciate how you and john see that in a similar manner - the left is being set up..

Posted by: james | Dec 10 2019 0:32 utc | 19

Not only is Binyamin Netanyahu crazy but his wife Sara is probably even more crazy than he is.

Multi-billionaire Sheldon Adelson, once Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s key supporter, and his wife Miriam testified to police that Sara Netanyahu was “crazy” and that “she decides everything,” including key appointments and even some political matters, in the Netanyahu household, Channel 13 reported Sunday.

“She’s completely crazy,” said Sheldon Adelson, publisher of the Israel Hayom daily. “She was compulsive about photos of herself and how she looked. She said ‘I’m the first lady, I’m a psychologist and I teach children about psychology.’ ... She would tell my wife that if Iran attacked it would be her fault … because we didn’t publish good pictures of her,” said Adelson, a leading donor to Israeli and Jewish causes as well as to the Republican Party ...

... Dr. Miriam Adelson told police that Sara chooses the people who work with the prime minister. “She chooses the workers, the people around him, the staff, his secretary. Then she knows everything that goes on,” she said. When asked if Sara Netanyahu influences governmental appointments, Adelson said, “Those too, I believe.”...

If Netanyahu has become more dangerous because he is trying to avoid being indicted on various bribery, fraud and other corruption charges, then Sara Netanyahu will have become just as dangerous as well because she's trying to avoid corruption charges herself.

How on earth did Israel end up with such a dysfunctional de facto monarchy?

Posted by: Jen | Dec 10 2019 0:58 utc | 20

Is the Iranian national budget really $36 billion? That seems astonishingly tiny, certainly compared to the USA’s $2 trillion or whatever. I think New York City’s budget is $92 billion. Yet Iran stands.

Despite all the damage it does across the globe, It never ceases to amaze how little, ultimately, is the practical effect of the USAs seemingly endless economic and military resources.

Posted by: OHH | Dec 10 2019 1:21 utc | 21

Jen #20

Sara Netanyahu looks like Miss Piggy's ugly stepsister.

Posted by: Really?? | Dec 10 2019 2:22 utc | 22

"War alone brings up to their highest tension all human energies and imposes the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have the courage to make it." -- Benito Mussolini

"It is well that war is so terrible, else we should grow too fond of it." -- General Robert E. Lee

"Magnificent! Compared to war all other forms of human endeavor shrink to insignificance.
God help me, I do love it so!" -- General George S. Patton

Posted by: blues | Dec 10 2019 2:25 utc | 23

I hope that Bibi gets his way.
"Israel" declared its independence a few years after I was born and has been a troublesome parasite ever since.
I hope that it will cease to exist before I die.
It's utterly insane for a shitty little fake country to incubate so much hatred that it wishes to destroy a country of 80 million Human Beings for reasons which have yet to be explained in any coherent manner. Why do Jews hate ALL Iranians so much?
I'm quite confident that an attack on Iran by "Israel" will make my
dream come true.
I feel a bit sorry for the Good Jews in "Israel" and I hope that both of them escape before "Israel" is destroyed as a direct result of its own psychopathy, angst, racism and hatred.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 10 2019 6:22 utc | 24

It is a mystery why it is assumed that if Israel goes to war it will unite the country behind the government but the exact opposite will happen if Iran goes to war.

Nothing did more to cement the Iran’s revolutionary government in place than Saddam launching his war against Iran.

Posted by: TimmyB | Dec 10 2019 6:50 utc | 25

So the Iranians killed 100s of counter-revolutionary leaders then? Hmm, in that case, a bit harsh, but ultimately, for the sake of the Iranian people, good

Posted by: Michael Sirius | Dec 10 2019 7:57 utc | 26

Because the Iranians export oil and gas, they could have made that country almost independent of imported products decades ago. Instead, they continued the same policies as the Shah. Local manufacture was discouraged. Local sourcing was discouraged. Almost all savings went into property speculation. What else can people do when inflation has been amazing. The rial was 80 to the dollar before the revolution. Now, it is 42,000.

Their incompetence is almost at the level of that of Venezuela.

Posted by: Alfred | Dec 10 2019 8:37 utc | 27

venezuela, and iran, are having problems mainly because of massive and ongoing destabilizing efforts by the u.s. empire.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Dec 10 2019 8:49 utc | 28

@ Alfred 28: Been swallowing Anglozionist propaganda, A? Your remark about Venezuela makes clear how such a diet just makes fools of those who take it. Do you actually know any objective, verifiable, realworld truths about Venezuela at all...?

Posted by: Rhisiart Gwilym | Dec 10 2019 9:34 utc | 29

Thank you b for an ineresting post. I find two statements by Alaistair Cooke disturbing and incongruous.

And, in Syria, US forces are trying to use the Syrian Kurds to block connective links between Iran and Iraq (tightening the economic siege), whilst Israel attacks Iranian infrastructure there, from the air.

This shows either a typo or a confused sense of the borders between the three nations. Regardless it is a serious element of his story but poorly expressed.

On the other hand – in what may also be understood as an ‘other’ aspect to a ‘preparing of the stage’, Israel is at work to pacify Gaza (with Gulf cash); and the US is active with the Houthis in trying to tamp down the war with Saudi Arabia: i.e. de-conflicting other potential war fronts.

Read that twice and see if it conforms to what is actually happening in the real world. I read it as a complete misrepresentation of reality. Weasel words perhaps but I cannot take this guy seriously.

Regarding the Iranian state and the rounded up violent 'colour revolution' gangs. I suspect that Iran became aware of the preparation and plans for a new year surprise and the fuel price hike was deliberately brought forward and the initial demonstration / protest by citizens was intended to prematurely trigger the violent gangs while they had intense surveillance in place from the minute of the price rise statement.

The shutting down of the global internet was an excellent strategy to force the activist disrupters to rely on the internal tightly monitored network. We may be seeing an effective snuff mechanism to put the fires out before they commence. If the model works it will severely inhibit the global finance subversives from undermining nations that don't want them around.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 10 2019 10:50 utc | 30

Hoarsewhisperer #24

I feel a bit sorry for the Good Jews in "Israel" and I hope that both of them escape before "Israel" is destroyed as a direct result of its own psychopathy, angst, racism and hatred.

Thank you, I finally got a laugh from this subject. Well said. But seriously I am sure there are a huge number of jewish people who are absolutely appalled and disgusted with Bibi and his gang. The same goes for people who are christian who are disgusted with their leaders, ditto muslims. The world is still so disabled by religious bigots in all faiths, I find it distressing at times.

Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Dec 10 2019 10:59 utc | 31

The problem I have with the notion that Netanyahu has become more dangerous is that it downplays the long-term planning for war and deep-seated animosity toward Iran. It's just as likely that "Netanyahu is more dangerous!" is a negotiation tactic meant to convince Putin to force Assad to eject Iranians from Syria. by: Jackrabbit @ 18 and =>James post @ 19 the left is being set up James post by @ 19<= absolutely it took the same bunch 15 years to set up for the destruction of Germany and the taking of the oil from the Ottoman.. hundreds of secret treaties and agreements... billions in anticipatory spending to get ready, and propaganda was developed into a WMD, weapon of mind destruction .. nothing honest anywhere in the whole effort all of it to support a few bankers.

Have a look at the website lays out the coming problem.
I would be really helpful if the highly qualified psychohistorian could offer his expertise to report inaccuracies in the above linked website.. Maybe identify and extract contents from that site that misstate a fact and explain for each such extraction its weakness or the misstatement of fact, probably the result would be a great service to MoA I think. Thanks in advance.

Posted by: snake | Dec 10 2019 11:54 utc | 32

Stunning/not-stunning, as ever, to see the US asst, Secretary of State, in seemingly the same breath, take credit on behalf of the US for wreaking the economy of Iran, while blaming Iranian 'incompetence' and supposed misuse of funds for Iran's economic problems! Of course, it seems the 'journalist' didn't call this incoherent narrative out for either its dishonesty or its sheer ethical awfulness.

Posted by: paul | Dec 10 2019 12:57 utc | 33

I'm not sure exactly what Alfred @27 meant by the incompetence of Iran and Venezuela, but certainly if you're cursed by having oil or anything like that under your land, it's a bad idea to compound the predicament by shackling your economy to it.

If the threat of external predation leaves you no choice but to extract and export the stuff in order to get the money to buy/develop military hardware, at least don't let any surplus money corrupt and inflate your domestic economy.

Posted by: Russ | Dec 10 2019 14:16 utc | 34

You wrote "the U.S. has sanctioned remittances from expatriates (around $8 billion per year) to the country"

What is your source for this? Can't find it anywhere

Posted by: Lo Wando | Dec 10 2019 16:11 utc | 35

Well, here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of zionist barbarism across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire israeli-zionist hegemony enterprise is at risk; hence, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah push.

It is the moment for Iran to act against Israel, Shoddy Arabia and the biggest terrorist organization in the world, the US “government”. This is the narrative for war.

So the idea is that the current turmoils in the ‘axis of weasels’ countries – israhel, Shoddy Arabia and the United Snakes of Moronica – has weakened Israhel so much that it can be attacked.

Come on Back to the War – Brother Nathanael – Real Jew News May 14, 2019

I also posted my comment here:

However…after reading the following message, I would be surprised to see my comment posted there…
“Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Al-Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East.

Posted by: Voltman | Dec 10 2019 16:42 utc | 36

Some of what Crooke says makes absolutely no sense to me.

1. Why couldn't any US-sponsored "activists" just as easily use the Iranian applications? Maybe the "activists" didn't actually exist or only pretended to support the US? Another possibility is that maybe there were zero "leaders" within Iran but that's just silly? Is anyone supposed to believe it all had to be micromanaged from abroad?

2. What anger? US politicians and media, "NGOs" etc.? They don't count. Anyone else?

3. The speculation in the first sentence of the following quote is proven wrong when the error of the second sentence is corrected:

"The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess."

No one with even the tiniest amount of wide-spread and openly available civilian vocational knowledge on such matters would ever think that!

Except for international satellite services and similar, jamming, etc. the second sentence is entirely wrong, internet access has been shut down or filtered/firewalled etc. at will in many countries that one might argue (spuriously and irrelevantly) are less technical than Iran.

There is absolutely no reason to think there is anyone anywhere of any of the governments on the globe who can not do this. It happened in several countries during the Arab spring years ago and many times since. I seem to recall it recently happened somewhere in Micronesia as well during some local political strife, Tuvalu perhaps? Fiji?

The difference between "everything" and "everything foreign" are just a few details in the routing tables, if one has access to the routers then one can do either at will. All governments anywhere have legal access to "their own" even if sometimes physically and/or logistically located abroad since any ISP operating in their jurisdiction has to answer to them.

So maybe Crooke is right about others details but not this.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Dec 10 2019 17:13 utc | 37

While Iran's GDP is falling for lack of oil sales the internal economy is thriving and employment is on the rise as imports get substituted by local production.
Funny. I remember the exact same thing happening a few years ago in the wake of the EU's sanctions on Russia: after an initial recession, the Russians started producing more of their own needs in house, and their economy picked up even though the price of oil state low and the sanctions were never lifted.

It's almost as though protectionism actually worked ...

Posted by: Seamus Padraig | Dec 10 2019 17:39 utc | 38

In addition after reading it again I completely agree with uncle tungsten's specific criticism of the quotes of Crooke where Crooke makes no sense geographically and factually.

- - - - - -

Aren't "everybody" over-complicating the widespread lack of support or enthusiasm for the US and Israel?

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Dec 10 2019 18:30 utc | 39

At what point do sanctions become moot...?
Kinda like the expression 'what if someone called a war and no one showed up?" could not similar reasoning be applied?
What' stopping China from sending a flotilla of tankers and escorts to pick up the goods and leave? Perhaps this is just simplistic thinking, but if a host of nations just say "We don't do your sanctions, Sammi" can they not go on trading with whomever they please? Even the poodles of the EU would rather not play the game of sanctioning anyone who dares to differ with the exceptional ones. Short of blockading the coast, what are they gonna do?

In regard to the constant threatening to dogpile on Iran, the longer they wait the greater capacity for Iran to defend. As in the case with Russia, the heckling and surrounding has simply made her stronger and more independent. It's a sign of shortsightedness and ignorance to think that a nation and people with a long history of resilience will simply roll over and submit. Sure, they can try to starve and destroy using subversion and sabotage but bomb and invade? Never happen. The Iranian ballistic reach would be used to counterstrike and the waves of disruption would be more than a "just in time" economy could handle.

Once Iran, Syria, Lebanon decouple from the dollar and have room to breathe it will be a different story. They must know that in order to survive they need to deprive the enemy of it's tools used to manipulate them. If Syria can get a moment to stabilize and rebuild, it will truly be a force to be reckoned with. From the cauldron of nearly a decade of war will emerge a lean capable fighting force that will be multiplied by a steady flow of effective hardware from Russia.

Posted by: Chevrus | Dec 10 2019 18:53 utc | 40

tungsten, Sunny Runny Burger, others

I've taken issue with Crooke's analysis in the past.

I've also taken issue with Magnier's analysis.

Respecting them for what they get right doesn't mean that they are above reproach.

I think a healthy skepticism of ALL reporting/analysis is good and warranted.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 10 2019 19:45 utc | 41

As with Afghanistan, so it is with Iran when the topic is human rights. Today's Global Times editorial again tells the West it's 100% wrong:

"Human rights systems in China and the West have different focuses, but they are not against each other. The frictions and even confrontations are caused by political factors, and the West should take much of the blame for this. They are way too self-centered, refusing to acknowledge the reality that China's logic and path of developing human rights can hardly be Westernized. Countries like the US even utilize human rights as diplomatic and geopolitical levers. They lack basic respect for China in terms of human rights.

"Chinese society does not reject most of the human rights concepts of the US and the West, but an increasing number of Chinese people have realized that it is unrealistic for China to prioritize and pursue Western human rights standards. They may create an adverse impact on China's socioeconomic development, and sustainable development is a prerequisite for improving human rights.

"China does hope to develop its society and enhance the West-emphasized human rights in a coordinated manner. But Western forces have repeatedly harassed such a balanced development of China. They have denied China's human rights construction, and imposed their values on specific matters, forcing China to fight back.

"Except for the Cold War era, mainstream US and Western public opinion has been criticizing China's human rights situation almost every year. Such criticisms run counter to common sense. Most Chinese people give no heed to their attacks."

Geez! If there was a time period to argue about China's application of human rights it was during the Cold War. But nowadays, nothing comparers to the blatant attack on basic human rights in a host of nations by the Evil Outlaw US Empire, Iran being one of its victims.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 19:51 utc | 42

james @19: the left is being set up..

Yeah, this is what happens when power has been consolidated so completely. When you control most of the media, the opposition, and many of the most important ngos, then you're gonna arrange for a certain outcome.

Nit pick: not even sure that you can say that the "left" is being set up because the "left" is largely controlled opposition (aka The Democratic Party and its various cutouts). We are ALL set up to believe that Democracy Works! via the engaging kayfabe. It's difficult for most to see what's know as "the illusion of Democracy".


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 10 2019 19:54 utc | 43


Maintaining control via indirect mechanism is very smart and very difficult to counter. The people can't fight against an amorphous, hidden entity (even if hidden in plain site).

That's why it's so important to take note of points where the Deep State does exercise control. Things like Skripals, White Helmet propaganda, election set-ups (Sanders as sheepdog) and meddling (Kissinger calling for a MAGA nationalist to counter Russia and China, months before MAGA Trump enters the race), etc.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 10 2019 20:02 utc | 44

Some of you may remember that I have proposed a possible false flag attack on the USS Abraham Lincoln. Just as a quick update, the carrier just left the Gulf of Persia, passing the straight of Hormuz escorted by Iranian vessels as is practice in those waters.

It is now in the Sea of Arabia off the coast of Oman. Let us hope my predictions were wrong, all the while the Israeli sabre rattling continues. The carrier is still in an area reasonably close to Iranian waters.

Posted by: Alexander P | Dec 11 2019 3:15 utc | 45

A well researched article making it a great read. Thank you...

Posted by: Shue | Dec 11 2019 4:19 utc | 46

More setback for US claims about Iran

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations is “unable to independently corroborate” that missiles and drones used in attacks on Saudi oil facilities in September “are of Iranian origin,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Tuesday.

The United States, European powers and Saudi Arabia have blamed the Sept. 14 attack on Iran. Yemen’s Houthi group claimed responsibility for the attacks, and Iran, which supports the Houthis, has denied any involvement.

Guterres said the United Nations examined debris of weapons used in attacks on a Saudi oil facility in Afif in May, on the Abha international airport in June and August and on the Saudi Aramco oil facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq in September.

“At this time, it is unable to independently corroborate that the cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles used in these attacks are of Iranian origin,” he wrote in the report, seen by Reuters.

The attacks that targeted the Abqaiq and the Khurais oil plants caused a spike in oil prices, fires and damage and shut down more than 5% of global oil supply. Saudi Arabia said on Oct. 3 that it had fully restored oil output.

U.N. experts monitoring Security Council sanctions on Iran and Yemen traveled to Saudi Arabia days after the Sept. 14 attack.

The report noted that Yemen’s Houthis “have not shown to be in possession, nor been assessed to be in possession” of the type of drones used in the attacks on the Aramco facilities.

Guterres reports twice a year to the Security Council on the implementation of an arms embargo on Iran and other restrictions that remained in place after Tehran agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

The council is due to discuss his report next week.

A separate independent panel also reports twice a year to the Security Council on the implementation of sanctions related to the conflict in Yemen that were imposed in 2014 and 2015. That report is due next month.

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in New York in September that his country had consulted with its allies on what steps to take after the attacks.

“The United Nations sent people to be part of the investigation, other countries have sent experts to be part of the investigation,” he said then. “When the team that’s investigating has concluded its investigations we will make the announcements publicly.”

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 11 2019 6:35 utc | 47

"What' stopping China from sending a flotilla of tankers and escorts to pick up the goods and leave?" --Chevrus @40

It is the result of cost/benefit analysis. It is currently cheaper for China to be noncommittal about America's threats and bloviation and leave the Americans to jump to their expected delusionally arrogant conclusions that the Chinese are knuckling under to US demands, but then just buying Iran's oil anyway. What good can come from directly confronting a psychopath (or in this case an entire nation of psychopaths) if you can just nod your head pleasantly to their histrionics and go about your business?

The Chinese are under no illusions that they will have to eventually confront the Psycho Nation. This is why they are conducting their current military build-up. The longer this confrontation can be delayed (to a certain point) then the stronger and more prepared China will be for that confrontation and the weaker the US will be (despite Trump's best efforts and despite surface appearances, America's economy continues to hemorrhage). There still remains benefit to the Chinese to delay that confrontation, though China's recent US tech ban suggests we are getting pretty close to a cost/benefit curve inflection point.

Don't worry! the Chinese are not going to let the US interdict their oil supplies. The scenario you describe of escorted convoys is almost certain to come to pass not too far in the future from now. That's just not needed yet.

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 11 2019 10:55 utc | 48

I find it interesting that Schenker seems to outline the exact strategy defined by Zionist think thanks decades ago. Pressure Iran till they lash out then use this as a casus belli to start a war. You can read up their strategy in the pamphlet "Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran" from the Saban Center for Middle East Policy & Brookings Institute. You also probably all know the speech from Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies who even advocates to commit false flags to blame it on Iran.

Posted by: D. | Dec 11 2019 12:02 utc | 49

"Trump will not start one during an election year."

And what happens after the election which is now only 11 months away? Regardless of whether Trump or some warmonger Democrat who is owned by Tel Aviv wins, things don't look good.

I also remind everyone that it is precisely because Hezbollah has a deterrent against Israel, that neither Israel nor the US will start a war with Iran *until* Hezbollah is dealt with. And that can only happen with direct US assistance.

Can be Trump be persuaded to attack Hezbollah if Israel can foment an incident - even during an election year? Why not? He gets a poll bounce for "defending Israel against a terrorist group". If he botches that, and loses the election, no one in Israel or the neocon camp will care and neither will the Democrats because they'll win. So the Lebanon war goes on, followed by an Iran war.

People who keep assuming that Trump is going to hold back the increasing tide of pressure for war with Iran are burying their heads in the sand.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Dec 11 2019 13:28 utc | 50

*A more thorough analysis of Iran's situation*

MEK has deep roots in Iran. They have their own structure established since long before the IR revolution. About 1-2% of Iranian population are MEK sympathizers and probably 1/10th of those are MEK militia. They can be easily spotted in protests and other events, as they have a communism-like attitude and are also very aggressive and militant, while the average Iranian is more feminine and nice.

Trump's foreign policy towards Iran is dominated by MEK. Pretty much all the balls were in MEK's court. And Iran was well aware of this, as Iran also has plenty of spies within the MEK. So they knew that this time it's going to be MEK capitalizing its assets in Iran in an attempt to overthrow the government.

That's why Iranian government immediately shut down the [global] Internet and gave orders to shoot, because MEK are known to have live ammunition and weapons, and are also very aggressive and actively try to kill police and Iranian military in any engagement, unlike normal protestors whom rarely do so. This is the reason for the high casualty rate, the grand majority of them have been MEK assets in Iran.

However, with the shut down of the Internet, all the plots failed. Although it was oppressing and hard for the Iranian people, it completely diffused a dangerous situation and pretty much wiped out MEK's capabilities in Iran for another decade or so. Trump's administration will definitely start to replace some MEK people with others in the next few months, as all MEK attempts have miserably failed thus far.

Note that MEK also has deep roots in Iraq, and a lot of violent protests in Iraq are probably lead by MEK agents.

As for the *sudden* gas price increase, it was directly signed and executed by the three heads of government branches in Iran, over night, and announced at midnight. These three heads are Rouhani, head of executive branch and president, Larijani, head of parliament, and Raeesi, head of judiciary.

Of these three, Raeesi is the one appointed by Khamenei, but he is a politically weak and simple man. He was fooled by the other two, both of which have strong ties to the UK and US (Larijani's daughter and many family members live in US and UK, while Rouhani is the man who did Iran-Contra clandestinely during Khomeini's time, and his brother lives in UK). They are *NOT* supporters of Khamenei and have done everything in their power to overthrow him. They sort of fooled Raeesi into signing this, and then blamed him for all the consequences, even though the judicial branch has nothing to do with gas price, but executive and legislative have everything to do with it.

Khamenei naturally defended the law, and said anything signed by all 3 heads of government is the law, and he will not meddle in it. This was used by the Larijani/Rouhani alliance to further blame everything on Khamenei and spark protests. And believe me, Rouhani was pissed like crazy when he saw his plots failed.

Fortunately IRGC is loyal to Iran and Khamenei, and has control over all strategic assets in Iran.

Posted by: A | Dec 11 2019 13:59 utc | 51

just sayin'

Of course, Lebanon would affect Syria more than any other country because it is our direct neighbor. But again, if it’s spontaneous and it’s about reform and getting rid of the sectarian political system, that would be good for Lebanon. Again, that depends on the awareness of the Lebanese people in order not to allow anyone from the outside to try to manipulate the spontaneous movement or demonstrations in Lebanon.

Posted by: Mina | Dec 11 2019 14:15 utc | 52

Alexander P @45

Thanks for the update.

Your theory has some merit, though I join you in hoping that it's wrong.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Dec 11 2019 17:16 utc | 53

@Richard Steven Hack #50
I'm sorry, but the notion that the US will attack Hizbullah is one of the least credible theories I've seen in a long time.
How does the US military attack a political (as well as armed) party in Lebanon, outside of sending in troops (which would then be invasion)?
Hizbullah doesn't have nice air or military bases to missile, like Syria.
For that matter, Hizbullah isn't an official military unit. It isn't a lot different than attacking the NRA in the US, militarily.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 12 2019 16:35 utc | 54

karlof1 | Dec 10 2019 19:51 utc | 42

But nowadays, nothing comparers to the blatant attack on basic human rights in a host of nations by the Evil Outlaw US Empire, Iran being one of its victims.

As I have argued elsewhere, the idea that the perpetrators of innumerable massacres and atrocities on Muslims in the Middle East, who run Guantanamo, who cheerfully tolerate the daily slaughter of Palestinian Muslims, who run torture sites in Abu Graib and Baghram Airbase have suddenly discovered a deep and genuine concern for the well-being of some Muslims in China, is so absurd, so utterly improbable that if it does not make one, "gasp and stretch one's eyes", it bloody well should!

And yet, there seem to be people who seem to not see it at all! How come? Is it that they are so blinded by hatred of China that their critical faculties are completely switched off? Or are they well aware of the absurdity and simply hope that by repeating this rubbish they can blacken China's reputation with a view to preparing the population of the west for a military attack on China?

Posted by: foolisholdman | Dec 12 2019 20:33 utc | 55

Crazy Jews acting brave screaming for the US to do their work.

Posted by: Joetv | Dec 13 2019 17:57 utc | 56

clue @54

The US will not use missile strikes. They will use those B-52s Trump sent to the Middle East to bomb much of Southern Lebanon where Hezbollah has its underground bunkers. The B-52 is capable of a tactical role, as evidenced in Vietnam when it was used to bomb areas suspected of having Viet Cong underground bunkers - essentially the same strategy Hezbollah uses to avoid Israeli air strikes. Israel does not have the capability of dropping 70,000 pounds of more or less well-aimed (due to advances in bomb release mechanisms since Vietnam) bombs from one plane. So Israel needs the US to help it remove Hezbollah.

The logic is quite simple:

1) Israel - and much of the US foreign policy establishment - wants Iran removed as an effective actor in the Middle East.
2) Therefore Israel wants the US to go to war with Iran and degrade Iran.
3) Hezbollah is an Iranian ally and has the capability to drop hundreds of missiles per day (up to an estimated maximum of 6,500 if we ignore logistics) on Israel, forcing Israelis into bomb shelters 24x7, thus severely damaging the Israeli economy and pissing off the electorate so that they react against the warmongering ruling parties - something said parties don't want.
4) Israel tried to remove Hezbollah in 2006, but failed miserably due to over-reliance on its air power and a too-late commitment of ground troops. Hezbollah today is far more powerful than it was in 2006, with perhaps four or five times the missiles and as much as ten times the number of troops. It even has its own tank brigade, allegedly.
5) If Israel wants to achieve its foreign policy objectives in the Middle East, it has no choice but to find a way to remove Hezbollah.
6) Since Israel can not remove a much stronger Hezbollah by itself, it has no choice but to get the US to assist it in the next war.
7) Trump is one President that Israel can depend on to support it in anything it does.
8) In the next Israeli war on Hezbollah, Israel will commit its entire forces - air and ground and naval - immediately. It will ask the US to commit *some* ground troops - perhaps ten or twenty thousand - to assist, as well as US naval forces and those B-52s and other strategic bombers in a tactical role.

This is the only way Israel can get a war with Iran - which is essential to Israel's foreign policy objectives.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Dec 13 2019 22:24 utc | 57

@Richard Steven Hack #57
I don't disagree with your statements on Israel's goals, but the missing link is why the US would agree to spend treasure and lives accomplishing Israel's objectives.
Attacking Iran is not going to be like going after Iraq. Iran is more than twice as large as Iraq, and it doesn't have the military myopia of Saddam Hussein.
The US military is quite aware of this.
Secondly, there are more huge assumptions being made:
1) That Russia would stand aside, much less assist Iran, should it be unilaterally attacked by the US.
2) That Turkey would do the same.
3) Ditto China.
4) Ditto the EU.
I'm sure you are sincere in your belief; what I would suggest is that you publish a date by which this will happen - and if it doesn't, re-evaluate your assumptions.
From my view - I see zero chance of a shooting war erupting between the US and Iran.
Far too many other actors would be affected and don't want it (the nations above are just a few).
The US population doesn't want it.
The US military doesn't want it.

Only the Israeli chicken hawks and their US politician paid help say they do, but it is completely a case of "after you, I insist". They've been at it for 3 decades and have not succeeded so far - I don't see any chance of that changing soon.

Posted by: c1ue | Dec 14 2019 0:02 utc | 58

@Rhisiart Gwilym

Are you going to tell us that Venezuela has been well-managed for the past 40+ years?

My dear sir, Venezuela ought to be a wealthy country - but they are unable to feed themselves. Have you ever lived in the tropics? Heavens! any idiot can survive there on a little plot of land and a few chickens. They have absolutely huge oil reserves and yet they import refined petroleum products!

I could go on, but what is the use.

Posted by: Alfred | Dec 19 2019 20:58 utc | 59

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