Did Donald Trump Light the Fuse on a New Middle East War? by Larry C Johnson

Larry Johnson-5x7
What is the end game with Iran? That is the question that Donald Trump and his advisors should have answered before giving the green light to kill the head of Iran's Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, and the head of Iraq's Poplar Mobilization Forces, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. But instead of worrying about the long term objective, the Trump Administration opted for the quick hit.

Let's be clear about what we just did–we assassinated two key military and political leaders on the sovereign territory of Iraq without the permission of the Iraqi Government. We justify this attack because of prior Shia terrorist attacks during the 2003-2008 period in Iraq that killed U.S. troops. There is no evidence or valid intelligence that shows Soleimani directing Iraqi Shia militias to attack and kill US troops. None. But those facts do not matter. Judging from the media reaction on cable news, there is a lot of whooping and celebrating the death of Soleimani as a decisive blow against terrorism. Boy we showed those Iranians who is boss. But that is not how the Iranians see it and that is not how a significant portion of the Iraqi Shia population see it. From their perspective this is the equivalent of the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor. It is an unjustified act of war. I am not arguing that they are right. I am simply pointing how the Iranian leadership likely views this act.

I fear that this action will unleash series of retaliatory strikes that are likely to escalate and get out of control. I pray for the sake of our nation and military personnel that I am wrong.


Despite the perpetual drumbeat in this country hyping the Iranian terrorist threat, Iran has engaged in very little terrorism over the past decade. (The facts are posted here).They shifted their actions to more conventional military operations and shied away from directly attacking U.S. forces. The attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion were carried out by Iraqi Shia militias acting on their own. They were not carrying out attacks at the behest of the Iranian regime because the Mullahs realized that the U.S. policy in Iraq was paving the way for Iranian control/dominance.

 

The Trump Administration's decision to carry out this attack is going to elicit a reaction from Iran that is likely to involve Saudi Arabia, Israel and U.S. military, diplomatic and economic targets. I do not rule out the possibility that Iran will content itself with filing protests and opting for a policy of restraint. But I think that is the least likely option.

More likely is that Iran will get back into the terrorist game and do so in a big way. Iran has a robust cyber warfare capability and hurt U.S. infrastructure. They can do more damage to us on this front simply because our economy is more dependent on computer networks. In the aftermath of the 2013 Stuxnet malware attack on Iran's nuclear facilities (it was U.S. software deployed by Israel) it is believed that Iran launched a spate of cyber attacks against online banking sites that accelerated in September. U.S. banks, including JP Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. That was just a warning shot from Iran.

Iran also will likely look at striking at U.S. Naval vessels and U.S. military installations in the Middle East. Diplomatic facilities and personnel also will be targeted and likely killed.

If Iran retaliates then the pressure will build on Donald Trump for more decisive action. Trump has the ability to say no and de-escalate, but that goes against his nature and would open him to savage political attacks for being weak on terrorism. 

Which leaves us on the brink of something potentially devastating and costly. 

To the extent that Iran carries out massive, deadly attacks that kill Americans, there is likely to be a short term boost to Trump's political standing. But as the smoke clears and we become bogged down in a new, very expensive war in the Middle East, the entire foundation of Trump's "get us out of foreign wars" will be blown up.

This action also is likely to bolster support for the existing Iranian regime. It makes it very easy for the Mullahs and the Revolutionary Guard to target Iranian protesters as enemies of the state.

I pray I am wrong. There is no joy or satisfaction in being proved right if things go horribly wrong.

 

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81 Responses to Did Donald Trump Light the Fuse on a New Middle East War? by Larry C Johnson

  1. Avatar prawnik says:

    Trump is weak, stupid, reckless and easily manipulated. This has long been obvious.
    That is not an argument in favor of Team D, the Resistance, the Deep State, the Blob or whatever (if anything it is an argument against their conspiracy theories), but Trump is what he is.

  2. Avatar bjd says:

    Trump has allowed himself to be deluded (possibly by himself) into the belief that Iran will now come ‘to the negotiating table’.

  3. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    “We justify this attack because of prior Shia terrorist attacks during the 2003-2008 period in Iraq that kill U.S. troops”
    I don’t think that is accurate. IMO, that’s window dressing. Soleimani was in Iraq architecting attacks on the US embassy and on Americans. Additionally, no doubt, working on completing an Iranian take over of Iraq. Trump could have withdrawn all troops from Iraq and closed down the embassy; or he could have fought back. He chose the latter.
    In the larger context, a thoroughly Iranian controlled Iraq would be a domino on the path to Iranian control of the entire region.
    I’m a 100% isolationist personally, but if you’re not, you have to do something to keep Iran in its place. I recognize that there’s a lot I don’t understand about reasons to not be an isolationist and maybe there are good reasons.
    Also, if Iraq (and Iran) respond by demanding the US leaves Iraq totally, then there is a side effect of isolationists like myself getting what we want.
    Bottom line, Trump could not just sit there and let Iran overrun the US embassy and take over Iraq on its terms.

  4. Avatar Terry says:

    When anti-Syria propaganda was running strongest, “Assad must go” I always asked “Then what? What comes next?”
    We have a big stick but we need more than running around clubbing others. We never should have abandoned the international law we helped to create.
    We can create fear, most people fear a powerful bully but they don’t respect them and will work to undermine them. It is a weak form of power and sooner or later you end up isolated.
    All stick and no carrot, hard power and no soft power just isn’t a vision you can build on. So, Now what? What comes next? What comes after a war with Iran?

  5. Avatar Theymustbemorons says:

    We did not ask the Iraqi government for permission and we are obligated to do so, yes? Is it possible the Iraqi government will tell us to pick up our personnel and all our stuff and leave — and never come back?

  6. Eric,
    Have you been awake for the last 10 years? The reason Iran is in control of Iraq is because of our actions. Not theirs. Ours. We put Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia in power. What the hell do you think was going to happen? Your ignorance of Iraq and Iran is representative of most Americans and explains why the Government can feed you boat loads of lies and you happily, eagerly swallow this garbage.

  7. Avatar Bill H says:

    So, the “domino theory” is back.

  8. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    Larry,
    I am perfectly aware of how Iraq came to be under Iranian influence and I predicted (a no brainer) that would happen if we were stupid enough to invade Iraq under the false pretense of WMD.
    But what’s done is done. Trump inherited the mess. Perhaps he is trying to salvage something out of it. Again, the only options at this point are to remove all American presence, including the embassy, or to fight back.

  9. Avatar blue peacock says:

    Well said Larry.
    Yours is precisely the point. Iraq was a secular country under the “tyrannical” Saddam’s Baathist regime. So is Syria a secular country under Assad. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. The Saudis did. He would have been a natural counter-weight to Iran. Of course he may have kicked out the Al Sauds soon enough to hang out in London, New York and Paris after he consolidated Kuwait. That may have been a good thing in hindsight.
    Bush & Cheney supported by both parties invaded Iraq and created the ascendancy of Iran. Then Obama comes along and aids & abets Al Qaeda to head-chop Christians in Syria, once again with support from both our political parties.
    Trump comes along as the “no more wasting money in the Middle East” guy. But surrounds himself with all neocons including his daughter & son-in-law. And he has shown to be generally clueless on anything beyond one slide on a Powerpoint. He thinks he’s still on the set of The Apprentice.
    I’d like to say that the US is no longer a Constitutional Republic. We have law enforcement & intelligence who ran a coup attempt and half the country thinks that was a good thing. We have coteries that lie and propagandize us into war that has cost the American people several trillion that they’ve had to borrow from future generations. With the Patriot Act, FISA and all kinds of other “anti-terrorist laws”, we essentially have a lawless national security surveillance state.
    We are fucked because so many of our fellow citizens fall for the black & white Rambo movie plot, while their ass is being taken to the cleaners.

  10. Avatar casey says:

    Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for your always pointed and concise analysis. If I understand correctly, the US/Israel bloc believes it has Iran in checkmate. If Iran retaliates (or if some provocation is arranged that can plausibly be blamed on Iran), then the Empire launches a full-on attack. If Iran doesn’t retaliate (or a provocation doesn’t arise), Iran looks weak and unable to defend itself and limps to the negotiating table, where its carcass will be picked apart.
    The only way this makes sense is if the Empire is convinced it can flatten Iran and pick apart its carcass without taking significant losses. Is that delusional and, possibly, “terminally stupid?”

  11. Avatar The Beaver says:

    Mr Johnson,
    In addition Eric forgot what happened on December 29th and the reason for Suleimani to be in Iraq early on Friday morning: to attend the funeral of the Iraqi soldiers who died during those strikes neal al-Qaim.

  12. Avatar Luther Bliss says:

    When James Woolsey was Trump’s spokesthingie during the 2016 election, I placed multiple bets that “Trump attacks Iran to be a ‘war-time president’ for 2020 election.”
    I’ve endured mocking phonecalls as Trump wildly vacillated but his NSC choices (all 4 or 5 of them…) were all NeoCons. And if you bed with the NeoCons, you catch their disease.
    I haven’t watched the news in the last 3 years but the phone-calls are starting again, but the attitude is all different.
    If thing keep going this way, I guess this hippie socialist is about his win bet with a bunch of pollyanna veterans and bubble-headed conservatives who could not face reality.

  13. Avatar Terry says:

    Do other countries have any right to self determination?
    How would Americans react to foreign powers controlling our country and killing our citizens at will?
    When we instilled a democracy in Shiite majority Iraq who would get voted into power? What was the result of disbanding the Arab baathist Iraqi army?
    We handed Iraq to Iran.

  14. Avatar rho says:

    Eric,
    you write:
    “Also, if Iraq (and Iran) respond by demanding the US leaves Iraq totally, then there is a side effect of isolationists like myself getting what we want.”
    If you are happy with this outcome, what was your problem with Soleimani in the first place? It can’t be opposition to Iranian influence in Iraq or the whole region, but what is it?
    Did you really think your position through?

  15. Avatar ISL says:

    There is a reason civilized nations do not do assassinations, but then you may have forgotten how WW1 started.
    I shudder at the world you plan to leave our children, but empires do not last forever (or much longer with an easily manipulated moron in charge) and you may live to see assassinations of Americans on US soil as common “geopolitics.”

  16. Avatar Nathan says:

    I can’t imagine a war scenario that is positive for the US, except for the neo-con fantasy that the oppressed Iranian people will rise up and overthrow the wicked mullahs when things get bad enough. I don’t know anything about the internal politics of Iran, but I’m not so sure how well America holds up after gas prices triple at the pump. Of course by that time they’ll be a draft and rationing. The only way to avoid that outcome would be to nuke ’em, which is something I wouldn’t put pass the Israelis or Trump.
    I don’t believe our leaders are thinking long-term, but acting out of a combination of financial self interest for war spending in general and contracts within Iraq in particular; and emotional self satisfaction: for powerful Boomers this kind of belligerance somehow makes them feel like worthy sucessors to their dead “Greatest Generation” parents.

  17. Avatar ISL says:

    Dear Larry Johnson,
    Please add to your list the assassination of US high level personnel (diplomat or military) in Europe by sleeper cells.
    Interestingly (as in stupidly), the US also arrested the head of the Iraqiya MP who heads the largest block in the Iraqi parliament – apparently he had the audacity to appear at a protest of the US bombing without authorization Iraqi citizens. One suspects that Iran will have full Iraq support in retaliation. The big question is whether Turkey makes a play and bans flights from Incirlik. Note US carrier groups are not in the gulf or even nearby to fly support missions…
    https://worldview.stratfor.com/topic/tracking-us-naval-power
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-violence-idUSBRE9BR03120131229 – no mention largest bloc in Parliament.
    That said, I expect Russia and China will offer unlimited weapons to Iran to bog the US down long term.

  18. Avatar Fred says:

    ISL,
    “forgotten how WW1 started”
    So Soleimani was heir apparent to the Supreme Leader?

  19. Avatar Factotum says:

    If we are that vulnerable to iranian retaliation on so many levels as you just set out, best we start dealing with this extortion threat right here now. Lance the festering boil and build t a new line of defenses.
    No matter what the triggering incident, we might as well accept we needed a reality check regarding this level of global threat. Not pretty, but apparently necessary if the Iranians are as capable of global disruption as you just present.
    It did not take an assassination in Sarajevo to set of WWI, it was festering well before and was an inevitable march off the cliff regardless. If we are that vulnerable to cyber terrorism and infrastructure terrorism, does it matter what finally lights the match?

  20. Avatar Murali Penumarthy says:

    Sir you say “What is done is done” Killing approximately 4 to 5 hundread thousand Iraqi’s is a fair price to pay for the Iraqi’s to swallow. Here in US we still moan and goran about 3000 American’s on 9/11. can you please explain your logic?

  21. Avatar Factotum says:

    Narco-controlled foreigners now run rough shod over much of California. How does that example work for context.

  22. Avatar Factotum says:

    If the world powers are gunning for an all out war, it will happen regardless. Mind your narratives. They are far scarier than the facts on the ground. Was this bad guy “assassinated”, or taken out by a good guy with a gun as he was poised to strike.
    Why have Democrats spent the past three years saber-rattling over Russia, Russia, Russia, as if any hint of favor or benign contact was high treason. C’mon people, what is really going on in this world today. Who has really created this current scenario of being a nation in imminent peril from nefarious foreign threachery by even the flimsiest of implications.
    Just a few days ago our entire national security was predicated on Trump delaying arms to Ukraine by a few weeks. Ukraine, fer crisssakes which few can even find on a map. Isn’t that the jingoist frothing we were just asked to believe by our loyal opposition party to the point of initiating impeachment proceedings due to Trump’s alleged risking of our entire nation’s place of honor on this entire planet?
    We suffer from internal hyperbole, as much as outside bad actors. A world who wants war, will get it. A world who wants peace will get that too. Running off to the corner pouting and hand-wringing brings neither.

  23. Avatar prawnik says:

    Evidence, please.

  24. Avatar prawnik says:

    Was it not written that “personnel is policy”?

  25. Avatar luke8929 says:

    I will take the other side of the Russians will help coin, if anything I would suggest the Russians may have even provided intel to the Americans on Qasem Soleimani location and movements, Putin was recently in the news thanking Trump for providing intel stopping a Terrorist attack in St Petersburg recently, I still think the Russians provided intel on the whereabouts of the head of the head of the Islamic state Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to the Americans and Putin did nothing about the deaths of the 20 Russian airmen or the cruise missile attacks on Syria, as bad a Ally as the USA is the Russian Federation is clearly worse, the Russians clearly can’t be trusted.

  26. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    rho,
    So you, like many here, are fine with people that organize attacks on our embassies?
    Sure, Soleimani was just there to attend a funeral. Such a nice guy. What about the rioters outside the embassy who proclaimed him to be their leader? What about the exchanges between Trump and Iranian leadership in which Iran mocked the US’s ability to stop attacks?

  27. Avatar Jack says:

    “Trump inherited the mess. Perhaps he is trying to salvage something out of it.”
    Admittedly he did inherit this mess. However, IMO, he’s done nothing to salvage it. He fired missiles into Syria on the basis of false propaganda and while he’s ostensibly ordered troops out of Syria, it’s like the Pentagon is thumbing their nose at him, while he tweets. And rather than putting in place a plan and executing on getting out of the wars that have cost us trillions of dollars and destabilized the entire Middle East he’s just aggravated it further by blowing up people on the Iraqi/Syrian border. And now he’s escalated it further. The bodybags still keep coming home from Afghanistan, where we know with certainty that we’ll have to exit and that it will revert back to its natural state. I’m afraid he just went along to get along with the neocon warmongers that he’s ensconced in all the top places in his administration.
    In many ways Trump seems like Governor William J. Le Petomane, in Blazing Saddles.

  28. Avatar luke8929 says:

    The Russians aren’t going to do anything, Putin does whats best for Russia, he is clearly not interested in confronting the Americans and if anything would probably like to see Iranian influence in Syria diminished. 20 dead airmen, cruise missile attacks in Syria and he didn’t do anything. If anything my money is on the Russians providing intel to the US on Qasem Soleiman’s location and movements. I still think they provided intel on the location of the Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and last week Putin was thanking Trump for intel that stopped an attack in St Petersburg, so perhaps rolling over on Soleiman was his way of saying thanks to Trump. I don’t think the Russians intentions are as pure as people think. As untrustworthy as the USA is the Russians are worse.

  29. Avatar Jack says:

    Rand Paul opposing the nomination of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, March 2018: “I’m perplexed by the nomination of people who love the Iraq War so much that they would advocate for a war with Iran next. It goes against most of the things President Trump campaigned on.”

  30. Avatar Artemesia says:

    Please don’t laugh or pooh-pooh if I introduce Christian preacher – activist Rick Wiles’ assessment of the penetration and protests at the US embassy in Baghdad: Wiles, whose colleague spent time in Iraq w/ US military, asked how it was that “Iraqi” protesters could get inside the Green Zone, apparently protected by a 10 mile perimeter, and also inside the building itself, to cause damage.
    How is it Reuters was on the scene to photograph the protests and the damage?
    How is it the protesters were so quickly called off by a word from the PM?
    US military guards the embassy, right?
    If one argued that Iraqi soldiers permitted Iraqi protesters to gain access, that could make sense: didn’t Russian soldiers refuse to fire upon citizens who stormed the Czar’s palace?
    But that is apparently not what happened.
    So Wiles conjectures that US military allowed the penetration and destruction of US embassy, in order to blame it on _____ . Callers to C Span Washington Journal this morning raised the issue of “Iranians took our embassy in 1979.” Do tell.
    https://www.trunews.com/stream/ghislaine-maxwell-which-spy-agency-is-hiding-her
    ~ 40 min.

  31. Avatar Harper says:

    It has been pointed out to me that until his retirement in October 2019, JCS Chairman Joe Dunford was a factor in tempering neocon fervor for war. The same was true for his predecessor Martin Dempsey. Now we have a self-described “West Point Mafia” class of 1986 and a JCS Chairman far more politically motivated than Dunford and Dempsey. This looks to be to be more dangerous than when Bolton the chicken hawk was running around the West Wing. This is a recent Politico profile of the new Defense team, including Pompeo, Esper and other key national security advisors to Trump.
    https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2019/11/17/west-point-alumni-pompeo-esper-state-department-071212

  32. Avatar Artemesia says:

    O/T, perhaps: Machiavelli wrote in The Prince that the effective leader must be feared AND loved: were he only feared, the people would turn against him as quickly as an opportunity emerged.
    I donated a significant sum (all things being relative) to my local library and requested that it be used to teach the mostly-Black and impoverished young people who frequent that library, about Machiavelli: I’d just read about a very wealthy community in my state where high school students participated in an essay contest on Machiavelli. They will be the next generation’s leaders. I though the poor kids in my neighborhood should have the same opportunity.
    Library administrators all the way up and down the line resisted my proposal: “Our kids are not capable of such a project.”
    Instead, the library system is proliferating Drag Queen Story Hours.
    They want me to put my gift in the hands of the local librarians who introduced this program to the library system.

    “So, Now what? What comes next?”

    Drag Queen Story Hours for your 1 yr to 5th grade children and grandchildren.
    Your son – grandson dressed in high heels, chiffon, and a wig.
    Your little girl telling you she needs drugs and surgery because she “feels like a boy.”
    That’s what comes next.
    Weimar 2.0

  33. Avatar JohninMK says:

    No but he could well have gone to the top in their politics as his next career move. With a satisfaction rating over 80% he was a probable future President.

  34. except for the neo-con fantasy that the oppressed Iranian people will rise up and overthrow the wicked mullahs when things get bad enough

    In the last around 20 years or so this was a foundation for operational planning in the US. This is not to mention a key fact of neocons being utterly incompetent in warfare with results of this lunacy being in the open for everyone to see.

  35. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    Jack,
    Trump is currently negotiating with the Taliban to get US troops out of Afghanistan. You may have noticed that when Trump goes against the Borg they retaliate by doing things like impeaching him. he deliberately lobbed some ineffective missiles at nothing in Syria after giving the Russians and Syrians a heads-up. That hardly a neocon war monger move. I’m sure the people he’s blown up are perfect saints just out for a walk enjoying the sent of daffodils.

  36. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    What country? I thought Iraq, etc were just constructs created by evil Europeans? Now they are official countries? Just flip the narrative to whatever makes the US look like the bad guy. As far as I can see, these “countries” aren’t very cohesive. More like tribes with flags vying to live on the same geographic turf. The Sunnis in Iraq appear quite happy with Trump’s actions. They don’t count for you?

  37. Avatar Renae says:

    I don’t believe Trump ordered this attack. I believe that the neocons/neolibs are afraid they would lose power when the coup plot is revealed. So, this is a pre-emptive action against Trump winning re-election. It seems Nancy Pelosi was consulted by Secretary of Defense Esper first, although she denies she was briefed about the asassination. Well, we all know where to stick her denials, don’t we? https://www.enmnews.com/2020/01/03/pelosi-briefed-thursday-night-after-strike-killing-soleimani/

  38. Avatar Skip Molander says:

    Amen! Most Americans are ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL. They don’t know which way is UP! They haven’t a clue. They are easy prey to the progandists in the US government (dominated by Zionists/Israel-Firsters) and in the US media (also dominated by the Zionist narrative).

  39. Avatar Diana C says:

    When I had to move out of a large house into a small apartment recently, I donated over 900 books from my personal library to the local university library. My books reflected my major and minor areas of study: Literature from all periods of English and American authors, many books on the theories and research about linguistic theory and often brain research in regard to linguistics. I also had many books from my minor in German.
    I was an avid user of libraries from the time I was quite young. My mother dropped me and my siblings off at the local library while she did the Saturday shopping and bill paying. The librarians never directed us in regard to what we should study. They helped us to find resources on each of our varied interests. My brother and two sisters had quite different interests from mine. I was then studying all I could in Greek and Roman mythology and in the Acient history of Greece and Rome.
    It’s the old, You can take the horse to the water, but….” Expose children to the rewards they get from reading and studying, but let their own personal interests determine what they read.
    Our problem is not that our students now “should” be reading ……(fill in the space. Our problem is currently that our children are now totally unacquainted with reading much in depth. They want sound bites and quick Google searches.
    As for the topic of Larry’s post, I’m convinced that few Americans are even aware of the event or have any idea of why it happened and no opinion about whether it should have happened.
    I hold my breath every day, hoping that we don’t become involved in another big mess that will cause the life and maiming of our young people in the military and of the people on the ground in the places they are sent to.
    But I have no opinion of why or whether Trump’s decision was right or wrong. All I can do is pray fervently that really God is ultimately in charge and God will control it for His purposes. I never assume that God is always on “our side.” I just put my faith that it is all in God’s hands, no matter what the personal price I or anyone else will have to pay for His decisions.
    I also pray that Trump will always make his deicisions based on good and sound advice and on his own sense of right and wrong. It must be hard picking and choosing from the many people who surround him and from their various ideas of what is right or what is wrong to do.
    I certainly did not want the previous Middle East War and do not want another.

  40. Avatar ISL says:

    Unintended consequences of a high level assassination.
    No good pathway to de-escalate for any side once open hostilities start.
    Block heads running things (President f—ing moron – quote Tillerson), born again fundamentalists believing in the second coming calling the shots on one side and the Mahdi on the other.
    But if you want to focus on a title, I guess nothing to see.

  41. Avatar vig says:

    EN: So you, like many here, are fine with people that organize attacks on our embassies?
    I fully agree, outrageous! Simply outragepus! Now of course I have to reflect in what ways those men could have joined Americans in celebration of the dead of their comrades.
    ISL: There is a reason civilized nations do not do assassinations
    didn’t Trump suggest somewhere that the Geneva Convention is obsolete anyway? Not that it matters anyway anymore, other then to US soldiers maybe? Some of them? … The US writes the rules for to its own convience anyway?

  42. Avatar ISL says:

    why do you think the US could not have this intel on its own? A high level visit to a friendly nation by a top military and you have to posit Russians? You insult US Intel.

  43. Solemeni was in Iraq to attend the funeral of the PMU soldiers killed by
    the US last week.
    He was there with the full support of the Iraqi government.
    He was on a diplomatic mission.
    The US killed an Iranian Diplomat on a diplomatic mission.
    That is the way the Iranians and Iraqi people will see this.
    Also, the base attacked was an Iraqi and PMU base. 107mm rockets of the kind the US gave ISIS were used.
    This kerfluffle began over an ISIS attack for the purpose of taking advantage of Iraqi disarray to steal Iraqi oil…. likely for sale to Israel…
    INDY

  44. I still think they provided intel on the location of the Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and last week Putin was thanking Trump for intel that stopped an attack in St Petersburg,

    What a fantastically convoluted scenario. Russia and the US are cooperating on terrorism threats for years now, and the latest on St. Petersburg was not the first one issued by the US. Russia wouldn’t mind some limits to Iranian influence in Syria but not at the price of surrendering a man who was to a large degree responsible for getting Russia into Syria and cooperating with her there, which was a crucial factor in success of the campaign. I also do not see problems with US “developing” own targeting on Baghdadi w/o any Russia’s help.

  45. Avatar LA Sox Fan says:

    Eric, you make many assertions, but provide no facts to support them. For example, you claim Soleimani was planning attacks on both US troops and our embassy. You also claim Iran took over our embassy. However, you provide no facts supporting those assertions and I am not aware of any. So tell us, what evidence or facts do you have proving your claims?
    Additionally, you seem to have skipped over the part where Bush agreed all US troops would withdraw from Iraq and Obama was unwilling to agree to have US troops remain if they would be subject to the Iraqi justice system. So all of them left, only for some to be allowed back when ISIS threatened.
    Obviously, when all US troops left Iran did not take over Iraq. When all US troops leave again, which Trump just about insured will happen very soon, Iran will again not take over Iraq. They will remain allies, but one will not rule the other.

  46. Avatar Terry says:

    As context, nothing to do with the current topic.
    The cartels should be declared terrorists along with domestic gangs, antifa, and the muslim brotherhood.
    The border should be controlled by our government.

  47. Avatar robt willmann says:

    After around 25 people were killed by a U.S. attack over the weekend, and subsequently the damage was being done to the “embassy” in Iraq, it looked like a real problem was developing. But it seemed as if Iraqi security people had let the demonstrators and attackers into the area where the U.S. embassy is, and then the following day were not letting them in, and so the embassy cleanup would begin. At that time I felt better about the situation. In other words, the Iraqi government, such that it is, allowed the protest and damage at the embassy to occur, and then was stopping it after making the point of a protest.
    However, that defusing of the situation by the Iraqi government by shutting down the embassy protest was for naught when the ignorant people in the U.S. government carried out the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and several others inside Iraq itself. Now there is a real problem.

  48. Avatar TeakWoodKite says:

    I am curious LJ. Some lateral drift on my part.
    Been reading that much of the funding for these proxies are from coming Iran. According to the Treasury. So the following is BS from State?
    (Nov 2019)

    “The State Department’s most recent Country Reports on Terrorism, released Friday, stated that Iran is still the “world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” spending nearly $1 billion per year to support terror groups including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

    There is much nashing of proverbial teeth in our media. Peeps like Sen Graham saying “the Iraqi’s need to choose between us or Iran.”
    (That choice is a Sunni sandwich with Kurdish Bread and Shia Mayo)
    There critical mass in 72 hours and the straight of Hormuz will be closing soon.
    LJ are you stating that there was no Intel on emerging threats from Iran? Or the strike Saudi oil plant was not via Iran?
    Seems to me China and Russia have to much $$$ invested in Iran to see it go up in smoke.

  49. Avatar Mark says:

    You and Trump have something in common. Ypou are both short of brains and common sense. A couple of zionist neocon puppets.

  50. Avatar Jack says:

    “I’m sure the people he’s blown up are perfect saints just out for a walk enjoying the sent of daffodils.”
    Eric,
    that’s a strawman!
    Yeah, you are correct that when Trump goes against the Borg they retaliate. However he doesn’t have to go with the Borg either nor does he need to stack his administration with Borgists. He should know after 3 years that the Borg will be after him no matter. It would be better IMO if he stuck with what he articulated during his campaign that won him the presidency against all odds.
    He is ultimately responsible for his actions and inactions. He never declassified Spygate and the putschists are still running the roost. He hasn’t withdrawn from conflict in Afghanistan or the Middle East all instigated by the Borg.. OTOH he’s escalated. Of course he has tweeted a lot.

  51. Avatar prawnik says:

    “I’m a 100% isolationist personally, but if you’re not, you have to do something to keep Iran in its place. I recognize that there’s a lot I don’t understand about reasons to not be an isolationist and maybe there are good reasons.”
    Tell me, if you are a “100% isolationist” why must Iran be kept “in its place”? Then, tell me how many countries Iran has invaded in the last 100 years? (The answer is – ZERO!)
    It’s good that you recognize that there are things that you don’t know or understand. Blindly following Trump will not lead you to greater understanding. Nor will making excuses for people when they betray you.

  52. Avatar prawnik says:

    If it makes you feel better, the only thing that Machiavelli will do for the more clued-in sort of mostly Black poor people is put in words what they already know deep down.
    The Prince caused such an outrage because Machiavelli merely described how rulers actually behave.

  53. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Renae
    You don’t understand how the US government works. The armed forces would not accept such an order from anyone else but the CinC.

  54. Avatar Something To Think About says:

    “Soleimani was in Iraq architecting attacks on the US embassy and on Americans.”
    Wrong, actually, but don’t let facts get in the way.
    Soleimani was in Iraq to attend the funeral of Iraqi soldiers killed by US airstrikes. That is a fact.
    So the US took the opportunity to kill him. Via airstrike. That is also a fact.
    Perhaps you should take off those blinkers for once and consider this possibility: most of what you think you understand about this has been brought to your attention by people who have made a career out of lying to you.

  55. Avatar turcopolier says:

    theymustbemorons
    Yes they can, but will we go?

  56. Avatar Dan says:

    I wouldn’t use the term checkmate but I do agree that the situation is precarious for Iran…this was a pointed provocation and they are forced to respond. But that response has got to be well-calibrated to not bite off more than it can chew in terms of escalation. They need a spectacle more than anything.

  57. Avatar Fred says:

    Harper,
    Thanks for the link. The Trump triumvirate of class of ’86 advisors did the minimum time on active duty and left service for greener pastures. The move to politics is reminiscent of the neocons decameron mentioned on the prior thread. It looks like the move to war which only the neocons want is coming on in full force.

  58. Avatar John Merryman says:

    Given the real masters of the universe are the very rich, would the Iranians see them as logical targets?
    Sheldon Adelson comes to mind, as he is a primary backer of both Trump and Netanyahu. As well as likely not known, or appealing to Trump’s base, so avenging his death wouldn’t appeal in the same way as soldiers or diplomats. Especially leading up to the election. Not only that, but if the very rich were to sense their Gulfstreams are somewhat vulnerable to someone with a Stinger at the end of the runway in quite a few tourist destinations, Davos, etc, the pressure from the People Who Really Matter might be against further conflict.
    The rule of law has its uses and destroying the structure on which their world rests does have consequences.

  59. Avatar Fred says:

    Elora,
    It must be late in Spain. The trio left active duty in the early 90s; that’s almost 3 decades ago and plenty of time to “earn their own merits” but not necessarily enough to earn wisdom.

  60. Avatar Ishmael Zechariah says:

    SST;
    Some comments reminded me of two sayings at opposite ends of phase space.
    The first I learnt from an article of Uri Avnery almost a decade ago. It is the classic Jewish joke about the Jewish mother in Russia taking leave of her son, who has been called up to serve the Czar in the war against Turkey. “Don’t overexert yourself’” she implores him, “Kill a Turk and rest. Kill another Turk and rest again…”
    “But mother,” the son interrupts, “What if the Turk kills me?”
    “You?” exclaims the mother, “But why? What have you done to him?”

    Seems appropriate, somehow.
    The second are the immortal words of Thucydides: “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.”
    Interesting times…
    Ishmael Zechariah

  61. Avatar Something To Think About says:

    Colonel, that is a very interesting question.
    If the USA refuses to go then… what happens next?
    I assume it is not under dispute that if those US forces refuse to go then the Iraqis have a right under international law to attempt to eject them. After all, it is their territory.
    This isn’t 2003 and the US forces inside Iraq do not number in the hundreds of thousands. Something in the region of 5,000 is my understanding, with another 4,000 on standby. Is that enough?

  62. The second are the immortal words of Thucydides: “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.”
    Yeah, I heard Thucydides had some issues with resolution of uncertainties for targeting, especially for stand-off precision guided weapons. Plus there were some issues with long range air-defense systems in Greece in times of Plato and Socrates. You know, GLONASS wasn’t fully operational, plus EW was a little bit scratchy. So, surely, it all fully applies today, especially in choke points. Plus those Athenians they were not exactly good with RPGs and anti-Armour operations. Other than that, Thucydides nailed it.

  63. Avatar Artemesia says:

    prawnik, In my Machiavelli proposal to the library I urged that the works of Machiavelli scholar Maurizio Viroli be offered to the young people. Viroli maintains that the key chapter in The Prince is the final chapter — classical rhetoricians know that the most powerful theme must come last, as that is what the audience will remember. Chapter 26 is nearly a prayer (Machiavelli was deeply Christian, tho he hated the Roman Catholic papacy), a prayer for a courageous leader – redeemer, like Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, who would deliver Florence, which he loved “greater than my soul,” from “barbarous cruelties and oppressions” to a life of republican self-government.
    The critical concept is his deep love for Florence.
    I hoped that the young people could be moved beyond the CliffNotes version of The Prince to an understanding that would arouse passion, pride and patriotism.

  64. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    You know all of that how exactly? Who’s propaganda are you and your fellow travelers thoughtlessly consuming and spreading?

  65. Avatar Something To Think About says:

    Ah, yes, the Melian Dialogue.
    Interesting to note that it was the party professing those words – Athens – who started the Peloponnesian War, driven in large part by that haughty attitude.
    It was Athens that also ended that war, of course.
    They did so when they surrendered to the Spartans.

  66. Avatar CK says:

    Sometimes the tall poppy gets weed wacked, especially if he is a future threat to the current poppies.

  67. Avatar CK says:

    Our wondrous neo-cons are merely continuing the military greatness of their grandfather Trotsky.

  68. Rice says Obama administration never given the opportunity to kill S — would have carefully weighed pros and cons — planned for consequences — probably not have.
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/obama-administration-didnt-have-opportunity-to-kill-soleimani-susan-rice-says
    Stripped of the BS, an admission that the OA would certainly have considered doing it and not ruled it out immediately.

  69. Avatar Stephen Richter says:

    What does Iraq do in response to the assassination?
    Whether they expel the US military or not, either way helps the US. If Iraq does not tell the Americans to leave it tells us they value the US and the West more than Iran. And if they do, that gets the US away from the close proximity to Iran that resulted in this attack/counterattack.

  70. Avatar Fred says:

    George,
    So Solemani was not a general commanding the revolutionary guards? ‘Diplomat’ must have a new meaning in the climate change world.

  71. Avatar Fred says:

    Ishmael,
    Iran faces the same problem as the Melians and the neocons have forgotten Thucydides in favor of Fukuyama. They neocons have also forgotten that they this created 21st century Iraqi government.

  72. Avatar vig says:

    May they both rest in peace.
    my and it seems your spiritual friend Uri and as far as I am concerned someone that thus far was nothing more then a name.
    Take care IZ

  73. Avatar vig says:

    I am envious. 😉

  74. Avatar fasteddiez says:

    Iraq was once Mesopotamia, Iran was once Persia, Lebanon was once Babylonia, civilizations all. You, on the other hand, with a name like Newhill, a British name, have the unmitigated gall to refer to these peoples as some sort of coteries of tribal Wogs. You and your lot, come from, Romans, Huns, Franks, Gauls, Goths, Visigoths, Belgae, Celts, Picts …… etc. etc. I also have a European name. All of the peoples secondly above, became civilizations long after the Middle Eastern ones, mentioned above, late state cavemen of sorts. A Pox on your non-interventionist, non-combatant, ahistorical beliefs. You sponsor combat against Baddies, like the Iranians. How do you like the last twenty years? All of it bullshit to me.

  75. Avatar Eric Newhill says:

    Actually, I think Babylonia was in Iraq. So many emotionally wrought assumptions and self-hatred regarding this situation. Soleimani gets all the benefit of doubt and Trump is a murderous maniac just because.
    Who cares who was “civilized” first? What bearing does that – or the US Iraq invasion for that matter – have on the present situation in which the US embassy was under attack and may have been targeted for more serious future attacks (along with other US assets and personnel)? I ask again if you are fine with the MENA burning due to Iranian aggression. Those are big questions and I don’t think the answers are as simple as you want them to be. Of course you can pretend that Soleimani wasn’t looking to expand Iranian influence and control over the MENA, but then you’d be disconnected from reality, if that matters to you.
    BTW, Your mother really named you “fasteddiez”? “Newhill” is just a handle. The people that have last names like my real one formed the first Christian nation in the MENA – in the world to be exact -and they have suffered as martyrs for it up to present. Many relatives came to the US from Lebanon and Syria in the 70s and some distant ones still live in those places. I don’t think that makes my opinion any more or less valid, but it may shed some light on the dangers of making assumptions and arguing by irrelevancies, as you did. Thanks for the lecture, though.

  76. Avatar turcopolier says:

    Fred
    Soleimani was the commander of the Quds Force of the IRGC, not the whole IRGC. It is a common thing to use a general on a diplomatic mission.

  77. lol.It seems that Thucydides was a species of Greek Nostradamus …

  78. I just read your last book. Thankful.

  79. Avatar jail says:

    A military draft for men and women ages 18-40 would focus their facts real fast. Or we can continue to be Israel’s slush fund for all its 911 Wars to eliminate the zionists’ M.E opponents.

  80. Avatar jail says:

    Not so convoluted. Russia, China, IRAN all owned by the same cabal.
    Carroll Quigley “Tragedy & Hope”.
    Lays it out like a master

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