On the road to war with Iran?


"The United States has more than 5,000 troops stationed in Iraq, which has a State Department waiver from sanctions allowing it to keep purchasing electricity from Iran. U.S. forces are also based in Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq has a number of Shiite militia groups, backed and trained by Iran, that have criticized the U.S. designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, an elite branch of Iran’s military, as a terrorist organization.

The Persian Gulf includes critical sea lanes for oil shipments, particularly at the Strait of Hormuz. As U.S. sanctions have dried up many markets for Iran’s oil, Tehran has threatened to close the strait. When Bahrain objected, an Iranian official responded: “Mind your small size and do not threaten someone bigger than yourself.”

The White House announced Sunday that the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and its escort ships are in the Mediterranean and have been en route to the Persian Gulf region since early April.



I am told that the Israelis have told the neocon claque (Bolton, Pompeo, etc.) that the Iranians are preparing to attack the large number of US personnel in Iraq.  This may or may not be true, but, if it is, it would provide a predicate (popular word these days) for the US war against Iran that Israel very much wants.   There might even be a whiff of gas in the air.  Who knows?

So, Pompey the Great is off to Baghdad to tell them wogs to behave and be prepared to be supported as an independent and sovereign country.  Understand?

A problem with this is the existence of a lot of Shia militias in Iraq who don't want US personnel to be in Iraq at all and who would react to any aggressive action against Iran with dire ferocity.

Trump is AWOL on this except in the sense that he is a more or less silent partner, but, IMO a war of choice against Iran would kill his chances of re-election.  pl


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35 Responses to On the road to war with Iran?

  1. SAC Brat says:

    Can Iraq tell Air Force 2 1/2 that it is not allowed to land as it enters Iraq airspace and it should check with a neighboring country as far as refueling? Maybe hold in pattern for best effect as problems at the airport are worked on?

  2. Mark Logan says:

    I would love to be a fly on the wall when the Iraqi PM shares this thoughts on the matter with Pompey. Yosemite John will not be happy either.

  3. Joanna says:

    Poor American’s who have to take care that not only the dangers that have been on the pressure cooker for quite a while, like faster-please-let’s-first take-Syria-then-Iran, have to be dealt with but also others:
    Like the Russian threat on the Arctic horizon that has been simmering more gently for quite some time too:
    WP:Pompeo said he had talked by phone with Trump on Monday night, when Pompeo was still in Finland for a meeting of the Arctic Council.
    Take it from Mikheil Saakashvili, of all the possible people:
    Russia’s Next Land Grab Won’t Be in an Ex-Soviet State. It Will Be in Europe.
    Always be prepared for the worst to happen.

  4. notlurking says:

    A very ridiculous idea that Iran is planing to attack American forces in Iraq….if anything Iran has show astuteness when dealing with the US and Israel….many provocations but Iran just does not bite….now if the US or Israel attack Iran the militias would strike accordingly…

  5. Fred says:

    That will keep all those illegals from crossing the US border! Thanks Jared. What country did you swear to protect? Maybe you should remind dad-in-law which country is his back-up country and which one he is actually President of.
    The WAPO article states there is a photo of a dhow with a shipping container that “may” contain missiles. Did those three expert journalists from inside the beltway ask if they could hold aluminum tubes or yellow cake? Just how stupid is Pompeo to put out this line of camel dung?
    Where’s the fentanyl coming from that killed 64,000 Americans in 2016? Not Iran. Prescription drugs aren’t the precursor either. Perhaps that piece I linked to was just a puff piece put out to placate the rubes in flyover country. Maybe Orange Man can give us a tweet since he doesn’t appear to give a damn about doing something substantial after there are 64,000 dead Americans but our bestest ally whines and ….

  6. JamesT says:

    Trump would be the perfect fall guy for a closing of the Straight of Hormuz. I read somewhere that the gasoline shortages we saw in 1973 were the result of a 5% cut in output … because the threat of shortage causes people to horde which results in shortage in a “just in time” supply change which causes people to horde more. The people will need someone to blame.

  7. eakens says:

    Now, if Iran was indeed planning an attack, I have a hard time understanding what incentive Israel would have to even say anything.

  8. Jack says:

    I concur with your analysis that a war of choice against Iran at the behest of Bibi will likely kill Trump’s re-election which is his to lose right now. No doubt he’ll be supported by Biden, Pelosi and the rest of the beltway crew. I can see Sean Hannity and Fareed Zakaria drooling “war president” and even Rachel Maddow conceding respect. AIPAC will ensure the pom poms and the yellow ribbons with Support the Troops decals.
    My sense though is that Trump will bluster and build up the armada but not pull the trigger. Bibi & Bolton will have to pull off a gas attack or something similar to put the squeeze on him. Putin however will caution him and note the severe implications of how it could go awry.
    Trump I don’t believe is delusional. He knows he won by just 80,000 votes in the Rust Belt. There will be limited support there for another middle eastern quagmire with trillions of expenditure. He must know that while he could make Iran rubble he can’t get them to bend their knee to Bibi. Even with all the hysteria ginned up by the ziocons there will be a sizeable minority who will oppose another war fought by the Deplorables to aid Bibi’s maximalist dreams.

  9. E Publius says:

    Hello sir,
    The recent escalation against Iran is not an isolated matter and there are a number of events that may explain this situation:
    1. Bolton’s recent failure in Venezuela and the humiliation he and his circus took which made them look terrible in the eyes of Trump. So Bolton thinks he needs to quickly score “something”. His aim is to use every small and insignificant matter to escalate as much as possible, so Iran would do an unforced error, which is highly unlikely. It appears that the B-Team wants one thing most: Iran’s full withdrawal from the JCPOA. Moon of Alabama had a very good analysis of this.
    2. Trump’s AG, Bill Barr is being heavily pressed by the House Democrats to release the un-redacted version of the Mueller Report, plus possible Muller testimony in May 15th in case Barr resisted to House Democrats’ demands. This would clear a number of ambiguities, especially with regards to the obstruction of justice charges. Trump has already tweeted that he does not want Mueller to testify in front of Congress and wants the whole Russiagate story to end as it seemingly did in March. Who knows what Mueller would reveal in case he appeared before Congress? Will that hurt Trump, particularly with regards to obstruction charges? who knows…but Trump may be willing to divert the attention from this, so will Trump WAG THE DOG??
    2. Trade Talk with China did not go anywhere and he slapped another some-hundred billion dollars worth of tariffs on Chinese goods, plus he just sent a naval strike group to the South China Sea, possibly to “show force” and intimidate the Chinese. It is known that China buys around 625k barrels of oil from Iran and is the country’s biggest oil customer. Does this have an Iran angle to it? Likely.
    3.North Korea’s recent missile tests, which does not sit well with Trump trying to reach to a deal with the NKs, but at the same time want to show it is still ruthless enough to show force. I’m sure Kim is carefully watching Trump admin’s moves in the Middle East. This too may have an Iran angle to it.
    4.There is a joint Russian and Syrian operation in Idlib to eliminate one of the last places where the terrorists still exist. Bolton and its client Israel do not want a peaceful, stable and unified Syria, so they would want to escalte and obstruct this important operation.
    6. Iran just introduced a new financial mechanism that would facilitate trade with Russia, Turkey and even the spineless EU. It is a fact that uncle Sam does not like ANY de-dollarization mechanism to develop that would later pave the road for similar future attempts.
    7. It is already clear that the U.S. has exhausted all his sanctions efforts against Iran and most experts believe that it will not be able to force Iran’s oil export to zero. Iran according to Mr. Zarif “has a Phd in sanctions evasion” and throughout its 40 years under permanent western sanctions the country has developed various ways to sell its oil. This and because Iran dos not publish its oil export information anymore so KSA does not know what to do and how much oil to pump to replace the Iranian oil, which in tern runs aganist Trump’s personal demand to pump oil and keep the gas below $4 a gallon mark in the U.S.
    My question however is that why is Trump, as you mentioned, has suddenly gone AWOL? is he playing the ‘Good Cop’ role, while ‘the Stache’ plays the bad guy’s? Does he want to reach to some type of Deal with Iran and that these are all intimidating tactics to bring Iran to the table? is there a possibility of Bolton leaving the Trump admin?

  10. Colleen says:

    Well it had to happen. They’re officially moving the US Capitol, the White House- and its state subsidiaries- to Jerusalem. Groveling zio-satrap licks the boot that walks on him. https://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-bz-ron-desantis-plantation-20190409-story.html

  11. Christian J Chuba says:

    I trust Israeli Intelligence about Iran about as much as I would trust Iranian Intelligence about Israel but Rubio and the other Neocons consider it gold.
    Iran moving ballistic missiles by boat, US officials say
    This story doesn’t smell right. The Iranians are more clever than this. If they really wanted to hit U.S. targets it wouldn’t be this obvious. They would use land based batteries and wouldn’t need to ship missiles by sea. They also have a couple of diesel submarines and midget submarines if they wanted to stalk naval targets.

  12. wtofd says:

    PL and others, does the relocation of the Abraham Lincoln make war unavoidable? At what levels are we negotiating with Iran behind the scenes to avoid conflict?

  13. turcopolier says:

    If the president does not give an execute order nothing will happen short of an open attack by the Iranians or their friends.

  14. The Abraham Lincoln left her home port on 1 April enroute to her new home port of San Diego. Along the way she spent two weeks exercising off Italy before heading to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. This is not a sudden deployment to the Gulf as the Trump administration would like us to believe.

  15. Fred says:

    It’s not 1973 anymore.

  16. JamesT says:

    You are right, it is not 1973 anymore. But I am not sure what you are getting at.

  17. catherine says:

    ”were the result of a 5% cut in output … ”
    No. And I am old enough to remember it.
    Oil Embargo, 1973–1974
    During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military and to gain leverage in the post-war peace negotiations.
    Arab OPEC members also extended the embargo to other countries that supported Israel including the Netherlands, Portugal, and South Africa. The embargo both banned petroleum exports to the targeted nations and introduced cuts in oil production. Several years of negotiations between oil-producing nations and oil companies had already destabilized a decades-old pricing system, which exacerbated the embargo’s effects.

  18. Tidewater says:

    What I guess has been discovered is something that has long been predicted. It must be that Iran has put TELs among the cargo stacks on container ships. These Transport Erector Launch vehicles look like the other containers but can open their tops and elevate to a good firing angle short-range missiles like the thirty-five mile range Nasr-1 or the hundred-and-twenty mile range Qader. Iran has already disguised trucks carrying TELs as commercial vehicles. They are deployed along the highways of the coast and are very hard to identify.
    In the last year Sultan Qaboos of Oman has tilted sharply towards the Houthis, certain salafist groups and the Muslim Brotherhood. The closest Yemeni province to Oman is Mahra. The frontier there is guarded unsuccessfully by Saudi troops. Oman government border guards allow armed Omani and Yemeni tribesmen free movement back and forth across the frontier. Oman also has begun to naturalise hundreds of tribal militias from the province. For years Iran has moved weapons down to the Houthis. Some of these were long range missiles in sections which proved to have been roughly field-welded and not smoothly factory finished before they could be used. So it could also be that Iran is now shipping complete factory finished missiles in shipping containers into a port like Sohar where Iran would have a shipping agency headquarters, a designated docking area, warehouses guarded behind chain link fences, even small factories, trucks, the whole bit. Relations between Oman and Iran are normal, a LNG pipeline is planned across and under the approaches to Hormuz.
    Last year the Bulk and General Cargo Carriage Company, a subsidiary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, launched a new freight service between the ports of Khorraramshar and Sohar. Plans are in place for a Chabahar-Sohar shipping line from down on the Indian Ocean almost to the frontier with Pakistani Gwadar, and also one to Bushire, back up in the Gulf.

  19. BraveNewWorld says:

    As acting Secretary of Defence would Bolton have been in a position to order so much as a tug boat to steam some where? My understanding is that even a confirmed S of D could only advice the C in C on a matter of operations and S of D is more of a bureaucracy gig.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Bolton is not Secretary of Defense. Try to educate yourself before entering into our discussions.

  21. Jon Rudd says:

    Is anyone Secretary of Defense at the moment? BNW is close to the mark: to all intents & purposes it’s Brushlips.

  22. Christian J Chuba says:

    I hate to be one of those people who say ‘link please’ but some of what you say has the feel of what the Israelis would tell Haley’s among us to scare us. I’ll elaborate and sure I could be wrong.
    Never heard about Iranian container launched missiles but I’ve seen multiple press releases about Israel bragging about their ability to do so.
    Smuggling weapons through Oman? Getting through Oman, fine but then there’s another 500 miles of Yemen before getting into Houthi territory and that’s in a straight line; taking roads, much longer. I’ll grant you that portion of Yemen is sparsely populated and people can be bribed but still, a shipment of long range missile components is bound to be intercepted by some checkpoint at least once. We wouldn’t need Haley to be standing over debris, she could hold up shiny new objects straight from Iran. Scott Ritter did an analysis of the missile and argued that it looked like a Korean Scud that was modified rather than an Iranian missile chopped into pieces and re-assembled. I believe Iran has provided technicians to help the Houhthis / Royal Guards manufacture and modify their existing arsenal, smuggling people is less difficult than meaningful amounts of hardware.

  23. Joanna says:

    that may well be true, catherine, and notice, I don’t have time to follow your link, but the larger world market responded to it. At least noticeably in “the West”…
    full discovery: I am not a fan of all-options-are-on-the-table, I am also not a fan of delivering democracy by forcing anyone to look into the barrel of a gun, neither am I a fan of the non-military pressure via financial sanctions.
    What I am much less sure about is, where does this leave me. Other then possibly belonging into the category of a “cultural Marxist” or let’s say one grasped by the TDS, the Trump derangement symptom, evaluated from the outside.

  24. turcopolier says:

    Jon Rudd
    Shanahan is acting SECDEF

  25. Fred says:

    You might want to update your economic understanding of the oil industry.

  26. Artemesia says:

    What friends do the Iranians have — friends, that is, who are capable of launching a meaningful attack, or even defense?
    I’m not convinced Putin would jeopardize his relationships w/ US and Bibi.
    The Chinese?

  27. JamesT says:

    You are right and I was wrong. I’ve done some research and the initial production cut was 5%, but eventually production was gradually cut down to 25% of pre-embargo levels. Clearly I need to double check what I am told rather than just believing it.
    That said – I think an abrupt disruption of oil exports through the Straight of Hormuz could cause hordeing which in turn could cause greater scarcity, resulting in a nasty feedback loop.

  28. catherine says:

    Whats interesting re ME oil is we don’t need it but the countries in our global tied economy do….that is our only (valid) interest in the ME …all our other interest are about Israel.
    Last time I checked the US got less than 20% of its oil from the ME…could easily be made up for with oil from Canada and S.Amer.
    Trump floated the idea of selling off half of US emergency Oil reserves…don’t know if that has been done yet, will check.
    But very stupid thing to do if his puppet masters intend to blow up Iran.
    Unless of course the US also intends to invade Venezuela and take over their oil. …lol

  29. catherine says:

    ”What I guess has been discovered is something that has long been predicted. It must be that Iran has put TELs ”
    Well I have Israel Derangement Syndrome so my ‘guess’ is that 90% of what is told about Iran right now is misinformation.
    But my derangement syndrome is backed up by historical experience….its been the always the same old same old with Israel from the beginning.
    No. 546
    The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Israel
    Washington, January 22, 1953—7:27 p.m.secret
    702. Embassy requested investigate without divulging source and report soonest following information received by Department:
    After Major Nutov, Israel MAC representative, failed recently induce DeRidder modify his attitude in MAC he informed DeRidder Israel would denounce Local Commanders Agreement with effect January 22 on pretext Jordan failure to honor agreement. Agreement expires automatically January 31 and is subject discussion by MAC 10 days before expiration. After verifying this Israel intention with Gaon, chief Israel MAC delegate, on January 13 DeRidder so informed Jordan MAC representative.
    DeRidder stated he had received strong impression Israel would stage series incidents on Egyptian, Syrian, Lebanese and Jordan borders with motive demonstrating Arab misuse of arms supplied by British since US has refused intervene. He mentioned specifically Qatanna where no demarcation line exists. DeRidder gave as additional reasons for anticipated Israel action: (1) Perturbation at recent series of adverse MAC decisions, e.g. Scopus, and Israel failure redress balance, and (2) failure win UN support for direct Arab-Israel peace negotiations.
    If DeRidder’s estimate Israel intentions accurate Israel obviously confident well-timed propaganda can obscure fact of Israel aggression and place onus on Arabs. Various elements of information at hand seem to bear out DeRidder’s contention that denunciation of Local Commanders Agreement is precursor to some important Israel action along border.

  30. jdledell says:

    If the strait were closed, the U.S. would not be hurt directly because we are self-sufficient in Oil. However, most of the rest of the world would be economically hurt pretty badly. This will cause a global recession and indirectly hurt the U.S. economy with a major slow down in exports.
    I doubt that the US can put enough troops on the ground in Iran to keep the entire coast line safe from anti-ship missiles hit slow moving tankers. Even the threat of such missiles will keep tankers in port.

  31. Fred says:

    Hoarding by whom using what to store oil/gasoline/diesel in any meaningful manner to create a global feedback loop?

  32. Procopius says:

    According to Wikipedia:

    In the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, Congress clarified the command line to the combatant commanders and preserved civilian control of the military. The Act states that the operational chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the Combatant Commanders. The Act permits the President to direct that communications pass through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Secretary of Defense, and to the Combatant Commanders. This authority places the Chairman in the communications chain. Further, the Act gives the Secretary of Defense wide latitude to assign the Chairman oversight responsibilities for the activities of the Combatant Commanders.

    I think if the Secretary of Defense sent an order to the Joint Chiefs, they would not be likely to go back and inquire whether the President had ordered this or not, but turcopole would know much better than me.

  33. O'Shawnessey says:

    Ok, though I like the tags “El Gordo” for our wonderful amiga in the White House, Fred Reed’s “malignant manatee” is both more accurate and nicely alliterative:
    Reed: “We have Pompeo, a malignant manatee looking to start wars in which he will not risk his flabby amorphous ass also parading his Christianity. Bolton, a mean sonofabitch who belongs in a strait jacket, at least doesn’t pose as someone having a soul. And the Golden Tufted Cockatoo, too weak to control those around him, preening and tweeting. God save us.”

  34. turcopolier says:

    “flabby amorphous ass?” Gordito? First in his class?

  35. Tidewater says:

    I think that you are asking very good questions. If you look up Noor (missile) in Wikipedia there is a photo of TEL launch system with trucks. The Wiki entry on “Dhofar,” the rebellion in southern Oman during the late sixties to early seventies, gives a sketch of the war we never heard of, a war that some consider to have been more important than Vietnam.
    From what I have read, not only, as you note, does Iran have submarines, but Iran has developed a new class of what are called “littoral” submarines. Iran also has three Kilo class subs berthed at Chabahar, which is out of the Gulf on the Indian Ocean, as well as the North Korean type minisubs. All of these subs have the capability of laying mines. Further, some of the mines are very effective, capable apparently of driving an explosive charge upwards into the bottom of a ship, by using a rocket propulsion system. (?) This is a very real threat to US Navy control of the straits of Hormuz and to mine clearing operations thre.
    On February 20, Orkhan Jalilov had an article in the Caspian News “New Iranian-Made Submarine Is Equipped With Cruise Missiles.” This sub, called “Fateh” is not considered to be particularly sophisticated, but it can dive to a depth of 600 feet and stay down for 35 days. It carries 8 sea mines, can launch 4 torpedoes with two in reserve, and can launch from from underwater the Nasr-1 short range (35 miles) antiship missile.
    Iran’s capability of launching underwater is regarded as a wake-up call by John Miller, an Associate Fellow, Non-proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme of IISS. On March 6, 2019, “Iran’s new threat to ships in the Gulf”, Miller comments that while the Fateh submarine is not “enormously capable” “the Gulf is a small and crowded maritime space and not a friendly body of water for conducting anti-submarine warfare. The environment favours relatively small diesel submarines with a limited capability to attack surface ships, and the introduction of that capability by Iran is a matter of concern.”
    Miller goes on to note the obvious that Iran is now modernising its air-defence capabilities learning to use the S-300 system. Iran is also, he notes, improving “its over-the-horizon surveillance capablities–especially through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles…” My view of the significance of Iran’s development of drone systems is that it is very big news which is not being reported on enough. This means a carrier group could be tracked for days or even weeks across the vastness of the southern Indian Ocean. And then there is the fact that Iran can put a satellite into orbit, and I assume, has one or two up now.
    By my count Iran has now had at least 17 months to develop proficiency in the S-300 system. There might have been Iranians in Russia going back to 2016 being schooled on the weapon. I think it ought to be underlined that Iran got the S-300 PMU-2 Variant, which, if you happen to be into rugs, is the difference, as the auctioneer will tell you, between the plain old Sarouk and the ROYAL Sarouk. This sucker is the ROYAL one and it will definitely fuck-up a B-52; or for that matter, a new P-8 off a carrier coordinating with the Desron ASW community trying to get into range to drop sonar listening devices in the Gulf of Oman to track a sub. Get within a hundred and twenty miles of the S-300 and that’s it for the ‘strike package.’

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