A journo friend called yesterday to ask my opinion about the course of near term events regarding Iran.
The murder of a senior Iranian scientist at the weekend may have been done by Israel or the United States or both in cooperation. He may or may not have been the "father" of an actual Iranian MILITARY nuclear program as opposed to a CIVILIAN electric power focused program.
In the 2007 NIE on Iran the USIC would not commit publicly to the existence of such a military program and they never have since. The theory of the case then was that Khamenei ordered an end to an experimental military program after the occupation of Iraq by the US and the destruction of the Iraqi government. Khamenei published a fatwa stating that such a program was an evil thing and was no longer needed as a deterrent against Iraq.
The subsequent US/Israeli focus on a putative Iranian nuclear weapons program was IMO an artifact of the Israeli/Cheney/Ziocon fascination with their 1% theory of strategy. Stated simply, this is the concept that if anything can possibly threaten you, even at a 1% level of probability, then you should seek to crush it.
On that basis the Israelis have long wanted Iran crushed. They have lacked the means to do it themselves unless they want to use the nuclear weapons they pretend not to have. They evidently do not want to do that and so their long yearned for solution is that the stupid but strong Americans do it for them with perhaps a minor supporting role for themselves just so that they can claim afterward that they did all the hard bits.
In that context the death of the Iranian savant is easy to see as a provocation intended to bring on an Iranian attack which could be used to goad Trump into a grand finale effort against Iran.
The USS Nimitz Battle Group is in the area with all its wondrous planes and missile shooting ships. The US has been moving JDAM shooting B-52s into the region for a week. Things like the B-2 bomber and B-1B are on call from far away. Someone has been setting the stage for …? Who knows? I doubt that it is Trump. He has shown himself to be long on talk, and short on actual shooting.
Are the Iranians dumb enough to take the bait? I doubt it. All they have to do is wait for Joe, Blinken et al to take over and they are likely to get something very like JCPOA. pl
Iran just might take the bait.
They’ve got to have a serious amount of scorn and contempt for Biden and his Obama warmed overs and thus think that no matter what they do there will be no consequences.
Remember that Iran and the Democrat-media party have a common
enemy – America.
Agreed. The Iranians are complicated and divided and sometimes a bit crazy. But they are not incompetent. They will play their cards pretty well.
I should point out, though, that supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini died in 1989. The 2007 fatwa was issued by his successor Ali Khamenei. Yeah. I too have trouble keeping those names properly distinguished.
My error. Khamenei’s fatwa was issued in 2003.
Thanks. I have corrected the name.
The Russian view is that Iran, due to its perceived conventional superiority over its Saudi rivals, does not intend to possess nuclear weapons.
The actualy deterrent value of Iranian nukes against the USA would be kind of limited (Iran is not “crazy” enough to go into a nuclear exchange). Meanwhile, if Iran gets invaded and does not have nukes, it can, at the current configuration of events, expect unforseen opportunities to beta test a lot of cool Russian toys. With the Chinese privately bankrolling most of it. Both Russia and China will likely seize the opportunity to fight the USA to the last Iranian.
Donbass will probably betatest a lot of cool Russian stuff as well.
Also, not having a nuclear weapons programm will give the various US “allies” who arent anglo saxon an excellent excuse to do what they were planning to do anyway, which is nothing for obvious reasons.
The Majlis just voted to raise the uranium enrichment limit to 20%. An asymmetrical move. I suspect we’ll see more such non-obvious responses, rather than a direct attack.
Iran also claims that the IAEA has been penetrated by US (or other) intel, and that they leaked the name of the scientist. Cooperation with IAEA will likely be decreased to the minimum.
Joe may try to revive some semblance of the JCPOA, but I am dubious that it will go through. Obama started backsliding on the financial aspects of the deal almost immediately. Why should Iran trust crooked, creepy, and senile Joe to be agreement capable?
During the course of R+6 military cooperation with Russia, there was a brief announcement that Russian planes were being based in Iran. That was walked back quickly. But a trial balloon like that could certainly be revived again, but this time with ambiguity about exactly which weapons were stored on site.
Meanwhile, perhaps in response to the Nimitz and B-52 moves, Iran staged exercises with some 1,000 small boats. Said boats are pipsqueaks compared to a mighty aircraft carrier. But with that said, there’s enough of them to inflict real damage.
I gotta agree with you on the “long on talk” diagnosis of the prez. But As I age, I more and more agree with that committed pacifist Winston Churchill when he pointed out that “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”.
Of course the corollary to Sir Winston’s bon mot is Will Roger’s “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock”..
The Iranians are smart and patient. They won’t attack anyone, at least not until Trump is out of office.
However, the real danger is a “false-flag” attack launched against US personnel or military targets by one of Iran’s enemies in the region, but made to look like an Iranian attack. That’s the real danger we’ll be facing until the Biden administration takes office and, hopefully, cooler heads prevail.
The screen for the carrier would kill most of these little boats but the survivors might do some damage. That would depend on how quickly a general order to engage was given.
The Iranian Defense Minister stated that they will respond in kind. If past statements and actions serve as a guide, it seems likely (IMO) that there will be commensurate retaliation probably within a year. Keeping their enemies on edge over such a time frame would probably be perceived as an added benefit.
If US does attack Iran w/ massive force, the conflict would probably not be limited to Iran. It is quite likely that Iranians will be advised of the attack as it starts. IMO they will do whatever they are capable of before being bombed into the stone age. It would be a pyrrhic victory at best for some folks.
Nobel 97 has it right. The current circumstances & events (Pompeo’s Greatest Hits & Misses Tour) are awash with instability wrapped around mystery. Little acts can yield giant repercussions, while grand flourishes lead nowhere. A perfect climate for things going further southward, by chance or design.
After all the impediments to Biden’s EC confirmation are cashed-out, a celestial event in the Gulf or Iran may be the putsch’s last shot. Not directed by Trump (he is indeed a coward when it comes down to it), but by a player subtly setting him up to Save America’s Greatness Again. “the country needs you, Mr Prez – all it takes is an EO, & Sen. McConnell will go for it.” Who cares what’s scheduled 1/20 when motives intersect?
“something very like JCPOA” or JCPOA Redux would be a good thing. But why would Iran accept it? They are well aware of America’s political bipolarity. So they know any deal Biden might make with them could be overridden at our next election.
Interesting that Acting SecDef Chris Miller was in the Gulf just a day or two before the assassination of nuke scientist Fakhrizadeh. Was he forewarned? Or were the Israelis trying to imply that he was in on it?
As for the USS Nimitz, IMO she should NOT go through the Hormuz Straits into the Gulf. No reason to. From the Arabian Sea or the Gulf of Oman she can show the flag or put long-range steel and fire on most any target inside Iran. Carriers are blue water ships and NAVCENT/5thFleet should not try to turn them into brown water patrol boats. Not that the Nimitz would be worried about IRGCN speedboats. But a coordinated attack with those speedboats along with a swarm of land launched Noor (and other) anti-ship missiles and UAVs in the limited maneuvering room of the Gulf could have consequences. Seems to me the only reason we put carriers in the gulf is for a challenge, a brazen dare.
The other possibility is that the Israelis are simply taking advantage of this window of opportunity e.g. the “waiting for Biden” factor allows them to kill this guy with minimal threat of retaliation, so they think “well, OK, why not?” and take the shot.
No wheels within wheels. No cunning plan. Just a snap decision to kill him before that “waiting for Biden” clock runs down.
After all, viciousness and tactical prowess is not necessarily proof of deep strategic thinking.
sometime back, I read that in the recent past, US goes to war using at least 5 carrier battle groups.
is that a sound observation?
No. that depends on the war.
Their economy is a wreck. We wrecked it. That is a good reason.
I highly doubt a false flag would happen. Israel tried that with the attack on the USS Liberty to pull the US into the Six Day War. It all but backfired; however, President Johnson was willing to let Israel’s excuse play out, that it was an honest case of mistaken identity.
Likelier is a fog of war incident, but Iran is not pushing boundaries. So it would be the US, Israel, and their Gulf allies who would need to create some kind of incident. It’s a likelier possibility than a false flag, but this I doubt too.
Right now Trump and Netanyahu are trying to box Biden in so that it’s more difficult to work out a deal with Iran. I think in the end Biden will need to make more concessions than he would have needed before, probably meaning Iran will be allowed to stockpile and enrich more uranium.
If we’re trading foreign policy aphorisms I have always liked TR’s “speak softly but carry a big stick”. Note that TR never suggested that the big stick should be brandished: soft speaking was what he was recommending.
It seems to me the perfect description of the Putin Team’s behaviour: lots of “our partners” and endless patience, but don’t forget the kinzhals and iskanders in the background.
As to Pompeus Minimus — not so much.
(Speaking of TR — are we likely to see a Trump Bull Moose party?)
The Iranian IRGC commander Muslim Shahdan an IRGC logistics officer was assassinated in Al Qaim near the Syrian border with NE Iraq over the weekend. The Iranian base Imam Ali military base was built by the IRGC to allow for transfers of arms from Iraq to Syria. The IRGC commander along with three others were in the vehicle. The vehicle was carrying weapons across the Iraqi border, and was hit after it had entered Syrian territory according to Iraqi security.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has stressed that Iran will seek its revenge in “due time”, and not be rushed into a “trap”.
Allowing Pompeo and Netanyahu to direct US treasure and lives to achieve their own perverted goals, Netanyahu the second temple and Pompeo the second coming is enough to disqualify Trump as President, why PL supports this disaster is mindboggling to me.
TR managed to buyout the French investments in the Panama Canal, which kept France out of the Americas. He also avoided spreading the armed forces across the planet in an effort to remake the world in our image. A third party effort would only result in failure. He needs to start firing more of the ‘deep state’ actors who’ve sabatouged the administration (Fauci and Haspel come to mind).
The electoral fraud is becomng more apparent to even ‘normies’ now. I expect he’s got a good chance of l being inaugurated next year, courts willing. If Roberts and company decide to back the steal instead then we’ll be in a low level shooting war at home in 2021.
I don’t. Trump’s ME policy is a disaster somehow linked to Jewish political money and the neurosis that makes all New York City people in some sense Jewish. As one Catholic clergyman from Nyu Yohk told me “even the cardinal here is Jewish.” i like pretty much everything else in Trump’s agenda and his personality means nothing to me. I am accustomed to working with jackasses.
Just another provocation.
Does IRGC have super or hypersonic anti-shipping missiles? I suspect preparation for a real confrontation would entail no CBG in the Gulf or anywhere near it.
“even the cardinal here is Jewish.”
In the 1950s, Fred Trump, Donnie’s father, donated a plot of land to the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Brooklyn. He also contributed generously towards its construction. He affectionately referred to Rabbi Yisroel Wagner, who approached the elder Trump for help, as “My Rabbi.”
A Converso perhaps?
It is well worth remembering two items:
Mr. Patrushev, Secretary of the Russian Security Council, stated that Iran is an ally of Russia [In Jerusalem??]
2., Attack on an ally is the same as attack on Russia, President Putin.
Advisory for cooler heads regarding Iran.
j. casey – “Does IRGC have super or hypersonic anti-shipping missiles?”
None known. But there is speculation they have access to details of China’s Chaoxun-1 that can reach speeds of Mach 3.
J, from chatter on social media there is apparently no IRGC commander with the name Muslim Shahdan in the November personnel lists. Assuming that is correct the event is a bit of a puzzle.
I would expect Iran would have some degree of advance warning – it is reasonable to assume (per several indicators) that Russia would know of such a decision shortly after it was made – it is in Russian interests (should the US decide to fight a war for the benefit of Israel) to see Iran maximize damage on SA oil production, ME assets, and that pesky tiny statelet with inviting nuclear power plants targets.
Iran’s FM is now denying the story. Al-arabiya, RT, and Haaretz were running the story. Could be the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Iran appears a wee bit embarrassed that their IRGC leadership types as well as their civilian weapons personnel are so vulnerable, and they can’t seem to protect them. The blowback to all of it is what I’m worried about.
Iran has created a pickle for themselves taking the ‘high priced’ CCP’s ‘easy money ‘.
Pat Buchanan wrote a column recently on the subject:
I’ve always thought that the Israelis (well Zion generally) want de-facto control of the whole US Military for their own purposes, which is why Jews work so hard to subvert and control America and its Institutions the way they pretend not to.
5th Fleet Commander Admiral Sam Paparo on Iran naval activity, he is quoted by AP as saying:
“We have achieved an uneasy deterrence. That uneasy deterrence is exacerbated by world events and by events along the way. But I have found Iranian activity at sea to be cautious and circumspect and respectful, to not risk unnecessary miscalculation or escalation at sea.”
IMHO it is good to see that the situation there is being toned down. Let’s hope Tehran sees it the same way.