Last week Colonel Lang told us of the latest Middle Eastern goofiness of the Trump administration focusing on our declaring the IRGC a terrorist organization and Pompeo’s truly zany effort to turn the Lebanese government against Hizbullah. If not for the deadly seriousness of the potential consequences, our efforts to reshape the Middle East would be fodder for several Monty Python skits.
Why are we doing this? Well, there is the longstanding neocon addiction to treating the entire world as our personal plaything. There is also the unhealthy hold the Israelis and Saudis have on our body politic. Reinforcing this hold is the drive to hasten the rapture among large segments of the American evangelical community. I don’t think I’m alone in seeing this as a dangerous situation.
Pompeo’s latest buffoonery lead Colonel Lang and myself to wonder if the US and Israel are planning to take out the Hizbullah missile threat. That Hizhullah threat remains a knife in the heart of Israel’s myth of invulnerability. This threat is discussed in a JINSA opinion piece that appeared last month in “The Hill.” The JINSA piece called for US sanctions against Hizbullah-controlled Lebanese ministries. We’ll see if the US tries this approach now that Pompeo’s effort to convince Michel Aoun to turn his back on Hizbullah ended in abject failure. I’m sure the Pentagon has developed plans to attack Hizbullah’s missile arsenal. The Pentagon has plans foreverything. I’m also pretty damned sure these plans depend on first goading Hizbullah and/or the IRGC into providing a pretense for such an attack. Good luck with that. Not only are Hizbullah and the IRGC extraordinarily disciplined, but they also have non-kinetic ways of reacting to Western goading.
Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah slammed the U.S. decision to designate the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, saying that Washington’s “audacity and folly” went beyond limits. “Blacklisting the IRGC is an evidence that it is strong and not weak and this is an expected move by the Great Satan,” Nasrallah said in a televised speech commemorating the day of “Resistance Wounded Fighters” on April 10.
Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. has blacklisted the IRGC, citing alleged terrorist activists by the Iranian group as a reason. Iran’s Supreme National Security Council retaliated to Washington’s decision by labeling the U.S. Army military as terrorist organization.
Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah and its allies from the so-called “axis of resistance” will not continue to deal with the U.S. hostile moves with “condemnation, denouncement and patience.” The Lebanese leader said the axis has other options on all battlefields. “Our choices are open but we will act calmly, with a cool head and at the right time, in all battlefields and arenas,” said Nasrallah.
The Hezbollah leader’s warning confirms the fears of some U.S. officials, who had warned that designating the IRGC as a terrorist group could endanger U.S. troops deployed in the Middle East. Despite this some experts openly state that the administration of US President Donald Trump is moving towards an escalation scenario because it contributes to its current political interests. (South Front)
I’m sure Nasrallah’s mention of “all battlefields and arenas” goes far beyond a targeting of US troops in the region. That would be unimaginative and exactly what the neocons desire. The old quote is “living well is the best revenge.” I think that’s the plan. “South Front” says that a strategic cooperation among Iran, Iraq and Syria on various projects is a nightmare for the US and Israel. Baghdad and Damascus will soon open the al Qaim crossing and, along with Tehran, plan on linking their national railways. China is interested in joining this as an extension of their One Belt, One Road initiative. Russia plans to assist Lebanon in the development of her offshore oil and gas fields. Of immediate importance Russia is moving to help resettle the 1.5 million Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon. That’s 1.5 million in a country with a population of six million. Now that’s a refugee crisis. This is of critical importance since Aoun has no intention of assimilating those refugees into Lebanese society given recent history and the nature of Lebanon’s political system.
Would Russia extend her defensive umbrella to include Lebanon if we attacked Hizbullah? Perhaps, but only reluctantly. Russia does not want a wider war. Syria, however, may be more ready to assist if needed. She owes Hizbollah. Even if Russia is reluctant to launch missiles against US and Israeli aircraft, she may be far less reluctant to employing her formidable radio-electronic combat capabilities. That alone could blunt the effectiveness of an attack on Hizbullah facilities.
In short, I feel an effective US-Israeli attack on Hizbullah missile forces is a pipe dream. Hizbullah won’t be goaded and Russian-Syrian aid, even limited aid, could make such an attack ineffective. Unfortunately, I don’t have confidence in the Trump administration’s ability to grasp this reasoning.
The question is, will American military tire of fighting and dying for the interests of Israel, and wahabi Saudi Arabia. The latter of which is behind the movement responsible for 9/11. The only consistency in the so called war on terror, is that we are one by one destroying the terrorists enemies.
Alastair Crooke produced an article today that dovetails with your analysis. He is a regular participant of the Valdai Club and consequently understands the perspective of the Russian government well.
I’d like to know if you have any thoughts about his analysis.
I considered this to be the most significant excerpt from his analysis; “Russia must (and is), preparing against the possibility of conflict occurring the region (most likely between US/Israel and Iran). … On March 14, Russia’s National Security Council, headed by President Putin, officially raised its perception of American intentions toward Russia from ‘military dangers’ (opasnosti) to direct ‘military threats'(ugrozy). In short, the Kremlin is PREPARING FOR WAR, however defensive its intention.’
He also notes that “Putin needs a direct channel to Trump (where none exists at the diplomatic level; they have been dismantled).”
In regard to your analysis, I have one brief question regarding the SU-300 missile system. I read several months ago that operation of these systems would shortly be turned over to the Syrians. Do you know if the range of these systems extend to Lebanon ?
The S-300 has a range of 120 miles or so. The distance from Damascus to Tyre, on the southern Lebanese coast is 65 miles. If Russian ships are tracking targets off the coast of Lebanon, the S-300s based in Syria would be even more effective.
I have no doubt Russia’s MOD has war-gamed out these possible scenarios just as our DOD has done. I’ll check out that Crooke analysis and get back to you.
On a domestic note just what has Israel ever done for the US? It seems most of our actions on their behalf have been against our actual national interests for years.
Clown Prince Muhammad Bone Saw MBS of Saudi Arabia got away with chopping off live journalists in his foreign consult and burning it in the oven. His uncles/cousins got away with blowing up the towers on 911.
Considering that the Saudis avoided any consequences for their attack equivalent of Pearl Harbor, the chance is that he will get away with more.
Thank you for your nice post author.
Nice post author. Thank you. keep it up.
TTG – excellent. Liza, the question of US military willingness to fight these stupid wars always arises in the minds of the civilians. What do you have in mind, a refusal to obey orders, a “Seven Days in May revolt? None of that what will happen. The principle of subordination to the elected government and the ingrained habit of obedience to that government are so strong that the armed forces are more likely to gradually decline in effectiveness from the physical and emotional attrition of protracted intense war that does not allow recovery time for the combat and logistical forces. We saw that in VN and it may well happen again. War can strengthen an armed force but only if there are enough periods of peace to allow for recovery of the force.
Americans, in general obviously are fatally stupid. End of rant.
Not smart like you, eh?
If Israel hasn’t been able to take out Hezbollah’s unguided rockets during the past decades, it seems to me they (or the US) will be unable to locate and eliminate Hezbollah’s precision guided missiles. Being able to take out key infrastructure targets (like power generation stations and water treatment plants) from great distances has been the monopoly of western powers up until now. If Hezbollah is able to take out such targets in Israel when the next war happens then the pampered first world Israeli citizens will find themselves without water and electricity. I don’t think those citizens will be happy to defecate in latrine trenches so their government can enjoy yet another military adventure in Lebanon.
The longer that it takes for such a conflict to break out, the longer Hezbollah has to stockpile such missiles. Time is on Nasrallah’s side.
Not too smart to whack the Goose that keeps on giving.
Best not whack the Goose that keeps on giving.
Thank you for another great though worrying summary. I had thought that when Vice-President Pence talked of the Rapture he was merely playing to part of his base. But I do recollect that Tony Blair had some off the wall apocalyptic notions and these were said to motivate him to some extent. It’s an uncomfortable thought that such people might be for real.
Cyprus is some 160 miles away. Do you see US allies becoming involved should there be hostile action of any sort?
If I remember right, Britain and France joined the US in the ineffectual lobbing of missiles at Syria in last years display of martial outrage over a suspected gas attack. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they join the US again if it comes to an attack on Lebanon. Maybe France would think twice given her history with Lebanon, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of thinking going on lately.
Christian millenarism goes way beck before Blair with regard to its influence on Western policy in the Near East. In A Peace to End All Peace David Fromkin asserted that it was a major factor in Lloyd-George’s efforts to promote a Jewish state in Palestine in the years immediately after The Great War.
@ex-PFC Chuck”Christian millenarism goes way beck [sic] before Blair with regard to its influence on Western policy in the Near East.” It goes back long before the Great War! The great historian Barbara Tuchman in her early book, Bible and Sword, traces it back to the early nineteenth century, as a way to secure the route to India, and other projects based on the Revelation of John go back even further.
It was always, however, something of a minority view. Though those who held it held it strongly as, say, Wingate much later. But there were a great number of political considerations that fed into the Balfour declaration and its implementation, not the least of which was a desire to divert the Jewish refugees coming into the big English cities at the time. That caused civil unrest so one could say the start of the process that led to the establishment of Israel was as much due to anti-semitism as it was to Zionism. Other factors were rivalry with the French, the Suez canal, the oil of course, always the oil, and a general feeling that it would be good for the Arabs to have some westerners settled there to get them into modern ways.
But I reckon also because that sort of thing was what empires do so they just did it. Habit’s very strong, as we’re finding with the neocons now.
I’m not sure how valuable an addition Gertrude Bell was to the ME scene, but her verdict on the settlement of Palestine wasn’t exactly Zionist (Wiki) –
Bell opposed the Zionist movement, on the grounds that it would be unfair to impose Jewish rule on Arab inhabitants of Palestine. She wrote that she regarded the Balfour Declaration with “the deepest mistrust” and that “It’s like a nightmare in which you foresee all the horrible things which are going to happen and can`t stretch out your hand to prevent them”.
Trump is among the last acts of the US Imperium:
oligarchs that can’t tell trusted friend from odious enemy because the enemy looks and acts so much like the US;
an immense military incapable of winning the smallest wars;
an economy used like a casino to enrich the unworthy;
children used to punish immigrant families fleeing US imperial cruelty in their own countries;
the worst educated generation since 1776 as science, schools, libraries, an independent press, and dissenting voices are crushed by corporate design;
resurgent bigotry aided by brutally stupid, corrupt police cruelty;
ruthless violence blessed by empty prayers and Hollywood blockbusters;
and, vapid indifference for anything that doesn’t touch their own families, or their favourite sport.
These are all signs of a society about to collapse with only a minor environmental disaster needed to start the landslide, out of the ecosystem armageddon certain to come.
H.L. Mencken: ‘Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.’
Voltaire: ‘Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.’
Childish excess. You sound like a marxist professor of the kind who have worked so hard at poisoning the minds of our youth. You are banned.