“Praise be to God, who made our enemies fools.” – Ayatollah Khamenei
I’ve been writing and speaking for months about the looming danger of war with Iran, often to considerable skepticism.
In June, in an essay entitled “Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back,” after the U.S. initiated its “maximum pressure” blockade of Iranian oil exports, I pointed out that “Iran considers that it is already at war,” and that the downing of the U.S. drone was a sign that “Iran is calling the U.S. bluff on escalation dominance.”
In an October essay, I pointed out that Trump’s last-minute calling off of the U.S. attack on Iran in June, his demurral again after the Houthi attack on Saudi oil facilities, and his announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria were seen as “catastrophic” and “a big win for Iran” by the Iran hawks in Israel and America whose efforts New York Times (NYT) detailed in an important article, “The Secret History of the Push to Strike Iran.” I said, with emphasis, “It always goes to Iran,” and underlined that Trump’s restraint was particularly galling to hard-line zionist Republican Senators, and might have opened a path to impeachment. I cited the reported statement of a “veteran political consultant” that “The price of [Lindsey] Graham’s support… would be an eventual military strike on Iran.”
And in the middle of December, I went way out on a limb, in an essay suggesting a possible relation between preparations for war in Iran and the impeachment process. I pointed out that the strategic balance of forces between Israel and Iran had reached the point where Israel thinks it’s “necessary to take Iran down now,” in “the next six months,” before the Iranian-supported Axis of Resistance accrues even more power. I speculated that the need to have a more reliable and internationally-respected U.S. President fronting a conflict with Iran might be the unseen reason—behind the flimsy Articles of Impeachment—that explains why Pelosi and Schumer “find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.”
So, I was the guy chicken-littling about impending war with Iran.
But even I was flabbergasted by what Trump did. Absolutely gobsmacked. Killing Qassem Soleimani, Iranian general, leader of the Quds forces, and the most respected military leader in the Middle East? And Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, Iraqi commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) unit, Kataib Hezbollah? Did not see that coming. Rage. Fear. Sadness. Anxiety. A few days just to register that it really happened. To see the millions of people bearing witness to it. Yes, that happened.
Then there was the anxious anticipation about the Iranian response, which came surprisingly quickly, and with admirable military and political precision, avoiding a large-scale war in the region, for the moment.
That was the week that was.
But, as the man said: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” And it ain’t over. Recognizing the radical uncertainty of the world we now live in, and recognizing that its future will be determined by actors and actions far away from the American leftist commentariat, here’s what I need to say about the war we are now in.
The first thing, the thing that is so sad and so infuriating and so centrally symptomatic of everything wrong with American political culture, is that, with painfully few exceptions, Americans have no idea of what their government has done. They have no idea who Qassem Soleimani was, what he has accomplished, the web of relationships, action, and respect he has built, what his assassination means and will bring. The last person who has any clue about this, of course, is Donald Trump, who called Soleimani “a total monster.” His act of killing Soleimani is the apotheosis of the abysmal, arrogant ignorance of U.S. political culture.
It’s virtually impossible to explain to Americans because there is no one of comparable stature in the U.S. or in the West today. As Iran cleric Shahab Mohadi said, when talking about what a “proportional response” might be: ”[W]ho should we consider to take out in the context of America? ‘Think about it. Are we supposed to take out Spider-Man and SpongeBob?… ‘All of their heroes are cartoon characters — they’re all fictional.” Trump? Lebanese Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah said what many throughout the world familiar with both of them would agree with: “the shoe of Qassem Soleimani is worth the head of Trump and all American leaders.”
To understand the respect Soleimani has earned, not only in Iran (where his popularity was around 80%) but throughout the region and across political and sectarian lines, you have to know how he led and organized the forces that helped save Christians, Kurds, Yazidis and others from being slaughtered by ISIS, while Barack Obama and John Kerry were still “watching” ISIS advance and using it as a tool to “manage” their war against Assad.
In an informative interview with Aaron Maté, Former Marine Intelligence Officer and weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, explains how Soleimani is honored in Iraq for organizing the resistance that saved Baghdad from being overrun by ISIS—and the same could be said of Syria, Damascus, or Ebril:
He’s a legend in Iran, in Iraq, and in Syria. And anywhere where, frankly speaking, he’s operated, the people he’s worked with view him as one of the greatest leaders, thinkers, most humane men of all time. I know in America we demonize him as a terrorist but the fact is he wasn’t, and neither is Mr. Mohandes.
When ISIS [was] driving down on the city of Baghdad,…the U.S. armed and trained Iraqi Army had literally thrown down their weapons and ran away, and there was nothing standing between ISIS and Baghdad…
[Soleimani] came in from Iran and led the creation of the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] as a viable fighting force and then motivated them to confront Isis in ferocious hand-to-hand combat in villages and towns outside of Baghdad, driving Isis back and stabilizing the situation that allowed the United States to come in and get involved in the Isis fight. But if it weren’t for Qassem Soleimani and Mohandes and Kataib Hezbollah, Baghdad might have had the black flag of ISIS flying over it. So the Iraqi people haven’t forgotten who stood up and defended Baghdad from the scourge of ISIS.
So, to understand Soleimani in Western terms, you’d have to evoke someone like World War II Eisenhower (or Marshall Zhukov, but that gets another blank stare from Americans.) Think I’m exaggerating? Take it from the family of the Shah:
Beyond his leadership of the fight against ISIS, you also have to understand Soleimani’s strategic acumen in building the Axis of Resistance—the network of armed local groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon as well as the PMF in Iraq, that Soleimani helped organize and provide with growing military capability. Soleimani meant standing up; he helped people throughout the region stand up to the shit the Americans, Israelis, and Saudis were constantly dumping on them
More apt than Eisenhower and De Gaulle, in world-historical terms, try something like Saladin meets Che. What a tragedy, and travesty, it is that legend-in-his-own-mind Donald Trump killed this man.
Dressed to Kill
But it is not just Trump, and not just the assassination of Soleimani, that we should focus on. These are actors and events within an ongoing conflict with Iran, which was ratcheted up when the U.S. renounced the nuclear deal (JCPOA – Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and instituted a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic and financial sanctions on Iran and third countries, designed to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero.
The purpose of this blockade is to create enough social misery to force Iran into compliance, or provoke Iran into military action that would elicit a “justifiable” full-scale, regime-change—actually state-destroying—military attack on the country.
From its inception, Iran has correctly understood this blockade as an act of war, and has rightfully expressed its determination to fight back. Though it does not want a wider war, and has so far carefully calibrated its actions to avoid making it necessary, Iran will fight back however it deems necessary.
The powers-that-be in Iran and the U.S. know they are at war, and that the Soleimani assassination ratcheted that state of war up another significant notch; only Panglossian American pundits think the “w” state is yet to be avoided. Sorry, but the United States drone-bombed an Iranian state official accompanied by an Iraqi state official, in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi Prime Minister, on a conflict-resolution mission requested by Donald Trump himself. In anybody’s book, that is an act of war—and extraordinary treachery, even in wartime, the equivalent of shooting someone who came to parley under a white flag.
Indeed, we now know that the assassination of Soleimani was only one of two known assassination attempts against senior Iranian officers that day. There was also an unsuccessful strike targeting Abdul Reza Shahlai, another key commander in Iran’s Quds Force who has been active in Yemen. According to the Washington Post, this marked a “departure for the Pentagon’s mission in Yemen, which has sought to avoid direct involvement” or make “any publicly acknowledged attacks on Houthi or Iranian leaders in Yemen.”
Of course, because it’s known as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the Pentagon wants to avoid “publicly” bloodying its hands in the Saudi war in Yemen. Through two presidential administrations, it has been trying to minimize attention to its indispensable support of, and presence in, Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen with drone strikes, special forces operations, refueling of aircraft, and intelligence and targeting. It’s such a nasty business that even the U.S. Congress passed a bipartisan resolution to end U.S. military involvement in that war, which was vetoed by Trump.
According to the ethic and logic of American exceptionalism, Iran is forbidden from helping the Houthis, but the U.S. is allowed to assassinate their advisors and help the Saudis bomb the crap out of them.
So, the Trump administration is clearly engaged in an organized campaign to take out senior Iranian leaders, part of what it considers a war against Iran. In this war, the Trump administration no longer pretends to give a damn about any fig leaf of law or ethics. Nobody takes seriously the phony “imminence” excuse for killing Soleimani, which even Trump says “doesn’t matter,” or the “bloody hands” justification, which could apply to any military commander. And let’s not forget: Soleimani was “talking about bad stuff.”
The U.S. is demonstrating outright contempt for any framework of respectful international relations, let alone international law. National sovereignty? Democracy? Whatever their elected governments say, we’ll will keep our army in Syria to “take the oil,” and in Iraq to…well, to do whatever the hell we want. “Rules-based international order”? Sure, we make the rules and you follow our orders.
The U.S.’s determination to stay in Iraq, in defiance of the explicit, unequivocal demand of the friendly democratic government that the U.S. itself supposedly invaded the country to install, is particularly significant. It draws the circle nicely. It demonstrates that the Iraq war isn’t over. Because it, and the wars in Libya and Syria, and the war that’s ratcheting up against Iran are all the same war that the U.S. has been waging in the Middle East since 2003. In the end is the beginning, and all that.
We’re now in the endgame of the serial offensive that Wesley Clark described in 2007, starting with Iraq and “finishing off” with Iran. Since the U.S. has attacked, weakened, divided, or destroyed every other un-coopted polity in the region (Iraq, Syria, Libya) that could pose any serious resistance to the predations of U.S. imperialism and Israel colonialism, it has fallen to Iran to be the last and best source of material and military support which allows that resistance to persist.
And Iran has taken up the task, through the work of the Quds Force under leaders like Soleimani and Shahlai, the work of building a new Axis of Resistance with the capacity to resist the dictates of Israel and the U.S. throughout the region. It’s work that is part of a war and will result in casualties among U.S. and U.S.-allied forces and damage to their “interests.”
What the U.S. (and its wards, Israel and Saudi Arabia) fears most is precisely the kind of material, technical, and combat support and training that allows the Houthis to beat back the Saudis and Americans in Yemen, and retaliate with stunningly accurate blows on crucial oil facilities in Saudi Arabia itself. The same kind of help that Soleimani gave to the armed forces of Syria and the PMF in Iraq to prevent those countries from being overrun and torn apart by the U.S. army and its sponsored jihadis, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon to deter Israel from demolishing and dividing that country at will.
It’s that one big “endless” war that’s been waged by every president since 2003, which American politicians and pundits have been scratching their heads and squeezing their brains to figure out how to explain, justify (if it’s their party’s President in charge), denounce (if it’s the other party’s POTUS), or just bemoan as “senseless.” But to the neocons who are driving it and their victims—it makes perfect sense and is understood to have been largely a success. Only the befuddled U.S. media and the deliberately-deceived U.S. public think it’s “senseless,” and remain enmired in the cock-up theory of U.S. foreign policy, which is a blindfold we had better shed before being led to the next very big slaughter.
The one big war makes perfect sense when one understands that the United States has thoroughly internalized Israel’s interests as its own. That this conflation has been successfully driven by a particular neocon faction, and that it is excessive, unnecessary and perhaps disruptive to other effective U.S. imperial possibilities, is demonstrated precisely by the constant plaint from non-neocon, including imperialist, quarters that it’s all so “senseless.”
The result is that the primary object of U.S. policy (its internalized zionist imperative) in this war is to enforce that Israel must be able, without any threat of serious retaliation, to carry out any military attack on any country in the region at any time, to seize any territory and resources (especially water) it needs, and, of course, to impose any level of colonial violence against Palestinians—from home demolitions, to siege and sniper killings (Gaza), to de jure as well as de facto apartheid and eventual further mass expulsions, if deems necessary.
That has required, above all, removing—by co-option, regime change, or chaotogenic sectarian warfare and state destruction—any strong central governments that have provided political, diplomatic, financial, material, and military support for the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonialism. Iran is the last of those, has been growing in strength and influence, and is therefore the next mandatory target.
For all the talk of “Iranian proxies,” I’d say, if anything, that the U.S., with its internalized zionist imperative, is effectively acting as Israel’s proxy.
It’s also important, I think, to clarify the role of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in this policy. KSA is absolutely a very important player in this project, which has been consistent with its interests. But its (and its oil’s) influence on the U.S. is subsidiary to Israel’s, and depends entirely on KSA’s complicity with the Israeli agenda. The U.S. political establishment is not overwhelmingly committed to Saudi/Wahhabi policy imperatives—as a matter, they think, of virtue—as they are to Israeli/Zionist ones. It is inconceivable that a U.S. Vice-President would declare “I am a Wahhabi,” or a U.S. President say “I would personally grab a rifle, get in a ditch, and fight and die” for Saudi Arabia—with nobody even noticing. The U.S. will turn on a dime against KSA if Israel wants it; the reverse would never happen. We have to confront the primary driver of this policy if we are to defeat it, and too many otherwise superb analysts, like Craig Murray, are mistaken and diversionary, I think, in saying things like the assassination of Soleimani and the drive for war on Iran represent the U.S. “doubling down on its Saudi allegiance.” So, sure, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Batman and Robin.
Iran has quite clearly seen and understood what’s unfolding, and has prepared itself for the finale that is coming its way.
The final offensive against Iran was supposed to follow the definitive destruction of the Syrian Baathist state, but that project was interrupted (though not yet abandoned) by the intervention of Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran—the latter precisely via the work of Soleimani and the Quds Force.
Current radical actions like the two assassination strikes against Iranian Quds Force commanders signal the Trump administration jumping right to the endgame, as that neocon hawks have been “agitating for.” The idea—borrowed, perhaps from Israel’s campaign of assassinating Iranian scientists—is that killing off the key leaders who have supplied and trained the Iranian-allied networks of resistance throughout the region will hobble any strike from those networks if/when the direct attack on Iran comes.
Per Patrick Lawrence, the Soleimani assassination “was neither defensive nor retaliatory: It reflected the planning of the administration’s Iran hawks, who were merely awaiting the right occasion to take their next, most daring step toward dragging the U.S. into war with Iran.” It means that war is on and it will get worse fast.
It is crucial to understand that Iran is not going to passively submit to any such bullying. It will not be scared off by some “bloody nose” strike, followed by chest-thumping from Trump, Netanyahu, or Hillary about how they will “obliterate” Iran. Iran knows all that. It also knows, as I’ve said before, how little damage—especially in terms of casualties—Israel and the U.S. can take. It will strike back. In ways that will be calibrated as much as possible to avoid a larger war, but it will strike back.
Iran’s strike on Ain al-Asad base in Iraq was a case in point. It was preceded by a warning through Iraq that did not specify the target but allowed U.S. personnel in the country to hunker down. It also demonstrated deadly precision and determination, hitting specific buildings where U.S. troops work, and, we now know, causing at least eleven acknowledged casualties.
Those casualties were minor, but you can bet they would have been the excuse for a large-scale attack, if the U.S. had been entirely unafraid of the response. In fact, Trump did launch that attack over the downing of a single unmanned drone—and Pompeo and the neocon crew, including Republican Senators, were ”stunned” that he called it off in literally the last ten minutes. It’s to the eternal shame of what’s called the “left” in this country that we may have Tucker Carlson to thank for Trump’s bouts of restraint.
There Will Be Blood
But this is going to get worse, Pompeo is now threatening Iran’s leaders that “any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.” Since Iran has ties of some kind with most armed groups in the region and the U.S. decides what “proxy” and “interests” means, that means that any act of resistance to the U.S., Israel, or other “ally” by anybody—including, for example, the Iraqi PMF forces who are likely to retaliate against the U.S. for killing their leader—will be an excuse for attacking Iran. Any anything. Call it an omnibus threat.
The groundwork for a final aggressive push against Iran began back in June, 2017, when, under then-Director Pompeo, the CIA set up a stand-alone Iran Mission Center. That Center replaced a group of “Iran specialists who had no special focus on regime change in Iran,” because “Trump’s people wanted a much more focused and belligerent group.” The purpose of this—as of any—Mission Center was to “elevate” the country as a target and “bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action” against Iran. This one is especially concerned with Iran’s “increased capacity to deliver missile systems” to Hezbollah or the Houthis that could be used against Israel or Saudi Arabia, and Iran’s increased strength among the Shia militia forces in Iraq. The Mission Center is headed by Michael D’Andrea, who is perceived as having an “aggressive stance toward Iran.” D’Andrea, known as “the undertaker” and “Ayatollah Mike,” is himself a convert to Islam, and notorious for his “central role in the agency’s torture and targeted killing programs.”
This was followed in December, 2017, by the signing of a pact with Israel “to take on Iran,” which took place, according to Israeli television, at a “secret” meeting at the White House. This pact was designed to coordinate “steps on the ground” against “Tehran and its proxies.” The biggest threats: “Iran’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon,” and its activity in Syria and support for Hezbollah. The Israelis considered that these secret “dramatic understandings” would have “far greater impact” on Israel than Trump’s more public and notorious recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital.
The Iran Mission Center is a war room. The pact with Israel is a war pact.
The U.S. and Israeli governments are out to “take on” Iran. Their major concerns, repeated everywhere, are Iran’s growing military power, which underlies its growing political influence—specifically its precision ballistic missile and drone capabilities, which it is sharing with its allies throughout the region, and its organization of those armed resistance allies, which is labelled “Iranian aggression.”
These developments must be stopped because they provide Iran and other actors the ability to inflict serious damage on Israel. They create the unacceptable situation where Israel cannot attack anything it wants without fear of retaliation. For some time, Israel has been reluctant to take on Hezbollah in Lebanon, having already been driven back by them once because the Israelis couldn’t take the casualties in the field. Now Israel has to worry about an even more battle-hardened Hezbollah, other well-trained and supplied armed groups, and those damn precision missiles. One cannot overstress how important those are, and how adamant the U.S. and Israel are that Iran get rid of them. As another Revolutionary Guard commander says: “Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides…if only one missile hits the occupied lands, Israeli airports will be filled with people trying to run away from the country.”
This campaign is overseen in the U.S. by the likes of “praying for war with Iran” Christian Zionists Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence, who together “urged” Trump to approve the killing of Soleimani. Pence, whom the Democrats are trying to make President, is associated with Christians United For Israel (CUFI), which paid for his and his wife’s pilgrimage to Israel in 2014, and is run by lunatic televangelist John Hagee, whom even John McCain couldn’t stomach. Pompeo, characterized as the “brainchild” of the assassination, thinks Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran. (Patrick Lawrence argues the not-implausible case that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Esper ordered the assassination and stuck Trump with it.) No Zionists are more fanatical than Christian Zionists. These guys are not going to stop.
And Iran is not going to surrender. Iran is no longer afraid of the escalation dominance game. Do not be fooled by peace-loving illusions—propagated mainly now by mealy-mouthed European and Democratic politicians—that Iran will return to what’s described as “unconditional” negotiations, which really means negotiating under the absolutely unacceptable condition of economic blockade, until the U.S. gets what it wants. Not gonna happen. Iran’s absolutely correct condition for any negotiation with the U.S. is that the U.S. return to the JCPOA and lift all sanctions.
Also not gonna happen, though any real peace-loving Democratic candidate would specifically and unequivocally commit to doing just that if elected. The phony peace-loving poodles of Britain, France, and Germany (the EU3) have already cast their lot with the aggressive American policy, triggering a dispute mechanism that will almost certainly result in a “snapback” of full UN sanctions on Iran within 65 days, and destroy the JCPOA once and for all. Because, they, too, know Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a fake issue and have “always searched for ways to put more restrictions on Iran, especially on its ballistic missile program.” Israel can have all the nuclear weapons it wants, but Iran must give up those conventional ballistic missiles. Cannot overstate their importance.
Iran is not going to submit to any of this. The only way Iran is going to part with its ballistic missiles is by using them. The EU3 maneuver will not only end the JCPOA, it may drive Iran out of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). As Moon of Alabama says, the EU3 gambit is “not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict” and ratchet the war up yet another notch. The Trump administration and its European allies are—as FDR did to Japan—imposing a complete economic blockade that Iran will have to find a way to break out of. It’s deliberately provocative, and makes the outbreak of a regional/world war more likely. Which is its purpose.
This certainly marks the Trump administration as having crossed a war threshold the Obama administration avoided. Credit due to Obama for forging ahead with the JCPOA in the face of fierce resistance from Netanyahu and his Republican and Democratic acolytes, like Chuck Schumer. But that deal itself was built upon false premises and extraordinary conditions and procedures that—as the current actions of the EU3 demonstrate—made it a trap for Iran.
With his Iran policy, as with Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, what Trump is doing—and can easily demonstrate—is taking to its logical and deadly conclusion the entire imperialist-zionist conception of the Middle East, which all major U.S. politicians and media have embraced and promulgated over decades, and cannot abandon.
With the Soleimani assassination, Trump both allayed some of the fears of Iran war hawks in Israel and the U.S. about his “reluctance to flex U.S. military muscle” and re-stoked all their fears about his impulsiveness, unreliability, ignorance, and crassness. As the Christian Science Monitor reports, Israel leaders are both “quick to praise” his action and “having a crisis of confidence” over Trump’s ability to “manage” a conflict with Iran—an ambivalence echoed in every U.S. politician’s “Soleimani was a terrorist, but…” statement.
Trump does exactly what the narrative they all promote demands, but he makes it look and sound all thuggish and scary. They want someone whose rhetorical finesse will talk us into war on Iran as a humanitarian and liberating project. But we should be scared and repelled by it. The problem isn’t the discrepancy in Trump between actions and attitudes, but the duplicity in the fundamental imperialist-zionist narrative. There is no “good”—non-thuggish, non-repellent—way to do the catastrophic violence it demands. Too many people discover that only after it’s done.
Trump, in other words, has just started a war that the U.S. political elite constantly brought us to the brink of, and some now seem desperate to avoid, under Trump’s leadership. But not a one will abandon the zionist and American-exceptionalist premises that make it inevitable—about, you know, dictating what weapons which countries can “never” have. Hoisted on their own petard. As are we all.
To be clear: Iran will try its best to avoid all-out war. The U.S. will not. This is the war that, as the NYT reports, “Hawks in Israel and America have spent more than a decade agitating for.” It will start, upon some pretext, with a full-scale U.S. air attack on Iran, followed by Iranian and allied attacks on U.S. forces and allies in the region, including Israel, and then an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran—which they think will end it. It is an incomprehensible disaster. And it’s becoming almost impossible to avoid.
The best prospect for stopping it would be for Iran and Russia to enter into a mutual defense treaty right now. But that’s not going to happen. Neither Russia nor China is going to fight for Iran. Why would they? They will sit back and watch the war destroy Iran, Israel, and the United States.
Happy New Year.
It’s antisemitism time. If you criticize Israel and the cadre of chickenhawk neocons steering Donald Trump’s foreign policy, you will be pilloried and exiled to the political wilderness, forever condemned as a white supremacist.
Scratch a little bit beneath the surface and you will discover at the core of this anti-free speech campaign a rabid Zionist, the same Zionist agitators responsible for advocating and organizing the murder of over a million Iraqis.
It’s no longer permissible to criticize Jewish neocons. The very word “neocon” is considered an antisemitic slur because most of these chickenhawk war criminals are Jewish. It is never mentioned in the NYT or WaPo that the second Iraq mass murder campaign was strictly a Zionist (another word that will get you labeled an antisemite) affair designed to benefit Israel at the expense of the United States.
Jon Schwarz, writing for The Intercept, tells us something many of us already knew—the forever war neocons are embedded deep within the Trump administration, led by David Wurmser.
“An influential neoconservative in President George W. Bush’s White House who became a significant force behind the push for war with Iraq in 2003, Wurmser has recently been serving as an informal adviser to the Trump administration, according to new reporting from Bloomberg News. In that capacity, Wurmser helped make the case for the recent drone strike that assassinated Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani,” Schwarz writes.
During the reign of the second dynastic Bush, Wurmser advised Dick Cheney on how best to destroy Iraq and immiserate millions of people and kill what turned out to be a million and a half Iraqis, the vast majority innocent civilians.
Wurmer’s inside man in the Trump WH was John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser and one of the most vociferous and hateful non-Jewish individuals within the creative destruction klatch. Bolton’s over the top calls for endless violence, cruelty, and his apparent inability to kowtow to the narcissist Trump resulted in his departure from the administration.
Bolton may be gone but the Zionist blueprint for undermining Israel’s neighbors and gobbling up as much land and expelling (in addition to torturing and murdering) as many native inhabitants as possible. This is being driven from afar and in secret by David Wurmser and his equally repugnant wife, Meyrav, from the heights of the vile Zionists outfit, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Meyrav helped found the organization. As well, she is the director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the neocon-infested Hudson Institute.
Her husband played a key role in the pro-Zionist formulations at the American Enterprise Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. The Wurmsers are rock-ribbed Zionist provocateurs.
David Wurmser might be considered a guardian of the neocon mission. In 2018, he sent a letter to Newt Gingrich demanding then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson purge all staffers at the State Department not sufficiently loyal to Trump—that is to say, not sufficiently loyal to the neocon cause, which is Israel’s cause.
He is responsible in large part (along with his wife, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle) for A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a document prepared for incoming Likud PM Bibi Netanyahu. The document recommends working closely with “Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll back” regional threats (for instance, advocating on behalf of the Palestinians) and using “Israeli proxy forces” based in Lebanon for “striking Syrian military targets in Lebanon.”
If that should “prove insufficient, [Israel should strike] at select targets in Syria proper.” It argues “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, even rolling back Syria.” This would create a “natural axis” between Israel, Jordan, a Hashemite Iraq, and Turkey that “would squeeze and detach Syria from the Saudi Peninsula,” which “could be the prelude to a redrawing of the map of the Middle East, which could threaten Syria’s territorial integrity.”
The staying power of the neocons—analogous to the grip of a pit bull—is one of the more remarkable political stories of our time. The exit of the neocons during the second term of George W. Bush was viewed by many as a purge from the government of a group of fanatical ideologues doing the work of a foreign government.
The neocons, of course, didn’t disappear—they slunk back to their think tanks and foundations and conspired with more politically palatable (and more skilled at telling lies) “humanitarian interventionists” in the Obama administration.
The result was 30,000 dead in Libya, the engineered influx of crazed Wahhabi mercenaries in Syria (over 600,000 Syrians killed thus far) under the direction of the cackling war criminal Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State.
Obama also continued and expanded Bush’s illegal drone murder program and intensified the war against whistleblowers such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden. Obama redoubled the war on investigative journalism. Despite all this, Democrats consider Obama a saint.
It has been obvious for many months that Donald Trump is nothing if not an automaton for the Israelis. He routinely fawns over Israeli war criminals and medieval Saudi head-choppers. He has given Israel whatever it wants—billions of dollars a year, recognition through an embassy in contested Jerusalem, a thumbs-up for Israel’s theft of around 700 square miles of land in Syria, encouragement to finally annex the West Bank and squeeze out the Palestinians, considered drugged cockroaches in a bottle by the Zionist settler-racists, and a program aimed at the heart of the Bill of Rights in America to stifle any criticism of this brutal little racist state and its war on Palestinian women and children (along with shooting, killing, and maiming activists, medics, and journalists).
Of course, Donald Trump is a dupe for fanatical Zionists determined to expel all Arabs and non-Jewish goyim from its half-pint country established on mass graves and the bloody remains of terror attacks (the King David Hotel, Deir Yassin, Lydda, al-Dawayima, Qibya, and many others).
Trump’s brain is not his own. It is owned by his orthodox Jewish son-in-law and his converted wife. The president’s obsessively self-referential brain is influenced by Sheldon Adelson (he gave Trump over $100 million during the campaign) and his wife Miriam (who wants a “Book of Trump” inserted in the Old Testament), in addition to other Jewish mega-donors, and a groundswell of enthusiastic support among orthodox Jewish voters.
Thus it is hardly a surprise the neocon’s neocon, David Wurmser, is a puppet master driving USG foreign policy in the Middle East. He has the chops, the experience, the appetite for dispossessing and arranging the murder of Palestinians, Iranians, Syrians, and Lebanese.
GPS reception may be unavailable or unreliable over a large portion of the southeastern states and the Caribbean during offshore military exercises scheduled between January 16 and 24.
The FAA has posted a flight advisory for the exercises that will require jamming of GPS signals for periods of several hours each day of the event. Navigation guidance, ADS-B, and other services associated with GPS could be affected for up to 400 nautical miles at Flight Level 400, down to a radius of 180 nm at 50 feet above the ground.
The flight advisory encourages pilots to report any GPS anomalies they encounter. Reports may be submitted using this online form.AOPA reported on a similar event in the southeastern United States in 2019.
AOPA is aware of hundreds of reports of interference to aircraft during events around the country for which notices to airmen were issued, and we consider the risks to GA aircraft highly concerning.
In one example, an aircraft lost navigation capability and did not regain it until after landing. Other reports have highlighted aircraft veering off course and heading toward active military airspace—and the wide range of reports makes it clear that interference affects aircraft differently. In some cases, recovery from signal interference may not occur until well after the aircraft exits the jammed area.
In a January 2019 AOPA survey, more than 64 percent of 1,239 pilots who responded noted concern about the impact of interference on their use of GPS and ADS-B.
AOPA continues to advocate for officials to place more focus on efforts to address the well-documented safety concerns raised by such events.
Dan Namowitz Associate Editor Web has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Drones banned over Richmond area during gun-rallies and counter-rallies
|NOTAM Number :||FDC 0/4707|
|Issue Date :||January 17, 2020 at 1407 UTC|
|Plain Language text is not available for this NOTAM. The traditional NOTAM text is given below:
FDC 0/4707 ZDC PART 1 OF 3 VA..AIRSPACE RICHMOND, VA..TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS. JANUARY 20, 2020 LOCAL. PURSUANT TO 49 USC 40103(B)(3), THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION (FAA) CLASSIFIES THE AIRSPACE DEFINED IN THIS NOTAM AS ‘NATIONAL DEFENSE AIRSPACE’. ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY OR WILLFULLY VIOLATES THE RULES CONCERNING OPERATIONS IN THIS AIRSPACE MAY BE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN CRIMINAL PENALTIES UNDER 49 USC 46307. PILOTS WHO DO NOT ADHERE TO THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURES MAY BE INTERCEPTED, DETAINED AND INTERVIEWED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/SECURITY PERSONNEL. PURSUANT TO TITLE 14 CFR SECTION 99.7, SPECIAL SECURITY INSTRUCTIONS (SSI), ALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (UAS) FLIGHT OPERATIONS ARE PROHIBITED WITHIN AN AREA DEFINED AS 2NM RADIUS OF 373217N0772604W (RIC300005.9) SFC-2000FT AGL EFFECTIVE 2001201200 UTC (0700 LOCAL 01/20/20) UNTIL 2001210001 UTC (1901 LOCAL 01/20/20). EXCEPT AS SPECIFIED BELOW: A. UAS OPERATIONS AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE DEFINED SSI AIRSPACE IF IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE 2001201200-2001210001 END PART 1 OF 3 FDC 0/4707 ZDC PART 2 OF 3 VA..AIRSPACE RICHMOND, VA..TEMPORARY FLIGHT REQUIREMENTS LISTED BELOW: 1) UAS FLIGHT OPERATION CONDUCTED IN DIRECT SUPPORT OF AN ACTIVE NATIONAL DEFENSE, HOMELAND SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT, FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, OR DISASTER RESPONSE MISSION. 2) THE UAS FLIGHT OPERATION MUST COMPLY WITH ALL OTHER APPLICABLE FEDERAL AVIATION REGULATIONS. B. UAS OPERATORS WHO DO NOT COMPLY WITH APPLICABLE AIRSPACE RESTRICTIONS ARE WARNED THAT PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. SECTION 130I AND 6 U.S.C. SECTION 124N, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD), THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS) OR THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE (DOJ) MAY TAKE SECURITY ACTION THAT RESULTS IN THE INTERFERENCE, DISRUPTION, SEIZURE, DAMAGING, OR DESTRUCTION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT DEEMED TO POSE A CREDIBLE SAFETY OR SECURITY THREAT TO PROTECTED PERSONNEL, FACILITIES, OR 2001201200-2001210001 END PART 2 OF 3 FDC 0/4707 ZDC PART 3 OF 3 VA..AIRSPACE RICHMOND, VA..TEMPORARY FLIGHT ASSETS. C. FAA RECOMMENDS THAT ALL AIRCRAFT OPERATORS CHECK NOTAMS FREQUENTLY FOR POSSIBLE CHANGES TO THIS TFR PRIOR TO OPERATIONS WITHIN THIS REGION. D. THE SYSTEM OPERATIONS SUPPORT CENTER (SOSC), IS THE POINT OF CONTACT AND COORDINATION FACILITY FOR ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THIS NOTAM AND ARE AVAILABLE DAILY FROM 0700-2300 EASTERN, PHONE 202-267-8276. 2001201200-2001210001 END PART 3 OF 3
|ARTCC:||ZDC – Washington Center|
|Authority:||Title 14 CFR section 99.7|
[IS THIS DOCUMENT REAL? WERE 139 US SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRANIAN AIRSTRIKE AT AIN AL ASSAD?]
Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at his blog
First, since we have more reliable data about what happened, let me recap a few key points to being:
- It is has now become pretty clear that Iran took several steps to make sure that the US would know when and where the strike would happen. Specifically, Iran warned the Iraqi government and the Swiss diplomats who represent US interests in Iran.
- Yet, at the same time, Iran issued the strongest threat it could possibly issue: it told the US that *any* counter-strike aimed at Iran would result in a strong Iranian attack on Israel.
- The US quite clearly took the decision not to retaliate and to “forget” Trump’s promise to strike at 54 Iranian targets. I want to stress here that this was the correct decision under these circumstances.
- It also appears that the Iranians were able to somehow retrofit some kind of terminal guidance capability on missiles which originally lacked it.
- The level or precision of the strikes was absolutely superb and quite amazing.
- Trump declared that Iran decided to step down and that the US had prevailed. This notion is, of course, prima facie ridiculous, but not for folks getting their news from the corporate media.
- The Iranians declared that this specific strike was now over, but immediately added that this was only a first measure and that other would follow.
Next, I want to share a few interesting photos with you.
First, here is a photo of the base following the strikes sent to me by a friend:
Here is what my friend added: The key idea is really simple and understandable for anybody who has thought about statistics (even in an everyday context). In number terms, it’s almost like rolling a dice and getting a 6 three times in a row, because the probability of rolling a 6 with an ideal dice is 16.67% (and the probability to roll 3 sixes in a row is less than 1%) as opposed to roughly 18% probability for a hit on a building within the map area in the CNN screenshot (if we assume the missiles to be unguided within this area). To be even more precise, the probability for hitting 3 *different* buildings 3 times in a row is actually even slightly lower than 0.62%, as one would have to substract the area being hit from the total area covered by buildings (I ignored that for simplicity). A less than 1% probability for a one-off event like this means that it is really highly UNlikely – to use the British Skripal case expression in its inverted state – to have happened randomly, as we assumed in our hypothesis. Which means that the missiles were, indeed, guided, and guided very accurately, striking targets of less than ~50m size with a high degree of reliability (in this particular area 3/3, in others probably 1/1 as in the runway case, etc). Perhaps, some of them, not covered by the satellite images, missed the target, but it does not substantially change the high degree of accuracy that potential Iranian opponents within reach of these missiles will have to assume from now on. The people most interested in this were probably the Israelis, as they are probably the main potential target for this type of missile in the case of a future escalation.
Please note that neither my friend nor I are professional imagery analysts and that this is just something my friend shared with me in a private email and which I now want to share with you.
If any professional imagery analyst could either confirm/refute my friend’s conclusions, I would be most grateful.
Next, I want to share with you the following image which shows Iranian IRGC General Ali Amir Hajizadeh reviews results of recent Iranian missile strikes on Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq during a press conference:
Clearly, the Iranians are very proud of their capability to conduct true precision strikes with an accuracy every bit as good as any Russian and/or US missile.
Finally, check out this image of the Iranian general making a press conference in front of a very interesting row of flags:
These flags include the following: The Iranian flag, the IRGC flag, the flag of IRGC’s Aerospace Force, the flag of the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Yemeni Houthi Ansarullah flag, the flag of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), the Palestinian Hamas, the Afghan Liwa Fatemiyoun and the Pakistani Liwa Zainebiyoun
I find this very interesting: when Trump (or any other US politician) makes a solemn pronouncement, he typically has a number of aides, advisors, generals, Congressmen or Senators, etc. This is supposed the show the determination, resolve and unity of Uncle Shmuel, especially when Uncle Shmuel does something illegal or immoral.
The Iranian show of unity does not show more Iranians, they show the unity of all the forces in the Middle-East who have now officially united and whose goal is clear and very official: kick Uncle Shmuel out of the Middle-East.
You tell me which you find more impressive!
Next, the issue of casualties. Frankly, and while this is only my best guess, I do not believe the Iranian official casualty figures. Why? Well, first the Iranians did not try to maximize casualties (more about that option below), and they informed the US by several back-channels. But even if they had not, while the performance of the Patriot missile is pretty awful, the US does have a lot of top of the line technical intelligence means which would allow them to first detect the launch of the missiles from Iran and then to calculate their ballistic trajectory. As far as I know, now I might be wrong here, Iranian missiles do not have terminal maneuvering capability (which is different from terminal guidance). I can’t image why US commanders could not announce a incoming missile alert and then get all the local personnel into shelters. Again, I might be missing something, so if any reader can correct me, I would be grateful.
So what happened, really?
Here are a few of my current working hypotheses:
1) BOTH the USA and Iran don’t want a fullscale war. But for VERY different reasons:
- The US probably understands that it cannot win a war against Iran
- The Iranians definitely understand that while the US cannot “win”, it most definitely can kill Iranians by the thousands and inflict immense damage upon the Iranian society
2) What just took place was the single most dangerous moment since 14 April 2018 when Russia and the US came very, very close to a full-scale war. In the current situation, the US and Iran also came very, very close to a full scale war. The only reason I rank this latest crisis lower than the April 14th is that in one case we risked a planetary nuclear war whereas in this case we “only” risked a regional war which, by the way, could have seen nukes used by the US and Israel.
3) There STILL is a risk of full-scale war between the US and Iran, however, and barring a major unforeseen event, I will lower it now down from 80% to a much more tolerable 50%. Why 50%? Because Israel and the Israel Lobby will continue to push for a US attack on Iran and because while I trust the Iranians to keep their anti-US operations right below the threshold of “plausible deniability”, I cannot be sure that all Iranian allies will show similar restraint. Finally, the chances of an Israeli false flag as still sky high.
4) I expect anti-US operations to continue and even expand throughout the Middle-East. I don’t expect that these operations will be executed from Iran and I don’t expect Iranian forces to be involved, at least not officially. The Iranians know that the US has lost every single counter-insurgency war it was involved in and they know that their best chance is now to engage in all forms of asymmetrical operations.
Finally, I want to spell out what we could call the new Iranian threat.
We have to assume that Iran now has terminal guidance capability on many (most?) of its ballistic and cruise missiles and that they can destroy one specific building amongst many more buildings. Now, remember the Iranian reply that it had 35 US bases within missile range? Now imagine this first one:
- Iran fires 10-12 missile on each and every one of the 35 US bases listed and targets barracks, fuel and ammo dumps, key command posts, etc. How many casualties do you think that such a strike would result in?
Next, let’s try the same thing with Israel:
- Iran fires 2-3 missiles but carefully aims them as Israeli air force bases, personnel barracks, industrial sites (including chemical and nuclear sites, not even necessarily military ones! Dimona anybody?), the Knesset or even Bibi’s personal residence. Can you imagine the panic in Israel?
How about the KSA?
- Iran fires a large amount of missiles aimed at *truly* crippling the Saudi oil installations, National Guard barracks, airfields, etc. We already know what the Houthis could do with their very limited resources. Just imagine what Iran could do to the KSA (or the UAE and Kuwait) if it wanted to!
I think that the bottom line is clear: Iran can inflict unacceptable damage upon any party attacking it. Furthermore, and unlike having “a few” nukes, Iran has hundreds (or even thousands) of cruise missile and ballistic missiles, and you can bet that they are well distributed and well protected,as shown by this short video released by the IRGC and posted by the FARS news agency:
and that means that a disarming first strike against Iran is not possible.
There are two basic ways to respond to an attack: denial and punishment. In the first case, you have the means to deny your enemy his attack, this is what happened with the Syrians intercepted almost all the cruise missiles fired by the US. Punishment is when you cannot prevent an enemy attack, but you do have the means to inflict unacceptable damage in retaliation.
The key notion here is “unacceptable damage”.
What do you think constitutes “unacceptable damage” to the (terminally hedonistic) Israelis?
What do you think would be “unacceptable damage” to the KSA, or the world markets (especially oil)?
What about “unacceptable damage” in terms of losses for CENTCOM?
And, finally, what do you think “unacceptable damage” means to the Iranians?
There is such a huge asymmetry in how the parties to this conflict see “unacceptable damage” that is largely compensates for the asymmetry in force. Yes, sure, the US+Israel are more powerful than Iran (well, not Israel really, but Israel hiding behind the back of the US forces) but Iran is far more capable of absorbing devastating attacks than either the US or Israel.
Finally, in my last post I offered a definition of what constitutes success or failure for Iran: “anything which makes it easier for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the Empire and anything which makes it harder for the US to remain in the Middle-East is a victory for the rest of the planet.”
At this point my personal opinion is that the way the Iranians conducted their first anti-Empire operation is nothing short of brilliant: they achieved a truly phenomenal result with very little means and, most importantly, without forcing the Empire to counter-attack.
Has the US-Iran war really begun? Yes, I think so. In fact, it began in 1979, but now it has reached a qualitatively new level. The outcome of that war is absolutely evident to me. The cost, however, is not.
This have relatively cooled down, but that is an illusion and we should most definitely not take our eyes of the situation in the Middle-East: expect the initiation of asymmetrical anti-US operations very soon.