America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

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chlamor
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America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by chlamor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:14 pm

Despite misgivings for posting Hudson from The Saker I do think there is some relevant information in this particular piece.

America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East
5941 ViewsJanuary 05, 2020
by Michael Hudson exclusively for the Saker Blog

The mainstream media are carefully sidestepping the method behind America’s seeming madness in assassinating Islamic Revolutionary Guard general Qassim Suleimani to start the New Year. The logic behind the assassination this was a long-standing application of U.S. global policy, not just a personality quirk of Donald Trump’s impulsive action. His assassination of Iranian military leader Suleimani was indeed a unilateral act of war in violation of international law, but it was a logical step in a long-standing U.S. strategy. It was explicitly authorized by the Senate in the funding bill for the Pentagon that it passed last year.

The assassination was intended to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control the region’s oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control o Near Eastern oil as a buttress o the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

I sat in on discussions of this policy as it was formulated nearly fifty years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute and attended meetings at the White House, met with generals at various armed forces think tanks and with diplomats at the United Nations. My role was as a balance-of-payments economist having specialized for a decade at Chase Manhattan, Arthur Andersen and oil companies in the oil industry and military spending. These were two of the three main dynamic of American foreign policy and diplomacy. (The third concern was how to wage war in a democracy where voters rejected the draft in the wake of the Vietnam War.)

The media and public discussion have diverted attention from this strategy by floundering speculation that President Trump did it, except to counter the (non-)threat of impeachment with a wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome. The actual context for the neocon’s action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

The balance of payments dimension

The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America’s military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America’s financial leverage.

The solution turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. The effect of U.S. foreign military spending thus did not undercut the dollar’s exchange rate, and did not even force the Treasury and Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to attract foreign exchange to offset the dollar outflows on military account. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.

Saudi Arabia and other Near Eastern OPEC countries quickly became a buttress of the dollar. After these countries quadrupled the price of oil (in retaliation for the United States quadrupling the price of its grain exports, a mainstay of the U.S. trade balance), U.S. banks were swamped with an inflow of much foreign deposits – which were lent out to Third World countries in an explosion of bad loans that blew up in 1972 with Mexico’s insolvency, and destroyed Third World government credit for a decade, forcing it into dependence on the United States via the IMF and World Bank).

To top matters, of course, what Saudi Arabia does not save in dollarized assets with its oil-export earnings is spent on buying hundreds of billion of dollars of U.S. arms exports. This locks them into dependence on U.S. supply o replacement parts and repairs, and enables the United States to turn off Saudi military hardware at any point of time, in the event that the Saudis may try to act independently of U.S. foreign policy.

So maintaining the dollar as the world’s reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars, an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from “Dollar Diplomacy.” Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya’s government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

The great threat to this is dedollarization as China, Russia and other countries seek to avoid recycling dollars. Without the dollar’s function as the vehicle for world saving – in effect, without the Pentagon’s role in creating the Treasury debt that is the vehicle for world central bank reserves – the U.S. would find itself constrained militarily and hence diplomatically constrained, as it was under the gold exchange standard.

That is the same strategy that the U.S. has followed in Syria and Iraq. Iran was threatening this dollarization strategy and its buttress in U.S. oil diplomacy.

The oil industry as buttress of the U.S. balance of payments and foreign diplomacy

The trade balance is buttressed by oil and farm surpluses. Oil is the key, because it is imported by U.S. companies at almost no balance-of-payments cost (the payments end up in the oil industry’s head offices here as profits and payments to management), while profits on U.S. oil company sales to other countries are remitted to the United States (via offshore tax-avoidance centers, mainly Liberia and Panama for many years). And as noted above, OPEC countries have been told to keep their official reserves in the form of U.S. securities (stocks and bonds as well as Treasury IOUs, but not direct purchase of U.S. companies being deemed economically important). Financially, OPEC countries are client slates of the Dollar Area.

America’s attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world’s U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on U.S. ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion, are viewed as hostile acts.

Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy.

How a “democratic” nation can wage international war and terrorism

The Vietnam War showed that modern democracies cannot field armies for any major military conflict, because this would require a draft of its citizens. That would lead any government attempting such a draft to be voted out of power. And without troops, it is not possible to invade a country to take it over.

The corollary of this perception is that democracies have only two choices when it comes to military strategy: They can only wage airpower, bombing opponents; or they can create a foreign legion, that is, hire mercenaries or back foreign governments that provide this military service.

Here once again Saudi Arabia plays a critical role, through its control of Wahabi Sunnis turned into terrorist jihadis willing to sabotage, bomb, assassinate, blow up and otherwise fight any target designated as an enemy of “Islam,” the euphemism for Saudi Arabia acting as U.S. client state. (Religion really is not the key; I know of no ISIS or similar Wahabi attack on Israeli targets.) The United States needs the Saudis to supply or finance Wahabi crazies. So in addition to playing a key role in the U.S. balance of payments by recycling its oil-export earnings are into U.S. stocks, bonds and other investments, Saudi Arabia provides manpower by supporting the Wahabi members of America’s foreign legion, ISIS and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda. Terrorism has become the “democratic” mode of today U.S. military policy.

What makes America’s oil war in the Near East “democratic” is that this is the only kind of war a democracy can fight – an air war, followed by a vicious terrorist army that makes up for the fact that no democracy can field its own army in today’s world. The corollary is that, terrorism has become the “democratic” mode of warfare.

From the U.S. vantage point, what is a “democracy”? In today’s Orwellian vocabulary, it means any country supporting U.S. foreign policy. Bolivia and Honduras have become “democracies” since their coups, along with Brazil. Chile under Pinochet was a Chicago-style free market democracy. So was Iran under the Shah, and Russia under Yeltsin – but not since it elected Vladimir Putin president, any more than is China under President Xi.

The antonym to “democracy” is “terrorist.” That simply means a nation willing to fight to become independent from U.S. neoliberal democracy. It does not include America’s proxy armies.

Iran’s role as U.S. nemesis

What stands in the way of U.S. dollarization, oil and military strategy? Obviously, Russia and China have been targeted as long-term strategic enemies for seeking their own independent economic policies and diplomacy. But next to them, Iran has been in America’s gun sights for nearly seventy years.

America’s hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil. The CIA-MI6 coup replaced him with the pliant Shah, who imposed a police state to prevent Iranian independence from U.S. policy. The only physical places free from the police were the mosques. That made the Islamic Republic the path of least resistance to overthrowing the Shah and re-asserting Iranian sovereignty.

The United States came to terms with OPEC oil independence by 1974, but the antagonism toward Iran extends to demographic and religious considerations. Iranian support its Shi’ite population an those of Iraq and other countries – emphasizing support for the poor and for quasi-socialist policies instead of neoliberalism – has made it the main religious rival to Saudi Arabia’s Sunni sectarianism and its role as America’s Wahabi foreign legion.

America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad’s regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British “divide and conquer” ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got “out of line” meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing.

Already in early 2018, President Trump asked Iraq to reimburse America for the cost of “saving its democracy” by bombing the remainder of Saddam’s economy. The reimbursement was to take the form of Iraqi Oil. More recently, in 2019, President Trump asked, why not simply grab Iraqi oil. The giant oil field has become the prize of the Bush-Cheney post 9-11 Oil War. “‘It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general,” a source who was in the room told Axios.’ And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, ‘So what are we going to do about the oil?’”[1]

Trump’s idea that America should “get something” out of its military expenditure in destroying the Iraqi and Syrian economies simply reflects U.S. policy.

In late October, 2019, The New York Times reported that: “In recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria’s oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has “secured” oil fields in the country’s chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country’s main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there. ‘We have taken it and secured it,’ Mr. Trump said of Syria’s oil during remarks at the White House on Sunday, after announcing the killing of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” [2] A CIA official reminded the journalist that taking Iraq’s oil was a Trump campaign pledge.

That explains the invasion of Iraq for oil in 2003, and again this year, as President Trump has said: “Why don’t we simply take their oil?” It also explains the Obama-Hillary attack on Libya – not only for its oil, but for its investing its foreign reserves in gold instead of recycling its oil surplus revenue to the U.S. Treasury – and of course, for promoting a secular socialist state.

It explains why U.S. neocons feared Suleimani’s plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi’s on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.

American politicians have discredited themselves by starting off their condemnation of Trump by saying, as Elizabeth Warren did, how “bad” a person Suleimani was, how he had killed U.S. troops by masterminding the Iraqi defense of roadside bombing and other policies trying to repel the U.S. invasion to grab its oil. She was simply parroting the U.S. media’s depiction of Suleimani as a monster, diverting attention from the policy issue that explains why he was assassinated now.

The counter-strategy to U.S. oil, and dollar and global-warming diplomacy

This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming and extreme weather.

Russia, China and its allies already have been leading the way to dedollarization as a means to contain the balance-of-payments buttress of U.S. global military policy. But everyone now is speculating over what Iran’s response should be.

The pretense – or more accurately, the diversion – by the U.S. news media over the weekend has been to depict the United States as being under imminent attack. Mayor de Blasio has positioned policemen at conspicuous key intersections to let us know how imminent Iranian terrorism is – as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11, and as if Iran in fact has taken any forceful action against the United States. The media and talking heads on television have saturated the air waves with warnings of Islamic terrorism. Television anchors are suggesting just where the attacks are most likely to occur.

The message is that the assassination of General Soleimani was to protect us. As Donald Trump and various military spokesmen have said, he had killed Americans – and now they must be planning an enormous attack that will injure and kill many more innocent Americans. That stance has become America’s posture in the world: weak and threatened, requiring a strong defense – in the form of a strong offense.

But what is Iran’s actual interest? If it is indeed to undercut U.S. dollar and oil strategy, the first policy must be to get U.S. military forces out of the Near East, including U.S. occupation of its oil fields. It turns out that President Trump’s rash act has acted as a catalyst, bringing about just the opposite of what he wanted. On January 5 the Iraqi parliament met to insist that the United States leave. General Suleimani was an invited guest, not an Iranian invader. It is U.S. troops that are in Iraq in violation of international law. If they leave, Trump and the neocons lose control of oil – and also of their ability to interfere with Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian-Lebanese mutual defense.

Beyond Iraq looms Saudi Arabia. It has become the Great Satan, the supporter of Wahabi extremism, the terrorist legion of U.S. mercenary armies fighting to maintain control of Near Eastern oil and foreign exchange reserves, the cause of the great exodus of refugees to Turkey, Europe and wherever else it can flee from the arms and money provided by the U.S. backers of Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq and their allied Saudi Wahabi legions.

The logical ideal, in principle, would be to destroy Saudi power. That power lies in its oil fields. They already have fallen under attack by modest Yemeni bombs. If U.S. neocons seriously threaten Iran, its response would be the wholesale bombing and destruction of Saudi oil fields, along with those of Kuwait and allied Near Eastern oil sheikhdoms. It would end the Saudi support for Wahabi terrorists, as well as for the U.S. dollar.

Such an act no doubt would be coordinated with a call for the Palestinian and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia to rise up and drive out the monarchy and its thousands of family retainers.

Beyond Saudi Arabia, Iran and other advocates of a multilateral diplomatic break with U.S. neoliberal and neocon unilateralism should bring pressure on Europe to withdraw from NATO, inasmuch as that organization functions mainly as a U.S.-centric military tool of American dollar and oil diplomacy and hence opposing the climate change and military confrontation policies that threaten to make Europe part of the U.S. maelstrom.

Finally, what can U.S. anti-war opponents do to resist the neocon attempt to destroy any part of the world that resists U.S. neoliberal autocracy? This has been the most disappointing response over the weekend. They are flailing. It has not been helpful for Warren, Buttigieg and others to accuse Trump of acting rashly without thinking through the consequences of his actions. That approach shies away from recognizing that his action did indeed have a rationale—do draw a line in the sand, to say that yes, America WILL go to war, will fight Iran, will do anything at all to defend its control of Near Eastern oil and to dictate OPEC central bank policy, to defend its ISIS legions as if any opposition to this policy is an attack on the United States itself.

I can understand the emotional response or yet new calls for impeachment of Donald Trump. But that is an obvious non-starter, partly because it has been so obviously a partisan move by the Democratic Party. More important is the false and self-serving accusation that President Trump has overstepped his constitutional limit by committing an act of war against Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

Congress endorsed Trump’s assassination and is fully as guilty as he is for having approved the Pentagon’s budget with the Senate’s removal of the amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall and Ro Khanna inserted an amendment in the House of Representatives version, explicitly not authorizing the Pentagon to wage war against Iran or assassinate its officials. When this budget was sent to the Senate, the White House and Pentagon (a.k.a. the military-industrial complex and neoconservatives) removed that constraint. That was a red flag announcing that the Pentagon and White House did indeed intend to wage war against Iran and/or assassinate its officials. Congress lacked the courage to argue this point at the forefront of public discussion.

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress’s sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America’s long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

The question is, how to get the world’s politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America’s all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries. It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America’s military budget.

Michael Hudson

https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm ... a6543.html. The article adds: “In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, ‘What do you mean?’ according to the source in the room. And Trump’s like, ‘Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.’” ↑
Michael Crowly, “‘Keep the Oil’: Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission,” The New York Times, October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/p ... ields.html. The article adds: “‘I said keep the oil,’ Mr. Trump recounted. ‘If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.’”

http://thesaker.is/america-escalates-it ... near-east/

chlamor
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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by chlamor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:25 pm

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure, with BOTH Iraq and Iran (UPDATED 6X)
17501 ViewsJanuary 05, 2020 169 Comments
The blowback has begun
First, let’s begin by a quick summary of what has taken place (note: this info is still coming in, so there might be corrections once the official sources make their official statements).

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdl Mahdi has now officially revealed that the US had asked him to mediate between the US and Iran and that General Qassem Soleimani to come and talk to him and give him the answer to his mediation efforts. Thus, Soleimani was on an OFFICIAL DIPLOMATIC MISSION as part of a diplomatic initiative INITIATED BY THE USA.
The Iraqi Parliament has now voted on a resolution requiring the government to press Washington and its allies to withdraw their troops from Iraq.
Iraq’s caretaker PM Adil Abdul Mahdi said the American side notified the Iraqi military about the planned airstrike minutes before it was carried out. He stressed that his government denied Washington permission to continue with the operation.
The Iraqi Parliament has also demanded that the Iraqi government must “work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using its land, airspace or water for any reason“
The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said that Baghdad had turned to the UN Security Council with complaints about US violations of its sovereignty.
Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said the parliamentary resolution to end foreign troop presence in the country did not go far enough, calling on local and foreign militia groups to unite. I also have confirmation that the Mehdi Army is being re-mobilized.
The Pentagon brass is now laying the responsibility for this monumental disaster on Trump (see here). The are now slowly waking up to this immense clusterbleep and don’t want to be held responsible for what is coming next.
For the first time in the history of Iran, a Red Flag was hoisted over the Holy Dome Of Jamkaran Mosque, Iran. This indicates that the blood of martyrs has been spilled and that a major battle will now happen. The text in the flag says “Oh Hussein we ask for your help” (unofficial translation 1) or “Rise up and avenge al-Husayn” (unofficial translation 2)
The US has announced the deployment of 3’000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne to Kuwait.
Finally, the Idiot-in-Chief tweeted the following message, probably to try to reassure his freaked out supporters: “The United States just spent Two Trillion Dollars on Military Equipment. We are the biggest and by far the BEST in the World! If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand new beautiful equipment their way…and without hesitation!“. Apparently, he still thinks that criminally overspending for 2nd rate military hardware is going to yield victory…
Analysis
Well, my first though when reading these bullet points is that General Qasem Soleimani has already struck out at Uncle Shmuel from beyond his grave. What we see here is an immense political disaster unfolding like a slow motion train wreck. Make no mistake, this is not just a tactical “oopsie”, but a major STRATEGIC disaster. Why?

For one thing, the US will now become an official and totally illegal military presence in Iraq. This means that whatever SOFA (Status Of Forces Agreement) the US and Iraq had until now is void.

Second, the US now has two options:

Fight and sink deep into a catastrophic quagmire or
Withdraw from Iraq and lose any possibility to keep forces in Syria
Both of these are very bad because whatever option Uncle Shmuel chooses, he will lost whatever tiny level of credibility he has left, even amongst his putative “allies” (like the KSA which will now be left nose to nose with a much more powerful Iran than ever before).

The main problem with the current (and very provisional) outcome is that both the Israel Lobby and the Oil Lobby will now be absolutely outraged and will demand that the US try to use military power to regime change both Iraq and Iran.

Needless to say, that ain’t happening (only ignorant and incurable flag-wavers believe the silly claptrap about the US armed forces being “THE BEST”).

Furthermore, it is clear that by it’s latest terrorist action the USA has now declared war on BOTH Iraq and Iran.

This is so important that I need to repeat it again:

The USA is now at war, de-facto and de-jure, with BOTH Iraq and Iran.

I hasten to add that the US is also at war with most of the Muslim world (and most definitely all Shias, including Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis).

Next, I want to mention the increase in US troop numbers in the Middle-East. An additional 3’000 soldiers from the 82nd AB is what would be needed to support evacuations and to provide a reserve force for the Marines already sent in. This is NOWHERE NEAR the kind of troop numbers the US would need to fight a war with either Iraq or Iran.

Finally, there are some who think that the US will try to invade Iran. Well, with a commander in chief as narcissistically delusional as Trump, I would never say “never” but, frankly, I don’t think that anybody at the Pentagon would be willing to obey such an order. So no, a ground invasion is not in the cards and, if it ever becomes an realistic option we would first see a massive increase in the US troop levels, we are talking several tens of thousands, if not more (depending on the actual plan).

No, what the US will do if/when they attack Iran is what Israel did to Lebanon in 2006, but at a much larger scale. They will begin by a huge number of airstrikes (missiles and aircraft) to hit:

Iranian air defenses
Iranian command posts and Iranian civilian and military leaders
Symbolic targets (like nuclear installations and high visibility units like the IRGC)
Iranian navy and coastal defenses
Crucial civilian infrastructure (power plants, bridges, hospitals, radio/TV stations, food storage, pharmaceutical installations, schools, historical monuments and, let’s not forget that one, foreign embassies of countries who support Iran). The way this will be justified will be the same as what was done to Serbia: a “destruction of critical regime infrastructure” (what else is new?!)
Then, within about 24-48 hours the US President will go on air an announce to the world that it is “mission accomplished” and that “THE BEST” military forces in the galaxy have taught a lesson to the “Mollahs”. There will be dances in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right until the moment the Iranian missiles will start dropping from the sky. At which point the dances will be replaced by screams about a “2nd Hitler” and the “Holocaust”).

Then all hell will break loose (I have discussed that so often in the past that I won’t go into details here).

In conclusion, I want to mention something more personal about the people of the US.

Roughly speaking, there are two main groups which I observed during my many years of life in the USA.

Group one: is the TV-watching imbeciles who think that the talking heads on the idiot box actually share real knowledge and expertise. As a result, their thinking goes along the following lines: “yeah, yeah, say what you want, but if the mollahs make a wrong move, we will simply nuke them; a few neutron bombs will take care of these sand niggers“. And if asked about the ethics of this stance, the usual answer is a “f**k them! they messed with the wrong guys, now they will get their asses kicked“.

Group two: is a much quieter group. It includes both people who see themselves as liberals and conservatives. They are totally horrified and they feel a silent rage against the US political elites. Friends, there are A LOT of US Americans out there who are truly horrified by what is done in their name and who feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I don’t know about the young soldiers who are now being sent to the Middle-East, but I know a lot of former servicemen who know the truth about war and about THE BEST military in the history of the galaxy and they are also absolutely horrified.

I can’t say which group is bigger, but my gut feeling is that Group Two is much bigger than Group One. I might be wrong.

I am now signing off but I will try to update you here as soon as any important info comes in.

The Saker

UPDATE1: according to the Russian website Colonel Cassad, Moqtada al-Sadr has officially made the following demands to the Iraqi government:

Immediately break the cooperation agreement with the United States.
Close the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Close all U.S. military bases in Iraq.
Criminalize any cooperation with the United States.
To ensure the protection of Iraqi embassies.
Officially boycott American products.
Cassad (aka Boris Rozhin) also posted this excellent caricature:
Image


UPDATE2: RT is reporting that “One US service member, two contractors killed in Al-Shabaab attack in Kenya, two DoD personnel injured“. Which just goes to prove my point that spontaneous attacks are what we will be seeing first and that the retaliation promised by Iran will only come later.

UPDATE3: al-Manar reports that two rockets have landed near the US embassy in Baghdad.

UPDATE4: Zerohedge is reporting that Iranian state TV broadcasted an appeal made during the funeral procession in which a speaker said that each Iranian ought to send one dollar per person (total 80’000’000 dollars) as a bounty for the killing of Donald Trump. I am trying to get a confirmation from Iran about this.

UPDATE5: Russian sources claim that all Iranian rocket forces have been put on combat alert.

UPDATE6: the Russian heavy rocket cruiser “Marshal Ustinov” has cross the Bosphorus and has entered the Mediterranean.

http://thesaker.is/the-usa-is-now-at-wa ... -and-iran/

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by blindpig » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:52 pm

Re: Hudson

Fucking bankers....all of that & I'll bet he'd still reject 'Imperialism...' out of hand. Trump is easily influenced unless it concerns his wallet, as we've see ad nauseum. Obviously he was fed the info required to get this result & proly took at face value the benefits foreseen by such action without the downside even mentioned. He's had a hard-on for Iran ever since he saw the embassy action from his sofa in '79(the '52 targets' a giveaway), low end jingoism ain't really what's needed in an imperial executive. The so-call deep state has advanced the agenda while leaving Trump, whom they hate, holding the bag. But this may well blow up in all of their faces.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by blindpig » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:08 pm

Iran's Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump's Bluff
Last night Iran fired 22 Qiam missiles towards two U.S. bases in Iraq. Between 1:45 and 2:15 local time (~22:00 UTC) seventeen missiles hit the Ain al Asad airbase west of Ramadi. Five missiles were aimed at Erbil airport in the northern Kurdish region of Iraq. There were no casualties.

The Swiss embassy in Tehran, which represents the U.S., was warned at least one hour before the attack happened. Around 0:00 UTC the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) which prohibited civil U.S. flights over Iraq, Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

This attack was the "open" and "proportional" response for the U.S. assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani which Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had promised. It will certainly not be the only response but represents the opening shot of a long and much more silent campaign to kick the U.S. out of the Middle East.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to destroy 52 targets in Iran including cultural sites if Iran would take any revenge, seems to have understood that this attack was intentionally limited to avoid a larger war:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

The Qiam missiles Iran launched are a derivative of the Soviet Scud type. They are liquid fueled with a warhead of about 700 kilogram. They have a range of some 800 kilometer. Iran has more capable and precise solid fueled missiles it could have used.

The Ain al Asad airbase which was hit is where the drones that killed Soleimani and the Iraqi leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were launched from. Erbil airport is the logistic center for the U.S. forces in Syria.

Videos show the launch and the impact of the missiles.

No U.S. air or missile defense against the incoming projectiles was observed.

The message from Iran is thus: "We can attack all your bases and you can do nothing to prevent that."

Iran's leader said that the attack was "slap into the face" for the U.S. and that this military reaction to the U.S. crime is not the only one that will happen:

Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the nation live on TV in a meeting with a large group of people from Qom, in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom against the Pahlavi regime.
The live address also took place hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks in early hours of Wednesday to retaliate the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander, Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
...
“What is important in addition to retaliation is that military operations do not suffice. It is important to end the US corrupting presence in the region,” the Leader stressed.

“Americans are insisting on bringing corruption and destruction into our dear Iran. Talks of sitting down at the negotiating table is a preface to interventions, which must end. Regional nations do not accept the US presence and its meddling measures,” he added.

“The US enmity toward Iran is not temporary; it’s inherent. It is a ‘gross mistake’ to think if we took a step back and comprised, the US would stop its enmity,” he stressed.

Hours after Iran had launched the missiles a Ukrainian airliner crashed three minutes after it had taken off from Tehran airport. All 176 people on board died. The passengers were mostly from Iran, Canada and the Ukraine. The airplane was a three years old Boeing 737-800 NG operated by Ukrainian International Airlines, the country's flag carrier. Video shows the burning airliner coming down on a glide path. Photos from the crash side show shrapnel like impacts on the fuselage. The evidence is consistent with an uncontained turbine disc rupture but other potential causes can no be ruled out. The incident will be investigated like all other airliner crashes.

The Iranian military revenge was less intensive then I had expected. But it was also a clear sign that Iran is capable and willing to openly attack U.S. bases in the larger area. The missile attack came despite Donald Trump's threats to Iran. It called his bluff.

Further reactions will depend on the U.S. reactions to the demand of the Iraqi parliament that all foreign forces leave Iraq. Should the U.S. leave Iraq peacefully all will be well. Should it insist to stay U.S. soldiers will die.

Posted by b on January 8, 2020 at 11:45 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2020/01/i ... bluff.html

Early reports from pro-Iranian sources stated 80 dead & 20 injured, which is an odd proportion for this sort of thing & likely incorrect but it is almost sure that Trump got some body bags to hide.
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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by blindpig » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:33 pm

The Trump speech:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... an-speech/

Another compendium of lies, omissions & bluster. It is notable that the Iranians could thump those bases without incurring causalities. Must assume that was their intent & that's some mighty fine shootin' with such weaponry & am sure US military has taken note. It is a pretty smart reading of Trump by the Iranians but I doubt he understands it was a granting of grace, an opportunity to get out without a loss of life. He just thinks he's won again, but this is far from over. It has been stated that it ain't over until the US exits the ME.

He will bluster on but events on the ground speak differently. Bases are being swiftly abandoned in Syria by US troops. A major base in Kuwait is also being abandoned. A few of the minor NATO quislings are also bailing. We shall see...
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by chlamor » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:45 am

PEPE ESCOBAR: Trump to De-Escalate: Intel Source
January 8, 2020

“It is most unlikely Trump will escalate at this point, and this could provide him with the opportunity to leave the Middle East except for the Gulf States. Trump wants to get out,” a U.S. intelligence source says.

By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News

President Donald Trump will de-escalate the crisis with Iran when he speaks to the nation at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, a U.S. intelligence source has told me.

Last night Iran retaliated for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani with missile strikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq. So far there have been no casualties reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the ballistic missile strikes launched from Iran completed Tehran’s military action.


Javad Zarif

@JZarif
Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched.

We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.

It is now up to Trump to determine whether the crisis will continue.

A top U.S. intel source sent me this analysis in response to a detailed question:

“It is most unlikely Trump will escalate at this point, and this could provide him with the opportunity to leave the Middle East except for the Gulf States. Trump wants to get out. The fact that Israel would be hit next by Iran [as promised, among others, by the IRGC as well as Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah] will probably cause them to pull back, and not order Trump to bomb Iran itself.

“DEBKA-Mossad acknowledged that Iran’s offensive missiles cannot be defended against. Its secret is that it hugs the ground going underneath the radar screens.” [the source is referring to the Hoveizeh cruise missile, with a range of 1,350 km, already tested by Tehran.]

“What is amazing is that Iraq has allowed US troops into their country at all after seeing over a million of their people murdered by the US if we include the 500,000 dead children [during the 1990s, as acknowledged by Madeleine Albright]. The royals in the U. A. E. told me that this is because Iraq is more corrupt that Nigeria.

“The key question here is what happened to the Patriot Missile Defense for these bases who were on high alert assuming this is not similar to Trump’s missiles hitting empty buildings in Syria after the chemical false flag operation. I saw no report that any defense missile was working, which to me is very significant.”

Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary of the White House, confirmed on Tuesday night what I had learned earlier from another source. The White House said Trump, in a phone call, thanked Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for “Qatar’s partnership with the United States”, and they discussed Iraq and Iran.

According to my source, who is very close to the Qatari royal family, Trump actually sent a message to Tehran via the emir. The message has two layers. Trump promised sanctions would be cancelled if there were no retaliation from Tehran (something that Trump simply wouldn’t have the means to assure, considering the opposition from Capitol Hill) ; and there would be de-escalation if Tehran came up with a “proportional” response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif described the Iranian missile strikes as a “proportional response”.

That may explain why Trump did not go on TV on Tuesday night in the U.S. to announce total war – as much as neocons may have been wanting it.

Details are still sparse, but there’s ultra-high level, back room diplomacy going on especially between Iran and Russia, with China discreet, but on full alert.

There’s consensus among the Axis of Resistance that China has a major role to play, especially in the Levant, where Beijing is seen in some quarters as a possible future partner ultimately replacing U.S. hegemony.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has just been to Syria and Turkey this week. And according to Russian sources, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is making clear to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Russia’s stance that there should be no escalation.

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/08/p ... el-source/

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by chlamor » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:58 am

I am just going to insert this comment here which was found in a review of this book- The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs by
Andrei Martyanov

https://www.claritypress.com/product/th ... y-affairs/

The author, Andrei Martyanov, is an expert on Russian military and naval issues. I am listing several distinctive points that are representative of his overall thesis.

* A Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is when a nation’s military seizes an opportunity to transform its capability to achieve decisive military results in fundamentally new ways. In the US, this typically results with the advancement of technologies in the field of information technology, sensors, computing, and telecommunications.

* The US placed a high value on Net-centricity and Data fusion as integral as enablers of an RMA. However, Net-centricity operational effect had a crucial dependence on communications, but communications can be suppressed or disabled altogether. Real war brings out enemy successes in disruption of the electronic systems.

* The author notes the meaningless of using respective military investments as a comparison metric, which the US does. Example: Russia builds a close equivalent of the US prospective Columbia-class SSBN (Strategic Missile Submarine) for roughly one-eighth of the Columbia’s cost.

* Why US narrative on its own military’s prowess is overblown. Example: 71 missiles out of 103 from US and NATO allies’ in 2018 strike on Syria were shot down. This poor performance was hidden or denied by both the DoD and the news media. Syria didn’t even use the latest S-300 or S-400 Russian weapon systems in its defense.

* Why Russia does have, what the author calls a REAL RMA, is because of its hypersonic missiles (Kinzhal [Mach=10] or Zircon [Mach=9]). Theoretically, an opponent will need 21 defensive missiles to stop a single Zircon. If a few tens of millions of dollars (3M22 Zircon) can decimate tens of billions of dollars’ worth of hardware, then the military expenditure is a worthless equivalency. There is no counter, which is why the author describes the RMA as REAL.

* For much the same reason, Russia has a REAL military advantage over the USA, smaller countries such as Iran also have some of that advantage over the US. Iran uses the Russian ground to air missile.

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by chlamor » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:03 am

IRANIAN MESSAGES BEHIND ATTACKING US BASES IN IRAQ, AND THE CONSEQUENCES
Posted on 08/01/2020 by Elijah J Magnier

Just after midnight local time today, Iranian ballistic missiles “Fateh 313” hit two military bases in Iraq that host a significant concentration of US forces, along with other allies. The Iranian direct hit was the retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds brigade Sardar Qassem Soleimani and his companions, killed by a US drone at Baghdad airport last week. The Iranian retaliation carries several strategic messages to the Middle East for this year 2020 and for many years to come. What are these messages? What will come of Iran’s open attack on the most powerful country in the world?

A high-ranking Iranian official contacted the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi after midnight to inform him that Iran had decided to retaliate for the assassination of its General. Iran said it would hit a concentration of US forces in Iraq, without hitting any Iraqi forces.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – according to well-informed sources in Baghdad – answered that “this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war”. The Iranian official replied: “Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken.”

Image

Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters. Ayn al-Assad is located in the desert of al-Anbar, close to the Iraqi-Syrian borders. This is the same base from which the drones which assassinated Sardar Soleimani and his companions at Baghdad airport took off. Iran also bombed another US base in Erbil, Kurdistan.

Iran copied the style used by the Americans in communicating its decision. On the 30th of December 2019, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper contacted Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi and informed him – without asking his permission – of the US intention to bomb Iraqi Forces (Popular Mobilisation Force – PMF). Five Iraqi security forces bases on the Iraqi-Syrian borders were destroyed, killing and wounding 79 PMF, federal police and Iraqi army officers.

Esper gave little time (half an hour) to the Prime Minister to inform his forces. Iran gave Mr Abdel Mahdi half an hour before bombing US forces and launching between 16 modernised multi-warhead “Fateh 313” missiles against al-Anbar and Erbil bases.

Iraq has lost its sovereignty in the middle of the Iran-US battle. It can recover the control of its country only when the US forces leave Iraq as the Iraqi parliament has decided it. The decision came as a response to the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was serving as an envoy in a diplomatic capacity. Soleimani was officially invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 when Iraq asked Iran to send 100 Iranian advisors to Iraq to fight ISIS. He had Iraqi immunity and led the Iranian intelligence cell in Baghdad, not far from the US embassy, in coordination with Russian, Syrian and Iraqi officials. He was a diplomat carrying a diplomatic passport and was asked to meet the Prime Minister of Iraq the following day at 08:30 am to receive a message from Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi agreed to play a mediation role between Iran and Saudi Arabia and was the go-between following Iran’s peace initiative to the Arab leaders. Soleimani arrived in Iraq following a request from President Trump to calm down the tension with Iran. It was a multi-task trip.

Iran did use its precision missiles when bombing ISIS and the separatist Kurds in Kurdistan on the 8th of September last year when its missiles reached their desired target. Last night, Iran used its precision ballistic missiles with significant warheads on targets designed to avoid casualties and send a clear message to President Donald Trump. There were few if any victims. The US did not share information on casualties.

The Iranians did not use missiles from underground silos only but also overtly deployed its solid-fuel missiles against the two US operating bases in Iraq. Iran gave space for de-escalation because, without de-escalation, war will no doubt light up the entire Middle East.

President Trump cornered the Iranian regime so that it had to respond to the US assassination of its General. Its state outlet claimed “80 US servicemen were killed”, a message that gratified domestic opinion and the Iranian nationalism manifested by millions of crowds honouring Sardar Soleimani. It also served to gather public support behind the regime in case of US retaliation necessitating further Iranian retaliation that could lead to war.

The Iranian message is also directed to the US Democrats to use against the US President who had promised that his soldiers would not be in danger during his tenure. Instead, he is risking the lives of thousands of soldiers in one hit or confrontation with Iran and its allies in the Middle East.

Iran selected to also target the US base in Erbil to send a clear message. According to Iranian officials, it intended for the US to understand that in case its command decides to leave Iraq and gather in Erbil, its presence in Kurdistan is not far from its missiles and that US soldiers won’t be safe anywhere in Iraq.

Iran’s bombing is revealing that the US interception missiles were inactive in Ain al-Assad and that another significant attack with precision missiles could create a massacre if that were the intention behind the hit.

Image

This is the second response to the assassination of Sardar Soleimani. The first came from the Iraqi parliament whose resolution calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country. The second came from President Hassan Rouhani who said: “You have managed to cut the hands of Qassem Soleimani (the hit dismembered the Iranian General), we shall cut your legs (force you out) from the Middle East.”

This is far from being the last Iranian hit against US forces in the Middle East. But if President Trump decides to refrain from retaliating, Iran will no longer hit the US forces directly and announce its responsibility. Iran and its allies are not expected to stop harassing the US forces if they stay in Iraq.

Another message was sent to Israel: the newly appointed commander of the IRGC-Quds Brigade Ismail Qaani met with all Palestinian groups in Tehran. According to a well-informed source, Iran promised “unlimited support to all Palestinian groups so that they reach their objective”. Indeed, Iran announced, “Israel is in partnership with the US in the assassination of Sardar Soleimani”.

The time when the US can hit without being hit back seems over. Since Pearl Harbour, this is the first time a country claims its responsibility for hitting US targets. This grave and complicated situation can end if there is a total withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. This step, already officially requested by the Iraqi parliament, can spare US servicemen’s lives.

The US is capable of using only the sky of Iraq, avoiding any land transport. But it is swimming in a severely hostile society in Iraq where every single soldier, officer or diplomat is a potential target. Following the hostile announcement of several groups in Iraq, it is clear there is no longer any safe place for US forces in the country. The assassination of Sardar Soleimani closed all roads of this US administration to all possible negotiation with Iran. Russia and China are waiting just behind the door to move in and fill the vacuum.

https://ejmagnier.com/2020/01/08/irania ... sequences/

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by blindpig » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:34 pm

ISIS welcomes the death of Iran's Qaseem Soleimani and declare it an act of 'divine intervention' that will let them regroup in Iraq
ISIS believes the death of Soleimani will allow them to regroup in Iraq once more
The US-led coalition had been holding them back up until Iran's recent stand off
Iraq's European and American allies have been pausing training operation since
By RYAN FAHEY FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 12:35 EST, 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 15:13 EST, 10 January 2020

ISIS has claimed the death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was an act of 'divine intervention' and that it will benefit their jihadist cause.

After the assassination of Soleimani, the head of the Iran's elite Quds force, the US-led coalition tasked with holding back ISIS in Iraq paused all operations, turning itself instead on Iranian aggression directed towards America.

In the weekly ISIS newspaper al-Naba, the extremists said that while their enemies were fighting each other, draining energy and resources, the jihadists would be able to regroup, according to the BBC.

Image
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters march shown in propaganda photos released by the militants

A few days after the attack, NATO pulled 'some personnel' from the country, explaining that 'the safety of our personnel is paramount', after fears were raised that the Islamic Republic could lash out at Westerners in Iraq after the hit.

Germany extracted all military training personnel from Iraq to Jordan and Kuwait.

Those personnel, along with other European allies, were in Iraq tasked with training the country's security forces to stop the extremist regrouping in the region after they were finally vanquished in December 2017.

Despite the recent lull in aggression from both Iran and US President Donald Trump, Iraq's Shi'a militias have pledged to avenge Soleimani's death.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: America Escalates its “Democratic” Oil War in the Near East

Post by blindpig » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:42 pm

There are two conspiracy theories making the rounds, either of which could be true.

The first, that the US actually took serious losses in the Iranian missile attack, 80 killed & 200 wounded according to one report. Those numbers were originally posted immediately after the attack. It goes on that the casualties were all flown out of country, the KIAs are being reported in dribs & drabs, 2 at a time & being attributed to varying causes. This would be a trick for Trump/Pentagon to pull off and couldn't last for long, tho that could be long enough given attention span these days. But why are the Iranians going along with it? I consider this unlikely, however satisfying.

The second is that some US interest commandeered the controls of the airliner remotely. There are questions about 'ID beacon' of the plane being shut off, also about the direction the plane was on when targeted. This technology is proven. The question again is, 'why are the Iranians not reporting this?

The common thread here is that the Iranians are colluding with the US to control the information. I suppose the US could lean on Iran hard enough if those scum threatened to nuke Tehran but think it unlikely Iran would go along with it. Otherwise, and actually what I expect to develop, is a big fat case of NWO/Globalists infantile disorder. But we must await the Iranian report on the matter, that could change everything.

Oh yeah, a third possibility being floated is that Uke Nazis did it. I guess anything is possible.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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