As The Forces Gather

I have been watching the Iranian/Israel/Saudi/US drama play out and I read something that should make every American think and then shudder at the possibility…..

TomDispatch regular Michael Klare points out, we seem to be on a path to a Third Gulf War. Once again, Iran is the enemy. Once again, as in 2003, a president is surrounded by bellicose advisers intent on just such a war and looking for the right excuse to launch it. And if this doesn’t seem eerily repetitive to you, well, what can I say – except that this little history gives grim new meaning to the adage, often credited to philosopher George Santayana, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ Tom

https://original.antiwar.com/Michael_Klare/2018/05/13/gearing-up-for-the-third-gulf-war/

SecState Pompeo is doing what a good warmonger would do….thumping his chest like a crazed primate…..

In a speech at the right-wing Heritage Foundation on Monday that critics said should put to rest all lingering illusions that the Trump White House wants anything other than regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined a “wildly unrealistic” list of demands that Iran must meet if it wants nuclear talks with America and warned that the U.S. will “crush” Tehran with sanctions if it doesn’t comply.

“Pompeo has not outlined a strategy, but rather a grab bag of wishful thinking that can only be interpreted as a call for regime change in Iran,” Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, wrote on Twitter in response to the secretary of state’s remarks. “This speech could have been given word-for-word by [national security adviser John] Bolton.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/05/21/iraq-war-playbook-returns-pompeo-replaces-diplomacy-threat-crush-iran

I fear for our young…we are on the road to repeating the mistake of 2003 and the invasion of Iraq and then the occupation that lead to even more destruction and deaths……

“Cry Havoc And Release The Dogs Of War”

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Kiss That Nobel Good-Bye

Closing Thought–24May18

Have you heard the news today?

First there was the chest thumping then there were the kind words of approval then there was the news that North Korea and US would sit down to a much needed summit……Trump would meet Kim……

North Korea is destroying their nuke test site……

North Korea carried out what it said is the demolition of its nuclear test site Thursday, setting off a series of explosions over several hours in the presence of foreign journalists. The explosions at the nuclear test site deep in the mountains of the North’s sparsely populated northeast were centered on three tunnels into the underground site and a number of observation towers in the surrounding area, reports the AP. The planned closing was previously announced by Kim Jong Un ahead of his planned summit with President Trump next month. Sky News correspondent Tom Cheshire was on hand, and described it thusly: “We hiked up into the mountains and watched the detonation from about 500 meters away. … There was a huge explosion, you could feel it. Dust came at you, the heat came at you. It was extremely loud.”

The North’s decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Kim to set a positive tone ahead of the summit. Even so, it is not an irreversible move and would need to be followed by many more significant measures to meet Trump’s demands for real denuclearization. By bringing in the foreign media, mainly television networks, the North is apparently hoping to have images of the closing—including explosions to collapse tunnel entrances—broadcast around the world. The group included an AP television crew. The North did not invite international inspectors to the ceremony, which limits its value as a serious concession.

…….and then there were words that put the summit in jeopardy and finally the news came out….the summit has been axed!

Hours after North Korea announced it had blown up its nuclear test site, news of something else blowing up. The White House on Thursday released a letter from President Trump to Kim Jong Un canceling the planned June 12 summit in Singapore. It reads in part: “Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place.”

The statement the president references came from senior North Korean official Choe Son Hui, who called Mike Pence a “political dummy” for comparing North Korea to Libya in the context of denuclearization and warned Pyongyang wouldn’t “beg” for dialogue. CNN’s sources tell it the statement “infuriated” Trump and his team, specifically the portion about Pence. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Trump continued in the letter.

Odd…they eliminate their reactor site and then eliminate the summit…..this is an odd occurrence….

One thing we can say for sure…..Trump can kiss the Nobel Peace Prize good-bye…….after all the work that his minions in Congress did to try and force the committee to award the prize to Trump…..

A New Iranian Nuke Deal?

Yes there is a new list of demands from the Trump crazies that Iran MUST adhere to for the deal to go back into effect…and there are some doozeys……..

Now that the US has withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, what would it take to strike a new deal? A lot, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo revealed Monday in a speech outlining US demands, reports the Wall Street Journal, the AP, CNN, and Al Jazeera. Pompeo listed 12 things Iran must do, including:

  • Stop the enrichment of all uranium
  • Allow “unqualified access” to all nuclear sites
  • Withdraw all forces from Syria
  • Release all US citizens in custody
  • Stop its threats to destroy Israel
  • Halt its support for militant groups in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Declare all previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon

“Relief from sanctions will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated, and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies,” said Pompeo in a speech at the Heritage Foundation. “We acknowledge Iran’s right to defend its people. But not its actions which jeopardize the world’s citizens.” The gist of coverage from the above sources suggests that the odds of Iran agreeing to the demands are virtually nonexistent. “There is such an enormous trust deficit between the US and Iran that Iranian leaders are likely to really shrug this off as yet more angry rhetoric coming from the Trump White House,” per Al Jazeera.

Tell me would the US accept these conditions……these are more to protect Israel than to end nuclear dreams.  Read Pompeo’s words it is that superiority thing…..”do as we say not as we do” sort of thing.

Personally I think his bluster will bite him in the butt….and I am not alone……

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speech on new sanctions on Iran lays out a wide range of Iranian behavior he would like to change, and specified harsh US financial sanctions as his instrument.

Pompeo, a Kansas oil man backed by the Koch brothers, is just a former congressman and a virulent Christian fundamentalist with white nationalist tendencies. He knows little about the world and is among the worst prepared secretaries of state in American history. He also knows nothing about the history of the region.

Unilateral US sanctions as a means of regime change or radically changing regime behavior have a strong record of failure, especially when applied to states with pricey primary commodities like petroleum.

https://www.juancole.com/2018/05/pompeo-iran-sanctions.html

These Trump people are the least capable of leading this country than ever before……

While the US makes demands that will not be met……the EU, China and Russia are moving to save the deal that is in place now……

While previous reports have indicated that there was little interest in talking about a new nuclear deal with Iran, the withdrawal of the US from the existing deal appears to have changed things. Now, Russia, China, and the European Union are to hold talks on a major revision of the deal later this week.

This new deal would keep Iran’s requirements the same as the existing deal, but would increase the incentives guaranteed by the other powers. This is an attempt to keep Iran complying with the deal as the US ratchets up sanctions.

While the US was the one pushing for a “new” deal in the first place, the other nations have kept the US completely sidelined in these new talks. This is unsurprising, as many see the US trying to undermine any such deals.

The new deal is said to offer Iran billions of dollars in financial aid to make up for the US dishonoring the pact and withdrawing its own sanctions relief. The deal also aims to pledge international cooperation to prevent US  sanctions being enforced internationally.

(antiwar.com)

This deal be saved one way or the other….but making unrealistic demands is not the “art of the deal”.

Afghanistan–Well Duh!

It has been 17 years that our troops have been fighting in Afghanistan……I was never in favor of a continued presence after the first 2 years….I felt it would be an irritant and just a replay of the Vietnam scenario…..and so far I have seen NOTHING that would warrant us staying this long or another minute longer……..

But Hell I am a crotchity old fart but I am NOT wrong……and now so says the Pentagon’s Inspector General……

The inspector general has issued a new report openly scorning Pentagon claims of progress in the war in Afghanistan, noting the continued large attacks from the Taliban and ISIS, and that available data simply doesn’t show progress in much of anything.

That’s been a recurring theme in the war, now 17 years in. Pentagon officials have claimed in recent months that they see progress being made, and that they’ve “turned the corner,” but they’ve made similar claims dozens of times with nothing to show for it.

Meanwhile, ISIS and the Taliban are able to carry out major attacks even in supposedly secure districts. The Taliban controls broad swathes of the country, and only yesterday the Afghan senate admitted that roughly half of the country is outside their direct control.

That’s all bad news that’s been growing markedly worse in the past couple of years. The US has increased their own presence in Afghanistan, and is launching a soaring number of airstrikes, but neither of those has changed the underlying reality that the war is being steadily lost.

(antiwar.com)

This is not the first report that has shitty news about Afghanistan….if so then when will a spineless bunch of Congresspeople do something.  Time for these cowards to stand up and demand that our overworked and over-deployed troops come home and leave Afghanistan to the Afghans?

North Korea: As The Date Draws Near

June 12, 2018 is the date for the new efforts to make the Korean Peninsula nuke free…Trump is suppose to meet Kim in Singapore…..but there may be a snag seems that both leaders are pushing back at each other as the date draws near……

North Korea is ratcheting up its threats—and potentially inching away from the table. After canceling high-level talks with South Korea planned for Wednesday and warning the US it could cancel Kim Jong Un’s meeting with President Trump over joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, another wrinkle. The Guardian reports Pyongyang is adding to the list of things that could imperil the planned June 12 summit: A statement released by KCNA on Wednesday says the North would bow out if the US maintains its “one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes.” The report quotes first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, and the New York Times has the statement in full. More on what it says, and reaction to it:

  • The statement references the “so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment” on more than one occasion, saying US comments about complete denuclearization amount to “a manifestation of awfully sinister move to impose on our dignified state the destiny of Libya or Iraq which had been collapsed due to yielding the whole of their countries to big powers. … It is absolutely absurd to dare compare [North Korea], a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial state of nuclear development.”
  • Time addresses the Libya angle, explaining the fact that Moammar Gadhafi “was toppled with US backing despite acquiescing to demands to denuclearize has long been a thorn in US efforts to reach a deal with North Korea—one likely sharpened by Trump’s recent decision to nix a hard-fought denuclearization deal with Iran.”
  • Reuters notes the statement also offered harsh words about US national security adviser John Bolton, who has been promoting a Libya-style denuclearization. “We shed light on the quality of Bolton already in the past, and we do not hide our feeling of repugnance towards him,” it read, with Reuters recalling North Korea having called Bolton “human scum” when he worked for the Bush administration.
  • At the Times, Gerry Mullany sees “a pattern by the unpredictable regime,” and outlines five other times when North Korea “did a sudden about-face.” Read them here.
  • A senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists offers his take to the Guardian: “The North Koreans know how to make an explicit threat. By their standards, this is pretty circumspect. It could very well be a play for additional leverage or to see how the Trump team reacts.”
  • At Time, Korea expert Professor Stephan Haggard echoes that but sees a second possibility: That Kim has “gotten cold feet—they just want an out.”
  • As for the South, Yonhap reports South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “held emergency phone talks Wednesday in a show of solidarity against North Korea’s renewed brinkmanship.” The Guardian reports the joint US-South Korean military exercises, codenamed Max Thunder, started Friday and will continue.

The theater of the absurd continues….a tit for tat…..each trying to out tat the other……but how could a denuclearization be achieved?

The Brookings has a plan……

The recent news about the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore is exciting and encouraging. It would not have seemed remotely possible a year ago—or even six months ago. Back then, war seemed much more likely. It is impossible to know whether the decision to hold a summit is primarily due to Kim’s newfound confidence in his missile and nuclear capabilities, or his fear of Trump’s military threats, or a result of the pain his country has endured from U.N.-imposed economic sanctions, which have cut North Korea’s external trade in half. Perhaps the charm offensives that Kim, Trump, President Moon, and Secretary Pompeo have been showering on one another led to the summit. In truth, it is probably some combination of most of those factors.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/05/14/a-step-by-step-plan-for-denuclearizing-north-korea/

The point is that if people are waiting for an instant “art of the deal” moment then they will be sadly mistaken.

Time will tell.

North Korea And A Nuke Deal

Just last week Pres. Trump decided that he would scrap the Iranian nuke deal……now we must go about trying to negotiate a new deal or start a bleeding war.

In the same time span the US has good vibes from North Korea about ending their nuke program……after all the insulting coming from bot Kim and Trump…….like a switch in a dark room….a light came on and both parties saw the error of their ways and promise to play nice. (Meeting set for June 2018 in Singapore)

One was bad news and the other good news……but there are a couple of points that need to be considered.

President Trump and national security adviser John Bolton are apparently not on the same page when it comes to the “Libya model”—and the confusion led to what was seen as a stern threat to North Korea Thursday. When asked about Bolton’s suggestion that the 2003 Libya model of nuclear disarmament be a template for talks with North Korea, Trump appeared to think he was being asked about the 2011 NATO intervention that led to leader Moammar Gadhafi’s death at the hands of rebels, the Guardian reports. “The Libyan model is not a model that we have at all when we are thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country.” Trump said, adding that the model “could take place if we don’t make a deal.”

Trump said the deal he was hoping to reach with Kim Jong Un would give him strong protections in return for denuclearization and would be “something where he’d be there, he’d be in his country, he’d be running his country, his country would be very rich,” the BBC reports. The president said it would “really be a South Korean model in terms of their industry.” Pyongyang, angered by Bolton’s remarks on the Libya model for denuclearization, threatened Wednesday to pull out of the planned June 12 Kim-Trump summit if the US kept up its “one-sided” demand for it to give up nuclear weapons. Trump said Thursday that the meeting is still on track, the AP reports. He said that despite the threat to withdraw, officials from both side are still working on details “as if nothing happened.”

I do not think that is a good selling point…..telling Kim that he would suffer the fate of Qaddafi….if you recall he was killed….I thought the idea was to make the giving up of nuke desires more appealing…..that will not do it.

Then there is the nuke deal with Iran….if the US will stand by that deal what makes anyone think that they would stand by any NK deal?

Just a few thoughts…..

Remember The Sh*tholes?

The big story of the week is the move of the American embassy in Israel…..it is a terrible decision this only placates Israel and Israel alone.

But that aside what other countries will follow the US lead?

Now remember a while back when Trump made his sh*thole comment about immigrants trying to come to the US?  Look at the list above and there are the countries Trump was talking about.

Sorry I find it amusing…..

Then we all have heard about the violence around the embassy move, right?

The Trump has made it clear who is to blame…..and it is not Israel…..

It’s seemingly a straightforward sequence of events – Israeli troops lined up along the Gaza border, firing machine guns into the strip at unarmed protesters, and scores of those protesters were killed, the US is desperate to portray it as a “propaganda” plot by Hamas.

The White House portrayed themselves as wholly comfortable with Israel’s actions, saying they totally absolve Israel of any responsibility for all of those people they killed. Spokesman Raj Shah insisted the protests were Hamas’ fault, and the deaths are, too.

Shah further rejected reporter suggestions that Israel should show any sort of restraint, saying Hamas is responsible for whatever happens. He said Israel has an absolute right to engage in “self defense” against the protesters.

(antiwar.com)

Yep that 8 month baby killed by tear gas was a terrorist….or the man in a wheel chair killed by an Israeli sniper was the source of the attacks or the 16 year old girl shot in the stomach…..the list goes on….

We all knew that Israel would be blameless as it always is even as far back as the USS Liberty incident in 1968 which killed and maimed American sailors….it was not their fault that their jets and patrol boats fired on the American ship.

It is always Syria’s fault or Iran’s fault or Hamas or Hezbollah and whoever else Israel can blame.

They play the VICTIM card more than my ex-wife.  Israel plays the victim card masterfully….they are NO more a victim than I am a female gardener….

Time for Israel to be held to the same standards as the rest of the world and time for the US to stop allowing Israel to hide behind their skirts.