Well unless you hide during the day under a rock then you are aware of how close the US and Iran maybe to a war……personally, I do ot think it is a good idea but then I am an antiwar person and cannot see too many wars as a good thing.
But ask yourself….just who is it that wants this war?
Trump and the Secstate and NatSec adviser do not seem to be on the same page….so who wants this?
Speaking on state TV of the prospect of a war in the Gulf, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei seemed to dismiss the idea.
“There won’t be any war. …We don’t seek a war, and [the Americans] don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.”
The ayatollah’s analysis is correct. Consider the consequences of a war with the United States for Iran.
Iran’s hundreds of swift boats and handful of submarines would be sunk. Its ports would be mined or blockaded. Oil exports and oil revenue would halt. Airfields and missile bases would be bombed. The Iranian economy would crash. Iran would need years to recover.
But not to worry….the Speaker of the House said that the Congress have not voted for war….
The Trump administration does not have congressional authorization to go to war against Iran, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives warned on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the region.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she backed what appeared to be U.S. President Donald Trump’s aversion to actual military conflict with Tehran.
“I like what I hear from the president — that he has no appetite on this,” she said. The Washington Post, citing several unnamed U.S. officials, reported late Wednesday that Trump was frustrated that his advisers may be rushing into war and that he preferred a more diplomatic approach and direct talks with Iran.
Really? The Congress has not thought it important enough to vote on any war since the invasion of Afghanistan….so what makes me think they will have any say whatsoever in whether we go to war with Iran or not?
Besides they, the Congress, cannot stop a war any way….look at the failure with the Yemen conflict….the Congress has become a toothless tiger.
Keep in mind that the architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on false information was John Bolton, among others…..and now he is in a position that gives him more influence than in 2003……
All I can say is…here we go again!
An Iraq-War redux is now in full play, with leading roles played by some of the same protagonists – President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, for example, who says he still thinks attacking Iraq was a good idea. Co-starring is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The New York Times on Tuesday played its accustomed role in stoking the fires, front-paging a report that, at Bolton’s request, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has come up with an updated plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East, should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. The Times headline writer, at least, thought it appropriate to point to echoes from the past: “White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War.”
John Bolton has a Haig-sized ego. (one must be an old fart to appreciate the Haig reference) He aspires to control the ebb and flow of foreign policy in the Trump administration. He is often at odds with his colleagues from the State Department and Pentagon. And he is dealing with a president who, if not asleep much of the time, is only intermittently focused on national security issues.
Recently, Bolton too seemed to have his “I’m in control here” moment. With the conflict intensifying in Venezuela, the national security advisor leaked the opposition plan for the army to defect en masse from the Maduro government in favor of challenger Juan Guiado. Bolton’s tweets reportedly angered President Trump, who felt “boxed into a corner,” particularly after the defections didn’t materialize and Nicolas Maduro did not flee the country.
Time for all parties to step back and think what they are doing. Once the “brink” has been breached then coming back becomes much more difficult.
Perhaps these actions are a prelude to negotiations: the U.S. is exerting “maximum pressure”, it says, to bring a more compliant Iran back to the table; in like manner, should Tehran conclude that it has no choice but to reach a new deal with Washington in order to relieve unsustainable economic strain, it will want to enter such talks with a stronger hand. Resuming its nuclear activities, making its presence felt in the region, and disrupting Saudi or Emirati oil exports could all be ways of enhancing its bargaining power. But if these manoeuvres are a diplomatic game, it is a dangerous one: either side could misinterpret the other’s intentions. Any Iranian move could easily lead to U.S. and/or Israeli strikes which, in turn, could lead to an Iranian counter-response. Or vice versa. Escalation comes easily; de-escalation is a much taller order, especially in the absence of direct channels of communication that can pre-empt misunderstandings or miscalculations.
This could become a major war since we have a president that sows chaos in his wake….this needs a steady hand and commonsense to prevent this from exploding.
But until then….the Neocons in Trumpland are trying to sell this as a “Just War”…….a Just War?
Just war theory deals with the justification of how and why wars are fought. The justification can be either theoretical or historical. The theoretical aspect is concerned with ethically justifying war and the forms that warfare may or may not take. The historical aspect, or the “just war tradition,” deals with the historical body of rules or agreements that have applied in various wars across the ages. For instance, international agreements such as the Geneva and Hague conventions are historical rules aimed at limiting certain kinds of warfare which lawyers may refer to in prosecuting transgressors, but it is the role of ethics to examine these institutional agreements for their philosophical coherence as well as to inquire into whether aspects of the conventions ought to be changed.
To me a Just War is a silly notion that only applies in a very limited reasons…..
And then we have those that a “Preventive War” is the only answer…..to that I say Bullshit!
The Neocons are working overtime to find a justification for a war……most are based on LIES and propaganda……PERIOD!
It seems that the advisers to the president are determined to get into a shooting war with Iran…..personally I do not think any of these accusations are true (that means they are LIES)…..apparently I am not alone…..
The narrative of an “increased threat” posed by Iran and its proxies across the Middle East is being used to justify a US military buildup and a general escalation of tensions in the area. British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, however, has raised serious doubts about that.
Maj. Gen. Ghika said that there has been “no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces,” despite the claims from US officials, mostly Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and John Bolton. Perhaps more damningly, Ghika says he does not believe there is any daylight between Britain’s assessment of “no increased threat” and the assessment from US intelligence.
In other words, the US officials are lying about the intelligence, presumably to justify the growing US buildup and to keep hyping the possibility of a war with Iran. US Central Command, however, angrily shot back contradicting Ghika, insisting his statement runs counter to established US position on the matter.
CENTCOM’s statement is not exactly a refutation of Ghika’s position on UK and US intelligence. Rather, it refers to “identified credible threats” but provides no indication where they came from. It clearly wasn’t intelligence agencies, because the threats were only made available to intelligence agencies after their identification.
Early reports on the “Iranian proxies” allegation suggested it came out of Israel, and that it was built around Israeli officials believing it would make sense for Iran to do that sort of thing to attack the US. This could suggest it was never verified by US or UK intelligence, and was rather just accepted as the official version because it fit with US policy at the time.
US is fanning those flames vigorously…..(do not believe all the denials)…..these neocons want war……
Other officials indicated on Monday that they consider Iran the main suspect of the attack, though they have conceded that they don’t have any real evidence of this, let alone proof. Abizaid said starting a war over it would not be in the interest of Iran, the US, or Saudi Arabia.
Which is a potentially controversial position for the ambassador to take, given the ongoing US military buildup in the Middle East, centered around the idea of a war with Iran. Even if he believes this isn’t in America’s interest, nor justified on unproven allegations of sabotage, it seems to be the general direction the US is headed anyhow.
In particular, the idea of having a thorough investigation before the reaction is not the way the US has done things in recent years. At a time when hawks are lining up to call for action against Iran on any pretext, it is vital to hear the call to let cooler heads prevail.
Filter out all the warmongering BS and think about one thing……this article was published in The American Conservative……
David French defends one of the great crimes of the 21st century:
Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict — countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today.
There is good reason that the Iraq war has “precious few defenders.” The Iraq war was a great crime and a massive blunder. Not only was it illegal under international law, but it was undeniably unjust according to any fair reading of just war theory. Our government did not have just cause to invade Iraq and overthrow its government. Preventive war can never be justified, because it can never be just to strike first against another country because you fear what their government might one day do to you. That is simply aggression committed out of irrational fear. To say that you still think 16 years later that invading Iraq is “just and proper” is to admit that you don’t know what those words mean.
In this world today, the 21st century in case there is any confusion) war does not make sense….the only people to gain are those that make the weapons of destruction.
We Americans have allowed too many wars in our name…..all the deaths are in our name…..and what does anyone gain?
News came out after I had written this draft for post today……
The US Embassy in Iraq says the State Department has ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff to leave the country right away amid escalating tensions with Iran. The security alert, published on the embassy’s website on Wednesday, comes after Washington last week said it had detected new and urgent threats from Iran and its proxy forces in the region targeting Americans and American interests. On Sunday, the embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq, citing “heightened tensions.”
Whenever the US starts down a path to war they have to make the case for the public to support a war……Iraq there was the search for yellow cake uranium (which was a lie)…..and the US seems to be thumping that chest again…this time in the Horn of Africa……
I did not wait long for that shoe to drop with the mash-up with Iran……
The United Arab Emirates said Sunday that four commercial ships off its eastern coast “were subjected to sabotage operations,” hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at a nearby Emirati port. Emirati officials declined to say who might have been responsible, the AP reports. However, the US has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region; America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats from Tehran. Tensions have risen since President Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, restoring American sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to renegotiate the deal.
The UAE statement put the ships near the country’s territorial waters in the Gulf of Oman, east of the port of Fujairah. It said that it was investigating the incident “in cooperation with local and international bodies” and that there were “no injuries or fatalities on board the vessels” and “no spillage of harmful chemicals or fuel.” Earlier Sunday, Lebanon’s pro-Iran satellite channel Al-Mayadeen, quoting “Gulf sources,” falsely reported a series of explosions at Fujairah’s port. State and semi-official media in Iran picked up the reports, citing Al-Mayadeen, which later published the names of vessels it claimed were involved. The AP found the reports about an explosion to be unsubstantiated
Bam! That shoe has dropped!
With the US military buildup in the area around Iran, hawks both within the administration and elsewhere in the region suspect that it might not take much to sucker the US into starting a war. Something oil tanker related might do it.
Officials are investigating, however, and with all the talk of undermining international security, the public is meant to suspect that the Iranian government did it, whatever “it” actually was, because the US has been warning Iran that they’d better not do something.
Does appear as Trump and his Boyz are wanting the crisis to escalate……
This week, one year after President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, relations between Washington and Tehran approached a crisis, with an American carrier strike force headed for the Persian Gulf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo making a sudden trip to Baghdad to consult with Iraqi officials. In fact, precipitating a crisis was the point of the administration’s strategy; the question now is how well they manage it.
Pulling out of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was not just an attempt to dismantle a cornerstone of President Obama’s legacy. Nor was it fundamentally a disagreement about how to constrain Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program, though prominent hard-liners in the Trump administration surely hated the agreement. Instead it was a long-shot bet that a U.S.-imposed economic embargo just short of war could bring Tehran to its knees, forcing a fundamental change in the Iranian regime’s policy, or even regime change itself.
Making the case…..it is so typical something I have seen and heard for decades……the government wanting a “WAR” and set about making the case for the conflict and to get the American people to go along with the ride.
Is America ready for the Bolton/Pompeo war with Iran?
Claiming that the decision was made in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” Bolton declared that “the United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime.” But, he added, “we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”
Trump over the weekend was freaking out on Twitter over the announcement that Mueller would be testifying before Congress this month.
Then from the shadows came the word that the US was deploying a strike group to the Middle East….
The United States will send an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran, national security advisor John Bolton announced on Sunday.
Bolton, who is known for his hawkish stance on Iran, did not specify what “warnings” the United States was responding to; however, a U.S. official with knowledge of the situation told CNN that threats had been made against “both U.S. maritime and land-based forces in the Middle East.”
Although there has been no indication that “any action by Iran is imminent,” the deployments are meant as a deterrent, the official told the news network.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Sunday that the U.S. had seen “escalatory actions from the Iranians,” AP reported. He refused to elaborate on what these actions entailed, yet insisted that “we have good reason to want to communicate clearly about how the Iranians should understand how we will respond to actions they may take.”
What troubling developments?
Was this the news to deflect the temper tantrum our Dear Beloved Supreme Leader is having during his most recent meltdown?
Please tell me this is not some BS to “protect” Israel.
With all the aid they get from the US they are well capable of protecting themselves from rockets and stones.
Speaking of rockets…..what happened to their “Iron Dome” defense…a system that the US is suppose to buy….if rockets get through maybe it is not as effective as they say…..maybe the US should save that cash. (Sounds like a good topic for a post)
My money is on trying to divert attention from Trump to Iran…..a diversion too often used by this administration (well most admins have used this technique)……..
Recently the East African nation of Somalia has been in the news more so than in the years since “Black Hawk Down” incident…first the US is re-opening the embassy in Somalia…..
In a sign of how much the security situation in Somalia’s capital has improved, the US has established a permanent diplomatic presence there for the first time in almost 28 years. In a sign of how dangerous Mogadishu remains, many staffers will remain at the US diplomatic mission to Somalia based in Nairobi, Kenya. The State Department said the permanent diplomatic mission was opened in a small ceremony Sunday. “This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement, per the BBC. The department still lists Somalia as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” and it’s not clear whether Ambassador Donald Yamamoto will be moving to Mogadishu from Nairobi.
The US closed and evacuated its embassy in Mogadishu at the start of 1991 as Somalia’s civil war intensified and the government collapsed. Officials have not disclosed how many diplomatic personnel will be moving to Mogadishu, where the US already had a facility for visiting staffers from Nairobi inside the heavily guarded airport security zone, ABC News reports. The announcement of the restoration of the permanent diplomatic presence comes 26 years to the day after George HW Bush announced that 20,000 American troops would be sent to the country to “save thousands of innocents from death.” They were withdrawn after 18 service members were killed in the 1993 “Black Hawk Down” incident.
Is this for some diplomatic mission? I cannot see it since diplomacy is not a priority for the Trump admin…..could it be because our military has an expanding role in the country?
Since taking office, the Trump Administration has dramatically increased lethal strikes in Somalia. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has carried out more than 30 strikes in each of 2017 and 2018, more than twice the previous highest total during the Obama presidency. As part of a recent series of strikes in Somalia, on Nov. 20, the U.S. military conducted a “planned and deliberate” airstrike that the U.S. military claimed killed as many as 27 members of al-Shabaab.
AFRICOM said, as it has in numerous cases, that the operation did not kill or injure any civilians. Such claims require greater scrutiny in the wake of repeated allegations of civilian casualties in Somalia by U.S. and U.S.-backed Somali forces in the past two years. The impact on the ground in Somalia also raises serious questions about the effectiveness of this approach and whether the United States would be better served by exploring alternatives.
There was more fighting clearly than just the two checkpoints. Locals reported that the whole area has been “sealed off,” including the farming village. The US also reportedly carried out two airstrikes against the area, reportedly destroying a minibus that Somali officials believe was full of explosives.
Another region for another American war of intervention and another source of profit for the M-IC…..the real reason for American adventurism…..the smell of cash has started a many of a war…..
I have written a bunch about the Arabian Peninsula…..the policies of Saudi Arabia and the situation with Qatar and in all that time only a mention has been given to the policies of the UAE…..I will try to change that……
Let’s begin with the Horn of Africa……for those not quite sure…..
As you can see the importance of this region for a lot of the crude flows through this region….oil that is…Texas Tea, black gold….yada yada….
I have written about this region before (listed in further reading section at the close of this post)…..it seems that all nations are trying to get that toe hold in this region….US, Russia, China and now the UAE…..
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged in recent months as an important protagonist in the Horn of Africa. Through political alliances, aid, investment, military base agreements and port contracts, it is expanding its influence in the region. A recent manifestation came in the summer of 2018, when Eritrea and Ethiopia announced – after a flurry of visits to and from Emirati officials – that they had reached an agreement to end their twenty-year war. Emirati and Saudi diplomacy and aid were pivotal to that deal. Elsewhere, however, Gulf countries have played a less constructive role. Competition between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar on the other, spilled into Somalia beginning in late 2017, aggravating friction between Mogadishu and Somali regional leaders. Abu Dhabi’s relations with the Somali government have collapsed. As its influence in the Horn grows, the UAE should build on its Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making by continuing to underwrite and promote that deal, while at the same time looking to reconcile with the Somali government.
UAE is interested but they are by no means the only ones…….
Arab Gulf states are intervening more assertively in sub-Saharan Africa to capitalize on economic opportunities and protect their security interests.
They view Africa as a relatively uncontested arena in which they can experiment with foreign interventions as part of their strategy to prove their rising status on the world stage.
The impact of Gulf states’ rivalries in Africa is becoming increasingly damaging, as their zero-sum rivalry has provoked retaliations, which have dangerously destabilized vulnerable parts of Africa, such as during the fallout to the GCC crisis.
A name that will live in infamy (to use a phrase from the past)….the year is 1994 and the US military was sent into Mogadishu, Somalia on an UN peace keeping mission…..the US decided the way to go about their task was to put away a local warlord, Mohamed Aidid…..taking on this task was mission drift and it went horribly wrong.
The year is 2001 and Hollywood issues a film adaptation to the book “Black Hawk Down”……the movie was a success but then most movies about war are a success…..the actual “war” may not be a success but the movie will be.
During this engagement the US lost 19 soldiers and 73 wounded….but like most of the “war stories” there will be more to the story than the movie will tell……
The 2001 blockbuster war film Black Hawk Down depicted a battle largely forgotten upon the movie’s release. Being released in the wake of 9/11 also gave it an extra dose of significance it might not have held otherwise. The battle occupies a special place in American military history, a legendary status among other post-Cold War military engagements that struggle to gain recognition in the public eye.
The price paid for recognition, however, is that the story becomes a legend that takes on a life of its own. It goes on an unscripted journey, ending up in a place well-removed from where it began. Consequently, the public often appreciates the wrong story or only a part of it. 25 years after the Battle of Mogadishu and 17 years after the film’s release, what the public believes it knows about Black Hawk Down, if not entirely inaccurate, isn’t the whole story.
Dramatic retellings are, of course, entitled to take creative license with a true story. This piece doesn’t contest such alterations. Nor are any of these facts “untold” – they are widely available in various books on the battle. Instead, this piece aims to correct some widely-held assumptions about the battle and reveal some lesser-known facts that have the potential to alter public perception of the Battle of Mogadishu.
Ever since Ethiopiaannounced in early June that it will fully accept the terms of a 2000 peace agreement with neighbouring Eritrea, the pace of normalisation of relations between the two countries has been truly stunning.
First, a high-level Eritrean delegation made a visit to Addis Ababa on June 26 and kickstarted the talks on ending the decades-long conflict. Only a couple of weeks later, Ethiopia’s reformist new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made a landmark visit to Asmara and met the Eritrean president face-to-face.
Eritrea has pulled troops back from its heavily militarised border with Ethiopia as a “gesture of reconciliation”, the pro-government Eritrean Press agency said on its Facebook page.
There was no immediate confirmation from the government in Asmara, but the move would be consistent with rapidly improving ties between the Horn of Africa neighbours, whose 1998 war killed tens of thousands and led to two decades of military stalemate.
For a couple of years I have been watching the situation developing in the Caucuses……
Hostilities run deep in this region and are ever threatening conflict in the making……
Azerbaijan has sharpened its threats of war against Armenia in an apparent attempt to ratchet up tension over Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory that both sides claim.
Verbal threats toward Armenia are nothing new for Azerbaijan, a state for which the phrase “bellicose rhetoric” has become something of a journalistic cliché. But Baku’s rhetoric in the past has tended to couch military threats in the conditional tense, a last resort if diplomatic negotiations fail. Increasingly, however, the military option is being portrayed as the only one.
“The developments unfolding in the world confirm that the international law does not work,” Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev tweeted on June 28. “If it did, Azerbaijani lands would have been freed from the invaders long ago.”
And then there is Syria and yes it is still a complete mess……
Sen. Lindsay Graham, a prominent Republican voice on national security and international policy, spoke out last week during a visit to the Middle East warning Turkey against further military involvement in the Syrian civil war. After meeting with Turkish President Erdogan, Sen. Graham cautioned the NATO ally—“You don’t want any further incursions in Syria by the Turkish military, you’ll get yourself in a quagmire.”
In a world filled with hyperbole, political spin, and fake news, it is rare to hear such an accurate and evidence-based statement as this. The civil war in Syria, raging for more than half a decade, has been a sterling example of a ‘quagmire’ in the geopolitical context since its inception. Even before the fighting started, Syria was one of the most complicated and volatile states in the Middle East.
During the Cold War the East African nation of Ethiopia was on the front lines in our struggle with the USSR….it was a perfect region for the gathering of Sigint…..but has been happening since the end of the Cold War?
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea in the late 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) issued specific coordinates as virtually demarcating the border and pronounced its work finished. Alleging that the EEBC acted beyond its mandate in issuing the coordinates, Ethiopia has not accepted them and has not withdrawn troops from previously contested areas pronounced by the EEBC as belonging to Eritrea. In August 2012, longtime leader Prime Minister MELES Zenawi died in office and was replaced by his Deputy Prime Minister HAILEMARIAM Desalegn, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades.
Ethiopia is a cog in our responses on the Horn of Africa….plus the renegade nation of Somalia is next door and from time to time has bucked the influence of Ethiopia in the region…..but their “friendship” with the US these days helps their star to rise in the Horn…..
When we think of countries competing for power and influence in the Horn of Africa, a short list of candidates comes to mind: the U.S., Iran, China, Russia, Turkey and various European powers. Notably absent from this list are countries from within the region itself. But this may be about to change. Ethiopia has recently launched a number of political, economic and foreign policy reforms aimed at redefining the country internally and externally. These moves are a sign that Addis Ababa wants to increase its influence in the region and might be laying the groundwork to emerge as a regional power.
Ethiopia is uniquely positioned to take on this role. It has a history of resisting foreign intervention and remaining, for the most part, free of external domination in a region that was widely colonized by European powers. Now, as the presence of foreign powers grows, Ethiopia will need to become more assertive if it wants to compete for influence with these outside forces. But it has a number of challenges with which it must contend if it is to project power beyond its borders. This Deep Dive will examine the country’s history that has led it to this unique point in time and the conditions it must meet before it will be able to wield more influence in the region.