Closing Thought–12Nov18

I have been looking back here on IST to World War One…..and since I have been working and writing about the Middle East I have also been looking at the effect of the war on many countries but it may have impacted the Middle East more so than others…….

Signs of World War I are everywhere and nowhere in the Middle East.

Overlain by subsequent conflicts and decades of bitter contestation, the legacies of the wartime experience continue to reverberate long after the conflict passed into history in Europe. With the Middle East in the throes of renewed political turmoil and having experienced decades of regional and international crises, many deriving from the decisions taken after the World War I, the complicated legacies of the war may not immediately be apparent but are nonetheless highly relevant.

A parallel may be drawn with the divided Europe up until 1989, where the ramifications of the World War II remained highly visible across multiple generations and made it difficult to establish historical distance from events whose legacy continued to resonate decades after.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/remembering-world-war-middle-east-181109152013898.html

Sadly tomorrow this war will be once again meaningless to most Americans…….

That brings today to an end of posting for me….I must recharge my batteries….see you guys tomorrow……chuq

Advertisements

Iran: Your History Lesson

This is my small attempt at FYI on the Iranian situation…..the short videos will make it easier than reading a long dissertation on the US-Iran relations……

Last week I posted on the new Iran policy…….https://lobotero.com/2018/11/08/iran-here-we-go-again/

Some Americans hate Iran……but why?  Is it a religious thing?  Is it a ethnic thing?  Or just because of ignorance?

The later makes more sense.

Most can only think in terms of 1979……there is so much more to be considered……let’s begin with generalities……

Right now with all the situations in the world the one that could be the most dangerous for the US…..there is a Middle East Cold War in the region and the US is a major player…..but let’s look at this situation….

 

The US and Iran have not always been adversaries……

We have all known we have a problem with Iran……but where did ll that begin?  For Americans it began in 1979….for Iranians it began in 1953……

But why do the Saudis hate the Iranians?

History can lead the way out of sticky situations….that is if we choose to walk away from stupid policies.

The US and Iran should return to the days of cooperation…..

Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Please answer me this……do these videos help in the understanding of the situation?

Iran: Here We Go Again

Voting has ended and we await the result…….The midterms were all consuming for the media…there were events on the international stage that flew under the MSM radar……

1979–Iranian rebels storm and occupy the American embassy in Tehran……and began 40 years of diplomatic bullsh*t….under Obama there was a deal struck by what is called the P5+1 that would limit and end Iranian search for nukes……but then we elected a “deal maker” and nothing is good enough…..

The Trump administration on Friday announced the reimposition of all US sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. The sanctions will take effect Monday and cover Iran’s shipping, financial, and energy sectors, the AP reports. It’s the second batch of penalties the administration has reimposed since President Trump withdrew from the landmark deal in May. With limited exceptions, the sanctions will penalize countries that don’t stop importing Iranian oil and foreign companies that do business with blacklisted Iranian entities, including Iran’s central bank, a number of private financial institutions, and state-run port and shipping companies. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who released a list of 12 demands Iran must meet if it wants the sanctions lifted, said they’re “aimed at fundamentally altering the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The sanctions include ending support for terrorism, ending military engagement in Syria, and completely halting its nuclear and ballistic missile development. “Maximum pressure means maximum pressure,” Pompeo said. Pompeo said eight nations, which other officials identified as US allies such as Italy, India, Japan, and South Korea, will receive temporary waivers allowing them to continue to import Iranian petroleum products for a limited period as long as they end such imports entirely. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said 700 more Iranian companies and people would be added to the sanctions lists under the reimposed sanctions. Pompeo and Mnuchin both said the sanctions will have exceptions for humanitarian purchases. (Hawks in Congress want to get tougher on Iran.)

Yep under Trump we have gone back in time to the days of protests and hard feelings toward the US by Iranians…..

What’s new? A 40-year analysis of Iran’s economic performance and regional policy reveals little to no correlation between the two, as Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its degree of economic wellbeing at home.

Why does it matter? The Trump administration hopes that sanctions will force Iran to curb its regional activities. But data shows that outcome is uncertain as changes in Iran’s wealth have had little impact on the direction or capabilities of its regional policy. Sanctions risk empowering harder-line officials in the Islamic Republic and prompting them to lash out, exacerbating regional tensions.

What should be done? The U.S. optimally should leverage its sanctions to de-escalate regional tensions. That requires acknowledging Iran’s legitimate security concerns as long as Iran acknowledges those of its regional rivals. However unlikely at this time, the U.S., Iran and Gulf Arab states should take steps to build a more stable regional security architecture.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/b64-illogic-us-sanctions-snapback-iran

There are many setbacks that these sanctions could aggravate….

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iran/regional-risks-rising-us-iran-rivalry

https://www.globalresearch.ca/new-iran-sanctions-risk-long-term-us-isolation/5658745

Pompeo has stated that these sanctions will not hurt the Iranian people….

As the Trump Administration reimposes all nuclear sanctions on Iran beginning Monday, there is a substantial difference between the narrative of “toughest ever” sanctions and the reality that most of the world has no intention of complying with US demands this time.

This has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo trying to argue that Iran knows how decisive these sanctions are, and further emphasizing that some countries need “a little bit more time” to stop buying Iranian oil.

Pompeo is also trying to defend the humanitarian issues of these sanctions, saying that they will not hurt the ordinary Iranian. This is clearly untrue, as the sanctions are hurting aid groups importing medicine, and forcing the public to be increasingly dependent on the Iranian government, the only group with the size, and money, to weather the immediate attempts to halt banking contacts.

This is a typical Neocon LIE!  Sanctions always hurt the people of the sanctioned country.

As the reader can see there are few that see any upside to re-imposing of crippling sanctions…….there is NO upside……

The next round of economic sanctions on Iran, which will start going into effect on Nov.4, will mainly target the country’s oil and gas industries. These sanctions were eased after the 2015 signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, but are being phased back in following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the accord six months ago.

Trump’s goal in reinstituting the sanctions is to kill the nuclear deal, to bring Iran’s economy to the point of total collapse, to contain Iran’s regional involvement in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and, in spite of Washington’s denials, presumably to celebrate the collapse of Iran’s ruling regime. The White House’s official position is that, by increasing economic and political pressure, it aims to bring Iran back to the negotiating table in order to replace the JCPOA with a new deal that bears Trump’s name.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mousavian-iran-commentary/commentary-five-reasons-why-trumps-iran-sanctions-will-fail-idUSKCN1N42QY

AS I have written there are few that see any upside to these sanctions…..and some even think that it will bite the US in the ass in the long run…..

Me?  I cannot say for certain….it does not look good…..

It’s Iran!

When Our Dear Supreme Leader pulled out of the Iranian nuke deal I said then that the toads in his admin, the Neocons, are pushing all the buttons to a possible conflict, armed conflict, with Iran.

Trump is throwing new sanctions at Iran after the deal he did not like…..

Representatives from the nations that, along with the United States, signed on to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPOA), are still trying desperately to salvage the agreement, which is on life support since the U.S. pulled out of it. The latest attempt concerns SWIFT, and Iranian access to it. SWIFT, officially the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, is a secure messaging service that transmits millions of instructions per day to banks and other financial institutions. Among the many sanctions that Trump is re-imposing on November 5, in violation of an international agreement to which the U.S. is a signatory, one is to prevent these communications to and from Iran.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/16/trump-iran-and-sanctions/

Does Trump have an Iran policy?  Or is he just pushing the buttons for a new war?

Much indicates that the likely murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will be transformative for Saudi-U.S. relations. But whether it will affect the one issue where Saudi pressure on the United States was the greatest—Iran—is unclear. The Iran strategy favored by Saudi Arabia and the Netanyahu government in Israel, and eagerly adopted by the White House, will likely lead to a military confrontation regardless of whether its assumptions about the status of Iran’s economy and political survivability are true or not.

The Trump administration’s pressure strategy on Iran assumes that the Islamic Republic is standing on its last leg. The White House believes a gentle nudge will cause its collapse in the next few months. This is a shaky assumption—one which makes the policy immensely risky for a simple reason: what if President Donald Trump and the Saudi Crown Prince are wrong? What if the Iranian theocracy survives, albeit far angrier and hostile than it was before? And what if the assumption is correct? Will the clerical rulers sit quietly as the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel orchestrate their demise? History is riddled with examples where pressure has triggered confrontation rather than capitulation—even when the underlying assumption has been correct.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/trump%E2%80%99s-iran-policy-meant-start-war-33541

For the last 30 years Israel has had a plan to make Iran the aggressor…..fist it was their search for nukes….yes Iran has been chasing nukes for at least 30 years and so far they have nothing…..but now that Israel got the US to pull out of the Iranian nuke deal….they are looking at Iran in Iraq and accusing them of planning to attack from Iraqi soil……

Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said yesterday that Iran would launch attacks on Israel from Iraq, Israel Hayom reported.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, Erdan underscored the increasing military presence of Iran and its allies “along Israeli borders”, according to the Israeli newspaper.

He said that Iran had sponsored Hezbollah in the south of Lebanon “along the Israeli border”, stating that Hezbollah’s arsenal had grown to more than 150,000 missiles and rockets.

The extremist Israeli minister stressed that Iran maintains strong ties with Iraq and this could draw it into a potential war with Israel in the future.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20181022-mk-iran-could-launch-attacks-on-israel-from-iraq/

Seriously?  Israel will generate a threat if they cannot find one occurring naturally….it is almost pathetic to watch the poor bastards search for a reaso0n to be the aggressor.

When Trump replaced the different people with the uber Neocons like Pompeo and Bolton then the die has been cast……

In covering President Donald Trump’s recent pregnant comments about Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, The Wall Street Journal tucked away in its story an observation that hints at the president’s foreign policy direction. In an interview for CBS’s 60 Minutes, the president described Mattis as “sort of a Democrat if you want to know the truth” and suggested he wouldn’t be surprised if his military chief left his post soon. After calling him “a good guy” and saying the two “get along very well,” Trump added, “He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves…. That’s Washington.”

Actually that’s Trump. He demands total and utter loyalty from his people and gives none in return. In just his first 14 months as president, he hired three national security advisors, reflecting the unstable relationships he often has with his top aides. Following the 60 Minutes interview, Washington was of course abuzz with speculation about what all this might mean for Mattis’s fate and who might be the successor if Mattis were to quit or be fired. It was just the kind of fodder Washington loves—human drama revealing Trump’s legendary inconstancy amid prospective new turmoil in the capital.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/general-mattis-vs-trumps-warhawks/

Iran is in he cross hairs and Trump policies are showing the ammo he is using to rev up the weapons of war.

How About Syria?

When was the last time you saw the word “SYRIA” in the headlines or on the front page of a newspaper?

And now the old professor seems to be the only person that actually cares about the events taking place in Syria.

ISIS has been herded into a Southern region of Syria….where there has been a couple of pot shots fired into the region and all parties seem to be playing some sort of game…..

For instance…the US is only pretending to fight ISIS…….

The U.S. occupation force and its Kurdish proxy SDF in northeastern Syria are supposed to fight the Islamic State in its last hold out northeast of Euphrates. But the operations against the handful of towns ISIS (grey) still holds – launched only after long and unexplained delays – shows little progress. Last week it received a serious setback.

After several days of sandstorms (vid) hindered U.S. air support, ISIS counterattacked on October 11 against the U.S. led SDF. Suicide bombers blew up SDF checkpoints as ISIS broke through the lines. It retook several villages and on October 12 raided a refugee camp for local civilians that the U.S. coalition had set up near Al Bahrah (on the upper left of the map). Some 130 refugee families with about 700 persons were taken prisoners and brought to Hajin, a small city at the northern end of the ISIS held area.

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/10/syria-us-again-only-pretends-to-fight-isis.html

Not to worry the US has re-started a tried and true technique….body count….

Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher for the right-wing, and generally hawkish Middle East Forum, has faulted new statements this week from the Pentagon as having greatly exaggerated the number of foreign ISIS fighters, and the number still joining ISIS, in an attempt to try to justify the continued US military presence in Syria.

Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Joe Dunford told a conference on Tuesday that ISIS remains “resilient, determined and adaptable,” and claimed that 100 new foreign fighters are recruited by the ground every single month.

Though ISIS was wildly successful at attracting foreign fighters during its prime, when it established a “caliphate” spanning much of Syria and parts of Iraq. With no real territory left, however, it is hard to imagine recruitment is anywhere near so high for them.

Tamimi noted that ISIS’ distance from the Turkish border means that’s no longer a place to get recruits, and getting in through Iraq would be no easier. These claims seem to be built around the need to keep using ISIS to justify keeping troops in Syria, and Tamimi noted that it would “be much harder for the US to explain its presence as an official counter-Iran mission.”

(antiwar.com)

Not to worry….Our Dear Supreme Leader has said that we have defeated ISIS…..

President Trump declared in an interview Tuesday that the U.S. has defeated the Islamic State, even as the military says it will still take months before forces are driven from Syria.

“We’ve defeated ISIS,” Trump said in an interview with the Associated Press. “ISIS is defeated in all of the areas that we fought ISIS, and that would have never happened under President Obama.”

The comments came the same that day that a military spokesman told reporters in the Pentagon that it was unclear whether the remaining fighters could be wiped out by the end of this year.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/defense-national-security/trump-declares-victory-over-isis-the-pentagon-says-thats-still-months-away

Since Iran is also fighting in Syria…what happens if they stay….will the US remain as well?

President Donald Trump speaks frequently about bringing U.S. troops home and avoiding costly wars in the Middle East. But last month, the administration changed its position in one key area: the Syrian civil war. America will remain in Syria, National Security Advisor John Bolton said, “as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders.” He described the new policy as a strategic shift from countering ISIS to containing Iran.

Today, NBC News reported that the new strategy will include ramped up diplomatic and political efforts, but stay within the limits imposed by the current congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria. Part of the Trump administration’s strategy will be to withhold reconstruction aid from areas where Iranian and Russian forces are operating, in an attempt to further choke off funds to Tehran. While the strategy appears to seek to avoid direct confrontation between U.S. and Iranian forces, Washington has made it clear that American forces will defend themselves as necessary.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2018/10/if-iran-never-leaves-syria-will-america-stay-forever/152072/

I try to keep my readers up to date on the conflicts that this country is fighting….since the media does not deem these wars as important enough to report on…..I feel I must step in ans fill the gap.

Have Gun Will Travel

As long as I am writing about assassination…….

Does anyone remember the Western from the 60’s?  Paladin–does it ring a bell?  Never mind….don’t hurt yourself it was a TV western about a hired gun and weekly he made the decisions of life and death…..Richard Boone played probably the first anti-hero hero….

But I digress!

I bring this up because of something that is being reported……there seems to be an hired American hit team operating for the UAE……

It’s “almost like a murder squad,” an incredulous former CIA official told BuzzFeed News. The site had called him for comment as it dug into a potential bombshell of a story: that former elite US special operations fighters were assassinating high-profile figures in Yemen, but not as part of a military operation. Rather, the targeted killings allegedly came at the request of the United Arab Emirates, which had engaged the private US company the former fighters now work for. The CIA official told BuzzFeed this simply wasn’t possible. Then he asked around and called back: “There were guys that were basically doing what you said.” So what is BuzzFeed saying? Aram Roston centers much of his lengthy piece around what he says was a planned Dec. 29, 2015, hit, staffed by employees of the Delaware-incorporated Spear Operations Group.

Spear’s founder is Abraham Golan, “a charismatic Hungarian Israeli security contractor who lives outside of Pittsburgh,” whose employees—a former Green Beret and former Navy SEALs among them—were to kill Anssaf Ali Mayo, a key figure in a political party the UAE sees as having terror ties (critics counter this). Roston recounts Golan and his team flying to the UAE and receiving a 23-person hit list while on board; Golan viewed the targets as “legitimate,” as Roston puts it, because the UAE selected them, and the US backs the UAE’s military efforts. Things went awry with Mayo; they managed to bomb the party’s HQ, but had no proof Mayo was dead, and he seems to still be alive. But Roston sees the attempt on his life as an opening salvo, with “members of Al-Islah, and other clerics in Aden [subsequently] dropping dead at an alarming pace.” Golan says his team was behind a number of those hits. Read Roston’s full piece, which explores the “surprisingly unclear” question of whether Spear’s alleged actions are illegal under US law.

The excuse for this rings hollow but also is used to justify the murder of Khashoggi…..

Once again mercs being used to do the dirty work that governments want to keep their hands clean….plausible deniability.

The report made me think of the TV show but it also lead me to something that was a secret until recently……Murder Inc…..when I was in the service of my country there was a group operating internationally their title was “Service 7″….it was an assassination squad from Bulgaria…..

“The Bulgarian state security services had a super-secret special bureau responsible for the eradication, kidnapping or discrediting of Bulgarian émigrés around the world long before the notorious assassination of Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978.

The SMERSH-style Cold War clandestine structure was called ‘Service 7’. It began operations in mid-1963 and by 1972 was engaged in at least 10 cases against Bulgarians who escaped to Italy, Britain, Denmark, West Germany, Turkey, France, Ethiopia, Sweden and Switzerland before 1989.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/opinion/murder-bureau-department-of-murders-existed-in-bulgaria/

More on these American mercs……

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/aramroston/mercenaries-assassination-us-yemen-uae-spear-golan-dahlan

There was a time after Vietnam when I actually thought about becoming a merc or at least joining the Foreign Legion….but the birth of my daughter changed all that silliness.

There use to be a consequence for fighting in a war not declared by the US…those days are gone…sadly this trend is very disturbing.

Further Reading if you would like to know more……

https://lobotero.com/2018/05/15/wars-we-dont-know/

https://lobotero.com/2018/10/03/afghanistan-october-2018/

https://lobotero.com/2017/08/11/dont-privatize-the-afghan-war-just-end-it/

And Then There Is Syria

Believe me just because the media has forsaken Syria the war is far from over….it just seems that all is progressing along prescribed lines….not so.

But since I am an observer so others can take selfies and “PIN” cute shit…..Syria is still a key….at least it should be…..

The Syrian chessboard is still as complicated as it was in the beginning…..

The Syrian civil war has always been devilishly complex, with multiple actors following different scripts, but in the past few months it appeared to be winding down.

The Damascus government now controls 60 percent of the country and the major population centers, the Islamic State has been routed, and the rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are largely cornered in Idilb Province in the country’s northwest. But suddenly the Americans moved the goal posts and – maybe – the Russians have fallen out with the Israelis, the Iranians are digging in their heels, and the Turks are trying to multitask with a home front in disarray.

https://original.antiwar.com/hallinan/2018/10/12/the-syrian-chess-board/

The rhetoric is muted these days….but what does the US want from Syria?

The United States’ top diplomat has officially announced the expansion of the country’s mission in Syria, where Washington has long been accused of pursuing interests outside of its stated goal of defeating the Islamic State militant group.

Addressing the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s 36th annual awards dinner in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “defeating ISIS, which was once our primary focus, continues to be a top priority, but it will now be joined by two other mutually reinforcing objectives. These include a peaceful and political resolution to the Syrian conflict and the removal of all Iranian and Iranian-backed forces from Syria.”

https://www.newsweek.com/us-finally-admits-what-it-really-wants-syria-1165131

That is right we are their to protect Israel….we care nothing for what the Syrian people want or are going through….as long as Israel can go about their BS Apartheid State unmolested (I use this word as a tribute to GOP candidates)…..(IMO if Israel cannot stand on their own then that is their problem not the US)…….

The US has spent much money and ordinance to destroy Syria and then they say something STUPID……( I expect this kind of hardcore crap from a sloppy drooling Neocon like Pompeo)……..

With US officials having already committed to keeping troops inside Syria more or less forever, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set the same standard for the provision of any reconstruction aid in Syria, the expulsion of Iranian and Iranian-backed forces.

Pompeo says Syria’s government “bears responsibility” for the Iranians being there, and that the onus is on them to expel all of them before any costruction came happen.

The “Iranian-backed” forces standard is extremely broad, as the US can, and at times haas, argued that almost everyone on the side of the Syrian government is effectively an Iranian proxy. This means there is unlikely to ever be a case where US officials are satisfied that all Iranians and Iranian-backed forces are gone.

Effectively this rules out US involvement in post-war reconstruction in Syria, which probably isn’t a surprising fact, as the US wanted regime change from the start, and didn’t get it. It’s not clear if this rules out aid for the Syrian Kurds in reconstruction of the vast territory they control.

(antiwar.com)

Is that the most infantile statement…..but I expect stuff like this from the mouths of the man crushes of Our Dear Supreme Leader……worthless and spineless toads……