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Watch out Iran

Written By: - Date published: 8:10 am, May 7th, 2019 - 57 comments
Categories: energy, International, uncategorized, us politics, war - Tags:

Discussions about American politics on this blog interest me.  I am in the camp that think that the current POTUS is a dangerous threat to the free world, to our climate and to poor people everywhere.

Other lefties think otherwise because, I don’t know, Hillary or Russia.

Sure she would not have been my choice for POTUS.  As far as I was concerned the choice was between a really shitty status quo and a particularly evil alternative.

And so it has become.  Trump rules the world. And right now instead of him being jailed for conspiring to pervert the course of justice by hiding his egregious colluding with the Russian state or at least facing impeachment he is getting to pretend he is ready to wage war on Iran.  And you have to wonder if he is doing this as a diversion.

From the Guardian:

The US is sending an aircraft carrier and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to a “number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Iran, the national security advisor John Bolton has said.

It was unclear on Sunday night what Iranian actions Bolton was referring to. There have been no recent incidents in the Persian Gulf where US and Iranian navies are routinely in close proximity and the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group was already bound for the Gulf a month before Bolton made his announcement.

However, the tone of Bolton’s declaration looked likely to escalate tensions in the region, and it comes days after the Iranian government expressed concern that Bolton and other hawks were seeking to draw the Trump administration into a new war.

In a written statement, Bolton said the ships and planes were intended “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

Although it may be that the announcement was nothing more than bellicose spin.  Again from the Guardian:

While such changes in global deployment are made regularly, it is rare for the announcement of such deployments to be made by a national security advisor rather than the Pentagon.

“A carrier into CentCom is not unusual and was likely routine and long planned,” said Ilan Goldenberg, a former state department and Pentagon official, now a senior fellow at the Centre for a New American Security in Washington. “The inflammatory language from Bolton is unusual provocative but my guess is just an opportunity to try to intimidate the Iranians. Nothing more.”

There is something about Iran that triggers Trump.  Despite it complying with UN resolutions concerning its nuclear programme the US has imposed sanctions against the sale of its oil and recently refused to agree to exemptions that allowed China, India and six other nations to buy Iranian oil. World oil prices have since spiked.

So far Iran has shown a great deal of restraint. I hope this continues.

57 comments on “Watch out Iran ”

  1. Gosman 1

    I would suggest it is extremely unlikely the US will invade Iran. Even a concerted bombing campaign is improbable. If there was a military conflict it might involve a strategic strike against key targets. That would not really serve US interests long term though (admittedly not Trump's strong suit though).

    • Muttonbird 1.1

      Why not? They invaded Iraq twice.

      • Gosman 1.1.1

        They really only invaded Iraq once. The Desert Storm attack was just a flanking movement through Iraqi territory to isolate and destroy Iraqi military units stationed in Kuwait. They SHOULD have invaded Iraq properly in 1991 as that would have lessened the mess that occurred as a result of the invasion in 2003.

        In terms of land invasions of Iran there needs to be a logistics base from which to do so. They can't do this from Iraq or Turkey given the governments in those nations won't be supportive. Saudi may well be supportive but there is the small matter of the Persian gulf between them. That suggests the US would have to rely on establishing a beachhead and building up troops to complete the takeover the entire country. That is extremely risky and in counter to current US military doctrine (which is all about destroying conventional military opponents using overwhelming force of arms in as quick as possible time).

        • In Vino 1.1.1.1

          Don't try to change the meaning of words to suit your prevarications, Gosman.

          "Really invaded" as opposed to 'invaded'?

          Caesar invaded Britain, and nobody disputes that. But he soon withdrew because of the bloody Belgians… and left. Britain was then left in peace by the Romans until the reign of Claudius.

          You want 'invade' to mean 'occupy' . It just doesn't. The US definitely invaded Iraq twice. It occupied Iraq once. Both moves were bloody stupid and ill-advised.

          The US still has to learn the lessons from Vietnam, but seems incapable of learning.

          • Gosman 1.1.1.1.1

            Iraq was attacked by ground troops in 1991. The aim was never to invade it (it should have been in my view). Given the Iraqi troops defending Kuwait stretched across in to Iraq it would have been incredibly foolish to ignore them, The US led action in 1991 was not ill advised. It was incredibly well executed and achieved it's goal of liberating Kuwait.

  2. One Two 2

    Degrees of cognitive dissonance among those involved in politics, directly or indirectly can be astounding…

    A consequence of taking sides, is bias. It could be subtly nuanced bias, through to extreme bias and any shade in between…

    MS, your comments closer towards the extreme end of the bias spectrum….my opinion…

    ..egregious colluding with the Russian state (friends)…(while increasing sanctions against it)…(enemies)

    …preparing for war on Iran…(which would be an indirect attack on Russia)… (enemies)…

    Which is it MS?

  3. Ad 3

    US+Saudis v Iran+Russia

    That's a nuclear war + oil over $200 a barrel.

    No winners there.

    • Gosman 3.1

      Why would Russia risk a nuclear confrontation over Iran? The Iranians are no ally of the Russians either. They have a more "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" relationship.

      • SPC 3.1.1

        Russia profits from American sanctions on Iran – they increase the world price of oil and gas. Any tension in the Gulf (and Venezuela) is good for Russian government revenues.

  4. WeTheBleeple 4

    "No winners there."

    I think arms manufacturers would beg to differ. If only there were some way to funnel the US economy through these companies…

    Trumps increase in military budget is an enormous boost to the dealers in death, 73B is nothing to scoff at. But, a full scale war would really boost the quarterlies.

    Oil at $200 a barrel is all good if you sell oil. And don't forget to berate bash and bully anyone else in the game.

  5. Stuart Munro. 5

    I myself suspect the US will not invade Iran under Trump – not this term anyway. Part of the Trump skill set, after the bluster, is screaming incompetence. When he fails to secure what he wants from a bit of sabre rattling and a twitterstorm he'll likely back off.

    • Anne 5.1

      I expect you're right Stuart Munro but what exactly is Iran supposed to have done to warrant this "warning!"

      They are a sovereign state (sort of) are they not? They can be on speaking terms with whomsoever they choose. They can even rattle a few sabres from time to time so long as that is all they do. They have done nothing to America except express their dislike of the president, DJ Trump. So has most everyone around the world who is sane of mind.

      Americans call themselves the defender of freedom yet spend their time knocking off – or threatening to knock off – anyone or any country who wants to be free of them.

      • Stuart Munro. 5.1.1

        It's a little tricky – Iran has some human rights issues for which they should traditionally answer – but Trump is unconcerned with such matters, he's quite happy to lie down with the likes of Kim Jong Eun, so he'll struggle to find a casus belli.

        Saudi and Iran are long time competitors for influence in the region, and there is a religious element to that – control of the holy mosques as well. It is a sporting certainty that several US based oil companies own paper rights to Iranian oilfields which became worthless following the ouster of the Shah – a US occupation would restore those rights. Trump alienated Mattis however, and now may struggle to get high level military support for adventures.

        • Anne 5.1.1.1

          Ah, so it is all about the oil.

          The lunatic Trump has an obsession with oil when the US should be spending time and money on phasing it out. So typical, and yet once again the world stands by and lets the warmongers get away with false pretexts.

          • Gosman 5.1.1.1.1

            Here is a run own of the Iraqi oil industry. It is no more controlled by US interests than NZ’s banking industry is controlled by Australia

            interests.https://www.ft.com/content/da2b5cae-46d7-11e8-8ee8-cae73aab7ccb

            • Stuart Munro. 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh you mean 'largely' then.

              "Controlling 88% of NZ banking system assets, NZ's Australian owned banks this year made combined net profit after tax of $5.128 billion. That was an increase of $433 million, or 9% year-on-year.Dec 17, 2018"

              You'd have to try pretty hard to find a worse example.

              • Gosman

                The Australian owned banks dominate the NZ banking industry. They do not control it. The control of the industry is NZ. NZers are free to choose and Australian owned bank or a New Zealand one. The rules and regulations dictating behaviour of Banks in New Zealand is decided by New Zealand.

                • Stuart Munro.

                  A mighty slender semantic argument, the line between dominance and control. But since you're constantly grasping at straws, why not.

                  • Gosman

                    It is a huge difference. The NZ Government and NZ interests has overall control of the NZ banking industry.

                    • Stuart Munro.

                      It is indeed a huge difference – but there is little or nothing to indicate NZ interest or NZ government control. Properly regulated this perennial source of trade imbalance would not have been allowed to develop, much less reach 88%.

                    • Phil

                      Properly regulated this perennial source of trade imbalance would not have been allowed to develop, much less reach 88%.

                      New Zealand has run a current account deficit (i.e. we pay more for overseas goods and services than overseas pays for NZ g&s) in every year since 1974. The foreign ownership of our banking sector is a symptom that now exacerbates underlying causes, but it's extremely unlikely that any historical changes in banking regulation would have materially altered the current ownership structure of our major banks.

                    • Gosman

                      How has this impacted the NZ economy overall? How are we physically WORSE off?

                    • Phil

                      How are we physically WORSE off?

                      Are you really asking someone to explain how the nation-state equivalent of funding your lifestyle on credit card debt, for nearly half a century, is a bad thing?

                    • Gosman

                      Countries are not people. Noone is coming to reposess the country because we can't afford the repayments.

                  • Phil

                    The directors who run banks are legally required to act in the best interests of the Bank, not the shareholder. This is an explicit requirement placed on banks via their Conditions of Registration and is designed to void s131 of the Companies Act – that a director may act in the best interests of the holding company or parent, even when that action is not in the best interests of the subsidiary company.

                    It just so happens that what is in the best interests of the NZ bank (i.e. making a fuck-ton of money) is also in the best interest of the Australian parent.

        • Gosman 5.1.1.2

          This idea that the US somehow invades countries to get access to oil is unsupported by reality. The country that benefited most from the US invasion was perversely Iran not the US. Even in the oil industry the US only receives 17% of oil exported from Iraq and US companies do not control the industry in the country.

          https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=37973

        • Gabby 5.1.1.3

          Yankistan has a few human rights issues to answer for too stuey.

          • Stuart Munro. 5.1.1.3.1

            True – specially around its borders atm. But Iran has a habit of imprisoning and flogging journalists – and not the kind, like Garner or Gower, who have it coming.

      • Gosman 5.1.2

        Iran is less of a threat than members of the Trump administration seem to think but more of a threat than many people on the left like to believe. Actions taken by the Iranian regime are having a major destabilising impact in the region (as has action carried out by the Saudis admittedly).

        • Anne 5.1.2.1

          I expect you're right Gosman but see Stuart Munro above. It would be a typical tunnel visioned Trump move – try to reclaim the oil wells that likely didn't belong to the US in the first place.

          • Gosman 5.1.2.1.1

            The US has not done that in relation to other nations it has intervened in recently. Why would it do so in the case of Iran?

      • mikesh 5.1.3

        Oil producing countries seem to represent a threat to the status of the US dollar

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    @MS, it is unbelievable that you would suggest that not buying into your insane Russia conspirisory somehow makes one partly culpable for Trumps actions going forward, infact you conspirisory nutters are the ones who have now given Trump legitimacy and it is you who should be apologizing to us who saw through that bullshit from the start and tried in vain to warn you…but no you preferred to trust the FBI and the DNC, which in itself should give one pause for thought…or so you would think.

    Further what on earth gives you the impression that H.Clinton would have been any less hawkish than Trump?, I have never read or seen anything about her that would lead me to that conclusion.

    'As Democratic Elites Reunite With Neocons, the Party’s Voters Are Becoming Far More Militaristic and Pro-War Than Republicans'

    https://theintercept.com/2019/01/11/as-democratic-elites-reunite-with-neocons-the-partys-voters-are-becoming-far-more-militaristic-and-pro-war-than-republicans/

    • SPC 6.1

      As to those polls, what they really show is party supporters being partisan. When Obama talked about withdrawal he had Democrat support and Republican opposiiton. When Trump talks of withdrawal he gets ….

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.1

        You are probably right, I had hoped that the 'left' would display a bit more critical thinking than that, however judging by the way so many good lefties have been sucked into "Russiagate' and support the arrest of Assange, I guess I shouldn't have had such high hopes…

    • infused 6.2

      Spot on.

      People don't know half the shit Hillary was up to. There was a post on Reddit, which was suspected to be her technical team asking how to remove or modify email headers in Microsoft Exchange (email server). The post was deleted once the hosting email at home saga broke out. It was pretty obvious

      https://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/53js67/hillary_clinton_it_paul_combetta_asked_how_to/

      Sometimes the left are blind as a bat.

      Hillary was up to something she wanted no-one to find out.

  7. mauī 7

    “And right now instead of him being jailed for conspiring to pervert the course of justice by hiding his egregious colluding with the Russian state or at least facing impeachment he is getting to pretend he is ready to wage war on Iran.”

    Statements like that have probably driven loads of people to alt-right sources (including myself) to get an accurate and honest picture of what is really going on. So sad.

  8. Poission 8

    "I believe it is quite symbolic the US ambassador made such a statement at the end of April, because at the beginning of May we have a good tradition of celebrating the May 9 holiday – the day of victory in the Great Patriotic War. I would like to recall that the Soviet Union played the decisive role in the defeat of the aggressor – the Hitler-led coalition. It was a war of liberation and an anti-fascist war on the global scale," Zakharova said. "Possibly, Mr. Ambassador would like us to have some other occasion we may wish to celebrate.

    http://tass.com/world/1055794

    • Michael 8.1

      Really objective source there. Completely free of any influence by the Russian state.

  9. Adrian Thornton 9

    @MS, I should have finished by saying that I wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence..

    "So far Iran has shown a great deal of restraint. I hope this continues."

  10. My non-evidence-based personal opinion is that American conservatives' obsession with Iran has nothing to do with oil and everything to do with the national humiliations suffered following the Iranian revolution: not just the embassy hostages but the catastrophic failure of the rescue attempt by special forces.

    The Trump presidency represents the apotheosis of Asshole Culture, and that culture is all about being seen as a winner. In that culture, if someone publicly humiliates you and gets away with it, your hatred will be visceral, long-lasting and beyond all reason. That's the kind of feeling Trump has for Iran, and Netanyahu will be doing his level best to encourage it.

    • Wensleydale 10.1

      I think you're mostly right. I think Trump's all-encompassing ego plays a part in it too. He loves being perceived as a tough guy, despite being a bully and an abject coward. I think the notion of himself as a 'War President' appeals to him, and he'd love his own Desert Storm.

      The countless deaths that would likely result would be purely incidental to him. It's all about "Fuck with me, and like some malevolent tangerine God, I shall righteously smite you!" Whatever makes his winkie look bigger.

    • In Vino 10.2

      Inclined to agree: the original Ayotollah truly humiliated the great USA, and Carter was therefore doomed at the next election… But the redneck patriotic American would never forget or forgive. Trump has all of them behind him, just as you say.

      • SPC 10.2.1

        There is the other view of that, American support for the overthrow of a democratic government in Iran with the installation of the Shah.

        • In Vino 10.2.1.1

          Agree fully. Any patriotic rednecks in Iran have a lot more reason to resent the USA than the USA rednecks have to resent Iran.

          But the American ones count, because they put people like Trump in positions of global influence.

          Doom and gloom..

  11. Professor Longhair 11

    Other lefties think otherwise because, I don’t know, Hillary or Russia.

    ???

    Could you elaborate, please? Which "lefties" support Trump?

  12. Exkiwiforces 12

    It’s just a dick waving/ my dick is bigger than yours exercise and I really don’t think much will happen if the Iranians sit tight during this yankee dick waving contest etc. If I was the Iranian head shed I’ll get the muppet Yankees make the first aggressive move, but at the same time I’ll be watching what happens in Venezuela during this dick sizing competition by old Bolton and Trump & co.

    As Chairman Mao once said “make in noise in the East and attack from the West” or words to that a effect.

  13. SPC 13

    The strategy is

    1. to take Iran's economy to breaking point – sanctions on nations that continue to trade with Iran to starve them of revenue.

    2. then on top of the economic warfare, a military build-up to create some psychological pressure.

    The purpose is to

    1. please Riyadh and its allies against Iran so that reaction to annexation of WB settlements is muted.

    2. reduce Irans capability to offering financial aid to Iraq (its major foreign aid donor), Syria, Hizbollah and Hamas.

    3. undermine popular confidence in the future of Iran (and confidence in Iran in the wider region) under its current regime – to provoke a crackdown on dissent and organised opposition and force unpopular economic regulations.

  14. Michael 14

    Of course Iran could be relied upon to behave itself with complete propriety if the US did not maintain a military presence in the Middle East. Of course, non-Shia Muslims and other denominations have nothing whatsoever to fear from Iran's foreign and military machinations. Especially people living in Israel.

    • SPC 14.1

      Why would you and Gabriel fear little Persia?

      They have not invaded, occupied or regime changed anywhere have they?

      Whereas the USA (overthrown the democratic Iranian government 1950’s) and Israel have and are …

    • In Vino 14.2

      Michael – Are you suggesting that Iran is a dangerous threat to other Arab countries??

      As I understand it, Iran is the only big country with a Shia majority. Most of the others are Sunni majority. It is more likely that Iran gets little support from Sunni countries when the USA bullies Iran. Propaganda tells us that Iran is behind all the destruction in Yemen. But are you naïve enough to believe propaganda?

      People living in Israel know that they have the support of the USA, and that without that support they would not last long. Even the Sunnis are against Israel.

      • SPC 14.2.1

        The Kurds and the Iranians are outliers with Arabs, just as much as the Jews, yet as Shia Moslems they have influence with Shia Moslem Arabs which Sunni Moslem Arabs fear.

        The regime change in Iraq allowed the local Shia Moslem Arab majority to win elections there, thus the increasing fear of Iranian power in the "Arab ME". This is the concern in Riyadh and it has driven them into the arms of Israel – whose concern is more the Iranian support for Hizbollah via Syria and Hamas in Gaza.

        Israel is also alllied with Egypt and Riyadh in having Trump declare the Moslem Brotherhood a terrorist group and the isolation of Qatar (share a large gas field with Iran, host al Jazeera nemesis of Arab tyrants and refused to give Kushner a loan) – while Riyadh supports Wahhabi and Salafi Islam it does not like political forms of Islam.

        • In Vino 14.2.1.1

          Ah, complications… No argument with you – I was questioning Michael's insinuation that without the USA, the Middle East and Israel would all be invaded by propriety-deficient Iranians.

  15. infused 15

    You lose all respect when you go on about the collusion bullshit.

    Trump's ratings are now climbing. When he wins again, then what? Cry more?

    You may not like him, but he's getting shit done. Shit everyone else was too pussy-footed to do.

  16. joe90 16

    He really doesn't want Mueller to appear before congress.

    In response to National Security Advisor Advisor John Bolton’s Sunday evening statement that the forces were being dispatched to the Gulf in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” by Iran, Richardson said Monday that, essentially, the deployment was just business as usual.

    “The Abraham Lincoln Strike Group was planned to deploy for some time now,” Richardson told the SeaAirSpace conference. He touted the Lincoln’s new route to the Gulf as an example of “dynamic force employment,” a new Navy tactic that is meant to surprise potential adversaries by having US ships show up off their coastlines without warning.

    https://breakingdefense.com/2019/05/cno-uss-lincoln-persian-gulf-trip-no-surprise-planned-for-some-time/

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