DISPATCHES FROM MOON OF ALABAMA, BY “B”
Iran will continue to put Trump under pressure. As he wants to avoid a war that would hurt his re-election chances, Iran will use other means to pressure him.
The discussion about Trump’s decision not to ‘retaliate’ for the shoot down of a U.S. drone by Iran is still dominating U.S. media. The accounts of the various ‘sources’ contradict each other. Most likely Trump saw the trap of an ever escalating military conflict and did not fell for it. The Pentagon prepared a strike plan as it always does, but Trump never approved its execution.
One new detail about the White House discussion emerged in a New York Times story on the issue. The Pentagon and the White House are not sure where the Global Hawk drone came down. They do not trust that the U.S. Central Command is telling them the whole truth:
On Friday night, the Pentagon confirmed the presence of a second surveillance aircraft, a Navy P-8A Poseidon, which officials said took photographs of the drone being shot down. But a senior Trump administration official said there was concern inside the United States government about whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, or even the P-8A manned aircraft flown by a military aircrew, actually did violate Iranian airspace at some point. The official said the doubt was one of the reasons Mr. Trump called off the strike.
An earlier version of the same NYT story, quoted here, included this:
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down — hours after Iran did — and errors in the labeling of the drone’s flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.A lack of provable “hard evidence” about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary — this one with a proven ability to strike back.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added to the doubt when he gave the exact point where the drone was targeted:
Javad Zarif @JZarif – 18:20 utc · 20 Jun 2019At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59’43″N 57°02’25″E) near Kouh-e Mobarak.
We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.
Shortly before Zarif posted the above, the Iranian Fars news agency distributed a video from the shoot down and an hour later a video that showed the flight path of the U.S. drone. Yesterday Iran retrieved debris of the drone and distributed photos of it. Experts said that the material is genuine.
Today Javiad Zarif posted an even more detailed flight path of the drone:
Javad Zarif @JZarif – 14:01 utc – 22 Jun 2019For more visual detail on the path, location, and point of impact of the U.S. military drone Iran shot down on Thursday, and of the waters over which it was flying, see these maps and coordinates.
There can be no doubt about where the vessel was when it was brought down.
LEGEND: blue=drone; yellow line=Iranian FIR; red line=Iranian territorial waters; green line=baseline internal waters; yellow dots=Iran radio warnings sent; red dot=point of impact.
(FIR is the Flight Information Region)
He attached seven pictures:
Zarif added another map that that makes a good point.
Javad Zarif @JZarif – 2:18 utc – 22 Jun 2019One last visual: Red dot is the impact point of the trespassing drone against the border of Iran; and the border of the United States.
The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It blocked Iran’s exports of oil, steel, aluminum, copper and petroleum products. It is hindering imports into Iran by blocking its bank connections. All this has extremely harsh effects on Iran’s population:
I live on 30 Tir Street in southern Tehran, the beating heart of the city. The labyrinthine Tehran bazaar is a short walk away. There are government ministries, libraries, churches, a functioning synagogue and a Zoroastrian high school nearby.This is the Tehran that would draw visitors, but there are few. The devastating impact of American sanctions is everywhere: The stores are often empty; the restaurants, mostly deserted. On the adjacent Hafez Avenue, a deafening silence pervades the shopping complex specializing in selling mobile phones.
One of the few stores on 30 Tir Street that still attracts customers is run by Abbasi, a retired army officer who repairs household gadgets — people cannot afford to buy new stuff. “Well, isn’t this already war?” he asked, without much rancor. It’s a question many Iranians ask themselves these days.
Trump’s non-reaction to the Iranian downing of the U.S. drone provides that his administration does not want to fight a war by military means against Iran. At least not yet. It is happy to have Iran sanctioned into an economic downward spiral. The thinking is that sanctions will over time make Iran much weaker. They will make a future attempt of regime change, by war or other means, much easier.
For several years Iran’s neighbor Iraq was under a similar harsh sanction regime. 500,000 Iraqi children died and the then U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that it was worth it (vid). Iran has seen and knows what sanctions can do over time and recognizes that it has to fight against them early and by all possible means.
Iran will fight this war against its economic strangulation as best as it can. The U.S. outspends Iran on military issues by a factor bigger than 100 to 1. Iran can not attack the U.S. It has to fight this war by asymmetric means.
A third of the global oil production must flow through the Strait of Hormuz to reach its customers. Iran can easily hold the global economy at risk. It can close the Straits or impede traffic through it. It can sabotage or destroy the oil production capabilities of the hostile Arab producers nearby.
Iran is now using these means to build up pressure on Trump. He is not willing to go to war? Well, how does he like an oil price way north of $100 per barrel?
Next week we will likely see more clandestine attacks on tankers, on loading ports in Arab Gulf countries or on their coastal oil fields. Iran will deny to have caused those. But the message is clear: If Iran can not export oil, no other country in the Gulf region will be able to export oil.
Trump can either lift the sanctions on Iran or wage a war by military means against it and bear the consequences. He has no other choice.
Trump is offering talks and negotiations. But Iran will not (again) fall into that trap. The U.S. has shown that it is, as the Russians say, ‘non-agreement-capable’.
Iran will steadily increase its pressure on Trump by going against bigger and more important targets. There will be more tanker and other incidents with less time between them.
The sanctions are biting Iran. To lay down and play dead is not an option. Iran has no other choice than to fight back. Fast and by all possible means.
Posted by b on June 22, 2019 at 01:48 PM | Permalink
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