DISPATCHES FROM MOON OF ALABAMA, BY “B”
By the editor in chief of Moon of Alabama
On June 20 Iran shot down a U.S. spy drone. U.S. President Trump decided not to retaliate. The White House and the media claimed that Trump had ordered a strike on Iran but pulled it back at the last minute. We said that this was likely bullshit:
The whole storyline of "a strike was ordered but Trump held back and saved the day" might well be fake.
A strike in retaliation for the downed drone may have never been on the table. An alternative interpretation is that the U.S. sought agreement for a symbolic 'strike' from Iran. It would hit some empty desert place to allow Trump to save face. Iran would have disagreed with that plan.
The British ambassador to the U.S., whose briefings to London leaked yesterday, agrees with that take:
[Sir Kim Darroch] questioned Trump's recent claim that he aborted a missile strike on Iran because it would have caused a predicted 150 casualties, saying it 'doesn't stand up'.'It's more likely that he was never fully on board and that he was worried about how this apparent reversal of his 2016 campaign promises would look come 2020' – at the next Presidential election.
Elijah Magnier reported that Trump had asked Iran to allow him to strike back, but was rebuffed:
According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
A senior Iranian general has revealed that Washington, through diplomatic channels, recently asked Tehran to allow it to conduct a small-scale operation in the Iranian airspace in order to save its face following the IRGC’s shoot-down of a US spy drone. Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, the Head of Iran’s Civil Defence Organization, said Iran vehemently rejected the US request, saying that it will respond to any act of aggression.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran responded that it views any operation as a war and will give a crushing response to it. You may initiate a war but this is Iran which will finish it,” he said Sunday.
The idea that the U.S. would ask Iran to allow it to bomb some targets without hitting back sounds crazy.
Dear Mr. Rouhani, could you please name me three targets in your country that I am allowed to bomb?
It is urgent as I need to look tough on Iran.
But this is the Trump White House and the only thing Trump really seems to care for is his own rating.
Trump wants a new nuclear deal with Iran. One with his signature, not Obama's, on it.
Trump's nuking of a deal while pressing for a new one shows that he has not the slightest idea how Iran, or any other independent country, reacts to such pressure. There will be no talks unless Trump rejoins the deal and lifts the sanctions:
The US sent over 60 diplomatic delegations to Iran as mediators to hold talks with Iran but the leader of the Islamic Revolution rejected the US calls for talks and Iran began to scale back its commitments under the JCPOA.
The Trump administration seems to have genuinely thought that Iran would not react to its ever tightening sanctions by exceeding the technical limits of the nuclear deal, which it now does. Back in November Secretary of State Pompeo opined that Iran would not do this:
Asked what the administration would do if the Iranians restart their nuclear program, Pompeo replied, “We’re confident that Iranians will not make that decision.”
That was of course nonsensical. Why was Iran expected to stick to a deal it does not benefit from? Such wishful thinking has no base in reality:
A U.S. official familiar with the issue told POLITICO on Sunday that the Trump team hopes for three things: that Europe imposes some sanctions on Iran to keep it from further violating the deal; that a financial mechanism the Europeans have set up to help Iran obtain non-sanctioned goods succeeds; and that recent U.S. military maneuvers in the Middle East are enough to deter Iran from further military escalation.“Fundamentally, we want them to stay in the deal,” the U.S. official said, when asked why the Trump administration wants the European financial mechanism, known as INSTEX, to work. There’s no desire to engage in an all-out war with Iran or see it build a nuclear weapon, the official said.
Europe is for now unlikely to impose sanctions on Iran for a deal that Trump broke. If it does, the whole JCPOA deal is off. INSTEX is a joke. It 'allows' Iran to barter only something other than oil, and only against humanitarian goods which are not under sanctions. It is worse than the 1990s oil for food program that caused major economic destruction in Iraq. Iran does not fear U.S. military might. U.S. military assets in the Middle East do not deter. They are targets. Iran knows that Trump wants to avoid a war.
The little thought out U.S. policy gives Iran escalation dominance. It can and will increase its nuclear activities, as it announced, every 60 days. Tankers and other interests of its enemies around the Gulf will receive more damage. Trump will come under ever increasing pressure. Iran's actions, like the sabotage of some ships near Fujairah, already show results:
[D]emand for ship fuel at Fujairah, the United Arab Emirates coastal shipping hub close to the Strait, has waned as some tankers stay away, traders involved in the regional market said.
The British ambassador expects no change in the confused White House policy on Iran:
One memo, sent by Sir Kim on June 22, refers to 'incoherent, chaotic' US-Iran policy, adding: 'It's unlikely that US policy on Iran is going to become more coherent any time soon. This is a divided Administration'.
But the British policy on Iran is no better. On one side it is a signatory of the nuclear deal with Iran and claims that it wants to uphold it. On the other side it follows orders from the White House and hijacks a tanker that carries Iranian oil which it claims is going to Syria. Britain has absolutely no legal basis to do such. Even the former Swedish prime minister and rumored CIA asset Carl Bildt finds that behavior too crude:
Carl Bildt @carlbildt - 9:24 PM - 7 Jul 2019The legalities of the UK seizure of a tanker heading for Syria with oil from Iran intrigues me. One refers to EU sanctions against Syria, but Iran is not a member of EU. And EU as a principle doesn’t impose its sanctions on others. That’s what the US does.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi called the British act "robbery" and said that the ship was not heading to Syria. Its real destination is said to be "a new southern European customer" for Iranian oil, probably Italy. Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier-General Amir Hatami promised to respond to the British act of piracy.
As usual the response will be asymmetrical and will come at a time and place of Iran's choosing.
Posted by b on July 8, 2019 at 14:59 UTC | Permalink
^5000The mainstream imperialist media lie CONSTANTLY. Literally 24/7. And it's getting worse.
All of them do it: radio, tv, the newspapers, the movies. The internet. No exceptions.
The corporate Big Lie is pervasive and totalitarian. CBS does it. NBC does it. ABC does it.
CNN does it. FOX does it. NPR does it. And of course the NYTimes and WaPo do it.
Thousands of "diverse" voices telling you the same lies. Enough to convince anyone.