Tuesday 21st of January 2020

the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are completely mad, loony, loco, deranged...


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has issued a steep list of demands that he said should be included in a nuclear treaty with Iran to replace the Obama-era deal, threatening "the strongest sanctions in history" if Iran doesn't change course.

Key points:
  • Mike Pompeo gives first major speech as Secretary of State and threatens "toughest sanctions in history" on Iran
  • Submits 12 demands to the Middle East nation which would ensure it "has no possible path to a nuclear weapon"
  • Mr Pompeo warns punishment against European businesses which continue to trade with Iran


Following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the deal, the United States will ensure "Iran has no possible path to a nuclear weapon, ever," Mr Pompeo said.

As he called for a better agreement to constrain Iran's activities, he said the US would "apply unprecedented financial pressure" to bring Tehran back to the table.

"These will end up being the strongest sanctions in history by the time we are complete," Mr Pompeo said at the conservative Heritage Foundation, his first major policy speech since taking over as top diplomat.

The Secretary of State's list of 12 requirements included many that Iran is highly unlikely to consider.


Pompeo said he understood that Trump's decision "will pose financial and economic difficulties for a number of our friends." But he warned them that the US planned to follow through with threats to punish European companies that continue doing business with Iran that is allowed under the deal but will violate reimposed US sanctions.

"I know our allies in Europe may try to keep the old nuclear deal going with Tehran. That is their decision to make," Pompeo said. "They know where we stand."

Read more:



Trump, driven by Bolton, Pompeo and Nikki, is not about negotiating minuties of diplomacy and agreements. Bolton has announced several times in his tenures that he wanted to bomb Iran. He will. So no matter what the Europeans do — unless they piss dramatically on Trump's USA by breaking out of the NATO agreement and more shit like that — Trump could not care less and will still demonise Iran (the US will easily find breaches of their new deal) and eventually bomb the place.

Demanding that the Europeans cease business with Iran is also a way to reduce the "freedom of Europe" to trade, more than that of Iran. Similar situation is happening in Ireland: You buy our US "fracked" gas or we break your legs (not expressed in such crude fashion but with the same intent). The warning is mostly for the Europeans: Iran is going to be bombed, your business better be out of there otherwise we can't guarantee your safety. And BUY AMERICAN SHIT or else.

The 5th and 6th navy fleet are ready to attack Iran ANY TIME. They are not in the Med and the Gulf for a picnic.


the recidivist bully...

the bully

Add the 5th and 6th US fleets to this map...


crapping on the planet...

crapping on the planet...

on the precipice of a full blown regional war + WW3...

The prospect of German, French and British companies being hit with US sanctions in the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Deal carries with it an element of poetic justice.

Over the past few years each of the aforementioned governments have been slavish in their support for sanctions against Russia, and therefore now that they are faced with being on the receiving end of sanctions themselves; well, let's just say the opportunity to luxuriate in schadenfreude is hard to resist.

However, this being said, under the circumstances — what with the Middle East perched on the precipice of a full blown regional war; what with an administration in Washington more redolent in its actions of a mafia crime family than a government; and what with instability and escalation the new normal — schadenfreude at this juncture is an indulgence too far.

For if this enveloping crisis confirms anything it is that the time has come for Europe to wake up to the reality of its transatlantic alliance with Washington — an alliance in which they have invested so much political capital and which has now been exposed as a sham, a masquerade that has allowed dandified popinjays, such as Emmanuel Macron, to indulge their imperial pretensions — much like that snivelling boy you encountered in the playground when you were at school, who by dint of sucking up to the school bully was able to prance around as if his you-know-what didn't stink.


In truth, the relationship between the US and Europe has never been a relationship of equals. In truth, it has always been a relationship between an imperial hegemon and its various satellites; one that has tethered Europe to the dead weight of unipolarity since the demise of the Soviet Union. The only difference now is that the Trump administration has removed the mask of propriety, civility, and democracy to reveal the snarling beast of hegemony that is the real driver of US foreign policy, and always has been.

READ MORE: Germany, UK, France to Remain in Nuclear Deal While Iran Adheres to It — Merkel

In a tweet posted by newly installed US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, Washington's disdain for Europe was laid bare. Ambassador Grenell tweeted: "As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately."

This diktat, issued by a latter day Roman proconsul to one of European satellites, marks the nadir of an alliance that has impeded European unity and development rather than enabled it.  Indeed the destabilizing factor in Europe is not and has never been Moscow; the destabilizing factor is and has always been Washington.


Thus Europe now has a very clear decision to make. Does it continue to tether itself to the mast of US hegemony, at the mercy of the caprice of a US president in Washington? Or does it join Russia and China in seeking an anti-hegemonic alternative, one rooted in the principles set out in the UN Charter — i.e. respect for national sovereignty, self-determination, and the universal application of international law.

It is arguable, in fact, that this decision has just been made for Europe, with the only thing left to ascertain whether those in power possess the requisite integrity to act accordingly and start the process of de-coupling from Washington's coattails. If they do not — if France, Germany and the UK continue to champion this failed husk of a transatlantic alliance — then there can no longer be any equivocation: they are governing contrary to the interests of their own people.

So, yes, that Europe has arrived at a key juncture in its history is not in doubt. It is why resisting the temptation to ascribe this crisis to the machinations of one bad or vulgar president in the shape of Trump in the Oval Office is non-negotiable. Despite the claims of his liberal detractors in Washington and across Europe, Trump is not a departure from the status quo in Washington. Trump, instead, is merely its most crude and brazen exemplar.

And, too, in talking about US hegemony, we are dealing with its economic manifestation in the shape of neoliberalism, its cultural manifestation, and of course its military component; most emphatically reflected in NATO — a military alliance which now exists to deal with the crises that very existence creates.

READ MORE: Europe Can No Longer Rely on US 'to Protect It' — Merkel

The monstrous injustice involved in the Trump administration's demarche over the Iran Deal, driven by a transparently geostrategic agenda in conjunction with Riyadh and Tel Aviv, moves the region, as mentioned, to the brink of a devastating conflict. It must also, in response, produce a sea change in European thinking when it comes to its relations with the United States — and also, by definition, with Russia.

Though operating as a de facto colony of Washington can be described as many things, honourable and strong are not among them. France's most famous leader of modern times, Charles De Gaulle, said it best: "You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.'

Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran Deal is the very epitome of a 'stupidity beyond imagination', leaving no hiding place for those who continue to believe in the verities America as that shining city on the hill.

Since the end of the Second World War US involvement in Europe has had a corrosive effect on the continent's political, economic, and cultural life. Thus it is high time that Europe declared its independence and forged its own path as part of a multipolar world.


Read more:



Read from top.

... an administration in Washington more redolent in its actions of a mafia crime family than a government...


Charles De Gaulle, said it best: "You may be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination.'


Gus: "it's time for Australia to disengage from this US madness..." Malcolm Fraser if he was still alive.

the scheming saudis...

Benjamin Netanyahu’s April 30 presentation accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear program was clearly aimed at a Western audience, and at one man in particular—Donald Trump. Trump was already inclined to violate and exit the multi-party deal to block Iran’s path to a nuclear weapon, but Netanyahu’s presentation offered a timely addition to the administration’s rhetorical arsenal. His PowerPoint performance, filled with misleading assertions and stale information dressed up as new revelations, was referenced by Trump as part of the justification for abandoning the nuclear deal. 

While this garnered headlines, another U.S. ally—Saudi Arabia—had been orchestrating a quieter but equally effective lobbying and public relations push to dismantle the deal. The Saudis’ arguments were used just as much, if not more, by Trump in justifying his decision for the U.S. to walk away from a carefully crafted agreement that even some of his own military leaders had acknowledged was working.

The Saudi lobby’s push began long before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was formally announced on July 14, 2015. In fact, Saudi lobbyists had been working behind the scenes in the U.S. for years to ensure that the Kingdom’s concerns were incorporated into any deal Washington would agree to with Iran—if there was to be a deal at all. 

In total, the Christian Science Monitor found that Saudi Arabia spent $11 million dollars on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)-registered firms in 2015, and “much of this spending relates to Iran.” They were also assembling former policymakers like Senator Norm Coleman, whose FARA disclosure mentions his work on “limiting Iranian nuclear capability.” More recently, Coleman penned an op-ed in The Hill applauding Trump for leaving the deal without disclosing that he was being paid by the Saudi government.


Read more:


seen from another cartoonist...

iran sanctions

iran sanctions

tit for tat...




The Iranian foreign minister has turned a recent US statement, about a protest in Iran, back against his American counterpart – by exposing how the same comments can easily be applied to the situation in the US.


The original statement by Mike Pompeo, issued on Wednesday, had accused Tehran of “squandering its citizens’ resources… in adventurism in Syria, its support of Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis” and states that “it should be no surprise [to] no one that protests continue in Iran.”

“The people of Iran are tired of the corruption, injustice and incompetence from their leaders. The world hears their voice,” Pompeo said.

Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif:



Read from top.

divine right to stupidity...

US President Donald Trump’s dire warning to Iran has renewed debate within American news media about whether his administration is seeking regime change in Tehran or merely using threats as a psychological weapon. 

Embedded in the US public discourse is the arrogant assumption that Washington has the right to pursue regime change against any nation it chooses. For the American ruling class and its media echo chambers, it is tantamount to a “divine right” – an unquestionable mission with which Americans are “blessed.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this week talked about how America was doing “God’s work” in reaching out to Iranian people to encourage the overthrow their “mafia regime.”

“To our Iranian American and Iranian friends, tonight I tell you that the Trump administration dreams the same dreams for the people of Iran as you do,” said Pompeo. “And through our labors and God’s providence, that day will come true.”

Ironically, Pompeo referred to Iranian rulers as “hypocritical holy men.” What does that make the Americans who, it’s well documented, have overthrown as many governments around the world as the number of years that have passed since World War II?

The level arrogance and ignorance amongst Americans about their own government’s malfeasance reminds us of the quote from historian William Blum: “Americans are like the children of a mafia boss who do not know how their father makes his living, but then they are shocked when someone throws a firebomb through their living-room window.”

Trump had angrily tweeted to the Iranian leaders, warning them to “never ever threaten” the US, or they would face consequences “few in history have suffered.” Coming from the only nation to have ever used atomic bombs in battle, that is truly odious rhetoric.  

Trump’s outburst echoed previous warnings of “fire and fury” aimed at North Korea before he arrived at detente with Kim Jong-un. So, it could be that Trump is playing hardball in negotiations with Iran. Regardless, it’s unacceptable that the US evidently sees itself as possessing an ordained right to openly consider regime change against any nation.   

This American contempt for international law is at the root of global tensions and instability. Iran may be in the cross-hairs right now but the same pernicious principle applies to all nations, as deemed by American rulers. Today Iran, yesterday Syria, tomorrow Venezuela, and so on.  

Some 65 years ago, in 1953, it was also Iran, when the CIA and Britain’s MI6 overthrew the elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, in a bloody coup that ushered in 24 years of brutal dictatorship under the Western-backed Shah. The current Iranian leadership seized power in 1979 in reaction to US interference in Iran’s politics.  

The US corporate news media provide a service to the nation’s government by concealing its crimes or making its crimes unnoticeable. The corollary of that is the fact the same media provide a disservice to the American public by not informing them why certain foreign countries find Washington so abominable, expressing the exasperated sentiment with rhetoric like “Death to America!”

For example, following Trump’s threat to Iran of destruction that “few have suffered in history,” CNN’s celebrity journalist Christiane Amanpour this week discussed with a guest on her program the pros and cons of regime change.  

At one point, Amanpour asked without a hint of qualm what a “military intervention” by the US in Iran would look like?  

Her guest averred that the Trump administration would likely not go for a large-scale military invasion of Iran like the one the George W. Bush administration carried out against Iraq. Instead, it would more likely carry out “limited air strikes on nuclear facilities.”  

At no point in the CNN discussion was the legal or moral right for the US to militarily attack Iran even questioned. The discussion was confined to narrow considerations about the efficacy of Trump’s policy in achieving regime change in Tehran.  

READ MORE:'Who will heat us during winter?' Turkey rejects US plan to torpedo Iran’s oil exports

Just for the record, a policy of regime change is a gross violation of international law and the sovereignty of nations enshrined in the United Nations Charter.  

The same sanguine attitude is prevalent among all US corporate news media. There is simply no scruples or discussion about the American “right to regime change.”  

The New York Times and Washington Post, like CNN and others, ran articles this week casting doubt on Trump’s “Iran policy.” But the concern was not about the fundamental violation of international law and the potential horrific human consequences. Again, criticism of Trump’s renewed belligerence towards Iran was more concerned about the efficacy of such a policy, not the policy itself.  

Another disservice to public information by the US corporate media is the lack of perspective.  

Trump’s hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton has reportedly ramped up the belligerence toward Iran. That was, apparently, after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Washington not to “play with the lion’s tail.”

But what the US media have not done is to sufficiently put in context why the Iranians issued such a warning. It follows a massive effort by the Trump administration to choke off Iran’s economic lifeline of oil exports to the rest of the world.  

It also follows US top diplomat Pompeo launching a new American-government media campaign to target the Iranian population with agitation against the Iranian authorities. Reuters reported that the new US media campaign, including Farsi language broadcasts 24/7, is to “erode support for Iran’s leaders.”

This is an influence campaign at the highest level, openly touted by Washington, without a hint of embarrassment over its hypocritical allegations leveled against Moscow for “meddling” in US internal politics.  

Washington claims that its “right” to confront Iran is due to Tehran’s “sponsorship of international terrorism.” This is simply American and Israeli bombast, never substantiated beyond caricature or wild assertion. Such allegations by Washington are in reality more befitting of its own criminal conduct in the Middle East where it has created whole armies of terrorist proxies, along with its NATO partners and client regimes in Saudi Arabia and Israel.  

The arrogance of America’s political class and its servile news media is staggering.  

For the past year and more, Washington has been convulsed by self-righteous claims of “Russia interfering” in its internal affairs. No evidence has ever been produced to lend those claims any credence. But from the way the US political class has reacted hysterically to the mere claims, one would think that Russia committed the worst transgression in modern history.  

Meanwhile, with casual, rampant hubris, the American political class openly ponders the pros and cons of pursuing regime change in Iran.  

Iran has warned that it will not tolerate American aggression, that it will block all global oil transport through the Persian Gulf. If that happens the repercussions for America’s cheap-oil-addicted economy will be severe. But the misinformed American public will cry foul, claiming that some crazy “regime” just tossed a brick through their living-room window.  

America’s divine right to regime change is predicated on a divine right to stupidity, thanks to its effete politicians and media.


Read more:




Read from top...


trump the bully boy with a broken toy...

China and Germany rejected Trump’s threats over doing business with Iran:

The comments from Beijing and Berlin signalled growing anger from partners of the United States, which reimposed strict sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, over its threat to penalise businesses from third countries that continue to operate there.

“China has consistently opposed unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.

“China’s commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” it added in a faxed statement to Reuters.

“China’s lawful rights should be protected.”

The German government said U.S. sanctions against Iran that have an extra-territorial effect violate international law, and Germany expects Washington to consider European interests when coming up with such sanctions.

Other governments have every reason to resist the Trump administration on this issue. Secondary sanctions are obviously a threat to their economic interests, but they are especially obnoxious because they are an attempt to impose our government’s policy preferences on other states and to treat them as if they are U.S. vassals. The U.S. has no legitimate grounds for sanctioning Iran over its nuclear program, so that makes the attempt to coerce other states into helping the U.S. strangle Iran’s economy even worse. The administration is effectively trying to punish all of the other parties to the JCPOA for adhering to an agreement that our government is violating, and it is threatening all of Iran’s other trading partners for engaging in legal commerce.

There was an international consensus in favor of pressuring Iran before the nuclear negotiations because there was broad agreement that this was necessary to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program remained peaceful. Now that there is a deal in place that ensures that, there is no legitimate reason for any other governments to cooperate with the U.S. in sanctioning Iran on this issue. Trump’s Iran policy is illegitimate in the eyes of almost every other government in the world, and the only thing it can succeed in doing is inflicting harm on the Iranian people for no good reason. The policy will fail on its own terms, and in the process it will do significant damage to U.S. interests and relationships with the world’s leading economic powers. The administration’s Iran policy is a senseless, destructive one that needs to be challenged and reversed as soon as possible.


Read more:



Read from top.

dates and apricots export versus energy supplies?...

Ankara says it remains committed to energy contracts with Tehran despite the risk that renewed US sanctions against Iran could make Turkish firms a target. 

Turkey is heavily reliant on energy imports, and neighboring Iran is one of its biggest suppliers. US President Donald Trump threatened this week that anyone doing business with Iran won’t be able to trade with America.


Read more:


fire with fire...

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are in the midst of a budding bromance. 

The two strongmen celebrated Mr Putin's last birthday over vodka and Russian sausage and afterwards Mr Xi called the Russian President his best, most intimate friend.

With the two cosying up to Iran, many in the West are worried about a new "Axis of Autocrats" emerging. 

The China-Russia relationship, of course, has been helped along by a common enemy: US President Donald Trump, who has recently slapped more sanctions on Russia and more tariffs on China.

Mr Putin and Mr Xi have met 26 times and will meet again later next month. Their nations are forging the deepest and strongest relationship since their last formal split in 1979 when Russia was the Soviet Union. 

Their biggest ambition is to thwart American dominance in the world order and, with help from Iran, they are proving effective in shaping events from Syria to North Korea.

Senior Associate Professor Stephen Nagy from Tokyo's prestigious International Christian University has been carefully watching the geopolitical plates shift over the past decade and says the new Russia-China partnership is more a marriage of convenience.

"China is feeling the heat, so by strengthening relations with Russia, stressing comradeship between Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, the growing economic and military tie — this is a way to send a message to the United States that China does have options and Russia is a powerful option that can provide energy resources as well. 

"It's also, importantly, an ideological partner that appreciates authoritarianism."


Read more:



Read from top. Fighting fire with fire: authoritarianism of the empire helps other authoritarianism — if you dare call Russia and China's "authoritarian" compared to the one way traffic of the US Empire that delights in sanctions, military threats and interventions,including massive spying and cyberwarfare, plus "exceptionalism" — and exclusive invasion of pop soda and fast food ugly culture. At least the apricots from Turkey are organic and sulfur-free. The USA are authoritarians but the average punters don't know it.

the emirates claim then retract...

On 22 September, an attack during a military parade killed 24 people and wounded 60 others, in Ahvaz (Iran).

Ahvaz is the capital of the Iranian Arab region of Khuzestan. On 22 September 1980, the Iraqi President Saddam Hussein tried to annex this population to Iraq. This unleashed a war between Iran and Iraq. At the time, the overwhelming majority of Iranian Arabs opposed the foreign Iraqi invasion. The military procession on September 22 2018 marked the anniversary of this terrible war, funded by the West against the Khomeini Revolution.

Various groups are regularly organizing protests and attacks in Khuzestan:  
• the Party of Democratic Solidarity of Ahvaz (supported by the US CIA and the British MI6), is trying to link up different non-Persian minorities in Iran. 
• the Party for Liberation of Ahvaz (supported by those who supported the long deceased Saddam Hussein).

Responsibility for this week’s attack was claimed by two groups: the Popular Democratic Front of the Arabs of Ahvaz (which allegedly groups different pro-Iraqi organizations) and by Daesh (which published a video of the kamikaze before the action).

Let us recall that the Hussein regime in Iraq abandoned the state following a secular path by its programme “Return to Faith”. Following the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the US invasion, members of the Iraqi Baath Party were banished from national politics and the national army was dissolved, while Iraq was governed by the Shiites linked to Iran. As the former Vice President, Ezzat Ibrahim Al-Douri the Grand Master of the Nachqbandis Order (a Sufi brotherhood) formed an alliance with the CIA and MI6 to integrate its men into Daesh and to obtain its revenge against the Shiites. This explains how both claims of responsibility led, by different paths, to Washington and London. This is why the Iranian Republic of Iran immediately accused the Westerners and the Gulf States, that sponsor of terrorism, of being responsible for the attack.

However, Professor Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, one of the advisers to the Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates, declared that his country has succeeded in bringing war to the territory of Iran, claiming, thus, publicly a role in the attack. This type of declaration is not very surprising in the Middle East. In 2015, the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had publicly congratulated the attacks that had been sponsored in Europe.

The United Arab Emirates position on Iran changed all of a sudden. This was not due to the war in Yemen (where they were fighting against the Hutis supported by Iran) but by the rupture of the Iran deal (JCPoA). Over the last two decades, the Emirates has increased its wealth through measures that the Islamic Republic had to adopt to buffer the US sanctions applied on Iran. The port of Dubai, became the centre of this traffic.

With this change, the two countries became enemies and the bilateral dispute over the possession of an islet situated in the Arab-Persian Gulf was reopened.

The Iranian President, Sheikh Hassan Rohani, promised the Emirates a terrible response, forcing the Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, to back off and to deny the prior declarations of the adviser to the Crown Prince.

Anoosha Boralessa


Read more:



Read from top.


For his visit to Moscow on 8 November, ambassador James Jeffrey was tasked with explaining the current US obsession with the expansion of Persian influence in the Arab world (Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen). Washington now wishes to formulate this question in geo-strategic rather than religious terms (Chiites/Sunni), while Teheran is organising its national defence around forward posts composed of Chiite Arabs.

Moscow then considered the possibility of negotiating on Teheran’s behalf for the easing of unilateral US sanctions, in exchange for its military withdrawal from Syria. President Vladimir Putin confirmed his proposition, not only for his US opposite number, but also for the Israëli Prime Minister, during their meeting in Paris on 11 November for the celebrations marking the centenary of the end of the First World War .

He attempted to convince the Westerners that Russia alone in Syria was preferable to the Irano-Russian tandem. However, he could not guarantee that Iran would have sufficient authority over Hezbollah – as both Washington and Tel-Aviv pretend – to be able to order it to withdraw also.

Washington’s only answer, nine days later, was to announce the eleventh series of unilateral sanctions against Russia since the beginning of August. This was accompanied by a ridiculous speech according to which Russia and Iran had together organised a vast plot aimed at maintaining President Assad in power and expanding Persian control in the Arab world.

This rhetoric, which we believed had been abandoned, assimilates three states (the Russian Federation, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran) as machines in the service of three men (Bachar el-Assad, Ali Khamenei and Vladimir Putin) who are united by the same hatred of their respective peoples. It ignores the massive popular support they enjoy, while the United States are profoundly torn apart.

We can leave aside the stupid assertion that Russia is aiding and abetting the conquest of the Arab world by Persia.

According to the US Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, who presented the unilateral US sanctions on 20 November, they do not form the economic section of the present war, but are intended to punish the « atrocities » committed by these three « régimes ». However, on the verge of winter, they mostly concern the supply of refined petroleum to the Syrian people so that they may light their homes and keep warm.

It is not necessary to specify that the three states targeted deny the « atrocities » of which they are accused, while the United States pursue the wars that they started in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

The US sanctions were not decided by the United Nations Security Council, but by the United States alone. They are illegal in international law because in order to make them lethal, Washington is attempting to force third-party states to associate themselves with the motion, which constitutes a threat to the states targeted and therefore a violation of the United Nations Charter. The United States have the sovereign right to refuse to enter into commerce with other states, but not to exercise pressure on third-party states in order to harm their targets. At one time, the Pentagon claimed that inflicting damaging treatment on a particular nation would lead its people to overthrow its government. That was also the theoretical justification for the bombing of Dresden during the Second World War and the endless embargo against Cuba during the Cold War. However, in the space of 75 years, this theory has never, absolutely never, been verified by the facts. Now the Pentagon is considering using detrimental treatment against a nation as a weapon of war like any other. Embargoes are designed to kill civilians.

The ensemble of systems currently used against Iran, Russia and Syria constitute the most gigantic siege system in History [1]. These are not economic measures, but – without any possible doubt – military actions implemented in the economic sector. In time, they will probably lead to a division of the world into two parts, just as in the period of USA-USSR rivalry.

Secretary Mnuchin insisted at length on the fact that these sanctions were aimed above all at the interruption of the sale of hydro-carbons, meaning depriving these countries – mostly exporters— of their main financial resources.

The mechanism described by Steven Mnuchin is as follows: 
 Syria is presently unable to refine petrol since its installations were destroyed either by Daesh or by the international Coalition’s bombing raids against Daesh. 
 For the last four years, Iran has been supplying refined petrol to Syria in violation of previous unilateral US sanctions. This petrol is transported by Western companies working for the Russian public company Promsyrioimport. This company is paid by the private Syrian company Global Vision Group, which is itself financed by the Iranian company Tabir Kish Medical and Pharmaceutical. 
 Finally the Global Vision Group transfers a part of the money it receives to Hezbollah and Hamas.

This a cock and bull story : 
 The international Coalition has the official objective of fighting Daesh. However, numerous testimonies over the last four years attest that it had alternatively bombed the Islamic state whenever it exceeded the zone which had been allocated to it by the Pentagon (the Wright plan), and that, on the contrary, it had parachuted weapons to Daesh in order to maintain its position in the specified area. The two entities worked together to destroy Syrian refineries. 
  What is the purpose of implicating the Russian government in the transfer of petroleum from Iranian refineries towards Syrian ports? 
  Why would Iran suddenly need Syria to transfer money to Hezbollah and Hamas? 
 Why would Syria transfer Iranian money to Hamas while the Palestinian organisation – whose leaders are members of the Muslim Brotherhood – is at war with them?

Steven Mnuchin doesn’t bother with long explanations. As far as he is concerned, Syria is criminal state and Russia is its accomplice, while Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are all « terrorists ». This is the most important point, the word that cancels out thought.

A French proverb assures that « When you want to drown your dog, you claim it has rabies ». So there’s no point expecting logic in Secretary Mnuchin’s answer to President Putin’s proposition of mediation.

Progressively, the United States are withdrawing their troops from the conflicts in which they were engaged, and replacing them with mercenaries on the ground (the jihadists) and economic sanctions, the modern version of the medieval siege.

Thierry Meyssan

Pete Kimberley


Read more:



Read from top.

“let ’em all die” US policy...

Since March 19th, devastating floods swept across large areas of Iran, triggered by the heaviest downpours in many years. Heavy rainfall began two and a half weeks ago, overflowing rivers, washing away bridges, inundating houses and destroying infrastructural establishments in the northern, western and central parts of the country.

According to the Iran Legal Medicine Organization, at least 62 people have so far been killed nationwide in the natural disaster so far, which has also forced tens of thousands of people, mostly in villages, to evacuate their homes and move to emergency shelters.

Hundreds of people have also been airlifted from the affected regions. The flooding caused the destruction hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure in 24 out of Iran’s 31 provinces. At least 25,000 houses were completely destroyed, while another 60,000 sustained some form of damage.

The Government of Iran declared a state of emergency in several provinces and cities, while Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani have urged officials to take full advantage of all available technical capacities to save people’s lives.

The Iranian Red Crescent launched widespread relief efforts nationwide, deploying 11,000 personnel to assist more than 192,000 people with life-saving care and support. Their volunteers and staff have evacuated hundreds of people to safety, and have distributed food and items such as tents, blankets and health kits. Thousands of enthusiastic Iranian citizens from all walks of life joined in a nationwide relief campaign.

The Iranian military is also at the forefront of humanitarian response efforts. Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces MG Mohammad Bagheri said after the floods that he has authorized commanders in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), the Iranian Army’s Ground Force, Police, and the Defense Defence Ministry to use forces under their command to provide full and organized assistance in flood-hit areas in a coordinated manner.

One hundred units of the Army were active in flooded areas. The Army scrambled a dozen military transport helicopters, as well as drones, equipped with night-vision. Their units also built several temporary bridges and sent dozens of armoured personnel carriers in order to speed up rescue operations in inundated areas where road vehicles cannot be used.

The IRGC deployed several helicopters, reconnaissance drones, engineering units, and field hospitals. Moreover, 1,341 groups of the IRGC’s Basij (mobilization forces) were officially active in only two northern provinces. The IRGC further announced that in the next step, it would focus on reconstruction projects. A spokesman of the Law Enforcement Police force announced that 4,000 police forces had been sent to the flood-stricken areas across Iran to establish security. The Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation (IKRF) announced that its offices around the country are ready to receive the aid items and deliver them to the flooded areas.

The Headquarters for Executing Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) known as Setad, another Iranian charity organization popularly known as Setad, donated thousands of blankets, tents, boots, shovels, household appliances, medicines and other relief supplies. The organization also distributed several tons of food, sent medical teams and set up mobile hospitals. It also provided boats to take part in rescuing the residents stuck at the rooftops of their houses or were stranded somewhere in the flood. Doctors and medics also are part of this organization, which set up temporary clinics to help provide instant treatment to the injured.

Market Watch reported:

Before flood hits the country, Setad has insured 140,000 rural homes in Khouzistan under the Barakat Insurance plan. The damaged homes will be repaid to rebuild their homes in the area. The Setad also provided 15,000 families with house equipment to replace what the floods had destroyed, such as fridges, washing machines, carpets, and other necessary elements. Many of these families living in rural areas raised cattle, where more than 9,000 of cattle were killed during the natural disaster. 

The Setad was able to replace 4,000 of these, instantly providing many of the families with their previous work so that they would not end up jobless. The officials of the organization promised that as soon as the areas are cleaned and normal life is retained after the floods, they will be able to provide some 3,000 job opportunities to the citizens of these areas.”


When it comes to foreign aid, the situation is far from being enthusiastic despite the long-standing practice of international humanitarian assistance. In similar circumstances where innocent civilians are hit by natural disasters, the countries help each other irrespective of political differences, but that is not the case with the latest Iranian floods. In fact, this time, international aid is largely not even possible, all due to the US unilateral sanctions and their newest anti-Iran policy. One may argue that such an outcome was expected to occur, however, history teaches us that earlier bilateral relations on the issues of disasters had been completely contradictory, regardless of all the political tensions.


In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mohamed Khatami condemned and denounced the terrorist attacks and those who carried them out. The US leadership reacted by declaring a war on terrorism, and Iran offered its support in very helpful ways, especially by providing significant support against the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, huge crowds attended candlelit vigils in Iran, and 60,000 spectators observed a minute’s silence at Tehran’s stadium two days after the 9/11 attacks.

Yet, Washington leaders not only failed to reward Iran’s constructive behaviour, but beginning in 2002, they were once more beating once more the drums of regime change and pressing the international community to embrace their anti-Iran sanction policy. Furthermore, in accordance with his aggressive neoconservative agenda, former President George W. Bush labelled Iran as part of the Axis of Evil, outraging the Iranian leadership and ordinary Iranians.

Two years after the 9/11 attacks, the earthquake struck south-eastern Iran and was particularly destructive in the city of Bam, with the death toll amounting to at least 26,000 people. Despite the extremely tense relations, the US offered direct humanitarian assistance to Iran and within less than a week, the emergency response team was deployed via US military aircraft which consisted of search and rescue squads, aid coordinators, and medical support.

The Bush administration temporarily eased restrictions on exports and private assistance to Iran, with US Secretary of State Colin Powell saying that the US Government must do everything it can to help those in need.

“What we are doing in Iran is we are showing the Iranian people that American people care, that we have great compassion for human suffering, and I eased restrictions in order to be able to get humanitarian aid into the country,” Bush said. He also sent demagogic remarks on freedom, terrorism and nuclear weapons, but despite such politicization, the US aid has nevertheless been sent, along with similar assistance of 60 other countries.

Iran tried to respond with the same gesture of goodwill in the late summer of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the south-eastern portion of the contiguous United States, causing severe damage and destruction in several US states and killing more than a thousand people.

It also badly disrupted production in the Gulf of Mexico, which supplies up to a quarter of America’s oil, thus Iran’s envoy to OPEC said his country was ready to send up to five shiploads with 20 million barrels of crude oil to the US. He stressed this could only happen if US sanctions were lifted first, at least temporarily. Iran renewed its offer to assist the US in efforts to prevent an ecological disaster caused by the spreading Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, following an explosion on a BP-operated oil platform in 2010. The National Iranian Drilling Company (NIDC) announced their readiness to use its decades-long expertise to fight the oil slick.

In 2012, after twin earthquakes that killed some 300 Iranians and caused widespread damage, the US authorities issued a temporary general license to ease transfers of aid. This time Iran rejected a US offer of aid, underlining what it saw as US hypocrisy given that Washington has done all it can to isolate Tehran by imposing economic sanctions, thus provoking a medicine supply crisis. Still, Iran accepted humanitarian cargoes from other countries.


Putting aside all political tensions, threats, accusations, demagoguery and politicization, the above examples prove that the United States and Iran have helped each other or have shown willingness to help one another. Today, it’s the very opposite situation. Not only the United States did not offer any aid to Iran, but also its unilateral sanctions are preventing other countries and individuals of doing it. In addition to that, the US highest officials are spreading fake news that Washington is seeking to help the flood-hit people, while the US propaganda outlets cover the flood in Iran as a result of officials’ inefficiency. In comparison with the Trump administration, even George W. Bush and his neoconservative government seem like humanitarians.

Ali Asghar Peyvandi, the head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society, told reporters in Iran that his organization has been unable to receive international help for the victims due to US banking sanctions. “We expected the Red Crescent, which is an aid organization that provides humanitarian services, to be exempted from the sanctions, but this is not the case,” Peyvandi said.

Prior to the latest US sanctions, his society had some bank accounts connected to SWIFT and they previously used them to receive international aid, but these accounts are currently subject to sanctions and it’s not possible to transfer money to Iran from other countries or the International Red Cross Federation. The Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communications (SWIFT) financial-messaging service said last year that it was suspending access for Iranian banks. This move came after the US warned that SWIFT could face sanctions if it provided services to Iranian banks blacklisted by Washington.

The world’s largest humanitarian network has released just under 500,000 Swiss francs to bolster local Red Crescent relief efforts. Peyvandi also said that, in the aftermath of a deadly 2017 earthquake in western Iran, his organization had use of the bank account of a hospital that belongs to the Red Crescent to receive aid and transfer it into the country. “We’ve written to the United Nations as well as the Red Cross about the impact of the sanctions on our ability to attract international aid, but we haven’t received any response yet,” he added. Back in October 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the US to halt the unilateral sanctions it had reimposed on humanitarian supplies to Iran, but Washington has refused to relieve its bans.

“Given that the accounts of the Iranian Red Crescent have been blocked, no foreign citizen or Iranian national living abroad is able to send any relief aid to flood-hit people,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi explained. Qassemi further said: “Usually, even in difficult and emergency conditions, not all banking systems will be blocked and the sending of humanitarian aid will be possible through bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, but the US has blocked all aid delivery channels in an inhumane and cruel move.” The Iranian spokesperson urged the international community and international relief organizations to stand against Washington’s vicious act.

On the same topic, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the US is waging economic terrorism against Iran, and it’s indeed far from a tendentious statement. The claim of American officials that they target the Iranian government and not the people is a bad joke. To ordinary Iranians, they are targeting the people, especially the most vulnerable ones like flood victims and hospital patients. However, this is no surprise considering even more monstrous behaviours such as helping Saddam in chemical attacks and genocide, systematic starvation of Iraqi children, destroying Sudan hospitals, and the latest supporting a Saudi-led military coalition that has inflicted profound and deadly damage on Yemen.

Particularly disgusting is the role of the US and UK government-sponsored propaganda media like BBC Persian, Manoto, Radio Farda and VOA which attribute the current floods in Iran to mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness, thus trying to create a rift among people and officials. If we look at their articles published over the last several years or just months, we’ll see that the IRGC and Setad are some sort of “ultra-rich corporations,” while hundreds of Iranian dams built since the 1979 revolution are “mostly useless” or “completely unnecessary” because they were built in arid areas, therefore, they will “never be filled with water.” Some of them even promoted a bizarre conspiracy theory that Persians from central Iran are “stealing water” of the ethnic Arab minority.

Today, large dams in south-western Iran are 95 percent full. In other words, they saved thousands of lives in the ethnic Arab region of Khuzestan, given that the catchment area of Karun River has been subject to devastating floods in recorded history. For example, in 1956 hundreds of people were killed and thousands of people were rendered. Not only full dam reservoirs saved lives, but also prevented the possibility of drought in the foreseeable time, which means that water shortages seen last year are not repeatable. The members of the IRGC and Setad, represented in above-mentioned media as Iran’s fancy elite, can be seen today at the forefront of humanitarian rescue operations, exhausted from work and covered in mud.

The support of this organization is not only with shovels and hands. Setad Chairman, Mohammad Mokhber declared that 140 thousand houses with insurances across the villages that were struck by floods will be rebuilt, whereas also owners of partially destroyed houses will receive some 35 million tomans to fix what needs to be fixed. The US sympathy and aid are missing, claims an unnamed author from the US-sponsored Radio Farda, because “Americans seem to have had enough of hate-speech and words of abuse by Iran’s Supreme Leader.”

This represents a harsh and brutal distortion of the facts since it was Trump who called Iran “a terrorist nation” and adopted new anti-Iran policies which are indiscriminately targeting the entire Iranian population.

Ivan Kesić

Read more:




Read from top.

While the US snubbed the Iranians in distress:

Moscow, April 6, IRNA- Russia is joining world countries to send humanitarian relief to Iranian floods survivors as inundations continue to cause heavy damage in large parts of the country.

“Responding to Iran’s request and in joint cooperation with Armenia’s Emergency Situations Ministry, humanitarian aid for the people hit by the floods has been sent,” reads Russia's Emergency Situation Ministry statement.

The ministry has dispatched four thousand tents, blankets and folding beds to its regional station in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The Russian government created the centre in 2015 in the city in a bid to serve as a regional basis for humanitarian aid for Armenia and surrounding countries.

Flash floods have wreaked havoc in northern, western and south-western Iranian provinces, leaving a trail of destruction behind and killing 70 people so far with thousands of others injured.

Earlier, UNICEF office in Iran has announced that initial supplies are already on their way to Iran to help the Ministry of Health ensure immunization and young child nutrition services are quickly re-established in several flood-affected provinces.

Germany and France as well as Switzerland have also sent it some aid.

Read more:



MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Rescuers from Russia and Armenia delivered humanitarian aid to Iranian victims of large-scale floods, a Russian Emergencies Ministry spokesperson told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"A convoy of the Russian-Armenian humanitarian center successfully delivered humanitarian aid to the Islamic Republic of Iran," the spokesperson said. The next cargo will be transferred to the Iranian Red Crescent Society, he added.


Read more:


a warning from the nutcases...

In a chilling reminder of the downing of Iran Air flight 655 by a US missile, an FAA notice said civilian aircraft flying over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman are currently at risk of “miscalculation or misidentification.”

A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) late on Thursday said the risk stems from “heightened military activities and increased political tensions” in the area. Airliners operating in the region may also “encounter inadvertent GPS interference and other communications jamming” the warning said.

The tension in the proximity of Iran comes as the US deployed additional military assets in the region, including an aircraft carrier strike group and a battery of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles. Washington said it was a response to an undefined threat posed by Iranian forces. The US also withdrew non-essential personnel from diplomatic missions in Iraq. The show of force was reportedly triggered by intelligence provided by Israel.


Read more:



the nutcases




Read from top.

the cooling of the temper of thieves...


Donald Trump’s Challenge To His Administration

by Thierry Meyssan

President Trump made a lot of promises in terms of international relations during his election campaign. He achieved little, except the end of US support for Daesh. Despite the hostility of his own administration, he advances on several fronts simultaneously. He hopes to be able to impose his point of view and take advantage of this radical change to represent himself before the electorate.


Several things are clear about the possible change of doctrine of the United States that I announced two weeks ago [1]. For the past three years, President Trump has been trying to impose his point of view on an administration whose senior civil servants have been riveted for 18 years on the Rumsfeld / Cebrowski doctrine of destroying state structures in entire regions of the non-globalized world. On the contrary, for Donald Trump, it is appropriate, from a Jacksonian perspective, to substitute war with negotiation and business, so as to dominate the world in good agreement with Russia and China and no longer against them. He hopes to achieve his goals for September 23, the date of his speech at the UN, one year before the US presidential election. He could thus justify running for a second term by asserting his balance sheet.

The new elements that complement what I said about Syria and Venezuela are Afghanistan, Iran and Yemen. But the most obvious of course is the resignation of National Security Advisor John Bolton. He was not asked to resign, but thanked for his kind and loyal service.

- John Bolton is absolutely not a neo-conservative as some media have written, but a staunch supporter of "American exceptionalism" [2]. This school of thought is based on the myth of the "Pilgrim Fathers". It refuses to apply international treaties in domestic law; judges the behavior of others with severity, but on principle absolves Americans who act in the same way; and refuses any international jurisdiction in its internal affairs. In a word, it believes that, for religious reasons, the United States is not comparable to other states and must not submit to any international law.

This colorful character does not hesitate to say what suits him, without worrying about proofs or verisimilitude. Thus, in the Syrian Accountability Act vote in 2003, he argued in Congress that Syria - like Iraq - was threatening world peace with weapons of mass destruction. More recently, he made history by banning the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal from coming to investigate in the United States.

John Bolton, who is very popular with ultra-right voters, does not share President Trump’s ideas on international politics. The only National Security adviser who was in harmony with him was General Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after only three weeks. Bolton succeeded him after General H. R. McMaster. As in the US soap operas, he played with Donald Trump the role of "bad cop", allowing the president to appear much more conciliatory.

- The second element is the evolution of the Afghan and Yemeni conflicts. It was known that the United States had begun negotiations with the Taliban at the end of the Obama mandate in 2015 in Qatar. What is less known is that since March 2019, President Trump has negotiated Afghanistan’s future, not only with the country’s authorities and insurgents, but also with Russia and China. This time it was not a question of sharing power between the two factions, but of recognizing the legitimacy of the Taliban resistance to foreign presences on their soil in exchange for its condemnation of jihadism. Two meetings were held in Moscow and Beijing [3]. Another was secretly scheduled to be held last week at Camp David, in the presence of Presidents Donald Trump and Ashraf Ghani. Alas! On September 5, the Taliban, wishing to negotiate through force, claimed an attack in Kabul, killing twelve people, including a US citizen. Immediately the Camp David meeting was canceled and the US Army bombed Taliban areas.

At the same time, it was reported that Washington had begun secret negotiations with Yemeni Houthis who are challenging the power of the internationally recognized president, Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi. A few weeks ago, Washington presented them as Iranian agents. The United States suddenly remembered that the Houthis were not supported by Iran at the beginning of the conflict and that they joined forces with Tehran only for the sake of survival. Therefore, it is obvious that in view of the Saudo-Emirati disagreements, Washington’s interest is no longer to support a puppet whom no one obeys and who has long ago taken refuge in Saudi Arabia.

During these negotiations, the war continues without the United States. The Houthis sent a dozen drones to burn Aramco factories. Riyadh claimed to have suffered considerable damage, halving its domestic production. Mike Pompeo has denounced the hand of Tehran who is attacking the global supply of oil. All of this is disproportionate, to say the least. These statements must be interpreted in the context of our third point: the relations between the United States and Iran.

- Recall the data: in 2012, the Obama administration secretly negotiated in Oman with emissaries of the Guide of the Revolution sidelining the team of the nationalist Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the election of a merchant in arms of the Iran-Contras affair, Sheikh Hassan Rohani. Once elected, an international agreement, JCPoA, was negotiated in Switzerland. It denounced the impossibility of reactivating the military nuclear program that the Revolutionary Guards had abandoned in 1988, considering weapons of mass destruction as incompatible with their vision of Islam. While a second agreement, bilateral and secret this time, planned to supply Europe with Iranian gas to replace Russian gas. When he arrived at the White House, Donald Trump meant for the United States to control the world energy market, but not at the expense of Russia or China with whom he hoped to dominate the world. He therefore withdrew from the two agreements with Iran and immediately proposed to resume the discussion. Realizing that he had everything to lose in exchange, Sheikh Hassan Rohani demanded respect for the word given, refused the outstretched hand, and-considering an impeachment imminent - declared to wait for the return of the Democrats to the White House. The Guide of the Revolution, meanwhile, reacted in religious and not in politic. Outraged by US disloyalty, which he condemned morally, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei instructed his personal army, the Guardians of the Revolution, to extend his authority over all foreign Shia communities. Overnight, the Guardians stopped defending Iranian "national interests", for Shiite religious interests; a turnaround that was particularly visible in Syria and becomes so in Lebanon. Last week, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, delivering a speech on Achourra Day, introducing his organization no longer as the Lebanese Resistance to Imperialism, but as loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei. This is obviously not a 180-degree turn, but rather a support for the Guide to the Revolution on the eve of negotiations.

It seems that all this agitation could stop: the two parties are showing their muscles while preparing to talk to each other again. So far, Russia has had good relations with Iran while knowing of the Persian hope of replacing Russian gas in Europe. Simultaneously, it did not intervene when Israel was crossing the Syrian skies - which it (Russia) controls - to bombard Iranian targets. Moscow could stop playing with carrot and stick. It could guarantee the sincerity of a US-Iran-Iran agreement (or rather its sustainability), if it were not against Moscow anymore. In this case, it would protect the Iranian bases in the Middle East. It is, it seems, what Vladimir Putin has just announced to Benjamin Netanyahu.

All these advances support the role of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He appears as the true architect of Donald Trump’s foreign policy. He was the first CIA director of the new president. He now has the privilege of being invited every day to his briefing with the Agency, so that he combines information from the CIA and the State Department. Above all, he is the designer of the president’s energy strategy [4]. Some of the Republican leaders do not believe that Donald Trump will succeed in imposing anything on the military, and certainly not the doctrine - according to them outdated - of President Andrew Jackson. They advised Pompeo not to go down with his boss, but to resign and to run for The Senate in Kansas.

Thierry Meyssan


Roger Lagassé


Read more:




Read from top.


See also:

US admit defeat and try to pass the stick of a long war to whoever wants it...


And why Macron put his foot in it, wrecking Donald's secret negotiations:


amateur hour in diplomacy: macron plays a trump card. trump burns the deck and scolds macron...


And how politics really work:


the united states of niccolò machiavelli: sub realismi cuiusdam politici…

US annoyed as rivals launch mideast war games...


By James Pinkerton

Amidst all the headlines—taking note of the end of the year, as well as the end of the decade—one headline, for this author, stands out. That headline looms large not because it speaks of something that has happened, but because it speaks of something that could happen. That is, a new Cold War, in which the U.S. is forced to square off with dominant Eurasian powers, operating in unison. That’s a scary concept, made even scarier, of course, by the risk that a cold war can always get hot.

The headline in the December 28 Financial Times was modest, even if it did appear on the front page: “US rivals launch Mideast war games.” As the newspaper put it, “Russia, China, and Iran launched their first joint naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman yesterday, throwing down a direct challenge to U.S. influence in the Middle East.”

We might pause over those words, “a direct challenge to U.S. influence.” The article quoted Iranian admiral Gholamreza Tahani as saying, “The most important achievement of these drills . . . is the message that the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot be isolated.” Tahani added, “These exercises show that relations between Iran, Russia, and China have a reached a new high level while this trend will continue in the coming years.”

The U.S. response to this development was muted; the FT quoted an unnamed State Department official saying that Iran should “think twice” about conducting joint naval exercises, warning that such actions “should concern all nations with an interest in safeguarding freedom of navigation in the region.” These words won’t exactly strike fear into the Iranians; especially since, as the article recalls, the Iranians shot down a U.S. drone in June and seized a British-flagged oil tanker allegedly in their territorial waters in July—and the U.S. didn’t do anything in response.

Thus the Iranians seem undaunted, and now, of course, thanks to their improving relationship with China and Russia, they have far more strategic depth.

So maybe that’s why there’s new pressure on U.S. forces currently in Iraq, which, of course, borders Iran. It’s long been understood that the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 had the inadvertent effect of opening the door to Iranian influence in that country, and it could well have been the hand of Iran that fired the rocket that killed a U.S. contractor on December 27. That death led to a familiar American response—airstrikes.

A few days later, on December 31, the Iranians might have played their hand again. According to the BBC, “Protesters angered by recent deadly US airstrikes targeting an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia have attacked the US embassy compound in Baghdad.” That attack on an embassy, of course, brings back memories of the Iranian seizure, in 1979, of the American embassy in Tehran—an event that vexed America for more than a year, echoing ever since.

In other words, it’s at least possible that the Iranians are deploying “asymmetric” tactics on us—that is, an attack on the U.S. that’s not for sure traceable back to Iran. Indeed, in light of myriad past intelligence failures—to say nothing of outright mendacities—Americans can be forgiven for not trusting “intelligence reports” about the causation of this embassy attack.

Still, for his part, President Trump seemed to trust the Deep State—at least on this one question. He declared that Iran will be held “fully responsible” for whatever happens in Baghdad.

Yet in the meantime, something has gone deeply wrong for the U.S. in Iraq—or has been wrong all along. As Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fasshihi tweeted on December 31, “Three trillion dollars & tens of thousands of lives later, Iraqis break into American embassy chanting ‘US is the great Satan.’”

As of now, we don’t know whether or not this latest embassy crisis will be quelled, but we do know this much: If the Chinese and Russians are on Iran’s side, any U.S. military confrontation with Iran will be a big and uncertain thing, not a small and easy thing. In other words, U.S.-Iranian relations could be entering into a new phase: It might not just be Washington, D.C. vs. Tehran but, rather, Washington, D.C. vs. Tehran—and its big friends.

The idea that America might find itself escalating in the Middle East (again) is, of course, highly ironic. Donald Trump, after all, was elected in 2016 on a strong platform of opposition to “endless wars.” And yet at the same time, Trump chose to treat Iran like an enemy. In junking the Iranian nuclear deal and reimposing economic sanctions, he pleased some domestic constituencies, while yet further antagonizing Iran.

And as the Iranians have likely just demonstrated in Iraq, if they get punched, they can find a way to punch back. Once again, for a small country, it’s easier to punch a big country if it knows that other big countries are in its corner.

The further irony, of course, is that for all his bluster, Trump doesn’t seem to have any deep attachment to a permanently bellicose policy toward Iran; he has mused aloud, more than once, about sitting down and talking with the Iranians.

Indeed, it’s at least possible that Trump sees Iran though the prism of North Korea. As we can recall, all through his first year in office, Trump was in a war of words with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, whom Trump dubbed “Rocket Man.” The situation reached its hottest in August 2017, when Trump warned Kim of “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

And yet now, of course, after two summit meetings, Trump and Kim seem to regard each other as friends—or at least they smile a lot in each other’s company. To be sure, North Korea is no closer to de-nuclearizing than it ever was, and yet Trump doesn’t seem to care about that presumed goal. (And of course, outside of Beltway think tanks, most Americans also don’t care.)

So it’s at possible that Trump has the same scenario in mind for Iran: That is, talk tough, go to the brink—and then make a deal. If such a deal were to happen, it would be easier to see some sort of fig-leaf-y exit from Afghanistan in time for Election Day, allowing Trump to campaign for re-election as the president who finally extricated Uncle Sam from those “endless wars.”

To be sure, the Iranians would have to go along with all this possible plotting; as they learned during the embassy hostage crisis of 1979-81, they can have leverage on the American political process—and they might indeed seek to use that sort of leverage again.

In the meantime, the one thing we know for sure is that Iran has established some sort of modus vivendi with China and Russia. That Financial Times piece further quoted Jonathan Eyal, of the Royal United Services Institute: “This is a carefully calculated exercise in which all three participants are winners: Iran gets to claim it is a regional power, Russia demonstrates its role as the key actor in the Middle East, and China can show it is a global naval power.”

So yes, there it is: A Eurasian alliance, straight out of the gloomy geopolitics of Halford Mackinder. To be sure, the three countries have been at odds in the past—notably, China has fought Russia, and Russia has fought Iran—and yet today, they all have a common interest in opposing the U.S.

To be sure, we have allies, too. And so we can see another worldwide struggle in the making; call it, as of now, Cold War II.

So what can the U.S. do? Beyond the obvious—no more gratuitous foreign wars that fritter away resources and rally the locals against us—we might take a page from our success in Cold War I.

In that first cold war, we found that two Eurasian giants, Russia (then the Soviet Union) and China were allied against us. But in fact, it wasn’t much of an alliance, because the two neighboring countries had as many antipathies as affinities.

So back in 1971-2, President Richard Nixon and his top diplomat, Henry Kissinger, seized upon those cleavages and made them wider. By “going to China,” Nixon and Kissinger managed to split the Sino-Soviet axis. And arguably, this rift in the communist bloc was the hinge of the Cold War.

So today, can Donald Trump and his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, figure out a way to split the new axis of Russia, China, and Iran? Most experts are skeptical about Trump’s ability to do anything but tweet, but then, most of those same experts have been consistently wrong. So maybe we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility that Trump and Pompeo, mindful of past American successes, have something up their sleeve.

In the meantime, of course, our geopolitical rivals know history, too, and so they’re trying just as hard to split our alliances. Indeed, over the last two decades, the Russians, in particular, have shown no small amount of strategic savvy.

So as of now, it’s hard to justify either optimism or pessimism. Most likely, here at the dawn of the 2020s, we’re likely looking at what John F. Kennedy foresaw at the dawn of the 1960s: “A long twilight struggle.”


Read more:





Read from top.




James P. Pinkerton is a contributor to the Fox News Channel and a regular panelist on the Fox “News Watch” show, the highest-rated media-critique show on television. He is a former columnist for Newsday, and is the editor of SeriousMedicineStrategy.org. He has written for publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, National Review, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Fortune, The Huffington Post, and The Jerusalem Post. He is the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government--and the New Paradigm Ahead (Hyperion: 1995). He worked in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and in the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 presidential campaigns. In 2008 he served as a senior adviser to the Mike Huckabee for President Campaign. Married to the former Elizabeth Dial, he is a graduate of Stanford University.