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05 February 2017

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Chris Chuba

I don't think Iran can appease the U.S. by abstaining from their ballistic missile testing, we'll just go to the next 'red line' like we did their nuclear program. After the nuclear agreement, we are now making an issue of them having ballistic missiles next it will be air defenses and a modern air force. This is a bare bones requirement for their essential military defense.

Tactical Ballistic Missiles needed for Iran's military
https://youtu.be/o7wiroruAKo?t=55
This is Iran's PM, Zarif explaining why Iran needs tactical ballistic missiles. I'll paraphrase his comments but I recommend taking a trip to the video (it's only two minutes) because I think you really miss something when you don't hear a person's voice. He was passionate but not angry and I was struck by the hurt in his voice.
He recounted how Iran was struck by missiles carrying chemical weapons during 8yrs of war without any means to retaliate and to deter attacks. That Iran was unable to obtain missiles, that they need to have their own missiles and that they would never use these weapons for any other purpose than for defense.

I was struck by the sincere tone of his voice vs. the smarmy comments of John Bolton who dismissed Iran's claim that they needed ballistic missiles for defense.

Here is an interesting analysis of how Iran's recent missile tests are medium range, tactical missiles and not ICBM's that would threaten the U.S.
http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2017/02/04/irans_missile_test_north_koreas_cooperation_110749.html

There will never be a time where Iran can test ballistic missiles where this Administration would not claim it to be aggression.

Absurd MSM coverage of recent events
To keep this post short, I'll just cite a couple ...
1. Saying that the recent military exercise included 'cyber warfare'. This made no sense to me. Fars reported that they tested 'electronic warfare' which makes much, much, more sense but saying cyber warfare is a more loaded term.

2. Claiming the attack on the Saudi ship was a suicide attack targeting a U.S. ship is absurd. The Houthis always chant the same thing, I've seen videos of them saying 'death to America' after hitting Saudi tanks and the video shows a hit above the water line but this brings back images of the USS Cole.

Our Administration is beating the drums of war and our MSM is criminally going along with it.

Laura

turcopolier -- I find your optimism thin but am grateful for it. What alternative is there to a ground war with Iran? Would you trust this administration not to use nuclear weapons?

And...is anyone really surprised about the roll-over on the bankers and the raging desire to repeal all Dodd-Frank regulations? Isn't that what this election was all about?

robt willmann

b,

You note that, "Not even the Bush gang was crazy enough to try it [attack Iran]". I have a different view. Bush jr as much as admitted they wanted to attack Iran in his memoir, "Decision Points". He is quoted as saying in his book (likely with a ghost-writer) that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran (after the fraudulent one about Iraq) "tied my hands on the military side", and, "But after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?"--

https://consortiumnews.com/2016/04/12/how-an-iran-war-was-averted/

There was also the Bush jr administration's desire to attack Syria. This came out after Iraq was invaded and the writer Gore Vidal (RIP) said publicly that he had been told about it from people he still knew in Washington. Former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger said that if Bush jr invaded Syria, he would last in office about 15 minutes. I think that Eagleburger made that remark to a media outlet in Britain, and very briefly on the Sean Hannity television show on Fox News.

The Bush jr administration's callous disregard for the suffering of people (our own included) from unnecessary war was obscene.

Valissa

Steve Bannon told colleagues to read a book about hubris https://www.axios.com/inside-bannons-thinking-about-power-2238834033.html
Over the past three months, Steve Bannon has been reading David Halberstam's book, "The Best and the Brightest." (A NYT reporter spotted him with the book in an airport in December.)

It's a devastating account of self-regard, delusion, and the tragic series of miscalculations that led America into Vietnam. The book shaped Bannon's thinking during the transition, and he recommended it to associates, including Jared Kushner and Anthony Scaramucci, as a warning against hubris. He's told associates the book is a warning to "always keep the 'law of unintended consequences' in the front of your mind." And that "the governmental 'apparatus' has an institutional history, memory and methodology."
----------------

It will be interesting to see if Bannon & crew can figure out how to shift the direction of the Borg in some areas. I'm sure he is well aware of the power of the Military-Industrial-ThinkTank complex (Borg) in regards to foreign policy, and that devious plans will be needed to attempt to change anything substantially.

R + 7 anyone? Egypt is aligning itself with Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria…

Middle East: Rapid Tectonic Changes on Regional Chessboard http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/01/30/middle-east-rapid-tectonic-changes-on-regional-chessboard.html
Iraq will provide Egypt with 1 million barrels of Basra light oil each month. The agreement involves extending an oil pipeline from Iraq to Egypt via Jordan.

… Egypt is about to train four Iraqi army units on war against terrorism, in the light of the rapprochement between Egypt and the Iraqi-Iranian axis in the region. It also mulls sending peacekeeping troops to Syria during the coming days to support the ceasefire agreement under the auspices of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It has been reported that a unit of Egyptian ground forces might deploy to Syria this month.

…Egypt is a predominantly Sunni nation. Its open support of the Russia-backed coalition in Syria is a game changing event of fundamental importance. It makes the sectarian interpretation of the Syria’s conflict not valid anymore.

… The relations between Russia and Egypt have been on the rise. In February 2015, Egypt signed a breakthrough agreement on establishing a free trade zone with the Russia's Eurasian Economic Union.

… Egypt is the most populous country in North Africa and the Arab world, the third-most populous in Africa and the fifteenth-most populous in the world. Last year, the country’s population has just reached 92 million. Its policy shift is well-substantiated. Cairo is fighting the Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula. The fierce fighting there seldom hits media headlines but the IS poses a grave threat to Egypt. IS militants can also strike Egypt from Libya.

The IS presence in Libya brings Egypt and Algeria together as the two great nations face the same threat. The emerging Iran, Iraq, Russia and Turkey alliance may also include Algeria. …
-----------------------

Africa is the up and coming territory of a new Great Game. The US is busy building mini-bases and running special ops all over the continent while China is influencing many of the same countries via economic development. Russia doesn't have as big a budget as the US and China for playing this game, but they seem to be carefully building relationships and strength with key countries of MENA.

turcopolier

Laura

"Would you trust this administration not to use nuclear weapons?" Yes, I would trust them not to do that. you are fixated on them as madmen and I don't think Trump, Tillerson or Mattis are madmen. They understand fully the long term implications of the use of nuclear weapons in terms of proliferation. "What alternative is there to a groundwar with Iran?" An air and navel war with Iran. you do not understand the logistics of ground war. Here, we are not talking about tiny little operations like the thing in Yemen. To fight a ground war with Iran you would need to transport an army (2 or 3 hundred thousand soldiers) to the Gulf base it and its logistical train, supply etc. in S. Arabia or the other Gulf states and then make a cross Gulf entry into southern Iran with the force and sustain it there for a protracted period of time. This would all be vastly expensive. Iran is a large country, a very large country. Have you looked to see how large it is? No, I don't think the election was fought for the benefit of the banksters. actually HC had more support from Wall Street than he did. pl

turcopolier

Chris Chuba

in general I agree with you except for this. "during 8yrs of war without any means to retaliate and to deter attacks. That Iran was unable to obtain missiles" That is untrue during the Iran-Iraq War the Iranians had SCUD missile with which bombarded Baghdad during the War of the Cities. Having been there under SCUD bombardment I can testify to the truth of that. pl

turcopolier

Robert Willman

In fact the USAF and US Navy kill a lot of people every day in Syria and Iraq in air attacks. some of these people just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. have we never participated in targeted individual killing? To think otherwise is childish. that is part of the Game of Nations. pl

turcopolier

FB Ali

You know that I agree with you or would not have raised the subject. IMO we must hope that the businessman's risk aversion will tamp this down and that his inclination toward Bibi does not last long. pl

jsn

As mentioned above, it's my secret hope Trump is giving the bankers enough rope to quickly hang themselves so he can obliterate their power once and for all by not bailing them out. On the other hand, don't underestimate the banks long hand, they are just not playing for king and country but for themselves:
https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/75536FC7435F72FC9AB4968D0509F019/S0260210516000206a.pdf/div-class-title-perpetual-decline-or-persistent-dominance-uncovering-anglo-america-s-true-structural-power-in-global-finance-div.pdf

Babak Makkinejad

I think a grand bargain between the Fortress West and the Russian Federation is not in the cards.

Ukraine - "The Border Country" - is dead and why would the Russians bargain over the carcass of that country when in the ripeness of time they would swallow it?

At some time in the past, Russians would have wanted movement on NATO expansion, ABM Treaty etc. Given the recent technical advances on hyper-sonic non-nuclear munitions (with nuclear-weapon lethality) I am not sure those consideration are as important to them.

What is needed, in my opinion, is to breath new life into the Peace of Yalta while some of its institutions - such as UN - are still functioning, though moribund.

That would require the People's Republic of China to be included - the 3 Kings deciding the contours of the strategic settlement on Earth for a few more decades.

Donald

Colonel--

What do you think would happen if we did get involved in a naval/ air war with Iran? This might be an interesting topic for the knowledgeable people here ( which does not include me) to war game. I don't mean that to sound glib. I don't have to be an expert to expect such a war to be a catastrophe, one way or another.

BraveNewWorld

Lets remember that a month or two ago under the last president US ships were reporting that they were being shot at and it was all Irans fault. It turned out to be a problem with the radar system and no missiles had actually been fired. But that didn't stop them from jumping straight to blaming Iran. When all you have is a hammer ever...

Linda

I guess re Trump one has to believe that he is capable and willing to conduct a very elaborate charade appearing to be clueless and arrogant, or he really is clueless and arrogant. I'm not sure which is more dangerous.

BraveNewWorld

It isn't about oil, it isn't about America and it isn't about terrorism. It is about Israel and American politicians being their bitches.

"PM: Israel, US, UK must form united front to combat Iran ‘aggression’"

http://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-israel-us-uk-must-form-united-front-to-combat-iran-aggression/

"Elaine Chao, confirmed this week as Trump’s transportation secretary, received $50,000 in 2015 for a five-minute speech to the political wing of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, previously called a “cult-like” terrorist group by the State Department. Former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani also was paid an unknown sum to talk to the group, known as the MEK.

More than two dozen former US officials, both Republican and Democratic, have spoken before the MEK, including former House Speaker and Trump adviser Newt Gingrich. Some have publicly acknowledged being paid, but others have not."

...

"Already, a group of former US officials, including Giuliani, wrote a letter to Trump last month encouraging him to “establish a dialogue” with the MEK’s political arm. "

http://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-cabinet-pick-paid-by-terrorist-iranian-exile-group/

I have to wonder where the MEK is getting the money to pay these politicians $10,000 a minute to speak and how much value you can get out of a 5 min speech from the soon to be Transportation Secretary? #DTS

Donald

I googled and found an answer to my own question about what a war with Iran might be like--

http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-iran-would-go-war-against-america-12548

wisedupearly

"Our defense analysts are so sharp its amazing."
You want a job as the top defense analyst? Looks like you are sharper than the dudes (or is it duds) we've got.

wisedupearly

the Borg is banking on Trump's extremely thin skin and short attention span.
Trump will bluster as is his habit and the Borg will suggest "rules of engagement" that will force military retaliation for "looking sideways at a navy vessel with evil intent". The worst possible declaration of war is the one you didn't want to make.
Does Trump have enough sense to avoid the traps being set?
Doubt it.

turcopolier

BNW


"It is about Israel and American politicians being their bitches." At root all the devilment in the last 15 years in Syria and Iraq is due to that. pl

turcopolier

Donald

Given the performance a few days ago of a towed ECM pod against a US Aegis class cruiser in the Black Sea a few days ago the US might have some nasty surprises inflicted on it. pl

sid_finster

@turcopolier: please explain.

turcopolier

sid_finster

Why should I? pl

ISL

Dear Colonel,

I share your concerns, but I would argue to President Trump to choose his battles, and I think he is doing so. President Obama and the democrats were rightly criticized (IMO) by economist Mark Blythe as always bring a knife to a gun fight. If President Trump is to have a gunfight with the banks, he has the guns (in his cabinet). As to whether there ever will be a gun fight, I too have concerns and hopes. The same may be true on Iran.

turcopolier

ISL

I believe that I am arguing to him to pick his battles. pl

ISL

Dear Colonel, Yes, and watch his backside. Hopefully he will employ his "Your fired! " signature to good use.

FB Ali

I sincerely hope you're right about Bannon. I have my hopes pinned on him: that he's shifted his thinking from its previous direction, now that he is 'in power'.

I think that Nikki Haley's visit to Ambassador Churkin's home after her vitriolic speech in the Security Council was the result of the White House telling her to.

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