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20 May 2019

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marku52

Found this over at Naked Capitalism. Discusses a lot of events not covered by the the MSM, like specifics of tanker sabotage and pipeline damage and the death of a US soldier in Kobane. Sourcing seems spotty, but offers a lot of details on the ongoing war against Iran. Main source looks to be an Israeli one, but the bias doesn't match. Caveat Emptor.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/05/on-the-cusp-of-war-why-iran-wont-fold.html

blue peacock

TTG

It would seem that if Trump wants to reduce many Iranian cities to rubble, it would require a significant buildup, similar to the buildup prior to the Iraq invasion. Is that a correct assessment?

Or asked in another way, can Iranian retaliatory capability be eliminated in a surprise conventional attack? If the US military can't do that, wouldn't the probability of a larger conflict be very high? I would assume Iran would fire missiles at Saudi and UAE oil facilities, shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, possibly even Riyadh, Dubai and Tel Aviv. Shia militia in Iraq, Hezbollah and even Syria could possibly attack Israeli & US assets in the region.

As we've seen in Iraq & Afghanistan, while the initial shock & awe may go according to plan, it is the insurgency after that makes it into a quagmire. We've been in Afghanistan for 18 years. I'm sure we've bombed the snot out of places yet the Taliban control large sections of the country.

Terry

Good grief! I hate to say it but could it be that Trump gives the likes of Bolton and Pompeo the national stage so that they put up or shut up? Lurking in the shadows they would always be an influence but give them center stage and the spotlight will show them up as warmongering fools without a clue in short order, I haven't subscribed to the Trump "genius" theory in the past but this makes me wonder.

johnf

More on the fact that this is not just an American intelligence war it is an Israeli/American intelligence war:

"Do Iranian ‘Threats’ Signal Organized U.S.-Israel Subterfuge?"

"The intel they've provided is thin, the origins murky and suspect---haven't we heard this story before?"

By Gareth Porter • May 21, 2019

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/do-iranian-threats-signal-organized-u-s-israel-subterfuge/

Christian J Chuba

An offer he couldn't refuse
To summarize, Iran sabotaged the tankers and instigated the attack on the pipeline as a display of force to create daylight between the Gulf States and the U.S.

I had no idea that the Saudis had a pipeline that carries 5M barrels a day to a port on the Red Sea, these acts are like puting a horse head in bin Salman's bed.

That sounds very plausible. The tanker damage was minor and nobody died.

The downside for Iran is that it reinforces the meme 'terrorist state' but it could also be their way of saying, 'if we were really a terrorist state see what we could do but haven't.'

Talk to Trump
Iran should take every opportunity to talk directly with Trump to create daylight between him and the Neocon Cartel even if they think the negotiations are toxic. Talking to anybody else but Trump is a waste of time.

Amir

It is not about Trump, Iran will not trust the US government again: I refer to a piece by SAIS scholar who puts is much better than I could ever do
“When the nuclear deal was signed, Revolutionary Guards told me they wanted a better relationship with America. Not anymore.”
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/08/iran-will-never-trust-america-again
“...what the United States and Israel are doing today is a carbon copy of the screenplay they used to sell the invasion of Iraq in 2002. We were naive to think the Americans would stick to their promises in this deal, but are the American people and the rest of the world really that naive to fall for the same lies again?”

Amir

Why maximum pressure strategy will not work:
To again quote from SAIS researcher Bajoghli work in the field and interviews with IRGC members: “What Americans don’t understand is that the groups that we support in the region are not Iran’s mercenaries...The Americans think everything is about money. They think we buy loyalty in the region, because that’s how they buy loyalty.”
3/4th of the article is behind a paywall but the first few paragraphs are free.
Also Prof Bajoghli has a tweeter account which is freely accessible: https://twitter.com/nargesbajoghli

eakens

Exactly right. Ask an Iranian to do something for you and s/he will be happy to help you out. Tell an Iranian what to do and see what happens.

The fundamental problem here is Trump is uneducated on cultural nuances, and as Col. Lang has pointed out before, he treats everything like a NY Real Estate deal where people will sell their first born for the right price. The people of Iran will stand and fight, and it's for Iran not the Mullahs.

This is why the best and easiest way to eliminate the Mullahs is to reinstate the JCPOA, lift all the sanctions with no preconditions and start trading. The Mullahs will be gone inside of a few years.

We had that opportunity to trade the Saudis in for Iran when it came to fighting ISIS and in Syria, and we could have kept the Russians out, but of course we are not doing thing's for ourselves but for our Saudi and Israeli masters. The Saudis have monetary control over DC, and the Israelis political control.

Another point that Bob Baer has made that was with HZB/Lebanon, the US found is that there was very little corruption when it came to Iran and Hizbullah, demonstrating that this is about principle when it comes to the Shia.

Tidewater

There is a lot of speculation based on not much evidence that Russia gave Iran a variant of the S-300 (S-300PMU-3), which is, in fact, the equivalent of the S-400 in capability. If this is true, then Iran would be able to take on the most sophisticated of American airplanes, the fifth generation, including the F-22 and the B-2. That would be in the areas defended by the S-300PMU-3, of course. I don't know how many batteries Iran has. One article in Military Watch Magazine on March 23, 2018, 'Iran May Have the S-400 in All But Name' discusses this.

One thing that intrigues me. The S-400 system can be air-deployed by the Antonov. Also by ship from the Caspian. In any war with Iran, how would you stop resupply? It seems to me that it would become open-ended, with the area from the Caspian to Tehran particularly well-defended.

https: //militarywatchmagazine.com>Region>Middle East.

I noticed that this possibility may be addressed on YouTube as well. I apologize if my link does not work, but it can be googled if anyone is interested.

The Twisted Genius

BP, your assessment is correct. I do think the neocon goal is not a repeat of the Iraq War. They want shock and awe followed by a miraculous uprising of the Iranian people calling for the installation of a US-compliant government. The neocons clearly have their heads firmly implanted in their 4th points of contact. It's not going to happen as they wish.

ex-PFC Chuck

Some commenters in the thread of that NC post pointed out that it may have been sourced from the Middle East Media Research Institute, and that MEMRI is a tool of Israeli intelligence. I have no idea whether or not this bears any relation to the facts.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/05/on-the-cusp-of-war-why-iran-wont-fold.html#comment-3154300

Valissa

I find it very difficult to take seriously this fear about war with Iran. Bush blew hot and cold on the idea over the course of his administration. Iran war hysteria would bubble up and then die down again. This pattern as been going on for many years across many administrations.

Obama admin did the same, and at that time I was subscribed to Stratfor and starting to learn why countries go to war... or don't. This was before the neocon mindset finally became more dominant at Stratfor and Dr. George Friedman sold the business to go off and run his own geopolitical forecasting business.

Friedman was a good teacher of basic practical geopolitical theory. He is of the realist school, as far as I can determine. He pointed out how Iran is mostly mountainous, and not only that many of the valleys are deserts rather than fertile farming areas therefore most of the population lives in the mountainous and highland areas. This makes Iran extremely difficult to attack. Not to mention the issues surrounding oil traffic thru the Strait of Hormuz.

Stratfor would go through periods of posting articles on why the US should improve it's relations with Iran. However, whenever the neocon warmongers in the MSM starting smack talking about Iran, then Stratfor would post mildly supportive articles about attacking Iran. Then inevitably the Iran war talk would die down and the Stratfor articles when back to the more typical realist approach (until Friedman left).

Now that Trump is president and the neocons have been hemming him in too, once again there is hysteria about possible war with Iran. Surprise, surprise, surprise (/snark)

My take is that the reason the war talk died down each was due to the generals explaining geographical reality and costs to the politicos. That reality has not changed. Plus the current Iranian leaders are not stupid or reckless.

I expect that Pax Americana will continue using cold war type methods to harass Iran, or maybe another color revolution attempt, but that's about it.

It's a war of words, something Trump enjoys. More pro-wrestling strategy, IMO, than anything else.

jdledell

Trump's talk about "Iran ceasing to exist" reminds me that Trump has control of our nuclear weapons. Does anyone here think it would be possible for Trump to use nuclear weapons to obliterate Tehran and/or other major Iranian cities? In other words is Trump crazy enough to let the offensive first use of nuclear weapons genie out of the box?

The Twisted Genius

jdledell, I think this is more empty threats from a conman. I seriously doubt he desires a war, especially a nuclear war, but I don't know if he's stable enough to resist snapping under the right circumstances. His subordinates have ignored his orders before. I think they would in this case as well.

Valissa

jdledell, I am having a hard time believing you are asking such a question. The big propaganda talking points the dem supporting MSM pushed hard about Trump for several years now is that he was stupid, crazy and racist (nasty names etc).

I know he disgusts you, and I totally understand that. But do you fear him as well? He often uses pro-wrestling style smack talk. He's the circus ringmaster full of carny bluster. I thought everyone knew this by now. Probably because that's the only thing that works for him. Makes people underestimate him. In his own unique way he is very smart and strategic.

I've tried imaging him as a genteel soft spoken business man who gently grew into statesmanship on the world stage... you know, the fantasy that more people would "approve of"... but I just can't go there. Is he so culturally alien and uncouth to you that you fear his irrationality?

Fred

Hey, 25th amendment time! I'm sure Pence will be much more compliant to neocon desires for old fashioned conventional war. What justification for a first strike with nuclear weapons do you wish to propose he use that would actually be followed. A single rocket in the green zone? I think the run down PBS news hour gave tonight, which followed Morning Joe's take this morning, pretty much shot Bolton's anti-Iran ideas full of holes. Trump needs to fire that guy before he goes rouge and creates a war only the Borg want.

turcopolier

TTG and jdledell

Unfortunately, neither of you qualifies as an objective judge of Trump or what he might do.

jdledell

Pat - I agree that I am not an objective judge of Trump. However, I was trying to ask the question of other commentators rather than making a statement. Perhaps I could have framed the question better. However, Trump does seem to have a temper and he does seem to hold a grudge against those who defy him. Beside he still has Pompeo and Bolton at his side and a SecDef who was a Boeing guy without the experience of the devastating impact of War.

joanna

ok, there is such an amendment. Was it ever used successfully?

anti_republocrat

I wonder what others think of David Goldberg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjSL2D4cTt6Rx-QHVydEqSg. I'm skeptical of his weird voice and the fluidity of his allegiance. Also, why is it necessary to apparently distort the voice of his informant, Isabel or whatever her name is, if the White House already fired her for her activities?

Goldberg's claim that the Administration would plan to use tactical nukes to destroy the Iranian Army seems way over the top, but I saw a video of Sheldon Adelson proposing to detonate a nuclear weapon in a desert area of Iran as a warning with the clear threat to use them effectively if Iran did not comply.

Goldberg's latest theory is that Trump's recent "good cop" performance is aimed to convince the sheeple that Trump will not allow a false flag, making a FF in the September-October time frame more believable. I have to say my opinion is that most Americans would believe an out of the blue FF sinking of a carrier and rapidly become gung-ho for war. We know that a similar deed was attempted back in 1967.

It is indeed an intelligence war that a lot of people would like to see develop into a shooting war.

joanna

ever used successfully, was it ever successful.

I am admittedly getting tired of the tune.

Look Trump will MAGA, just lets get it over with and see how the rest of the world settles or rearranges outside the Five Eyes and Israel in the wider world universe.

The Twisted Genius

Colonel Lang received this email from a fellow SST correspondent this morning:

"The English text by Farsnews seems to summarize two events at which Major General (IRGC) Salami spoke: One is an address to IRGC intell officers on Saturday (1) and the other is an address to an extraordinary meeting of parliament on Wednesday (2).

The first text is the more interesting one, the main topic was the 'geography of threats' aligned against Iran. The translation provided by Farsnews could benefit from a distinction between 'intelligence battle' (nabard - single identifiable interaction between two adversaries) and 'war' (jang - protracted series of hostilities) - it gets confounded into one translation of 'war'. Salami brags that Iranian capabilities are so superior that any 'intelligence battle' will be won by them as they are (a) have superior political philosophy, (b) play outside the rule book whereas US and allies are 'rule-bound' and (c) master information operations (there is another recent intervention where he addresses journalists directly). The second piece claims that the US lacks the testicularity required to attack Iran because they were so soundly defeated in their various wars. 

1: https://www.farsnews.com/news/13980228000805/سردار-سلامی-مقیاس-عمل-اطلاعات-سپاه-کل-نظام-و-انقلاب-و-جغرافیای-تهدید
2: https://www.farsnews.com/news/13980222000355/سرلشکر-سلامی-آمریکا-قدرت-و-جرأت-آغاز-جنگ-علیه-ایران-را-ندارد-اعزام

If you want to send it to TTG or post the above for the benefit of the committee members, please feel free to do it. I'll probably translate on the weekend (Friday) the first post anyhow as it is interesting how he describes 'hybrid warfare' in his view."

I encourage our friend, Wunduk, to translate Salami's words and provide insight into Salami's view of "hybrid warfare." This anthropological approach to seeking to understand how others view and classify the world (and warfare) is of great interest to me. It reminds me of some of our discussions about Russian "information confrontation" and reflexive control" over the last few years.

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