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19 September 2019

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prawnik

I see the Yemenis as being like the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising - if Iran arms them to better resist the fate that the Saudi have prepared, then Iran deserves congratulations for doing so.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
I understand what you're saying and, btw, my outlook has nothing to do with my latent antipathy towards Islam.

If Iran is providing support to Yemenis that includes creating the ability to Strike Saudi/Gulfies oil production and Iran knows that the support will be used in that manner, then the support is, quite purposefully, serving more than one end - one end being to further Iran's position with regards to US pressure against it by demonstrating the ability to retaliate against the US. In that case, Iran's friends in Yemen are, indeed, proxies.

Damaging the flow of oil from the region is a global economic problem. It negatively impacts our friends, enemies and everyone in between. Is the US supporting anyone who is causing externalities of that magnitude? I don't think so.

If Iran wants to play at being the "mouse that roared" using Yemeni proxies and their roaring is going to seriously damage economies across the globe, should they be allowed to continue?

Of course I have no idea whether or not Iran is involved. I suspect they are, but they very well might not be. I don't think the possibility should be dismissed so quickly.

Eric Newhill

Flavius,
Damaging the oil flow, damages global business which damages US interests. America is all about business (in the minds of many). The US has the mightiest military and economy and therefore is the logical choice of actors to make sure that business continues unimpeded. That is the argument I believe.

turcopolier

Eric Newhill

"Is the US supporting anyone who is causing externalities of that magnitude? I don't think so." This is a joke, yes? The US now meddles and tinkers with other countries' fates with no sense of irony at the contrast between our expressed ideals and our presumption of imperial grandeur. have you not noticed that we aided and abetter the "Arab Spring" which led to so many disastrous struggles throughout the ME. Do you not think that we created "externalities" in many countries through our neocon intervention in Iraq? I do not accept your statement that your Armenian ancestry plays no role in your attitude in this. you would love to see the Muslims slam the hell out of each other with our help. BTW, it was not the Iranians who mistreated the Armenians.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

"It was not the Iranians who mistreated the Armenians."

Tell him Sir - tell him how a few tens of thousands of them fled to Iran, how Muhammad Ali Jamalzadeh saw them on his way back from Europe and offered his last piece of bread to this former professor - who kept it to himself - and told Jamalzadeh: "I will keep it for myself, my son is too weak is going to die in any case."

Tell him about the Siege of Isfahan by Afghans and how the residents of Julfa had to supply the Afghans with their young boys and girls.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Do you understand Honor?

Eric Newhill

Sir,
I'm talking about current FP policy under Trump. Yes, Bush and Obama created all kinds of negative externalities with their meddling. I don't know that they intended to do that. Maybe they were so stupid as to believe their own BS.

IMO, The US can't self-deprecate forever over the idiocy of past administrations any more than it can over slavery. At some point we have to move on.

Believe it or not, I do not want to see Muslims slam the hell out of each other because it will impact our economy badly. Otherwise, sure; have at it. They're going to do it anyhow.

doug

Exactly. The Maximum Pressure policy requires that Iran be pointed to. It gets magnified by the media echo chamber and generates political pressure to "do something." The wishful thinking is that Iran will capitulate and agree to a more nuclear program more favorable to Western interests. Ideally no nuclear program at all.

After the undetected, precision attack against key oil infrastructure it should be abundantly clear that isn't going to happen. It's certainly clear to the large majority of people with more than two functioning neurons.

We, and especially Trump with neocon urging, dug this hole and it isn't clear how he can extract us from it. Perhaps he has undisclosed Houdini skills.

Eric Newhill

Babak,
I understand honor. Sometimes it demands that a lot of people who feel their honor has been called into question get killed - and still materially lose, but I understand it. It's the warriors' way. Is every man woman and child in Iran a warrior? Do they want to be?

JamesT

"Can we defeat Iran and take out the mullahs?"

Taking out the mullahs might turn out to be as much of an "own goal" as taking out Saddam Hussein has proven to be. Iran would remain a geostrategic competitor to the US and Israel - but reform could leave them that much more economically productive, just like Russia is much more economically productive with communism gone.

JamesT

The US is indeed preventing the flow of oil from the region - it has taken extensive steps to stop Iranian oil exports. Times have changed - it is currently China, Russia, and Iran who most want shipping lanes to remain open and trade to flow freely.

prawnik

Question: how secure are Oman's borders?

Could tribals sort of slip in and out, unnoticed by anyone? I honestly don't know.

Stephanie

Militaristic countries (and how can the United States be described as anything except militaristic) get caught up in their own propaganda. A parallel might be Hitler's invasion of Russia in which, when he failed to take Moscow, certainly his general staff and probably Hitler himself realized the war was over (https://www.globalresearch.ca/70-years-ago-december-1941-turning-point-of-world-war-ii/28059). The point being that Iran has bought a ton of time to prepare for pretty much any military attack by the U.S. including nuclear. I don't think the risk associated with *any* military attack on Iran is appreciated... enough. I don't know anything about drones and cruise missiles, but if they could hit the oil field, could they not just about anything else over there including Bahrain and Qatar less than 90 miles away?
What is happening is regime change in Saudi Arabia, and Pompeo was undoubtedly sent to tell them it could never happen. "We've got your back."

Keith Harbaugh

While of course we would never, ever, scream like wounded pigs
if any other power tried to meddle in our politics.
(Yes, that's obviously a joke.)

Factotum

Good time for a re-read of Barbara Tuchman's March of Folly - and the curious theme of "wooden headedness" that can grip those marching its peoples into unwinable wars - starting with the Trojans accepting the wooden horse from the "departing" Greeks, regardless of warnings against its acceptance.

Wooden headedness is more than being stubborn or blind - it carries a taint of defeatedness as well. A surrender to forces larger than oneself and loss of survival alternatives - a certain weariness that capitulates ones own downfall. Tuchman goes on to also assess the US engagement in Vietnam under the same lens. As well as the Renaissance excesses of the Vatican that led to the Protestant revolution forever altering the Holy Roman Empire grip on European history.

Hubris - catharsis - war - annihilation - defeat- since the beginnings of western story - these elements are always in play.

Aristophones

Trump left a nuclear agreement and imposed severe sanctions on Iran. This was a hostile act. There was a decent possibility Iran would retaliate. Let's agree that Iran or one of their allies successfully took out half of KSA oil production in one attack. What was the plan once Iran retaliated?

That's enough current "negative externalities" and stupidity for my plate.

JP Billen

The Saudis have nixed any US retribution on Iran. They may be feckless, but they ain't that stupid. They know that the House of Saud would never survive in the event of a war. They cannot discount the threat of attack from three different axis: Iran, Iraq, and Yemen.

But worse, there is still the internal threats to consider. They have two million Saudi Shia that have been oppressed for a hundred years or more. Those people of the Eastern Province may or may not start a major insurgency, but many would resort to sabotage and any other methods to support an Iranian war effort. Then there are the people on the Left Coast that bin-Salman has to account for. The Hejazi have always hated the House of Saud. Hejazis consider the Saud family to be unlearned country bumpkins and usurpers. And they have no appetite for Wahabbi fundamentalism. Speaking of Wahabbis, there are some in that sect that have come to despise the Sauds for stripping power away from the religious police and allowing women driving privileges. Furthermore there are economic woes - there would be no money to pay off the tribal sheikhs for their loyalty.

IMHO in a war with Iran the Saud Dynasty would be toast. They know it too!

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Iranians understand Honor as well as dis-honor.

Eric Newhill

Assumes that Iran was honoring the agreement and was planning to continue doing so. If true, I agree with you.

Eric Newhill

That is different that general chaos that stops the whole shebang from delivering

turcopolier

Eric Newhill

As I have repeatedly stated, I see no evidence that Iran had a nuclear WEAPON program after 2003 when Khomeini shut their program down because he thought it evil. the JCPOA IMO was from thre Iranian POV a giant joke and a way to get some of their money back.

Murali

Mr.Newell, I agree with you that can't hold ourselves responsible for the slavery and should move on. But in the case of Bush and Obama their actions are in the present time say less than 20 years. When the high priests of western nations held the Nuremberg trials for Nazis how can you in good conscience accept no responsibility for the hundreds of deaths in Iraq and Libya (where if I am not wrong, the old slave market is in full swing for which you obsolved us). Just wondering if it is the American Exceptionalism that Saint Obama said feels it in every bone of his body.

JP Billen

Eric,

I admire your patriotism. However I believe your ill will against Islam is misplaced. It should be reserved for the Turks. Or for the Saudis whose Mutaween, the religious police, prohibit Christian worship by the million plus expatriate oilfield workers, mostly Filipino Catholics.

I don't believe there has ever been a pogrom of Armenians in Iran. Do you know differently? Many of the Armenians living in Iran fled persecution in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12)

In some countries and at some points in time, failure on the battlefield meant execution.

It sure did, including decimation. But it does not apply to neocons because most of them.... never served a day in uniform and, as we all know, not eligible to be put in a front of a firing squad. I would, however, as a punishment, have limited their food options in D.C. to McDonald's (breakfast, lunch, dinner--life, without parole--and Applebee's (on 4th of July only) to finally see Robert Kagan turn into Baron Vladimir Harkonnen until his fat ass explodes or, otherwise, he dies from starvation.

Eric Newhill

Sir,
Yes, perhaps their nuclear program is all about peaceful applications, such as energy and medical, as they claim.

It all comes down to risk assessment, doesn't it?

They could the lift religious restrictions you're relying on and they could develop nuclear weapons capability fairly quickly. Khamenei is what, 80 years old? They have been working all along on ballistic missiles with increasing range. They continue to deny the right of Israel to exist. To continue to seek an expansion of their influence in the region, which includes hostility to SA. They continue to sponsor terrorism.

Whether we like it or not, The US is going to support Israel into the foreseeable future. The US is also going to support the Saudis and Gulfies for various reasons; some related to Israel, some related to global markets and some related to personal graft. These are realities that Iran has chosen to defy. How far they would go and how far we are willing to let them go depends on the assessment and level of risk aversion in the Whitehouse and in Israel and SA.

I'm sure there are factors at play, but those are the big ones that Trump has to look at - and that could be used to sell war with Iran.

I can see how an assessment would be made by a highly risk averse group that an honor bound/religiously bound Iran would seek to use its ballistic missiles and nuclear program to try to obliterate its enemies; enemies that have cozied up to the US for protection against such an event.

Why take the chance? For what? The preservation of a theocracy? Now Iran wants to show us why - they can inflict damage. Ok. That cuts both ways. Destroy them now and minimize the damage, or be forced to destroy them later when the damage they inflict would be greater and more on their terms.

Not saying that's what I think. Just saying that it seems like a reasonable position for people that are charged with making such decisions.

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