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04 January 2020

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The Beaver

TTG

From what I recall and remember reading, Brett MCGurk has always seen the late Suleimani as his competitor in that part of the Shia Crescent. He may have been jealous that Suleimani has had his boots on the ground from the. beginning- whether it was in Tikrit or the Deir-Ezzor to fight ISIS where as he was prominence when he was put as special envoy for the Global coalition to defeat ISIS in 2016.

Eric Newhill

TTG,
I still think the sense of urgency in eliminating Soleimani has to do with the embassy attack. Trump absolutely cannot have an embassy taken over and US personnel taken hostage and/or killed. I think Trump felt the need to send a strong message about that. Yes, that's a political calculation, but I think it goes deeper. I wouldn't trade 500 Soleimanis for a 50% chance of an embassy debacle or a single US life. I don't buy that Soleimani was an innocent merely attending a funeral. That's stupid. We know his job description and history.

You seem to agree that Soleimani represented a long term threat in the region. So he makes a good target for Trump to serve both the immediate goal and, hopefully, long term goal. Yes, Soleimani's billet has already been filled, but the message from the US - at the Trump admin part of it - remains strong.

I know there are many here who think it's none of the US' business what happens in the MENA and that we should get out completely. That has a definite appeal to me too. However, doing so is not without serious consequences in this interconnected world. Just one example, a Sunni v Shia all out war would result in a massive refugee crisis, perhaps larger than anything we've seen yet. There's Israel, which a lot to a lot of people, both Jews and Gentiles. Another is that there are oil issues too and the global economy. This isn't 900 AD when a war could happen in the MENA and Europeans could be comfortably ignorant that it's even occurring, let alone be impacted.

John Merryman

Wondering how much more intense the security will be around Trump's campaign rallies during the election.

EmJay72159508

You appear to be one of the few voices of sanity on SST at the moment.

The Twisted Genius

Eric, the embassy attack hurt little more than our pride. Yes, an entrance lobby and it's contents were burned and destroyed but no American was injured or even roughed up. It was the Iraqi government that let the demonstrators approach the embassy walls, not Soleimani. The unarmed PMU soldiers dispersed as soon as the Iraqi government said their point was made. If we are so thin skinned that rude graffiti and gestures induce us to committing assassinations, we deserve to be labeled as international pariahs.

Yes, I see Soleimani as a threat, but he was a threat to the jihadis and the continued US dreams of regional hegemony. I was glad we went back into Iraq to take on the threat of IS and cheered our initial move into Syria to do the same. That was the Sunni-Shia war you worry about. More accurately, it was a Salafist jihadist-all others war. Unfortunately, we overstayed the need and our welcome. It's a character flaw that we cannot loosen our grasp on empire no matter how much it costs us.

PavewayIV

TTG - "And what were those sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran?"

According to published pictures of the rockets recovered after the K-1 attack, they were the same powerful new weapons that Turkish troops recovered from a YPG ammo depot in Afrin last year: 'Iranian' 107mm rockets Manufactured 2016 Lot 570. I know matching lots isn't proof of anything, but what are the chances?

If the U.S. only had a Dilyana Gaytandzhieva to bird-dog out the rat line. Wait... the MSM would have fired her by now for weaponizing journalism against the neocons [sigh].

Elora Danan

I fear the massive refuges crisis worry you less than to Elora the price of stocks in the NY Stock Exchange...sinde thye do not affect you in the least...otherwise you would not have destroyed Lybia first, Irak second, and Syria third...

The same with the possible impact in Europe, otherwise you would not have been nurturing ISIS/AQ in Irak/Syria/Lybia or obstructing JCPOA and North Stream 2...

Elora fears your true reasons are those of oil and global economy you mention in the middle of your worries...the same of Bret MacGurk..

Factotum

On a scale of 1-10, was the evidence as thin as Trump was a Russian agent that sent the CIA-FBI into a full frontal attack? Not seeing a good track record here for our IC.

Factotum

If a goal is to get the heck out of the Middle East since it is an intractable cess pit and stat protecting our own borders and internal security, will we be better off with Soleimani out of the picture or left in place.

Knowing of course, more just like him will sprout quickly, like dragon's teeth, in the sands of the desert.ME is a tar baby. Fracking our own tar sands is the preferable alternative.

Real war war would be a direct attack on Israel. Then they get our full frontal assault. But this pissy stuff around the edges is an exercise in futility. 2020 was Trump's to lose.Incapacity to handle asymmetirc warfare is ours to lose.

Factotum

If renewed Sunni-Shia conflict has "global consequences", then I suggest global partners start protecting their own interests.

Jane

There is no necessary link between the Iranian support for the Assad regime, to include its operations in tribal areas of Syria. The Iranian-backed militias and Iranian government officials have been operating in that area for a long time, supporting the efforts of Security/Intel Ali Mamlouk. That Suleimani knew the tribes so well is a mark of his professional competence. Everyone is courting the Syrian tribes, some sides more adeptly than others. It is also worth noting that in putting together manpower for their various locally formed Syrian militias, the Iranians took on unemployed Sunnis.

That said, there are small Ismaili communities in Syria and there are apparently a couple of villages in Deir ez Zor that did convert to Shiism, but no mass religious change. The Iranians are sensitive to the fact that they could cause a backlash if they tried hard to promote "an alien culture."

Elora Danan

Well, The Donald has turned to Twitter menacing iran with wiping out all of its World Heritage Sites....which is declared intention to commit a war crime...

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1213593975732527112

For what it seems Iran must sawllow the assasination of its beloved and highjly regarded general...or else...

Do you really think there is any explanation for this, whatever Soleimani´s history ( he was doing his duty in his country and neighboring zone...you are...well...everywhere...) or that we can follow this way with you escalating your threats and crimes ever and that everybody must leave it at that without response or you menace coming with more ?

That somebody or some news agency has any explanation for this is precisely the sign of our times and our disgrace. That there is a bunch of greedy people who is willing to do whatever is needed to prevail and keep being obscenely rich...

BTW, would be interesting to know who are the main holders of shares at Reuters...

Elora Danan

Board of Directors of Reuters

The same monopolizing almost each and every MSM and news agency at every palce in the world, big bank, big pharma, big business, big capital ( insurances companies nad hedge funds ) big real state, and US think tanks...

Jack

TTG,

Thanks for your post. What it says I buy. We are in the Middle East and have been for a while to impose regional hegemony. What that has bought us is nebulous at best. Clearly we have spent trillions and destabilized the region. Millions have been displaced and hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed, including thousands of our soldiers. Are we better off from our invasion of Iraq, toppling Ghaddafi, and attempting to topple Assad using jihadists? Guys like McGurk, Bolton, Pompeo will say yes. Others like me will say no.

The oil is a canard. We produce more oil than we ever have and it is a fungible commodity. Will it impact Israel if we pull out our forces? Sure. But it may have a salutary effect that it may force them to sue for peace. Will the Al Sauds continue to fund jihadi mayhem? Likely yes, but they’ll have to come to some accommodation with the Iranian Shia and recognize their regional strength.

Our choice is straightforward. Continue down the path of more conflict sinking ever more trillions that we don’t have expecting a different outcome or cut our losses and get out and let the natural forces of the region assert themselves. I know which path I’ll take.

Elora Danan

In Elora´s opinion, Bret MacGurk is making revanche from Soleimani for the predictable fact that a humble and pious man bred in the region, who worked as bricklayer to help pay his father´s debt during his youth, and moreover has an innate irresistible charisma, managed to connect better with the savage tribes of the ME than such exceptionalist posh theoric bred at such an exceptionalist as well as far away country like the US.

But...what did you expect, that MacGurk would become Lawrence of Arabia versus Soleimani in his simpleness?

May be because of that that he deserved being dismembered by a misile...

As Pence blamed shamefully and stonefacelly Soleimani for 9/11, MacGurk blames him too for having fallen from the heights he was...

It seems that Pence was in the team of four who assesed Trump on this hit...along with Pompeo...

A good response would be that someone would leak the real truth on 9/11 so as to debunk Pence´s mega-lie...

Amir

Eric, “Israel, which a lot to a lot of people, both Jews and -in Gaza Ghetto caged-Gentiles” is now worried about an all out Sunni vs. Shia war?! FDD’s Richard Goldberg is a Shia or is Jared Kushner a Sunni? Muddying the water again Eric?

Amir

I think the reasons are tribal loyalties, as human as it gets wil all.

Factotum

Two years ago, the public protest theme for Basel's winter carnival Fashnach was the imminent threat nuclear war as NK and US were sabre rattling, and NK was lobbing missles across Japan with sights on West Coast US cities.

Then almost the following week, NK and US planned to meet F2F in Singapore. And we could all breathe again. In the very early spring of 2018.

JamesT

TTG,

With all due respect, I think you are wrong. I think the protesters swarming the embassy was exactly the same kind of tactic that US backed protesters used in Ukraine (and are currently using in Hong Kong) to great effect. The Persians are unique in that they are capable of studying our methodologies and tactics and appropriating them.

When the US backed protesters took over Maidan square and started taking over various government building in Kiev, Viktor Yanukovych had two choices - either start shooting protesters or watch while his authority collapsed. It was and is a difficult choice. In my humble opinion, there are few things the stewards of US hegemony fear more than the IRGC becoming the worlds number one disciple of Gene Sharp.

blue peacock

TTG

This "imminent" threat of Gen. Soleimani attacking US forces seems eerily reminiscent of the "mushroom cloud" imminent threat that Bush, Cheney and Blair peddled. Now we even have Pence claiming that Soleimani provided support to the Saudi 9/11 terrorists. Laughable if it wasn't so tragic. But of course at one time the talking point was Saddam orchestrated 9/11 and was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden.

I find it fascinating watching the media spin and how easily so many Americans buy into the spin du jour.

After the Iraq WMD, Gadhaffi threat and Assad the butcher and the incorrigible terrorist loving Taliban posing such imminent threats that we must use our awesome military to bomb, invade, occupy, while spending trillions of dollars borrowed from future generations, and our soldiers on the ground serving multiple tours, and our fellow citizens buy into the latest rationale for killing an Iranian & Iraqi general, without an ounce of skepticism, says a lot!

Yeah, it will be interesting to see how Trump's re-election will go when we are engaged in a full scale military conflagration in the Middle East? It sure will give Tulsi & Bernie an excellent environment to promote their anti-neocon message. You can see it in Trump's ambivalent tweets. On the one hand, I ordered the assassination of Soleimani to prevent a war (like we needed to burn the village to save it), while on the other hand, we have 52 sites locked & loaded if you retaliate. Hmmm!! IMO, he has seriously jeapordized his re-election by falling into the neocon Deep State trap. They never liked him. The coup by law enforcement & CIA & DNI failed. The impeachment is on its last legs. Voila! Incite him into another Middle Eastern quagmire against what he campaigned on and won an election.

I would think that Khamanei has no choice but to retaliate. How is anyone's guess? I doubt he'll order the sinking of a naval vessel patrolling the Gulf or fire missiles into the US base in Qatar. But assassination....especially in some far off location in Europe or South America? A targeted bombing here or there? A cyber attack at a critical point. I mean not indiscriminate acts like the jihadists but highly calculated targets. All seem extremely feasible in our highly vulnerable and relatively open societies. And they have both the experience and skills to accomplish them.

If ever you have the inclination, a speculative post on how the escalation ladder could potentially be climbed would be a fascinating read.

Something To Think About

"I still think the sense of urgency in eliminating Soleimani has to do with the embassy attack. "

Eric, words have meaning.

You use the word "urgency", whereas the Trump Administration is very careful to use the word "imminent" to justify the assassination of Soleimani.

It makes a difference.

b over at MoA links to this:
https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761

It is well worth a look.

Basically, if the Administration's definition of "imminent" is, ahem, rather inventive then this was a killing of a foreign leader for reasons of he-was-pissing-us-off and we-want-to-send-a-message.

That twitter post has a reporter saying that she has information from two people inside the Administration that the word "imminent" doesn't mean what they think it means.


Something To Think About

A question to the committee: what is the source for the claim that Soleimani bears direct responsibility for the death of over 600 US military personnel?

Craig Murray points to this article:
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2019/04/04/iran-killed-more-us-troops-in-iraq-than-previously-known-pentagon-says/

If that is the case (and it appears to be) then the US govt's claim is nonsense, as it clearly says " 'During Operation Iraqi Freedom, DoD assessed that at least 603 U.S. personnel deaths in Iraq were the result of Iran-backed militants,' Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in an email."

So those figures represent casualties suffered during the US-led military invasion of Iraq i.e. casualties suffered during a shooting-war.

If Soleimani is a legitimate target for assassination because of the success of his forces on the battlefield then wouldn't that make Tommy Franks an equally-legitimate target?

Jack

Pulitzer Prize winning author of Caliphate, Romanian-American, Rukmini Callimachi, on the intelligence on Soleimani “imminent threat” being razor-thin.

https://twitter.com/rcallimachi/status/1213421769777909761?s=21

PavewayIV

You just beat me to her thread, Jack. For the Twitter shy, this is the first of a series of 17 tweets as a teaser:

1. I’ve had a chance to check in with sources, including two US officials who had intelligence briefings after the strike on Suleimani. Here is what I’ve learned. According to them, the evidence suggesting there was to be an imminent attack on American targets is “razor thin”.

Summary: [Too shameful to type]

Fred

Factotum,

How many neocon/borg concocted "red line" incidents does it take to finally get a President to do something foolish?

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