US versus Iran escalates

President Trump ordered a missile attack on Baghdad airport that is reported to have killed a ‘top Iranian general’, in retaliation for attacks on the US embassy in Baghdad.

Iran has promised ‘harsh retaliation’.

US versus Iran has been at risk of escalation for years. To an extent at least that now appears to be happening.

What Iran has been doing is a concern. The US response raises concerns. This too and fro fury could fizzle, but it could get very ugly.

  • Trump Orders Strike Killing Top Iranian General in Baghdad MSN
    The commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps was killed early Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that was authorized by President Trump, American officials said.The commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, and several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran were killed when an American MQ-9 Reaper drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the airport.

    The killing of General Suleimani was a staggering blow for Iran’s military and national pride, and was a serious escalation of Mr. Trump’s growing confrontation with Tehran, one that began with the death of an American contractor in Iraq in late December.

  • Terrorist General Soleimani Had Blood of Thousands On His Hands Daily Mail (UK)
    Qassem Soleimani masterminded the killing of hundreds of US troops in IED attacks, helped Assad slaughter his people in Syria, was an ally of Hezbollah and ‘more powerful than Iran’s president’.
  • Esper Says Iran May Be Planning More Attacks on U.S. Interests PBS
    Iran or its proxy forces may be planning further strikes on American interests in the Middle East, and the U.S. is prepared to take preemptive military action if it gets sufficient warning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday.“The game has changed,” Esper said, citing a series of violent attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq in recent months by Iran-supported militia groups. “We’re prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel and our interests and our partners in the region.”
  • Iran Vows ‘Harsh’ Retaliation AP
    Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” for a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed a top Iranian general who had been the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, and the U.S. announced Friday it was sending more troops to the region as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing.

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S. after the airstrike, calling Soleimani the “international face of resistance.” Khamenei declared three days of public mourning and appointed Maj. Gen. Esmail Ghaani, Soleimani’s deputy, to replace him as head of the Quds Force.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the killing a “heinous crime” and vowed his country would “take revenge.” Iran twice summoned the Swiss envoy, the first time delivering a letter to pass onto the United States.

  • After Killing of Top Iranian General, What May Come Next? Heather Hulburt, NY MagIn less than a week, the standoff between the U.S. and Iran has zoomed from what seemed to be a somewhat calibrated exchange of rockets, cyberattacks, and rhetoric to the killing of a man reckoned to be Iran’s second-most-powerful military official, causing military and counterterrorism experts to worry about nasty scenarios from all-out regional war to terrorist retaliation against Americans abroad or at home.

    While its unclear how exactly Tehran will retaliate, we can predict some of the broader consequences of this drastic escalation in U.S.-Iranian hostilities.

  • Trump Calls the Ayatollah’s Bluff  Matthew Continetti, Washington Free Beacon
    The successful operation against Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, is a stunning blow to international terrorism and a reassertion of American might. It will also test President Trump’s Iran strategy. It is now Trump, not Ayatollah Khamenei, who has ascended a rung on the ladder of escalation by killing the military architect of Iran’s Shiite empire. For years, Iran has set the rules. It was Iran that picked the time and place of confrontation. No more.Reciprocity has been the key to understanding Donald Trump.
  • Attack on U.S. Embassy in Iraq Shows Trump Is Failing Wendy Sherman, USA Today

    He walked into Iran’s trap.

    It is President Donald Trump’s failed policy toward Iran that has brought us to this combustible moment.

    Like much of Trump’s national security and foreign policy, his Iran approach is tactical and not strategic. The results have been devastating to U.S. interests. Iran’s most extreme hard-liners, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Quds force, which never wanted the nuclear deal, have gained more power, arguing that the United States couldn’t be trusted to honor any agreement.

    Iran’s nefarious activities in the region have increased, because terror is not an expensive undertaking and so is largely immune from economic sanctions.

    Most would agree that the United States had to respond in some way to the death of an American, but whether the airstrike was the right and proportionate measure is debatable.

    Regardless, if the Trump administration really understood the dynamics of Iraq, it might have anticipated a move like the attack on the U.S. Embassy. Administration officials might have worked more closely with the Iraq government to think through the best way forward. Instead, in essence, Trump walked into Iran’s trap.

 

 

All we can do is watch and hope it doesn’t get too nasty or widespread.

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92 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  4th January 2020

    ”Trump walked into Iran’s trap.” America was already in Iran’s trap.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  4th January 2020

      Drivel commentary wasn’t it? God, the Lefty journalists are pathetic little toadies.

      Reply
  2. Gezza

     /  4th January 2020

    This one act of Trump’s changes the entire situation in the Middle East in ways the various pundits are struggling to calculate. From watching the plentiful commentaries on Aljazeera tv (pretty neutral, they’re not cheerleaders for Iran) it is the equivalent of Iran taking out the US Secretary of Defence.

    While Soleimani has already been replaced by his deputy, he is not Soleimani, who seems to have been regarded as a national hero, despite Pompeo’s & Trump’s assertions that he was feared & hated in Iran.

    The Iranians & Soleimani have hugely miscalculated how much more provocation of the US & Trump they could ratchet up without a massive retaliation by Trump. They were not expecting this, which is a master stroke.

    The revenge rhetoric coming from Tehran is normal, but Tehran knows it would be suicidal to attempt a direct military confrontation with the US. The expectation is that it will engineer attacks on US allies, & Americans wherever they are where they can reach them with proxies.

    The US has advised all Americans in Iraq to leave immediately. It looks likely that the Iraqi government may be forced to order the US to leave, potentially opening the country up to an IS resurgence. Iraq’s Shiite militias were hugely involved in ridding Iraq of IS, but were greatly assisted by US airpower & intel in that fight.

    If this escalates into Iranian-sponsored attacks on US nationals & installations in the Middle East, the US is not going to put US boots on the ground in Iran. They can destroy Iranian oil installations & infrastructure with relative ease & the killing of Soleimani – being touted by some Aljaz commentators as Khameini’s no 2 – looks like a clear warning they may have the intel & stealth capacity to take out the leadership, & keep taking out the replacements.

    They might indeed be hoping for regime change in Iran. But they seem to have little understanding of the interrelationships & rivalries between regimes, peoples, religion & politics on the ground in the wider Middle East. Proxy conflicts & anti-US sentiment across the region will possibly just ramp up.

    It looks like a high stakes gamble by Trump with an unpredictable end game at the moment.

    Reply
  3. David

     /  4th January 2020

    Good shooting Trumpy, he was essentially a terrorist but it was pretty audacious to take out the top Iranians guy at Baghdad airport.
    Pretty awesome messaging, similar to taking out that muppet within a few hours of being appointed the new ISIS boss.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th January 2020

      They took out Baghdadi & his IS spokesperson, who Trump claimed would have been his replacement, within a few days. But IS named someone else as Baghdadi’s replacement.

      There’s no doubt Trump’s sent shockwaves thru the Tehran leadership though. They must be shitting themselves. Their response is unpredictable; religious fanatics running a country may not care if they end up devastating their country if they fundamentally believe Allah will test them but in the end will just not allow it.

      The US is potentially going to have to be prepared to respond to attacks anywhere in the world where there are Islamic populations – quite a stretch, although it looks like the Trump administration might treat every future attack anywhere as the responsibility of Tehran & respond accordingly.

      Jeez I’d hate to be living in the Middle East though. The whole region’s volatile & there are way too many actors to bet on the US being able to dial the conflicts down.

      Reply
  4. Gezza

     /  4th January 2020

    Trump speaking live on Aljazeera tv now.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th January 2020

      An impromptu press conference. Very short & to the point.

      He was in Florida, he stuck to his script & left without taking questions.

      Said the US under his leadership was prepared to take action against terrorists anywhere in the world, has the best intel & the strongest military in the world, they are tracking and targeting them all, Soleimani was planning attacks on US diplomats & personnel, that will not be tolerated, says he took action to stop a war, not to start one, said he has great respect for the people & history of Iran but it is time for their leadership to stop their destabilisation of the Middle East, that he is prepared to take all action against Iran.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th January 2020
      Reply
  5. Pink David

     /  4th January 2020

    The brave Rose Mcgowan begs for Iran not to kill her.

    Reply
  6. “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected — and as sure as you’re sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.”…..said the world’s greatest negotiator on Nov. 16, 2011.

    By every account, Soleimani was a bad egg with the blood of thousands on his hands and he deserved what he got, but Pompey has already admitted on CNN that there was no imminent threat to the U.S. homeland.

    And whether Trump likes it or not, the U.S. War Powers Resolution requires the POTUS of the day to obtain congressional agreement and authorization for the use of military force.

    And so, without any congressional authorization, no imminent threat to the U.S. homeland, and no coherent ME foreign policy, Trump has ordered the assassination of the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war.

    I’m mindful of the words of Chris Murphy who tweeted that “the neocons thumping their chest tonight should recall that the worst mistakes global powers make are when they strike militarily in complicated places with few friends, with no consideration of the consequences.”

    Reply
    • Pink David

       /  4th January 2020

      “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate.”

      Funny.

      Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  4th January 2020

      Hardly. The worst mistake is to appease aggression. The second worst is not to attack the source of the aggression.

      Reply
      • I am not endorsing appeasement and I’m not endorsing turning a blind eye to the source of aggression. But the approach that Trump has taken is a bad one. There are better alternatives.

        Trump applied sanctions to Russia over the Russian attack on former Soviet double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Britain. On what basis can the U.S. demand better behavior from the Russians if the US President authorizes a broadly equivalent strike in Iraq?

        Russians will be whispering in the ears of former US Allies – “See, they accuse us of murdering Skripal in the UK, then turn around and murder an Iranian General in Iraq! It’s one rule for them, another for the rest of us…” And before you know it, the arrogance and attitude conveyed by strikes like this undoes decades of diplomacy and partnership.

        Remember, those who would do harm to the US would like for nothing more than to have reasons to create rifts and divisions between the United States and her allies.
        Actions like this are fuel to that fire.

        The US knew the travel plans of Suleimani well enough to order the air strike. They could have worked with Iraqi security to stage an ambush and captured him alive. Or let him die in a gunfight. Either way, an action taken with partners is defensible. An action taken like this just leaves America looking like a playground bully.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  4th January 2020

          “the arrogance and attitude conveyed by strikes like this undoes decades of diplomacy and partnership.”

          Decades of diplomacy & partnership allowed Iran to develop & extend its reach, even while ostensibly cooperating with the US in the removal, whilst remaining implaccably hostile to the US & Israel.

          The risks to the US in the region might have never been greater, but they’ve never been absent.

          Aljaz tv is now reporting in Breaking News that US airstrikes have apparently just targeted another PMF unit’s vehicles in Baghdad near Camp Taji. The PMF is reportedly claiming the US has killed some of their medics & none of their leaders.

          It looks to me like the Soleimani assassination is not a single incident but might’ve heralded the start of a campaign of stand-off airborne attacks against specifically PMF militias in Iraq – which has no air defences to speak of, so they are highly vulnerable.

          Waiting for more details …

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th January 2020

            *removal of IS

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th January 2020

            They’re citing Reuters.

            REUTERS:

            BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Air strikes targeting Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces umbrella grouping of Iran-backed Shi’ite militias near camp Taji north of Baghdad have killed six people and critically wounded three, an Iraqi army source said late on Friday.

            Two of the three vehicles making up a militia convoy were found burned, the source said, as well as six burned corpses. The strikes took place at 1:12 am local time, he said.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  4th January 2020

              “FACT: The Coalition @CJTFOIR did NOT conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji (north of Baghdad) in recent days.” says Official US army spokesman.

              So that leaves Israel or Saudi military. or maybe a CIA false flag operation that wasnt done through a ‘coalition’

            • Gezza

               /  4th January 2020

              Interesting. Reuters is also now reporting the US Army denial, noting that the Iraqi military reported it as a US air attack. It’s also odd that the original report talks about charred bodies being found, as though nobody witnessed the actual attack.

            • Gezza

               /  4th January 2020

              Correction – Reuters says it was Iraqi State TV which claimed they were US air strikes:

              BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said on Saturday it did not conduct any air strikes near Camp Taji north of Baghdad.

              “FACT: the coalition @cjtfoir did not conduct airstrikes near Camp Taji (north of Baghdad) in recent days,” a spokesman said on twitter.

              Earlier on Saturday, Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces umbrella grouping of paramilitary groups said air strikes near camp Taji had killed six people and critically wounded three.

              Iraqi state television had said they were U.S. air strikes.

            • Gezza

               /  4th January 2020

              Aljaz tv is reporting the denial too, as well as initial reports that the PMF first said the strike had targeted PMF leaders, then that it was “walked back” to “killed medics”. They report that it now appears an attack did not take place …

              Also showed footage of Al-Mohandis’ funeral procession now beginning in Baghdad.

  7. duperez

     /  4th January 2020

    A brilliant move from Trump.

    “… he’s gambling that the American public is hot and horny for war the same way every Fox newshost is, and look 32% of the the country definitely is, there’s not gonna be one Trump supporter who thinks this was a bad call …”

    In the last couple of months the US has deployed 14,000 troops to the Middle East. On top of that 750 were deployed earlier this week and it’s just been announced another 3500 are being sent.

    Along with the thousands being pulled out of Afghanistan it’s like a big game on a chess board, the pawns being moved around by the master. The biggest game in town: The Election.

    Touches of class to go along with too. Apparently today he’s hosting an evangelical rally in Miami. Good to have God on your side.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  4th January 2020

      Suddenly Pelosi and Schiff look irrelevant and Iran looks impotent. They’ve already attacked Saudi oil wells and tankers now better defended. What else can they do without inviting their own demise?

      Reply
      • The protests against Iran’s government have stopped overnight and they seem very unlikely to begin again any time soon. That is something Iran can do – unite it’s population against a common enemy – that Iran’s leaders weren’t able to do before.

        Suleimani’s stature is practically that of a celebrity in the eyes of many Iranian people.
        If that is true, I imagine the Iranian reaction will be similar to what American reaction would have been had the Iraqi’s killed Colin Powell or Norman Schwarzkopf before the Iraq War.

        Assassinating such a popular figure has already united the country in a newly-stoked hatred of the United States. On the surface, it would seem that Trump’s dream of regime change in Iran will now only come about by means of a massive invasion.

        And you are quite right Alan – suddenly impeachment looks irrelevant. Which goes straight back to Trump’s tweet in 2011:
        “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected — and as sure as you’re sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.”

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  4th January 2020

          I don’t think this was a single strike, Ishmael. There’s been other airstrike on a PMF convoy north of Baghdad. The PMF claims they hit a convoy of medics, but who knows? This looks like it might be the start of a determined campaign to kill a number of Iranian-aligned PMF leaders in Iraq, where there are no air defences.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th January 2020

            It’ll be interesting to see if they (or the Israelis) also now go after Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon – or wait to see if he gets the memo.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  4th January 2020

              They have been trying hard to get him over decades…without success. He doesnt travel openly like the Iranian general did.
              Nasrallahs predecessors were killed by Israel and his 2IC was killed in 2008.

            • Gezza

               /  4th January 2020

              Aljaz commentary last night said that while Soleimani popped up all over the Middle East where Iranian forces & allies were operating, he didn’t travel openly because he knew he was being tracked; there have been attempts on his life elsewhere before, including in Iran.

          • A convoy of medics? Sounds like more playground bullying.

            Soleimani was no saint, and I think few people would dispute the idea that the current Iranian regime is highly unsavoury.

            However, this is still an extra-judicial killing, and extra-judicial killings undermine any attempts at having a rules-based international order.

            How can we say any state is a rogue state if everyone behaves like this? This sort of behaviour lowers America to the same level as Iran and ultimately undermines the safety of all of us.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  4th January 2020

              Nope, appeasement of aggression lowers the safety of us all.

              The Left are showing us exactly how to let little tyrants become big tyrants: rely on rules that you follow and they don’t.

            • Gezza

               /  4th January 2020

              From further Aljaz tv reporting it sounds like the convoy was driving on the Taji road towards the major coalition base at Camp Taji. The US may have concluded an attack on the base was imminent.

              With US citizens all told to get out of Iraq & the Bagdhad Embassy crammed with battle-experienced US marines flown in, plus Apache attack helicopters flying over it, it looks like the Pentagon is prepared to respond massively to any further attacks on any of their bases or consulates in Iraq, & I guess to airlift out if necessary.

              I don’t think they give a shit whether they’re hated for this or not. They obviously think they can take out their enemies’ leaders & take a buzz saw to the militias.

            • Pink David

               /  4th January 2020

              “However, this is still an extra-judicial killing, and extra-judicial killings undermine any attempts at having a rules-based international order.”

              Good.

            • Duker

               /  4th January 2020

              “extra-judicial killing, and extra-judicial killings undermine any attempts at having a rules-based international order”
              Trump better be careful about what is the golf buggy he rides in…
              The Iranians may beat Pelosi to it

        • Pink David

           /  4th January 2020

          “On the surface, it would seem that Trump’s dream of regime change in Iran will now only come about by means of a massive invasion.”

          Not only can you read people’s minds, you can see their dreams as well. That really is worth a dollar.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  4th January 2020

            Nope. America hasn’t spent all this time developing stealth, cruise missile, drone, anti-missile and anti-air defence & other stand-off attack technology to put American boots on the ground in a military invasion, when they seem to have gauged that they now have the unique capacity to not only destroy any smaller country’s defences & infrastructure but to kill the leadership or drive them underground. And then just wait & do it again if necessary. They are going to go after the leaders. That much seems pretty clear.

            Reply
      • Blazer

         /  4th January 2020

        interested to know about this ‘appeasement’ Al…Iran is thousands of miles from the U.S.A…what threatening action has it taken ?

        We know its not about oil,(Bush told us so),but what lengths need to be taken to make these heathens in the M.E free and democratic countries.

        We know they are jealous of freedom and democracy,but this U.S altruism costs..lives.

        Wonder whether Donald JNR and Eric will be on the frontline.

        The U.S.A has invade 37 countries since WW2 …will Iran be no. 38?

        All invasions,killings,assassinations,bombings,murder..done in the best…possible…taste.

        Reply
  8. duperez

     /  4th January 2020

    “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate.”

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  4th January 2020

      ” You have to exhaust all possibilities.” I would say that’s true.

      As Trumpy said today ” we caught him out ( assassinated general), and we terminated him.

      Seems this General was an absolute prick.

      Trumps action is also a warning to Russia and China. While it’s true America is on its last legs as an absolute global power, the old dog still has a bite as loud as its bark.

      A wonder though how the West would react if China or Russia had pulled a similar stunt?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  4th January 2020

        China & Russia will be protesting this illegal act of war on two sovereign countries & waiting to see what happens next. They will both be monitoring & studying the US military & diplomatic comms & strategy intensely, looking for any exploitable weaknesses. That’s my bet.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  4th January 2020

          There will be a silent cold cyber war going on as each side seeks to gain control of the other’s command and control systems while protecting their own.

          Reply
  9. Pink David

     /  4th January 2020

    The only real question that matters is; Was it Hassan Rouhani who told the Americans where Suleimani was?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  4th January 2020

      Ever heard of the CIA ? The US has its own intell on persons of interest, and likely is tracking all the Iranian forces in Iraq

      Reply
  10. duperez

     /  4th January 2020

    “On Friday … senior State Department officials told reporters that Iran had been plotting “imminent attacks directed at killing hundreds of Americans” but declined to offer specifics.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday that Soleimani “was actively plotting in the region to take actions, the big action as he described it, that would have put dozens if not hundreds of American lives at risk. We know it was imminent.”

    As Maxwell Smart might have said, “Ahhh, the old weapons of mass destruction trick …”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/118588906/how-us-president-donald-trump-took-the-decision-to-assassinate-a-top-iranian-general

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th January 2020

      That has a fairly loud ring of accuracy about it – but it’s pretty disturbing that it seems the decision to assassinate Soleimani was taken without any further plans than to get the bad guy & then just brace themselves for any reaction & figure the rest out afterwards.

      The Pentagon & State Department must be feverishly working away on putting together some sort of semi-coherent multi-option strategy beyond the seat of Trump’s, Pompeo’s & Lindsay Graham’s pants.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  4th January 2020

        Really? I think they will have played through a number of “what if” scenarios. The troop deployments last week were preparatory in hindsight.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  4th January 2020

          Yes I think so too but I don’t think they will have been able to calculate all the short & the long term impacts on the ground among all the various populations & regimes accurately because they never have before.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  4th January 2020

            No, but unlike Bush’s commitment to invasions Trump”s action leaves him completely flexible in dealing with the unpredictable response. His enemies now have to deal with his own unpredictability.

            Reply
  11. Blazer

     /  4th January 2020

    Iranian scientists,Bin Laden,Baghdati,now this geezer…trials,innocent till proven guilty…evidence…???

    talk about perception and..reality.

    Reply
  12. Gezza

     /  4th January 2020

    Aljaz tv reporting (with video) that thousands of people have joined a funeral procession in Baghdad for Soleimani, al-Muhandis, and others who died in the same air strike. The procession started in Kadhimiya and was heading towards the Green Zone government and diplomatic compound, where a state funeral was due to be held.

    Al-Muhandis’ body is then expected to be taken to Najaf, where he is from, & Soleimanis is expected to be flown back to Tehran.

    The US Embassy is still surrounded by Iraqi Security forces & has US marine reinforcements inside.

    Aljaz reports that if they can get a quorum together the barely-functioning interim Iraqi government is expected to vote tomorrow for legislation to be drafted requiring all foreign forces to leave Iraq. Their reporter speculated that there is so much anger at the US for attacking their own armed forces (which includes the PMF militias) it is likely a quorum will be convened & the vote passed.

    2035hrs

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  4th January 2020

      Update: The funeral procession has been allowed into the Green Zone & their reporter is waiting to see if they will be allowed to follow the planned route to a bridge over the Tigris which will take them within 300 metres of the US Embassy, and whether any attempt will be made by any of the crowd to attack the Embassy again.

      Also a complicated backgrounder on the legal complexities caused by the shambolic state of the current interim government, the possibility that the current Iraqi interim PM may not have the constitutional or legal authority to introduce a bill requiring foreign forces to leave the country; so an alternative might be their Parliament seeing if it has authority, following the airstrike on Iraqi armed forces, to annul the agreement under which foreign forces are allowed to operate in Iraq.

      Reply
  13. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  5th January 2020

      Aljazeera tv’s Pentagon reporter said the 3,000 extra troops are a paratroop ready reaction force deployed to Kuwait, said to be specifically trained to “parachute in” to hot spots to defend US assets under attack. (I doubt they’d actually parachute in, more likely to be flown in by Marine V-22 Ospreys, with attack helicopters, I imagine. That seems to be how the extra forces were deployed into the compound at the US Embassy in Baghdad.)

      Reply
    • Corky

       /  5th January 2020

      God and the American way. The Western gold standard. Enjoy while you can. The Chinese gold standard for world domination will not be to our liking. In retrospect, the Trump era will be remembered as a crazy but ‘BENIGN’ time.

      Reply
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  15. Stuff: Trump’s backtrack on ‘no new wars’ promise won’t lead to anything good

    New year, new war.

    Americans learned late on Thursday night local time that the United States military had assassinated Major General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran’s second most powerful man behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. Soleimani was killed in a missile attack on his motorcade at Baghdad International Airport. Soleimani was revered as a “living martyr” during his life by the Ayatollah, and was considered a hero in Iran. He was also a terrorist who had a hand in the deaths of thousands.

    Given the anti-war stance of President Donald Trump, if this wasn’t so serious, it would be almost comical. Like Wag the Dog – the 1997 movie about a war in Albania invented by a beleaguered president to distract from his own scandals. Trump, an historically unpopular president who adheres to no clear ideology or conviction, long taunted former president Barack Obama that Obama would start a war with Iran to ensure he was re-elected to a second term. It was, as Trump’s taunts often are, an act of projection.

    Trump’s accusations and taunts are often more accurate descriptions of himself.

    The president was elected on a promise of “no new wars”.

    Trump ‘promises’ are as reliable as his lies, but that doesn’t seem to bother supporters.

    Most telling, the reaction from allies to the Trump strike has been, well, milquetoast. The caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called the killing a “massive breach of sovereignty”. With still-fresh memories of the cost of racing into the Iraq war alongside US forces, British, French, and European leaders urged the parties to de-escalate.

    There is no question that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and was a threat to US interests in the middle east. He led the Quds, special forces that conducted military activities outside Iran, for more than two decades. Most recently he had approved the December attacks on the US embassy in Tehran. The Quds have, over the years, lent material support to Hezbollah and Hamas. But does killing him do anything but make things worse?

    Soleimani has already been replaced by his deputy commander of more than 20 years. Iran and its proxies have vowed revenge. Oil stocks have plummeted, and the international community has groaned. Late Friday, 3000 additional US troops were deployed to the region to bolster US defences against reprisals.

    Where do we go from here?

    Nowhere good.

    Where this leads is yet to be known, but the risks have certainly been raised. Being a US election year where votes could be bought with arms and blood is a major concern.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  5th January 2020

      Aljazeera tv’s Pentagon reporter said the 3,000 extra troops are a paratroop ready reaction force deployed to Kuwait, said to be specifically trained to “parachute in” to hot spots to defend US assets under attack. (I doubt they’d actually parachute in, more likely to be flown in by Marine V-22 Ospreys, with attack helicopters, I imagine. That seems to be how the extra forces were deployed into the compound at the US Embassy in Baghdad.)

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th January 2020

        not enough Ospreys for 3000 troops …it would take weeks to bring that many in. Not a huge helicopter force in the area either…. It’s all for show mostly as Iran isn’t invading Iraq either. No trucks.. no tanks or even SUVs either

        The last retaliation was against Saudi oil refinery hub… What could US troops do about that

        Reply
  16. Gezza

     /  5th January 2020

    Aljazeera:

    Saturday 4 January 2020

    Iran will punish Americans wherever they are within its reach: Guards commander
    Iran will punish “Americans” wherever they are within reach of the Islamic republic in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, Tasnim news agency quoted a senior Revolutionary Guards commander as saying.

    General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Guards in the southern province of Kerman, raised the prospect of possible attacks on ships in the Gulf, and said Iran reserved the right to take revenge against the US for the death of Soleimani.

    “The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there … vital American targets in the region have been identified by Iran since long time ago,” Abuhamzeh was quoted as saying.

    “Some 35 US targets in the region as well as Tel Aviv are within our reach,” he said.

    Multiple rockets fall in Baghdad: Iraqi military
    Several rockets have fallen inside Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, its Jadriya neighbourhood and the Balad airbase housing US troops, the Iraqi military said, adding that there were no deaths.

    “Several rockets targeting Celebration Sqaure and the Jadriya area in Baghdad, and the Balad air base in Salahuddin province, with no loss of life. Further details to come,” the military said in a statement.

    Pretty small scale stuff – a couple of mortar rounds or “projectiles” & two katyusha rockets, that caused no damage, according to a more detailed article, & the reported threat to attack US ships look like statements intended to keep the Americans on high alert & guessing, but it seems almost inevitable Tehran really will retaliate in some significant way.

    Videos from Iran showed Khameini offering personal condolences to Soleimani’s family but also praising him for fulfilling his long-stated wish to die as a martyr in the cause of defending Islam. Aljaz tv’s reporter in Tehran stated that the people of Tehran were saying they did not want war with America but they were united in the belief that his death must be avenged. There are 3 days of official mourning & Soleimani’s picture is up everywhere in Iran.

    Doesn’t seem very encouraging. The Iranian mullahs’ martyrdom-loving world view is beyond the ken of the West.

    Reply
    • Soleimani was only the agent of a government policy that preceded him and will continue without him. His deeds are beside the point; so is the display of American resolve. The only reason to kill Soleimani is to enter a new war that the United States can win.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  5th January 2020

        They can win the battles; but in the ME I don’t think they can win the war. They can probably only spread it.

        Reply
      • Pink David

         /  5th January 2020

        Do you think his death will change that ‘government policy’?

        I’d place a large wager that Iran will not make any major attack on any US interest. The price for that has been made clear, and they don’t want to pay it.

        It’s also interesting that the response from Iran is very subdued by Middle East standards.

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  5th January 2020

        Trump now needs to tell Iran to release the western hostages it is holding on trumped up spy charges or Khamenei is next to go followed by whoever replaces him at the top.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  5th January 2020

          They arent ‘trumped up’ …most likely they are spies and support agents . Thats how the intel agencies work , recruit motsly ordinary people who form a link in the chain. Maybe they recruit others inside Iran or ‘gather passports’ – a Mossad trick they do here

          eg Michael White-White’s mother, Joanne White, tells CNN she filed a missing person report after her son failed to return to work in California in July, after traveling to Iran to visit his girlfriend….. pleeese
          And his ‘work’ -White, a US Navy veteran who hails from Imperial Beach, California…right a Special Operations base at Imperial beach

          Wasnt there other Americans ‘hiking in the mountains’ along the Iraq- Iran Border
          “Three graduates from the University of California at Berkeley, Sarah Shourd of Oakland, California, Shane Bauer, of Emeryville, California, and Joshua Fattal, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, are detained in Iran after hiking along the unmarked Iran-Iraq border in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.”
          Who needs a Gap year when the CIA can you send you on adventures

          https://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/04/world/detained-americans-fast-facts/index.html

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  5th January 2020

            “They arent ‘trumped up’ …most likely they are spies and support agents .”

            They most likely are not spies, or associated in any way with spies.

            Reply
          • Duker

             /  5th January 2020

            Mossad agent here was a lectuerer in paramedics at AUT….the ones in Christchurch during the quake were ‘backbackers’….all hushed up of course
            Others may be travelling business people ….journalists a favourite . Today NGOs are full of them. PD still thinks they wear trench coats….but no one thinks US students just go hiking in the mountains along Iraq- Iran border…it ain’t the Santa Monica mountains

            Reply
  17. Alan Wilkinson

     /  5th January 2020

    Trump has just tweeted the US has 52 Iranian targets to obliterate if they make any retaliation moves.

    Reply
  18. This State Department briefing seems to argue that any time a single American is killed, the US reserves the right to assassinate a high official in response.

    https://www.state.gov/senior-state-department-officials-on-the-situation-in-iraq/

    Interesting precedent.

    Reply
  19. This State Department briefing seems to argue that any time a single American is killed, the US reserves the right to assassinate a high official in response.

    https://www.state.gov/senior-state-department-officials-on-the-situation-in-iraq/

    Interesting precedent.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  5th January 2020

      Doesn’t count if it’s a Washington Post columnist and it’s in a consulate in Turkey though.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  5th January 2020

        Lenin- Sometimes nothing happens for decades , then decades happen in weeks..

        But those that prepare for the future by having plans in their pocket when the eventuality occurs will prosper.
        Trump isnt one of those people who prepare for the future with a plan…. that executive time is spent watching Fox channel and calling talkback radio hosts.
        His idea of a future plan was to send Guiliani to Kiev…however if he follows Putins plans it could be different …just one problem with that

        Reply
      • Pink David

         /  5th January 2020

        “Doesn’t count if it’s a Washington Post columnist and it’s in a consulate in Turkey though.”

        Was he American?

        Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  5th January 2020

      I was hoping your interpretation was true, Ishmael, but despite reading to the end of that disjointed performance I don’t think it is. The line given is that this guy was taken out because of what he was doing, not because of what someone else did.

      Reply
  20. Kitty Catkin

     /  5th January 2020

    Can someone put up the video of Trump in 2011 saying that the President was starting a war with Iran because he was a useless negotiator ?

    Reply

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