The first sentence is the money sentence. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:
Trump destroyed his chance at being a successful president by the stupid appointments he has made. At the moment he is being set up by his national security advisor John Bolton and Israel for a war with Iran.
Using the same format of lies that was used against Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, Bolton has accused Iran of “troubling and escalatory indications” of a forthcoming Iranian attack on American forces in the Middle East. To help protect against the attack, Bolton has ordered Patriot missile batteries, an aircraft carrier strike group, and a bomber strike force to the region.
Even the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, pointed out that Bolton failed to identify the “troubling and escalatory” Iranian actions. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/u-s-sends-patriot-missiles-to-the-middle-east-to-counter-iranian-threats-1.7221997 No one else has seen any sign of them.
The reason for the Patriot missiles is not to deter Iran from an attack, but to prevent successful Iranian response to an attack on Iran.
Not too long ago there were stories about a Trump-Putin “bromance.” If you’re looking for a bromance, how about Trump-Netanyahu, with Netanyahu clearly the dominant one? From Phyllis Bennis at antiwar.com:
For Israelis, the questions had been hovering for months.
Would the right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claim victory and a fifth term, moving his far-right Likud government coalition even further right? Or would the supposedly “centrist” challenger, former army chief of staff General Benny Gantz, ride to victory among corruption allegations against Netanyahu?
Netanyahu faces three – and potentially as many as five – separate indictments for various scandals. If his Likud party forms the new government, which now seems likely, will it pass a new law prohibiting the indictment of a sitting prime minister?
Those questions remain central to Israeli political discussion. But among Palestinians, there was little need to ask about what the election meant for them: Whatever government emerged seemed guaranteed to maintain current Israeli positions in support of occupation and apartheid, against international law, for war with Iran, for full-throated alliance with the US president and US military aid, and against human rights for Palestinians and equality for all.
During the campaign, Netanyahu not only vowed to annex illegal Israeli West Banks settlements in violation of international law, but also expressly disavowed the state of Israel’s obligations to its Palestinian citizens. Yet his challenger Gantz was little better, running ads bragging about how many Palestinians he killed bombing Gaza “back to the stone age” while commanding Israel’s 2014 military assault on Gaza.
Israel calls the shots for the US in the Middle East. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
On Monday, President Donald Trump designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, the first time the United States has designated part of another nation’s government as such a threat.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist group.
With 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 2,000 in Syria, often in proximity to Iranian units, this inches America closer to war.
Why did we do it? What benefit did the U.S. derive?
How do we now negotiate with the IRGC on missile tests?
Israel’s Bibi Netanyahu took credit for Trump’s decision, tweeting, “Once again you are keeping the world safe from Iran aggression and terrorism. … Thank you for accepting another important request of mine.”
Previous “requests” to which Trump acceded include moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, declaring Jerusalem Israel’s eternal capital, closing the Palestinian consulate and cutting off aid, and U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights, captured from Syria in 1967, as sovereign Israeli territory.
What Bibi wants, Bibi gets.
Syria may not have to, and may not, sit still for Israel’s bombs any longer. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:
Israel has attacked Syria many times during the last seven years of war imposed on Syria. It has run red-lights and broken taboos in order to provoke the “Axis of the Resistance” inside Syria, but has refrained from infuriating Hezbollah in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the most recent Israeli attack has pushed Syria and its allies beyond tolerable limits. Thus, President Assad prepared himself for a battle against Israel between the wars, knowing that such a battle could last weeks. But the president of Syria won’t be alone: Assad and Hezbollah’s Secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will both be running any future battle against any Israeli aggression when the decision to engage will be taken.
Most recently Israel bombed the Syrian army and destroyed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) offices and bases in Syria without inflicting any human casualties. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put himself on the level of IRGC-Quds brigade General Qassem Soleimani, by challenging him on social media. In fact, Netanyahu fell right into the trap the Iranian general set for President Donald Trump.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Israel, Russia, Syria
Does President Trump have sufficient testicular material to get the Syria pullout done? From Gareth Porter at theamericanconservative.com:
They worked hard only to have their plans scuttled. But don’t expect them to stop the pressure.
The Pentagon was not the only party pressing Donald Trump to keep troops in Syria last year. It turns out the Israeli government and its supporters in Washington were working very hard to get the Trump administration to use America’s military presence there to support an Israeli campaign of airstrikes aimed at threatening war with Iran.
The Israeli strategy was aimed at dividing Russia from Iran and thus putting pressure on Tehran to withdraw its military personnel from Syria. A campaign by a pro-Israel think tank actually succeeded in getting such a policy ready for Trump’s approval last fall—although it was not supported by some Pentagon officials.
The story of the Israel lobby’s latest attempt to capture American policy, recounted here for the first time, reveals just how far Israel was able to reach into the Trump administration before the president personally intervened.
You have to wonder how Netanyahu is going to do this now that Syria has Russia’s S-300 anti-aircraft systems. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Speaking at the fifth Israel-Greece-Cyprus summit held in the southern city of Beersheba on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to intensify military action in Syria after the White House’s unexpected order for all US troops to pullout out of the country — an effort that’s expected to be complete within months.
“We will continue to act in Syria to prevent Iran’s efforts to militarily entrench itself against us. We are not reducing our efforts, we will increase our efforts. I know that we do so with the full support and backing of the US,” Netanyahu said. The prime minister further revealed he was personally warned in advance that the American pullout was imminent during during phone conversations with President Trump on Monday and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday.
President Trump has made a huge mistake placing all his chips on Saudi Arabia and Mohammad bin Salman in the Middle East. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
“Mr. Trump, nor anyone else in his administration, has announced any conclusions about how Mr. Khashoggi died, or who bears responsibility for ordering the killing”, a Washington Post editorial fulminates. “Instead, they have pretended to be waiting for the results of a Saudi investigation… the obvious problem with that stance is it assumes that Mohammed bin Salman himself is not at the bottom of the Khashoggi plot — though abundant evidence points to the crown prince. In truth, as the administration surely knows, there is no Saudi investigation — only a cover-up operation that has clumsily tried to disguise itself as an inquiry”.
One aspect to this affair is the US domestic issue. The White House is increasingly perceived – as the Washington Post implies – as engaged in a ‘soft’ cover-up of a cover-up. That is to say, the White House is being viewed as so set on keeping MbS in position as lynchpin to Trump’s entire Middle Eastern strategy that the White House and Mr Bolton will try to turn a Nelsonian ‘blind eye’ – or a ‘selective ear’ – to any audio evidence provided by the Turkish government that seems to implicate MbS.
President Trump is keeping his powder dry. He said: “I’ll have a much stronger opinion on that subject over the next week … I’m forming a very strong opinion.” But caution on his part might be wise: leading Turkish daily, Yeni Safak, which is close to the Turkish government, and which has been covering leaked details of the Khashoggi investigation day by day, has reported that Maher Mutrib, the Saudi intelligence official who led the 15-man assassination team in Ankara, spoke to Badr al-Asaker, the head of the Crown Prince’s private office, four times directly after Khashoggi was killed (if it was Mutrib who said “tell your boss” to MbS’ chef de cabinet, then the implication is clear). This has not been officially confirmed, but it is possible (and likely) that Turkish intelligence has yet further details to trickle out, piecemeal, to discredit the Saudi ‘line’ each time the kingdom tries to ‘draw the line’ under the case. Erdogan is determined to get MbS’ scalp, it seems.