Tag Archives: Iran

Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority, by Paul Craig Roberts

Believe or not, there are people in the US government who would dispute the title statement. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die: https://www.globalresearch.ca/what-you-need-to-know-about-north-korea-and-the-dangers-of-nuclear-war/5615328

Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry (see: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/05/walking-into-armageddon/ ). Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to “bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.” A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipitate a nuclear war.

There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct.

Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipitate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are “walking into Armageddon.” https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2017/12/05/walking-into-armageddon/

Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.

I am unsure that the peoples of the Western world can without violence against their governments do anything to prevent nuclear war, because the Western politicians are in the pay of the military/security complex and the financial and corporate interest groups that benefit from US hegemony. American hegemony produces profits, and for the sake of these profits Western leaders will risk the fate of the world.

To continue reading: Avoiding Nuclear War Is Our First Priority

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Cherry-picking Toward War with Iran, by Paul R. Pillar

Is the Trump administration and the intelligence community engaging in a psyop on the American people directed against Iran similar to the effort mounted against Saddam Hussein and Iraq? From Paul R. Pillar at consortiumnews.com:

In trying to rally American hostility toward Iran, CIA Director Pompeo and other U.S. officials are engaging in the same kind of distorted intelligence that led to the catastrophic Iraq invasion, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its launching of a war against Iraq. Among these techniques is the cherry-picking of intelligence not to inform policy-making or to enlighten the public but instead to inculcate false perceptions among the public and thereby to muster support for a policy already chosen.

Now CIA Director Mike Pompeo speaking at the 2012 CPAC in Washington, D.C. February 2012. (Flickr Gage Skidmore)

The parallels have become remarkably close as the Trump administration has tried to get people to believe there is some sort of cooperation and common purpose between Iran and Al Qaeda. The President made this insinuation in his speech on Iran in October. Then his CIA director, Mike Pompeo, ordered a tendentious re-exploitation of already exploited documents captured in the raid at Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin  Laden.

This time the purpose was to find any possible connection between bin Laden’s group and Iran. Pompeo took the highly unusual step of giving an advance look at the selected documents to an advocacy organization: the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a leader of efforts to kill the agreement that limits Iran’s nuclear program.

FDD duly did its part in the insinuation by highlighting a single document that it depicted as suggesting some sort of Iranian assistance to Al Qaeda. This was despite the fact that the thrust of the Abbottabad documents as far as Iran is concerned is that Tehran was in conflict, not cooperation, with Al Qaeda. This remains the judgment of experts who follow the terrorist group closely.

Even the very document FDD highlighted did not say what those highlighting it contended it said. It held no evidence of any Iranian assistance to Al Qaeda.

This entire effort to manipulate public perceptions has been remarkably similar to the efforts by promoters of the Iraq War to use whatever scraps they could find to suggest that there was, in George W. Bush’s words, an “alliance” between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda that in fact never existed.

To continue reading: Cherry-picking Toward War with Iran

Gold dealer’s testimony puts Erdogan on shaky ground, by M. K. Bhadrakumar

Turkey is always interesting by virtue of its geography at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It is especially interesting now; it may be switching its allegiance from the US and NATO to Russia. A corruption scandal may reach all the way up to Turkish President Erdogan. From M.K. Bhadrakumar at atimes.com:

As on the soccer field in his youth, so in a tumultuous political career spanning four decades: Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has consistently shown his mettle as a fighter who won’t be satisfied with anything short of total victory. But in the battle that is now unfolding around him, and which is besieging him, there isn’t going to be a winner.

What is at stake is survival – the chance to live another day, even if in some ignominy. That much is clear from the opening testimony in a federal courtroom in New York on Wednesday from the Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab, who allegedly helped Tehran sidestep US sanctions to export oil with the connivance of corrupt Turkish high officials and then to launder the income.

When the principal accused becomes the star witness in a US court, he has possibly struck a deal with the authorities. The remaining ambiguity is with regard to when it was that Zarrab struck the deal – was it when he landed in Miami 18 months ago, ostensibly to show his young son around Disneyland, or before he was spirited out of Turkey to America on the express understanding that he’d get clemency for providing hard evidence to nail Erdogan.

Zarrab explained before the court the elaborate scheme he orchestrated to free “a few billion euros” of Iran’s sanctioned oil using funds deposited in the Turkish state-owned Halkbank which were used to buy gold that was subsequently smuggled to Dubai and sold for cash. (The FBI also nabbed a senior functionary of Halkbank, Hakan Atilla, who is on trial.)

Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab is shown in a court room sketch as he appears in Manhattan federal court in New York. Photo: Reuters / Jane Rosenberg

Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab is shown in a court room sketch as he appears in Manhattan federal court in New York. Photo: Reuters / Jane Rosenberg

Zarrab named a confidant of Erdogan, the former Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, as having taken bribes amounting to over US$60 million and also implicated Turkey’s Aktif Bank, which is part of a holding company headed at the time by Erdogan’s son-in-law, Berat Albayrak (the current energy minister). Zarrab is due to testify again. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg.

To continue reading: Gold dealer’s testimony puts Erdogan on shaky ground

 

Is Trump Going to Lie Our Way Into War With Iran? by Mehdi Hasan

Will a fabricated nexus between al Qaeda and Iran be the basis of a US war against Iran? From Mehdi Hasan at nytimes.com:

Mike Pompeo, the director of the C.I.A., at a Senate committee hearing in May.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A decade and a half ago, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush’s administration conjured up not only terrifying images of nuclear mushroom clouds but also of Saddam Hussein plotting with Osama bin Laden to attack the United States.

Mr. Bush himself declared that Mr. Hussein “aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda” while Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called links between Iraq and Al Qaeda “accurate and not debatable.”

It wasn’t true, of course. But it helped make the case for war.

That may be why a similar lie is getting trotted out again now, except this time the target is Iraq’s neighbor, Iran.

On Oct. 13, in his statement decertifying the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump claimed that Tehran “provides assistance to Al Qaeda.” The following week, his C.I.A. chief, Mike Pompeo, went further: “It’s an open secret and not classified information that there have been relationships, there are connections,” Mr. Pompeo said at an event hosted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank. “There have been times the Iranians have worked alongside Al Qaeda.”

On Nov. 1, the C.I.A. released a new batch of nearly 470,000 files recovered in the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. But the agency did more than just release the documents to the public. It provided advance copies to the foundation’s online publication, Long War Journal. (The C.I.A. said it was common practice to distribute declassified documents to the news media and academic organizations on an embargoed basis and that the only agenda in releasing these files was “to enhance public understanding” of Al Qaeda.)

Long War Journal homed in on a 19-page document by an unidentified Qaeda official who claimed that the Iranian government had offered “Saudi brothers” in Al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including money, arms and training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, “in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Yet the Iranian offer, admitted the official, was never accepted by Al Qaeda — if such an offer was in fact made.

To continue reading: Is Trump Going to Lie Our Way Into War With Iran?

US Bows to Israeli/Saudi Alliance in Blaming Iran, by Ted Snider

Israel opposes Iran’s “radical Islam,” but not Saudi Arabia’s. From Ted Snider at antiwar.com:

At first, American officials couldn’t believe it. In 1993, the Israelis began pressuring the Clinton administration to view Iran as the greatest global threat. Only a short time earlier, in the 1980s, Israel had been cooperating with the Iranians militarily and selling them weapons to fight Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War.

Back then, the Israelis were Iran’s best lobbyists in Washington, pushing the Reagan administration to talk to Iran, to sell arms to Iran, and even to ignore Iran’s tough talk on Israel. In that process, Israel was aided by a group of staunchly pro-Israeli officials within the Reagan administration whom we now know as the neoconservatives.

In 1981, just months after Iran had held 52 American diplomatic personnel hostage for 444 days, senior State Department officials Robert McFarlane and Paul Wolfowitz were advocating on behalf of the Israeli desire to sell Iran weapons. That initiative, which was continued by McFarlane when he became President Reagan’s National Security Advisor, ultimately led to the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986 when Reagan’s secret approval of U.S. arms shipments to Iran became public.

Yet, even in the wake of that scandal and the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, the neoconservatives who remained influential under Reagan’s successor, President George H.W. Bush, pressed ahead with the goal of getting the US to warm its relations with Iran. Iraq’s defeat at the hands of the US military and its allies in the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91 further reduced the Arab threat to Israel’s security and encouraged more thinking about a possible U.S.-Iranian détente.

The Bush-I administration’s 1991 “National Security Strategy of the United States” said the US was open to “an improved relationship with Iran,” a country that a 1991 National Intelligence Estimate said was “turning away from revolutionary excesses . . . toward more conventional behavior.”

However, in 1993, with the Clinton administration in power, the Israelis changed their tune, urging the US government to find Iran lurking behind every terrorist attack, every conflict and every threat.

To continue reading: US Bows to Israeli/Saudi Alliance in Blaming Iran

The End of the Syrian War Is the Beginning of a New Middle Eastern Order, by Federico Pieraccini

Russia is on the up escalator in the Middle East and the US is on the down escalator. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:

In the Middle East and beyond, we are witnessing a series of high-level political meetings between dozens of nations involved directly or indirectly in the Syrian situation. It is crucial to understand all this in order to understand the direction in which the region is going and what the new regional order is.

With the liberation of Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border, the last Syrian town controlled by ISIS, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have completed the task of eliminating the Caliphate and its control over Syrian cities. ISIS returns to its original dimensions of being a terrorist organization without control of any territory or a city-state proclaimed as its capital.

These are important days, with political conferences about the future of the region and Syria itself occurring from Sochi to Cairo and passing through Riyadh. In Sochi, Assad met with Putin to confirm the alliance as well as Moscow’s loyalty to the Syrian State, and to also focus on a political solution. The Russian and Syrian presidents agreed on the need to involve the largest possible number of opposition groups in the reform process. In this regard, the meeting between Rouhani, Erdogan and Putin was also aimed at creating the conditions for an inclusive solution for all those who have agreed to put down arms and engage in talks with the legitimate government in Damascus. Turkey is the country that holds together the ranks of the so-called legitimate opposition, and Erdogan’s moves have confirmed that his strategy in the region is based around pivoting towards Russia through a full-fledged cooperation with Moscow. It is an almost unprecedented diplomatic victory for Russia that in two years it has managed to turn a potential opponent into one of the main guarantors of the peace process in Syria.

Riyadh is in the meantime bringing together the not-so-moderate opposition groups that are very close to Islamic extremism, a sort of spin-off of Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and Daesh, and attempting to apply on them a makeover in an effort to rebrand them. It is important to note that recent meetings between King Salman and Putin seem to have opened some sort of dialogue with a representative of Moscow present at the Riyadh conference.

To continue reading: The End of the Syrian War Is the Beginning of a New Middle Eastern Order

 

Lebanon in the Crosshairs, by Philip Giraldi

Is Lebanon the next Middle Eastern disaster for the US? From Philip Giraldi at lewrockwell.com:

If the United States climbs into bed with the Israelis and Saudis and commits to take down Iran it will wind up having to do the hard fighting in a war that could be unwinnable in any conventional sense.

There has been much discussion surrounding the travel of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to Saudi Arabia on November 4th. Al-Hariri, who is a Saudi-Lebanese dual national with considerable business and other personal interests in Saudi Arabia apparently complied with a summons to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been shaking up his government as part of what appears to be an attempt to concentrate more power in his own hands being marketed as a campaign against corruption. Al-Hariri was by some accounts met at the Riyadh airport unceremoniously and placed under something like house arrest. He shortly thereafter read a statement – or was it a script? – claiming that he had fled Lebanon in fear that he might be assassinated. He resigned his office and proceeded to denounce Iranian influence over his country, saying that Tehran was seeking to gain control through its dominance of Hezbollah and the acquiescence of the president, a Maronite Christian, Michel Aoun.

Al-Hariri was allowed to leave Saudi Arabia on Saturday, flying to Paris to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, but his children and business interests are still in Saudi Arabia, suggesting that his actions will be dictated by Riyadh. Al-Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, was in Beirut on Wednesday for Lebanon’s Independence Day, where he was convinced to hold off on formally submitting his resignation to the government so more discussions could take place. This temporarily avoids a government crisis for the country, where a coalition carefully designed to balance the country’s three major religious constituencies only came together last year.

To continue reading: Lebanon in the Crosshairs