Tom Luongo is in desperate need of a copy editor. As a writer who not always correctly edits my own stuff, I sympathize. But whatever his writing miscues, he always has a unique and provocative viewpoint. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:
he future of the U.S.’s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.
Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump’s lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.
The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.
The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.
Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.
Iraq’s prime minister is telling an entirely different story about Qassem’s assassination than the one Trump, Pompeo, and the US news media are telling. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:
Days after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, new and important information is coming to light from a speech given by the Iraqi prime minister. The story behind Soleimani’s assassination seems to go much deeper than what has thus far been reported, involving Saudi Arabia and China as well the U.S. dollar’s role as the global reserve currency.
The Iraqi prime minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, has revealed details of his interactions with Trump in the weeks leading up to Soleimani’s assassination in a speech to the Iraqi parliament. He tried to explain several times on live television how Washington had been browbeating him and other Iraqi members of parliament to toe the American line, even threatening to engage in false-flag sniper shootings of both protesters and security personnel in order to inflame the situation, recalling similar modi operandi seen in Cairo in 2009, Libya in 2011, and Maidan in 2014. The purpose of such cynicism was to throw Iraq into chaos.
The Zman is more sanguine about what happens in the Middle East with Iran than most observers, including SLL. From the Zman at theburningplatform.com:
According to just about everyone, we are either at war with Iran or about to go to war with Iran. The droning of the Iranian general at the Baghdad airport has unleashed a lot of pent up war hysteria, as well as anti-war hysteria. The neocons are dreaming of another pointless war in the Middle East. The paleocons are warning about how the Iranians will enact vengeance. The anti-Zionists are completely off their leash, making the usual claims about who is really behind all of this.
The truth is, we are not at war with Iran, at least not a conventional war. We have been in a cold war with them since the 1970’s. The temperature rises and falls as domestic politics requires, but it never gets too hot. The main reason for that is Iran is run by fairly competent people. Iran is also much more cohesive than the neighboring countries in the region. Persians have a strong sense of identity that transcends the tribal alliances that dominate in the rest of the Middle East.
Iran, with the aid of Russia and China, could engage in some pretty substantial retaliation for the assassination of Qassam Soleimani if it so chooses. From Chris Hedges at theburningplatform.com:
The assassination by the United States of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, near Baghdad’s airport will ignite widespread retaliatory attacks against U.S. targets from Shiites, who form the majority in Iraq. It will activate Iranian-backed militias and insurgents in Lebanon and Syria and throughout the Middle East. The existing mayhem, violence, failed states and war, the result of nearly two decades of U.S. blunders and miscalculations in the region, will become an even wider and more dangerous conflagration. The consequences are ominous. Not only will the U.S. swiftly find itself under siege in Iraq and perhaps driven out of the country—there is only a paltry force of 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq, all U.S. citizens in Iraq have been told to leave the country “immediately” and the embassy and consular services have been closed—but the situation could also draw us into a war directly with Iran. The American Empire, it seems, will die not with a whimper but a bang.
The targeting of Soleimani, who was killed by a MQ-9 Reaper drone that fired missiles into his convoy as he was leaving the Baghdad airport, also took the life of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, along with other Iraqi Shiite militia leaders. The strike may temporarily bolster the political fortunes of the two beleaguered architects of the assassination, Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but it is an act of imperial suicide by the United States. There can be no positive outcome. It opens up the possibility of an Armageddon-type scenario relished by the lunatic fringes of the Christian right.
The US strike against Iran and the assassination of Qassam Solemaini may provide some benefit to Israel and improve the political standing of Benjamin Netanyahu. No good will come of it for the US, however. This will certainly not be the first time US intervention in the Middle East has benefited Israel to the detriment of the US. From VIPS at consortiumnews.com:
“We write with a sense of urgency suggesting you avoid doubling down on catastrophe,” VIPS tells Donald Trump in its latest memo to the president.
January 3, 2020
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Doubling Down Into Another “March of Folly”?
The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of “severe revenge.” That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters.
What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.
Israel has long wanted Qassem Soleimani dead, and is often the case, they got the US to do its dirty work. We can be fairly certain that the US will also bear the brunt of Iran’s inevitable retaliation. From Whitney Webb at mintpressnews.com:
Behind the official yet dubious justifications for the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian general on Friday lies a confluence of factors — some decades in the making, others more recent — that are pushing the U.S. towards yet another catastrophic war in the Middle East.
BAGHDAD — The recent assassination of Iran’s most popular and well-known general, Qassem Soleimani, has stoked fears that a new war pitting the U.S. and its allies against Iran could soon become a devastating and deadly reality. The airstrike that killed Soleimani, conducted by the U.S. in Baghdad, was conducted without the authorization or even prior notification of the U.S. Congress and without the approval of Iraq’s government or military, making the attack flagrantly illegal on multiple levels. The attack also killed Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was an advisor to Soleimani.
“The assassination of an Iraqi military commander who holds an official position is considered aggression on Iraq … and the liquidation of leading Iraqi figures or those from a brotherly country on Iraqi soil is a massive breach of sovereignty,” Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said of the attack, adding that the assassination was “a dangerous escalation that will light the fuse of a destructive war in Iraq, the region, and the world.”
Notably, the assassination of Soleimani comes just a few months after an alleged Israeli attempt to kill the Iranian general failed and amid a well-documented and decades-long push by U.S. neoconservatives and Israeli officials for a U.S.-led war with Iran.
A succinct but insightful analysis of the implications of the assassination of Qassam Soleimani, from Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
The US drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iran’s top commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and a senior leader of Iraq’s Shia militia, has set the Mideast on fire. The Trump administration, which authorized the assassination, called it a ’pre-emptive’ strike. Iran branded it ‘outright murder.’
Soleimani was Iran’s second most powerful figure and a national icon. He headed up the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a key player in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and the Gulf region. Soleimani was also the most capable, intelligent and effective military leader in a region of third rate generals.
The 62-year-old general distinguished himself in the long Iraq-Iran War, the dirty war in Lebanon, and operations in Iraq. He played a key role in defeating the ultra-radical Islamic State movement in Iraq, working in tandem with the US. Soleimani helped turn the tide of battle in Syria, saving the regime of Bashar Assad.
Unlike many websites, Straight Line Logic does not solicit donations. If you're going to lay out your hard-earned money, you should get something in exchange. If you like the site and want to support it, buy The Golden Pinnacle or The Gordian Knot, either as a book or download. The links are on the right-hand side of the page, in the Blogroll section. You'll be supporting the site, and getting a great book and hours of enjoyable reading.