President Trump and Mike Pompeo are trying to set up an Israeli/Arab alliance against Iran. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
Much ado about nothing, but Act 2 is coming up
It is odd that the White House is gloating over its claimed peace agreement in the Middle East at the same time as one of the signatories is bombing Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. It all suggests that peace in the region will exclude designated enemies and the friends of those enemies, since the ties among the three parties – Israel, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain – is transparently in part an offensive alliance directed against Iran and its friends, to include Syria and Lebanon. A significant amount of the horse trading that preceded the gala signing ceremony in the White House involved who would get what advanced American weapons down the road. The UAE wants F-35 fighter bombers while Israel is already asking for $8 billion for more top-level weapons from the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative edge” over its new found friends.
For the more sagacious readers who chose to ignore what took place, a short recap is in order. Last Tuesday President Trump hosted a White House signing ceremony during which Israel established formal ties with the two Arab states. The agreement was dubbed the Abraham Accord because it purports to build on the foundation provided by the fraternity, as one might put it, of the three Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. More specifically, it created the mechanism for diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties between Israel and the two Arab countries. It should be observed that both the UAE and Bahrain are close to being client states of the U.S. Bahrain is in fact the home port of the U.S. Fifth Fleet that operates in the region and it also hosts headquarters of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT). Both countries have long had de facto semi-secret relations with Israel on security issues and Israelis have been able to travel to them as long as they do not do so on an Israeli passport. And they both also know that the road to improving already good relations with Washington passes through Israel.
The neocons inside and outside the Trump Administration can talk all they want about waging war against Iran, but supported by the Chinese and Russians, Iran would be a tough, perhaps impossible, nut to crack. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
So it never was then a ‘peace agreement’ between Israel and the UAE. It was ‘normalisation’ for the purposes of mounting a military alliance against Iran. Pompeo suggested so, this weekend. He said that the UAE and Israel have agreed to form a security and military alliance against Iran to ‘protect’ U.S. interests and the Middle East. This agreement and any that might follow means that there will be an Israeli military and security military presence in the Gulf, and a joint Israeli-UAE intelligence base on Socotra Island in the Red Sea basin overlooking the Bab al-Mandab Strait. According to Pompeo, this agreement will transform the conflict in the Middle East from being Arab-Israeli, to Arab-Iranian, and perhaps Arab-Turkish later on.
The language used by Pompeo is significant in another way. Trump is proud of having taken Jerusalem ‘off the table’ (in the context of negotiations with the Palestinians). He says he has taken the Golan and the Jordan valley ‘off the table, too’. Pompeo’s formulation of the conflict transformation he believes he has just engineered says something else too: It is that the Palestinian issue is ‘off the table’ as well. It is now all about Iran (in Trump’s optic). The Palestinians are to stew in their own juices.
Well, Pompeo perhaps was speaking loosely when he designates it now an Arab-Iranian conflict. It is (at least for now), the UAE alone that has put itself on the Front Line. The Qatari-owned Al Quds al-Arabi scathingly noted that “in this alleged alliance against Iran … were the unwanted were to happen, and [a larger] war break out against Iran, the Emirates will be on the receiving end of the blows – and will be the biggest loser.”
Like many things that happen in the Middle East, we’re probably never going to know the whole story. Philip Giraldi speculates, at unz.com:
The Establishment explanation for what occurred in Beirut’s port on August 5th is that the horrific series of explosions that killed hundreds, injured thousands and left hundreds of thousands homeless was a terrible accident that came about due to a multi-faceted failure by Lebanon’s corrupt and incompetent government. Or at least that is the prevalent narrative in the international media, but a more critical examination of what took place is a bit like peeling an onion only to discover that there are layers and layers of alternative possibilities that just might place the catastrophe in a broader context.
The story, which is generally being accepted, is that a Russian-leased but Moldovan flagged ship the Rhosus carrying nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate from Batumi in Georgia to Mozambique wound up unexpectedly in Beirut’s port in November 2013 due to a leak in the hull and mechanical problems. It was then impounded and blocked from exiting due to alleged general unseaworthiness as well as its inability to pay disputed debts and docking fees. The dangerous cargo was offloaded and stored in a Hanger number 12 in the port a year later. Ammonium nitrate can be used to make fertilizer but it also can also be used in explosives. The two ton “fertilizer bomb” used to destroy the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 killing 168 people was, for example, primarily ammonium nitrate.
The ship and cargo, which was supposedly destined for a Mozambican company that produced commercial explosives, was then de facto abandoned by its lessee and sat in the port with its Russian captain and three Ukrainian crewmen while the issue was being largely ignored by the Lebanese government. The crew were basically being held as hostages by the port authorities, unable to leave the ship and, it was claimed, frequently on the verge of starvation. They were eventually released and allowed to fly home in 2014 while the Rhosus itself, emptied of its cargo, reportedly sank in an unused corner of the port in 2018.
Let’s see, if the US invades your country, perhaps to change the regime, and you fight the invading force, you’re a terrorist. It makes perfect sense. From Philip Giraldi at strategicculture.com:
There is something unique about how the United States manipulates the “terrorism” label to avoid being accused of carrying out war crimes. When an indigenous militia or an armed insurgency like the Taliban in a country like Iraq or Afghanistan attacks American soldiers subsequent to a U.S. invasion which overthrew the country’s government, it is considered by Washington to be an act of “terrorism.” Terror attacks de facto permit a carte blanche response, allowing virtually anything as retaliation against the parties involved or countries that support them, including the assassination of foreign government officials. But for the attacker, whose perspective is quite different, the incident often could reasonably be described as legitimate resistance to a foreign occupier and much of the world might agree with that assessment.
So, it all comes down to definitions. The United States covers its version of reality through liberal use of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) which more-or-less gives a blanket approval to attack and kill “terrorists” anywhere at any time. And how does one become a terrorist? By being included on the U.S. government’s heavily politicized annual list of terrorist groups and material supporters of terrorism. That was the argument that was used by the United States when it killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, that his organization, the Qods Force, was on the “terrorist” lists maintained by State and the Treasury Department and he was therefore held to be guilty of any and all attacks on U.S. military carried out by Qods or by presumed Iranian surrogate militias.
Israel is waging covert warfare against Iran, and does its best to enlist the US in the effort. Why do those facts have such a tough time making it into the mainstream media? From Ted Snider antiwar.com:
Israel just bombed Iran. And no one noticed.
On July 2, 2020, two explosions erupted in Iran, and both seem to have been ignited by Israel. Neither explosion attracted much reporting, and what reporting there has been remains thin and confused.
The first report came out on the afternoon of July 3. The Jerusalem Post picked up a story from Kuwait’s Al-Jarida, reporting that a fire had broken out at Iran’s civilian Natanz nuclear enrichment site. The Kuwaiti report says that an unnamed senior source informed them that the fire was caused by an Israeli cyber attack. They suggest that Iran will need about two months to recover from the attack. Iranian officials have since confirmed that, though none of the underground centrifuges were damaged, the above ground damage is extensive, and that their centrifuge program has been substantially set back.
The second attack exploded near Parchin, at a site claimed to be a missile production facility. Citing the same Kuwaiti paper, The Times of Israelattributed the Parchin explosion to missiles dropped by Israeli F-35 stealth fighters.
The Parchin story has drawn little further attention and remains undeveloped, but the Natanz story has confusingly evolved. Though unnamed Iranian officials seemed at first to side with the cyber attack theory, some experts sided with a different theory: that the Natanz explosion was not a cyber attack but an actual, bolder physical attack. In a rare piece of mainstream reporting, The New York Times seems to confirm the physical attack theory. Relying on a “Middle Eastern intelligence official with knowledge of the episode,” the Times reports that the Natanz nuclear complex was not hit by a cyber attack, as it has been previously, but by a “powerful bomb.” The intelligence official added that “Israel was responsible for the attack.” The Times report supports the intelligence source by adding that a “member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who was briefed on the matter also said an explosive was used.” According to the Revolutionary Guards source, it is likely that someone carried the bomb into the building.
President Trump and his foreign policy team have driven Iran into the loving arms of Russia and China. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
For more than three years I’ve tried to explain that President Trump’s foreign policy was having the exact opposite effect of its intended purpose.
Trump, under the advice of people like John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran in the hopes of the regime either crumbling or suing for peace.
Trump was warned by both Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that Iran would ‘rather eat dirt’ than submit to him on nuclear weapons, support for Hezbollah, Iraq and President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
In effect, Trump and Pompeo have argued for Iran to give up its sovereignty to appease the fears of Netanyahu in Israel, and they have steadfastly told Bibi and The Donald to go pound sand.
Every six months or so, depending on the state of domestic affairs, tensions with Iran ratchet up another notch. Over the past couple of weeks a series of explosions at key Iranian military facilities occurred with fingerprints of Israel striking deep into Iran to cripple strategic targets.
Trump, distracted by the domestic insurrection against him, has left foreign policy strictly to Pompeo who is avidly pursuing a ‘have his cake and eat it too moment,’ trying to extend the weapons embargo against Iran at the United Nations while still claiming the unilateral right to leave the JCPOA without further consequences.
In a word, Russia, China and Europe are telling him, “No.”
We’re seeing the all too predictable downside of the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear agreement—sanctions are the only leverage the US has on Iran, and they’re not working. From Scott Ritter at consortiumnews.com:
An IAEA resolution based on questionable Israeli intelligence has sparked a crisis with Iran that could spin out of control, warns Scott Ritter.
The Iran nuclear deal that the Trump administration pulled out of last year is on the verge of collapse.
The National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament last Tuesday ratified a motion that required the Iranian government to cease its voluntary implementation of its Additional Protocol agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The motion, if turned into law, would represent a death knell to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Program of Action (JCPOA), the groundbreaking agreement between Iran and the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany, and the European Union to end the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.
There is still time before the matter could be brought up for a vote; indeed, the committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on July 6, and has invited Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Nuclear Chief Ali-Akbar Salehi to testify.
The current crisis over Iran’s nuclear program was triggered by the IAEA Board of Governors, which on June 19 passed a resolution expressing its “serious concern” over Iran’s refusal to provide “access to the Agency under the Additional Protocol to two locations.” The resolution said that “discussions engaged, for almost a year, to clarify Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear related activities in Iran have not led to progress.”
Supernational Sovereignty is a fancy way of saying the US government thinks it has the right to tell the whole world what to do. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:
One of the most disturbing aspects of American foreign policy since 9/11 has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world, best exemplified by President George W. Bush’s warning that “there was a new sheriff in town.” Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other, nor has any government sought to punish foreigners using sanctions with the cynical arrogance demonstrated by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The United States uniquely seeks to penalize other sovereign countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the U.S. and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington. At the same time, it demonstrates its own hypocrisy by claiming sovereign immunity whenever foreigners or even American citizens seek to use the courts to hold it accountable for its many crimes.
The conceit by the United States that it is the acknowledged judge, jury and executioner in policing the international community began in the post-World War 2 environment, when hubristic American presidents began referring to themselves as “leaders of the free world.” This pretense received legislative and judicial backing with passage of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 (ATA) as amended in 1992 plus subsequent related legislation, to include the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act of 2016 (JASTA). The body of legislation can be used to obtain civil judgments against alleged terrorists for attacks carried out anywhere in the world and can be employed to punish governments, international organizations and even corporations that are perceived to be supportive of terrorists, even indirectly or unknowingly. Plaintiffs are able to sue for injuries to their “person, property, or business” and have ten years to bring a claim.
According to this article, on June 8, 1967 two US bombers were dispatched with nuclear bombs with instructions to drop them on Cairo. From Phillip F. Nelson at lewrockwell.com:
HINT: It wasn’t the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis – that was a distant second on the list
The 53rd anniversary of the United States’ closest-ever nuclear confrontation event will soon come and go with nary a mention of its significance – certainly not in the “Main Stream Media” (MSM) where it should appear, but probably very little in the “alternative” press either.
That is because it is still shrouded in secrecy, for the sake of protecting the presidential legacy of a man generally mis-designated as one of the ten “best” presidents of all time by people who self-identify as credentialed “historians,” who are purposely ignorant of the incident because knowledge of it is not “politically correct.” The ironies abound, given that this incident was merely another – and not even the worst – of his treasons.
The documented facts (at least by the BBC and Al Jazeera, since no American MSM source ever investigated it) are that at 8:45 a.m. EDT (2:45 p.m. off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula) on June 8, 1967 two A-4 bomber aircraft loaded with nuclear bombs were dispatched from the aircraft carrier USS America, bound for Cairo with orders to drop those bombs on that city.
There’s a network of organizations and individuals that operate for the most part under the radar who have a massive influence on US policy in the Middle East. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:
On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.
So what is it about Iran that makes it such a target of hostility for Trump and the neocons? There are many repressive regimes in the world, and many of them are close US allies, so this policy is clearly not based on an objective assessment that Iran is more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other monarchies in the Persian Gulf.
The Trump administration claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions and threats of war against Iran are based on the danger that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. But after decades of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and despite the US’s politicization of the IAEA, the Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.