The Trump administration’s story on the Soleimani assassination keep shifting and changing, which is often an indication that the story-shifter is lying. From Andrew Napolitano at antiwar.com:
When witnesses testify in a courtroom and offer varying, contradictory or even unlawful explanations of the events under scrutiny, juries tend not to believe them. The same is now happening with the Trump administration’s defense of its killing Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by the use of an unmanned drone while he was being driven peacefully along a public highway in Iraq two weeks ago. Why the shifting justifications?
Here is the backstory.
The general was the commander of Iran’s elite military and intelligence forces. He was a fierce opponent of ISIS and the American military presence in Iraq. Iraq and Iran were belligerents for generations owing to, among other factors, ancient disputes between the two main branches of Islam, Shiite and Sunni. For generations, Iran’s elites were predominantly Shiite and Iraq’s were predominantly Sunni.
When the U.S., under President George W. Bush, invaded Iraq in 2002, pursuant to a congressional Authorization for Use of Military Force, the government did so by deceiving the American public and Congress into believing it was searching for weapons of mass destruction. Since none was there, none was found.
Qassem Soleimani’s assassination is graphic illustration of the US escalation of drone murder. From Allegra Harpootlian at antiwar.com:
We’re only a few days into the new decade and it’s somehow already a bigger dumpster fire than the last. On January 2nd, President Trump decided to order what one expert called “the most important decapitation strike America has ever launched.” This one took out not some nameless terrorist in a distant land or a group of civilians who happened to get in the way, but Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East.
Among the thousands of ignored American drone strikes since the 9/11 attacks, this was not one of them. In the wake of the assassination, we’ve seen: the Iraqi parliament vote to expel American forces from their country; all the Democratic presidential candidates make statements condemning the strike; thousands of protesters around the world take to the streets; and both chambers of Congress introduce resolutions aimed at curbing the president’s expanding war powers. Even though there is still so much we don’t know, one thing is for sure. Everything we thought we knew about drone warfare – and America’s wars more broadly – is about to be thrown out the window.
It’s a cliché but it’s perfectly appropriate: the pot’s calling the kettle black. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
Democratic Party royal family member Chris Cuomo delivered a pearl-clutching, hand-wringing monologue on CNN last night about how appalling and outrageous it is for Republicans to accuse Democrats of having covert loyalties to a foreign government.
Cuomo, who is the son of a Democratic New York Governor and the brother of another Democratic New York Governor, began his “Closing Argument” segment rationally enough, berating the 194 Representatives who voted against opposing Trump’s ability to initiate an Iran war without congressional approval. Obviously the more resistance there is to Mike Pompeo manipulating the highly suggestible Commander-in-Chief into any more reckless warmongering against Tehran, the better.
But then, without any coherent segue, Prince Fredo began babbling about Republicans leveling baseless accusations about Democrats having loyalties to Iran.
We’re all ignorant; few recognize it.
Aubrey’s deployment order came a week later. A conflict had waxed and waned in Syria and Iraq for the better part of three years. It was the typical Middle Eastern fracas: hapless governments and their armies; not-so-hapless sectarian brigades with colorful names waging guerrilla war, detonating bombs, promoting mayhem; shifting alliances; endless intrigue; diabolical duplicity; rampant disinformation; appearances masking antipodal realities; and machinations by outside string pullers, money honeys, and intelligence agencies who never seemed to realize—or if they did, never acknowledged—that they were the puppets, not the puppeteers. Despite the seeming complexity, the war boiled down to the usual two issues: oil and the centuries-old question of Muhammad’s rightful heir.
Governments couldn’t resist throwing matches on the gasoline. Sunni nations—Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the rich little monarchies scattered around the Persian Gulf—as well as a variety of sectarian brigades with colorful names, launched massive and coordinated maneuvers to “restore order” (Middle Eastern–speak for replacing a government with one more to your liking) to Shiite Syria and Iraq. The Shiite governments were not without friends. Russia, Iran, and various sectarian brigades with colorful names would not let them go down without a fight. So in a very short time, the corner of the world with the highest per capita concentrations of troops, terrorism, weapons, and warfare saw exponential increases in all four.
The US government urged all parties to come to the negotiating table. No parties came to the negotiating table. The US government consulted with its European allies. A resolution was submitted at the United Nations. The war intensified. The war lobby screamed: this was World War III, and the United States was not there! It was like missing your senior prom! The Europeans screamed. Refugees were streaming to Europe. Despite welcoming gestures, the only assimilating they seemed to be doing was slurping up government benefits. It was getting expensive. Some Europeans didn’t like their new guests. Some of their new guests didn’t like the Europeans, but they did like blowing people up. Voters were getting mad. Something had to be done!
The US government ultimately did what the US government does best: came up with a catchy name (Operation Restoration of Peace, Freedom, Hope, Democracy, and Dignity in the Middle East), parked aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, dropped bombs, and deployed thousands of troops to “advise and assist” without a clear idea of whom they would be advising and assisting. It implored the Europeans to join its efforts, to staunch the refugee flow by making war, blowing things up, and creating more refugees. Back in the States, the groups that reflexively cheered every war distributed more Support Our Troops bumper stickers.
Prime Deceit, Robert Gore, 2016
This is satire, although not obviously so. Prime Deceit is dedicated To all those grown bone weary of the bulls**t. The novel’s main shortcoming is that it isn’t satirical enough. Only brutally savage satire is within field goal range of capturing the reality of the Middle East. Almost all of the mountain of journalism and propaganda focused on or emanating from that part of the world is pure twaddle, bulls**t that bone wearied most of us long ago. You can instantly recognize those who don’t have the first clue about the Middle East by their claims to understand it, especially if they claim they’re experts.
Posted in Financial markets, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Horseshit, Imperialism, Intelligence, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Hubris, Ignorance, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Prime Deceit, Qassem Soleimani assassination
Mike Pompeo seems genuinely proud of his lies. From Daniel McAdams at ronpaulinstitute.org:
Trump’s neoconservative Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is a man unafraid to admit to being a liar. In fact he seems to revel in his ability to lie to the American people.
Remember just a week ago when Pompeo told us that the US absolutely HAD to send in a drone to assassinate Iran’s top general, Qassim Soleimani, while he was in Iraq on a peace mission because he was planning “imminent attacks” on US personnel and interests in the Middle East.
These claims were crafted to blunt any criticism of the blatantly illegal act of killing a top military officer of a country with which you are not at war in a third country (which forbade the attack on its soil) with which you are allied. Americans raising concerns about the murder of Soleimani were to be made to look unpatriotic if they objected: “you mean you WANT Americans die?
The response to the American assassination of Qassem Soleimani from the Sunni Arab nations is undoubtedly not what Trump and company had expected. From John R. Bradley at spectator.co.uk:
The unified Sunni Arab response to Soleimani’s killing is not what Washington envisaged
A blood-red flag was raised over the Jamkaran mosque in the Iranian holy city of Qom last week, one normally reserved to commemorate the death of martyrs. This time, it was intended as a call to arms. ‘We have unfurled this flag so that all [Shia] believers in the world gather around it to avenge Qassem Soleimani’s blood unjustly shed,’ said the mosque’s leader. In Tehran, there were calls for bloody retribution for the air strike that killed Iranian general Soleimani — and everywhere, talk of all-out war. If it was also intended to strike the fear of Allah into the hearts of Iran’s Sunni Arab enemies, it certainly succeeded.
In Riyadh, there was panic. The Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, hastily sent an anti-war delegation to Washington and London. At home, his officials emphasised that the kingdom had not been consulted beforehand about the drone strike. ‘Please don’t blame us,’ was the message to Tehran. The Emirati foreign minister likewise called for restraint, warning of the devastating consequences for the Persian Gulf if war between the US and Iran were to break out.
The only consistency to President Trump’s negotiating style is his inconsistency; he’s a one man good cop-bad cop show. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:
The United States and Iran entered into a direct military exchange for the first time ever with the drone assassination of General Qassem Soleimani last week and a retaliatory strike from Iran via surface-to-surface missiles upon two US military bases on Wednesday.
As usual it was the less powerful nation who exercised restraint, with Iran skillfully targeting the bases’ military capabilities but taking measures to successfully avoid any casualties. The two nations de-escalated back down to their previous high level of dangerous hostilities with an understanding between them that neither side wants a full-scale war. Both sides played “chicken” and both sides swerved, and they know that about each other now.
So that was a relief. We were all forced to hold our breath and hope against hope that cooler heads would prevail after the senseless assassination of a sovereign nation’s top military official, and they did. A full-scale war that would have dwarfed Iraq and Vietnam in terms of death, destruction and destabilization was averted.