A Lovely Day For War With Iran

Hey, what better way to spend the holiday weekend than pushing for yet another war?

I can’t imagine why anyone would think that a war with Iran is a good idea. We are already involved in two wars in the region, one of them a direct consequence of the 2003 war on Iraq. Iran is a larger country, in a more strategic geographic position. As I continue to read material from the warmongers, I recall a saying attributed to Michael Ledeen:

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.

This, presumably, is consistent with the swagger Mike Pompeo wants to bring to the State Department.

The latest war drums began beating just before the holiday. Ambassador Kenneth Ward, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons voiced concern that Iran has an ongoing chemical weapons program. The reports are thin, but it appears that the evidence for the concern is that Iran did not declare the transfer of chemical weapons to Libya in the 1980s, even after Libya declared those weapons to the OPCW in 2011. It’s not clear why this came up now, as it is hardly new news.

At about the same time, the New York Times published an op-ed by Michael Doran and Tony Badran from the Hudson Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Both are highly conservative thinktanks, both of which have close connections to and probably funding from the UAE, an ally of Saudi Arabia against Iran. Jeet Heer wrote this up in a Twitter thread and a short post. Turns out the two thinktanks are friendly with a couple of sleazeballs that have turned up in the investigations of Russian (and other) influence on Donald Trump and the 2016 election.

Ali Gharib is also tweeting about this.

Matthew Kroenig, an associate professor at Georgetown University and deputy director of the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council, provided another set of justifications for war against Iran in an interview, a small masterpiece of bad faith.

Kroenig frames his concern in terms of nuclear nonproliferation, but what he is doing is making a case that can be used to justify war against Iran. He talks about “allowing” Iran to enrich uranium. There are two ways to “disallow” other nations from doing what we don’t want them to do: provide motivations to end the actions, or declare war on them. The JCPOA provided motivation to end Iran’s movement toward a bomb: ending sanctions and collaborative work with the rest of the world to develop peaceful nuclear power. That collaborative work, along with the IAEA inspections that were part of the deal and part of Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, provide eyes on Iran’s nuclear program as an early warning system against any movement toward a bomb.

Kroenig abstracts a warped reading of that to proclaim that the JCPOA was not in American interests. What he wants is regime change, although he dances around particular meanings of particular words to deny that. Everything is on Iran to change its behavior, according to Kroenig. No incentives to be given, with the United States out of the JCPOA. Only the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure.”

We may conclude, then, although Kroenig has denied this, that 1) the United States must “disallow” Iran’s uranium enrichment and 2) the only means to do this is pressure. Kroenig does not mention war, but his writing off the possibility of incentives leaves only war when Iran does not yield to sanctions and bluster.

The United States, of course, would have to prosecute such a war without our European allies, who continue with the JCPOA. Our major ally would be Saudi Arabia. And what they offer us is…?

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.






84 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Holy crap, Cheryl, where did you find that graphic? It’s simple, but oh so chilling.

  3. 3

    @SiubhanDuinne: It’s been around for as long as the neocons have been pushing war with Iran. Like, since the 2003 war with Iraq.

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    MIchael Ledeen is a crappy little man who needs to be thrown against a wall. Many times.

  5. 5
    Ruckus says:

    The war mongers always want war. They don’t want to pay for it, they don’t want to be there or send their kids, and all losses are collateral damage that couldn’t be avoided. They should all be strapped to the first bombs dropped. Which should be then dropped upon their respective houses.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Either I’ve never seen it before, or I just wasn’t as receptive to it previously as I am today. Have seen lots of other things playing on the similar orthography of Iran/Iraq, but not this blood-spattered version.

  7. 7
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Beat me to it. Amazing graphic.

  8. 8
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Stood against the wall. Blindfold and cigarette optional.

  9. 9
    Gozer says:

    Like clockwork. The “caravan” didn’t have the expected results for the midterms so they’ll have to try something else for 2020.

  10. 10
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    The United States, of course, would have to prosecute such a war without our European allies, who continue with the JCPOA. Our major ally would be Saudi Arabia. And what they offer us is…?

    In such a scenario, the US should be sanctioned up the wazoo, with Trump’s assets seized. The problem with being the sole superpower, is that no one can hold you accountable.

    The US sure likes to protect it’s sainted sovereignty, but everybody else better dance to our tune or else. And we’re far from the only power to do this throughout history. It’s a sad commentary on the nature of power.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Our major ally would be Saudi Arabia. And what they offer us is…?

    Dead reporters, a thing trump has stated time and again he is in favor of.

  12. 12
    gene108 says:

    I think there’s a certain generation of Americans, who will never forgive Iran for the hostage crisis and will do anything for revenge.

  13. 13
    Wapiti says:

    I can’t imagine why anyone would think that a war with Iran is a good idea.

    If the oil production of Iraq and Iran could be damaged, destroyed, or otherwise denied to the western markets, this would be good news for the remaining petro-states, including/especially Russia and Saudi Arabia.

    But yeah, I can’t imaging why any American who doesn’t work for an oil company thinks that war with Iran is a good idea.

  14. 14
    James E Powell says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    It’s been around for as long as the neocons have been pushing war with Iran. Like, since the 2003 war with Iraq.

    Back then I had the impression that they expected a USA-dominated Iraq to serve as a base of operations for war against Iran.

    Our big problem, or at least one of our big problems, is that Americans love bellicose swaggering and threats of war against people they don’t like. Even if they aren’t 100% pro-war, they equate that behavior with “strong on foreign policy” and perceive anyone who disagrees as “weak.”

  15. 15
    Tim C. says:

    The only mitigating factor I can think of is the fact that Trump is a total, abject coward on all matters. The two more likely outcomes other than war, (I hope) is that

    A) It becomes North Korea II, Electric Boogaloo, where there is a sudden and meaningless summit, Trump declares victory and then ignores the issue going forward.

    B) The moment crap gets real and he has to actually order military action he chickens out (combined with A probably).

    But yeah, it’s clear the Boltons of the administration are making a hard push for this and it won’t go the way they think.

  16. 16
    Immanentize says:

    Cheryl, What about the recent reports that Saudi Arabia is working towards its own nuke, possibly/probably with our help?

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Immanentize:

    What aboutthe recent reports that Saudi Arabia is working towards its own nuke, possibly/probably with our help?

    Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. \

  18. 18
    scott (the other one) says:

    I don’t think I’m being hopelessly naive when I say that there is less chance of us going to war with Iran than at any point since 9/11. Sure, the 27% will be up for it, but I don’t see the rest of the country having any appetite, not after Iraq and Afghanistan. What’s more—and again, this could just be my naïveté—congress is the one with the ability to declare war or not. For 80 years it’s abdicated that responsibility. But I don’t think I see the incoming House doing any such thing. And I don’t see the incoming Democrats being afraid of being called soft: the likes of AOC would state their cases clearly, loudly and very persuasively on social media and it would resonate.

    This is in addition to the fact, of course, that going to war with Iran would not only be wrong legally and morally, it’d be a shitstorm of epic proportions. And I suspect the military is very well aware of that.

    None of which is to say we shouldn’t all be utterly vigilant, of course.

  19. 19
    Immanentize says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Thanks, KickAss, I feel so much better….

  20. 20
    jc says:

    One reason the prospect of wider war in the Middle East is frightening is because I wouldn’t put it past Trump to start a massive dumpster fire in Iran partly in order to distract from his growing danger of impeachment. He’s going to get increasingly desperate to control the media narrative so the news of his criminal exposure will be forced onto the back pages.

    Trump is all about spinning reality to gain political advantage, for example by sending the troops to the southern border right before the midterm elections, and now issuing orders to use deadly force. He’ll do anything, no matter how foolhardy, to play offense and put his opposition on defense.

  21. 21
    Immanentize says:

    @scott (the other one): Nothing would help solidify the Iranian government’s grip on power (and general Shiite support throughout the region) like a US attack on Iran.

    What did Cole say the Saudi motto was during the various Gulf Wars? “Onward Christian Soldiers!”

  22. 22
    Yutsano says:

    Fuck.
    Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

    There is no way the US could do this just with Saudi support. The Saudis won’t give us bases to operate. They’ll give us limited logistical support. Their military is clownishly incompetent. All they really have is oil and money. And that won’t help us in a war effort very much.

    And fuck the Walrus of Doom for needing war as his Vi’agra.

  23. 23
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @James E Powell:

    You’re spot on.

    Also, in this case there’s the barely-spoken element of regional hegemony by which our hawks are pining for means to “contain” (meaning Bolton-bully into irrelevance) the mullahs in favor of oileagenous plutarchs.

    The proxy war in Yemen is the first time in decades that Iran has attempted to project itself beyond its own borders. Bolton and his tribe want to squash that attempt while capitalizing on the lizard brain optics of redwhiteandblue rahrahs.

  24. 24
    Yarrow says:

    Related because of the region:

    Fox to launch streaming service with Saudi media group https://t.co/ZqOmOit8zC pic.twitter.com/U4YMjQITdn— The Hill (@thehill) November 23, 2018

    What could possibly go wrong?

  25. 25

    @Immanentize:

    Cheryl, What about the recent reports that Saudi Arabia is working towards its own nuke, possibly/probably with our help?

    That’s probably worth a post of its own. Quick summary:
    Saudi Arabia doesn’t have anything close to the infrastructure that would be needed to design and build a nuclear weapon. It has been trying to buy civilian reactors from the United States, but its biggest problem there has been the price of oil. For a while, it had big plans to build 16 new power reactors, but that was when the price of oil was high. It’s now down to two.

    The United States requires safeguards agreements (called “123 agreements”) when it sells nuclear technology, that it won’t be used to build a bomb. It’s becoming clear that enrichment and reprocessing are too easily bent in that direction, so we’ve been moving away from making those technologies available at all. KSA wants enrichment. Several members of Congress have said “No way” since Khashoggi’s death.

    It’s unlikely that KSA can get those reactors or any other nuclear technology anywhere else, but the Trump administration is incapable of figuring up its leverage before negotiating. The greatest negotiators.

    Fun fact: Michael Flynn had a cockamamie scheme to partner with the Russians to sell reactors to KSA before he became a part of the administration. I keep thinking there’s more of a story there.

    Dan Yurman is expert in the business side of nuclear, and he’s been following the Saudi adventure for some time now. Here’s his latest, with links to earlier posts.

  26. 26
    Citizen_X says:

    Sorry for yelling at the converted, but WHY IS IRAN SUPPOSED TO BE WORSE THAN SAUDI ARABIA? Why are the school bus bombers so obviously on the side of righteousness and light? Why are the choppers of journalists clearly an answer to Iranian state terror? Why is the source of the 9/11 bombers, and their funding, a key ally against terror? Above all, why take sides in the Shiite/Sunni conflict?

  27. 27
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @gene108: and they are totally correct. Iran had no business overthrowing the government that the CIA has installed after overthrowing the fairly elected government that the US didn’t like.

    I mean, duh.

    ETA: I’m being obnoxious to make a different point, but your point is absolutely correct.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    In 2016 a certain moron running for office mused about not seeing an issue with countries like Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia developing their own nuclear weapons. Especially if it led to more sales of Ivanka’s trashy fashion accessories in said countries.

  29. 29
    Jay says:

    There won’t be a war with Iran, or anybody else.

    While Danny Surgsen has written at Tom Dispatch that the US Military has/is refocusing away from fighting Insurgencies, back to Conventional warfare,

    The US Military is “tapped out” and still busy fighting it’s 17+ failed wars of choice.

    War is Boring noted recently that even USN Attack Subs, the ones critical to a Land War, are falling out of service from overdeployments and a 2+ year wait to get into drydock for repairs.

    What should be the big “takeaway”, is that after 17+ failed wars, being fought by the US for the benifit of countries with no skin in the game,

    It’s still perfectly legal for Foreign Countries to pay ‘Merkins, to try to sell the War de Jour to the US, to be fought and paid for by the US, for the Foreign Countries benifit.

  30. 30
    patrick II says:

    No one has mentioned Israel as a supporter of this’ war SO far in comments , so I will. Israelis a background motivator for much of our Mideast policy.

  31. 31
    Chicagopat says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: I thought it was Friedman that said that, during an interview..?

  32. 32
    Jay says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    There is no Iranian “proxy war” in Yemen.

    The Yemen Civil War started because Hadi used the “War Of Terror” to target and attack the Houthi Movement. The first battles by the Houthi’s, when they took up arms, were to destroy the Sawdi mosques and madrassa’s teaching suicide bombers in their areas.

    When the Houthi’s and their allies took Aden and Sanna, Hadi fled to Sawdi Arabia.

    Sawdi Arabia appointed a new President for Yemen and when that didn’t work, Hadi and 3/4’s of the Yemen Military and Police joined up with the Houthi Movement.

    It’s not an Iranian proxy war.

  33. 33
    Jay says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    There is no Iranian “proxy war” in Yemen.

    The Sawdi’s, the Petty Kindoms and Israel spend well over $40 billion dollars a year, packaging and marketing the Yemen Civil War to The West and the US Military as an Iranian Proxy War.

    It’s not an Iranian proxy war.

    But ‘Murica’s still for sale to the highest bidder.

    Nothing was learned from Dubya, Dubya Me Too.

  34. 34
    Captain C says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    Our major ally would be Saudi Arabia. And what they offer us is…?

    Apparently the ability to off journalists in their embassies without Trump getting bothered about it. I’m not sure how this would help with a notional war against Iran.

  35. 35
    Yutsano says:

    @Jay: The Houthis are being materially supported by the IRGC. That support is being made to carry a lot of weight about this being a proxy war.

  36. 36
    jeffreyw says:

    @Chicagopat: He did say that, on the Charlie Rose show, but the Wiki cite for Ledeen put his prior – to the early ’90s.

  37. 37
    debbie says:

    @gene108:

    They should stop their bitching. It got St. Ronald into office.

    What is odd is that Trump has complained about having to deal with two wars. Could he really be talked into a third?

  38. 38
    Yarrow says:

    Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and National Security Agency, suffered a stroke earlier this week, his family said Friday.

    In a statement, the family said Hayden, 73, suffered the stroke at his home and was hospitalized but did not provide details about the stroke’s severity.

    “He is receiving expert medical care for which the family is grateful,” the statement said.

    Link.

  39. 39
    boatboy_srq says:

    Our major ally would be Saudi Arabia. And what they offer us is…?

    That’s easy. Sawdi Arabia offers a plausibly deniable means of ridding the maladministration of journalists critical of the MAGAtry, which thins the reliable coverage of the maladministration’s illegal activities. Enough dead journalists and there’s not enough coverage of leaks or special investigation announcements or oversight hearings to make any of those things effective in swaying the pseudoelectorate. No more rude journalists at WH briefings, no more unpleasant questions at press conferences, no more coverage of Lord Dampnut getting laughed off the international stage.

  40. 40
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Bibi cannot be at all supportive of this, can he???

  41. 41

    @debbie: Oh yes, he is. He has been wanting the US to go to war against Iran since forever. When the negotiations for the JCPOA were just getting started, he was threatening to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Which, unlike Israel’s one-offs in Syria and Iraq, would have led to a larger war. James Fallows has written a fair bit about this. Here’s a place to start.

  42. 42
    Mandalay says:

    Both are highly conservative thinktanks, both of which have close connections to and probably funding from the UAE, an ally of Saudi Arabia against Iran.

    I don’t know about anything Arab funding of those think tanks, but regardless they are both rabidly pro Israel shills which is all that really matters when they predictably spew their criticism of Iran and support for Saudi Arabia.

  43. 43

    @Mandalay: That too. Although some would specify pro-Likud rather than pro-Israel.

  44. 44
    Yutsano says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: I know he’d love to get a war on with Iran. But I can’t imagine even Bibi being okay with a nuclear SA. Because there are ZERO controls to keep a nuke from getting to a terrorist.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    Amy Spitalnick (@amyspitalnick) Tweeted:
    #BREAKING: NY Supreme Court throws out Trump’s motion to dismiss @NewYorkStateAG Underwood’s Trump Foundation lawsuit:

    https://t.co/J2WomSeQrs

    As the AG’s lawsuit detailed, the Trump Foundation functioned as a personal piggy bank to serve Trump’s business & political interests

    https://twitter.com/amyspitalnick/status/1066025352554795008?s=17

  46. 46
    J R in WV says:

    IIRC, 19 of the 20 twin tower/pentagon attackers were citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Later that day, as all commercial and private air traffic was grounded, private airliners were allowed to fly to take royal Saudis then resident in the USA back to KSA, along with many members of the bin Laden family, who were in theory then estranged from Osama bin Laden.

    I suppose the love affair between G W Bush (II) and the current prince/amabassador to the US, whom we saw waking hand in hand with Bush II is the reason we attacked Iraq instead of the actual nation that attacked us, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. While I’m not much of a war monger at all, quite the opposite in fact, I would have been fine with using violence against the palaces and madrasas that supported the Wahhabi Islam funded by the al Saud rulers of the KSA.

    Simultaneous destruction of much of the KSA’s infrastructure and ruling class’s locations might have been appropriate, unlike attacking a secular dictatorship that never attacked the US in any way. But true love blinded the administration, for Sultan and for Oil.

  47. 47
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Saudi Arabia has just (as in a couple of weeks ago) started construction of a small research reactor, not much in the way of technical details available though. The only info I’ve been able to find in a short hurry is it’s in the 100kW thermal region and probably using low-enriched fuel like most research reactors around the world today. It would make a good weapons materials testbed and training tool but it’s probably not energetic enough to provide neutrons for significant breeding of uranium up into Pu-239, not at that power rating.

    Whether they get power reactors or not is not important if they want breakout capability, there’s not a lot of technology involved in light-water reactors, especially turnkey operations like the UAE Barakh reactors that could be diverted to a clandestine weapons program.

  48. 48
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Sorry for not being clearer. What I meant isn’t Bibi very much against Saudi Arabia going nuclear?

  49. 49

    @debbie: I haven’t seen much on that. Israel has its own nukes, and it’s quite willing to take out suspicious installations in its neighbors, so presumably that would go for Saudi Arabia too, if they looked threatening.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Some random thoughts from a total amateur.

    Neocons believe that reliable strongmen will provide stability in the Middle East. Doesn’t matter if the masses are oppressed.

    Saudi Arabia and Israel think that obliterating Iran is in their interests.

    The US will go to war with Iran only if Putin allows it.

    Even if the US could “win” a war against Iran, there are no, absolutely no, reliable strongmen that the US could insert into the country to rule it.

    The hatred and blowback that the US would unleash following an attack on Iran would be unfathomable.

    Trump is a wld card. Part of his lizard brain seems to reject the idea of starting another war in the Middle East. Neocon stooges may be over-estimating their ability to manipulate Trump into a folly.

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) Tweeted:
    Stone associate Jerome Corsi is in plea negotiations with special counsel, according to a person with knowledge of the talks

    https://t.co/boB1ISHVBC https://twitter.com/washingtonpost/status/1066014308700774401?s=17

  52. 52

    @Citizen_X:

    WHY IS IRAN SUPPOSED TO BE WORSE THAN SAUDI ARABIA?

    I know the answer to this, semi-official and definitely the facts on the ground. It boils down to Tradition. The Shah was America’s ally. The Ayatollahs kicked him out. Iranian bigwigs said ‘Death to America’ several times during that period, being very loud about hating America as part of their foreign policy. Iran has slowly moderated, but that doesn’t generate much exciting news. The last thing Americans remember is ‘Iran thinks we’re the Great Satan’ and has them checkmarked as the archtypical Evil Muslims. Yes, this was decades ago. Americans are not good at catching up to current events, and half the GOP have only the vaguest idea that anything has ever changed since Reagan won reelection. The rest are even further behind.

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @J R in WV:

    IIRC, 19 of the 20 twin tower/pentagon attackers were citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    I keep hearing this. The obvious story of the century would be to connect these people to any actual plot hatched by the government of Saudi Arabia.

    Later that day, as all commercial and private air traffic was grounded, private airliners were allowed to fly to take royal Saudis then resident in the USA back to KSA, along with many members of the bin Laden family, who were in theory then estranged from Osama bin Laden.

    Snopes says this is false. Obviously a cover-up, I suppose.

  54. 54

    @Brachiator: I can’t disagree with any of your points. I have been working on a longer-perspective post that argues that the Middle East is no longer of importance strategically to the United States, beyond keeping more states there from having nuclear weapons. Fracking in the United States has made it a gigantic oil producer. Apparently KSA’s production is still nimble enough to give it a role in determining prices, but as their supplies deplete, this is becoming less and less true.

    Geographically, the Middle East is much more an issue for Russia, in terms of competition for oil markets and in exporting terrorism through Russia’s already unstable South Caucasus. Getting stuck in Afghanistan was a big factor in the breakup of the Soviet Union. Let them do that again. They’ve (somewhat) stabilized Assad’s position in Syria, but he doesn’t have much of a country left.

  55. 55
    Jay says:

    @Yutsano:

    Iran is morally supporting the Resistence Council.

    There is very little evidence that Iran is supporting the Revolutionary Council with anything material from arms to advice, and those making such claims and providing “evidence” are highly suspect.

    Yemen has been under a 24/7 air, land and sea blockaide for years and even Aid Agencies and the UN has found it almost impossible to get food, medicine, water and fuel in,

    But we are supposed to buy the meme that “the Houthi’s” rely on a flow of arms and advisors from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, hook, line and sinker.

    There’s so many propaganda “tells” in the meme.

    It’s always the IRGC, not Iran, because so many ‘Merkin’s have been trained to look for scary IRGC agents under their bed before bedtime.

    It’s alway’s “The Houthi’s” to frame it into the convenient and fake Sunni/Shia conflict narrative, ignoring the fact that 3/4’s of the Revolutionary Council’s forces are Sunni, and not that long ago were the Army, Navy, Airforce and Security Services of the lawful Yemeni Government.

    And nobody mentions Hadi.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @Yutsano: You hear one of the UW Band busses rolled over?

  57. 57
    debbie says:

    @rikyrah:

    I’d like them to have him publicly apologize to John Kerry.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I have been working on a longer-perspective post that argues that the Middle East is no longer of importance strategically to the United States, beyond keeping more states there from having nuclear weapons. Fracking in the United States has made it a gigantic oil producer.

    This makes a lot of sense!

    Neocons are stuck in the past with respect to the strategic importance of the Middle East.

    This leaves two things. Countries in the region who are reliable clients for US arms sales. And the need to provide for the defense of Israel.

  59. 59
    Ruckus says:

    @gene108:
    I think it’s something a bit more than that. I think it maybe goes back to our puppet being overthrown. Conservatives have a view that their way is right everywhere. The people of Iran, at least some of them, said no to that. Conservatives have had a hard on about Iran ever since.

  60. 60
    GregB says:

    I think that if Mohammad Bin Salman is brazennenough to murder a journalist he’ll be brazen enough to try to gin up a war with Iran by equally stupid means.

  61. 61
    debbie says:

    What if Trump had to choose between Putin and MBS? Could he do it?

  62. 62

    @debbie: This is one of the things that might slow down the neocons’ rush to war.

  63. 63
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Invading Iran is an operational nightmare.
    Picture having to invade salt lake City from the Pacific coast. Yes, it’s “only” about 500 miles straight line instead of 725, but it’s still twists and narrow passes and steep climbs. Mountains are a defender’s paradise.

    Recall it takes at least a couple of months to deliver a strong mech force, so surprise is tactical and /maybe/ operational, not strategic.

    Even if Iran’s forces fail as badly as Iraq’s did it’ll be costly for not much gain. Add potential allies for their side much less my suspicion that Iran’s forces are actually decent and it could become a bloody fiasco.

  64. 64
    The Pale Scot says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷:

    In such a scenario, the US should be sanctioned up the wazoo

    I can easily see a scenario where France and Germany joined with China to launch a decapitation strike on DC combined with a cyberattack that paints Russia as the striker

    @Wapiti:

    would be good news for the remaining petro-states, including/especially Russia and Saudi Arabia.

    The USA is about to become the largest oil producer, after the three pipelines near completion in the Permian Basin start up, the oil market is going to be tough for sellers. USA shale oil production will be able increase to replace any reduction by OPEC.

    And so much for the hope that Peak Oil would drive a Green Revolution, the tech is close to being able to frack the granite bedrock underneath oil bearing shale and sandstone. Where a shitload of oil has drained into

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The thing with Saudi/Iran is that it boils down to Sunni/Shiite.

    These guys give 16th Century Europe a run for the money in religious altercations.

  66. 66
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Kirk Spencer: The terrain REALLY sucks for armor/mechanized operations. Everyone in the Army and Marines know this, but Donald is smarter than all the generals. And the field grades. And the company grades. And the NCOs. And the junior enlisted all the way down to the guys about to graduate from basic training.

  67. 67
    J R in WV says:

    @Brachiator:

    I dunno about Snopes, but in the weeks after the attacks, prior to the war in Iraq, it was widely reported that Saudi royals and members of bin Laden’s family were allowed to flee the US in the hours after the attacks while other aircraft were grounded. Privately owned airliners IIRC.

    But I’ve been wrong before, once or twice. I put nothing past Bush and his minions, anything for glory or money.

  68. 68
    Jay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Nope.

    Back in the 60’s in Yemen it was the Sawdi’s + Iran + Israel + Royalist Yardzi’s vs. The Officer’s Coup + Egypt.

    Even armour, artillary, total aircontrol and chemical weapons didn’t provide Egypt with a victory over the lighly armed Yardzi fighters.

    The Yardzi are barely Shia. They are 5’vers while most of the Shia are 12’vers. The Yardzi converted from Christianity and Judiasm to Islam when the Shia were the dominant strain of Islam, and became disconnected from the rest of Shia Islam by the rise of Sunni power when the Shia had only 5 Mahdi’s, not the current 12.

    It’s not a Sunni/Shia conflict, it’s feudal Whabbisim against all other forms of belief and disbelief.

  69. 69
    Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot says:

    @Kirk Spencer:

    Invading Iran is an operational nightmare.

    We could not win a conventional war in Iran, full stop.

  70. 70
    Aleta says:

    Risk they enjoy, but if advocates were certain they’d personally lose all their money in a war with Iran they’d go quiet. . Since they believe individuals and charities in the US should take over social service work instead of the government, ask each one how much $, property and time they will sign over to their war, no strings attached, no investment return, to act on their philosophy.

  71. 71
    Jay says:

    @Aleta:

    They are well paid by Israel, Sawdi Arabia, the UAE and the other Petty Kingdoms to market a War on Iran to the US.

    Sucessful or not, they get well paid and their marketing efforts not only villify Iran in American minds and also turn complex problems in the Middle East to sound bite propaganda pablum.

  72. 72
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot: If it were JUST the US vs JUST Iran, maybe. Provided we committed all elements to include prewar preparation and full reserve call up and civilian commitment up to and maybe the draft. While all that is extraordinarily unlikely it’s the reason I can’t agree with “full stop”.

  73. 73

    Apparently no word from Bibi about his partners, the Saudis, getting nukes.

  74. 74
    fuzz says:

    @Spinoza Is My Co-Pilot:

    I’ve always thought that myself. Iran has a population roughly the same as Nazi Germany. It has numerous cities of well over 500k residents, and can mobilize 100s of thousands of young men. Their army now has combat experience after their years fighting in Syria (they are rumored to have taken about 2500 KIA fighting alongside the Assad regime), and we can rest assured we would also be fighting against Iraqi Shia militas, Afghan shia militias and maybe even Hezbollah and Syrian military elements, much like the rebels in Syria found themselves doing. This without mentioning that unlike the Taliban and the Iraqis, the Iranians have the ability to shoot down our helicopters in large numbers, and have plenty of anti-tank weapons (see Hezbollah vs. Israel) and the type of terrain ideal for its use.

    I genuinely don’t know if we’d be able to win this war with a military of our size. Even with full guard, reserves, IRR and maybe even some sort of “veterans still in their 20s and 30s” type of psedo-draft.

  75. 75
    Jay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    There are reports that Israel is fully onboard with the Sawdi Nuclear Ambitions.

  76. 76
    jl says:

    Why do these morons think that Iran is “some small crappy little country” and we can “throw it against the wall”?
    Why do they think the US will prevail in a disastrous war that is dishonestly sold to the country as something else, and then sprung on the population at the last minute in a vile and irresponsible bait and switch operation?

    Besides everything else, they are stark raving mad. And indescribably stupid.

  77. 77
    Jay says:

    @fuzz:

    There won’t be an Operation Iranian Liberation, ( OIL),

    1:4 US Combat Aircraft are not airworthy, only 1:9 are Combat Ready.

    The USN has 28 Attack Subs sitting dockside for over 2 years awaiting refit. Those are the ones with the cruise missiles.

    For Ground Forces available right now, the US has 15,000, in two Divisions. An Air Mobile Division in Italy, ( lightly armed), a Marine Division with a Stryker Brigaide.

    Aside from a couple of airstrikes and some Tomahawks, the US is tapped out.

    I’d like to use the term “kicking a hornets nest” as an allegory, but it’s not even a kick.

  78. 78
    Jay says:

    @jl:

    Because they rake in well over $20 billion dollars a year from Israel, the Sawdis, the UAE and other Petty Kingdoms to make the case that the US should go to war for the sole benifit of their Clients.

  79. 79
    Procopius says:

    @James E Powell:

    Back then I had the impression that they expected a USA-dominated Iraq to serve as a base of operations for war against Iran.

    The American Enterprise Institute used to have a web page up explaining the Program for the New American Century. It was dated 1998. They did not name the target country, but explained that it is vital for America to occupy a “Middle Eastern” country and build permanent bases there for strategic dominance of the remaining oil. Don’t you remember that when President Bush made the decision to pull U.S. troops out in 2011 (yes, Obama was in charge in 2011, but his hands were tied by Bush’s agreement with the Iraqi government) Halliburton was building over 200 “permanent” bases for U.S. troops there?

  80. 80
    Procopius says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    The proxy war in Yemen is the first time in decades that Iran has attempted to project itself beyond its own borders. Bolton and his tribe want to squash that attempt while capitalizing on the lizard brain optics of redwhiteandblue rahrahs.

    If you think Iran has anything to do with the war in Iran, you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. If you look at a map, you can see that the only possible way Iran could be aiding the Houthis is by ship across the Arabian sea. The United States Navy declared a blockade of Yemen in 2015 (see Wikipedia on Yemen Blockade), and since then we have been preventing the importation of arms, medicine, and food (the American government pretends that we only provide “intelligence” and in-air refueling). The neocons find Iran a convenient scapegoat, but they were in no way involved.

  81. 81
    Jay says:

    @Procopius:

    👍👍👍👍👍

  82. 82
  83. 83
    catclub says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    The proxy war in Yemen is the first time in decades that Iran has attempted to project itself beyond its own borders.

    Huh? So Syria is just chopped liver?

  84. 84
    Jay says:

    @catclub:

    Iran and Syria have been allies since the Lebanese Civil War.

    Hezboallah took up arms first.

    Iranian military involvement came after the sucessful Iranian aid to Iraq against ISIS.

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