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You couldn’t make this up, could you?

Just before President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, a genuinely despotic land with an extreme ideology and lacking elections, Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, was swept back into office. It was an exuberant election campaign in which he trounced a hardline fundamentalist opponent, winning 57% of the vote. Voter turnout was reportedly close to 73%, which, by the way, beat turnout in the 2016 American presidential election by about 18%.

In Riyadh, addressing an “Arab Islamic American summit,” Trump had no words of sympathy or encouragement for any “victims” in Saudi Arabia. He was, however, little short of effusive on the Iranian “victims” who had just voted in that election. “The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims,” he said, “are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.” Undoubtedly with the hardships of the Iranian people in mind, he also came bearing a gift for the Saudis who now live with an increasingly brutal quagmire of a war in neighboring Yemen: $110 billion in shiny, “beautiful” new American weaponry of every sort and the implicit threat to Iran that some of those weapons might, in the future, be used against its military.

In response to the American presidential visit, Rouhani commented sardonically, “Mr. Trump arrived in the region at the time when he saw 45 million Iranians participating in the elections. Then he visited a country that I doubt knows the definition of elections. The poor things have never seen a ballot box.” In what might be taken as a backhanded reference to Trump’s 2016 campaign claims that the Saudis were behind the 9/11 attacks, he added, “I do not think the American people are ready to trade the lives they lost in September 11th with billions of dollars gained through weapons sales.”

As it happens, from CIA Director Mike Pompeo to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, the Trump administration is filled with figures who seem to believe that, of all the countries in the Greater Middle East, Iran has the least in common with the United States and is the greatest threat to it. Back in 2010, when he was still head of U.S. Central Command, for instance, then-General Mattis reportedly responded to a query from President Obama about the top three threats in his vast area of responsibility by saying, “Number one: Iran. Number two: Iran. Number three: Iran.” According to the Washington Post, before the White House reined him in, Mattis was also preparing to launch a “dead-of-night” attack on Iran to take out a power plant or an oil refinery (his idea of a measured response to Iranian-armed Iraqi Shiite militias then killing American soldiers). Little has seemingly changed since, except that Iran’s unique evil and the dangers it poses to the U.S. have emerged as something of an idée fixe of the new president, not just his commanders.


Today, TomDispatch regular Army Major Danny Sjursen, author of Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge, explores the irrationality of Washington’s thinking when it comes to Iran, an obsessive hysteria that could lead to yet another catastrophic American conflict in the Greater Middle East.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Iran 
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  1. Patriot says:

    Well, here’s the thing: Iran is a possible threat to Israel, as was Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt (Muslim Brotherhood), Tunisia, Bahrain, Yemen, etc., etc.

    Israel has a growing population, and needs more land. Thus they need to take land from the surrounding countries, and displace the Muslim peoples who currently reside there. But getting ethnically cleansed makes those Muslims angry, and so to eliminate that threat, Israel has the USA go to war with with all the surrounding Islamic states (or buy them off) – basically destroy all infrastructure and society, and encourage ethnic, religious, and tribal internal-warfare. Hence, Sunni vs Shia vs Kurd vs Alawite vs Druze, vs Turk, etc. i.e., keep your enemies fighting at all costs, while you sit by your pool and count your stock dividends

    Israel much prefers that Americans fight and die for this purpose, than for Israeli Boys to do so. Also Israel also prefers that American taxpayers pay for it. And Americans are thankfully very eager to do so. I know that here in the USA Midwest farm country where I live, Nothing is more important to Christian parents than to send their sons to die in the Middle East so that one Middle Eastern religion can genocide another Middle Eastern Religion.

    Syria is currently receiving its dose of “Freedom and Democracy”. Iran will be next.

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  2. Renoman says:

    The Patriot hits it on the nose!

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  3. wmayhue7 says:

    Huh! It seems to me that when one wishes to determine the course of events in the Middle East (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) all you need to do is “Follow the Money”. Once you can track down the money trail, the culprits (i.e.: the ones that either started the mess, or profits the most from it) become clear…

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