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To do a color revolution, you generally need:

  • Significant proportion of the population going out into the streets (not just university students and office plankton).
  • Some degree of elite defection.

Trump’s bombast regardless – congratulations to him on learning Farsi and becoming an Iran expert in the past 48 hours – I don’t see either being true. As I noted in December 2017, the (mostly emigre and Anglophone) Iranians (as well as Chinese, Russians, etc.) on Twitter or /r/Iran are not “normie” Iranians. For instance, Soleimani had an approval rating of 82% as of August 2019. I don’t see how whacking him would have made them more sympathetic to the US.

Some more highlights from the latest polls in 2019:

  • ~75% oppose ending nuclear enrichment
  • 38% blame foreign sanctions for Iran’s economic decline, vs. 55% who blame mismanagement and corruption (but there’s no different amongst the two groups on the nuclear question)
  • 86% negative towards the US… so Trump getting involved isn’t going to do the protests any good
  • 64% approve of Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, “the conservative candidate for president in 2017″… above the “liberal” Rouhani.
  • 81% of Iranians think the IRGC have “have made Iran more secure.”

The only elite faction that may have a chance of implementing a coup are the IRGC… indeed, Soleimani himself reportedly threatened to do that unless the government put down student protests in 1999. Needless to say, an IRGC-led Iran can hardly be expected to be more amenable to US diktats than the mullahs.

Finally, the reasons for the recent protests strike me as uniquely lame and unconvincing. The US took 8 years to compensate the victims of the Iranian airliner downed by the USS Vincennes in 1988 (without ever acknowledging formal responsibility). Iran acknowledged its guilt within 3 days. Considering that you need to make split second decisions in air defence, it is tragic but not altogether incomprehensible that one SA-15 battery faltered. Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

And from what I can tell, the protesters, such as they are, are 9% university students where they are not 90% astroturfed. It would be very surprising if it was otherwise, given the above polls. And the fact of America’s implacable hostility to Iran under Trump.

I certainly don’t expect anything interesting to come out of them except a new round of atrocity propaganda (anybody seriously believe the figure of 1,500 killed in the recent protests?).

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Color Revolution, Iran 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Sean says:

    It was an elite unit placed near an important military installation manning those SA-15, and they fired two missiles.

    This was obviously Israel trying to overthrow the Iranian government, and at the same time get revenge for the Ukrainian shootdown of Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk in 2001. Thus strikes Mossad!

    [P]rotestors on university campuses reportedly calling the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps “incompetent” and “the people’s shame.”

    They are angry because their country has been made a laughing stock of the world. Revolutions have come from less.

    • LOL: iffen
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
  3. JPM says:

    As usual the US knee-capped any real domestic opposition to the Iranian regime. Now protesting will look like treason because the country is in fact under attack by foreign powers. Trump united all political factions and elements of society in reinvigorated hatred of the US. The protests in Iran were more about class and economic issues than regime change, as far as I could make out. There was some anger over the rolling back of subsidies. The 2009 Green Movement was also a class/economic issue. Mousavi represented the urban bourgeoisie, while Ahmadinejad was champion of the slum proletarians and rural poor. Rouhani is just a milquetoast compromise candidate between the two. All presidential candidates have to approved by the guardian council anyway, so there are no actual liberals. Khamenei has always been about making sure no one faction dominates too much. So, he alternates between “reformist” and “hard-line” candidates. All the US accomplished was redirecting frustration away from the economy and government economic policies. The nuclear program is in fact just for energy purposes. Iran suffers from regular power shortages and blackouts, so nuclear energy is universally popular to help ameliorate those shortages.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin, melanf
    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  4. @Sean

    Your sarcasm is misplaced, since I never claimed that the shootdown was anything other than an Iranian mistake.

    • Replies: @Sean
  5. If Iran were going to be color revolutioned it would have happened a long time ago. The Syria mess and the ISIS op represent the high water mark of what ZOG can do. This is not analogous to the Ukraine, where you have fragile governance, no history of state centralization and basically a mafia type de facto power structure ideally situated for collaboration with US intel agencies. Iran is centralized, tested. Most of the Iranians who would cause trouble are already in Toronto or Los Angeles, this is just some venting we are seeing I reckon.

    I wish there were a predictit contract to bet on

  6. JPM says:

    As far as the general regional situation, no greater escalation is likely at this time. Israel is in political paralysis because Likud doesn’t know when to dump a leader. Hezbollah wants to recover from its Syrian War casualties. The US is getting ready for the electoral circus. Iran has made its point by demonstrating the accuracy of its SRBMs. DoD will be even less sanguine about war than it was before. State is always the rabid warmonger in regards to Iran, especially with that bloated creature from Kansas in charge of it.

    • Replies: @JPM
  7. A123 says:

    Color revolutions are pushed by outsiders to impose politically correct hegemony — LGBTQ ‘rights’, open borders, SJW activism, UN/NWO supremacy, government subservience to NGO’s, etc. This type of leftist revolution would be opposed by Trump Administration.

    The hope for Iran is quite different. Restricting revenues does not impose ‘values’ from the outside. Instead it forces the regime to make a choice between funding terror abroad or supporting citizens at home. How long can Khameni keep the Iranian people down before a non-color, grass roots uprising occurs. As we saw from the fuel riots, the citizens of Iran are unhappy with the current situation.

    64% approve of Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, “the conservative candidate for president in 2017″… above the “liberal” Rouhani.

    How reliable is polling in a nation with very limited individual rights? One suspects that the numbers are much more favorable than actual opinions.

    Also, power is concentrated in the Theocracy and its Supreme Leader. The Iranian presidency is quite limited in comparison to other countries.

    The only elite faction that may have a chance of implementing a coup are the IRGC… indeed, Soleimani himself reportedly threatened to do that unless the government put down student protests in 1999. Needless to say, an IRGC-led Iran can hardly be expected to be more amenable to US diktats than the mullahs.

    Now that regime activist Soleimani is deceased, new leadership in the IRGC will emerge. These new commanders will be very aware that Khameni’s intentional provocations resulted in the death of the last leader. While they might not get rid of Khameni over ideology, personal survival is a powerful motivator.

    The IRGC is a big player in State Owned Enterprises. Enlightened self interest would lead a new regime to spend more at home and less on foreign violence. A new government would not have to like the U.S. to take steps that help the citizens of Iran and reduce/eliminate the burden of sanctions.

    PEACE 😇

    • Troll: nokangaroos
  8. JPM says:
    @JPM

    I might add that Pompeo is rumored to be going for a Senate seat, so the State Department might dial back the bellicosity if he leaves.

  9. iffen says:

    Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    Just how lame are you going to go?

    • Replies: @AaronB
  10. AaronB says:
    @iffen

    But since Iranian provocation caused the US to begin this escalation, the blame reverts fully to Iran.

    Lol.

    I was mildly surprised at Karlin’s descent into rhetoric, as I thought he had no emotional stake in this, and had come to expect more dispassionate assessments from him on this issue.

  11. Isn’t it amazing how US can engineer anti-government protests in any country seemingly on a whim? Iraqi parliament voted to get US troops out and there are already protests in Southern Iraq against this decision.

    Iran protests? I can’t even tell who those people are and what they’re protesting! It’s like someone at Langley flipped the switch and it’s time for regime change, again.

    • Agree: journey80
    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @LondonBob
  12. songbird says:

    SAM battery crews seem to be somewhat analogous to armed policemen. Get enough of them and one will shoot a kid carrying an orange-colored capgun.

    Really ought to be a better way to screen them.

  13. JPM says:
    @AaronB

    It isn’t entirely clear how much Iran actually controls the Iraqi groups it supports. There’s a difference between backing a group and being able to have Command and Control over it. As the US and Turkey have found in Syria, support for a group doesn’t equate to control of a group. As a consequence, the events in Iraq might have been Iraqis going off the chain on their own initiative without sanction from Tehran.

    Regardless of whether or not the Iranians initiated this particular escalation chain, the overall increase in tension that lead to this is the responsibility of the US. The sanctions are an act of collective punishment and an act of war. In particular, the attempt to bring Iranian oil exports to zero is an extraordinary act of aggression against another state. At some point this is going to cause the Iranians to decide “better a horrible end than an unending horror”. If you corner a person or an animal and it lashes out then aren’t you responsible for creating the situation?

    The US is tightening the noose around Iran. If Iran begins to thrash (like accidentally shooting down an airliner) then that’s kind of on America is it not?

    • Replies: @AaronB
    , @iffen
  14. utu says:

    Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    It was much more than an escalation. Soleimani assassination was a criminal act of war.

    • Agree: Felix Keverich
    • Troll: A123
    • Replies: @A123
  15. Matt Forney says: • Website

    My cynical hunch that Soleimani was whacked due to the Iranian government leaking his location to the U.S. (probably through their Iraqi proxies) grows stronger. Both sides suspiciously seemed to have profited from the last week’s events:

    The U.S. gets to look tough against one of its enemies. Trump showed that he’s not a pushover who will let Iran slap him around, like Carter did (and a large part of why he lost reelection). People forget that right after the U.S. embassy in Baghdad was attacked, Khamenei got on Twitter and all but called Trump a pussy. If you thought he would—or could—let that slide, you’re delusional.

    On the other side, Iran gets to quell internal dissent; the recent riots could have been a threat to the mullahs. Now the country is united (at least for now) and Iran has showed its military prowess (not particularly great, but enough to make the U.S. think twice about full-scale war).

    My money is on the mullahs losing out in the long run for the reasons I stated on one of Anatoly’s posts earlier in the week: Iran’s low TFR and shocking levels of poz combined with its poor economic position and low average IQ (84) give it little wiggle room. I doubt it will be through direct war or an “Iranomaidan” event. I also doubt that Iran will ever acquire nuclear weapons unless a nuclear power straight up gives them some; neocons have shrieked about that for two decades and nothing has happened.

    Everyone wants World War III—even the people who claim to be against war—because they want the dopamine rush of nuclear holocaust instead of the more likely outcome; we all die in warm beds of natural causes in a world that gets faker and gayer every passing year.

    • Agree: 216
  16. A123 says:
    @utu

    Soleimani assassination was a criminal act of war.

    Iran has been At War with the U.S. for decades. Operations run by Soleimani have resulted in hundreds of U.S. Deaths over the years.

    Killing an enemy commander from a nation that declared war first is a justified combat response. There is nothing criminal about this proportionate and rational action.

    Hopefully the harsh lesson of his General’s death will convince Khameni to see reason. Alas, the Ayatollah is a zealot with a ~90 IQ, so learning may not be within his intellectual capability. There are some smart people in the IRGC. Perhaps these generals will learn the lesson when Khameni does not.

    PEACE 😇

    • Troll: utu, for-the-record
  17. AaronB says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Not any country. It couldn’t do it in Sweden.

    Despite recently developing a crazy side, US liberalism is genuinely more humane and moral than the old conservative ideas of much of the world.

    Islam may have been a moral advance over Arabian paganism, but it is now morally atavistic.

    It’s why Israeli intelligence is so effective. Mossad doesn’t have superpowers – just, so many are alienated by the inherent immorality of their societies and are eager to cooperate.

    There is evidence that a vast network of locals, even airport workers, supplied intelligence for the Suleimani strike – why were so many willing to cooperate?

    Imagine finding large numbers of people in the Israeli or American military and civilian government willing to provide information to Iran in order to kill Netanyahu or Trump.

    The last time many people in the West were willing to cooperate with foreign governments against their own was in the Communist era – and that was the last serious moral challenge to Western liberalism. Communism presented a credible moral alternative to Western liberalism – Muslim autocracy does not.

    Hanging homosexuals, however much you dislike them, is not a serious moral stance – when your country consistently fails at the Golden Rule, but is obsessed with gays, you have lost your moral compass.

    There are signs that liberalism in the West is in the beginning stages of developing into an oppressive autocracy – this would cause it to lose its present impressive ability to general moral enthusiasm anywhere in the world.

    If that happens, a new moral alternative would have to be found – the degeneration of Western liberalism will not lead to a return to atavistic morality, which are themselves the residues of previous systems that degenerated earlier. But to a new system that will encapsulate the timeless, eternal principles of spirituality.

  18. To do a color revolution, you generally need:

    Significant proportion of the population going out into the streets (not just university students and office plankton).
    Some degree of elite defection.
    Trump’s bombast regardless – congratulations to him on learning Farsi and becoming an Iran expert in the past 48 hours – I don’t see either being true.

    I definitely don’t think that an Iranian color revolution will happen in the near future (say 1-3) years. But I don’t think that it’s very unlikely that, especially if a dovish Democrat is elected in 2020 or 2024 and rolls back the sanctions and general American belligerence, one might happen by the end of the decade.

    Remember, towards the beginning of last decade in 2010-2011, there were multiple such happenings in the Arab world (Tunisia, Syria, Egypt, Libya, etc.) that seemed to take almost everyone by surprise. The collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989 certainly had some forewarning in terms of Gorbachev’s policies and rhetoric, but my understanding is that the speed and timing surprised many observers.

    All I know about Iran is what I read in the papers. That said, it does seem like, between the recent protests, the 2017 protests and the 2009 protests, there’s a lot of discontent bubbling underneath the surface. Apparently,—and I’m happy to hear contrary takes— in the most recent protests, the Iranian government killed allegedly 1,500 protesters and completely shut down the Internet (and you thought tech censorship in the West was bad!) for around a week. Those do not sound, even if you want to reduce the nominal figures by, say, a factor of 2, like the actions of a ruling elite confident in its public appeal to me. (Anymore than censorship in the US does.)

    Like Castro’s Cuba, it seems that, paradoxically, American hostility to the government is one of its better domestic strengths. If that gets toned down, the way Obama attempted to with the JCPOA, it might be more dangerous to the Iranian government than 100 American assassinations.

    Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    I fully agree—or at least, if it’s slightly toned down to “substantially” or “comparably” culpable—but I think that (appropriately) assigning similar blame to the US and Iran here is notably applying far more blame to Iran than many writers on the website (The Saker, EMJ, etc.) are usually willing to do.

    • Replies: @JPM
  19. Mike Droy says:

    1500 seems high – less than 1000 I guess in a city of 8.7m young people.

    But then HK was 150k and the media initially reported “organizers estimate 1 million” with the “organizers estimate” disappearing within 24 hours and a month or two later the number doubling to 2m. (in later protests Police > photographers > demonstrators and all mentions of numbers disappeared.
    Ujghurs – the purported 1 million would be every male Ujghur aged 16-28. It would mean 300 to 400 camps of which still just one has been evidenced by satellite.
    (BBC “proof” is a joke: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/China_hidden_camps
    It reminds me of the proof of an invasion into Crimea full of pictures of Russian troops – all of which when google image searched turn out to have been taken in Sevastopol)

    This Tehran protest is not a news event – it is a US manufactured event – why else would the British ambassador be taking photos – more over why is there pretend shock here in UK at his 3 hour detention and not far greater shock at his presence.

    PS I’d like to post as Michael Droy or M Droy – but I invariably get accused of using the wrong name if I do that. Anon seems to be the only handle that works

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  20. AaronB says:
    @JPM

    It’s pointless getting into these kinds of arguments, as it’s a matter of perspective.

    Iran supplies weapons, money, and training to Hamas, far from its borders – according to your perspective, this is either support for a legitimate liberation movement or support for terrorists who murder civilians.

    The issue is like an onion – peel back one layer, and you just find another. What is clear is that Iran engages in extensive aggression throughout the region – supporters will say its defensive, detractors will say its an aggressive policy of regional domination.

    The level of complexity for a thorough analysis would be staggering and involve deep forays into the history of the region – and even then no consensus would be reached, as emotion trumps reason, and the complexity of the emotional factors involved is even more staggering than the political ones and reach into such seemingly unrelated regions as ones attitude to homosexuality, capitalism, liberalism, vegetarianism, feminism, and of course, the low-carb diet.

    What I am proposing is that we step back and “level up” – try and get a birds eye view from the chilly heights where only the bare essentials jut out above the other peaks.

    And that is – do you think Western liberalism is superior to Shiite autocracy?

    • Agree: JPM
  21. JPM says:
    @Stolen Valor Detective

    Like Castro’s Cuba, it seems that, paradoxically, American hostility to the government is one of its better domestic strengths.

    Hostility with the West is actually the main thing that keeps the regime from withering away. Every time the US does something stupid like this assassination, it causes a rally around the flag effect. Iranians don’t love their government, but they hate their country being walked all over even more.

    The “Islamic Revolution” might have collapsed had it not been for Saddam invading in 1980 with US backing. The population rallied around the regime even though many weren’t enthusiastic about being ruled by clerics.

  22. Even if they somehow managed to change the regime in Iran, privatizing the Bonyads which provide employment and charity for most Iranians would cause a backlash in 10 years, like privatization did in Russia.

  23. JPM says:
    @AaronB

    I agree with the general sentiment about the need to look at the bigger picture/

    As for whether one system is superior, it is a matter of preference. I’d prefer not to live under a Twelver Shi’a theocracy, but there seem to be plenty of people ready to die for it.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  24. @AaronB

    ‘… But since Iranian provocation caused the US to begin this escalation…’

    Are you referring to the militia objecting to the US killing twenty five of its members, or to Soleimani ramming the US missile with his car?

  25. @AaronB

    ‘… The level of complexity for a thorough analysis would be staggering and involve deep forays into the history of the region…’

    Or, you could just honestly look at Israel’s role in it all.

    It’s all a bit like Mendel’s recessive and dominant genes. Boy, before that theory was offered, the explanations of how heredity might work were getting really complicated!

    Leave out Israel, and of course the level of complexity of any explanation is going to swiftly become mind-boggling.

  26. DreadIlk says:

    MAGA and alt lite twitter is sad right now.

  27. AaronB says:
    @JPM

    There are people who prefer the Iranian system, yes. But it seems that significant numbers are morally disaffected with it – Islamic countries in general have lost the moral allegiance of significant portions of their population. There is no other way to explain the consistent success of Israeli and American intelligence in finding willing cooperators.

    The last time Western countries faced a similar defection of significant portions of the population was when Communism seemed to offer a better moral vision.

    Many Iranians may be morally alienated but revert to basic notions of loyalty and formally oppose America. I can respect that, but I wonder if this will translate into a willingness to truly sacrifice and die on behalf of a morally indifferent regime. I don’t know. The elite Iraqi units ended up not displaying extraordinary morale.

    I have been reading combat stories of American soldiers in Iraq – it may seem strange to us, but I was surprised at how many soldiers were inspired to take huge risks for what they saw as America’s moral vision, engaging in hand to hand combat against the seemingly most dedicated Islamist opponents and winning. Western liberalism has a demonstrated track record of inspiring moral enthusiasm and combat effectiveness in soldiers – no Islamic country has yet demonstrated a similar record, and are generally noted for moral failures (officers leading from behind, not caring about their men, etc.).

    An army reflects the moral quality of its society.

    • Replies: @JPM
  28. JPM says:

    The only elite faction that may have a chance of implementing a coup are the IRGC… indeed, Soleimani himself reportedly threatened to do that unless the government put down student protests in 1999. Needless to say, an IRGC-led Iran can hardly be expected to be more amenable to US diktats than the mullahs.

    Iran’s greatest challenges are its unemployment, low TFR and water scarcity. A regime change would likely come from the IRGC attempting correct course if they saw the country sinking into terminal decline. It’s more likely things the regime does like the Caspian Sea deal, which is seen as a surrender of Iranian national interests by some, will get it overthrown than anything the US does.

    The US is totally clueless, when it comes to winning influence in Iran. America supports organizations like MEK (which has zero popular support because they fought with Saddam against their own countrymen). The US is also supporting Kurdish, Baluchi etc. ethnic separatists. People tend to be miffed when foreigners try to Balkanize their country.

    • Replies: @216
  29. @AaronB

    ‘… And that is – do you think Western liberalism is superior to Shiite autocracy?’

    That’s obviously a red herring — and one offered with entirely malicious intent.

    So if we decide Western liberalism is superior to Shiite ‘autocracy’ then it’s cool if we wage aggressive war against it?

    Kinda like, say, if we’re to choose between living in a National Socialist Germany and being confined to a Hassidic shetl, if we pick National Socialism the Holocaust becomes defensible?

    Something like that?

  30. Rahan says:

    With the morning coffee, I read “some degree of elite defecation”. Which I shall in a minute go and practice, just lemmie make another mug of covfefe.

    My second thought was that Iran Maidan is a perfect name for a postmodern red pilled metal project.

    My third thought was that the name “color revolution” is superbly suited to describe the slow motion collapse/replacement of the West.

    “You say that you want a substitution,
    Weeell, you know…
    We all want to fix the West.
    But if go importing,
    African rapists now,
    We ain’t gonna have a society
    anyhow…”

    Thank you for your attention. Time to go and do my elite thing.

  31. JPM says:
    @AaronB

    To a large degree army performance depends on regime legitimacy in the eyes of the people. A key element of an army that suffers if the regime lacks legitimacy is the junior and non-commissioned officer corps. It’s risky for a regime that is unpopular to have competent officers who take initiative because those individuals could form the backbone of a coup. Take Qaddafi. He was a colonel who organized other officers and overthrew the Libyan monarchy. A good way to keep that kind of thing from happening is to have imbeciles in leadership positions.

    Thus, we end up with abysmal Arab performance against Israel. IDF tactical cohesion is vastly superior because they have competent NCOs and junior officers and soldiers that want to fight.

    Shi’a conscripts didn’t want to die for Saddam, and they were led by inept officers by design.

    Look at Saudi performance in Yemen. The Saudi army is ineffectual by design because effective leaders would be a threat to the House of Saud. The much more rag-tag Houthis are more effective. History has shown Arabs can fight if they believe in who they are fighting for. Their 7th century conquests were very impressive.

    Iranian trained forces like Hezbollah have performed decently in Syria. As unpleasant as the Ayatollahs are, I think they have managed to build more legitimacy than Arab regimes usually do, but we won’t know until they fight a major power.

    • Replies: @AaronB
  32. songbird says:

    It took awhile for the US to acknowledge Iran Air Flight 655 because it had plausible deniability, meaning the plane was shot down over the Gulf in a warzone, where other parties were duking it out with each other and causing some amount of collateral damage to other parties.

    This was not true in a case like Korean Air Lines Flight 007, or the Ukrainian plane shot down outside Tehran.

  33. @AaronB

    ‘Islam may have been a moral advance over Arabian paganism, but it is now morally atavistic.’

    So — seeing as how Islam is more or less cleaned-up Judaism — where does that leave Judaism?

    • Replies: @silviosilver
  34. When large scale war broke out in 1937 between Japanese invasion army and Chinese army, Chinese officials made a number of big mistakes. One can safely argue that there were at least hundreds of thousands of deaths directly attributable to Chinese mistakes than Japanese brutality. But of course, Chinese back then was weak, the soldiers were not well trained. Training was not cheap after all. When a group of soldiers from inner China reached Shanghai front, many of them never saw a fighter plane. They did not even know to duck when a Japan plane approached when the Chinese soldiers just got off train.

    The official corps were not well trained either. The army structure was not ideal. The commanders’ messages and frontline information were not transferred efficiently and correctly.

    Now I read on Chinese website that many America loving Chineses blame this tragedy on Iran and not Trump. It just makes me furious. But this is the world we live in.

    • Replies: @last straw
  35. AaronB says:
    @JPM

    That’s true. The general sense in Israel is that Arabs are fine as individual fighters, but currently lack the moral qualities required to fight in large groups, to organize effectively, and to display moral leadership. Druze units in the IDF are perfectly capable.

    The problem is also that Islamic societies are not currently morally inspiring, and Islam missed out on the moral revolutions of modern times and remain a stuck in an atavistic morality that is no longer impressive, although once it was a genuine advance over regional alternatives. So they fight for primitive reasons of pride and local loyalty, but no grander vision, and hampered by endemic corruption, cruelty, and venality.

    Hezbollah did well.in Syria and at least once against Israel, in 2006 – although its actual performance is vastly exaggerated for understandable rhetorical reasons.

    Whether Iran will prove able to muster the moral commitment of its people remains to be tested in war – I suspect not. It will do better than feckless Saudi Arabia, but I suspect it won’t show the dedication of Communist regimes in Asia.

    While Western liberalism has a proven track record of producing morally inspired soldiers, Communism has a just as impressive track record – perhaps even more impressive, although I’m not sure.

    But Islam seems well past its peak, and no longer able to morally compete.

  36. 216 says: • Website
    @JPM

    The reason for the IRGC existing as a second army (which the US has accidentally copied with SOCOM/JSOC) is to police the regular army which in its early history was dominated by monarchist leaning officers.

    With generational turnover, the crypto-monarchist officers are gone, but the regular army has lost out in budget battles. But IIRC, the regular army is made up of conscripts, while the IRGC is volunteer. In a defensive war that doesn’t matter, but in an offensive war, or a civil war it does.

    A US backed coup from the regular army is not likely, but a China/Russia backed coup is not out of the question in the inevitable power struggle when Khameinei dies.

  37. utu says:

    Iran apologized, but Trump & other US presidents will never say sorry for what they’ve done to Middle East

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/478038-iran-apologies-plane-shooting-us-blame/

    “We should contrast Iran’s mature handling of the disaster with the shoot-down of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988 by a US warship in the Persian Gulf. All 290 people on board were killed when USS Vincennes, a guided-missile cruiser, fired off a surface-to-air warhead at the aircraft, claiming it had been mistaken for an enemy warplane. However, the Americans never formally apologized for the deaths.

    After years of wrangling, the US paid out over $60 million in compensation to Iran under a ruling in 1996 by the International Court of Justice. Even then, Washington did not accept liability. “I will never apologize,” said former President HW Bush.

    There is also evidence that in the case of Flight 655, the captain of the USS Vincennes was reckless and aggressive in his behavior; and that the shoot-down was no accident. Captain William C Rogers and his crew were later awarded military medals of honor.”

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  38. @Mike Droy

    I think diplomats are expected to report back home about protests, riots, discontent, and other internal political workings of Iran, just as Iranian diplomats are free to do the same in the UK or any other country.

    I remember a similar controversy, when the US chargé d’affairs was criticized for participating in anti-Orbán rallies. It was easy for him to pull out pictures of himself at pro-Orbán rallies, and that his smile at the opposition rallies might’ve been more heartfelt… well, that’s not really an accusation.

    • Replies: @for-the-record
  39. @utu

    “I will never apologize,” said former President HW Bush.

    Though he said it in a different context. He merely generally said that he will never apologize for America’s history, and he had been saying that for months before the tragedy. It was a general statement, not a specific statement about the Iran Air shootdown. That said, he still didn’t apologize for Iran Air Flight 655.

    • Replies: @for-the-record
  40. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    The US took 8 years to compensate the victims of the Iranian airliner downed by the USS Vincennes in 1988 (without ever acknowledging formal responsibility). Iran acknowledged its guilt within 3 days.

    There was a video of the missile strike. Iran had little choice but acknowledging it was theirs. A big difference between now and the late ’80s is everyone is walking around with a video camera in their pocket. And Iran acknowledging its guilt isn’t the same as compensating victims, which it hasn’t done yet.

    Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    Iranian incompetence is 100% to blame for it. They could have grounded all flights temporarily while launching their missile barrage at Iraq, and waited until the dust settled before allowing them again.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  41. @Dave Pinsen

    Iranian incompetence is 100% to blame for it.

    This is not incompatible with the statement that it’s 100% Trump’s responsibility. He’s 100% responsible for the war scare, and thus all that follows. Within the crisis, Iran is 100% responsible for its incompetence.

    Iran had little choice

    I greatly feared they would create idiotic stories about some Israeli or American terrorists. Fortunately it didn’t happen.

    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary
  42. @reiner Tor

    It was a general statement, not a specific statement about the Iran Air shootdown.

    That technically may have been true, but it was certainly interpreted at the time as referring to the Iran Air shootdown.

    “I will never apologize for the United States of America — I don’t care what the facts are.”

    GEORGE BUSH, speaking to a group of Republican ethnic leaders about the accidental downing of an Iranian airliner

    Newsweek, August 15, 1988

    https://imgur.com/ieLrziL

  43. @reiner Tor

    I remember a similar controversy, when the US chargé d’affairs was criticized for participating in anti-Orbán rallies.

    Or Victoria Nuland handing out cookies and other goodies to the hungry folk at Maidan.

  44. Daniel.I says:
    @AaronB

    Behold, the chutzpah of a Jew lecturing about “atavistic morality”.

    I wonder when the last Blood Passover happened.

  45. @reiner Tor

    “I greatly feared they would create idiotic stories about some Israeli or American terrorists. Fortunately it didn’t happen.”

    It was an avoidable tragedy, and in the end the Iranian government did the manly thing and took responsibility for the mistake.

  46. @Colin Wright

    Judaism is moral excrement, that’s for sure. But I disagree that that’s any reason to overlook the ghastliness of Islam, if that’s your intent.

    • Replies: @Colin Wright
  47. “Khamenei got on Twitter and all but called Trump a pussy.”

    Precisely, what Khamenei said was

    1st: You can’t do anything.

    2nd: If you were logical —which you’re not— you’d see that your crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan… have made nations hate you.

    Unwise and mostly accurate.

    Trump is a pussy– for being unwilling to use his executive authority to do what needs to be done at home, and for serving the interests of ZOG abroad. To be fair, if senior government officials publicly threatened to have the intelligence agencies “get back” at me, I’d be a pussy too. It would take an extraordinary man to make a decent POTUS, and we haven’t seen one in a very long time.

  48. LondonBob says:
    @Felix Keverich

    Just a case of which protests get publicised.

  49. iffen says:
    @JPM

    It isn’t entirely clear how much Iran actually controls the Iraqi groups it supports.

    I’d say that having Lebanonese militia go to Syria to fight and die is a little more than backing.

    then that’s kind of on America is it not?

    No it is not.

    Why don’t we just go ahead and blame all of the Great Powers of the early 20th Century that drew the lines and created the countries.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @JPM
    , @JPM
  50. iffen says:
    @AaronB

    I was mildly surprised at Karlin’s descent into rhetoric

    It’s because he’s in Russia now.

    The government’s electromagnetic thought control transmissions messes up the minds of even the very best.

    • LOL: AaronB
  51. jeppo says:

    Iran acknowledged its guilt within 3 days.

    They knew the truth within minutes of the shootdown yet told outrageous lies about it for 3 days. In fact they’re still lying about it, claiming against evidence that the plane veered off course toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard.

    Obviously they had no intention of ever admitting culpability, but after 3 days the evidence against them was so overwhelming they had to change their story to preserve any semblance of the regime’s credibility. They tried to, but couldn’t, sweep this one under the rug.

    Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    Nice try, but whacking QS days earlier in Iraq has no evidentiary bearing here. The guilt is 100% Iran’s, specifically the hapless sod who actually pressed the “fire” button and the command-and-control structure that led to that decision

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @last straw
    , @KA
  52. iffen says:
    @AaronB

    But to a new system that will encapsulate the timeless, eternal principles of spirituality.

    That does it.

    I’m cleaning out the lightning bugs that the grandkids put into my quart Mason jar and making it ready for moonbeams.

  53. Over the last week the Iranian government has done more damage to their credibility with their own people than Trump could have ever hoped for as a result of their own incompetence.

    Trump has ended up bolstering US global domination, any country thinking of taking a similar path to Iran now knows it leads to no where but destruction and pariah status and that the only viable option for most countries is to side with the US empire. There is no viable challenge to US domination from any other country, the few countries that do attempt to stand up to the US do so alone, no one is coming to their aid if the US attacks.

  54. Finally, the reasons for the recent protests strike me as uniquely lame and unconvincing. The US took 8 years to compensate the victims of the Iranian airliner downed by the USS Vincennes in 1988 (without ever acknowledging formal responsibility). Iran acknowledged its guilt within 3 days. Considering that you need to make split second decisions in air defence, it is tragic but not altogether incomprehensible that one SA-15 battery faltered. Considering who began this escalation, the US must be considered at least equally culpable for the downing of PS752.

    100% true. Captain Rogers of the Vincennes was given the Legion of Merit, which, according to the Department of Defense, is given for “Exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.”

  55. @songbird

    That is a very weak argument.

    The U.S. gave their captain a medal and let him retire with full dignity and honors. And, even after admitting they made a mistake, they never revoked Rogers’ medal.

    I can think of very few such cases. There have been lots of American friendly fire incidents.

    The difference is clear, though: For example, the famous American actor Jimmy Stewart was a bomber pilot in WW2 and he presided over the court-martial of American pilots who had bombed a city under Soviet control (I think it was either Prague or Budapest, but I’m not sure) through incompetence. They were court-martialed, not given medals!

    It has nothing to do with plausible deniability and everything to do with the fact that America’s government is an arrogant pest. America has a godless government whose vicious and intemperate rulers agree with Thrasymachus from the Republic: justice favors the strong (i.e. them).

    Besides, there wasn’t that much deniability for Rogers anyway – his fellow skippers lambasted him and criticized harshly the decision to award him a medal.

    I know not enough to say much about the ruling philosophy of Iran. And it may be that their apology is a sign of political weakness rather than moral virtue. But in any case, they apologized, which is what an honorable person or group does.

  56. I imagine support for siding with the US empire is increasing significantly amongst the Iranian population as it’s the only way of guaranteeing that your country won’t be bombed to smithereens and your people decimated through brutal sanctions.

    The common people in any country are not really interested in the geo-political and philosophical struggles of their elites, they just want to be in with the side who offers the most wealth and security. Even though the elites start these wars it’s usually not them who are affected by the results of them, it’s the common people.

    • Replies: @Mitleser
    , @Felix Keverich
  57. Sean says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I didn’t think you had or would, it was a joke. Except the part about military incompetence–or bad luck to be up against strong opponents–often creating the most serious popular unrest, even a revolution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OODA_loop#Overview

    The key is to obscure your intentions and make them unpredictable to your opponent while you simultaneously clarify his intentions. That is, operate at a faster tempo to generate rapidly changing conditions that inhibit your opponent from adapting or reacting to those changes and that suppress or destroy his awareness. Thus, a hodgepodge of confusion and disorder occur to cause him to over- or under-react to conditions or activities that appear to be uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible.

    Creating an uncertain, ambiguous, or incomprehensible environment is what Trump does. He did it to get elected and now he is doing it abroad. The assassination made them think Trump was unpredictable and then they were all so keyed up someone overreacted. The “postmodernist theatre” of Vladislav Surkov, whereby all civil society even apparently apparently anti-government social movements are being funded by the government worked to make politics ambiguous.

  58. @iffen

    having Lebanonese militia go to Syria to fight and die

    So you are proposing that Hezbollah had no selfish motivation to try to save the regime of one of its biggest benefactors, and that if it weren’t for Iran, they wouldn’t have minded if a Shia-hating Sunni (probably Islamist) regime was installed in Syria, completely encircling Hezbollah in Lebanon? By the way since Syria was also backing Hezbollah, even if Hezbollah has no agency, it could easily have been the Syrian government who had them go to Syria…

    • Agree: JPM
    • Replies: @iffen
  59. There have been a number of comparisons with Iran Air 655. Perhaps a more interesting comparison would be with TWA 800 which, according to numerous eyewitnesses and other evidence, was destroyed by a missile or missiles in July 1996 off the coast of Long Island shortly after departing JFK. Some of the eyewitness testimony comes from ex-military with relevant missile experience. Additional evidence included FAA radar which “showed a mystery blip in the vicinity of the TWA flight path” (CNN, 2 days after the crash).

    The investigation was almost immediately (and illegally) taken out of the hands of the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and handed over to the FBI, assisted by the CIA. The NTSB never actually interviewed any eyewitnesses (and there were hundreds who attested to a missile strike, with at least 59 having seen an apparent missile rising from the horizon). Instead they relied on short summaries (often slapdash) of witness statements provided by the FBI.

    In November 1997 the CIA released a video-animation (cartoon) which provided the (ludicrous) explanation for the (claimed) delusion of the eyewitnesses: the explosion of the center fuel tank (electrical spark, gas fumes) blew off (somehow) the nose of the plane, and the headless burning monster then rapidly rose of its own accord 3,400 feet before falling to the ground, so that the poor eyewitnesses mistook the sudden rise of the burning monster as a missile.

    An interesting question is whether the “incident” could have been as effectively covered up today, given that in 1996 the Internet was still virtually in its infancy, and potential eyewitnesses didn’t walk around carrying photographic equipment.

  60. @AaronB

    I for one am not very surprised that it was this of all topics that prompted AaronB’s transition from postmodernist trolling to passionate lucidity given his emotional stake in Israel.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @A123
    , @iffen
  61. @jeppo

    In fact they’re still lying about it, claiming against evidence that the plane veered off course toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard.

    I’ve seen a map (with the flight path, last transponder signal and the approximate path after the hit by the missile shown) the day before the Iranians admitted to it. There was a military base shown on the picture. Apparently the regular flight path was very close to a military base.

    The Iranians also didn’t claim that the aircraft was not following its normal path. In fact the Iranian general kept emphasizing that it was only them and no one else who was responsible.

    • Replies: @jeppo
    , @jeppo
  62. @Anatoly Karlin

    I prefer his ethnocentric arguments. The postmodernist bullshit was just trolling, while this lets us to have a well argued neocon(nish) point of view to be represented here.

  63. jeppo says:
    @reiner Tor

    Yes they’ve changed their story.

    “The crash, which killed all 176 aboard, resulted from “human error” according to an official statement broadcast on Iranian state television, and those responsible for the unintentional strike will be prosecuted. When the jetliner appeared to head toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard, officials mistook it for a “hostile target” and shot it down.

    However, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization disputed this timeline of events in a statement issued early Saturday morning, contending that the jetliner had been on course up until the moment of the strike.

    “Until now no flight deviation of the airplane which had the accident has been proven,” the statement said per a Reuters report.”

    https://gizmodo.com/iran-says-it-unintentionally-shot-down-ukrainian-airl-1840942174

  64. jeppo says:
    @reiner Tor

    Yes they’ve changed their story.

    “The crash, which killed all 176 aboard, resulted from “human error” according to an official statement broadcast on Iranian state television, and those responsible for the unintentional strike will be prosecuted. When the jetliner appeared to head toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard, officials mistook it for a “hostile target” and shot it down.

    However, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization disputed this timeline of events in a statement issued early Saturday morning, contending that the jetliner had been on course up until the moment of the strike.

    “Until now no flight deviation of the airplane which had the accident has been proven,” the statement said per a Reuters report.”

    https://gizmodo.com/iran-says-it-unintentionally-shot-down-ukrainian-airl-1840942174

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  65. Mitleser says:
    @Europe Europa

    See Johannpeter’s post:

    Even if they somehow managed to change the regime in Iran, privatizing the Bonyads which provide employment and charity for most Iranians would cause a backlash in 10 years, like privatization did in Russia.

    Surrendering does not ensure an improvement of their living standards.

  66. JPM says:
    @iffen

    I’d say that having Lebanonese militia go to Syria to fight and die is a little more than backing.

    Somehow I think the prospect of the loving embrace of Salafi Jihadis on one side and the IDF on the other, might have spurred Nasrallah to action more than the Iranians. Assad going down would have been an existential threat to the Lebanese Shi’a community. The Hezbollah fighters were and are fighting for their core ethno-religious interests.

    Nothing like common enemies to bring disparate groups together. The Shi’a are not a monolith. Within the Twelvers (so named because they believe in 12 Imams), there are theological and ideological divisions. Many important Ayatollahs like Ali al-Sistani, the most important Iraqi cleric, do not believe that religious clerics should rule the community. That puts him at odds with Khamenei.

    Assad is from the Alawite sect, which is quite heterodox by Shi’a standards. Assad himself isn’t very religious, but the Salafi rebels explicitly stated they wanted to exterminate all the Alawites.

    The Houthis are Zaidi, which quite different from Iran’s version of Shi’ism. However, the Saudis don’t care about the distinctions and treat all Shi’a everywhere as a threat. The Saudis are afraid that their Shi’a majority areas, which are also the areas with most of the oil, might revolt. Thus, they wage their cold war against Iran across the region. Ironically, Saudi efforts to prevent a Shi’a united front have created a Shi’a united front.

  67. songbird says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    Let’s be honest: everyone gets a medal. They are like crackerjack box prizes, or employee of the month awards. John Kerry got a Purple Heart. You’re also conflating the reason they got a medal, which was not for firing the missile.

    The overwhelming rule in life and especially government (which includes the military) is lack of accountability. It has always been so, and exceptions are very rare.

    This moralism about Vicennes is bizarre. It may have been a moral failing that the US was in the Gulf, but the incident was an accident. Nor does it somehow make the captain evil or necessarily negligent – he may have been well-attuned to what he was doing, only not had the nerves or intelligence for the job. It was a selection problem.

    You want to compare it to the Soviet Union shooting down a passenger plane in cold blood with an air-to-air missile? Because, in the days before civilian GPS, the pilot had temporarily strayed into Soviet airspace, on a 4,000-mile leg of a journey, which was part of a 7000-mile long journey, only made necessary because the USSR did not at that time allow any overflight of civilian planes from other countries.

    What was the response of the “evil” US? It gifted GPS to the world to try to prevent such incidents.

    This arrogance talk is absurd. The US is not more arrogant than other countries. Have you ever met a Haitian or a Nigerian? To speak to them, you wouldn’t think their streets were trash-filled, and it difficult to find a working toilet. No, the US is not more arrogant than the rest of globohomo, or many other countries, for that matter, it is only more capable. I shudder to think what Merkel or Macron would be doing in the Middle East, if they had as powerful an army.

    BTW, there is external and internal deniability. Obviously, Centcom knew what happened. That is not the issue. The issue is world-optics. And the initial reaction of pretty much every country in one of these incidents is to deny what happened, and see how well it sticks. I wouldn’t like to fly out of Iran, if the Iranian government did not even acknowledge what happened. I am sure that entered into their calculations. Besides, it was hard to deny what happened. It had nothing to do with honor – their initial response was to deny it.

    Not to mention, there is a price to rhetoric. To be clear – I’m not approving what happened in 1988, but there are no “empty cannons of rhetoric.” There is no purely internal consumption of rhetoric, that doesn’t effect external relations. It may have a payoff to demonize another country, but it also has a price.

    Maybe, it is just a normal cultural thing of Iranians to chant “Death to ___!” But the regime got a little too caught up in it, and put its approval stamp on the actions of radical students who made hostages of the embassy staff. This was a pariah action, and that sort of thing has consequences, even years later, especially when you continue the rhetoric of death chants and “Great Satan.” People on that ship were probably thinking, “This country is full of crazy buggers who are unpredictable and don’t follow normal rules.”

  68. @jeppo

    They might have changed their story, but you failed to prove it, as the two versions you cite are fully consistent with each other as well as with what I wrote. The plane’s flight path was very close to a military base. I saw a map of it before the Iranians ever said anything.

    • Replies: @jeppo
  69. JPM says:
    @iffen

    Why don’t we just go ahead and blame all of the Great Powers of the early 20th Century that drew the lines and created the countries.

    Well we could blame the British for fucking up the region. They gave us Sykes-Picot, Israel and they were the driving force behind overthrowing Mossadegh in 1953.

    Also at the outbreak WWI, they stole 2 battleships (Reşadiye and Fatih Sultan Mehmed) that the Ottomans had paid for, which were under construction in British shipyards. The British didn’t need them, but that action alienated the Ottomans because they were paid for through public donations. It was the major factor in moving the Ottomans into the Central Powers.

    That caused the Turkish straits to be closed to allied shipping. Imagine if Russia could have been supplied through her Black Sea Ports. Imagine no disasters at Gallipoli and Kut. Imagine not carving up the remnants of the Ottoman controlled parts of the Arab world and not backstabbing the Arabs by dividing their territory, after promising them a unified state.

    I could go on…

    • Replies: @iffen
  70. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    So you are proposing that Hezbollah had no selfish motivation

    Well, I suppose the logic of “fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” can be considered a universal.

    • Replies: @JPM
    , @reiner Tor
  71. A123 says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I for one am not very surprised that it was this of all topics that prompted AaronB’s transition from postmodernist trolling to passionate lucidity given his emotional stake in Israel.

    Troll extraordinaire, Colin Wright, showed up to troll the conversation . He tries to make his pathologic hatred of Jews the center of the universe. It is not surprising that he got someone to bite

    PEACE 😇

  72. iffen says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    I for one am not very surprised

    I am.

    I thought that by now he would be reporting that he was on his way to Shangri-La in quest of “The Knowledge” after a bitter first hand experience with the spiritual vacuity of Zionism in its unvarnished flesh.

  73. JPM says:
    @iffen

    Well, I suppose the logic of “fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” can be considered a universal.

    Well fighting them over there before they get here becomes more urgent when over there is right across the border.

  74. @iffen

    Except that the Shiites in Lebanon face a realistic threat of genocide or ethnic cleansing in the case of a radical Sunni Islamist government in Syria. They weren’t afraid of a few terrorist attacks killing <0.01% of their population.

    To sum it up, much much much bigger threat, and it was more realistic that it could be defeated "there."

    • Agree: JPM
  75. A123 says:

    The people of Iran are now in the streets protesting against Khameni’s debacle. (1)

    A candlelight ceremony late Saturday in Tehran turned into a protest, with hundreds of people chanting against the country’s leaders — including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — and police dispersing them with tear gas. Protests were also held in the city of Isfahan and elsewhere.

    Police briefly detained the British ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, who said he went with the intention of attending the vigil and did not know it would turn into a protest.

    Arresting an ambassador is a violation of International Law. Iran must be investigated by the ICC immediately. Or, does the ICC have double stamdards?
    _____

    The Democrats refuse to back these protests against Khameni. What do they stand for? The Ayatollah’s oppresion?
    .

    .

    PEACE 😇
    _______

    (1) https://www.breitbart.com/news/iran-braces-for-protests-after-admitting-plane-shootdown/

    • Replies: @JPM
  76. @songbird

    You want to compare it to the Soviet Union shooting down a passenger plane in cold blood with an air-to-air missile? Because, in the days before civilian GPS, the pilot had temporarily strayed into Soviet airspace, on a 4,000-mile leg of a journey, which was part of a 7000-mile long journey, only made necessary because the USSR did not at that time allow any overflight of civilian planes from other countries.

    You are misrepresenting the facts. The Soviets had their internal fuckups (some local radar got destroyed by bad weather; the local commander lied about it having been repaired; so they couldn’t intercept it for two hours, and didn’t have enough time to properly identify it), but then they tried to fly next to the Boeing to warn it. (The pilots of KAL007 probably didn’t see them, and it would’ve been difficult to see them in any event, visibility was poor, the “warning shots” were probably never noticed, as they were just fired from a regular machine gun into the air.) Some bad luck also played a role, the Boeing started some maneuvers, which the fighters interpreted as evasive maneuvers. So they shot it out of the sky without properly identifying it. (They had remarkable difficulties doing so, by the way, but it was very poor weather, and one of the farthest and most difficult corners of the Soviet empire.) The local Soviet commander in charge was sure that it was a spy plane, and the pilots who shot it down also had reasons to believe that it might be (though they expressed doubts about it).

    It was a stupid error, and the Soviets didn’t have the excuse of fearing for their lives (as USS Vincennes), they were rather fearing for their careers (for failing to intercept a slow spy plane), so the local officers in charge of the thing were certainly nervous themselves. Anyway, the Soviets admitted after five days that they had shot it down. They then, of course, tried their best to cover it up, in the most disgusting manner (like harassing the American-Japanese efforts to recover the wreck).

    • Replies: @inertial
    , @songbird
  77. inertial says:
    @reiner Tor

    For context: earlier that year, there was a massive American war exercise in the area.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FleetEx_%2783-1

    “The purpose of the mission was to intentionally provoke the Soviet Union into responding so that the US forces could study their response, tactics, and capabilities…”

    The exercise involved multiple violations of the Soviet air space. In one episode, six American warplanes crossed deep into the Soviet territory and imitated a bombing run over a Soviet military base on one of the Kuril islands.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  78. jeppo says:
    @reiner Tor

    This is what you wrote:

    “The Iranians also didn’t claim that the aircraft was not following its normal path.”

    Wrong. One of their competing claims is that “the plane was mistaken for a hostile target after it *turned* towards a sensitive military centre of the Revolutionary Guards.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/11/iran-admits-shooting-down-ukrainian-airliner-unintentionally

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  79. JPM says:
    @A123

    Arresting an ambassador is a violation of International Law. Iran must be investigated by the ICC immediately. Or, does the ICC have double stamdards?

    The ICC only prosecutes Africans because they try to avoid offending countries that give them money. In fact, all 45 people indicted by the ICC have been African leaders, so the ICC could probably use some criminal justice reform.

    “The ICC has been accused of bias and as being a tool of Western imperialism, only punishing leaders from small, weak states while ignoring crimes committed by richer and more powerful states. This sentiment has been expressed particularly by African leaders due to an alleged disproportionate focus of the Court on Africa, while it claims to have a global mandate; until January 2016, all nine situations which the ICC had been investigating were in African countries.”

    • Replies: @A123
  80. @jeppo

    After taking off, following its regular flight path, it was turning towards the military base. What I saw of the original Iranian press conference, they were certainly not blaming anyone other than themselves.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  81. youtube hasn’t figured out a way to delete the jason jorjani red ice interview yet!

    The youtuber who posted it calls itself “voice of israel” which also is pretty radical.

  82. iffen says:
    @JPM

    Why shouldn’t they have put their thumb on the scales to draw the lines in a way to enhance their own interests, influence and power? Isn’t this is your argument on behalf of Iran?

    • Replies: @JPM
  83. @inertial

    However, I believe that the American response was still better than the Soviet response. The Soviets refused to pay compensation.

    There is one crucial difference. The Americans shot Iran Air Flight 655 out of Iranian airspace. The Soviets held that they shot KAL007 in Soviet airspace. When in fact probably it was already in international airspace. The Soviets had some claim of legality there: they had the right to legally shoot down an unauthorized intruder which fails to contact air traffic control. But in the end they were illegal as well. And they have never paid.

  84. A123 says:
    @JPM

    The ICC only prosecutes Africans because they try to avoid offending countries that give them money. In fact, all 45 people indicted by the ICC have been African leaders

    What about Karadzic and Mladic? Is there more than one kangaroo court operating out of the Hague?

    the ICC could probably use some criminal justice reform.

    The ICC cannot be reformed. It should be abolished.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @JPM
  85. @AaronB

    Not any country. It couldn’t do it in Sweden.

    The Left in Sweden is completely managed by the US State Department and its NGO complex and if Sweden tried to go genuinely nationalist there would definitely be a color revolution. Why wouldn’t there be? The color revolutionaries would have all the support from a superpower and its puppet countries that surround Sweden while Swedish nationalists would have no great power support. All the Western media would just declare in lockstep that pro-democracy protesters are resisting a neo-Nazi takeover.

    Finland is different in that it neighbors a bigger power that’s not aligned with the US and the pro-American regime in Finland is now completely obsessed with suppressing imaginary “pro-Russian nationalists”. I found this totally bizarre until I realized that it’s all a creation of some US think thank that has looked at surveys to see that Finns are very anti-NATO and CIA files probably also describe a history of “pro-Russian authoritarianism” (Finlandization). They just look at that with no knowledge of history or actual attittudes on the ground and our leaders are a class of morons and opportunists who just parrot this.

    We might have a color revolution even if the alt-light, pro-Western, pro-Zionist and very non-pro-Russian True Finns win big. Our leaders will just run over to the US to tell them that “Putin-backed neo-Nazis” are taking over and the patriotards of the right and social justice idiots of the left will all buy it.

    • Replies: @Znzn
  86. songbird says:
    @reiner Tor

    Seems to me, if they got close enough to fire a warning shot, then they got close enough to do a visual confirmation. I mean, in 2001 the Chinese got so obnoxiously close to a US spy plane that they collided with it.

    But perhaps, all this just happened on radar, and it wasn’t cold blood. But, if so, we are talking layers and layers of mistakes. It was probably the most embarrassing of these types of incidents, unless you count the USS Liberty as an accident.

    The USSR also had some stupid policies in place. The US had a pretty good view up the USSR’s skirt without resorting to relatively slow, low flying planes. They could have been making money off civilian overflight, just as they later did. China actually still has very restricted airspace. One of the reasons why high speed trains are practical there.

    But perhaps we shouldn’t be too hard on them. I believe there were a few Soviet soldiers on a remote base in the area who actually starved to death about three years later, when the Union broke up.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  87. JPM says:
    @iffen

    In Britain’s case, it would have been more advantageous for them to have avoided interfering in the region. Allegedly, Britain went to war in 1914 to protect its naval supremacy from Germany, but Britain had already won the Naval Race by 1910. Furthermore, Britain surrendered its naval supremacy to the US after the war without firing a shot, so this is a false casus belli. Britain ruined her finances and lost her best human capital in the mud and the blood of Flanders for what?

    A few pieces of the Ottoman Empire, German Togoland, Tanzania, parts of Papua and protecting Belgian neutrality? That’s not much to show for the price of blood and treasure expended.

    British actions destabilized the Middle East for no real benefit to Britain. Look at how British power ended with the 1956 Suez Crisis. An astounding humiliation for a once great power. The chief beneficiary of all the British misadventures in the ME was the US. The US had the most to gain from the weakening of British power. There’s a difference between real and perceived interests. Sykes-Picot wasn’t really to Britain’s advantage.

    The US is repeating British mistakes of being entangled in worthless places and sapping its finances to hold them.

    As for Iran, it is a constituent part of the region therefore it has much more to gain or lose by its actions in the region. Iran is the chief beneficiary of Saudi, Israeli and American interventions in the region. The US took out Iran’s main enemy, Saddam. The Saudis bogged themselves down in Yemen. US actions furthered perceived interests, while harming real interests. In contrast, Iranian actions have furthered its real interests.

    • Replies: @iffen
  88. JPM says:
    @A123

    What about Karadzic and Mladic? Is there more than one kangaroo court operating out of the Hague?

    Actually yes. The ICTY not the ICC went after those guys if I’m not mistaken. It also went after Milosevic, but the ICJ (not to be confused with the ICC or ICTY) acquited him after he was already dead.

    I was only joking about the reform. All these courts are useless.

    • Thanks: A123
  89. Znzn says:
    @Jaakko Raipala

    How do you prevent a hostile midwit elite? You just can’t democide anybody with an IQ over 100 or 110, since you need them to build an advanced economy.

  90. @Europe Europa

    The common people in any country are not really interested in the geo-political and philosophical struggles of their elites, they just want to be in with the side who offers the most wealth and security.

    People, who feel this way are not going to put themselves at risk by battling the regime. They’ll just emigrate.

  91. rocco says:

    “The US took 8 years to compensate the victims of the Iranian airliner downed by the USS Vincennes in 1988 (without ever acknowledging formal responsibility). Iran acknowledged its guilt within 3 days.”

    Your anti-American bias is showing here with this misleading apples/oranges comparison. The USA acknowledged downing the Airbus almost immediately. Iran has not compensated any victims of their shootdown to date. You also fail to note that in 1984, as in 2020, it was the Iranians who sent their passenger aircraft into the path of active military conflict which is why the USA refused to accept complete responsibility for the incident.

    • Replies: @utu
  92. iffen says:
    @JPM

    All of this is pure hindsight prediction.

    The Brits were quite wise in hanging on to the oil in Iraq and Iran after WWI. The creation of the Mandate seemed like a good idea at the time as a partial solution to the JQ, especially so after WWII. There are no definitive and eternal answers. Hell, even Yugoslavia worked for a while. (In 1965, my high school social studies teacher told me that Yugoslavia would fail after Tito passed away. Of course he also told me that Brazil would be the next superpower. 50/50 is not bad.)

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    , @JPM
  93. @iffen

    he also told me that Brazil would be the next superpower.

    I’d like to see his face now that it turns out it’s actually India.

    • LOL: iffen
  94. @songbird

    See #78 above. Visibility was very poor, so they simply couldn’t see. It was difficult to go very close because the Boeing was flying too slow for the Soviet interceptors designed for much higher speeds.

  95. utu says:
    @rocco

    “…it was the Iranians who sent their passenger aircraft into the path of active military conflict…”

    The plane was on routine, daily flight. The plane was shot down while in Iranian airspace. It was USS Vincennes that was in place it was not supposed be The crew and its captain were exceptionally aggressive and trigger happy. For an objective observer Americans came across as exceptional bungling idiots and arrogant assholes at that time. Year earlier also by being where they were not supposed to be their USS Stark got shot by Iraqi fighter jets with and Exocet missile because Americans turned off too sensitive Aegis system or so they said. Then one year later USS Vincennes shows hyper vigilance and trigger happy American carelessness and shoots everything in sight including the passenger plane on its routine daily scheduled flight. It seems that for the deed of Iraqi Air Force the Iranian civilians paid in the American twisted realm of justice. However there would be no Iraqi deed and the Iranian plane would not have been shot down if American were not there.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  96. @utu

    Not only was IR655 in Iranian airspace, the USS Vincennes was also in Iranian territorial waters.

  97. @JPM

    The nuclear program is in fact just for energy purposes.

    Yes, and no. As I have posted previously, former Reagan nuclear advisor Dr. Gordon Prather at Antiwar.com blew the weapons myth out of the water while “Bonkers” Bolton was foaming at the mouth at the UN during the Bush era.
    Under the NPT, signatories, like Iran, are allowed to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, and other signatories are required to assist. The US has steadfastly refused to do so. Why?
    In the late 1980s Canada understood its reactors needed to be replaced. At the time, Canada produced close to 40% of molybenum-99, the precursor for technetium-99 which is used in Nuclear Medicine and other medical procedures. They embarked on a new design type Multipurpose Applied Physics Lattice Experiment or MAPLE, and commissioned it in 1996. There were problems with the predictability, not dangerous ones, just barely outside the IAEA guidelines. In the early 2000’s the Chalk River site, which produced the molybdenum-99 began experiencing problems and went into partial shutdown for “maintenance” on a more frequent basis. This began the shortage of radio-nuclides for Nuclear Medicine and other medical purposes, which culminated in the decision to stop MAPLE and decommission Chalk River which was completed by 2009. At the time, Canada still produced about 35% of the world’s molybdenum-99. Iran’s new reactor was going to replace the shortfall, and US interests were eyeballing the possibility as well. In order to do that, enrichment has to be to at least 20%. Make no mistake, this is a multi billion dollar revenue stream. Iran’s Bushehr reactor was going to be a huge competitor, not only in volume, but potentially lower cost. This threatened Israel’s production as well. Hence, the myth of the Iranian nuclear bomb.
    The JCPOA was a gift to the US and Israel to continue the high cost of medical procedures. It was Iran’s voluntarily restriction on NPT rights in order to remove sanctions. Other than the alleged laptop mysteriously found by intelligence agencies, there has never been any evidence of a weapons program in Iran. It’s the distraction from reality.

    • Thanks: JPM
    • Replies: @utu
    , @A123
  98. @reiner Tor

    They also said the communications system, which includes the transponder, suddenly shut down and that the plane was returning to the airport. No transponder = no corresponding flight plan = hostile intent.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  99. @Curmudgeon

    They didn’t say that. They said that the communications between the air defense operators and the civilian air traffic control system broke down. Remember, the military radar normally cannot see the transponder. The civilian radar could see it. So the air defense needs to constantly be in contact with the civilians. Once it breaks down, the air defense operators have no idea if it’s a civilian or enemy military plane. Even so, it doesn’t seem smart to immediately just shoot down a plane with no confirmation. But I wasn’t there. It was a difficult decision.

    • Replies: @iffen
    , @songbird
  100. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    Remember, the military radar normally cannot see the transponder.

    Are you sure about this?

    In the US in the late 60’s we used IFF and all commercial aircraft responded.

  101. utu says:
    @Curmudgeon

    Interesting about Mo-99 but I am skeptical and think it is a spin of the third order kind a spin of possibly KGB origin about the bad capitalists that also may suit Iranian propaganda to divert from talking about nuclear weapons. If anything it would be Russia’s interest to prevent Iran from getting into Mo-99 market.

    Russia begins shipments of Mo-99 to Iran (MAY 10, 2011)

    http://fissilematerials.org/blog/2011/05/russia_begins_shipments_o.html

    Russian site AtomInfo.ru reports that Russia began regular shipments of molybdenum-99 to Iran in April. The isotope for Iran is produced by the Obninsk branch of the Karpov Scientific Research Institute of Physical Chemistry (NIFKhI), which also produces Mo-99 for the Russian domestic market and since May 2010 – for Poland.

    NIFKhI operates a VVR-ts research reactor that uses uranium with enrichment of up to 36% in its fuel.

    Global Production of Molybdenum-99 and Future Prospects (2016)
    https://www.nap.edu/read/23563/chapter/6

    The Russian government plans to become a global supplier of Mo-99 and to capture about a 20 percent share of the global market but has not announced a schedule for doing so.

  102. JPM says:
    @iffen

    All of this is pure hindsight prediction.

    I would argue that the British could have made better decisions with the information available to them from 1914 to 1919, and that hindsight is actually very useful.

    During the Schleswig war, Palmerston could have leapt to Denmark’s defense in 1864. There was moralizing popular sentiment in Britain at the time about defending small nations just like with Belgium in 1914. Britain did guarantee the sovereignty of Denmark just like with Belgium. However, Palmerston did nothing, while Asquith did something. Hindsight is useful in predicting outcomes because history can present analogous scenarios. 1864 turned out fine. 1914 turned out not so great. Asquith had the 1864 outcome as a readily available historical example. Britain fought the Russians in the Crimean War over hysteria about Russia taking over the ME and Balkans if nothing was done. Britain gained nothing from doing something. Russia reversed the Crimean War in the Russo-Turkish war 1877-1878. The British didn’t intervene, and things turned out fine for them. All this hindsight was available to the cabinet in 1914.

    Iran was important, but Britain had Iran in its sphere of influence since the 19th century. So, the big prize in the region was already under British influence. Nothing to gain in the ME that they didn’t already have. Iraq wasn’t very important, and it was not the major producer that it would become later. As for the mandate, it only seemed like a good idea to people, who weren’t looking ahead or were Zionists. Admittedly, most people in the cabinet fit either or both of those descriptions. Curzon knew it was going to blow up before it was even created, so it’s not a hindsight prediction to say the mandate as it was implemented was a bad idea. It was predicted at the time.

    Ultimately, a country’s real interests are debatable. They were certainly debated at the time.

    With the benefit of hindsight, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and all the rest were a waste of time and money for the US no doubt, and there were plenty of people who knew it wasn’t in American interest to invade Iraq circa 2003 at the time. I have no doubt all the effort spent containing Iran is equally useless because I know how history has turned out to this point. So, I would prefer my country do nothing about Iran. Iran is a core interest of Israel and Saudi Arabia not really America. Nevertheless, the US policy blob perceives every Israeli and Saudi interest as an American interest. At least Iran is harming its actual enemies. All America is doing is fighting someone else’s war for someone else’s reasons.

  103. songbird says:
    @reiner Tor

    It was a difficult decision.

    I was thinking in 2020, an initial attack by the US would be missiles. (Just like Iran’s attack was missiles). If it were ever planes, there would be a lot of political warning signs, and the initial sorties would probably be stealth.

    But then I suppose some drones might have a similar signature as a plane. Of course, it would be silly to send in a big, expensive drone like that, and probably not what the US would do. But I could understand how someone with their finger on the button might get a little nervous.

  104. A123 says:
    @Curmudgeon

    Canada understood its reactors needed to be replaced. At the time, Canada produced close to 40% of molybenum-99

    What is the total annual consumption of Mo-99? Something on the order of 2-3 kg?

    While production of Mo-99 is a valid use for HEU, the quantity of HEU in Iranian hands is inconsistent with this application. Decades of supply makes no sense for this market.

    The only explanation for both the quantity and % enrichment is an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @JPM
  105. JPM says:
    @A123

    The only explanation for both the quantity and % enrichment is an Iranian nuclear weapons program.

    Not necessarily, Iran has been keeping enrichment below 20% for now, and inspectors still have access. Iran might have the intention to keep the option of pursuing a weapon open, but I’m skeptical that the Iranians see much utility in having nukes right now.

    Saudi Arabia recently received logistical support for its nuclear program from the US. Allegedly, the Saudis also have technical help from the Pakistanis. At the moment, Saudi is officially only pursuing nuclear power, but it is entirely plausible that they’d go for building a bomb or even buy some from Pakistan if Iran got a nuclear weapon.

    It would be very risky for Iran to actual have nuclear weapons because it would encourage the Saudis to get their own, and it would diminish the likelihood of economic relief from Europe. Proliferation would also irritate Russia and China, so Iran could find itself even more precariously isolated. I don’t think they would run that risk given the current situation.

    • Replies: @216
  106. @yakushimaru

    Now I read on Chinese website that many America loving Chineses blame this tragedy on Iran and not Trump. It just makes me furious. But this is the world we live in.

    No need to be furious. We don’t even know if those are real Chinese or U.S. PSYOP trolls.

  107. @jeppo

    They knew the truth within minutes of the shootdown yet told outrageous lies about it for 3 days. In fact they’re still lying about it, claiming against evidence that the plane veered off course toward a “sensitive military center” of the Revolutionary Guard.

    I think it’s entirely normal to take 3 days to confirm matters with such seriousness. Any evidence that the Iranian air defense actually claimed that the flight deviated from its preplanned path?

  108. @songbird

    Buddy, you’re full of it, and wrong for one very simple reason:

    The American commanders at My Lai did not get medals. *

    Rogers did.

    Why? Because when it comes to Iranians, at least, the American military really doesn’t give a damn about civilians. All are guilty by virtue of being Iranians – all are expendable.

    * Although there was Wounded Knee, where everyone got the Medal of Honor, in the 20th century at least, there are many other places where Americans got punished instead of receiving medals.

    People on that ship were probably thinking, “This country is full of crazy buggers who are unpredictable and don’t follow normal rules.”

    It doesn’t matter so much what the people on that ship were thinking in 1988. What matters is the thought process of their superiors. What matters is that they were rewarded for a tragic mistake. Is that the way to prevent tragic mistakes – by rewarding those responsible?

    • Replies: @songbird
  109. @reiner Tor

    Yes, and American captains themselves denounced Rogers as an overly aggressive fool.

    Commander David Carlson, skipper of the USS Sides, criticized the US Navy for stationing an Aegis cruiser in a spot that did not best suit its capabilities, and he criticized Rogers and the Vincennes officers for a “culture of aggressiveness” that led them to shoot down an airliner while in Iranian waters.

    Those who wish to downplay the ineptitude and arrogance of this incident are mistaken, for it reveals a lot about the problems with my country’s government. As I’ve said earlier, it was only 5 years later that the FBI and ATF massacred (probably accidentally, but who knows?) children at Waco, Texas. No apology will ever come for that event either. And those were AMERICANS.

  110. KA says:
    @AaronB

    This is what Abram Shulsky would have used if he were today managing TelAviv ‘s kitchen talk on Iran as intelligence . He was expert on it having worked under Leo Strauss and having argued successfully that intelligence was the art of the deception and purpose of the intelligence wis the attainment of the policy goal established by bodies like PNAC to which he was a signatory.
    PNAC or FDD rarely sent or sends the demand . It planted and it plants its people . Sometimes it sent them to work for government and continued to pay them while they were away.
    FDD was doing it.
    The lies succeed because the liars were not brought to justice . . People with worst inclination find the imbecile bombastic frightened figure with ambition as leader . Then they manipulate the leaders.

  111. songbird says:
    @John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan

    My “everyone” was meant to be slight hyperbole. I was not trying to assert that they gave medals to the men who perpetrated My Lai, which involved shooting civilians in the head, throwing grenades at them, and raping some of them. The two incidents really aren’t in any way comparable.

    Though, I’ll bet many of those men did have medals earned previously, as it is pretty bog standard to give them out for combat. That is my point: it is a quantity thing. A bureaucratic thing meant to boost morale. That is really the whole design. Most of them really aren’t like the Medal of Honor or the Silver Star – there isn’t much prestige or rarity attached to many of them.

    They give out the Legion of Merit to foreigners, some of whom have never seen combat. The very first man to receive it was a Brazilian. They have given it to Pakistanis, to Israelis, to at least one Chechen. I wouldn’t call that prestigious. Maybe, our views of it differ. BTW, I would not have awarded him a medal.

    Accountability is very rare, even in the military. There are countless examples. Douglas MacArthur probably should have been shot, instead he was made a five-star general.

  112. 216 says: • Website
    @JPM

    inspectors still have access.

    None of the inspectors are Israeli, and the inspectors don’t have access to Parchin.

  113. Two minor points:

    1- Anatoly loves finding ways to use the word “maidan”

    2- I thought it said “Ironmaiden”

    • Agree: Mr. Hack
  114. @silviosilver

    ‘Judaism is moral excrement, that’s for sure. But I disagree that that’s any reason to overlook the ghastliness of Islam, if that’s your intent.’

    I don’t suppose you’d find the thought that Christianity came in between congenial.

  115. Americans are obsessed with the idea that Iranians are some sort of long lost Americans who would be speaking American English and listening to gangsta rap music if they weren’t brutally oppressed by the Islamic fundamentalist Ayatollah.

    I notice that Americans always insist that the vast majority of Iranians don’t agree with their rulers and basically want to be American, as if they have a deep understanding of the Iranian psyche and culture. They don’t apply this line of thinking to any other Muslim country, they see the rest of the Muslims as distant savages who would still be distant savages regardless of who rules them, it’s only the Iranians they claim to speak for.

    • Replies: @KA
    , @Mikhail
  116. KA says:
    @AaronB

    Stop the delivery of food to the table,remove medicine from the pharmacy,blow up some schools and universities, and put a sanction that doesn’t allow entry of pencil and cement , you will see the entire Israeli population would be trying to ditch friends ,neighbors and betray their family members in order to escape the situation. They may not have anybody to bribe because everybody is trying to bribe everybody ,they may not have to rat out anyone,because nobody would be defending the state .

  117. KA says:
    @Europe Europa

    It is an obsession that gripped the sailors and the soldiers of the post 1492 Europe. The world was ready ,and eagerly waiting for European way of thinking and living.

  118. KA says:
    @jeppo

    Did US admit that it’s missile downed TWA? Did USA allow further investigation why there was missile deployment and activity in Long Island?
    Did Ukraine admit that it downed MH ?Did Europe condemn Ukraine? Did Ukraine compensate Malayasia?

    • Replies: @AP
  119. AP says:
    @KA

    Conspiracy theory that Ukraine downed the Malaysian plane is unproven.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  120. Mikhail says: • Website
    @Europe Europa

    Compare the Iranian out-pour in support for the slain Qasem Soleimani versus those condemning the tragic shoot-down of the Ukrainian plane. BTW, how about breaking down those Iranians who protest both occurrences?

    American ignorance is to be expected. Out of its anti-Trump mode, CNN allowed for this Rand Paul take-down of Lindsey Graham (Otherwise, CNN typically cranks out sheer BS):

    Contrary to Graham, a pragmatically responsible foreign policy to best serve US interests (as presented by Paul) isn’t unpatriotic.

    ————————–

    On the negative depiction of Qasem Soleimani:

    https://www.unz.com/imercer/the-u-s-as-the-globes-judge-jury-executioner/

    As a follow-up, the broad characterization of Soleimani taking out US forces is incompletely spun. In some instances, US forces supported “freedom fighters” (Al Qaeda and ISIS leaning) in Syria (on account of falsely believing that everyone opposed to Assad is an improvement over him) which Soleimani opposed. I.e. he might’ve been directly or indirectly involved in some ops that took out ISIS/Al Qaeda, which also happened to involve US forces. He did work with the US in opposing ISIS and Al Qaeda.

    Calling Soleimani a terrorist is questionable. He hasn’t been accused of killing US civilians. As Scott Ritter put it, Soleimani was an effective combatant, as opposed to being a terrorist.

    Regarding “nice guys”, Mike Pompeo openly acknowledged lying on his part.

    Somewhat ironically, Trump in 2012, tweeted about Obama seeking a conflict with Iran for the wag the dog purpose of winning an election.

    ————————–

    From a periodic guest on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show:

    “Iran must behave like a ‘normal country’ such as the United States, which has approximately 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories: very normal behavior.”

    ————————–

    Some of the numerous discussions, second guessing the overall US mass media takes on Soleimani’s assassination:

    https://www.rt.com/shows/news-with-rick-sanchez/477431-news-with-rick-sanchez-january/

    https://www.rt.com/shows/news-with-rick-sanchez/477774-news-with-rick-sanchez-january/

  121. I don’t know how reliable the reports of the Iranian protests are (very likely the anger of significant portions of the population is real, but not enough to destroy the regime), but the reaction of the population so far seems to confirm those (I’m sure there were people who advocated for that within the regime), who wanted a coverup. (Actually, probably that was their initial intention.)

    I for one am happy that we didn’t have years of conspiracy idiocy like with MH17.

  122. Trump must be the luckiest dude in the world. Had the Iranians not accidentally downed the plane, he would be in a much more difficult position. But as things are, regime change looks a possibility again. Or at least the internal divisions are certainly back, so the Iranian middle class turned against the regime again, after a few days of near-unity.

    There might be people in Iran who now regret not having killed American soldiers. The plane would be forgotten or could be blamed on the Americans, had there been a war. Remember, for the regime, a successful revolution might be worse than a war.

    • Replies: @A123
    , @AP
  123. A123 says:
    @reiner Tor

    Trump must be the luckiest dude in the world.

    Luck, No.

    Statistical probability, Yes.

    Ayatollah Khameni is a below average (under 90 IQ) zealot who obtained his position based on rigid ideology. Given his obvious intellectual inferiority, the brain dead Ayatollah regime was bound to commit a catastrophic screw-up.

    The stupidity of the day happened to be killing innocents on a civilian aircraft. Khameni could have just as easily killed someone else. And almost certainly, he will kill again if the IRGC does not remove the loose cannon.

    PEACE 😇

    • Replies: @Mikhail
  124. Mikhail says: • Website
    @A123

    Luck, No.

    Statistical probability, Yes.

    Ayatollah Khameni is a below average (under 90 IQ) zealot who obtained his position based on rigid ideology. Given his obvious intellectual inferiority, the brain dead Ayatollah regime was bound to commit a catastrophic screw-up.

    The stupidity of the day happened to be killing innocents on a civilian aircraft. Khameni could have just as easily killed someone else. And almost certainly, he will kill again if the IRGC does not remove the loose cannon.

    According to the Trump admin, the IRGC are the worst of the two. As reported in mass media, the IRGC were initially looking to cover-up for those culpable for the shot down Ukrainian plane incident – adding that Khameni dissented with that approach. Does anyone believe that the shoot-down of that plane was intentional?

    You do touch on the point on how superpowers can get away longer with having dimwitted (at least at times) leaders, when compared to non-superpower countries.

    US policy in the Middle East hasn’t been so brilliant.

  125. AP says:
    @reiner Tor

    Trump must be the luckiest dude in the world.

    He keeps on winning, doesn’t he?

    Had the Iranians not accidentally downed the plane, he would be in a much more difficult position. But as things are, regime change looks a possibility again.

    I don’t know how possible it is, but it probably will keep Iran too busy to cause trouble for awhile. I dare say, very low risk of war and further escalation before the next presidential election.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  126. Mikhail says: • Website

    Well worth watching in full, here’s the most recent Lawrence Wilkerson segment, suggesting that US policy making decisions are the cause for greater havoc in the Middle East when compared to some others including Russia and Iran:

    He’s a bit hard on Putin, given the manner of some other major world leaders.

  127. @AP

    Well…

    I once won some money (not very much) on poker. I was bluffing, and one of the guys kept calling my bluff, he said because he was just curious if I had so good cards. And then the last time I got a really lucky card, and so I won. But it was not skill. It was mindless bluffing combined with luck.

    See what happened here:

    https://mobile.twitter.com/RelicHq/status/1216949738160959489

    https://mobile.twitter.com/Joshua_Pollack/status/1216744276002050049

    https://mobile.twitter.com/nafisehkBBC/status/1216716985674936320

    The Iranians hit the drone operators barracks (presumably because drones hit Soleimani), and according to these new claims they only had a few minutes advance warning. (Even if Iran gave more time, it took time for the chain of command to tell the soldiers on the ground – but possibly Iran didn’t give more time, or possibly the advance warning is bullshit, Trump’s way of chickening out of the confrontation.) They had some luck when the even the lowest IQ US troops managed to get to the bunkers. And when I say “they,” it includes Trump. Iran certainly was on hair trigger, as shown by the downing of the plane with their own people on it. They weren’t sure there’d be no American counter-attack. They were willing to risk a serious war.

    Then, of course, came the downing of the plane, which reignited the Iranian protests. There was no way Trump could have foreseen this.

    As I said earlier, there’s a not insignificant chance that Iranian hardliners are simmering with regret that they didn’t hit harder. Provided those people could stay close to the corridors of power (and despite everything, this seems most likely), Iran could behave differently next time. Meanwhile, some people in the US might have learned the lesson that they can do whatever to Iran, it will never result in a war. And then they might get a response to which the only answer could be a proper war. What would happen if next time they will not give advance warning, or hit with many more missiles?

    • Replies: @anonymous coward
    , @AaronB
  128. @reiner Tor

    It increasingly looks like shooting down the plane was the real revenge, and the pointless missile strike just a smokescreen.

    The real tell is the fact that 63 Canadian citizens are dead, but the only response from Canada is ‘asking questions for closure’ and ‘further commitment to fighting Daesh’. (WTF?!)

    Compare and contrast to the situation when the Malaysian plane was downed over Ukraine.

  129. Here is an article suggesting that the Iranian missile operator might have been “tricked into shooting down the Ukrainian Airlines plane”.

    https://www.sott.net/article/427303-Was-Iranian-Missile-Operator-Tricked-Into-Shooting-Down-The-Ukrainian-Airlines-Plane-Over-Tehran

    Can one of our resident missile experts please debunk this story?

  130. White Americans are idiots, they cheer on attacks on morally superior and much more civilised countries than themselves like Iran while their own country becomes an anti-white, non-white ruled shithole and they don’t even care about it.

    The US has very few allies left in the world these days, the only people who still follow America are absolute morons like the British who frankly are just unbelievable stupid people, a look at the typical Daily Mail comments leaves one in no doubt about that. I’m not sure the British are an ally any one really wants any way, having the British as their only ally doesn’t exactly make a country look very credible.

  131. AaronB says:
    @reiner Tor

    Strategy isn’t about meticulous planning. That’s impossible, and events always end up being different than you expected.

    Strategy is about having a good intuitive grasp of the overall situation, the character and weaknesses of the combatants, etc 2) and the ability to respond to events as they arise and improvise

    So in this scenario, Trump intuitively grasped that Iran is weak and chaotic – he knew that striking it in a dramatic and unexpected way will create chaos and push Iran off balance.

    And that will likely cause Iran to make mistakes and set in motion events that will favor America. He didn’t know the details.

    Strategy isn’t this brilliant top down planning thing – you see a weak and unstable opponent, prod him a bit, create some chaos for him and see what happens. Take it from there.

    Of course planning enters into it, but you can only plan a step or two ahead – a good grasp of the overall situation and an ability to improvise are more important.

    German officers in WW2 were trained to not follow a plan but to improvise in the field – there was an overall plan, but everyone was expected to improvise and adapt in the field. The Israelis adopted this model with success. The Americans in WW2 had a top down model that relied on meticulous planning and did less well.

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  132. songbird says:
    @Blinky Bill

    I’d like to see Congress do a similar map, where each of their dots had a signature, and timestamp for how long they took to find it.

    • LOL: Blinky Bill
    • Replies: @Blinky Bill
  133. @songbird

    Fat chance that’s ever going to happen !! 😂

    • LOL: songbird
  134. Something I’ve noticed about Americans is that they seem very reluctant to criticise the actions of their president and government generally, especially in regards to foreign relations. Even Americans who should know better like “right wing nationalists” still very often have this “USA! USA! USA!” mentality. In fact, even liberals who would criticise Trump domestically seem to support him on Iran, overseas wars seem to be a very unifying thing for Americans.

    Most Americans don’t do ethnic nationalism, even most who would consider themselves right wing. What matters to them first and foremost is “Americanness”, the average white American has much more time for even American negros than they would for whites from any other country. Likewise in any sports match or similar, they would always cheer on the American negro over a foreign white. “Americanness” is absolutely more important than race to the vast majority of white Americans. In fact the US is arguably the world’s first entirely post-racial nation in the sense that American identity is completely raceless and in fact is much more important to white Americans than race is.

    • Replies: @Mr. Hack
    , @EldnahYm
    , @Mitleser
  135. Mr. Hack says:
    @Europe Europa

    In fact the US is arguably the world’s first entirely post-racial nation in the sense that American identity is completely raceless and in fact is much more important to white Americans than race is.

    I think that your observation is basically correct for a majority of Americans. It’s certainly something new within world history and seems to be spreading to other countries too. The major problem with this sort of change seems to be the maniacal pace with which it’s proceeding. White populism opposed to this perceived threat is growing in both the US and in Europe, as the home grown native whites feel burdened with the costs of this immigration (from darker places), and feel threatened by the incongruity of the new cultural values (or lack thereof) of their new neighbors.

  136. EldnahYm says:
    @Europe Europa

    Most Americans don’t do ethnic nationalism, even most who would consider themselves right wing. What matters to them first and foremost is “Americanness”, the average white American has much more time for even American negros than they would for whites from any other country. Likewise in any sports match or similar, they would always cheer on the American negro over a foreign white. “Americanness” is absolutely more important than race to the vast majority of white Americans. In fact the US is arguably the world’s first entirely post-racial nation in the sense that American identity is completely raceless and in fact is much more important to white Americans than race is.

    What you have described is a multi-ethnic empire, not something unique in history. In those societies other forms of identity like class, religion, culture, etc. tend to become more prominent. Certainly it can be argued that people higher up in American society identify less with those lower down(at least among their own race) than they did 40 years ago, so class is becoming more important.

    Also, if the U.S. was an entirely post-racial society we would not have ethnic voting blocks and the like. You walk into the average high school in the U.S. and you will still find that most blacks hang out with other blacks, and most whites with other whites. I would suggest that the attitudes of non-whites are actually more important than the attitudes of whites in this context. Many white people nowadays believe racial relations are better than they actually are, and claim to have good relations with various minorities, while the minorities claim the opposite. White people are simply delusional in the United States(or maybe those who know better are just lying). Their views on race should not be taken seriously. Canada is even worse from what I hear.

    Plenty of European countries have had minority soccer teams. I don’t think that’s a good example to prove your point. Sports in general seem to be just as subversive as Hollywood or the universities, which is probably why useless conservatives never talk about the subject. Even a homogeneous country like Japan now has a hideous half-negroid tennis player whom the locals are supposed to cheer for.

  137. @AaronB

    You don’t really understand my criticism of Trump. I didn’t criticize him for not having a detailed plan of the consequences. I criticized him for getting into a situation which could easily have gone the other way. My criticism was that unless he knew in detail that Iran wouldn’t kill American servicemen and would down one of their own airliners, Trump’s action was highly risky and accomplished very little for the enormous risks involved.

    Look, if there was an American strike a few hours (or even a couple days) after the Iranian strike, and there’d be a war, the Iranian fuckup wouldn’t matter at all, because literally no-one would be interested how exactly the civilian plane got destroyed. Iran would probably blame it on the Americans, and vice versa, there’d be no grand Iranian confession and no Iranian riots, and hundreds of US servicemen (and -women lol) would be dead now, and Trump (and, well, the rest of the world) would be in the middle of a war greater than any of the wars since 1945. (Maybe Korea and Vietnam were bigger by some or most metrics, but that’d still make it the biggest war for half a century. It’s also likely that, as Karlin wrote, the Iran War could’ve resulted in something much bigger.)

    Iran is a mix of unimaginable fuckups and decent competence, a little like the USSR was at the beginning of WW2 (and later on until its collapse), except of course in the USSR there was somewhat more competence and in Iran more fuckups. A lot matters if that country can unite its public behind a war like that, and Trump almost blundered into a situation like that.

    Iran could’ve fucked up the advance warning given to the Americans, for example, much like how Japan fucked up their delivery of the “14-part message” to America in 1941, and then soldiers would’ve been killed. Iran wouldn’t have had to apologize for that at all, but Trump couldn’t have extricated himself from the situation, and Iran could’ve blamed the downing of the Ukrainian plane on a nonexistent American counter-attack.

    So in this scenario, Trump intuitively grasped that Iran is weak and chaotic – he knew that striking it in a dramatic and unexpected way will create chaos and push Iran off balance.

    And that will likely cause Iran to make mistakes and set in motion events that will favor America.

    Except we’re now back to square one, where we were before the killing of Soleimani: there are protests in Iran (with roughly the same people as before), and there are the occasional ineffectual Iraqi Shiite militia attacks on American bases using Katyusha rocket salvos.

    So what exactly did Trump accomplish by risking a grand conflagration?

    • Replies: @Znzn
    , @Daniel.I
  138. Znzn says:
    @reiner Tor

    How does that show for supposed higher East Asian IQ compared to Whites? In fact what does the behavior of the entire Japanese High Command show about Oriental superiority in intelligence compared to Whites?

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  139. @for-the-record

    It’s a very unlikely and complicated explanation, when there are much more economical explanations for what happened.

    Immediately after hearing the crash of the plane (with lots of speculation about problems with Boeing or whatever), I knew it was the Iranian air defense, and I was astonished at the stupidity of the Iranian military and/or political leadership who didn’t close the airspace. (Apparently it was requested by the air defense, so it’s the political leadership.) You simply don’t operate civilian airliners over an activated air defense on high alert, expecting an enemy attack in any moment. Or if you do, be prepared for the worst.

    Yes, in retrospect, it seems extremely stupid of the air defense operators that they shot down a plane which looked exactly the same as the other planes before that. But under time pressure, when you’re bound to make momentous decisions, the quality of your decisions will drop very quickly. Anyone working at a financial trade desk can confirm this. Having to make momentous decisions under extreme time pressure, your IQ will immediately drop by 30, I can guarantee that. It’s a big problem if you don’t have that many of them to spare to begin with, but even decently smart people will quickly run into problems.

    Just imagine that making sure what they shoot down is not a civilian airliner is probably not a big part of the training of air defense operators, simply because civilian airliners are not expected to be flying together with the enemy airplanes. That’s because in a war, airspace gets closed. (There were no civilian airliners to worry about in the skies of Serbia in 1999.) They probably get some rudimentary training, but the training focuses on wartime conditions, so they are doing something for which they are not fully prepared.

    They got some instructions a few days before the missile strikes on the American bases, probably in the form of “Whenever you identify a target, immediately get confirmation if it’s a civilian airliner, and if it is, don’t shoot. If you don’t get a confirmation within 10 seconds, just launch your missiles!” Now obviously the person making the instruction didn’t imagine that the line could be broken, and so his instructions didn’t really cover that situation. It was meant as something like “get a confirmation immediately, and if they tell you they are unaware of the plane, shoot it down,” but since that situation was not on the mind of the operators or their superiors, they didn’t think long and hard about it.

    So imagine that you are under strict orders to shoot down anything flying there, unless within 10 seconds you get a confirmation it’s a civilian plane. You didn’t get a confirmation. So, launch a missile. It’s still up there. Launch again. Okay, it’s now coming down. What? A civilian airliner just crashed? You say it was what we shot down? What? B-but, we didn’t get the confirmation. We were under orders to shoot it down unless it’s confirmed to be a civilian plane!

    Again, it seems like a very stupid decision from behind your desk, but he was under enormous time pressure and the decisions he made could result in the deaths of dozens or hundreds either way. (Imagine if it really was a cruise missile and destroyed an IRGC barracks with hundreds of soldiers in it! Or an airplane which destroyed his radar station!) With a lot of training or practice, the quality of such decisions could be improved considerably. (Well, you want to do it with training rather than practice, because the practice looks like shooting down a couple airliners before learning never to do it again.)

    As to the rest, it’s very unlikely that it could be done without an airplane flying close to it, having exact information about them (like, there is an SA-15 exactly northwest of Tehran Airport), etc. How could the Americans (or Israel or anyone else) known that a Tor-M1 was used next to Tehran? It’s normally intended to protect the troops, not your capital city. And then, we have no proof at all that they actually sent anything there. It’s highly unlikely either, and looks risky for them even in retrospect.

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
    • Thanks: for-the-record
  140. @Znzn

    The IQ superiority is rather modest anyway, and the Americans made enormous blunders themselves throughout the war.

    Not to mention that IQ is not the only factor in such things, just the easiest to measure.

  141. @for-the-record

    One more point. I don’t think it was exactly stupidity on the part of the Iranian leadership not to close the airspace. Their air defense requested closing it, so they probably were informed of the risks involved.

    I think they took a calculated risk. By flying civilian planes in their airspace, they made the situation difficult not only for their own air defense, but also for any potential American plane. Because, had it been a full-scale American attack, American pilots would’ve had issues differentiating Iranian military planes from third-country airliners.

    So I think they just wanted to use the civilian planes as some kind of human shield. They were too clever by half. It was not a very ethical decision, to say the least, and considering the upsides and downsides, it was pretty stupid as well.

  142. Mitleser says:
    @Europe Europa

    The large majority of Americans don’t do ethnic nationalism, but does that apply to the majority of the other USians?

    • Replies: @Europe Europa
  143. Daniel.I says:
    @reiner Tor

    The way I see it, Trump is either a Macchiavellian genius playing 11-dimensional chess.

    Or 100% Zionist puppet.

  144. Daniel.I says:

    So I found this.

    Long story short, the guy says the plane was brought down by a shoulder-launched missile.
    And the Iranian government decided that taking responsibility is better than admitting what really happened.

  145. @Mitleser

    I was referring mainly to white Americans, other races in the US are very much racially aware but most white Americans seem to be in denial about that fact. I guess it’s because white Americans are naturally very patriotic people and it’s difficult for them to look at their nation objectively and see it for what it is, a failing anti-white shithole.

    They have to convince themselves that the US is one big happy raceless nation, even Trump often promotes this mentality, going on about how pro-black he is and how he is creating huge numbers of jobs for black people. I doubt he says this because he thinks he has any serious chance of winning the black vote but because he knows that it plays well to his base, conservative white Americans.

  146. @for-the-record

    I read up on the story in Hungarian, here’s the link (in Hungarian, but perhaps you can use some online translation service):

    https://htka.hu/2020/01/15/az-ukraine-international-airlines-752-katasztrofaja/

    I don’t think they made all the necessary points (for example that under time pressure people are extremely likely to make the wrong decision), but their explanation (I think they more carefully read up on what the Iranians said) makes sense.

    So, the Tor-M1 system was not directly connected to the civilian system, it was rather connected to their own air defense high command (which, in turn, had all the relevant information from the civilian air traffic control etc.), and they didn’t have full authorization to just shoot down anything that flies. This means that the Tor-M1 battery had to request authorization to shoot down the airliner. The airliner was apparently at the edge of the envelope where destroying the target was even possible. In other words, the airliner was relatively far away from the missile launch site. This meant that they had very little time to engage the target.

    A few differences from what I wrote previously:

    – they didn’t expect enemy airplanes (or probably even drones) to be in the airspace – they were expecting cruise missiles (and they usually have pre-programmed targets, so the radar was not in danger of being destroyed)

    – the large size and rugged, mountainous terrain of the country meant that they could detect the missiles at the edge of the airspace only if they are lucky, and it’s possible that the missiles then travel inside the country without further detection – in other words, it’s possible that something is detected (but not shot down), and then an hour later suddenly appears near Tehran

    – Iran had a false alarm of a salvo of cruise missiles entering the country shortly before the shootdown – probably some radar operators near the seashore misinterpreted some signal(s), which is already a major error (though it might be understandable, since they’d probably rather have a hundred false alarms than one real attack going unnoticed)

    – the air defense battery had noticed several planes at roughly half hour intervals before, this was the tenth plane after the system was put on high alert

    – the connection to high command (with which they had to request authorization) was lost; this meant that the operators theoretically didn’t have authorization to shoot down the target

    – the target behaved in a way highly atypical of a cruise missile, and exactly the same way the other nine planes before it behaved, at the exact same route, to boot; they should’ve expected a much lower flying (and not ascending) but also faster (the plane was very slow for a military target) object, so they should’ve been able to identify it as a civilian airliner even without asking their commanders

    – however, the operators might’ve been tired, and, having lost the connection to their commanders, panicked; they thought the American attack might already be underway, in fact, they probably suspected that the connection was lost because of the American attack; so they made the wrong decision

    – the Iranians blamed American jamming – but it’s unlikely the Americans had any assets capable of jamming near Tehran, so probably it was just plain old technical malfunction, caused by Iranian incompetence or old equipment, which Iran didn’t want to admit to

    The main point stands: the operators felt they were under a serious time constraint, they thought military action was imminent, and they misinterpreted a signal which should’ve been immediately obvious. (Slow, ascending, on the same path as the previous airliners… as opposed to fast and low flying, and probably on a different path in other ways, too.) This could mean that Iranian AA operators probably have relatively low levels of training (not that Americans didn’t make a similar mistake in 1988, but here this mistake seems even bigger), and not very competent. Probably the best air defense assets (especially the S-300 PMU2 batteries) have way better trained operators.

    • Replies: @iffen
  147. iffen says:
    @reiner Tor

    One OT comment please, AK.

    As such, the ancient Hungarians conquered their homeland as an alliance of tribes, and they were the genetic relatives of Asiatic Huns, Finno-Ugric peoples, Caucasian peoples, and Slavs from the Eastern European steppes.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12520-019-00996-0

    We wuz diversity Kangz!

    • Replies: @reiner Tor
  148. @iffen

    And then the original Magyars absorbed the substantial local population (probably including the local elite, because elite Hungarians by the 12th century were pretty different genetically from the elite in the 10th century), and then some further admixture happened.

    In Hungary ideas of racial purity have therefore very little support, because everyone understands that most people had at least some (and usually quite a bit) non-Hungarian ancestry. Often German, Slovak, Croat, Serb, Polish, etc.

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