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Why is the Trump administration threatening Iran?

On February 1, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn announced that the administration was “putting Iran on notice” after it tested a ballistic missile which the US sees as a violation of Iran’s treaty obligations. Flynn’s frigid tone made it clear that the administration is considering the use of military force. But why?

Under current UN resolutions (Resolution 2231), Iran is forbidden “to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Read that over again. Iran is not forbidden from testing ‘all ballistic missiles’ just missiles that are ‘capable of delivering nuclear weapons.’ The resolution could not be clearer. There’s no gray area here, none at all. Flynn is just fudging the resolution’s meaning, so he can rattle a saber. But, why? And why are other members of the administration, including the president himself, making equally belligerent remarks? In a tweet last week, Trump said, “I won’t be as ‘kind’ to Iran as Obama” which was followed by a speech by US Defense Secretary James Mattis who called Iran “the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”

What’s going on? Why the full court press against Iran? And how are these threats consistent with Trump’s campaign promise to avoid pointless confrontations abroad? Here’s an excerpt from a speech Trump delivered in Cincinnati on December 1:

“We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

Where is the “peace, understanding, and good will” towards Iran? There doesn’t seem to be any. This is the same incendiary rhetoric we’re heard from every US administration dating back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. But, why?

Isn’t the problem the same as it was with Iraq, Libya, Syria and every other country the US has either toppled or tried to topple in the last 65 years?

Of course it is. Washington abhors any country that conducts its own independent foreign policy or resists US attempts to install its own puppet government. With Iran, the problems run even deeper since Iran sits on a vast ocean of oil and natural gas to which the western oil giants feel they are entitled. They think the oil is theirs and they expect Washington to help them expropriate it.

Washington wants to return Iran to the glory days of the Shah, an era in which the USG had a trusted ally in Tehran who would follow its directives, crush the domestic opposition, and preserve the privatization-model of oil production. It’s worth noting that the Shah was installed in a CIA coup that triggered a nearly 40-year reign of terror for which the US is entirely responsible. Here’s a short except from The Harvard Crimson that will help readers to understand the horror Washington unleashed on the Iranian people to achieve its foreign policy objectives:

“The Shah systematically dismantled the judicial system of Iran and the country’s guarantees of personal and social liberties. …. Nearly every source of creative, artistic and intellectual endeavor in our culture was suppressed.

The SAVAK conducted most of the torture, under the friendly guidance of the CIA which set up SAVAK in 1957 and taught them how to interrogate suspects. Amnesty International reports methods of torture that included “whipping and beating, electric shocks, extraction of teeth and nails, boiling water pumped into the rectum, heavy weights hung on the testicles, tying the prisoner to a metal table heated to a white heat, inserting a broken bottle into the anus, and rape.”…

The Shah greatly expanded the military and turned it against his own people. With newfound oil wealth the Shah bought $2C million of U.S. arms. The U.S. military trained Iranian officers. Despite claims that a strong army was needed to prevent external aggression, its real purpose became clear when the army murdered more than 50,000 Iranians fighting the Shah.” …. The number of students tortured, lost or murdered is unknown.” (“Life Under the Shah“, The Harvard Crimson)

This is America’s legacy in Iran: “Whipping, beating, electric shocks, extraction of teeth, boiling water pumped into the rectum, and rape.” This is how the exceptional nation exported democracy to Iran.

The US has never tried to make amends for the suffering or death it inflicted on the Iranian people, nor have its crimes ever been prosecuted at an international tribunal, nor has there ever been any talk of monetary reparations. Instead, the US has done everything in its power to further isolate and punish Iran for resisting Washington’s savage intrusion into their affairs. For many years, Washington has justified its cruelty by claiming that Tehran was developing nuclear weapons that would endanger the region and the world. As it happens, there’s no evidence that Iran ever had nuclear weapons program, it’s all a hoax concocted by the political class and their allies in the media. Here’s a quote that sums up the “Iran nukes” fable in one short paragraph:

“It is essential to recognize that Iran does not currently have a nuclear weapons program, nor does it possess a nuclear weapon. On February 26, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Ayatollah Khomenei, the supreme leader of Iran, ended his country’s nuclear weapons program in 2003 and “as far as we know, he’s not made the decision to go for a nuclear weapon.” This repeats the “high-confidence” judgement of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) that was first made in November 2007.”

(Micah Zenko, “Putting Iran’s Nuclear Program in Context”, Council on Foreign Relations)

There it is in one, short clip: No nukes, no nuclear weapons program, no diversion of nuclear fuel, and no sinister nuclear project aimed at blowing up Israel and establishing a region-wide Islamic Republic. It’s all 100 percent bunkum conjured up by the same group of journalists who produced the mobile weapons labs, the yellowcake uranium, the aluminum tubes, curveball and the myriad other lies that preceded the invasion of Iraq.

But if Iran is not building nukes and is actually complying with the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (aka– The Iran Nuclear Agreement) then why all the fiery rhetoric and saber rattling? Is Trump seriously considering an attack on a country that poses no recognizable threat to the United States or its allies in the region?

Many people seem to think so, but I am not at all convinced.

Keep in mind, that a war with Iran would not be a cakewalk, it will be a bloody and protracted affair that would require significant military resources and tens of thousands of American troops on the ground. US warplanes would not be able to selectively bomb designated targets without provoking asymmetrical retaliatory attacks on US military bases, oil platforms and strategic allies in the region.

Iranian special forces would be deployed to locations beyond their borders where they would wreak havoc while plunging the Middle East into a broader regional war. The transport of oil through the Straits of Hormuz would be blocked indefinitely which would send gas prices skyrocketing while global equities went off a cliff.

More important, Washington would have no allies in the conflict excluding a few of the corrupt Gulf monarchies whose military value is negligible at best. The traditional European allies would abandon the US in order to maintain their ever-dwindling political base which is fed up with American adventurism. The war in Iraq, followed by the Wall Street-generated global financial crash, followed by the flood of refugees fleeing US conflicts in Syria, Libya and beyond, have made it impossible for EU leaders to support another bloody US-led fiasco in the Middle East. Washington would have to go it alone which would, in turn, strengthen the position of rising rightwing politicians in the EU that want to sever relations with the US and develop an more Euro-centric foreign policy.

The end of the Atlantic Alliance would mark the end of imperial America and the collapse of the current global order. If Washington were to lose its ability to persuade or coerce the vassal states to follow its edicts, it would be cut off from its greatest source of geopolitical power. An attack on Iran would precipitate a speedy unraveling of the global system the US has painstakingly stitched together over a seventy year period. US dominance would progressively erode while foreign governments would ditch the dollar leaving Washington to face a future of pariah-like isolation and grinding poverty.

In my opinion, an attack on Iran would trigger a series of events that would greatly accelerate US economic decline while exacerbating tensions between allies that would lead to the inevitable breakup of the Atlantic Alliance and the end of the dollar’s dominant role as the world’s reserve currency. Is Trump really willing to risk all that in order to punish Iran or is something else going on below the radar?

In order to understand what Trump is doing, we need to clarify a few details regarding the Iranian nuclear deal or JCPOA. In very broad terms, the Iranian leadership accepted the strictest nuclear inspections regime in history (overseen by the IAEA) in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. (which, by the way, were imposed without any hard evidence that Iran was developing nuclear weapons) Donald Trump believes that this is the worst deal in history when, in fact, Iran was being unfairly punished for crimes it never committed.

The question is: Why would Trump oppose an agreement that clearly eliminates any chance for Iran to cheat and secretly build a nuclear weapon?

The obvious answer is that the hawks in his administration want to (eventually) topple Iran’s government which requires that they weaken the regime as much as possible through economic sanctions. This is how Washington typically conducts its regime change operations; economic strangulation usually precedes the coup d’ etat followed by the installing of a US puppet. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

But here’s the rub: The administration cannot unilaterally terminate the JCPOA because it’s a multi-lateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council. As one analyst said, If Trump rejects the deal “the international sanctions regime that incentivized Iran to negotiate would unravel…. Russia and China, for instance, won’t continue sanctions on Iran because the GOP says they should. If this were to happen, Iran would receive sanctions relief without having any constraints on its nuclear program.” Besides, If Trump walks away from the JCPOA, then “the next round of negotiations will be the US sitting at a table for one.”

So even though Trump doesn’t like the deal, he’s stuck with it, because if he bails out, the allies are not going to support him. Here’s a little more background that helps to explain things:

“Some opponents of the deal advocate for threatening the international community: You can either do business with Iran or business with the United States. But this threat lacks credibility. As Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew explained in a New York Times Op-ed, 40% of American exports go to the European Union, China, Japan, India, and Korea. By threatening to exclude these countries from our banking system, the U.S. would be placing a significant portion of its own economy at risk. Moreover, the major importers of Iranian oil (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey) also account for one-fifth of U.S. exported goods and own 47% of foreign-held American treasuries. Even threatening to terminate this economic connectivity could have negative ramifications for both the US economy and the economies of our allies.

Our negotiating partners will not maintain sanctions that hurt their economies simply because the U.S. Congress insists they do so. Threatening our allies with economic warfare is a ludicrous approach, especially when compared to the practical and widely supported alternative of implementing the agreement….”(“Iran Nuclear Deal: Debunking the Myths“, The Center for Arms Control and Non Proliferation)

What does it all mean?

It means that coercion and arm-twisting aren’t going to work this time. The agreement is written in a way that make it nearly impossible for the administration to achieve its objectives, which is to return to a bygone era when the US could inflict excruciating economic punishment on Iran without anyone uttering a word of protest. Those days are gone.

But if that’s the case, then why have Trump and his lieutenants stepped up the hectoring, the demonization and the saber rattling? What’s that all about?

That’s where it gets interesting. The Trump team has settled on a strategy of cat and mouse, which means they’re trying to beat Iran by tricking them into making a mistake that will give the US the advantage. In other words, Trump does not want a shooting war with Iran, he simply wants Iran’s leaders to overreact to Washington’s bullying by abandoning JCPOA. That’s the goal. The fact that the administration can’t unilaterally reject the nukes deal, doesn’t mean that Iran can’t be duped into doing it for them. And, if Iran takes the bait and withdraws from the agreement, then Trump will have the allies on his side for another painful round of economic sanctions. That’s what Trump wants.

So the best thing Iran can do is nothing. They need to continue to stay the course, shrug off the provocations, and keep up their end of the deal. That’s it; just hang tight and stay cool.

Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Iran 
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  1. “We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that this was a lie. If so, Trump’s supporters will feed him to his enemies.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  2. Randal says:

    Why is the Trump administration threatening Iran?

    The kind interpretation is that all the Flynn-style nonsense is just for US political consumption, where irrational aggressiveness towards Iran receives a favourable hearing in “influential” quarters.

    On the other hand, clearly some of those involved actually believe some of the nonsense they spout.

    he simply wants Iran’s leaders to overreact to Washington’s bullying by abandoning JCPOA. That’s the goal. The fact that the administration can’t unilaterally reject the nukes deal, doesn’t mean that Iran can’t be duped into doing it for them.

    This seems like a plausible motivation for Trump, who has probably come to understand just how stupid his posturing on the Iran deal has been.

  3. Diogenes says:

    Yet another insightful article, Mike, which poses even deeper issues.

    If Trump is truly intent on improving America’s foreign policy, as he promised, then why pursue the longstanding grudge against Iran’s regime?

    Doesn’t his present posturing toward Iran betray a deeper and preexisting underlying and hidden influence on his administration?

    It seems Trump has been captured by the influence of the American “Deep State” in the case of Iran and/or he has been captured by the Jewish and Saudi political lobbies.

    It appears Trump is intent upon forcing “regime change” in Iran yet the election of Trump was supposed to force a regime change in Washington!

    In either case, it is an ill omen to expect that the Trump Administration is going to make improvements to its foreign policies or in its domestic policies.

    It appears that the rogue American beast is still a predatory hungry devourer of defiantly independent nations, like Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc, in spite of its superficial Trumpian face shift!

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @bluedog
  4. virgile says:

    I agree, Iran will do nothing against the USA directly,
    Another interpretation is that Trump is trying to get back the Gulf countries’s trust in the USA that was lost under Obama. What best proof of ‘love’ can the USA give to Saudi Arabia ( an Israel) than putting Iran on ‘notice’? What best way to discourage the GCC to turn to Russia?
    Yet this is not having the intended result. KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain are weak and they rely exclusively on the USA for their security. Iran is already sending warnings to the USA allies in the region that they will be the first to suffer of any escalation. The terrified GCC countries are now begging the USA to stop the provocations.
    Thus it is clear that Trump’s heavy move against Iran has failed and has ironically re-enforced the distrust both Iran and the GCC countries have toward the USA
    It is time for the Trump’s team to change the tone. Will Tillerson be the one who will straighten up the situation?

  5. The empire (its arms merchants) needs a boogieman. If they wants to demote Mr Putin from that role, they need to elevate someone else. China’s too powerful, Isis too weak (and kinda useful), Iran is just the right size. Maybe that’s the logic…

  6. Perplexing rhetoric and rumors from the WH. At face value, they make no logical sense and go against everything that Trump has said, both while campaigning and even after occupying the WH. The Iran threats are vacuous and laughable – and go counter to partnering with Russia.

    Meanwhile, rumors abound about Elliott Abrams being considered for the post of Deputy Secretary of State ( Not only was this person discharged in disgrace, but has been vocal against getting Trump elected. There are cries of protest from all around, mainly from Trumps supporters. Trump is gaining a reputation of carrying a grudge against his former detractors, which makes the fact that he is even seriously considering Abrams, a virulent neocon, is shocking.

    So, what is going on? Well, neither of these two actions have taken place (yet), and I continue to believe that these are just words without intent.

    As Winston Churchill is noted for saying:

    To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war

    There is a deeper game afoot, and Trump is probably a lot smarter than people give him credit for. The play is about to unfold before our eyes, replete with drama and edge-of-your-chair thrills. Trump wants a second term and has already registered for it. He is not about to disappoint his supporters in his first term. With all of the deep-state and its minions stalking his every move and the MSM twisting his every phrase (note McCain’s protestations about Trump comparing the US to Russia), if he loses his supporters, he will not only lose the election, but will be buried with his legacy shredded. The proud and narcissistic Donald will never allow that to happen.

    Patience, dear friends. We need the Don to succeed in restoring the republic. The very least we can do is not fall prey to the machinations of the deep -state, and inadvertently sabotage his attempt to drain the swamp.

    Maybe I am naive in my optimism, in which case all is lost. However, if that is the case, waiting a while longer can’t possibly make things any worse.

  7. @Cloak And Dagger

    After I wrote the above, I just read the excellent article by Israel Shamir in Unz, and I quote:

    Meanwhile Trump is doing fine. He is doing what he promised; he defended Russia while pushed to denounce them; he tries to stop migration. He even tried to remove the weapon of holocaust from Jewish hands by not mentioning Jews while referring to Holocaust. Jews already called him “a holocaust denier”. This is a good sign. Let us hope he will prevail.

  8. ChrisD says:

    Most of the comments here, including much of Whitney’s article, are simple-minded and (as usual) underestimating of the Donald’s intelligence.

    Do we really believe a man with the ego and confidence of Trump could ever be ‘captured’ by the pencil pushers of the Deep State? Of course not, he literally accused CIA head James Clapper of leaking against him during the transition, likening it to Nazi Germany. No. Trump is in no danger of becoming a cog in the neocon wheel.

    Trump has always been politically savvy, since the early 80s. The irony is, despite the ghost-writing and overblown nature of the book, the Art of the Deal is a pretty neat window into Donald’s mindset. The book shows that you always begin a negotiation with a ridiculous opening gambit, something so unlikely to be agreed to that the other party almost walks away. You then lure them back by making small adjustments, compromises and concessions until you get to the point you actually wanted in the first place – but it looks like a hefty compromise after a lot of to-and-fro.

    A guy who was so vehemently opposed to Iraq since 2003/2004 is not a guy who would go to war with Iran. That much has to be obvious to even the most obtuse of foreign policy pundits.

    So let’s breakdown what *actually* happened with the Flynn/Trump aggression towards the Mullahs:

    1) Whitney is partly correct that it’s a cat and mouse tactic to invalidate the existing Iran deal, which Trump pretty much consistently slammed during his campaign (mostly because it makes zero economic sense for the US and a complete cash cow for Iran).

    2) And this is the big point – Iran is a close ally with Russia, currently a trading and energy threat to the US. Except Trump knows he can get along with Putin and leverage military aid for sanctions etc. He can’t do that with Iran, and probably doesn’t need to. If he can use Russia to put pressure on Iran then he wins – and he doesn’t need the Iran deal at all.

  9. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I would like to think so, but in the highly polarized country we live in today I think a lot of Trump supporters have gone all in and will eat up whatever Trump serves.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I think the author misses the obvious plan B which is false flag.

    Trump isn’t gonna hold a non winning hand for 4 years. If Iran will not acvomdate him, he will find a way to move things along.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  11. Miro23 says:

    This is all OK but the article doesn’t explain how the sabre rattling fits in with the statement:

    “We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

    Basically Trump’s statement was a lie to get himself elected. As a New York high rise property developer he also knows what happened to Building 7 and the other two towers and he’s best friends with the people who did it.

    So the conclusion is that Trump is 100% Neocon, even if he wasn’t their chosen candidate.

  12. The commentary seems to me to accurately describe what is going on and gives good advice to the Iranians. Perhaps an unplanned benefit from the power structure’s ongoing war against Trump will be to weaken yankee influence over the vassal states, providing more scope for resistance there. Propaganda central needs to keep working at full steam to keep people convinced that it is the civilized Iranians, adherents of an old civilized culture, who are the terrorists and not the Saudis and their wahabi adherents. It is obvious to those with a real as opposed to propaganda grasp of reality that this is so. Hopefully Trump’s people have not totally jumped the shark and are reacting to try to increase his level of freedom of action to resist the neocon elements, but this seems like a real, serious blind spot. I think that war with Iran could easily lead to war with the Russians since they would likely supply Iran with advanced air defense systems as part of their alliance.

  13. One important player is missing from this hypothesis: Israel. Iran supports Assad in Syria, who supports Hezbollah, who are also supported by Iran. All three are seen by Israeli expansionists as impediments to the easy establishment of Greater Israel, and Israeli domination of the area. Thus, what’s good for Israel becomes dogma in Washington…another Israeli-occupied territory.

  14. MEexpert says:

    Oddly, Mike left out the main players behind Trump’s policy towards Iran. Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel is still the driving force behind the US foreign policy in the Middle East. Remember, unconditional support for Israel was the condition for AIPAC and Sheldon Adelson’s finacial support to Donald Trump. Trump’s son-in-law is there to make sure that the policy is faithfully carried out.

    So the best thing Iran can do is nothing. They need to continue to stay the course, shrug off the provocations, and keep up their end of the deal. That’s it; just hang tight and stay cool.

    Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done.

    One of the problems with the so called foreign policy experts is that they mneither understand the demographics nor do they understand Islam. They see Saudi Arabia and think all Muslims are like the Saudis and the other emiratis. The role model for Iran and the Shia followers of Islam the grand son of the prophet, Hussain. Because of the teaching of the Prophet and his family the Shias will never initiate any hostility towards any one Muslim or non-Muslim. So Mike, in case of Iran it is easily done. The Iranians have shown patience through all those years of sanctions because that is the lesson from Hussain. Shia will only fight in defence.

    There is a famous saying for Shias, “Every day is the day of Ashura, and every land is Karbala.” People need to understand this motto and then they will know the difference between Shias and Sunnis. No amount of sanctions will break the Iranians. That is why even with such a small force Hezbollah was able to defeat Israel twice. The reason Islam lives today is because of that sacrifice by Hussain and not because of what the Sunnis did. A small band of 72 warriors, including a 6 months old baby to an 80 year old, against a force of 10,000 to 30,000. Actually, it were the Sunnis who slaughtered Husssain and his family.

    By pursuing this policy Trump will only isolate the United States. The old allies will no longer sacrifice the well being of their citizens for the appeasement of the Zionists.

  15. Mark Green says: • Website

    This otherwise straightforward article fails because Mr. Whitney refuses to examine the ever-present Israel factor that is forever trying to undermine Iran. Yet Whitney has absolutely nothing to say about Israel’s immense and distorting influence vis-a-vis Iran. Has he actually not noticed it?–or is he afraid to speak of it?

    Dear Mr. Whitney- The Zionist lobby imposes itself in Washington on all matters involving Iran. It’s been this way for decades. Does this fact shock you?

    Even US companies (and their employees) have been damaged by the Zionist-lead international conspiracy to punish, weaken and isolate Iran via economic sanctions and blockades. Billions of dollars have been lost. And who benefits? Hardcore Zionists.

    Make no mistake about it: the economic war against Iran is a crypto-Zionist operation. And this same band criminals left their fingerprints all over the corpses of Iraq, Libya and Syria; as well as the shriveled, comatose body of Palestine. Surprised?

    We now live in an upside-down moral universe. No wonder there’s so much acrimony. Even our leaders can’t tell right from wrong.

    Ironically, it is Israel the possesses nuclear weapons, not Iran. Shouldn’t that matter? Can we talk about it?

    And it is Israel and Washington that are by far the greatest purveyors of international terror. Just survey the destruction. Count the dead. No other entity comes even close.

    Yet Zio-Washington and our dominant news media are so morally bankrupt that these stunning facts don’t even register.

    The Zio-establishment would rather wring its hands over global warming, white ‘racism’ or the absolute non-threat of ISIS (to average Americans) than look in the mirror.

    The moral debate is entirely staged. It’s all make-believe.

    Yet Mr. Whitney keeps asking ‘Why?’ in regards to persistent US hostility towards Iran. Meanwhile, he expects us to believe that he just hasn’t noticed the most ruthless, anti-Iranian and pro-war lobby in the entire world. Really?

    So why is Trump talking tough towards Iran? This is obvious.

    To please the Jews.

    Trump knows that global Jewry can undermine if not destroy his presidency. Just look at the riots and chaos that have already greeted the new Trump administration. Trump is therefore sending out pro-Zionist dog whistles. He wants to reassure the Zions that–despite his ‘America First’ rhetoric–the Trump administration has decided that it will not stray too far from past US policies that have always favored Israel as surely as they have always inflicted pain upon any of Israel’s foes, including Iran. This is how Zio-Washington operates. This is not new. But this unshakable continuity does underscore one startling fact: Israel, as the embodiment of global Jewry, has become the world’s foremost superpower. Even Washington bows. Including Trump.

    Yet Whitney is so timid on this matter that he tosses in the Noam Chomsky ‘steal-the-oil theory’ to explain America’s wanton cruelty against all anti-Zionist entities, even though these puny, oil-producing states want nothing more than to peacefully bring their oil to market. Unfortunately, Israel wants any of these states neutralized by America if they pose even the slightest risk to Jews. And Washington takes its orders from Israel very seriously.

    But Whitney will not look there. He dares not connect the dots that very clearly lead any investigator directly into the Zionist war room.

    Indeed, it’s Zionist hostility and Zionist influence that best explains Washington’s decision to destroy Israel’s most threatening adversaries: Iraq, Libya and Syria. Meanwhile, human-rights-loving Washington has been subsidizing Israel’s subjugation of Palestine for decades. It never ends. And Washington’s largesse to Israel remains, as always, huge and unconditional. It’s like an arrangement concocted by the mafia. Only much much bigger.

    But Whitney refuses to face these unsavory facts.

    Like other scribblers on this site, Whitney would rather generate cant than face unpleasant truths.

    But if Whitney was honest, he would surely acknowledge the incendiary rhetoric and hate speech that is directed routinely and continuously at Iran by Israel’s current Prime Minister and virtually all other prominent Jewish leaders. And these people are immensely powerful. Their power in fact is unrivaled.

    So why do you look away, Mr. Whitney?

    Why do you ignore this corrosive foreign influence?

    Can you not see the crazed Zionist Elephant in America’s bedroom?

    The Iranians do.

    It was Edmund Burke (I think) who said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

    • Agree: Miro23, Diogenes
    • Disagree: Che Guava
    • Replies: @geokat62
    , @L.K
    , @Anon
    , @Rurik
  16. @Cloak And Dagger

    So, what is going on? Well, neither of these two actions have taken place (yet), and I continue to believe that these are just words without intent.

    For now, I agree with your approach. While we definitely need to continue to hold Trump accountable and criticize him when he strays from the path, we also need to regard a lot of the (dis-)information coming out of the MSM with supreme skepticism. For example, I surely hope that all this sabre-rattling with Iran and China is just a bluff of some kind. If I’m wrong and Trump starts making active preparations for war, then I’ll oppose him. But I’m not going to oppose Trump simply because the Washington Post (Langley Post?) tells me to.

    • Agree: Cloak And Dagger
    • Replies: @Cloak And Dagger
  17. Mimo says:

    Surely, most UNZ readers can hold forth (rant perhaps, myself included) with their opinions on a range of subjects. Easy stuff! For a change, is it possible to get a journalist to examine & research an issue from all angles thereby allowing for a deeper appreciation of pros and cons? Why is the Trump administration threatening Iran? There are many possibilities and Whitney seems uninterested in discussing them seriously. “What’s that all about?”, he asks. A bit of Googling provides rather more substantial answers to those preferred by the author.

  18. Tom Welsh says:

    “Iran is not forbidden from testing ‘all ballistic missiles’ just missiles that are ‘capable of delivering nuclear weapons.’ The resolution could not be clearer. There’s no gray area here, none at all”.

    I respectfully beg to differ. (And I do mean “respectfully”, as Mike is a very reliable and accurate journalist).

    In this specific instance, he may have overlooked that most top-of-the-line missiles deployed by powerful nations nowadays have nuclear capability. American, Russian and Chinese cruise missiles, ballistic missiles of quite modest size, and hypersonic missiles can all – at least theoretically – be modified to carry nuclear warheads. Indeed, Mr Putin has explicitly warned that the American “anti-missile systems” installed in such places as Poland and Romania could easily and quickly be reloaded with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles – in which case Russia would be obliged to destroy them immediately.

    The key words are “capable of”, and as usual one finds that those words can be interpreted in different ways. To my literally-inclined tech’s mind, “capable of delivering nuclear weapons” should strictly mean that the conventional warhead could be removed and a nuclear warhead fitted *right now* – and the missile would then perform correctly when fired.

    But the Americans will insist on interpreting those words as meaning “theoretically capable, in principle, of delivering nuclear weapons”. That’s an entirely different kettle of fish, requiring only that the missile has the dimensions and the power to do so. The catch is that almost any missile large and powerful enough to be worth deploying fits that description.

    The Iranians have been swindled – like so many others before them. They should never have agreed to that wording. Instead, they should have insisted on the wording being more concrete and specific – something like “successfully tested with a nuclear warhead or with a dummy warhead of identical size, shape and weight”.

    Making agreements with the US government has always been hazardous, because it is highly skilled in the tactics of dishonest lawyers everywhere and throughout time.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  19. First things first. Credit goes to Obama for negotiating the Iran deal. He really stuck it to the war mongering, oil stealing predatory class that consistently abuses the middle east for their personal profit. Remove oil from the equation and all of this mayhem and all of these bad actors would magically disappear from the middle east and move on to the next most profitable opportunity.

    Second, it should be clear to all that Trump is in bed with this class. Because so much profit is at stake, the Iran issue will not go away, and will be regurgitated in some new form over and over and over again.

    Third, put what the pre-election Trump said about the stupidity of the Iran deal, and the stupidity of our middle east military adventurism, and the stupidity of provoking Russia all together, and what you get is what Trump is now doing. Trump has no problem whatsoever using military force to get what he wants; his only problem is when the US uses that force in a stupidly unprofitable way.

    Fourth, to those who are attributing master of the universe, manly and tactical brilliance qualities to Trump…what complete and utter bullshit!!! Trump is an irrational, crybaby, temper tantrum throwing child who has never grown up. Irrationality works greatly as a negotiating tactic when the party on the other side of the negotiating table assumes your irrationality to be brilliantly rationale.

    And finally, when capital became globally mobile, so to did politics. If you don’t have to stay where you shit, psychopaths like our global elite will shit everywhere they can because they will never have to clean up the mess they created. And for power-driven psychopaths like our global elite, making others clean up your shit is a truly enjoyable experience. In short, to look at politics through the 15th century prism of the nation state, as almost all political writers do, is a gravely mistaken assumption.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @pogohere
  20. annamaria says:

    Obama’s parting gift to humanity:
    “Immediately after Donald Trump was elected, U.S. diplomats urged Lithuania to rush through an agreement to keep American troops on its soil…The agreement was signed just a few days before Trump’s inauguration, according to a document from the Lithuanian defense ministry…
    European allies are growing confident that, with the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland, plans ordered by Barack Obama will hold. “When you put soldiers on the ground, tanks like this, that signifies a long-term commitment,” Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the U.S. army’s top commander in Europe… ”
    The troop build-up is NATO’s biggest in Europe since the end of the Cold War, using a web of small eastern outposts, forces on rotation, regular war games and warehoused U.S. equipment ready for a rapid response force of up to 40,000 personnel. Britain, Germany and Canada are playing major roles in the force build-up. “Every ally is locked in,” said Adam Thomson, a former British ambassador to NATO and now director of the European Leadership Network think-tank in London.”
    The faux peace laureate made WWIII closer. The whoring brass are elated.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  21. Tom Welsh says:
    @Tom Welsh

    On closer inspection, things are even worse than I surmised. Let’s look at the text again:

    ‘Under current UN resolutions (Resolution 2231), Iran is forbidden “to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”’

    Now I notice the real drop of poison in that sentence – and it is really vicious poison. Think potassium cyanide.

    “Designed”. There it is. “Designed”. Now, please tell me who can say for sure what the Iranian government, and the engineers who created their missiles, designed them to do – not just now, but sometime in the indefinite future? Who knows how small thermonuclear warheads could be made in the indefinite future?

    Unless you can look into the minds of everyone concerned and assure me that there was never the slightest scrap of intention to make the missiles capable of carrying thermonuclear warheads sometime in the future… Iran is forbidden to “undertake any activity related to” such missiles.

    Never mind that, strictly interpreted, those words equally forbid the Iranians to talk about such missiles, or even perhaps to deny that they plan to build them. After all, those are activities “related to” the missiles.

    On the whole, by far the safest thing to do with the US government is to eschew it and all its works entirely. Start talking to them, and next thing you know you have both bought a bridge and talked yourself into a death sentence.

    Just don’t have anything to do with those cheating, lying, murderous shysters.

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    , @Sparkon
  22. Tom Welsh says:

    ‘“Every ally is locked in,” said Adam Thomson…’

    Well, that’s clearly not the case. No sovereign entity can ever be “locked in” to any commitment. That’s what the word “sovereign” means.

  23. annamaria says:

    “Obama’s administration was a veritable killing machine, one comprising almost daily drone strikes, kill lists, and the wholesale destruction of entire countries, as in the case of Libya. In his final year in office the US dropped 27,000 bombs, up from the number dropped in 2015. Yet we are meant to regard the 44th president and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize as the modern incarnation of Dr Martin Luther King, a president who worked tirelessly for peace and justice.”
    The “progressives” need to worship some deity and, as a result, they see no evil in this incarnation of evil.
    “While nobody should be under any illusions when it comes to Donald Trump as the reincarnation of Hugo Chavez, he has revealed a propensity for dropping the odd ‘truth bomb’ here and there, much to chagrin of conservative and liberal commentators alike. And such truth bombs are the killers that Bill O’Reilly truly fears – killing the smug complacency and hypocrisy without which life loses all meaning.”
    It is amazing to observe the convergence of conservative and liberal commentators on demonizing Trump and Putin.

    • Replies: @Clearpoint
  24. headrick says:

    If the US tries to fake a Gulf of Tonkin, with the Maddox and Turner Joy claiming an attack, which will happen if the Neocons get their way, the US will be in a really awful
    mess. First that comes to mind. Bahrain.
    Naval Support Activity Bahrain (or NSA Bahrain) is a United States Navy base, situated in the Kingdom of Bahrain and is home to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and United States Fifth Fleet. … The commander of Navy Region Southwest Asia is responsible for NSA Bahrain and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. Bahrain is a majority Suni country, and the opportunity for up close personal war there is terrible. Hezbollah is no mean opponent. They are the cats paw of Iran mostly (but not entirely) Israel hates Iran so much because in 2006
    Israel the got their proverbial ass kicked in Lebanon and had to leave, and from that time one especially, Israel and US neocons (and dems too like Elliot Abrams … ) made a terrible resolve to use all international pressure their vassals in the US could muster to box in Iran, punish it, and keep it’s star from rising. Hezbollah fights very well in Syria alongside SAA and Russia. They are hard and their presence in Iraq was one of the reasons the US had called them the most terrorist country, because they are responsible for more US soldier deaths in Iraq, but Iraq is also majority Suni so they were fighting for their own county against a foreign invader. – So the new sec def Gen James mad dog Mattis sees them as a enemy forever, like Israel does. Trump made the only really awful mistake (in my opinion) in his early presidency when he put Iran on (double secret probation I guess) after the first missile test. Now Iran has tested again and Dean Wormer has to do something. But what? Either back down ignominiously or enter a disastrous war with no rational end game I can see that would enable the US to declare victory. I like Trump basically, sent him money, voted for him, … but this mistake might be the thing that brings him down. No wonder the neocons are cheering. Don’t to it- please, don’t. Iran managed to recast the entire Iraq war as an Iranian victory with the ascent of Maliki. They know the inside game well, and with Russian backing they will make our life miserable. To the extent we can hurt Iran, and bring Trump down, neocons like Linsey Graham and John McCain and Elliot Abrams democrats are hooting with joy.

  25. bluedog says:

    The American beast is two packs of wolves fighting to see which pack gets to eat the sheep for dinner, and of course the sheep are the American people…

  26. Agent76 says:

    This should help everyone know and realize that the Pentagon runs the foreign policies and no one else!

    Sep 11, 2011 General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

    “This is a memo that describes how we’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” I said, “Is it classified?” He said, “Yes, sir.” I said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, “You remember that?” He said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

  27. “Where is the “peace, understanding, and good will” towards Iran?”

    Maybe a little bit of karma here? What goes around comes around?

    Flowers and chocolates just don’t seem to work with 7th century barbarians. Those savages are responsible for terror attacks around the world. For 35 years they have been calling us the Great Satan every Friday. They repeatedly, at the highest levels of government, threaten to wipe Israel off the face of the map. They have explicitly said that they are going to use nuclear weapons as soon as they get them. Now they are feverishly working to build said weapons and the delivery vehicles.

    Where I live we don’t go out and hunt for scorpions. If they come around though it’s not catch and release, we smash them with a hammer.

    It is very dangerous, perhaps existentially dangerous for the Iranian people, if they don’t realize that they are playing with fire – Hell fire.

    • Replies: @headrick
    , @annamaria
  28. We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past…We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments…. Our goal is stability not chaos …In our dealings with other countries, we will seek shared interests wherever possible and pursue a new era of peace, understanding, and good will.”

    Sounds like G Bush’s campaign promises of compassionate conservatism with a humble foreign policy. By the pathetically low standards of the Nobel Prize committee, Trump should’ve been awarded a “Peace” prize for that.

    In order to understand what Trump is doing…


    We’re dealing with crackpots at the top and we chumps will never understand their motives. We can’t even guess. We just have to accept the fact that they’re hopelessly deranged and that they have no values that coincide with those of us proles and peasants.

  29. Under current UN resolutions (Resolution 2231), Iran is forbidden “to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Read that over again.

    All the limited hangout voices are being outed. It must be the end of the world.

    Paragraph 3 of Annex B of resolution 2231 (2015) calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.

    “Calls upon”, not “forbidden”. Stop shilling for warmongers.

  30. observer4 says:

    @Roy Lofquist:
    You incorrectly stated that:
    “They have explicitly said that they are going to use nuclear weapons as soon as they get them. Now they are feverishly working to build said weapons and the delivery vehicles.”
    These statements are untrue and unhelpful.
    If you read the other comments here before posting you would know that. You’re just regurgitating Netanyahoo lies.

  31. If Donald Trump bombs Iran…he will be indicted for War Crimes….

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @Anonymous
  32. headrick says:
    @Roy Lofquist

    lets unpack this.
    First of all -the quote “threaten to wipe Israel off the map” is just a plain lie.

    ”Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”

    The full quote translated directly to English:

    “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.

    This is under no truthful stretch of the meaning, equate to a vow by Ahmadinejad
    to nuke the country of Israel and wipe it off the map. That’s a flat out lie.

    Then The kobar towers attack – to get the US out of Saudi Arabia:

    Some say the Party of God, loose Hezbollah affiliate did it but they never claimed “credit” and the word wide terrorism claims are shrouded in dubious evidence and lack of concrete claims by Iran.
    The US armed forces have no doubt lost a lot of lives due to Iranian proxies in Iraq and Saudi Arabia- and there are a lot of Pentagon people with a terrible resolve to get even.
    but there is a good chance if they act on this, they will not achieve the result they desire.
    Short of nuking Iran, Iran will engage the US in asymmetric war and will -at cost to themselves without a doubt, bring down the Trump presidency.

  33. annamaria says:
    @Roy Lofquist

    ‘Those savages are responsible for terror attacks around the world. ”
    You mean the Saudis (the bosom buddies of US) or you refer directly to the US and its numerous regimes changes and other humanitarian interventions that have resulted in the millions of deaths among the civilian populations, including hundreds of thousands of children. Also, does it amuse you that Israel prefers to help to and cooperate with ISIS but bombs the civilian Damascus?
    What about the US ziocons courting the neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
    Leave Iran and Iranians alone. They are an ancient civilization that has not attacked anybody in centuries. A state Israel is a badly behaving upstart that has become heavily Sovietisized thanks to a special law of return that excludes the native Palestinians but welcomes economic migrants from the former Soviet Union and the religious racists from other places. The sooner the Lobby re-occupies the US Congress the better for humanity and Jewish tribe at large.

  34. AndrewR says:

    Iran is not my enemy but they don’t help their case when they brag about writing “Israel will be wiped out” in Hebrew on their ballistic missiles. It takes two to tango. Their leaders are playing a risky game.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @jacques sheete
  35. Agent76 says:

    Feb 5, 2017 Trump’s New World Order

    The new boss is starting to look a bit like the old bosses…

    • Replies: @Talha
  36. Talha says:

    Hey Agent76,

    Thanks for the video – very nice synopsis. I didn’t know Iran is officially dumping the dollar – wow that takes some guts knowing that will make them an even bigger target for reprisals!

    And yes, I never bought that line about Houthis being Iran’s chummy buddies. Anybody who knows about Zaydis, knows they are practically Sunni in theology and practice.


    • Replies: @Agent76
  37. L.K says:
    @Mark Green

    Perfect post by Mark.

    ‘Yet Whitney is so timid on this matter that he tosses in the Noam Chomsky ‘steal-the-oil theory’ to explain America’s wanton cruelty against all anti-Zionist entities’

    Yep, that one made me cringe.

  38. Well, that’s clearly not the case. No sovereign entity can ever be “locked in” to any commitment. That’s what the word “sovereign” means.

    Unfortunately, unless you’re a big dog, “sovereignty” is just a word.

  39. @ChrisD

    imo Whitney’s analysis contains major flaws and omissions.
    More on that later, but here’s a clue toward uncovering those omissions: Why did George H W Bush not attend Trump’s inauguration? Jimmy Carter’s same age as G H W Bush and he showed up. How’s Bush’s health, anyway; are we still reading headlines about his hospitalization? Didn’t think so.


    “(mostly because it makes zero economic sense for the US and a complete cash cow for Iran).”

    a. Iran policy has never been about “economic sense for the US,” it has been to cripple Iran for the economic benefit of Israel, as well as to feed that vicious zionist compulsion to harm and destroy others.
    A third and even more important benefit — in fact, the element that Israel, including Netanyahu, and the USA/Kerry/Wendy Sherman negotiating team bargained hardest for, and that Iran surrendered to most grudgingly, was the intrusive inspections regime. Those who understand modern Jewry in terms of Rothschildism should know that, as Niall Ferguson explained in his biography of Rothschilds, the lifeblood of the family/system is information: controlling what goes out about itself; and acquiring more and faster information about every Other.

    b. “a complete cash cow for Iran” is risible. US has not acted in good faith (quell surprise) to lift sanctions, and to the extent Iran has received cash, correlated in time with implementation of JCPOA, it has been in settlement of long-standing US obligations to Iran. Incidentally, those settlements were very much in favor of the USA.

  40. nsa says:

    The Seattle environs is ground zero for vile leftie frauds like the author. They inhabit the grotesque coffee chain stores, sipping $5 lattes while solving the world’s problems on their laptops. They inhabit the whole foods chain stores buying organic bananas with brown spots. They commune with nature by walking the paved path around Green Lake deep in significant thought. They attend wine and cheese gatherings where important leftie ideas are discussed. You see these creeps everywhere with their bald heads and wispy pony tails, their greenie fashion statement rei cargo pants, their Birkenstocks (puget cowboy boots), their overwhelmingly smug prosperity. The favorite auto over in Seattle is of course the prius. One thing you don’t do in Pugetropolis polite company ….finger the jooies as the creepy destructive monsters they are. Hence, the author provides hollow articles about the ME and the economy, but never once has he drawn attention to the inordinate role of the jooies and their butt boys like Trump, Mad Poodle Mattis, Tokyo Rose McCain, Dame Lindsey Graham, etc.

  41. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    they brag about writing “Israel will be wiped out” in Hebrew on their ballistic missiles

    well lookie here, a snowflake, right smack dab in the middle of Unz forum.
    Did big bad Iran say trigger words that made your feel-bads hurt? poor baby.

    and of course we are absolutely certain Iranians wrote, in Hebrew, on missiles, then filmed it.


    Who is the Unz commenter who coined “Fakestream News?”

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  42. @AndrewR

    …when they brag about writing “Israel will be wiped out” in Hebrew on their ballistic missiles.

    Sounds like a load of war propaganda to me. What are your sources?

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  43. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Mark Green

    I was watching Amy Goodman’s TV program ” Democracy Now” a few days ago and who should as a guest? None other than Stephen Walt. It was Stephen Walt’s and John Mearsheimer’s landmark 2008 book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” that gave legitimacy to the belief about Israel’s dominance of US foreign policy both in the Mideast and elsewhere

    Goodman never had either of these authors on her program when the book either came out or at any time in the years thereafter before this appearance by Walt. In fact, when the book made its first appearance she had Noam Chomsky on to very negatively review it despite the fact that he apparently hadn’t read it.

    Why was Walt willing to appear on the program of his arch enemy Amy Goodman? It was probably because Walt had finally decided to come in from the cold. His act of attrition was to lambast Trump before Goodman’s audience. You would have thought that Walt had been magically been transformed into Bernie Sanders (or maybe even Bill Kristol) from much of what he was saying about Trump.

    This reason for this strange transformation requires a bit of an explanation. Both Mearsheimer and Walt have been put through the wringer in the years since the publication of their 2008 book. Walt lost his position as academic dean at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard specifically because of it. The frequent paid speaking engagements that both of these authors had enjoyed before mainly Republican audiences before their 2008 book simply vanished. Offers to publish their other opinions also became much less frequent. The invitations to the social events given and attended by the mainly Republican movers and shakers disappeared. Handsomely paid fellowships in those well funded (either by affluent Republicans or by the CIA) think tanks vanished likewise. Both men were slowly slipping into the realm of nonperson-hood, just like all the rest of those before them (Charles Percy, William Fulbright et al)who had angered the Lobby by actually thinking they could take it on by simply merely telling the truth.

    Walt had finally decided that he wanted to become relevant again and that his appearance on arch enemy Amy Goodman’s program might offer an avenue in which to do this.

    Why is this relevant to Trump today? Money, Trump’s lifeblood. The much less affluent Stephen Walt had found that his social and financial well-being had been severely affected by his taking on The Lobby. Trump is about to find out the same thing on a much larger scale.

    Trump’s and his family’s continuing business activities make him and them extremely susceptible to pressure from The Lobby. Trump is currently screaming because his daughter Ivanka’s clothing business has now been essentially boycotted by two major clothing chains which carried it. This is only the start of this pressure. Watch the Lobby start to cut off his all-important access to the cheap loans necessary for his businesses to be profitable. I don’t think the flighty Trump knows just how susceptible he is to this pressure once the financial screws start to be fully tightened. His son in law Jerrold Kushner is probably already feeling the financial squeeze and social ostracism from his Jewish orthodox friends and will be more than ready to turn tail on his “crazy goy’” father in law.

    The only real way for Trump to avoid this upcoming financial cataclysm and come in from the cold will be to become another George W. Bush and let Israel dictate his foreign policy. Trump, always the egotist, ignored the advice to put all his assets into a blind trust to avoid this probable ending. He is now a sitting goose.

    It doesn’t look good.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
    , @annamaria
  44. @ChrisD

    it’s a cat and mouse tactic to invalidate the existing Iran deal, which Trump pretty much consistently slammed during his campaign (mostly because it makes zero economic sense for the US and a complete cash cow for Iran)

    What “economic sense”?

  45. Is it American lust for oil, or Jewish lust for lebenstraum, that threatens to tip the W into WW3?

    Which one? Which one?

    Here’s a novel (?) idea: Why can’t it be both?

  46. Rurik says:
    @Mark Green

    And it is Israel and Washington that are by far the greatest purveyors of international terror. Just survey the destruction. Count the dead. No other entity comes even close.

    please don’t leave out all those slaughtered in both World Wars- that were also foisted and fought on behalf of Zionism, the birth of Israel having been born on the graves of nigh a hundred million Europeans as a result of those evil wars.

    were it not for that cancerous nation of hatred and misery, there’s no earthly reason why the US and Europe would not get along fine with all the Arab and Persian and Muslim nations, and buy their oil and trade and visit each other’s countries as tourists, rather than as invading armies and invading immigrants. Both designed to cause as much hatred and strife as it’s possible to create, all a direct expression and manifestation of the tribe of eternal, netherworld hatred.

    but few dare mention that Mark, as you so eloquently point out


  47. @Tom Welsh

    Now, please tell me who can say for sure what the Iranian government, and the engineers who created their missiles, designed them to do – not just now, but sometime in the indefinite future? Who knows how small thermonuclear warheads could be made in the indefinite future?

    Hmm. Since it’s impossible (as you so eloquently demonstrated) to prove the negative here, it seems that if you can’t positively prove that the missiles are “designed to be capable”, then you got no case…

  48. Agent76 says:

    You are very welcome. Heck Talha Cinia has already but few know of this and please share this report with others, and thank you for your time and comment!

    Oct 1, 2016 RISE OF CHINA – China’s Yuan / RMB Joins Elite Global Reserve Currency Club

    Currency’s entry into IMF basket a milestone in long march to international acceptance Renminbi joins U.S. dollar, euro, yen, and British pound in SDR basket Change represents important milestone for IMF, SDR, and China Move recognizes and reinforces China’s continuing reform progress.

    • Replies: @pogohere
  49. Z-man says:

    He’s being squeezed by the Zionists and pro Zionists in his administration and in his own family. His common ‘Christian’ sense must prevail.

  50. @MEexpert

    Do you have a source on Adelson financing Trump’s campaign? It was my understanding that Trump declined his money.

    • Replies: @MEexpert
  51. @Anon

    I really hope you’re wrong, but I confess I’ve had the same fear myself.

  52. annamaria says:

    Someone wrote that the US is the “promised land” for the Jewish tribe, thanks to the tolerance and prosperity of the US. The Lobby is fantastically efficient in destroying the US and in endangering the lives of ordinary Jews worldwide. Tribal obnoxiousness plays a bad joke on the “chosen.”

  53. Sparkon says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Who knows how small thermonuclear warheads could be made in the indefinite future?

    Small enough to fit into a 155mm artillery round already by the early 1960s:

    The W48 was an American nuclear artillery shell, capable of being fired from any standard 155 mm (6.1 inch) howitzer, e.g. the M114, M198 or M109. It was manufactured starting in 1963, and all units were retired in 1992.

    The W48 was 6.1 inches (155 mm) in diameter and 33.3 inches long. It came in two models, Mod 0 and Mod 1, which are reported to have weighed 118 and 128 pounds respectively. It had an explosive yield equivalent to 72 tons of TNT (0.072 kiloton), which is very small for a nuclear weapon.

    I know that the probable past is not the indefinite future, but I don’t think it would be too rash to suggest that those clever nuclear weapons designers, working on a shoestring, of course, just might be able to make them even smaller today.

  54. Anon-og [AKA "Mike Johnson"] says:

    Came across an interesting comment the other day, not sure I agree but worth mentioning:

    “It’s all taking shape – the war with Iran is needed to get the Iranian oil off the market – the Russian sanctions lifted and then the giant oil deal between Putin and Sec of State -aka EXXON will go thru and Russia needs to corner the oil market in europe – so with the iranian oil out of the way – Russia moves in and becomes the EU baltic states energy source….”

    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
  55. @Anon-og

    so with the iranian oil out of the way

    Russia is part of the Iranian deal. In fact, Russia was instrumental in finding the compromise, and consistently against applying sanctions. If they wanted “to corner the oil market in europe” by excluding Iran, it would’ve made more sense for them to do the opposite: to sabotage the agreement.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  56. Alden says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    Indicted for war crimes by whom? ACLU? SPLC? ADL?

  57. AndrewR says:
    @jacques sheete

    Why do I think you’d dismiss any source as fake news? Google it. It’s really not hard.

  58. AndrewR says:

    It would be great if Unz would ban these cowardly bullying trolls. Or at least not publish them.

  59. @nsa

    You sure know how to write! Fun read.

  60. @nsa

    Does the coffee klatch ever ruminate over the credibility of Fara Mansoor and his theory that George H W Bush and US CIA put Khomeini in power, and that CIA was behind the siege of US embassy & taking hostages? that one of the motives was retaliation to Carter’s firing of >800 CIA agents who had worked for G H W Bush when he was head of CIA (1976 – 1977)?

    That was the most benign of Bush’s motives. He’s had “New World Order” on the brain since his father financed and he flew fighter jets in WWII. When G H W waged war on Iraq in 1990, his goal was to reprise US ‘achievements’ against Germany.

    Carter was president 1977 – 1981
    The CIA purge – – the Halloween Massacre — was Oct 1977.

    • Replies: @pogohere
  61. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @War for Blair Mountain

    In your dreams, I suppose.

  62. @MEexpert

    My take on Trump and his administration’s policy so early in the game, is that it is going to move towards finding/engineering an excuse to use nuclear weapons on the battlefields of Iran. The use of nuclear arsenal will finally tame Iranians to the Israeli and Saudi content. It will also put the rest of the world “on notice” in no uncertain manner: that nobody should pick a fight with America.
    (Imagine how North Korea will react to the news of Iran being nuked!)
    That is the sort of stuff Trump is looking for “to make America great again”!

    • Replies: @headrick
    , @annamaria
    , @Anon-og
  63. @Mao Cheng Ji

    If the Neocons in Iraq didn’t take care of Iran in 2004 and 2005 when it was apparent that Iran was killing our guys over there, at a time when we had Iran surrounded on all sides by massive air power, at a time before the nuclear facilities were “hot”, why then when none of these conditions exist today, would we attack Iran now? With nuclear materials resident in those plants, I’d think a war involving their destruction would create a nasty fallout proposition throughout SE Asia, a move that would likely rather piss those folks off, no?

    Isn’t Iran’s natural gas production capability tapped out by now? Also, aren’t the bulk of their crude oil resources fit mostly for asphalt, heavy lubes and little else, commanding much lower than benchmark prices per bbl? I recall reading at the time of the giant cash move last year that aside from refining capabilities, the intention was to install pumping and recovery technologies to recover heavier, dirtier crude supplies. If it’s all you have, you may as well get to it.

  64. headrick says:
    @Aren Haich

    What would you nuke? Open defenseless cities? The US and Israel would be pariah states forever. Nuke military sites? By the time Iran was done with its asymmetric responses in the world, the US would discover no way to disengage and Iran would be successful in doing Regime change in the US over the endless expense and war that would make Iraq look like a picnic. Iranian nuclear sites are very widely dispersed and such an attack would make them a sympathetic figure in the world, and then they really could restart a nuclear program, with the backing of the entire world.
    This would be mindless suicide for the Trump administration- and in the end Iran would win the long game with the use of nuclear weapons. Russia might well take on the US, and world war III might result, and with the US being the aggressor and first user, we would have the entire world against us.

    • Replies: @Aren Haich
  65. annamaria says:
    @Aren Haich

    “…it is going to move towards finding/engineering an excuse to use nuclear weapons on the battlefields of Iran.”
    Would not using nuclear weapons “on the battlefields of Iran” is somewhat suicidal? Perhaps it is overly optimistic to think that Iran and Russia do not have special surprises for nuclear-going ziocons.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  66. Anon-og [AKA "Mike Johnson"] says:
    @Aren Haich

    Very plausible, as a world power in descent and to send a message to those on the ascent, a nuclear attack would re-emphasize the demonic power of the nuclear bomb and would remind everyone that we are as crazy and scrupulous as we were the last time we used it.

  67. The leading State sponsors of terrorism are

    • Replies: @MEexpert
  68. @annamaria

    Perhaps it is overly optimistic to think that Iran and Russia do not have special surprises for nuclear-going ziocons.

    Interesting conversation at SicSemperTyrannis — it seems the Russians DO have “special surprises” for ziocons — electronic system-of-systems that renders useless the most sophisticated of US and Israeli missiles and targeting capabilities.
    Scary to think the Russian hackers who interfered in US sacred electoral process were , indeed, the JV; the real men designed the Russian Cloak of Invincibility

  69. @headrick

    The big conventional wars the US has waged since 9/11 have been costly, ineffective mistakes. No American president is going to relive them. They – Trump – would want a big victory at reduced cost. Nuclear weapons are the answer.
    And as for world outrage:
    I remember when Jimmy Carter, long after his term as president, was asked about his immediate thoughts during the Embassy hostages crisis. He said the notion of nuking Iran occurred to him. He actually said: “I could have nuked Iran!”. What is more he felt Americans would understand and support such a decision; but of course – Carter being Carter – avoided the temptation.
    Trump Administration maybe praying for such a temptation to come or make it arrive soon, when with full justification – in the eyes of the American public – they can use tactical nuclear arsenal to destroy much of Iran’s military and industrial infrastructure.
    If the American public can be persuded to accept the Big D. the rest of the world will not matter: they will stand by and watch in “shock and awe”.

  70. China is trying to make compound interest sustainable on behalf of the West by throwing billions of bodies at the task, but they will of course fail; compound interest cannot be outrun.

    Then what?

    That’s when the nukes will start to fall, there and/or elsewhere.

  71. @Anonymous

    Trump has positioned himself excellently to do a Nixon to China thing with Iran.
    Don’t know if he knows or intends that however.

  72. @AndrewR

    Google it. It’s really not hard.

    How would you know?

  73. @AndrewR

    I took your suggestion and here’s what I found. You must’ve gotten confused .

    Preteen Israeli girls at a heavy artillery position in northern Israel are photographed apparently gleefully scrawling their names and other inscriptions on shells destined to be dropped on Lebanon. One reads “Nazrala with love”—a reference to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasarallah.

    • Replies: @AndrewR
  74. MEexpert says:
    @Bill Jones

    Don’t forget Saudi Arabia.

  75. KA says:

    It is Telegraph ( UK) where one bought and paid journal by name some Collin used to enjoy access to make threats against Iraq later Iran. It is a piece of shit, little shitty newspaper . It has not yet offered any apology for repeated earlier mistakes . How the hell this headlines square with the contents ?

    • Replies: @MEexpert
  76. KA says:

    From Guardian( UK)
    The Guardian visited an HSBC branch in London last week to see if it was possible for an Iranian resident in the UK to open a personal bank account. It was not still possible but that was likely to change in two weeks’ time, a branch officer said. HSBC later issued a statement, saying: “There are a number of factors we take into consideration when opening a new account and we judge each application on an individual basis.”

    “It’s not just OFAC, you’ve got other regulatory authorities in the US, which are not as transparent about their guidelines, particularly New York department of financial services, which doesn’t offer FAQs and won’t meet non-American entities to discuss issues about sanctions. You’ve got the Federal Reserve, you’ve got a lot of agencies out there which can punish you for the same offence, so it’s not just OFAC.

    “Sanctions are still in place in the US really. It’s only nuclear-related sanctions that have been relaxed, even if you even open an office in Tehran and you’re using Microsoft operating system, you can still be in trouble,” said the banker.
    “There’s also a reputational risk, whoever goes in first they’re going to be watched like a hawk by those who oppose the deal, the Israelis, Saudi Arabians, Republican American entities,” the banker said, saying that his bank was particularly under pressure from the US pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC. “I can’t see any movement for at least six to 12 months.”

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  77. KA says:

    Someone posted this comment below to the article by Philip Girladi in TAC 9 th Feb 2017

    -“EliteCommInc. says:
    February 9, 2017 at 3:24 am
    UNSCR 1929

    “3. Ban on ballistic missile activities. Iran is prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons and States are required to take all necessary measure to prevent the transfer of related technology or technical assistance.”


    “JCPOA, Resolution 2231. This provision says:

    “Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons” for eight years or until the IAEA makes a certification that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful, whichever comes first.”

    I fully agree with the assessment on the naval ship incident. There;s no evidence it was Iran and less evidence that the attack was intended against US naval vessel, though I suspect one should expect it. We are after all engage in military operations against the Houthis.

    On the missile test, the timeline works against the Iranians. If they had waited for the implementation of JCPOA superseding 1929, I think the issue would fall on the side of Iran, even if barely. Is “call a’ directive or merely a suggestion.

    But I agree, that there’s not much of a case for war. And I am someone who has misgivings about Iran beyond the events of 1979/1980. And why they wouldn’t wait until 2231 was in place is a bit of a problem for me.

    Unless JCPOA was in force, it seems needlessly provocative.”

    I don’t agree with this but still it is worth looking into because ideas opinions and suggestions are out there in minds of a lot of people that look seemingly reasonable and practical but that ignore the realities created by the warmongering party who will misinterpret the facts,insert innuendo and invectives,put new words that don’t belong there and create a new reality

    Iranian program has never been proven anything beyond being non nuclear In 50 yrs the opinion of JCPOA wont change because it is not changing now when facts suggest it should have accepted the fact that Iran program is not geared to producing nuked

    Second it is a call to refrain from testing ” capable of delivering”
    This is moronic. If no nuke is being produced,why shall we insists on this . Second for delivering bombs ,one doesn’t need one specific kind of vehicle.
    Japan was not bombed with a unique unknown new kind of vehicle . Shall we ban the Iranian passenger plane also?

    The idea is to stifle Iran so that it stopes breathing .

  78. @annamaria

    My complement to the Obama administration was limited to the Iran deal, as it has hemmed in the warmongers who look to start a war with Iran. It is not an endorsement of his entire presidency; and it is definitely not an endorsement of all the death and destruction reigned upon the middle east by the Obama administration. I voted for Trump primarily because of the stances he took on the middle east wars waged by Obama and Bush, and on the provocation of Russia; and I could see that a Hillary administration would be a continuation and perhaps a doubling down on what the Obama administration has done. Trump’s provocation of Iran is an eye opener, although it shouldn’t have been. The facts are that the U.S. has built a huge war machine, and that like all war machines, it will be used for conquest by whoever controls it, so that the few can prosper beyond imagination, while the many will suffer for their profits. It’s hard to see a silver lining of right in all these dark clouds of wrong. But to me it looks like Obama’s Iran deal is making it difficult for the warmongers who want to conquer Iran. And I’m not saying that Obama did this for the right reasons, i.e. to save us and the people of Iran from war. On the contrary, I think he saw that Trump was going to win, and that this was done to sabotage the goals of his administration. And that Madison’s constitutional formula of competing factions of power has some merit after all.

  79. @KA

    The degree to which the shitty little country screws up other people is really quite remarkable, no?

    • Replies: @annamaria
  80. annamaria says:
    @Bill Jones

    The power brokers (the Lobby) are living in the US/UK – the veritable Fifth Column.

    • Agree: Z-man
  81. @Seamus Padraig

    Well, seems I was right – rhetoric does not action make.

    Despite a media campaign trying to offload neoconservative Elliott Abrams onto the Trump administration, and considerable pressure from within the cabinet to appoint him Deputy Secretary of State, President Trump has decided against including the controversial interventionist and Iraq war supporter in his administration.

  82. pogohere says: • Website

    Re: “pencil pushers of the Deep State?”

    I have adopted the view outlined by Joseph Farrell in his Nazi International, “The Reich of the Black Sun” and “The Third Way,” by Alfred W. McCoy in his The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade and by William Engdahl in A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics And The New World Order. See also Peter Dale Scott´s writings. Essentially I am referring to a consortium of intelligence agencies, their bankers and the drug cartels who finance themselves off money laundering and resource expropriation.

    • Replies: @annamaria
  83. pogohere says: • Website

    Re: “Trump is an irrational, crybaby, temper tantrum throwing child who has never grown up.”

    This is a first cousin once removed from confirmation bias. The fact that Trump may be acting exactly as you describe doesn’t mean that he–and especially his closest advisors–isn’t pursuing a carefully thought out process. Here’s an article and a video that suggest that the Trump inner circle knew exactly what they were doing when they won the election and spent half the amount Clinton et al spent:

    The Data That Turned the World Upside Down

    Jan 28 2017

    Psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their Facebook activity. Did a similar tool help propel Donald Trump to victory? Two reporters from Zurich-based Das Magazin went data-gathering.​

    The Power of Big Data and Psychographics


    In a 10 minute presentation at the 2016 Concordia Summit, Mr. Alexander Nix discusses the power of big data in global elections. Cambridge Analytica’s revolutionary approach to audience targeting, data modeling, and psychographic profiling has made them a leader in behavioral microtargeting for election processes around the world.

    If the strategy and tools described above were in play during the election, why wouldn’t the same kind of strategic approach to a lower budget resurection of the American hegemony machine not also be being put in play by the retired generals and billionaires being appointed to cabinet, security and intelligence agency positions?

  84. pogohere says: • Website

    The Mansoor material is fascinating. Thanks for bringing it up.

    More on that here:

    A Rigged Revolution: How The Shadow CIA-MI6 Network Put Khomeini And Militant Islamists in Power

    June 19, 2013

    A few weeks ago, after a period of inner soul searching, I finally mustered up the courage to accept the alternative version of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, and wrote an article called, “The British And U.S. Governments Installed Khomeini Into Power In 1979.”

    After further excavating, I became even more convinced that Khomeini exploited the anti-Shah uprising in 1978-79 for his own personal quest for power and hijacked the mass revolutionary movement with the aid of the anti-American traitors in the shadow CIA and MI6.

    In my excavation, I came upon the research into the real origins of the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian-American hostage crisis by Fara Mansoor through an article from 1995 called, “The real Iranian hostage story from the files of Fara Mansoor,” by Harry V. Martin.

    Fara Mansoor is an Iranian revolutionary who took part in the 1963 anti-Shah uprising as a university student in Tehran that was crushed by the Shah’s forces. He witnessed firsthand the hijacking of the popular Iranian revolution in 1979 by Khomeini and the Islamic fundamentalists, who were catapulted into power by the shadow CIA-MI6 network.

    Mansoor has all the documents that shows the names of the individuals who were involved in the anti-Shah coup in 1979 on both the American and Iranian sides. Read Martin’s article to get the full picture.

    Below, I’ve presented some of the main points from Mansoor’s research into the Iranian Islamic “Revolution” with other historical facts to come up with a truthful narrative of modern Iranian-American history (warning: this is not well organized, sorry):

  85. pogohere says: • Website

    The IMF meets April 21-23 in Wash DC. Quotas are up for review. A fall in the US quota of 16.53% ( below 15% would eliminate the US veto on major actions that requires an 85% majority. The shake up in confidence in the global monetary regime should not be underestimated. April may come in like a lamb, but it may not go out as one.

  86. annamaria says:

    “The first book to prove CIA and U.S. government complicity in global drug trafficking, “The Politics of Heroin,” includes meticulous documentation of dishonesty and dirty dealings at the highest levels from the Cold War until today. Maintaining a global perspective, this groundbreaking study details the mechanics of drug trafficking in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South and Central America. New chapters detail U.S. involvement in the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan before and after the fall of the Taliban, and how U.S. drug policy in Central America and Colombia has increased the global supply of illicit drugs.”

    The “progressives” are totally unaware that when the USSR had invaded Afghanistan, the Soviets built, first of all, a university there to create a first cohort of university-educated women in Afghanistan. “Established in 1963, the university of Kabul’ building materials were given by the people of Soviet Union as gift to the people of Afghanistan. Engineers from Soviet Union and Afghanistan worked jointly.”
    But the hysterical females Clinton, Rice, Power (and their counterparts of male persuasion) believe that the women’s lot in Afghanistan could be improved by bombings only. When taking a closer look, however, it becomes obvious that the real goal of the “humanitarian” interventions in the Middle East has been the thievery of natural resources, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (to please war profiteers and to provide synergetic boost for dreamers about Eretz Israel), and to support for the illegal drug production and trafficking (to please the “base” – security services).
    “The production of opium increased 40-fold in the 13 years of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan and thanks to CIA covert aid.”

    • Replies: @pogohere
    , @geokat62
    , @Miro23
  87. pogohere says: • Website

    Thanks for the links. This sharing with you and others makes reading these comments on Unz very valuable to me.

  88. geokat62 says:

    But the hysterical females Clinton, Rice, Power (and their counterparts of male persuasion) believe that the women’s lot in Afghanistan could be improved by bombings only.

    Excellent observation, Annamaria.

    When taking a closer look, however, it becomes obvious that the real goal of the “humanitarian” interventions in the Middle East has been the thievery of natural resources, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (to please war profiteers and to provide synergetic boost for dreamers about Eretz Israel), and to support for the illegal drug production and trafficking (to please the “base” – security services).

    When listing the motives of America’s intervention in MENA, the number one factor that should always top this list is The Lobby’s efforts to remake MENA by launching the phony GWOT to regime change those regimes deemed hostile to Zionist project to enhance the security of the villa in the jungle:

    Israel’s enthusiasm for war eventually led some of its allies in America to tell Israeli officials to damp down their hawkish rhetoric, lest the war look like it was being fought for Israel. In the fall of 2002, for example, a group of American political consultants known as the Israel Project circulated a six-page memorandum to key Israelis and pro-Israel leaders in the United States. The memo was titled “Talking about Iraq” and was intended as a guide for public statements about the war. “If your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful with your language because of the potential backlash. You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.” – Mearsheimer and Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy

  89. Miro23 says:

    An excellent book about CIA involvement in drug trafficking is Daniel Hopsicker’s “Barry & ‘the Boys’ : The CIA, the Mob and America’s Secret History”

    • Replies: @MEexpert
  90. MEexpert says:

    I think it is also owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    • Replies: @KA
  91. KA says:

    Murdoch really has been led to believe that he can claim something out of his fevered favorite imagination to be true ,latch that falsehood to certain actual event , and persuade other to swallow the lies .

  92. MEexpert says:

    The only winner of the Afghan war is the CIA. CIA needs money badly. Its resources in South America are dwindling, so it needed another source. Afghanistan is the new source. The production of opium after the invasion has multiplied many fold and the product is being distributed to the outside world through Pakistan. The money from the sale goes into the CIA coffers.

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