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Brexit Leaves UK with No Choice But to Do Trump's Bidding in Iran
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What on Earth were the British politicians and officials thinking who gave the go-ahead for the seizure of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 off Gibraltar on 4 July? Did they truly believe that the Iranians would not retaliate for what they see as a serious escalation in America’s economic war against them?

The British cover story that the sending of 30 Royal Marines by helicopter to take over the tanker was all to do with enforcing EU sanctions on Syria, and nothing to do with US sanctions on Iran, was always pretty thin.

The Spanish foreign minister, Josep Borrell, has said categorically that Britain took over the tanker “following a request from the United States to the United Kingdom”.

One fact about Iranian foreign policy should have been hardwired into the brain of every politician and diplomat in Britain, as it already is in the Middle East, which is that what you do to the Iranians they will do to you at a time and place of their own choosing.

The US and UK backed Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in 1980, but this was not unconnected – though it was impossible to prove – with the suicide bombing that killed 241 US service personnel in the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

Commentators seeking an explanation for the UK’s seizure of the Grace 1 suggest that it was suckered into the action by super hawks in the US administration, such as the national security adviser John Bolton.

But, given the inevitability of the Iranian reaction against British naval forces too weak to defend British-flagged tankers, the British move looks more like a strategic choice dictated by a lack of other options.

Confrontation with the EU over Brexit means that Britain has no alternative but to ally itself ever more closely to the US.

Of course, this will scarcely be a new departure since Britain has glued itself to the US on almost all possible occasions since the Suez Crisis of 1956.

The lesson drawn from that debacle by Whitehall was that the UK needed to be always close to the US. The French drew the opposite conclusion that it must bond more closely with the continental European states in the shape of the European Economic Community.

The one-sided relationship between the US and UK was in operation in the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Britain walked into these quagmires to demonstrate its position as America’s most loyal ally while lacking a coherent policy and without adequate forces.

The Chilcot report said the only consistent theme that it could detect in British policy in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 was how to get its troops out of the country. Wanting to do it without offending the Americans, the British – in a major miscalculation – decided that this could be best done by relocating their forces to Afghanistan, where more than 400 of them were killed in action.

ORDER IT NOW

In its confrontation with Iran, Britain is in trouble because it is trying to ride several horses at the same time. It is supposedly seeking to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal and oppose US sanctions on Iran, but in practice it has done nothing of the sort and boarding the Grace 1 was a clear demonstration of this.

One feature of the present crisis is that the seizure of the Stena Impero is clearly tit-for-tat by Iran. It is, unlike past Iranian retaliatory actions, making no effort to conceal this, presumably calculating that there is not much Britain can do about it and it is a good time to demonstrate Iranian strength and British weakness.

Iran expresses no doubt that Britain is acting as a US proxy, though this has been true for a long time. But life as a proxy may be particularly dangerous in the Gulf at the moment because of the peculiar nature of the confrontation between the US and Iran in which neither side wants to engage in an all-out war.

This makes it necessary to act through proxies like the UK, an approach that minimises the chances of Americans being killed and Donald Trump having no option but to retaliate in kind.

Iran is being visibly hurt by sanctions but Iranians are more likely to blame the US for their sufferings than their own government. The US is not going to launch a ground invasion, as it did in Iraq in 2003, and, so long as this is off the table, Iran can sustain the military pressures.

In fact, a permanent crisis in the Gulf just below the level of a full-scale military conflict is in the interests of Iran and better than enduring a prolonged economic siege.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Brexit, Britain, Donald Trump, Iran 
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  1. Given the degree to which British government officials and agencies interfere in the internal affairs of the US, how can Cockburn be so sure of the direction of causation in any of these things? There are times when it seems like London is the grand puppetmaster. They’ve taken the US into two world wars, and they keep stirring up the shit with Russia. Poor little … but very dangerous still … UK.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  2. “In its confrontation with Iran, Britain is in trouble because it is trying to ride several horses at the same time. It is supposedly seeking to adhere to the Iran nuclear deal and oppose US sanctions on Iran, but in practice it has done nothing of the sort and boarding the Grace 1 was a clear demonstration of this.”

    I think this is spot on. I am unclear how the sanctions policy of the EU is applicable to Iran. Iran is not party to EU partnerships and the nuclear deal does not prohibit Iran from trading with here neighboring states. The justification here is hard to figure, even if prompted by the US.

    • Replies: @The scalpel
  3. Gordo says:

    Of course, this will scarcely be a new departure since Britain has glued itself to the US on almost all possible occasions since the Suez Crisis of 1956.

    You maybe forgot Vietnam, which was kind of a biggie.

  4. Realist says:

    Confrontation with the EU over Brexit means that Britain has no alternative but to ally itself ever more closely to the US.

    Not true, Britain could tell the EU and US to pound sand…if they had balls. Britain needs to stand on it’s own and be independent, that is the only way it will survive.

    • Agree: Curmudgeon
  5. It’s not often I agree with Cockburn, but a few days ago I commented elsewhere that if Trump’s handlers/controllers really want war with Iran the UK may be dragged in its wake – on the grounds that the EU already hate our guts and we could do with an ally outside of Portugal.

    Trump otherwise may treat us as Obama did with “British” Petroleum. He can’t do anything that got him elected, for opaque reasons, but he has to do something.

    I guess a stopped clock and all that …

  6. The scalpel says: • Website
    @EliteCommInc.

    The justification couldn’t be simpler.

    “Because (we think) we can.”

    • Replies: @Jeff Davis
  7. Mike Pompeo is reported as saying Britain has the primary responsibility for defending UK registered vessels going through the Gulf. London could well be a proxy for Washington. Facing humiliation and defeat, which is a possibility, Britain might still have enough resources to create the scenario where the US would have to come to its aid; it would become the proverbial tail that wagged the dog. History shows this is a dangerous place to be, as we stand on the precipice of another world war .
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  8. Rurik says:

    – though it was impossible to prove – with the suicide bombing that killed 241 US service personnel in the marine barracks in Beirut in 1983.

    There is zero reason for suspecting Iran in that atrocity.

    Whereas there is all the reason in the world for suspecting the Mossad.

    It is by now their well-known and oft-used tactic to slaughter Americans and then try to blame it on one of their myriad and well-earned enemies in the region.

    Just like the USS Liberty, the Lavon Affair, 9/11 and other false flag attacks to be blamed on some Muslim patsy.

    the British – in a major miscalculation – decided that this could be best done by relocating their forces to Afghanistan, where more than 400 of them were killed in action.

    a huge win/win for the Zionists.

    Gentiles killing Gentiles..

    .. anti-Semites killing anti-Semites..

    What’s not to like?

  9. @The Alarmist

    There are times when it seems like London is the grand puppetmaster. They’ve taken the US into two world wars…

    Let’s be perfectly clear. Every government of a “western liberal democracy” is a wholly owned subsidiary of the International Banking Cartel, a.k.a. Zionism. Any country that bucks the cartel is a target. The British Government didn’t take the US into two world wars, the Zionists in both countries took the UK and US into two world wars.

    In the case of Russia, the Zionists lost their stranglehold when Stalin was offed, regained some of it during Yeltsin, but have mostly been held in check by Putin, but not eliminated. Zion wants its stranglehold on Russia back.

    • Replies: @mr meener
  10. rosemerry says:

    Cowardly following of the USA is going to be the fate of “independent UK” from now on.
    BoJo or wild-eyed Hunt!!! Worse than T May.

  11. mr meener says:
    @Curmudgeon

    the fat bloated drunkard Churchill was english thru every cell in his body who at behest of the jews started both world wars then sucked in the stupid americans

    • Replies: @Matra
  12. It does not need Brexit for Brutain to be the (as we say here) dung lathered on the tail of the Amerikastani ox. There’s nobody strategically threatening the Brutish that they need Amerikastani protection. They have willingly and voluntarily made themselves abject slaves of their erstwhile colonial masters and now they have no way out except grovelling servility. As a citizen of a country occupied and looted by Brutain for two hundred years, I have a great deal of Schadenfreude for the Brutish. Dying for the greater glory of Wall Street and the zionist thugs ruling Washington couldn’t happen to a more deserving set of rapacious pirates, could it?

  13. Matra says:
    @mr meener

    No thread on England is complete without some drooling NPC referring to Churchill’s drinking and being fat. lol

    BTW his mother was American, not English. D’oh!

  14. Matra says:

    Confrontation with the EU over Brexit means that Britain has no alternative but to ally itself ever more closely to the US

    Poor Paddy hasn’t noticed in all his decades as an international correspondent that Britain hardly needed Brexit to “ally itself more closely to the US”. What was Remainer Tony Blair’s excuse?

    • Replies: @Nodwink
  15. McBuddha says:

    Patrick is trapped in liberalism and late-stage TDS. Because he can’t think of any reason for Britain to stay in the Fourth Reich EU – he blames imperialism itself on Brexit!

    What intellectual laziness! For one, the British have been imperialists for centuries. Secondly, the EU is the Fourth Reich — cheering for the destruction of Libya and Syria. The EU would lead to more war with a corporate fascist Europe beyond the will of the voters.

    Finally, Patrick fails to understand history. Iran was the property of Britain. They begged Eisenhower for regime change after their naval block-aid failed. The British have always wanted revenge on Iran for leaving their crumbling empire. Cockburn is delusional to blame imperialism on a deal, Brexit, that hasn’t even occurred yet. He also needs to stop blaming the US for British imperialism.

    Patrick knows Britain wasn’t ‘forced’ to seize those ships — who is he kidding?

    • Replies: @Malla
  16. fenestol says:

    It appears that Mr. Cockburn has grown weary of life abroad and is attempting a second career as a pundit who blames every unsavory bit of news on Brexit.

  17. One of the things I have come to realize from this recent exchange of tanker seizures, is the careful way that violence is being avoided. As long as there is no bloodshed or substantial damage to property, the red line of a casus belli is not crossed.

    Thinking about this, I reached the rather unexpected “realization” that a publicly declared closure of The Strait of Hormuz by Iran — by deployment, real or “bluff”, of “smart” mines — accompanied by a warning against any attempt to pass through the strait, lest such an attempt result in ***self-inflicted*** damage, would also not cross the red line of bloodshed or violent destruction of property.

    The “smart” mines (or bluff) employed to block the strait would nevertheless allow, by virtue of their sophistication, which is to say controllable targeting/activation/deactivation, safe-passage under Iranian escort. Clearly closure of the Strait would be a serious escalation, but an escalation short of violence, short of armed conflict. By the standard of Tit for Tat, this would be a proportionate response to the American maximum pressure campaign which has as its clearly stated goal the shutting down the Iranian economy by shutting down the sale of Iranian oil.

    By closing the Strait, the economic pain suffered by Iran under US sanctions would then be mirrored in the economic pain suffered by the rest of the world. And while there would be much phony “outrage”, and threatening and gnashing of teeth about Iranian “aggression”, the role of the United States in causing this economic pain would be clear.

    The ability of Iran to selectively permit safe passage under Iranian escort, while restricting all others, would be a particularly bitter pill to take.

    And the spike in oil prices to $200-$300 a barrel, and gas prices to $8-$10 a gallon would be to the enormous benefit of Russia, Venezuela, and Iraq while severely damaging Western economies and massively pissing off American car owners.

    Waging economic war and threatening the real thing is massively dangerous. Iran, positioned as it is within striking distance of the world’s energy supply, can credibly threaten massive damage to the world economy. Consequently, playing the brinkmanship game with them is truly courting catastrophe. That’s not hyperbole.

    Interesting times indeed,

  18. @The scalpel

    Exactly. The mafia does not need permission.

  19. The Oxbridge ruling class, which does not rule, as the UK is as ZOG as the US, is a fully-owned kike subsidiary, and is a massively incompetent nepotistic cabal of traitors.

    ZOG is as ZOG does.

  20. Malla says:
    @McBuddha

    Secondly, the EU is the Fourth Reich

    Nope, the EU is the EUSSR. The Fourth Reich would definitely not have allowed colonization of Europe by outsiders.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  21. APilgrim says:

    Were there no USA, China, Japan, or Russia …

    Europe would be REQUIRED by NECESSITY, to defend the Middle Eastern shipping lanes of their energy supplies, from pirates and rogue nations.

    And today, Europe is attempting to so do, but poorly.

  22. Herald says:

    Nostalgia, no the money grabbing Blair is not at all sentimental. He joined in with the illegal invasion of Iraq because he had to his his duty for Israel.

    • Replies: @Malla
  23. @Malla

    “the EU is the EUSSR. The Fourth Reich would definitely not have allowed colonization of Europe by outsiders.”

    I don’t think an EUSSR would, either, although they might deport troublesome minorities to Siberia.

    Eastern Europe’s demographics didn’t change much in 50 years of communism. Western Europe’s have changed dramatically in 50 years of “liberalism”.

    • Replies: @Malla
  24. Malla says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    Eastern Europe’s demographics didn’t change much in 50 years of communism.

    That is true but the EUSSR is the next version of the failed USSR experiment. Besides, after Stalin’s purges, the USSR changed in its character.
    But anyways the Third Reich would have been even more opposed to mass migration into Europe even though there were Indian, Arab SS Wafen divisions. The EU is no Fourth Reich.

  25. Malla says:
    @Herald

    He joined in with the illegal invasion of Iraq because he had to his his duty for Israel.

    Scumbag slimeball Blair was also gungho about the NATO military actions against Yugoslavia.

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