Hysteria reigns supreme. As in the new Jim Jarmusch movie, The Dead Don’t Die, The Return of the Living Neocon Dead, in a trashy rerun of the lead-up to Shock and Awe in 2003, keeps orchestrating the zombie march.
Yet no one in war-cheerleading US corporate media talks about the quadrillion derivative crisis that will gut the global economy if there’s an attack on Iran (I addressed it here.) Shutting down the Strait of Hormuz will bring down the 2.5 quadrillion world derivative market, largely wiping out the economies of all Western nations.
No one talks about the massive arsenal of Iranian anti-ship missiles, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles, some in positions visible to US satellites and drones, deployed all along the northern shore of the Persian Gulf. Those include the Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont, which travels at Mach 2.9 speed. Iranian – as well as Russian and Chinese – anti-ship missiles can knock out the entire US Aircraft Carrier Task Force before their planes are even in range.
No one talks that it would take the US at least six months to place a proper combat army in Southwest Asia; the Pentagon scenario of a possible 120,000-strong troop deployment does not even begin to cut it.
And no one talks that Tehran won’t crack even under “maximum pressure.”
Saudi tankers are “sabotaged” – and Iran is instantly blamed, evidence-free. Some Brit bureaucrat says war can break out “by accident”. Consul Pompeus Minimus scares European poodles into isolating Iran.
And no one talks about Pompeo’s real target in his flash visit to Baghdad; to apply gangster tactics. Don’t deal with Tehran – or else. Buy “our” Make America Great Again (MAGA) electricity, not Iran’s. Get rid of the People Mobilization Units (PMUs). Or else.
Take me to false flag heaven
The deal between the holy triad – US neocons, Zio-cons and Bibi Netanyahu – is that a false flag, any false flag, must be blamed on Tehran, thus forcing the Trump administration to protect and defend the “rules-based order”. Better yet, an even more elaborate false flag should induce an Iranian response – thus providing the rationale for an attack.
Trump at least is correct that it would take “a hell of a lot more” troops than 120,000 to attack Iran; more like a million troops. There’s nowhere to land them. No one – Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Pakistan – would welcome the “liberators”.
In an extremely hot scenario Tehran could even have instant access to nuclear missiles in the black market.
The bottom line: the neocon threat of war against Iran is a bluff.
Iranian Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi described it as a “theatrical” and “useless” attempt to “magnify the shadow of war.”
IRGC commander of aerospace force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizade famously said,
“a US battleship with 6,000 personnel in the vicinity (Persian Gulf) with 40-50 jets onboard used to be a threat to us. Today it is a target.”
Tehran sent an unmistakable message to all its neighbors, especially the House of Saud and the Emirates; your whole infrastructure will be totally destroyed if the US uses you as a platform for a military campaign.
Then there’s the evolving drone-on-pipeline saga. The Houthis in Yemen targeted two pumping stations along the Saudi East-West pipeline – which carries oil from the Eastern province to the Red Sea. One of the stations caught fire. The hugely strategic pipeline – which allows Riyadh to bypass the Strait of Hormuz – has an enormous capacity, transporting 5 million barrels of crude a day. Operations had to be suspended.
Whether this drone attack was IRGC-directed, independent, or even a false flag is irrelevant; it provides just a taste of what might happen to the whole regional oil and gas infrastructure in case of a hot war.
Conversations with old-time Persian Gulf traders are quite enlightening. They attest, “if a pumping station is destroyed it takes two years to fill an order for a new pump. The Saudis maintain they have pumps in reserve. If all the pumps are destroyed in Saudi Arabia, no oil would flow for two years. The prime target would be Abqaiq. If this processing plant is destroyed, oil prices would soar.”
Abqaiq, with an enormous capacity of 7 million barrels a day, is the primary oil processing plant for Arabian extra light and Arabian light crude oils.
Assuming the drone attack was not a false flag, Persian Gulf traders were impressed with the accuracy of the drone at these distances for a precision hit. This would mean that Abqaiq itself is vulnerable. And there is absolutely nothing the Trump administration can do to stop the oil price from going to $200 a barrel just from Abqaiq being knocked out.
Moreover, no one is talking about insurance rates. As Persian Gulf traders insist, Vito, Trafigura, Glencore and other operators will not buy two million barrels in a tanker at $70 a barrel if there’s no insurance – or the rates go skywards.
It takes basically one single tanker going to the bottom of the Persian Gulf with two million barrels to permanently close the Strait of Hormuz – and interrupt all tanker traffic for 22 million barrels a day of crude, unless governments come in to insure the tankers even though they have no ability to protect them.
It’s all about maximum resistance.
So what does Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei want? Here it is, in his own words;
“There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance… “We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either.”
On top of it, Tehran won’t talk to Washington – following Trump’s “call me” caper – or sign any sort of modified or post-JCPOA nuclear deal. Khamenei: “[Such] negotiations are a poison.”
If President Trump had ever read Mackinder – and there’s no evidence he did – one might assume that he’s aiming at a new anti-Eurasia integration pivot centered on the Persian Gulf. And energy would be at the heart of the pivot.
If Washington were able to control everything, including “Big Prize” Iran, it would be able to dominate all Asian economies, especially China. Trump even said were that to happen, “decisions on the GNP of China will be made in Washington.”
Needless to add, this would be the icing in the geopolitical cake of destabilizing for good the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the road map for Eurasia integration, of which Iran is a crucial node.
Now cue to President Putin musing on Iran-Russia relations; “I have repeatedly said in conversations with [our] Iranian partners that, in my opinion, it would be more rational for Iran to remain in this treaty, no matter what. Because as soon as Iran takes the first steps in response [to the US’ exit from the JCPOA], declares that it is withdrawing, tomorrow everyone will forget that the United States was the initiator of the destruction, and everything will be blamed on Iran”.
Arguably the key (invisible) takeaway of the meetings this week between Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, and then between Lavrov and Pompeo, is that Moscow made it quite clear that Iran will be protected by Russia in the event of an American showdown. Pompeo’s body language showed how rattled he was.
There will be much to talk about if Putin and Trump do meet at the G20 in Osaka next month. In the meantime, the dead may even die without going to war.