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Has Iran won a round vs. US-Israel?

17 January 2012

Summary:  The long game continues between Israel-US and Iran, which began in 1979.  Iran may won this inning.  That would astonish most American geopolitical experts, who describe Iran’s resistance as either foolish or insane.  How can Iran even imagine defeating US-Israel, with our coalition of western and Sunni Arab allies? But that’s the history of the world since WWII, of little people defeating the great western powers. Not every time, but sometimes– from Algeria to Afghanistan – however wrong or even evil their cultures are in our eyes.  This is chapter 12 in a series about our conflict with Iran; at the end are links to other chapters.

Contents

  1. “Israel and US postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran”
  2. Will Europe put more sanctions on Iran?
  3. Rumors (strong rumors) of Mossad supporting terrorism against Iran, done under the US flag
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. For more information

Note:  Several readers have asked why does it take such a long series to explain our conflict with Iran?  Because years of propaganda have imprisoned us in an interlocking network of lies.  We have been led into a long tunnel.  It’s a long trek back into the sunlight.  Even if we choose to stay on this course, this situation reveals much about America — and the nature of State-to-State conflict in the 21st century.

(1)  “Israel and US postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran”

Israel and U.S. postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran“, Haaretz, 15 January 2012 — “Israeli defense officials tell Channel 2 that Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in region after various foreign reports of U.S. and Israeli preparations for strike on Iran.” Excerpt:

Israel and the United States have postponed a massive joint defense exercise, which was expected to be carried out in the coming weeks, in order to avoid an escalation with Iran, Channel 2 reported on Sunday. According to an Israeli defense official, Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in the region, especially in light of the sensitive situation that has been generated after various reports in the international media that the U.S. and Israel are preparing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The drill, codenamed Austere Challenge 12, was supposed to simulate the missiles fired by Iran or other antagonistic states toward Israel. Defense officials told Channel 2 on Sunday that the drill is now scheduled to take place in the summer. Both Israeli and U.S. officials said the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries, involving thousands of U.S. soldiers.

(2)  Will Europe put more sanctions on Iran?

Throughout history the key to victory has often been constructing alliances.  Pooling resources, cutting off supplies and trade from the enemy and gaining them for our side, and positioning armies to encircle the enemy.  The EU plays several of these roles in in our conflict with Iran, and so is a key player.  Europe is the #2 importer of Iranian oil, after China.  If they don’t ban imports, China almost certainly will not.

So far EU leaders have participated in the sanctions and fierce rhetoric against Iran.  But if war breaks out the EU will bear a disproportionate share of the effects: reduced exports and lost oil imports — both deepening a recession which might have already started (with unemployment already painfully high in most EU members, and over 20% in Spain).  Will they continue to help US-Israel, or stand aside?  Statements from EU leaders are equivocal, even contradictory.  Any delay helps Iran.

Update – My guess looks wrong about EU action against Iran:  “EU states agree gradual ban on Iran oil, sanctions on central bank“, Reuters, 23 January 2012.

(a) No talk now of Iran military action“, Politiken (Danish newspaper), 11 January 2012 — Excerpt:

The EU’s ‘Foreign Minister’ Catherine Ashton arrived in Copenhagen Tuesday for meetings with the Danish government, which today officially takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union:

“No-one is talking about a military operation at the moment. … The goal of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Iranian government so that they understand that they have entered into agreements that they must respect. Our duty is to tell Iran that they must live up to their obligations. … I have no deadline. But I expect Iran to understand that we will continue with sanctions. The EU’s member countries are currently discussing more sanctions. The world is watching Iran and expects it to show that they are able to move away from the road that so many fear. … The obvious solution is that Iran takes the political decision that they want nuclear power – that can help them develop – but that they will not develop a weapons programme. Not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the whole region. That is what we are trying to achieve.”

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal, who as foreign minister for the presidency will be partnering Ashton for the next six months:

“The reason we are so active with sanctions is precisely because they are an alternative to the military option. Everyone knows that a military attack will not solve the nuclear problem in Iran. … Quite to the contrary it would delay a solution and would have a lot of consequences in the Middle East and elsewhere which would cause new problems. That is why we are putting pressure on Iran to come back to the negotiating table and accept inspections. That is why we will continue to strengthen sanctions.”

(b) What’s behind Europe’s tough stance on Iran?“, Christian Science Monitor, 15 January 2012 — “European powers have agreed in principle to embargo Iranian oil, the lifeblood of Iran’s economy, adding to tough sanctions already in place.”  Excerpt:

“On January 4 European powers agreed in principle to an oil embargo, expected to be implemented gradually after a Jan. 23 meeting of EU foreign ministers to work out the details. … Europe is Iran’s biggest trading partner, according to European Commission figures. About 90% of Iran’s exports to Europe are energy related, and Europe takes between 450,000 and 550,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, rivaling China’s 600,000 barrels as Iran’s biggest buyer. Thus EU oil sanctions would exert significant leverage. European oil imports account for 18% of Iran’s oil sales abroad, while a US em­bargo simply keeps the United States from buying any oil from Iran.

“Sanctions gained momentum after Iran’s Nov. 29 attack on the British Embassy in Tehran, and were reportedly sealed by EU assurances to the Greeks that any oil shortfalls resulting from a boycott of Iranian oil would be compensated. While about 6% of EU oil comes from Iran, debt-addled Greece gets about 30% of its oil from there, according to the IAEA. Italy and Spain each get 13% of their oil from Iran.

“In the January 23 meeting, EU ministers will work out the how and when of the embargo. Italy has proposed ‘phased sanctions’ to take effect over three to six months to allow for supply to adjust to an embargo, particularly important in struggling EU economies. Iran owes Italy’s energy giant ENI some $2 billion, which Iran is repaying in oil; the issue was suddenly in dispute days ago, but Iranian authorities have confirmed the contract terms.”

Richard Whitman of Chatham House, an independent foreign-policy think tank in London:

“France and the UK are concerned about unintended consequences of military action on Iran. … Like many in Europe, they support every effort to delay a military answer.”

Bruno Tertrais, of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris:

“We don’t see sanctions as an alternative to negotiations but as part of them. … Even though there is little demonstrated hope for negotiations to resume, we haven’t given up.”

Rouzbeh Parsi of the EU Institute of {sic; “for”} Strategic Studies in Paris:

“Our policy is on autopilot. … There is no creative thinking on where this ends up. The EU doesn’t know how to play the ball. There’s sanctions and nothing else, which plays to those that want a military solution. The EU is voluntarily cutting its [energy] imports, and there isn’t much else it can sanction from Iran, and we are now coming to the end of that game. … The danger of sanctions … is that people think there isn’t anything else to do.”

(c)  Interview on Sky Net with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, 15 January 2012 — Excerpt:

“We have never ruled anything out. We have not ruled out any option, or supporting any option. We believe all options should be on the table, that is part of the pressure on Iran. … But we are clearly not calling for or advocating military action. We are advocating meaningful negotiations, if Iran will enter into them, and the increasing pressure of sanctions to try to get some flexibility from Iran.

“… This is an increasingly dangerous situation that Iran is developing a military nuclear programme. Our sanctions are part of getting Iran to change course and to enter negotiations and we should not be deterred from implementing those.”

(d)  From the Washington Post, 15 January 2012 — Excerpt:

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in an interview this weekend with the Rheinische Post newspaper:

“Even just the option of nuclear armament by Iran would have far-reaching negative consequences far beyond the Gulf region, so it is not acceptable. … So, with new sanctions that we want to approve this month, we are now targeting the heart of the Iranian nuclear program: its oil and, with that, its sources of financing. … But the door to dialogue with Iran remains open at the same time. … We should not further charge an already tense situation in a turbulent region.”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe:

“I am confident we will adopt very significant additional measures …. covering the oil sector and possibly other sectors as well.”

(3)  Rumors (strong rumors) of Mossad supporting terrorism against Iran, done under the US flag

Mossad supporting insurgents in Iran (designated at terrorists by the US DoS), under the guise of CIA agents.  The US government probably knew about this for years, but it looks bad to the US public and other nations.  Will this weaken US support for Israel?

(a)  This story was a bombshell in 2007

ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran“, ABC News, 3 April 2007 — Opening:

Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence sources tell ABC News. The group, called Jundullah, is made up of members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of the Baluchistan province in Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.  It has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.

(b)  Now we learn that this may have been an operation by the Mossad, done under a false flag

False Flag“, Mark Perry, Foreign Policy, 13 January 2012 — “A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.”  Opening:

Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents.

According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation. The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization.

Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children. But while the memos show that the US had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel’s Mossad.

The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials. The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad’s efforts.

(c)  This might be the evidence Iran claims to have showing US involvement

Iran protests to US, UK governments“, Islamic Republic News Agency, 14 January 2012:

The Foreign Ministry in two separate letters strongly protested the US and the UK governments and underlined their clear role in assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan and called those two governments responsible for crimes against Iranian nuclear scientists.

(Tehran) Iran sent another protest note to Switzerland embassy here in Tehran as interest office of the US government. In its letter Iran underlined that its diplomatic notes about existing documents on the US support for terrorist groups against Iran had been without answer or facing with the US government silence. It added that upon authentic documents and reliable information the operation had been executed with guideline, support and planning of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and with direct interference of the agency elements, which its direct responsibility is on shoulder of the US government. The letter underscored that Iran by condemning such inhuman act, is requesting prompt reply of the US government, and it strongly warns against the consequences of support for every kind of terrorist operation against Iranian citizens.

(4)  Other posts in this series

See the FM Reference Page Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran? for a list of all posts about this subject.

  1. Is the War on Terror over (because there are no longer two sides)?, 3 September 2008 — Rumors of covert ops by us against Iran, including aid to terrorists
  2. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 January 2009
  3. Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again), 2 January 2010 — Forecasts of an Iranian bomb really soon, going back to 1984
  4. About the escalating conflict with Iran (not *yet* open war), 4 January 2012
  5. Have Iran’s leaders vowed to destroy Israel?, 5 January 2012 — No, but it’s established as fact by repetition
  6. What do we know about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?, 6 January 2012 — US intelligence officials are clear:  not as much as the news media implies
  7. What does the IAEA know about Iran’s nuclear program?, 9 January 2012 — Their reports bear little resemblance to reports in the news media
  8. What happens when a nation gets nukes?  Sixty years of history suggests an answer., 10 January 2012
  9. What happens if Iran gets nukes? Not what we’ve been told., 11 January 2012
  10. Status report on the already-hot conflict with Iran – and the looming war, 12 January 2012
  11. Continuity and dysfunctionality in US foreign policy (lessons for our conflict with Iran), 13 January 2012 — Insights about today from Cold War strategist Colin Grey
  12. What the conflict with Iran teaches us about modern State-to-State war, 16 January 2012
  13. Has Iran won a round vs. the US-Israel?, 17 January 2012
  14. Is Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists Terrorism?, 19 January 2012

(5)  For more information

Other articles, all recommended reading:

  1. Iranian Oil Embargo“, James Hamilton, Roubini Global Economics, 15 January 2012 — “As efforts continue to impose sanctions on Iran, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the possible implications of these developments for oil-consuming countries.”
  2.  “Iran, the U.S. and the Strait of Hormuz Crisis

”, George Friedman, Stratfor, 17 January 2012
  3. Think Before Acting on Iran“. Leslie H. Gelb, The Daily Beast, 17 January 2012 — “America is once again stumbling toward war. If we’ve learned anything from the past, it’s that we’d better debate Iran policy before, not after, the fighting begins”
  4. The Myth of ‘Isolated’ Iran – Following the Money in the Iran Crisis“, Pepe Escobar, TomDispatch, 17 January 2012

Posts about Israel on the FM website:

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. 17 January 2012 1:20 am

    A thought for European participation: The Federal Reserve provides lines of credit (open Repo’s) funding Europe’s liquidity crisis, and the Europeans back the US position against Iran.

    • 17 January 2012 3:01 am

      I don’t have evidence, after all the Fed operates in secret, but I admit, I thought exactly the same thing. If this proved to be true, it would be political dynamite, because the idea of the Fed having an indendent foreign policy that’s not monitored by any elected official, well that would be pretty outrageous. Or maybe not — it’s hard to imagine the American public reacting to much of anything these days.

      “It added that upon authentic documents and reliable information the operation had been executed with guideline, support and planning of the US Central Intelligence Agency ( CIA) and with direct interference of the agency elements, which its direct responsibility is on shoulder of the US government. ”

      This is indeed interesting. What do they have exactly? Does Iran have spies here in the USA — if they managed to get documents on such an operation. It’s curious how badly translated the Iranian website is. I’d think an official website would have someone more adept at English. “IR Iran will retaliate its scientists’ assassinations: Moslehi“, Iranian Republic News Agency, 15 January 2012:

      “Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a decisive and crushing response to the recent terrorist acts by agents of Mossad, CIA and MI6 which resulted in martyrdom of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan.”

      This sounds like they don’t know for sure who is behind the assassination. Empty threat? I don’t think backing off on exercises is going to make this go away.

    • 17 January 2012 3:10 am

      In what sense does the Federal Reserve “operate in secret”? They release their minutes (with a delay to minimize market impacts) and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. They hide things, like every government agency. What’s your evidence that the Fed hides more than other similar agencies? I suspect that analysis would show that they are relatively transparent compared Homeland Security and DoD.

    • Marvin permalink
      17 January 2012 8:03 am

      The evidence for the Fed’s hiding things is that Bloomberg need to go to the SCOTUS to get FOIA records of just which banks got TARP funds. It turned out that European banks got a big percentage. Sources:

      Granted, these are blog posts, not MSM reports. But the source material is from the Bloomberg FOIA data.

    • 17 January 2012 1:53 pm

      You are quite right, but that’s typical for Federal agencies. With that logic you can just as well say EPA operations are secret. That’s why we have the FOIA, and the courts to force release. Their operations are secret when they don’t respond to FOIA, either because of exemptions or refusal of the Court to enforce it.

    • Marvin permalink
      17 January 2012 10:21 pm

      The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) is a Fed district bank that is wholly owned by the banks in its district. In no sense is it a part of the US Government. That is why JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and other NY District banks have their own representatives on the board of the FRBNY. They oversee how its run because they own the FRBNY.

      The directors of the FRBNY are described at a {the Fed NY} web address. …

      The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve are appointed by the President and confirmed by the senate. One member of the Board of Governors may be a district bank governor. See {the Fed website}: “Only one member of the Board may be selected from any one of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts.”

      Monetary policy is set by the Federal Open Market Committee: {see the Fed website}

      “The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) consists of twelve members–the seven members of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and four of the remaining eleven Reserve Bank presidents, who serve one-year terms on a rotating basis. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Nonvoting Reserve Bank presidents attend the meetings of the Committee, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the Committee’s assessment of the economy and policy options.”

      In conclusion, note that 6 of the 12 members of the FOMC are district bank presidents; the one confirmed on the Board of Governors, the president of the FRBNY, and four others from rotating district banks.

      I would not call the Federal Reserve System a government organization in the same sense the EPA is. It appears the Board of Governors is just a figurehead to imply government control.

    • 18 January 2012 2:47 am

      Marvin — That is a combination of wrong and irrelevant.

      (1) “I would not call the Federal Reserve System a government organization in the same sense the EPA is.”

      That’s not what I said. My comment: “They hide things, like every government agency. … I suspect that analysis would show that they are relatively transparent compared Homeland Security and DoD.” That’s a simple statement of fact. For example, the Federal Reserve website explains why they are subject to the FOIA (bold emphasis added):

      The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, generally provides that any person has a right of access to federal agency records.

      (2) You confused the Federal Reserve District Bank of New York with the Federal Reserve (the parent agency). They have very different powers. The Fed is a government agency, created by legislation, wielding government powers, its Governors approved by Congress, any profits returned to the Treasury.

      (3) “It appears the Board of Governors is just a figurehead to imply government control.”

      That’s not an accurate description. The Fed has been largely captured by the banks. That’s the rule for government agencies (national, state, local); they’re captured by those they regulate. For more about this see the Wikipedia entry for “regulatory capture” (as always, the links are the most useful part).

    • 18 January 2012 9:44 am

      Regulatory capture? I think that’s hugely understating what’s going on here. Nearly a quarter of a billion going to the wives of Morgan Stanley executives based on 15 million in collateral? That is among other vast craziness. It is outrageous. More from the Taibbi article…

      “And thanks to a whole galaxy of obscure, acronym-laden bailout programs, it (the fed budget) eventually rivaled the “official” budget in size — a huge roaring river of cash flowing out of the Federal Reserve to destinations neither chosen by the president nor reviewed by Congress, but instead handed out by fiat by unelected Fed officials using a seemingly nonsensical and apparently unknowable methodology.

      With something like the FDA, at least, the drug companies do actually make drugs. If the FDA is loaning 220 Million to wives of executives, I’d like to know. But it seems unlikely. Their entire budget is only $4B. It’s an insult to other agencies to associate them with the kind of ‘free money for rich people’ program that the FED is running.

    • 18 January 2012 2:23 pm

      (1) I don’t understand the nature of your objection to the term “regulatory capture.” Is it too bland, too technical? Perhaps you’d perfer “super-duper horrific capture of governmental powers by special interests.”

      “Cancer” is also a mild term for a serious problem.

      Don’t fight the label, fight the reality it represents.

      (2) “With something like the FDA, at least, the drug companies do actually make drugs.”

      That’s a spectacularly bad example. Our health care system — delivering average results at almost twice the per capita costs of our peers — is a far larger threat to the USA than the Fed. Corruption is bad but does not threaten the Republic. The liability (debt plus future obligations) of the Federal government is mostly health-care related, and threatens the Regime’s solvency. The FDA’s loose regulation of drugs (eg, tiny tweaks of uncertain benefit, to allow continued patent coverage) is a part of that system.

  2. Hoyticus permalink
    17 January 2012 3:30 am

    If only the public knew that war with Iran is unfeasible. People, ideas, and hardware in that order. We don’t have the manpower for a land war in Iran, too many soldiers that have been through repeated deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Ideas, it’s a terrible idea to go to war with Iran, oil prices would increase dramatically and it would harden the Iranian regimes solidarity making them desire nuclear weapons that much more, they saw what happened to Saddam and Gaddafi. Hardware, do we even have enough war material to supply a war there?

    • 17 January 2012 3:35 am

      “We don’t have the manpower for a land war in Iran”

      The advocates of war with Iran want to bomb Iran — which they assume we can do with impunity — not invade (let along occupy) Iran.

    • Hoyticus permalink
      17 January 2012 3:50 am

      Good point, I merely wanted to step ahead of the warmongerers now, considering if the US and others decide to bomb Iran, our elites may be foolish enough to invade.

  3. Matt D. permalink
    17 January 2012 4:00 am

    My question would be: Where will the “thousands of US troops” who are to participate in these exercises be until the summer? If they are going to stay and hang out in Israel, then maybe that fact is the more relevant story. If I wanted to provide cover for a suspicious troop build-up, I might make up a story about a gigantic military exercise involving thousands of troops that gets postponed just long enough for the war to break out.

    • 17 January 2012 4:13 am

      Let’s not imagine a button and then sew a button on it. Don’t bother writing about an invasion of Iran that nobody of consequence advocates.

    • Matt D. permalink
      17 January 2012 4:23 am

      Well, my understanding is that these troops are mostly AAA types whose job is to shoot down missles. I would imagine that US/Israel would want to bolster Israeli air defenses ahead of any move against Iran.

  4. 17 January 2012 4:00 am

    There’s no issue of secrecy of the fed relative to other agencies. What does that matter? But, that lending occurs in a way that favors some parties over others. Secret deals might allow 1% of the 1% richest to divert more money to themselves. This story here makes the best case. Read this if you haven’t already. And it’s a great read. Taibbi is a brilliant writer. “The Real Housewives of Wall Street“, Rolling Stone, 28 April 2011 — “Why is the Federal Reserve forking over $220 million in bailout money to the wives of two Morgan Stanley bigwigs?”

    “It’s hard to imagine a pair of people you would less want to hand a giant welfare check to — yet that’s exactly what the Fed did. Just two months before the Macks bought their fancy carriage house in Manhattan, Christy and her pal Susan launched their investment initiative called Waterfall TALF. Neither seems to have any experience whatsoever in finance, beyond Susan’s penchant for dabbling in thoroughbred racehorses. But with an upfront investment of $15 million, they quickly received $220 million in cash from the Fed, most of which they used to purchase student loans and commercial mortgages.”

  5. anobserver permalink
    17 January 2012 9:50 am

    “The drill, codenamed Austere Challenge 12, was supposed to simulate the missiles fired by Iran or other antagonistic states toward Israel. Defense officials told Channel 2 on Sunday that the drill is now scheduled to take place in the summer.”

    Interestingly, the Israeli press is abuzz with rumors of an invasion of Gaza planned for the summer: “IDF preparing for major Gaza action within months“, Jeruslum Post, 15 January 2012. As the war against Lebanon showed, defense against missiles is a sore point of Israeli military plans, and there is concern that part of the Libyan missile stock has found its way to Gaza. From this Israeli perspective, having the joint missile-busting force ready in the summer, when it might be useful for actual work, is not that much negative.

  6. patsignoret permalink
    17 January 2012 10:22 am

    Your posts are illuminating; thank you. However, I’m not quite sure how this post showed that Iran had won a round. It actually seems that Western powers (and allies) have recently applied a lot of pressure on Iran, and then might have decided to back down a bit.

    As to the question “Will Europe put more sanctions on Iran?”, the answer seems to be…yes. How’s that favorable for Iran?

    Finally, the rumors of Mossad involvement under the U.S. flag is important, but also seems irrelevant to the title of this post.

    About the only evidence I can see in this post that Iran may have “won a round” is that, in the post-WW2, other “little people” have done so.

    I’ll just ask outright so you can give a direct answer: are you rooting for Iran? Do you think the great western powers should leave Iran alone and allow it to carry out whatever nuclear research and activities they want? (I’m sure you have answered this in other posts, but I haven’t followed this blog for very long.)

    • 17 January 2012 2:10 pm

      (1) How might have Iran won a round?

      • Delay of the US-Israel exercises perhaps expresses concern that the we have overheated the pot, showing that Iran’s statements that they will respond in kind are having an effect.
      • Obama signed the new sanctions on December 31. There is as yet no evidence that Europe will follow. The staements by EU leaders were equivocal about further sanctions.
      • The revelations about the Mossad false flag operation — under the US flag — have received widespread attention. It looks ugly, and might have negative effects on support for Israel.

      (2) Rooting for which side?

      This website, as its masthead says, looks at the world from an American’s perspective. That means attempting to clearly see the world, accurately orient ourselves vs. our knowledge (eg, using history and science), decide what to do (vs. our ideas and goals), and act effectively. Those are the things that are in America’s best interest. Lies about the current situation and the past are circulated by those who seek to manipulate the American people — or increasingly today, by outright enemies of the Republic.

      It’s not a game, and we do no cheerleading on this website. That’s best left to the professionals, the pretty and scantily dressed girls at football games — and the whores shilling for war on TV (those accurately but not longer Politically Correctly called war mongers).

  7. 17 January 2012 11:29 am

    Is it worth starting a war over this?

  8. Leslie Gelb: "Think Before Acting on Iran" permalink
    17 January 2012 3:48 pm

    Think Before Acting on Iran“. Leslie H. Gelb, The Daily Beast, 17 January 2012 — “America is once again stumbling toward war. If we’ve learned anything from the past, it’s that we’d better debate Iran policy before, not after, the fighting begins.” Excerpt:

    In every major war of the last decades, the public assumed the government and the experts knew what they were talking about and proposing to do. But after a year or so, that faith collapsed. Except for those who would bless the sound of the cannon wherever it led, everyone soon realized the terrible truth: that government leaders had little or no idea what they were doing, what the invaded country was really like, and what could and could not be accomplished at what cost. By then, it was too late. Once our truly precious troops had been sacrificed and our prestige had been cast upon the waters, patriotism and politics overwhelmed reason.

    For our own sake, don’t let this happen again. Let’s have carefully planned and extended public hearings on the pros and cons of war with Iran. Let those hearings be conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or a special public commission established by President Obama. Let’s do the job painstakingly and systematically, especially because Election Day beckons with its talons of stupidity and rashness.

    About Leslie Gelb

    He served as an Assistant Secretary of State in the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979, serving as director of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs and winning the Distinguished Honor Award, the highest award of the US State Department. He was President of the Council on Foreign Relations and a journalist for the New York Times.

  9. Pepe Escobar: "The Myth of 'Isolated' Iran" permalink
    17 January 2012 4:35 pm

    An excellent summary of the past and present of US – Iran relations: “The Myth of ‘Isolated’ Iran – Following the Money in the Iran Crisis“, Pepe Escobar, TomDispatch, 17 January 2012

  10. 17 January 2012 5:43 pm

    Being a Native American, and by virtue of that “legally, and by international law as well as the US Constitution (Art 6, “All treaties are supreme Law”) — I am a sixty year old Prisoner of War of the USA. Although being a Vet. (USMC, 72-78)I realized after that tour of duty that I would not participate and have not even though I “earned” that right as above mentioned. The reason for this is simple.

    “When more “Americans” are “more ashamed” to be “Americans”; I might consider assisting in making the needed changes. Currently, if the USA were any other criminal nation, the ‘Americans’ would invade the USA to keep the world safe; and they would be justified”.
    Unless the USA makes drastic changes—soon; their only contribution to humanity will most likely be as a negative example; and a horrible one at that.

    As for Israel; the “day after” the USA “finishes its final collapse” Israel will be a “radio active, grease spot on the map”—-and humanity will finally have a chance be be rid of a ‘nation of arrogant racists whose entire history—the Torah to the Kinnesit —was based upon fiction, lies, and ruthless carnage of where ever they have made their home’.

    That the USA, the most agriculturally productive nation on the planet; would have hungry children, and homeless elderly; while they send a ‘minimum of 8 million dollars per day to the illegal and criminal nation of Israel should show the entire world how “criminal” they both are.

    • America ignoring so many of its innocents — for “the Chosen ones”.
    • The “Chosen ones” for accepting so much at the expense of so many; if THEY had “true faith” in their propaganda; they would simply let that “jealous God of theirs’ take care of them”.
    • Both nations will be remembered as horrible examples.
    • But then; for the hope of humanity, an old “Tribal” “wisdom words” come to mind.
    • “Hey, if ya know what NOT to do; you’ve got half of the problem solved”.

    As for Native America we were on this continent long before the “Jews invented themselves in their Torah” — long before the Chinese thought of themselves as “Chinese” — long before Columbus ‘stumbled by accident on us’ — the Americans, the Chinese, the Jews, are simply “marks on the wall of our evolution” — we will be here long after the ‘visitors and the impostors are “memories” ‘. For now.

    Good Luck America, you will need it.

  11. 18 January 2012 1:48 am

    This may apply to the US people as well – I wish journalists would stop saying ” the EU ” and refer to ” the politicians of the EU ” . The People of the EU have not had any chance to express their views on Iran or Baroness Ashton or her thundering great expensive ‘ foreign ministry ‘ . I guess most Europeans would not give a fig about Baroness Ashton , the ‘ foreign ministry ‘ or whether or not Iran had a nuke or even where Iran was . Pressed on the point as to what Baroness Ashton should do , they might suggest a nice little cleaning job at her local school; and dispute why is Israel allowed nukes . The more internationally aware might express dismay at the sanctions on Iran ,not just because of rises in oil prices , but because of the sad effects sanctions had on Iraq – hardship for ordinary citizens , stagnation of internal political developement , difficulty in maintaining mutual friendly contacts and projects , and carte blanche for corruption.

  12. david jones permalink
    18 January 2012 8:51 pm

    Hmm. I suppose all the parties won for the time being, if we stopped heading for war. As your previous articles pointed out, it seems nobody would have benefitted from an attack.

    A conspiracy-theory angle, i know how you love those, FM:

    If keeping the world on edge supports oil prices, the winners are oil producers (Iran and Russia, Saudi, etc), and those with access to insider info on US foreign policy.

    Reasoning: in what other universe would the threat of wrecking Iran pay off, vs the risks and costs?

    In the universe where we really care that Ahmadinejad is an avid trash-talker? Not cold-blooded enough.

    The one where we really care about something that happened in 1979? Also not cold-blooded enough.

    In a cold-war scenario where we want to gain yet another military base against China and Russia? Still doesn’t add up- our ability to attack them is enough for deterrence, and can’t be used otherwise because of the consequences- China makes all our stuff, Russia might actually blow up something we really care about. And it’s not like they’re communists, and we are scared of that. And we have plenty of allies who are fundamentalist Islamic.

    Thus, i’m going with the oil theory all the way.

  13. 18 January 2012 9:33 pm

    You know, Japan not going for the Iran sanctions. “Japan finance minister concerned about effectiveness of sanctions on Iran, impact on banks“, Washington Post, 18 January 2012:

    “Azumi also struck a more cautious tone Wednesday, telling journalists at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan that if the sanctions were imposed immediately, they could sustain “tremendous” damage to Japanese banks. The sanctions would bar financial institutions from the American market if they do business with Iran’s central bank.”

    This is not a ‘cautious tone’ signal, this is the ‘no way in hell’ signal. (I still need to a Japanese language quote for tremendous damage myself, I’m very curious now.) Japan has never been part of the anti-Iran group, really, they’ve had trade with Iran all along.

    • 18 January 2012 10:11 pm

      NHK (Japan’s government broadcaster), 14 January 2012:

      “イランとしては、歴史的に友好な関係を保ち、中国やEU=ヨーロッパ連合に次ぐ原油の輸出先でもある日本が、アメリカによる制裁にどこまで歩調を合わせるのか注意深く見守っているものとみられます。”

      Kind of dificult for me, and I always screw this up. Anyone has corrections I’m welcome to receive them.

      As far as Iran and preserving historically friendly relations (with Japan), after the China and the EU Japan is next in the import of (Iranian) oil. to what extend we should act in concert with American sanctions is something that must be very cautiously watched over.

    • 18 January 2012 11:34 pm

      I think I have a good guess what’s going to happen. That Japan is going to agree to ‘reduce imports from Iran’ in some vague non-specific way. This is being reported widely in the English speaking world as “Japan agrees to cut Iran oil imports.” And Obama will claim this as victory and move on and not escalate this with Japan. There won’t be any real sanctions in Asia.

      What to me is striking, though, is the contrast between how this plays in Japan versus the English world. That this article at NHK, which is like BBC for Japan, is referring to friendly relations with Iran — the US sanctions are the dangerous thing that should be monitored. Who is meant to be deceived is the American public, who must be fed the line that there is some kind of worldwide consensus against Iran, I think.

    • Matt D. permalink
      18 January 2012 11:42 pm

      Well, as long as Iran has a lifeline, this gives me hope for peace. Because as long as they can feasibly wait out the sanctions, then Iran should and will just lay low and engage in low-scale sabre-rattling.

      Maybe the US prefers this. Maybe they will find some face-saving way to back down once they have scared the heck out of everybody to prove that they were “serious”. If this was the US intention, I think they have just about pushed the envelope far enough to where they can negotiate some sort of compromise and not look too weak.

    • Matt D. permalink
      18 January 2012 11:43 pm

      Sort of like the way honor is saved by showing up on the field to duel, even if a last-minute settlement is reached.

  14. 24 January 2012 3:54 am

    My guess looks wrong about EU action against Iran

    EU states agree gradual ban on Iran oil, sanctions on central bank“, Reuters, 23 January 2012

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