For those who believe that it’s Bolton who’s still in charge of Trump’s Iranian policy, he seems to have handed it to his Secretary of Gunboat Diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, John Kiriakou’s Bolton’s Long Goodbye notwithstanding. Pompeo’s apparently been all over the Sunday teevee talking heads programs urging global solidarity in his/their mission to take on punishing Iran. Trump’s threats a month ago that if it came to war with Iran it would mean ‘the official end of Iran’…, arguably at the behest of his friends Nuclear Netenyahu and Crown Prince bin Salman of the Glowing Orb…may have even gotten tiresome for him.
‘U.N. officials: U.S. planning a ‘tactical assault’ in Iran; the military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed’, SHLOMO SHAMIR/MAARIV ONLINE, June 17, 2019, jpost.com
“Is the US going to attack Iran soon?
Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Maariv that they are assessing the United States’ plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.
According to the officials, since Friday, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to President Donald Trump.
The military action under consideration would be an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the officials further claimed.
“The bombing will be massive but will be limited to a specific target,” said a Western diplomat.The decision to carry out military action against Iran was discussed in the White House before the latest report that Iran might increase the level of uranium enrichment.
The officials also noted that the United States plans to reinforce its military presence in the Middle East, and in the coming days will also send additional soldiers to the area.
The sources added that President Trump himself was not enthusiastic about a military move against Iran, but lost his patience on the matter and would grant Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is pushing for action, what he wants.
Pompeo has repeatedly made statements against Iran in recent days. He claimed that there is no doubt that the recent explosions in tankers in the Gulf were carried out by Iran.”
‘More troops and photos: America’s message to Tehran; The photos and the request for troops are a message to Tehran and the region that the US is serious about defending its interests and proving Tehran’s involvement, Seth J. Frantzman, June 18, 2019, jpost.com (and yes, a photo of the oil tanker with a jagged hole far above the water line)
“At least 1,000 US troops are on the way to the Middle East after a request from US Central Command, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Monday. The US also released new photos showing Iranian involvement in the June 13 attack on two oil tankers.
The photos and the request for troops are a message to Tehran and the region that the US is serious about defending its interests and proving Tehran’s involvement. The photos of Iran’s involvement in removing an unexploded mine from a tanker clearly show an Iranian fast boat with ten men on board. This is alleged to be an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp boat sent on the afternoon of June 13 to remove the mine from one of the disabled ships.
Why would Iran remove a mine in broad daylight? It was apparently fearful that the ship would be towed to the UAE where a salvage crew and investigators would find the mine and easily link it to Iran. But the brazen Iranian removal also appears to show they felt. That even with US cameras rolling, they could do what they wanted in international waters and that there would be no repercussions. Iran has gambled on the US not wanting war.
Shanah[han?] says that the US does not seek conflict with Iran. That means that the US troop deployment is primarily defensive, for now, and that the message is for Iran. But. What is the nature of the message? Iran has announced it will surpass uranium stockpile guidelines set by the 2015 Iran Deal and Iran has threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz to oil shipments. It has also been working more closely with Russia, China and Turkey in several major summits in central Asia over the last week. Iran’s message is that it won’t be deterred.
The US now faces a significant challenge. It can keep showing photos, even close-ups of the IRGC men removing the mine or doing other activities. But Iran has wagered that this doesn’t matter. According to the US the Iranians even fired a missile at a US Reaper drone that was monitoring the June 13 attack. This also comes after two rocket attacks near US personnel in Iraq, one on May 19, one on June 17, and a mortar attack last Friday, and the May 12 sabotage of four oil tankers. In addition the Houthis in Yemen have dramatically increased their use of drones against Saudi Arabia. Iran is testing the US and its allies, seeing if there will be pushback.”
Let’s try to untangle a few of these claims. First, Iran had started a 60-day clock announcement that if the EU and other interested parties couldn’t get sanctions lifted and allow Iran to sell oil again, create an alternative to the SWIFT banking system, then they’d consider enriching uranium to a higher level, and that it was Trump (by way of Bibi) who’d pulled the US out of the JCPOA, which agreement was designed to ease sanctions on Iran, never mind that the IAEA had continued to say that Iran was in full compliance.
And never mind that anyone with half a brain can tell that the ‘Iranian attack on the oil tankers’ is such an obvious false flag that it would be funny…if the repercussions weren’t about to be so serious. The drone may have been what the owner of the tankers had noted crew members had reported: some sort of missile (some had reported ‘two’ from the air, not something exploding on the ocean’s surface. Over to a few snippets from Peter Symonds:
‘US preparing “assault” against Iran’, Peter Symonds, 18 June 2019, wsws.org
“The US subsequently [post JCPOA] re-imposed and strengthened its crippling sanctions on Iran aimed at cutting off all oil exports and collapsing the Iranian economy. It also threatened to take punitive economic measures against companies breaching its unilateral sanctions. Washington’s actions amount to an economic blockade of Iran and an act of war.
With US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the lead, the Trump administration is exploiting attacks on two tankers in the Persian Gulf last Thursday as the pretext for threatening to strike Iran. On Sunday, Pompeo declared that the US was “considering a full range of options,” including “a military response.”
The US Central Command, which would oversee any attack on Iran, released a video which it claims shows a small boat of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) approaching and removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the damaged tankers—the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. It followed up yesterday with photos of the same alleged activity.”
“US officials have continued to blame Iran for the attacks despite a declaration from the tanker’s owner that the vessel was hit by a flying object according to its crew members. Both Japan and Germany have questioned Washington’s claims and called for further evidence, saying the video did not constitute sufficient proof. Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks.”
“Pompeo is due to travel today to US Central Command (CENTCOM) headquarters in Florida. He will meet with two top military leaders—CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie and General Richard Clarke, head of the Special Operations Command—to “discuss regional security concerns and operations.”
“The US has also seized on Iranian statements on Monday warning that its low-level enrichment of uranium will exceed the limit set under the 2015 agreement within 10 days to further wind up tensions. Speaking to the media on Monday, US National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis branded Iran’s actions as “nuclear blackmail” and insisted it must be met with “increasing international pressure.”
“Marquis also reiterated Trump’s lie that the US pulled out because “the horrible nuclear deal left their capabilities intact.”
“Iran has only tentatively moved towards abrogating the agreement, even though it would be fully justified in doing so by Washington’s illegal actions. In early May, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani set a 60-day deadline for the other signatories—Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China—to put tangible measures in place to enable Iran to export oil and transact with international banks. The deadline expires on July 7.
The European powers have sought to save the agreement, but so far have taken little action. An alternative payment system, INSTEX, which that would circumvent the existing US-dominated international financial and banking system, has been launched but is not yet operational. Even if it were up and running, it would initially only apply to trade in food and medicine. A fully operational system would bring the European powers into open conflict with the United States, which would undoubtedly retaliate.
The Trump administration’s warmongering in the Persian Gulf is opening up divisions in Europe. While German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has openly questioned US “evidence” of Iranian involvement in last week’s tanker attacks, Britain has quickly fallen into line. On Monday, Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the fascist Lega, signalled Rome’s support for Washington’s war drive against Iran.
The Trump administration is recklessly preparing for a war against Iran. Any US airstrike on Iran, even if limited to one attack, would rapidly escalate into an all-out war that would not only involve other US regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, but also threaten to drag in other major powers to defend their vital interests.”
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)