the Insane US War on Iran: a lull, a window of peace, or tactical waiting?

Opinions abound, including ‘inside sources’; a bit of a Round-Up.

‘Iran sent ‘multiple messages’ to US that its attacks were done’, Pamela Brown and Paul LeBlanc, CNN, 12 hours ago

“Iran initiated contact through at least three back channels starting late Tuesday, including through Switzerland and other countries. There were “multiple messages and they were all the same,” a person familiar with the matter said. Iran wanted to convey their retaliatory action had ended — and was waiting to see how the US would respond.” [snip]
“Multiple administration officials previously told CNN there is a growing belief among some Trump administration officials that Iran’s missiles intentionally missed areas populated by Americans when they targeted two Iraqi bases housing US troops early Wednesday local time. However, Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was his belief that Iran was trying to kill American military personnel in the attack.”

And yet: ‘Iranian messages behind attacking US bases in Iraq, and the consequences’,, Jan. 8, 2020

“Just after midnight local time today, Iranian ballistic missiles “Fateh 313” hit two military bases in Iraq that host a significant concentration of US forces, along with other allies. The Iranian direct hit was the retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds brigade Sardar Qassem Soleimani and his companions, killed by a US drone at Baghdad airport last week. The Iranian retaliation carries several strategic messages to the Middle East for this year 2020 and for many years to come. What are these messages? What will come of Iran’s open attack on the most powerful country in the world?

A high-ranking Iranian official contacted the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi after midnight to inform him that Iran had decided to retaliate for the assassination of its General. Iran said it would hit a concentration of US forces in Iraq, without hitting any Iraqi forces.”

[riddle me this if you can:]

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – according to well-informed sources in Baghdad – answered that “this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war”. The Iranian official replied: “Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken.”

Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi informed the US forces of the Iranian decision. US declared a state of emergency and alerted all US bases in Iraq and the region in advance of the attack.

Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters. Ayn al-Assad is located in the desert of al-Anbar, close to the Iraqi-Syrian borders. This is the same base from which the drones which assassinated Sardar Soleimani and his companions at Baghdad airport took off. Iran also bombed another US base in Erbil, Kurdistan.” [snip]

Iraq has lost its sovereignty in the middle of the Iran-US battle. It can recover the control of its country only when the US forces leave Iraq as the Iraqi parliament has decided it. The decision came as a response to the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was serving as an envoy in a diplomatic capacity. Soleimani was officially invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 when Iraq asked Iran to send 100 Iranian advisors to Iraq to fight ISIS. He had Iraqi immunity and led the Iranian intelligence cell in Baghdad, not far from the US embassy, in coordination with Russian, Syrian and Iraqi officials. He was a diplomat carrying a diplomatic passport and was asked to meet the Prime Minister of Iraq the following day at 08:30 am to receive a message from Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi agreed to play a mediation role between Iran and Saudi Arabia and was the go-between following Iran’s peace initiative to the Arab leaders. Soleimani arrived in Iraq following a request from President Trump to calm down the tension with Iran. It was a multi-task trip.”

“This is far from being the last Iranian hit against US forces in the Middle East. But if President Trump decides to refrain from retaliating, Iran will no longer hit the US forces directly and announce its responsibility. Iran and its allies are not expected to stop harassing the US forces if they stay in Iraq.

Another message was sent to Israel: the newly appointed commander of the IRGC-Quds Brigade Ismail Qaani met with all Palestinian groups in Tehran. According to a well-informed source, Iran promised “unlimited support to all Palestinian groups so that they reach their objective”. Indeed, Iran announced, “Israel is in partnership with the US in the assassination of Sardar Soleimani.

The time when the US can hit without being hit back seems over. Since Pearl Harbour, this is the first time a country claims its responsibility for hitting US targets. This grave and complicated situation can end if there is a total withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. This step, already officially requested by the Iraqi parliament, can spare US servicemen’s lives.

The assassination of Sardar Soleimani closed all roads of this US administration to all possible negotiation with Iran. Russia and China are waiting just behind the door to move in and fill the vacuum.”

Craig Murray seems to believe we’re in a window of peace his Jan. 8 column:

“There is this morning a chink of light to avoid yet more devastation in the Middle East. Iran’s missile strikes last night were calibrated to satisfy honour while avoiding damage that would trigger automatically the next round. The missiles appear to have been fitted out with very light warhead payloads indeed – their purpose was to look good in the dark going up into the night sky. There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.

Even more important was the Iraqi statement that “proportionate measures” had been “taken and concluded” and they did not seek “further escalation”.

I agree their response was proportionate and I would say that I regard the Iranian action so far, unlike the assassination of Soleimani by the US, legal in international law.

The entire world should congratulate Iran for its maturity in handling the illegal assassination of its General, who was on a peace mission, travelling as a civilian on a commercial flight, carrying a mediation message the US had been instrumental in instigating. If as seems possible the US actively manipulated the diplomatic process to assassinate someone on a diplomatic mission and traveling on a diplomatic passport, that is a dreadful outrage which will come back to haunt them. Life insurance rates for US diplomats no doubt just went up.” [snip]

“I am a sucker for hope, and the best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions. I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination. But the US is now so tied in to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thus tied in to irrational hostility to Iran, that this must be extremely unlikely.”

I’ve been reconsidering Iran’s ‘Proportionate Response’ this morning and have decided it’s less than proportionate, given that Soleimani was only at the Baghdad Airport to broker peace among Iran, Saudi Arabia & Iraq to defuse tensions (a Honey Pot Sting Operation), and that the US murdered 32 Iraqi Security Forces on the Iraq Syria border.  Then consider this excellent Soleimani biographhy and CV in defense of Iran by Andre Damon a and David North at wsws v/ The Propaganda Machine.

Also Jan. 8, 2020: ‘Iran‘s Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump’s Bluff – Updated’, b at

“U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to destroy 52 targets in Iran including cultural sites if Iran would take any revenge, seems to have understood that this attack was intentionally limited to avoid a larger war:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump – 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.

No U.S. air or missile defense against the incoming projectiles was observed.

The message from Iran is thus: “We can attack all your bases and you can do nothing to prevent that.”

Iran’s leader said that the attack was “slap in the face” for the U.S. and that this military reaction to the U.S. crime is not the only one that will happen:

Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the nation live on TV in a meeting with a large group of people from Qom, in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom against the Pahlavi regime.

The live address also took place hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks in early hours of Wednesday to retaliate the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander, Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

What is important in addition to retaliation is that military operations do not suffice. It is important to end the US corrupting presence in the region,” the Leader stressed.

“Americans are insisting on bringing corruption and destruction into our dear Iran. Talks of sitting down at the negotiating table is a preface to interventions, which must end. Regional nations do not accept the US presence and its meddling measures,” he added.

The US enmity toward Iran is not temporary; it’s inherent. It is a ‘gross mistake’ to think if we took a step back and comprised, the US would stop its enmity,” he stressed.

Update (in part)
“Trump confirmed that there were no U.S. casualties. The situation is thereby de-escalating as the U.S. will now stand down. Trump called the damage on the base “minimal” even while several airplane/drone hangers were obviously hit and completely destroyed with everything they contained. Iran must have had very good intelligence about the site. Trump also lauded an early warning system that, he said, prevented casualties. The Swiss embassy in Tehran will have a good laugh at that comment.”

‘No lives lost’: Trump holds fire on ‘big missiles,’ talks peace after Iran’s strikes on US bases in Iraq’, 8 Jan, 2020,

“Speaking from the White House, Trump backed away from threatening further strikes against Iran, describing Tehran’s stand-down as “a good thing for all parties concerned.

Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast…The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.

Trump did, however, vow to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, in addition to the thousand or so imposed since the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018. “These powerful sanctions will remain,” he said, “until Iran changes its behavior.”

Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” Trump continued.Time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the JCPOA.”

Self-explanatory: ‘‘Harsher revenge’: Revolutionary Guards commander vows it’s not over after Iranian missile strikes on US forces in Iraq’, 9 Jan. 2020,

Of course we’re wondering if Trump’s Pentagon will be withdrawing the 6 B52 nuclear bombers from Diego Garcia and the massive numbers of troops in the area: rangers, paratroopers, etc..

But I agree with Bill Van Auken and David North: ‘Trump bides his time, but the preparations for war against Iran will continue’, 9 January 2020,

Casus belli pretexts will be epic!

(cross-posted at

11 responses to “the Insane US War on Iran: a lull, a window of peace, or tactical waiting?

  1. The only thing that makes sense to me was a little comment on one of the MoA threads from someone who’d decided to take everything as a lie. karlof1 says that the red flag is still flying over the mosque. Iraq doesn’t want to be a battleground under Iran and the US. And meanwhile folk are babbling about the mysterious airline tragedy in a whodunit sort of way.

    My thought is that the Michael Hudson pieces at Saker don’t solve anything. It’s all very well to know that it’s all about the dollar and oil, but still the moral issue remains. And Trump seems totally oblivious to it – which he probably is. I hope the Persian people are sophisticated enough to ignore his lies. He’s walking on very thin ice.

    I’m finding it hard to consider this a window of peace. There may be forces unleashed now, high emotions set on fire, which even international law will be slow to tamp down.

    Thanks, wendye, for asking the right questions. I don’t have answers, but I will keep my candle burning.

    • sigh; nor do i see it as a window of peace. the neo-cons have been gunnin’ for iran forever, including the D team neo-cons, of course. i was just saying over yonder that as i’d remembered it, b had a link to photos that showed the ukrainan airliner that crashed on take-off out of the airport near tehran…showed no evidence of holes from the outside.

      but of course iran’s being blamed for ‘shooting it down’, and it’ll likely end up like ‘russia shot down flight MH70 over ukraine’. the answer to ‘whodunnit’ is always: ‘our enemies’, such as ‘assad gassed his people’, not the al qaeda white helmets. the OPCW is owned by amerika. thank goodness for wikiLeaks having published 3 batches of whistle-blowing documents rebutting that lie!

      nice false flag for trump as another manufactured pretext for war, though. the US has never cared about international law, has it? unless, again, when used against ‘enemies’ like milosevic (bill clinton’s war).

      thanks, juliania, and for keeping your candle burning, too,

  2. two from the estimable elijah magnier on twitter, the first i can’t wait to read, as in: tomorrow, but:

    g’ night, ww.

  3. it’s closing time for me, and as no song will hit the mark, i’ll leave you with these two quotes:

    ‘Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.’

    ~Edward Said

    ‘There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome’s duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.’

    ~ Joseph Schumpeter, 1951

    good night.

    on morning edit:

    @ejmalrai 16m16 minutes ago

    #US @Secpompeo is not sharing the fact he promised #Iraq PM Adil Abdel Mahdi to “look into it and said the US will respect Iraq sovereignty”. Iraq PM office confirmed to me that #USA continues moving troops and putting jets, heli and drones in the air without permission.

    Elijah J. Magnier Retweeted Secretary Pompeo

    #US @secpompeo is not revealing that #Iraq PM asked him to send envoys to Iraq to implement the Parliament’s decision to abide by the total withdrawal of all foreign forces from the country including the US. +

  4. Had a shopping day today, so that has depleted my brain somewhat, but a post at MoA this evening by Harry law was, I thought, insightful:

    News / Politics
    Psychiatrists: Urgent action must be taken against Trump for creating Iran crisis
    Friday, 10 January 2020 7:32 PM [ Last Update: Friday, 10 January 2020 7:39 PM ]

    A group of mental health professionals has said US President Donald Trump is “dangerous and incapacitated” and an urgent action must be taken by Congress after he ordered the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani…”

    “…The World Mental Health Coalition made the statement a month after they warned Congress that the stress of impeachment by the House of Representatives could cause Trump’s mental state to deteriorate to a dangerous level, The Independent reported.

    “We have been seriously warning about this for some time. The US Congress must act immediately and forcefully without further delay,” said Yale Medical School Professor Dr Bandy Lee, George Washington University Professor Dr John Zinner, and former CIA profiler Dr Jerrold Post in a statement obtained by The Independent.

    Following Iran’s retaliation for the US assassination of the top Iranian general, Trump made a scripted statement from the White House on Wednesday where he struggled to pronounce words and sniffed repeatedly.

    The psychiatrists said Trump is “psychologically and mentally both dangerous and incapacitated” and has a presentation that is “consistent with a person who, when his falsely inflated self-image is questioned, or when his emotional need for adulation is thwarted, lashes out in an attempt to restore his sense of potency and command over others.”

    They noted that the commander-in-chief of the US military is “the person in most need (of psychological evaluations) and who is a maximum danger.”

    They added that current tensions with Iran make this a “critical time,” at which Americans “cannot wait any longer to deal with the dangerous situation caused by a mentally compromised person acting in erratic, reckless, impulsive, and destructive ways.”

    They said Congress must “act immediately to take any war-making powers out of his hands,” and added that it is “imperative that the Congress be equipped with accurate information” from those in the medical community who are qualified in “assessment and management of psychological dangers.”

    “We urge Congress to consult with us for a profile, if not evaluation, and to take seriously the mental health aspects that are at play in this mentally impaired president,” they said.

    The US House on Thursday approved a resolution that aims to prevent Trump from launching a military action against Iran.

    In a 224-to-194 vote, the Democratic-controlled House approved War Powers Resolution amid increased tensions between Iran and the United States following the assassination of General Soleimani on January 3.

    While Dr Lee and her colleagues have previously offered themselves to be consulted by impeachment investigators, she told The Independent last month they felt it necessary to come forward once more because the US president is “is ramping up his conspiracy theories” and “showing a great deal of cruelty and vindictiveness” in his “accelerated, repetitive tweets,” which she explained are signs that he is “doubling and a tripling down on his delusions”.

    “I believe that they fit the pattern of delusions rather than just plain lies,” she continued…”

    • interesting, thanks for bringing it, juliania. the house vote, however, was a ‘(continuing?) concurrent resolution, non-binding’ one not to be sent to the senate. 15 hadn’t voted, iirc.

      elijah magnier had retweeted a thread by a man who didn’t self-identify as a physician, noting something close to ‘galloping dementia’ due to Tau (?) proteins seemingly breaking down rapidly in DT’s brain.

      meanwhile, mystery solved, if tragically:

      ‘I wish I was dead’: Senior IRGC commander accepts responsibility for downing Ukrainian jet, says it was mistaken for missile’, 11 Jan, 2020. RTcom

      A top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer has revealed that the Ukrainian jet was mistaken for an incoming cruise missile and that the commander of the anti-aircraft unit had only 10 seconds to make the decision.

      The commander explained that the incident had occurred as the country was bracing for potential US strikes and that the “likelihood of conflict” between the two nations has been “unprecedented” since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
      According to an early assessment, the Ukrainian plane was erroneously identified as an incoming cruise missile, which resulted in the tragedy.
      The commander of the anti-aircraft unit had sought confirmation for the launch from his superiors, but experienced communication problems and had to make the decision –which turned out to be wrong– on his own. The officer only had 10 seconds to make the decision, Hajizadeh added

      from another RT piece:

      “Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has offered “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” for the unintentional downing of a Ukrainian aircraft over Tehran, saying “human error” during a “crisis” led to the accident.

      “A sad day,” the FM wrote on Twitter, adding: “Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces:
      Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”
      meanwhile, as i’d seen at yesterday, this report from bill van auken at wsws this a.m.:

      “On Thursday, it was reported that a US drone strike killed or wounded more than 60 civilians in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, close to the border with Iran. Wakil Ahmad Karkhi, a member of the Herat provincial council, confirmed the mass casualties to TOLO news, saying the civilians were killed and maimed in a US attempt to eliminate the leader of a split-off from the Taliban, known as Mullah Nangyalay.

      Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes struck targets on the Syria-Iraq border early Friday morning, killing eight members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, the coalition of predominantly Shia militias that is considered part of the Iraqi armed forces.

      The air strike took place near the Albu Kamal-Qaim border crossing between Syria and Iraq, the same area that was struck by US F-15E fighter jets on December 29, resulting in the deaths of 25 members of the Kata’ib Hezbollah Iraqi militia and the wounding of over 50 more. Those bombing raids, carried out on the pretext of retaliating for a missile attack that claimed the life of a US military contractor, provoked angry protests that breached the security walls of the US embassy in Baghdad on December 31.”

      no, no window for peace, it was just strategic waiting.

  5. is this part of the food fight at b’s place now?

    “The commander of the anti-aircraft unit had sought confirmation for the launch from his superiors, but experienced communication problems and had to make the decision –which turned out to be wrong– on his own. The officer only had 10 seconds to make the decision, Hajizadeh added.”

    as in: some entity had flummoxed the communications? finian cunningham had noted that it was beyond stupid not to have cancelled ALL commercial flights out of that airiport; though. i agree.

  6. Sorry, wendye, for not seeing your question – I probably have missed a food fight as when lots of unfamiliar posters weigh in, I tend to scroll through till I see one familiar. And the last lots on the Iran tragedies have had so much input I just couldn’t read them all.

    One thing I noticed the last few posts was that impeachment starts a week from today. Oh dear.

    • that’s okay; even now the constraints are more narrow than ever…given that trump belongs in the hague prison, as many of the recent presidents do. sorry i hadn’t answered your earlier comment, but i put up a new diary on ‘iran having arrested some folks over the downed airliner’ and one commenter brought in a video purporting to show that the ukrainian passenger liner was hit by two different missiles (the new your slimes verified it, yanno), so i’ve been hunting around to see if there’s any truth out there at all as regards ‘the evil great competitor…iran’.

      very few comments on the thread, but given it’s election season at c99,…a few is good enough.

  7. I don’t think this got commented on except by me, though. Probably I missed it if it did.

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