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Understanding Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government

Understanding Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government

Two days ago, the New York Times carried an article by Times’ journalist Thomas Erdbrink entitled, “For Iran, a Grand Occasion to Bash the U.S.,” which was about Iran’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of its revolution in 1979. The article included the following sentence, “And like some evil doppelgänger, the United States was omnipresent, despite having broken all ties with Iran in 1981.”

Unfortunately, Erdbrink failed to point out two things: One, it is understandable why the Iranian people bash the U.S. government, and, two, while the U.S. government may have broken diplomatic ties with Iran, it has nonetheless continued to use economic sanctions to target the Iranian people with impoverishment and death as a way of hopefully effecting another regime change within the country.

The distinction is important because the Iranian people love Americans. They just hate the U.S. government. And when one considers what the U.S. government has done to Iranians and continues to do to Iranians, which, unfortunately, many Americans don’t like to think about, it is not difficult to understand the deep enmity that Iranians have toward the U.S. government.

First things first though. When the Times refers to “bashing the U.S.,” it makes a common mistake by conflating the U.S. government and our nation. Actually, they are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon best reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the citizenry (i.e., our country) from the U.S. government. 

In 1953, the CIA, which is one of three principal parts of the national-security branch of the federal government, secretly initiated a regime-change coup in Iran, one that not only ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh, but also destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy. That’s ironic, of course, given that U.S. officials are always reminding people how enamored they are with “democracy.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Unhinged Mike Pence Warns of ‘New Holocaust’ as Team Trump Tries to Rally EU Leaders for War With Iran

Unhinged Mike Pence Warns of ‘New Holocaust’ as Team Trump Tries to Rally EU Leaders for War With Iran

“Can someone remind me how things turned out the last time the U.S. pushed flimsy evidence of a nuclear weapons program in the Middle East and tried to bully its allies into supporting its policy?”

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a U.S.-led summit about the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday. (Photo: VP/Twitter)

Speaking at a U.S.-led conference about the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland on Thursday, Vice President piled on the potent anti-Iran sentiment surrounding the conference by demanding that European Union (EU) allies withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump ditched last year, and accused Iran of plotting a “new Holocaust.”

“Instead of recognizing the U.S.’ failed Iran policy, Pence is doubling down in his search for an excuse to go to war.”
—NIAC

Pence accused Iran of being “the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world” and “the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” while attempting to shame European leaders over their recent “effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions…against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime.”

His speech was met with a mix of frustration and alarm:

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Iran Sanctions Herald the Fall of the Imperial Dollar?

Will Iran Sanctions Herald the Fall of the Imperial Dollar?

When the Trump administration unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018 and announced it would reimpose sanctions against Iran, the European Union (EU) declared its commitment to preserving the agreement and finding ways for its companies to circumvent U.S. sanctions. Now, eight months later, the Europeans finally announced the creation of INSTEX (Instrument In Support Of Trade Exchanges) as an alternative payment system so that European firms can do business with Iran. This mechanism might be too little and too late to salvage the Iran nuclear deal but it marks a milestone in an inevitable transition of epic proportions: the end of the global hegemony of the dollar.

INSTEX is a complicated mechanism registered in France and headed by a German banker, with shareholders from the three European countries that were signatories to the Iran nuclear deal: France, Germany and the UK. It will initially be used for non-sanctionable trade, such as medicine, food and medical devices, and is also likely to only attract smaller businesses, not large companies with significant exposure to U.S. markets.It has had an 8-month difficult birth because no one country wanted to claim maternity rights for fear of a U.S. backlash. Indeed, the U.S. threatened to devour it before it was born.

While other countries use economic sanctions as weapons in international disputes, the U.S. is the only country that imposes secondary sanctions on third country citizens and institutions. The U.S. government uses the role of the dollar as an international reserve currency and the central role of U.S. banks and institutions in the international financial system to present third country firms with an insidious either/or choice: cut off business ties with Iran (or Russia, North Korea, Turkey, etc.), or lose far more lucrative business with the U.S. and risk financial penalties in U.S. courts. For most companies, the choice is clear.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Europe Launches SWIFT Alternative To Fund Iran In Collision Course With Trump

Europe Launches SWIFT Alternative To Fund Iran In Collision Course With Trump

In a move sure to unleash fury from the Trump administration, the European Union has announced it has set up a transactions channel with Iran to bypass US sanctions. The launch of INSTEX — or “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges” — by France, Germany, and the UK will allow non-dollar trade with Iran and is being described as facilitating humanitarian goods-related transactions only, including food, medicine and medical equipment.  

Long anticipated, Thursday’s EU announcement marks the most concrete action Europe has taken to thwart Washington sanctions after the US pullout of the 2015 nuclear deal last May, and after SWIFT caved to US pressure. Europe is hoping the mechanism will act as a legal means to preventing Tehran from quitting the JCPOA, which promised sanctions relief should the country halt nuclear weapons research and development. INSTEX is expected to receive the formal endorsement of all 28 EU members, which aims to encourage skittish pharmaceutical and agricultural companies to the table with Tehran after many stopped doing business in Iran for fear of US economic retribution. 

The Iranians welcomed the new mechanism: “It is a first step taken by the European side… We hope it will cover all goods and items,” Iranian Deputy FM Abbas Araqchi told state TV, referencing EU promises to stick to its end of the nuclear deal. 

INSTEX will reportedly be based in Paris and run by a supervisory board chaired by the UK and managed by a German banking expert, and has further been described in European media as “expandable,” which is likely to provoke a reaction from the United States, especially after Washington was able to pressure the Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service to cut off the access of Iranian banks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

McCain May Be Dead, but ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran’ Still Resounds

McCain May Be Dead, but ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran’ Still Resounds

McCain May Be Dead, but ‘Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran’ Still Resounds

In 2007, when making a speech during his bid for the presidency of the United States, the late Senator John McCain spoke about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ programme and when questioned as to whether there might be US reaction to such allegations responded by singing “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran… bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.”

This jovial retort about killing people by bombing them was not surprising to those who remembered that during the US war on Vietnam McCain was shot down on a mission to bomb a power generation plant in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, in the course of the entrancingly-named Operation Rolling Thunder.  If he hadn’t been shot down before he released his bombs there would almost certainly have been civilian casualties and deaths. Power stations in cities are not manned by soldiers, after all, and around the Hanoi plant there were houses that would doubtless be struck by errant bombs.   

But who cares about civilians who are killed or maimed in bombing or rocket attacks?

In Syria, for example, in October 2018 “the US-led coalition was responsible for 46% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon use in Syria.”  And in November Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday, the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”

Forbes records that “the US has never dropped as many bombs on Afghanistan as it did this year. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data, manned and unmanned aircraft released 5,213 weapons between January and the end of September 2018.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

World War 3 Alert: Iranian Forces Fire Rockets Into Israel, And The IDF Responds With “Waves Of Guided Missiles”

World War 3 Alert: Iranian Forces Fire Rockets Into Israel, And The IDF Responds With “Waves Of Guided Missiles”

Israel and Iran are edging dangerously close to a state of all-out war.  On Sunday night, Israeli forces rained missiles down on Iranian forces based in the Damascus area “for nearly an hour”.  According to the IDF, this was a response to “dozens” of missiles that were fired by Iranian forces in Syria toward targets in Israel earlier that day.  The Israelis were able to intercept the Iranian missiles, but if any of them had gotten through they could have caused a tremendous amount of damage.  Some of the missiles that Israel fired at the Iranians were reportedly intercepted, but quite a few of them did hit their intended targets. If the violence continues to escalate, we could potentially soon be talking about an all-out war between Israel and Iran in which both sides use their weapons of mass destruction.

The missile strikes against Iranian targets in Damascus made headlines all over the globe.  According to Syrian state media, there were “consecutive waves of guided missiles”

Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the “hostile targets”.

Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour.

The Syrians are boasting that they were able to destroy quite a few of the Israeli missiles, but independent observers confirm that quite a few Iranian targets were destroyed.

In the past, the Israelis have not always publicly acknowledged their attacks in Syria, but on Sunday night they released an immediate statement

“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” Israel’s military said in a statement.

“We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”


 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Israel Announces Sustained Strikes On Damascus; Syria Fires Back In Major Escalation

Israel Announces Sustained Strikes On Damascus; Syria Fires Back In Major Escalation

It’s the first time that Israel has ever announced strikes against Iran inside Syria and in real time. Moments after a massive wave of rockets were fired on Damascus, activating Syrian anti-air defenses Sunday night, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory. We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”

Sustained Israeli attack on Damascus overnight Sunday, via local Syrian sources. 

This is unprecedented given that in every other among the dozens of prior recent Israeli attacks on Syria, the IDF has never acknowledged responsibility so quickly and certainly not while they are ongoing, usually declining to confirm or deny after the event.

We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory. We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.

Twelve hours prior the IDF said its Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepted a Syrian rocket fired into the northern Golan Heights after Israel launched a prior rare daylight raid on Syria on the “international airport, southwest of Damascus,” according to Syrian military officials. In what marks a major escalation, it appears Damascus responded to that attack with what Israeli media has called an “intentionally fired offensive surface-to-surface attack.”

The Israeli intercept of that inbound Syrian surface-to-surface missile was caught on dramatic video, per The Times of Israel:

The interception of the incoming Syrian projectile was seen over Mount Hermon, Israel’s tallest peak, which was full of visiting skiers, following a stormy period that dusted the mountain with snow.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran

Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran

The United States’ international windbag, Secretary of Defense (read: War) Mike Pompeo has been acting the imperial blowhard throughout the Middle East. With his boss busy denying that he’s a Russian agent, watching advisors and cabinet members come and go with dizzying alacrity, and dodging porn-star accusations, Pompeo is trotting through the Middle East, sounding war drums.

It seems that Iran, which has long been in the crosshairs of U.S. gunboat ‘diplomacy’, remains firmly targeted. In Cairo, Pompeo promised a “…campaign to stop Iran’s malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world”.

It is with a firm shake of the head that this writer reads such statements, wondering how anyone with even a modicum of intelligence can take such pronouncements seriously. If one is to discuss ‘malevolent influence and actions against this region and the world’, shouldn’t one look, first and foremost, at the United States?

The U.S. currently gives unqualified support to Saudi Arabia, which is decimating the nation of Yemen. Currently, at least 10,000,000 Yemenis, most of them children, are at risk of death by starvation due to the U.S.-supported Saudi onslaught. Several weeks ago, the Saudis dropped a U.S.-made bomb on what they must have thought was a horrifying terrorist group: a school bus full of 10-year-old children. U.S. spokespeople had hardly a word to say about this. Not surprising: if 10,000,000 people at risk of starvation brings no halt to U.S. support of Saudi Arabia, what is one school bus full of little boys? Does none of this qualify as ‘malevolent influence and actions’?

When discussing the U.S.’s ‘malevolent influence and actions’, it is impossible not to mention  its support of apartheid Israel’s brutal, inhumane and totally illegal (under international law: remember that old thing?) treatment of the Palestinians.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Response to US global bullying: Iran, India ditch dollar to continue trading oil despite sanctions

Response to US global bullying: Iran, India ditch dollar to continue trading oil despite sanctions

Response to US global bullying: Iran, India ditch dollar to continue trading oil despite sanctions
In an effort to circumvent US-imposed sanctions, India and Iran have reportedly ditched the US dollar and are trading oil in rupees. The reason becomes clear after considering the dynamics at play in the region.

In mid-February last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited India, and the two countries signed nine agreements signalling a strengthening of ties. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to celebrate the growing relationship, stating that it was “a matter of great pleasure” for India that an Iranian president came to India “after a gap of 10 years.”

Fast-forward a few months later, and then-UN ambassador Nikki Haley was bluntly telling India that they should rethink their relationship with Tehran.

Donald Trump’s decision to rip up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last year, also known as the Iranian nuclear accord, was a particularly significant blow to Iran-India relations. At the time the JCPOA was formulated, Indian officials believed the deal to be the “best deal available.” After the JCPOA’s implementation in 2016, exports of Iranian oil to India increased by more than 110 percent.

Maybe the issue isn’t always that Washington wants to contain its rivals in the Middle East and Asia, but perhaps there is a chance that it also wants to keep a lid on its so-called allies as well. Right now, India is the third largest oil consumer in the world, and is expected to become the largest by the year 2040. As its domestic reserves are not meeting the needs of its rapidly expanding economy, India has been importing 80 percent of its oil supply from overseas, including and especially Iran.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Bolton Steering Trump into War with Iran?

Is Bolton Steering Trump into War with Iran?

Is Bolton Steering Trump into War with Iran?

“Stop the ENDLESS WARS!” implored President Donald Trump in a Sunday night tweet.

Well, if he is serious, Trump had best keep an eye on his national security adviser, for a U.S. war on Iran would be a dream come true for John Bolton.

Last September, when Shiite militants launched three mortar shells into the Green Zone in Baghdad, which exploded harmlessly in a vacant lot, Bolton called a series of emergency meetings and directed the Pentagon to prepare a menu of targets, inside Iran, for U.S. air and missile strikes in retaliation.

The Wall Street Journal quoted one U.S. official as saying Bolton’s behavior “rattled people. … People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

Bolton’s former deputy, Mira Ricardel, reportedly told a gathering the shelling into the Green Zone was “an act of war” to which the U.S. must respond decisively.

Bolton has long believed a U.S. confrontation with Iran is both inevitable and desirable. In 2015, he authored a New York Times op-ed whose title, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” said it all. He has urged that “regime change” in Iran be made a declared goal of U.S. foreign policy.

When Trump announced his decision to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops now in Syria, Bolton swiftly imposed conditions: ISIS must first be eliminated, Iranian forces and allied militias must leave, and the Kurds must be protected.

Yet enforcing such red lines would require a permanent presence of American troops. For how, without war, would we effect the removal of Bashar Assad’s Iranian allies, if he declines to expel them and the Iranians refuse to go?

Bolton has an ally in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In Cairo last week, Pompeo declared it U.S. policy “to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Mainstream Media Join the US Government Offensive Against Iran: Case Study of Reuters

How Mainstream Media Join the US Government Offensive Against Iran: Case Study of Reuters

How Mainstream Media Join the US Government Offensive Against Iran: Case Study of Reuters

Summary: A 2013 news investigation of Iranian corruption by Reuters news service has been cited by at least four books published one after another, the most recently in 2018. 

It has also been cited by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2018 speech. Given the article’s ongoing influence, this article will scrutinize flaws in the reporting techniques and raise reasonable questions about several of its findings. The article will also mention, a piece of important historical context, that was long assumed, but made official in 2013 – the same year the story was published – when the US government released classified documents about its involvement in the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected leader in 1953 and the establishment of the Shah. The purpose of this article is not to stain the reputation of an entire news agency – but to simply lay out an alternative context for interpreting a single, influential story. 

Ever since the beginning of the Iranian Islamic Revolution, the United States has been leading a propaganda campaign against Iran, minimizing own harmful role in key historical events, justifying an ousted monarchist regime, and demonizing the new political system. Frequently it is done in lighter forms, for example by claiming that new government is far from perfect or even the same as a previous one, but the methods can sometimes be so radical that the characteristics of the two systems are completely inverted.

While the Reuters claims Iran is active in spreading disinformation online, the history of the agency’s reports about Iran shows the opposite. The latest of such reports is a false report about Iran’s missile program. The falsehood of the article has been dissected here.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nothing To See Here, It’s Just Everything

The politics of oil are complicated, to say the least. There’s any number of important players, from OPEC to North American shale to sanctions. Relating to that last one, the US government has sought to impose serious restrictions upon the Iranian regime. Choking off a major piece of that country’s revenue, and source for dollars, has been a stated US goal.

In May, the Trump administration formally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known otherwise as President Obama’s “Iran deal.” It was widely expected that pulling out would lead to harsh sanctions against any country continuing to trade using Iranian crude oil.

At the beginning of November, the US government formally re-instated those sanctions. In a surprising compromise, it did issue a number of waivers to countries like South Korea, Greece, Japan, and even China (among several others). That meant a good bit of Iran supply would remain available on global markets as a substitute source.

It is becoming 2018’s version of the 2014 “supply glut”, a benign or nearly so excuse for oil’s otherwise shocking crash. From Bloomberg only last week:

Just in late September, some traders were predicting that global oil prices would hit $100 a barrel over the following months. Their forecasts were based on the prospect of a supply crunch due to U.S. sanctions on Iran that went into effect in November. However, America’s surprise decision to grant waivers from its restrictions to some nations sparked a collapse in crude.

On the surface, the story does seem to check out; the US government did, in fact, keep Iran open for a little while longer. That additional future supply would have to have been factored into the ongoing oil price, further pressure to the downside.

But did it “spark a collapse in crude?” Nope, a demonstrable fallacy.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?

Is U.S. Geopolitical Strategy Experiencing a Monumental Shift?

The defining question about global order for this generation is whether China and the United States can escape Thucydides’s Trap. The Greek historian’s metaphor reminds us of the attendant dangers when a rising power rivals a ruling power—as Athens challenged Sparta in ancient Greece, or as Germany did Britain a century ago. Most such contests have ended badly, often for both nations, a team of mine at the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has concluded after analyzing the historical record. In 12 of 16 cases over the past 500 years, the result was war. When the parties avoided war, it required huge, painful adjustments in attitudes and actions on the part not just of the challenger but also the challenged.

– From Graham Allison’s article: The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

For the past two years, my geopolitical assumption has been that the Trump administration would more or less continue along with the reckless, shortsighted, and disastrous neocon/neoliberal interventionist foreign policy of the past two decades focused on undeclared regime change and proxy wars across the world, especially the Middle East. Given his strange obsession with Iran, I figured he’d start a conflict there and that this conflict would end up a bigger disaster than Iraq.

I assumed this mistake would coincide with continued massive deficits, a unwieldy debt load and most likely a recession. In turn, I believed this would lead to an embarrassing and chaotic unraveling of the U.S. empire. At that point, other nations like China would opportunistically take advantage of the huge power vacuum left over. Based on a variety of events over the past few months, I’m no longer convinced this is how it’s going to unfold.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The Empire’s Sea of Woes

The noose cinches.

Second-rate George H.W. Bush got a first-rate Washington send-off. For one day it interrupted the downtrend in equity markets. It may mark the US apotheosis of inflated grandiosity. Across the Atlantic, Emmanuel Macron, pretentious popinjay of Gallic grandiosity, has gotten a deserved comeuppance. Brexit, Trump’s election, and nationalist uprisings in Southern and Eastern Europe apparently insufficient warning to the globalists who would rule us, the French rioters are sending yet another wake-up call. If that’s not enough, so too are many of the nations outside the Euro-American welfare state asylum.

The crazies’ kings, queens, and courtiers face a dwindling inheritance and mounting debt, but spend lavishly to keep up appearances. Falling markets and rioting taxpayers are unwelcome reminders that the money’s running out, leaving behind a stack of IOUs that won’t be paid. The aristocracy wants to offload the pain to the peasantry, but the riots demonstrate that the peasantry has other ideas. Our betters also want to blame their sea of woes on Eurasia’s leaders, but Russia, China, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are having none of that. They are, however, delighted to see the West crumbling and will do nothing to stop it.

Empire is America’s noose, hubris America’s curse. Once upon a time it didn’t matter much to the American people or their politicians what happened in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, or even Europe. During the nineteenth century, for the most part we minded our own business, and what a business it turned out to be. America became the world’s industrial, technological, and commercial powerhouse.

Success may be the hardest human condition to endure. Few individuals withstand it. For empires, it’s always temporary. They fail and topple from the pinnacle with monotonous regularity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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