Iran and America Are Suddenly Both Naked
By taking decisive action against Soleimani, Trump showed that Iran’s power is an illusion generated by D.C.’s willingness to look the other way
By Lee Smith
Was thinking that I ought to break this article down, because whilst it is somewhat more even-handed than your usual fare Foota, it still contains a lot of the data that is being used to keep the General Public “confused” (a.k.a. propagandised).
Was going to leave it, on account of busy-ness… But have just decided to set aside an hour in my diary to do it!
And to clarify: I’m not going to try and rebut the overall theme of the piece. Partly because I broadly agree with its premise (certainly its headline); but mostly because it is one of those classic pieces that builds its argument around assertions and “givens”.
It’s those assertions/”givens”, and especially the language used that I want to challenge.
It’s no coincidence that in the wake of the targeted killing of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani…
Note the use of the term “targeted killing”.
Not “assassination”; not “extra-judicial murder”; and certainly not “an act of terrorism”.
If an Iranian/Afghan/Muslamic “action” led to the death of Mike Esper or Mike Pence, whilst they were visiting a U.S. outpost in Iraq/Afghanistan/Syria, would the Western Media describe that action as a “targeted killing”?
Iran’s most important military proxy has begun taking credit for terror attacks committed nearly four decades ago. For example, Hezbollah-affiliated media and activists are laying public claim to the organization’s responsibility for bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in October 1983, which killed 241 Marines.“There is no universal agreement on the definition of terrorism.”
…Because whenever the Great and the Good sit down to try and define it, they can’t come up with a definition that doesn’t implicate themselves.
In the U.S., “Terrorism” is defined in Title 22 Chapter 38 U.S. Code 2656f
as:“premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents”.
Hezbollah is the Lebanese Militia force that (successfully) defends Southern Lebanon from Israeli incursions. Hezbollah is not just a military organisation, it is part of the fabric of Lebanese Society and is well-represented in the Lebanese parliament. Hezbollah is neither a “subnational group” or a “clandestine agency”.
And U.S. Marines are not “non-combatants”: they are military personnel.
The United States declares Hezbollah to be a terrorist organisation. The U.K. used to only list Hezbollah’s military wing as terrorist; but in May 2019 proscribed the entire organisation.And in fact, just two days ago, the newly-appointed (by the U.S.) Government of Honduras also decided to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.
I’m sure the timing is purely coincidence; but Hezbollah must now be quaking at the prospect of the Honduran Military joining forces with the Israelis!
Point being that just because the United States and its most obedient satraps
have declared Hezbollah “terrorist”, doesn’t automatically make-it-so.
But the U.S. *MUST* focus on Hezbollah as “evidence” of Iranian(-sponsored) “terrorism”… Because it doesn’t have any other method of plausibly connecting the Iranian Government with “terrorism”.
This because after nearly two decades of Middle East media coverage, even the most dull-witted Americans are waking up to the fact that there is a (profound) difference between Sunni and Shia Islam.
And that in fact, *ALL* of the acts of “terrorism” that have been committed in the West by Muslamics over the last couple of decades, are exclusively the work of *SUNNI* Muslims (Al Qaeda, ISIS, and affiliated basement-dwellers).
Because the only group of people that radicalised Sunni Islamists hate more than Americans (and non-Muslims generally), are Shia Muslims.
Iranian Society had to endure an 8-year war with Iraq to the West, which killed more than a million Iranians. When that ended, it had to put up with a Sunni-dominated Iraq as a neighbour for the next 15 years; until the U.S. helpfully deposed Saddam Hussein & Co. and facilitated a Shia-dominated Iraqi Government.
And to the South-East, it gained an even-more-crazed Government in the form of the (Sunni) Taliban in Afghanistan (which is still there, despite the Most Powerful Military Force in the World having spent two decades trying to eradicate it).
And then of course, there was ISIS.
Which as the Record indisputably shows, was primarily defeated by Iranian, Iraqi and Kurdish militias.
So the Really Big Question here is:
What actual evidence is there that (Shia) Iran has been engaged in *ANY* acts of terrorism?
Or are we just supposed to take the word of the most universally-untrusted U.S. President in History?
And/or the words of all other senior officials in the National Government that is considered to be the greatest threat to World Peace and Human Survival by the human beings on this Planet?
(The U.S., not Israel, in case you can’t be bothered to click the link…)
The terms of this weird deal held fast for the next four decades, through the end of the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the First and Second Gulf Wars, Bush’s occupation of Iraq, Obama’s Iran deal, and other local and global milestones. Washington wouldn’t hold the clerical regime accountable for the violent proxies that it funded, armed, trained, and directed. In exchange, Iran and its partners would refrain from embarrassing the Americans by boasting about the murders they committed. The founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini, famously said that America couldn’t do a damn thing. It is more accurate to say our elected officials wouldn’t do a damn thing.
Quite an interesting passage, because it gives the lie to the whole premise.
The author is asserting that the U.S. turned a blind-eye to Iran’s funding, arming, training and direction of “violent proxies”.
OK. Let’s dig into this a bit.
Who they then?
Hezbollah? (See above.)
What other Shia “terrorist” groups are there? What acts of “terrorism” have actually been committed by Shia Muslims?
Hezbollah and Iran are focused primarily on survival. Because Israel wants to dominate and control Lebanon (again); and because the United States would like to do to Iran, what a former Iranian President suggested should happen to Israel.
Conversely: the myriad array of Sunni Islamist terror groups, want to turn the entire World Islamic, and forcibly convert Humanity to the most extreme form of Islam.
Given this, the passage above is quite cleverly worded. It claims that all the evidence for Iranian-sponsored terrorism was suppressed, because the U.S. “wouldn’t hold the clerical regime accountable”, and the Iranians would “refrain from embarrassing the Americans by boasting about the murders they committed.”
How actually likely does that sound? And how do you actually go about suppressing evidence of terrorist attacks, when by definition, they must be public acts?
Doesn’t Occam’s Razor suggest that the lack of evidence of Iranian terrorism is more likely to be due to the fact that there has been no acts of Iranian terrorism?
Donald Trump put an end to that arrangement by commingling the dust of Soleimani together with that of one of his chief Arab lieutenants, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, head of one of Iran’s Iraqi terror proxies.
To clarify:Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis
was an Iraqi politician. He was also the Deputy Chief of the Popular Mobilisation Committee, which is a militia that is a recognised part of the Iraqi State. (For comparison, consider the [very-]Right Wing Ukrainian “militias” the U.S. funds and supports.)
The U.S. had no reason or need to kill Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. And in fact, it was primarily the killing of a member of the Iraqi Government and Military that resulted in the Iraqi Government immediately passing the resolution to expel all U.S. troops from Iraq.
He was killed just because he happened to be with General Soleimani when Trump ordered the latter’s assassination.
Now that Trump is holding Iran accountable for the actions its proxies take in its name…
And will the U.S. ever be held accountable for the actions its own proxies have taken in its name over the years?
What is the difference between Iran’s “proxies”, and the mercenary forces the U.S. Government currently relies on to do most of its dirty work?
The threat that Iran poses to a superpower America is “asymmetric”—kidnappings, embassy attacks, hijackings, bombings, etc., typically conducted by Iranian proxies. The military experts and political scientists who coined the term usually fail to note that the ability to wage “asymmetric” warfare is wholly dependent on an adversary’s willed blindness. If Iran’s targets decide to unsubscribe to the fiction that the Islamic Republic is not directly responsible for the actions of its proxies, Iran is rendered virtually powerless–with terror attacks being met with direct military hits on Iranian bases, airfields, ports, power plants, dams, and other infrastructure.
This bit is fairly indicative of the author’s own “wilful blindness”.
Only the U.S. Government (and its bitches) chooses to see Iran in the way described above. The Rest of the World doesn’t see it that way.
Why should the IRI be held accountable for the actions of its proxies, when the U.S. isn’t?
And in that last line, the author proudly points out that the U.S. is happy to blow up airfields, ports, power plants, dams and other (civilian) infrastructure. All acts of State Terrorism that are banned by the Geneva Conventions and other International protocols.
Bit of a slip-up by the author there, methinks.
It is only because Americans and other Western powers have declined to call out Iran and have instead appeased it…
I think this author would write better copy if they had actually been watching or reading any form of news reporting over the last 40 years.
Not sure how George W. Bush including Iran in his 2002 “Axis of Evil” speech amounts to Americans declining to “call out Iran”…
Or indeed, the more or less continuous anti-Iranian propaganda ( © Benjamin Netanyahu ) we’ve all been exposed to in the West since 1979.
In making Iran accountable, Trump has knocked Iran down to its natural size—and likely made Americans safer from Iranian aggression than they have in fact been at any point in the last 40 years…
Do *YOU* really believe this Foota?
Killing Soleimani is a much more important operation than those targeting ISIS leader al-Baghdadi and even bin Laden, since it will likely shape the future actions of a state, not the leadership rotation of terror groups.
I agree that this action will *CERTAINLY* shape the future actions of a state: the United States of America.
Iranian-backed terror isn’t a stubborn, unchanging fact of the international landscape, except to the degree that we made it so.
What’s this? Candour? Honesty?
“Iranian-backed terror” is entirely the invention of the U.S. and Israeli Governments.
The policy of appeasement that began in 1979, with the embassy takeover…
The trouble actually began in 1979 with a popular uprising against the brutal, dictatorial, 25-year rule of the U.S.-backed Shah of Iran.
Or actually, in 1953, when the U.S. overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran.
And in 1980, the U.S. got Saddam Hussein to fight a war against Iran (using U.S.-supplied chemical weapons, amongst other things), which went on for 8 years and killed 1 million Iranians.
How is that appeasement?
…culminated in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when the Obama administration flooded Soleimani’s war chests with hundreds of billions of dollars…
When the Obama Administration lifted the sanctions that had been preventing Iran selling its oil for U.S. Dollars on the international market, Iranian oil revenues resumed.
…and legitimized Iran’s “right” to a large-scale nuclear weapons program.
Unlike Israel, Iran has been a signatory member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty since 1970.Under the terms of the NNPT
, signatory members forgo the right to develop their own nuclear weapons arsenal, in exchange for the freedom to develop nuclear energy. Furthermore, those members of the NNPT that are already nuclear-armed, are required to provide assistance to non-nuclear armed countries seeking to develop nuclear energy capabilities.
The line written by the author above is therefore wholly erroneous and deliberately misleading.
In line with the decadeslong U.S. policy of augmenting the Iranian threat in order to avoid taking action against it, Obama said the only alternative to giving Iran the bomb was war.
Donald Trump was vilified when he exited the Iran deal in May. But in the eyes of the foreign policy establishment, he committed an even graver sin by exposing the 40-year-old lie that U.S. policymakers, right and left, had cultivated to rationalize their collective unwillingness to protect Americans from Iranian terror.
This is fairly obviously just bullshit. But what also seems obvious, is that the author doesn’t believe it is.
The author is suggesting that the Presidential Administrations of Ronald Reagan, Bush I and Bush II, did not want to protect Americans from Iranian terror.
Do *YOU* believe that is the case Foota?
* * *
So why did U.S. officials treat Iran differently than any other country, even at the expense of thousands of American lives?
“thousands of American lives” now is it?
Does anyone have a list?
There is the U.S. investment in maintaining the appearance of a rules-based order led by America, of course.
Khomeini was clearly in charge—he was, after all, the supreme leader. No one seized the U.S. Embassy, kidnapped 52 Americans in the center of Tehran, and held them for over a year, without his approval.
Just as no dictatorial monarch, Israeli-trained secret police and international oil firm could hold Iran and Iranians hostage for 25 years, without the approval of the U.S. President.
The hostage crisis showed the regime in Tehran that so long as it didn’t pierce the veil and take direct, unmistakable, on-the-record responsibility for its actions, Washington would stick with the cover story.
Is the author really suggesting that the takeover of the embassy and resulting hostage situation, was just a spontaneous, unilateral action by Khomeini? That the Islamic Revolution that preceded (and facilitated) it, has no relevance?
And even though the hostage crisis crippled Jimmy Carter, it was his successor, Ronald Reagan, who not only failed to retaliate after the hostages were freed, but then also granted the Iranians impunity when under cover of Hezbollah, they bombed the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon in April 1983. Six months later, they bombed the Marine barracks. In December of that year, the Iranians employed Lebanese and Iraqi proxies to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait.
American and French response
In retaliation for the attacks, France launched an airstrike in the Beqaa Valley against alleged Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) positions. President Reagan assembled his national security team and planned to target the Sheik Abdullah barracks in Baalbek, Lebanon, which housed Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) believed to be training Hezbollah militants. A joint American–French air assault on the camp where the bombing was planned was also approved by Reagan and Mitterrand. U.S. Defense Secretary Weinberger lobbied successfully against the mission, because at the time it was not certain that Iran was behind the attack.
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1983_Beir ... h_response
And again, just to add context:
In 1983, Iran was fighting off Iraq, which had been sicced on it by the United States.
And they were U.S. military barracks that were bombed.
The Lebanese barrack bombs were delivered by truck. The U.S. delivers its (far more numerous) bombs by plane.
Actually, as a side-note, the use of Area Bombardment by conventional state forces is one of the main obstacles to establishing an “Official” definition of “terrorism”. It was for this reason that no Nazis were charged with killing hundreds of thousands of civilians (throughout the course of WWII) by aerial bombardment.
Muhandis, killed last week with Soleimani, is believed to have planned the attack.
One of the main complaints English barons had against King John in the early 13th Century, was his (and his predecessors) use of “Executive Privilege” to arbitrarily execute anyone they didn’t like.
Subsequently, one of the principles at the heart of Magna Carta
, is the right to a fair and public trial.
Afraid we’re going to need a little more here than just “believed to have planned”, for this not to qualify as Extra-Judicial Murder.
U.S. officials even had scholarly support to rationalize their failure to hold Iran accountable. During the 1990s, Middle East experts promoted a thesis holding that the clerical regime in fact had little to do with Hezbollah. According to the “Lebanonization” thesis, Hezbollah was a homegrown resistance movement that came into being as a local response to Israel’s 1982 occupation of Lebanon.
Yeah! After all, what do Middle East experts know about the Middle East?!?
In 1996, Iran’s proxy in Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah al-Hijaz, bombed the Khobar Towers, killing 19 U.S. Air Force personnel. The Clinton administration’s hopes for rapprochement with Tehran under the leadership of so-called reformist President Mohammad Khatami required the U.S. to pretend Iran was not responsible.
Not sure that the author really comprehends the issue here.
If the United States tries to formally and legally hold the Iranian Government to account for the action of its proxies; it must immediately be held to account for the action of its own, far more numerous proxies.
Between 2003 and 2011, according to a State Department assessment, Iran and its Shiite allies were responsible for killing more than 600 U.S. servicemen in Iraq.
“600 U.S. servicemen
Iran’s Shia allies in Iraq between 2003 and 2011, were in fact also allies of the United States, trying to deal with the Ba’athist insurgency following the Invasion. General David Petraeus utilised Iraqi Shia Militia forces (particularly those under the command of Muqtada al-Sadr).
And during the Sunni-Shia Civil War in Iraq (consequence of the U.S. Invasion), U.S. troops were often caught in the crossfire.
But they were definitely military personnel: not civilians.
The body count doesn’t include the U.S. servicemen killed by the Sunni fighters ushered from Damascus international airport to the Iraqi border by Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, Iran’s chief Arab ally.
How many civilians and military personnel has the United States killed in the Middle East since 2003?
Oh, I forgot: the U.S. doesn’t *DO* body-counts, when it is creating the bodies…
So look, obviously the whole piece is a crazed jeremiad from an author desperately trying to rationalise President Trump’s recent ill-advised, counter-productive and criminal action.
But in that regard, it is of a piece with no end of other similar outpourings.
The key when you read this drivel is to not take anything “as read”.
I’m not saying it is all always automatically a load of old bullshit.
But I am saying that we should keep our Bullshit-Detectors fully charged and functioning when wading through this kind of tripe (if it is the sort of thing that suits your tastes and diet).
Otherwise, we won’t know *WHERE* we stand.