Friday, January 10, 2020

USA v Iran: What WON'T Happen After Soleimani's Killing

Qasem Soleimani is Dead And General Motors is Alive
The photo above summarises the cognitive dissonance of the Iranian government. A funeral procession for what's left of Soleimani after being killed by Americans, with the crowd chanting the usual Death To America stuff - while his remains are carried in a Chevrolet truck.

Unfortunately it's not been much better in the US and across the West in general. On the one hand the Left have had panic attacks about WWIII and a US draft while also treating Soleimani as a victim - while on the other hand various Right-Wing idiots imagine we're back in 2003:

Um... NO.

FFS, you can support killing the likes of Soleimani without demanding that Tehran be fire-bombed.

You can also be opposed to the US getting into another useless ME war without making excuses for the murderous bastard, let alone buying into Iranian propaganda and mythologising him as the hero who fought ISIS ("it was General Qassem Soleimani who liberated Mosul from ISIL ... and he did it with boots on the ground").

As Trump-loathing magazine New Statesman pointed out:
But it is a preposterous and grotesque revisionism of history to suggest that the man who harboured al-Qaeda in Iran was some sort of counter-terrorist. The brutality of Soleimani’s policies in Iraq was as responsible for creating the material conditions ISIS needed to flourish as Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq did (Obama doesn’t get off lightly here, either), and his forces carried out acts of unimaginable cruelty against civilians in IS-occupied territory in the process.
As a result of all this you won't get much of an idea of what the USA and Iran will do next by listening to and watching such hysterical and incoherent reactions, which are the norm from the usual actors, starting with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamanei:
... a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.”
Otherwise known as a day ending in "y". 

Then there's Trump's official domestic political opponents - no, not D.C. bureaucrats but the Democrat Party reps.  

Joe Biden - "President Trump just tossed a stick of dynamite into a tinderbox," 
Cory Booker - "We have a president who has failed to show any larger strategic plan."
Elizabeth Warren - "this reckless move escalates the situation with Iran and increases the likelihood of more deaths and new Middle East conflict."
Bernie Sanders  - "Trump's dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars."

Yada, yada, yada.

It's notable that although Elizabeth Warren acknowledged that Soleimani was an evil prick responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, Iraqis and Iranians she backed away from this pretty quickly under attack by the Left wing of the party as she fights Bernie for that segment. However, the domestic fallout is a separate issue and reveals nothing about what Iran and the USA will now do, although you might not know that based on such comments, which have received the bulk of the MSM's shallow attention.

So what are the possibilities?

It will start a war between the USA and Iran!
Wrong, since the Iranian Islamic Republic has been in a de-facto state of war with the US for forty years now. For the most part the Yanks have tried to pretend that such is not the case, shrugging off all the "Death To The Great Satan" crap and wobbling between confrontation and cooperation in every Presidency from Carter to Trump.

US sailors held hostage by Iran, 2016
It's true that this is a military escalation by the US - but that's also been true of Iran who, in just the past year, have attacked shipping in the Persian Gulf, a major Saudi oil field, and shot down an American drone. Upping the ante in Iraq was par for the course.

And then there was the capture of US sailors and boats during Obama's time, even after all he had done for Iran.

Rather like the truest of True Believing Leftists, for Iran's leaders it doesn't matter who the US President is or whether he's Democrat or Republican. Iran has always regarded itself as being at war with the USA.

The USA and Iran will declare war on eachother!
Wrong and hysterical. Declarations of war by nation-states belong to a past and tradition that ended in the mid-20th century. In the case of the USSR v USA in the Cold War the reason was obviously that nuclear weapons prevented traditional war from reaching a resolution with a winner and loser, and this continues to be the case with contesting nuclear powers. But even wars at the edge of that lengthy contest did not bother with such declarations; a prime example being the Falklands Islands fight between Argentina and Great Britain. Why this should be the case is a question for another time.

In this particular case the US has nothing to gain from formally declaring war, which would mean that a resolution must therefore be obtained as fast as possible. That would mean either a negotiated end that would likely be no different to the status quo, thereby being a waste of time - or the USA conducting a full-scale attack of Iran, which would be a huge waste of lives and resources. And of course a Democrat-led House would never approve of such a declaration for Trump.

If Iran formally declared war on the US, it would be more insane than Japan and Nazi Germany's declarations of war on the USA in 1941. Two thirds of Iran's electricity comes from about a dozen power plants, just eight refineries produce 80% of its oil products and 90% of those are exported through just one place, the Port of Kharg. One night of cruise missile and stealth bomber attacks would destroy all of them.

It will escalate into a large-scale, undeclared war!
Wrong and hysterical again, and for the same reasons as the declared war scenario.

It will escalate into an accidental large-scale war
Over at Kiwipolitico, former CIA analyst Paul Buchanan makes this point:
The issue for Tehran is whether it wants to respond in kind or lose face. It cannot afford to lose face. This is how wars start. By error.
miscalculation is at the heart of what is known as the “security dilemma” and a major cause of war...
In a sense this had already happened when Iran tried to repeat the 1979 siege and takeover of a US embassy. They misread Trump's previous refusals to retaliate for various Iranian attacks in the Gulf in 2019. The attack on the US Embassy in Iraq was a fatal step too far. Paul of course focuses on the killing of Soleimani as being such a miscalculation by Trump.

But I don't agree about further such escalations because I think the miscalculations can now be clearly seen by the Iranians; whether the escalation is deliberate or accidental it will lead to the same place. They're going to be very careful from here on.

Paradoxically so will the USA because the last thing Trump wants is to provide the Democrats with a war in an election year. The reactions the other day, together with the sudden re-appearance of protests from groups like ANSWER and CODE PINK, dormant through the Obama years of Libya and drone strikes, will have shown him clearly where that would go. This is aside from his well-known and long-held belief in an almost isolationist America that ignores other people's wars.

Iran will assassinate a prominent US General or Politician.
Possible but unlikely. They've already offered a bounty of $US 80 million for somebody to kill Trump, although the fact that it was backed only by a proposal to get one dollar from each Iranian citizen shows the usual comedic line of Iranian propaganda.

Still, there might be some takers, especially in the USA.

Kathy Griffin's proposal for Iran's $80 millon
NEXT UP: What WILL Happen After Soleimani's Killing


Johno said...

Well, Iran's terrifying retribution appears to be mock attacks on a couple of bases and accidentally shooting down someone else's airliner.

Trump stared then down and they blinked.

Andrei said...

More dick swinging from the armchair warriors

No matter how much you sneer Tom Hunter, there is no way in the world you can justify the extra judicial execution of a foreign national on foreign soil. That is the behaviour of a psychopath.

Were you impressed when the French sank rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour?

And Johno let's just wait and see on the airliner - as the great American writer Mark Twain once observed "a lie can travel half way round the world while the truth is getting its boots on"

Tom Hunter said...

What is it with you and dicks Andrei?

I am merely providing a sober assessment of possible outcomes arising from the death of this murderous hero of yours.

Were you impressed when the French sank rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour?
Nt at all, but then New Zealand was merely hosting a harmless photographer. Had we been hosting a person who'd killed a bunch of French people and was planning to kill more then I would have been asking my government some serious questions rather than directing my ire at a French government that killed him in this country.

Johno said...

Andrei, if it's a conspiracy theory they're doing at incredible job on it. Somehow they even have the Trump lovin' NYT on board:

Conspiracy theory or trigger happy Iranian? Ever heard of Occam's Razor?

Anonymous said...

It’s always the human element that lets down the theorists and idealogists. It may be that the tragic and unnecessary death 0f 176 people may draw a line under this episode.

The stress and human failings of those in charge of their countries or or commands protection are well documented through many wars. In 1988 a young US commander made a tragic error of judgment and shot down an Iranian airliner killing all on board.

It took three Presidents before an apology was forthcoming.

As for the continual demonisation of Soleilmani as diversion for state sponsored murder it has be remembered that he did more to take out ISIS than any other man.

Perhaps no military action better displayed Soleimani’s willingness to collaborate with the United States than the September 2014 Siege of Amirli, a small Shiite Turkmen town in Iraq. Fearing that ISIS intended to commit genocide, Iran and American-backed forces, with direct air support from both countries, lifted the siege in what was to turn out to be one of ISIS’s most stinging defeats. The Siege of Amirli was just one instance of Iranian-American collaboration to fight ISIS, all of which took place alongside the warming of relations between the two countries before the signing of the 2015 nuclear agreement. But this de facto alliance had its limits. Adib-Moghaddam opined that the “politics of the conflict made it largely impossible for the two countries to integrate their strategic preferences into a coordinated approach.”  

Who to blame for the position we find ourselves in? Well Obama for start because, make no mistake, this is where it all began and Trump decided to destroy Obama’s legacy.

Petri Dish

ROFL said...

Joanna the evidence is that an Iranian missile system lit up for a brief time during the window of the flight probably picked up by a US system.
You have drawn the long bow,along with the media, of extrapolation to claim a shoot down.

You may be right but you could also be wrong when the final report is in.

Rusty Arrow said...

Andrei, Tom's great friends, the CIA, knew of the attack on the Rainbow Warrior, but did nothing to inform NZ. The attack could have been prevented, lives saved.

It is to New Zealand's lasting shame that they bowed to pressure and freed the terrorists.

There is, IMHO, only one thing that Trump has been right about during his presidency, and that is the inability of the CIA and other US "security agencies" to fulfil their duties. They have fucked up so many times. And here we have Trump, this time, touting the need to murder a foreign national, purely on the basis of "evidence" from these incompetent buffoons.

Johnno, the NYT, and all the other US MSM outlets always cheer for war and rumours of war, no matter the POTUS and any other feelings they have about him. They led the rush into the Vietnam quagmire, have praised every overthrow of foreign governments, enabled Bush to get away with his lies about Iraq, wagged the dog with Clinton, even turning a blind eye to US war crimes destroying civilian infrastructure, such as pharmaceutical factories and power networks, never once condemned Obama for his failures to close Gitmo and stop the drone killings.

Tom Hunter said...

@Rusty Arrow

Well it's good to see that you're consistent.

Rusty Arrow said...

In order save a village, we had to destroy it was the US mantra in Vietnam.

In order to save the world from a terrorist, Trump has the blood of 176 innocent Ukrainians and Canadians on his hands.

Not a word of sympathy from The War Party, and its NZ spokesorc, Hunter. Collateral damage, dear boy, as The Veteran would say.

RosscoWlg said...

The problem all you grieving wokes from the Left have is that you assume the Iran plays out of the same rule book that France and NZ do, and the US does for that matter, but if course Iran doesn't.

Hence the use of an extension of diplomacy. Successfully applied I might well add.

Tom Hunter said...

In order save a village, we had to destroy it was the US mantra in Vietnam.

Well actually that's just more Leftist mythological bullshit where a claim made up out of wholecloth by a reporter - in this case none other than New Zealander, Peter Arnett - has been converted into weaponised soundbite down through the years.

There's no evidence that any US commander, even at a junior level, ever said that to Arnett and no record of anything like it being said elsewhere, though Arnett has stuck to his claim that it was what one US major said to him during the Battle of Bến Tre.

Arnett has always been adamant that he got the quote right, and I have no reason to doubt him. Still, I would be remiss if I failed to note that there are skeptics.

One is the indefatigable Ralph Keyes, author of “The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When,” and scourge of misquoters everywhere. Keyes argues that “a quotation this seminal needs better confirmation.” He points out that Ben Tre was a fair-sized city, not a town or village, and that although damaged it did not come close to being destroyed.

Keyes quotes the senior Army officer present at the battle, who insisted that what he actually said to Arnett was: “It was a shame the town was destroyed.” (Arnett says he talked to four officers, not just one.)

More intriguing for present purposes is another fact Keyes turned up: The day before Arnett’s story ran, the Times’s James Reston had asked in his column, “How do we win by military force without destroying what we are trying to save?”

Reporters love soundbites and phrases more than dull, boring facts.

Johno said...

ROFL, the Iranians have admitted they shot the airliner down - accidentally.

Rusty Arrow said...

RosscoWlg said...

The problem all you grieving wokes from the Left have is that you assume the Iran plays out of the same rule book that France and NZ do, and the US does for that matter, but if course Iran doesn't.

Nailed it, Rossco, absolutely nailed it.

As Johnno has pointed out, Iran has now acknowledged what happened. Something about "Fog of war" I think.

Airliner crashes on takeoff 8 January 2020. Acceptance of responsibility and apology 3 days later.

Now, how long did it take the US to accept responsibility for Iran Air Flight 655? Where is the Black Box from that flight? Why does the US refuse to release the full text of the Fogarty reports? Why did Iran have to sue the US to get compensation for the victims?

Yes, Iran does play by different rules and is far more open and transparent.