• 2020-04-23

    Listen to America’s imperial proconsuls long enough and they often let slip something approaching truth — perhaps exceptionalist confession is more accurate. Take Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), with responsibility for all of Latin America. Just before the COVID-19 crisis shifted into full gear, on March 11 he testified before the House Armed Services Committee and admitted, “There will be an increase in the U.S. military presence in the hemisphere later this year.” Naturally, admiral, but why? Well, if one can push past the standard, mindless military dialectics — i.e. “bad guys” — the admiral posits a ready justification: Russia and (most especially) China. With his early career molded in the last, triumphalist Reagan-era Cold War, Faller may be a true believer in new dichotomies that must feel like coming home for the 1983 Naval Academy graduate. Before the committee, he described China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela as “malign state actors” who constitute “a vicious circle of threats.” Faller is right about the circle, but it is his own country that produces it. 

  • 2020-04-23

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused US President Donald Trump of making threats that were cheered on by "Saddam's terrorists". The chief Iranian diplomat was referring to the formerly US-designated terrorist group Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian opposition group that was allied with the late Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein. 

  • 2020-04-22

    On Wednesday morning, just a few hours after once again threatening to go to war with Iran, President Donald Trump shared a tweet from an account from someone by the name of Heshmat Alavi. Like many of the tweets the president circulates, Alavi was praising Trump, this time for his hard-line stance against the Islamic Republic. Trump’s amplification of the post was bad enough on its own: Alavi is a supporter of a militant Iranian cult called the Mojahedin-e-Khalq, known as the MEK, an organization that was designated for decades as a terrorist organization and is widely hated inside Iran. What makes it even worse, however, is that Heshmat Alavi does not exist.

  • 2020-04-22

    President Donald Trump has instructed the U.S. military to use force against armed Iranian vessels that have recently engaged in tensions with the Navy's Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf. "I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea," Trump tweeted Wednesday.

  • 2020-04-22

    Iran launched more than a dozen missile targeting coalition troops in Iraq following a U.S. decapitation strike that killed Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. “Bottom line is, in my professional assessment, at Al Asad ... the points of impact were close enough to personnel and equipment and so on and so forth ― I believe, based on what I saw and what I know, that they were intended to cause structural damage, destroy vehicles and aircraft, and to kill personnel,” Milley said in January. The U.S. has since sent Patriot missile batteries inside Iraq to defend coalition troops from potential Iranian strikes.

  • 2020-04-19

    Trump wanted to change the Rules of Engagement and aimed to “have it all”. He will end up asking the Iraqis for an “honourable withdrawal” from Mesopotamia. The assassination of Soleimani offered the “Axis of the Resistance” what Iran could otherwise never have obtained from Iraq – US withdrawal. The loss of Soleimani and Muhandes has strengthened Iran’s position on several fronts. Iran returned to its previous “best policy”, a tried and tested tradition of reaping successes from US missteps in the Middle East.

  • 2020-04-18

    Iran’s defense ministry has made mass delivery of new combat and surveillance drones, including a jet-powered multipurpose UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) to Army’s Air force and Air Defense Force. 

  • 2020-04-18

    The strategic consequences of Soleimani’s assassination and the Iranian direct bombing of the US bases are boosting the “Axis of the Resistance” as never before. Iran’s allies seem now to have no fear of confronting the US face-to-face on any platform. Soleimani was not killed on the battlefield but by a drone guided from afar. Iran gave notice to the US about the timing of the bombing of its bases and fulfilled its plan, allowing US and coalition forces to hide in their shelters. The assassination of Soleimani turned against the US and in favour of the “Axis of the Resistance”- despite its loss of an important leader.

  • 2020-04-14

    Conclusions: For years U.S. policymakers have stated that it is imperative that the United States push back on Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. However, one administration after another has focused almost exclusively on sanctions—a relatively ineffective tool to counter what is ultimately a financially cheap strategy on the part of Iran. The concern always was that even highly limited and unattributed kinetic actions by the United States would lead to uncontrolled escalation. While these concerns are legitimate, the Israeli experience in Syria suggests that American freedom of action to strike Iranian targets in the gray zone may be greater than previously assessed. The United States may have more options than it has realized, providing it is willing to replicate the Israeli model, both against Iran and, possibly, against adversaries such as Russia or China in other gray zone conflicts. At the same time, U.S. policymakers will have to be careful to not “overlearn” some of the lessons of mabam. As analyzed in this report, certain conditions that have made the Israeli campaign successful may not apply, or may not be executable because of differences in how Israel and the United States fight wars.

  • 2020-04-13

    New anonymous organisations in Iraq have threatened to strike US forces if they refuse to withdraw from Iraq. One of these newly emerged organisations released its first video of an attack against a US military convoy transporting vehicles on the road between the Kurdish province of Erbil and the northern Salahuddin province, where the US maintains large military bases. US Ambassador Matthew Tueller has met with caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi, expressing the will of his country to begin strategic talks with Baghdad. The US did not disclose that the US diplomat informed Mr Abdul-Mahdi about the US intention to pull out forces from Iraq and his request not to be attacked during the withdrawal of troops. Indeed, the US has already evacuated forces from 6 bases and centres of control in different places in Iraq. This is what prompted the Iraqi Kataeb Hezbollah (Brigades) to ​​announce particularly that the organisation does not intend to strike US forces as long as they completely withdraw from the country. 

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