• 2020-12-31

    Last September, Donald Trump accidentally upended an entire generation of myths invented by the left and right that purport to explain America's costly and unpopular military adventures in the Middle East: "The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East. You know there was a time we needed desperately oil, we don’t need that anymore." As Mondoweiss pointed out at the time, the explosive admission went completely unmentioned in the mainstream media, which traditionally hangs on every one of Trump's words and reacts hysterically. 

  • 2020-12-30

    Two American B-52 bombers flew another show-of-force mission in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, a week after President Trump warned Iran that he would hold it accountable “if one American is killed” in rocket attacks in Iraq that the administration and military officials blamed on Tehran. The warplanes’ 36-hour round-trip mission from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota was the third time in six weeks that Air Force bombers had conducted long-range flights about 60 miles off the Iranian coast, moves that military officials said were intended to deter Iran from attacking American troops in the region. […] In the past three weeks, Central Command has dispatched the bombers, sent an extra squadron of fighter planes to Saudi Arabia, kept the aircraft carrier Nimitz in the region and publicly announced for the first time in nearly a decade that a Tomahawk-missile-firing submarine was operating.

  • 2020-12-30

    One of the fruits of Arab-Israeli normalization should be more robust U.S.-led missile defense collaboration between states that face the greatest threat from Iran. On December 15, Moshe Patel, head of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, publicly signaled that his agency was interested in working with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, building on the existing U.S.-Israeli cooperation in the missile defense sector. These states share an obvious community of interest: all of them are threatened by Iran’s fast-developing missile, rocket, and drone forces. 

  • 2020-12-27

    Iraq's anti-terror group, Kata'ib Hezbollah, has called the last week’s rocket attack against the US embassy in Baghdad a false-flag strike and a plot hatched by Washington. 

  • 2020-12-27

    If an Israeli submarine arrives in the [Persian] Gulf, Iran will consider that an act of aggression and “in this case, we will have the right to take revenge,” Abolfazl Amouei, spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, told Aljazeera on Saturday night, just a few days after Israeli and American news media reported that an Israeli submarine has openly crossed the Suez Canal en route to Iran. 

  • 2020-12-27

    The transfer is said to have taken place at the Shalamcheh border crossing and was performed in two stages under the supervision of Iranian military personnel. Iran also reportedly dispatched two IRGC units to operate the missiles and drones. […] The reported deployment of Iranian military hardware to Iraq comes amid renewed tensions between the US and Iran in the wake of an attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, which Trump blamed on Iran.

  • 2020-12-26

    The role of Iraqi militias, which probably fired the rockets in Baghdad, points to how the Trump administration could be given an excuse to attack Iran even if Iran itself continues to restrain itself while counting the days until Trump leaves office. A widespread undercurrent of Iraqi resentment against the U.S. presence has continued ever since the destruction and misery that followed the U.S. invasion of the country in 2003. That resentment was reflected in the agreement for a pullout of U.S. troops that was negotiated during George W. Bush’s administration. […] On top of that history comes Trump’s pardon in the past few days of four Blackwater security guards who had been convicted and imprisoned for the massacre of seventeen Iraqi civilians, including children, at a road intersection in Baghdad in 2007. This pardon sends a terrible message to all Iraqis. It says not only that the rule of law in the United States is a sham but also that the United States does not value or respect Iraqi lives. With this one act, Trump has increased the chance of future Iraqi shots being fired in anger at Americans—and the sort of incident that Trump could use as an excuse for starting a military conflagration with Iran. 

  • 2020-12-23

    In a Twitter post that came after a meeting with senior officials at the White House, Mr. Trump said that Iran was behind rocket attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday. “Some friendly health advice to Iran,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.” […] In the past two weeks, Central Command has flown B-52 bombers in the region in a show of force, sent an extra squadron of fighter planes to Saudi Arabia, kept the aircraft carrier Nimitz in the area, and announced that it is sending a Tomahawk-firing submarine. All of these measures, military officials said, are in the name of deterrence.

  • 2020-12-22

    This paper aims to analyze the pivotal points of the Middle Eastern crises and to which extent the interests of Moscow and Tehran overlap or contradict each other. Some of the key issues of the political situation in the region were assessed, such as the situation in Idlib, the prospects for a political process in Syria, Israel’s role in the region’s future, the path to Syria’s reconstruction and the impact of U.S. policies on the emerging new order in the Middle East. Both Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran regard each other as necessary components of the regional architecture that they envision for the Middle East. The paper attempts to shed light on the views of Moscow and Tehran on these issues.

  • 2020-12-15

    Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian nuclear physicist and key official in that country’s nuclear program, was killed in an ambush on a provincial road outside Tehran on 27 November 2020. The assassination was widely assumed to be the work of Israel, perhaps acting in coordination with the United States and local agents. Coming during the waning days of the Trump administration, the killing was characterized as an attempt to raise US-Iranian tensions at a sensitive point in time and frustrate the stated ambition of President-elect Joe Biden to resume United States compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral 2015 Iran nuclear agreement from which Washington unilaterally withdrew in 2017. Mouin Rabbani, editor of Quick Thoughts and Jadaliyya Co-Editor, interviewed Pouya Alimagham, a specialist on Iranian affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to learn more about the context and potential consequences of the Fakhrizadeh assassination.