• 2021-01-01

    The Pentagon has abruptly sent the aircraft carrier Nimitz home from the Middle East and Africa over the objections of top military advisers, marking a reversal of a weekslong muscle-flexing strategy aimed at deterring Iran from attacking American troops and diplomats in the Persian Gulf. […] American intelligence analysts in recent days say they have detected Iranian air defenses, maritime forces and other security units on higher alert. They have also determined that Iran has moved more short-range missiles and drones into Iraq. But senior Defense Department officials acknowledge they cannot tell if Iran or its Shia proxies in Iraq are readying to strike American troops or are preparing defensive measures in case Mr. Trump orders a pre-emptive attack against them. “What you have here is a classic security dilemma, where maneuvers on both sides can be misread and increase risks of miscalculation,” said Brett H. McGurk, Mr. Trump’s former special envoy to the coalition to defeat the Islamic State. […] Pentagon officials said they had sent additional land-based fighter and attack jets, as well as refueling planes, to Saudi Arabia and other gulf countries to offset the loss of the Nimitz’s firepower. 

  • 2020-12-31

    “These activities are more than just posturing. They are more like repositioning in preparation for something that could either be planned or anticipated,” said Mohammed Baharoon, the director general of B’huth Center for Public Policy here. “Moving a strike group and a nuclear submarine and flying bombers repeatedly on dry runs are costly exercises and are more than delivering a message to Iran to keep away. Wolves don’t run for nothing.” Baharoon pointed out that Israel’s decision to show and announce the sailing of a Dolphin submarine through the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea is by itself “a significant message and indication of a possible scenario in place.”

  • 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. 

  • 2020-12-31

    An Iranian prosecutor has said a British security firm and an airbase in Germany had a hand in the assassination of Qassem Soleimani almost one year after the top general was assassinated by the United States in Iraq. The allegations come amid mounting tensions between the two countries, as Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused outgoing US President Donald Trump of aiming to fabricate a “pretext for war”. […] The Tehran prosecutor also said a US airbase in Germany “handled reports on guiding the drone for the assassination and handed flight data of the drones to American forces”. Iranian authorities had previously said the US had used the Ramstein Air Base in southwestern Germany in Soleimani’s assassination. 

  • 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. 

  • 2020-12-30

    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.

  • 2020-12-27

    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.

  • 2020-12-27

    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. 

  • 2020-12-26

    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. 

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