China’s Economic Record Vs US

By professor Richard Wolf

“For most of the last 20 years the rate of growth in China has been 2, 3 or 4 times that of the Unitedd States”

“In the United States real wages (The average wage of the U.S. worker) has stagnated. It has gone nowhere. In 1973 the average wage of an American, was able to buy more thing than it was in 2018. The real wage in the United States is less today than it was then.” – In the last 40 to 45 years American real income wages, their real wages have not gone up. The real hourly wage in the united states is lower today than it was in 1973.

Posted July 08, 2019

Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He is currently a Visiting Professor in the Graduate Program in International Affairs of the New School University, New York City.

Earlier he taught economics at Yale University (1967-1969) and at the City College of the City University of New York (1969-1973). In 1994, he was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the University of Paris (France), I (Sorbonne). Wolff was also regular lecturer at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

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Memo to Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi

 

 • JUNE 28, 2019

“For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end.”Donald Trump, circa 2016?Nope. That denunciation of John Bolton interventionism came from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. At 38, she was the youngest candidate on stage.
Gabbard proceeded to rip both the “president and his chickenhawk cabinet (who) have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”In a fiery exchange, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that America cannot disengage from Afghanistan: “When we weren’t in there they started flying planes into our buildings.”“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11,” Gabbard replied, “Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That’s why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida, not the Taliban.”When Ryan insisted we must stay engaged, Gabbard shot back:“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? ‘Well, we just have to be engaged.’ As a solider, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable. … We are no better off in Afghanistan that we were when this war began.”
By debate’s end, Gabbard was the runaway winner in both the Drudge Report and Washington Examiner polls and was far in front among all the Democratic candidates whose names were being searched on Google.Though given less than seven minutes of speaking time in a two-hour debate, she could not have used that time more effectively. And her performance may shake up the Democratic race.
If she can rise a few points above her 1-2% in the polls, she could be assured a spot in the second round of debates.If she is, moderators will now go to her with questions of foreign policy issues that would not have been raised without her presence, and these questions will expose the hidden divisions in the Democratic Party. Leading Democratic candidates could be asked to declare what U.S. policy should be — not only toward Afghanistan but Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” and Trump’s seeming rejection of the two-state solution.
If she makes it into the second round, Gabbard could become the catalyst for the kind of globalist vs. nationalist debate that broke out between Trump and Bush Republicans in 2016, a debate that contributed to Trump’s victory at the Cleveland convention and in November.The problem Gabbard presents for Democrats is that, as was shown in the joust with Ryan, she takes positions that split her party, while her rivals prefer to talk about what unites the party, like the terribleness of Trump, free college tuition and soaking the rich.Given more airtime, she will present problems for the GOP as well.

For the foreign policy Tulsi Gabbard is calling for is not far off from the foreign policy Donald Trump promised in 2016 but has since failed to deliver.

We still have 2,000 troops in Syria, 5,000 in Iraq, 14,000 in Afghanistan. We just moved an aircraft carrier task force, B-52s and 1,000 troops to the Persian Gulf to confront Iran. We are about to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister with whom we would need to negotiate to avoid a war.Jared Kushner is talking up a U.S.-led consortium to raise $50 billion for the Palestinians in return for their forfeiture of sovereignty and an end to their dream of a nation-state on the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.

John Bolton is talking of regime change in Caracas and confronting the “troika of tyranny” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Rather than engaging Russia as Trump promised, we have been sanctioning Russia, arming Ukraine, sending warships into the Black Sea, beefing up NATO in the Baltic and trashing arms control treaties Ronald Reagan and other presidents negotiated in the Cold War U.S. policy has managed to push our great adversaries, Russia and China, together as they have not been since the first Stalin-Mao decade of the Cold War.
This June, Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing where he and Xi Jinping met in the Great Hall of the People to warn that in this time of “growing global instability and uncertainty,” Russia and China will “deepen their consultations on strategic stability issues.”Xi presented Putin with China’s new Friendship Medal. Putin responded: “Cooperation with China is one of Russia’s top priorities and it has reached an unprecedented level.”At the end of the Cold War, we were the lone superpower. Who forfeited our preeminence? Who bled us of 7,000 U.S. lives and $6 trillion in endless Middle East wars? Who got us into this Cold War II?Was all this the doing of those damnable isolationists again?Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

Maduro Sniffs Out New Coup, Attempt to Murder Him and His Wife Planned By Guaido and US!

June 27, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard on the US seeking a pretext to go to war with Iran

May 21, 2019

 

Iran Squeezed Between Imperial Psychos and European Cowards

By Pepe Escobar – with permission and cross posted with Consortium News

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about

The Trump administration unilaterally cheated on the 2015 multinational, UN-endorsed JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed an illegal, worldwide financial and energy blockade on all forms of trade with Iran — from oil and gas to exports of iron, steel, aluminum and copper. For all practical purposes, and in any geopolitical scenario, this is a declaration of war.

Successive U.S. governments have ripped international law to shreds; ditching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is only the latest instance. It doesn’t matter that Tehran has fulfilled all its commitments to the deal — according to UN inspectors. Once the leadership in Tehran concluded that the U.S. sanctions tsunami is fiercer than ever, it decided to begin partially withdrawing from the deal.

President Hassan Rouhani was adamant: Iran has not left the JCPOA — yet. Tehran’s measures are legal under the framework of articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA — and European officials were informed in advance. But it’s clear the EU3 (Germany, France, Britain), who have always insisted on their vocal support for the JCPOA, must work seriously to alleviate the U.S.-provoked economic disaster to Iran if Tehran has any incentive to continue to abide by the agreement.

Protests in front of former U.S. embassy in Tehran after U.S. decision to withdraw from JCPOA, May 8, 2018. (Hossein Mersadi via Wikimedia Commons)

Russia and China — the pillars of Eurasia integration, to which Iran adheres — support Tehran’s position. This was discussed extensively in Moscow by Sergey Lavrov and Iran’s Javad Zarif, perhaps the world’s top two foreign ministers.

At the same time, it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.

The comfortable assumption in Berlin, Paris and London was that Tehran could not afford to leave the JCPOA even if it was not receiving any of the economic rewards promised in 2015. Yet now the EU3 are facing the hour of truth.

It’s hard to expect anything meaningful coming from an enfeebled Chancellor Angela Merkel, with Berlin already targeted by Washington’s trade ire; a Brexit-paralyzed Britain; and a massively unpopular President Emmanuel Macron in France already threatening to impose his own sanctions if Tehran does not agree to limit its ballistic missile program. Tehran will never allow inspections over its thriving missile industry – and this was never part of the JCPOA to begin with.

As it stands, the EU3 are not buying Iranian oil. They are meekly abiding by the U.S. banking and oil/gas sanctions — which are now extended to manufacturing sectors — and doing nothing to protect Iran from its nasty effects. The implementation of INSTEX, the SWIFT alternative for trade with Iran, is languishing. Besides expressing lame “regrets” about the U.S. sanctions, the EU3 are de facto playing the game on the side of U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates; and by extension against Russia, China and Iran.

Rise of the Imperial Psychos

As Tehran de facto kicked the ball to the European court, both EU3 options are dire. To meaningfully defend the JCPOA will invite a ballistic reaction from the Trump administration. To behave like poodles — the most probable course of action — means emboldening even more the psychopaths doubling as imperial functionaries bent on a hot war against Iran at all costs; Koch brothers Big Oil asset and enraptured evangelist, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and paid Mujahideen-e Khalq asset and notorious intel manipulator, National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The Pompeo-Bolton gangster maneuver is hardly Bismarck’s Realpolitik. It consists of relentlessly pushing Tehran to make a mistake, any mistake, in terms of “violating” its obligations under the JCPOA, so that this may be sold to gullible American public opinion as the proverbial “threat” to the “rules-based order” doubling as a casus belli.

There’s one thing the no-holds-barred U.S. economic war against Iran has managed to achieve: internal unity in the Islamic Republic. Team Rouhani’s initial aim for the JCPOA was to open up to Western trade (trade with Asia was always on) and somewhat curtail the power of the IRGC, or Revolutionary Guards, which control vast sectors of the Iranian economy.

Washington’s economic war proved instead the IRGC was right all along, echoing the finely-tuned geopolitical sentiment of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who always emphasized the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

And as much as Washington has branded the IRGC a “terrorist organization,” Tehran replied in kind, branding CENTCOM the same.

Independent Persian Gulf oil traders dismiss the notion that the kleptocrat House of Saud — de facto run by Jared “of Arabia” Kushner’s Whatsapp pal Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the Saudi  crown prince – holds up to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in spare capacity capable of replacing Iran’s 2 million barrels of exports (out of 3.45 million of total daily production). The House of Saud seems more interested in hiking oil prices for Asian customers.

London protests at Saudi bombing of Yemen. March 2018. (Alisdare Hickson via Flickr)

Faulty Blockade

Washington’s energy trade blockade of Iran is bound to fail.

China will continue to buy its 650,000 barrels a day – and may even buy more. Multiple Chinese companies trade technology and industrial services for Iranian oil.

Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey — all bordering Iran — will continue to buy Iranian high-quality light crude by every method of payment (including gold) and transportation available, formal or informal. Baghdad’s trade relationship with Tehran will continue to thrive.

As economic suffocation won’t suffice, Plan B is — what else — the threat of a hot war.

It’s by now established that the info, in fact rumors, about alleged Iranian maneuvers to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf was relayed to Bolton by the Mossad, at the White House, with Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat personally briefing Bolton.

Everyone is aware of the corollary: a “reposition of assets” (in Pentagonese) — from the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group deployment to four B-52 bombers landing in Al Udeid Air base in Qatar, all part of a “warning” to Iran.

A pre-war roaring crescendo now engulfs the Lebanese front as well as the Iranian front.

Reasons for Psychotic Rage

Iran’s GDP is similar to Thailand’s, and its military budget is similar to Singapore’s. Bullying Iran is a geopolitical and geo-economic absurdity. Iran may be an emerging Global South actor — it could easily be a member of the G20 — but can never be construed as a “threat” to the U.S.

Yet Iran provokes psychopathic imperial functionaries to a paroxysm of rage for three serious reasons. Neocons never mind that trying to destroy Iraq cost over $6 trillion — and it was a major war crime, a political disaster, and an economic abyss all rolled into one. Trying to destroy Iran will cost untold trillions more.

The most glaring reason for the irrational hatred is the fact the Islamic Republic is one of the very few nations on the planet consistently defying the hegemon — for four decades now.

The second reason is that Iran, just like Venezuela — and this is a combined war front — have committed the supreme anathema; trading on energy bypassing the petrodollar, the foundation stone of U.S. hegemony.

The third (invisible) reason is that to attack Iran is to disable emerging Eurasia integration, just like using NSA spying to ultimately put Brazil in the bag was an attack on Latin American integration.

The non-stop hysteria over whether President Donald Trump is being maneuvered into war on Iran by his pet psychopaths – well, he actually directed Iran to “Call me” — eludes the Big Picture. As shown before, a possible shut down of the Strait of Hormuz, whatever the reasons, would be like a major meteor impact on the global economy. And that would inevitably translate as no Trump reelection in 2020.

The Strait of Hormuz would never need to be blocked if all the oil Iran is able to export is bought by China, other Asian clients and even Russia — which could relabel it. But Tehran wouldn’t blink on blocking Hormuz if faced with total economic strangulation.

According to a dissident U.S. intel expert, “the United States is at a clear disadvantage in that if the Strait of Hormuz is shut the U.S. collapses. But if the U.S. can divert Russia from defending Iran, then Iran can be attacked and Russia will have accomplished nothing, as the neocons do not want detente with Russia and China. Trump does want detente but the Deep State does not intend to permit it.”

Assuming this scenario is correct, the usual suspects in the United States government are trying to divert Putin from the Strait of Hormuz question while keeping Trump weakened, as the neocons proceed 24/7 on the business of strangling Iran. It’s hard to see Putin falling for this not exactly elaborate trap.

Not Bluffing

So what happens next? Professor Mohammad Marandi at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran offers quite a sobering perspective: “After 60 days Iran will push things even further. I don’t think the Iranians are bluffing. They will also be pushing back at the Saudis and the Emiratis by different means.”

Marandi, ominously, sees “further escalation” ahead:

“Iranians have been preparing for war with the Unites States ever since the Iraq invasion in 2003. After what they’ve seen in Libya, in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, they know that the Americans and Europeans are utterly brutal. The whole shore of the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side and the Gulf of Oman is full of tunnels and underground high-tech missiles. The Persian Gulf is full of ships equipped with highly developed sea-to-sea missiles. If there is real war, all the oil and gas facilities in the region will be destroyed, all the tankers will be destroyed.”

And if that show comes to pass, Marandi regards the Strait of Hormuz as the “sideshow”:

“The Americans will be driven out of Iraq. Iraq exports 4 million barrels of oil a day; that would probably come to an end, through strikes and other means. It would be catastrophic for the Americans. It would be catastrophic for the world – and for Iran as well. But the Americans would simply not win.”

So as Marandi explains it — and Iranian public opinion now largely agrees — the Islamic Republic has leverage because they know “the Americans can’t afford to go to war. Crazies like Pompeo and Bolton may want it, but many in the establishment don’t.”

Tehran may have developed a modified MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) framework as leverage, mostly to push Trump ally MbS to cool down. “Assuming,” adds Marandi, “the madmen don’t get the upper hand, and if they do, then it’s war. But for the time being, I thinks that’s highly unlikely.”

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter transits Strait of Hormuz, May 2012. (U.S. Navy/Alex R. Forster)

All Options on the Table?

In Cold War 2.0 terms, from Central Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean and from the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea, Tehran is able to count on quite a set of formal and informal alliances. That not only centers on the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad-Tehran-Herat axis, but also includes Turkey and Qatar. And most important of all, the top actors on the Eurasian integration chessboard: the Russia and China in strategic partnership.

When Zarif met Lavrov last week in Moscow, they discussed virtually everything: Syria (they negotiate together in the Astana, now Nur-Sultan process), the Caspian, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (of which Iran will become a member), the JCPOA and Venezuela.

The Trump administration was dragged kicking and screaming to meet Kim Jong-Un at the same table because of the DPRK’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests. And then Kim ordered extra missile tests because, in his own words, as quoted by KCNA, “genuine peace and security of the country are guaranteed only by the strong physical force capable of defending its sovereignty.”

Global South Watching

The overwhelming majority of Global South nations are watching the U.S. neocon offensive to ultimately strangle “the Iranian people”, aware more than ever that Iran may be bullied to extinction because it does not posses a nuclear deterrent. The IRGC has reached the same conclusion.

That would mean the death of the JCPOA – and the Return of the Living Dead of “all options on the table.”

But then, there’ll be twists and turns in the Art of the (Demented) Deal. So what if, and it’s a major “if”, Donald Trump is being held hostage by his pet psychopaths?

Let The Dealer speak:

“We hope we don’t have to do anything with regard to the use of military force…We can make a deal, a fair deal. … We just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons. Not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They’re in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy… We have no secrets. And they can be very, very strong, financially. They have great potential.”

Then again, Ayatollah Khamenei said: the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

نظام القوة الأحادي يترنَّح في مياه الخليج

مايو 16, 2019

د.وفيق إبراهيم

الحروب الأميركية التي دمرت عشرات البلدان منذ ثمانينيات القرن الماضي من دون موافقات من مجلس الأمن الدولي، جاءت بمثابة إعلان عن ولادة نظام قوة عالمي بأحادية أميركية تمكنت من إسقاط المنافسين السوفيات واستيعاب الأوروبيين.

هذه الهيمنة الأميركية تعثرت في 2013 في الميدان السوري، فلم تتمكن من تنفيذ خطة كانت تشمل معظم الشرق الأوسط بتفتيت بلدانه إلى كيانات صغيرة على أسس طائفية ومناطقية وجهوية للتمديد للاحادية الأميركية.

لذلك بدت سورية آنذاك المعقل الأول للنيل من الفرادة الأميركية، حيث تحالفت دولتها الشجاعة وبالتتابع مع حزب الله وإيران والروس، لدحر أكبر قوة إرهابية في التاريخ تمتعت وحسب اعترافات سياسيين أوروبيين وقطريين بدعم أميركي إسرائيلي خليجي تركي يشمل كل أنواع المساندات التمويلية والتسليحية واللوجيستية والسياسية بمشاركة قصف جوي دائم اميركي وإسرائيلي لا يزال يستهدف الجيش السوري وحلفاءه. فبدأ الإرهاب مع هذا الإسناد مجرد معارضة تنشد التغيير الديموقراطي ببرامج عمل لبن لادن والظواهري.

يتبيّن أن الدولة السورية نجحت في تسديد ضربة قوية للأحادية الأميركية ارغمتها على التراجع نحو شرقي الفرات، حيث تحاول هناك استكمال جزء بسيط ومستحيل من خطتها المنكسرة.

وبما أن إيران دولة «شرق أوسطية»، تشارك في دعم سورية بكل إمكاناتها، وتمكنت من اختراق الأحادية الاميركية في افغانستان وباكستان واليمن والعراق وسورية ولبنان، وبنت نظام تسليح ضخماً ودولة متماسكة، تشكل تهديداً بنيوياً لمدنيين اميركيين من الحلبات الاساسية للاحادية الأميركية في الخليج النفطي، الغازي الاقتصادي، و»إسرائيل» الصمود الاستراتيجي للجيوبولتيك الاميركي في الشرق الأوسط.

أرتأت «امبراطورية الكاوبوي» الاميركية أن وقف تراجعها لا يكون إلا بإسقاط الدولة الإيرانية، وبما أن الهجوم العسكري المباشر على إيران صعب، لجأ الأميركيون إلى اسلوب الحصار والتجويع وقطع علاقات إيران الاقتصادية بالعالم، وذلك بالترافق مع نشر كميات كبيرة من البوارج والمقاتلات الأميركية في مياه العرب واراضيهم المقابلة للجمهورية الاسلامية.

أما الذرائع الأميركية فهي كالعادة واولها اسلحتها الصاروخية ودعم اليمن والعراق وسورية.

وهذه اتهامات تصب فقط في مصلحة داعش والنصرة وكامل التنظيمات الإرهابية وترميم التراجع الاميركي، وحماية «إسرائيل» والسعودية والإمارات.

لذلك ظهرت ردة فعل ثنائية بدت على شكل بناءات هدفها العلاقات الدولية وتوفير ظروف أفضل للاستقرار الدولي عبر وقف الحروب الاميركية التدميرية بوسيلتيها الاجتياحات العسكرية والحصار الاقتصادي الخانق.

ردة الفعل الأولى من إيران الدولة والمجتمع، فمقابل حصار تجويعي يمنعها من الاستيراد والتصدير الطبيعيين والمسموح بهما لكل دولة عضو في الأمم المتحدة، قدمت الجمهورية الإسلامية بشكل دولة قوية تجمع بين قوة التسليح والاكتفاء الزراعي مع تقدم ملموس صناعياً، بوسعه تلبية الحاجات الأساسية للإيرانيين.

لكن ما فاجأ الاميركيين هو الالتفاف الكبير للإيرانيين حول دولتهم على الرغم من المصاعب الاقتصادية الضخمة، كان الأميركيون يعولون على انفجار داخلي يطيح بالدولة، وما حدث كان على العكس تماماً بدليل أن إيران المتنوعة عرقياً ودينياً ظهرت جسماً واحداً في مواجهة الحصار الأميركي ـ الخليجي ـ الاسرائيلي.

كما قدّم جيشها نماذج عن مصادر قوته البحرية والصاروخية والبرية، بما يدحض أي إمكانية لغزو خارجي.. هذا إلى جانب وجود نظام متحرك لقوتها الصاروخية يستطيع نقل ادواته إلى أمكنة جديدة، قبل حدوث الغارات المتوقعة عليه.

هذه المعادلة، افهمت الأميركيين استحالة غزو إيران من الخارج أو قصفها جوياً، فذهبوا نحو التشدد في العقوبات وصولاً إلى منع الدول من شراء نفطها وامكاناتها الأخرى في محاولة لإفلاسها نهائياً وتفجير دولتها.

على المستوى الثاني لردود الفعل، فكان من تركيا والهند والعراق المصرّين على مواصلة شراء غاز ونفط من إيران إلى جانب الصين التي اكدت وبجملة واحدة أنها لن توقف وارداتها من الجمهورية الاسلامية، فرد عليها الرئيس الاميركي ترامب بمضاعفة رسوم جمركية بمعدل 25 في المئة على سلع صينية تدخل الأسواق الأميركية وقيمتها 300 مليار دولار.

مما يجوز فهمه على أنه جزء من حروب الاحادية الاميركية على منافسيها في السيطرة على القرار الدولي بواجهات اقتصادية وسياسية.

فالموقف الصيني المعترض على المشروع الأميركي بتفجير إيران يتطوّر على هوى تطور الموقف الروسي. وهنا يمكن الإشارة التي تشكل موقفاً معادياً للأحادية الاميركية، استناداً إلى ما يحدث في الخليج من احتمالات حروب وتدمير.. فهذه هي الفرصة المناسبة ليس لتفجير إيران، بل للنيل من الاحادية الاميركية على اساس إعادة بناء نظام جديد ينتمي اليه الاميركيون بالطبع انما إلى جانب تحالف ثلاثي ـ صيني، روسي، وإيراني، مدعوم من شبكة علاقات دولية في سورية وفنزويلا وكثير من الدول في أميركا الجنوبية والشرق الأوسط وجنوب شرق آسيا.

الدور الإيراني هو إذاً الفرصة النموذجية والموضوعية لتقليص النفوذ الأميركي العالمي، متيحاً للروس مرة جديدة، وبعد الميدان السوري، مزيداً من التقدم لاستعادة دورهم العالمي المفقود منذ انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1990 وللشرق الأوسط مزيداً من الاستقلالية عن سياسات التأديب الأميركية.

وما يؤكد على صحة هذه الأهداف، ما صدر عن لقاء منذ يومين جمع وزيري خارجية روسيا والصين، أكدا فيه على التحالف مع إيران التي لم تنتهك الاتفاق النووي.

لكن الروس ذهبوا أكثر بدعوتهم لكل البلدان الى التعامل الاقتصادي مع إيران لأن القرارات الأميركية غير شرعية.. كاشفين عن عزمهم تزويدها بكل ما تحتاجه من سلاح للدفاع عن نفسها، فكيف يمكن لروسيا المصرّة على دورها العالمي أن تقبل بغزو اميركي لإيران المجاورة لها لجهة بحر قزوين والدولة الوحيدة مع سورية التي تجابه الهيمنة الاميركية في الشرق الأوسط.

ان منطق الضرورة والحاجة المتبادلة يؤسس بسرعة لحلف روسي ـ إيراني ـ سوري له مدى كبير في العالم، وهدفه المحوري هو إلحاق هزيمة بالأميركيين في بحر الخليج تستطيع إعادة تنظيم الاستقرار الدولي بتعددية المرجعيات الدولية المتوازنة والبلدان الإقليمية الوازنة ـ الأمر الذي يؤدي إلى تراجع لغة الإقناع بالتدمير والحروب لمصلحة إعادة تقديم لغة الحوار بين الأنظمة المتناقضة.

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White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War

By Eric Schmitt and Julian E. Barnes – NYT

At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting War Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.

The revisions were ordered by hard-liners led by John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. They do not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require vastly more troops, officials said.

The development reflects the influence of Bolton, one of the administration’s most virulent Iran hawks, whose push for confrontation with Tehran was ignored more than a decade ago by President George W. Bush.

It is highly uncertain whether Trump, who has sought to disentangle the United States from Afghanistan and Syria, ultimately would send so many American forces back to the Middle East.

It is also unclear whether the president has been briefed on the number of troops or other details in the plans. On Monday, asked about if he was seeking regime change in Iran, Trump said: “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake.”

There are sharp divisions in the administration over how to respond to Iran at a time when tensions are rising about Iran’s nuclear policy and its intentions in the Middle East.

Some senior American officials said the plans, even at a very preliminary stage, show how dangerous the threat from Iran has become. Others, who are urging a diplomatic resolution to the current tensions, said it amounts to a scare tactic to warn Iran against new aggressions.

European allies who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said that they worry that tensions between Washington and Tehran could boil over, possibly inadvertently.

More than a half-dozen American national security officials who have been briefed on details of the updated plans agreed to discuss them with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity. Spokesmen for Shanahan and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declined to comment.

The size of the force involved has shocked some who have been briefed on them. The 120,000 troops would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.

Deploying such a robust air, land and naval force would give Tehran more targets to strike, and potentially more reason to do so, risking entangling the United States in a drawn out conflict. It also would reverse years of retrenching by the American military in the Middle East that began with President Barack Obama’s withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2011.

But two of the American national security officials said Trump’s announced drawdown in December of American forces in Syria, and the diminished naval presence in the region, appear to have emboldened some leaders in Tehran and convinced the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps that the United States has no appetite for a fight with Iran.

Several oil tankers were reportedly attacked or sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend, raising fears that shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf could become flash points. “It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens,” Mr. Trump said on Monday, asked about the episode.

Emirati officials are investigating the apparent sabotage, and American officials suspect that Iran was involved. Several officials cautioned, however, that there is not yet any definitive evidence linking Iran or its proxies to the reported attacks. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman called it a “regretful incident,” according to a state news agency.

In Brussels, Pompeo met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, cosignatories of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as well as with the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. He did not speak to the media, but the European officials said they had urged restraint upon Washington, fearing accidental escalation that could lead to conflict with Iran.

“We are very worried about the risk of a conflict happening by accident, with an escalation that is unintended really on either side,” said Jeremy Hunt, the British foreign secretary.

The Iranian government has not threatened violence recently, but last week, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would walk away from parts of the 2015 nuclear deal it reached with world powers. Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement a year ago, but European nations have urged Iran to stick with the deal and ignore Trump’s provocations.

The high-level review of the Pentagon’s plans was presented during a meeting about broader Iran policy. It was held days after what the Trump administration described, without evidence, as new intelligence indicating that Iran was mobilizing proxy groups in Iraq and Syria to attack American forces.

As a precaution, the Pentagon has moved an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers, a Patriot missile interceptor battery and more naval firepower to the gulf region.

At last week’s meeting, Shanahan gave an overview of the Pentagon’s planning, then turned to General Dunford to detail various force options, officials said. The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete.

Among those attending Thursday’s meeting were Shanahan; Bolton; General Dunford; Gina Haspel, the CIA director; and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.

“The president has been clear, the United States does not seek military conflict with Iran, and he is open to talks with Iranian leadership,” Garrett Marquis, a National Security Council spokesman, said Monday in an email. “However, Iran’s default option for 40 years has been violence, and we are ready to defend US personnel and interests in the region.”

The reduction of forces in the Middle East in recent years has been propelled by a new focus on China, Russia and a so-called Great Powers competition. The most recent National Military Strategy — released before Bolton joined the Trump administration — concluded that while the Middle East remains important, and Iran is a threat to American allies, the United States must do more to ensure a rising China does not upend the world order.

As recently as late April, an American intelligence analysis indicated that Iran had no short-term desire to provoke a conflict…

On May 5, Bolton announced the first of new deployments to the Persian Gulf, including bombers and an aircraft carrier.

It is not clear to American intelligence officials what changed Iran’s posture. But intelligence and War Department officials said American sanctions have been working better than originally expected, proving far more crippling to the Iranian economy — especially after a clampdown on all oil exports that was announced last month.

Also in April, the State Department designated the Revolutionary Guards a foreign ‘terrorist’ organization over objections from Pentagon and intelligence officials who feared reprisals from the Iranian military.

While much of the new intelligence appears to have focused on ‘Iran readying its proxy forces’, officials said they believed the most likely cause of a conflict will follow a provocative act, or outright attack, by the Revolutionary Guards’ navy. The Guards’ fleet of small boats has a history of approaching American Navy ships at high speed. Revolutionary Guards commanders have precarious control over their ill-disciplined naval forces.

Part of the updated planning appears to focus on what military action the United States might take if Iran resumes its nuclear fuel production, which has been frozen under the 2015 agreement. It would be difficult for the Trump administration to make a case that the United States was under imminent nuclear peril; Iran shipped 97 percent of its fuel out of the country in 2016, and currently does not have enough to make a bomb.

That could change if Iran resumes enriching uranium. But it would take a year or more to build up a significant quantity of material, and longer to fashion it into a weapon. That would allow, at least in theory, plenty of time for the United States to develop a response — like a further cutoff of oil revenues, covert action or military strikes.

The previous version of the Pentagon’s war plan included a classified subset code-named Nitro Zeus, a cyber operation that called for unplugging Iran’s major cities, its power grid and its military.

The idea was to use cyber weapons to paralyze Iran in the opening hours of any conflict, in hopes that it would obviate the need to drop any bombs or conduct a traditional attack. That plan required extensive presence inside Iran’s networks — called “implants” or “beacons” — that would pave the way for injecting destabilizing malware into Iranian systems.

Two officials said those plans have been constantly updated in recent years.

But even a cyberattack, without dropping bombs, carries significant risk. Iran has built up a major corps of its own, one that successfully attacked financial markets in 2012, a casino in Las Vegas and a range of military targets. American intelligence officials told Congress in January that Iranian hackers are now considered sophisticated operators who are increasingly capable of striking United States targets.

Since Bolton became national security adviser in April 2018, he has intensified the Trump administration’s policy of isolating and pressuring Iran. The animus against Iran’s leaders dates back at least to his days as an official in the George W. Bush administration. Later, as a private citizen, Bolton called for military strikes on Iran, as well as regime change.

The newly updated plans were not the first time during the Trump administration that Bolton has sought military options to strike Iran.

This year, War Department and senior American officials said Bolton sought similar guidance from the Pentagon last year, after militants fired three mortars or rockets into an empty lot on the grounds of the United States Embassy in Baghdad in September.

In response to Bolton’s request, which alarmed Jim Mattis, then the war secretary, the Pentagon offered some general options, including a cross-border airstrike on an Iranian military facility that would have been mostly symbolic.

But Mattis and other military leaders adamantly opposed retaliation for the Baghdad attack, successfully arguing that it was insignificant.

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