Yemeni Resistance Retaliates: Drone Targets Saudi Arms Depot in Najran Airport

By Staff, Agencies

The Yemeni resistance, led by the Ansarullah revolutionary movement, launched a drone strike on an arms depot at an airport in Saudi Arabia’s southern Najran region in retaliation for the kingdom’s prolonged brutal military campaign against the impoverished country.

Relatively, Yemen’s al-Masirah TV channel reported that the attack was carried out by a Qasef-2K combat drone on Tuesday, causing a fire at the airport.

However, the Saudi-led coalition claimed that a civilian facility in Najran had been targeted with an explosive-laden drone.

In a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency [SPA], Saudi coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki claimed the Ansarullah were posing “a real threat to regional and international security by targeting civilian objects and civilian facilities.”

He did not, however, give further details of the drone attack, which came a week after Yemeni drones targeted the East-West pipeline in the heart of Saudi Arabia, forcing the state oil giant Aramco to temporarily halt pumping oil on the vital pipeline.

The Ansarullah, which both runs Yemen’s state affairs and defends the country against the Saudi-led aggression launched in March 2015, confirmed that the drone attacks were in response to the regime’s crimes against the Yemeni nation.

On Sunday, the resistance group warned that the strikes targeting the oil pipeline were the start of operations against 300 vital targets in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Maliki on Monday claimed that the Ansarullah had fired two ballistic missiles toward the cities of Mecca and Jeddah, but that both had been intercepted by the Saudi air defense.

The Yemeni fighters, however, denied the claims, stressing that they would never target the Muslim holy sites.

“The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people,” Yemen’s armed forces spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare’e said in a Facebook post.

Meanwhile, Ansarullah spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam also stressed that the Riyadh regime has “fabricated the lie” about targeting Mecca to divert attention from what is happening in Yemen.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war against Yemen in an attempt to reinstall the Riyadh-allied former regime and crush the Ansarullah movement — objectives that have failed to materialize thanks to the stiff resistance put up by Yemeni fighters.

The Western-backed military aggression, coupled with a naval blockade, has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, destroyed the country’s infrastructure and led to a massive humanitarian crisis.

Yemeni fighters regularly target positions inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the protracted offensive.

MILITARY SITUATION IN YEMEN ON MAY 21, 2019 (MAP UPDATE)

  • Ansar Allah targeted Najran Airport with a Qasef K1 suicide drone;
  • Clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces continue in the Alab crossing;
  • Heavy clashes between Ansar Allah and Saudi-led forces continue in the Qatabah area, Dhale province;
  • Ceasefire violations were reported in Al Hudaydah;
  • Ansar Allah attacked Saudi-led forces positions east of Nar Mountain.
Military Situation In Yemen On May 21, 2019 (Map Update)

Click to see the full-size image

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War on Qatif: Demolishing Al-Thawra Neighborhood, The Cradle of Peaceful Protests…

By Latifa al-Husseini

The Saudi authorities are escalating their arbitrary measures against the people of al-Qatif eastern province and its towns. Random detentions, executions and raids in the eastern province contradict all humanitarian, ethical, rights and internationally-recognized legal standards.

The Saudi security apparatuses are implementing the royal orders they are receiving, imposing the rulings militarily and violently against safe civilians at their homes, those civilians who don’t enjoy the freedom of objecting to those tyrannical rulings.

The regime’s scheme goes beyond oppressing the opposition members or those trying to voice objection to the Al Saud’s family. The issue is way more dangerous as the information obtained from inside Saudi Arabia suggest a sectarian proposal the Saudi regime tends to apply in al-Qatif against its people’s will.

An insider source told al-Ahed News that the “security sources are on the brink of razing hundreds of houses inside Qatif, namely those located in al-Thawra Street to displace thousands of residents like the issue of razing the al-Mosawara neighborhood back in 2017.”

Apparently, the Saudi authorities claim implementing a developmental plan that includes charitable projects, in an attempt to gain some popular support, but what is hidden is worse. The source stresses to al-Ahed that in this context, “the Saudi regime seeks to change the Shia demographic formation in the region to weaken the biggest portion of the people; the original landowners, by nationalizing foreigners and intruders.”

The source further links the anticipated plan with the popular movement of 2012. What is meant here is to eliminate the symbolism it used to represent, especially that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman seeks to muzzle people and silence any voice of opposition by detaining or killing them afar from the judicial system.”

“The goal behind destroying houses and displacing their people is way beyond the Saudi media claims of chasing terrorist groups, according to them. The issue, as simple as it is, is that the Saudi regime is waging a sectarian war under the strategy of dominating people by dividing them, in which it is distracting the people with “reformative” religious instructions, although it is manipulating the governance as well as the people’s resources and wealth,” the source tells al-Ahed.

According to the source, the direct responsible for the scheme of razing the houses is the King and his heir. “The scheme is managed, under their order, by their affiliated spies and tradesmen in al-Qatif. They want to harm all walks of the people living inside those houses, including the youths who long for obtaining the simplest aspects of a dignified life Al Saud has stolen from them by force someday; the families of the activists who took to the al-Thawra street in 2011.”

While people were informed about the scheme, the source explains that “there were reports on those malicious intents, but the people refused to leave their houses for many reasons, including that the compensations supposed to be paid for them are not convenient with the inflation as well as hiking house prices. Hence, the family that leaves its home cannot buy another one with the amount of money it will receive in exchange of the razing; they can only rent a house.”

The source affirms that the “Saudi regime doesn’t care for those issues, it only continue its oppression by destroying and razing houses against their owners’ wills.”

The provided information signal a scheme similar to previous ones in other neighborhoods and streets. The historic al-Mosawara neighborhood is a good evidence to remember.

 

To read the Arabic version click here

The Guardian: Soleimani Tells Iraqi Groups to Prepare for War

By Staff, The Guardian

The Guardian British daily revealed on Friday that Iran’s head of Al-Quds Forces has recently met Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”.

Two senior intelligence sources told the Guardian that Qassem Soleimani met the Iraqi leaders three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region.

This comes as the UK raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq on Thursday.

While Soleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s Shia groups over the past five years, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said.

Meanwhile, a US decision was taken to evacuate non-essential diplomatic staff from the US embassy in Baghdad and Erbil.

One senior figure who learned about the meeting had since met with western officials to express concerns.

The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, appeared to align the UK on Thursday with US claims that Tehran’s threat posture had changed. “We share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran,” he said on Twitter. “As always we work closely with the USA.”

Earlier this week, a British general challenged the Trump administration’s claims that an imminent threat had emerged from Iran, creating a rare public schism between the two countries whose alliance has at times been tested by the erratic nature of Trump’s regional policy.

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Boiling or To Explode: 2 US Destroyers Enter Gulf amid Escalated Tensions with Iran

By Staff, Agencies 

Two US Navy warships armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles have entered the Gulf with a carrier strike group on stand-by off the coast of Oman, as Washington keeps claiming that Tehran is planning to attack “American interests.”

Guided missile destroyers USS Gonzalez [DDG-66] and USS McFaul [DDG-74] transited the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday afternoon, the US Naval Institute [USNI] reported. Their sailing proceeded “without challenge” or “harassment” from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, despite boiling hot tensions between Tehran and Washington, the publication’s defense sources noted.

The two destroyers are now in close proximity to other American warships in the region sent by Washington earlier this month to tackle what the US called “heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations against US forces and our interests.” No evidence has yet been offered to back up those claims.

USS Abraham Lincoln [CVN-72] Strike Group, with strategic bombers onboard, stands ready off the coast of Oman, while amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge [LHD-3] was off the coast of the United Arab Emirate on Thursday, USNI learned. B-52 bombers have also commenced their air operations from the US base in Qatar as Washington continues to amass its forces.

Tehran, which called US saber-rattling “psychological warfare,” says the Islamic Republic stands ready to defend itself against any act of aggression but does not consider a war with the US and its allies as “an option.”

“We are not interested in the escalation of tensions in our region, because if something goes wrong, everybody will lose, including Iran, including the US, including all the countries in the region,” Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-e Ravanchi told American outlet National Public Radio.

إيران ترسم إيقاع العلاقات الدولية

مايو 14, 2019

ناصر قنديل

من الصعب مشاهدة وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو يغيّر وجهة سفره من موسكو الى بروكسل، بعد كل ما أصاب ناقلات النفط على ساحل الإمارات الشرقي خارج مضيق هرمز من جهة بحر عمان، وعدم الربط بين الحدثين، كما يصعب سماع معاون وزير الخارجية الروسية سيرغي رياباكوف يتحدّث عن إلغاء زيارة بومبيو الى موسكو وحصرها بسوتشي بعد يومين دون تذكّر التصعيد الأميركي الإيراني في الخليج، خصوصاً بعد إعلان الكرملين عن عدم وجود أي تثبيت لموعد لقاء بين الرئيسين الأميركي دونالد ترامب والروسي فلاديمير بوتين على هامش قمة العشرين، وسبب ربط كل ما يجري بإيران هو ببساطة أن الأمور كانت تجري باتجاه معاكس وتغيّرت على إيقاع الحدث الإيراني.

– في مقلب آخر كانت أوروبا ترفع صوتها اعتراضاً على المهل الإيرانية لتأمين عائدات مناسبة من الاتفاق النووي تحت طائلة الانسحاب منه، حتى بدا أن منطقة الخليج مهددة بالاشتعال وأن واشنطن تتصرف بأسلوب طائش سيتسبب بإطلاق حرب اسعار في سوق النفط وتحريك التدافع في الطلب عليه خشية وقوع أحداث كبرى في المنطقة التي يتدفق منها قرابة نصف ما يتداوله السوق وربع ما يستهلكه العالم، فتغيّرت لغة أوروبا نحو السعي لاحتواء إيران وتقديم العروض لها والسعي لإبقائها في دائرة التفاوض على البدائل، ومواجهة وزير الخارجية الأميركية برفض مجاراته في سياسة الضغوط والتصعيد والعقوبات، وبدأ الحديث الأوروبي العملي عن كمية النفط التي ستتعهّدها أوروبا من انتاج السوق الإيرانية، والحد الأدنى الذي يحق لإيران تأمين بيعه من عقود دولية ثابتة، والحديث يدور بين مليون برميل يومياً وفقاً للعرض الأوروبي او مليون ونصف المليون برميل وفقاً للطلب الإيراني، وهو ما يعني سقوط مفاعيل العقوبات الأميركية.

– ليست القضية هي أن إيران تقف وراء تفجيرات وأحداث الفجيرة أو ما أصاب ناقلات النفط السعودية، فالمنطقة خارج مضيق هرمز وفي بحر عمان الواقع جنوب مضيق هرمز وفي الممر المائي بين مضيقي هرمز وباب المندب، كانت دائماً مسرحاً لجماعات القرصنة البحرية الصومالية، حتى بدأ التنسيق الواقعي بين إيران التي تملك وحدها أهم أسطول بحري قوي في منطقة الخليج، وبين السفن الآتية وفي مقدمتها ناقلات النفط، لمواكبتها في هذا الممر الخطير، وهو ما توقف منذ بدأت العقوبات الاميركية في نسختها الأخيرة ومن ضمنها التعهد الإماراتي السعودي بالشراكة في العقوبات عبر ضخ الكميات التي يحتاجها سوق النفط بفعل نقص المبيعات الإيرانية بسبب العقوبات، والمنطقي أن تكون مسؤولية من يدّعي القدرة على ضمان استقرار سوق النفط دون إيران أن يقدم الدليل على ذلك. وما جرى يقول إن الاميركيين والخليجيين عاجزون بدون إيران عن فعل ذلك، من دون أن يفيدهم توجيه الاتهامات لها بشي.

– عملياً بدأ ارتفاع الأسعار في سوق النفط العالمية، ومزيد من التوتر سيسبب المزيد من الارتفاع والمزيد من زيادة أكلاف التأمين على السفن التجارية وناقلات النفط، والمزيد من السعي لتخزين كميات احتياطية خشية اندلاع أزمة تتسبب بوقف تدفق النفط من المنطقة، وكل رعونة أميركية أو مواقف خليجية صبيانية تحت شعار تفادي الأزمة ستدفع الامور بهذا الاتجاه بسرعة أكبر.

– رسمت إيران معادلة عنوانها لا استقرار في سوق النفط العالمية دون شراكة مريحة لإيران، مقابل المعادلة التي تعرضها واشنطن وقوامها لا استقرار لمكانة إيران المالية والنفطية دون ضمان أمن «إسرائيل»، بعدما فشلت واشنطن في فرض معادلة ربط استقرار سورية بأمن «إسرائيل» بمقايضة فاشلة لوجود إيران وقوى المقاومة بالوجود الأميركي في سورية سبقت الانسحاب الأميركي من التفاهم النووي مع إيران.

– سيعود الجميع الى رشدهم ويعرفون الطريق الى طاولة التفاوض في سوتشي، وستثبت إيران معادلتها لأن الحرب انتهت او تكاد، والذي هزم في سورية ليس أبو محمد الجولاني ولا أبو بكر البغدادي، بل قادة الحلف الأطلسي مجتمعين ومعهم كل حلفائهم في المنطقة وفي المقدمة «إسرائيل» وحكومات الخليج.

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أنصار الله القوة الإقليمية الصاعدة

مايو 17, 2019

ناصر قنديل

قدّمت تجربة أنصار الله من الصمود والذكاء الاستراتيجي والإبداع التكتيكي ما يجعلها ظاهرة تستحق الدراسة، وها هي تتقدم إلى مصاف القوة الصانعة للسياسة والتوازنات الجديدة في منطقة الخليج، لتتقدّم كقوة إقليمية صاعدة في زمن التقهقر للقوى التقليدية في الخليج، بصورة تشبه ما صنعه حزب الله في منطقة المشرق، وبدرجة تقارب وتضاهي في إنشاء موازين ردع بوجه السعودية كما أنشأ حزب الله الموازين الرادعة بوجه «إسرائيل». وتأتي عمليات أنصار الله في التأثير على أسواق النفط العالمية لتمنحهم صفة القوة الإقليمية التي لا يمكن الحد من تأثيرها بغير التفاهمات السياسية معها، لأن إثبات القدرة كان كافياً للقول إن الذهاب إلى المواجهة مع أنصار الله، بعد الفشل في تحجيم ما أظهرته قوتهم في مواجهة حرب عالمية استهدفتهم في اليمن، إنما يعني تعريض سوق النفط العالمية لأضرار لا يحتملها العالم، دون ضمان بلوغ النتائج المرجوة بإضعاف انصار الله أو تحجيم تأثيرهم على مفاصل حساسة في سوق النفط، أظهروا إتقان التعامل معها في الزمان والمكان والإعلان وعدم الإعلان.

نمت تجربة أنصار الله في ظروف جغرافية تشبه تلك التي تعيشها غزة في ظل الحصار الإسرائيلي براً وبحراً وجواً، حيث تمسك السعودية بكل ما يحيط باليمن، وتمكّن أنصار الله رغم ذلك من بناء قدرات صاروخية متقدمة تميّزت بالتطويرات التقنية المذهلة، وتميّزوا بإتقان أشد تأثيراً وفاعلية في سلاح الطائرات المسيرة، فصارت طائراتهم بدون طيار سلاح جو حقيقياً، يعبر أجواء المنطقة ويضرب حيث يشاء مثبتاً القدرة على التملص من وسائل الدفاع الجوي والرادارات المنتشرة في اليمن والخليج، تحت إدارة الخبراء الأميركيين مباشرة، وأظهروا قدرة على التقاط اللحظة الاستراتيجية بطريقة تحاكي ما فعلته قوى ودول وحركات مقاومة متمرسة بقوانين الحرب وخوض غمارها، فدخولهم على خط القلق العالمي تجاه أسواق النفط أثناء تصاعد الاشتباك الأميركي الإيراني، واستهدافهم للمنشآت النفطية للدول المتورطة في العدوان على اليمن، جعلهم شريكاً حكمياً في أي تسوية جزئية أو كلية تطال هذا النزاع، أو تسعى لتحييده عن أسواق النفط على الأقل، وتمهيدهم لذلك ببراعة تكتيكية تمثلت بمبادرة في ميناء الحديدة قدّموها بالتنسيق مع الجهات الأممية دون التشاور مع قوى العدوان، مثل قمة المهارة في إمساك خطوط وخيوط لعبة الحرب والسلم والمناورة.

السلفة الاستراتيجية التي قدّمها أنصار الله لإيران في المواجهة، لم تتمّ على حساب وطنيتهم اليمنية التي تنزف تحت ظلم وجرائم العدوان اليومي السعودي الإماراتي المدعوم بوضوح لا لبس فيه وشراكة لا تحتمل الاشتباه لإدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب، فقدّموا دون إعلان استثماراً مشتركاً يجعلهم شركاء في التسويات في معادلة دولية كبرى من جهة، ويمنح الحليف الإيراني موقع قوة في التفاوض من جهة أخرى، وبذلك ترجموا فهماً عميقاً وذكياً ناضجاً لمفهوم التحالفات، يشبه ما فعله حزب الله في استثماره في حرب تموز 2006 وحربه الدفاعية عن سورية، استثمار لا يبتعد عن مقتضيات الهوية الوطنية، بل يلبي حاجاتها المباشرة، لكنه لا يتردّد في دخول المسرح الإقليمي والدولي بتعزيز مكانة الحلفاء، والتقدّم بشجاعة إلى المسرح المباشر للصراعات الكبرى، ومن خلفها المفاوضات الكبرى، التي ترسم توازنات الإقليم والعالم.

يقول أحد قادة المقاومة، لقد أدهشنا أنصار الله اليمنيون دائماً، وكوادر المقاومة الذين كانوا على احتكاك مع التجربة اليمنية يحملون آثارها في أدوارهم اللاحقة ويتخذونها مثالاً في مخاطبة المتدربين والمحيطين، ويتحدثون بانبهار وإعجاب عن ميزات كالصبر والثقة بالنصر والمثابرة والتحمّل، واليقين بأن الوقت الصعب سيمرّ، وأن زمناً ليس بعيداً سيحمل التغيير الكبير، والأهم أنهم لا يتوقفون عن إضافة الجديد والمبتكر، سواء في مجال التقنيات أو التكتيكات القتالية أو الحرب النفسية، وهم ربما يكونون مثالاً يُحتذى في مجال الانضباط والتنظيم، رغم قسوة الحرب والظروف وقلة الموارد.

أيها الحوثيون، يا أنصار الله ورجاله، أنتم فخر أمتنا، تُرفع لكم القبعة، مبارك لكم أنكم في الطليعة تصنعون معادلات جديدة لشعبكم وأمتكم، وتدركون أن صفقة القرن التي تستهدف فلسطين تسقط من باب المندب ومياه بحر عمان وخط أنابيب ينبع – الدمام، كما تسقط بالمسيرات المليونية التي تتقدّم في شرق غزة والصواريخ التي تسقط قرب تل أبيب، لأن الصفقة تحتاج قوة الحليفين في تل أبيب والرياض، وتسقط بتمريغ خرافة قوتهما بوحول مجبولة بدماء الأبطال المقاومين، وليس غريباً أنكم كنتم دائماً تتسببون بالحرج لكل عربي حر صادق مع فلسطين بحجم حضوركم السخي في الساحات تحت قصف الطيران لتهتفوا لفلسطين في كل مناسبة تخصّها، فتكونون الأوائل، وهكذا أنتم اليوم، يمنيّون يدافعون بشراسة عن اليمن، وعرب أقحاح يلتزمون فلسطين بوصلة وميثاقاً، ومقاومون في الخطوط الأمامية لمحور يتكامل فعلاً وقولاً من أقصى الشمال إلى أقصى الجنوب ومن شرق الشرق إلى حيث الغرب.

ترامب ينتظر اتصالاً إيرانياً على رقم هاتف ساخن خاص وضعه لهذا الغرض وراح ينتظر، ومستشاروه اليوم ينصحونه بالسعي للحصول على رقم هاتف يخصّ أنصار الله لضمان استقرار أسواق النفط، التي لا تجدي فيها قواته وحشوده ولا حكومات يتوزع قادتها الألقاب الفخمة، والأموال الطائلة، والأسلحة المكدّسة، لكنهم لا يملكون بعضاً يسيراً من الروح التي تملكون، فتنتصرون بأرواحكم على كل ما بين أيديهم، وقد هزمت فيهم الروح، فتثبتون أن صناعة التاريخ والحرب تبدأ، كالنصر والهزيمة، بالروح وبالروح فقط. مبارك صيامكم وقيامكم، وتتبعكم المذهل لكلمات سيد مقاومتكم السيد عبد الملك الحوثي، الذي أدهش العالم بما قدم مع شباب وكهول صنعوا أحد النماذج الفريدة للمقاومة والفكر والنصر.

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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.

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