‘cocked and loaded to retaliate; 10 mins. before the strike I stopped it’
Whoosh-worthy Freudian slip aside, this is by way of an open discussion on: what really happened? Everyone seems to have an opinion, as do I, even if mine don’t bear up under scrutiny. (smile) Please chime in…
My belief is that it was a palace coup, or an attempted one, given portions of this reprint of the original June 20 (CIA) New Yawk Times report at the Miami Herald:
“As late as 7 p.m. Thursday, military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike, after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations.
Officials said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.”
“It was not clear whether Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.
Asked about the plans for a strike and the decision to hold back, the White House declined to comment, as did Pentagon officials. No government officials asked The New York Times to withhold the article.”
“Trump’s national security advisers split about whether to respond militarily. Senior administration officials said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; John bomb-bomb Bolton, the national security adviser; and Gina Haspel, the CIA director, had favored a military response. But top Pentagon officials cautioned that such an action could result in a spiraling escalation with risks for U.S. forces in the region.”
H/T b at MoA: @IntelCrab
“Not sure I have an opinion yet on this NYT piece, but I will say one thing…the HF traffic we’ve seen today is consistent with the assertion that at least SOME sort of strike package was authorized” 8:26 PM – 20 Jun 2019
Could the Terrible Troika bolded above launched the strike? This gets a bit out on edge, but I’d seen earlier speculation that the US Cyber Command may have been able to launch the operation. H/T Café denizen Greyson Smythe:
‘Trump approved cyber-strikes against Iran’s missile systems’, washingtonpost.com, Ellen Nakashima, June 22, 2019
“President Trump approved an offensive cyberstrike that disabled Iranian computer systems used to control rocket and missile launches, even as he backed away from a conventional military attack in response to its downing Thursday of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone, according to people familiar with the matter.
The cyberstrikes, launched Thursday night by personnel with U.S. Cyber Command, were in the works for weeks if not months, according to two of these people, who said the Pentagon proposed launching them after Iran’s alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month.
The strike against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was coordinated with U.S. Central Command, the military organization with purview of activity throughout the Middle East, these people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the operation remains extremely sensitive.” [long snip]
“Our U.S. military has long known that we could sink every IRGC vessel in the strait within 24 hours if necessary. And this is the modern version of what the U.S. Navy has to do to defend itself at sea and keep international shipping lanes free from Iranian disruption.”
Thursday’s strikes against the Revolutionary Guard represented the first offensive show of force since Cyber Command was elevated to a full combatant command in May. It leveraged new authorities, granted by the president, that have streamlined the approval process for such measures. It is also a reflection of a new Cyber Command strategy — called “defending forward” — that its leader, Gen. Paul Nakasone, has defined as operating “against our enemies on their virtual territory.”
Gen. Paul Nakasone is also the head of the NSA.
The bolded text is pretty funny, but could cyber command have launched the operation? I suppose the whole story could be a psyop for Iran’s benefit, but Iran has been clear: mess with us and our territory, and we’ll respond. Next, b seems to respect Magnier a lot, and he has a lot to bring on the issues at hand.
‘Iran and Trump on the edge of the Abyss’, Elijah J. Magnier, June 21, 2019
“According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.”
“Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran’s allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran’s allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.”
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.”
The bolded portion I find less credible, myself. For one, Iran’s allies would hardly be allies in a greater war, and second: Elijah’s sources man not (and hopefully do not) reflect state policy on that.
He reminds readers that it was a the request of Netenyahu that Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA, and that he wants to see Iran suffer from sanctions and blockades for the rest of his term, which is the reason Iran told the anonymous US intelligence message delivery person to stuff it.
“Trump wants to win the war of appearances, but is facing an Iranian regime as unaccommodating to him as he has been to Iran. Trump seems oblivious of the fact that economic embargo is an act of war; by unilaterally blocking the export of Iranian oil and so crippling Iran’s economy, Trump has already declared war on Iran.”
“Nonetheless, Iran was reassured by this offer that the US has no intention of going to war and is trying to find a way out of its quandary; Trump is looking for a way out.”
So now Trump has check-mated himself: Iran refuses to ‘renegotiate’ the JCPOA until sanctions are lifted, he refuses to lift the sanctions, and says he’ll add more on Monday. Meanwhile, the EU dithers…
“Trump, unlike Israel and the hawks in his administration, is trying to avoid a shooting war. Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for war with Iran—a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha’aretz described Netanyahu’s Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line.
It is Trump’s desire to avoid war that makes him susceptible to Iranian pressure. Trump will be in an even more critical position domestically if Iranian missiles target Middle Eastern oil. Iran is offering only two choices to the US President: end the embargo on Iranian oil or go to war. Sources acknowledge that the future is uncertain and potentially very dangerous for the region and the global economy, since Iran will definitely not stop in its plans to halt all oil tanker navigation if its own oil cannot be exported.”
Again, via b at MoA: ‘Trump warned Iran via Oman that U.S. attack was imminent, called for talks – Iranian officials’, june 21, 2019, reuters.com
But in my last post I’d brought these conflicting reports from RT.com:
‘Iran denies reports Trump sent warning about imminent attack in retaliation for downed US drone’, June 21, 2019
“Iran’s top national security official has denied a Reuters report claiming that Tehran had received a low-key message via Oman from the US warning of an imminent attack on the Islamic Republic.
“The US didn’t send any message,” Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Iranian television.
“This issue is not in any way correct.”
The comment dismissed a previous report by Reuters, which cited unnamed Iranian officials as saying that Donald Trump had warned Tehran of a military strike and also gave a time to respond. The message was reportedly delivered via Oman and followed the downing of a US spy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) earlier in the week.
Apart from the Reuters report, other media, like New York Times, cited sources as saying that Trump had, in fact, ordered a limited military response, but then abruptly called off the mission.”
As for Trump’s claim that ‘ten minutes before launch time, I stopped it’, many have their opinions as to the real reasons for that; you may be interested in reading at MoA for b’s take on plausible scenarios that had caused him to think…again. The Houthi missile strikes on the Saudi water de-salinization plant and other targets resonated for me.
It’s often said that Trump had installed Joltin’ Bolton at the behest of Bibi and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and that sounds about right, but Boss Tweet wouldn’t want to offend them by firing him, would he? And this just in:
Trump: “I have some hawks. John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time.“ pic.twitter.com/JKVB2IvMVU
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 23, 2019
And as night
follows swallows day:
What’s new is that now, thanks to crippling American sanctions, Iran is facing unprecedented economic pressure as a result of its aggression. So I was pleased to hear President Trump make clear yesterday that pressure will continue and that pressure will increase.
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) June 23, 2019
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)