the Insane US War on Iran: a lull, a window of peace, or tactical waiting?
Opinions abound, including ‘inside sources’; a bit of a Round-Up.
‘Iran sent ‘multiple messages’ to US that its attacks were done’, Pamela Brown and Paul LeBlanc, CNN, 12 hours ago
“Iran initiated contact through at least three back channels starting late Tuesday, including through Switzerland and other countries. There were “multiple messages and they were all the same,” a person familiar with the matter said. Iran wanted to convey their retaliatory action had ended — and was waiting to see how the US would respond.” [snip]
“Multiple administration officials previously told CNN there is a growing belief among some Trump administration officials that Iran’s missiles intentionally missed areas populated by Americans when they targeted two Iraqi bases housing US troops early Wednesday local time. However, Army Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was his belief that Iran was trying to kill American military personnel in the attack.”
And yet: ‘Iranian messages behind attacking US bases in Iraq, and the consequences’, elijahmagnier.com, Jan. 8, 2020
“Just after midnight local time today, Iranian ballistic missiles “Fateh 313” hit two military bases in Iraq that host a significant concentration of US forces, along with other allies. The Iranian direct hit was the retaliation for the US assassination of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds brigade Sardar Qassem Soleimani and his companions, killed by a US drone at Baghdad airport last week. The Iranian retaliation carries several strategic messages to the Middle East for this year 2020 and for many years to come. What are these messages? What will come of Iran’s open attack on the most powerful country in the world?
A high-ranking Iranian official contacted the Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi after midnight to inform him that Iran had decided to retaliate for the assassination of its General. Iran said it would hit a concentration of US forces in Iraq, without hitting any Iraqi forces.”
[riddle me this if you can:]
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi – according to well-informed sources in Baghdad – answered that “this act may carry devastating results on the Middle East: Iraq refuses to become the theatre for a US-Iran war”. The Iranian official replied: “Those who began this cycle of violence are the US, not Iran; the decision has been taken.”
Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi informed the US forces of the Iranian decision. US declared a state of emergency and alerted all US bases in Iraq and the region in advance of the attack.
Iran bombed the most significant US military base in Iraq, Ayn al-Assad, where just in the last two days, the US command had gathered the largest number of forces. Many US bases, particularly in Shia controlled areas and around Baghdad, were evacuated in the last days for security reason towards Ayn al-Assad, a base that holds anti-nuclear shelters. Ayn al-Assad is located in the desert of al-Anbar, close to the Iraqi-Syrian borders. This is the same base from which the drones which assassinated Sardar Soleimani and his companions at Baghdad airport took off. Iran also bombed another US base in Erbil, Kurdistan.” [snip]
“Iraq has lost its sovereignty in the middle of the Iran-US battle. It can recover the control of its country only when the US forces leave Iraq as the Iraqi parliament has decided it. The decision came as a response to the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, who was serving as an envoy in a diplomatic capacity. Soleimani was officially invited by the Iraqi government in 2014 when Iraq asked Iran to send 100 Iranian advisors to Iraq to fight ISIS. He had Iraqi immunity and led the Iranian intelligence cell in Baghdad, not far from the US embassy, in coordination with Russian, Syrian and Iraqi officials. He was a diplomat carrying a diplomatic passport and was asked to meet the Prime Minister of Iraq the following day at 08:30 am to receive a message from Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi agreed to play a mediation role between Iran and Saudi Arabia and was the go-between following Iran’s peace initiative to the Arab leaders. Soleimani arrived in Iraq following a request from President Trump to calm down the tension with Iran. It was a multi-task trip.”
“This is far from being the last Iranian hit against US forces in the Middle East. But if President Trump decides to refrain from retaliating, Iran will no longer hit the US forces directly and announce its responsibility. Iran and its allies are not expected to stop harassing the US forces if they stay in Iraq.
Another message was sent to Israel: the newly appointed commander of the IRGC-Quds Brigade Ismail Qaani met with all Palestinian groups in Tehran. According to a well-informed source, Iran promised “unlimited support to all Palestinian groups so that they reach their objective”. Indeed, Iran announced, “Israel is in partnership with the US in the assassination of Sardar Soleimani.
The time when the US can hit without being hit back seems over. Since Pearl Harbour, this is the first time a country claims its responsibility for hitting US targets. This grave and complicated situation can end if there is a total withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. This step, already officially requested by the Iraqi parliament, can spare US servicemen’s lives.
The assassination of Sardar Soleimani closed all roads of this US administration to all possible negotiation with Iran. Russia and China are waiting just behind the door to move in and fill the vacuum.”
Craig Murray seems to believe we’re in a window of peace his Jan. 8 column:
“There is this morning a chink of light to avoid yet more devastation in the Middle East. Iran’s missile strikes last night were calibrated to satisfy honour while avoiding damage that would trigger automatically the next round. The missiles appear to have been fitted out with very light warhead payloads indeed – their purpose was to look good in the dark going up into the night sky. There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.
Even more important was the Iraqi statement that “proportionate measures” had been “taken and concluded” and they did not seek “further escalation”.
I agree their response was proportionate and I would say that I regard the Iranian action so far, unlike the assassination of Soleimani by the US, legal in international law.
The entire world should congratulate Iran for its maturity in handling the illegal assassination of its General, who was on a peace mission, travelling as a civilian on a commercial flight, carrying a mediation message the US had been instrumental in instigating. If as seems possible the US actively manipulated the diplomatic process to assassinate someone on a diplomatic mission and traveling on a diplomatic passport, that is a dreadful outrage which will come back to haunt them. Life insurance rates for US diplomats no doubt just went up.” [snip]
“I am a sucker for hope, and the best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions. I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination. But the US is now so tied in to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thus tied in to irrational hostility to Iran, that this must be extremely unlikely.”
I’ve been reconsidering Iran’s ‘Proportionate Response’ this morning and have decided it’s less than proportionate, given that Soleimani was only at the Baghdad Airport to broker peace among Iran, Saudi Arabia & Iraq to defuse tensions (a Honey Pot Sting Operation), and that the US murdered 32 Iraqi Security Forces on the Iraq Syria border. Then consider this excellent Soleimani biographhy and CV in defense of Iran by Andre Damon a and David North at wsws v/ The Propaganda Machine.
Also Jan. 8, 2020: ‘Iran‘s Missile Launch Against Two U.S. Bases in Iraq Calls Trump’s Bluff – Updated’, b at moonofalabama.org
“U.S. President Donald Trump, who had threatened to destroy 52 targets in Iran including cultural sites if Iran would take any revenge, seems to have understood that this attack was intentionally limited to avoid a larger war:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump – 2:45 UTC · Jan 8, 2020
All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning.
No U.S. air or missile defense against the incoming projectiles was observed.
The message from Iran is thus: “We can attack all your bases and you can do nothing to prevent that.”
Iran’s leader said that the attack was “slap in the face” for the U.S. and that this military reaction to the U.S. crime is not the only one that will happen:
Ayatollah Khamenei addressed the nation live on TV in a meeting with a large group of people from Qom, in commemoration of the 42nd anniversary of the January 9, 1978 uprising in Qom against the Pahlavi regime.
The live address also took place hours after the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq after launching a wave of attacks in early hours of Wednesday to retaliate the US assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander, Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
“What is important in addition to retaliation is that military operations do not suffice. It is important to end the US corrupting presence in the region,” the Leader stressed.
“Americans are insisting on bringing corruption and destruction into our dear Iran. Talks of sitting down at the negotiating table is a preface to interventions, which must end. Regional nations do not accept the US presence and its meddling measures,” he added.
“The US enmity toward Iran is not temporary; it’s inherent. It is a ‘gross mistake’ to think if we took a step back and comprised, the US would stop its enmity,” he stressed.
Update (in part)
“Trump confirmed that there were no U.S. casualties. The situation is thereby de-escalating as the U.S. will now stand down. Trump called the damage on the base “minimal” even while several airplane/drone hangers were obviously hit and completely destroyed with everything they contained. Iran must have had very good intelligence about the site. Trump also lauded an early warning system that, he said, prevented casualties. The Swiss embassy in Tehran will have a good laugh at that comment.”
‘No lives lost’: Trump holds fire on ‘big missiles,’ talks peace after Iran’s strikes on US bases in Iraq’, 8 Jan, 2020, RT.com
“Speaking from the White House, Trump backed away from threatening further strikes against Iran, describing Tehran’s stand-down as “a good thing for all parties concerned.
Our missiles are big, powerful, accurate, lethal and fast…The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it.
Trump did, however, vow to impose new economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, in addition to the thousand or so imposed since the US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal) in 2018. “These powerful sanctions will remain,” he said, “until Iran changes its behavior.”
“Iran must abandon its nuclear ambitions and end its support for terrorism,” Trump continued.“Time has come for the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and China to recognize this reality. They must now break away from the remnants of the JCPOA.”
Self-explanatory: ‘‘Harsher revenge’: Revolutionary Guards commander vows it’s not over after Iranian missile strikes on US forces in Iraq’, 9 Jan. 2020, RT.com
Of course we’re wondering if Trump’s Pentagon will be withdrawing the 6 B52 nuclear bombers from Diego Garcia and the massive numbers of troops in the area: rangers, paratroopers, etc..
But I agree with Bill Van Auken and David North: ‘Trump bides his time, but the preparations for war against Iran will continue’, 9 January 2020, wsws.org
Casus belli pretexts will be epic!
I'll add a couple things in comments that we've been discussing at the Café over the past few days.
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)