Neocons' Iraq War Redux Times Two
The Trump Administration has directly plagiarized the rhetoric of the Bush Administration in the lead-up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq.
They've even done the Dick Cheney-trick of meeting with the CIA to spin the intelligence.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly warned Iran not to attack our forces in the region, as if that is likely to happen.
These warnings come from the same intelligence garbage that we all saw 18 years ago.
A consensus appeared to be emerging: that Iran was gearing up for war.
But multiple sources close to the situation told The Daily Beast that the administration blew it out of proportion, characterizing the threat as more significant than it actually was.
“It’s not that the administration is mischaracterizing the intelligence, so much as overreacting to it,” said one U.S. government official briefed on it.
...The source added that the administration’s steps are a way to tell the Iranian government that the U.S. will hold them responsible for their surrogates’ actions.
That's not to say that there isn't any danger to war. The Trump Administration has pushed and pushed Iran into a corner, and eventually Iran will have no choice but to respond. Then the neocons will get their catastrophic and doomed war that they've been dreaming about.
Trump has even threatened John Kerry with arrest for simply talking to Iran.
“The regime in Tehran needs to be overthrown at the earliest opportunity!”
- John Bolton
The immediate danger is with Iran's many third-party proxies in Iraq and Syria, groups that Iran only has nominal control over.
The primary focus right now is on the tens of thousands of Shia militia members in Iraq, that fought alongside U.S. troops to defeat ISIS.
The U.S. heavily armed these groups in 2014-15, and now they are the threat. Where have I heard this before?
In a 2017 speech, Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, claimed that the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia are enemies of Iraq. Documents recently declassified by the Pentagon state that during a stint as a U.S. prisoner during the Iraq War, Khazali admitted to authorizing attacks that killed American soldiers. In January, Khazali predicted that the Iraqi parliament would eventually vote to expel U.S. troops from the country — and said that if they didn’t leave, they could be driven out “by force.”
In response to U.S. provocations, Iran put these militias on high alert. A false flag operation seems likely at this point.
In Syria the threat looks very different and center around our allies, the Kurdish SDF.
The SDF controls nearly a third of Syria, but unlike the provinces of Raqqa and Hassakeh in the north that have large Kurdish populations, Deir el-Zour in the east is almost purely Arab, leading to ethnic tensions between the local population and the Kurdish force.
Two years after entering the province in their push against IS, the SDF appears to have failed to win the hearts and minds in the region, which suffers from a lack of services, rising crime, fuel shortages and anger over what they see as growing Kurdish influence.
The U.S. pushed the Kurds to take over south-east Syria in order simply to deny the Syrian government access to an oil-rich region.
This situation has sparked protests with the locals.
It’s also undermining the one piece of status quo the US is happy about in Syria, a vast SDF-controlled east.
The SDF’s plan so far seems to be to just kill them, with SDF forces showing up in Deir Ezzor during a protest, and opening fire on the demonstrators, killing seven and sending the rest scattering.
History would tell us that killing protesters isn’t a solution to protesting, but the Kurds don’t seem to have an alternate strategy at the moment, and so long as they can fit the words Iran or ISIS into the explanation, the US probably won’t object too loudly.
No matter how you cut it, the situations in Syria and Iraq are extremely fragile.
I don't know why the neocons are so confident considering that Iran has twice the population of Iraq and with three times the size. Meanwhile, we continue to lose in Afghanistan.