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Missing The Point

Satellite photos reveal extent of damage from Iranian strike on al Assad air base in Iraq. In the official Iranian government response to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, dozens of missiles were launched against the Irbil and Ain al Assad air bases. Iran contacted Iraqi officials and notified them of the intended targets. Iraq notified other nations of the impending attack which resulted in no loss of life, but a demonstration of Iranian weapons. It was a clear message to the US as to the abilities of the Iranian military.

The government of Iran is finished for the moment, but the Quds Force and the Kataib Hezbollah may launch their own response to the US assassination of their leaders.

Saudi Arabia sought dialogue with Iran. Then the US-Iranian conflict escalated:

She (Emily Hawthorne, a Middle East specialist at Stratfor) says Saudi Arabia’s efforts toward a Saudi-Iranian detente are in a very early stage and being mediated by other countries, such as Pakistan and Iraq.

In fact, Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told parliament last Sunday that he was mediating between Iran and Saudi Arabia. He said Soleimani had been bringing a message from Iran for the Saudis on the day he was killed in Baghdad.

(US Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo threw cold water on any notion that Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission. “Is there any history that would indicate that it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassem Soleimani, had traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?” he said on Tuesday. “We know that wasn’t true.”

The Trump administration has said it conducted the drone strike against Soleimani to prevent planned attacks against Americans.

Yes, it is absurd to have generals like George C. Marshall, Alexander Haig, Colin Powell, or Directors of the CIA like Mike Pompeo become diplomats 😈

7 comments

1 Badtux { 01.11.20 at 8:35 pm }

The corrupt ayatollahs who rule Iran may have gone soft with wealth and power, but they haven’t gone stupid. Openly provoking the US into war would result in a drastic reduction in their standard of living from pretty much day one. Going from living in an opulent mansion to huddling in a bunker isn’t something they’re interested in.

I do suspect, however, that the various Iranian proxies are going to be plotting their own attacks in the days to come. Taking out Soleimani isn’t going to stop them. Because Brig. Gen. Ismail Qaani. Remember that name. We’ll be hearing a lot of it going forward. Even though, unlike his former boss, he doesn’t get out of his bunker in Tehran very often, he was often the substance behind Soleimani’s bluster.

2 Kryten42 { 01.11.20 at 11:31 pm }

There is a long thread by Seth Abramson on Twitter I think is relevant & worth the time to read. I’d be interested in your thoughts Bryan & BT (and anyone else):

https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1216168772404490245

3 Bryan { 01.12.20 at 9:08 pm }

Yeah, BT, the bulk of Iraq’s national guard is made up of Shi’ia militias allied with Soleimani and the Quds Force/Jerusalem Brigade. Hezbollah of Lebanon has already made it clear that they are intent on extracting some revenge. The leadership of the Revolutionary Guard learned their trade in the war with Iraq and haven’t forgotten that the US supported Saddam and vetoed an Iranian attempt at getting Iraq declared a war criminal by the UN Security Council.

Kryten , Where’s the $1 billion? is also a topic on Digby’s blog. There’s a lot of smoke for there not to be a fire. Trump said the billion was in a bank, but what bank and whose account? Trump is treating the US military like mercenaries.

4 Badtux { 01.14.20 at 11:50 am }

Of course, Arabs treating the U.S. military under command of Republican presidents like paid mercenaries isn’t new. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia actually paid the US $32 billion to get the US to evict Saddam from Kuwait back in ’91.

5 Bryan { 01.14.20 at 10:32 pm }

George HW Bush probably got actual cash for Gulf War One while I’ll bet that MBS promised Trump that Saudi Arabia would buy a billion dollars worth of US weapons … at some point … in the future. Bush Senior would have wanted the deposit slips.

6 Badtux { 01.15.20 at 11:28 pm }

I miss the days of competent Republicans. Yet another victim of Reagan — Bush Sr. managed to come in for one term on Reagan’s coat-tails, but since then competent Republicans have been scarcer on the ground than hen’s teeth, having difficulty getting past the screen of morons who are the modern Republican party. Reagan made Republicanism safe for morons, and the nation has suffered for it.

7 Bryan { 01.17.20 at 11:51 am }

Yes, in olden times there actually were fiscally conservative and socially liberal Republicans, but then there came the “Southern strategy” and the bulk of the whackoes coalesced into what had been the Republican Party that had provided almost 100 years of progressive ideas. Every bad idea that the Democratic Party ever had was embraced by this new instance of the Republican Party as it fled truth for opinion. We now have policies created by the “drunk at the end of the bar.”