FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why on Earth Would the US Go to War with Iran over an Attack on Saudi Oil Refineries?

President Bone Spur, backed by his war-mongering Secretary of State Mike “Armageddon” Pompeo, tweeted yesterday that the US military is “locked and loaded,” ready to attack (bomb) Iran if it can be proven that Iran was behind a drone bomb attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil refineries.

There are plenty of news media in the US that are seconding that notion of reflexively starting a hot war with Iran if it can be shown that Iran and not Houti forces in Yemen attacked Saudi oil facilities. Certainly that is the case with Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post

But hold on. Is anyone asking why the US has to do this, or even has a right to do this?  If anything, the loss, even temporary, of half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production capability doesn’t hurt the US.  Unlike in 1973-74, when Saudi Arabia led OPEC in an embargo of oil shipments to the US for its support of Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, today the US is self-sufficient in oil and gas and in fact is a net exporter, meaning that with Saudi exports cut in half, the market for US oil will be bigger and at higher prices.

Furthermore, the US has no mutual assistance treaty with Saudi Arabia — no obligation to defend the autocratic Islamic kingdom or even to come to its aid. True, the US sells a lot of weapons and weapons systems to the Saudis, including for its brutal and genocidal war on its impoverished neighbor to the south, Yemen, whose Houti leaders are claiming to have been the authors of the recent drone attack on Saudi refineries. But if anything, those US weapons sales have simply exacerbated instability in the region by encouraging the intensification of the Saudi-Yemeni war. It would be the height of irony if those weapons sales, by provoking a Houti reaction, led to the US becoming embroiled in yet another endless war with another Middle Eastern country, this time Iran, a country twice the size of Iraq, and with a far better equipped and motivated military, and which backs the Houtis in Yemen.

Sharpnel from a US cluster weapon made by Ratheon, a major US arms maker. It was dropped by a Saudi jet on a Yemeni school.

With no treaty obligations to meet, no “honor” to defend, not even any economic reason to retaliate against Iran, and moreover, with no real proof that Iran did anything more than the US has been doing — that is supply weapons to one of the antagonists in the conflict — it is absurd for the US to be readying its military to launch a war against Iran over an issue like this.

Looked at objectively, if Iran were behind the Houti drone attack on Saudi oil refineries, it is likely a logical response to the US sanctions that have been imposed on Iranian oil — sanctions which have virtually shut down Iranian sales of its primary export. The US has not only blocked Iranian ships, for example orchestrating the British impounding of an Iranian tanker in Gibraltar, but has blocked banks — even European banks — from handling the dollar-based financial transactions required for Iranian oil sales. If Iran cannot sell its oil on the global market, it is understandable why Teheran might support action by a third party (Houti forces in Yemen for example) to prevent Saudi Arabia from being able to sell oil either.

The answer to this mess in the Persian Gulf then is clearly not for the US to “lock, load” and then attack Iran, but to stop providing bombs, anti-personnel weapons, and guidance and intelligence to Saudi forces attack Yemen, and to negotiate with Iran to reach an agreement with that nation on all the issues in dispute between Washington and Teheran.

  President Bone Spur has said all the way back to his days campaigning for the White House that he wants US troops out of the Middle East. Three years into his troubled and chaotic presidency, he has so far done nothing to achieve that, with US troops still lodged in Syria and Iraq, still messing around in Yemen, and even upping the ante with increased bombings and military personnel — both uniformed and private contractors — in Afghanistan. Now, even after sacking his bellicose National Security Advisor John Bolton, he is talking as if he wants to launch a new US war in the region — this time against Iran.

This is not just madness. It is criminal insanity. The US certainly has the power to inflict massive damage on Iran, but not to defeat that country, nor would a US war against Iran achieve Washington’s stated goal of “regime change” in this proud country. Indeed, attacking Iran would inevitably have the effect of rallying all Iranians around their government, unpopular as it is among many Iranians. The only beneficiaries of a US war with Iran would be the hard-liners in Iran and the arms industry in the US.

Even Bone Spur himself would be injured, since nearly 20 months to go until the next presidential election, there would be plenty of time for a war with Iraq to go predictably sour for US forces, which have a proven 75-year track record of not winning any wars. It’s a record that is likely is likely to be extended significantly if the US goes to war with Iran.

Hopefully this latest threat by our draft-dodging chicken-hawk president is just another case of his blustering “negotiating style,” as he often puts it — an effort to get his target to buckle and give in to his demands. The problem is, Iran is not like one of those small independent contractors real estate tycoon Trump was fond of stiffing when it came time to pay the bill for work done. It’s an ancient, proud country with its own list of needs and a history of 20th-Century humiliation by countries like Britain and the US and  its leaders are determined not to allow that humiliation to be repeated in this new century.

It’s time for the president to initiate negotiations with Iran, or to call for a regional peace parley in the Persian Gulf region, not to march off to yet another disastrous war there again.

It’s time for Trump to earn his “spurs” this time, as president, instead of just relying on them for getting other people do his fighting for him as he did in the case of the Vietnam War.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

July 09, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism
Ahrar Ahmad
Racism in America: Police Choke-Holds Are Not the Issue
Timothy M. Gill
Electoral Interventions: a Suspiciously Naïve View of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World
Daniel Falcone
Cold War with China and the Thucydides Trap: a Conversation with Richard Falk
Daniel Beaumont
Shrink-Wrapped: Plastic Pollution and the Greatest Economic System Jesus Ever Devised
Prabir Purkayastha
The World Can Show How Pharma Monopolies Aren’t the Only Way to Fight COVID-19
Gary Leupp
“Pinning Down Putin” Biden, the Democrats and the Next War
Howard Lisnoff
The Long Goodbye to Organized Religion
Cesar Chelala
The Dangers of Persecuting Doctors
Mike Garrity – Erik Molvar
Back on the List: A Big Win for Yellowtone Grizzlies and the Endangered Species Act, a Big Loss for Trump and Its Enemies
Purusottam Thakur
With Rhyme and Reasons: Rap Songs for COVID Migrants
Binoy Kampmark
Spiked Concerns: The Melbourne Coronavirus Lockdown
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela is on a Path to Make Colonialism Obsolete
George Ochenski
Where are Our Political Leaders When We Really Need Them?
Dean Baker
Is it Impossible to Envision a World Without Patent Monopolies?
William A. Cohn
Lead the Way: a Call to Youth
July 08, 2020
Laura Carlsen
Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People
Melvin Goodman
Afghanistan: What is to be Done?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
The End of the American Newspaper
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic
David Rosen
It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn
Nicolas J S Davies
Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme
Bob Lord
Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land
Laura Flanders
The Great American Lie
John Kendall Hawkins
Van Gogh’s Literary Influences
Marc Norton
Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy
Joel Schlosberg
“All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics
CounterPunch News Service
Tribes Defeat Trump Administration and NRA in 9th Circuit on Sacred Grizzly Bear Appeal
John Feffer
The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency
Nick Licata
Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests
Elliot Sperber
The Breonna Taylor Bridge
July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail