FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Trump is Starting a War With Iran, Whether by Accident or Design

Photograph Source: mathiaswasik – CC BY 2.0

Is this war by accident or war by design? We’ve all said that a major war in the Middle East could start by accident. But no one thought Donald Trump would go for the jugular quite like this. To kill General Qassem Soleimani is a sword at the heart of Iran, without doubt. And on whose behalf?

Trump boasts of his relationship with the Saudi king who has talked of “cutting off the head of the Iranian snake” and whose oil facilities were attacked with drone-fired missiles – which the US blamed on Iran – last year. Or Israel? Or is this just another decision with incalculable results, taken by a crackpot president in the US?

Just imagine what would happen if a leading American general – or two, since Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was a leading pro-Iranian figure in Iraq – was blown up on a tour of the Middle East. There would be airstrikes, attacks on Iran’s nuclear centres, threats by Washington to close down all traffic between Iran and the outside world. The death of an American in Baghdad on Friday and the riots outside the US embassy, while sad, scarcely justify American attacks on this scale.

The Americans have long grown used to staging attacks on pro-Iranian militia bases in Iraq and Syria. Over recent months, these strikes have become normal, regular – like Israel’s frequent raids into Syria and Lebanon. But it was a US military operation which also killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, a Sunni Muslim who was an enemy of Tehran and whom the Iranians would have been happy to liquidate.

The Americans have been used to this sort of assassination – or “targeted killings” as the Israelis call them – wiping out their enemies when they choose. Osama bin Laden was the first, Baghdadi the second, Suleimani the third. Such rocket-based killings are regularly undertaken by Israel in Gaza, where Hamas leaders are often assassinated.

Yet it’s easy to take these men as important – as they think they are. Iran’s forces in Syria, for example, are often grossly exaggerated by the US. Claims of the presence of 10,000 Revolutionary Guards Quds members in Syria were wildly inaccurate. Two thousand may be more accurate at any one time. True, Iranian intelligence men are scattered around the Middle East. But so are American agents.

One of Tehran’s most senior intelligence men was Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi who was Iran’s man in Beirut, and later its ambassador there. He probably knew more about Hezbollah and Syria than anyone else and returned to Tehran in 2014. This was not long after Sunni Islamists, reportedly with Saudi support, staged a suicide attack against his embassy, killing 23 embassy employees, Hezbollah guards and civilians. Rokon Abadi was spared. His top security man was killed. But in 2016, he made the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca where 2,300 people – 464 of them Iranians – were crushed to death in panic and riots for which Iran blamed the Saudi monarchy. Rokon Abadi was among them. It was months before his remains were returned to Iran.

But in the Middle East, intelligence agents are always in danger. It was a Hezbollah satellite group called Islamic Jihad which killed CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley, and Imad Mougnieh, his reported murderer – or the man who gave the order – was killed by a car bomb in Damascus in 2008. In 1983, a suicide bomber blew up his truck bomb at the front of the US embassy in Beirut, killing 32 people and wiping out most of the CIA agents who were holding a meeting inside.

Oh yes, and one more thing. Isn’t there a US election coming up this year? And doesn’t Trump want to win – and Soleimani as a target in Baghdad will play pretty well with Republicans. Iran has always responded to insults or attacks by waiting and delaying its own retaliation. Remember two oil tankers called the Adrian Darya and the Stena Impero? But now it’s getting personal.

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under
Mike Garrity
Emperor Trump Loses Again in the Northern Rockies in Big Win for Bull Trout, Rivers and the ESA
Alex Lawson
34 Attorneys General Call to Bust Gilead’s Pharma Monopoly on COVID Treatment Remdesivir
August 10, 2020
Gerald Sussman
Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem
Vijay Prashad – Érika Ortega Sanoja
How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela
Daniel Warner
Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes
Mike Hastie
The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020 
Jack Rasmus
Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs
Rev. William Alberts
Cognitive Without Conscience
David Altheide
Politicizing Fear Through the News Media
F. Douglas Stephenson
Is Big Pharma More Interested in Profiteering Than Protecting Us From Coronavirus?
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Money Plague
Howard Lisnoff
Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump is Defeating Himself
Lynnette Grey Bull
The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump
Victor Grossman
Some Come, Others Go
Binoy Kampmark
Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities
The Stop Golden Rice Network
Why We Oppose Golden Rice
Michael D. Knox
After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace
Elliot Sperber
A Tomos 
Weekend Edition
August 07, 2020
Friday - Sunday
John Davis
The COVID Interregnum
Louis Yako
20 Postcard Notes From Iraq: With Love in the Age of COVID-19
Patrick Cockburn
War and Pandemic Journalism: the Truth Can Disappear Fast
Eve Ottenberg
Fixing the COVID Numbers
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Every Which Way to Lose
Paul Street
Trump is Not Conceding: This is Happening Here
Robert Hunziker
The World on Fire
Rob Urie
Neoliberal Centrists and the American Left
John Laforge
USAF Vet Could Face ‘20 Days for 20 Bombs’ for Protest Against US H-Bombs Stationed in Germany
Andrew Levine
Clyburn’s Complaint
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail