Claims about Iran (model this)

“Iran has probably arrived at the conclusion that it has less to lose from acting this way than from doing nothing,” Aniseh Tabrizi, a research fellow and Iran expert at London’s Royal United Services Institute, told CNBC via phone Tuesday.

“There is a gamble behind it that wasn’t there before, which is: ‘If other countries retaliate, we are willing to take the risk because we have really nothing to lose at this point’,” Tabrizi described. “And that is a dangerous way to feel.”

Iran’s economy is expected to shrink by 6% this year, after having contracted 3.9% last year, the International Monetary Fund says. By contrast, it clocked 3.8% growth in 2017, before the Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal that offered the Islamic Republic relief from prior sanctions.


“It’s all about careful calibration and plausible deniability,” Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told CNBC.

Iran’s tactics, experts say, are designed to disrupt but not provoke a military response. So far, attacks have specifically avoided civilian deaths and environmental damage like an oil spill.

Instead, the Revolutionary Guard or its naval equivalent may be sending the message that it’s capable of undermining U.S. and Arab Gulf states’ interests in the region. And if they feel they can get away with it, it’s because they’re banking on President Donald Trump not wanting to actually start a war.

“Ultimately, Iran’s intention is to call President Trump’s bluff,” says Ibish.

I don’t have a clear view on this matter, but find it an interesting and of course important question.  Here is more from Natasha Turak.


Time and time again, Trump has already proven himself as somebody who caves. All talk with no follow through. Like Ann Coulter said, he's a wimp.

Yup. Trump ordered a strike against Iran and then backed off.

Good. It's nonsensical to go to war over a machine.

Good? It makes him and America by extension look weak. We aren't a nation of pussies. American exceptionalism happens because of our courageous young men and women who protect our freedoms not by weaklings who back down because it got too tough.

Is this parody?

Depends on the hat being worn, probably.

Brilliant!! Launch an attack that would have destroyed the anti-aircraft facilities Iran used to shoot down the drone and then at the last second call it off. Brilliant!! He gets Iran's attention without the risk fo killing innocents and escalating the crisis. Brilliant...

"It makes him and America by extension look weak." Getting into an unwinnable quagmire with Iran and expending immesne blood and treasure with nothing to show for it would never have that effect, and it certainly wouldn't be magnified 100-fold either.

Why did he do that? With the Saudis at our side, we are unstoppable!

We seem to end up with allies who will fight to the last drop of American blood.

Won't someone think about the Drones! Or the Japanese/Norweigan Tankers!

Imagine if Saudis actually fought a ground battle with a developed country with opposed to bombing Yemen constantly - imagine all the abandoned Camry's and Ferraris.

Funny how this is being framed as poor little US just happened to surround Iran and peacefully flying a surveillance drone just a tiny bit away from Iranian airspace.

US burns through so much credibility and goodwill that no one believes that they were hanging out in international airspace. Occam's Razor.

So is it Israel or KSA First and America distant Third?

Sure, impeach him, but I think that he doesn't spend lives for his political gain is one of his redeeming qualities.

He should just revert to Obama policy and declare victory.

Yes, and like Obama kill lots of innocent people with drones and deny there are civilian casualties.

Obama killed so many evil Muslim terrorists that racist white guys are now biggest terrorist threat. I say O did a good thing.

And where is your praise of the late John McCain now?

John McCain had a secret black baby!

Sigh. You make this personally about me, and personally about McCain?

If you approach it as *ideas* it is easier to follow. War with Iran is certainly a bad idea, even if people I've agreed with or respected on other issues have supported it or other conflicts.

A bunch of shallow crap about McCain or Obama doesn't change that. It's a game of "rabbit!"

Me at 1AM: "I think that he doesn't spend lives for his political gain is one of his redeeming qualities."

Him at 6AM: "when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone"

We have our differences, obviously, but this was a good moral calculus.

(There is also some argument about where the drone was, in international or Iranian waters, and the degree it might have been an intentional provocation.)

"The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said."

Holy smokes.

The quality of the President and his Administration matter, and we as a people should demand better.

When war is necessary, do it properly.

When it is not necessary, don't screw around.

All this talk about Iran blowing up oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz puts me in the mood for a nice slice of Nigerien YELLOW CAKE.

Where's Curveball and Colin Powell holding a vial of BS in front of the UN when you need him?

People who should know, seem to know more about internal Iranian divisions than anyone is discussing openly.

You mean that a fanatically religious military organization devoted to spreading the Islamic revolution through the sword if necessary is not actually supported by everyone in Iran?

They are not gamblers in their own eyes as they act, of course - as the Germans used to say, Gott mit uns.

But Iran uses its Saudi puppets to wage jihad in Afghanistan, its Saudi puppets to fund the taiban out of Pakistan, launching terrorist attacks in India, Saudi puppets to do terrorist attacks in London, attack the WTC, Europe, attack US embassies in Africa, attack the Cole, attack on 911 the Pentagon, Congress or White House, the WTC, attack the US in Iraq, take over Somalia, and obviously Iran forced MBS to order Khashoggi be killed, dismembered, disappeared in Turkey.

And the worse terrorism of all is holding referendum to ratify a constitution and regularly hold elections, defying the democratic will of the US on a Iranian dictator.

People who should know seem to know far less about Iran's internal politics than they should, and of course Trump also has to assess whether his own intelligence agencies are deliberately setting him up for failure.

'“Ultimately, Iran’s intention is to call President Trump’s bluff,” says Ibish.'

Ah, so somebody has actually looked behind the reality of the TV series, the inflated estimates of wealth made by a bankrupt real estate developer, and ghostwritten books. Want to bet that someone has a lot of information that has never been published in American media?

Or, to be honest, which has - 'Every time President Trump tweets, journalists and Twitter followers attempt to analyze what he means. Intelligence agencies around the world do, too: They’re trying to determine what vulnerabilities the president of the United States may have. And he’s giving them a lot to work with.

Trump’s Twitter feed is a gold mine for every foreign intelligence agency. Usually, intelligence officers’ efforts to collect information on world leaders are methodical, painstaking and often covert. CIA operatives have risked their lives to learn about foreign leaders so the United States could devise strategies to counter our adversaries. With Trump, though, secret operations are not necessary to understand what’s on his mind: The president’s unfiltered thoughts are available night and day, broadcast to his 32.7 million Twitter followers immediately and without much obvious mediation by diplomats, strategists or handlers.

Intelligence agencies try to answer these main questions when looking at a rival head of state: Who is he as a person? What type of leader is he? How does that compare to what he strives to be or presents himself as? What can we expect from him? And how can we use this insight to our advantage?'>

Of course, "intelligence agencies" don't only look a the head of state. Anyone with any sense understands that it isn't just Trump but his (varying) inner circle that needs to be sussed out. Just as anyone with any sense understands that Trump can't afford a war now (for various political and strategic reasons). It is hardly a surprise that Iran/the Guard are reacting to our new less accommodating posture in this way, is it? The first line of TC's post seems to me to be written by (or for) idiots. Aside from the obvious fact that any rational decision maker(s) obviously make the most beneficial choice (did it add to the article to make that self-evident claim? no.) Speaking about Iran as acting as if it is directed by a single decision maker is a gross mischaracterization. Just like pretending that Trump is surrounded only by people waiting for him to tweet.

'don't only look a the head of state'

However, the Trump Aministration is notable that at this point for its lack of consistent internal structure. As of this moment, it does not actually have a Secretary of Defense, the acting Secretary of Defense has essentially left the office, and there is a new acting acting Secretary of Defense in place.

Basically, the Trump Administration is a one man band when it comes to decision making at this point. Which is basically the point of having a commander in chief, though one assumes a professional staff would be supporting the president with the sort of iwritten information that Trump clearly does not read while watching and tweeting about TV shows.

'Speaking about Iran as acting as if it is directed by a single decision maker is a gross mischaracterization.'

See below.

'Just like pretending that Trump is surrounded only by people waiting for him to tweet.'

Well, how much time do you think the acting acting Secretary of Defense has had personally interacting with Trump? That is not a rhetorical question, by the way .do you think it has been 15 minutes in the last week, an hour, or possibly 3 or 4?

And I think you miss the point of the tweeting being useful - for example, it more or less pinpoints times when and where the president is using his phone, and provides excellent insight into the president's schedule. Basically, one can assume that the Iranians have a surprisingly good picture of how often President could have been talking to the acting acting Secretary of Defense. And of course, the acting acting Secretary of Defense has likely read all of Trump's tweets, as that is one of the major innovations Trump has introduced to the office of the presidency - everybody can just read the tweets to know what the president is thinking.

If you believe that foreigners figured out a method to win US elections that somehow eluded all the professionals who do political campaigns for a living, then you'll certainly believe that foreigners can figure out what's going on in Trump's head from his tweets even though people who speak idiomatic English as a mother tongue can't.

'If you believe that foreigners figured out a method to win US elections'

Why would anybody believe this?

'can figure out what's going on in Trump's head from his tweets'

You really should read the article. This gives an example of the sort of analysis the Iranians are likely to have been engaged in since November 2016, along with using all of Trump's still existing earlier public information (see above also in terms of actual dynamics involving military matters) - 'What Trump doesn’t say can be very revealing, too. For instance, the lapse of time between when the USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan (12:30 p.m. on June 16, in Washington) and when the president tweeted about the incident (10:08 a.m. the next day) was nearly 23 hours. The tragedy marked the U.S. Navy’s most significant loss of life aboard a vessel since terrorists bombed the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

Typically, a president would quickly make public remarks about a significant military loss. With Trump, intelligence analysts would note the inconsistency compared with previous administrations and search for similar patterns. Is Trump so hands-off that he waited for his secretary of defense to speak? Did something else capture his attention during those hours that he found to be a higher priority? Between the crash and his first public statement about it, Trump tweeted a video of his remarks on a new Cuba policy, a picture of himself signing the Cuba memorandum and a reference to his campaign promise about Cuba; he also retweeted Sean Hannity, a Fox News personality, promoting an upcoming show on the “Deep State’s allies in the media” working to undermine Trump.'

'speak idiomatic English as a mother tongue can't'

The tweets provide considerable information beyond the mere words.

Iran needs no excuse, it can shoot down all the US drones it wants.
Screw the USA, and I am a US citizen.

We are broke, Congress is bankrupt, we are having our usual cyclical recession. We are 22 trillion in debt. Tech companies have built central bank codes, up and running, Apple has digital bearer cash working.

I am with Putin, screw the USA. We do not need Swift, the Fed or the ECB or any reserve currency. Ron Paul said it, it is all fake. And the fakes are always the 'This time is different' philosopher economists, a disgrace to universities everywhere.

Keep shooting drones until the USA butts out of everyone's business.

By the way, who chose our allies, the Saudis? Remeber 9/11 anyone? You know, then the Saudis bombed us.

By the way, how does Iran retaliate? Hezbollah ships meth precursors to central american cartels and they ship potent military grade meth to our kids across the USA using California as a base of operations..

Our military is not only conspiring with Saudi to bomb us, they are claiming that chemical warfare across the California border is fine and dandy. Then they charge us some trillion a year for the privilege of having our live fouled. How did we become so stupid? Why are we not attacking the US military ourselves to save our children from our idiotic votes?

Alex Jones much?

Do not dismiss out of hand. The United States set up an Islamic narco-state in Afghanistan, by far the world's most prolific producer of opium. Are you entirely sure that the CIA and other US military operatives never pocketed a dime from that opium production?

Besides that, I would like to see oil-shipping companies provide for their own protection through the Persian Gulf. The US military has been used far too many times as a global guard service for multinationals.

Uh...absolutely I’m a tremendous beta cuck. I though on this blog it was just assumed.

How did we get into this mess? That Kurshner kids sold a hotel to UAE, I think, they funded his hotel. In return, the Kurshner kid talked Trump into the horrific nightmare, and Bolton urged this whole mess. Bolton is also the guy who embarrassed us in Venezuela.

I think Biden will be running as both a Dem and a Repub. Even Repubs can see through this fraud, and they do not want a trillion dollar Kushner war in the middle east. Repubs will switch votes for Biden, and Joe knows he has this wrapped up.

This comment is possibly non-crazy.

Though I think the Trump-Kurshners aim higher than hotels.

Did you forget to take your anti-crazy pills today? This is nuttier than your usual.

It looks like they're taking a page of out of the Russian playbook: Provoke but don't escalate. They know Trump doesn't want a war on his hands going into elections.

Is failing to ally with Iran the long term strategic geopolitical failure of the US?
What is the better strategic hedge? Further support for Saudi Arabia or energy supply diversification?

The latter. Beyond oil and a pseudo-colonial interest in Israel (disclosure: I'm in favor), there's very little there that interests the US there in a positive sense. It's more of a weak-point for other states like the PRC, so it has some utility for us in that regard, but it's mostly irrelevant. I suppose we could also define a post-9/11 in having any zones that are not firmly under somebody or other's control...

I reject the assumption that the tanker attacks were carried out by Iran. It hasn’t been proven and I simply do not believe the US government at all regarding any issue like this. The media has put themselves once again as propagandists by parroting this assumption without verification. I’m also more willing to believe Iran that the drone was in their airspace until real evidence is offered. Pompeo and Bolton want the war, not Iran, and they will use any excuse to make it happen.

Saudi Arabia, Israel, so hard line neocons seem most likely to do such attack to start a war with Iran.

It is a big threat with an actual democracy, and an industrial base exceeded perhaps by Israel.

No doubt Bolton and Pompeo are conspiring with Bibi Netanyahu (with added bonus of helping him win more seats in the redo election). The Zionist conspiracy lives!

It is hard to see what Iran would gain from these attacks? If they continue they are bound to provoke a serious response sooner or later, and given the targets are international oil tankers probably a coordinated one from the UN. I see the article saying the revolutionary guard are "trying to send a message to the region" but what message? What do they want? It's hardly a good strategy to get the sanctions lifted . And no-one really believes the Iranians can win a real war against the west surely not even the Iranians.

That's why I find the assertion that these attacks are from Iran unconvincing. It's clear that Bolton and Pompeo, and the Saudis want a war. False flags are standard practice in trying to manufacture consent to go to war.

I don’t know about all this. I’m just a simple dick sucking factory worker, sucking dicks all day for my pay. These geopolitics are above my pay grade.

'It is hard to see what Iran would gain from these attacks? '

Making oil more expensive - and thus increasing the price of their own oil? Along with clearly demonstrating they have the capability to shut down the Straights of Hormuz in a concrete way that involves considerably more plausible deniability than usual - as can be seen by the reaction of a nation that actually had a ship attacked?

But the easiest (and scariest) way to view this is what does Iran have to lose? That is, if war is coming, why not gain experience exploiting the weaknesses of opponents, while being provided information about opponent capabilities.

'probably a coordinated one from the UN'

Such as forbidding the U.S. from increasing tensions? If the U.S. cannot guarantee the safety of 25% of the world's oil going through the Straights of Hormuz, then the nations reliant on those exports will be thinking of new arrangements.

Why play such a high-risk game just to knock off a couple of oil tankers? Iran knows that the US foreign policy elite are itching for war and will use any excuse, and Iran must know that war with the US would be devastating and they would not emerge the victors. This kind of plausible deniability attack might make some sense if it weren't for the fact that Iran is on the knife's edge and they know it. If war IS coming and the Iranians are sure of it why not use the opportunity to launch an attack on something of much greater value than an oil tanker.
Given the statements of Bolton, and US foreign policy elites generally, and the fact that the media has once again dutifully taken up the role of war propagandists like in 2002, I am very much inclined to be skeptical about any claims pointing to Iran regarding the oil tanker incidents. It's all so convenient for the Bolton faction.
After the whole 20th and early 21st century experiences with incidents like this its frankly embarrassing that people are still in the habit of believing what the State Department or CIA says unconditionally.

'Why play such a high-risk game just to knock off a couple of oil tankers?'

You know it is six tankers and several terminal facilities since May 12th, right?

'Iran knows that the US foreign policy elite are itching for war and will use any excuse'

Which just might explain a high risk strategy to convince the rest of the world that Iran is fully capable of ending the flow of oil through the Straights of Hormuz. And generally, seizing the initiative is considered an advantage in a conflict.

'Iran must know that war with the US would be devastating and they would not emerge the victors'

Why assume that the Iranians are interested in a military victory? A conflict with the U.S. will probably be considerably less devastating than this, which also did not end with an Iranian victory - 'The Iran-Iraq war was fought for nearly nine years, during which time both countries suffered millions of casualties and billions of dollars in damage. The collateral damage to the economies of other nations was also immense. The war was one of the most strategically important conflicts of modern times because it involved two major oil producers and the region where more than half the world's reserves are located.'

'why not use the opportunity to launch an attack on something of much greater value than an oil tanker'

Well, if you read about the Iran-Iraq War, you will also be introduced to the Tanker War. There is no target more valuable in the entire Middle East than the oil tankers going through the Straights of Hormuz carrying between a quarter and almost a third of the world's oil.

'believing what the State Department or CIA says unconditionally'

The question being answered was 'It is hard to see what Iran would gain from these attacks? ' Hopefully, the fact that there are reasons for the Iranians to act as if the U.S. is a hostile power intent on toppling the Islamic Republic is not the same as believing any involved party unconditionally.

At least we are not discussing whether or not it was the Iranians that shot down an American drone.

If indeed they're provoking the US toward aggressive action, the goal is presumably to try to split the west, such that Europe and other countries stop supporting sanctions.

Confrontation between the US and Iran was inevitable once Pompeo and Bolton convinced Trump to impose sanctions on Iran, threatening other countries with retaliation if they did not respect the sanctions, and cutting Iran's oil exports to near zero. Now that Trump realizes the trap Pompeo and Bolton set for him, one has to wonder how Trump will deal with the two of them.

And before that was Trump's idiotic withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, supported by only a few nations and none of the signatories or the UNSC, with Iran in full compliance. Perhaps more important than this near armed strike is that Iran is about to go out of compliance. This resembles the fumble Bush pulled when he withdrew from the nuclear agreement with North Korea out of an expectation that he could get regime change there. Instead he got a nuclear-armed North Korea. If anything, Trump is being even stupider.

For a hegemon, others are either vassals or enemies. The vassals pay tribute, the enemies justify the military/industrial complex and the government itself. It requires no overt action to play the role of enemy in the US narrative, simply an unwillingness to follow the script.

In all fairness, the Islamic Republic does see itself an enemy of the U.S.

Or would you prefer the term Great Satan instead of U.S.?

(In all fairness, most Iranians do not consider the U.S. an enemy, at least as of today - but most Iranians are also aware of what happened to Iran Air Flight 655.)

The drone was flying over Iran's territorial waters. Iran did the right thing.

I wonder if Obama advisors are still in contact? They were recently.

What does John Kerry say since he’s also involved? He might also have a connection with the Steele document.

EARLY THURSDAY MORNING, Iran shot down a United States unmanned aerial vehicle over the Strait of Hormuz, which runs between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran identified the drone as an RQ-4A Global Hawk, a $220 million UAV that acts as a massive surveillance platform in the sky. The attack marks an escalation with tensions already running high between the US and Iran—particularly because of the value and technical sensitivity of the downed drone.
So we have our government flying 220 million dollar bundles of taxes in the Persian Gulf, and Iran is perfectly within its right to shoot them down.

Rather than engage in a trillion dollar war, I have an idea. Taxpayers should quit paying taxes as long as Trump is throwing our taxes into the ocean.

After all,it's better to get back to negotiations than launch a war because nobody likes war except for politicians.

"Iran is not a direct threat to the United States. It is not even an indirect threat to the United States. First, Iran does not have nuclear weapons and it has signed an agreement with the world’s major powers that makes it impossible for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in the foreseeable future. Second, Iran does not have missiles that can strike the US homeland. Third, Iran has weak conventional forces, which cannot be used against the United States or any country in the Middle East that is under the American security umbrella. Fourth, Iran is not a serious threat to attack another country in its region. It has not launched a war against another country even once in modern times, and there is no evidence that it is now preparing to take the offensive against any of its neighbors. Fifth, Iran is not the source of America’s terrorism problem. To the extent that any one country deserves that title, it is Saudi Arabia, not Iran... The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change."

I love how the MSM puts down its reflexive Trump-bashing when he muses about war, and they start making noise about him "maturing". Maybe a nice little war is what we need to heal our internal fissures amirite?

MSM is obviously a key cog in the war machine. So depressing.

'MSM is obviously a key cog in the war machine. So depressing.'

So obvious that one can wonder why anyone would think otherwise.

Whenever Trumps lobs a missile at anyone that Israel or Saudi hates, he looks Presidential again.

"Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together."

Trump is the only man in Washington that knows Just War Theory - though it was a manufactured crisis on his watch through his appointees anyways.

As a former Iranian, my thoughts on this are biased to a degree that even I know they're biased. I ask that you consider this when you hear things from other former Iranians such as Aniseh Tabrizi who try to pass themselves off as neutral experts. She should have gone into law, medicine, or engineering like her parents wanted, instead of getting a humanities degree (the shame of all Iranian immigrant parents).

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