The Saker – The Unz Review May 5, 2018
Between the US strikes on Syria in April and the recent developments on the Korean Peninsula, we are in somewhat of a lull in the Empire’s search for a new war to start. The always helpful Israelis, in the person of the ineffable Bibi Netanyahu, are now beating the drums for, well, if not a war, then at least some kind of false flag or pretext to make the US strike at Iran. And then there is the always bleeding Donbass (which I won’t address in today’s analysis). So let’s see where we stand and try to guesstimate where we might be heading. To be honest, trying to guess what ignorant warmongering psychopaths might do next is by definition a futile exercise, but since there are some not negligible signs that there are at least a few rational people still left in the US White House and/or Pentagon (as shown by the mostly “pretend strikes” on Syria last month), we can assume (hope) that some residual degree of sanity is still present. At the very least Americans in uniform have to ask themselves a very basic and yet fundamental question:
Do I want to die for Israel? Do I want to lose my job for Israel? How about my pension? Maybe just my stock options? Is it worth risking a major regional war for such a “wonderful” state?
A lot depends on whether the US military leaders (and people!) will have the courage to ask themselves this question and, if they do, what their reply will be.
But, first, let’s begin with the good news:
The DPRK and ROK are in direct talks with each other.
This is indeed a truly great development for at least two reasons. First, of course, the main and objective one: anything which lowers the risks of war on the Korean Peninsula is good. But there is a second reason which we should not discount: Trump can now take all the credit for this and claim that his (empty) threats are what brought the North Koreans to the negotiating table. I say – let him. In fact, I hope that they organize a parade for Trump somewhere in the US, with confetti and millions of flags. Like for an astronaut. Let him feel triumphant, vindicated and very, very manly. MAGA, you know?!
Yeah, that will be sickening to the thinking (not to mention counter-factual), but if a little bit of intellectual nausea is the price to pay for peace, I say let’s do it. If Trump, Bolton, Haley and the rest of them can feel that they “kicked ass” and that their “invincible military” is what brought “Rocket Man” to “give up his nukes” (he never said any such thing, but never mind that) then I sincerely wish them a joyful and highly ego-pleasing celebration. Anything to stop them from looking for another war to start, at least for a now.
Now the bad news.
The Israelis are at it again
Amazing, isn’t it? The Israelis have been whining about “imminent” Iranian nukes for years, and they are still at it. Not only that, but these guys have the nerve to say “Iran lied”. Seriously, even by the already unique Israeli standards, that is chutzpah elevated to a truly stratospheric level. If it were just Bibi Netanyahu, then this would be comical. But the problem is that Israel has now fully subjugated all the branches of the US government to its agents (the Neocons) and that they now run everything: from the two branches of the Uniparty to Congress, to the media and, now that Trump has abjectly caved in to all their demands, they also run the White House. They apparently also run the CIA, but there still might be some resistance to their lunacy in the Pentagon. The US is now quite literally run by a Zionist Occupation Government, no doubt about it whatsoever.
So what are these guys really up to? Listen to the one man who knows them best, and whose every single word you can take to the bank, Hezbollah General Secretary Nasrallah (ever wondered why Hezbollah, which has not committed anything even remotely looking like a terrorist attack since the 1980s is called the “A-Team of terrorists”? Just saying…):
The first event is the Israeli blatant and manifest aggression against the T-4 base or airport on the outskirts of Homs, that targeted Iranian forces from the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution of Iran who were present there, hitting them with a large number of missiles, causing 7 martyrs among its officers and soldiers and wounding others. This was a new, significant and important event. Maybe some people do not pay attention to its importance and magnitude. In this operation, Israel has deliberately killed (Iranian soldiers). This is an unprecedented event. In the past, Israel has struck us [Hezbollah] for example in Quneitra, and it turned out that coincidentally Guardians [of the Islamic Revolution] officers were with us. Israel declared hastily that they did not know it, and thought that all (targeted soldiers) were Hezbollah’s. This is an event that has no precedent since 7 years, it is unprecedented since 7 years, that Israel openly targets the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution in Syria, killing deliberately, in an operation that caused a number of martyrs and wounded (…) I want to tell the Israelis that they must know – I wrote that statement accurately and I read it to them – they must know that they have committed a historic mistake. This is not a simple blunder. They committed an act of great stupidity, and by this aggression, they entered in a direct confrontation with Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran. And Iran, O Zionists, is not a small country, it is not a weak country, and it is not a cowardly country. And you know it very well. As a comment on this incident, I stress that it constitutes a turning point in the situation of the region. What follows will be very different from what preceded it. This is an incident that cannot be considered lightly, contrary to what happens with many incidents here. It is a turning point, a historic turning point. And when the Israelis committed this stupid act, they had some assessment (of the situation), but I tell them that their evaluation is false. And even in the future, since you have opened a new path in the confrontation, (you should ensure) not to be wrong in your evaluations. In this new path you opened and initiated, don’t be wrong in your assessment, when you are face to face, and directly (in conflict) with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I can only agree with this evaluation. As does The Jerusalem Post, NBC News, and many others. Regardless of how crazy this notion might sound to rational people (see below), there are all the signs that the Israelis are now demanding that the US start a war against Iran, either by choice or more likely, to “stand by our Israeli allies and friends” after they attack Iran first.
Israel is truly a unique and amazing country: not only does it openly and brazenly completely ignore international law, not only is it the last overtly racist country on the planet, not only has it been perpetuating a slow-motion genocide against the Palestinians for decades, it also constantly uses its considerable propaganda resources to advocate for war. And in order to achieve these goals, it does not mind allying itself with a regime almost as despicable and evil as the Zionist one – I am talking about the Wahabi nutcases in the KSA. And all that under the high patronage of the United States. Some “Axis of Kindness” indeed!
What is their plan? Actually, it is fairly straightforward.
The Israeli plan “A” (failed)
Initially, the plan was to overthrow all the secular (Baathist) regimes in power and replace them by religious nutcases. That would not only weaken the countries infected by that spiritual rot, it would set them backwards for many decades, some of them would break up into smaller entities, Arabs and Muslims would kill each other in large numbers while the Israelis would proudly claim that they are a “western country” and the “only democracy in the Middle-East”. Even better, when the Daesh/ISIS/al-Qaeda/etc types commit atrocities on an industrial scale (and always on camera, professionally filmed, by the way), the slow-motion genocide of Palestinians would really be completely forgotten. If anything, Israel would declare itself threatened by “Islamic extremism” and, well, extend a couple of “security zones” beyond its borders (legal or otherwise), and do regular bombing runs “because Arabs only understand force” (which would get the Israelis a standing ovation from the “Christian” Zionist rednecks in the US who love the killing of any Aye-rabs and other “sand niggers”). At the end of all this, the Zionist wet dream: unleashing the Daesh forces against Hezbollah (which they fear and hate since the humiliating defeat the IDF suffered in 2006).
Now I will readily agree that this is a stupid plan. But contrary to the propaganda-induced myth, the Israelis are really not very bright. Pushy, arrogant, nasty, driven – yes. But smart? Not really. How could they not realize that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would result in Iran becoming the main player in Iraq? This is a testimony of how the Israelis always go for “quick-fix” short-term “solutions”, probably blinded by their arrogance and sense of racial superiority. Or how about their invasion of Lebanon in 2006? What in the world did they think they would achieve there? And now these folks are taking on not Hezbollah, but Iran. Hassan Nasrallah is absolutely correct, that is a truly stupid decision. But, of course, the Israelis now have a “plan B”:
The Israeli plan “B”
Step one, use your propaganda machine and infiltrated agents to re-start the myth about an Iranian military nuclear program. And never mind that the so-called “The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” was agreed upon by all five of the UNSC Permanent Members, and Germany (P5+1) and even the European Union! And never mind that this plan places restrictions on Iran which no other country has ever had to ever face, especially considering that since 1970 Iran has been a member in good standing with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) while Israel, of course, is not. But the Zionists and their Neocon groupies are, of course, quite exceptional people, so they are constrained by neither facts nor logic. If Trump says that the JCPOA is a terrible deal, then this is so. Hey, we are living in the “post-Skripal” and “post-Douma” era – if some Anglo (or Jewish) leaders say “highly likely” then it behooves everybody to show instant “solidarity” lest they are accused of “anti-Semitism” or “fringe conspiracy theories” (you know the drill). So step one is the re-ignition ex nihilo of the Iranian military nuclear program canard.
Step two is to declare that Israel is “existentially threatened” and therefore has the right to “defend itself”. But there is a problem here: the IDF simply does not have the military means to defeat the Iranians. They can strike them, hit a couple of targets, yes, but then when the Iranians (and Hezbollah) unleash a rain of missiles on Israel (and probably the KSA) the Israelis will not have the means to respond. They know that, but they also know that the Iranian counter-attack will give them the perfect pretext to scream “oy vey!! oy, gevalt!!” and let the dumb Americans fight the Iranians.
You might object that the US does not have a mutual defense treaty with Israel. You are wrong. It does, it is called AIPAC. Besides, last year the US established a permanent US military base in Israel, making it a “tripwire”: just claim that “the Ayatollahs” tried to attack the US base with “chemical weapons” and, bingo, you now have a pretext to use all your military forces in retaliation, including, by the way, your tactical nuclear forces to “disarm” the “genocidal Iranians who want to wipe Israel off the map” or some variation of this nonsense.
You might wonder what the point of all that would be if Iran does, as I say, not have any military nuclear program?
My answer would be simple: do you really think the Syrians have been using chemical weapons?!
Of course not!
All this nonsense about Saddam’s WMD, the Iranian nuclear program, the Syrian chemical weapons or, for that matter, Gaddafi’s “Viagra armed raping soldiers”, and before that the “Racak massacre” in Kosovo or the various “Markale market” atrocities in Sarajevo for that matter: these were just pretexts for aggression, nothing more.
In Iran’s case, what the Israelis fear is not that they will be “wiped off the map” (that is a mistranslation of words originally spoken by Ayatollah Khomenei) by Iranian nukes; what really freaks them out is to have a large, successful Muslim regional power like Iran openly daring to denounce Israel as an illegitimate, racist state. The Iranians are also openly denouncing the US imperialism and they are even denouncing the Wahabi dictatorship of the House of Saud. That is Iran’s real “sin”: to dare defy openly the AngloZionist Empire and be so successful at it!
So what the Israelis really want to do is:
1. inflict a maximum amount of economic damage upon Iran
2. punish the Iranian population for daring to support the “wrong” leaders
3. overthrow the Islamic Republic (do to it what they did to Serbia)
4. make an example to dissuade any other country who dares to follow in Iran’s footsteps
5. prove the omnipotence of the AngloZionist Empire’s
To reach this objective, there is no need to invade Iran: a sustained cruise missile and bombing campaign will do the job (again, like in Serbia). Finally, we just have to assume that the Zionists are evil, arrogant and crazy enough to use nuclear weapons on some Iranian facilities (which they will, of course, designate as “secret military nuclear research” installations).
The Israelis hope that by making the US hit Iran really hard, they will weaken the country enough to also weaken Hezbollah and the other allies of Iran in the region sufficiently and break the so-called “Shia crescent”.
In their own way, the Israelis are not wrong when they say that Iran is an existential threat to Israel. They are just lying about the nature of this threat and why it is dangerous for them.
IF the Islamic Republic is allowed to develop and prosper and IF the Islamic Republic refuses to be terrified by the IDF’s undisputed ability to massacre civilians and destroy public infrastructure, then the Islamic Republic will become an attractive alternative to the kind of repugnant Islam embodied by the House of Saud which, in turn, is the prime sponsor of all the collaborator regimes in the Middle-East from the Hariri types in Lebanon to the Palestinian Authority itself. The Israelis like their Arabs fat and corrupt to the bone, not principled and courageous. That is why Iran must, absolutely must, be hit: because Iran by its very existence threatens the linchpin upon which the survival of the Zionist entity depends: the total corruption of the Arab and Muslim leaders worldwide.
Risks with Israel’s plan “B”
Think of 2006. The Israelis had total air supremacy over Lebanon – the skies were simply uncontested. The Israelis also controlled the seas (at least until Hezbollah almost sank their Sa’ar 5-class corvette). The Israelis pounded Lebanon with everything they had, from bombs to artillery strikes, to missiles. They also engaged their very best forces, including their putatively ‘”invincible” “Golani Brigade”. And that for 33 days. And they achieved exactly *nothing*. They could not even control the town of Bint Jbeil right across the Israeli border. And now comes the best part: Hezbollah kept its most capable forces north of the Litany river so the small Hezbollah force (no more than 1000 man) was composed of local militias supported by a much smaller number of professional cadre. That a 30:1 advantage in manpower for the Israelis. But the “invincible Tsahal” got it’s collective butt kicked like few have ever been kicked in history. This is why, in the Arab world, this war is since known as the “Divine Victory”.
As for Hezbollah, it continued to rain down rockets on Israel and destroy indestructible Merkava tanks right up to the last day.
There are various reports discussing the reasons for the abject failure of the IDF (see here or here), but the simple reality is this: to win a war you need capable boots on the ground, especially against an adversary who has learned how to operate without air-cover or superior firepower. Should Israel manipulate the US into attacking Iran, the exact same thing will happen: CENTCOM will establish air superiority and have an overwhelming firepower advantage over the Iranians, but other than destroying a lot of infrastructure and murdering scores of civilians, this will achieve absolutely nothing. Furthermore, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is no Milosevic, he will not simply surrender in the hope that Uncle Sam will allow him to stay in power. The Iranians will fight, and fight, and continue to fight for weeks, and months and then possibly years. And, unlike the “Axis of Kindness” forces, the Iranians do have credible and capable “boots on the ground”, and not only in Iran, but also in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan. And they have the missiles to reach a very large number of US military facilities across the region. And they can also not only shut down the Strait of Hormuz (which the USN would eventually be able to re-open, but only at a cost of a huge military operation on the Iranian coast), they can also strike at Saudi Arabia proper and, of course, at Israel. In fact, the Iranians have both the manpower and know-how to declare “open season” on any and all US forces in the Middle-East, and there are plenty of them, mostly very poorly defended (that imperial sense of impunity “they would not dare”).
The Iran-Iraq war lasted for eight years (1980-1988). It cost the Iranians hundreds of thousands of lives (if not more). The Iraqis had the full support of the US, the Soviet Union, France and pretty much everybody else. As for the Iranian military, it had just suffered from a traumatic revolution. The official history (meaning Wikipedia) calls the outcome a “stalemate”. Considering the odds and the circumstances, I call it a magnificent Iranian victory and a total defeat for those who wanted to overthrow the Islamic Republic (something which decades of harsh sanctions also failed to achieve, by the way).
Is there any reason at all to believe that this time around, when Iran has had almost 40 years to prepare for a full-scale AngloZionist attack the Iranians will fight less fiercely or less competently? We could also look at the actual record of the US armed forces (see Paul Craig Roberts’ superb summary here) and ask: do you think that the US, lead by the likes of Trump, Bolton or Nikki Haley will have the staying power to fight the Iranians to exhaustion (since a land invasion of Iran is out of the question)? Or this: what will happen to the world economy if the entire Middle-East blows up into a major regional war?
Now comes the scary part: both the Israelis and the Neocons always, always, double-down. The notion of cutting their losses and stopping what is a self-evidently mistaken policy is simply beyond them. Their arrogance simply cannot survive even the appearance of having made a mistake (remember how both Dubya and Olmert declared that they had won against Hezbollah in 2006?). As soon as Trump and Netanyahu realize that they did something really fantastically stupid and as soon as they run out of their usual options (missile and airstrikes first, then terrorizing the civilian population) they will have a stark and simple choice: admit defeat or use nukes.
Which one do you think they will choose?
Here is the paradox: in purely military terms, using nukes on Iran will serve no pragmatic purpose. Nuclear weapons can be used in one of two ways: against military assets (“counterforce”) or against civilians (“countervalue”). The point is that by the time the Neocons and their Israeli patrons come to the point of considering using tactical nuclear forces against the Iranians, there won’t be a good target to hit. Iranian forces will be dispersed and mostly in contact with allied (or even US forces) and nuking an Iranian battalion or even a division won’t fundamentally alter the military equation. As for nuking Iranian cities just out of savagery, this will only serve one purpose: to truly get Israel wiped off the map of the Middle-East. I would not put it past the Neocons and their Israeli bosses to try to use a tactical nuclear weapon to destroy some Iranian civilian nuclear facility or some underground bunker with the very mistaken hope that such a show of force and determination will force the Iranians to submit to the AngloZionist Empire. In reality, this will only infuriate the Iranians and strengthen their resolve.
As for the currently “macronesque” Europeans, they will, of course, first show “solidarity” on the basis of “highly likely”, especially Poland, the Ukies and the Baltic statelets, but if nuclear weapons start going off in the Middle-East, then the European public opinion will explode, especially in Mediterranean countries, and this might just trigger yet another major crisis. Israel wouldn’t give a damn (or, as always, blame it all on some totally mysterious resurgence of anti-Semitism), but the US most definitely does not want the Anglo grip on the continent compromised by such events.
Maybe a Korean scenario?
Is there a chance that all the huffing and puffing will result in some kind of peaceful resolution as what seems to be in the works in Korea? Alas, probably not.
A few months ago it sure looked like the US might do something irreparably stupid in Korea (see here and here) but then something most unexpected happened: the South Koreans, fully realizing the insanity of Trump’s reckless threats, took the situation in their own hands and began making overtures to the North. Plus all the rest of the regional neighbors emphatically and clearly told Trump & Co. that the consequences of a US attack on the DPRK would be apocalyptic for the entire region. Alas, there are two fundamental differences between the Korean Peninsula and the Middle-East:
On the Korean Peninsula, the local US ally (the ROK) does not want war. In the Middle-East it is the local US ally (Israel) which pushes the hardest for a war.
In Far-East Asia all the regional neighbors were and are categorically opposed to war. In the Middle-East most regional neighbors are sold out to the Saudis who also want the US to attack Iran.