Ed Pilkington, Martin Pengelly – The Guardian May 19, 2019
Donald Trump has issued one of his most direct threats yet to Tehran, warning that “if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran”.
The US president emerged from his golf club in Sterling, Virginia, on Sunday to tweet belligerently at around 4.30pm, thereby risking a quickening of tension that is already rising.
“Never threaten the United States again!” he wrote.
The tweet will do little to assuage jitters in the Middle East and in Washington about aggressive language coming out of the White House. Concern is already running high that Trump’s hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, who played a key role in instigating the invasion of Iraq under George Bush, might be nudging the administration towards military action.
On the other hand, Trump has a way of blowing hot one minute and cold the next. As with so many of his social media missives, the precise import of his Sunday tweet was hard to read. It directly conflicted with reports of just three days ago that the president had been telling the Pentagon he did not want to go to war and wanted to find a way to wind down tensions.
Those reports were also subject to qualification. In response to reports about a draft plan for the deployment of 120,000 troops, Trump said that though he did not want war, if it came to it he would send “a hell of a lot” more soldiers than that.
Earlier on Sunday, the Utah senator and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had joined the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in dismissing the threat of war.
“Going to war with Iran?” Romney asked on CNN’s State of the Union. “Not going to happen.”
Stephen Lendman: Trump, Pentagon Commanders Oppose War on Iran
Fars News – May 19, 2019
US columnist Stephen Lendman described the Trump administration as the most extremist in US history, reiterating that his top military brass stand strongly opposed to any kind of war against Iran.
“As irrationally hostile as Trump is toward the Islamic Republic, I believe he’s reluctant to go this far. Pentagon commanders oppose war on Iran and Venezuela,” Lendman told FNA in an exclusive interview.
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient. Lendman lives in Chicago. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
What follows is FNA’s interview author and writer Stephen Lendman.
Q: Some believe that war with Iran is not President Trump’s choice or priority. What is your opinion?
A: I’ve written several times on whether the Trump regime will or won’t go to war on Iran.
US war plans were drawn on Iran and updated at least since the Bush/Cheney era, never implemented, likely earlier.
The Trump regime is the most extremist in US history. I rule nothing out with the likes of Pompeo and Bolton in charge of DJT’s geopolitical agenda.
At the same time, I think they’ll continue what I call war by other means, targeting Iran’s economy by sanctions and other hostile actions — short of military intervention.
As irrationally hostile as Trump is toward the Islamic Republic, I believe he’s reluctant to go this far. Pentagon commanders oppose war on Iran and Venezuela.
Both nations can hit back hard if attacked. In Venezuela’s case, millions of its citizens are mobilized to defend the nation if attacked by a foreign power. Along with the country’s military, they’re prepared to wage protracted guerrilla war to preserve and defend the Bolivarian Republic.
In Iran’s case, its military can strike Israeli cities, military facilities and nuclear sites if attacked by the US or the Jewish state. It can also inflict considerable damage to regional Pentagon forces.
US war on Iran would be hugely destabilizing. If Russia intervenes as it did in Syria to combat US-supported terrorists, aiding Iran to protect its regional interests, a strong possibility, global war could follow — what neither Washington nor Moscow want.
My bottom line is that while US war on Iran is possible, I doubt the Trump regime will go this far, especially knowing how adversely the global economy will be affected if Iranian forces block the Strait of Hormuz in response to war or the US blocking its oil exports.
Q: There are also some arguments President Trump’s priority is trade war, and they make mention of the recent trade wars against EU, China and others in support of their reasoning. What is your take on that?
A: Trump is a creature of dark forces controlling him. He was co-opted straightaway in office by US monied interests, mainly Wall Street, Big Oil, and the nation’s military, industrial, security complex.
The same is true for all US presidents, the lesson of Jack Kennedy not forgotten — killed by the CIA for wanting all US forces out of Southeast Asia, rapprochement with Soviet Russia, nuclear disarmament, Palestinian rights respected, along with opposing other policies long followed by US governments.
Trump will do what dark forces in the US demand of him. I believe they don’t want war on Iran or Venezuela. The world community strongly opposes aggression against both countries.
If the US attacks them militarily, it’ll likely be a coalition of one with at most minor support from allies, other than Israel, the Saudis and UAE against Iran.
I know of no Latin American country willing to join a US war against Venezuela.
US economic and trade issues with China are not over the trade deficit, a minor issue. They’re all about wanting China’s aim to become an economic, industrial, and technological powerhouse undermined — wanting US corporate interests to have a leg up on Chinese and other foreign competition.
Q: Given the priority of trade war, it is believed, at least by a good number of politicians and media in the US, that President Trump’s foreign policy toward Iran stops short of what is desired by John Bolton and his warmongering strategy. What do you think?
A: According to one or more unnamed sources, Trump may replace Bolton. He’s more hostile to Iran than anyone else in Washington, pushing for war, but Pompeo is a close second, wanting the Iranian government toppled.
The will to go to war against Iran in Washington is weak at best, why I doubt it will happen.
Q: It is also speculated that if Trump fails in his engagement strategy toward Iran by the start of the presidential campaign, he might fire those who pursue the most hawkish policies against Tehran, like John Bolton, in a blame game. What is your assessment?
A: Trump is also beholden to Netanyahu and the Israeli lobby. Netanyahu and other Israeli hardliners want war on Iran, wanting the US to do their fighting.
I’ve said they should be careful about what they wish for. Israeli targets will be ferociously attacked if the US goes to war with Iran.
Hezbollah could get involved, knowing it’s next if Iran is attacked. Its thousands of missiles can hit all targets in Israel and some US regional ones.
Q: Trade war with China, North Korea negotiations, Venezuela and Iran are the main issues in President Trump’ foreign policy. How much are these issues to affect the result of the next presidential elections in the US?
A: The 2020 US presidential election is months away. Lots can happen between now and then.
The US and world economy are shaky. If things turn sour domestically and in Europe, adversely affecting US allies, Trump fearing his reelection chances would be harmed, it’s possible he might launch a war to distract attention from domestic economic trouble.
It’s been done before and could happen again. While I doubt the US will attack Iran or Venezuela militarily, if it comes I believe a false flag will launch it.
It’s a longstanding US tradition since the mid-19th century, 9/11 the mother of them all.