In a key piece of actual extensive, on-the-ground reporting, the New York Times’s Alissa Rubin has raised serious questions about the official US account of who it was that attacked the K-1 base near Kirkuk, in eastern Iraq, on December 27. The United States almost immediately accused the Iran-backed Ketaib Hizbullah (KH) militia of responsibility. … Continue reading Did Washington use a false pretext for its recent escalation in Iraq?
It is less than 140 hours since Pres. Trump ordered the killing of Iran’s Qods Force chief Qasem Soleimani and Iraq’s Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. Since then, the terrified world has watched as the leaders of Iran and the United States lobbed fierce rhetorical attacks against each other, leading to (quite rational) fears of a major … Continue reading Trump & Khamenei de-escalate. Political struggle inside Iraq continues.
With the decision he made late January 2 to kill the head of the Iranian “Qods Force”, Lt.-Gen Qasem al-Soleimani, Pres. Donald Trump set the United States on a course to an upheaval– certainly political and possibly also military– of truly global impact. The first reverberations of the heightened U.S.-Iran tensions have already been felt … Continue reading World poised on post-Soleimani knife-edge. Possible off-ramp emerges?
Actually, only this one, on January 1. I’ve been busy with lots of other things, too.
Over the past three-plus months it has become increasingly clear that, despite the bombast that Pres. Donald Trump has hurled against the Islamic Republic of Iran (along with a full deck of extremely harmful sanctions and some cyber attacks), neither he nor his closest regional allies in the anti-Iran coalition have been willing to escalate … Continue reading Mutual deterrence: Good for the Middle East, bad for the nuclear weapons industry?
The Washington Post’s David Ignatius had a column in today’s paper that gave a muddled, fairly escalatory take on the continuing crisis in the Persian Gulf between the Iranian government and the forces lined up against it. His lede (intro) is fairly straightforward: It’s a good rule never to start a fight you’re not eager … Continue reading WaPo’s Ignatius gets “mugged by reality” on Iran
How is it still possible to write a lengthy article about the military/strategic dynamic among the triad of Israel, Iran, and the United States while making zero mention of Israel’s robust nuclear-weapons capability? New York Times staffers Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazzetti, and their editors at the Times magazine clearly think this is quite okay. … Continue reading The Emperor’s New-Old Nuclear Clothes
On September 1, Hizbullah fighters on Lebanon’s border with Israel fired two precision-guided missiles over the border, apparently hitting an Israeli “Wolf” armored personnel carrier (APC) and inflicting casualties of unknown severity on its occupants (see above). The strike came a day after Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah warned that the organization would retaliate for Israel’s … Continue reading Hizbullah Reminds Israel of Its Power
In May, President Donald J. Trump rolled out his policy of “maximum pressure” designed to force Tehran to concede to far-reaching demands. He tightened U.S. sanctions against Iran considerably and ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and numerous other military units deployed to (or toward) the Persian Gulf. Then-especially after Iran shot down a large U.S. Navy drone in late June-the world braced for a showdown.
Sixty-three years ago, a (possibly amphetamine-addled) British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, launched a military attack against a Middle Eastern country with the goal of provoking unrest that would topple its troublesome leader. Eden had conspired with others to create the pretext for the military attack. In the last days of October 1956, they swung … Continue reading Suez, Iran, and the perils of imperial over-reach