Visit ArabTopics.com

Trump’s Desperate, Last-Ditch Effort To Hike Tensions With Iran-- This Might Be The Final Stretch For His Failed Policy Of Maximum Pressure

Iranian civilians are endangered by recent sabotage carried out  against both military and civilian targets. Here a woman sells spices in the bazaar. Photo: Reese Erlich

-by Reese Erlich
author, The Iran Agenda Today: The Real Story Inside Iran and What's Wrong with U.S. Policy.

During the past month, Iran has suffered a half-dozen explosions and fires at military and civilian sites. A bomb blew up near the Parchin missile base outside Tehran, Iran’s capital. Fires broke out at an electric power station and aboard seven ships in a southern port city.

Iranian government authorities say some of the incidents were accidents. But the most serious, it appears, was an act of sabotage.

On July 2, a blast ripped through the main assembly hall at Natanz, a facility that produces centrifuge parts essential for enriching uranium for Iran’s nuclear power program.

No one officially took credit for the sabotage, but the New York Times reported that a “Middle East intelligence” source admitted that Israel was behind the bombing. An Israeli newspaper later identified the source as Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad intelligence agency.

Analysts say such a brazen attack, which constitutes an act of war, would need the approval of officials in Washington, D.C.

“If the US did not participate in the attack directly, at the very least it gave Israel its consent,” Muhammad Sahimi, a professor at the University of Southern California and Iran expert, says in an interview.

Washington and Tel Aviv think such attacks, along with the unilateral U.S. sanctions, are a low-risk means of pushing back on Iran. They are an escalation of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign—which has notably failed and will likely be abandoned after the U.S. presidential election.

“There’s a sense that there’s a bit of desperation right now” in both capitals, says Trita Parsi, executive vice president and co-founder of the Quincy Institute, an anti-interventionist think tank in Washington, D.C. He likens the attempts to those of medieval archers fighting a losing battle: “Empty your quiver... shoot all your arrows.”

October surprise?

Some analysts speculate that the Trump Administration is seeking to provoke Iran into military retaliation. Trump could then launch a war, rally support at home, and win the election. It’s a classic “October Surprise” or even a “Wag the Dog” scenario.

But Foad Izadi does not agree with that analysis.

“Iran is not Iraq,” Izadi, an assistant professor of American studies at the University of Tehran, tells me by phone from Tehran. “Any overt war runs the danger of serious US casualties. He should know, after being President for almost four years, attacking Iran has consequences.”

Izadi does not think that “starting a new war with Iran a few months before the election” is in Trump’s interest. “Even a limited war is not useful for him.”

But that doesn’t preclude other forms of U.S. aggression.

On July 23, a U.S. fighter jet flew close to an Iranian civilian airliner on a routine flight from Tehran, as it crossed Syria on its way to Beirut, Lebanon. The U.S. military claimed to be conducting a “visual inspection” of the plane in order to “ensure the safety of coalition personnel at At Tanf garrison,” says Captain Bill Urban, spokesperson for US Central Command.

Urban claimed the F-15 fighter jet kept 1,000 yards away from the airliner. But a video shot by passengers shows a jet flying much closer. The proximity of the F-15 forced the Iranian pilot to drop 14,000 feet in four minutes, injuring several passengers.

According to Izadi, the US military has no business “inspecting” a civilian airliner flying in a normal civilian air corridor over Syria. In fact, he says, the United States “has no right to be in Syria at all.”

The Trump Administration keeps several hundred troops in Syria in defiance of the Syrian government and without authorization from the United Nations or any other international body.

Iranians are particularly sensitive about US interactions with civilian planes. In 1988, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 passengers and crew. After initially providing false information about where and how fast the plane was flying, Washington admitted to shooting down the airliner and paid compensation to the victims’ families.

“These things unify the Iranian people,” Izadi says. “Whether they like the government or not, Iranians don’t want to be on a plane that will be shot down.”

Iranian response

To date, the Iranian government has not overtly responded to the U.S. provocations. It seems more likely that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is waiting for the U.S. election on November 3, which could result in the election of Joe Biden.

“Iranians are holding their fire, playing the long game,” Parsi says. “They fear it may be a trap to give Trump an excuse to go farther.”

Iran’s conservative hardliners, meanwhile, denounce Rouhani as vacillating in the face of a US and Israeli onslaught. But Parsi says these hardliners “are playing a political game. They understand the logic of not doing anything for now, but that doesn’t prevent them from calling Rouhani weak.”

Sahimi, a close observer of Iranian politics, agrees that “there is a lot of ‘hot’ rhetoric against President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif by the hardliners. But I do not expect any practical action in the near future.”

Depending on what policy the United States adopts after the elections, Sahimi expects “the response to come at a later time and in a manner and at locations where neither Israel nor the US would expect.”

Biden has pledged, if elected, to reverse course on Iran. Izadi believes a Biden Administration would change the Trump policy of maximum pressure. “Whether doing it through rejoining the nuclear agreement or coming up with some other policies, we have to wait and see,” he says.

Parsi, who is familiar with the views of Biden’s Iran advisors, says the new administration would likely call for “compliance for compliance.”

“Biden could lift sanctions by executive order without rejoining the nuclear accord,” he says. “That’s a necessary step, but not sufficient.” The new administration will also have to work with Congress and lay the groundwork for restoring the nuclear accord.

Despite the current crisis, Izadi says, “I’m optimistic. Trump’s policies are not working. The U.S. will have to change, and the change will be for the best.”

Source: 
Down With Tyranny

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
The high wire 13
Tareq Haddad 10
Please Stop the Ride 36
The Infectious Myth 27
Lockdown Skeptics 132
Sam Husseini 37
Dr. Andrew Kaufman 3
Swiss Propaganda Research 82
Off Guardian 285
Cory Morningstar 10
James Bovard 97
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 510
Pass Blue 454
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 19
John Pilger 429
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 3721
FEE 5628
Marine Le Pen 437
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 54
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 1333
Mohamed Omar 404
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 19
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 36
Filosofiska rummet 156
Vetenskapsradion Historia 204
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 276
Les Crises 4302
Richard Falk 240
Ian Sinclair 145
SpinWatch 71
Counter Currents 13671
Kafila 743
Gail Malone 45
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 12512
Vanessa Beeley 246
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 6347
Paul Craig Roberts 2909
News Junkie Post 77
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 6705
Sir Ken Robinson 88
Stephan Kinsella 133
Liberty Blitzkrieg 889
Sami Bedouin 65
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 4428
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 107
David D. Friedman 198
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1549
Tom Dispatch 677
Levant Report 18
The Saker 5478
The Barnes Review 623
John Friend 563
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 173
New Eastern Outlook 5240
School Sucks Project 1852
Giza Death Star 2296
Andrew Gavin Marshall 28
Red Ice Radio 717
GMWatch 2700
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 35
Jay's Analysis 1246
Le 4ème singe 92
Jacob Cohen 227
Agora Vox 20843
Cercle Des Volontaires 462
Panamza 2712
Fairewinds 124
Project Censored 1287
Spy Culture 786
Conspiracy Archive 85
Crystal Clark 27
Timothy Kelly 681
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 1166
Independent Science News 97
The Anti Media 6895
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 63
Lionel 320
The Mind renewed 468
Natural Society 2627
Yanis Varoufakis 1193
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 172
Porkins Policy Review 465
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 650
Libyan War Truth 385
DeadLine Live 1920
Kevin Ryan 69
BSNEWS 2149
Aaron Franz 287
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 128
Dr. Bruce Levine 164
Peter B Collins 1889
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 12541
Climate Audit 228
Donna Laframboise 540
Judith Curry 1214
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2879
Syria Report 84
Human Rights Investigation 94
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 14331
Laura Wells Solutions 53
Video Rebel's Blog 505
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 23907
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3534
Northerntruthseeker 3266
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4994
AntiWar.com Blog 3581
AntiWar.com Original Content 7969
Corbett Report 2790
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1379
Webster Tarpley Website 1177

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public