Is War with Iran Inevitable?

In light of the reader interest in the post yesterday on the impact of sanctions on Iran’s strategic options, this Real News Network interview provides a useful, if sobering, follow on (hat tip charles sereno). Lawrence Wilkerson describes which constituencies in the US, Iran, and Israel regard a conflict in their best interest, and how the evolving drama reminds him of the march towards war in Iraq.


More at The Real News

But is the focus on Iran misplaced? Reader Antifa pointed out yesterday that a much bigger shoe may drop before the escalating conflict with Iran reaches a critical stage:

For the record, the “Straights of Hormuz” is a cross-dressing barbershop quintet based in Dhubai who put on quite an entertaining show at private dance and drinking parties for the wealthy cosmopolitans of the Muslim world. Risque Islamic humor and a bit of burlesque. You know: a few well-turned ankles, a glimpse under the burkha. The usual. They’d do great in Vegas, only with less fabric.

Oh yeah, they’re all five flaming gays but no one cares. It’s all good while the money and the bubbly flows. Kind of reminds me of Berlin the year before the Reichstag caught fire.

On the other hand, the “Strait of Hormuz” (singular — there’s only one) is a very narrow waterway through which most of the Middle East’s oil ships in great, hulking supertankers. It’s not as entertaining as the Straights, but performs admirably as a bottleneck for the lifeblood of Western economies.

Along the entire Iranian shoreline of the Persian Gulf leading up to the Strait are the formidable Atlas Mountains, a desert warren of smuggler’s routes, caves, tunnels and tens of thousands of places to stage ambushes of all sorts. Truly a godforsaken, dried out wasteland of steep slopes, snakes, scorpions and hidey-holes. No army in the world could put enough people in there to police it, to keep it from being a perpetual hornet’s nest of missile-launching Iranian patriots forever and ever, Amen.

No military vessel of any kind could survive 24 hours in the Gulf or threaten Iran from there in any way. Lloyd’s of London would not insure a single oil tanker going there, so none would. Please note that only one Iranian patriot need sink only one tanker, with one missile, to bring all shipping to a complete halt, compliments of Lloyd’s. Nobody ships without insurance, and insurance would be unobtainable.

The real risk of war and instability in the Middle East lies not with gay crooners nor sanctions nor imaginary Iranian nukes nor Israel’s psychotic ambitions for Lebensraum. (Wherever do they get such notions?)

It lies in the imminent collapse of the Saudi monarchy due to political decrepitude and mortal age. There are nothing but very old men in the line of succession, and over half the Kingdom’s male population is under the age of 15 — and half of those are unemployed as a permanent condition. Wards of the state, literally.

When the Kingdom falls in the next few years, it will be impossible to stop the popular will of the Saudi people for an Islamic state. Nor can American or other Western troops set foot there to forcibly establish a friendly regime. That would be an unforgivable blasphemy upon the land of Mecca. So we won’t be invited to the party, as in Libya.

The other popular will of the Wahabi Islamists will be to take on Iran, the den of the Shia dogs and infidels. Iran will be delighted to return the sentiments and activities. There will be no lasting peace between Sunni and Shiite fundies. It will very much get in the way of shipping oil in our direction.

Saudi Arabia is where the collapse is going to come from, and it will be overnight, most likely.

Everyone over there knows it’s coming, knows the false stability and prosperity of recent decades is hanging by a thread. The Straights even have a cute little ditty about it called “Wahabi Crude.” And those of you who’ve heard them sing it know that it is. But then, that’s their forte.

The Straights are just divine.

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93 comments

  1. Ed

    I’d be really surprise if there was a war involving some sort of attack by Israel or the United States on Iran. Apparently the national security establishment in Israel, and for the most part in the United States, is against this because it would be really, really stupid. Apparently the U.S. is trying to do the color revolution thing. If it works, it works, if not the country is really too big for a conventional attack to accomplish much.

    I agree the real question is what happens with Saudi Arabia, though I find it hard to believe they haven’t done any succession planning.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I would tend to agree with the idea that war with Iran is nuts, but Wilkerson is closer to the action and he does not read it that way. He suggests that the people who are gung ho for war continue to be successful in escalating the conflict.

      Go read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August. No one wanted World War I and yet we wound up with it due to the inability of the principals to communicate plus treaty obligations. Richard Bookstaber uses it as an example of a tightly coupled system: the required actions took place faster than the principals could decide whether and how to interrupt them. Just because something is recognized by key actors as a bad idea does not necessarily stop bad dynamics from taking over.

      1. jake chase

        You could be right about this but you ought to think twice about tossing off McKinsey piffle about complicated foreign affairs with immense potential consequences. You aren’t talking now about Federal Reserve printing operations and which creeps get to grab another billion or so. One can only hope that a few sober people are working on this and, after all, any of this could have happened at any time in the past ten years for exactly the same reasons.

        1. William

          Sir, until you’re able to hold a candle to Yves’ breadth of knowledge, cogent analysis, and supreme unselfish 24/7 devotion to truth for persons like yourself to be informed and to be heard, YOU “ought to” be more circumspect in your comments–because your attempt to boost your ego via presumtuousness is completely transparent.

          1. jake chase

            This blog ain’t about truth any more. It’s about egotism and censorship and, increasingly, about hyterical pseudoanalysis and fawning heroine worship. Sorry.

      2. cirsium

        Yves – France, Britain and Russia did not want war but Wilhelmine Germany did which supports your point about people who are gung ho for war getting their way. For an example of the wilhelmine imperialist state of mind, here is an extract from an essay written in 1912 by Prince Eulenburg (a former confidant of the Kaiser) who believed that war with the British Empire was inevitable

        “And why not war? We Prussians are accustomed to it. Our recent history, which is still fresh in everyone’s mind, demonstrates the advancement of the State through war and the use of force. We have not fared too badly by using these methods..Only we never pursued this course honestly. Honestly like Napoleon who never denied that he was striving for world domination! Honestly like the English who took whatever they wanted without asking. Honestly like the Russians, who added one Asiatic state after another to the Tsar’s empire without trumpeting promises of peace throughout the world before.

        For opportunistic reasons we have falsified history, we have written the words “German loyalty”, “German truth”, “the German temperament” on every street corner and have hidden our carefully laid plans for war behind them. In this sense, however, we have always remained true to ourselves, following in the footsteps of Frederick the Great who, through his troops were already on the march to Silesia, wrote to the Empress Maria Theresa that “he valued peace above all things and would not dream of beginning a war”. In the footsteps of Bismarck, who managed to persuade the German people in 1870 that they have been too deeply humiliated by France not to draw the sword.

        So we now build dreadnoughts, and the Kaiser and his government never stop singing us their songs of peace, which we must safeguard as if it were the Holy Grail. Therefore war. If we succeed – tant mieux. Then we can become pour de bon a military state and organise and rule the conquered lands with a firm military hand. Arm in order to conquer. Honestly and ruthlessly”

        1. Ed

          I see there have been too responses mentioning World War I.

          The Great War is a seeming contradiction in that it started almost a century ago but new material keeps coming out that changes our view of it. Last I checked a few years ago the Russians promised they finally would publish their Official History. Anyway, the Guns of August is somewhat out of date and whatever source “cirsium” is using was never in date (quoting Eulenberg to illustrate the policy of the German government is sort of like quoting Sheldon Adelson to show what U.S. policy is in the Middle East). I would suggest starting with Froomkin’s recent book to get a clearer picture, though there has been alot worthwhile written recently on the conflict.

          To try to simplify a complicated situation, Germany got into an arms race with Britain, France, and Russia, and lost. The German government didn’t have the access to the credit markets to borrow the money needed and was constrained by their federal structure. Austria-Hungary was a mess. There had been a number of diplomatic crisises over the years, in all but one of them Germany backed down. The Kaiser wanted to back down in the 1914 crisis (caused by state sponsored terrorism against Germany’s last ally, which was in an even worse mess), but the General Staff told the government that if you are going to fight a war, you have to do it now (because of the Russian arms build-up). So the rest of the government kept the Kaiser out of the loop and turned down a British request for an international conference, though in the event it was the Russians who actually first jumped the gun on mobilization.

          But the point is that the governments weren’t suddenly taken over by crazy! crazy! people in 1914. This was alot more rational than what are hearing about the Middle East. The balance of power was shifting against one of the European power blocks enough that the losing side decided they had to go to war then before things got worse, and the gaining coalition (at least Russia) sort of let things drift in that direction because they had finally gotten to the point where they were likely to win.

          And at the time assumed a short war, if only because Germany used nitrates to make ammunition thatall came from a small island in the Pacific that they knew they would lose access to once the conflift started. As it happened Haber came up with a substitute process using chemicals.

          But I assume there is alot of stuff regarding U.S. strategy that even well-informed members of the public have no idea about.

          1. jake chase

            Has anyone noticed that nuclear weapons do make a difference? War is no longer chess with disposable pieces. War is now serious. We have not had a serious war since 1945, which is not to say that a lot of people haven’t been killed or maimed, only that the action has been limited to peripheral venues and seems designed only to provide exercise for military types and profit for contractors. Strategizing about nuclear war is just idi ocy on steroids.

          2. The Dork of Cork

            The Great war was a result of a gigantic run on the BoE by the clearing banks and the people clutching gold Sovs….

            HM treasury produced 10 shilling notes that became legal tender theoughout the British isles so as to bail them out….
            After they gave us the money they needed to take it back again via the war mechanism.
            Soldiers became the conduits for the banking system just as consumers are today.

            You could cash Sterling notes in Berlin up to 1916….
            Just saying like.

          3. The Dork of Cork

            PS
            A year before in 1913 a central bank was formed called the FED …….
            This was created in a country not unlike a hybrid of China & Saudi Arabia today….
            A FUCKING MONSTER…..

            What kind of a effect would you think that would have on Europe ?
            France & Germany held most of the above ground Gold in 1914 , the UK held most of the below Ground Gold……

            Where do you think most of the Gold was by 1918 ?
            By the 1920s America & the $ became a petro currency Giant.

          4. Roland

            I don’t agree that Germany faced any sort of capital crisis in the lead-up to the Great War. Germany’s balance of payments situation was fine. Germany was not only funding its own continued industrial development, but had become a significant foreign investor–although not, to be sure, anywhere near the scale of the UK.

            Financialistic analysis of the origins of the Great War says more about the financialistic world-view of the analysts, than about the war itself. Every history is a history as much of its own times, as of its ostensible subject.

      3. Nathanael

        One of the differences was that World War I was *local* to all the countries in Europe — even the UK, though its position was the most secure.

        A US war with Iran would be something Iran would be permanently invested in — but the US would not, being on the wrong side of the globe. Pretty quickly the US would simply lose, the way it lost in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan; every other country in the region would back Iran tacitly if not openly; and then we’d just be back to counting how long it was until the US government collapsed. The *Civil War* caused draft riots in NY, and the North was pretty invested in that.

        While I don’t think a US war with Iran is likely — nobody sane wants it, and nobody sane in the US thinks the US can win — I have learned not to underestimate the stupidity of the criminals in the military-industrial complex who have taken over the US government. It would have no lasting effects on the US, however; a draft would end the war in a month, while no draft would simply cause people in the US to ignore it.

        —-

        The main point in this article, however, is that the Saudi government is bound to collapse sooner or later and nobody knows what will happen politically when that happens. This is correct. The collapse will happen precisely when the oil demand drops permanently, eliminating the government’s bribe-the-people model.

        Nobody seems to have worked out what the crude oil “trigger price” for the collapse in demand is, though the famous Deutsche Bank report attempts to describe the process.

    2. Richard Kline

      I don’t take antifa’s comments regarding the imminent collapse of Saudi Arabia at face value as stated. And ‘the inevitable Sunni-Shi’a wars’ are a propaganda invention, and completely suss.

      The doddering emirs of Arabia, in multiple states and statelets, are rotten yes; and they are going to go away. Yes. Soon, yes, I agree, and I agree that most everyone knows this is coming. I expect them gone in my lifetime; I’m 54. They will very, very likely be gone before the regime in Iran is substantially changed. But _their personal demise as a ruling class_ does not imply chaos or wild gyrations in Saudi Arabia per se, that’s the catch. Incompetent 15-year-olds don’t make revolutions, or sustain governments. The ‘class of the clerks’ in Saudi Arabia actually runs things, and would be quite capable of running things without the shrunken aristorcacy of the 10000 princes. Kuwait, the UAE, and Oman could be run tomorrow without their ‘owner-proprietors;’ Jordan could be so run today. Religious fundamentalism is a very major issue in Saudi Arabia, but having said that they still will want to, and need to, sell the oil. Saudi Arabia is in absolutely no state to fight a war with anyone, there’s no guts, no purpose, no ‘patriotism,’ and no real leadership class.

      When the ruling class goes in Saudi Arabia, I would imagine as a first scenario and outcome much like the departure of the Habsburgs from Austria proper. Virtually nothing changed in that country except the aristocrats disappeared from public view and and political power—but then, then hadn’t _really_ been running things ever there, it was always a ‘serving class’ of clerks, many of them foreigners, who ran things. So things kept right on running, in very much the same vein, with very much the same external relations (just minus the empire in that instance). The second most probable scenario in Saudi Arabia with the collapse of the princes would be civil disorder as the rump of the army, Sunni jihadis, and Shia seeking autonomy squared off in a multi-corner brangle of mid-intensity, since two of the three aren’t armed. Very much like, well, Yemen. With oil to sell, but a shaky production scenario, rather like Libya. That could go on for some long, unedifying time, but would be largely an internal conflict.

      The ‘Sunni-Shi’a antipathy’ does matter—to the Saudi and Kuwaiti ruler-proprietors. You see, all the ‘Sunni oil’ those states wallow rich on is pumped out from under physical territory inhabited by Shia indigenes who get pennies back in services if that. THAT and that only is the source of Sunni-Shi’a intolerance, together with the understandable interest of Shi’a Iranians to support their co-religionists from oppression. That’s all been complicated by the backing of the Saudis and Kuwaitis for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War, but as we’ve seen Iran came up the long term winner in Iraq there. Yes, if the US and the EU simply left Arabia altogether, a scenario of material support from Iran for rebellion in eastern Arabia would be quite likely—which Iran would win hands down in short order in any reasonable handicapping because the Sunni princes are just despised by absolutely everybody including each other of eachother. Nobody is getting killed to save them. Except Americans. Who aren’t going anywhere soon.

      The decline of Saudi Arabia is probable. Turmoil in Arabia is a significant likelihood. The collapse of Arabia into an organized, Sunni, jihadi, expansionary state is almost ridiculously unlikely in the present generation.

      1. okie farmer

        Richard, and others, Saudi oil production is more problematic for SA than the House of Saud, per se. Matthew Simmons in his well researched book, Twilight in the Desert, pointed to the two biggest fields in SA are pumping 80% water due to the extensive flooding of the reservoirs, essential to maintain production, but indicative of severely diminished remaining oil in those basins. The Saudi’s found another pretty good field north west of Ghawdar a few years ago, after Simmons published his book, but reports are that it is a good field but small. My guess is that once the oil is gone the princes will all depart to the shore of Lake Geneva where they own thousands of acres with dozens of palatial mansions. Or to their chateaux in France and Italy, etc.

        Iran would make a great spoils-of-war prize for SA, or the Americans for that matter, and Wilkerson’s pointing out that there are elements in power or close to power in all 3 countries, Iran, US, Israel, who want war, can’t be dismissed. Peter Dale Scott has an interesting series of articles about how to get to war when no one wants it:
        http://www.voltairenet.org/article176115.html
        I think US will watch carefully what happens in Syria, meddle more as they can, and reconsider war with Iran, if they can get regime change in Syria.

        Iran undoubtedly has more conventional oil left than SA, and 1st in the world (or maybe 2nd to Russia) in natural gas (Simmons). That’s why Iran is such a big deal.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Iran’s oil is not as desirable as you think. Like Venezuela’s, it’s heavy crude, while SA’s and Iraq’s is light sweet crude, easier to refine and much higher yield of the distalltes used in energy production.

          Iraq was far and away the best prize in the region, second biggest oil reserves in the world and much better quality oil. “We” still haven’t succeeded in increasing production to a level that reflects its potential (I haven’t followed this closely but from what I read a few years ago, we were slow out of the box due to the US wanting to control the resource, the oil co’s saying no you can’t, and things getting muddied after that. The continuing iffy security in the country obviously hasn’t helped).

          Again, I’ll defer to the Middle East experts, but Iran seems to be much more about Israel and the potential for Iran to exert more influence in the region counter to US interests than Iran’s oil per se.

          1. Fíréan

            Iranian gas reserves are world’s second largest (known) gas reserves following Russia. One reads much in the general western blogs and media of Iranian oil, and yet little of the gas and it’s importance.

      2. Nathanael

        You underestimate the level of personal involvement of the 10000 princes in the running of Saudi Arabia.

        In a way, that is actually the problem: the country really is run by “leading families”. Those sorts of governments can take some very bloody and complicated wars to get rid of.

      3. Nathanael

        “civil disorder as the rump of the army, Sunni jihadis, and Shia seeking autonomy squared off in a multi-corner brangle of mid-intensity”

        I think there would be more corners, including “rogue” groups of princes.

        Long-lasting mid-intensity war, like Yemen, is extremely plausible.

    3. Richard Kline

      Folks, the more we talk about Iran, the more we _don’t_ talk about Palestine, US drones, and Americo-European money-and-arms keeping rotten to the core rentier aristocracties or their equivalent in power in virually every country in from Pakistan to Morocco. I just don’t get why folks don’t get this. Iran is NOT a real issue: Iran is _made_ the issue that we don’t talk about the real problems. This is especially important to Israel, and it’s even more important to Israel that the US keep a large military footprint on the face of the inhabitants of SW Asia and and North Africa as Israel’s perimeter defense, for the next generation or until the ethnic cleansing is finished in the Garden. ‘Iran goes nuke’—not a problem. ‘Sunni-Shia Polish firing squad’—not a problem. ‘US wises up and goes home’—“WE GOT A _PROBLEM_ HERE!”

      That’s what we never talk about while being the only things that really matter. ‘The Problem of Iran’ is an utter invention to serve different purposes. That’s not to say that Iran doesn’t pose problems, but no more than any other state to speak of. Just remember, the media will never talk about what really matters, folks.

      1. René

        Israel? A pickpocket who has already got my wallet in his hand should not also feign he isn’t the center of the problem.

        – Raoul Heertje
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Heertje

        Russian General Petrov SPILLS THE BEANS ON US Dollar, 9-11, the Global Mafia, and Collapse.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w8zhmdjKLQ

        Henry Kissinger Says Luke Rudkowski Is A Sick Person for Questioning Him on NSM 200
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d2bCirm6NA

        SABROSKY-Why The Military Knows Israel Did 9 11
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnQ8gLSmTGo

        USrael set its own pants on fire and we will all get burned to some degree.

        1. ZygmuntFraud

          I think it can be quite easy for American Jews to think of themselves as eventual/possible Israelis. From being an Amrican with access to classified information to working for Israel (on spy stuff) sometimes happens and there are some well-documented cases. Example: Jonathan Pollard (convicted for espionage). Keywords: Radio-Signal Notations (RASIN), etc.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Pollard

      2. Eureka Springs

        Agreed. Additionally I woud say we (US Israel etc.) are already at war with Iran. It’s not inevitable, it’s happening. Sanctions, drones, stuxnet, Syria, massive military build up, scores of established bases, naval exercises all or in large part directed at Iran and on and on… would be considered acts of war by anyone suffering such actions and threats.

  2. mmckinl

    Anybody know the whereabouts of Prince Bandar bin Sultan aka: Bandar Bush?

    Days after being appointed head of Saudi Security Bandar Bush has disappeared.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        You got the propaganda part right. Your google result is propaganda.

        This is a real laugh riot if it weren’t for the hundreds of thousands of people that will die:

        “Damascus and Tehran are obsessed with the conspiracy theory that Gulf states are behind planning and funding of such terror acts [on Syria].”

        Rather than a conspiracy theory it’s more a conspiracy fact.

        Hillary Clinton pledged $45 million to the insurgents. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/28/170069/clinton-offers-45-million-to-syrian.html

        Of course the Gulf states have also funded the insurgents and are providing them weapons: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/22/saudi-arabia-syria-rebel-army

        This is the conspiracy the government has admitted to. It also goes well beyond that into attacks like computer virus attacks, terrorist attacks and assassinations, psychological operations like planted stories, and probably now currency attacks.

        Not only is it possible that the U.S. is coordinating and carrying out attacks on the Syrian leadership–it’s probable. Syria, Iran, and Russia are the rational reality-based people for pursuing this likelihood.

        Plus, didn’t the explosion attacking the Syrian leadership happen well within the building evidencing a fairly sophisticated attack? Of course a state actor is more of a suspect in sophisticated attacks.

        Do you really think ‘protesters’ simply dropped their signs and picked up anti tank missiles and sophisticated bombs that were just laying around? Do you think they developed a whole media strategy on their own and quickly decided to commit terrorist acts against civilians and the infrastructure? That the ‘rebels’ are social activists or something? That’s the conspiracy theory that is being sold.

        1. Nathanael

          I’m not sure why there are so many conspiracy theorists who are intent on blaming all rebel activity in Syria on “outside agitators”.

          That’s looney. Most of Syria never liked Assad to start with, and then he started engaging in artillery attacks on civilians. It’s pretty easy to get army units to defect to the rebels at that point.

          Is there outside support for the rebels? Sure — there SHOULD be, by either moral or realpolitik logic. Is it significant or decisive? Obviously not, or the unpopular Assad would be out by now.

  3. psychohistorian

    It is going to be interesting to see what event causes the next step down in the Mid-East situation. The US doesn’t get much of any of its current oil supply through the strait but the US considers it under its Empire jurisdiction.

    All it takes is a very small group of like minded crazies to get a rocket to sink a ship in the strait….and the ball starts rolling……Lets have a BIG HATEATHON !!!

    And we call this human interaction civilization at its apex……NOT

  4. Beppo

    The talk about the collapse of house of Saud is relatively premature, I think. Saudi Arabia is essential for global capitalism, and its entire economy is set up so that it can’t be easily disrupted by strikes and other popular actions. Their workforce is mostly se asian guest workers managed by Saudi citizens in comfortable sinecures. http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5296/capitalism-and-class-in-the-gulf-arab-states

    As for war with Iran, soon they’ll have a nuclear bomb, and war with them will be even more impossible than it is today. I’m sure you all know about the Millenium Challenge war games and a Marine officer sinking an aircraft carrier with a simulated Iranian Revolutionary Guards force of small boats and small planes. The straight of hormuz is not a safe place for huge capital ships in the age of advanced, relatively cheap, and deadly anti ship missiles.

    The U.S. military knows that a conventional conflict with Iran would be incredibly bloody, and I think they’re better at shrugging off suggestions of war than they were in 2002. I don’t see a chance of war with Iran, and I don’t see a fall of the house of Saud in any near future.

    1. Antifa

      Strait.

      It’s a bend in the Persian Gulf. A curve in the channel. It is not straight.

      It’s Strait.

      If we band of brothers, we glorious few armchair generals cannot get Strait straight we risk stumbling into wars that are positively vaudevillian.

    2. Nathanael

      The fall of the House of Saud happens when the permanent oil price drop kicks in and they can no longer afford their current economic model of bribing people with oil money.

      This is some years out yet. The oil price drop happens only after repeated oil price spikes have driven every industry which can manage it to switch off of oil ASAP. This is *starting* to happen but is a slow process.

      There is a famous Deutsche Bank report which describes the projected future of oil prices. The prolonged drop in oil prices is 20 years out still.

  5. bob

    Great points, but one more…

    “Please note that only one Iranian patriot need sink only one tanker, with one missile, to bring all shipping to a complete halt, compliments of Lloyd’s.”

    At this point they don’t even need to sink one, just a credible report of anyone shooting at one would bring everything to a standstill.

    1. Richard Kline

      Regarding antifa’s point re: one missle hit = no insurance, yes. But that’s not game over. I would anticipate that naval crews would be put ashore tankers and those run in if it was thought the tankers would be survivable, with the tankers handed off to civilians somewhere in the Arabian Sea. The fundamental point is, are large ships survivable against a credibally sustainable Iranian missle capacity. Any rational answer to that is, absolutely not. Iran has the present capability to close the Strait to surface traffic _indefinitely_.

    2. BS

      You mean like what happened the last time the oil tankers in the Gulf where fired upon? “During the Iran-Iraq war, hundreds of merchant vessels were attacked…”
      Seems the world didn’t end then….
      It would be messier now than then. But the world wouldn’t end.

  6. TulsaTime

    We are insane if we think we can put off a clash between the fundies of Islam. Why not try something easier, like controlling the reactions between warm air masses and a cold front?

    Ultimately, we will fall victim to our inflated sense of superiority, victims of our own technological blindness. I wonder if all the carrier’s will go to the bottom of the gulf, or just one? We have proven we can lose decisively on land. Can we go for the trifecta?

    Most likely it will be another drawn out bloody stalemate, further bankrupting the nation and diverting our focus from the real problems at home. The politicians will be able to flag wave, and the ‘homeland’ will sink further into 3rd world status.

  7. Bert_S

    Actually, I’ve been trying to think of ways to persuade the military to invade Washington DC and NYC.

    So far, my list looks like this:

    1) These places are closer to home.
    2) They have good restaurants.
    3) The women are loose as hell.
    4) Politicians and Bankers are wusses and most of them have probably never even shot a gun.
    5) If you can keep the country from going broke, you ensure you still get a paycheck.

    But if they realize they may lose in the Gulf, then that may be one more reason.

  8. Middle Seaman

    Wilkerson’s opinions are legitimate and can be supported. Yet, there are several other scenarios that are as likely as his. Military people in both the US and Israel oppose a war on Iran. That should not be taken lightly. In Democracies with large militarily, generals wield substantial political power.

    Antifa sounds to me like a typical old style Arab propagandist. She basically is a mouthpiece for Iran and Hezbollah and threatens the west with endless terror. She sounds exactly like Ahmadinejad. She even has her own quote from her version of the Protocol of the Elder of Zion: “Israel’s psychotic ambitions for Lebensraum.” While it’s common knowledge that Israel and the Palestinians basically agree, since 2000, on just about the 1967 borders as final peace borders.

    Neither Wilkerson nor Antifa haven’t said anything we haven’t heard time and again.

      1. Susan the other

        Did Henry Kissinger really say that in another 10 years Israel will no longer exist? And if he did doesn’t that imply that in 10 years the Middle East will be a done deal and Israel no longer strategically important?

        1. Mark P.

          Israel serves U.S. interests as a garrison state enforcing the status quo in the Middle East, obviously, and has decreasing strategic advantage to the U.S. as Middle East oil and even the petrodollar decline in overall importance.

          When the Arctic is fully opened up — perhaps as little as 15 years away — it’s hard to see that the cost-benefit analysis to the U.S. of supporting Israel in its current behavior will favor Israel.

          As for the petrodollar, it’s even starting to look imaginable that the U.S. dollar could continue to be the global reserve currency on the day after Saudi oil stops pumping, just through inertia and the lack of any other contender’s rise.

  9. Ruben

    “It lies in the imminent collapse of the Saudi monarchy due to political decrepitude and mortal age. There are nothing but very old men in the line of succession, …”

    Antifa’s post was funny but the succession in SA is well prepared. The youngest candidate is just 3 years older than Mitt Romney. As for an islamic state, what do they need it for? SA is already an islamic kingdom.

  10. richard in norway

    I’m really interested in what if anything Iran can do about its currency collapse, surely the regime can not last long when the rial is deprecating as fast as it is now

    1. Susan the other

      My question too. Iran is like the rest of the Middle East in that they cannot supply themselves with the things they must have like medicine, food, building materials and now water. I’ve never seen this war effort as anything but an appropriation of oil because that’s all they’ve got to exchange for the goods they need. So it makes sense for the West to embargo trade to both protect the value of the US dollar from arbitrary inflation pressures, while at the same time (remember Cheney’s “carpet of gold or carpet of bombs” offer to Afghanistan?) doing a little crooked drilling of our own – piping oil from the Caspian region (?) across Afghanistan to a seaport in northwest Pakistan. Insuring our own supply. I didn’t know the bit about the Saudi Sunnis doing a little horizontal drilling into Shia oil. That’s funny, bet they learned it from us. So really, why do we want, or even need, to go to war with Iran? And if they were insane enough to start a war, they’d be starving in a month. No charity for that kind of behavior.

    2. Nathanael

      China intends to prop up Iran. The problem is one of supply lines through Central Asia.

      If Russia’s government had sense, it would also prop up Iran, but Putin has shown that he doesn’t have sense any more….

  11. Cynthia

    U.S. foreign policy is a lot like Dracula, it cannot survive without innocent blood. So the 1% have to keep creating enemies in order to survive. I would not be surprised if the CIA was somehow involved in this movie to foment violence around the world as an excuse to send in more drones and more troops. After all, Cui Bono?

    Like I have stated before, the Modus Operandi of American foreign policy is: ENDLESS ENEMIES; FOR ENDLESS WARS; FOR ENDLESS PROFITS! Terrorism is the perfect scenario for America’s foreign policy! As now America is not fighting a country where there is an identifiable foe, but an idea with no end in sight. Perfect for the 1%, the MIC and its war profiteers!

    H/T: Common Dreams

    1. Rob

      I agree, when there is no enemy,the leaders of the state must create the enemy,so that they have a pretense to avoid the obvious needs at home that those they rule can actually see…..I wouldn’t bet money against someone connected to one of our patriotic guilds,had a hand in creating that movie….it worked…..more opposition to defend against…..good for business…

  12. ZygmuntFraud

    On the other hand, embargos on Iranian oil mean maybe one million barrels a day less capacity/production capability worldwide. The US strategic reserve can’t be limitless, surely.

  13. oldvet

    Er, the Atlas Mouintains are in Morrocco. Think the mountain range you’re referring to are the Zagros Range

  14. Max424

    “Is War with Iran Inevitable?”

    I’ve changed my mind, and my new answer is, yes.

    I was talking with a Navy man the other night, needling him, saying, “You swabs haven’t done shit for the country since WWII. Hell, you haven’t lost a capital ship to enemy fire since the Indianapolis went down in ’45. All the wars we fought since, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq One, Two, Three and Four, you just sat off the coast, not doing much of anything but scrambling jets and firing the 16 inchers, while generally, watching the action from a very safe distance.”

    He wasn’t pissed. What’s there to be pissed about? I was right.

    “True, true,” he said, “but you just wait. We’re gonna get some shit sunk in the Gulf. Multiple shit. With all hands. Ya know. The USS Something-or-Other disappeared off the radar screens last night at oh one hundred hours. No sign of life reported.”

    I laughed. “I’m not talking about a unlucky minesweeper hitting a mine. That don’t count. I’m talking about a running missile battle, systems overloaded, systems overwhelmed, something big and important get impacted repeatedly and sinking. Something like a … like a …

    “Like an LNG carrier,” he said. “Those babies were meant to get waterlogged, if you know what I mean.”

    “Yeah, they are pretty hollow. Plus they carry mostly expendable marines. No biggie. How “bout a carrier?”

    “Nope. No way,” he said. “Not even the old guy, Enterprise. Too many compartments. You could hit one of them watertight fuckers with twenty 5th generation Silkworms, and the beast would limp back across the Atlantic to home port and glory.”

    “Bloodied but unbowed.”

    “That’s right. The great champion of the sea, severely crippled but very much alive, steaming into Norfolk, looking for an ultra-quick refit so it can get back to fight ala the Yorktown. 17 gaping holes in her, 800 dead, flags waving, widows bereaving, mass media assembled and Mitt ready to make a grand eulogy and hand out the medals … to Naval immortals only.”

    “You guys need this, dontcha?”

    “Yeah,” he said. “We do. Being forced to play hide and go seek with the Soviets for forty years didn’t float our boat.”

  15. RanDomino

    Of course there will be war. Netenyahu has staked his political career on it. What politician will give up their career without a fight? Even if there’s only a 1% chance of success, that’s better than a 100% chance of having to retire.

  16. Timothy Gawne

    As always this is an intelligent analysis, that digs past the surface jingoism of the mainstream press to underlying pressures that are behind much of this.

    If I may, however, I would add that we should not forget that John Maynard Keynes was first and foremost a disciple of Malthus, and he was not a stupid man. If Keynes were here today, there is no doubt that he would focus in on population growth. Nothing destabilizes a country like a vast number of unemployed and unmarried young men who have no hope of advancement (Ask the Japanese admirals circa 1940).

    The Iranian government deliberately engineered a population explosion when they took over. This had the expected result: it drove down wages, created poverty, and made Iran dependent on imports of food. The authorities then desperately backtracked and tried to slow population growth, but there are momentum effects that are hard to beat. Now I hear that the Iranians are going to switch back to re-igniting another population boom. If they succeed, at this point war will be almost inevitable, the pressures will simply be too great, and the state will require an external enemy to channel all that young frustration and rage.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    1. Mark P.

      Yes.

      In conjunction with the decline of world grain harvests, this population boom in the Middle East — encouraged not just by social and religious authorities, but also by generally propitious technological developments in the past few decades like Borlaug’s Green Revolution — is the primary wild card in geopolitics over the upcoming decades. (The second such wild card is the potential melting of the Himalayan glaciers, since that will effect the food supplies of the third of the world’s human population that lives in SE Asia.)

      It doesn’t look good for the Arabs, in any event.

      1. Mark P.

        Not to imply that the Iranians are Arabs. Just that the Malthusian problems are already hitting in countries like Egypt, and probably will only get worse.

      2. Ruben

        The most pressing issue in the Gulf countries is not a youngster revolution (they will be appeased by just lifting cultural restrictions to mingle with chicks), it is diabetes. It is estimated (sorry, cann’t find the link, it was a workshop in Bahrein, IIRC) that in 10 years 60% of the population will be diabetic. In SA it is 25% as of now, one quarter of the pop requires regular treatment for diabetes!! The cost of this is unsurmountable, even with all the oil of the world.

        1. Mark P.

          [1] Thanks for the diabetes info. Interesting, if the figures are even half what you say they are.

          [2] That said, we really are hitting global limits w. grain harvests. Essentially, everywhere in the world has been over-pumping aquifers for the last 15 years, and now climate change is adversely effecting harvests. We need another Borlaug-type green revolution.

          Famine and skyrocketing food-prices — initial stimulus for the Arab Spring — are _not_ going to be solved by letting the boys mix with the chicks.

      3. Roland

        This is simply not true. Iran’s demographic transition has been almost a textbook case–mullahs or not. During the past 20 years fertility rates have plummeted, and by 2050 Iran will be as grey as Japan is now.

        As for the Arab countries, in Malthusian terms it’s almost all good news. The “prudential check” is in full action. Egyptian fertility rates have dropped by more than half in less than 20 years, and will likely fall below replacement levels in another decade. Jordan and Syria are dropping, but not quite as fast. Lebanon is already barely at replacement fertility. Only Saudi Arabia maintains relatively a high fertility rate, although even their rate has fallen considerably in the past 20 years.

        The Turks are already near replacement level and still falling, so it’s pretty clear that demographic transition is region-wide phenomenon irrespective of race or sect.

        This might not be as rapid a transition as 20th-century Quebec province (which holds the world record for the fastest demographic transition: they went from having one of the world’s highest fertility rates, all the way to sub-replacement, in only a single generation). Nevertheless the demographic transition in the Middle East is going faster than Western Europe’s did, and about as fast as it happened with the “tigers” in East Asia.

        By mid-century, all the talk will be about “race suicide,” and the worldwide dearth of cheap migrant labour.

        The problem, whether in the Middle East or in the world at large, is not a gross Malthusian problem. It is not a case of human want driving politics. It is much more a case of human politics imposing want.

  17. The Dork of Cork

    Using the BP data you can see how their (Iran) internal oil consumption has declined somewhat
    Y2009 : 1,923 TBD (peak)
    Y2011 : 1,824 TBD
    Still bigger then France 1724 TBD by 100TBD

    But perhaps the above decline was a result of a switch from oil to Gas for elec. generation….
    This recent 40 percent depreciation of the Iranian rial these past few weeks will reduce car use for sure…..forcing the export of more oil out of the country….

    But a much bigger consumer of oil is Saudi Arabia despite its much smaller pop (although unlike Iran they buy mostly western products)
    Y2001 : 1,622 TBD
    Y2009 : 2,555 TBD
    Y2011 : 2,856 TBD
    Now a much bigger oil consumer then Germany
    Y2001 : 2,787 TBD
    Y2009 : 2,409 TBD
    Y2011 : 2,362 TBD

    The dynamics of this is quite violent to say the least

  18. Rob

    The real reason we don’t get along with the Iranians,is their oil…..the powers that be think it ought to be THEIRS…..so they can sell it to us…..they are willing to use American tax dollars,to get what has been an underutilized resource since the seventies.after the Iranian revolution,the major oil co’s had to leave….but that oil has been sitting there for millions of years,and a few more decades won’t hurt….look at what American tax dollars brought the big oil co’s ,recently…..we started a war with saddams Iraq which lasted three weeks to a year ,depending on your definition of war, then we occupied that country for the next six or seven years….. And now, the major global oil companies, are just now starting to dry the ink on the contracts signed…….
    Look at Afghanistan ,we went to war there for a year or two.. Again,depending on your definition of war, and since then have been occupying a country with important geographic distribution potential for caspian sea oil to get west ….the new pipeline to turkey can’t do it all…

    They are still deciding what to do with Pakistan…
    Our new bases in western Africa,
    Etc…
    Going back to Cheney’s energy task force,the seven pages that were released,showed the remaining oil deposits, and the distribution channels.what ever else there was,the powers that be deemed to important for the people of this country to know…..my guess…the motive for 9-11,as well as the impending bubbles then yet to burst….but what we have now…a military footprint that coincides with oil deposits, and access routes…
    They call it national security to preserve this amazing commodity,access to it,control over it,this big idea supersedes normal accounting rules,it justifies the lies,it justifies the crimes, it justifies the wars,the killing,the spending…..

    And the worst of it is that all of this posturing for global multinational oil companies,to support their stock price and profits…..is instead of investing in sustainable,renewable,efficient energy sources,that can create jobs and really spur the economy ,as well as do what we can to save the planetary commons for our posterity…….this is an insane oil fueled coke binge to hell,and all sorts of normal people don’t even get how bad they are getting screwed.

    1. Susan the other

      If it weren’t for the military and the automobile – that is a lack of good trains – we wouldn’t even need to be concerned about oil. Except to keep other countries’ military industrial complexes from access to sufficient oil to operate against us. Maybe the best way to ensure peace and a clean environment it to all voluntarily get simultaneous lobotomies.

      1. YouDon'tSay?

        Maybe the best way to ensure peace and a clean environment it to all voluntarily get simultaneous lobotomies.

        Nope. The neo-cons have already tried that, but obviously it didn’t work. It did give us W and all his lovable idiotic facial tics for comedic relief, but the upsides were pretty much limited to that.

    2. Aquifer

      Your last paragraph – it is not being discussed on the political stage by the duopoly or the press that caters to it …

      The image that comes clearly to my mind is that of the parade where the Emperor is wearing his new clothes, designed by (WS) charlatans who assure him that the only folks who can’t see how grand these duds are are obviously folk of inferior sensibilities (f***ing morons), being cheered by the crowd, the “wise, rational, pragmatic, realistic” elders in the blue jerseys, while the little child in the green sneakers is the only one who has the guts to point out that the Emperor, is, in fact, naked … But no body is listening as they follow the Emperor over the cliff …

      Wh o says “fairy tales” aren’t useful?

  19. Swedish Lex

    Another lovely war! The previous US military ventures were such huge advances for humanity.

    As the last time, do not expect Europe to participate other maybe than Uncle Sam’s European poodle, the UK.

  20. Susan the other

    Wilkerson left out stuff he could have mentioned. Like Cheney’s carpet of bombs. Or the peculiar attitude of Russia and China. And he mentioned stuff that was a stretch – that we have forgotten the art of diplomacy, and he made his point that this leaves us unable to prevent the warmongers. His slightly off-point example was McGeorge Bundy’s postumously published comment that we shouldn’t have gone to war in VN but we did it to protect our image. I find this a strange comment from Wilkerson because it was talked about differently at the time of Bundy’s sudden and unexpected death. He was a man in perfect health. He had been writing his autobiography and he had told a few people that he planned to “tell all.” So if that is true there is some fact far more disturbing than protecting our image in a war that was a lost cause from the get-go. A fact still unmentionable. So that’s another thing Wilkerson dutifully left out. I think, then as now, it had to do with a bankrupt treasury, a dysfunctional economy, a corrupt banking system and the Saudis – who until 1971 demanded gold for oil. Not to worry about face-saving anymore; everybody knows today we are not operating on our vast export surpluses.

    1. SCIl

      It’s OK if Nam’s a lost cause. It’s OK if Iraq kicks you out and throws its lot in with Iran. It’s OK if the Afghans bleed you white, and the Libyans ransack your spook’s secrets and sell them. Our national leadership always wins the only war that really matters,

      https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=%22JFK+and+the+unspeakable%22&x=0&y=0

      https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&tn=%22An+Act+of+State%22&x=0&y=0

      against the 1 existential threat, pacific
      settlement of disputes

  21. ZygmuntFraud

    Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup d’etat on 19 August 1953. The 60th anniversary will be in August 2013 .

    Canada closed its embassy in Tehran around Sept. 7, 2012. Also, Iranian diplomats were expelled from Canada and diplomatic relations broken off.

    Iran, I believe, supports some pro-Palestinian groups, which is bad for Israel. If MEK or MKK the formerly terrorrist group in Iraq is no longer judged terrorist, it probably means something.

    Iran has always been a wild card. It was never permanently subdued by the Britsh or the Americans. And, Iran has lots of oil. The country is vast, compared to others in the region.

    I don’t see the logic of war with Iran. It might still happen within a couple of years. I dunno …

  22. Conscience of a Conservative

    War with Iran is not inevitable. However to avoid war the United States and Europe are going to have act tough. If we negotiate without strengh we’re essentially begging, Iran will see it as not being commited and weak, continue with their goal of Nuclear weapons and possibly start something that gets out of control. We need to learn from prior episodes in history what happens when nations are not committed to the possiblity of confrontation in the name of peace, the end result is usually more bloodshed.

      1. YouDon'tSay?

        Just to add, that whole USA, defender of world peace and freedom loving peoples everywhere shit needs to be called out and ridiculed every time and everywhere it rears its ugly head. Really, I’m surprised otherwise intelligent people can even possibly repeat it with a straight face among proper company.

  23. Walter Wit Man

    I worry that part of the upcoming horror of war will involve a Pearl Harbor type event.

    The Iranians now produce their own guided cruise missile that flies at ~ Mach 3 that can evidently evade defenses.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-PUiLjVRow
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86KWLzJrzXk

    Will they be able to get close enough to sink a number of ships?

    The Iranians claim to have thousands of speed boats that can deliver missiles (I don’t know if they are the Ghader or Sunburst types). Here’s video showing their recent exercise (at 2:56 you can see a boat shoot a missile):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ofmkikhAnA&feature=related

    I don’t doubt that Iran will eventually be defeated. But how much damage will it do if it blows its wad and then goes into local resistance?

    Is this what the warmongers in Washington want? I suspect so.

    Of course Syria is the domino that can lead to all this.

    1. Nathanael

      Actually, there is precisely zero chance of Iran being defeated by the US or Israel. We couldn’t defeat Vietnam, we couldn’t defeat Iraq, we couldn’t defeat Afghanistan.

      But maybe I’m saying the same thing you are. The existing head of state in Iran could be defeated without even beginning to conquer Iran.

  24. Thingumbob

    The middle east conflagration is the continuation of the British Empire’s oligarchy’s “great game.” It is no accident that the hair trigger for WWIII is developing according to Kissinger’s soi disant nuclear diplomacy at the time of global financial breakdown. The Israeli “breakaway ally” scenario is part and parcel of the same irrational game of nuclear chicken.

    1. Nathanael

      Not at all. The people involved in assembling and running British Empire’s “great game” were *much much smarter* and *much more in touch with reality* than the blunderers who are creating the current risks of war.

      Comparisons to the idiots who blundered into World War I are appropriate.

  25. craazyman

    what does Nostradamus say about this?

    Isn’t this the kind of question a Greek tyrant would ask some psychotic drugged out woman at the Oracle of Delphi after he’d had it with all his advisors’ hemming and hawing? Then she’d answer in profound sounding drivel you could interpret 5 different ways.

    Nowdays they want people to “think outside the box” like it’s some big achievment. It’s easy. Light up a candle and get yourself in a trance state by staring at it (I’m too lazy for that so I use the wall). Then start channeling the Straight of Hormuz and see what happens on your mind screen. Not much, when I do it. I don’t know if I’m just not that good, or whether this means nothing will happen. Hard to be certain, but if ambiguity is good enough for the Oracle and Delphi, it’s good enough for me.

    1. Aquifer

      craazy – I am not of a groupy mentality, but your posts, IMO, are some of the highlights of this site :)

    2. Bert_S

      It’s so unclear.

      Nuclear WWWIII to protect America’s right to drive SUVs.

      Or

      Improve fleet mileage 30% and say “Iran oil? So what?”

  26. Ed

    “What is the title of that Froomkin book? I could not track it down via google searches.”

    Sorry, I was going off of memory and misspelled the author’s name.

    Its not Dan Froomkin but Dan Fromkin. Apparently there is a Dan Froomkin, I had no idea there was such a person but he is a very different public intellectual from Dan Fromkin, based on googling. Anyway, Dan Fromkin’s book is entitled “Europe’s Last Summer, Who Started the Great War in 1914?” and came out in 2004. Wikipedia listed the book as “popular” but it incorporates some scholarship that I hadn’t seen in earlier accounts.

    David Stevenson’s large book that came out at the same time also has a good summary of the origins controversy.

  27. scraping_by

    Andrew Bacevich, in The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, brings up the utility of war as the basis for the continued institutional survival of the American war machine, the Military Industrial Complex as understood but never acknowledged. Even though military action is never a solution, and the US Military seems to slink away more often than not.

    Chris Floyd, over at Empire Burlesque, also has come to the establishmentarian view of American Imprerialism, quoting the old systems motto ‘The Purpose of a System is What It Does.” The American military machine is about war, so it needs war.

    The First Gay President isn’t going to pass up the chance to escalate testosterone building murders from drone assassinations to directing mass military movements. Someone pointed out that Shrub talked like a sniveling fool until he started talking war, and then he was grand and glorious. Since Barry is continuing Shrub’s presidency, one assumes he’ll quit posing as a goodhearted family man and start posing as a killer.

    If the police knew this latest war would be paid for out of their pensions and not just the pensions of the people in the streets with signs, perhaps the outlook wouldn’t be so gloomy.

    1. scraping_by

      “Even though military action is almost never a solution, and the US Military seems to slink away more often than not, that’s no reason to stop starting wars. It’s a crooked wheel, but it’s the only game in town.”

      There.

  28. Manofsteel

    1. There are many subtle nuances in Middle Eastern ethnic, national, tribal, military power and economic interests, and the religious ones are often used for little more than rhetoric’s. In fact, close relationships, weapon shipments and strong economic ties exist along the most improbable fault lines.

    2. Any question of talks and/or war should be in the context of what is at stake should Iran acquire nuclear weapons.
    However, such a discussion does not exist in a vacuum, nor is it truly about military/fascist prestige as the video interview suggests.
    A nuclear Iran should be seen in the context of a changing Middle East, in which Islamists parties are replacing dictators. It should also be seen in the context of the deep debt/economic crisis in which the industrialized nations are struggling to stay afloat.

    AND we should be clear on who put this process into high gear, and who stands to lose the most should access to oil reserves undergo an epochal change.
    The Bush Admin went into Iraq. The Obama Admin chose to shift its grand-strategic stance in the Middle East/North Africa and support regime change in multiple states.

    This has led to multiple counter-reactions:

    a) Russian efforts to build naval presence in Syria following NATO interventionism in oil-rich Libya as the EU and US economies struggle.

    b) Well-documented ongoing weapon shipments from Iran to Syria and Lebanon

    c) the ensuing Turkish shift from friendly support of Syria to a low intensity conflict, fearing Iranian interventionism along its borders in both Iraq and Syria.

    d) Saudi cries for help/objections as the US Admin actively supported Change in Libya and Egypt rather than in DC.

    e) SA becoming aware that they may be next on this new grand-strategic agenda, while Iran was left to promote never-ending talks about its UN-documented nukes production after the Green movement failed twice (protests+elections).
    Consequently, SA has shifted its reliance on the US for stability, playing the Sunni card instead. Yet this is a political play (not a religious war), building new coalitions in the region and within that country.
    This Saudi move also helps divert extremists away from the Kingdom. To this end, SA began aggressively funding Islamists in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, and sending them into battlegrounds.

    f) Israel realizing that in case of regime change in SA and Jordan, in a free Islamist Middle East, all peace agreements and past stability mechanisms will be subject to severe political pressure, particularly if the US was to withdraw economic support from Egypt, Jordan et al. Moreover, if/when Iran and other Arab nations acquire nuclear weapons, Israel’s conventional deterrence will evaporate.

    In this vein, while Yves Smith uses a Nazi term to describe the Jewish state’s activism in the region, one could also consider the possibility that Israel, aware of its tiny geographic size (smaller than VT) and very small population, is truly worried about its existence, and knows that avoiding action is likely to bring it to a dead-end. (Of course, one should note that the vast majority of Israeli oppose war with Iran, as indicated in multiple poles, and many among its top leadership have said similar things, which is not the case for other countries involved in this unfolding mess).

    All of the above does not assign blame to Former Amb. Bolton, the Iranian regime or some group in Israel. It did, however, require the leader of the free world to unleash change in Libya and support it in other countries. Yet, this grand-strategy led by the current Admin is inherently leading other parties to fear for the stability of their regimes. And where there is oil, there are weapons. And where there are weapons, the price of oil will be leveraged by different parties toward different ends. And since this is election season, just imagine what type of stimulus might be used if disregarding all of the above, the stock market would decide to go down by over 20% for completely unrelated reasons.

    May all historical processes occur peacefully and may human rights and prosperity be shared by all.

    1. Nathanael

      Saudi Arabia’s been the main funder of Sunni terrorist groups for *decades*. (Remember, the 9/11 hijackers were mostly Saudi and were mostly Saudi-funded.)

      Your analysis of Turkey is a little off; Turkey is effectively allies with Iran (which makes sense geopolitically) but is threatened by any instability in Syria and Iraq. If it weren’t for the Great Powers acting stupid, Turkey and Iran would probably happily carve up Syria and Iraq among themselves.

  29. Zog

    Gloomy news for you yanks maybe. A massive naval rout, probably including the sinking of some carriers and crowded marine base ships with all hands by bearded fanatics in speed boats is good news for the rest of world. Another Sammarra packaged with a oil price induced economic shock is just what’s needed to kick over the rotten derelict the west has become. Bring it on. This war will be the Anglo-Zio-American world’s Operation Barbarossa.

  30. rob

    Again,
    The BEST tactical move america could make right now,INVADE and OCCUPY isreal.
    WE should forget about iran as a threat,they are not. a regional power,sure.So What.If they get a nuclear weapon…so what?there are so many sitting around right now,like in the mob run former soviet union,or where iran,north korea and libya, got their stuff.pakistan…hell, if the shah wasn’t kicked out, iran would have nuclear energy and probably weapons, sold to them on the lay away plan by the western energy suppliers…in fact, the pahlavi family still seems to have aspirations of returning, some day,…by the way they talk .iran is on the defensive,not the offensive…

    a long list of considerations and nuances of regional power,is just as misleading today as it was in 1953, when we and the brits overthrew mossadeg.the state dept were spouting stuff like soviet influence on the new gov’t..blah blah blah…they fit in a larger geopolitical context…blah blah blah….sure that stuff is true…but what meaning?the real reason was BP (formerly anglo-iranian oil) was losing its concessions if mossadeg nationalised the oil fields.Anglo-iranian oil had been stealing the oil with the help of the pahlavi family for decades….just like today, their apologists would say”it belongs to the people of iran.they are paid. it is a contractual agreement designed for the good of the people. we have the expertise,they get the profits”…which was a farce in reality since the contract with BP stipulated that the profits went to the iranian treasury,but that didn’t prevent BP(anglo-iranian) from selling oil at cost to some 30 subsidiaries of their owners,who made the profit, while the iranian treasury got nothing…but the pahlavi family got their kickbacks for keeping the police state safe for oil co.plundering…for decades.before and after mossadeg.
    and now, people may claim the oil isn’t as good as iraqi or saudi light sweet crude… but has that stopped people from using it… I think not.look at the tar sands… that garbage, with its huge energy inputs is enough to shove a pipeline thru america…despite all dangers…there is money there…
    and i do agree that oil isn’t everything… but oil is money, and money is power, and power is what gets things done your way…then there is location,location,location…blah blah,blah…fact is

    WE SHOULD INVADE ISREAL

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