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Articles on Iran after 2019
How a Madman with a Low I.Q. Engineered Yet Another Nuclear Crisis
The USA Exits the Middle East; Enters Iran
Articles on Iran before 2019

  • (august 2019) How a Madman with a Low I.Q. Engineered Yet Another Nuclear Crisis.
    In what probably amounts to the funniest (or most grotesque) sanction ever enacted by a US president, Trump decided to sanction Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: he is now forbidden to travel to the USA and all his assetts are confiscated. The problem, of course, is that Khameini never travels outside Iran, let alone to the USA, and personally owns just the clothes he wears. More ominously, Trump also sanctioned Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, i.e. the very moderate who was trying to find a compromise with the USA and start negotiations. The message is very clear: Trump, who has already unilaterally rescinded the nuclear deal with Iran, wants to engineer a nuclear crisis like he did in North Korea.
    Twitter is free in Iran (unlike in Trump's favorite Asian countries, North Korea and Saudi Arabia) and there were thousands of mocking reactions to Trump's ridiculous statement that these sanctions would cripple Iran. The most popular tweet was posted by an Iranian (K. Jafari) who wrote: "The only people left to sanction are me, my dad and our neighbor's kid. The foreign ministry should share Trump's phone number so we can call him and give him our names."
    Now the whole of Iran is united behind the leadership in rejecting US pressure. The whole of Iran wants to pull out of the nuclear deal. The whole of Iran wants Iran to become a nuclear power just like North Korea, which is way more respected than Iran by Trump. Trump's statements and sanctions are having an obvious effect: to silence the most moderate voices within Iran's government. Iran is not a totalitarian dictatorship like North Korea and Saudi Arabia: it is a government with many voices. North Korea has one clear man in power. Saudi Arabia has one clear man in power. Both are sociopaths, by the way. But Iran's regime is a bit more complicated, with many influential politicians vying for control of foreign policy. Trump's actions are helping the hardcore anti-US voices. Trump is confirming to many Iranians that the USA is a hostile and doublecrossing power that has not changed since 1953, when it engineered a coup to remove Iran's democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh.
    The USA and Saudi Arabia (possibly the most illegitimate, immoral and fanatical regime in the world, a certified sponsor of Islamic terrorism) accused Iran of having bombed tankers in the Middle East. Given the extremely low credibility of the USA under Trump, almost no country paid attention, and, in fact, the claim was largely forgotten after just one month. It was taken for granted that Trump needs distractions from the endless scandals of his administration and staged a few silly incidents like previous US presidents have frequently done. Then Iran announced that its air force had shot down an unmanned US spy drone that violated Iranian airspace. Iran's statement was very precise about time and location. Iran maintains that two warnings were issued before the drone was shot down, and both warnings were ignored by the USA. The USA, instead, denied that the drone had entered Iranian airspace and claimed that it was shot down in international airspace. It will take years to sort this out but one thing is certain: the US drone was thousands of kms away from US territory. Imagine if Iran (or China or anyone else) sent a drone to the coast of California or New York. How would the USA respond? Whether it was indeed in international airspace (which virtually nobody in the world believes) or had already crossed into Iranian airspace, it was obviously meant as a provocation against Iran. Case closed.
    Trump's credibility is extremely low, being the congenital liar that he is. In this case he proved again how little we can trust him: Trump (June 21) tweeted that Iran had downed the drone "on Monday", whereas an earlier US military report agreed with Iran that the incident had happened at 23:35 GMT on Wednesday (04:05 Iran time on Thursday).
    Just to clarify where we stand with Iran. Iran is far from being a respectful regime, but there are no angels in that part of the world, least of all the USA's closest allies: Israel (a racist state with illegal nuclear weapons) and Saudi Arabia (a brutal dictatorship which has also been the #1 supporter of Islamic terrorism in the world). Israel's little Mussolini, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been trying for years to start a war between the USA and Iran, just like in 2003 Israel succeeded in having the USA attack Saddam Hussein. See The biggest scam in the Middle East: Israel's war on Iran that i wrote in 2017.
    There is little that Iran has done to actually deserve blame for the mess in the Middle East. It is the USA that removed Saddam Hussein from power in that chaotic manner, thus enabling the rise to power in Iraq of (democratically elected) Iranian allies. It is the USA that created the power vacuum in which ISIS thrived, and it is US-ally Saudi Arabia that funded and armed ISIS, just like it had funded Al Qaeda. Iran has traditionally fought the Islamists (both the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS) for the simple reason that the Islamists hate Shiites more than they hate anybody else (Iran is 90% Shiite). It is the USA that withdrew from Syria (as ordered by Putin to Trump), thus increasing Iran's influence on Syria. It is the USA that supported Saudi Arabia's genocidal war in Yemen. Iran is the only country openly defending the Yemeni people against Saudi Arabia's aggression. Even the US senate (dominated by Republicans) has reached this conclusion. It is the USA that unilaterally pulled out of the 2015 nuclear accord, and slapped new sanctions on Iran, thus creating all the tension that now exists with Iran.
    And just to be very clear about Iran's regime. While far from being my kind of regime (just like the other Islamic regimes of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan), Iran's regime is more democratic than the current USA: the president of Iran was actually elected by the majority of voters, unlike the president of the USA who lost by three million votes; and the Supreme Court of the USA is as undemocratic as the Supreme Council of Iran (most of the judges of the Supreme Court of the USA were appointed by presidents who had lost the election, George W Bush and Trump). US drones have been assassinating people all over the world without trial, whereas Iran at worst can be accused of a couple of extraterritorial assassinations. If Iran deserves punishment for its activities, one wonders what kind of punishment should be reserved for the Trump administration. Iran's leadership is corrupt, but their corruption pales compared with the corruption of the Trump administration.
    Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is getting away with executing hundreds of dissidents and with the grisly murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi; and Russia gets away with the downing of a passenger plane that killed more than 300 people, mostly from Holland: The Dutch-led investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in 2014 just concluded that three Russians and an Ukrainian are responsible, and one can wonder whether Trump is creating this Iranian incident to divert attention from the Mueller Report and from this Dutch investigation, both of which highlight Putin's international crimes.
    Trump is a mentally unstable man with an extremely low IQ, and manipulated by Russia. Hopefully, the generals and the troops will not obey this madman if he starts an immoral, unjustified and unnecessary war.
    In fact, in this case the world has to thank Russia's president Vladimir Putin, who, before Trump could strike Iran with missiles, basically ordered him to avoid military confrontation (just like Putin vetoed US military intervention in Venezuela); and Trump always obeys his master Putin.
    Most likely, however, this is another false alarm. Trump has consistently flip-flopped on all his threats to bomb and invade. He likes (needs?) to create crises in order to distract the nation from his many scandals, but then he quickly "solves" the crises that he created and moves on to creating another one.
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  • (march 2019) The USA Exits the Middle East; Enters Iran
    George W Bush fought a war in Iraq that ended up in a complete disaster: thousands of US soldiers died to bring about a democratic regime that is allied with Iran for the simple fact that the country's majority is Shiite like the Iranians instead of Sunni like Saddam Hussein was (and like all the USA's Arab allies are). Obama withdrew from Iraq and that void led to the rise of ISIS that conquered large areas of Syria and Iraq before Russia, Iran and the Kurdish militias destroyed it. Now Trump is withdrawing the few US troops that are in Syria, thereby leaving Syria to Russia, Iran and Turkey. Syria will end up being partitioned into three spheres of influence: the Russian zone will include the capital, where Russia-supported dictator Assad resides, and the strategic coastal areas from which Russia can control the Mediterranean Sea; the Iranian zone will include the border areas near Lebanon (where its ally Hezbolla operates) and near Iraq (the country that de facto granted Iran a military corridor into Syria); and Turkey will take eastern Syria to make sure that the Kurdish militias don't foment a Kurdish insurrection among its own restless Kurdish minority as well as to protect the Sunni minority of Syria. Russia will become the protector of the Christians and Alawites of Syria, Turkey the protector of the Sunnis of Syria.

    George W Bush was the last US president to truly believe that the Middle East was strategic for the USA. Obama presided over a boom of domestic oil production. By the time he left office, the USA had become the world's biggest producer of oil, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Fighting wars in the Middle East suddenly looked very silly: the return on investment was minimal, and, in fact, Obama may have concluded that US intervention only made things worse because it motivated the most destructive forces of Arab society. It may have not escaped Obama that ISIS mostly attacked European, not US, targets. European critics blame the combined actions of Bush and Obama for creating ISIS (there was no terrorism in Iraq before Bush's 2003 attack, and there was no ISIS before Obama withdrew US troops from Iraq). ISIS became a European problem (millions of refugees marching towards Europe, terrorist attacks in several European cities), not a US problem. In the USA, way more people are killed by legally purchased guns than by terrorists. The other traditional reason to get involved in the Middle East was the USA's desire to defend Israel at all costs (almost an inferiority complex towards Israel), but Israel has never looked so safe. In fact, its borders are now better guarded by Egypt and Jordan (both led by Israel-friendly dictators) than by Israel itself. Nobody is worried that Israel will be attacked by its Arab neighbors like it happened four times before. And in any case Israel is a nuclear-armed state that would probably win a war against just about anybody. Therefore there was already a rationale for disengaging from the Middle East even before Putin helped his lackey Trump become US president.

    Trump made two major moves in the Middle East: 1. It renewed sanctions against Iran, therefore undoing Obama's strategy of engagement with Iran; 2. It recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The combined effect has been to make Iran stronger and the USA weaker in the Middle East.

    Ironically, the big losers in Syria appear to be the two best-armed countries of the Middle East: Israel now has its arch-enemy Iran near its border (plus exerting huge influence on Iraq) and Saudi Arabia, that originally backed the Sunni terrorists (ISIS and Al Qaeda), has lost any influence on the future of Syria and Iraq while getting trapped into the civil war of Yemen triggered by its own arch-enemy Iran. While Iran cannot win a conventional war against either Israel or Saudi Arabia, it can create a lot of trouble for both. Viewed from Iran, this is a survival strategy: Iran, a Shiite Islamic country, is surrounded by enemies (Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Afghanistan) and false friends (Christian Russia and Sunni Pakistan, both nuclear powers) more than Israel is. Furthermore, Iran is in a lose-lose situation in neighboring Afghanistan, traditionally an Iranian region: if the government wins the civil war against the Taliban, Afghanistan will remain a US ally; if the Taliban win (a Sunny group), Iran (a Shiite country) will have to deal with an even more hostile neighbor (the Taliban are Sunni fundamentalists who hate Shiites more than they hate anyone else, and Iran was the first country to fight the Taliban in the 1990s when the US public opinion had never even heard the word).

    The Iranian leaders must be painfully aware of Trump's different attitude towards them and North Korea. Iran does not represent a threat to the US territory and accepted to suspend its nuclear program. North Korea does represent a threat to US territories and has continued its nuclear program. The result is that Trump meets with North Korea's dictator in widely publicized "summits" while at the same time Trump isolates and demonizes Iran. Trump calls North Korea's dictator "honorable" while ignoring Iran's democratically elected president. Couple this evident datum with the even more evident fates of Qaddafi and Saddam Hussein (who surrendered all weapons of mass destruction and ended up overthrown and killed) and Iran has certainly learned a lesson, and so has the entire Middle East. Short-term, Iran can only expand its sphere of influence. Long-term, we would all be surprised if Iran didn't restart its nuclear program. When Israel's crooked prime minister Netanyahu warned of Iran's nuclear threat, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. In fact a running joke among Israeli generals is that Iran at some point must restart its nuclear program because, if it didn't, it would crazy. The only reason that hasn't happened yet is that Iran has been winning in both Syria and Yemen: who needs nuclear weapons when your enemies are so stupid?

    See also: The biggest scam in the Middle East: Israel's war on Iran

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  • Articles on Iran before 2019

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TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.