14 January 2019   Leave a comment

US President Trump threatened to “devastate” the Turkish economy if Turkey takes advantage of the US withdrawal from Syria and attacks the Syrian Kurds. It is not clear why President Trump had to make such a threat given that Turkey is a NATO ally and that normal diplomatic channels are presumably open between the US and Turkey. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu flatly rejected the threat saying
“We have repeatedly said that we are never afraid of threats. Threatening Turkey economically will get you nowhere.”  Turkey believes that the Kurdish forces are aligned with terrorist forces fighting the Turkish state. According to the Daily Sabah:

“Turkey’s conviction is that the YPG is a militia that works alongside other terrorist organizations created by the PKK. It must also be noted that the PKK is a terrorist group that has been outlawed as early as 1984. Moreover, this same group was placed on the terrorist blacklist by the likes of the the U.S., EU and Turkey.”


US National Security Adviser John Bolton has asked the Pentagon to draw up “far-reaching” plans to attack Iran. The request apparently rattled officials in the Defense and State Departments. According to Newsweek:

“‘It definitely rattled people,’ a former senior U.S. administration official told the newspaper. ‘People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.’”

Contingency plans are always being developed but Bolton has a long history of advocating an attack on Iran. In August 2018 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that “senior figures in the Turnbull Government have told the ABC they believe the United States is prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability, perhaps as early as next month.”  It is hard to assess this rather dramatic claim.  It is true that the rhetoric between the US and Iran has been quite inflammatory since the US pulled out of the nuclear agreement.  President Trump’s all-capitalized tweet to Iran in July 2018 was highly unusual:

To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!

In response, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani was quoted by the BBC that he warned President Trump that “if the US attacks Iran it ‘will destroy all that you possess’.”  But the US has been “preparing” to bomb Iran for many years and it is no secret that Israel has been encouraging such a move.  Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that “National security adviser John Bolton convened a meeting Thursday of Pentagon and other top officials as the Trump administration considers how to flesh out its strategy on Iran.”  The meeting is only the third that Bolton has called in his tenure as National Security Adviser and he had argued  prior to his appointment that the US should attack and overthrow the Iranian government. Iran has threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz and Saudi Arabia has halted oil shipments through the Red Sea and the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb after it claimed that Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked two oil tankers in the Red Sea.

Posted January 14, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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