6 January 2020   1 comment

I confess that I am overwhelmed with the amount of information flying around on the crisis between the US and Iran. So I will simply make some observations about where we are right now.

First, I have indicated previously that I believe that the assassination of Suleimani was an attempt to distract attention away from the new evidence concerning the decisions about withholding aid from Ukraine. That belief was buttressed today by a report in the Daily Mail (not a source that I use very often, but this article has a great deal of corroborating evidence) that Suleimani was in Baghdad, not to plan an attack against the US, but rather to explore an overture to Saudi Arabia, an enemy of Iran. The article asserts:

“[Iraqi Prime Minister] Abdul Mahdi suggested that the Iranian military leader was in Baghdad as part of Iraqi-mediated negotiations with Iran’s main regional rival, Saudi Arabia.

“He said that Soleimani was going to meet him on the same day that he was killed.

“‘He came to deliver me a message from Iran, responding to the message we delivered from Saudi Arabia to Iran,’ Abdul Mahdi told The Washington Post.”

If true, then the Trump Administration’s claim that Suleimani was planning an “imminent” attack on American forces seems much less persuasive since the Administration has yet to provide any intelligence details on its assertions.

Second, President Trump tweeted, and later reaffirmed to journalists, that the US would consider attacking Iranian cultural centers. We have had situations in which cultural centers have been attacked during war. Perhaps the most pertinent example is the German destruction of Belgian cultural centers in 1914. The Germans thought that the wanton destruction would force the Belgians to capitulate; it rather stiffened their willingness to resist the German invasion. Additionally, such destruction is outlawed by the Hague Cultural Property Convention to which the US is a signatory. Such destruction would be condemned by virtually every state in the world. And, I suspect, the US military would refuse to carry out such an order.

Third, the US media continues to insist that Suleimani was a “bad” man, deserving of assassination. The argument leaves me speechless. Suleimani was a soldier, carrying out the orders of his state. It is true that he fostered the use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) that killed many US soldiers in Iraq and one could argue that IEDs are unethical weapons of war. But Soleimani did not command forces that had the ability to confront the US military directly. And one could also argue that drones, such as the one that killed Suleimani, are ethically compromised as well. But Suleimani was a “good” Iranian soldier and perhaps that is why he should have been killed–not because he was a “bad” man (although the political repercussions suggest that killing him was a mistake). We should keep this in mind as we reward our own soldiers for killing in our name.

Fourth, Iran announced that it would no longer adhere to the number of centrifuges limited by the Iranian nuclear agreement (although it did not say that it would enrich uranium beyond the level specified by the agreement–a more important consideration). A number of media outlets have characterized this move as breaking the nuclear accord. The Iranian nuclear agreement was broken by the US in 2018 and then further shredded when the US announced that it would enforce unilateral sanctions on any country purchasing Iranian oil. That Iran adhered to the agreement well after the US left the agreement does not necessarily mean that the agreement was still alive. Remember: Iran signed the agreement because it meant that sanction against it would be lifted. Those sanctions were reimposed even when there was no evidence that Iran had violated its obligations. The Iran nuclear deal was dead and it was killed by the US.

These are just some of the considerations we need to keep in mind as this debate continues to unfold. The degree to which muddy thinking has corrupted the discussion is extraordinary.

Posted January 6, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

One response to “6 January 2020

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  1. Oh thank goodness for your clarity. Overwhelmed or not, you still manage to cut through to the SUPER SALIENT point of this man being a good soldier for his country, that this is the level upon which these conversations should occur, not the “bad man” rubbish we are being subjected to. That cultural sites are being openly threatened just leaves me floored. I do hope you are right that the US military would balk at such an order. I am breathing… Thanks, dear Vinnie!

    Liked by 1 person

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