US Sends Mixed Signals on Plans for Illegal Act of Aggression Targeting Iran
July 31, 2018
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Phil Stewart / Reuters
Is the United States preparing the public for another illegal act of Pentagon aggression? In this case, an unprovoked attack on Iran? On one hand, Defense Secretary James Mattis dismisses the idea as "fiction," but other US officials (and sources in the Australian military) have since gone on record as saying the attack is still being considered. The pretext for this war appears to be Saudi Arabia's ongoing Yemen War. The Saudis have previously alleged the Houthis are "tied" to Iran. The Saudi war is backed by the US.
US Considering Attacking Iran,
With Saudi Forces Leading Strike
Officials say strike would be a 'long-term' military effort
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(July 29, 2018) – Is the United States preparing to attack Iran? On Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis dismissed this idea as "fiction," back when the sources were in the Australian military. Yet other US officials have since been quoted as saying the attack is still being considered.
The pretext for this war appears to be the ongoing Yemen War. Last week, Saudi state media claimed that Yemen's Houthi rebels attacked and slightly damaged a Saudi oil tanker. The Saudis have previously alleged the Houthis are tied to Iran, and US media is treating this as some sort of transference, and reporting that Iran attacked the Saudi oil tanker, even though no one alleged that ever happened.
Since the US has spent years presenting oil security as a reason for war with Iran, they are considering using that excuse. Officials say that this would be mostly a Saudi-led attack, with Saudi Arabia and its allies doing the bulk of the fighting, and relying on the US for support.
Officials say this would require a "long-term military effort" against Iran. The US expectations that they might keep their involvement limited to a support role appears particularly unrealistic, given how much the same Saudi-led coalition has struggled to conquer Yemen.
The danger here is that both the US and what it envisions to be its proxy army are going to each go into a war with high expectations for one another, and each get into a much bigger war than they bargained for.
There are few specifics about what form this war would take, as US officials were insisting as recently as a few days ago that they are not interested in regime change in Iran. It is hard to imagine, however, that they could get the major Sunni Arab states to attack Shi'ite Iran with any hope of it being "limited."
US Not Pursuing Regime Change,
Collapse in Iran: Secretary Mattis
Phil Stewart / Reuters
WASHINGTON (July 27, 2018) -- The United States has not instituted a policy of regime change or collapse in Iran, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday, saying the goal was still to curb what Washington sees as Iran's threatening behavior in the Middle East.
Mattis made his comments after days of back-and-forth bellicose rhetoric between Iranian and US officials, with President Donald Trump promising dire consequences for Iran if it continues to make threats toward the United States.
Asked at the Pentagon whether the Trump administration had instituted a policy of regime change or collapse toward Iran, Mattis said, "There's none that's been instituted."
"We need them to change their behavior on a number of threats that they can pose with their military, with their secret services, with their surrogates and with their proxies," Mattis told reporters during an off-camera briefing.
Mattis' remarks were the most detailed by a senior administration official about US policy toward Iran following high-level discussions at the White House on Thursday that included the topic of Iran.
Since Trump's decision in May to withdraw the United States from a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, Tehran's clerical establishment has been under increasing US pressure and the prospect of possible sanctions.
As the tensions simmered, an Australian media report appeared to suggest military action was imminent, saying Australian officials believed Washington was prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear capability as early as next month.
Mattis on Friday dismissed the report as "fiction."
"I'm confident that it's not something that's being considered right now," Mattis told reporters, speaking at an on-camera event earlier in the day.
Washington aims to force Tehran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups in the Middle East, where Iran is involved in proxy wars from Yemen to Syria.
While the United States is pushing countries to cut all imports of Iranian oil beginning in November, Iran has warned of counter-measures and has threatened to block Gulf oil exports if its own exports are halted.
The week of heated rhetoric between Washington and Tehran that was kicked off by a warning from Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday that hostile US policies could lead to "the mother of all wars."
On Sunday night, Trump said in a Twitter posting written in all capital letters directed at 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!"
The harsh words evoked memories of Trump's warnings to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last year over his nuclear weapons program, which raised fears of a major conflict. Those concerns have eased following a June summit between Trump and Kim.
Still, analysts warn that Iran is a far different challenge, and that stiff US rhetoric could harden Iranian resolve. Iran's Guards commanders have threatened to destroy US military bases across the Middle East and target Israel, which Iran refuses to recognize, within minutes of being attacked.
On Thursday, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Quds Force of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, warned Trump, "We are near you, where you can't even imagine."
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