war log

Trump imposes new sanctions amid continuing war threat against Iran
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Jun 25 2019

On Monday, Trump and Mnuchin unveiled what they had touted as new “harsh” and “hard-hitting” economic sanctions against Iran in the wake of last week’s Iranian shoot-down of a sophisticated spy plane over the Strait of Hormuz. The economic measures come in the wake of Trump’s decision, by his own account, to call off air strikes against Iranian missile and radar sites just 10 minutes before missiles were set to fly and with Pindo warplanes already in the air. While Trump claimed he aborted the raids out of concern for Iranian loss of life, it is evident that the real issue was the likelihood that Iran would retaliate, threatening heavy Pindo casualties and a spiraling escalation that could result in a full-scale regional and even global armed conflict. Despite the advance promotion, the sanctions order signed by Trump at the White House Monday was largely symbolic. They target Ayatollah Khamenei and his appointees as individuals, blocking them from using the Pindo financial system or accessing financial assets in Pindostan. The administration indicated that it would also add Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the list, a highly provocative action that would theoretically expose any government hosting Iran’s principal foreign policy representative with secondary sanctions. Trump claimed:

A lot of restraint has been shown by us. That doesn’t mean we’re going to show it in the future.

This followed his threat in an interview with NBC News Sunday:

It’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.

Tehran dismissed the latest sanctions. Abbas Mousavi told a press conference in Tehran:

We do not think they will have any impact. Are there really any sanctions left that Pindistan has not imposed on our country recently or in the past 40 years?

Indeed, the sanctions regime reimposed and tightened by the Trump administration since May 2018, when it unilaterally abrogated the 2015 JCPoA, is tantamount to a state of war. Implementing what it boasts is a campaign of “maximum pressure,” Faschingstein is attempting to drive Iranian energy exports to zero. Last month it ended sanctions waivers for several major importers of Iranian oil. Reuters cited energy industry sources as reporting that Iranian crude exports this month have plummeted to just 300 kb/d, a fraction of the 2.5 mb/d that it shipped in Apr 2018 before Pindostan reimposed sanctions. Bearing the brunt of these sanctions are tens of millions of Iranian working people, who have seen their real income plummet and their jobs disappear. The rial has lost 60% of its value, while the inflation rate has soared from 9% in 2017 to 31% last year, and is expected to reach 37% or more this year. The result has been the skyrocketing of prices for basic necessities of life. According to the government’s own statistics, in the year since Faschingstein reimposed sanctions, meat and poultry prices have risen by 57%; milk, cheese and eggs by 37%; and vegetables by 47%. The real increases are undoubtedly significantly higher. The official unemployment rate for younger Iranians has risen to 27%, and for university graduates to 40%. Again, real unemployment is far higher, as the government counts anyone working as little as one hour a week as employed. While medicine is theoretically exempt from Pindo sanctions, in practice the punishing measures implemented by Faschingstein are depriving millions of Iranians of needed drugs, undoubtedly sending many to early deaths. European and other international banks and corporations are refusing to participate in financial transactions to allow pharmaceutical companies to ship drugs to Iran out of fear that they will be targeted for Pindo secondary sanctions. And while Iran produces most of the country’s medicines, the raw materials used in making these drugs are often imported.

The Pentagon has continued to build up its military forces in the Persian Gulf, even as top admin boxtops have traveled to the Middle East in what is billed as a bid to strengthen a Pindo-backed anti-Iranian “coalition.” CENTCOM announced on Monday that an amphibious assault ship carrying thousands of marines and a squadron of attack helicopters and strike aircraft, had arrived in the region. It is part of an assault group that includes an amphibious transport dock and an amphibious dock landing ship. The amphibious assault group joins the carrier strike group and a nuclear-capable bomber task force, along with 2,500 additional troops sent to the region since early May under the pretext of “deterring” alleged Iranian threats to “Pindo interests” in the region. Even as the Trump administration claimed credit for calling off a catastrophic escalation of its assault on Iran in response to the downing of the spy drone, the NYT and the WaPo cited unnamed Pentagon boxtops as reporting that CYBERCOM had carried out cyber-attacks aimed at disabling Iranian rocket systems and disrupting an Iranian intelligence unit. Iran dismissed the claims, insisting that it deflected the Pindo attacks. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, said on Twitter:

They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack. Last year we neutralized 33 million attacks with the (national) firewall.

An escalation of cyber-warfare between the two countries also threatens catastrophic consequences, the bringing down of power grids or possible meltdown of nuclear reactors, spilling over into full-scale war. Meanwhile, Pompeo and Bolton were in the Middle East promoting aggression against Iran. Pompeo visited Toad Arabia and the UAE, calling his conversations with the rulers of these two absolute Sunni oil monarchies the forging of a “global coalition.” Both the Toad and the UAE ruling families have long advocated a Pindo war to cripple Iran as a regional rival. Pompeo’s trip to Riyadh came just a week after the UN released a report calling for sanctions against MbS for his responsibility in the brutal assassination of Jamal Khashoggi last October. The report cited tape recordings in which members of the assassination squad sent by the monarchy referred to Khashoggi as the “sacrificial animal” and discussed how to chop up and dispose of his corpse. A State Dept boxtop said that the assassination of Khashoggi never came up in Pompeo’s talks with MbS. This followed Trump’s own brushing aside of his silence on the matter in his telephone conversation with MbS on Friday, saying merely:

Toad Arabia is a big buyer of product. That means something to me.

Meanwhile, Bolton was in Israel meeting Netanyahu, another advocate of Pindo war against Iran. Today, Bolton is expected to meet the national security advisers of both Israel and Russia in Jerusalem to discuss the Middle East. Faschingstein wants to pressure Moscow into turning against Iran, particularly in Syria. Asked last Thursday whether Faschingstein and Moscow could sign a deal on Syria, Pres Putin responded:

What do you mean, ‘deal’? Deals involve shared commercial goals. We are not trading our allies or our interests or our principles for anything at all. But it is possible for us to agree with our partners about the solution of various urgent problems.

Tensions between Faschingstein and its “great power” rivals Russia and China are building over the Pindo war threats against Iran in the run-up to the G-20 summit in Japan at the end of this week. On Monday, Sergei Ryabkov denounced the new Pindo sanctions as illegal and “a reflection of the deliberate and purposeful escalation policy,” while Global Times published an editorial stating that it is “only a matter of time before new war breaks out in the region” and quoting Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, who accused Faschingstein of “provoking” Iran and warned that miscalculations could lead to a “world war.” The editorial concluded:

Faschingstein’s demands that Iran entirely shut down its civilian nuclear program, give up its ballistic missiles and curtail its influence in the broader Middle East cannot be achieved by means of economic sanctions. Unless Pindostan destroys the Iranian regime and subverts Iran culturally, the demands are unrealistic. What is worrying is that Faschingstein does not realize that its greedy pursuit of hegemony hides an inherent danger that will cost the world and itself.

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