MoA & finian cunningham on renewed iran risk

The Pindo Campaign To Weaken Iran’s ‘Axis Of Resistance’ Is Failing
Moon of Alabama, Dec 9 2019

When Netanyahu was indicted for several crimes we predicted that he would become more dangerous:

Netanyahu will fight tooth and nail to gain and keep immunity. He will try to delegitimize the judicative and he will use any available trick to stay in office.That makes him even more dangerous than he usually is. He might even decide to do something, like starting a big war, to prevent his removal from power. Lebanon, Syria and Iran must watch out.

Now the former MI6 agent and diplomat Alastair Crooke detects a new Israeli attempt to instigate a war on Iran:

“This is a historic opportunity”, whispered one of Netanyahu’s insiders into Ben Caspit’s ear this week: What sort of history might that be? Why six months? Well, Caspit points up: “Netanyahu’s people, headed by minister Yuval Steinitz clearly state that a widespread war is likely to erupt in the next six months between Iran and its adversaries in the region, including Israel.” New Defence Minister Naftali Bennett threatens Iran on an almost daily basis.“ Perhaps Netanyahu simply needs a war with Iran in order to survive politically,” one of the Blue and White leaders told Caspit: “That is scary and dangerous.”

There nothing new in that, one might say. Netanyahu has for years plotted to instigate a Pindo war on Iran. But there was so far no reason for Pindostan to wage one. War needs a narrative than can be sold to the people who will have to pay for it. Alistair Crooke sees a possible one in the recent riots in Iran and elsewhere:

Here it is: “For a long time it looked like the spread of Iranian influence across the Middle East was unstoppable. Now, the entire Iran-hegemony enterprise is at risk. Protests have been going on in Iraq and Lebanon for weeks, bringing their economies to a near standstill, and forcing their Iran-approved prime ministers to step down. There’s no end in sight to the protests.” Hence the Israeli push, led by newly-appointed Defence Minister, Bennett, that this is the precise moment for Pindostan to act against Iran. This is the narrative for war.

So the idea is that the current turmoils in the ‘axis of resistance’ countries, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, has weakened Iran so much that it can be attacked. But a look at each of those countries shows that it is doubtful that the narrative is true. Lebanon is in a currency crisis because Pindostan has sanctioned remittances from expatriates to the country of around $8b/yr. That has triggered the collapse of a fraudulent scheme used by the rich in Lebanon to increase public debt while channeling the states’ money through the central Banque du Liban into their own pockets:

The BdL has issued Treasury bonds at very high interest rates; most of that debt has been bought by other Lebanese banks. Jad Chaaban, a professor at the Pindo University in Beirut, has found “individuals closely linked to political elites control 43% of assets in Lebanon’s commercial banking sector.” He also calculated that, to take one example, the Hariri family had earned $108m between 2006 and 2015 from interest on the public debt.

The idea behind the Pindo sanctions was to hurt Hezbollah economically, to instigate a civil war against it, and to remove it from the Lebanese government. This scheme has failed. While the Lebanese pound lost some 40% of its value, Hezbollah raised the pay for its people:

Today, no Lebanese citizen is able to dispose of his own saving or company assets in banks due to restrictions on withdrawals, effective “capital controls.” Only small amounts are allowed to be delivered to account holders: around $150/wk to $300/wk in a country where cash payments prevail. No-one is allowed to transfer any amount abroad unless for university fees or special demands of goods import of first necessities. However, Hezbollah, the main target of Pindostan & Israel, was not affected directly by the Pindo sanctions or by the new financial restrictions. As was the case before, militants are paid monthly in dollars with the compliments of “Uncle Sam,” with an increase of 40% due to the local currency devaluation.

As many Syrian banks and industries have used the Lebanese banking system, the currency crunch in Lebanon also led to a sharp drop of the Syrian pound. This is a problem for Syria but its allies will help to dampen the effects. The Pindo sanctions against Lebanon have failed to have the desired effects. There will be no civil war against Hezbollah. The group and their deterrence against Israel, their missile arsenal, are as ready as ever. The protests in Iraq are genuine, and they have brought the government down, but the Pindo attempt to use them against the PMF or Ḥashd ash-Shaʿbi created in 2014 by Iran to defeat Daesh is also failing. The Pindo position in Iraq is weak. It cannot overcome Iran’s influence:

Pres Barham Salih launched talks immediately after Abd’ul-Mahdi’s resignation by making rounds with different political blocs. Gen Soleimani came to Baghdad to meet with key boxtops.

Pindo military bases in Iraq are increasingly coming under fire. Genuine protests against fuel price increases in Iran were followed a day later by prematurely triggered attacks from underground groups against the country’s infrastructure and banks. Iran reacted immediately to eliminate them. As Crooke describes it:

The security forces reacted militarily by arresting and killing many insurgents. The internet was shut down, but not the internal Iranian internet, only the global internet. The Iranian news channels and Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph were still accessible, though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shutdown possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability, which it was not thought to possess.So what was going on? It seems that the Iranian government had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by activists as a part of an externally formulated and resourced disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year. What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these activists were given the go-ahead to seize the moment. In other words, they activated all their prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to smoke out the plot and to arrest or kill the ring-leaders.

To build the underground network of insurgents in Iran must have taken years. It was likely done by the CIA in collaboration with the MeK. The militants were supposed to be directed via Internet messaging services, like the rioters in Hong Kong. When those command and control lines were cut, as we predicted, Iranian security services had no problems to eliminate the militant groups. Pindostan has tried everything against Iran except waging an outright war. But its schemes against Iran and its friends are failing everywhere. The Pindo pressure campaign against Iran was an item of a State Dept press conference on Friday where Matt Lee of AP challenged ASS Schenker’s assertion that the campaign shows ‘success.’ (I’ve made it a bit more comprehensible – RB):

SCHENKER: The Iranians have certainly oftentimes in the past taken aggressive action when they feel under pressure. We see that for example in the response to the maximum pressure campaign working over the months. In the past five or six months, Iran has become increasingly more aggressive. There is a trajectory where they have first increased the operational tempo of the Houthis against the Toads then raised the rhetoric and the temperature in Iraq against Pindo personnel, moving on from there scuttling boats in Fujairah then kidnapping boats, then shooting down Pindo drones in international airspace and most recently Abqaiq, targeting Toad oil facilities directly with their own missiles.
QUESTION: You seem to suggest right now that the maximum pressure campaign is a success because it has resulted in greater Iranian aggression and shooting down Pindo drones.
SCHENKER: I… No. Maybe that’s what you inferred. The pressure campaign is working. They are clearly under fear and pressure, and they are lashing out. They’re also having double-digit negative growth. The people in the streets are protesting against the regime for its corruption and for its economic mismanagement, for spending all the money of the Iranian people on militias abroad, like in…
QUESTION: Well, if that’s a success, fair enough, but surely the metric for the success of Pindo foreign policy anywhere, not just with Iran, is that the other country is less aggressive and less likely to shoot down Pindo drones or attack Pindo bases or threaten Pindo bases.
SCHENKER: There is… No, Matt, to be fair, things sometimes get worse before they get better, in those terms.

Pindostan consistently overestimates its capabilities to bring Iran to its knees. While Iran’s GDP is falling for lack of oil sales, the internal economy is thriving and employment is on the rise as imports get substituted by local production:

The rise of the dollar brings a large change to the price structure in Iran, opening substantial opportunities for profitable production in the non-oil sectors that employ the 99% of the workforce. These are the sectors which are overwhelmed by cheap imports when oil income lowers their prices. So, in reverse order and as economic textbooks read, when oil income drops and prices of imports increase, demand shifts from foreign to home goods, encouraging firms to hire workers and expand production. For example, in past visits to Iran, I might have bought a box of Kellogg’s cereal because it tasted better than the Iranian brand and was only twice as expensive, but this past summer, with devaluation having increased the price ratio to four or five, I decided to buy the Iranian brand. Surprisingly, it tasted better, either because the quality had improved or because prices determine taste for Isfahanis!

Inflation in Iran caused by the Pindo sanctions is coming down to sustainable levels. The government’s new budget is designed to depend to less than 10% on oil sales:

Rouhani told parliament that the budget of $36b at the current street rate, was devised to help Iran’s people overcome difficulty. Rouhani said that despite the Pindo sanctions, his government expected to earn almost $3.4b from oil exports, but he also said Iran’s non-oil economy would “be positive” in the next year.

So while Iran and its allies are under stress, they are certainly not in danger of collapsing. The Israeli war narrative is fraudulent. Netanyahu may want a war, if only to stay out of jail, but war is not popular in Pindostan, and Trump will not start one during an election year. What Trump needs is an off ramp from his failing aggression against Iran. He needs talks with Iran, but the country insists that he must first lift the sanctions. I expect him to do that only after his reelection.

Netanyahu-Pompeo Meeting Solidifies War Plan on Iran
Finian Cunningham, Strategic Culture, Dec 10 2019

Ratcheting economic sanctions, military force encirclement, inciting seditious violence and relentless war rhetoric. This all by Pindostan & its vassals over the past year towards Iran, yet it is Iran which is portrayed as posing “potential threats” to Pindo interests. The hastily arranged meeting last week between Netanyahu and Pompeo had the hallmarks of a war-plan summit amid a peak in renewed media provocation against Iran. In the last weeks there has been a flurry of Pindo media reports claiming that Iran is secretly moving ballistic missiles into Iraq and elsewhere across the region. As usual the media credulously cite anonymous intelligence and Pentagon officials on those claims. Here’s CNN quoting one admin boxtop:

There has been consistent intelligence in the last several weeks referring to a potential Iranian threat against Pindo forces and interests in the Middle East.

Last month, CENTCOM chief Gen Kenneth McKenzie said:

I would expect that if we look at the past three or four months, it’s possible they will do something that is irresponsible.

McKenzie tacitly acknowledges the background, which is the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions and military force build-up against Iran as if that is somehow normal international conduct. Then he turns all that Pindo aggression on its head by accusing Iran of possibly doing “something that is irresponsible.” There are worrying signs that Pindostan and Israel are redoubling the pressure of war against Iran. This pressure has to be seen in the context of a formidable deployment of Pindo military forces in the region since May this year: troops, warplanes and warships. The earlier build-up was announced on the basis of unfounded claims that Iran was preparing to launch offensive operations against Pindo interests. Then came a series of mysterious attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf over the summer which Faschingstein blamed without evidence on Iran. Street protests in Iran since mid-November over fuel-price increases appear to be hijacked by subversive elements. Trump and other Pindo boxtops have openly called for the protests to destabilize the Iranian government. Fresh claims that Iran is sending ballistic missiles to neighboring countries appear to be setting the stage for justifying a pre-emptive Pindo attack on Iran. Almost certainly, Iran is mobilizing forces in the reasonable calculation that it may come under attack at any moment, and Pentagon & Langley boxtops are interpreting Iranian defensive moves as “indications of a potential threat” to Pindo “interests.” The meeting last week between Netanyahu and Pompeo arouses forebodings in the context of Pindo media reports of Iranian ballistic missiles being deployed and of reports that the Trump administration is considering a doubling of troop levels in the Middle East to 28,000, as well as sending more missiles and warplanes. Netanyahu met Pompeo in Lisbon on Dec 4. The meeting was called urgently and was unscheduled. Netanyahu tried to arrange discussions with Pompeo on the sidelines of the NATO summit near London, but according to Israeli media reports there was not enough time for security logistics to be put in place by the British. That indicates that he was in a hurry. When he met Pompeo in Lisbon, he said at the start of their discussions:

The first subject that I will raise is Iran. The second subject is Iran, and so is the third. And many more. We have been fortunate as Pres Trump has led a consistent policy of exerting pressure on Iran. Iran is increasing its aggression in the region as we speak, even today, in the region. They are trying to have staging grounds against us and the region from Iran itself, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen and we are actively engaged in countering that aggression.

Netanyahu also gloated:

The Iranian empire is tottering. Let’s make it totter even more.

For several months Iran has steadfastly refused to take the bait of war laid down by the Trump administration. But with pressures mounting both internally and externally, it would be imperative for the Iranian authorities to marshall their defenses. {ermtagon & Langley boxtops are using contorted logic to accuse Iran of posing a threat, and the corporate media are ably assisting in the propagation of this oxymoron. Netanyahu’s hasty meeting with Pompeo last week suggests that Pindostan and Israel are putting the final touches to their malignant masterpiece for provoking a war with Iran.

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