January 4, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 7:18 PM


For Trump and his generals, 'victory' has different meanings (Greg Jaffe, April 5, 2018, Washington Post)

[W]hen the agency's head of drone operations explained that the CIA had developed special munitions to limit civilian casualties, the president seemed unimpressed. Watching a previously recorded strike in which the agency held off on firing until the target had wandered away from a house with his family inside, Trump asked, "Why did you wait?" one participant in the meeting recalled.

Posted by orrinj at 1:13 PM


Iran general steps out of Soleimani's shadow to lead proxies (AMIR VAHDAT and JON GAMBRELL, 1/04/20, AP)

"We are children of war," Ghaani once said of his relationship with Soleimani, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency. "We are comrades on the battlefield and we have become friends in battle."

The Guard has seen its influence grow ever-stronger both militarily and politically in recent decades. Iran's conventional military was decimated by the execution of its old officer class during the 1979 Islamic Revolution and later by sanctions.

A key driver of that influence comes from the elite Quds Force, which works across the region with allied groups to offer an asymmetrical threat to counter the advanced weaponry wielded by the U.S. and its regional allies. Those partners include Iraqi militiamen, Lebanon's Hezbollah and Yemen's Houthi rebels.

In announcing Ghaani as Soleimani's replacement, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the new leader "one of the most prominent commanders" in service to Iran.

The Quds Force "will be unchanged from the time of his predecessor," Khamenei said, according to IRNA.

Posted by orrinj at 1:07 PM


The Mainstream Media Is a Cheerleader for War With Iran (BELÉN FERNÁNDEZ, 1/04/20, Jacobin)

In reality, the oft-invoked allegation of "polarization" in the media and the broader political establishment hardly holds water; it's like arguing that 21 degrees Fahrenheit and 22 degrees Fahrenheit are polar opposites. Just recall, for example, that time Trump fired cruise missiles at Syria and the liberal media thought it was pretty much the most exciting thing to have ever happened.

A glance at media coverage of the Soleimani assassination also fails to produce much evidence of a fanatical anti-Trump campaign. The lead paragraph of a New York Times article about the "Master of Iran's Intrigue" is devoted to establishing how Soleimani was "behind hundreds of American deaths in Iraq and waves of militia attacks against Israel." The second paragraph reiterates that he was a "powerful and shadowy . . . spymaster at the head of Iran's security machinery."

In other words: he deserved it. And never mind that the United States has been behind countless thousands of Iraqi deaths in Iraq or that -- as the article later reveals -- the "waves of militia attacks" took place during the brutal twenty-two-year military occupation of south Lebanon by Israel, which also boasts the distinction of having slaughtered tens of thousands of people in that country.

When you're not actually in the business of speaking truth to power, some things are better left unsaid.

The New York Times article also mentions that Soleimani and other Iranian officials were "designated as terrorists by the United States and Israel in 2011, accused of a plot to kill the ambassador of Saudi Arabia . . . in Washington." Although that whole alleged plot has been soundly debunked, it bears raising the question: if the United States assassinated an Iranian official on foreign soil, doesn't that qualify as terrorism?

The Washington Post opinion section, meanwhile, offered the analysis that, in killing Soleimani, Trump competently "enforce[d] the red line he drew on Iran" -- i.e., everything is Iran's fault, and if the country "miscalculates again, then the regime has been warned: Next time, the target will likely be Iran."

Posted by orrinj at 9:25 AM


Posted by orrinj at 9:05 AM


Posted by orrinj at 8:07 AM


Posted by orrinj at 7:53 AM


Iran says US asked for 'proportionate response' to Soleimani's killing (AFP, 1/04/20)

Washington asked Tehran to respond "in proportion" after US forces killed top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards said Friday. [...]

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in separate television interview on Friday night that "Switzerland's envoy transmitted a foolish message from the Americans this morning."