On January 3 of last year, the Americans murdered Iranian Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, among others, who had helped defeat the Daesh forces that were unleashed by the Americans on Iraq and Syria. Within hours the Iranian forces struck back with a missile attack on American bases in Iraq causing heavy damage to the American base at Ain Al-Assad in western Iraq and causing scores of deaths and casualties that the US tried to deny. The fact that the Americans, ever ready to strike anyone who resists them, did not respond to the Iranian strike was evidence that the strikes were effective and surprised the Americans who feared worse if they continued to respond. So, Trump declared it was no big deal, that nothing had happened.
But Iran has not forgotten this American crime and still reserves the right to further retaliation, which can take several forms. Last month the Iranian prosecutors issued a list of 48 persons wanted for the murder of Soleimani and arrest warrants have been sent to several countries for these persons who include Donald Trump and, the “individuals who cooperated, collaborated, and participated in the assassination including political and military authorities of the US and other countries,” said Tehran Prosecutor General, Ali Alqasi-Mehr. He named Trump as the key individual at the top of the list, adding his pursuit will continue even after his tenure as US president ends and Iranian leaders have promised to drive the US out of the region, diplomatically or militarily, so peace can finally be established.
But the Americans, no matter the party identification of the person occupying the Presidency, are intent on continuing their colonialist aggression against the world to maintain their domination of resources and markets. On November 27 top Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated in Iran by agents of the US and Israel just days after the US sent two B52 heavy bombers to the Middle East to intimidate Iran, a flight that was repeated on December 10 and December 29. The B52’s can carry large amounts of bombs, or nuclear bombs and cruise missiles. The flights were explained, in Americanese, as “necessary to secure peace and deter aggression,” meaning that they were considered necessary to scare the hell out of Iranians with the threat of nuclear war, and were a practice run for their aggression. Israel, always working hand in glove with their American masters has sent a submarine to the Persian Gulf and the Americans have massively increased their naval and air strike forces in the region.
One senior US military officer said the flights by two Air Force B-52 bombers on December 29 “were in response to signals that Iran may be planning attacks against US allied targets in neighbouring Iraq or elsewhere in the region in the coming days, even as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.”
The B52 flights occurred as Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. Since those forces have been occupying those tragic countries for almost 20 years, creating untold misery for their peoples, one has to wonder why they make that move now, whether the US has intentions to attack Iran and wants its forces removed out of range of Iranian missiles as the attack is carried out. Why else are they training their B52 crews to bomb Iran? Why have they continually increased their illegal “sanctions,” that is their economic war on Iran to weaken Iran in every way and why last week did they accuse Iran of attacking the US embassy in Baghdad, which the Iranians believed was a staged show and are claiming they expect more attacks in Iraq soon?
The threat of imminent action against Iran is heightened by the strength of the US Navy forces concentrating in and around the Persian Gulf.
On December 21, Forbes, in reporting this development stated,
“It seems something could be about to happen—it’s not totally clear what. But the timing, one month before a transition of power in Washington, DC, is interesting.
“The appearance of an Ohio-class cruise-missile submarine on the surface in the Strait of Hormuz on Monday was the clearest possible signal of the Navy’s intention at least to send a strong message to Iran’s leaders, if not launch actual strikes targeting Iranian nuclear facilities.
“USS Georgia, one of just four cruise-missile subs in the fleet, sailed through the narrow, shallow strait in broad daylight, a special operations forces mini-sub perched on her back. The missile cruisers USS Port Royal and USS Philippine Sea escorted Georgia. Together, the sub and accompanying cruisers pack 398 vertical tubes for cruise missiles and other munitions. That’s more firepower than most navies can deploy in total. Meanwhile, no fewer than three of the Navy’s 11 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers—USS Nimitz, USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower—also are in the region. There hasn’t been a concentration of US naval power like this in years.”
“The three carriers move in and out of the Gulf but the fact all three are in the region is unusual.”
Forbes is warning us of an imminent major war and the US military statement about attack from Iran indicate the Americans could stage such an attack to provide the pretext for an attack on Iran.
But why begin a war now? Since Trump continues to claim he won the presidential elections, the launching of a major war would provide the pretext for staying in power by declaring some type of emergency. The fact he still does not allow Biden to access Pentagon staff or be briefed on security issues indicates that Biden is not expected by Trump to take power, so Biden is not permitted to share state secrets. But it could also indicate that something major is about to take place and the planned operations must stay secret and cannot be shared and the planned operations are against Iran. But we can only speculate based on known facts. In war deception is primary.
The Iranians have proven that they cannot be crushed by the economic warfare being conducted against them nor by the assassinations of their scientists and officers. They have managed to increase their ties with Russia, China Venezuela and have established better economic relations with some members of the European Union.
Trump seems to have expected that the American withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and reimposition of “sanctions” would bring Iran to its knees, ready to obey every American diktat, but he was wrong. His plan failed. Biden has made noises about rejoining the JCPOA, while both Russia and China are working to try to resolve the sanctions issue and to lessen tensions because an American war on Iran will have serious repercussions for them. They recently deflected a German proposal to impose new conditions on Iran. But Trump and the Pentagon appear to be beyond negotiations, want to raise tensions and have another solution in mind.
We must also remember that on April 22 of this year the USA declared that it withdrew “waivers” given to China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece, under the illegal US economic warfare campaign being conducted against Iran. The stated objective was to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero, crippling the Iranian economy, damaging the economies of countries that purchase Iranian oil, and raising the price of oil for the rest of the world suppliers, including of course the US and Saudis, that have pledged to fill the gap, at a higher price of course.
The American Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo declared,
“The Trump Administration has taken Iran’s oil exports to historic lows, and we are dramatically accelerating our pressure campaign in a calibrated way that meets our national security objectives while maintaining well supplied global oil markets.”
The Iranians threatened to close the Straight of Hormuz if the waivers are suspended and the Americans use force to block Iranian oil shipments; which would mean the blocking of oil shipments from the Arabian peninsular, thereby threatening oil supplies to many nations in the world that depend on those supplies, including Europe and North America. An attempt to block the Straight of Hormuz would result in the Americans trying to eliminate the Iranian naval vessels closing the passage, major naval engagements and outright war. It may be that the US is hoping to provoke such a clash to give it the pretext for war against Iran. Everything points to that conclusion.
Iran continues to sell its oil and so armed action to block Iranian exports of oil is the logical step the US will have to take if the illegal “sanctions” are ignored and the US maintains its threat to bring Iranian oil exports to zero. Any such action would not only be aggression against Iran, it would also be an act of aggression against China and the other nations relying on that oil. But armed conflict and the risk of a major war is a risk the US seems willing to take. Whether they are reckless or that is the American objective is difficult to say but if it comes to that it won’t much matter for the consequences will be terrible and world wide. But, looking at US actions, real war, not just economic, appears to be their objective.
On April 3, to prepare the American peoples’ minds for war against Iran, the Pentagon repeated Wikileaks’ claims from 2010, based on US Army sources, that Iran was responsible for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq when, in fact, it was the Iraqi Resistance forces, that fought the Americans so valiantly, who inflicted heavy losses and casualties on the US forces in Iraq.
On October 22, 2010, The Columbia Journalism Review commented on the Wikileaks release of documents and their use in the media on that date regarding Iraq that,
“Just as it focused on Pakistan’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan in its reporting on WikiLeaks’s July dump, The New York Times focuses heavily on the involvement of Iran in the Iraq War logs released today.”
“The Times’s current online lead WikiLeaks story is “Leaked Reports Detail Iran’s Aid for Iraqi Militias” which details the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ backing of Iraqi militias.
“The piece draws on specific incidents from the logs to demonstrate that Iran’s Quds Forces mostly maintained a low-profile, arranging for Hezbollah to train Iraqi militias in Iran, and financing and providing weaponry to insurgents. Other times the Iranian forces sponsored assassinations; at others, they sought to influence politics, and otherwise coordinated attacks on US forces in Iraq.”
All these claims were accepted without question by Wikileaks and the major newspapers that published them such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and are now resurrected by the Pentagon and the media to fan the flames of hostility towards Iran in a more visceral way. Syria stated the claims were suspicious. Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated that Russia was surprised by the allegations, that Washington had some explaining to do and that the US better not use the claims as a pretext for conflict.
The objective of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and resurrecting the dubious US Army-Wikileaks claims that Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq is of course to criminalise the Iranian government in the eyes of the western, particularly American public. Criminalisation of the enemy is always a sign that an attack is coming. They painted Manuel Noriega as a criminal. They did the same with Slobodan Milosevic, with Saddam Hussein, with Muammar Ghaddafi. Negotiations, diplomacy are not possible with “criminals” is the US refrain and their targets end up dead or in an American prison.
And “so it goes” as Kurt Vonnegut wrote, in Slaughterhouse Five, and so it goes; the modern citizen in the West carries on daily life, disillusioned by the lies and hypocrisy, by the cruelty and barbarism, by the madness of it all and wonders how it can ever be different in a world where people count for nothing and profit for everything, wonder how we can ever have peace in a world so long as it is dominated by imperialism and colonialism.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”