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IRAN: Soleimani Was Pompeo’s Gulf of Tonkin Incident

This week, two countries came dangerously close to war. From the onset of this crisis, the Trump Administration insisted that there were imminent attacks being planned by the Iranians, and there was no time to waste. ‘We must act now, to save American lives,’ was the all too familiar battle cry from Washington and its mainstream media surrogates. There was no debate at the time. Urgency carried the day. It’s no surprise then that the majority of the western media are overlooking the most critical aspect of the exchange between the United Sates and Iran over the last two weeks, which is the supposed “intelligence” that US officials claim to have but are still unwilling to show to the public, or even to US Senators and Congressional Representatives in closed briefings. It seems we’ve been here before. 

Despite demands from elected representatives, Trump officials arrogantly told US Senators that they shouldn’t ask, or even debate the merits or drawbacks of military intervention with Iran because this would be “emboldening the enemy.”

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah stated how he was ‘shocked’ that top Trump administration officials would be so brazen as to refuse to give any information regarding the justification for US drone assassinations of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi military commander Abu Mahdi al Mouhendis. Lee railed against Trump’s opaque policy, saying that it was “not acceptable” and called it the “worst briefing” he’s ever received on a military matters.

“It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional, and it’s wrong,” said Lee.

And he wasn’t alone. In addition to Democrats, other Republican Senators have rebelled against the President, along with a bipartisan effort in the House to reinstate Congress’s constitutional prerogative in invoking the War Powers Act, effectively holding authoritarian executive power to account.

SEE ALSO: Trump Stands Down Against Iran, U.S. Still in Denial of the ‘New Middle East’

It’s becoming more clear by the day that there was no intelligence to support the White House’s claims of an imminent Iranian threat, and even if there was, it seems more likely to be coming from a foreign country, and one who may have a vested interest in dragging the US deeper into conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that the US has lied its way into an unpopular military intervention. History teaches us that for Washington, massaging, doctoring, or even inventing ‘intelligence’ – is a tried and tested formula to ignite the drive for war.

Gareth Porter from The American Conservative writes…

Like the crucial steps toward public acceptance preceding the U.S. invasions of Vietnam and Iraq, the assassination of Qassem Soleimani was aimed at building popular support for war on Iran. Not only the justification, but the assassination itself were part of a broader strategy to grease the skids into war.

The Soleimani ploy has apparently failed, however, thanks to the carefully prepared Iranian response, which did not provoke Donald Trump to raise the stakes further. At least not yet.

The fingerprints of Pompeo are all over this provocation to war. In a striking parallel to the deception that accompanied the Gulf of Tonkin crisis in 1964—in which the American public was told about an attack on a U.S. ship that never happened, precipitating the Vietnam War—Pompeo and his allies carried out a complex deception in regard to the Soleimani hit. They claimed they had to kill the second most popular leader of Iran with no advance notice to Congress because the Iranian general was planning a massive attack that put the country in “imminent” danger. Trump officials have so far not provided any evidence publicly to back up this version of events. In fact, when briefed by DoD officials Wednesday, Democrats complained about the lack of hard evidence presented, leaving them unconvinced there was an imminent threat. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY., said the briefing was “less than satisfying.”

The deception accompanying Soleimani’s killing was just the latest in a much longer string of efforts by Pompeo that began in September  2018.  That’s when Pompeo and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton established the basic propaganda line that was used to sell the Soleimani assassination. They claimed that a few mortar rounds in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy and a consulate in Basra were evidence of an effort by Tehran to kill or injure U.S. diplomats. Bolton then demanded the Pentagon come up with retaliatory options if any Americans were harmed by any action of an Iranian “proxy,” Pompeo issued a public threat to attack Iran over the incidents.

But in fact those rockets landed a kilometer away from the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone where all foreign embassies are located, and that the one that fell near the Basra airport’s outer perimeter was nowhere near the U.S. consulate. And they were fired the same night that anti-Iran rioters were setting fire to the Iranian consulate in Basra and shutting down the country’s only seaport, and at the same time Sadrist protesters were rallying against the Iraqi government at the entrance to the Green Zone in sympathy with the anti-Iran protests.

In May 2019, Bolton claimed new “escalatory indications and warnings” of a threat to U.S. personnel in the Middle East and vowed, “[A]ny attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”  He and Pompeo leaked to major news outlets that there was intelligence about Iran ordering militia allies in the region to “target” Americans. But other officials who had seen the intelligence told the Wall Street Journal that Tehran sent its allies a directive telling them to prepare for possible attack by the United States.

The Bolton-Pompeo effort to lure Trump into a war with Iran faltered when the president twice refused their advice to retaliate militarily over the shoot-down of a U.S. drone and the drone attack on a key Saudi oil facility.  Bolton got fired in September, but Pompeo continued what they had begun. On December 13, he condemned two attacks on a Iraqi military base located near the Baghdad Airport on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9, in which two Iraqi anti-terrorist troops were injured, and then added, “We must also use this opportunity to remind Iran’s leaders that any attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response.”

But the circumstances surrounding those rocket attacks made it unclear who might have fired the two to four mortars or rockets at the Iraqi Security Forces headquarters near Baghdad Airport, wounding two Iraqi counter-terrorism personnel. Opponents of the government had just launched new protests against repression of demonstrations by lethal forces by Iraqi security forces, including anti-riot police, and Moqtada al Sadr, who had been supporting the Iraqi government, but had just started to support the demonstrators. It is entirely possible that Sadrist militiamen or other opponents of the government had fired the rockets at the base in protest.

Two weeks later, on December 27, a rocket attack on the K1 Iraqi base near Kirkuk killed an American contractor, as “Operation Inherent Resolve” command confirmed.  The Trump administration immediately went into crisis mode, discussing both killing Soleimani and retaliatory strikes against Kataib Hezbollah. But the provenance of the event that triggered the fateful decisions that followed is shrouded in ambiguity. As The New York Times reported on Dec. 27, “It wasn’t clear who was responsible for the attack,” adding that the base had been threatened previously by both Iranian-backed militias and Islamic State forces.

The IS forces in the area of Kirkuk where the K1 base was located had become increasingly active in 2018 and 2019, with a rapidly growing pace of attacks, operating freely out of the rugged mountainous north and south of the city. In fact there had been more attacks by IS on government targets in Kirkuk in 2018 than anywhere else in Iraq, and it had the highest rate of growth as well.

Continue this story at The American Conservative

READ MORE IRAN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Iraq Files




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