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Will the Real Bombers Please Stand Up

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks from the State Department briefing room on June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pompeo said, "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks from the State Department briefing room on June 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. Pompeo said, "It is the assessment of the U.S. government that Iran is responsible for today's attacks in the Gulf of Oman. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Who is attacking oil tankers in the Gulf between Oman and Iran? So far, the answer is still a mystery. The US, of course, accuses Iran. Iran says it’s the US or its local allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Magnetic mines are blamed for the damage, though there have been claims of torpedo use. Last month, four moored tankers were slightly damaged, though none seriously. This time the attacks were more damaging but apparently not lethal.

A few cynics have even suggested Israel may be behind the tanker attack in order to provoke war between Iran and the United States – a key Israeli goal. Or maybe it’s the Saudis whose goal is similar. The Gulf is an ideal venue for false flag attacks. 

One thing appears certain. President Donald and his coterie of neocon advisers have been pressing for a major conflict with Iran for months. The US is literally trying to strangle Iran economically and strategically. By now, Israel’s hard right wing dominates US Mideast policy and appears to often call the shots at the White House and Congress.

However, this latest Iran 'crisis' is totally contrived by the Trump administration to punish the Islamic Republic for refusing to follow American tutelage, supporting the Palestinians, and menacing Saudi Arabia. Most important, the Gulf fracas is diverting public attention from Trump’s war with the lynch mob of House Democrats and personal scandals. 

Many Americans love small wars. They serve as an alternative to football. Mussolini’s popularity in Italy soared after he invaded primitive Ethiopia. Americans cheered the invasions of Grenada, Haiti and Panama. However, supposed ‘cake-walk’ Iraq was not such a popular success. Memories of the fake Gulf of Tonkin clash used to drive the US into the Vietnam War are strong; so too all the lies about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Curiously, Trump’s undeclared war against Iran has had unanticipated effects. Japan, which relies on Iranian oil, is furious at Washington. Last week, Japan’s very popular prime minister, Shinzo Abe, flew to Tehran to try to head off a US-Iranian confrontation and assure his nation’s oil supply – the very same reason Japan attacked the US in 1941. Abe warned an accidental war may be close.

Canada used to have warm relations with China. They are now in shambles. Canada ‘kidnapped’ Chinese bigwig Meng Wanzhou, the crown princess of technology giant Huawei, at Vancouver airport while changing planes on a US arrest warrant for allegedly trading with…wait for it…Iran. Canada foolishly arrested Meng on a flimsy extradition warrant from the US.

This was an incredibly amateurish blunder by Ottawa’s foreign affairs leaders. If they had been smarter, they would have simply told Washington that Meng had already left Canada, or they could not find her. Now Canada’s relations with Beijing are rock bottom, Canada has suffered very heavy trade punishment and the world’s biggest nation is angry as a wet cat at Canada, a nation whose state religion is to be liked by everyone.

Now, Japan’s energy freedom is under serious threat. China mutters about executing the two Canadians it arrested for alleged espionage. Meanwhile, US-China relations have hit their nadir as Trump’s efforts to use tariffs to bully China into buying more US soya beans and to trim its non-trade commerce barriers have caused a trade war.

The US-China trade war is badly damaging the economies of both countries. President Trump still does not seem to understand that tariffs are paid by American consumers, not Chinese sellers. Trump’s nincompoop foreign policy advisers don’t understand how much damage they are doing to US interests. Putting gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson in charge of US foreign and trade policy is not such a good idea.

A good way to end this growing mess is to fire war-lover and Iran-hater John Bolton, send Mike Pompeo back to bible school, and tell Iran and Saudi Arabia to bury the hatchet now. Instead, the White House is talking about providing nuclear capability to Saudi Arabia, one of our world’s most backwards and unpleasant nations. Maybe Trump will make a hell of a ‘deal’ and have North Korea sell nukes to Saudis. 

And now we wait the all-time bad joke, the so-called ‘Deal of the Century,’ which Trump and his boys hope will get rich Arabs to buy off poor Palestinians in exchange for giving up lots more land to Israel. It’s hard to think of a bigger or more shameful betrayal by Arabs of fellow Arabs, or a more stupid policy by the US. But, of course, it’s not a made-in-the-USA policy at all.

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

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