Trump Defies the Hawks, Backs Off Attacking Iran – But for How Long?


from 21st Century Wire:

Last night we were told that President Donald Trump had approved US military strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a surveillance drone.  Then he suddenly changed his mind and pulled back from the ledge. You could hear the collective sigh of relieve the world over. It seems that the world has dodged a bullet. But how long until the next one?

Never one to shy away from promoting a new war, America’s glorious paper of record, the New York Times reported how Trump had green-lighted a ‘limited strike’ against a “handful of Iranian targets” which included Iranian radar and missile installations near the Straits of Hormuz. The American media were all preparing their chunky wartime graphics packages.

In the past, the US has been able to pull-off such symbolic ‘limited’ military operations against weaker adversaries, while risking very little in terms of maintaining its own strategic envelope and geopolitical balancing. Not so in this case, as Tehran would almost certainly interpret such a salvo by Washington as a move to take out Iranian air defenses – in preparation for another larger attack in the near term. This would mean Iran would be fully mobilized in a matter of hours, and automatically signal the threat that any other minor scrape, skirmish or misunderstanding – could very easily cascade into an all-out state of war between not only Iran and the US, but their respective allies as well.. Adept students of geography and history will recognize that the Persian Gulf is much too small a space for any margin of error. As it goes, cooler (and wiser) heads prevailed… this time. But don’t think for a second that the imperial hounds of chaos and plunder will voluntarily drop the scent on what is a decades-old project to engage their long-time nemesis in the region.

Iran has denied US claims that its drone was flying ‘legally’ in international airspace.

If the US can take away one lesson from this latest air exchange, it’s that Iran is prepared and ready to defend its territorial integrity from any incursion. Moreover, the government of Iran must show it’s prepared to defend its borders against US aggression – a stance which will definitely bolster internal support and resolve against the current economic siege being waged by Washington. In this regard, the US may be making a mistake by trying to provoke Iran. One thing I will say from experience in Tehran, they are not afraid to engage with a militarily superior United States if necessary.

To compound matters, last week hawkish politicians and mainstream pundits were actively pushing the narrative that Iran was behind the recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. In a ham-fisted PR offensive, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no actual evidence to support his cocksure claims that Iran was responsible. But when has evidence ever mattered for Washington? Just like that, Washington has its gestalt of ‘bad behavior by the regime.’ Predictably, all this excitement triggered the Beltway’s unofficial Minister for War, Tom Cotton, as he quickly shifted into attack mode:

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