May 11, 2018

Israel launched waves of air attacks and ground shelling on a score of alleged Iranian military positions in Syria this week.   Was this a big step forward in the plan by Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu and his ally Donald Trump to provoke a major war with Iran?

It certainly looks so.  The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all recently suffered a stinging defeat in Syria. Their campaign to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus by using the rag-tag ISIS movement, then Sunni Muslim jihadist wild men, was defeated by the Syrian Army, backed by Russian air power, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and some Iranian militia groups and army advisors.

Israel now claims to have wiped out more than a score of Iranian positions in Syria.  As far as we can tell, these were minor logistics or communications facilities, not the backbone of a supposed Iranian offensive against Israel.

In fact, the alleged Iranian rocket barrage was directed at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that were illegally annexed and occupied after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and are still held, legally, as part of Syria. Israel is very nervous about having world attention drawn to its continued occupation of the strategic Golan Heights from which Israeli heavy artillery can reach Damascus.

But now that the Trump administration has fallen fully under the influence of the pro-war neocons, an attempt to overthrow the Iranian government appears highly likely, using both military intervention and intensified economic warfare. 

Iran has been under siege by the US since the American/British installed shah was overthrown by a popular revolution in 1979. The CIA and Britain’s MI6 have mounted numerous attempts to oust the Islamic Republic and re-install a client ruler.

Ironically, the ‘democratic’ western powers – the US, Britain and France – rely on medieval monarchs and dictators to control the Mideast while democratic politicians and movements are ignored.  Iran, in spite of its many rigidities and failings, remains one of the region’s more democratic states.   Ask our Saudi or Kuwaiti allies when was the last time they held a real election?  

The failure of western intelligence services to provoke serious uprisings in Iran (or Russia), means that the military option is increasingly tempting.   This probably means provoking military clashes with Iran in the Gulf leading to full-scale attacks on its nuclear infrastructure and industry.   US warplanes and warships are actively probing Iran’s borders.  In addition, US forces are getting ever more deeply involved in the Yemen War.

When the US last considered a major attack on Iran during the Bush years, the Pentagon (which opposed the idea) estimated it would need 2,800 air strikes against Iran on Day One alone.   

Many of the same war party crowd that engineered the 2003 US invasion of Iraq are now running the Trump administration.  Their goal is to cripple Iran and leave the Mideast to joint Saudi-Egyptian-Israeli control.     

Recall President George W. Bush’s assertion that once he had crushed Iraq the next targets of US military intervention would be Lebanon, Syria, Iran and then Pakistan.

Invading Iran would not be easy.  Iran has very little capability to project power beyond its borders.  Its air force, artillery and tanks are decrepit.  America controls the skies from Morocco to Afghanistan.  Iran is vulnerable to raids and small incursions but subjugating this large, mountainous nation of 80 million would be very difficult.

In fact, and Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander once told me, ‘let the Americans invade. They will break their teeth on Iran.’  Over-confidence, of course, but he had a point.  Fighting on the defensive in urban areas, Iran could offer fierce resistance. 

America’s imperial machine, like its British Imperial predecessor, likes small, easy wars against small, backwards nations.  Iran would be very different. 

As we have just seen with North Korea, Iran’s best survival strategy, short of security guarantees by Russia and China, would be to race to produce a small number of nuclear weapons to deter attacks by the US and Israel.  Europe, which co-sponsored the Iran nuclear act and is now humiliated by Trump reneging on the deal, is too weak and disorganized to guarantee the pact and stand up to Washington.  This is too bad.  Now would have been a fine time for the EU to assert its independence from US hegemony and begin building its own independent European military forces.

Copyright  Eric S. Margolis 2018


This post is in: Iran, Israel, USA


  1. Because of this personal History, I see the unfolding details reported by the MSM these days confirming the Vision of the Future recorded by THE KANSAS CITY TIMES September 13, 1976.

    “He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO GOD’S BIDDING: To tell the world, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered […] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. “The gold dome is the symbol of Babylon,” he said.” […] He wanted to bring to the Public’s attention an “idea being put out subtly and deceptively” by the government that we have to get prepared for a war with Russia.”

    That 1976 FUTURE is NOW with the Revelation of the details GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of the letter.

    The World is waking up to see Trump just may hasten “its days are numbered” part of the 1976 Public record. Withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal will speed that up. This is in addition of Trump and the Republican Congress rescinding the few Regulations Obama put in place to prevent another Global Financial Collapse as happened in 2008. It’s not a question of IF but WHEN?

    The KANSAS CITY TIMES did a follow up on ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976. The TV movie ‘THE DAY AFTER’ Kansas City was incinerated in a Nuclear Holocaust appeared in 1983. Most likely, I was the only Human on Earth, including the newspaper reporters, to note at the END, the movie pauses at the very same picture frame THE KANSAS CITY TIMES chose for the ALL SOULS DAY record 7 years earlier.

    Any way you look at it, that HISTORICAL FACT is a confirming SIGN for our Generations, the World has finally arrived at this point of Decision, of an “idea being put out subtly and deceptively” by the government that we have to get prepared for a war with Russia.”
    The almost constant US anti-Russia/Putin Propaganda in the media 24/7 for the last year, confirms that part of the preparation in the 1976 Vision is well under way way.
    Few will recognize, “this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered” as the 1st two parts, of the 3 part ‘Writing on the Wall” from Daniel 5 and the Captivity of Babylon some 2600 years ago.

    The whole world saw “The Writing on the Wall” for the 1st TIME at the same TIME, with the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour in September of 2008, even if the world does not recognize it as such.

    The 3rd part of the ‘Writing on the Wall’ tells of the decline of Babylon, the 1st Biblical model of the Nation reaching Imperial Military-Economic Superpower Status, and the rise of Persia

    Ancient Babylon is now Iraq, and ancient Persia is now Iran.

    The US is the latest, greatest, of all the Nations reaching Imperial Military-Economic Superpower Status in the 2600 year old Biblical Babylonian superstructure.

    The TAIL struck the HEAD, invading Iraq in violation of International Law, causing the unravelling of the Earthly Babylonian superstructure/infrastructure, undermining the Global Order as represented by the United Nations since WWII, and ushering in the Law of the Jungle to the Middle East and this World. It also paved the way for increased Iranian influence in their own region of this world where the US is the interloper.

    The Iranian Revolution happened in 1979, 2-1/2 years after the Public Historical Record in the 1976 KANSAS CITY TIMES Timeline.

    All the chaos in the Middle East since then, including the carnage in Syria, is the consequence of the vain attempt to reverse that God ordained, repeat of History, as a SIGN of The Times for our Generations.

    The 2 original 1976 newspaper records, clips from ‘THE DAY AFTER’ and much more not included in this comment can be examined following the link below.

  2. Mike Smith says:

    What will Turkey do?
    Turkey is very much against the events in Israel, between the US embassy relocation, the killing of protestors, the attacks on Syria, about anything they do with Gaza… plus the issue of the US backing their longtime Kurdish enemies…
    While a considerable divide exists between Iran and Turkey, Ankara is being pushed by the Americans enough for them to feel justified to leave NATO behind. Various attacks on their government which seem to have US ties, possible cancellation of the sales of F-35 aircraft with a loss of long term investment in the project, and continuing issues with Greece tip one side of the scale while improved trade with Russia, the sale of S-400 SAMs on the other side pull Erdoğan towards Russia.
    If Turkey moves politically into Russias orbit, denial of airspace, bases, and access to the Black Sea should complicate any US action in the Gulf.
    Further why not go further and allow Russian forces to cross Turkey into Syria… while not fans of Assad, Turkey could see a Russian takeover as the means to an end… A Russian occupied Syria would end much of their Kurdish problem, provide a serious obstacle to their Israel problem, push the Americans back into Iraq ( probably to a resurgence of resistance against them )
    Putin may well embarrass such a distraction from problems at home, and with the present sanctions and hostility from the US would have little to lose by becoming more active in a region that desperately needs a strong player to offset the present balance.

  3. Raj Sathya says:

    First of all why should Iran must send rockets to Golan Heights? Since when Iran became the brand ambassador for Syria? What Irans business in Syria? Here is the answer.After the islamic revolution in 1979, Iranian leaders cited Syria is Irans 35 th province.The Syrian city Zabadani is vitally important to Assad and to Iran because at least as late as June 2011 the city served as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps logistical hub for supplying Hezbollah.Iran had 2000 to 3000 IRGC officers stationed in Syria.According to U.N.panel in May 2012 Iran supplied arms to Syria despite a ban on weapons exports by the islamic republic.The report investigated three large illegal shipments of Iranian weapons over the past year.According to reporter Robert Fisk of The Independent Iran send 4000 troops to aid Syria and proposed to open a new Syrian front against Israel in the Golan Heights in order to fulfill the vision of late Khomeini who wanted to wipe out Israel from the region. Khomeini was the spiritual Admiral for the Iranians and to destroy Israel was their primary target.The Gatestone Institute estimated that as of late 2016, Iran controlled over 70,000 troops deployed in Syria ( 15,000 soldiers of the Iranian military,20,000 members of Liwa Fatemiyoun, 20,000 Iraqi Shia militiamen in ten different groups , 10,000 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters,and 5,000 to 7,000 Pakistani and Palestinian militiamen) Sending 20 rockets to Israel by the Iranian Quds forces based in Syria is clearly a provocation and attacking Israel is asking for trouble. After all the vision of invading and destroying Israel was DIED when Khomeini DIED.

    • Mike Smith says:

      What is the Americans business in the Middle East? Why shouldn’t Iran be able to arm anyone they want went the US seems free to arm any and all sides of this conflict? Israel requires no provocation to cause trouble… that is what they do.

      • Raj Sathya says:

        What is the American business in the Middle East? Feel free to elaborate it, as I have briefed what is Irans business in Syria, cheers!

  4. Steve_M. says:

    The one thing that might well stop the US from leading an invasion of Iran would be a serious threat of intervention by Russia, which Eric hints at in last paragraph of his article. This is where Putin might well choose to draw a line in the sand and threaten Trump sufficiently to make the US back away from a head-on confrontation. The risk of that, however, is that Israel might well be tempted to act on its own. Don’t forget that Netanyahu is probably anxious to create a major distraction of some kind from the criminal investigation that has been swirling around him.

  5. The fact all the American media declares Iran the aggressor in all of this proves one of the lessons learned in Vietnam is the importance of the war manufacturers to control all of the media.

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