April 27, 2019

The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen. Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife. We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.

But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf. This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.

The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The oil embargo not only violates international law, it sets the US on a collision course with some of its most important allies and vassal states. Brazen threats against Iran by Trump’s two main enforcers, National Security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have reinforced America’s unfortunate image as an imperial power that threatens war against disobedient satraps and independent-minded nations.

Iran, a proud, ancient nation of 80 million, has become, with Turkey, the most effective opposition to America’s imperial domination of the Mideast and a key supporter of Palestinian rights and statehood. This has put Iran on a collision course with Israel and its influential American supporters, notably the Evangelical hard right which somehow believes that Jesus will only return to earth after Israel expands its border and mankind is destroyed.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration, which has now become indistinguishable from Israel’s hard-line far right ruling coalition, has declared virtual war against Iran.

To benefit Israel, the White House cancelled a $20 billion order from Iran for Boeing aircraft, embargoed trade with Iran, reneged on the internationally backed nuclear deal with Tehran, cut off all aid to Palestinians, and keeps sustaining the savage Saudi/Emirati war against Yemen that has caused mass starvation and epidemics.

Trump has just unilaterally approved Israel’s illegal seizure of Syria’s Golan Heights, an act worthy of the 1916 Sykes-Picot treaty dividing up the Ottoman Mideast between Britain and France. US threats against Venezuela and Cuba grow louder.

Washington plans to use its naval forces massed around Iran to interdict Tehran’s oil exports. Two US aircraft carriers are now on station within striking range of Iran. I went to sea on one, the ‘Abraham Lincoln.’

China faces dire trade punishments for dealing with Iran. Welcome back to 19th century gunboat diplomacy. Even Washington’s European allies may be scourged for buying Iranian oil.

Iran, which has faced similar threats in the past, is digging in and threatens to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if its oil exports are interdicted. Twenty percent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait. At its narrowest point, this strategic passage is only 21 miles (34 km) wide.

Iran could seriously interfere with oil tankers in the Strait, using armed speedboats, mines and land-based, Chinese-made missiles. Equally important, insurance rates for tankers would skyrocket. Add all this together, and Trump & Co.’s warlike actions will cause the price of gasoline to surge, just as America’s busy summer driving season is getting underway.

America’s satraps Saudi Arabia (which just cut off the heads of 37 of its subjects) and sidekick the Emirates have promised to make up oil shortfalls, but neighbor Iran’s special forces may have very different ideas. Look for missiles and commando attacks on Saudi oil installations.

Adding to this dangerous mess, Beijing may slow down or even abort its trade talks with Washington, which are of vital importance to the US economy. US markets have already factored in a deal being made.

Trump’s irrational quest to crush Iran could very well turn the rest of the world against Washington. But Trump & Co. don’t seem to care. Someone must tell Trump’s out of control administration to stop trying to overthrow governments it does not like around the globe and promoting itself as the Second Coming of Christ.

“Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” Verily.

Copyright Eric s. Margolis 2019

This post is in: Iran, USA


  1. With climate change, fossil fuels will soon be the 21st century’s dinosaurs. The American government has not taken a proactive role in preparing for this looming catastrophe. They are heavily into fossil fuels and are doing little or nothing to address climate change. An interesting aside:
    Most western newspapers point out that China and India are far greater contributers to CO2 emissions; they mistakenly don’t base their comments on a per capita basis, and, with a few exceptions in the Middle East, the Americans are the greatest contributors. China is #7 and India is #13, if populations are considered. With the exception of the Middle East, the UK, Canada and Australia are in the top 5. To make matters more interesting, China is taking an active role in diminishing their carbon footprint with advances in solar and wind power and electric vehicles, with the government contributing to the funding.
    This is playing out in the middle east and, closer to home, Venezuela. I’m waiting for the marines to land in Venezuela, any time now. Pompeo and Bolton have their fingers on the switch. Trump has shown, over and over again, that he cares naught for world opinion. For the sake of this earth, the use of fossil fuels has to be discouraged and greatly diminished. The Americans are way ‘out of step’.
    One of the tenets of the Muslim religion is that there has to be a sharing of the wealth so that those that are disadvantaged can be helped. Fundamentalists have taken this a step forward and are using terrorism against those that do not ‘honour’ the fundamental religion. I’m not sure why Sri Lanka was ‘chosen’ other than there being a significant Christian part of the population, and the fundamentalists were selecting all blasphemers, and it was an ‘easy target’.
    There are numerous areas of conflict in the Middle East, and it never seems to let up. One skirmish stops for a while and another ‘pops’ up… Just like ‘Whack a Mole’, but on a larger scale. It’s interesting that the UN does not get involved, but, they too are threatened by the American bullies using their financial juggernaut. As noted before, the UN is in serious need of fixing. Any embargoes should have to be UN ratified. The Americans have to be stopped from enforcing their will on the rest of the world. I’m not sure why Iran has been selected, other than it is one of the greatest threats to Israel and pro-Palestinian. It may have been that they kicked out the Shah of Iran, and, the Americans are still upset.
    That the embargo is contrary to international law and is allowed to ‘go forward’ says a lot for the extent the rest of the world is being bullied by the Americans. That it sets the Americans on a collision course with the rest of the world is of little concern to the Americans.
    The United States is truly a rogue state; for world safety, the rest of the world must speak up. The situation will not improve if left on its own.
    Your statement, “To benefit Israel, the White House cancelled a $20 billion order from Iran for Boeing aircraft, embargoed trade with Iran, reneged on the internationally backed nuclear deal with Tehran, cut off all aid to Palestinians, and keeps sustaining the savage Saudi/Emirati war against Yemen that has caused mass starvation and epidemics.“, pretty much sums up this rogue state.
    The really scary thing about Trump is that his actions may only be a platform to be used for launching more aggressive world actions in the future. I use to think that Trump was merely an aberration of Americans at large; he could be the new Norm.

    • Dik, could you not see it ? If ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks on hotels and churches, it means Saudia Arabia gave the orders that have received from the USA. Before election, Trump repeatedly said that Barak and his administration created ISIS by giving green light to Saudis to export their Wahabi ideologies, which is a monster copy of Islamic principles and has nothing to do with Islam. If you look deeper and little before, you would see that it is a continuation of the 9/11 which was one of main objectives to create war and hate between the two major religions in the world. It did a major damage and you could hear it’s echoes in countries like Philippines, Myanmar and lastly the shooting in New Zealand. Lebanon was a fertile land for such war, it had all the religions and sub secs, civil and sectarian war lasted for more than 20 years. Lanka has more mix of religions and it was an easy target. What makes me laugh about the whole thing, that the USA offered to send specialists and experts to help the lankian authorities to find out about the bombing. Another thing, I think Lanaka was also selected for the purpose of revenge and teaching the world a lesson. You do not abort us, we abort you.

  2. KeninCanada says:

    I hope at least one of the Democrat candidates is willing to challenge Mike Pence on the Evangelical drive to Armageddon; but somehow I don’t think they have the backbone.

  3. Steve_M. says:

    In the growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, it is unclear what Russia might do if the US continues to escalate its threats against the Iranian government. My feeling is that the US will be forced to back away if, as is likely, Russia and China threaten to intervene on Iran’s side. That’s a confrontation for which the US is ill-prepared and certainly would not want.

  4. Just a dream: Why don’t we – all the countries of the World – unite in putting the US and its main ally under a comprehensive embargo? Strength in numbers! They do not have enough warships to threaten everybody around the Globe and could not bomb us all back to the Stone Age. Most likely they would not survive too long without exploiting us.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.