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Sunday, April 16, 2017

US general threatens Iran with military action

U.S. Centcom commander General Joseph Votel told the U.S. House Armed Services Committee that Iran was the greatest destabilizing force in the Middle East. He said the U.S. must be prepared to use "military means" to both confront and defeat the threat.

Iran is no doubt a hindrance to U.S. plans in the Middle East and those of its allies such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. However, it was the U.S. that overthrew the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and also the government of Iran even earlier and installed a regime more in line with western oil interests.
Ironically the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, eventually helped out Iran through the establishment of a Shia-denominated government rather than the Sunni-dominated regime of Hussein. A recent article notes:... the U.S. continues to sell massive amounts of weaponry to Iran’s rivals, most especially Saudi Arabia. U.S. military operations in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East have both destabilized the region and created marketplaces for U.S. weaponry and opportunities for economic exploitation by multinational corporations.No doubt the U.S. considers all of this an attempt to stabilize the region.
From 1953 to 1978 the U.S. had a strong ally in the Shah of Iran. The U.S. sold him the most advanced U.S. weaponry including F-14 Tomcat fighters and HAWK missile systems. With the 1979 Iranian Revolution all that changed and the U.S. actually supported the bad guy Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war. Now again according to General Mattis the U.S. Secretary of Defense Iran is "the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East".
Mattis claims that Iran continues to export terrorism and militant activity. In 2012 Mattis had said that the three primary threats that the U.S. faced in the Middle East were "Iran, Iran, Iran". He said the behavior of Iran had not changed since. Mattis said: "At the time when I spoke about Iran I was a commander of U.S. central command and that (Iran) was the primary exporter of terrorism, frankly, it was the primary state sponsor of terrorism and it continues that kind of behavior today."
Votel told the House Armed Services Committee that Iran was operating in a gray zone just short of open conflict with the U.S. He said the Iranian threat included aid to surrogate groups operating against the U.S. as well as cyber-warfare. Of course there is no mention of Stuxnet a worm that disabled many of Iran's centrifuges and was no doubt a joint effort of the U.S., Israel and perhaps others. Criminal cyber-activity by the good guys is to be applauded. However, the bad guys need to be held to account. Mattis says: “We need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt through military means or other means their activities. We need to look at opportunities where we can expose and hold them accountable for the things that they are doing.” There is no suggestion that use of "military means" might be against international law. Some excuse can always be found.


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