Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 9 Share on Twitter 2 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 1/8/20

Trump has Conducted a War on Iran for 19 Months; Iran finally Hit Back

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   4 comments
Author 511263
Message Juan Cole
Become a Fan
  (6 fans)

From Informed Comment


(Image by Video Screenshot)   Details   DMCA

The Iranian government replied to Trump's assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani on Tuesday by firing some 15 ballistic missiles at Ain al-Assad base in al-Anbar Province and at another Iraqi base at Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. The bases are Iraqi and mainly house members of the Iraqi military, but also host US troops. As of this writing very early Wednesday, there were no US deaths or casualties, but the Iranian press was claiming it had killed "80 terrorists." [Update: There were no casualties.]

Notoriously flaky Sen. Lindsay Graham replied to the strikes saying that Iran had better "cut this crap out" or it would be "out of the oil business." Rupert Murdoch-backed media poo-bah Sean Hannity also advocated striking Iran oil installations.

It is tragicomic that Graham and Hannity do not seem to realize that Trump already put Iran out of the oil business. Iran's government feels that it has nothing to lose. Trump cut Iran's exports from 2.5 million barrels a day in 2017 to a few hundred thousand barrels a day last fall. Petroleum receipts account for 70% of Iranian government revenue.

Iranian Oil Exports in Barrels per Day.
Iranian Oil Exports in Barrels per Day.
(Image by h/t Federal Reserve Bank St. Louis)
  Details   DMCA

Trump began the war with Iran on May 8, 2018, when he breached the international treaty with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The treaty had forced Iran to mothball 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program, as a way of ensuring that the program was never militarized. In the three years leading up to the signing of the treaty, the Obama administration and the UN Security Council had put severe sanctions on Iran, which hurt the Iranian economy. In return for severely curtailing their enrichment program, the Iranians were promised that all sanctions would be lifted and that Iran would be integrated into the world economy. Trump breached the treaty even though the UN inspectors repeatedly certified that Iran was in full compliance with its obligations.

Trump then slapped the most severe economic sanctions on Iran ever applied to any country by another in peacetime. He strong-armed Japan, South Korea, Europe, and India into not buying Iranian petroleum and threatened companies throughout the world with Treasury Department third-party sanctions if they traded with Iran. No one wants to be excluded from the $22 trillion a year American economy or to be forced to pay billions of dollars in fines, so everyone, including Europe, fell into line behind Trump's "maximum pressure."

These were no longer sanctions but a financial blockade. If you blockade a country and prevent its trade with naval ships, that is an act of war in international law. Trump blockaded Iran with financial instruments, but it comes to the same thing. Trump has been at war with Iran for 19 months. The Iranian economy is a shadow of its former self. Middle class families can't afford needed medicines for loved ones.

Trump's blockade on Iran has not the slightest legitimacy. It was not mandated by an act of Congress. There is no UN Security Council resolution preventing Iran from selling its oil on the international market. It is the caprice of a single person, and violates international laws and norms.

I have pacifist tendencies and wish countries could work out their differences nonviolently. But no country would accept this economic strangulation at the hands of another without striking back in some way, and Iran's replies to Trump's fingers around its wind pipe have brought us to this pass.

It is puzzling that Iran would hit Iraqi military bases. Iran is an Iraqi ally and helped this same Iraqi army in its fight against the hyper-Sunni terrorist organizations, ISIL (ISIS). Iran has taken revenge on the US for declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, a government institution, a "terrorist organization." Tehran has in return branded the US military a "terrorist organization." Perhaps the Iranian press was saying it had killed 80 US troops, but this allegation is untrue. In fact, the Iranian missiles are quite precise and Iran has good intelligence on where US troops are, so the IRGC deliberately avoided killing Americans, which it easily could have.

The geography of the two bases hit may be politically significant. Al-Anbar is an almost entirely Sunni Arab province dominated by the Dulaim tribe. Erbil is the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The Sunni parties and the Kurdish parties boycotted last Sunday's parliamentary vote to expel US troops. It is possible that Iran is sending these two blocs the message that it is not healthy for them to lobby to keep US troops in Iraq, and that if they do so, they will be in the middle of a hot war. Hitting Erbil is otherwise hard to explain, since Iran and the Iraqi Kurds have generally good relations.

In any case, Iraqis are human beings as much as Americans and it is hard to feel much relief if in fact 80 of them were summarily blown away.

I was not expecting the Iranian government to hit out at the US so openly. Open conventional responses had not been its way of proceeding. My guess is that even the government of clerical leader Ali Khamenei was stunned at the magnitude of the public grief over the assassination of Gen. Soleimani, as millions came into the streets in the past couple of days. This fall there had been substantial unrest over a hike in gasoline prices, so the government may have liked the new solidarity of the people with it and become determined to capitalize on it by drawing out the conflict with Trump.

At the same time, the ayatollahs are riding a tiger. For the clerical government, having millions of angry people in the streets demanding revenge on the United States is a blessing and a curse. The newly-won solidarity could evaporate if the people felt as though they did not get a sufficiently harsh revenge. In fact, it isn't clear that these missile strikes that did no real damage to the US will be sufficient to calm the Iranian masses down.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Valuable 2   Must Read 1   News 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Juan Cole Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Juan Cole is an American academic and commentator on the modern Middle East and South Asia.  He is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. Since 2002, he has written a weblog, Informed Comment (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rupert Murdoch's Fox postpones Pirro, as his Sky Channel is Pulled from NZ Airwaves for airing Shooter's Video

Top 5 Mistakes GOP's Wohl Made in allegedly framing Mueller for Sex Charges

Who's Running John Bolton to Start a war with Iran? He worried even Mad Dog Mattis

India Doubles Iran Oil Imports: Are Trump's Sanctions Cratering?

Trump hands Oil & Gas to Syria & Russia as he claims "We've taken control of the oil in the Middle East"

Senators Grill Rick Perry on Transfer of Nuclear Info to Saudi Arabia Despite "Troubling Actions"

Comments Image Post Article Comment and Rate This Article

These discussions are not moderated. We rely on users to police themselves, and flag inappropriate comments and behavior. In accordance with our Guidelines and Policies, we reserve the right to remove any post at any time for any reason, and will restrict access of registered users who repeatedly violate our terms.

  • OpEdNews welcomes lively, CIVIL discourse. Personal attacks and/or hate speech are not tolerated and may result in banning.
  • Comments should relate to the content above. Irrelevant, off-topic comments are a distraction, and will be removed.
  • By submitting this comment, you agree to all OpEdNews rules, guidelines and policies.
          

Comment Here:   


You can enter 2000 characters. To remove limit, please click here.

Please login or register. Afterwards, your comment will be published.
 

Username
Password

Forgot your password? Click here and we will send an email to the address you used when you registered.
First Name
Last Name

I am at least 16 years of age
(make sure username & password are filled in. Note that username must be an email address.)

4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments  Post Comment


Dennis Kaiser

Become a Fan
Author 10174
Follow Me on Twitter (Member since Jan 22, 2008), 40 fans, 71 articles, 557 quicklinks, 6139 comments, 48 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

Iran's response to the murder of Soleimani showed "class" as the intent of their missile strike was to not kill or maim any human but simply to show the US and the World what they are capable of should the need arise.

It further humiliates the United States and their corrupt leaders of Bush, Obama, and now Trump who have ruthlessly killed and maimed millions of innocent citizens. We citizens of this nation ought to be embarrassed by the actions of our leaders as they tarnish the respect we get from other nations. It shouldn't make us proud to be known as a terrorist.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 at 12:13:12 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (5+)
Help
Indent

nelswight

Become a Fan
Author 2581
(Member since Sep 3, 2006), 3 fans, 938 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Reply to Dennis Kaiser:   New Content

Right on, Buddy! I was already ashamed to be a US citizen.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 at 3:24:34 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (3+)
Help

Mrs. Fuxit

Become a Fan
Author 508454
(Member since Mar 18, 2017), 1 fan, 1 quicklinks, 552 comments, 1 diaries (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Not paid member and Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Not paid member and Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content
Draft Dodger Trump needs his head examined. His painful bilateral bone spurs can be safely, effectively treated with out-patient surgery, His non-regulation haircut can be cured by an enlisted barber at any PX. Real Men don't wear make-up, they wear camo-paint. Fighting for reputations on prime time television is not war, it's war foreplay. A pistol duel is a great way for Draft Dodger Trump to reclaim his manhood.

TRUMP'S TO DO LIST, 2020:

1) defend self re: IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

2) attend political rallies

3) sell lots of red hats (made in China)

4) slap tariffs on foreign troops overseas

5) write a Great Book

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 at 5:08:52 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (2+)
Help

Janet Supriano

Become a Fan
Author 90270
(Member since Oct 7, 2013), 13 fans, 2107 comments (How many times has this commenter been recommended?)
Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

  New Content

We murdered an Iranian general, along with allied Iraqi military on Iraqi soil...while these men thought they were on a peace mission.

Iran fired back on our facilities, intentionally avoiding loss of American and Iraqi lives.

If this is the truth of the matter, there are hideous holes in our holier than thou. I feel sick.

Submitted on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 at 5:14:58 PM

Author 0
Add New Comment
  Recommend  (4+)
Help

 
Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment