Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, some sort of bombing attack was carried out on several ships in the Straits of Hormuz, near Iran. Several ships, including the Andrea Victory, were damaged in their sterns. This comes after Trump has stepped up his war rhetoric against Iran and the NY Times reports that he is planning to send 120,000 US troops there. He has already sent a naval flotilla.
Who carried out these attacks, which may have been limpet mines, according to a CNN article? It seems almost ruled out that it would have been the Iranian government. They have shown no inclination to go to war with the US. It’s possible that it was by some Israelis, or Saudis… or by the Houthis. The last is the rebel group aligned with Iran that is fighting in Yemen. It seems very possible that they would be riddled with CIA assets, including some who don’t have any idea that they are assets. Clearly, it’s the Bolton wing of the Trump administration plus the Israeli and Saudi governments who benefit from this attack.
It does seem, at this point, that the Trump administration is moving towards an attack on Iran. It seems it’s somewhat at odds with Trump’s inclinations. That’s because he plays to his base, and he must know that a war with Iran would end up being very unpopular with a large sector of them, especially when gas prices shoot through the roof. This infantile president, who has the attention span of a six year-old, however, would be easily manipulated by one such as Bolton, who does have a longer term plan. He may well have convinced Trump that sabre rattling and sending a bunch of war ships and planes to the region will get Iran to back down and come to the table with a better “deal” than the previous nuclear deal. Bolton would have been supported in this by the Israeli and Saudi regimes.
In other words, what seems likely is that Bolton is maneuvering Trump into a confrontation that he (Bolton) figures will inevitably lead to war… while at the same time convincing Trump that it won’t. But once headed down that road, it will be very difficult for Trump to back down, no matter what his intentions.
It does seem that Putin might be able to rein Trump in, as he did regarding Venezuela, but he’s been more or less silent. Although he and Rouhani have been allies in keeping Assad in power, their forces clashed recently as Russian forces are apparently working with Israeli forces to hold Iran back in Syria. In addition to Netanyahu, Putin is also close to Saudi Arabia’s bin Salman.
But such a war will end up massively unpopular at home, especially as gas prices go through the roof. What happens then? Will Bolton and Trump be able to move even further down the road towards a full-on Bonapartist state?
Completely aside from the immense suffering a US military attack on Iran will cause, such an attack will also set back all the protest campaigns and workers’ strikes in that country itself. A US war on Iran would also strengthen the most reactionary forces in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Oaklandsocialist will carry a more full article on the situation soon.
Update: We have received this article from Common Dreams which is a more worked-out analysis of this view. Well worth reading.
Oaklandsocialist’s view is now confirmed by this article in the Washington Post. It reads: “President Trump is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, according to several U.S. officials…. Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking…. Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House last year, is “just in a different place” from Trump, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Bolton. Trump “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal” and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said…. Trump denied any “infighting” related to his Middle East policies in a tweeton Wednesday. “There is no infighting whatsoever,” Trump said. “Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision — it is a very simple process. All sides, views, and policies are covered. I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.””