Author Topic: Escalation with Iran  (Read 12172 times)

Pete at Home

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Escalation with Iran
« on: January 02, 2020, 11:43:05 PM »
https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-middle-east-50979463

Where does it go from here?

Is this good news or bad?

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2020, 01:08:35 AM »
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/iran-loses-qassem-soleimani-its-indispensable-man/604375/

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Today the United States killed Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force. The United States is now in a hot war with Iran after having waged war via proxies for the past several decades.


This doesn’t mean war, it will not lead to war, and it doesn’t risk war. None of that. It is war.


.... I do know something of how important Qassem Soleimani was, because he spent more time in the Arabic-speaking world—propping up Iranian allies from Iraq to Lebanon, and from Syria to Yemen—than he did back home in Iran. From a military and diplomatic perspective, Soleimani was Iran’s David Petraeus and Stan McChrystal and Brett McGurk all rolled into one.

And that’s now the problem Iran faces. I do not know of a single Iranian who was more indispensable to his government’s ambitions in the Middle East. From 2015 to 2017, when we were in the heat of the fighting against the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, I would watch Soleimani shuttle back and forth between Syria and Iraq. When the war to prop up Bashar al-Assad was going poorly, Soleimani would leave Iraq for Syria. And when Iranian-backed militias in Iraq began to struggle against the Islamic State, Soleimani would leave Syria for Iraq.

That’s now a problem for Iran. Just as the United States often faces a shortage of human capital—not all general officers and diplomats are created equal, sadly, and we are not exactly blessed with a surplus of Arabic speakers in our government—Iran also doesn’t have a lot of talent to go around. One of the reasons I thought Iran erred so often in Yemen—giving strategic weapons such as anti-ship cruise missiles to a bunch of undertrained Houthi yahoos, for example—was a lack of adult supervision.

Qassem Soleimani was the adult supervision. He was spread thin over the past decade, but he was nonetheless a serious if nefarious adversary of the United States and its partners in the region. And Iran and its partners will now feel his loss greatly.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 01:15:59 AM by Pete at Home »

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2020, 05:47:16 AM »
This assassination was a gross violation of international norms.  IMO, the fear from Iran is the same as from any military adversary who lacks the firepower to fight us weapon for weapon.  Asymmetric warfare has the potential to be more destabilizing and frightening to us than the assumed Iranian nuclear threat Trump and like-minded Middle East war hawks in his ranks promote.  I hope Iran fears the escalation a reactionary attack on the US would lead to, but at this point I am not sure they think they are better off appearing weak by not responding.  But it does signal the end of hope that there will be further efforts by any side to return to the JCPA or start negotiations for a new deal.

North Korea has been rattling something that may or may not be a saber.  Kim has no reason to pussyfoot around with offensive weapons development now, and no reason to continue to pretend he's been pretending to be Trump's love interest.

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2020, 06:26:42 AM »
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Iran's most powerful military commander, General Qasem Soleimani, has been killed by a US air strike in Iraq.

The 62-year old spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran's elite Quds Force.

He was killed at Baghdad airport, alongside local Iran-backed militias, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.



Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2020, 06:38:44 AM »
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Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

He was a military official of a foreign government operating in an official capacity on an ally country's soil.  What else would you call it?  What would you call it if Iran killed Pompeo if he had been in Afghanistan or Canada?

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2020, 06:48:48 AM »
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North Korea has been rattling something that may or may not be a saber.  Kim has no reason to pussyfoot around with offensive weapons development now, and no reason to continue to pretend he's been pretending to be Trump's love interest.

Too early, my grammar bot is oversleeping today. <Hey, wake out!>

Crunch

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2020, 08:01:46 AM »
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Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

He was a military official of a foreign government operating in an official capacity on an ally country's soil.  What else would you call it?  What would you call it if Iran killed Pompeo if he had been in Afghanistan or Canada?

So killing a foreign military official directly tied to terror activities in response to attacks on the US embassy is an assassination. You're outraged. But, killing a US citizen accused of terror acts and his child, perfectly cool, no problem there.

I guess it's all in the party affiliation ain't it?

Crunch

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2020, 08:08:26 AM »
And this is why you can safely ignore any leftwing criticism of Trump and his handling of Iran.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on Tuesday:
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The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable. Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us. America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away. What a disgrace.

But then Trump responds and Murphy gets upset:
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Soleimani was an enemy of the United States. That’s not a question. The question is this – as reports suggest, did America just assassinate, without any congressional authorization, the second most powerful person in Iran, knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war?

Murphy will criticize no matter what, so will all of the left. Trump can do precisely what they suggest and the left will be outraged.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2020, 08:54:14 AM »
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Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

He was a military official of a foreign government operating in an official capacity on an ally country's soil.  What else would you call it?  What would you call it if Iran killed Pompeo if he had been in Afghanistan or Canada?

So killing a foreign military official directly tied to terror activities in response to attacks on the US embassy is an assassination. You're outraged. But, killing a US citizen accused of terror acts and his child, perfectly cool, no problem there.

I guess it's all in the party affiliation ain't it?

Do you know that "whatabout" isn't actually an argument?

Crunch

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2020, 09:10:14 AM »
Do you know why you like one and hate the other? I'm trying to understand your point of view.

Killing US citizens good. Killing terrorist leaders responsible for thousands of deaths bad. Perhaps you can explain your position?

This is the guy you're upset about:
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Qasem Soleimani has been in control of Iran’s Quds Force for more than 20 years. His current greatest hits include helping Bashar al Assad slaughter hundreds of thousands of his own people in the Syrian civil war, stoking the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war, and overseeing the killing of hundreds of Iraqi protesters recently demonstrating against Iranian influence in their country.

But most importantly for Americans, Soleimani was behind the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers during the Iraq War. Last year, the U.S. State Department put the number of Americans killed by Iranian proxies in Iraq at 608 since 2003.

Iranians are celebrating his death in the streets.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 09:15:15 AM by Crunch »

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2020, 09:29:31 AM »
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Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

He was a military official of a foreign government operating in an official capacity on an ally country's soil.  What else would you call it?  What would you call it if Iran killed Pompeo if he had been in Afghanistan or Canada?

If it happened in Afghanistan, I would call it predictable continuation of an existing war.

If it happened in Canada, I would look to see what the Canadian said.


Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2020, 09:33:47 AM »
Quote

Do you know why you like one and hate the other? I'm trying to understand your point of view.


Yo, crunch, Kasandra challenged me for defending the Obama drone strike on the US citizen turned ISIS recruiter. He’s being consistent.

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2020, 09:44:07 AM »
Iranians are celebrating his death in the streets.
If by "celebrate" you mean "protest against" or "mourn", then sure.  But by any normal reading, that's a load of transparent BS - really, what's the point?

Foxnews: Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Tehran Friday to protest Soleimani's killing
BBC: Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to mourn the death of Soleimani

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2020, 10:39:20 AM »

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2020, 11:03:47 AM »
Lloyd, why would you respond to my post about Iranians in Tehran with a link to a tweet by US Secretary of State Pompeo about Iraqis in Baghdad?

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2020, 11:04:58 AM »
Iranians don't only live in Iran.

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2020, 11:15:34 AM »
OK, so you think people running down the streets of Baghdad waving an Iraqi flag are Iranians? 

Look, Crunch claimed that Iranians were "celebrating his death in the streets" - the implicit meaning was the streets of Iran, but I get it, sometimes Crunch's posts are ambiguous - completely accidentally of course.

But do you really mean to defend that by suggesting that Crunch meant that some Iranians, somewhere - maybe in Carlsbad or London - were celebrating in the streets?

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2020, 11:18:57 AM »
To be clear, I expect there are many Iranians, in Iran, who would celebrate Soleimani's death.  They just won't be celebrating in the streets today, as I expect the suicidal opponents of the Iranian regime have already weeded themselves out of the gene pool.

yossarian22c

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2020, 11:19:53 AM »
Iranians don't only live in Iran.

Seriously??? Are you making the claim the people waiving the Iraqi flag we're Iranian ex-pats in Iraq???

Likely its Iraqi Sunnis, I imagine a large number of Iraqi Shia's are angry.

Can't you just admit you either misread the tweet or the previous post and you were slightly off topic? Or in the Trump post truth world do you just make the next claim that, there could have been an Iranian in that crowd so you can't prove I'm a mistaken.

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2020, 11:36:46 AM »
I'm saying it's very likely there are Iranians who fled their home country in that celebration.

I'm also sure there are many Iranians inside Iran celebrating his death.  We here in the US are unlikely to see any video of that because neither the Iranian State controlled media nor the Western media have any interest in letting us see it.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2020, 12:30:54 PM »
Ease up on the kool-aid. That stuff'll rot your brain

yossarian22c

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2020, 12:33:23 PM »
I'm saying it's very likely there are Iranians who fled their home country in that celebration.

The crowd wasn't that big - but sure there could have been a couple Iranians by birth. But saying that video justifies the statement Iranians were celebrating in the streets strains rational conversation to the breaking point.

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I'm also sure there are many Iranians inside Iran celebrating his death.  We here in the US are unlikely to see any video of that because neither the Iranian State controlled media nor the Western media have any interest in letting us see it.

The Iranian media and state services, yes, the western media, no. But any Iranians going out to the street to celebrate instead of protest are simply asking for arrest, prison, and potentially torture. So lets assume there aren't wide spread celebrations in the streets of Terhan that are being kept secret from us. And its debatable how many, even if they were somewhat glad to learn of his death, would be celebrating the method of his death. Sometimes I think the middle east is becoming the land of the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2020, 01:03:54 PM »
Iranians are celebrating his death in the streets.
If by "celebrate" you mean "protest against" or "mourn", then sure.  But by any normal reading, that's a load of transparent BS - really, what's the point?

Foxnews: Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Tehran Friday to protest Soleimani's killing
BBC: Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets to mourn the death of Soleimani

https://twitter.com/SecPompeo/status/1212955403077767168

Wow. I’ve never heard ”ding dong the witch is dead“ in Arabic before.

Seriati

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2020, 01:51:15 PM »
It's interesting to me that this is characterized as an "escalation" of the conflict with Iran.  Iran has been sponsoring terrorism, training and funding militias and providing weapons that have been directed at killing Americans for decades.  Ever since the Obama cash infusion their regional efforts against the US and it's allies have been greatly magnified.  They don't call it a "war" because the west for some bizarre reason pretends that acts of war by Iran, so long as they are not called a war, are not considered as if Iran is responsible and they are treated with kid gloves.  But they have been at war with us "by proxy" for decades.

So why is this killing of the general behind most of Iran's regional aggression, after an invasion of a US embassy, meeting with Iranian backed insurgents in Iraq to plan additional attacks an "escalation"?

It seems to me, like the minimum "proportionate" response. 

But put this in the context of a different country.  If Canada was doing the things that Iran is, how much would we tolerate it?

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #24 on: January 03, 2020, 02:00:29 PM »
I certainly wouldn’t expect us to take out their #2 govt official in a Greenland airport.

But note that neither I nor my center left sources is decrying this attack as unjustified or excessive. I hope that you’re not implying that it isn’t significant that we just took out the number two person in their government in terms of power and #1 in terms of skill and ability.

Seriati

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #25 on: January 03, 2020, 02:56:00 PM »
Not at all Pete.  Just questioning the story that this will "escalate" the conflict.  To me, there's two ways this could go.  It's kind of like the original 9/11 strike, If Osama had really understood the response he was going to get would he have still done it?  I thought for years that the answer was no.  They thought America would continue to sleep and maybe strike out with cruise missiles.  If they had really understood that America would wake up and topple a couple countries and take the fight to Al Queda as we did they would have chosen another target.

So what's going to happen here?  Is Iran going to continue to operate on the theory that one American President is exactly like another?  If they do, then they will escalate, with an expansion of terror attacks believing that America will not actually respond directly against Iran but only against it's proxies.  They may even take the evidence that the attack occurred in Iraq as proof that this will be the case. If they believe that, they will really push.

But what if they aren't sure?  What if they are not convinced that Trump really is just another American President.  Think about how much he unsettles the Dems here, and even our allies over seas.  It's not beyond the pale that they'd think that maybe Trump really would respond by directly attacking Iran.  If they reach that conclusion they won't be escalating to any great extent cause they won't want to play the reduced to rubble game.  They can't sit still, not in the culture in the region, so they will still have to be seen to be acting but their target selection will be very different.  They'll assasinate Iraqi leaders for their participation with the infidels, they'll massacare US proxies whereever they get the chance (e.g., they may see targetting the Kurds as particularly attractive if they view Trump as a risk and understand the political consequences that are possible by attacking those he abandoned).  They may even attack Europeans and claim they are fighting the "West," but their direct attacks on Americans will be minor.

I'm honestly not sure who Trump is on this.  I believe him when he says he doesn't want foreign wars, but I think its a stupid mistake to think that's because he's weak or fearful (which seems to have been the current Iranian thinking) rather than because he thinks they aren't good for the country.  If Iran forces him to choose between two "bad for the country" alternatives I really don't think they'll like where he comes out.

So it's a double question to me.  Was this really an escalation?  Yes, from the pov of the US, we don't normally respond like this, but also no, because this on Iran's part has been an undeclared war for decades and this was totally proportional.  Will it cause an escalation?  Not clear to me, a lot depends on how Iran views the risk of poking Trump.

TheDeamon

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #26 on: January 03, 2020, 03:19:21 PM »
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Assassination? Violation of international norms? Please elaborate

He was a military official of a foreign government operating in an official capacity on an ally country's soil.  What else would you call it?  What would you call it if Iran killed Pompeo if he had been in Afghanistan or Canada?

Depends on how it was carried out?

If it is carried by "Regular military forces" (or their assets -- drones) then it is a military strike. Now if was done by by an actual assassin sneaking in covertly, making use of concealment and disguise to get close enough to make the kill, that's another matter.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2020, 03:24:12 PM »
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If it is carried by "Regular military forces" (or their assets -- drones) then it is a military strike. Now if was done by by an actual assassin sneaking in covertly, making use of concealment and disguise to get close enough to make the kill, that's another matter.

Is there a practical difference?

TheDeamon

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2020, 03:31:59 PM »
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If it is carried by "Regular military forces" (or their assets -- drones) then it is a military strike. Now if was done by by an actual assassin sneaking in covertly, making use of concealment and disguise to get close enough to make the kill, that's another matter.

Is there a practical difference?

Under treaty? Yes.

One technically qualifies as a war crime(for which spies/assassins are not protected), the other happens to simply be regular warfare. Although the drafters of the 1940's update to the Geneva Convention could hardly have envisioned airborne drones being flown from half-a-world away with real time precision strike capabilities when it was written.

It only remains "an unwritten rule" that you don't expressly target high-ranking echelons of the command structure.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2020, 03:41:35 PM »
What a stupid, stupid man:

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President Trump accused Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani of plotting “sinister attacks” against U.S. personnel in the Mideast before a U.S. airstrike killed him.

“We took action last night to stop a war,” Trump said during remarks made from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “We did not take action to start a war.”

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One technically qualifies as a war crime(for which spies/assassins are not protected), the other happens to simply be regular warfare.

So you're saying we are officially at war with Iran?  The quote from Trump above made earlier today says we're not at war.  If we're at war, where are the hostilities and when did it start?  If so, , and Iran would be within its rights to respond with military action.  If we're not at war, then Trump's attack on an Iranian citizen while in a 3rd party country would definitely be an act of war, to which the attacked country would be within their rights to respond with military actions of their own.  Right?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2020, 03:44:11 PM by Kasandra »

TheDeamon

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2020, 03:46:57 PM »
So you're saying we are officially at war with Iran?  The quote from Trump above made earlier today says we're not at war.  If we're at war, where are the hostilities and when did it start?  If so, , and Iran would be within its rights to respond with military action.  If we're not at war, then Trump's attack on an Iranian citizen while in a 3rd party country would definitely be an act of war, to which the attacked country would be within their rights to respond with military actions of their own.  Right?

If you're wanting to get technical in that way then, we haven't been at war since the end of World War 2. Coming up on 75 years of peace eh?

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2020, 03:52:30 PM »
I'm confused, in that case.  How do we know if we are or aren't at war with Iran?  If we are and they attack us, wouldn't that be "justified" in warfare?  Why does Trump say we're not at war with them?  Be clear about that.  What is our current state wrt war with Iran?  Was the assassination "legal"? What rights does Iran have to respond with military action?

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #32 on: January 03, 2020, 03:57:00 PM »
Is there a difference? I would say "yes" - the former option is only available to strong military powers (hmm, who would those be?), whereas the latter is available even to the less militarily-endowed - coincidentally, this method is being characterized as "sneaking" and using "concealment" and "disguise"...

Seriati

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #33 on: January 03, 2020, 04:10:40 PM »
War or not war is a silly argument.  Iran has engaged constantly in acts of war against us for decades.  The "international law," which is a misnomer authorizes proportional response to any act of aggression. Ergo, it could be deemed justifiable to kill Soleimani as a response to the embassy invasion.  Who gets to "deem" it so is always a matter of Real Politic, and generally, the US sit at the top of the Real Politic totem pole.

As to whether it's an "assassination" the more on point and understandable equivalence is to a sniper.  Which they did understand when they wrote the conventions.  It's my understanding that even for snipers, the rule still depends on whether they are in uniform, not the instrument they use to kill a person.  Plain clothes with sniper rifle would equal assassin, legal to summarily execute, uniform with sniper rifle would equal soldier required to be treated as a POW.  That said, it wouldn't surprise anyone if snipers are routinely executed by a hostile power.  "Rules" of war tend not to be enforceable real time.

If you really want to get technical about the "not war" scenario, then Soeimani is technically a war criminal for commanding others and leading them in violation of the Geneva conventions, if you consider him as "in uniform" for those acts and subject to the control of Iran.  However, Iran expressly disclaims responsibility for those acts (or else they'd be acts of war), which leaves him as an illegal combatant, terrorist or just a mass murderer if you prefer, none of which entitled him to live while in active plotting against another sovereign power.

DonaldD

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #34 on: January 03, 2020, 04:37:32 PM »
The bigger question is whether we want to normalize the killing of high ranking government officials.

Would Iran have really tried to kill, say, Mike Bolton or James Mattis if given the chance?  Last year, probably not (reasonable people might disagree, of course).  Next week?  I don't think anybody is really that sure anymore.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2020, 04:49:50 PM »
That really is the issue, here.  Since Trump announced the US withdrawal from the JCPA, Iran has maintained its commitment to upholding their end of the deal.  They've gradually lessened their conformance over time as Trump has escalated the sanctions and generally made it clear that he has no interest in further discussions.  Now, Iran has no reason to restrain itself on any front, either by dropping all pretense of maintaining their interest in restoring the deal, nor in holding back on their efforts to influence political or military activities in any countries where it feels it has an interest.  The US may be within their sights in the future. 

Despite long-standing US antipathy toward Soleimani's activities over the past 20 or so years, no President has undertaken such a bold and warlike action against him.  By assassinating him Trump has removed all pretense of seeking a non-military solution wrt Iran.

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2020, 05:09:54 PM »
Quote
If it is carried by "Regular military forces" (or their assets -- drones) then it is a military strike. Now if was done by by an actual assassin sneaking in covertly, making use of concealment and disguise to get close enough to make the kill, that's another matter.

Is there a practical difference?

Under treaty? Yes.

One technically qualifies as a war crime(for which spies/assassins are not protected), the other happens to simply be regular warfare. Although the drafters of the 1940's update to the Geneva Convention could hardly have envisioned airborne drones being flown from half-a-world away with real time precision strike capabilities when it was written.

It only remains "an unwritten rule" that you don't expressly target high-ranking echelons of the command structure.

Washington loved to break that one.

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2020, 05:11:28 PM »

Despite long-standing US antipathy toward Soleimani's activities over the past 20 or so years, no President has undertaken such a bold and warlike action against him.  By assassinating him Trump has removed all pretense of seeking a non-military solution wrt Iran.

I suspect that Seriati will agree with that paragraph. Thank you for the clarification, S.

Grant

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #38 on: January 03, 2020, 06:02:34 PM »
Pleasantly surprised that the poo in here has only reached ankle deep “ridiculous” level.

Good or bad?
That depends on where we go from here. Generally speaking, there is one less evil húndàn in the world, and this is a positive. But if you try and look at it near term or medium term you have to take into account what the other asshats are going to do next. Every time you step on a wasp, the others smell the blood and start swarming.

What happens next?

Iran’s move. They have been pursuing a foreign policy that involves killing all sorts of people. They have three options:

1. Pull back. This can eliminate the possibility of further deaths on their side, and eventually could bring Iran back into the family of prosperous nations.

2. Business as usual.  Continue their policies, which continues to invite the US to whack their people when they step outside of Iran.

3. Escalate. Hard since they’re already doing so much crap they are capable of. Clear escalation means increasing the tempo of what they have been doing, attacking shipping, killing Americans, etc.  Further escalation means full invasion of Iraq, Kuwait, and possibly Saudi.

After that, it will be our move again.

1. If they draw back, offer carrots.

2. If they continue business as usual, we can draw back, continue, or escalate further.  Same if they escalate. 

The pot has just been raised. That is all.

Seriati

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #39 on: January 03, 2020, 06:27:50 PM »
That really is the issue, here.  Since Trump announced the US withdrawal from the JCPA, Iran has maintained its commitment to upholding their end of the deal.  They've gradually lessened their conformance over time as Trump has escalated the sanctions and generally made it clear that he has no interest in further discussions.  Now, Iran has no reason to restrain itself on any front, either by dropping all pretense of maintaining their interest in restoring the deal, nor in holding back on their efforts to influence political or military activities in any countries where it feels it has an interest.  The US may be within their sights in the future.

There's nothing in the JCPA that limited Iran from doing any of the bad acts they've been doing.  In fact, you may recall that exactly was the complaint about why it wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.  Obama's concessions to Iran to get their agreement on a "nuclear treaty" that didn't even slow their nuclear ambitions, were to fund the exact expansion of their terrorist campaigns and regional disruption that have culminated in this situation.  Iran is literally using that money to fund operations in multiple countries including Iraq.

So literally (and I mean literally), nothing about your analysis - that Iran has no reason to holdback on their political and military influence operations - is dependent on your first statement, that Trump pulled us out of the JCPA.  Well, except that thanks to Trump Iran has less funds than it otherwise would have to conduct those campaigns.

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Despite long-standing US antipathy toward Soleimani's activities over the past 20 or so years, no President has undertaken such a bold and warlike action against him.  By assassinating him Trump has removed all pretense of seeking a non-military solution wrt Iran.

Pete, I don't agree.  The biggest hinderance to making a diplomatic solution with Iran stick has been lack of credibility.  No recent President was willing to carry through on a threat, ergo no reason to honor deals or even to bargain in the first place. 

All Trump has done here is make it clear that he has credibility.  If Iran wanted to negotiate they could do so, and see real gains.  But they're far more likely to just wait out Trump and bank on the American public to put in place another "establishment" type that'll let them go back to the status quo of fighting a war consequence free.

Fenring

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #40 on: January 03, 2020, 08:40:47 PM »
By assassinating him Trump has removed all pretense of seeking a non-military solution wrt Iran.

I'm not even sure what this literally means. Do you mean that Trump is making it clear he intended to go into full-on war? Or do you mean he's made it clear that he doesn't intend to entirely play nice?

The most obvious reading of your statement is option A, in which case I think you have it precisely backwards. Trump was the least like candidate out of almost every primary candidate from either party (this excludes Bernie, and Rand Paul probably) to have any inclination to beat war drums or to go to war for dubious reasons. Interpreting this one event as a sign that Trump is prepping for a military action is illogical.

TheDeamon

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #41 on: January 04, 2020, 04:02:01 AM »
The most obvious reading of your statement is option A, in which case I think you have it precisely backwards. Trump was the least like candidate out of almost every primary candidate from either party (this excludes Bernie, and Rand Paul probably) to have any inclination to beat war drums or to go to war for dubious reasons. Interpreting this one event as a sign that Trump is prepping for a military action is illogical.

Plenty of Wag the Dog references going on right now with this event given the Impeachment Proceedings, never mind it's Iran who stepped up the tension forcing a response. Probably exactly because of that expected response.

Trump does nothing, he looks weak, get criticized by both sides for "not doing enough" to address it.
Trump does something, he looks like he's trying to create a military conflict to distract from his political problems at home, he gets criticized by both sides for his response.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #42 on: January 04, 2020, 06:28:40 AM »
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Trump does nothing, he looks weak, get criticized by both sides for "not doing enough" to address it. Trump does something, he looks like he's trying to create a military conflict to distract from his political problems at home, he gets criticized by both sides for his response.

Ignore the Goldilocks argument (it's not a debate, since there are no "sides" to take).  The questions are whether it was legal, moral, necessary or wise.  The bigger and simpler question is what he thinks it would lead to.  Bush II was completely wrong about how the war in Iraq would go and completely underestimated how long we would be in Afghanistan and, in both countries, ended up staying for approaching two decades for reasons that he didn't think about before he attacked them.

From a political analyst who maintained a remarkably accurate and prescient perspective on 9/11 causes and aftermath and particularly on the wars Bush made against Afghanistan and Iraq.

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The Trump administration charge that Soleimani had to be killed because he was planning an immediate, large scale operation against America in Iraq strikes no one in Iraq or Iran as very likely. An Iranian professor observed that Soleimani had not sneaked into Iraq but rather took a commercial flight and went through passport control with his diplomatic passport. Not signs of a covert operation. He alleged that the Iraqi government had invited him. I would add that the US did not increase embassy security in the past week, which allowed the embassy to be invaded. If they thought there was a dire such threat in the offing, wouldn’t they have sent in some Marines? Only after they received a stronger than expected reaction to their assassination campaign did they finally take the security of the embassy seriously.

Crunch

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #43 on: January 04, 2020, 08:39:50 AM »
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(Reuters) - In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad.

The Revolutionary Guards commander instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters.

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Interviews with the Iraqi security sources and Shi'ite militia commanders offer a rare glimpse of how Soleimani operated in Iraq, which he once told a Reuters reporter he knew like the back of his hand.

Two weeks before the October meeting, Soleimani ordered Iranian Revolutionary Guards to move more sophisticated weapons - such as Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters - to Iraq through two border crossings, the militia commanders and Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases. He ordered Kataib Hezbollah - a force founded by Muhandis and trained in Iran - to direct the new plan, said the militia sources briefed on the meetings.

The American left loves this guy. Check out the fawning reports from the media. Trump Derangement Syndrome has made them crazy.

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #44 on: January 04, 2020, 09:02:08 AM »
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The American left loves this guy. Check out the fawning reports from the media. Trump Derangement Syndrome has made them crazy.

Any chance he knows what he's talking about?  Some people do love that sort of thing.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 09:09:21 AM by Kasandra »

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #45 on: January 04, 2020, 09:52:52 AM »
Crunch, here's something Cole wrote in January 2003, two months before the US invaded Iraq.  Seems pretty damn prescient to me.  His commentary during the war was spot on and reliably predicted events that straight reporting refused to consider, even though they continually reflected skepticism about the war's progress and objectives. Right wing media, like FOX, refused to back down from their abject support for the war, even when it was clear in the rear view mirror that it had been mishandled and misrepresented all along.

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The question was raised on a list of what would happen if the US invaded Iraq and found there were not weapons of mass destruction there. I fear I replied somewhat cynically, but also called it as I see it. If Iraq turns out not to have much WMD, the administration will fall back on its other main argument, that Saddam is a monster who has killed and brutalized his own people and repeatedly invaded his neighbors. We already have had Halabja survivors among the Kurds protest the doubts some Westerners have expressed about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and willingness to use them. They say, basically, *we* know all about WMD. And, given the thousands of Shi`ites the Baath killed in the south, there are almost certainly mass graves that will provide a macabre justification ex post facto for the removal of that regime. Footage of the Iranian vets injured by mustard gas could also be put on television. How wars are justified before they are launched and how they are justified afterwards is frequently different. If there is a relatively quick victory, no one will inquire into the justifications too closely. If it becomes a quagmire, it won’t matter what the justification was: the public will turn against the war anyway if it goes badly.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2020, 09:54:55 AM by Kasandra »

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #46 on: January 04, 2020, 11:41:33 AM »
Quote
(Reuters) - In mid-October, Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani met with his Iraqi Shi'ite militia allies at a villa on the banks of the Tigris River, looking across at the U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad.

The Revolutionary Guards commander instructed his top ally in Iraq, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and other powerful militia leaders to step up attacks on U.S. targets in the country using sophisticated new weapons provided by Iran, two militia commanders and two security sources briefed on the gathering told Reuters.

Quote
Interviews with the Iraqi security sources and Shi'ite militia commanders offer a rare glimpse of how Soleimani operated in Iraq, which he once told a Reuters reporter he knew like the back of his hand.

Two weeks before the October meeting, Soleimani ordered Iranian Revolutionary Guards to move more sophisticated weapons - such as Katyusha rockets and shoulder-fired missiles that could bring down helicopters - to Iraq through two border crossings, the militia commanders and Iraqi security sources told Reuters.

At the Baghdad villa, Soleimani told the assembled commanders to form a new militia group of low-profile paramilitaries - unknown to the United States - who could carry out rocket attacks on Americans housed at Iraqi military bases. He ordered Kataib Hezbollah - a force founded by Muhandis and trained in Iran - to direct the new plan, said the militia sources briefed on the meetings.

The American left loves this guy. Check out the fawning reports from the media. Trump Derangement Syndrome has made them crazy.

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Susan Rice: "The Obama administration was not presented with an opportunity by our intelligence community or by the U.S. military to strike Qassem Soleimani.
https://twitter.com/MSNBC/status/1213295910521917448?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.foxnews.com%2Fmedia%2Fobama-administration-didnt-have-opportunity-to-kill-soleimani-susan-rice-says

Not the response I would have expected.  Is it just me or does this sound like endorsement?

Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #47 on: January 04, 2020, 12:45:11 PM »
Suggests to me that they would have considered it, as we do with every contingency.

Pete at Home

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #48 on: January 04, 2020, 03:30:24 PM »
The bigger question is whether we want to normalize the killing of high ranking government officials.

Would Iran have really tried to kill, say, Mike Bolton or James Mattis if given the chance?  Last year, probably not (reasonable people might disagree, of course).  Next week?  I don't think anybody is really that sure anymore.

Before? Only if they had a chance. After? Only if they had a chance.


Kasandra

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Re: Escalation with Iran
« Reply #49 on: January 05, 2020, 09:32:09 AM »
This reminiscent of when I first joined Ornery in 200x as a young eft.  The hard right members were happy that Iraq had been saved by the US and would develop into a modern democracy and an anchoring US ally in the Mideast. They also argued that we should "glass over" Iran with our own nukes because it was going to nuke Israel within months.  Here's what Iraq, arguably now the most corrupt country in the region, says today:

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Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told parliament that Iraq's government must establish a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops "for the sake of our national sovereignty." His recommendation follows a U.S. strike that killed Iran's Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani, and a key Iraqi leader of Iran-backed militias. "What happened was a political assassination," Mahdi said of the strike. "Iraq cannot accept this."