Did Pompeo Dupe Trump Into the Soleimani Hit??
Did Pompeo Dupe Trump Into the Soleimani Hit?? by MIKE WHITNEY via UNZ Review
Donald Trump is under the illusion that the fracas with Iran is over. He thinks that Iran’s pinprick missile strikes on US bases in Iraq have assuaged Tehran’s thirst for revenge. But he’s wrong. The missile strikes were merely the first salvo in an epic cage match between Iran’s Axis of Resistance and its 70 year-long nemesis, the United States. As Iran’s Supreme Leader said on Wednesday, the missile attacks were not sufficient payback for the assassination of Iran’s most decorated military hero, Qassem Soleimani. They were just “a slap”, just Round One in what will surely be a long and bloody campaign aimed at driving the US out of the Middle East.
I wonder if Trump has any idea of what he’s done? It’s one thing to hector, threaten, coerce and sanction a rival nation, especially a nation that sits on an ocean of oil in a strategically-located area like the Middle East. But it’s another thing to assassinate the country’s highest-ranking and most revered military commander, an Iranian Rommel, whose tireless devotion to service spans a 40 year-long period. That’s not something that can be shrugged off or swept under the rug. That’s an act of war that requires a muscular response from the state. No country can allow its military leaders to be killed with impunity. Iran will have to fight back, and they will fight back. The question is “how”?
Iran will likely intensify the strategy that Soleimani perfected; hybrid, 4th Generation unconventional warfare conducted via Iran’s proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Lebanon. They will forgo using their bulging arsenal of long-range ballistic missiles and, instead, implement an asymmetrical strategy aimed at roiling markets, blocking shipping lanes, demolishing petrochemical plants and wasting oil tankers. The objective will be to wreak havoc across the region making the US presence less and less tenable while invoking plausible deniability as to the perpetrator. It will be a war that is largely conducted in the shadows. The Middle East is a target-rich environment for those who have the proxies, the weapons and the inclination to create mayhem. This is a war that Iran is prepared to fight and this is a war that Iran can win.
Iran also has more extreme options as illustrated in this excerpt from an article at DW:
“The IRGC can threaten shipping lanes in the Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Caspian Sea through the application of a wide variety of assets it has at its disposal, including submarines, smart torpedoes, smart mine capability, and land-based, long-range anti-ship missiles strategically based on the mainland, islands, and ships”…Such attacks could put a halt to the world’s oil transport network, at least for a time. One-fifth of global oil production is shipped through the strait between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. If the Strait of Hormuz were to become unsafe for ship passage, it would not only affect the United States but also a large number of countries around the world. The US would be under great pressure to end any war with Iran as quickly as possible….” (“Iran-US conflict: Tehran’s asymmetrical approach”, dw.com)
Did Trump mull-over any of these grim scenarios before he ordered the assassination of Soleimani? Was he told that both Obama and G.W. Bush opted not to kill Soleimani because they knew the backlash would be too great? Did Trump even know that Soleimani helped the US defeat ISIS and al Qaida in Iraq and Syria?
How much did Trump actually know about Soleimani or was he intentionally kept in the dark by his fanatical neocon advisors like Mike Pompeo? That doesn’t excuse Trump or make him any less culpable for his decision, but it does suggest that his sources of information might be tainted by conflicting political agendas. A recent article in the New York Times titled “Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General” appears to support this theory. Here’s an excerpt: