President says he’s ‘locked and loaded’ to attack Iran
As President Trump warned that the US is “locked and loaded” to respond to the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil supply this past weekend, Senator Rand Paul warned that hitting Iran would be a “big mistake.”
Appearing on CNN, Paul warned that any attack on Iran would constitute a “needless escalation” of war.
“The Iraq War, President Trump has said, was the biggest geopolitical blunder of the last generation,” Paul said.
“It destabilized the Middle East and increased the strength of Iran and tipped the balance toward Iran,” the Senator added.
Paul also had stern words for Rep. Liz Cheney, who earlier in the day proclaimed that the US should deny visas for Iranian diplomats at the United Nations General Assembly meeting this fall.
“There was nothing good about the Iraq war and Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney and John Bolton still don’t get it. They are still advocating for more regime change in the Middle East.” Paul declared.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared unequivocally Saturday that Iran is behind the attack:
We call on all nations to publicly and unequivocally condemn Iran’s attacks. The United States will work with our partners and allies to ensure that energy markets remain well supplied and Iran is held accountable for its aggression
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 14, 2019
President Trump tweeted Sunday that he is waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia on how to proceed.
Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2019
Some warned that Trump’s words make conflict with Iran more likely:
“Locked and loaded”
And “waiting to hear from the kingdom”. Now MbS is boxed: if he doesn’t point to #Iran, he’s likely to dissapointing Trump, but he does, he could start an all-war with Tehran of unknown end | #OOTT 🇺🇸 🇸🇦 🇮🇷 ⛽️🛢 https://t.co/aYS6uWixGl
— Javier Blas (@JavierBlas) September 15, 2019
There is a cruel irony in all of this, given that only last week Iran was about to renew talks with the US following Trump’s ousting of John Bolton, who had long advocated for attacking Iran.
Report: Trump Determined To Get US Troops Out Of Afghanistan
Coronavirus spread providing more reason to bring troops home.
Reports this week have once again shed light on President Trump’s continued efforts to get US troops out of the middle east and away from conflicts pursued by his predecessors.
A report by NBC news notes that Trump “complains almost daily” that US troops are still in Afghanistan, and that now they are at risk from the coronavirus outbreak.
“His renewed push to withdraw all of them has been spurred by the convergence of his concern that coronavirus poses a force protection issue for thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and his impatience with the halting progress of his peace deal with the Taliban,” officials have told NBC.
“U.S. officials worry the virus could become rampant in Afghanistan, given its lack of health care and testing and its shared border with Iran, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.” the report adds.
“Afghanistan is going to have a significant coronavirus issue,” a former senior U.S. official said. “It hasn’t really manifested yet but it will.”
As highlighted in other reports, Afghanistan’s relatively substandard health ministry is preparing to be overrun by “millions” of coronavirus cases.
According to the NBC report, Trump isn’t happy with the progress of US and NATO troops being withdrawn from the country, which was part of a deal signed with the Taliban in February.
The accord paved the way for a large US troop reduction to 8,600 within 135 days of signing, numbers that are not being achieved quickly enough for Trump.
The report notes that military advisors are worried that troops will also have to be be withdrawn from elsewhere if they’re brought home from Afghanistan.
“The president’s military advisers have made the case to him that if the U.S. pulls troops out of Afghanistan because of the coronavirus, by that standard the Pentagon would also have to withdraw from places like Italy, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, officials said.”
It’s difficult to imagine that Trump would have much of a problem with that either.
World War 3? US Accuses China Of Testing Secret NUKES
State Dept. issues report noting ‘high tempo of activity at China’s Lop Nur test site’.
The United States has accused China of setting off underground nuclear bombs, conducting banned nuclear tests while the world is focused on the coronavirus crisis.
As if things weren’t already bad enough between the two nations, a US State Department report made public by The Wall Street Journal confirmed the charges earlier this week.
“The concerns stem from the high tempo of activity at China’s Lop Nur test site, extensive excavations at the site, and Beijing’s purported use of special chambers to contain explosions.” the State Department report suggests.
The report raises concerns about whether China is abiding to the US-interpreted “zero yield” standard on nuclear testing, which is a reference to a type of nuclear test whereby there is no explosive chain reaction of the type ignited by the detonation of a nuclear warhead.
The report also claimed Beijing blocked data transmissions from sensors linked to an international monitoring center, a claim that was disputed by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization in China.
If the accusations are true, China, which is estimated to have about 300 nuclear weapons, would be in violation of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which prohibits any nuclear reactions involving explosives.
Neither China nor the US has officially ratified the treaty, however, which means each is still relying purely on the word of the other, and on-site inspections cannot be conducted.
China responded to the accusations by angrily denying them as ‘false’.
“China has always adopted a responsible attitude, earnestly fulfilling the international obligations and promises it has assumed,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, adding “The US criticism of China is entirely groundless, without foundation, and not worth refuting.”
There have been some concerns among more hawkish Republicans that the US is not keeping up with China in terms of nuclear arms development, thus some have been trying to influence President Trump to ditch the CTBT, allowing the US to start new testing of its own.
An anonymous senior US official told The Guardian that “The pace and manner by which the Chinese government is modernising its stockpile is worrying, destabilising, and illustrates why China should be brought into the global arms control framework.”
Iraqi PM Claims Trump Threatened False Flag Attacks on Protesters if He Didn’t Accept Oil Deal
Abdul-Mahdi says Trump threatened to have him killed too.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi claims that in the build up to Qasem Soleimani’s assassination, President Trump threatened to carry out false flag murders of Iraqi protesters that would then be blamed on Abdul-Mahdi unless he agreed to hand over 50% of the country’s oil revenue.
According to the Strategic Culture Foundation’s Federico Pieraccini, Abdul-Mahdi was angry about how the U.S. had failed to complete the rebuilding of Iraq’s infrastructure and electricity grid projects, “unless they were promised 50% of oil revenues, which Abdul-Mahdi refused.”
Abdul-Mahdi then gave a speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he explained that the main reason behind his resignation was Trump pressuring him not to make a deal with the Chinese and threats that the U.S. would engage in false flag shootings of protesters and security forces.
A translated portion of Abdul-Mahdi’s speech follows;
This is why I visited China and signed an important agreement with them to undertake the construction instead. Upon my return, Trump called me to ask me to reject this agreement. When I refused, he threatened to unleash huge demonstrations against me that would end my premiership.
Huge demonstrations against me duly materialized and Trump called again to threaten that if I did not comply with his demands, then he would have Marine snipers on tall buildings target protesters and security personnel alike in order to pressure me.
I refused again and handed in my resignation. To this day the Americans insist on us rescinding our deal with the Chinese.
After this, when our Minister of Defense publicly stated that a third party was targeting both protestors and security personnel alike (just as Trump had threatened he would do), I received a new call from Trump threatening to kill both me and the Minister of Defense if we kept on talking about this “third party”.
Shortly after, General Soleimani was assassinated. Abdul-Mahdi claimed that he was supposed to meet Soleimani that very morning, suggesting that he too may have been a target of the drone strike.
“I was supposed to meet him [Soleimani] later in the morning when he was killed. He came to deliver a message from Iran in response to the message we had delivered to the Iranians from the Saudis,” said Abdul-Mahdi.
Pieraccini explains that the underlying reason for the assassination of Soleimani was the “US lashing out at a world turning its back on a unipolar world order in favor of the emerging multipolar” and the threat posed by China and Russia to the U.S. dollar maintaining its status as the world reserve currency and the only currency in which oil can be traded.
“Soleimani’s death is the result of a convergence of US and Israeli interests. With no other way of halting Eurasian integration, Washington can only throw the region into chaos by targeting countries like Iran, Iraq and Syria that are central to the Eurasian project,” he claims.
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