To end the year, Trump has some fireworks planned against the Ayatollahs. In this context, we read about the “smoking gun” in the New York Times, which reports that in August, Israeli agents in Tehran killed Al-Masri, a historic Al Qaeda leader and architect of the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam—information that was strongly denied by Tehran and which Haaretz, the Israeli newspaper, doesn’t give much credit to either.
Iran is categorized as a state that hosts terrorist organizations, and it doesn’t matter, for instance, that Al Qaeda is Sunni and that Iran is Shiite, a fundamental religious and ideological difference. This categorization will be the immediate justification for a new wave of sanctions against Tehran, and perhaps even new U.S. strikes against Iranian targets in the Middle East, a special skill at which Israel has particularly excelled in Syria, in its raids against the Pasdaran.
The U.S. president began the year on Jan. 3 with the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport, and has every intention of turning everything around the Islamic Republic into scorched earth at the end of his mandate. He obviously has the full support of Israel, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia, who are very worried that Joe Biden may go back to the negotiating table with Tehran, in contrast with Trump’s decision to exit the nuclear agreement agreed by Obama in 2015, when Biden was his VP.
The U.S. developments will also have certain not insignificant consequences on Afghanistan. The assassination, whether real or alleged, of Al-Masri together with his wife Miriam, widow of Hamza bin Laden, one of Osama’s sons, accompanied by the usual rumors that Al Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri is already dead, is a stepping stone to concluding peace negotiations with the Taliban and proceeding with the withdrawal of troops from a war that lasted 17 years.
Public opinion is thus presented with the image of the decimation of the old leadership of Al Qaeda, that presided over the attacks of Sept. 11. With the added advantage of targeting Iran to divert attention from those Gulf monarchies that have long financed radical Islamic groups to destabilize the region and the Tehran regime.
It matters little that they also targeted the political Islam of the Muslim Brotherhood by financing the coup d’état of the Egyptian al-Sisi and intentionally closing off the space for an evolution that would have been an alternative to the path of violence. These states are the major clients of the American and Western arms industry, the new friends of Israel drawn in with the Abrahamic Agreements; and one must clearly emphasize that the Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman was the one who ordered the assassination of the journalist Khashoggi.
Here as well, the licenses to kill people and entire peoples are handed out by the United States, as always: this must be kept in mind as Biden takes over the White House.
In short, it is a question of rewriting recent history and making Iran bear the greatest responsibility for the disintegration of the Middle East, downplaying the 2003 American war against Saddam Hussein, which, with the fall of the Baathist regime, led first to the expansion of Al Qaeda, and then, in 2014, to the rise of the Caliphate, which no one fought at first except for the Kurds and the Iranians, who had to defend the pro-Shiite government of Baghdad and the regime of their historic ally Assad in Damascus.
This narrative also ignores, without any shred of compunction, the fact that the U.S. gave the green light to Erdogan to make use of jihadists, Al Qaeda and ISIS against the Syrian Alawite regime and to massacre the Kurds. It is no coincidence that Trump had Soleimani killed, the general who had organized the Shiite defense of Baghdad at the beginning of the year, when the Iraqi army, abandoned by the Americans, was completely disbanded.
To rewrite history, one needs people who are able to manipulate it. Thus, Trump removed Pentagon chief Mark Esper, while a Defense spokesman expressed the concern that Trump could “initiate operations, whether overt or secret,” an Orwellian expression that means he could strike against Iran.
In a further step, the Trump administration has sent Elliott Abrams to the Middle East. Abrams is the man who once went in to support murderous governments in El Salvador, the dictator Rios Montt in Guatemala who committed genocide against natives, as well as the military juntas in Argentina and Chile; he was also a protagonist in the Iran-Contra affair in Nicaragua, where he supported the Contras with the sale of arms to Iran, working with Colonel Oliver North. He was the one who had the task to topple Maduro in Venezuela.
Elliott is in Israel today to discuss sanctions against Tehran with the leadership of the government and with the Emirates and Saudis, sanctions that are tied to the Iranian ballistic missile program and purportedly aim to strike against Tehran’s support for terrorism. This visit will take place right after the visit of Secretary of State Pompeo to the Jewish State. He is Trump’s fireworks specialist, tasked to rig the anti-Iranian display to explode at the end of the year.
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