Iran’s Missile Strike Adds to Syrian Crisis

For the first time in 30 years, Iran fired missiles from its territory — in a strike against ISIS in Syria, putting down a marker that Iran won’t tolerate more terror attacks against Tehran, Patrick Henningsen explained at 21st Century Wire.

By Patrick Henningsen

On June 19, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard announced that it had fired several missiles at ISIS positions in the Deir Az Zor province in Syria. The reason given for this unprecedented military strike was retaliation for double terrorist attacks which struck Tehran two weeks ago. Readers should not underestimate the significance of this event.

Iranian photo showing a missile launched by the Revolutionary Guard Corps in the west of Iran, targeting an ISIS position near the city of Deir Az Zor in Syria.

According to a statement issued by the news agency for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Sepahnews, “Multiple medium-range missiles were fired from the Iranian provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdestan, and a large number of terrorists were killed and their weapons were destroyed.”

Regarding the alleged ISIS attack, which killed 13 people and wounded 50 others, the Revolutionary Guard added, “The spilling of any pure blood will not go unanswered.”

Make no mistake about it – this was a major media event. It’s been 30 years since Iran has fired missiles at targets outside of its own borders. Iranian television featured images of the IRGC missiles being launched at night.

The IRGC has also warned that more missile strikes will follow should ISIS militants plot any future attacks on Iran. If they carry out a specific action to violate our security, definitely there will be more launches, with intensified strength,” said General Ramazan Sharif of the IRGC (also cited by AP).

Fars News Agency added, “The IRGC warns the Takfiri terrorists and their regional and trans-regional supporters that they would be engulfed by its revolutionary wrath and flames of the fire of its revenge in case they repeat any such devilish and dirty move in future.”

This latest move by Iran is worrying for a number of reasons. Justified or not, Iran’s launch from its western provinces, over Iraqi airspace and into Syria will most certainly heighten tensions in an already tense Syrian theatre. If the situation escalates, the question of who has the upper hand may not matter should the situation descend into all-out war involving the U.S.

Syria: A Crowded Theatre

Iran’s missile strike took place on June 18, targeting an ISIS command center located near the embattled city of Deir Az Zor, a key choke point on the road to the ISIS-held city Raqqa in northeastern Syria. This area is currently a hive of international military activity featuring a host of players – the Syrian Army, Russia, Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah militia and opposing U.S., U.K., Australia, France, Turkish and German forces positioned alongside numerous U.S.-allied (and paid for) militias like the Kurdish SDF, YPG militias – all presumably camped in the region to “defeat ISIS.”

Map of Syria.

Add to this the problem of U.S. having repeatedly attacked Syrian military forces in a manner that has aided the strategic advances of ISIS. Following from this point, it should be well-known by now, based on successive U.S. aggressions inside Syria, that the Pentagon is probing both Syrian and Russian defenses, testing their level of patience, perhaps in the hope that either Syria or Russia might retaliate against a U.S. aircraft or U.S. support positions on the ground.

In the event that the U.S. loses a single aircraft, or loses one member of its combat team to the hands of a Syrian or Russian military asset, then Washington will no doubt seize on this event as an “act of aggression,” initiate its media machine to begin consensus-building internationally, ramping-up military operations on par with Iraq in 2003. This would be the excuse that the U.S.-led Coalition has been needing in order to blow the Syrian theatre open into a wide regional or possibly, world-wide war. 

The missile strike by Iran could be a mid-term game changer in the sense that it places Iran squarely into the frame of fighting international terrorism, and ISIS. Up until this point, parties in the U.S. led by the neoconservative right, the Trump White House, and the sister lobbies of Israel and Saudi Arabia – have tried hard to enforce a strict party line that Iran is somehow, “The number one state sponsor of terror on the planet,” despite the fact that no evidence is ever presented to back-up this sensational geopolitical plank.

Benefiting Saudi Arabia

One of the main beneficiaries of this talking point is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which gains on two fronts; the “Iranian terror” line deflects from Saudi Arabia’s own sordid role in supporting and funding armed militants, terrorist groups (including active factions in Syria) and radical mosques worldwide. This dovetails well with the Trump Administration’s current embrace of Saudi Arabia as an ally in the “War on Terror” and the simultaneous casting-out of Gulf state Qatar from the U.S.-led Coalition’s inner circle in Middle East military and diplomatic affairs.

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman of Saudi Arabia, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

But that has provoked counter-moves. This week, Turkish troops were deployed to Qatar in a show of support for Qatar by Ankara. This is just another signal that the geopolitics of the region and around Syria, is getting more complicated by the day.

However, Washington and Riyadh’s efforts to bracket Qatar with “state sponsor of terror” Iran will be even more difficult following the twin-terror attacks against Tehran and Sunday’s retaliatory missile strike. For this reason, the IRGC believes that Saudi and the U.S. are linked to the Tehran attacks.

The FT explains: “However a statement from the Revolutionary Guards linked the ‘brutal attack’ [on Tehran] to Donald Trump’s visit last month to Riyadh, where the US president singled out Iran for fuelling ‘the fires of sectarian conflict and terror’.

“‘This terrorist act took place a week after a joint meeting between the US president and head of a reactionary regional country [Saudi Arabia] which has been a constant supporter of terrorism,’ the statement said. ‘The fact Isis claimed responsibility proves that they [Saudi Arabia] were involved in the brutal attack.’”

Despite all of this, Trump has placed all his chips on Saudi Arabia as Washington’s only major Arab partner in the region. Does Washington really think Saudi Arabia is of high moral standing in the region? You can blame the Saudi decline in popularity for a number of reasons – supporting Wahhabi extremism, beheading Shia clerics, or Saudi’s ability to buy their seat at the head of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, or cynically acquiring the U.N. Women’s Rights chair. Perhaps Washington is over-estimating Saudi Arabia’s position in the Middle East.

Tehran Attack: Who Did It? 

Another interesting but under-reported component of this story has to do with the reason for Iran’s missile retaliation. Although ISIS apparently claimed credit for the Tehran attacks on June 6, other evidence suggests that another well-known international terrorist entity might have been involved.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in 2014.

After events in Tehran, the U.S.-backed regime change terrorist proxy, the MEK (Mojahedin-e Khalq) was named by senior Iranian politician Mr. Hamid-Reza Taraghi, as a partner in the terrorist attacks. This theory gains a bit more credence following a statement from former member of the MEK, Massoud Khodabandeh, who has stated that ISIS drew on MEK “expertise” for the terror attacks on Tehran. Certainly, the MEK have been active in carrying out operations inside of Iran for decades now, while ISIS has not. Massoud Khodabandeh’s analysis of the attacks is stunning, and raises two essential points:

“The targets selected by ISIS were sites constantly targeted by the MEK. The Iranian Parliament and its members had always been primary targets for the MEK since the 1980s. The group had managed to assassinate several members of the Parliament and tried to plant a bomb there at one point. They were unsuccessful and some members were killed by security forces while other terrorist teams were arrested. Similarly, after Ayatollah Khomeini’s shrine was created, Massoud Rajavi, the late MEK leader, announced that ‘Khomeini’s grave must be exploded’. It became a mantra among MEK members which they would chant in indoctrination sessions. The MEK tried unsuccessfully to send terrorist teams there in 1991 and 2002.”

“While ISIS and the MEK have the same interests in attacking Iran, ISIS could have caused much greater anti-government fear and hatred among the civilian population in line with its regime change agenda if they had bombed a civilian target like transport infrastructure or a shopping mall. They could have done more damage by targeting the Revolutionary Guards whose forces are in Syria. Instead, the ISIS targets matched those which had been constantly under attack by the MEK for thirty years.”

The MEK factor is extremely worrying because it signals a new leg in Washington’s asymmetric war in the region. History shows us that when great powers sow this level of chaos, the chances for a multi-country conflagration becomes more likely.

Apportioning Blame

Regardless of where blame is apportioned in this case, Iran seems to have accepted the claim by ISIS for these attacks on Iranian soil, effectively giving Tehran an internationally recognized green light to act unilaterally against ISIS assets inside Syria.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on March 3, 2015, in opposition to President Barack Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran. (Screen shot from CNN broadcast)

For those who subscribe to the school of thought that implicates Saudi Arabia and the U.S. for aiding and supporting ISIS covertly, then Iran has not only called their bluff, but co-opted their own “anti-ISIS” narrative too.

Presently, Iran has military assets deployed in Syria at the invitation of the government in Damascus, so it’s certain that both Damascus and Moscow were aware of Iran’s missile strike in advance, but not the U.S. – once again demonstrating that without significant ground assets deployed in the region the U.S. cannot really control the situation around Raqqa. This means that Washington, no matter how hard its media machine can spin, are simply not able to dictate facts on the ground in Syria.

Clearly, Iran seized an advantage here, but how this plays out in terms of increased tensions with the U.S.-led Coalition in Syria remains to be seen.

The most worrying aspect of this development is the timing. On the same day as Iran fired missiles into Deir Az Zor province in Syria, a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet shot down a Syrian SU-22 fighter jet near Raqqa. Washington claimed it as an act of “collective self-defense” as the Syrian jet had dropped bombs “near US-backed forces.” As a result of this overt act of aggression by the U.S., the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it is halting its “Deconfliction” cooperation with its U.S. counterparts set out in their bilateral Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria.

Add to this the fact that each day the U.S. continue to kill more Syrian civilians during their supposed “anti-ISIS” strikes in Raqqa, and it’s not difficult to see that the U.S. position is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle Eastern theatre, leaving its only two remaining solid partners as a pair who themselves are now widely regarded as rogue states in the region: Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The scene has now been set for a wider war. All it will take is a small spark between the two major opposing geopolitical forces or their allies.

Patrick Henningsen is an American-born writer and global affairs analyst and founder of independent news and analysis site 21st Century Wire and host of the SUNDAY WIRE weekly radio show broadcast globally over the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR). [This article first appeared at ]

51 comments for “Iran’s Missile Strike Adds to Syrian Crisis

  1. June 23, 2017 at 18:21

    Could the American people – better yet humanity – at the very least be given the chance to vote “yes or no” in a democracy-driven World War III referendum?

  2. mark
    June 23, 2017 at 15:45

    Some people think that Russia and Iran need at all costs to avoid responding in kind to continuing US provocations. But this is actually a more dangerous course. If the Neocons think they can get away with their constant aggression with impunity, they will just be emboldened to push the envelope further. Failure to respond is the more dangerous course. There is an urgent need to put a high price tag on this aggression. We need to see US planes shot down and Americans coming home in body bags. The more the merrier.

  3. MKhattib
    June 22, 2017 at 20:21

    This attack would be one of the few times the Iranian regime has publicized a direct action against ISIS military units in the Syrian conflict. In past military actions, Iran had deliberately targeted non-ISIS targets such as Syrian rebel units backed by the U.S. or civilian targets in rebel-controlled areas.

    Iranian regime forces and Shiite militias backed by mullahs in Iran have often fought rebel forces trying to overthrow the Assad regime and not specifically gone after ISIS groups.

    A recent National Geographic documentary examined how ISIS rose to power and it noted Iranian regime’s deliberate efforts to avoid fighting ISIS early on in favor of preserving Assad’s grip on power.

    Only after ISIS served its larger purpose in diverting the attention of the rest of the world from the bloody Syrian conflict was Iran prepared to engage ISIS on a broader scale; namely to gain territory to secure its foothold in Syria and Iraq.

  4. Chris Chuba
    June 21, 2017 at 23:29

    I could not disagree with this article more.

    The IRGC fired the missiles as a demonstration of force to remind the U.S. that we are not the only ones with a large arsenal of accurate, ballistic missiles that can rain down fury on infantry troops. In fact, Iran could probably match our firepower, at least from carrier launched strike fighters, given their proximity. Now many of us would assume that our Generals already know this but I take nothing for granted. I have been on message boards from military types who go on and on about our military dominance, and super-power status and how we can obliterate anyone in a matter of hours.

    A timely, well contained demonstration of force can go a long way to deter military aggression. After all, the IRGC was firing on ISIS, not taking a reprisal strike against U.S. troops, just showing us that one would be possible.

  5. backwardsevolution
    June 21, 2017 at 18:26

    Patrick Henningsen – great article! Thank you. Mike Whitney chimes in on what’s going on in south and eastern Syria:

    “On June 10, the Syrian Army blitzed across an arid stretch of countryside in southeastern Syria to reach the Iraqi border for the first time in three years. The move, which caught US war-planners off guard, prevents US-backed rebels from moving north from al Tanf to join the fight against ISIS in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. More important, the move makes it impossible for Washington to achieve its broader strategic objective of consolidating its territorial gains into a contiguous landmass along the Euphrates River. Washington wants to control the eastern part of the country so it can continue its attacks on the regime while overseeing the construction of gas pipelines from Qatar to Turkey. The prospects of that plan succeeding are now greatly in doubt due to the surprise advance of the SAA. […]

    Deir Ezzor is shaping up to be the decisive battle of the war. Washington needs the provincial capital to control the territory east of the Euphrates to establish military bases and create a launching pad for future attacks on the Assad government. The US also wants to control the eastern border with Iraq so the land route from Baghdad and Tehran is permanently blocked. But the US simply doesn’t have the military assets to win the war outright, which means the battlefield losses will continue to mount until government troops retake large sections of the border and the main population centers in the east. This isn’t a war the US can win without putting more boots on the ground. (some say 150,000 are needed) But, as yet, there’s no sign that the Pentagon Brass is willing to do that.

    At present, all of the warring parties are racing to seize as much land as possible. In some respects, that’s a positive development because it suggests that everyone thinks the war may be coming to an end so they’re positioning their armies in a way that best favors their territorial claims.”

  6. backwardsevolution
    June 21, 2017 at 17:50
    • Dave P.
      June 21, 2017 at 22:37

      backwardsevolution: I just read PCR’s article now. Wow! It is forceful and says the things as it should be said. All true. But I do agree with your comments on PCR article.

  7. backwardsevolution
    June 21, 2017 at 17:47

    Paul Craig Roberts kind of blames Russia for trying to be too diplomatic, and he urges Putin to “know thy enemy” and then lay down the law:

    “In other words, in Russia’s understated way, Russia has declared a no-fly zone over all areas of Syria in which Syrian and Russian forces are operating. Any intruder into that area will be blown out of the sky. American, Israeli, whoever, they are dead meat. […]

    There is no intelligence in Washington. Only arrogance and hubris. The quarter century I spent there was with the most utterly stupid people on the face of the earth.

    I expect Russia to win this, because Russia has intelligent leadership, and Washington does not.

    Nevertheless, perhaps mistakenly, as no one can know everything, I blame Russia for letting the Syrian crisis develop. Russia and Syria would have won the war long ago, except Russia kept declaring premature victory, pulling out, having to go back, always hoping to reach an agreement with Washington. Indeed, reaching an agreement with Washington was more important to the Russian government than winning the war or anything else.

    Regardless of the evidence, the Russian government’s hope simply could not die that Russia and Washington could reach an agreement to fight terrorism together. What utter nonsense. The terrorism in the Russian province of Chechnya was instigated by Washington. The Russian government does not seem to understand that there are no independent terrorists. Terrorism is a Washington weapon. So how can the Russian government make a pact against terrorism with the country that is using terrorism as a weapon against Russia?

    What does Russia think the neoconservatives’ plan to conquer Syria and Iran is about if not to bring more terrorism to Russia.

    Vladimir Putin is a knowledgeable, strong, and able leader of a country. Perhaps he is the only one outside of China. Clearly there are none in the West, a wasteland of leadership.

    Little doubt that Putin is a moral leader who is opposed to war and wants the best for all countries. However, by sacrificing the advantage every time he gains it to the nonsensical idea of making an agreement with Washington simply conveys to Washington weakness. Washington thinks Putin is just another person who Washington can walk over. This is a miscalculation, and it will result in war. It would be much better if Putin layed down the gauntlet and made it completely clear that “if you want war, it will be there in 30 minutes.” Suddenly, Russia would be taken seriously.

    I admire Putin. But he is playing the wrong game. Instead of parrying Washington’s aggression, he should be aggressive and force Europe and Washington to come to him for a solution.

    Putin, the leader of the free world, should not be on the defensive from a bankrupt, two-bit punk, washed up government in Washington that wallows in evil.”

    • mike k
      June 21, 2017 at 18:16

      I have a lot of respect for PC Roberts’ ideas, but I think he is going off half cocked in criticizing Putin. The Russian leader is being forced by the US into making very difficult decisions. The US is a rogue state run by madmen. How do you deal with a nuclear nation intent on fomenting war? Very carefully. Here is no dramatic line in the sand type of solution to this problem. I hope Putin continues his low key careful responses, for the sake of all of us. I think he realizes that time is on his side, if he can stall the bully long enough, the US will collapse before it can initiate WWIII. Again, there is no guaranteed solution to this madness, but I trust Putin’s thoughtful care more than any dramatic gestures.

      • backwardsevolution
        June 21, 2017 at 18:37

        mike k – Paul Craig Roberts has made these comments before, and I know the first time I saw this line of reasoning I was a bit ticked off. But, on further reflection, I guess what he means is that Putin has been diplomatic and turned the other cheek until now, he’s pulled back (which has prolonged the war), and I think Roberts is just warning him not to do that again, to press on, not to trust the U.S.

        I’m sure Putin has never trusted the U.S. Had he been more hard line to begin with, the U.S. would have screamed that Putin was being an “aggressor”, trumped up a few more false flags, and the game would have been on. I agree with you too. Of course Putin had to be on the defensive – duh! – the whole frigging western world has been against him. He had to play it cautious.

        Overall, I think Putin has done a stellar job. If he puts his head down, along with Syria and Iran, they can clear the country. But I don’t think he needs to be going to the negotiating table with the U.S. anymore. He’s done that enough! He’s warned the U.S., told them their planes will be shot down, and now he just needs to finish the job.

        Going back into more negotiations just gives the U.S. and ISIS time to regroup. They don’t want peace. They want the country.

        • mike k
          June 21, 2017 at 19:53

          We are pretty much on the same page. I want Putin to be selectively firm too.

        • Dave P.
          June 21, 2017 at 21:02

          backwardsevolution: Excellent , right on the mark.

    • Dave P.
      June 21, 2017 at 20:51

      backwardsevolution: Your observations are remarkable, very true. Washington wants regime change, and complete takeover, not only Syria but Iran too – nothing short of it. And the Vassal States Of Europe are with U.S. all the way – there is no such thing as Independent Europe.

      You said, “There is no intelligence in Washington, Only arrogance and hubris.” So true. It has been coming for a long time. Reading about the American History and about the lives of it’s leaders; Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Payne, Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln . . . these were men of high erudition, possessing wisdom. Look at the leaders since 2001 – George W. Bush and the whole gang, John McCain and company, Hillary Clinton . . ., and now Trump. It is hard to believe what this country has come to be. We are sliding fast towards dark ages and trampling over the whole planet to condemn it to the same fate.

      Russia – all alone as the country is in this struggle – has tried to stop this. It deserves the support of freedom and peace loving people all over the World.

      • Joe Average
        June 21, 2017 at 21:30

        Add to the regime change fantasies Russia, Belarus, Venezuela, Cuba and China.

        You don’t have to worry that the US is the only country sliding fast towards dark ages. As it is with partners in crime Europe is going down the same path (not as quick, but the direction is the same).

        • Dave P.
          June 21, 2017 at 22:24

          Joe, You are right.

  8. Realist
    June 21, 2017 at 16:16

    As a master of false realities, if Washington wants a casus belli they will create one from whole cloth whether the legitimate government takes action to defend itself or not. I’m sure they are concocting false intelligence assessments to back up their future interpretation of some American death or plane crash even as we speak. The fools seem to think that nuclear war will be the reset button to make America great again.

    • Apolonius
      June 21, 2017 at 18:24

      Very possible.

  9. Tristan
    June 21, 2017 at 15:49

    It appears strangely apocalyptic to consider the events unfolding in the middle east and moreover in the rest of the world. The U.S. and its partners in capitalism unfettered and profit at any cost to the other, still see things as a zero sum game, and are forging ahead in pursuit of something once considered fictional, yet now realized as indeed a goal to be achieved.

    Total global supremacy of free market fascist capitalism state sponsored and fully integrated as a system of rapacious greed unfettered by the quaint constraints of democracy or any other system of government which even so slightly threatens the profits of those few who like ghouls feed upon the degradation and suffering of the many. It has become a system, and it is celebrated at the highest levels of governments who claim to respect humanity and the rights of all, where if there is no profit, or concurrent graft, then it isn’t functioning. War is the shiny machine which easily feeds this machine.

    Apparently, the threat of global war and the destruction of human kind isn’t a deterrent to these capitalists and their purchased toads in the western democracies.

    • Dave P.
      June 22, 2017 at 00:26

      Tristan: Very profound description. All True.

  10. Liam
    June 21, 2017 at 15:35

    Highly Graphic Video’s: White Helmets Film Themselves Participating in Beheading’s of Syrian Soldiers

  11. backwardsevolution
    June 21, 2017 at 15:34

    A former member of the MEK (Mojahedin), Massoud Khodabandeh, said:

    “Just like the MEK, ISIS terrorists selected and trained for suicide missions are thoroughly brainwashed first. They undergo intensive indoctrination and psychological manipulation sessions and afterwards they are not allowed to think of anything else but their mission; terror. From the videos and reports, it is clear that the terrorists are numbed and fearful people who are prepared to use weapons as a first resort against innocent unprepared people.

    The ISIS terrorists exploded their vests in their first moments of contact with security forces. A couple of them even exploded their vests as soon as they just saw the security forces. This is similar to MKO terrorists who were brainwashed to assassinate unarmed civilians or perform a mortar attack in a large city like Tehran. They were also armed with cyanide pills and a hand grenade and ordered that rather than risk capture they must commit suicide and hurt as many of the people around them as possible.”


    “It has been widely reported that, just like the MEK, ISIS also gets support from inside Saudi Arabia. After the Tehran terrorist attacks neither Saudi Arabia nor the MEK condemned the events. This echoes MEK behaviour under the Saddam regime. The MEK could not and would not condemn any action of Saddam or the Saudis because they were being paid and supported by them.

    The MEK needed governmental level backing to move across national borders. Saddam arranged for MEK operatives to get inside Iran from Pakistan and Turkey rather than cross the Iraqi border which was under international scrutiny. ISIS has also been able to cross borders and move weapons and fund its activities in a way that indicates governmental level of support.”

    So MEK and ISIS are being funded by Saudi Arabia, other Gulf states, and certainly trained, armed and supported by the U.S., U.K., Israel and others. They are Sunni organizations who are against the Shiites in Iran. Interesting that Saddam Hussein, one-time U.S. puppet, used to fund MEK and help them get into Iran.

    Apparently some of the guys who attacked the Iranian Parliament were disguised as women; easier to hide your AK47’s.

  12. Drew Hunkins
    June 21, 2017 at 14:39

    One positive aspect to Tehran’s bombing run in Syria is that it may help to clearly demarcate to much of the brainwashed US public that Iran is a sworn enemy of ISIS/al Qeada. It’s a chink in the armor of the Zio-militarist propaganda apparatus in the American mass media.

    • mike k
      June 21, 2017 at 14:42

      We need that chink to become a highway.

  13. Abe
    June 21, 2017 at 13:16

    On 20 June 2017 Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces,
    discussed the Iranian missile strike on ISIS in Syria during his keynote address at the 17th annual Herzliya Conference on national security and policy in Israel.

    The Herzliya Conference is Israel’s premier gathering for the articulation of national security policy by its most prominent leaders, including the Israeli President, the Prime Minister, and the leading contenders for high political office.

    Eisenkot sought to minimize the significance of Iran’s missile strike on ISIS in Syria, saying “their operational achievement was less than what was reported in the media.”
    (VIDEO starting at minute 17:15)

    Regarding ISIS’s terrorists attacks in Tehran on June 7 that triggered Iran’s retaliatory missile strike, the IDF chief said “perhaps those terrorist attacks in Iran were part of the price that Iran is going to pay for its involvement in the Sunni states, and its involvement against ISIS and the Al Nusra Front”.

    Eisenkot quickly added “Although, of course, we have learned about that only through the media”.

    Denying recent reports that Israel is militarily supporting terrorist groups fighting in southern Syria, Eisenkot said “Israel is not involved in the fighting for one side or another”.

    However, a recent Wall Street Journal report did not claim that the IDF was directly involved in the fighting, but rather that it was giving material aid to the groups.

    Eisenkot claimed that cooperation with other militaries is of the utmost importance to the IDF. These ties both provide Israel with direct assistance, in some cases, but they also serve the larger, strategic function of forging relationships with countries that are not yet official allies, he said.

    “The cooperation with the American army helps the coalition fight in the Middle East,” Eisenkot said.

    “That same cooperation can also be seen with other moderate countries” in the region, he added, in an apparent reference to the Sunni Muslim majority nations with which Israel has quietly developed security ties, like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.

    That cooperation is “in some cases overt and sometimes covert,” Eisenkot said.

    • mike k
      June 21, 2017 at 14:40

      Mafias trying to fake cooperation while promoting their own advantage primarily; ready to stab their “allies” in the back at any convenient moment. It’s euphemistically called “international politics.”

    • Abe
      June 21, 2017 at 14:41

      “At a recent panel discussion in Washington, screenwriter, film director and producer Oliver Stone briefly addressed the issue of alleged Russian interference in the recent national election, observing that ‘Israel interfered in the U.S. election far more than Russia and nobody is investigating them.’ A few days later, in an interview with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, Stone returned to the theme, responding to an aggressive claim that Russia had interfered in the election by challenging Colbert with ‘Israel had far more involvement in the U.S. election than Russia. Why don’t you ask me about that?’

      “Don’t look for the exchange with Colbert on YouTube. CBS deleted it from its broadcast and website, demonstrating once again that the ‘I’ word cannot be disparaged on national television. Stone was, of course, referring to the fact that the Israel Lobby, most notably acting through its American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is undeniably a foreign lobby, no less so than anyone representing the presumed interests of Russia or China. It operates with complete impunity on Capitol Hill and also at state and local levels and no one dares to require it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, which would permit scrutiny of its finances and also end its tax-exempt ‘educational’ status. Nor does Congress or the media see fit to inquire into AIPAC’s empowerment of candidates based on their fidelity to Israel, not to mention the direct interference in the American electoral process which surfaced most visibly in its support of candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. […]

      “President Donald Trump traveled to the Middle East claiming to be desirous of starting serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but it was all a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu took him aside and came out with the usual Israeli bullshit about the Palestinians ‘inciting’ violence and hatred of Jews and Trump bought into it. He then went to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and shouted at him for being a liar and opposed to peace based on what Netanyahu had told him. That is what passes for even-handed in the U.S. government, no matter who is president. A few days later the Israelis announced the building of the largest bloc of illegal new settlements on the West Bank since 1992, an action that they claim is being coordinated with Washington.”

      Israel’s Dirty Little Secret
      By Philip Giraldi

      • Gregory Herr
        June 21, 2017 at 19:42

        Appreciate the link Abe. The reference to Stone-Colbert got me looking and I found a young man who “gets it” ….with clips. Colbert and audience were horrible. Note the “1984” wall hanging.

        • Gregory Herr
          June 21, 2017 at 19:47

          Well, here is more than clips:

          • Gregory Herr
            June 21, 2017 at 20:20

            Sorry..thought this second one was the interview uninterrupted…doesn’t add much.

    • Zachary Smith
      June 21, 2017 at 19:15

      Eisenkot sought to minimize the significance of Iran’s missile strike on ISIS in Syria, saying “their operational achievement was less than what was reported in the media.”

      I’ve been looking around for information about the Iranian missile strike and found only another version of this – that Iran’s missiles are pretty near worthless. This may or may not be the truth, but it sure ought to play well on the Home Front of Holy Israel.

      In the course of looking for that information I ran into an author who was on a rant about a different topic altogether.

      Just days after President Trump came out firmly on the side of the Saudi Islamic extremists in their tiff with the Qatari Islamic extremists, his State Department, led by the rape-the-environment extremist Rexxon Tillerson, has denounced the Saudis for not coming up with a justification for their embargo of Qatar — a move that Trump himself took credit for. The story is here.

      This is the FUBAR form of government. This is rule by SNAFU. It also shows in stark relief the reality of the US government today. Exxon man and the generals are in charge of foreign policy. The Congressional extremists led by Ryan and McConnell are in charge of domestic policy. Steve Bannon, as he openly declared last year, is using Trump as an “instrument” to push his vision of white nationalist authoritarianism. The ignorant, infantile president, Trump, is not in charge of anything at all beyond the promotion of his own brand and the aggrandizement of his sleazy, crime-ridden family and their cronies.

      There is nothing there which doesn’t look quite reasonable to me, and to the two famous acronym listed above I’d add another – we appear to be SOL on just about all fronts.

      Given the way the Hillary Democrats have behaved since the election, I’m not at all sure that despite what we now have in DC, it might not have been worse if the Butcher of Libya had been elected.

      • Joe Average
        June 21, 2017 at 21:21

        When it comes strategic analysis of military moves in the Middle East then moonofalabama is an excellent source for information (also published by ICH).

  14. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 21, 2017 at 13:01
  15. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 21, 2017 at 12:52

    The Real Trump
    Mark Danner
    DECEMBER 22, 2016

    (excerpt of book review of) -Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power
    by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher

    Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people.
    —Federalist 10

    He is a builder, Donald Trump, or anyway he used to be, before he became a reality television star and a manager of his brand. (“I’m very good at this,” he told Lesley Stahl on Sixty Minutes. “It’s called construction.”) To put people to work across the country pouring cement in his name, rebuilding the country under the grandeur of Trump, may well be his redemption, supplying at least some jobs to the working people who long for a leader who “finally will do something for us.” The program will spotlight his ideological obtuseness, for can he rebuild the country’s roads and bridges, can he build his bright new airports, while also delivering trillions of dollars in tax cuts to well-to-do Americans? Congressional Republicans, for whom the tax cuts count more than anything else, will insist on making compensating cuts in spending. These cannot be found without eviscerating the programs, including Medicare and Social Security, that Trump the populist has vowed to protect. The contradiction is stark and it lies squarely in the distance Trump defined from Republican Party orthodoxy at every rally he held.7 If he is really for working men and women, he will be forced to prove it and to do it very early on.

    By such decisions will he define himself. He sees himself as the artist of the deal but he has shown he rarely takes opposition as legitimate, having learned his politics at the knee of Roy Cohn, the exemplar of the “go to hell” philosophy—if they screw you, screw them twenty times harder—and the master of the politics of personal destruction. Trump’s assumption of the mantle of the birther movement, which marked his self-creation as a politician, was pure Cohn, as were the stunningly brutal personal attacks on the Clintons: She lies and she lies and she lies again.

    His blithe lack of respect for speaking the truth, his indifference to the strictures of the public record, are unprecedented in an American president and can find their parallels only in European leaders of the 1930s. In this as in other matters, there is no reason to expect a wholesale transformation when candidate Trump becomes President Trump. After all—in that ringing affirmation that he must hear echoing always in his ears—he won. Everyone told him he was destroying himself with feuds and attacks and angry tweets and in the end he won. Why would he change, even if he could?

    What will change will be his power. He inherits a presidency that has been vastly inflated by the war on terror policies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. It is not the least of ironies that Trump will have vast powers because his predecessor has chosen not to restrict but to normalize the powers cultivated by the “wartime president” who preceded him.8 Donald Trump will inherit a government on a permanent wartime footing, actively fighting in six countries (Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan), using means both public and secret—including drone strikes and attacks by covert special forces—and doing so with the benefit of never-ending war powers granted by Congress. He will have all the powers conferred by permanent war, by a greatly expanded CIA and NSA, and by a national security establishment that since 2001 has nearly doubled in size and has long since escaped the gaze of democratic scrutiny.

    When he speaks, especially in the face of opposition, he will not be shy to remind the citizens that it is their commander in chief who is speaking. One can imagine those reminders coming fast and loud should there be, for example, the terrorist attacks from which he, the strongman, the law and order candidate, has vowed to safeguard the country. Or even in the face of huge demonstrations that might follow the shooting of a citizen of color, or a series of them, by police.

    Donald Trump has been the shatterer of norms. Thus far it has been enough. Will he become the breaker of laws? Will he find it necessary? Scarcely a decade and a half ago George W. Bush, when he determined that the country’s interest demanded that he torture prisoners, simply found a way to have his government declare legal what was not. It may well be that Trump will do the same. At his rollicking rallies across the country, he has made vows to hundreds of thousands of screaming supporters, and now the eager courtiers are gathering, including figures like Bannon and Flynn and Sessions, among others long regarded as extreme, to put his words into policy and law.

    We will see how that goes. It seems predictable, though, that as Trump encounters opposition, as he proves unable to fulfill the grandeur of his promises, he will strike back—it is his nature—and we will see American institutions tested. If they prove strong, there are ways for Trump to circumvent them. The enormous rallies offer one way. The cries of “Traitor!” give sign of another way. Trump is an improviser, a performer, a creator of new worlds. The narcissistically damaged actor, the high-flying song and dance man: even he can scarcely know what is to come.

    For more on ROY COHN’s influence on Trump

    • backwardsevolution
      June 21, 2017 at 15:09

      Mild-ly Facetious – the Donald got one thing right: “She lies and she lies and she lies again.”

      Maybe you should take a few hours and read through the articles (and all of the comments) of the last few days. I think we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion here that Donald is not in control.

      Who is in control are the people who are pulling the strings of the politicians, the shadow government we don’t get to see.

      But if you want my opinion (which I’m sure you don’t, but you’re going to get anyway), I think Trump is having a very hard time swallowing any of this. Unlike some of the others (we won’t mention her name, though) who are warmongers and psychopaths, he’s not quite at their level of evil. I think Trump is swallowing very hard, choking in fact.

      • Mild-ly Facetious
        June 23, 2017 at 10:14

        backwardsevolution —
        the link below this comment is a Must Read for you.
        Mr Trump is a nasty,ruthless guy.

  16. Abe
    June 21, 2017 at 11:31

    “In an open demonstration of its aggressive intent, for the last couple of month the US coalition has repeatedly attacked Syrian military units, which has not just resulted in deaths of the Syrian military personnel, but has also claimed dozens of civilian lives.

    “And now, on Sunday evening, a Syrian Su-22 that was carrying out a mission against ISIS militants in the vicinity of al-Raqqa was shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter. This barbarous step unseen since the days of the Bosnian war has marked new heights in the Pentagon’s military aggression against sovereign states. The destruction of an aircraft that was carrying out an anti-terrorist mission over its own territory, in the best interests of its citizens and its country is, without a glimpse of a doubt, a war crime. As the Military Times emphasizes, this is a vivid example of the critical level of tension that exists between the Syrian government, supported by Russia, and US coalition forces.

    “Therefore, the immediate response of the Russian Defense Ministry, which called the destruction of the Syrian warplane by uninvited US forces in Syrian airspace a cynical violation of the country’s sovereignty, committed in disregard of Moscow’s repeated warnings about the possible consequences of the repeated destruction of Syrian military assets and personnel which pose no threat to the US. In this regard, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it has ceased its cooperation with its American counterparts in the framework of the memorandum on the prevention of incidents and ensuring air safety during operations in Syria and demanded the Pentagon to conduct a thorough investigation of the Su-22 downing, while providing all details to Moscow. Now Russian military forces, stationed in Syria at the request of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic, will treat as hostile targets any planes and drones of the US coalition operating west of the Euphrates River.

    “Washington’s actions in Syria clearly show that its stated goals have nothing in common with the real goals the US has been pursuing in Syria, repeatedly committing acts of armed aggression against the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian military. Today, everyone understands that by their actions, the Pentagon seeks to stop the the movement of Syrian forces eastward, and also to undermine the joint Syrian-Iraqi strategic defense project against ISIS before it takes off. After all, no opposition group, regardless of its affiliation (Kurds, local tribes, the so-called Free Syrian Army etc.) has the capacity to replace ISIS and its ability to fight Syrian forces, since none of these other proxies can resist the Syrian Arab Army.”

    Washington Crossed the Red Line in Syria
    By Jean Perier

  17. Patricia Victour
    June 21, 2017 at 10:56

    This story, or a similar version, should be on the front page of every paper in the country and front-and-center on CNN, MSNBC, etc. Not a peep in my local paper (not surprising as almost all stories – and they are “stories” for the most part – come from NYT, WaPo, AP). The only reason I know about it already is from watching RTAmerica, which has the same points as this article, which is not Russian “propaganda,” as RT and Consortium are routinely labeled. Awash in MSM propaganda of Russia-gate and hysteria over Trump’s possible “obstruction of justice,” Americans have no idea of the conflagration only a hair’s breadth away in the Middle East. The unthinkable is so close.

    • mike k
      June 21, 2017 at 11:19

      The sleep of the American people is truly profound. I give a lot of the credit for that to TV hypnotism, and societal hubris.

      • sierra7
        June 21, 2017 at 23:09

        As an American I can only say you give the US citizenry too much credit……The majority are truly only sheep…….the sheeple……..herded by the sheep dog media to conform to the consent that is required for the criminal element in our government and business to rape the world.

  18. mike k
    June 21, 2017 at 10:13

    The stupid but all too real idea of national pride and saving face is a major factor in the difficulty of de-escalation. No one wants to admit they were responsible for the wrongs and disasters already committed. Everyone involved wishes to declare victory. National Hubris becomes a major obstacle to peace. The state is the individual writ large (Plato). Egotism of the individual becomes magnified on the State level.

    And so it turns out that reducing the ego, which is a goal of individual spiritual development, is also essential on the international level if we are to have peace.

    • john wilson
      June 22, 2017 at 05:24

      Its not egotistic to want your country back from head chopping terrorists many of whom are not even Syrian nationals.

    • June 22, 2017 at 10:48

      “The stupid but all too real idea of national pride and saving face is a major factor in the difficulty of de-escalation”
      The deescalation is not possible because Israel needs a destroyed Syria.

  19. Mild-ly Facetious
    June 21, 2017 at 10:02

    Blood on the tracks of the New Silk Roads

    Qatar chaos sends ripples of economic anxiety across the region

    JUNE 14, 2017

    China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors – even when they may be at each other’s throats.

    Still, it’s nothing but gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff. There’s no endgame in sight, as plausible scenarios include even regime change and a seismic geopolitical shift in Southwest Asia – what a Western-centric view calls the Middle East.

    And blood on the tracks in Southwest Asia cannot but translate into major trouble ahead for the New Silk Roads, now rebranded Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

    When he said, on the record, “I decided … the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding [of terrorism]”, President Trump essentially took credit for the Saudi/UAE-orchestrated excommunication of Doha, the aftermath of his now notorious sword dance in Riyadh.

    Trump’s senior staff though maintains that Qatar never came up in discussions with the Saudis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Exxon-Mobil CEO and a certified old Middle East hand, has done his best to defuse the drama – conscious there would be no reason for Qatar to continue hosting Al Udeid Air Base and Centcom to a hostile superpower.

    Meanwhile, Russia – the Beltway’s favorite evil entity – is getting closer and closer to Qatar, ever since the game-changing acquisition in early December by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) of 19.5% of the crown energy giant Rosneft.
    That translates into an economic/political alliance of the world’s top two gas exporters; and that explains why Doha – still holding a permanent office at NATO’s HQ – has abruptly thrown its “moderate rebels” in Syria under the (economic) bus.

    Russia and China are bound by a complex, multi-vector strategic partnership. Beijing, privileging economic interests, takes a pragmatic view and is never inclined to play a political role. As the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, Beijing’s motto is crystal clear: Make Trade, Not War.
    But what if Southwest Asia is mired in the foreseeable future in a permanent pre-war footing?

    China and BRI’s best pal Iran

    China is Qatar’s top trading partner. Beijing was actively negotiating a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before the current standoff. Moving forward, a possible scenario is Qatar even pulling out of the GCC.

    Qatar is also China’s second-largest source of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while Saudi Arabia is China’s third-largest source of oil. Since 2010 China is ahead of the US as the biggest exporter to Southwest Asia while solidifying its position as the top importer of Southwest Asia energy.

    When King Salman recently visited Beijing, the House of Saud ecstatically spun a “Sino-Saudi strategic partnership” based on the signing of deals worth $65 billion. The partnership, in fact, hinges on a five-year Saudi Arabia-China security cooperation agreement that includes counter-terrorism and joint military drills. Much will have to do with keeping the profitable Red Sea-Gulf of Aden corridor free of political turmoil.

    Of course, eyebrows may be raised over the fact that Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism is the ideological matrix of Salafi-jihadism threatening not only Southwest Asia and the West but also China itself.

    The New Silk Roads/BRI imply a key role for the GCC – in a mutual investment, trademark Chinese “win-win” way. In an ideal world, the Saudi “Vision 2030” modernizing plan breathlessly being sold by Warrior Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) could, in theory, even reign in the appeal of Salafi-jihadism of the Daesh variety all across Southwest Asia.

    What the Iranophobic MBS seems not to understand is that Beijing actually privileges its BRI-based economic relationship with Tehran.

    Early last year, when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, he and President Rouhani pledged to raise Chinese-Iranian bilateral trade to a whopping $600 billion in 10 years, most of it related to BRI expansion.

    China and Iran have been doing serious business. For over a year now, direct China-Iran cargo trains have been crossing Central Asia in only 12 days. That’s just the appetizer for high-speed rail connectivity spanning the arc from China to Turkey via Iran in the early 2020s.

    And in a (distant?) future, a pacified Syria will also be configured as a BRI node; before the war, Syrian merchants were a top fixture in the trading-in-small-goods Silk Road running from the Levant to Yiwu in eastern China.

    continued >>

  20. mike k
    June 21, 2017 at 09:59

    Violence begets violence. If states continue bombing and threatening each other, the conflict develops a life of it’s own, and the intensity of violence grows and grows until all-out war just “happens.” This is where we are in the Middle East now. Unless the principal players sit down and deescalate the situation, a world war is inevitable. Some would say such a war is already in progress.

  21. June 21, 2017 at 09:38

    Turkey, Syria, Iran and Russia have worked out a peace plan and are working towards it, in this deal the USA was not invited to the table it was not invited into Syria. Peace in the long term is with the Syrians its direct neighbours and an old friend as a backer Russia, there is no room for too many cooks that haven’t been asked into the kitchen.

    • john wilson
      June 22, 2017 at 05:21

      Why should Syrian government have to make any peace plan with terrorists? The Americans wouldn’t. The sold called Syrian defense army and others are terrorists in every sense of the word. The only thing the Syrians, Russians and others should be trying to work out is how to exterminate these criminals.

    • June 22, 2017 at 10:47

      “Add to this the fact that each day the U.S. continue to kill more Syrian civilians during their supposed “anti-ISIS” strikes in Raqqa, and it’s not difficult to see that the U.S. position is becoming increasingly isolated in the Middle Eastern theatre, leaving its only two remaining solid partners as a pair who themselves are now widely regarded as rogue states in the region: Saudi Arabia and Israel.”

      Would not it be grand if Israel has its day of judgement and begin, finally, suffering for its perfidious activities in the Israel-occupied Congress? It is thanks to the Lobby (in cahoot with MIC) that the US has initiated and continues the wars of aggression in the Middle East. At some point, the apartheid colonizer is going to find itself between a rock and hard place – a situation of its own making. A moderate rain of bombs on Tel Aviv could create a miracle of a peace-loving Israel. Until the spoiled brat has a sizable portion of its population suffering the same fate that the state of Israel allotted to its unfortunate neighbors – Libya and Syria – the bloodthirsty Jewish psychopaths would not get a message. The Lobby and the mythology-based colonizer are becoming the scourge of humanity by bringing the day of doom closer and closer.

  22. mike k
    June 21, 2017 at 09:15

    “totally immoral and brutal, where our selfish ends tolerate just anything imaginable”

    This is where the US has been for some time. The only check on us has been the possession by a few others of the means of our annihilation. If we had been the sole possessor of nuclear weapons, we would have wreaked our savage and merciless will on the entire world. Absolute power would have absolutely corrupted us. We are now merely temporarily restrained from this outcome, but striving to break through the restraints……

    In The Lord of the Rings, the Ring giving absolute power was supposedly destroyed, leaving us to our lesser squabbles. But can the dream of possessing the Ring ever be destroyed within us? Answering that question may determine our fate.

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