PEPE ESCOBAR: War on Iran & Calling America’s Bluff

Vast swathes of the West seem not to realize that if the Strait of Hormuz is shut down a global depression will follow, writes Pepe Escobar.

By Pepe Escobar
Special to Consortium News

The Trump administration once again has graphically demonstrated that in the young, turbulent 21st century, “international law” and “national sovereignty” already belong to the Realm of the Walking Dead.

As if a deluge of sanctions against a great deal of the planet was not enough, the latest “offer you can’t refuse” conveyed by a gangster posing as diplomat, Consul Minimus Mike Pompeo, now essentially orders the whole planet to submit to the one and only arbiter of world trade: Washington.

First the Trump administration unilaterally smashed a multinational, UN-endorsed agreement, the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. Now the waivers that magnanimously allowed eight nations to import oil from Iran without incurring imperial wrath in the form of sanctions will expire on May 2 and won’t be renewed.

The eight nations are a mix of Eurasian powers: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

Apart from the trademark toxic cocktail of hubris, illegality, arrogance/ignorance and geopolitical/geoeconomic infantilism inbuilt in this foreign policy decision, the notion that Washington can decide who’s allowed to be an energy provider to emerging superpower China does not even qualify as laughable. Much more alarming is the fact that imposing a total embargo of Iranian oil exports is no less than an act of war.

Ultimate Neocon Wet Dream 

Those subscribing to the ultimate U.S, neocon and Zionist wet dream – regime change in Iran – may rejoice at this declaration of war. But as Professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran has elegantly argued, “If the Trump regime miscalculates, the house can easily come crashing down on its head.”

Reflecting the fact Tehran seems to have no illusions regarding the utter folly ahead, the Iranian leadership if provoked to a point of no return, Marandi additionally told me can get as far as “destroying everything on the other side of the Persian Gulf and chasing the U.Sout of Iraq and Afghanistan. When the U.Sescalates, Iran escalates. Now it depends on the U.Show far things go.”

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This red alert from a sensible academic perfectly dovetails with what’s happening with the structure of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) — recently branded a “terrorist organization” by the United States. In perfect symmetry, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council also branded the U.S. Central Command CENTCOM and “all the forces connected to it” as a terrorist group.

The new IRGC commander-in-chief is Brigadier General Hossein Salami, 58. Since 2009 he was the deputy of previous commander Mohamamd al-Jafari, a soft spoken but tough as nails gentleman I met in Tehran two years ago. Salami, as well as Jafari, is a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war; that is, he has actual combat experience. And Tehran sources assure me that he can be even tougher than Jafari.

In tandem, IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri has evoked the unthinkable in terms of what might develop out of the U.Stotal embargo on Iran oil exports; Tehran could block the Strait of Hormuz.

Western Oblivion 

Vast swathes of the ruling classes across the West seem to be oblivious to the reality that if Hormuz is shut down, the result will be an absolutely cataclysmic global economic depression.

Warren Buffett, among other investors, has routinely qualified the 2.5 quadrillion derivatives market as a weapon of financial mass destruction. As it stands, these derivatives are used — illegally — to drain no less than a trillion U.S. dollars a year out of the market in manipulated profits.

Considering historical precedents, Washington may eventually be able to set up a Persian Gulf of Tonkin false flag. But what next?

If Tehran were totally cornered by Washington, with no way out, the de facto nuclear option of shutting down the Strait of Hormuz would instantly cut off 25 percent of the global oil supply. Oil prices could rise to over $500 a barrelto even $1000 a barrel. The 2.5 quadrillion of derivatives would start a chain reaction of destruction.

Unlike the shortage of credit during the 2008 financial crisis, the shortage of oil could not be made up by fiat instruments. Simply because the oil is not there. Not even Russia would be able to re-stabilize the market.

It’s an open secret in private conversations at the Harvard Club – or at Pentagon war-games for that matter – that in case of a war on Iran, the U.SNavy would not be able to keep the Strait of Hormuz open. 

Russian SS-NX-26 Yakhont missiles — with a top speed of Mach 2.9  are lining up the Iranian northern shore of the Strait of Hormuz. There’s no way U.Saircraft carriers can defend a  barrage of Yakhont missiles.

Then there are the SS-N-22 Sunburn supersonic anti-ship missiles — already exported to China and India — flying ultra-low at 1,500 miles an hour with dodging capacity, and extremely mobile; they can be fired from a flatbed truck, and were designed to defeat the U.SAegis radar defense system.

What Will China Do?

The fullfrontal attack on Iran reveals how the Trump administration bets on breaking Eurasia integration via what would be its weakeast node; the three key nodes are China, Russia and Iran. These three actors interconnect the whole spectrum; Belt and Road Initiative; the Eurasia Economic Union; the Shanghai Cooperation Organization; the International North-South Transportation Corridor; the expansion of BRICS Plus.

So there’s no question the Russia-China strategic partnership will be watching Iran’s back. It’s no accident that the trio is among the top existential “threats” to the U.S., according to the Pentagon. Beijing knows how the U.SNavy is able to cut it off from its energy sources. And that’s why Beijing is strategically increasing imports of oil and natural gas from Russia; engineering the “escape from Malacca” also must take into account a hypothetical U.Stakeover of the Strait of Hormuz.

Coast of Oman, including Strait of Hormuz. (International Space Station photo from 2016 via Wikimedia)

Night view of coast of Oman, including Strait of Hormuz. (Intl Space Station photo via Wikimedia)

A plausible scenario involves Moscow acting to defuse the extremely volatile U.S.-Iran confrontation, with the Kremlin and the Ministry of Defense trying to persuade President Donald Trump and the Pentagon from any direct attack against the IRGC. The inevitable counterpart is the rise of covert ops, the possible staging of false flags and all manner of shady Hybrid War techniques deployed not only against the IRGC, directly and indirectly, but against Iranian interests everywhere. For all practical purposes, the U.Sand Iran are at war.

Within the framework of the larger Eurasia break-up scenario, the Trump administration does profit from Wahhabi and Zionist psychopathic hatred of Shi’ites. The “maximum pressure” on Iran counts on Jared of Arabia Kushner’s close WhatsApp pal Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) in Riyadh and MbS’s mentor in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed, to replace the shortfall of Iranian oil in the market. Bu that’s nonsense — as quite a few wily Persian Gulf traders are adamant Riyadh won’t “absorb Iran’s market share” because the extra oil is not there.

Much of what lies ahead in the oil embargo saga depends on the reaction of assorted vassals and semi-vassals. Japan won’t have the guts to go against Washington. Turkey will put up a fight. Italy, via Salvini, will lobby for a waiver. India is very complicated; New Delhi is investing in Iran’s Chabahar port as the key hub of its own Silk Road, and closely cooperates with Tehran within the INSTC framework. Would a shameful betrayal be in the cards?

China, it goes without saying, will simply ignore Washington.

Iran will find ways to get the oil flowing because the demand won’t simply vanish with a magic wave of an American hand. It’s time for creative solutions. Why not, for instance, refuel ships in international waters, accepting gold, all sorts of cash, debit cards, bank transfers in rubles, yuan, rupees and rials — and everything bookable on a website?

Now that’s a way Iran can use its tanker fleet to make a killing. Some of the tankers could be parked in — you got it — the Strait of Hormuz, with an eye on the price at Jebel Ali in the UAE to make sure this is the real deal. Add to it a duty free for the ships crews. What’s not to like? Ship owners will save fortunes on fuel bills, and crews will get all sorts of stuff at 90 percent discount in the duty free.

And let’s see whether the EU has grown a spine  and really turbo-charge their Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) alternative payment network conceived after the Trump administration ditched the JCPOA. Because more than breaking up Eurasia integration and implementing neocon regime change, this is about the ultimate anathema; Iran is being mercilessly punished because it has bypassed the U.Sdollar on energy trade.

Pepe Escobar, a veteran Brazilian journalist, is the correspondent-at-large for Hong Kong-based Asia Times. His latest book is 2030.” Follow him on Facebook.

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119 comments for “PEPE ESCOBAR: War on Iran & Calling America’s Bluff

  1. Jahaziel Bonilla Rivera
    April 28, 2019 at 12:00

    When the US is not waging economic warfare then it is waging actual military invasions and aggression. This has been the hallmark of American imperial behavior during the 20th and early 21st. centuries. A global “thug” dressed as a bastion of “democracy”. An Empire that has the highest rates of poverty domestically, the worst educational system for working class people and the highest rates of debt by it’s citizens (credit cards and student loans) not to mention the federal government 20 trillion debt. Working people are surviving in the belly of the beast (United States) by scraping by with stagnant wages, minimal health care coverage and ever diminishing prospects at higher education due to a for profit university system that relegates working people to minimum wage jobs that are not really minimum wage if we factor the rates of inflation and the ever rising cost of living. Having stated these non debatable facts the Empire goes around promoting itself as a model of “Peace, Prosperity and Democracy” to those ignorant enough to believe such crass propaganda….Wanting to impose Neo-liberal policies that only benefit at most 5% of the US population yet you have people making comments here about how great we “Americans are” and how corrupt all other countries are. China, Russia, Turkey, Iran etc. have nothing to learn from the US Empire as they have been around much longer and have committed their own mistakes in their own development and China is not bleeding their treasury waging wars of conquest to hold on to monetary global control (Petro-dollar) like the US. The domestic deterioration of the quality of life for US citizens (homelessness, restricted access to medical coverage, High rates of drug abuse, high crime rates and the worshiping of the “Gun Culture”) are true indicators of the decline of the American Empire. The rest of the World is wise to drop the dollar and embark (already happening) on other means of international currency exchange to have mutually beneficial two way trade as opposed to the “I”ll make you an offer you can’t refuse” from the Mafiosi foreign policy cartel of the American Empire……

    • Jerry Polverino
      April 30, 2019 at 10:16

      Excellent and accurate assessment. How sad that the average American believes the propaganda in our schools and media, that somehow in spite of all of our wars upon largely innocent nations, we are the good guys.

  2. Cesear'sGhost
    April 27, 2019 at 14:47

    Pepe the biased journalist that hates the West but never questions autocratic totalitarian regimes that repress their own people is nothing more than a mouthpiece of propaganda for anti-democratic regimes If China executed the entire Uighur population Pepe would spin it in a positive way. Careful Pepe you might end up like that charlatan Assange with your hate on for the West. Best of luck and watch your back son

    • zan
      April 27, 2019 at 23:03

      luckily saudi doesnt fit your description. lolol.

    • Jazman
      May 3, 2019 at 12:39

      Pure crap that is your comment . Uigurs firs of all are very active in ISIS and they represent one of biggest group of international terrorist . Have you ask question to you who control them ? There is numerous lies about concentration camps for Muslims in China
      All lies coming from Western MSM

  3. Casey Jones
    April 26, 2019 at 22:13

    I can’t believe all the weak cries and fear mongering in the comments here. I seriously doubt Iran will make any bold moves that will provoke war. They are sniveling cowards who always resort to small sneak attacks on soft targets. They are not and never have been a real global threat without Russia backing them up. We will destroy anything they can throw at us. The US isn’t dependent on Trump, our united forces will come together to execute a massive attack from multiple sides upon Iran along with Saudi Arabia and Israel, to destroy Iran similar to what happened in the Gulf Wars. Bring it on.

    • zan
      April 27, 2019 at 23:05

      ok, alexander the great. sounds like a sustainable position. lololol??????

  4. Dave Cursons
    April 26, 2019 at 14:09

    Here within a peaceful mountain valley in British Columbia, I tapped into Escobar with Gulf of Homuz Google entry. Broad analysis. Thanks. I’ll be back

  5. April 25, 2019 at 21:43

    The Escobar Eurasian perspective is especially true, and wildly important. I have no doubt the Greater TrumpKushner Business conglomerate is working with the Greater Putin/Chinese conglomerate to “corner” the vast mineral and oil wealth of the Asian continent. Oil is only one of the huge natural resource elements–uranium and allied precious metals are also at play. The Eurasian future is beyond frightening. The Kushner-Trump entangled family interests are intercontinental. Iran has historically been a third wheel in all this; playing the Strait of Hormuz “card” used to be its “ace in the hole”–guaranteed that the T/K/P plus China masters have planned how to control that card play. Four letter words barely begin to describe the depth of this corruption.

  6. Helen B
    April 25, 2019 at 17:04

    But where is General Ali Reza Asghari and his family?

  7. Joe L.
    April 25, 2019 at 16:26

    Yet another example of the US using the US Dollar (and international systems such as SWIFT) as a weapon. It also demonstrates why the US, or any other country, should not hold the reserve currency (which I believe is largely supported by the US Petrodollar). The world needs to move away from this system and no one country, or group of countries, should be able to wield such power again.

  8. Abe
    April 25, 2019 at 15:52

    “The objective of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards as terrorists and resurrecting the dubious US Army-Wikileaks claims that Iran is responsible for American deaths in Iraq is of course to criminalise the Iranian government in the eyes of the western, particularly American public. Criminalisation of the enemy is always a sign that an attack is coming. They painted Manuel Noriega as a criminal. They did the same with Slobodan Milosevic, with Saddam Hussein, with Muammar Ghaddafi. Negotiations, diplomacy are not possible with ‘criminals’ is the US refrain and their targets end up dead or in an American prison.

    “The same logic applies to Iran. They are portraying the Iranian government as criminals and no matter how much Iran bends its principles in order to avoid war it will never be enough so long as Iran tries to act as an independent country. The economic warfare will continue for as long as the Americans have the power to wage it.

    “The excuse will vary with the time and circumstance but the strategy will remain. This is war, illegal and immoral, against an entire people, for the private gains of the elites in the west whose only concern is to make profit at the expense of everyone else.

    “I have said this before but it needs repeating that I have used the word ‘sanction’ in parentheses because the word, ‘sanction,’ means the provision of rewards for obedience, along with punishment for disobedience, to a law. There are other meanings for the word but they all define the same condition; obedience to a master by his vassal, to a monarch by his subject, to a warden by his prisoner. The condition necessarily implies that the person applying the sanction is legally in a superior position to the person being sanctioned, that he has the right to apply the sanction and that there exists a system of laws in which the use of sanctions is permitted and agreed upon.

    “This is the definition yet every day we hear of the ‘sanctions’ imposed on Russia, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea for reasons that everyone knows are false, based on authority that does not exist, based on laws that have never been created, and by national governments that have only arrogance to support their grand presumption; that their nations are superior to others, that there is no equality or sovereignty of peoples, that their diktats are orders that must be obeyed by those who inferior to them.

    “Since the economic restrictions on banking, finance and trade set up against Iran by the United States and its subject states in the NATO alliance do not comply with the definition of sanctions, we have to use the correct term in describing these restrictions. There is only one word, and that word is, war and, since this form of warfare is not permitted by international law as found in the United Nations Charter they are economic war crimes, economic aggression for which a reckoning will one day have to be paid, one way or another.

    “t is in Chapter VII, Article 41 of the Charter that the power to completely or partially interrupt economic relations exists and only the Security Council can use that power. Nowhere else does this power exist.

    “Once again the issue comes back to the word war. It is clear that the attempted economic strangulation of Iran is an attempt to ‘punish’ Iran for defending its strategic position, independence and sovereignty. Once a war has started it can only proceed to its logical end. Iran has the legitimate right to defend itself against the economic warfare and threat of war presented by the United States for Iran is no one’s colony, and never will be.”

    Iran Is No One’s Colony
    By Christopher Black

  9. Raymond Knowles
    April 25, 2019 at 12:05

    It took “W” Bush six years into his term in office before he realized that the aggressive foreign policy advocated by Cheney and Rumsfeld had destroyed his legacy as president. The question is: how long will it take for Trump to realize the sanction-riddled, aggressive foreign policy pushed on him by the evil triangle of Pence-Pompeo-Boletin will destroy his presidency. We can already see the results of evil triangle destroying Trump’s outreach to North Korea, as Kim turns to Moscow.

    • Zhu
      April 26, 2019 at 03:55

      “,W” Bush hoped the Rapture would be his legacy.

  10. April 25, 2019 at 12:01

    “If the Trump regime miscalculates” the consequences could be catastrophic. The pattern of history shows that power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. As a result of the need and desire for power every civilization/nation eventually gets the war it is trying to avoid: utter defeat. Leaders and decision-makers delude themselves, thinking they can avoid that fateful war. History always proves them wrong.

  11. April 25, 2019 at 11:40

    One can’t help but wonder what the world might look like at this point in time if the West were not ruled by a bunch of greedy psychopathic idiots. There is simply NO rational or moral reason for the completely institutionalized ongoing use of illegal mass violence and mayhem that characterizes the U.S. and the West in general at this point in human history. The West has morphed into a “death cult.”

  12. maryam
    April 25, 2019 at 11:38

    Is there a reason that one of those NASA-doctored illustrations (of the Strait of Hormuz) is used for your article?

  13. Mehmood Mayet
    April 25, 2019 at 04:50

    Jews must force the draft on the Whities and attack the Shitites. Whites must die and fight for the glory of ZION?

  14. Jeff G.
    April 25, 2019 at 04:46

    Solution is dig a short canal across the base of the Bahrain peninsula, just like the Suez canal.

    • David G
      April 25, 2019 at 10:06

      I recommend you consult a map.

  15. Zhu
    April 25, 2019 at 00:59

    Mr Escobar, if you’re going to talk about Zionists and neocons, you should also become familiar Christian Zionists and Dispensationalist in the US. Even if you don’t like Hal Lindsey’s books.

  16. Zhu
    April 25, 2019 at 00:54

    This might be a good time to go big into renewables

    • JJ Joseph
      April 25, 2019 at 15:18

      Zhu, it’s not possible to make plastics from “renewables”.

      • April 26, 2019 at 03:44

        Quote, “Zhu, it’s not possible to make plastics from “renewables”.Unquote.
        That would be huge bonus for mother earth, in my view. Too much plastic pollution everywhere now. Look on the bright side, without further manufacture of plastics from oil, it would raise the issue of recycling plastics to a new level.

      • David G
        April 27, 2019 at 10:28

        “In materials science labs and design studios around the world, people are working on an entire civilisation built from wood. In this future, steel, concrete, plastics and even electronics have been felled by wood. Wooden cars ply streets towered over by wooden skyscrapers with wooden windows. Wooden aeroplanes fly overhead powered by wooden batteries. People wear wooden clothes and use mobile phones made from wood. It may sound like toy town, but it is deadly serious.”

        – “Welcome to the Age of Wood” by Graham Lawton, New Scientist magazine, March 16-22, 2019

      • Ryan L
        May 3, 2019 at 14:30

        Actually you can. Hemp is s renewable resource and you can make plastics from Hemp seed oil.

  17. Quodlicetiovi
    April 25, 2019 at 00:33

    Outstanding commentary! Spot on.

  18. April 24, 2019 at 22:14

    I feel obliged to add this short fact to an important article with its comments. I am an ex-officer of the Iranian Air Force, educated in USA and Iran. I obeyed my father’s wish though experienced a lot of hardship during both pre and after 1979 Iranian regimes.
    Iran is my home, not my government, so I flew my plane during the imposed war. I flew for two continuous years and willing accepted all the dangers. I obeyed what my dad told his children. This is what most of the fathers have told their Iranian children (mainly to their sons.)
    Dad said: “I will send all of my sons to the fronts to fight the enemy, in case we face any attack. If you are all martyred and gone I will go to the front and defend my home. Then, if I die, the enemy can cross our borders and enter our home; we will not let them in while alive.”

    • April 26, 2019 at 03:45

      That’s why America can never win a war against such solid nations.

  19. ZiRan
    April 24, 2019 at 19:04

    They said it long time ago:
    Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran
    One light-motif was. We tried all with these Iranians They are just “un-negotiable” and irrational

  20. anti_republocrat
    April 24, 2019 at 18:05

    Dear Iran, this is going to hurt US far more than it’s going to hurt you. US petrol refineries depend on the heavy grades of oil formerly supplied by Venezuela, but Venezuela is no longer shipping it heavy oil to the US since the US has impounded payments for past shipments. Instead, Venezuela is shipping to Russia and China at a discount. Of course this hurts Venezuela, but on the other hand where will the US get the heavy oil it needs? I’m not expert on the various grades available from where, but I’ve heard the Gulf grades are lighter while Russia has some of the heavier grades. Russia is exporting some of those heavier grades, but demanding a premium price.

    US pundits make a big deal of US fracking and the fact that it exports oil now, but the oil it exports is light. It still needs heavier grades for its refineries. This will not end well for the US traveling public.

    • geeyp
      April 24, 2019 at 23:41

      Yes anti_, it is always the people of the world that do the suffering for the misdeeds of the “top” few. I wish their un-calculated risk only affected them and not, always, us.

    • April 25, 2019 at 00:24

      Correct, these refineries depend on HEAVY CRUDE from Venezuela. Next item is, who do these refineries belong to? These HEAVU CRUDE processing refineries belong to Venezuela. Stepping back a some decades with the vassals of the US running Venezuela for Washington they decided to ship the HEAVY CRUDE to the US and do the refining in the US. No need to go into all the different products that refining of crude produces, rest assured there are many of them.
      At 90 now a retired oil patch maintenance engineer.

    • maryam
      April 25, 2019 at 11:40

      Canada has heavy graded oil.

      • JJ Joseph
        April 25, 2019 at 15:25

        maryam, Canada’s heavy crude has been blocked by the American environmental groups who are busy obstructing pipelines. By using environmentalists to obstruct Canada’s heavy oil exports, the USA gets Canada’s oil at deep discount prices.

    • Jeff G.
      April 25, 2019 at 13:32

      Heavier oil comes from Alberta tar sands, according to investigative reporter Greg Palast. Koch refineries on Texas coast take only heavy oil. This is the only reason for the intense push for the expensive Excel pipeline across the US from Canada since Venezuela won’t sell to them anymore. That’s the only other place, says Palast. All this to serve the oiligarch Koch Brothers’ refineries. More Socialism for the rich.

  21. April 24, 2019 at 17:33

    Baring a major conflict which will be disastrous! The United States will have to accommodate a multi polar world it has no choice!

  22. rosemerry
    April 24, 2019 at 16:20

    Pepe is a ray of hope.
    I am furious that the EU seems to be doing nothing with the SPV. If large numbers of nations, like China, just refused to obey the USA it could not continue its blackmail and destruction. Do not give in to the bullying- the USA has done enough damage already, and Iran has kept to rules and treaties while the USA rejects any international laws.

  23. mike k
    April 24, 2019 at 15:56

    War is unpredictable and very volatile. Those who play at it in the nuclear age are fools playing with fire they cannot control.

  24. AJ
    April 24, 2019 at 15:54

    about half of it is inherited, and a history of childhood abuse is completely lacking in some sociopaths

  25. AJ
    April 24, 2019 at 15:21

    The eldest members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard probably were trained in the USA as youngsters under the Shah, and retained precisely because of their youth after the Shah was deposed. Wonder what their thoughts are today?

  26. ernesto
    April 24, 2019 at 15:11

    i sincerely doubt that the empire starts confrontation with iran before they have free access to venezuelan gas

    • vinnieoh
      April 24, 2019 at 17:25

      And if the US should, through undeniable and unstoppable economic and military realities, withdraw from the greater ME, then I shudder for the malicious spite and frustration the imperialists of this country will visit upon our neighbors in this hemisphere. I am sorry: utterly black and stifling pessimism and negativity have overtaken me of late, which is why I haven’t posted lately. Have tried to adhere to the dictum that, if you can’t say anything good, then best to say nothing at all.

      Thanks to Pepe for all his good work. I believe before the worst of what mother nature has in store for us develops, we will already be in a state of global war for control of oil. Some believe that the oil wars have already happened: not so, only just a prelude.

      • Sam F
        April 25, 2019 at 07:36

        As to being overtaken with pessimism and negativity, note that as leaves on a dying tree in the forest of democracies, we can reflect that the processes of nature make their slow progress regardless of our circumstance. The failure of the US to protect democracy from corruption by an unregulated market economy is tragic, but it is not our failure. It is not even our future, which inevitably is to join and improve the universal mind of humanity. The US will pass in history as a darkened cloud, of no ultimate concern but as an example of error.

      • Broompilot
        April 26, 2019 at 03:43

        I’m with you Vinnie. He who increases knowledge increases sorrow (Ecclesiastes, somewhere). Sadly, ignorance is bliss. The more you learn about the sorry state of affairs, the more difficult it is to be light hearted, about anything. And as anxious as some of us here in the USA feel about our governments actions, it is hard to imagine the fortitude required by survivors of our actions under ridiculous pretenses (oops, we thought he had WMDs. Oh well, water under the bridge. Lets move on. ) to go on with lives where their countries, cultures, futures and family have been all but destroyed, when faith may be all that’s left.

      • Bart Hansen
        April 26, 2019 at 12:37

        Amen, Vinnie.

        Could the generals stop the madness? What would it take for them to act?

  27. April 24, 2019 at 14:41

    Missiles aimed down the throat of the Strait of Hormuz are only part of the Iranian threat to shipping through the Strait. Iran also has very large fleets of fast patrol boats and mini-submarines, both capable of laying explosive mines.

    Shipping mines are a very large threat. U.S. Navy tests only a very few years ago in mine detection and removal were a dismal failure, with only 2 of some 20 test mines detected. The tests all but testified that if mines were laid in the Strait, it would take substantial time to remove them, and because of the missile threat to ships in the Strait, that work could not feasibly begin before a cease-fire.

    Who needs nukes with that kind of deterrent?

    • David G
      April 27, 2019 at 10:45

      Neglect of mundane but essential tasks like minesweeping is typical of the bloated Pentagon.

      One of the U.S. military’s saving graces is its corruption: if that gargantuan budget were being prudently spent to create a peerless fighting force, rather than to perpetuate DoD’s actual existing empire of vanity and embezzlement, the world would be in even worse shape.

  28. Abe
    April 24, 2019 at 14:33

    Calling Israel’s Bluff:

    If the pro-Israel Lobby managed Trump regime miscalculates, the house will easily come crashing down on Israel’s head.

  29. Abe
    April 24, 2019 at 14:12

    In “The Iran ‘Threat’ in a Kafkaesque World” (2012), Edward S. Herman and David Peterson examined the “extreme application of the double standard” by the United States in the Middle East:

    “U.S. ally and client Israel had from the start received active assistance developing its nuclear capability, and with the help of the United States, France, and Germany, it has built up a substantial arsenal since. This includes some 150-250 nuclear warheads (the exact number is unknown) plus delivery systems by land, sea, air, and ballistic missile. And throughout more than forty years of such unparalleled help, Israel refused to sign the NPT and subject itself to IAEA inspections and was never pressed to do so. A secret agreement was even struck between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1969 under which the United States agreed to accept – and remain silent about – Israel’s nuclear weapons program. This agreement, often referred to as the ‘U.S.-Israeli nuclear understanding,’ was reaffirmed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May 2009. Netanyahu boasted about it in September that same year after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) summit, telling Israel’s Channel 2 television station that at his meeting with Obama in May, he ‘asked to receive from him an itemized list of the strategic understandings that have existed for many years between Israel and the United States on that issue.’ Obama had obliged. In effect, ‘The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card,’ one Senate staffer told the Washington Times.

    “So thoroughly built-in is this double standard that when the IAEA’s General Conference in Vienna in September 2009 voted forty-nine to forty-five to adopt a binding resolution that ‘calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards’ – in other words, that Israel’s nuclear weapons program was to be treated the same as Iran’s civilian nuclear program – the English-language media observed near total silence about the event. The only major newspaper that reported it was the next-day’s Irish Times, and nothing showed up in any major U.S. print media.

    “Similarly unmentioned is the fact that the United States is itself in violation of the NPT (as is every member of the Founding Five states – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China – that tested a nuclear weapon prior to 1 January 1967). Article VI of the NPT requires that all parties to the treaty ‘pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.’ But the Founding Five have not done this. The United States has openly striven to upgrade its nuclear weapons to make their use more practicable in conventional warfare settings, and both the United States and NATO have publicly declared the importance that the Alliance attaches to a ‘credible’ nuclear posture ‘to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.’ Nevertheless, in a Kafkaesque moment, UNSC Resolution 1887, adopted with much fanfare during the opening week of the UNGA’s 2009 session in September, called upon the ‘Parties to the NPT’ to live up to the treaty’s ‘nuclear arms reduction and disarmament’ demands. Indicative of the depth of the institutionalized reality-denial was the fact that the rampant violations and double standards in no way tempered the indignation of the United States and its allies concerning Iran’s alleged NPT violations.”

    The late professor Herman (died 11 November 2017) was a distinguished scholar, political economist, and media analyst/critic, best known for developing the propaganda model of media criticism (co-authored with Noam Chomsky) in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988).

    The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Herman and Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in mass media. The model explains how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social, and political policies is “manufactured” in the public mind due to this propaganda.

    According to the propaganda model, the way in which news is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest that acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

  30. April 24, 2019 at 14:10

    “The Trump administration once again has graphically demonstrated that in the young, turbulent 21st century, “international law” and “national sovereignty” already belong to the Realm of the Walking Dead.”

    Well said. Previous administrations, while doing some of the same things, simply manipulated international law and sovereignty. Trump is clumsier and just flouts or ignores it.

    Let’s hope the whole world rebels against our economic bullying and neither they or us are hurt too much in the process. I am proud of the nation but our leaders are a sorry bunch and think their job is to engage in an endless election campaign. The media loves this cash cow behavior. We are full bore on the candidates almost two years before the election!

  31. April 24, 2019 at 13:37

    Well said, well said. I agree. How can anyone who would risk nuclear war and the end of human civilization be considered anything but mentally ill????

    These people belong in a locked ward, not running the biggest military death machine in planetary history.

  32. Pablo Diablo
    April 24, 2019 at 13:36

    USA is an Empire in decline. War with Iran might just finish them off.

  33. April 24, 2019 at 13:33

    Another administration that has watched too many John Wayne movies. And just like The Duke, who fought WWII from the Hollywood back lots, they have never heard a shot fired in anger. A bunch of overgrown bullies who think that they can dictate to the 6.7 million people in the rest of the world.

    Of course what WILL happen, sooner or later, is the rest of the world is just going to say “f-you” to the USA, use their own banks, their own oil, etc. and treat America as the pariah it has been for decades.

    I’ve been disgusted with the stupidity of Russiagate, but frankly, maybe Trump IS a Russian agent (or Chinese agent, or Indian agent, or Iranian agent.) Because he and his crew of Flying Monkeys are doing their utter best to destroy American both at home and aboad.

    • Richard Kean
      April 24, 2019 at 18:23

      That’s 6.7 Billion, and Trump is an Israeli Agent

    • geeyp
      April 24, 2019 at 23:53

      Delores Cordell – One of the most important articles/piece on this yet, on P.C.R. Institute for Political “The Three Purposes of Russiagate”. Everyone needs to read this short, comprehensive work.

    • anon4d2
      April 25, 2019 at 07:24

      All factions of the US oligarchy betray its people: zionists, MIC, WallSt, neocons. They have no humanity, and their interests injure humanity.

    • Zhu
      April 26, 2019 at 04:10

      Truman agent of Trump.

      • Zhu
        April 26, 2019 at 04:11

        We Americans, no one else, are responsible for Trump.

  34. David Otness
    April 24, 2019 at 13:24

    Those many who snigger and snicker haughtily at “notions” of warring-behind-the-scenes, internecine vying-for-dominance ‘Western’ factions, the ‘deep state’ as it were—those not believing it really is cabalistic ‘think tanks’ and such that are responsible for having wrought the world’s current political existential crises to todays’ critical points—are on the verge of an abrupt comeuppance.

    The dark side of human nature, its antithesis to hoped-for human harmony, is here and now: those who seek to dominate all others, and in a feat of highest, repetively-wrought propaganda, even as they are both the most opaque in their sociopathy, their desires of further conflict in achieving their ultimate goals via overt aggression are played out, paraded even, to an accepting and gullible U.S. citizenry .
    It is that domineering subset of humanity that prods us toward disaster from behind the curtains of our illusions of ‘exceptionalism,’ and they’ve been dug in and workng steadily away toward this goal since the signal years of 1947 and 1948.
    I’ll leave it to you to figure out the significance of those dates.

  35. Rubby2
    April 24, 2019 at 13:13

    The Elite Powers in the US are all very aware their Empire is in “Chaos” territory that ALL Empires experience before they die. (Giovanni Arrighi: Chaos & Governance In Modern Times). Result: the Empire lashes out violently against its emerging “Enemies” like China, Russia and the entire One Belt One Road advancements.

    It’s no accident that should issues not work out for the US in the hotly contested Hormuz Straits; they have already put Maduro on notice in Venezuela – a huge crude supplier of oil.

    As the US Elites continue to flounder and lash out more and more, just remember, this chaos is simply symptomatic of the dying Empire. It can’t happen soon enough. As for the hapless American public – they deserve their Fate.

    • David Otness
      April 24, 2019 at 13:34

      China—wth an estimated $61 billion invested in VZA, is already working on taking much of VZA’s oil.
      Russia is working on actual field operations there.

    • AJ
      April 24, 2019 at 15:32

      The hapless American public has had no control over the levers of power in Washington for a long time, it was wrested away by the billionaires and other elites, many of whom will undoubtedly escape to globalist-friendlier (at least for their money) areas if the balloon goes up. As usual, it will be those without resources who pay the heaviest price. Is this Fate deserved? Not for the vast majority, those who deserve it will escape it.

  36. Joe
    April 24, 2019 at 13:05

    You obviously support Iran’s terrorism across this world and refuse to acknowledge their crimes in several countries (ie. Iraq, United Emeritus, Yemen, Netherlands etc.), least of which has been the development of illegal Uranium enrichment facilities in Syria. Thank goodness Putin has enough foresight to allow Israel to bomb those types of facilities in Syria or we’d likely already be in WWIII. This is to say nothing about the brutal Iranian regime that inflicts constant inhumane policies upon their own people who want to break free from the Mullah billionaires that control their political system. Pompeo might not be my choice either but until Trump finds a reason to get rid of him as well as Bolton and Haspel, they’ll continue to be Trump’s bulldogs.

    • anti_republocrat
      April 24, 2019 at 18:20

      It was Iranian trained militia units comprised not only of Shia, but Sunni and Christian as well, who finally defeated ISIS in Iraq. Iran has never had a significant presence in Yemen, since Yemen is isolated from Iran by water. It provides mainly diplomatic support for the Houthis. Saudi forces have found no large stashes of Iranian weapons in Yemen, though Syria has found tons of Western weaponry in recently liberated areas of Syria. Terrorist attacks in Europe, which I presume you are referring to by mentioning Netherlands, were carried out by Salafist (Sunni) terrorists inspired by Saudi ideology, not by Shia. The Manchester bombing was carried out by the son of an LIFG terrorist sponsored by MI6 who was allowed to travel unhindered from UK to MENA. Western governments and media have been lying to you for 70 years. Wake up!

      • Ariel Ky
        April 25, 2019 at 15:20

        I’m glad that you were able to take on that remark and sort out the truth of it. I was flabbergasted by his allegations when I read it.

    • Truth first
      April 24, 2019 at 19:31

      Damn those Iranians. Killed millions since WW2, exported trillions in killing equipment, overthrew numerous democracies, taught many countries how to ‘solve’ problems by killing people, spends 60% of their federal budget on the military.
      Opps, my bad, that’s the good old USA!!

    • anon4d2
      April 24, 2019 at 19:43

      No one believes that much trash; I challenge you to document any of it:
      1. Iran “terrorism”;
      2. Iran “crimes” in “Iraq, United Emeritus[sic], Yemen, Netherlands”;
      3. “illegal Uranium enrichment facilities in Syria”;
      4. Iran government “inhumane policies upon their own people”;
      5. Iranians (beyond US/KSA terrorists) seeking “freedom” therefrom;
      6. “Mullah billionaires that control their political system.”
      The only explanation is that you are a zionist troll.
      Did they fool you that you would get rewards you will never see?
      Only the greatest fool believes that everyone else can easily be fooled.

      • Zhu
        April 26, 2019 at 04:20

        Unfortunately, scapegoating Zionism is not an improvement on scapegoating Iranian terrorists. We Americans are responsible for our leaders, their wars and crimes.

        • anon4d2
          April 26, 2019 at 09:55

          Zionism is a major factor, not a mere scapegoat: study the evidence rather than presume.

  37. April 24, 2019 at 12:49

    Thank you Mr. Escobar. Your work is always first class. The match is already kindled and Americans will soon realize that the lamps are indeed going out. Blowback from this escalating madness will teach America that they have been hitched to a falling star by deception. The price of gas at the pump will be the least of our concerns. Iran does not intend to be a sitting duck and who could blame them?Beware those who cry Shalom and perpetuate war.

  38. Sam F
    April 24, 2019 at 12:46

    The US cannot win an military or economic victory against Iran, but its zionist/WallSt/MIC/neocon factions regard military confrontation in the Gulf as a victory for themselves, and will ignore the economic disruption of the US as less than their gains. A military confrontation in the Gulf would be an historic marker of the corruption of the US government to serve those factions.

    Trump no longer needs a real war to gain election, nor a special win for those factions: bully-boy threats, payoffs to the MIC, and favors for Israel have worked so far, despite their serious damage to the US. The Russiagate nonsense precludes the Dems demonizing Iran similarly, and they know their vulnerability to the facts that they are supported by zionists/KSA, which an attempted Irangate would expose. Much will depend upon the election fake show in late 2020, but it appears that the US can only hurt itself with more wars to advance its dictatorship, and this is becoming more obvious as war gets closer to Israel/KSA.

  39. Guy
    April 24, 2019 at 12:41

    ” For all practical purposes, the U.S. and Iran are at war.”
    Israelis must be wringing their hands with glee. All because Trump’s son in law is in deep with chabad . Iran was never a threat to the United States.

    • Peter
      April 24, 2019 at 13:24

      Iranian tribute has not been forthcoming. That is a threat to the world financial order. Whenever there is a financial transaction, the US must receive a piece of the revenue stream. Iran’s defiance before the entire world is indeed a threat.

  40. Eddie
    April 24, 2019 at 12:00

    Methinks the gang of dilletants in the Trump administration, especially the chicken hawks that are vociferously beating the war drums against a host of nations on numerous fronts, are in waters that are way too deep.

    After decades of allowing the US to run amok, the powerful Russians and Chinese have not been sitting on their hands. Indeed, both of these powerhouses have developed an array of high-technology weapons that should scare the living sh!t out of knowledgeable policymakers in the US.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 16:10

      I agree with you, Eddie. When the drums of war are beating, it is more important than ever to go within to the silence that prevails there. Then you will know the right moment to raise your voice so that it will be heard.

  41. Anon
    April 24, 2019 at 11:52

    Great article! Scary times indeed and it does appear that this Iran strategy is intended to derail the B & R Initiative while giving Bibi and the Saudis what they really want.

    The biggest user of oil on the planet is the USA Department of Defense so when the spigot is shut off, the rest of us will be waiting in line for 30 dollar a gallon gas. The biggest problem will be food shipments since all we Americans produce is soy and corn – and meat that nobody will be able to afford.

    The Neocons are just doubling down, once again. Could be their last wager.

    • April 24, 2019 at 13:41

      Agreed. But what no one seems to grasp is that for Big Oil, this is a win-win (a lose-lose for everyone else, of course.)

      If the oil supplies are reduced, Big Oil will just raise the price and make MORE money. Just the threats to Iran have raised gas prices.

      Of course, the ultimate irony is that this black goo we are addicted to looks like it’s going to get us all killed – either slowly or quickly. The Planet’s Revenge.

      • JJ Joseph
        April 25, 2019 at 16:08

        Dolores, if it wasn’t “black goo” it would be something else, like canola oil or plywood, or even coconuts. Anything that could be captured by adventurists-for-hire with guns.

  42. Jeff Harrison
    April 24, 2019 at 11:51

    Thank you, Pepe. American hubris is in full sail. The regime in Washington is under the misimpression that the Iranian people don’t support their government. An attack on Iran would not be met with dancing in the street as our invasion of Iraq was. Plus, you need to consider two of my favorite quotations from Will Rodgers. 1. If you teach a dog or a human a lesson in meanness, don’t be surprised if they learn it. Iran got that lesson in our Iran Iraq war. And that’s why they told the EU and the US to go piss up a rope when France made noises about Iran’s missile program. 2. If you get to feeling like you can throw your weight around, be prepared to have someone throw it around for you. In war games the US Navy conducted a few years ago, the red team (i.e. the Iranians) admiral, using tactics that the Iranians were showing they might use, beat the blue team (i.e. the US). Much to the US Navy’s disbelief.

    The US is making a full scale run at global hegemony. Thankfully, it’s being done by a clueless incompetent so it is likely to fail. That doesn’t help the fact that a lot of people can get hurt including Americans and, frankly, Americans haven’t been hurt by America’s imperialistic adventures since Vietnam.

    • April 24, 2019 at 13:45

      Actually, we HAVE been hurt by these wars. Not in blood – so the middle class remains quiescent. But the trillions upon trilloins squander on death and destruction have left middle America in tatters.

      BTW: How do these destroyers getting away with calling themselves “conservatives” when they “conserve” nothing and all they want to do is blow things up????

  43. April 24, 2019 at 10:31

    I’m not telling the CN readers anything new, but if the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) is able to lead the American public into a war with the Persian state it’ll be the biggest crime against humanity in 50 years. People have no idea how ugly that potential battle would be. To make a quick side point that would be the least of it all: gas in the U.S. would shoot up to about $7 per gallon. The casualties that the hard pressed American soldiers would suffer would be way, way beyond anything they sustained in Afghanistan or Iraq. And the biggest victims would be by far the Iranian civilians. This war would NOT be for American oil companies and it would NOT be to keep the American homeland safe — it would be totally for a paranoid and hegemonic Tel Aviv.

    Now here’s the thing: once the ZPC really gets the vilification and demonization train rolling against Iran and gins up the heads millions of Americans to attack Iran, it’s imperative that the few of us who know the score speak out against the warmongering pro-Israel zealots, we must do so even in the face of the massive smear campaigns they’re expert at mounting. They will deem us rabid anti-Semites, irrational loons, etc. But we must not relent.

    For further reading:

    “Power of Israel in the United States” by James Petras
    “Against our better Judgment” by Alison Weir
    “Host and the Parasite” by Greg Felton
    “They Dare to Speak Out” by Paul Findley
    “Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power” by James Petras
    “Holocaust Industry” by Norman Finkelstein
    “Wandering Who?” Gilad Atzmon

    • Guy
      April 24, 2019 at 13:00

      Thanks for the list.Read most of them . A few to add :
      “Zionism ,the Real Enemy of the Jews” by the late Alan Hart
      “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Ilan Pappe
      “From Yahweh to Zion” by Laurent Guyénot
      “Judaism’s Strange Gods” by Michael Hoffman

      and a special treat for the faux Christian zionists:
      “Forcing the Hand of God” by Grace Halsell

    • Sam F
      April 24, 2019 at 13:07

      Best for Iran/Russia/India/China to draw KSA away from the US with alternate markets, into an alliance mediated perhaps by China. It is hard to believe that any Gulf state, so vulnerable in economy and facilities, would dare engage in direct conflict with the others, with nothing to gain and everything to lose. Astounding that the Sunnis and Shiites still cannot see that their disunity is their weakness. But if the US provokes war, Iran could retaliate against KSA oil facilities and tankers if it feared an Israeli nuclear response.

      Likely the people of the US will increasingly see that the ZPC opposes their interests as its wars get closer to Israel/KSA, and high fuel prices will likely spark a Yellow Vest movement here, reducing Trump’s following.

      The books of Alison Weir, Paul Findlay, and James Petras were worth reading, as no doubt are the others.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 16:21

      You need to balance out your perspective with the realization that the U.S. economy has become militarized. Wall Street profits are largely driven by financing military expenditures and investments in interoperability readiness for a huge number of countries., to say nothing of the large armaments corporations such as Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrup Grumann, and United Technologies Corporation, each with profits between one to five billion annually. The expenditure in ongoing war games and other military preparedness outlays alone is staggering, not only in terms of dollars, but also the energy costs of fueling ships, planes, tanks, trucks, etc. All of these Type A personalities in the U.S. who profit from the war game are not going to roll over just because the majority of Americans want peace. They’re at the top of the heap the way it is, and it doesn’t matter to them that the heap is a pile of corpses.

      • anon
        April 26, 2019 at 10:08

        The MIC goes where the zionists point: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Ukraine. Do you really not suspect the nation at the middle of all that? Cui bono? Are you really unaware that elections and mass media are controlled by zionists? That is not a “balanced” perspective, it is zionism. Turn off the TV and beware.

  44. jeff davis
    April 24, 2019 at 10:25

    Trump has executive authority. Taking that final step to actual “kenetic” — as contrasted with financial war — is his decision to make or decline. I believe Trump will go full bluster, like he did with NK, but WILL NOT go to war, at least not willingly. And that last caveat is the big one, because those who want war will not hesitate to try to maneuver Trump into a position where ***they believe*** he will have no choice — he will be forced — to go to war.

    Many people believe Trump is stupid, and consequently unable to outplay the manipulation of the war-mongers — Neocons primarily. I don’t believe he is at all stupid, but frankly, I cannot with confidence say that he can beat the Neocons in their attempt to “force” him into the wars they want. So in my mind, that matter remains dangerously uncertain. My hope — and at this point it’s just hope — is that he sees the game, and is giving the war-mongers the rope with which to hang themselves. That he will allow them to bring the US to the brink of war, and when sphincters the world over are tightened to the max, Trump will play the Hero Card, and condemn the war-mongers for their recklessness and failure, and discredit and fire them.

    Brinkmanship against, not the Russians and Chinese and Iranians, but rather against the war-mongers, who are the real enemy of peace.

    Good luck.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 18:03

      I think you are fantasizing about Trump and what he might do. You really want him to be the good guy, but he’s not.

    • Broompilot
      April 26, 2019 at 04:08

      Jeff, I have entertained the same hopes but The Artful Dealer is giving away the store to Netanyahu and getting nothing in return that we can see. Deluded Democrats thought he was a Russian mole, but Israeli mole looks more likely.

    • PJ London
      April 26, 2019 at 09:56

      You are joking.
      “US troops will be out of Syria by the end of the month.”
      “I will send troops to the border.”
      The Pentagon runs the US. If DoD spending stops or even drops by a minor % then US economy implodes.
      The only way to maintain the US manufacturing, electronics and IT industries, is to make weapons and impose them on their ‘allies’.
      The fact that the Russians and now the Chinese and OMG the Iranians are making weapons that can outperform the US is the end.
      You are watching the death throes of the USA empire. It is not pretty.

  45. Anarcissie
    April 24, 2019 at 10:20

    It seems to me that Mr. Trump does not operate according to a coherent policy or ideology, except perhaps the glorification of his person and expansion of his wealth. Instead, just as I would expect a New York City real estate maven to do, he zigs and then he zags, based on chance, opportunity, threat, and intuition. A highly destructive war with Iran, which would have many uncertain outcomes, does not seem to serve his likely purposes, although it would gratify some of the psychopathic thugs who work for him. So what is he up to? My wild guess is that he is getting or expects to get some kind of payoff (from Mr. Adelson, perhaps?) for seeming to ramp up hostilities with Iran, and then, when he gets it, to flip into peace and friendship mode. Both the money and the flip could be useful at election time if played at the right time in the right order. Remember that while Mr. Adelson and his kind have a sort of primitive tribal ethic (blind Israeli nationalism) Mr. Trump does not — he is out for Number One at all times. Thus he can con people who, like Mr. Adelson, have exposed hostages to fortune.

    This is not to say that a miscalculation could not set off a catastrophe. But Mr. Trump is probably willing to take such risks, especially since most of the lives and fortunes risked will not be his own. He certainly does not care about the populations of Israel, Iran, Arabia, or the U.S.

    • ML
      April 24, 2019 at 12:17

      Good comment, Anarcissie. I think you are spot-on correct.

    • David Otness
      April 24, 2019 at 13:54

      You forget—or leave out, Anarcissie– Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, is his chief advisor. Trump’s daughter converted to Judaism.
      And Kushner comes from an ultra-Zionist family, one that welcomes Netanyahu to stay with them whenever he’s visiting NYC. The family gave him Jared’s bedroom to stay in while “in town” when Trump’s chief advisor was a kid.
      It’s all much deeper intrigue than it appears on the surface, with Israel and Mossad holding more cards than most are willing to imagine. The capital move to Jerusalem, recognizing Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights, Netanyahu’s publicly stating to the world his contemplated annexation of the West Bank…
      Think on it.

    • April 24, 2019 at 13:55

      Good analysis. I agree that Trump is unlikely to actually take military action against Iran – unless, of course, his psychopathic thugs (perfect description) like Bolton and Pompeo tease him into it. Trump is a narcissist and unlike to do anything to risk his own neck or those of his family.

      Trump is like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in “Fantasia” – exercising power over which he has virtually no knowledge or control.

      Frankly, I think there has been a slo-mo military coup going on in the USA for years. Read Daniel Ellsberg’s new book “The Doomsday Machine.” The President is NOT the only one who can launch nukes. When Ellsberg and a colleague from Rand went to see “Dr. Strangelove” when it first came out, he reports that they left the theater saying, “OMG. It’s a documentary!”

      Bottomline on Trump: Cowardly bully egged on by psychopaths. Uh oh.

  46. Marilyn Goodman
    April 24, 2019 at 10:11

    Great article Pepe, always read and learn a lot from your writing. Dont mess with the Iranians,they have had enough of being pushed around since Mossadeq. Mind blowing arrogance on behalf of the pompous Pompeo, just who do they think they are? The futile thrashing around of a dying empire, very sisister and very dangerous.

  47. DW Bartoo
    April 24, 2019 at 07:23

    Pepe Escobar is always much appreciated.

    Suppose gasoline prices were to increase five or ten-fold.

    Can you imagine what USians would do were a gallon of gas, now about $3.00/gallon for regular, where I live, in rural central Pennsylvania, where no mass transit options are available, where automobiles and trucks (gas and diesel) are the sole means of transport?

    Were gasoline prices to reach five or ten times the current price per gallon, then what would happen?

    The big oil companies would be flooded with profit, oil from places other than Iran would be, shall we say, coveted, and nations such as Venezuela would be “on the table”, up for grabs by … well, the US and their little yapping heel-dogs slavering for the thrill of the hunt and the tearing down of the “trophy”.

    In the immediate consequence, however “good” or even “great” such a price hike would be for the few, it would “naturally” have serious and destructive effects for the many, especially those significant numbers of USisns who have still not recovered from the fraudulent behavior of the bailed-out and well-rewarded banksters and Wall Street financial and corporate classes.

    Presumably the media/academia/military/corporate/intelligence agencies would have a field day, puffed up with “purpose” and lucrative prospects.

    How long would be sustained the patriotic jubilation in Mudville?

    Consider, were gasoline prices to rise so such heights, would not all things, starting with food, also quickly cost more? Would not all things transported by machines dependent upon fossil fuel energy cost more, even a whole lot more?

    Now,I realize that most USians care little about thinkingnabout or discussing policy, any more than the political class wants the many to think or talk about such things, better the many not understand that policies determine outcomes, even unintended outcomes.
    Better the many believe it is bad actors, or greedy socialists, or simply immigrant hordes who upset complacency and comfort.

    Before the corporate Democrats, and captured or fake “progressives” (whatever that term might be imagined to mean, as there seems no basic standard definition beyond the convenient use of the appellation) jump up and say, “Trump and his loonies are behind this!”, let it be remembered that such “policy” has been pursed by both right “wings” (and no other wings are permitted to flap) since before the end of WW II. This is nothing new. Beginning in 1953, with the US overthrow of Mossedegh, the installation of the Shah, and the establishment of Savak, the secret police force set up by the CIA, Iran has been on the table.

    And sanctions are merely war by other means.

    Recall the 500 thousand dead Iraqi children, all “worth it” according to Madeline Albright.

    Yes, the Empire is dying.

    But it still imagines that it is hale and hardy, sound of threat, and sane of mind.

    Even as it behaves with a disdain for life, even on the planetary scale and, let us be honest, the Empire does not give a shit about its own people whom it spies upon and despises as deplorable suckers willing to believe absolute rubbish about killing others, torturing others, and degrading others for “humanitarian” reasons that are sham covers for plunder, pillage, and profit.

    What do you think?

    • Skip Scott
      April 24, 2019 at 10:06

      I think one of the responses to a huge increase in oil prices would be that people would have to depend more on locally produced food, and cut way back on the buying of useless crap. In other words a sudden shift away from mindless consumerism, and a return to localized agrarian communities. In central Pennsylvania, the Amish would the fare the best of all.

      However, the scary part of the scenario is that the Empire would never settle for that. Remember W’s response in 2001 was for everyone to keep shopping “or the terrorists win”; the exact opposite of rationing and victory gardens as a response to WWII.

      I think it is important for the middle class to realize that the number on their 401K can very quickly become absolutely meaningless, and they are fools to put too much stock in it for their future wellbeing. Pensions and social security checks are also just as vulnerable. They are just numbers and paper, and you can’t live on either.

      The world is teetering on the edge of Armageddon, and the scariest thing of all is that many of Trump’s inner circle are Evangelicals rooting for it.

      • DW Bartoo
        April 24, 2019 at 14:07

        I agree with your well considered comment, Skip Scott.

        The sizable Amish communities would best deal with fuel privation, as would the smaller Mennonite communities.

        As a point of interest, the largest solar project in this area was undertaken by a Mennonite family-owned grocery store. The entire parking lot was, these last several months, covered over with solar panels mounted high on substantial posts. The store serves the entire community of people in the area, including Amish, Mennonite, and the rest of us, known to the Amish as “the English”.

        The Amish, Mennonite, and “English” who own farmland will be best able to provide for their own needs. The “English” local families, many of whom voted for Trump, in 2016, also have ties to the land and other survival skills and jobs often connected to local resources, will also weather rough times with an already existing network of connection and support.

        Whereas, the generally more “liberal” or “progressive” “English” who very often, now, will not even speak with neighbors who they suspect or know voted for Trump and, mostly, earn their living from the local university, Penn State, either directly or indirectly supplying the university community which is some twenty miles distant, have generally far more shallow local roots and fewer survival skills. This is a broad generalization and not applicable to quite a few who are well-respected by the other sub-communities for their service to and appreciation for the diversity of background and experience of others.

        Perhaps, it will be that seriously trying times will lead to deeper understanding and less a notion of dangerous difference among those most dependent upon both a personal sense of merit and the ready availability of affordable fuel, including heating fuels which many here have little choice but to rely on during what are sometimes harsh late fall, winter, and early spring seasons.

        If any group will panic or readily grasp at conspiracy straws, blaming Iran, Russia, or China for the stress, which one might point out, even at its worst will be far less destructive than the war conditions the US imposes on other people at the drop of false flag or outright lie.

        Many retail establishments at the fabled Malls of Freedom, where the terrorists will not daunt our patriotic right to spend, spend, spend are now closed as on-line shopping has captured many local dollars, especially among even peripheral members of the university community.

        There is a larger irony, of course,
        for Penn State was a land-grant college originally founded as “a farmers’ “high school” and its mission was to provide a “practical and liberal education, not to the elites, but to the rough-hewn laborers in the fields and forests.

        The very skills then valued and taught would have great practical value these days.

        Now, of course, the current corporate media, reduced over the past few decades from fifty more or less independent (financially at least) perspectives are nationally reduced to six relatively lock-step propaganda vehicles owned by those who use public relations firms (also owned by the 1%) to frame the permissible discourse such that concerns such as Pepe Escobar raises in this article, are not discussed or even presented as something worth thinking about.

        It is also “interesting” to compare and contrast the notion of what “community” means to the Amish and to the “English”,

        The Amish have control of the money in their communities, and a shared value system that sustains generations, clearly with some restraints that often chaif the young, and some even leave to join the larger “out there”.

        While, as you have do well described, the larger English community suffers from an increasing economic precarity and has yet to grasp its vulnerability to money over which the majority have no control whatever.

        And, of course, the Amish do not support war. Apparently not believing it just or productive, and being one of the reasons they formed into communities in certain regions of Europe even before coming to this country long before it gained its forever-war inspired title of the “Homeland”, a concept not seemly or peaceful, but exclusionary and linked to the notion of a fortress, very unlike the equally absurd notion of the US as being some “Shining City on the Hill”, a beacon of justice, freedom, and upholder of the rights of all (men!).

        Interesting times ahead.

        All self-inflicted, even as they may spiral into a fit of hubristic pique leading to Armageddon, which do many USians imagine will be “over there”.

        What a surprise it will be when it turns out that, from the perspective of others, equally capable (or insane, or merely responding to the proverbial “First Strike” both legacy political wings of the war and money party claim as a Gawd given “right” ) of ending human existence in a matter of minutes.

        The nice part of such a theatrical exit is that there will be little time for regret as exultation and righteousness will absorb most of the emotional response of the few who unleash the ultimate “solution”.

        On the other hand, if reason and humanity were, somehow, to prevail, if life were sufficiently appreciated by the many to insist upon sanity and sustainability well, who knows, humanity might survive, even flourish and even gain some wisdom.

        Civilization, the real thing, would be a good idea.

    • Andrew Thomas
      April 24, 2019 at 11:44

      DW, I (gulp) think you are correct.

    • OlyaPola
      April 24, 2019 at 11:58

      “What do you think?”

      That perception is a function of perspective.

      That to those lying on their stomach even a small dog can appear big.

      That the Empire doesn’t give a shit encourages others to donate less fertiliser.

    • Guy
      April 24, 2019 at 13:21

      Mostly agree .A war on Iran would indeed lead to what you have stated, not to mention a world wide economic crash .What then is anybody’s guess , but not good results no matter the outcome.
      The empire is losing it’s grip .It is bankrupt as we speak .The only thing holding it up presently is the confidence in it but even that is wearing thin as more and more are seeing the reality . Like a cornered animal ,he will fight back .
      Possible outcomes could be such as the end of usury ? a jubilee ? total destruction of the planet ?

      • DW Bartoo
        April 24, 2019 at 15:10

        Guy, a (debt) jubilee as you suggest and Michael Hudson described in his book, “Forgive Them Their Debts” , is, of course a tried and true hustorical solution to an elite accumulation of wealth and debt peonage.

        Now that not more than several thousand, at most, capitalists, politicians, and military and “security” heads control and dictate events, how shall we successfully insist upon reason?

        It is said that 30,000, (thirty-thousand) human being die of starvation every single day on this planet. It is further said, and I consider it to be so that there is enough food for everyone but that it is “not profitable” for the few to sell or give it to those who are starving.

        So, let us ponder: on the one hand several thousand people have or control virtually 90% of everything and are buying up public spaces, water supplies, highways, forests and other resources, are hiring private security forces like Bkack Water, or whatever it calls itself, to enforce that ownership and control, why Eric Prince wants the Pentagon to privatize the war in Afghanistan and turn it over to Black Water, while on the other, 30,000 die of hunger every day, and it is said that, since WWII the US has killed, directly or through proxies or with “sanctions” some 20 million human beings, not for “humanitarian” reasons but to allow corporate control of resources, including crops (think of how the term “Banana Republic came into being).

        The filthy rich must have war for their “investments” to “grow”.

        People must have food (and shelter) to survive.

        True human dignity requires more than mere survival.

        So, the greed of 2000 (two thousand) rich and powerful “decides” equals how many dead human beings every single day?

        30,000 (thirty thousand PLUS).

        How long can this be sustained, tolerated, excused, glossed over, hidden, denied, or ignored?

        Consider Jeff Bezos.

        The richest man in the world.

        $100 Billion … plus.

        Each billion is a thousand million.

        Consider that 200 (two hundred) “asset mangers” control over $20 trillion dollars for the 2000 (two thousand) richest humans on the planet.

        Each trillion is a thousand billion.

        Globilzation will soon hit the limits to capital “growth” for the 2000 will own or have privatized everything.

        And, people are pissed at the young who want something done to take care of the planet that we older folks will be leaving far sooner than those young people.

        Unless, of course, we oldsters decide that we all need to go together when we go.

        Well, it won’t be nearly all of us who make that decision, will it?

        It will be decided by those who want to own everything and everybody, and really would rather the “useless eaters” would just drop dead.


        The honest assessment?

        Or the attitude toward the 1%?

        But then most people really do not want to know this.

        They prefer the cookies and milk myths of manifest destiny and firmly believe the “lesser races” must stay in their dead-end places, the shit-holes built on greed, avarice, and cultural superiority.

        Once upon a time, Western religion excused all this.

        Now neoliberalism and “Greed is Good” celebrate the horrendous reality of planetary plunder, permanent war, and Full Spectrum Dominance.

        Ain’t we lucky (and special) to be USians and live in the One Indispensable Nation?

        Ain’t ya proud?

        We are Number One!!!

        (You know the rest of the chant.)




        Seems pretty pathetic, really.

        The victims cheering their own diminishment (and demise).

        Avid for More of the Same.

        Armageddon tired of this.

        How about you?

    • geeyp
      April 25, 2019 at 00:15

      DW – I think regular gas (leaded) went out years ago “in favor” of unleaded. Otherwise, yes, I agree with you on this one.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 18:19

      DW Bartoo, I am with you on every point you made. Our country has been divided my entire life between the factions who push ongoing war, and ordinary people who just want to live their lives peacefully. I came of age during the Vietnam War, and it was like that even back then. Our media has failed us completely, and nobody points out how our lives have been impacted by the ongoing war in terror, and continuing military engagements of the U.S., especially during this century since 9/11. The work world has degenerated, and working people are afraid to speak out against what’s happening because there is little job security left, and they could lose their job. It devolves upon the Baby Boomers who are retiring now in great numbers, to remember the past, just what’s happened in our lifetime, to educate ourselves, and to fight for the future of humanity and our planet. Few Americans have much in the way of benefits any more, and wages have not improved for most people. Certainly in face of the declining dollar, and less and less purchasing power for the majority, life has been getting tougher and tougher for families everywhere. And it’s all because of military spending. For what? To kill people in other countries so the military industry and Wall Street can reap windfall profits? Who really wants that? (Except those making a killing, of course, and yes, that is a deliberate play on words.)

  48. bob
    April 24, 2019 at 06:15

    I think it’s about time the planet told the usa regime to effoff – they are arrogant cowards who define the planet in their own terms without recourse to anybody else and without anybody else’s interests in mind …. oh, and they’re stupid!

  49. rgl
    April 24, 2019 at 05:59

    Thanks Pepe … you are always an informative read.

  50. jim
    April 24, 2019 at 05:53

    u forgot to say that in iran ther is waliatul faqih and many ayatollahs wich have millions of combattant muslims followers worldwide and from all nationalitys and will not hesitate to act, they are thirsty for martyrdom and are only waiting for a fatwa or a order , i dont think that they will let anything related to america or its allies safe around the world if the system of islamic governance is in danger or a order is given , only to defend a schrine in syria some dosens of tousand regional shia muslims united in syria while there was no order but only a permission

  51. john wilson
    April 24, 2019 at 05:33

    It seems rather obvious to me that this is how the US is planning its attack on Iran. If the Americans start attacking Iranian ships this will push Iran to defend its shipping. The Us will then cry foul and thus an excuse is manufactured for all out war on Iran. Indeed, I noticed that Pompeo let slip that the US is now sufficient in oil and even said they could supply oil to countries affected ! Even if Iran could shut down the straits, I can’t see it having too much effect on the US.

    • Patricia Victour
      April 24, 2019 at 12:26

      I don’t think that was a “slip” on vile, Bible-thumper Pompie’s part (about the oil), any more than it was a “slip” that Bolton wrote, in big bold letters on a yellow pad, “5,000 troops to Colombia,” and flashed it at the cameras. The neocons want to keep the American people from getting the wind up about high oil prices or a redux of those gas lines in the ’70s that many of us sat in. From what I have read, the US is NOT oil-independent today (any more than it is financially solvent). Fracking wells have a very limited lifespan, couple of years at best, and the frackers are up to their eyeballs in debt, with production falling – fracking debt being one of the several bubbles that may burst in our stupid faces any time now. So, I take it with a grain of salt that we will be supplying ourselves, let alone other “countries affected,” when this insanity comes to a head in the Straits. In fact, I’m wondering if the spurious attack on Venezuela might just have something to do with keeping the West supplied with oil while we destroy the Middle East (“finish destroying” – let me correct that).

      • michael crockett
        April 25, 2019 at 01:07

        I agree with your comment Patricia. It takes more energy to frac for oil than is actually recovered in produced oil. The business model makes no sense. Banks and private equity firms are not making new loans. That is why all cards are on the table for Team Trump when it comes to Venezuela. But a majority of the people of Venezuela, to include its military, are standing in support of their elected President. The same can be said for Iran. What might China and Russia do if either country were to be attacked? I can not say for sure. However, a few weeks ago, Pompeo organized a security conference in eastern Europe where he and Netanyahu would explain to NATO members all the threats posed to the alliance by Iran. In an early tweet Netanyahu stated the purpose of the conference was to prepare for a war against Iran. Apart from the US, Nato allies were not drinking the kool-aid. They sent low level Govt. officials and refused to get on board with the crazy talk. The Neocons got embarrassed and looked stupid. Thanks Pepe for your analysis. Hands off Iran. Hands off Venezuela.

    • mp66
      April 24, 2019 at 13:55

      The effect on the US oil supply can maybe be mitigated even with Hormuz closed, but not on many other major economies such as Japan, SK, EU. That’s why it is critical to first install a US puppet in Venezuela, give their oil to US companies, and supply much of US vassals with a secure oil supply, otherwise they would have no option but to break away from US empire. Even with enough oil, the cost of shipping, insurance would increase dramatically, stock markets would be very volatile, and all existing trade wars would be exarcebated. All said and done, there would be riots and NG shooting them across the US.

    • David Otness
      April 24, 2019 at 14:12

      “Even if Iran could shut down the straits, I can’t see it having too much effect on the US.”
      You’d be damned wrong. Fracking is characterized by short-term field life and Pompeo is bluffing. Why Venezuela looms large.
      And you leave out Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait (for starters) as oil exporting nations who are dependent on the Straits of Hormuz for the majority of their oil exports by tanker.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 18:46

      It’s misleading to think that we are only talking about Iranian oil, when it’s only a small percent of what moves through the Strait of Hormuz. That’s how Saudi oil gets shipped out, and U.A.E. oil, and from Oman, as well as liquified natural gas from Qatar.

      Here are some facts that might change your mind about how much oil the U.S. could actually supply other countries if the Straits of Hormuz were shut down. Could the U.S. really supply the same quantity of oil to China? Would it? Do you really believe anything that Pompeo says? Countries in Europe rely on that oil, too, even if it’s only a small percent of what the U.S. imports. Check your facts, sir.

      “Strait of Hormuz
      The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important chokepoint, with an oil flow of 17 million b/d in 2015, about 30% of all seaborne-traded crude oil and other liquids during the year. In 2016, total flows through the Strait of Hormuz increased to a record high of 18.5 million b/d.

      Located between Oman and Iran, the Strait of Hormuz connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil chokepoint because its daily oil flow of about 17 million barrels per day in 2015, accounted for 30% of all seaborne-traded crude oil and other liquids. The volume that traveled through this vital choke point increased to 18.5 million b/d in 2016.

      EIA estimates that about 80% of the crude oil that moved through this chokepoint went to Asian markets, based on data from Lloyd’s List Intelligence tanker tracking service.6 China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Singapore are the largest destinations for oil moving through the Strait of Hormuz.

      Qatar exported about 3.7 trillion cubic feet per year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Strait of Hormuz in 2016, according to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2017.7 This volume accounts for more than 30% of global LNG trade. Kuwait imports LNG volumes that travel northward through the Strait of Hormuz.

      At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide, but the width of the shipping lane in either direction is only two miles wide, separated by a two-mile buffer zone. The Strait of Hormuz is deep enough and wide enough to handle the world’s largest crude oil tankers, with about two-thirds of oil shipments carried by tankers in excess of 150,000 deadweight tons coming through this Strait.” —

      Nothing much has changed vis a vis U.S. relations with Iran since 2012. Read this article. It could be describing what’s happening today. “Blockade of the Strait of Hormuz: Iran’s Options”

  52. Sorcery
    April 24, 2019 at 03:11

    The withdrawal of the tanker insurers effectively closes the straits.
    Am sure the Iranians can engineer that with a rather simple false flag.

  53. David G
    April 24, 2019 at 02:57

    The first part of this article raises the prospect of Iran shutting down traffic in the Strait of Hormuz in response to escalating U.S. provocations, while the second part describes the steps Iran may take to keep its oil flowing through the strait despite the U.S.’s primary and secondary embargo – but there’s little here that suggests which of these diametrically opposed courses Pepe Escobar thinks is more likely.

    I understand that the estimable Pepe might not want to make a bald prediction, but I think this piece could have done a little more to put the various scenarios into a coherent picture.

    Also: you can add the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to the list of Russia-China-Iran interconnections.

    • Ariel Ky
      April 25, 2019 at 18:56

      David G, I agree with you that this well-researched article lost some clarity when Pepe Escobar started speculating about what might happen next. However, I haven’t read anyone else who is in the same class as he is when it comes to this kind of analysis. Have you written about the situation? If so, I would like to see your article. If not, maybe you could write about various scenarios to lend us a coherent picture of what course events may follow.

  54. rg
    April 24, 2019 at 02:57

    If T-Rump wanted ‘MAGA’ … then he’s doing it right. He said MAGA stood for MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN. I think what he actually said was “Make America GRATE Again.” The US is certainly doing the GRATE part … shutting the valve to Iranian oil is going to disrupt the whole fragile ‘peace’ … or what we euphemistically call peace.

    Pepe has hit a bullseye with this analysis — the US misadministration is going to hand Putin another crisis to solve. He, and any number of sane leaders, will pick up whatever pieces are left of the Empire and T-Rump will prove once and for all that he’s an idiot. On the other hand, as bad as he is, he is not nearly as bad as who/what was the alternative in 2016.

  55. FAFA
    April 24, 2019 at 02:56

    iranian are gona fuck trump on a tile, easily

  56. elmerfudzie
    April 24, 2019 at 02:20

    Pepe’s analysis regarding the deployment and use of the Yakhont and Sunburn missile systems may only serve as a back up to an Iranian first strike against Israel. Iranian scientists are proving to be the real deal when it comes to high tech weaponry and advancing “tweaking” nuclear technologies dating back to the 1950’s. In my opinion, the Shahab-3/ Zelzal-3 missile warheads will be armed with flux compression generator bombs (FCGs). They constitute a class of e-bomb or EMP bomb, developed several years after WW II ended. A barrage of Shahabs would detonate FCG’s, or similar non-nuclear EMP devises, over critical infrastructure targets such as Dimona, centers of government (Tel Aviv) and military installations (Air Force). This action would compel the US Navy to initiate attacks against Iranian shoreline defenses thus putting the blame for sea lane closures and the collapse of Europe’s economy squarely on our side, not theirs. We also must consider asymmetric warfare by deep cover agents of the IRGC. It takes no stretch of the imagination to picture what they could dream up against US domestic infrastructure such as energy installations, hydroelectric, commercial nuclear and so on.

    When the IRGC field operatives realize that their homeland has been annihilated by Israeli nukes, all bets will be off for the safety of commercial air routes and domestic critical infrastructure in allied Western Occident nations. Take note, what a couple of thugs did recently to Sri Lankan peace and security. I don’t need to explain how greatly amplified this disruption would be here in the West with invisible, highly trained and lavishly financed field operatives who’s only option after launching a terror campaign would be to again, return to an immolated Iran.

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