News Surrounding Iran and Friends Thread - News about our favorite sponsor of state terrorism.

Saudis or Iranians?

  • Long Live the House of Saud! Long Live the KSA!

    Votes: 7 11.9%
  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will Triumph over the Infidel Pig-Dogs!

    Votes: 9 15.3%
  • As a work around for not being able to edit the poll very much, but still having the capability of

    Votes: 3 5.1%
  • Allowing more votes. The Thread requested addition of "America, Fuck Yeah!" is below.

    Votes: 9 15.3%
  • America, Fuck Yeah!

    Votes: 42 71.2%

  • Total voters


That Defense Sperg.

CENTCOM corrects British general: US forces in Iraq and Syria on heightened alert for Iranian attacks

Task and Purpose said:
A British two-star general had to eat his own words on Tuesday after contradicting the White House, which has warned that Iranian-backed forces could attack U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq.

"There's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria," Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, a deputy commander for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, told reporters at a Pentagon news briefing.

"We are monitoring the Shia militia groups carefully and if the threat level perceives to go up them we will raise our force protection levels accordingly."

But after being pressed by reporters on the matter, Ghika engaged in verbal gymnastics to try to say he was on the same page as the White House by saying the coalition monitors a range of possible threats and it raises and lowers security levels appropriately.

Eventually, when a reporter asked Ghika what if the threat condition level in Baghdad has been raised, the general replied: "If you come to Baghdad and you come onto our base in Baghdad, then we'll tell you what the threat level is."

Later on Tuesday, U.S. Central Command issued a statement saying Ghika's comments "run counter to the identified credible threats" of Iranian-backed forces in the region.

"U.S. Central Command, in coordination with Operation Inherent Resolve, has increased the force posture level for all service members assigned to OIR in Iraq and Syria," the statement says. "As a result, OIR is now at a high level of alert as we continue to closely monitor credible and possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces in Iraq."

Tensions with Iran have rocketed in the past week amid intelligence reports that Iran and its proxies could be preparing to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East. The Pentagon has approved sending more ships, bombers, and Patriot missiles to the Central Command region.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan recently briefed White House National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton on sending up to 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East should Iran attack the United States or accelerate its nuclear weapons program.

President Donald Trump disputed the story on Tuesday, telling reporters that he'd dispatch "a hell of a lot more troops than that" in case of war with Iran.

But Newsweek confirmed that Bolton has asked the Pentagon for a number of different scenarios to respond to Iran, ranging from airstrikes to pre-positioning the 120,000 U.S. troops to provide the initial footprint for a ground invasion of Iran that would involve a larger force.

U.S. pulls staff from Iraq amid concerns over Iran
Reuters said:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency American employees from its diplomatic missions in Iraq on Wednesday in another show of concern about alleged threats from Iran.

President Donald Trump’s administration is applying new sanctions pressure on Tehran and sending additional forces to the Middle East to counter what it says is a heightened threat from Iran to U.S. soldiers and interests in the region.

Iran calls that “psychological warfare”, and a British commander cast doubt on U.S. military concerns about threats to its roughly 5,000 soldiers in Iraq, who have been helping local security forces fight Islamic State jihadists.

The U.S. State Department said employees at both the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, were being pulled out immediately due to safety concerns.

It was unclear how many personnel were affected, and there was no word on any specific threat. Visa services were suspended at the heavily-fortified U.S. missions.

“Ensuring the safety of U.S. government personnel and citizens is our highest priority ... and we want to reduce the risk of harm,” a State Department spokesman said.

Also on Wednesday, Germany, which has 160 soldiers in Iraq, suspended military training operations, citing increasing regional tensions. And the Netherlands suspended a mission providing assistance to Iraqi local authorities, Dutch news agency ANP said.


Both the United States and Iran have said they do not want war, and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday he had indications “things will end well” despite the rhetoric.

Iraq has said it will keep strong ties with Iran, but also with the United States and regional neighbours, some of whom, like Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran an arch-rival.

“I think we are now in a quite dangerous situation where a miscalculation by either side could lead us into conflict,” U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.

“When you project force into a very volatile region and you’ve got real tension between Iran and the Saudis — we have to be careful. We need a strategy,” Coons said, echoing a call by Congress for the government to brief lawmakers.

The State Department reissued travel advisory for Iraq saying U.S. citizens were at high risk of violence and kidnapping. “Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq,” it said.

A senior Iranian official said on Wednesday that any conflict in the region will have “unimaginable consequences.”

Reporting by John Davison and Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Raya Jalabi in Erbil; Additional reporting by Susan Heavy and Makini Brice in Washington; Writing by Raya Jalabi and John Davison; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Cawthorne

Netherlands joins Germany in halting Iraq mission due to security threat
RT said:
The Netherlands has followed Germany in suspending its mission in Iraq amid heightening tensions between the US and Iraq’s neighbor, Iran.

The Netherlands decided to halt the mission which provided assistance to the Iraqi authorities because of a security threat, the Dutch ANP news agency said.

The Dutch Defense Ministry confirmed the suspension of the mission to the media. The ministry’s spokesperson told ANP that withdrawal of Dutch forces from the area is “currently not discussed.”

Around 50 Dutch soldiers train Kurdish forces in Iraq’s northern city of Erbil, others are stationed in Baghdad. According to some reports, the decision to suspend the training mission was taken by the commander of the international coalition which currently operates in Iraq.

The report gave no details about the alleged danger. The Dutch military take part in a training mission, alongside other foreign nations, including Germany.

The German Defense Ministry has earlier announced that it halted its mission aimed at training the Iraqi soldiers, citing increasing tensions on the ground. The developments came after Washington ordered all the non-essential personnel of the American embassy in Bagdad and a consulate in Erbil to leave Iraq as soon as possible.

The US evacuation alarmed some EU politicians, who expressed concern that Washington might go to war against Tehran and called on Europe to prevent such an outcome.

The US is poised for war with Iran,” a leader of the Left Party’s faction in the German parliament, Sahra Wagenknecht, warned. She called on those, “who want to save the international peace and the Iranian nuclear deal,” to “make it clear that they are against these war plans, arbitrary US sanctions and the use of the US military bases in Europe [in a potential war with Iran].”

Iran's Supreme Leader says there will be no war with U.S.
Reuters said:
LONDON (Reuters) - Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile program.

In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal.

“There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance,” Khamenei was cited as saying by the state media. “We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests.”

President Donald Trump withdrew the United States a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers under which Tehran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, and won sanctions relief in return.

Since then, Trump has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran, seeking to reduce its lifeblood oil exports to zero, to push Tehran into fresh negotiations on a broader arms control deal, targeting in part the Iranian ballistic missile program.

“(Such) negotiations are a poison,” Khamenei said.

The United Arab Emirates reported on Sunday that four commercial vessels including two Saudi oil tankers had been sabotaged offshore from the UAE emirate of Fujairah just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S. national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been behind the attacks.

Iran has rejected the allegation and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that “extremist individuals” in the U.S. government were pursuing dangerous policies, stoking a war of words with Washington over sanctions.

Trump warned on Monday Iran would “suffer greatly” if it targeted U.S. interests after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East.

Trump denies U.S. plan to send 120,000 troops to counter Iran threat
Reuters said:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday denied a New York Times report that U.S. officials were discussing a military plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East to counter any attack or nuclear weapons acceleration by Iran.

“I think it’s fake news, OK? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we’re not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we’d send a hell of a lot more troops than that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The Times reported that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated plan last week in a meeting of top national security aides that envisions sending as many as 120,000 American troops to the region if Iran attacks U.S. forces or accelerates work on its nuclear weapons.

The updated plan does not call for a land invasion of Iran, which would require far more troops, the Times reported, citing unidentified administration officials.

The plan reflects revisions ordered by Iran hawks including national security adviser John Bolton, the newspaper said.

U.S. believes Iran proxies may be behind tanker attacks, official says
Reuters said:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. national security agencies believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have attacked four tankers off the United Arab Emirates rather than Iranian forces themselves, a U.S. official familiar with the latest U.S. assessments said on Tuesday.

The official said possible perpetrators might include Houthi rebels in Yemen and Iran-backed Shi’ite militias based in Iraq but said Washington did not have hard evidence on who sabotaged the four vessels, including two Saudi tankers on Sunday near Fujairah port, which lies just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Saudi Arabia said armed drones hit two oil pumping stations in the kingdom on Tuesday in what it called a “cowardly” act of terrorism.

A fifth of global oil consumption passes through the Strait of Hormuz from Middle East crude producers to major markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond. The narrow waterway separates Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.

On Monday, a U.S. official familiar with U.S. intelligence had said Iran was a leading candidate for having carried out attacks on the four tankers but that the United States did not have conclusive proof Tehran was behind them.

Iran has rejected the allegation and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Tuesday that “extremist individuals” in the U.S. government were pursuing dangerous policies, amid a war of words with Washington over sanctions.

US issues new warning to Gulf sailors after UAE says ships were sabotaged

Military Times said:
FUJAIRAH, United Arab Emirates — Two Saudi oil tankers and a Norwegian-flagged vessel were damaged in what Gulf officials described Monday as a “sabotage” attack off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. While details of the incident remain unclear, it raised risks for shippers in a region vital to global energy supplies at a time of increasing tensions between the U.S. and Iran over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

The U.S. issued a new warning to sailors as the UAE’s regional allies condemned Sunday’s alleged attack that the UAE says targeted four ships off the coast of its port city of Fujairah.

It came just hours after Iranian and Lebanese media outlets aired false reports of explosions at the port.

While Gulf officials declined to say who they suspect may be responsible, the U.S. has warned ships that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. America is deploying an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombersto the Persian Gulf to counter alleged, still-unspecified threats from Tehran.

The scale of the alleged sabotage also remains unclear. A statement from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom’s two oil tankers, including one due to later carry crude to the U.S., sustained “significant damage.” However, a report from Sky News Arabia, a satellite channel owned by an Abu Dhabi ruling family member, showed the allegedly targeted Saudi tanker Al Marzoqah afloat without any apparent damage.

The MT Andrea Victory, another of the allegedly targeted ships, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object," its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement. Images Monday of the Andrea Victory, which the company said was "not in any danger of sinking," showed damage similar to what the firm described.

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Emirati officials identified the third ship as the Saudi-flagged oil tanker Amjad. Ship-tracking data showed the vessel still anchored off Fujairah, apparently not in immediate distress. The fourth ship was the A. Michel, a bunkering tanker flagged in Sharjah, one of the UAE's seven emirates.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that American naval investigators were assisting the Emiratis with their probe of the incident. The official was not authorized to discuss details of the assistance publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the Persian Gulf and wider region from its base in Bahrain, declined to comment on the incident. The Navy runs a small supply operation out of the nearby Emirati naval base in Fujairah.

Authorities in Fujairah, also a UAE emirate, also declined to speak to the AP. Emirati officials stopped AP journalists from traveling by boat to see the ships.

However, the incident raises questions about maritime security in the UAE, home to Dubai's Jebel Ali port, the largest man-made deep-water harbor in the world that is also the U.S. Navy's busiest port of call outside of America. From the coast, AP journalists saw an Emirati coast guard vessel patrolling near the area of one of the Saudi ships in Fujairah, some 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Dubai on the Gulf of Oman.

Fujairah also is about 140 kilometers (85 miles) south of the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil at sea is traded. The alleged sabotage caused jitters in global oil markets, as benchmark Brent crude rose in trading to over $71.50 a barrel Monday, a change of 1.3%.

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 10.12.14 AM.png

Al-Falih, the Saudi energy minister, said the attacks on the two Saudi tankers happened at 6 a.m. Sunday. He said "the attack didn't lead to any casualties or oil spill," though he acknowledge it affected "the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world."

It is "the joint responsibility of the international community to protect the safety of maritime navigation and the security of oil tankers, to mitigate against the adverse consequences of such incidents on energy markets, and the danger they pose to the global economy," he said, according to the statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

The U.S. Energy Department later said it was "monitoring the oil markets, and is confident they remain well-supplied."

Shortly after the Saudi announcement, Iran's Foreign Ministry called for further clarification about what exactly happened with the vessels. The ministry' spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying there should be more information about the incident.

Mousavi also warned against any "conspiracy orchestrated by ill-wishers" and "adventurism by foreigners" to undermine the maritime region's stability and security. Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are staunch opponents of Iran's government.

Tensions have risen since President Donald Trump withdrew America from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and restored U.S. sanctions that have pushed Iran's economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.

European Union officials met Monday in Brussels to thrash out ways to keep the Iran nuclear deal afloat. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had traveled there for talks.

"We're not going to miscalculate. Our aim is not war," Pompeo told CNBC in an interview. "Our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership."

Underling the regional risk, the general-secretary of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council described the incident as a "serious escalation."

"Such irresponsible acts will increase tension and conflicts in the region and expose its peoples to great danger," Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani said. Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen's internationally recognized government similarly condemned the alleged sabotage, as did the Arab League.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, a division of the U.S. Transportation Department, warned Thursday that "Iran and/or its regional proxies" could target commercial sea traffic.

The agency issued a new warning Sunday to sailors about the alleged sabotage and urged shippers to exercise caution in the area for the next week.

It remains unclear if the previous warning from the U.S. Maritime Administration is the same perceived threat that prompted the White House on May 4 to order the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and the B-52 bombers to the region. In a statement then, national security adviser John Bolton had warned Iran that "that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."

Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, Malak Harb in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, and Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed.

Saudi Arabia says oil stations attacked by armed drones
Aramco oil stations targeted as Houthi-run media says military operation a response to 'continued aggression'.

Al Jazeera said:
Armed drones attacked two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in what Riyadh called a "cowardly" act by Yemen's Houthi rebels, two days after Saudi oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

The drone strikes caused minor damage to one of the stations supplying a pipeline running from its oil-rich Eastern Province to the Yanbu Port on the Red Sea, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

"These attacks prove again that it is important for us to face terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran," Falih said.

A fire that broke out was later brought under control, but the country's state-run oil giant Aramco stopped pumping oil through the pipeline.

Falih called the attack "cowardly", saying recent sabotage acts against its vital installations not only target Saudi Arabia but the safety of the world's energy supply and global economy.

He also promised the production and export of Saudi oil would not be interrupted.

Oil prices rose on news of the attacks on the stations, 320km west of the capital Riyadh. Brent was trading at about $71 up 1.2 percent.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree said seven drones carried out the strikes on the Saudi oil installations.

"It was a successful operation. We found assistance from people living in Saudi Arabia, and we had excellent intelligence," Saree said.

Andreas Krieg from King's College London said the drone strikes show the Houthis are now capable of attacking far into Saudi territory. He called the incident "very significant" because the target was oil production.

"The Houthi capability has increased massively in recent years, some of it homegrown but [the attack] definitely suggests that the Iranians have helped out," Krieg told Al Jazeera. "They've never been able to deeply penetrate Saudi Arabia… It looks like they are targeting the oil infrastructure."

'Worrisome and dreadful'

Earlier on Tuesday, a television station run by Yemen's Houthi rebels said it launched drone attacks on Saudi installations, without identifying the targets or time of the attacks.

Tuesday's incident comes a day after Riyadh said two of its oil tankers were among four vessels attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday.

The attacks also occurred amid a war of words between the United States and Iran over sanctions and the growing American military presence in the Gulf.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday neither the United States nor Iran want war, adding Iraq is in contact with both, state news agency INA reported.

Iran was a prime suspect in Sunday's sabotage off the UAE although Washington had no conclusive proof, an unnamed US official familiar with American intelligence told Reuters news agency on Monday.

Tehran denied involvement and described the attack on the four commercial vessels as "worrisome and dreadful". It called for an investigation.

'Continued aggression'

The Houthis have repeatedly launched drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and claimed to have launched strikes on the UAE.

"This large military operation is in response to the continued aggression and blockade of our people and we are prepared to carry out more unique and harsh strikes," Al Masirah cited one Houthi official as saying.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are leading the Western-backed alliance that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis in an attempt to restore the internationally recognised government.

Yemen President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government was ousted from power in the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014.

The conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being puppets of Iran and say their revolution is against corruption.

Yemen's conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians.

The fighting has triggered what the UN describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis with 24.1 million people - more than two-thirds of the population - in need of aid.
There is a half-decent chance that we will be using this thread a lot.



That Defense Sperg.
But my favorite sponsor of state terrorism is Saudi Arabia, not Iran.
When Saudi Arabia gives ballistic missiles to Al-Qaida or its other proxies, THEN it can be our favorite state sponsor of terror :

From 8 months ago
Exclusive: Iran moves missiles to Iraq in warning to enemies



Make of this information what you will
Last edited:


That Defense Sperg.

Cotton: US could win war with Iran in 'two strikes'

The Hill said:
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a prominent foreign policy hawk, voiced confidence in a new interview that the U.S. could win a war with Iran, saying it would take "two strikes."

"Yes, two strikes," he told Margaret Hoover of "Firing Line" when asked if the U.S. could win a war against Iran. "The first strike and the last strike."

Cotton said that he would not advocate for a war with Iran but warned there would be a "furious response" to any provocation against U.S. interests in the region.

"I don’t advocate military action against Iran. I’m simply delivering the message that if Iran were to attack the United States, it would be a grave miscalculation on their part and there would be a furious response," he said.

Senator @TomCottonAR tells Firing Line if it comes to war with Iran, he is confident the United States would win, and would win swiftly. “Two strikes, the first strike and the last strike,” says the Senator.
— Firing Line with Margaret Hoover (@FiringLineShow) May 14, 2019
The comments come amid escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The already contentious relationship further deteriorated last week after the Trump administration announced a U.S. carrier strike group would head to the region in response to unspecified "troubling and escalatory indications and warnings."
The move was reportedly prompted in part by intelligence that Tehran gave permission to some of its proxy forces to attack U.S. military assets and personnel in the region.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also announced last week that he would curtail Iran’s compliance with the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran, the U.S. and several other world leaders in 2015.

President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the pact in 2017 because he said the agreement did not adequately address Tehran’s influence in the region or its missile programs, though European signatories have urged Tehran to remain in the deal.

Cotton cited concerns similar to Trump's when discussing moves Iran could make to deescalate tensions, though he suggested he was not optimistic.

"What I want is to have an outlaw regime change its behavior, to rejoin the civilized world and stop supporting terrorism and trying to overthrow the governments of so many of its neighbors," he said.

"Ultimately it’s up to the Iranian people and their leaders to decide how they’re going to govern their country, but with men like those in charge of Iran, I think we’re going to see what we’ve seen for the last 40 years, which is a revolutionary theological movement that’s hijacked the powers of a nation-state." he added.

U.S. pulls most personnel from Iraq as U.S. officials say Iranian military likely behind tanker attacks
The ship attacks were apparently conducted by Iranian Combat Divers
CBS News said:
  • U.S. officials are pointing the finger at elite Iranian military forces for the sabotage attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.
  • A week after claiming Iranian "preparations for possible attack" on U.S. forces in the region, the U.S. has ordered most State Department personnel out of neighboring Iraq.
  • U.S. and Iranian officials insist nobody wants a war, and President Trump has denied plans to send 120,000 troops to the region.
  • The U.S. military has refuted a senior British commander's assessment that there has been "no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria."
U.S. officials have said they believe Iranian combat divers were behind the attacks on four oil tankers near the Persian Gulf over the weekend, and they tell CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin there's still no sign Iran is backing off purported plans to attack Americans in the region.

Martin said American officials have him there is "credible" and "urgent" intelligence that Iran has ordered Shiite militias in Iraq to prepare to conduct attacks against U.S. troops and diplomats in the country.

On Wednesday the State Department ordered all non-emergency staff and their families to leave Iraq, a nation on Iran's southern border in which the Iranian government backs various militia groups which have fought U.S. troops before.

"U.S. citizens in Iraq are at high risk for violence and kidnapping. Numerous terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq," the State Department said in its advisory.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo renewed the Trump administration's warning on Tuesday that the U.S. would retaliate against Iran if it does attack American interests in the Middle East, but he declined to pin the blame for the tanker sabotage on Tehran.

He said he didn't have anything "concrete about the connection" between Tehran and the tanker attacks, adding: "I think in the coming hours and days we'll know the answer to that."

At a campaign rally on Tuesday evening, President Trump emphasized what is becoming one of the hallmarks of his hardline foreign policy, telling supporters that his administration was "holding dangerous regimes accountable by denying them oil revenue to fund their corruption, oppression and terror."

But as Martin reports, while the U.S. has put a stranglehold on Iran's economy, the country remains dangerous.

U.S. officials told Martin it was highly likely that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards were responsible for Sunday's attacks that blew holes in the hulls of Saudi and Norwegian tankers anchored off the Emirati port of Fujairah, just outside the Persian Gulf.

Iranian combat divers are believed to have attached explosives to the ships' hulls, but a defense official told CBS News that further investigation was still needed.

Trump sending troops to Iran?
Mr. Trump, meanwhile, dismissed a New York Times report saying the administration was planning to send 120,000 American troops to the region to counter Iran. The U.S. has already sent an aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf.

President Trump's denial of the Times report came with a caveat: "Would I do that? Absolutely," he said as he left the White House on Tuesday. "We have not planned for that… and if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops that."

On Capitol Hill, Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine blasted the president's thinking.

"It would be the height of idiocy. It would be unconstitutional. There's no way this president should get us into a war with Iran," Kaine said.

Iran escalates nuclear threat
Iran has vehemently denied being involved in the attacks on the oil tankers and accused President Trump of playing a "very dangerous game, risking devastating war."

But on Wednesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "There is not going to be a war. Neither are we seeking war, nor is it to their (the United States') benefit to go after a war. They know this. We never start a war and have never started any wars. This is a confrontation of will-powers and our will-power is stronger than theirs."

He ruled out any negotiations with the current U.S. administration, saying they would be "poison" for Iran.

But while he downplayed the possibility of a conflict with the U.S., the ayatollah also dropped a loosely-veiled threat that Iran could take steps -- within a few months -- that would almost certainly draw a significant American response.

Iran announced a week ago that in response to President Trump pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear deal agreed in 2015 with world powers, it would partially withdraw from the terms of the agreement, too.

The Iranian regime said if the other parties to the agreement, which still want to keep it viable, couldn't figure out a way to work around new U.S. sanctions to keep doing business with Tehran within 60 days, it would resume enriching uranium to levels barred under the deal.

Iran is permitted under the terms of the nuclear deal to enrich uranium to just under 4% concentration -- a level at which it can be used for medical and scientific purposes, but not be easily refined to a level required to make nuclear weapons.

The regime said if no agreement was reached with Europe, Russia and the Chinese to keep the 2015 deal in play, it would resume enriching uranium to 20% -- which officials in the country have said could be done within four days. That benchmark is significant because once uranium is refined to 20%, it becomes much easier to enrich it to the 90% needed for weapons.

On Wednesday, the Ayatollah said "achieving 20% enrichment is the most difficult part. The next steps are easier than this step."

It was the first hint from the Iranian regime that it might try to obtain the highly-enriched uranium needed for an atomic bomb -- though Iranian officials have always denied any interest in obtaining one.

Both the U.S. and Israel have made it clear they will not allow the Islamic Republic to obtain a nuclear weapons capability.

U.S. and allies on same page?
There have been signs of frustration from European allies over the Trump administration's decision to not only bail on the nuclear deal, but to mount the new pressure on the Iranian regime.

The Trump administration and U.S. military officials said just over a week ago that they had detected, "a number of preparations for possible attack" on U.S. forces at sea and on land in the Middle East.

The U.S. has about 5,000 troops still in Iraq, on Iran's border, and while the State Department order on Wednesday for non-emergency personnel to leave the country did not specifically mention a threat from Iran, that was the implication.

Again without specifically citing Iran, a spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq told CBS News on Wednesday that Pompeo ordered the non-emergency U.S. personnel out of the country because, "these threats are serious."
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On Tuesday, however, a British deputy commander of the U.S.-led joint military operation in Iraq disputed the claim of an elevated threat to allied forces in the region.

"There's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria," Maj. Gen Christopher Ghika said in a video briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon, according to The Guardian. "We're aware of that presence, clearly. And we monitor them along with a whole range of others because that's the environment we're in. We are monitoring the Shia militia groups I think you're referring to carefully, and if the threat level seems to go up then we'll raise our force protection measures accordingly."

But the U.S. military's Central Command, which oversees Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq and all other American operations in the region, directly refuted Ghika's statement later on Tuesday.

"Recent comments from OIR's deputy commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from US and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region," Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said in the statement.

One U.S. officer told Martin he was "flabbergasted" by the British commander's assessment.

Martin said the Pentagon has released very little detail of the intelligence pointing to the purportedly heightened threat from Iran, "and without the details it's easy to become skeptical about exactly how good the intelligence is."

But Martin said he had spoken to multiple U.S. military officials, including some who privately disagree with the Trump administration's policy in Iraq, and that they all agreed there is intelligence pointing to possible attacks by Iranian proxy groups which appears credible.

Germany's military, meanwhile, announced a halt to its training operations in Iraq on Wednesday, but said it had no information about heightened threats to German troops in the country from Iran.

Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff cited heightened regional tensions as he confirmed Germany's military was temporarily suspending training of Iraqi forces, "orienting itself toward our partner countries," but adding there were "no concrete warnings of attacks against German targets."

The Netherlands made a similar announcement, putting its training operations on hold citing an unspecified security threat, but France defense officials said their training mission in Iraq was continuing unaffected.
The Many Ways Iran Could Target the United States
The White House is citing unspecified threats from Iran. The specifics are murky, but the potential for escalation is real.
The Atlantic said:
“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” National Security Adviser John Bolton said in a Sunday-night statement announcing that U.S. warships were headed to the Middle East. But “any attack on United States interests or those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

In the year since President Donald Trump left the Iran nuclear deal, his administration has steadily ratcheted up economic pressure against the Iranian regime, deploying an unprecedented number of sanctions to throttle its oil exports and punish its support for regional proxies. With Sunday’s announcement, though, Bolton invoked unspecified Iranian threats to the U.S. and its regional allies, while hinting at a more serious step: the threat of violence.

Bolton’s announcement could ultimately represent just that: a threat. But the announcement fit the harsh tone of an administration that has repeatedly demanded behavior change from Iran and condemned its regional activities, support for terrorists, and nuclear-weapons ambitions. It also fit a pattern of bellicose rhetoric from an administration fond of invoking “all options” to scare rivals into backing down. The pattern has shown up in North Korea and Venezuela, where neither policy change nor military strikes has yet resulted. But when it comes to Iran especially, it’s anyone’s guess when exactly the bluster will become reality.

Administration officials have not so far disclosed what exactly prompted the worries about Iran targeting the U.S. or its allies, with Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, for instance, only citing “indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” Still, the dynamics of the region, and especially how deeply entrenched both Iranian and U.S. forces are there, have left the Iranians with plenty of opportunities to harass America and its allies if they choose.

Iranian forces or their proxies operate close by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in both Iraq and Syria. Iran routinely threatens to disrupt the world oil trade through the Strait of Hormuz off its coast; its aligned forces in Yemen and the Gaza Strip directly threaten U.S. allies in Saudi Arabia and Israel with rocket attacks.

The carrier strike group (CSG) that Bolton announced was headed to the Middle East had actually departed for a scheduled deployment more than a month ago. “Carrier deployments take some time to plan and aren’t sudden decisions, although their course is more flexible,” Becca Wasser, a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, wrote in an email. “Bolton’s statement merely leveraged an existing and ongoing deployment to send a message to Iran. It is important to note that he or the White House did not suddenly order the CSG to deploy.”

The chief of naval operations, Admiral John Richardson, confirmed as much to reporters at an event Monday, according to U.S. News & World Report, though he later tweeted that the carrier strike group would go to the Middle East “at the direction” of Bolton and Shanahan. Wasser wrote that U.S. military strategy now calls for more unpredictability to confront rivals like Iran. “The U.S. Navy—and all services—has adopted dynamic force employment to demonstrate flexibility and the ability to respond to contingencies and world events as they unfold,” she wrote.

As harsh rhetoric escalates on both sides, so does the potential for miscalculation. When the Trump administration declared the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, it hoped to render internationally “radioactive” Iran’s dominant security service, which is also a major economic actor. But in announcing the move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to specify whether the designation, which opens the door to U.S. criminal penalties for anyone doing business with the IRGC, made the group to subject targeting by U.S. forces in the region; a Department of Defense spokesperson told us then that the rules of engagement had not changed. Iranian-backed forces, according to U.S. officials, were responsible for killing more than 600American service members from 2003 to 2011, but they have uneasily shared the same battle space on the same side against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014, and even at times collaborated.

Iran’s response—declaring U.S. forces in the region a terrorist group themselves—was also unclear in its implications, but twice in the weeks that followed a Pentagon spokesperson told us that there was no indication of an imminent threat to U.S. forces in the region due to the terrorism designation. Bolton, however, on Sunday cited “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” without going into further detail. Asked for comment, DOD referred back to Bolton’s statement. On Monday, moreover, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran was considering abandoning some elements of the nuclear deal that Trump left but that all the other parties have continued to observe.

If the specific warnings about Iran’s intent remain murky, the potential for Iran to threaten the U.S. and allies in the region is serious. (Axios reported on Monday that the U.S. was responding to intelligence from Israel, though the Israeli embassy declined to comment.)

“The reality is, the U.S. is very much exposed in the region,” Ali Vaez, an expert on Iran at the Crisis Group, told us, adding: “The Iranians have plenty of experience targeting U.S. forces in the region indirectly through the use of their Shia militia allies.”

The U.S. has some 2,000 troops in Syria, where Iran and its proxies have a physical military presence; 5,000 security forces in Iraq, where the Islamic Republic remains an influential player; and 14,000 troops in Afghanistan, where Tehran has made common cause with the Taliban in the fight against ISIS. Iran has the means to escalate tensions in any of these countries.

The U.S. has also demonstrated in the past a willingness to strike back. In 2017, the U.S. struck a convoy of Syrian and Iranian-backed militias as it approached a U.S. base in Syria. Brett McGurk, formerly the U.S. special envoy for the global coalition to defeat ISIS, on Monday told MSNBC that “we have no diplomatic channels with Iran whatsoever,” and said the risks of a clash were increasing given that there’s no real way to get messages privately to the Iranians to avoid it.

Iranian proxies could also fire rockets against U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria. Last September, Iranian-backed militias struck the U.S. consulate in Basra, forcing its evacuation, and the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. And in the Persian Gulf, U.S. officials have in recent years cited unsafe or harassing maneuvers by Iranian drones and boats against U.S. planes and ships—in 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps briefly captured 10 U.S. sailors at sea.

“The U.S. is now signaling that it is prepared to retaliate” by emphasizing that it does not distinguish between the Iranian government and its militia proxies, Michael Knights, an expert on the region at the Washington Institute, a think tank that studies the Middle East, told us.

Finally, and most important, there is the world oil trade, which relies heavily on the Strait of Hormuz. Some 18.5 million barrels per day flow through the narrow waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. After the U.S. in late April threatened with sanctions anyone importing Iranian oil in an effort to drive the Islamic Republic’s oil exports to zero, Iran warned it could close the strait, a move that would wreak havoc on the global economy.

But there are plenty of reasons Iran wouldn’t target the Strait of Hormuz even if it couldn’t export oil through it. Iranian petrochemical exports pass through the strait, as do its non-oil exports and imports. “They’d be cutting their own throat if they close the strait,” Knights said.

Iran is perhaps better positioned to harass American allies in the region, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia. Tehran supports the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which in recent days
launched some 600 rockets toward Israel from its territory in the Gaza Strip. Iran could also encourage the Houthis in Yemen, another of its regional allies, to start targeting Saudi and Emirati oil shipments headed to Europe. (The two countries have taken over Iran’s market share following the imposition of U.S. sanctions.) The Houthis have already launched rockets at Saudi Arabia during their ongoing war against the country’s internationally recognized government, which the Saudis back.

Iran has “plenty of options,” Vaez said. “The problem is, given that there are no off-ramps, and no channels of communication between the two countries, the risks of a confrontation quickly spiraling out of control are quite high.”

Yara Bayoumy contributed reporting.
Newsweek said:
U.S. aircraft carrier is headed to the Persian Gulf, B-52 bombers have been deployed to the region and the U.S. military has made plans for a possible war with Iran. President Donald Trump has been anti-Iran since he entered the Oval Office, but with some of his more moderate advisers out and more hawkish advisers in, the U.S. has been flirting with the idea of a new military conflict in the Middle East.

When National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the new deployments last week, he told reporters that the U.S. had intelligence suggesting Iran or its proxies were preparing an attack on American interests.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime,” Bolton said. “But we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.” For its part, Iran has denied the American suggestion and warned that Washington was operating on false intelligence.

U.S. military might dwarf hat of Iran, but Tehran retains plenty of ways to hurt American forces and interests in the Middle East, and even farther afield. Whether through direct military action or through its proxies, Iran remains a potent threat.

Iran's location on the Strait of Hormuz gives it direct access to one of the most vital strategic waterways in the world. Some 20 percent of all oil traded worldwide travels through the strait, which at its narrowest point is only 24 miles wide.

Iran does not require a world-leading navy to threaten—or even close off—the channel, potentially crippling the global supply of oil, and economies worldwide, which the regime has regularly threatened to do in the event of a military conflict with the U.S. or its allies.

Given its technological inferiority when compared with its U.S. rivals, Iran would have to use asymmetric and stand-off military measures in any effort to close the strait.

Naval mines could make the waterway treacherous for commercial and military shipping, funneling enemy vessels into convenient kill zones for Iranian forces. The country’s indigenously built submarines could also harass ships that manage to pick through the minefields. Iran does not publicly disclose the total number of submarines in its fleet, but The Associated Press noted it is believed to have around 12 light and three Russian-made submarines.

And from the shoreline, Iran’s anti-ship missiles could inflict major damage on U.S. fleets. The Khalij Fars—meaning Persian Gulf—supersonic missile has a range of about 185 miles, is self-guided, and can maneuver during flight to lock onto a moving target. The weapon is relatively cheap, simple and can be deployed in swarm attacks. While U.S. ships have defenses against such weapons, the sheer number of missiles that could be fired would present a huge danger to naval forces in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Iranian navy, while much smaller and less advanced than the U.S.'s, must not be discounted. Though Iran would never be able to go toe-to-toe with the Americans, creative use of the country's fleet could inflict huge casualties on adversaries.

In a 2002 war game, for example, commanders used Iran’s large fleet of small speedboats to swarm U.S. forces with conventional and suicide attacks. Combined with a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed American defenses, the simulated battle lasted just one day and saw 16 major enemy warships sunk, including an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels.

Iranian forces might also engage in sabotage operations against oil tankers in a bid to destabilize global oil supplies and tank markets. This week, multiple oil tankers were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Iran has denied involvement, but such an operation illustrates well how a nation state could target commercial shipping.

Iran’s proxies give it a global reach, allowing its leaders to harass and attack enemies without having to commit regular forces. In Yemen, Houthi rebels—reportedly funded and financed by Iran, though both deny links with each other—are firing ballistic missiles and launching drone attacks at Saudi targets. The U.S. claims that Iran supplies the Houthis with their most sophisticated missiles, allowing fighters to threaten airports, oil refineries and other sensitive targets deep inside the kingdom.

Houthi fighters have also used shore-based missiles to attack the Saudi navy and commercial shipping passing Yemen. Such audacious operations offer a preview of how Iranian regular forces might respond to a full-blown conflict in the Persian Gulf.

In Lebanon, the militant Hezbollah organization offers Tehran a direct route of attack against Israel, arguably America’s staunchest and most significant regional ally. Iran funds and arms Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon, including around the border with Israel. The organization is well armed and well trained, with tens of thousands of rockets that can hit anywhere in Israel. Its members have been fighting in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad, giving Hezbollah's troops valuable combat experience.

And in the Gaza Strip, Iran also funds Hamas—which rules the coastal enclave—and the Islamic Jihad. Both regularly fire rockets into Israel and have targeted Israeli soldiers along the border. In the event of a conflict with the U.S., Tehran may increase funding to these groups or pressure them to retaliate against Israel to punish the U.S.

U.S. soldiers deployed across the region could also become targets. In Afghanistan, Iran has been accused of funding the Taliban, which currently has government forces on the back foot as the U.S. attempts to end its 18-year deployment to the country.

And in Iraq, Iran still holds huge sway over the powerful Shiite militias that were so instrumental in defeating the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and driving it from the country under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran funded and armed many groups fighting the American occupation. Many such groups evolved into the powerful militias in Iraq today.

Hundreds of American troops were killed by Iranian-supplied weaponry during the occupation phase of the Iraq War, particularly so-called “explosively formed penetrators”—anti-armor weapons containing shaped charges that propel an aerodynamic metal slug toward a target when detonated.

With tensions rising between Washington and Tehran, Iran may try to use the Iraqi militias against American forces. Many of the troops once fought the American occupiers, and recent tension between the U.S. and the militias shows the scars and mistrust left behind by years of guerilla warfare.

Cyberwarfare is another asymmetric option for Iran. The nation is not considered as effective as the U.S. and Israel in this area, but significant energy and resources are being invested in this capability.

Iran was caught flat-footed in 2010 by the U.S.-Israeli Stuxnet attack on the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility, which destroyed about 20 percent of all centrifuges at the site. Since then, the country has been working enthusiastically to close the gap. According to Israel Defense Forces officials, Israel’s military fights off hundreds of Iranian attacks every day. Tehran has also used its increasingly sophisticated cyberarm to target the U.S. and other regional adversaries, stealing intelligence and conducting illegal surveillance.

Iran might simply choose to keep its powder dry entirely, and avoid a military response to American threats. In this case, Tehran could move to isolate the U.S. diplomatically through talks with European leaders. Relations between the U.S. and its traditional European allies are the weakest in recent memory, one factor being a split on supporting the Iran nuclear deal. In the event of conflict, Iran would no doubt seek to pile the pressure on the damaged transatlantic alliance, as it has done with the nuclear deal.
Something that shouldn't have to be said, but I am going to anyway: Articles posted by me don't necessarily reflect my views. This is a general news roundup.
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My other car is a STUG
Eh... It wasn't sailors but that basically happened when Mexican army dudes in the us arrested us military.
border confusion happens semi-regularly, and in that case it was not meant as a hostile act but rather a formality to guide them back to the US from what they thought was Mexico due to the wall behind the US troops. the Mexican constitution, article 10 states "Inhabitants of the Republic may, for their protection, own guns and arms in their homes. Only arms approved by the Army may be owned, and federal law will state the manner in which they can be used (Firearms are prohibited from importation into the Republic without proper licensing and documentation. Foreigners may not pass the border with unlicensed firearms; the commission of such act is a felony, punishable by prison term." Because the US troops were carrying firearms the Mexican troops were legally bound to detain the US troops as they are technically foreigners with unlicensed firearms that passed the border. Of course the Mexican government isn't terminally stupid so they handed the soldiers back with no issue .

Middling quality bait. 4/10.
Yeah, maybe I forgot it's Shark Week this week and that's why Trump has his thumb up his ass letting the very same "swamp people" he claimed he was going drain from controlling every aspect of his foreign policy. Trump is a lazy piece of shit that just defers all legislative and executive decisions to his staff. Then when shit goes sideways shrugs his shoulders and says "What plan? wasn't my plan. Everyone knows my plans are huge and the best even!". Trump explicitly said we are not going to war with Iran, but pretends like he's not in charge of the entire US military and won't end this nonsensical charade.
border confusion happens semi-regularly, and in that case it was not meant as a hostile act but rather a formality to guide them back to the US from what they thought was Mexico due to the wall behind the US troops. the Mexican constitution, article 10 states "Inhabitants of the Republic may, for their protection, own guns and arms in their homes. Only arms approved by the Army may be owned, and federal law will state the manner in which they can be used (Firearms are prohibited from importation into the Republic without proper licensing and documentation. Foreigners may not pass the border with unlicensed firearms; the commission of such act is a felony, punishable by prison term." Because the US troops were carrying firearms the Mexican troops were legally bound to detain the US troops as they are technically foreigners with unlicensed firearms that passed the border. Of course the Mexican government isn't terminally stupid so they handed the soldiers back with no issue .
To quote dear leader, I don't give a shit what some dumb law in their shithole country says. And furthermore, they were not actually in Mexico.

The mexican tropps thought they were duty bound to arrest the US soldiers, because apparently we just let them hang out on our side of the border. What did the US soldiers think they are duty bound to do when a foreign army starts arresting people in your country?

I'm glad nobody was hurt, but I'm kinda pissed nobody publicly said "Oh Mexico has recieved a stern warning and a map, next time we respond with appropriate force."
Yeah, maybe I forgot it's Shark Week this week and that's why Trump has his thumb up his ass letting the very same "swamp people" he claimed he was going drain from controlling every aspect of his foreign policy. Trump is a lazy piece of shit that just defers all legislative and executive decisions to his staff. Then when shit goes sideways shrugs his shoulders and says "What plan? wasn't my plan. Everyone knows my plans are huge and the best even!". Trump explicitly said we are not going to war with Iran, but pretends like he's not in charge of the entire US military and won't end this nonsensical charade.
Trump can't control if some other exceptional state decides to attack us. He didn't promise to be a pacifist. Who are you even talking about? Do you know? What is the nonsensical charade?
  • Agree
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My other car is a STUG
To quote dear leader, I don't give a shit what some dumb law in their shithole country says. And furthermore, they were not actually in Mexico.

The mexican tropps thought they were duty bound to arrest the US soldiers, because apparently we just let them hang out on our side of the border. What did the US soldiers think they are duty bound to do when a foreign army starts arresting people in your country?

I'm glad nobody was hurt, but I'm kinda pissed nobody publicly said "Oh Mexico has recieved a stern warning and a map, next time we respond with appropriate force."
believe it or not, soldiers generally don't like getting shot at when they're hopelessly fucked for no good god damn reason if a peaceful alternative with no downsides exist you fucking war hawk. You can be the one to tell them that they should suck it up for Uncle Sam and die as if they were in Vietnam.

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