What does Iran have to gain here?

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

The answer is, as far as I can think of, is nothing, and there is pretty much everything to lose.

This is why I reacted to the report that Iranian boats had “provoked” US ships in the Strait of Hormuz with a “WTF????”.  Let’s look at a few things here, just to make heads or tails of things.

So what is the common thread here?  Well, pretty much all of these are a threat to US economic interests, not to mention partially avoidable had this administration acted differently back in 2001, 2002 and 2003.  Additionally, all of this has happened despite (or as a response by the global community) the saber rattling that Mister Bush, Dick Cheney and the other neocons have been doing for the past few years.

The US economy is getting rapidly worse – pretty much by any metric.  The Iraq occupation is an unmitigated disaster, with the only “success” being a decrease in violence to an already unacceptable level, while there is no political success in any way, shape or form.  Afghanistan is getting worse, as is the situation in Pakistan.  The Taliban and al Qaeda are stronger than ever (but being Sunni, there is really no reason for the Shiite Iran to cooperate with them to begin with).  

In short, the US foreign and domestic policies are miserable and with miserable but predictable results.  Another parallel is the fact that this is election season, and with republicans getting slammed left and right by an apathetic (at best) population, it is about time for the “tried and true” fear card to be played yet again.

And if this is “provoking”, as Mister Bush (or an unnamed and anonymous official says it is), then what about this action from May 2007 when the US sent nine warships through the Strait, along with 17,000 Marines and sailors in what was called a “show of military force”?  How is that NOT a threat or “provoking” Iran?

This makes absolutely no sense for Iran to take action.  But with the other actions taken by Iran over the past few years that threatens US economic “might” and our ability to pull the strings in the global economy – but even if these actions were designed to strengthen Iran’s position or to weaken the US’s position – it is not a threat that required lies about weapons parts, nuclear weapons programs or whatever else has been conjured up about Iran being a direct and immediate threat (or growing and gathering threat as Iraq became) to the US.

As with the convenient bin Laden tapes that always surface at opportune times, we should be very mindful of the timing here, as well as what else is going on that is damning or damaging to the republicans or the Bush administration.  Could it also be that by sending 9 ships and 17,000 servicemen and women to the Strait back in May that could be construed as a “provocative act” or that the Bush administration was threatening Iran then?  And couldn’t the continued presence of US military ships in the Strait, along with the tough words, lies and threats coming out of Washington at least every week be construed as “provocative” or “threatening”?

Now, I am not the only one, surely, that has figured out what looks like the obvious here.   The editors at Foreign Policy had this to say::

There’s no story yet, but I think it’s a safe bet that hardliners in the Guard are seeking to create an incident on the eve of U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to the region. Why would they do that? Well, it makes for good distraction from their sinking popularity ahead of March’s legislative elections. It forestalls the admittedly dim prospects of a U.S.-Iran rapprochement. It complicates Bush’s efforts to buck up the United States’ Arab allies (though depending on how they react to this news, it may simplify his mission). And as an added bonus, it’ll probably send oil prices upwards for a short while. We can’t exclude the possibility that some Guard higher-ups are speculating in the oil markets and turning a tidy profit from these sorts of incidents.

So, back to my original question – what does Iran really have to gain by doing something like this?  And what does Iran have to lose by doing something like this?  On the flip side, who does gain from a report such as this?

It seems pretty obvious here, and the timing is doubly suspicious in light of Bush’s visit to the Middle East, his approval ratings, the rise of Obama and the general apathy and implosion of republicans in general.


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  1. the recent report into a not-so-twisted perspective:

    They Dare Us To Watch It Happen

    Think “DSM” and note the idiosyncracies surrounding the alleged incident, particularly in light of the Kyle-Lieberman fiasco that declares the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

    Now read “Rock Solid” is the new “Slam Dunk” — Israel, Bush and Iran and see if you don’t come away wondering why Bush and Cheney aren’t being impeached, removed from office and put on trial immediately.

  2. PhotobucketPhotobucket

    We should block The History Channel from the WH’s cable package, it gives these guys way too many ideas!

  3. 1) They’re in international waters, or

    2) The US is playing games by being really close to Iranian territorial waters.

    Of course, there’s the question of if we trust anything coming out of W’s administration about anything.

  4. …out of control.  The navies of both countries train to respond to “incidents”.  

    Senator Webb   said in an interview in Feb. 07:

    “…during his time as Navy Secretary under President Reagan – and ‘until very recently’ – the U.S. ‘never operated’ aircraft carriers within the Gulf because it risked confrontation. ‘The chance of accidentally bumping into something that would start a diplomatic situation was pretty high,’ Webb explained. ‘With the tensions as high as they are, I’m very worried that we might accidentally set something off in there and we need, as a Congress, to get ahead of the ballgame here.’ ”

    While I don’t know if there was a carrier in the Gulf at the time of the incident, IMHO, the principle remains the same:  With tensions between the two countries so high, any provocations ordered by the civilian and/or military leaders of the country (countries) could spin out of control when executed by the naval vessels and personnel involved in those “provocations”.  The intent of the “leaders” who are playing with fire might not be to ignite a larger conflict, yet this could well happen in spite of their intentions.

  5. you ignore the Geneva conventions and torture and become no longer special in any way from the next thug on the globe and you run around threatening nations alongside spiritually and physically destroying your own military.  Other militaries do the neener neener neener dance in front of you and they love every minute of it…….like Chinese Subs stalking the Kitty Hawk and this from August that we denied happened but the Russians couldn’t wait to brag about

    Russian bombers are reported to have buzzed an American military base for the first time since the Cold War when they flew over the Pacific island of Guam.

    US denies Russian jets buzzed Pacific base.

    Moscow said that US fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the two Tupolev-95 warplanes as they resumed the Cold War era practice of flying over Western offshore military installations in a mission on Wednesday.

    The incident, seen as the latest attempt by a revitalised Russia to project its military might, is likely to have unnerved the Pentagon and caused further perplexity at the State Department over the Kremlin’s mercurial course.

    The US military was silent about the mid-air confrontation but the Russians were happy to boast about it.

    “It was always the tradition of our long-range aviation to fly far into the ocean, to meet (US) aircraft carriers and greet (US) pilots visually,” Maj Gen Pavel Androsov, the head of long-range aviation in the Russian air force, told a press conference in Moscow.

    According to the general, two Tupolev-95 bombers flew from Blagoveshchensk, on Russia’s border with China, to the US naval base at Guam in the West Pacific during a 13-hour round trip on Wednesday.

    Neener neener neener……..Americans are a bunch of pussy losers getting their asses handed to them in the desert by a band of ragged vagrants and a really stupid President running everything…..neener neener neener.  I hang out with people who keep track of the all the military neener neeners and they all know and discuss when and why they take place. North Korea neener neeners us all the time too with a few shots fired across the DMZ.  Cheney doesn’t want to bomb China or Russia or North Korea though.


  6. Did the Iranians learn enough English to taunt us?

    Or did the American commanders have a Farsi speaker on board?

    I mean, the language barrier between English and Farsi is pretty tall, that’s why I’m not buying it.

    Or maybe they learned that taunt on YouTube! The latest greatest American export.

  7. of intensity over the American broadcast media and discussed on probably several blogs, although this one is the only one i bother to check regularly, although I visit DK once a day and comment when I am interested in a diary. I always immediately go to the BBC World News (I have satellite radio) to hear their perspective. To me it sounds like the usual kind of cat and mouth twitching and tweaking that occurs much of the time.  One time it occurred wwwith British ships if you recall, that resulted in the capture and hostage taking of several Brtish naval personnel with some rather more serious escalation and loss of face especially concerning a female  sailor who was forced to put on the burka (that may not be the correct expression for the form of Iranian dress for women demanded by the the Revolutionary Guards, who basically are the religion police for the ayatollah’s, but I am not an expert).

    The situation was resolved after some days with everyone backing off a bit and saving some face.  In view of yesterday’s alleged message from Al Qaeda urging jihadists to meet Bush with bombs instead of flowers, on the eve of his visit to the region and his first ever, i believe anyway to both Saudi Arabia and Israel it is only to be expected that the tensions will be ratcheted up. I do not think so far it is a matter for too much concern however neither do i think it a matter for any levity or sarcasm whatsoever.  These things, can easily spin out of control.  Self fulfilling prophcy and much as I detest and despise the Bush administration I do not honestly think they are seeking to precipitate a confrontation at this specific moment.  I may be naive.

    I would really like to see the mainstream media be     totally responsible here and immediately ask every single one of the candidates prior to tomorrow’s primary vote to state specifically what they would do if they were president right now and how they will handle relationships with Iran when they do become president.  Not generalities, specificities, because specific action is what any president has to order in the event of unforeseen provocations from anywhere, in any manner, shape of form.

    I also think it behooves us to ratchet down our own speculation because none of us knows unless we are actually on the scene.

  8. Crossposted to Chairman Conyers blog.

    Not to make a habit of it, But it is an important matter. And I do have a different perspective.

    The Iranian swiftboats.

    US Navy Destroyers are equipped with Radar. This fact alone shows the likelihood of the Iranians surprising the Americans was very near zero. Taking the Navy at it’s word that it was about to fire when the Iranians suddenly, unexpectedly, retired…shows that the Iranians were very well tuned in to the likely Rules of Engagement the Navy was/is operating under : thus may be taken to be competent, professional sailors able to finely calculate risks …and run them.

    Let’s all notice that in order to address the difficulty presented them, all our guys would have had to do is turn on their Phalanx close in weapons systems. One switch…problem solved. The Iranians were no doubt well aware.

    Upshot : There is more than one way to interpret data presented. It is easiest, of course, to take the meaning intended by the presenter. This provides the recipient the added bonus of getting strokes from the guy that just fooled him. This is, of course, VERY popular – coming and going. But, if you will grant me pardon, It Is Almost Always Better To THINK..when someone hands you a supposed Causus Belli.

    What is the real message?

    How about – that the Iranians are not intimidated. That they know what they are faced by, down to a gnats ass. That they have the same willingness to face danger that we are so proud to find in our own friends and countrymen.

    This contrasts strongly with the message intended – that the Iranians are Dastards, with Temerity – which merely means they won’t knuckle under. This presumes in the recipient the expectation that Iranians SHOULD knuckle under. I challenge that presumption, if it exists, and ask after it’s origin. After all, our guys didn’t even have a chance…to shoot. Showing that they know where the line is is in no way the equivalent of crossing the line. And seeing as the line was not crossed there is no reason to bitch, unless the bitch is about the war you were hoping to get started. This is the motive I hear behind the rhetoric.

    Taking a look under the plate, I would like to remind folk of the unprecedented (unbelievable) debacle at Minot Air force Base involving Newkyaler Weapons, and the possible reasons/results of same.

    Citizens for Legitimate Government

    From the rebuttal, 2/3rds down the page:


    The military reporting of these incidents is itself contrary to military secrecy, reason, and law. I suspect an altogether different agenda. I believe that this high-level press coverage of a screw up, carrying nukes on B52s, is designed to use the US Media [gasp, they’ve never done that before!] to pressure Iran to meet US demands.


    The US military would never release to the public any real classified data, especially including data about moved or missing nukes, without authority from the White House.


    The US media is NOT entitled to print or distribute classified information, and is NEVER brought-in as it was in this case, so rapidly or on such an elemental and critical faux paus.


    The only logical excuse for the sudden and detail-filled news coverage of this event is that of an intentional release of data for political purposes.

    Whether you buy into that or not, is there a reason the Iranians should not? So, who is the bad guy? And how bad IS he?

    Frosted Flake

    Lets not overlook this.

    That concludes the crosspost. I trust it was responsive to the question of who gains what.

    Frosted Flake

    • Temmoku on January 8, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Iran captured…maybe they have more gift bags they want to get rid of?

    Actually, their little boats posed no real threat…Iran does not have a history of suicide bombing and so much has been made out of nothing. Bush just needs to bolster his “Protective” suit…since he lost his codpiece he is unsure of how to do it. It is simply so easy to make something a threat where none exists…he has proven this already…because it is so unexpected and surprising to most people.

    Now what threat would a little nation with a Nuclear bomb pose? Would they use it and why? What would happen if they did? Besides, they are surrounded by Nations who do have nuclear capability and possess more than one bomb. The whole scenario is just so implausable…Iran would be gone in a heartbeat if they used one…the whole issue is so non-sensical, yet people scream about Iran’s nukes and the fictional nuclear bomb in the suitcase at an airport…just what are these people drinking?

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