Pompeo is trying to provoke U.S. conflict with Iran to boost his own presidential aims

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. Secretary of State, is already running for president in 2024. To that end, he is trying to provoke Iran into a conflict in the days and weeks to come. 

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Nimitz just steamed through the Straits of Hormuz and into the Persian Gulf, the first American capital ship there in nearly a year.

The Trump administration has already illegally imposed harsh sanctions against Iran, and reserves the right to board Iranian (or other) vessels to enforce them.

Iran has pledged restraint, but the chief of Iran’s navy warned on Monday that his sailors have orders to fight back if the U.S. harasses Iranian civil or military vessels. 

Even with Iranian caution, the risk of an accident is rising dangerously.

Pompeo wants an October Surprise to boost Donald Trump’s dwindling re-election chances.

He remembers that when the U.S. assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in early January the killing got tacit support from even normally anti-Trump mainstream media and the foreign policy establishment.

Pompeo obviously wants Trump to win so he can continue his bellicose policies in a second term, thus positioning himself well for 2024.

He also knows that Israel has tried for more than a decade to instigate a U.S. conflict with Iran.

Pompeo’s evangelical views no doubt make him sympathetic to Israel in any case, but he’s also aware that pro-Israel mega-donor Sheldon Adelson could give his candidacy a huge financial boost in the Republican primaries.

While U.S. voters and reporters are (understandably) distracted by domestic political issues, the pro-war-with-Iran propaganda apparatus is shifting into a higher gear.

An unidentified American “high official” leaked the dishonest allegation that “Iran may have enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon by the end of the year. . .”

The invaluable Juan Cole exposed this lie at some length, but reputable media outlets like Reuters and the British Independent had already published it.

Another element in the disinformation campaign is the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the U.S. ambassador to South Africa. T

he authorities there rapidly discounted it as false, but not before Politico had irresponsibly published it and Trump himself had warned in a tweet that that the US would retaliate with “1,000 times greater” force.

What’s more, the ill-named Foundation for the Defense of Democracies — a Washington D.C. “think tank” that the pro-Israel lobby set up as a front — continues its steady drumbeat of propaganda calling for U.S. aggression against Iran.

You won’t see the FDD much on MSNBC or CNN, but their views are a regular feature on Fox News.

Back to Mike Pompeo.  The American military was rightly criticized for letting Trump manipulate uniformed generals back on June 1, when they were conned into accompanying the president on his infamous photo op walk across Lafayette Park to brandish the Bible in front of a church.

But Pompeo and Trump are now using our men and women in uniform in the Persian gulf in a far more sinister way. The two are risking conflict with another country not to defend America’s national interests, but only to advance their own electoral prospects. 


US ‘disappointed’ in Baghdad’s condemnation of American attacks on Iraq HAHA

“This was a defensive action designed to protect American forces and American citizens in Iraq, and it was aimed also at deterring Iran,” Pompeo told Fox News.

The United States is “disappointed” by Iraq’s condemnation of US air strikes against an Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group, a senior State Department official said, days after a rocket attack killed an American contractor.

Washington has accused Kataib Hezbollah (KH) of launching the attack on US forces before retaliating against the group on Sunday.

US air raids targeted the Tehran-linked Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) faction KH both in Iraq and Syria after a rocket attack on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk on Friday killed an American contractor and wounded several US service members and Iraqi personnel.

Iraq strongly denounced the US strikes on Monday, calling the raids, which killed 25 PMU fighters and wounded 55, a “violation of Iraqi sovereignty”.  Washington bombed KH positions and arms depots in Iraq and Syria.

On Monday, the US official said it was discouraging that the government in Baghdad rushed to condemn the American military response.

‘It’s moments like this when you see people’s true colours’

– US official

“We’re disappointed that every time that Kataib Hezbollah controls and moves weapons and people on behalf of the Iranians, there’s no condemnation,” the official said. 

“Every time Hezbollah represses protesters … there’s no condemnation. Every time Hezbollah sends fighters off to Syria without the authorisation of the Iraqi government, there’s no condemnation. 

“Yeah, it’s disappointing, but – you know – it’s moments like this when you see people’s true colours.” [I’ll say! HAHAHAHA]

‘Dangerous consequences’

Iraq’s acting Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has rebuked the American strikes, saying that he had warned US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper against going ahead with them in a phone call shortly before the bombing was conducted.

“The prime minister described the American attack on the Iraqi armed forces as an unacceptable vicious assault that will have dangerous consequences,” his office said in a statement.

The mainly Shia PMU militias were formed in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group (IS) after it overran large parts of the country and threatened to capture the Iraqi capital. For the past two years, Baghdad has been trying to integrate the fighters into the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi premier’s statement painted a different picture than the one presented by the Pentagon less than 24 hours earlier.

“Secretary Esper and Prime Minister Mahdi have shared with each other their commitment to see these KH attacks … cease once and for all,” assistant to the Secretary of Defense Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement on Sunday.

Friday’s attack in Kirkuk was the latest in a series of recent rocket strikes on or near American forces in Iraq that Washington blames on Iran-backed fighters.

In a phone call between Esper and Abdul Mahdi earlier this month, the Pentagon chief called on the Iraqi government to prevent attacks against American forces.

The Iraqi prime minister’s office said at the time that Abdul Mahdi “called for serious efforts that would involve everyone to prevent escalation”.

‘Sinful attack’

Top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani also denounced on Monday the American air strikes, describing them as a “sinful attack“.

American forces in Iraq are operating at the invitation of the government in Baghdad, with the stated goal of fighting IS.

Russia, one of the main backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also critised the strikes as being unacceptable and counterproductive.

Earlier on Monday, US Secretary Mike Pompeo stressed that Sunday’s attack was “defensive”, calling on Iran to stop its “terror campaign”.

“This was a defensive action designed to protect American forces and American citizens in Iraq, and it was aimed also at deterring Iran,” Pompeo told Fox News.