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US of A vs. the terrible IRAN

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Why the World Should Thank Trump for Killing Soleimani | Merion West. “In the event that one is not overly familiar with the past forty years of Iranian history, I will explain what I mean; Iran—over the past four decades—has perfected a playbook of deceit that is so effective that nearly anyone has the potential of falling for it.” President Donald Trump’s remarks this morning in a live speech from the White House reiterated his support for the decisive action The United States took in eliminating “ruthless terrorist” Qasem Soleimani last week. As President Trump put it today: “Soleimani’s hands were drenched in both American and Iranian blood. He should have been terminated long ago. By removing Soleimani, we have sent a powerful message to terrorists: If you value your own life, you will not threaten the lives of our people.”

One of the most important moments in Bryan Singer’s 1995 film The Usual Suspects is when the main character, the mysterious Keyser Söze, says: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” How Qassim Suleimani Wielded His Enormous Power in Iraq. In the four decades since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, few Iranian leaders have achieved the global profile attained by Maj.

Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the military commander killed in an American airstrike on Thursday. After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Suleimani emerged as the United States’s most capable adversary in that country. His American counterpart at a key point during the occupation, Gen. David Petraeus, described Suleimani as “a truly evil figure” in a letter to Robert Gates, then the U.S. defense secretary. Over the years, Suleimani gained a reputation as a fearsome military leader who controlled a network of ideologically driven militia proxies across the Middle East.

A more nuanced portrait of Suleimani emerges from a leaked archive of secret Iranian spy cables obtained by The Intercept. Some of the cables chronicle Suleimani’s battlefield appearances and meetings with senior Iraqi officials, while others describe the activities of his militia proxies in Iraq. Photo: AP “Mr. Iran’s Cyber Attack on Billionaire Adelson Provides Lesson on Strategy. (Bloomberg) -- As the U.S. awaits possible retribution over a recent airstrike that killed a top general, there’s at least one American businessman who can attest, in detail, to what happened after he provoked Iran. In October 2013, Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and prominent supporter of conservative politicians and Israel, appeared on a panel in New York in which he suggested that the U.S. could send a message to Iran, regarding its nuclear ambitions, by detonating an American warhead in the middle of the Iranian desert. “You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position,” said Adelson, who later became a major supporter of President Donald Trump.

His comments infuriated Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who two weeks later said America “should slap these prating people in the mouth.” Months later, in February 2014, hackers inserted malware into the computer networks of Adelson’s Las Vegas casino. Iran is hardly the only U.S. cyber adversary. Learning Period. Iranian State TV Announces $80 Million 'Reward' For 'Head' Of President Donald Trump. Iranian state television on Sunday announced an $80 million "reward" for the head of U.S. President Donald Trump. According to the announcement, Iran is offering $1 for each of its 80 million citizens. The money would purportedly go to the persons who "who get close to the head of President Trump. " The reward was first reported by EN24.

“Iran has 80 million inhabitants," the statement said. "Based on the Iranian population, we want to raise $80 million, which is a reward for those who get close to the head of President Trump.” The announcer suggested that each citizen should give a dollar to the cause. Over a million mourners were said to be on the streets over the weekend after Trump ordered the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a top Iraqi general. Iranian state television on Sunday announced an $80 million "reward" for the head of U.S. According to the announcement, Iran is offering $1 for each of its 80 million citizens. “Iran has 80 million inhabitants," the statement said. Iran’s Deadly Puppet Master. The decision not to act is often the hardest one to make—and it isn’t always right.

In 2007, I watched a string of vehicles pass from Iran into northern Iraq. I had been serving as the head of the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) for four years, working to stem the terrorism that had devastated the region, and I had become accustomed to making tough choices. But on that January night, the choice was particularly tricky: whether or not to attack a convoy that included Qassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force—an organization roughly analogous to a combination of the CIA and JSOC in the United States. There was good reason to eliminate Suleimani. At the time, Iranian-made roadside bombs built and deployed at his command were claiming the lives of U.S. troops across Iraq. These days, he still operates outside the spotlight. The prominence the soft-spoken Suleimani has achieved is especially striking given his origins.

Making of a martyr: how Qassem Suleimani was hunted down. For Qassem Suleimani, the 62-year-old head of Iran’s Quds Force, and one of the most powerful men in the Middle East, the short flight from Damascus to Baghdad late on Thursday was routine. Travelling by private charter, the architect of Tehran’s strategic efforts from Lebanon through Syria and Iraq to Yemen would have avoided all formalities at one of the world’s most securely guarded airports. As his plane touched down just after midnight on Friday morning after reportedly disappearing from commercial flight trackers shortly before landing, two cars were waiting to greet the burly general at the aircraft steps. On the tarmac was a familiar face, Suleimani’s long-time associate Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the Iraqi leader of the Iranian-backed Shia militia Kata’ib Hezbollah, whose supporters had laid siege to the US embassy in Baghdad for two days last week in retaliation for US airstrikes that killed 25 militia fighters on 29 December.

Suleimani also had pressing issues on his mind. Trump administration website defaced by hackers claiming to be Iranians vowing ‘severe revenge’ Predictions that Iran would engage in cyber warfare to retaliate for the United States’ assassination of Qassin Suleimani may have already come true. The website for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is offline as of publication time after being defaced. The program is administered by the U.S. Government Publishing Office to get public documents into libraries nationwide. Before the website went down, an archive of the defacing was captured by the Internet Archive. The message said it was posted by the Islamic Republic of Iran. It claimed martydom was Suleimani’s “reward for years of implacable efforts.” The message included a photoshopped image of a bloodied Trump being punched by a fist wearing an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps patch, with two missiles shown in flight.

The hacker of the site claimed to be the “Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS.” Screengrab of the website via the Internet Archive. Enjoy this piece? … then let us make a small request. The Shadow Commander. Last February, some of Iran’s most influential leaders gathered at the Amir al-Momenin Mosque, in northeast Tehran, inside a gated community reserved for officers of the Revolutionary Guard. They had come to pay their last respects to a fallen comrade. Hassan Shateri, a veteran of Iran’s covert wars throughout the Middle East and South Asia, was a senior commander in a powerful, élite branch of the Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force.

The force is the sharp instrument of Iranian foreign policy, roughly analogous to a combined C.I.A. and Special Forces; its name comes from the Persian word for Jerusalem, which its fighters have promised to liberate. Since 1979, its goal has been to subvert Iran’s enemies and extend the country’s influence across the Middle East.

Shateri had spent much of his career abroad, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, where the Quds Force helped Shiite militias kill American soldiers. Maguire told me, “Suleimani is a far more polished guy than most. The Shadow Commander. The Killing of Qassem Suleimani Is Tantamount to an Act of War. On orders from President Trump, the United States killed Major General Qassem Suleimani, the leader of Iran’s élite Quds Force and the mastermind of its military operations across the Middle East, in an overnight air strike at Baghdad’s International Airport. The assassination was the boldest U.S. act in confronting Iran since the 1979 revolution, tantamount to an act of war.

A brief statement from the Pentagon described it as a “decisive defensive action” designed to protect U.S. personnel abroad. But the strike represented a stunning escalation between Washington and Tehran, and it may well have the reverse effect. Iran almost certainly will want to respond in some lethal form, whether directly or through its powerful network of proxies in the region. U.S. embassies and military bases—and thousands of American personnel across the Middle East and South Asia, and potentially beyond—were instantly vulnerable. Was the U.S. attack an act of war?

What Does The Suleimani Killing Mean For The US And Iran? Here's What To Read. On Thursday, a US airstrike in Baghdad killed Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force and one of the most powerful men in Iran and the Middle East. While some have heralded the strike as a justified response to the recent events at the US embassy in Iraq and to Suleimani's history of violence in the region, others argue that the killing will lead to a major escalation in conflict between the US and Iran, potentially even war.

Here's what to read. How The Situation Escalated The New York Times has a quick breakdown of how tensions on the ground in Iraq have flared over the last week: [Read at the New York Times] Who Was Qassim Suleimani? The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins wrote the definitive profile of the Iranian military leader back in 2013: [Read at the New Yorker] 'A Turning Point' At The Atlantic, Kathy Gilsinan and Mike Giglio stress how different the Suleimani killing is from strikes on Al Qaeda or ISIS leaders and how it marks a turning point in tensions between the US and Iran: US strike kills top Iranian commander Soleimani. A US air strike in Baghdad overnight killed Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran's elite Quds Force and regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran threatened on Friday to hit back hard after the death of Soleimani who was seen as the architect of Iran's growing military influence in the Middle East. The overnight attack, authorized by US President Donald Trump, marked a dramatic escalation in a "shadow war" in the Middle East between Iran and the United States and its allies, principally Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Top Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to Soleimani, was also killed in the attack. Iran has been locked in a long conflict with the US that escalated sharply last week with an attack on the US embassy in Iraq by pro-Iranian militiamen following a US air raid on the Kataib Hezbollah militia, founded by Muhandis.

The US Embassy in Baghdad urged all American citizens to depart Iraq immediately. Disputing Trump claims, Japan says no evidence Iran was behind Saudi attack. “We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident. “We are not aware of any information that points to Iran,” Kono said during a press briefing. “We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

The only evidence the Trump administration has released to substantiate its claim of Iranian responsibility are satellite photos that experts said are not clear enough to assign blame. Ret. Gen. Kono said Japan, an ally of both Iran and the U.S., is still in the process of determining who was behind the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by drones. “Given Japan’s strong ties with the U.S. based on the U.S. Iran attacks US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Sources say downed UAV penetrated deep into Iranian airspace. U.S. Claims Drone Was Minding Own Business On Its Way To Church When Iran Attacked It Out Of Nowhere. WASHINGTON—Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere.

“This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace,” said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone’s upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. “We’re talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends—an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. World Court Rules on Iran Challenge to US Suits for Acts of Terrorism: An Explainer. Private lawsuits against Iran for injuries caused by terrorist acts have generated billions of dollars in damage awards in U.S. courts. In 2016, Iran filed suit in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) alleging that these proceedings, and the seizure of certain Iranian assets to satisfy the judgments, violate international law.

Last week, the ICJ issued its judgment on the United States’s preliminary objections to Iran’s claims. Perhaps not surprisingly, reactions to the judgment differed. The United States issued a statement that “the Court saw through Iran’s effort to distort the 1955 Treaty of Amity [between the two countries] and rejected Iran’s core arguments.” By contrast, the Tehran-based Financial Tribune carried the headline “ICJ Rejects U.S. Objection.” The financial stakes in the ICJ case are high.

There are now two pending cases in the ICJ involving claims by Iran against the United States, each of which has been assigned a descriptive title per ICJ practice. New Findings on Clerical Involvement in the 1953 Coup in Iran | National Security Archive. What a War Between Iran and America Would Look Like. The facts are simple: Washington and Tehran are locked into a long-term geopolitical contest throughout the Middle East that will span decades—a similar contest in many ways to Washington and Beijing’s battle for influence in the Asia-Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific regions.

Over the long term, the U.S. -Iranian struggle throughout the Middle East could very well be a mini-Thucydides trap, to steal the phrase from my beloved Harvard’s resident geostrategic guru, Graham Allison—the classic tale of how when a rising power meets an established power, war is oftentimes the most common result (eleven out of fifteen times, per Allison). Taking such a long view of U.S. -Iranian relations only reveals stormy seas ahead.

Looking at any map reveals a whole host of challenges. From Yemen, to Syria, to Lebanon and over the long term in Iraq, it is quite clear Washington and Tehran have too many areas of contention for their relationship to turn rosey. I, for one, certainly hope not. Trump wants to push back against Iran, but Iran is now more powerful than ever. U.S. Concedes $400 Million Payment to Iran Was Delayed as Prisoner ‘Leverage’ A Shifting Narrative on Iran. Another Idiotic Plan to Hurt Russia.    Six Things You Didn’t Know the U.S. and Its Allies Did to Iran  :    Information Clearing House - ICH. Operation Merlin. Stuxnet's Secret Twin - By Ralph Langner. CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup. CIA Admits It Was Behind Iran's Coup - By Malcolm Byrne. In classified cyberwar against Iran, trail of Stuxnet leak leads to White House.

Good-bye Dubai? Bombing Iran’s Nuclear Facilities would leave the Entire Gulf States Region virtually Uninhabitable. Navy To Send a Strong Message To Iran With Pointless Multinational Exercise. ‘October Surprise’ and ‘Argo’ ‘Argo’ helps Iran’s dictatorship, harms democracy. Argo and the Stolen Truth About Iran. Iran Promises To End Nuclear Program In Exchange For Detailed Diagram Of Atomic Bomb. Gov News Transcript: DOD News Briefing with George Little from the Pentagon.

U.S. Sanctions on Iran Hit Health Care. The U.S. Navy adviser who thwarted a plan to provoke war with Iran.