[ Editor’s Note: As I type, the US is already consolidating its footprint in Iraq, withdrawing equipment and people, most probably to Saudi bases initially so they are still in theater.
Iraq has to be careful not to overplay its hand. With the demonstrated ability Iran showed to take over US drones not just over Iraq but Syria, too…and defeat US air defenses, the Pentagon will not be in a rush for another demonstration.
Notice how little Western media coverage there was on the air defense failure, when it should have been front page news for days with media pounding on the Pentagon’s door. That shows the Intel lockdown on Western media.
The US is not without tools to squeeze Iraq. Incredibly, Iraq has allowed the US to hold its $25 billion in oil sales reserves at the Fed, which Trump was quick to threaten to snatch. And he can also cancel their oil export waiver, and electricity and gas waivers with Iran to block badly needed foreign earnings.
Welcome to America the gangster in action, with a full bore gangster crew at the top now, not the usual lurking in the shadows kind. American deaths and wounded may never be publicly known, but could be equivalent to what the US inflicted on Iraq forces and allies in the month proceeding the Soleimani killing.
The US and its Gulf State allies know that Iran could have done a lot more damage, but did not. And many would bet that if the US were to do something stupid now, the next retaliation would be bigger.
Politically the Democrats have the votes for the “no war with Iran resolution” so Iran will sit tight to see how all that plays out, and the Trump impeachment trial. Trump will be signing the China trade deal soon, even though China has stated it will keep buying Iranian oil and continue funding Iran’s infrastructure, even while negotiating stage their second part of the trade deal with Beijing.
Trump may be talking big, but watch to see if he is stepping softly. The House has said it would subpoena Pompeo to look into the Trump gang’s hyping the Soleimani “Bigfoot” attack plans.
VT thinks it was the all too often used “fake intel” scam to justify an attack that we saw used over and over in Syria. A lot of civilians were killed there; in a perfect world, US officials should have been criminally prosecuted, but alas it is not… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … January 15, 2019 –