Nawar al-Awlaki, the eight year old American girl killed by US commandos a few days after Trump assumed office, will not be the last victim in Yemen.
Trump and his advisers have decided Yemen is where they will make a stand against Iran.
Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
On Friday, Foreign Policy reported:
President Donald Trump’s aides see Yemen as an important battleground to signal U.S. resolve against Iran and to break with what they consider the previous administration’s failure to confront Tehran’s growing power in the region. But the tough approach carries the risk of triggering Iranian retaliation against the United States in Iraq and Syria, or even a full-blown war with Iran.
— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) February 4, 2017
On Thursday the US sent a destroyer to the coast of Yemen following a suicide attack on a Saudi frigate and “is weighing tougher steps including drone strikes and deploying military advisers to assist local forces, according to officials familiar with the discussions.” In other words, troops on the ground.
On Wednesday, the White House put Iran “on notice” for daring to test missiles. “A fiery statement from Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, marked some of the most aggressive rhetoric by the administration that took office on Jan. 20, making clear that Obama’s less confrontational approach toward Iran was over,” Reuters reported.
Mike Flynn's message to Iran is clear: Your belligerent behavior will no longer go unchecked https://t.co/XkfqCh18bK
— EAGLE WINGS (@ConstanceQueen8) February 3, 2017
Flynn’s attitude toward Iran is hardly a secret. In June 20015, he testified before the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, a month before he P5+1 and Iran concluded the the Iran nuclear deal, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. He listed five developments in the Middle East, beginning with the “negative behavior and expanding influence of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He told the subcommittee:
Not only do these impact our security at home, but they also impact our allies and friends in the region, most important, the State of Israel—Israel lives under the threat of total annihilation from Iran and other Islamic radical elements in the region—something the United States must never allow, nor should we deal equally with those who spew this type of hatred and bigotry (we would not stand for it here in this country and we should not stand for it elsewhere in the world where our closest friends are at risk).
He said war with Iran was not possible during the Obama years. “Ideas about other ways of waging war are ignored because they do not fit the closed Second Generation paradigm. Meanwhile, Washington cannot consider alternatives to our current foreign policy or grand strategy because anyone who proposes one is immediately exiled from the establishment,” he said.
Flynn suggested an Arab NATO-like structure to confront Iran. He said any kind of negotiation with the country is impossible because “evil doesn’t recognize diplomacy and nations such as Iran will still maintain the intent of achieving nuclear weapon status.”
James Mattis, Trump’s secretary of defense, said this week the world should not ignore Iran’s alleged attempt to destabilize the Middle East.
— Al Jazeera News (@AJENews) February 4, 2017
“We have seen their [Iran’s] misconduct, their misbehavior, from Lebanon and Syria to Bahrain and to Yemen and it’s got to be addressed at some point. I think it is wise to make certain that Iran recognizes that what it is doing is getting the attention of a lot of people.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker agrees. “No longer will Iran be given a pass for its repeated ballistic missile violations, continued support of terrorism, human rights abuses and other hostile activities that threaten international peace and security,” he said.
On Thursday, Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, claimed Iran had attacked a US warship. “I think General Flynn was really clear yesterday that Iran has violated the Joint Resolution, that Iran’s additional hostile actions that it took against our Navy vessel are ones that we are very clear are not going to sit by and take,” he said. “I think that we will have further updates for you on those additional actions.”
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 3, 2017
It appears the report on the supposed attack was misreported by Fox News, which is not surprising. Fox figures prominently in the fake news constellation.
“Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war?” writes Patrick J. Buchanan.
This is how wars start. Recall the Gulf of Tonkin when the Pentagon and the Johnson administration claimed North Vietnam had attacked US ships. It was a fabrication that kicked off the Vietnam War and ultimately killed more than three million people, including nearly 60,000 US soldiers.
The Trump administration has now made it clear they are interested in going to war with Iran in that country’s own backyard.
“Along with the 15-year war in Afghanistan and our wars in Libya, Syria and Yemen, our 21st-century U.S. Mideast wars have cost us trillions of dollars and thousands of dead. And they have produced a harvest of hatred of America that was exploited by al-Qaida and ISIS to recruit jihadists to murder and massacre Westerners,” Buchanan writes.