A Window for Peace 1351


There is this morning a chink of light to avoid yet more devastation in the Middle East. Iran’s missile strikes last night were calibrated to satisfy honour while avoiding damage that would trigger automatically the next round. The missiles appear to have been fitted out with very light warhead payloads indeed – their purpose was to look good in the dark going up into the night sky. There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.

Even more important was the Iraqi statement that “proportionate measures” had been “taken and concluded” and they did not seek “further escalation”.

I agree their response was proportionate and I would say that I regard the Iranian action so far, unlike the assassination of Soleimani by the US, legal in international law.

The entire world should congratulate Iran for its maturity in handling the illegal assassination of its General, who was on a peace mission, travelling as a civilian on a commercial flight, carrying a mediation message the US had been instrumental in instigating. If as seems possible the US actively manipulated the diplomatic process to assassinate someone on a diplomatic mission and traveling on a diplomatic passport, that is a dreadful outrage which will come back to haunt them. Life insurance rates for US diplomats no doubt just went up.

It is also worth noting the 2.8% rise in the Lockheed share price in the 24 hours immediately before the Soleimani assassination, outperforming the Dow about three times. That would bear investigation. Arms manufacturers and oil stocks have soared this last few days – and remember that nowadays the vast bulk of financial transactions are bets on the margins of movement, so vast fortunes will have been made out of all this.

The UK has been, as ever, complicit in US crimes. Our laughingly so-called “defence” industry – when were its products last used in self-defence and not colonial adventure? – is tied in to and dependent on the US military machine. The current build-up of US troops and hardware in the Gulf has Mildenhall as a major staging post. We do not have to do this. Whether officially or on a pretext, French airspace was closed to the US military build-up and the Americans have had to fly from the UK, skirting France, around the Atlantic.

In a huge Boris Johnson slap in the face to international law, extra US bombers to attack Iran have been flown into Diego Garcia, in the Chagos Islands. You will recall that is where the UK committed genocide against the population in the 1970s to clear the way for the US military base. Last year, the UK lost a hearing before the International Court of Justice and was subsequently instructed by the UN to decolonise the islands and give them back to Mauritius by last November. The UK simply persisted in its illegal occupation and now is threatening the use of the islands as the base for yet another illegal and destabilising war.

That the UK is a permanent member of the UN security council is a disgrace which surely cannot endure much longer. What the current crisis has shown us is that under Johnson the UK has no future except as a still more compliant servant of whoever occupies the White House.

Wars are easy to start but hard to stop. Trump appears to have calmed, but we cannot rule out a stupid “last word” attack by the USA. It is to be hoped that Iran now concentrates on using the immense political leverage it has gained to get western troops out of Iraq, which would be a tremendous result for all of us after 17 years. But we cannot rule out hotter heads in the Iranian government insisting on further attacks, or attacks from regional forces whose Tehran authorisation is uncertain. On either side this could yet blow up badly.

I am a sucker for hope, and the best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions. I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination. But the US is now so tied in to Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thus tied in to irrational hostility to Iran, that this must be extremely unlikely.

For those of us in Scotland, this is still more reason why Independence must be early. We cannot be tied in to a rogue state. As we march for Independence on Saturday, the potential for war in Iran gives the sharpest reminder why we must leave the UK and form our own, peaceful, law-abiding state.

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1,351 thoughts on “A Window for Peace

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  • Athanasius

    Unlike most of the elitists, I never thought Trump a stupid man. I think he ordered the assassination to pay off the Israelis, the people who had been guarding his back against the deep state, the same elitists who did not and will not accept his election to the White House. Well, he’s paid them, so let that be an end to it.

    • Giyane

      Athanasius

      Payment to the Zionists, or payment to Saudi Arabia for trashing Daesh. Promises to the Saudi satanocracy are looking a bit lost in the post. Since the US is multipally bankrupt and has not even a prayer of a prayer ever to pay off its insolvency ever, I think he paid off the Saudis.

      More time to consume more oil while somebody somewhere works out a better plan than raping the planet and wiping out the ungrates who did not descend from the pilgrim tathers.

    • nevermind

      ‘ i’m a sucker for hope’. I concure strongly Craig, our children demand/ should expect that we are positively looking for solutions, explain the daily deluge of falsehoods and greed.
      Pompeo seems to have taken the paddle Bolton lost, he is the better liar i suppose.
      Lets hope this weekends demonstration around the world will stop those selfserving dumbos from setting the world alite.

  • Republicofscotland

    So its too early to tell if the plane crash in Iran which killed everyone onboard was due to a mechanical failure or other. Apparently the aircraft was serviced but a few days ago, and that particular older model is supposed be reliable, not like the Boeing jet that’s been ground recently due to several crashes.

    The Iranian missile strikes in Iraq aimed at US military personnel in their bases, was palmed off by Trump who claimed that everything was fine or words to that effect. Did Iran prewarn the Americans of the strikes, as in the case of the Americans prewarning the Russians of the missile strike in Syria last year.

    I can only assume that they did as dead American troops would only escalate the situation further. Just as importantly has Iran now saved face by the attack, and will tension now abated somewhat, it’s probably far too early to tell.

    The outcome of the plane crash and its causes might stoke the flames of war if foul play is revealed, I hope not.

      • N_

        Why weren’t any shot down? Possibilities include:
        1) Defence systems were a) stood down by US or taken down by b) Iran, c) another party.
        2 (less likely) It’s not true. Some were.

          • Fedup

            Recollecting that V2 rocket ala WWII were heard only once they exploded, and fact that ballistic missiles go supersonic prior to impact the missile defence systems are incapable of intercepting such objects. Missile defence is designed for use against the V1 (doodlebug)/cruise type missiles and shoulder launched rockets with low speeds.

            There is a reticence to accept that US is more Hollywood for their apparent/projected capabilities.

            We are witnessing the postmodernists at their best;
            A- amplify and exaggerate imaginary threats!
            B- downplay any real threats!
            This is the time for them to keep their mouths shut! The

            Carney goes on record; “The global economy is heading towards a “liquidity trap” that would undermine central banks’ efforts to avoid a future recession,”
            Read into it the derivative market (apogee of postmodernist economic mumbo jumbo) crash!

            Other none western sources are telling of eighty dead and 200 injured, but that is yet to be verified in the world of lies and damn lies that the postmodernists have brought about.

            Simple fact is any further retaliation and Iranians are ready to hit 104 targets around the mid east, with their missiles, and god knows what else can follow after that.

            I am not religious but I wish/pray for peace. It is our collective bacon online this time.

        • Adrian Kent

          There’s a third option – that the US anti-missile defences are somewhat crappy. Ted Postol & Theodore Lloyd made their names debunking a lot of the hype about the Patriot missiles after the Gulf War and they’ve proven completely ineffective in the Saudi war on Yemen. As I pointed out below – their ludicrous price-tags restricts their deployment too.

      • Spencer Eagle

        Even a ‘shot down’ missile falls to earth, they don’t vaporize into the ether. Some of these things are several meters in length, much of that being the propellant stage.

  • N_

    Assumption should be at this stage that the plane crash was caused deliberately. Just too big a coincidence.
    I wonder what those 10 Swedes were doing. Possibilities include mediation, humanitarian work, and flogging weapons for Bofors.

    • John Pretty

      “Assumption should be at this stage that the plane crash was caused deliberately.”

      No, N_ I don’t agree with this. My feeling is that the timing of this tragedy is a coincidence, but I think it best to make no assumptions about it at this stage.

      The cause will no doubt be established when a full enquiry is conducted.

      • N_

        An enormous coincidence. Number of crashes on commercial flights killing more than 100 people:
        2019 2
        2018 2
        2017 0
        2016 1
        So about 1 every 300 days. This one happened within a few hours of the retaliatory strikes against the US bases.

        • John Pretty

          N_ this doesn’t change anything I have said. I doubt that either the Americans or the Iranians would have targeted an airliner.

          But an enquiry will establish the cause.

          • Tom Welsh

            The Americans are known to have shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988 (probably quite deliberately – there are limits to incompetence).

            And they were probably responsible for MH17. Unless that was the British.

          • John Pretty

            Yes, Tom I know what happened in 1988. And I have heard Bush senior’s sickening excuse for it.

            That still does not change anything I said.

          • Kempe

            The Americans did at least admit responsibility and pay compensation. It’s Russia’s attempt to lie its way out of responsibility for MH 17 which is truly sickening.

          • Laguerre

            Kempe
            The Russians did not apologise no doubt because they did not shoot down MH17. It’s quite a good reason.

          • .Geoffrey

            Yes,Kempe but it took them 8 years before they apologised and paid compensation. In the meantime the captain of the Vincennes was given a medal for his bravery in shooting down an Airbus with 290 civilian passengers including 80 children.
            ( No doubt the geek in the dugout in Nevada will get a similar medal for his bravery )

          • Dave

            That was the result of gung-ho cowardice. The ultra modern technology failed due to the heat and they mistook a slow moving airliner for a fast approaching jet fighter and the captain had retreated to the toilet, hence why he was retired with honours rather than court martialled.

          • Kempe

            ” captain of the Vincennes was given a medal for his bravery in shooting down an Airbus with 290 civilian passengers including 80 children. ”

            Well no, he didn’t. He did get a medal which maybe should’ve been withheld but it wasn’t for the shoot down.

            It’s been five and a half years since MH17 was brought down and the Russians are still trying to lie and bluster their way out of accepting any responsibility.

          • N_

            @John

            Countries A and B carry out small-scale strikes against each other.
            There is a widely perceived risk of a large-scale conflict between them, perhaps involving other countries.
            B has about 1% of the world’s population.
            B strikes country A’s bases.
            FOUR HOURS later, B suffers a ONCE-PER-300-DAYS plane crash for unexplained reasons.

            I concede that “unexplained reasons” are usual in the immediate aftermath of a plane crash not known to have been caused by foul play.

            But it is an enormous coincidence for the plane to crash a mere four hours after B struck A (1/1800 of the typical gap between crashes) and, of all the places in the world where the crash might happen, it occurs in B (which has 1/100 of the world’s population), to a plane that has just taken off from its capital city’s main airport. This wouldn’t be the first time the US have brought down an Iranian airliner. It could have been the US that did it, or it could have been another country, but I think it’s highly probable that this was deliberate.

            Military decisions once shots have started to be fired can’t wait for lengthy inquiries. How would you look at it from the viewpoint of the Iranian administration? Even if in a year’s time it is established that it was an accident, I can’t see that right now the RATIONAL view in Tehran should be anything other than “The possibility that such an unusual event occurring at this time was accidental is too small to be considered the slightest bit likely.”

          • John Pretty

            @ N_

            Thank you, you make some good points, but I’m not willing to speculate too much on this until an investigation is under way and more is known.

        • eagle eye

          What strikes me as being beyond mere coincidence is the presence of a mate of Elliot Higgins, ex Bellingcat, at a vantage point of the missile strike with his phone out and recording at the precise moment the missile struck the plane. Even more coincidental that Higgins got it to the Washington Post for immediate publication as “the proof”.

          They knew the plane was going to be hit.

          Wouldn’t that be “accessory to murder, before the fact”?

      • Pyewacket

        If indeed it was mechanical failure, and as others have said, it’s too early to tell, that makes it even a worse situation for poor benighted Boeing doesn’t it ?

      • Herbie

        The Ukrainians were saying it was engine failure, as well.

        Before pulling that story.

        But yeah, very lame response by the Iranians and similar to Trump’s response in Syria. Lots of missiles fired at big empty spaces, with an hour’s advance notification.

        Can’t see how the Iranian leadership get away with this “slap in the face”, in the eyes of his supporters at home and abroad, many of whom are military.

        Iranian media reported that they’d killed 80. or so, foreign military. I mean, can that story hold in the internet age.

        Anyway, good to see that things are winding down, if that’s what it is.

        Much better that they shadow-box even when the overall narrative don’t quite hold together.

        It’s quite a change though, from that rather more pugnacious Iran we saw just a few months ago.

      • Tony_0pmoc

        John Pillager,

        ” Canada nationals have been shown to be CIA and MOSSAD in Ukraine in previous leaks / revelations”

        see comment by Hussan Carim on January 08, 2020 · at 6:34 am EST/EDT

        http://thesaker.is/iran-strikes-us-bases-in-iraq-to-avenge-soleimani-vows-to-target-israel-and-all-us-bases-in-the-region-al-manar/

        Its worth linking to just for the video clip.

        Of course it is all speculation, but if the lobbing of missiles doesn’t stop soon, then it could easiy escalate out of all control, with very much more powerful ones.

        I think it will stop, and the USA & UK will leave, with an appropriate save face.

        If it carries on, then we will likely all be dead, before the end of the year.

        Nuclear Weapons are not good.

        Tony

      • Pyewacket

        or Canadian Passport holders. Supposed to be three British also. Someone elsewhere described it as a “Rat flight”. If this is the case, sad for the collaterals. As Kurt Vonnegut repeatedly said…So it goes.

    • Fedup

      Mate lets not run away with our imagination, because there was car/boat/plane crash tying these all up and weaving it into a colourful tapestry of scenarios.

      Tehran is a capital city with 12~16 million population, and a lot of tourists (contrary to all the propaganda) like going there. Hence there is going to be an array of nationalities there.

      The black box has been found, wait and see what it says and then start drawing up conclusions?

  • Fredi

    If some sort of peace breaks out after that bloodless missile barrage by Iran it would be surprising. Looks like Iran may be playing the longer game for now having had it’s ‘revenge’ in a private way. The downed passenger jet may have been the true first cost of America’s assassination. Perhaps the findings from the black box will not be definitive. Iran will deny any culpability forever but the’ hot heads’ within the Iranian regime may know something we don’t.

  • Hatuey

    “a sucker for hope…”

    That’s possibly a good title for your autobiography, Craig, but there’s simply no prospect of peace with Iran. The hawks in the US, Israel, UK, and SA, have been hoping to engineer a situation like this since the Iraq slaughter when it dawned on them that anything resembling a democratic Iraq was certain to fall under Iranian influence.

    From the US hawkish and Zionist perspective, wiping out Iran solves a multitude of problems. That’s how they’ll sell it, as an opportunity to stabilise the region and rid it of the biggest source of strife. The western media will lap it up and do their job.

    The only question and possibility of avoiding the above revolves around Russia. That’s a double-edged sword, of course, if ever there was one. Putin was in Syria 2 days ago. We can guess he was there for a reason, that he had prior knowledge of Iranian intentions, and has formulated a plan based on escalation.

    I’m a hopeless realist. If there’s any room for hope it’s that the west can buy Putin off and get him to stand aside as “we” pummel Iran. That’s about it.

    Even if this immediate situation was defused, it would only be temporary and it wouldn’t be too long before it kicked off again.

    • Laguerre

      You can’t “wipe out” Iran, even if they nuke it. It’s too big an area, and too large a population, with too strong a sense of identity. This is mainly why they haven’t attacked it.

      • Herbie

        They don’t want to wipe out Iran.

        They just want it to pull back from Israel’s borders, the Leb and so on. Stay in its own bit.

        The Kremlin looks to be in agreement with this. Their vision for the future of Eurasia is not one in which Iran and Israel are continually in conflict, on each-others borders.

        China wouldn’t be wanting that either. The Belt and Road needs pacification of the trade routes.

        Anyway, can’t quite see how the current Iranian leadership get themselves out of this one.

        More sanctions on top of already peep-crippling sanctions, and in a time of obvious leadership weakness towards their long vaunted enemy even after the “living martyr” was assassinated.

        It’s Regime Change, is what I’d say.

  • John Pretty

    I’m partly repeating something I said in a comment yesterday. Col Lawrence Wilkerson (a former US government official) was interviewed by Aaron Mate and in the interview the two discussed the Pentagon’s own internal assessment of Iran in 2014:

    “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retailiate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions to challenge it’s core interests.”

    RT has today reported the comments of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who said that the strikes served as a “slap in the face” for the United States, but were not “sufficient” to remove “the corrupting presence of America in the region.”

    I agree with Craig’s assessment that the Iranians may have made the effort to minimise casualties. I have not yet heard of the deaths of any American servicemen in these attacks. Perhaps Iran is (justifiably) angered by American assertions that Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of Americans and is keen to demonstrate that it does not target people.

  • Robyn

    Nearly everyone in the Washington regime claims to be a Christian. Whatever happened to ‘blessed are the peace-makers’ and ‘do unto others …’?

    • M.J.

      An excellent point – because it brings to mind that Trump’s supporters are often evangelical fundamentalists. Do a search on Youtiube for videos by Frank Schaeffer (an ex-fundamentalist, and son of a famous fundamentalist Christian author).

      • M.J.

        PS. Stephen Colbert and the South African Trevor Noah, two famous comedians in the USA often poke fun at Trump and mimic him. Look for them on Youtube as well!

        • John Pretty

          “Stephen Colbert and the South African Trevor Noah”

          They do, but these are awful Establishment comics who buy into the Russiagate narratives of the Democrats.

          The only American political comedian I would listen to is Jimmy Dore. He really is brilliant, and very sharp, but tends to rant a bit sometimes!

          • zoot

            very true john, he tells it as it is. you could spend a lifetime watching the today show and hear less truth spoken about the us political and media class than you will hear in one jimmy dore rant.

    • John Pretty

      Excuse my cynicism Robyn, but a lot of so called “Christians” reserve their piety for the hour on Sunday when they go to church. (If they do!)

      It seems to me that money is “God” in the United States.

      • M.J.

        Someone once told me that America was a “third-World country with money.” To my surprise a relation who lives there agreed But I’m not sure exactly what the expression means (unless perhaps, the inequality, especially w.r.t. health care)

      • Laguerre

        You’re looking at the US and Christianity like a Brit would. The US is basically a bunch of religious lunatics, much like Islamic fundamentalists, but they also have nuclear weapons. Many, like Pence, are just waiting for the Rapture, ready to be taken up into heaven. You’d be surprised how many there are like that.

    • Steve Ambartzakis

      Robyn, Islam is, without a doubt, inimicable with Christianity, therefore their actions are predictable. Add to that that evangelicals like Mike Pence believe that the Jews are God’s chosen people and Iran is a threat to Israel, you have a real witch’s brew

    • Ort

      Robyn, the Washington power-elite “Christians” aren’t lily-livered, “turn the other cheek”, Sermon on the Mount Christians.

      They hew to an, er, more muscular Christianity– the apocalyptic, raging kind that storms to the moral high ground and occupies it with fire and sword.

      You know, Christian soldiers marching as to war.*
      _________________________________________________

      * Devout conservative Christian readers need not admonish me that the surfeit of martial imagery in Christian tradition is symbolic and metaphorical in nature. Even accepting this as true for discussion’s sake, I’m not the one that needs to be corrected on this point.

      This just popped into my head: it’s not worth researching to retrieve the old news reports, but a few years back it was discovered that a US defense contractor manufacturing parts for weapons used by US forces in the Middle East and other non-Christian cultures was inscribing Bible verses onto the equipment. I guess the contractor thought that this was “good juju” against the heathen Saracens, although it discontinued the practice after the negative publicity.

      That’s the kind of Christianity one finds in the Church of the Beltway. 😉

  • Adrian Kent

    It does look like the attack was indeed limited, but has offered further proof (if it were needed) that the Iranian systems are accurate and able to evade US anti-missle defences. Of course there may not have been any defences deployed in the region, but then that would only go to highlight probably their greatest limitation anyway – their ludicrously inflated price-tags. Any escalation by the US will come at very great cost.

    One slight concern I have now though is that we may find that the in the likelihood that no US service personnel were killed, we may hear that some more of the anonymous contractors we blown-up if the US want to retaliate anyway.

    • Adrian Kent

      @Spencer Eagle says that the US contractor has been identified, so I stand corrected on this. I do, however, dispute his assertion of the capability of Iranian missile systems.

      • Pyewacket

        Adrian, although repeatedly used recently, perhaps overused, I view the term Contractor with both suspicion and mild amusement. Obviously, for Political reasons it is preferable to saying what it is, i.e. Mercenary. Personally, when I think of a Contractor I visualise a bricky, chippy, sparks or a plumber working on a site, or even perhaps another type of tradesperson or skilled person working in a non-military role. I do not at all visualise some paid for warrior, armed to the teeth, with murder in his eyes, going about his day job.

        • Tatyana

          yes, they also use words “deployed” as if they are ’employed’ and they also refer to killing people as ‘working’ and they say ‘to terminate’ instead of ‘to kill’. all of this word usage is obvious for an interpretor, and for any careful reader/listener. They are abusing words’ usage, it’s a deliberate distortion of the sense.
          Language is our communications method, everyone interested in keeping the language understandable should stop this misuse of words. There are great dictionaries like Cambrige or Oxford Dictionary, giving us the sense of all possible meanings of every single word.
          I can recommend “The Professor and the Madman” film, to understand the enormous work done by people to find relevant recognised samples of words’ usage to compose a dictionary.

          Whoever insists that Trump meant ‘infrastructure’ when typing ‘culture’ should refer to a dictionary!

          • Rowan Berkeley

            If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success. When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot. — Confucius, Analects, Book XIII, Chapter 3, translated by James Legge.

        • Ort

          Pyewacket: Amen!

          I generally despise euphemisms on principle, and substituting the genteel “contractor” for “mercenary” (or “hired killer”) is egregiously offensive.

          Several years ago, the infamous Blackwater rent-a-killer company burst into international news after four mercenaries were killed in Fallujah. That’s when I first learned that “contractor” was the new Big Lie code for “mercenary”.

          Indeed, for several days I naïvely assumed that the poor “contractor” victims were civilian engineers, or plumbers, or electricians– as close to “innocent” bystanders as one might imagine given that they were supporting a military force during a war of aggression and illegal occupation of a foreign nation. Fool me once…

    • Giyane

      Adrian Kent

      It only proves that Trump is a bad liar. The intensity of his voice when he is lying is different from his normal speech.

      BBC news is trying to spin this US homicide as an opportunity to talk with Iran. The millions who have joined the mourners seethe General as a defender of the Middle East against the Usukis created Islamic State. If there was any doubt about Usukis malign intent against Muslims in the area it has now permanently vanished, so Trump has shattered his own first principles that he wants the world to love the US.

      That fluid hatred is now cast in steel or reinforced concrete.
      Stupider than stupid, even by the measure of Trump’s own ambitions. What it proves is that Trump has literally no moral compass, whereas many people including me were previously prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt.
      His manipulative final swipe that Iran was standing down was designed to enrage the mourners, who have now marked him down as an unrepentant exceptionalism.

      • Herbie

        Yeah, not quite seeing how the Iranian leadership wangle their way out of this.

        Their base support could become horribly divided.

        Much worse than your studenty rebellious colour-revolution stuff, the Dems got up to.

  • eddie-g

    “I am sure Trump will be tempted by the chance to go for this kind of diplomatic coup under the political cover provided him by Soleimani’s assassination.”

    Trump may be vain and stupid enough to think this is possible, but for goodness sake… Iran is not about to enter into any new deal with the USA, and definitely not with this administration.

    The best we can hopeful of is that Iran continues to show restraint – which as you suggest depends on Rouhani keeping the hardliners at bay – and Trump’s spasmodic madness can be diverted from the Middle East for a little while. He has the attention-span of a goldfish, we might get away without further escalation if he can be distracted for long enough.

  • Hatuey

    As regards the Ukrainian plane, it’s clear that it was shot down.

    The spread of the wreckage suggests, based on what I’ve seen on TV, that it exploded in mid-air. It definitely didn’t hit the ground in one piece. It is indicative that no distress warning was communicated by the flight crew.

    Shooting down a commercial airliner is a very effective way of closing down a country and imposing a defacto blockade on its commercial air travel, which is exactly what has happened. I’m pretty sure the Iranians wouldn’t have wanted that outcome.

      • Andrew Paul Booth

        Yes, we see here the plane on fire but still flying, unlikely if it had been hit by an anti-aircraft missile which would cause the aircraft to break up on the spot. The plane banks and turns to the left (we are viewing from behind), two seconds later it strongly explodes, still in the air, and plummets to the nearby ground where there is a larger explosion.

        This does not look like the effects a missile strike could cause; it does look like what an engine fire could do, whether caused by technical failure or by sabotage.

      • Herbie

        I’m not sure this is the place to be posting videos of that nature.

        And we certainly shouldn’t be discussing them, at this time.

        There are real families out there, who’ve lost loved ones.

        I mean, in the real world, who would ever bring up a video like that whilst the loved ones were still in shock, a long way yet from even beginning to properly grieve.

    • eddie-g

      The flight tracking data suggests a sudden catastrophic event, and as you say there is no evidence of a distress warning from the crew.

      I’m not sure it’s clear it was shot down – a bomb onboard is as plausible – but the timing is obviously shocking, and if you assume the intention was to foment regional tension, there’s a long list of possible suspects. And of course, seeing Ukraine once again at the centre of the story could hardly be more ideal for American conspiracy theorists.

      • michael norton

        The President of Ukraine was on his holidays in the Middle East, whilst the President of Russia was enjoying Christmas with the President of Syria, in Damascus
        whilst these hostilities were underway, also many super rich were getting away for a break.

        I would be shocked if this is the third Boeing 737 to crash on take-off in less than twelve months, much more likely it was taken out by a misille.

      • nevermind

        Can you all remeber the journalist who was preparing an expose on Gen Petreaus some years back. He died in his Mercedes as it hit palmtrees at 130km/hrs. Thfe reasons for the crash and causes of it were vague, but some were talking of a corrupted engine management system.
        If you can hack and usurp a cars management system, could this also happens with planes that take off or land, i.e. when they are still in range of such an attempt.

        Now who has such capabilies in the middle east.and who has done something similar before? In whose interest would it be to exacerbate the conflict?
        Netanyahu, after his Gaffe, should now be pressed to sign the NNPT or face hard sanctions.

  • Tom Welsh

    “Our laughing called “defence” industry – when were its products last used in self-defence and not colonial adventure?”

    That would be 1940-45. In a war, admittedly, that the British government began by declaring war on Germany (not vice versa).

  • Spencer Eagle

    ‘There is every reason to believe the apparent lack of US casualties was deliberate.’ …..oh come on Craig, the Iranians fired those rockets in the hope of hitting something, they don’t have the precision targeting or guidance to ensure that ordnance falling on a base is guaranteed not to kill someone, it was pure luck and defensive measures that prevented any deaths. Unlike Trumps faux cruise missile raid on Syria, which caused less damage per tax dollar for any military action since 1776. As for your mention in the previous piece of the ‘US Contractor’, or ‘mercenary’ as you describe him, killed in one the catalysing Iranian backed militia attacks, leading to the assassination of Soleimani, he was just buried on Saturday in Northern California. Born in Iraq. Nawres Waleed Hamid became a naturalized US citizen in 2017, he bravely returned to work in Iraq as a linguist, a ‘US Contractor’, he leaves a widow and sons 2 and 8.

    • Hatuey

      Whilst I agree that Iran could not have the sort of guidance system required to be so accurate, a lot hinges on the payload in terms of destructive force. For all we know they were basically fireworks, designed to explode with a huge flash without causing much damage or harm.

      • Adrian Kent

        @Spencer Eagle & @Hatuey – Do you have any references to support your dim view of Iranian weapon systems? Seems like a big risk if the US under-estimate them – and also you might wonder why there’s so much fuss about them gaining nuclear weapons if they haven’t got this know-how.

        • Spencer Eagle

          Adrian Kent….. on the contrary, I don’t have a dim view of Iranian weapon systems as a whole, the Iranians are very smart people and have a very sophisticated arms industry of their own. That said, they have piles of old Soviet era stuff and looking at the pictures of the missile debris they look like a Scud ‘type’ ballistic missiles, the Scud being the second most used ballistic missile in the history of warfare after the German V2 of WWII era. The problem with such missiles is that once launched they have a poor radar signature caused by the tail fins, once you know where a ballistic missile is heading they can be targeted as they follow their ‘ballistic arc’ to the target. The Iranians do have a more sophisticated home grown scud derivative called the Qiam, newer versions don’t have tail fins and are that much more difficult to track, however, I doubt they would use them in a skirmish lest they fell into US hands.

      • Spencer Eagle

        You can’t just take the payload out of a missile and fire it as a firework. Even what are regarded as archaic Soviet era Scud missiles are relatively very sophisticated devices to the man in the street. Changes to center of gravity and launch weight will all affect the ballistic trajectory and guidance of any missile, we are taking grams not kilograms. These would have been live fully operational missiles. I suppose you could disable the fuse system, however you are firing something that leaves the ground weighing around 10,000 lb and by the time it reaches its target, range dependant, likely to weigh around 2,000 lb on impact, even as a dud it’s still going to do an awful lot of kinetic damage. If one fell on a mess hall then it would kill a lot of people. The argument doesn’t make sense, my guess is they were old missiles fired to placate the Iranian people, the Iranian leadership knowing, and perhaps hoping, that the US would be extra vigilant and shoot them all down.

        • Adrian Kent

          All such alterations could be made by competent engineers I’d have thought – and Iran has plenty of them.

          I could also have asked if you had any references to support US anti-missile systems being any good? They couldn’t hit Yemeni drones after all – and as I pointed out below Postol & Lloyd showed how useless the Patriot system was years ago.

          • Spencer Eagle

            I don’t think firing missiles sans payload is a serious argument, period, fine engineers or not. The thing about defensive missile systems is that you need to put them where the expected threat is likely to be, the Yemeni attack on the Saudi oil facility caught them napping. On a side note, I don’t actually believe the Yemini Aramco attack was launched from a drone, yes drones were found but they were of a type used as forward support and observation, the attack was most probably carried out with ATGM’s. The Patriot system has been deployed very successfully by the Israelis on countless occasions, but they are well trained and very vigilant.

        • Fedup

          You did well with your analysis, until you got to the conclusion.

          What if our dear leaders are keeping quiet and have sent the clean up brigade to sort out the mess?

          We are witnessing the postmodernists at their best;
          A- amplify and exaggerate imaginary threats!
          B- downplay any real threats!

          This situation can get hideous pretty damn quick, and even the idiot in chief and his cohorts are aware of this.

      • intp1

        Depends on the missile. MoA are saying they used Qiam 1 which is a glorified Scud with a quoted accuracy 500 metres while others I have seen saying it was Fateh-113s which is based on the Fateh-110 which has an accuracy of 3 metres.

        I think they simply evacuated the bases. why take a chance?
        Cant believe they could open up, modify and have ready for launch any of these weapons at short notice. Why bother if you know the target is ready for the attack?
        You would think the US bases would have Patriots which can take out ballistic missiles and they would have liked to at least get in some target practice but maybe not. or maybe they did, or maybe Patriot personnel were also evacuated.

        • Tom Welsh

          I was merely pointing out the possibility. (I have friends and family flying into and around the USA, so I would hardly hope for such an attack).

          What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    • nevermind

      Oh come on Spencer, do you really think that a country that has not started a war for over 250 years would act without consultation and or as stupid as some of the US actions during the last 20 years?

  • Inequitable

    Well put Craig, encapsulating everything. I too hope that sober heads will now prevail giving peace a chance.
    Slighly off topic I know but an article on zerohedge (www.zerohedge.com) highlights ‘Ukrainian whistleblower reveals MH-17 tragedy was orchestrated by Poroshenko and British Secret Service.’ If this is the case then this highlights the depth of criminality and corruption ongoing.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Inequitable January 8, 2020 at 13:18
      I wonder if the release of this Russian documentary has anything to do with the Iran crash? The plane is seen in flames before crashing in one video. And as some commenters have already suggested, there were probably a number of spooks on board.

  • John Pretty

    “The best outcome would be for the US and Iran to start talking directly again, and a deal to be made from this break in the logjam that is wider than, and Trump can portray as better than, “Obama’s” nuclear deal and would enable the lifting of sanctions.”

    I tried to make a detailed comment on this matter, but posted to the previous article by mistake. This was the Pentagon’s own assessment of Iran’s defensive strategy in 2014:

    “Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions to challenge it’s core interests.”

    So, if this is right, Iran’s next move may be in part conciliatory. Perhaps that is naive, but I think that it is noteable that no casualties have been reported – so far at least – regarding the missile strike. I agree that the Iranians may have tried to ensure that no American servicemen were killed.

  • Republicofscotland

    “and remember that nowadays the vast bulk of financial transactions are bets on the margins of movement, so vast fortunes will have been made out of all this.”

    Chomsky pointed that out awhile back, he said huge corporations such as GE, could, and were making more money gaming the market, than they could ever make on manufacturing.

    The financialisation of the economy, and offshoring is well undeway in the UK as well.

    • Hatuey

      The UK is the biggest supplier in the world of offshore services — it’s so big and growing that some have called it British Empire 3.0

  • Adrian Kent

    There’s a third option – that the US anti-missile defences are somewhat crappy. Ted Postol & Theodore Lloyd made their names debunking a lot of the hype about the Patriot missiles after the Gulf War and they’ve proven completely ineffective in the Saudi war on Yemen. As I pointed out below – their ludicrous price-tags restricts their deployment too.

    • Tom Welsh

      “There’s a third option – that the US anti-missile defences are somewhat crappy”.

      There is no “may” or “somewhat” about it. They are positively useless, even against primitive missiles. Leading-edge missiles would slide past them as if they didn’t exist.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Claims that this episode in not (yet another) an illustration of the failure of the Patriot missile system are tosh. From the extensive Wiki page for Raytheon’s, MIM-104 Patriot system; “The most recent upgrade, callled the PAC-3, is a nearly total systems design, intended from the outset to engage and destroy tactical ballistic missiles.”.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIM-104_Patriot

      The PAC-3 completed deployment in 2000, so hardly new. It has been tested and found failing in one theatre after another. A series of lame excuses.

  • Jack

    1, Iran missed the troops – as of the information we now have and that wasnt a deliberate miss, no way!
    2 claiming Iran didnt even warheads in the missile is nonsense.
    3 Trump hasnt “calmed” he will make a speech today and it will of course not be in the tone of “Iran attacked us and we will not respond to that”. Of course Trump will! This

    I dont think people even here realize what importance Soleimani played for Iran, if one do not even understand that, one would not understand Iran’s relentless effort to retaliate in kind.

  • Alyson

    Iran’s priority is to protect the people of Iran. They have abided by a Putin brokered deal to confine any conflict to proxy wars in countries where they have been specifically invited either by a government or an official internal faction. Any attack on either Israel or Iran will unleash Armageddon. Investors in Iranian oil will be expecting the conflict to be worth it for them. Trump’s only priority is profit. Russia has stated it will not intervene unless either country breaches the agreement not to target the other. The Iranian people grieve that their sons die fighting other countries’ wars. They have been told it is the only way to prevent an invasion. Iran would like to return to the peaceful trade agreement which Obama negotiated. Fossil fuel companies have their eyes on the prize. Investors have advised not to shift their investments from fracking to oil just yet…..

    • Antonym

      Iran? There is the Ayatollah regime and the other 98% of the population.
      US? there is the CIA mil-ind. complex and the other 98% of the population, who’ve selected Trump.

      • Tom Welsh

        “Iran? There is the Ayatollah regime and the other 98% of the population”.

        In fact the Ayatollah Khamenei and most of the rest of the Iranian people are Shia Muslims. They do not believe in the separation of Chruch and State, so naturally accept and approve of what the West calls a “theocracy”.

  • Cubby

    If you live in Scotland you do not have to have any involvement in these never ending atrocities. Vote for Scottish independence.

    If you do not vote for independence then you have to take responsibility for all these “foreign adventures” and all the associated deaths.

  • katherine hamilton

    Hi Craig
    I agree our continuing membership of the Security Council is worthy of review. Is there a mechanism for the UN
    to review it and remove us?

    • Jack

      Its not only UK though, the rest ot the west and their allies in the Security Council:

      Belgium (2020)
      Dominican Republic (2020)
      Estonia (2021)
      Germany (2020)
      Indonesia (2020)
      Niger (2021)
      Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (2021)
      South Africa (2020)
      Tunisia (2021)
      Viet Nam (2021)

      Not to mention China, Russia that havent done anything.

      • Fedup

        “Belgium (2020)
        Dominican Republic (2020)
        Estonia (2021)
        Niger (2021)
        Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (2021)
        Tunisia (2021)”

        You expect a heck of lot from these invited basket cases who are there to harrumph on cue based on the retainer they have been awarded.

        The day before yesterday capodecina Pompeo had ran UN GS to inform him that he did not have the time to issue a visa to Iranian foreign minister. this is contravening yet another convention UNHQ 1947. US kills and murders women, children, cats and dogs, diplomats, and rides coach and horses through any and all conventions and international norms.

        Current UN is as good as the beleaguered league of nations.

          • Fedup

            The reality of limited supply money system is the total corruption and underutilisation of human resources, so your expectation although a reasonable assumption, however it is not going be realised, because people are bought and sold as in cattle and chattel, hence their notions of decency, principles, and responsibility are proportionate to the received “sums” are fluid!

        • Laguerre

          The obligation to issue a visa to Mohammad Javad Zarif is not a matter of convention, but a specific international agreement that the US signed in 1947. The refusal puts in question the whole UN system, if state representatives are not allowed to attend. It’s as big an attack on the existence of the UN as has ever happened.

          • Fedup

            Since when that has mattered to the cowboys in the US?

            These cowboys, having committed; war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against peace, killing diplomatic envoys, and ………… This sort of violations, in comparison are kind of jay walking. The UN has diminished to become an irrelevant organisation. That is only to be pulled out as and when to moralise and justify the impending world of shit that is going to be unleashed by the said cowboys. This exercise is a way of keeping the masses happy as to the righteous nature of the mass slaughter that is to be unleashed.

            We should relocate the UN to a different country and out of the US, is it is to be surviving and remaining viable.

          • Herbie

            “Can’t the Security Council meet elsewhere, other than in US ?”

            Of course.

            Jerusalem is favorite, at the moment.

            Moscow a distant second.

            My Dark House is Astana

    • Republicofscotland

      I don’t think they can be removed, and more to the point, why would they want to weaken their hand by allowing themselves to be removed. The membership of the Security Council is fixed in Chapter 5 of the UN Charter, permanent members of the Security Council have a veto over their own expulsion.

  • Goose

    Sadly, I don’t share your optimism this is over.

    Netanyahu has been nagging the US to attack Iran forever.

    As far back as 1996, Netanyahu was warning a joint session of Congress, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,” adding that, “the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.”

    Israel has been joined by the KSA in this lobbying and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, family friend of the Netanyahus and self-declared Zionist is no doubt demanding further action. Bizarrely, Pompeo may the the one urging caution and restraint.

  • Mary

    Somebody please remind Johnson that it was the US who assassinated an Iranian general.

    ‘Boris Johnson has warned Iran not to repeat “reckless and dangerous” attacks after ballistic missiles were fired at air bases in Iraq.
    Mr Johnson said Soleimani had “the blood of British troops on his hands” but called for “urgent de-escalation”.’

    Iran attack: Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemns missile strike
    13 mins ago
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51035602

    • Tom Welsh

      ‘Mr Johnson said Soleimani had “the blood of British troops on his hands”…’

      If that is the case, the sooner he brings the British troops home the sooner they will be out of danger. They have absolutely no business being anywhere in the Near East or Middle East.

  • Republicofscotland

    It’s interesting to note that when the news broke on the downing of the Ukranian passenger jet, that, the reports pointed to a fire in one of the jets engines. The Iranian authorities quickly suppressed that story, and from what I can gather they are also refusing to hand over the jets blackbox recorders to the Ukrainians.

    • Kempe

      They’ve said they won’t hand them over to Boeing or the US probably through fear of being framed or a cover up but they’re going to have to see the recordings sometime.

      • Republicofscotland

        It could be they are trying to study the data, or tamper with it (I hope not) themselves. However there were several nationalities on the jet, including quite few Canadians. They do their cause, or their international reputation no good if they continue to retain the flight recorders.

        I do hope Iranians don’t fall into a seige mentality.

          • Laguerre

            “Payman Paseyan, a member of the Iranian-Canadian community in Edmonton, said multiple people from the city, including many international students, were on Flight PS752. He said he knew many of the victims.”

          • Republicofscotland

            That’s all very well, however I doubt that will cut any ice with Justin Trudeau, the president of Canada, who’s job it is also to know why the plane crashed killing Canadian citizens, as is the UK and the Ukraine etc.

            The information must be released sooner than later.

    • bevin

      Rather as the Ukrainians refused to share black box information with the Malaysians? Trudeau is not President of Canada, incidentally.

  • Kempe

    Sorry Craig but this is bollocks. If the attack failed to kill anybody it’s because they had advance warning and had enough time to get people away or into shelters. As already explained removing the warhead from a missile is not a five minute job and it would have to be replaced with ballast of equivalent weight or the missile would be unstable and crash. The warheads of the missiles said to have been used are 650 or 750 kg and the kinetic energy of that travelling at three times the speed of sound is still enough to do serious damage.

    Neither of the missiles said to have been used is particularly accurate.

    • Herbie

      “Neither of the missiles said to have been used is particularly accurate.”

      Aye. Forgot to mention that.

      The Iranian leadership didn’t even use their best gear.

      This was mere show.

      I mean, how does that seem to those who looked to vengeance for the assassination of this great military general of the Islamic Republic.

    • Republicofscotland

      Sounds more like propaganda than fact from the semi autonomous Iranian news channel.

      If it is indeed true, Trump has been very quiet about it, which leads me to believe the opposite.

  • Ross

    I did say Iran would fail to respond in a meaningful way, and so it has done. The hawks will smell weakness, and further provocations will surely follow.

    • Jack

      Exactly. Iran blundered big time, I thought their response would be chess-like. This response is embarrassing.
      Perhaps Iran isnt stronger than this and that will be taken as a big weakness = more strikes by the US and Israel.

  • tartanfever

    Craig, would like to get your thoughts on a couple of things ?

    Firstly, Iraqi Commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the drone strike, and consequently the Iraqi Parliament have voted that all US personnel should now leave Iraq. Could this play out separately to the Iranian retaliation and become a cause of major tension on it’s own ? This death seems to have been dropped from news stories as they concentrate on the Iran angle.

    Secondly, I understand the US refused entry for the Iranian Foreign Minister to enter the US on his way to discussions at the UN, which I understand is a breach of the protocol that allowed the UN to be situated in the US in the first place. Is it now time that the UN should relocate from NY to a more neutral setting ? Indeed, does the US deserve to host the UN anymore ?

    • Jack

      It is a half truth that the parliament put a bill up on forcing american army to leave:

      1 The bill was not binding.
      2 Almost half of parliament boycotted the session.

      • tartanfever

        In a 328 seat parliament, 170 votes were counted as supporting the motion. That is a majority. It makes no difference if the session was boycotted or not, a majority number was reached.

        The vote being put forward and passed will undergo due process and put into effect. The claim of ‘ not binding’ will be irrelevant

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