Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani 1165

In one of the series of blatant lies the USA has told to justify the assassination of Soleimani, Mike Pompeo said that Soleimani was killed because he was planning “Imminent attacks” on US citizens. It is a careful choice of word. Pompeo is specifically referring to the Bethlehem Doctrine of Pre-Emptive Self Defence.

Developed by Daniel Bethlehem when Legal Adviser to first Netanyahu’s government and then Blair’s, the Bethlehem Doctrine is that states have a right of “pre-emptive self-defence” against “imminent” attack. That is something most people, and most international law experts and judges, would accept. Including me.

What very few people, and almost no international lawyers, accept is the key to the Bethlehem Doctrine – that here “Imminent” – the word used so carefully by Pompeo – does not need to have its normal meanings of either “soon” or “about to happen”. An attack may be deemed “imminent”, according to the Bethlehem Doctrine, even if you know no details of it or when it might occur. So you may be assassinated by a drone or bomb strike – and the doctrine was specifically developed to justify such strikes – because of “intelligence” you are engaged in a plot, when that intelligence neither says what the plot is nor when it might occur. Or even more tenuous, because there is intelligence you have engaged in a plot before, so it is reasonable to kill you in case you do so again.

I am not inventing the Bethlehem Doctrine. It has been the formal legal justification for drone strikes and targeted assassinations by the Israeli, US and UK governments for a decade. Here it is in academic paper form, published by Bethlehem after he left government service (the form in which it is adopted by the US, UK and Israeli Governments is classified information).

So when Pompeo says attacks by Soleimani were “imminent” he is not using the word in the normal sense in the English language. It is no use asking him what, where or when these “imminent” attacks were planned to be. He is referencing the Bethlehem Doctrine under which you can kill people on the basis of a feeling that they may have been about to do something.

The idea that killing an individual who you have received information is going to attack you, but you do not know when, where or how, can be justified as self-defence, has not gained widespread acceptance – or indeed virtually any acceptance – in legal circles outside the ranks of the most extreme devoted neo-conservatives and zionists. Daniel Bethlehem became the FCO’s Chief Legal Adviser, brought in by Jack Straw, precisely because every single one of the FCO’s existing Legal Advisers believed the Iraq War to be illegal. In 2004, when the House of Commons was considering the legality of the war on Iraq, Bethlehem produced a remarkable paper for consideration which said that it was legal because the courts and existing law were wrong, a defence which has seldom succeeded in court.

following this line, I am also of the view that the wider principles of the law on self-defence also require closer scrutiny. I am not persuaded that the approach of doctrinal purity reflected in the Judgments of the International Court of Justice in this area provide a helpful edifice on which a coherent legal regime, able to address the exigencies of contemporary international life and discourage resort to unilateral action, is easily crafted;

The key was that the concept of “imminent” was to change:

The concept of what constitutes an “imminent” armed attack will develop to meet new circumstances and new threats

In the absence of a respectable international lawyer willing to argue this kind of tosh, Blair brought in Bethlehem as Chief Legal Adviser, the man who advised Netanyahu on Israel’s security wall and who was willing to say that attacking Iraq was legal on the basis of Saddam’s “imminent threat” to the UK, which proved to be non-existent. It says everything about Bethlehem’s eagerness for killing that the formulation of the Bethlehem Doctrine on extrajudicial execution by drone came after the Iraq War, and he still gave not one second’s thought to the fact that the intelligence on the “imminent threat” can be wrong. Assassinating people on the basis of faulty intelligence is not addressed by Bethlehem in setting out his doctrine. The bloodlust is strong in this one.

There are literally scores of academic articles, in every respected journal of international law, taking down the Bethlehem Doctrine for its obvious absurdities and revolting special pleading. My favourite is this one by Bethlehem’s predecessor as the FCO Chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood and his ex-Deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst.

I addressed the Bethlehem Doctrine as part of my contribution to a book reflecting on Chomsky‘s essay “On the Responsibility of Intellectuals”

In the UK recently, the Attorney
General gave a speech in defence of the UK’s drone policy, the assassination
of people – including British nationals – abroad. This execution
without a hearing is based on several criteria, he reassured us. His
speech was repeated slavishly in the British media. In fact, the Guardian
newspaper simply republished the government press release absolutely
verbatim, and stuck a reporter’s byline at the top.
The media have no interest in a critical appraisal of the process
by which the British government regularly executes without trial. Yet
in fact it is extremely interesting. The genesis of the policy lay in the
appointment of Daniel Bethlehem as the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office’s Chief Legal Adviser. Jack Straw made the appointment, and for
the first time ever it was external, and not from the Foreign Office’s own
large team of world-renowned international lawyers. The reason for that
is not in dispute. Every single one of the FCO’s legal advisers had advised
that the invasion of Iraq was illegal, and Straw wished to find a new head
of the department more in tune with the neo-conservative world view.
Straw went to extremes. He appointed Daniel Bethlehem, the legal
‘expert’ who provided the legal advice to Benjamin Netanyahu on the
‘legality’ of building the great wall hemming in the Palestinians away
from their land and water resources. Bethlehem was an enthusiastic
proponent of the invasion of Iraq. He was also the most enthusiastic
proponent in the world of drone strikes.
Bethlehem provided an opinion on the legality of drone strikes
which is, to say the least, controversial. To give one example, Bethlehem
accepts that established principles of international law dictate that
lethal force may be used only to prevent an attack which is ‘imminent’.
Bethlehem argues that for an attack to be ‘imminent’ does not require it
to be ‘soon’. Indeed you can kill to avert an ‘imminent attack’ even if you
have no information on when and where it will be. You can instead rely
on your target’s ‘pattern of behaviour’; that is, if he has attacked before,
it is reasonable to assume he will attack again and that such an attack is
There is a much deeper problem: that the evidence against the
target is often extremely dubious. Yet even allowing the evidence to
be perfect, it is beyond me that the state can kill in such circumstances
without it being considered a death penalty imposed without trial for
past crimes, rather than to frustrate another ‘imminent’ one.
You would think that background would make an interesting
story. Yet the entire ‘serious’ British media published the government
line, without a single journalist, not one, writing about the fact that
Bethlehem’s proposed definition of ‘imminent’ has been widely rejected
by the international law community. The public knows none of this. They
just ‘know’ that drone strikes are keeping us safe from deadly attack by
terrorists, because the government says so, and nobody has attempted to
give them other information

Remember, this is not just academic argument, the Bethlehem Doctrine is the formal policy position on assassination of Israel, the US and UK governments. So that is lie one. When Pompeo says Soleimani was planning “imminent” attacks, he is using the Bethlehem definition under which “imminent” is a “concept” which means neither “soon” nor “definitely going to happen”. To twist a word that far from its normal English usage is to lie. To do so to justify killing people is obscene. That is why, if I finish up in the bottom-most pit of hell, the worst thing about the experience will be the company of Daniel Bethlehem.

Let us now move on to the next lie, which is being widely repeated, this time originated by Donald Trump, that Soleimani was responsible for the “deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans”. This lie has been parroted by everybody, Republicans and Democrats alike.

Really? Who were they? When and where? While the Bethlehem Doctrine allows you to kill somebody because they might be going to attack someone, sometime, but you don’t know who or when, there is a reasonable expectation that if you are claiming people have already been killed you should be able to say who and when.

The truth of the matter is that if you take every American killed including and since 9/11, in the resultant Middle East related wars, conflicts and terrorist acts, well over 90% of them have been killed by Sunni Muslims financed and supported out of Saudi Arabia and its gulf satellites, and less than 10% of those Americans have been killed by Shia Muslims tied to Iran.

This is a horribly inconvenient fact for US administrations which, regardless of party, are beholden to Saudi Arabia and its money. It is, the USA affirms, the Sunnis who are the allies and the Shias who are the enemy. Yet every journalist or aid worker hostage who has been horribly beheaded or otherwise executed has been murdered by a Sunni, every jihadist terrorist attack in the USA itself, including 9/11, has been exclusively Sunni, the Benghazi attack was by Sunnis, Isil are Sunni, Al Nusra are Sunni, the Taliban are Sunni and the vast majority of US troops killed in the region are killed by Sunnis.

Precisely which are these hundreds of deaths for which the Shia forces of Soleimani were responsible? Is there a list? It is of course a simple lie. Its tenuous connection with truth relates to the Pentagon’s estimate – suspiciously upped repeatedly since Iran became the designated enemy – that back during the invasion of Iraq itself, 83% of US troop deaths were at the hands of Sunni resistance and 17% of of US troop deaths were at the hands of Shia resistance, that is 603 troops. All the latter are now lain at the door of Soleimani, remarkably.

Those were US troops killed in combat during an invasion. The Iraqi Shia militias – whether Iran backed or not – had every legal right to fight the US invasion. The idea that the killing of invading American troops was somehow illegal or illegitimate is risible. Plainly the US propaganda that Soleimani was “responsible for hundreds of American deaths” is intended, as part of the justification for his murder, to give the impression he was involved in terrorism, not legitimate combat against invading forces. The idea that the US has the right to execute those who fight it when it invades is an absolutely stinking abnegation of the laws of war.

As I understand it, there is very little evidence that Soleimani had active operational command of Shia militias during the invasion, and in any case to credit him personally with every American soldier killed is plainly a nonsense. But even if Soleimani had personally supervised every combat success, these were legitimate acts of war. You cannot simply assassinate opposing generals who fought you, years after you invade.

The final, and perhaps silliest lie, is Vice President Mike Pence’s attempt to link Soleimani to 9/11. There is absolutely no link between Soleimani and 9/11, and the most strenuous efforts by the Bush regime to find evidence that would link either Iran or Iraq to 9/11 (and thus take the heat off their pals the al-Saud who were actually responsible) failed. Yes, it is true that some of the hijackers at one point transited Iran to Afghanistan. But there is zero evidence, as the 9/11 report specifically stated, that the Iranians knew what they were planning, or that Soleimani personally was involved. This is total bullshit. 9/11 was Sunni and Saudi led, nothing to do with Iran.

Soleimani actually was involved in intelligence and logistical cooperation with the United States in Afghanistan post 9/11 (the Taliban were his enemies too, the shia Tajiks being a key part of the US aligned Northern Alliance). He was in Iraq to fight ISIL.

The final aggravating factor in the Soleimani murder is that he was an accredited combatant general of a foreign state which the world – including the USA – recognises. The Bethlehem Doctrine specifically applies to “non-state actors”. Unlike all of the foregoing, this next is speculation, but I suspect that the legal argument in the Pentagon ran that Soleimani is a non-state actor when in Iraq, where the Shia militias have a semi-official status.

But that does not wash. Soleimani is a high official in Iran who was present in Iraq as a guest of the Iraqi government, to which the US government is allied. This greatly exacerbates the illegality of his assassination still further.

The political world in the UK is so cowed by the power of the neo-conservative Establishment and media, that the assassination of Soleimani is not being called out for the act of blatant illegality that it is. It was an act of state terrorism by the USA, pure and simple.


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1,165 thoughts on “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani

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  • Blissex

    «But even if Soleimani had personally supervised every combat success, these were legitimate acts of war. You cannot simply assassinate opposing generals who fought you, years after you invade.»

    Of course you can, that’s also a legitimate act of war, if the opposing generals keep making war on you; it’s illegitimate only if they formally made peace with you, and kept it. But Q Suleimani financed and organized, and boasted about it, a lot of attacks on americans, acts of war indeed, just as the americans financed and organized, and boasted about it, a lot of attacks on iranians helping Assad or Hezbollah, acts of war indeed too.
    Pretending that the iranian Quds Force and the USA armed forces are not at war is ridiculous. On both sides, live by the swords, die by the sword.
    The drone assassination of hundreds of civilian “potential enemies” by the USA are quite a different thing from killing a serving active enemy military general. The question there is not so much legitimacy, but whether it was a sensible decision: the war between the Quds Force and the USA armed forces is a “warm” war (not a “cold” one, as there have been actual battles) and the question is whether potential escalation into a “hot” war is a desirable risk. A rather different question.

    • Jack


      No its not act of war by opposing, fighting occupants. Extrajudicial killing is a crime under international law.
      US is not in the middle east for peaceful measures, they are there – to fight for hegemony any state that try to stop this hegemony. It is as simple as that. Just as US wouldnt accept iranian military waging war in Mexico against the US.

      • Curmudgeon

        You demonstrate American exceptionalism to a tee – It’s OK because we do it, but it’s not OK if someone else did it..
        Kofi Annan stated the invasion of Iraq was illegal. The bullshit reason for invading has been shredded, as has the entire 9/11 official conspiracy theory that was the precursor to the bullshit reason. The US has not declared war on Iran, Iraq, or Syria. Nor did they declare war on Libya, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, or Nigeria, yet all were attacked. Their known presence in Iraq and Syria is either in violation of international law, or an of war, neither are legal under the UN Treaty. Since the Allies threw out the “rules of war” from the Peace of Westphalia during WWII, anything goes. Therefore your narrative about making peace and keeping it, is hoist on its own petard. How can one make peace, if no war has been declared?

  • reads247

    I think we’re about to go to war with China—in the Middle East. I think the Iranians will retaliate, and another pile of lies will be told, and the One Road One Belt initiative, with Iran apparently at its crossroads, will be blown up by another multi-decade war, which could easily escalate to involve the whole world. This, based on the huge deal that China made with Iran in September:’s-political-and-economic-liberal-order-111361

    Moreover, I think the Dems have colluded in this going-nowhere impeachment effort to distract us from the quiet setup of the next multi-decade war: (5/29/2019), as it looks like this current deployment was planned 6 months ago.

    Think about it: Bush/Cheney brought us rendition, black sites, torture, and several offensive and unnecessary wars. There were plenty of grounds for impeachment back then and it was totally off the table for Pelosi. Now, she wades in against Trump with grounds that are utterly paltry, by comparison. Given the completely bipartisan enthusiasm for hurling money at the Pentagon, I am in the beyond-cynical place right now of thinking this impeachment effort is one of collusion between the Dems and Republicans to distract us from noticing that this next war has been very slyly planned by our monolitihic War Party. Who has been screaming “Russia is Evil!” for more than 3 years and acting like they want the whole world to be embroiled in war? The Democrats! But, Trump will find some way to cry that none of it is his fault or doing.

    I’ll be curious to see the response to my thoughts. BTW, Iran, China, and Russia just engaged in a major naval drill together.

    • Little Bat

      I think that reads has a good point about China as a big player in the current crisis. The Chinese are also expanding their influence in Afghanistan. I think that there are signs of a shadow war around China for several years. Not forgetting the weird disappearance of MH370. That plane was on its way to Peking, a point rarely mentioned.

  • John Pretty

    I’ve just watched this fascinating interview of Col Lawrence Wilkerson (former Chief of Staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell) by Aaron Mate.
    [Lawrence Wilkerson on Trump’s Iran aggression: same neocon lies, new target]

    Towards the end the two discussed the Pentagon’s 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.”

    Asked by Mate what accounts for the gulf between how Iran is perceived even internally by the Pentagon and how US officials … talk about Iran publicly, Wilkerson referred to a meeting he and others had with Obama in 2015 which Obama had begun by stating:

    “There’s a bias in this town towards war.”

    Wilkerson then told Mate:

    “But the disquieting thing about his subsequent remarks was that he was hinting that he did not know what to do about it.”

    Wilkerson concluded:

    “We have not been at war for 20 years because we needed to be, we have been at war for 20 years because the national security state we have created since world war two and particularly since 9/11, it’s raison d’etre, it’s reason for being, is war, and more war.

    From the military industrial complex to all the sinews of this country that make endless billions of dollars from these wars the influence is palpable. You see it when you go into the Senate, you see it when you go into the House of Representatives, you know these people are getting money from Lockheed Martin, you know they’re getting money from Exxon Mobil, into their packs, maybe into their personal pockets, you know they’re getting money from Mohamed Bin-Salman and his minions, you know that Bibi Netanyahu knows all of this … he’s talked about the kind of control he has over the United States Congress.”

    • Wikikettle

      John Pretty. Thanks, Grayzone on you tube with Aaron Mate and Max Bloomenthal, together with Afshin Rattansi on GoingUnderground RT
      are doing the job of Journalism as it should be done.

  • Buffalo_Ken

    The thing about the Shia and Sunni Muslims that I don’t really get is the separation seems to be over family squabbles that occurred over 1300 years ago. At some point, can’t they get over these family squabbles? Does it have to be perpetual conflict? Don’t they understand the message that sends about their faith? Consider your own family – how many of you are estranged from other family members? I just don’t get that. I suppose I’m blessed because in my family we don’t have that.

    There are a lot of comments on this fine article, but I think they are running their course. I feel like any religion that was premised on SO much conflict has a tough road to travel but I’m not expert on Islam and there must be more to it? Don’t you think? I’ll tell you this I so love the tile work and the patterns and the shapes and the colors…..I would love to visit a Mosque in Iran before I die.

    I pray for peace, but you might as well prepare for all possibilities. That is the world we live in.

    • Tatyana

      re: family squabbles
      Sunni and Shia have different opinion about who is worthy to occupy a leadership role. Shia believe that these can only be people from a special family. The Sunnis do not keep to this restriction.
      Partly a matter of religion, and partly it’s like ‘royalists against democrats’
      With respect to Sunni, Shia, Royalists and Democrats, didn’t mean to offend anyone.

    • Jen

      The conflict between Shi’a and Sunni Muslims actually began as a conflict between Iranian nationalism and Turkish nationalism.

      Iran became a Shi’a state when the Safavids took over Persia in the early 1500s. Despite the Safavids having non-Persian and even possibily non-Shi’ite origins (they were originally a Sufi order based in Azerbaijan), they made Shi’ism the state religion to differentiate their empire from the Sunni Ottoman empire, with whom they were disputing a common border. Because for a long time they were at loggerheads over this border, the Safavids made every effort they could to show themselves as superior to the Ottomans in government and changing the state religion to something different was one way of doing it even if it meant forced conversions from Sunni Islam to Shi’a Islam.

      There is no family dispute as technically the Saudis shouldn’t be head of the Caliphate anyway (they’re not descended from the Prophet Mohammed) and the royal family of Jordan (who actually should be the head of the Caliphate) is compromised by its relationship to the British. If in the future the cities of Mecca and Medina come up for grabs, then the issue of who should be in charge of the Caliphate will come to the fore and maybe then the differences between the Shi’ites and Sunni followers will become important. By then the global Muslim community may come to some arrangement that the cities should be managed by an international Muslim organisation and protected by an international Muslim force.

      • Buffalo_Ken

        Jen – Thank you for that explanation. I genuinely appreciate it because I know there must be more to any faith than perpetual conflict. If not, then that is no faith of mine. Perhaps wiser minds can realize the opportunities that the future holds for all of us. I sense it.

    • John Pretty

      Ken, I don’t know if you will read my comment 🙂 but it is not only in Islam that there has been a history of violence. For hundreds of years there has been conflict between various Christian groups, in particular between Catholics and Protestants since the sixteenth century.

      Perhaps you write from the US where this violence is less pronounced? Remember, many of the original colonists were Christians escaping persecution at home in England. The Quakers even formed their own state.

      The split from the Eastern Orthodox church which occurred much earlier seems not to have resulted in conflict, or not so much at least as I am aware of it.

      I agree with your comment regarding family squabbles. You are indeed fortunate. I generally get along with my relatives though we have our moments.

      I agree also with your comment regarding Islamic tile work and patterning. Very beautiful.

      • Buffalo_Ken

        @John Pretty

        Thank-you for your feedback and I agree with what you say regarding the Catholic-Protestant conflict. So wrapped up in politics just like the Shia-Sunni one. Not to mention the “Christian” – “Muslim” one…….there seems to be a theme here?

        Regardless, I’m pretty religious about studying history and Wikipedia makes this so much easier than it used to be, but I know that you can’t believe everything you read. I like this place for all the sources of good information it provides.


      • Buffalo_Ken

        @John Petty

        I have one more comment on your feedback. When you say “violence is less pronounced” is the US, I wonder if you have ever been here or now the story of the Americas. Because that statement from a historical standpoint is false from the get go. With the commencement of “America” there was violence, mayhem, and many deaths. The bison were just killed a bit later.

        The indigenous folks who were in the land most certainly have a right to be indignant. Will there ever be recompense for that injustice? I doubt it. With there be remedy? Yes, I think it has already started.


        • Buffalo_Ken

          Sorry for all the typos. I don’t think it is worth correcting them here on a forum for public chatting. I suppose this was the worst time I was on one of these forums and there was all this talk about a war in Iran. For Christ’s sake, I hope it’s the last time. I’m sick of it.

          • John Pretty

            No, no Ken. I was not ignoring the genocide of Native Americans. They have a right to be more than indignant. In my opinion their leaders show great nobility and restraint.

            I was messaged a moving piece from brian who also writes here that he had received from some Native American friends of his only a few days ago. You may have seen it.

            I was simply highlighting the fact that there are often violent disputes between individuals belonging to various Christian sects in the same way that you had highlighted the same in the various violent disputes among individuals belonging to various Islamic sects.

            I am sure that most people in the world desire peace and stability. We can only hope that common sense prevails and there is no more war and bloodshed in the Middle East.

  • Buffalo_Ken

    By the way. The Buffalo “Know”. The bison were killed right close to extinction, but they managed to survive. They know what it is like to be hunted. The ones who survived witnessed the herd being killed indiscriminately for no reason but what!

    Imagine this. A herd of buffalo like the olden days………… could last for miles. It must of been a thing of beauty and because the killers of the past, I’ll never get to see that in person and neither will you.

    At what point in time will the killers be pushed off to the side, or if necessary, pushed off the cliff? I hope that point arrives soon.

    • fedup

      Al-Asad US base in Iraq comes under attack by multiple rockets – reports

      air raid sirens heard in Erbil (apparently only testing?)

        • Buffalo_Ken

          Oooh. I we gonna start talking about the derivatives market? Oh boy – that is a good discussion that in the end has to do with zero and infinity and a lack of respect for limits. Man – I could talk about that. You are correct in what you say…….the numbers in that market are so out of whack with human dignity that they have the potential to result in unheard of calamity. Know what I mean?

          • fedup

            This is the kind of time bomb that could blow big time, the worth of the market is 32 time the total gdp of the planet Earth! That idiot Trump has kicked a hornets nest and I hope he keeps his pecker in his knickers, time for dick swinging is not now!

            The war mongers are playing with fire, and they are not going to be safe from the fallout. These chancers have been reliant on their echo chamber media tools and so far have got away with it. This one hard wall they have pissed on and it is splashing back onto them.

          • Buffalo_Ken

            Hey fedup…..looks like these comments won’t let me respond directly to what you said because that would be one level too deep. But I agree. “Derivatives” as a financial instrument have many parallels to weapons of mass destruction of which we seem to have plenty.

            Financially things get tricky because when money is involved some individuals have a tendency to get irrational and the creation of the derivative financial instrument in the first place is a perfect example of that. You know. Economics being totally detached from human interest. Irrational to the nth degree…..or maybe not that much but you get the point. All derivatives do is enrich a few who are financially preying on the many, and the lesson wasn’t learned earlier when the damage would have been less, but the lesson will be learned eventually. Don’t you think?

        • Buffalo_Ken

          Oh and I read the article (or at least the first sentence or two and I agree). There were too many ads there though for me to read the whole thing.

          I prefer internet sites where the ads are kept to a minimum.

          I think Facebook is a monopoly that needs to be split up and they are not the only one.

          I’m done talking for now.

          Peace, Ken

  • Buffalo_Ken

    I think these missile attacks are nothing but another round of pointless ejaculation.

    Whatever, let Iran shoot a few missiles to work off justified anger.

    Justified retribution takes time but if you believe in some laws then it always happens.

      • Courtenay Barnett


        It is a situation of national pride.

        In manly terms – who has the bigger pair of balls.

        let us see if this is merely ejaculatory or if it actually kicks off a serious war.

        Given Trump’s thin skin – he will want to seem to be and project himself into the world as having, in response, just grabbed Iran by the p……

      • Goose


        I reckon the Iranian regime will have been emboldened by the huge outpouring of grief. An exchange of missiles with the US would’ve dangerous for them, in normal times, but now, with the people wrapped in patriotic fervour, less so.

        Dangerous times.

        • John Pretty

          @ Goose

          your post does not make any sense. You say:

          “An exchange of missiles with the US would’ve dangerous for them, in normal times”

          and follow this with:

          “now, with the people wrapped in patriotic fervour, less so”

          Less dangerous for them now that they are – as you put it – “wrapped in patriotic fervour”??

          • Goose

            Well, the Iranian theocratic regime isn’t exactly popular and it’s seen lots of protests eg . ‘The green movement’ 2009-2010 and more recently, demos across the country over rising petrol prices(Iran has among the cheapest fuel in the world).

            This killing (assassination), by the US ,of a popular figure, a hero, has been grist to the mill for rallying the faithful.

            Hope that makes sense.

          • Goose

            By killing Qassem Suleimani, Trump has achieved the impossible: uniting Iran.

            …Article in today’s guardian too, just noticed it.

  • Laguerre

    A dozen missiles is not an Iranian riposte. It is some Iraqi militants shooting off. Though it may be treated as a Gulf of Tonkin incident by the US.

  • JB

    we are all toast, when we are all destroyed, remember, all the innocent blood we shed, went to heaven, there they have power greater than on earth. They will dance on our graves. All the west that attacked a peaceful people in the middle east, and made up lies to blame them for it, are now going to be totally decimated very soon by natural (karmic) catastrophe and wars and genocide. You get back what you give=The law of creation. Horrible deaths. How do you think Christ won and took down satan, he was murdered/crucified and went up to heaven and there has all the power. There was nothing more stupid and greedy and self-destructive than the middle east wars. All lying murdering psychopaths go directly to hell. When you take a holy place and people of God and turn the place into a bloody, nightmarish, hell, you lose everything. Death and destruction is coming for us all now. In the end the victims of evil, win. Life is about to become Hell all over the world, except for those nations who stood up and defended the victims. Which would be no one, so that means all nations. Spiritual truths will set you free, however, war is the worst satanic ritual that destroys all willing participants souls. No one in the middle east ever attacked anyone or wanted any war, it is all lies. Psychopaths blame their victims. Lies are the root of all in the hell that is coming. Everyone we slaughtered for those lies is in heaven. Almost all were innocent civilians. Now they will have life forever, that is the Truth.

  • N_


    Yemeni Press;
    “Saudi sources familiar with the Yemeni Press said that some of the Saudi royal princes and their families had left the country in secret for several European destinations through the airports of Riyadh, Jeddah and Mecca.”

    Clearly they are aware of the world of shit that is about to be unleashed.

    Thanks for this. Meanwhile the British royal family may be preparing to run to Canada, just as they did during WW2. The “Duke and Duchess of Sussex” are “considering basing” themselves there. (The BBC came out with some such euphemism). The “Duke” is the same psychotic guy who boasted of sitting safely in front of a computer screen murdering Afghans who were defending where they lived against invaders like him, calling it a “game”. He’s probably got a chest full of medals for leadership and bravery.

    C’mon Extinction Rebellion, get yer drones out and stop flights from Mildenhall. What do you mean, “That doesn’t fit in with our aim of stopping climate change”?

    • N_

      All it takes is one or two well-placed missiles to hit Dubai and that whole show goes bankrupt.

      I doubt the slack caused by Dubai International Airport going down could easily be taken up by other airports either.

    • Diego

      Can´t find the link right now but read a couple of hours ago something along the lines of “Iranian officials say that if the US retaliates Hezbollah will fire rockets into Israel”, thus widening the conflict.

  • Diego

    Also, Boris Johnson deafening silence FOR DAYS, after partying in the Caribbean, is topping even Morrison´s pathetic response to the wildfires in Australia. 400 British troops in Iraq and he has not said a fucking single word!

    • thewoodsbeyondthetrees

      Do you think it is possible that Boris is in the Middle East? In which case, God help us all, the last thing we need in negotiations of such delicacy is Boris crashing the diplomatic party.

  • Hatuey

    I didn’t expect Iran to hit back like this. The US and it’s cohorts have been foaming at the mouth over the last few years, desperate for an excuse to decimate Iran. Well, now they have that excuse and we can expect a massive bombing campaign against Iran.

    Talk of allowing Iran to save face reveals a real lack of understanding. This isn’t the “save face” business. This is the massacre business; the blood, oil, and arms business.

    They’ll sell it by saying it’s an opportunity to bring lasting and meaningful peace to the region. And, of course, they’ll say Iran has been behind all the instability and tension of the last few years, that it has links to terrorism and other terrible stuff.

    If Russia gets in the way, they’ll come to an arrangement. One way or another, Iran is getting hammered.

    • Squeeth

      I doubt that the Iranians did this without consulting Russia and China. Since Iran is under siege, what difference will it make? They were going down the same road as Iraq since the 90s.

    • Wikikettle

      Hatuey. I agree with you. Iran in the process will inflict as much damage on KSA, Gulf States and even Israel via Lebanon as possible.
      Close the Persian Gulf to all shipping. I was hoping that Russia and China would defend Iran and station their S400. Israel seems to have got what it worked so very hard to do. It and the neo cons plan to destroy Iran might be unfolding as we speak. I was filled with dread at the news of the Assassination. The Iranians had no option but to strike back. Enough was enough. Even though they are alone, as they were when we supported Saddam to invade. Its a horrific crime to add that country to that list of countries the Pentagon drew up years ago. No doubt the Israelis will be dancing.

      • fedup

        They are crapping themselves mate! This shit is far too hot for their liking.

        This is not a case of fighting a bunch of defenceless women and children armed with sticks and stones. That fraud (haut..) the propagandist is talking out his/her/they hat.

        Bin salman has sent his younger brother to get Trump to ease off the pedal (yesterday), whilst the rest of princes and their families have been packing up and leaving from the various airports in their private jets to European destinations.

        Last night proved that despite patriot batteries etc the bases were hit and there is more of the same on the way if there is any retaliation in response to this reprisal attack.

        Zionist biting more than they can chew is an understatement. In the 33-day war of Lebanon, most of the Israeli population from the border area took flight taking refuge in one the beaches and the lack of food and sanitation, etc. was the stuff of nightmares. However, deep Into Israel was not affected, this time around this a different game, and there are the chemical and noxious complexes that would be hit just to amplify the damage.

  • Wikikettle

    It will a dark irony, that standing up to the great Satan, as the Persians are doing, getting slaughtered in the process, will be seen by ordinary Arabs ‘in the street’ (even sunni) as heroic compared to their own leaders who have been corrupted and lost all respect and dignity. A tidal wave of pent up resentment could sweep the Arab world on the back of Persian martydom. ?!

  • fedup

    This is a WWI scenario, and if US et al. think this is going to be a cake walk then we all best get ready and assume the position; put your heads in the middle of our legs and kiss our butts goodbye. This time we have nukes unlike the WWI, and they will be flying around within matter of hours/days. I am on record world can no longer afford US.

    The fact is Iranians have teeth, and they have just bared it, those propagandists that believe another war can fly in the mid east ought to realise this one is going to go global, and pretty hot in a short space of time, regardless of their wishful thinking.

    • Jack


      What teeth? Attack rendered no casulaties, Iran cannot afford that type of attack.
      U.S: will regardless retaliate against Iran in kind and this is where we actually would see alot of deaths I am afraid.

      Still Iranians think the U.S will now leave the region. Iran need to wake up!
      Leader: Military Reprisal Not Enough, US Should Leave Region

      • Laguerre

        You’d do better not to believe US claims. They never told the truth about their casualties in Iraq. Why would they start now? No serious claim has been made that the US got off scot free from the attack. The videos prove that some at least of the missiles hit their targets.

      • Fedup

        Jack there are estimates of 80 dead, I hate body counting, but have you not noticed the relative calm the echo chamber media?
        Last night the game board was kicked up into the air. The game is changed!
        This is a pretty tricky situation Jack!

    • Hatuey

      I remember before the Iraq war in 1990 being told about Iraqi teeth. Then they did it again with Serbia, and again with Iraq when they finally invaded.

      We can only guess why a team of thugs might shout about the teeth of prospective victims before knocking those teeth out.

  • Monster

    Like it or not Britain is up to its neck in this war. I wonder what Dominic Cummings’ strategy is? Maybe a Boris “we shall fight them on the beaches” speech. Definitely, we should send our mighty aircraft carrier in, along with the chariots of fire.

    • Jack

      Yes I sense US, UK, France, perhaps Germany will be part of this war. EU will be in the background doing less important stuff for that coalition.

        • Jack


          Forces are sitting ducks of course they move them out.
          This wont be an invasion it will be something like Libya 2011.

          • Laguerre

            Inappropriate comparison with Libya. US troops are already on the ground in Iraq, and will be obliged to convert into occupation mode, if they are to stay.

  • Fuddledeedee

    A number of things have come out of the last few days:-
    – Germany announced withdrawal of their troops
    – America announced retreat to Kuwait
    – Cross-Party support in the USA criticising the US President’s decision
    – Israel specifically denied being involved in this assassination
    – Khomeni in his address this morning isssuing a warning for Asia not to interfere
    – Religious Leaders in Iran spent most of the last few days denouncing USA military action
    – Same Religious Leaders outlining civil US citizens shall not be harmed in any way.

    The latter rhetoric was ramped up during the hours before the firing of missiles.

    Judging by the activities since the processions began in Iran in respect to Soleimani mass movement of people (and probably materiel) was clear across Iraq.

    Looking back with close to 2020 vision it is quite clear that there were major de-escalation talks to work out a compromise. This compromise included Iran’s slap in the face to almost empty American assets in Iraq.
    Part of that compromise will probably see US Forces allowed to stay for peace-keeping and humanitarian projects.

    The next steps from Europe and especially Trump Inc will set out the agenda.

    Part of this modern sabre rattling could be a warning to China and Russia, placing limits on their actiivities in the region.

    Much will depend on how accurate the strikes are allowed to be. If the USA say most missed their targets and did little damage to American assets then we know beligerence will dominate.

    • Tom Welsh

      “Part of that compromise will probably see US Forces allowed to stay for peace-keeping and humanitarian projects”.

      That’s very odd. They have never done anything “peace-keeping” or “humanitarian” before. On the contrary, such mealy-mouthed phrases are routinely used as excuses for occupying countries and sucking out their wealth.

      • Fuddledeedee


        As long as the US has access to more oil they will be happy.
        Use what ever phraseology oils your wheels

        The next day or so will be to try and calm the situation.
        The US can’t make the next move aggressvely without their close Allies Israel (Netanyu), and the al-Sauds (and their satellites).

        Calm it down and look for a longer term solution to cream the resources

  • Dungroanin

    As we move into a hot war … where exactly is our LauraKoftheCIA?
    Not a peep since her splurge on 19th December topped of with

    ‘Right then twitter, that’s it from me til next year – Happy Christmas one and all … see you on the other side (follow
    if you want to keep up, or sit on your sofa and eat Quality Street and come back in 2020)
    Laura Kuenssberg
    19 Dec 2019
    Hard time of year for a lot of folks. Suicide Hotline 116 123 (Samaritans) A simple copy and paste might save someone’s life.

    Would 3 Twitter friends please copy this text and post under their own name? Pass it on…

    Laura Kuenssberg
    ·19 Dec 2019
    My guess is at the same site as bozo as they were briefed on the next phase.
    Their role for the Pathocracy and getting their stories rehearsed – I expect her to move into Downing Street as the official press officer!
    Presumably they will have been getting their inoculation flu jab which has just been unleashed as zillions of chinese take to the air for their new year intermingling with the zillions of westerners sun seeking crisscrossing the planet.

    This world war will not be fought with the outdated nuclear weapons – they have better plans to get rid of us pesky revolters, and shiny multicoloured tellytubby suits as demo’d in Salisbury to clear away the dead and take all our possessions.

    How long before the internet shutdown?

    • Mary

      I said at the time that she was patronizing the viewers. She’s probably on holiday. Israel perhaps?

      Did you read the comments under that Quality Street post? Most are derogatory.

      What the licence fee payers shell out for her services.
      ‘Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg’s salary has for the first time overtaken that of North America Editor Jon Sopel – both received increases but Kuenssberg’s was larger, putting her on £250,000-£254,999. Her Brexitcast co-star Katya Adler also got a pay bump, going from £170,000-£179,999 to £205,000-£209,999.’

      and a clothes allowance I bet. She is always shown in some new designer piece.

        • Dungroanin

          Is he now? Ah well joins the sister who is a supremo in the fco?
          The family history is deepstate.
          Her dad was using slavery in the banana republics alongside the CIA.
          Laura learnt her tradecraft at a CIA university.

          She will be the face and mouthpiece of the illegally elected Bozo government as we are given hard brexit, war and plague …

      • Dungroanin

        I consider Katya Adler to be a honest journalist at the BBC.

        She was put in the dungeon pre election for telling the truth about the bs ‘get brexit done’ and only alllwed out briefly on election night – in a very edgy session with LK.

        I’ve just checked her twitter and she has just put out an excellent set of posts on Bozo’s first meeting with new EU pres today

        I expect she will be slapped down again by her ‘minders’.

    • Fedup

      Now you see 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!

      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 crash!

  • Dungroanin

    For these dumb yankee doodle yahoos and Brit donkeys who still don’t understand the significance – imagine if General Washington had been assassinated by King George for having won in the revolution, how would the proto yanks have taken that then and still now 250 years later?

    Also how great was the irani General?
Here is a photo of Soleimani having a walkabout amongs US troops and tanks
    US can’t claim they couldn’t have got to him without using drones.
A Ukrainian Boeing Jet appears to have dropped out of the sky on fire after leaving Tehran…
A new flu type seems to have kicked off in China just as zillions are traveling for newyear.
    As a large percentage of middleclass westerners travel to sunny paradises of SE Asia and Caribbean at this time of year…they may not be traveling back! Especially as the ME hubs get set on fire!

    Ah well at least yesterdays cricket performance was jolly diverting for a few hours – i fear the series may not be completed.

  • Carol

    This is a fascinating article written by Veterans Today, these are some snippets:

    “We also know that the claim Saudi Arabia or Israel were involved is false as well. We also know that Pompeo has been feeding Trump totally fabricated intel on Suleimeni for more than 3 months, plotting this murder on behalf of Pompeo’s Deep State partners, not “handlers,” Pompeo, you see, is a full partner.

    What we will examine is to what extent Trump’s ignorance made him a patsy.

    Mike Pompeo is responsible personally for the assassination of Soleimeni, who was next in line for Iran’s presidency and on a diplomatic mission to Iraq.

    Trump’s only hope of surviving the “set up” is to destroy Pompeo and Esper, to leave them in history’s scrap heap with Benedict Arnold and George W. Bush.

    There is a long history here. During the “W” regime, a rogue operation inside the Pentagon created a secondary unconstitutional command structure that would continue to operate outside oversight by the government, controlled as though it were a band of pirates or mercenary contractors.

    Under a new iteration of JSOC, a group of generals and admirals infiltrated America’s nuclear command, America’s 5th Fleet operations group and took control of many if not most special operations groups.

    Financing them was the Afghan drug trade, which they managed.

    Their primary task was war with Iran and eventually nuclear Armageddon. (See Addendum II) From VT, 2011:

    In August 2007, at least 6 nuclear warheads were stolen from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The moment they were loaded, they disappeared from America’s nuclear inventory, “location unknown,” something that is not supposed to happen.

    Pompeo and Esper knew Trump didn’t, that Soleimeini worked closely in Iraq protecting Americans from Sunni forces. Common sense and a minor education would remind one that the US came into Iraq with Shiite (Iran backed) allies who were persecuted by Saddam Hussein.

    You see, Soleimeni trained the Iraqi militias that fought alongside the US in Iraq, not the other way around. The same militias fought alongside the US against ISIS except now we are questioning whether the US military was really fighting ISIS at all.
    There is, in fact, no evidence the US has fought ISIS at all.”

    To add to this article, the FARS news agency has consistently reported American ‘unmarked’ helicopters airlifting ISIS leaders from sites that were about to be liberated by the Syrian, Russian, Iranian coalition fighting the US/UK proxy terrorists.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Carol, will you people please stop trying to make excuses for Trump. Trump does whatever he feels will make him look like the “big man”. Remember before he was elected, he said that he could go and shoot someone in New York and get away with it.
      Trump is a nasty egotistical maniac.

    • Dom

      Surely there comes a time when all these efforts to exculpate Trump cease. He is no unwitting dupe. He is someone who has been foaming about Iran for decades. Even his “52” Iranian cultural sites references the number of US embassy hostages Iran took back in 1979. That’s how long Iran has been a knot inside his head. None of the notorious Iran hawks he has surrounded himself appointed themselves. I expect some will still be insisting Trump has been set up and played by “the neocons” even if he starts reducing Tehran to rubble.

  • michael norton

    Boris Johnson has not really been seen or heard, since before Christmas.
    I expect he has important Brexit stuff to do and does not want to be side tracked by Trump or Iran.

    • Dom

      Yes he’s renowned for his dedication and conscientiousness. A real details guy who won’t want to be distracted from the task at hand.

  • Tatyana

    I was afraid that Iran would follow the path of terror, this is unacceptable. I was afraid that Iran would start firing in all directions in anger, which is also unacceptable.

    absolutely convinced by the nobility with which Iran launched its attack.
    They appealed to the United Nations, made a statement there.
    They warned everyone about the attack.
    Waited for the German and American troops to withdraw, as the contents of Sealy’s leaked letter were not denied.
    Zarif made a statement that Iran acted according to the 51 article.

    Everything is done in an open, honest and very noble manner, compared to the vile backstab that the United States made and comparing to Trump’s stupid statements.
    I support noble Persia and hope that the United States will voluntarily retreat facing this determination. I hope that other states of the Middle East will join Iran and expel foreigners from their region.
    I will be proud of my Russia if we support Iran. I will be infinitely grateful to great China if he expresses his support. Each country that will support Iran, I will consider a friend.

    I wholeheartedly hope that there will be no big war.

    • Dungroanin

      Seconded Tatyana – many of us Brits remember the great sacrifice of Russian people that saved us and Europe from a Hitler victory… looks like we have to rely on Rissia again to save us from the new Hitlers who think they are the owners of the Earth and all its people and resources.

        • Tatyana

          Thanks guys. It’s hard to express my feelings.
          When you decide which side you are going to take, you also consider what idea you are uniting with.

          I do not want to take the side of vile terror, neither the side of a mad monkey with a big stick, nor do I rejoice in those decisions that will lead to the death of many.
          My side is thinking for me and for the whole world too.

          Dignity and pride, openness, full control over emotions, adequacy – that’s why Iran has my heart. I will be proud if we stand side by side with such a state.

          Zarif is sexy.

  • michael norton

    President Putin has been visiting Damascus, during this troublesome time.
    I expect the entagelment of Iran and U.S.A. will reduce the pressure on Syria, I do hope so.
    Mr.Putin and Mr.Assad seem to genuenly smile a lot, in each others company.

  • Tatyana

    a series of incredible coincidences brought Putin to Damascus on the day of the attack, and the Ukrainian president also decided to spend his vacation in the Middle East unusually.
    It seems that we can not do without Ukraine and a crashed aircraft in any conflict. Why did the plane leaving Iran on the day of the attack, crashed so unhappily? Surprisingly, Tehran and Kiev are already denying the possibility of a terrorist attack. Who was on that plane? Judging by official news, the world is better off not knowing. It has already been stated that it’s not possible to identify the victims.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Tatyana January 8, 2020 at 10:53
      Hmmm, Boeing again! Wouldn’t be their ‘Uninterruptible Autopilot’ remote control (device that can take over plane remotely, ostensibly in the case of hijacking, but also capable of actually hijacking and landing or crashing a plane) playing up once more?
      There used to be a saying years back in the States, after a series of Boeing crashes: ‘If it’s Boeing, I ain’t going!’

      • michael norton

        It is being said that the Iranians and Ukrainians are refusing to hand the Blackboxes over to Boeing,
        as Boeing has a poor safety record and always wish to blame other people for their crashes.

  • Carol

    “Amid confusion over a reported US letter to Iraq announcing the steps its military would take to move out of Iraq, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi confirms that Baghdad has actually received “signed and translated” copies from the US Army concerning the withdrawal.

    In a televised cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Abdul Mahdi clearly refuted all US claims that the letter had been sent by mistake or it had been inauthentic.”

    So the Deep State (headed by Pompeo) are acting against its own military.

    Pompeo = Psychopath
    Trump = Sociopath

  • Carol

    As of 6:20PM EST, the US acknowledged that 6 Iranian missiles have hit the base and none, thus far, have been successfully intercepted.
    7: PM Eastern Time, 13 ballistic missiles have hit al Asad as Patriot batteries installed in May fail.

    30 Iranian guided missiles have so far hit al Asad Air Base in Iraq, home of the United States Air Force and largest base in Iraq. The US deployed multiple batteries of Patriot Missiles to the base in May in case of such an attack.

    “Unless we hear more news of interceptions Iran may have revealed how worthless the Gulf State missile defenses are, which alone could trigger an instant interest in deescalating tensions in the Gulf… Jim W. Dean”

    “We have an Acting Secretary of Defense who was a Raytheon lobbyist.
    We have:
    No Director of National Intelligence.
    No Homeland Security Secretary.
    No Navy Secretary
    A moron for a President who initiated a totally unnecessary and avoidable
    — Ryan Hill (@RyanHillMI) January 8, 2020”

    “Trump just tweeted “so far so good.” Is he Iranian?”

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    When the orange man child wakes up perhaps he will ask “WTF weren’t any of the Iranian missiles shot down?”. Not an unreasonable question. From the Wiki page for Raytheon’s, MIM-104 Patriot missile system; “The most recent upgrade, called the PAC-3, is a near total system redesign, intended from the outset to engage and destroy tactical ballistic missiles.” The PAC-3 variant was fully deployed by 2000, so hardly new.
    Trump could direct his question to his new Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper. Until Trump poached Esper to come work for him, Esper was Vice President of Government relations at Raytheon.

    • Tom Welsh

      “The most recent upgrade, called the PAC-3, is a near total system redesign, intended from the outset to engage and destroy tactical ballistic missiles.”

      There are a few system designs that work. There is a near-infinite number that do not work.

      Change for change’s sake will not help. Only knowing what they are doing will help.

  • N_

    Two sets of Ukrainian figures (first official, second unofficial) for nationalities of those killed in the PS752 crash:

    First set
    Iran 82
    Canada 63
    Ukraine 2 + 9 crew
    Sweden 10
    Afghanistan 4
    Germany 3
    Britain 3

    Second set
    Canada 73
    Iran 71
    Ukraine 15
    Britain 3

1 6 7 8 9