By Robert A. Vella

Iran will surely retaliate against the U.S. after President Trump ordered the assassination of one of its top military officials, but uncertainty over how it will do so is creating a lot of anxiety around the world.  Some things are quite clear, however.  Iran is unlikely to directly confront the U.S. military in conventional warfare which it cannot win, so it will instead likely attempt to attack high-profile targets which are more vulnerable – such as diplomats serving overseas, American business interests, vital U.S. infrastructure through cyber-attacks, and any notable persons closely associated with Donald Trump.  Any immediate retaliation would probably occur in countries with lax security or in public places which are difficult to defend.  More deliberative retaliation would take longer to plan and be much more sophisticated.  Regardless, Americans and their allies across the globe should understand the personal danger they are now potentially in.

Since Trump is persona non grata both internationally and domestically, I would expect Iran’s response to be politically cognizant as well.  A random, indiscriminate attack which killed or injured innocent victims could rally the world community against it.  A retaliatory assassination of someone who opposes Trump could have the same effect.  Additionally, Iran must be mindful of Russia’s and China’s concerns and interests because those two powers are its chief benefactors.

Then, there is this year’s presidential election in the U.S.  Undoubtedly, Iran will be focused like a laser beam on doing anything which might embarrass Trump and weaken his reelection chances.  The optimum window for such actions would be in September or October.

Here is another item of clarity.  Iran, as a very large country with a population over 80 million and a nominal GDP  nearing $500 billion, has vastly more resources at its disposal than the al-Qaeda organization had in 2011 when its leader Osama bin Laden was killed under orders from President Obama.  Whereas al-Qaeda had few if any nation-state allies and could do little to retaliate, Iran is not so constrained.  It can and will retaliate.

Here’s more on this story plus today’s other news:

From:  U.S. and Iran Exchange More Threats as Democrats Question Timing of Strike

WASHINGTON — The United States and Iran exchanged escalating military threats on Friday as President Trump warned that he was “prepared to take whatever action is necessary” if Iran threatened Americans and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed to exact vengeance for the killing on Mr. Trump’s order of Iran’s most valued general.

Although the president insisted that he took the action to avoid a war with Iran, the continuing threats further rattled foreign capitals, global markets and Capitol Hill, where Democrats demanded more information about the strike and Mr. Trump’s grounds for taking such a provocative move without consulting Congress.

Democrats also pressed questions about the attack’s timing and whether it was meant to deflect attention from the president’s expected impeachment trial this month in the Senate. They said he risked suspicion that he was taking action overseas to distract from his political troubles at home, as in the political movie “Wag the Dog.”

See also:

US to send 3,000 more troops to Middle East following Soleimani death: officials

NYPD on alert in wake of US airstrike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani

World braces for ‘dramatic escalation’ after Iranian general killed: Analysis

Ex-CIA boss: “There will be dead Americans” after Iran general killed

U.S.-led coalition denies conducting Baghdad air strike

When the United States and Qasem Soleimani worked together

Will There Be a Draft? Young People Worry After Military Strike

From:  Giuliani associate can give impeachment investigators phone data, documents seized by prosecutors, judge says

NEW YORK — A federal judge in Manhattan ruled Friday that an indicted associate of President Trump’s personal lawyer may provide Congress with evidence in his criminal case that is of interest to impeachment investigators.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken granted an application from a lawyer for Lev Parnas seeking permission to give lawmakers access to phone data and documents seized by federal prosecutors after his October arrest. The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed the materials as part of its impeachment inquiry, according to Parnas’s lawyer Joseph Bondy.

The materials are expected to include documents taken from Parnas’s Florida home along with a complete readout of his iPhone. Bondy has said there is relevant information contained in the materials, though he has not disclosed specifically what that might be.

From:  Trump Rule Would Exclude Climate Change in Infrastructure Planning

WASHINGTON — Federal agencies would no longer have to take climate change into account when they assess the environmental impacts of highways, pipelines and other major infrastructure projects, according to a Trump administration plan that would weaken the nation’s benchmark environmental law.

The proposed changes to the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act could sharply reduce obstacles to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and other fossil fuel projects that have been stymied when courts ruled that the Trump administration did not properly consider climate change when analyzing the environmental effects of the projects.

Related story:  EPA watchdog says agency underprepared for national emergency

From:  United Methodist Church is expected to split over gay marriage, fracturing the nation’s third-largest denomination

The United Methodist Church is expected to split into more than one denomination in an attempt to bring to a close a years-long and contentious fight over same-sex marriage.

The historic schism would divide the third-largest religious denomination in the United States.

Leaders of the church announced Friday they had agreed to spin off a “traditionalist Methodist” denomination, which would continue to oppose same-sex marriage and to refuse ordination to LGBT clergy, while allowing the remaining portion of the United Methodist Church to permit same-sex marriage and LGBT clergy for the first time in its history.

The plan would need to be approved in May at the denomination’s worldwide conference.

34 thoughts on “Trump versus Iran: An anxious world wonders what will happen next

  1. Nov. 10, AP reports find of new 50 billion barrels oil field in Iran. Six Pentagon officials resign in December. Top Iranian military official assassinated in January. Whose agenda is this?

    Claudia Davison Sent from my iPad mini


    Liked by 5 people

  2. Oil is always a concern, fossil fuel mercenaries obviously have a louder voice in U.S. foreign policy matters than the other 328 million U.S. citizens. However, trump obviously gave his full support to this criminal act because he’s terrified of being labeled a loser if there was a fair election later this year. He’s a dangerously sick person.

    I pray cooler heads prevail, though Iran making an intelligent decision to wait until retaliation can’t help trump personally could also be a cold, calculating and more lethal response.

    My stomach hurts. 😖

    Liked by 3 people

    • The part I don’t get is why he would think killing some foreigner improves his poll chances. There must be something wrong with the American psyche to see this a victory so that every president seems to have his own kill record. I find it strange in deed. And that there is a system that allows it is even stranger

      Liked by 4 people

      • I’m not so sure this is gonna work the way he wants it to. Iran is tech savvy. I can EASILY see them working to rig the election AGAINST Trump just to eff with him over this. Either way, Iran WILL strike back somehow. Now Donny, and the rest of the world, get to sit back nervously and wait for it. What a total idiot this guy is.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I have read here and elsewhere that the GoP has resisted calls for securing the elections at the same time they are working at disenfranchising some of the voters. It is a sad prospect

          Liked by 3 people

        • Exactly. They are resisting election security being tightened because they need help from Russia to win elections, but, in this case, Iran may damn well use said lack of security to move against Trump. Who knows. I just don’t think this will help endure Trump to anyone other than his loving Christian base of idiots who already love the crap as it drops from his fat, orange, dimpled ass.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Not only can Putin’s people mess with the U.S. election, the GOP and China can, too. The one thing I don’t like about the excessive attention on Russian interference in elections is that it directs attention away from the GOP – as well as China. I believe the GOP has committed election fraud for decades, usually in a subtle enough way to steal a few seats in Congress every year and keep attention elsewhere. Look back to the early George II administration and the evidence of election tampering. It has been made so much easier with electronic voting machines. Once, a GOP election official actually came out and said, in no uncertain terms, that he was told that with the flick of a switch on the “new” voting machines any particular election could be changed to a 51% GOP victory regardless of the actual vote. We really do not have honest elections anymore. Exit polling can shed doubts on blatant election fraud, but they are clever enough not to push too hard.

          Liked by 3 people

      • Sadly, the United States has a lethally effective machine of corporate indoctrination coupled with a large percentage of morally sick, intellectually lazy people who want to be convinced that they are special, for some strange reason.

        Our pampered life is full of ridiculous conveniences and irrational fantasies of being important thanks to the many nationalistic cheerleaders in corporate media. Tens of millions of us live a trapped, dysfunctional life that, if looked at closely, would prove to be a dead end. This reality is too ugly for many of us to face so we choose a life of fake happiness that fits what we have been conditioned to admire. Collectively, our time is up. Reality will settle in, eventually. Some people are just to slow to understand.

        Liked by 4 people

        • I think you put this so eloquently.
          And yes, the corporate media in the US is generally almost nationalistic in Operation so that it is likely to sing to the drums of war even if the alternative was the most rational act. Then later after several years they will tell us that the people in power had no idea what they were doing and the cycle repeats

          Liked by 2 people

  3. What’s the end game for trump and his people at the Pentagon who thought this was a good idea?
    Are they going to use the American press to convince the world again that this a terrorist as they did with wmd in Iraq that has left that country in a mess?

    Liked by 2 people

    • He has no plan and no specific endgame. What makes this petulant child so dangerous is his impulsiveness and immaturity. Jeebus only knows what he’s gonna do. Either way, it isn’t going to go well for him or the world.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Trump, I think, has come to the conclusion there will be no consequences to his actions.
        He moved the embassy of Israel to Jerusalem made some proclamations about Jerusalem and recently his administration said it wasn’t illegal to continue building settlements in the disputed Westbank without any consequences.
        He withdraw soldiers from Syria & nothing much happened.
        His trade wars with different countries seem to be coming to an end without very serious consequences to his administration & the nation at large.
        So from an observer far away, I think this is the outcome he expects.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Oh, most definitely. He feels he can do whatever he wants because, like you say, he keeps getting away with doing whatever he wants. I just don’t know if there’s any plan to other than, “I’m gonna do whatever the fuck I want cause I CAN do whatever the fuck I want.” Eventually, a world leader with all the power of the US President doing just “whatever the fuck he wants” will have consequences. It’s a sit a wait game to see exactly what and when it will happen. Iran WILL retaliate for this. No doubt. It simply a matter of when and what they’re gonna do and who it will hurt.

          Liked by 3 people

        • That Iran will retaliate, I think is a given.
          Trump has been emboldened even by the courts who by refusing to act on the demand for his taxes, make it look like he is above the law.

          Liked by 2 people

        • To trump, consequences for your actions is a concept for “losers” who don’t have enough economic “power” to avoid responsibility for their actions. He has lived a life of silver spoon privilege in which everything was either given to him or attained through violent economic bullying. Emotionally, he’s still an adolescent punk. And his intellectual growth has been stunted by his supreme arrogance and greed. He’s always thought he knew it all. Why learn anything that doesn’t increase his bank account?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I saw in a different post that larger oil deposits were discovered in Iran towards the end of last year. Could that be what the oil execs in Trump’s group of friends want? Destabilize Iran then control oil prices and for the time being, this will favour Saudi Arabia with its IPO

          Liked by 3 people

      • So true.

        The Christian supremacists that make up part of the trump administration support war against Muslim nations. They mindlessly support the terrorist state of Israel at all costs (particularly human). I think they believe they are fighting a moral war – a sick contradiction in terms if there ever was one.

        The nationalistic members love to show how powerful the U.S. (military) is.

        trump is a parasitic, dysfunctional buffoon, low in intelligence, who simple-mindedly makes decisions based solely on how much money he can collect and how much “power” he can attain. Starting a war against a Muslim nation can bring Christian supremacists to the voting booths this year (all of whom vote GOP without considerations of morality) and direct attention away from the fact that he is the worst president in U.S. history so becoming a war criminal just adds to his legacy as a criminal president.

        He’s a cancer cell in the body of humanity.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I agree, though his voters will be coming out in droves to vote for him no matter what he does. That, along with help from his master, Putin, and the GOP purging voter rolls, will most likely put this piece of shit back in the White House in 2020. Eventually, the cost of all he’s doing will come to fruition.

          Liked by 3 people

  4. And did you see this….

    On Sunday, December 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin placed a phone call to Donald Trump, as Trump vacationed at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Six days later, a private jet reportedly used by German Gref (pictured above), the CEO of Russia’s biggest Kremlin-run bank, landed in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, less than an hour’s drive from Mar-a-Lago.

    The possible flight by Russia’s most powerful banker was noted by Scott Stedman, founder of the independent journalism site Forensic News, on his Twitter account. Data from the flight-tracking site FlightAware.com confirmed that a Gulfstream G650 aircraft operated by Jet Air Group, with a tail registration number of RA-10204, landed at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Broward County in the middle of the night — 2:31 a.m. — on Saturday, January 4.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Pingback: Iran’s attack provides a lesson in rhetoric, and today’s news | The Secular Jurist

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