Bruce Riedel reports that the Saudi government is agitating for a U.S. attack on Iran, and the crown prince is the leading supporter of a new war:
Saudi Arabia is eager for the United States to take military action against Iran in the expectation that it will lead to regime change in Tehran. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is the leading hawk, has a disastrous track record in military affairs. The Saudis have called for an Arab summit in Mecca on May 30 to rally support against Iran.
The Saudi government-controlled and -directed press is openly pushing for “surgical strikes” by the United States against targets in Iran.
Mohammed bin Salman has appalling judgment and a terrible track record, so it comes as no surprise that he thinks having the US start a war with Iran is a good idea. Bogged down in a disastrous war of his own making in Yemen, he would have the US set the entire region aflame with more reckless military intervention. The Trump administration should obviously ignore Saudi calls for war, but given the president’s history of doing Riyadh’s bidding there is no guarantee that a concerted push from regional clients won’t have the desired effect. Saudi support for attacking Iran is the latest example of their government’s destructive and destabilizing role in the region, and it is another reminder that the crown prince is reckless and incapable of learning any of the right lessons from his previous failures. With any luck, the anti-Iranian summit later this month will be as much of a flop as the Trump administration’s failed gathering in Warsaw.
A small rocket was fired in Baghdad’s Green Zone (the US Embassy neighborhood) yesterday and the Trump Administration has been quick to take advantage of the apparent attack to blame Iran. There was little damage and no casualties, but Bolton is using it to maximum advantage to push Trump toward war. Will Trump bite? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:
William Westmoreland (“Westy”) looked like a general should, and that was part of the problem. Tall, handsome, square-jawed, he carried himself rigidly; there was no slouching for Westy. A go-getter, a hard-charger, he did everything necessary to get promoted. He was a product of the Army, a product of a system that began at West Point during World War II and ended with four stars and command in Vietnam during the most critical years of that war (1965-68). His unimaginative and mediocre performance in a losing effort said (and says) much about that system.
I had these thoughts as I read Lewis Sorley’s devastating biography of Westy, recommended to me by a good friend. (Thanks, Paul!) Before tackling the big stuff about Westy, the Army, and Vietnam, I’d like to focus on little things that stayed with me as I read the book.
Visiting West Point as the Army’s Chief of Staff, Westy met the new First Captain, the highest-ranking cadet. Westy thought this cadet wasn’t quite tall enough to be First Captain. It made me wonder whether Napoleon might have won Waterloo if he’d been as tall as Westy.
Westy loved uniforms and awards. Sporting an impressive array of ribbons, badges, devices, and the like, his busy uniform was consistent with his concern for outward show, for image and action over substance and meaning.
Westy tended to focus on the trivial. He’d visit lower commands and ask junior officers whether the troops were getting their mail (vital for morale, he thought). He’d ask narrow technical questions about mortars versus artillery performance. He was a details man in a position that required a much broader sweep of mind.
Westy liked to doodle, including drawing the rank of a five-star general. He arguably saw himself as destined to this rank, following in the hallowed steps of Douglas MacArthur, Dwight Eisenhower, and Omar Bradley.
Westy never attended professional military education (PME), such as the Army War College, and he showed little interest in books. He was incurious and rather proud of it.
Interestingly, Sorley cites another general who argued Westy’s career should have ended as a regimental colonel. Others believed he served adequately as a major general in command of a division. Above this rank, Westy was, some of his fellow officers agreed, out his depth.
Tensions between the US and Iran are ratcheting up as the War in Yemen rages on. National Security Advisor John Bolton warned the Iranians "we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces". The danger of this open-ended warning is the inclusion of the word "proxy".
Many consider the Houthis in Yemen to be a proxy of Iran, including President Trump himself. His November 2018 statement, in response to the criticism of US-Saudi relations after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, said "the country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East."
The last time negotiations were planned between Venezuelan government and opposition forces, opposition leader (and US puppet) Guaido launched his ill-fated coup and the talks were scuttled. Today a new effort, brokered by Norway, is being launched to solve the conflict without further bloodshed. What kind of monkey wrench will the neocons throw into the mix this time? Tune in to today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report.
The ducks are lining up for the warhawks aiming for Iran. Today the State Department announced that all non-essential personnel should leave the US Embassy in Baghdad. US allies are wondering where are these “increased threats”? Are the neocons about to get their Iran war? On today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report: