Israel Helped Kill Soleimani

It’s just one throwaway line in CIA asset Ken Dilanian’s new NBC piece on the whiz-bang, super-neato, space-age, Hollywood movie-like, special, high-technology that made the assassination possible.

“Intelligence from Israel helped confirm the details.”

And dammit, I just love the “Oceania has always been at war with the Badr Brigade” line of Iraq War II-denial embedded in all these stories. Dilanian and his assistant demonstrate how it’s done almost perfectly here:

“At the Baghdad airport, Soleimani was greeted by Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of an Iraqi anti-American militia and a suspect in the bombing of the American and French embassies in Kuwait in 1983. Al-Muhandis got into the sedan with Soleimani and he, too, was killed in the strike.”

Soleimani reviews his US troops in Iraq War III

Sounds like a pretty bad dude. Too bad W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Gates, Petraeus and the rest fought a 5 year civil war for him and his friends in the Da’wa Party and Supreme Islamic Council beginning in 2003, and then Obama and Trump fought another on their behalf from 2014–2019.

Oh well, anyway, what’s that you say? 1983 Kuwait embassy something? Oh yeah. We’re all still really mad about that too! Maybe we should ask President Reagan to double his support for Saddam Hussein to get some revenge!

Ratcheting Down

Wednesday morning Trump announced new sanctions on Iran rather than sending in the B-52s in response to Iran’s missile attack response to America’s killing of their top general Qassem Soleimani. So that’s wrong but sure could be worse.

Then he declared that the UN Security Council powers must help him negotiate a brand new better nuclear deal to replace the last one; a total non-starter, and he must know that. So that just amounts to filler and bluster.

Trump then emphasized America’s energy independence from the Middle East. A great line about how now we’re leaving would have gone great right there. #Hope #Change

Surprisingly, he also emphasized Iran’s help in the fight against the Islamic State as a continuing opportunity for cooperation, which is another signal toward de-escalation.

This entire crisis has been precipitated by the Trump government, with a possible assist from ISIS. Americans of all political persuasions should make their voices heard now: We oppose conflict and support the U.S. taking all opportunities to talk to Iran and diffuse this crisis.

And remember the Horton rule: attack the left from the left and the right from the right. In other words, when calling or otherwise addressing Republicans, be conservative in your opposition and the other way around too.

Cross-posted at The Libertarian Institute.

Iran Plane Crash

As Tom Woods pointed out in this great speech 10 years ago, when there’s an earthquake, hurricane, plane crash or other major disaster in Iran, we all feel terrible and grieve for the loss of life and donate to charity over it and the rest.

But then we’re supposed to just turn right around and cheer threats of war against these very same people.

Last night, while Iran was firing missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq and many people around the world were fearing the breakout of a new war between our countries, a civilian airliner fell out of the sky on take-off from the Tehran airport, killing more than 170 people. (All indications are that it was mechanical failure to blame.)

Humanity grieves for them. Let us please keep in mind the individual rights to life and dignity that all individuals hold and maintain the spirit of commonality we all feel from the crash as a barrier to a new war.

Cross-posted at The Libertarian Institute.

A Personal Experience With Lies and EFPs

Former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Dan Carnahan writes:

To claim that Soleimani has killed hundreds of Americans that were killed by EFPs (explosively formed penetrator) is to conflate that every EFP was Shia, every Shia is Iranian, and every Iranian is Soleimani. The official narrative is that every EFP set off in Iraq came from Iran, and therefore Soleimani. This was not my experience.

My first deployment to Iraq began in 2005. I was stationed in eastern Baghdad, with an area of operation surrounding the infamous Sadr City. Though it had a diverse combatant list, our primary enemies were the Shia militias, including the Mehdi Militia and the Badr Brigade (So we were told, at least). The first day reaching our base after weeks spent transiting Kuwait and BIAP we were briefed on a new kind of IED called an EFP. This was surprising, since in all the training and hours upon hours of sitting through PowerPoint presentations, this was the first we’d heard of them. Apparently, they were cutting right through all of the new up-armored HMMVs we had. That turned out to be absolutely true. We would come to find out that not only were they penetrating HMMVs, they were taking out Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M1 Abrams as well. The technology came from Hezbollah, we were told, and that they were being shipped in from Iran.

Curiously though, the briefing included general information on how one is made, and most importantly, the equipment needed to make them. The current media description of EFPs is that they are so high tech that they must’ve come from Iran because Iraqis lacked the means to produce them. But obviously from the briefing, the concern was that they were being made in Iraq, and these are the tools we need to keep our eyes out for. Compared to loading some old artillery shells into a car to be driven into a crowd, yes, they certainly are more sophisticated. However, information on their construction can easily be found online. To really drive home the idea that Iraqis could be making these, the presentation culminated with an American blacksmith being presented with one to replicate in his shop. By the end of the day he had a finished product.

That’s not to say tha varying level of quality had significant impact on the bomb’s lethality. Precision proved to be important. As with any weapon, especially improvised ones, trial and error leads to some duds and some improvement. In a short time, we were seeing EFP “arrays” where a dozen smaller EFPs were arranged to fire in multiple directions like a shotgun, or “super” EFPs that would create an especially larger projectile. It seems the EFPs were being adapted to new defense SOPs almost faster than we were implementing them. This should raise suspicion that they were all being shipped in. Our more internal opinion is that they were coming from the impenetrable Sadr City. They were incredibly deadly. Soldiers from my base were getting taken out almost daily at times. Some I knew personally, two were close friends. Our mechanics were constantly brainstorming new things to fabricate to the trucks to lessen the blow. I’m not sure anything was successful. Having a background in electrical work, I spent much of my free time researching if there was a way to combat the passive infrared sensors that were commonly used to trigger the explosives.

In what was probably 2006 by this point, we were on what was supposed to be a standard 4-hour patrol. Usually this involved going to a neighborhood and talking to the locals in an attempt to gain any kind of useable intel. Showing an interest in their problems and concerns was an effective way to build some trust. This particular mission we learned of a house that was expected to be making IEDs. The house was searched and what was found was a homemade EFP factory. This particular mission stood out for two reasons: 1) We had to stay there all day and night until the engineers figured out how to remove the large blacksmithing equipment from the house. I can still remember when dawn had finally arrived and I could see the silhouette of a rusty press being crane-loaded onto the back of a truck. And 2) The makers of these EFPs were Sunni. To be fair, the level of sophistication in what they were producing was far below what was coming from the Shia militias, showing that they were in the early stages of learning the technology. What it does show though, is that Iraqis were perfectly capable of making them, even Sunnis who very doubtfully had the support of Hezbollah or Iran.

See also:

Did Iran Kill 600 Americans in Iraq War II? No.