Will strikes on Iran be Trump’s Plan B?

Stratofortress

The world is breathing a collective sigh of relief after General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy officially¬†contacted¬†the team of president-elect Joe Biden, marking the Trump administration’s belated initiation of the transition process. However, the widespread portrayal that Trump has blinked and is accepting Biden’s victory is highly questionable at best. Both¬†Murphy’s Nov. 23¬†letter and Trump’s tweet¬†about it state that the decision was¬†Murphy’s, taken unilaterally, and that Trump is continuing to contest the election results. Murphy was likely facing what she thought to be the inevitable‚ÄĒMichigan lawmakers had that same day resisted Trump pressure and¬†certified¬†Biden’s win in the state, while¬†Trump’s legal team got¬†laughed out of court¬†in Pennsylvania. However, the team¬†continues to appeal¬†and is conceding nothing. So no, Trump may not have blinked. And if his Plan A of a judicial coup fails, he and his cabinet may now be preparing the¬†hypothesized Plan B….

Along with the news of Murphy’s capitulation come reports that the US has¬†deployed numerous heavy (and potentially nuclear-armed) bombers to the Middle East. The¬†Times of Israel¬†writes that “the B-52H Stratofortress planes were seen flying toward Israeli airspace on Saturday en route to the base where they will be stationed, likely in Qatar.”

Simultaneously, Yemen’s (Iran-backed) Houthi rebels have conveniently¬†claimed responsibility for a missile that struck a Saudi Aramco oil distribution facility in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea port of Jeddah. This is a¬†replay of a similar unnerving scenario¬†which sparked a brief spasm of war jitters just over a year ago.

Finally, while it is being¬†officially denied¬†by the Israelis, there are widespread reports of a¬†secret meeting¬†over the weekend between¬†Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and¬†Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman¬†at the Saudi techno-city of NEOM. And this comes just days after the¬†disconcerting news¬†that Trump had gathered his cabinet and advisors for a White House conclave weighing the options for military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

You don’t have to be on drugs to be seeing patterns here. Trita Parsi, VP¬†of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, tweets:

So Netanyahu secretly visited Saudi Arabia yesterday…

Are Bibi and the Saudis preparing an attack against Iran? Is it a psyop aimed at goading Iran into war?

Or is the actual target the incoming Biden team, with the aim of deterring the US from seeking diplomacy with Tehran?

We consider that the most innocent interpretation. Recall that over the summer, Trump actually broached postponement of the election under pretext of the COVID-19 pandemic. His Plan B could be postponement (read: cancellation) of the presidential transition under pretext of a world crisis of his own making.

We will be all too happy to be dismissed as paranoid freaks for having raised this possibility come Inauguration Day. But remember… You read it here first.

Photo: Wikipedia

  1. Iran: top nuclear scientist killed in attack

    Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was killed in an ambush on his vehicle by unidentified gunman outside Tehran.¬†Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter. “This cowardice‚ÄĒwith serious indications of Israeli role‚ÄĒshows desperate warmongering of perpetrators.” (NPR)

    There was a¬†string of deadly attacks¬†on figures associated with Iran’s nuclear program in 2011-2.

  2. Did robots kill Iranian scientist?

    Iranian officials now claim that Israel killed top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh using a gun in either a remote-controlled or entirely automated mount on a pickup truck and that no actual human assassins were involved. (The Drive)

  3. Iran moves to increase uranium enrichment

    Iran’s Guardian Council approved a bill Dec. 2 that would increase uranium enrichment and stop UN inspections of nuclear sites, measures that go against the 2015 nuclear deal, if sanctions are not eased against Iran within two months. (Jurist)

  4. SCOTUS turns down challenge to Pennsylvania election

    In amusingly terse and dismissive language, the US Supreme Court¬†denied injunctive relief on Dec. 8 to Pennsylvania Republicans seeking to block certification of the state’s election results on the ground that the expansion of mail-in ballots violated the state constitution. (Jurist)

    To us, this just means the Plan B looms closer…

  5. Pentagon acknowledges sending bombers to Persian Gulf

    The¬†Pentagon is now confirming reports that it dispatched bombers to the¬†Persian Gulf. A statement from US¬†Central Command and statements from officials, two B-52H “Stratofortresses” flew from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana on a roughly 36-hour mission that included a loop around Qatar,¬†staying closer to the western side of the Gulf and outside Iranian airspace. Aircraft from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar flew with the US planes during portions of the mission. (NBC)

    We just hope they aren’t¬†trolling for a¬†Gulf of Tonkin¬†incident…

  6. SCOTUS turns down new challenge to election

    The US Supreme Court late Dec. 11 denied the motion for leave to file a complaint in Texas v. Pennsylvania, which had sought to invalidate election results in four swing states that President Donald Trump lost in the November election: Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan.

    Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed there was rampant lawlessness in the defendant states. The suit was supported by 17 states and 126 Republican lawmakers who signed an amicus brief urging the court to hear the case.

    The motion was denied for lack of standing, with the court stating that “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections.”¬†

    Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas stated that they believed the court lacks discretion to deny filing in any case where it has¬†original jurisdiction; they said they would have granted Texas’¬†motion but also made clear that they would not have granted any relief in the case. (Jurist)

  7. US nuclear submarine transits waterway near Iran

    A US nuclear-powered guided-missile submarine traversed the strategically vital waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula on Dec. 21, the Navy said, a rare announcement that comes amid rising tensions with Iran.

    The Navy‚Äôs 5th Fleet based in Bahrain said the Ohio-class guided-missile submarine USS¬†Georgia, accompanied by two other warships, passed through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow passageway through which a fifth of the world’s oil supplies travel. (AP)