NSS translation with commentary by Vince Dhimos
Commenting on geopolitics requires fast reflexes and a constant updating of the facts. What Ivan Danilov said on the 8th, reflected in our translation, made perfect sense at the time, less so now that Israel has accused Iran of being behind the attack on Golan last night. Iran denies responsibility and says Syria was responsible. Syria agrees. That would make more sense since Iran would want to lay low after Trump backed out of the Iran nuclear deal.
But facts are irrelevant in the lead-up to another US war. Propaganda is what counts. The fact is, while Germany opposes sanctions on Iran, even German defence minister Heiko Maas is now condemning Iran for last night’s attack, even though Iran’s involvement was not confirmed (and is now very doubtful). It was one thing for Europe to refuse to go along with Trump’s sanctions and withdrawal from the deal but when the US calls for war, that is a completely different matter for Europe.
Danilov was almost prescient in his last paragraph:
"...we cannot rule out the scenario in which the Trump administration will concentrate not on imposing sanctions, but on the fastest possible transition to the military phase of confrontation."
This makes it all the easier to believe that last night's missile exchange was part of a run-up to war by Washington.
Ivan Danilov, author of the blog Crimson Alter
Donald Trump pulled the US out of the "Iranian nuclear deal" and returned to the international agenda the prospect of a large Middle East war, from direct or indirect participation in which it would be impossible for any of the serious geopolitical players of the planet to stand alone. However, the first victim of this conflict was so-called transatlantic solidarity, and even the media, loyal to Washington, note that the American leader is approaching a state of proud solitude in the international arena.
In the past, the US had managed to write and draw European countries into its geopolitical adventures, but now even Boris Johnson, along with French and German diplomats, expresses his scepticism about the strategy of confrontation with Iran. The war screed of the London Bankers, ie, The Financial Times, published what can be called an epitaph to the "collective West", which is no longer: "The first victim of Trump's decision was the world order, or rather, what was left of it." Now the United States is in a solitary group with Israel and Saudi Arabia, on the same side of the toxic violation of international law, on the other side are China, Russia, Europe and Iran, and we almost certainly need to add Japan, India, Australia and Canada to this list. The gap will not increase. Trump was deaf to the unanimous request of the closest US allies. Emmanuel Macron, and even Angela Merkel arrived during the last two weeks to promote their position. They came back empty-handed."
Almost a year ago we already wrote that the United States is moving towards an inevitable military conflict with Iran, and that this conflict is conditioned by the peculiarities of the American political system, the specificity of Trump's election campaign and the geopolitical needs of the United States. Then, in May 2017, such a scenario seemed unlikely and irrelevant against the backdrop of exacerbations in Syria and North Korea, which then attracted maximum media attention. Practice has shown that the forecast and its motivation published at that time were accurate: "PR and single demonstrations of force are good, but the risk of a direct military clash with Russian troops on Syrian territory, as well as a serious nuclear incident and a real regional war on the Korean Peninsula, is unacceptable for the White House, at least for the time being. <...> Potential adventures in Syria and North Korea now carry more minuses than pluses for the Trump administration, but in the case of an attack on Iran, the risk-to-benefit balance becomes completely different. "In the case of Syria, the Trump administration really limited itself to PR actions, sometimes masked by missile strikes, but refrained from military intervention. In the case of North Korea, Trump is looking for some sort of compromise with the Chinese leadership, which is the main geopolitical patron of North Korea. In the case of Iran, Trump not only does not seek a compromise, but is also ready to go into direct conflict with the European allies of the United States in order to bring closer the possibility of a forceful solution to the Iranian issue.
In this situation, we must completely ignore the statements of the American president that for the time being it is only a matter of sanctions. As Edward Luce, US commentator of the Financial Times, rightly observed, "the situation is very much like preparing for war in Iraq," only this time the US will act without European allies.
It is significant that in this case the traditional tactics of media and public pressure on those who did not wish to support the American president did not work. The presentation of the "secret Iranian materials on the nuclear program," which was carried out by the Israeli government and was diligently promoted by some Western media, did not produce the expected effect, and the British magazine The Economist (belonging to a group of oligarchic British families, including the Rothschild family) even noted that "Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to provide evidence that Iran violated the nuclear agreement." This did not stop Trump from breaking the "nuclear deal", but a full-fledged restoration of the regime of international anti-Iran sanctions appears to be an almost impossible task.
In order to achieve serious economic damage, the US needs to convince the European Union, China and India - the main buyers of Iranian oil and Iran's main economic partners - to join sanctions in a formal or informal manner. It is worth recalling that even in view of the UN sanctions against Iran, which were introduced before the conclusion of the "nuclear deal," the Obama administration failed to squeeze Japan, South Korea, India and China to limit imports of oil from Iran. Given that the leaders of the European Union are against the actions of the Trump administration, the return of European sanctions is also unlikely. Attempts by the US Treasury to impose restrictions and impose fines on European oil companies and banks that continue to cooperate with Iran will lead to an aggravation of the conflict between the European Union and the United States and a possible response of the EU to American companies. When the US threatened to introduce measures against European companies that are involved in financing and building Nord Stream-2, the German government threatened to retaliate. If European banks and oil companies fall under American sanctions, the reaction will be similar and, perhaps, even tougher. The reluctance of European leaders to cede pressure to this issue is conditioned both by the interests of European business and by domestic political considerations. As the Financial Times rightly notes, "subordination to Washington will imply a very serious domestic price," and cites as an example the fall in Macron's rating after his attempts to "charm" Trump during his visit to Washington.
However, we cannot rule out the scenario in which the Trump administration will concentrate not on imposing sanctions, but on the fastest possible transition to the military phase of confrontation. If you look at things pragmatically, then Russia benefits from the situation: oil prices are rising, and along with geopolitical tensions, there is a growing demand for Russian arms and diplomatic support. Moreover, given the ugly behaviour of the States, the demand for sane and reliable partners in geopolitical dialogue is growing, even in Europe. The transformation of all these positive circumstances into concrete material and political benefits for Russia is a matter of finesse. Vladimir Putin can certainly cope with this.
RIA Novosti https://ria.ru/analytics/20180509/1520199702.html