World War III, Redux?
The Morning Call begins to wonder how many times Donald Trump can start WW III?
Seth Mandel, who is the executive editor of the Washington Examiner Magazine and the former editorial page editor of the New York Post, complains constantly on Twitter about the fact that neither the mainstream media nor the “experts” they employ know a damn thing about Middle East politics. This is especially true, he insists, of Israeli politics, about which the press is often, albeit unwillingly, more a source of DISinformation than of actual, factual, useful information.
Now, we’ll admit that we have no special knowledge on this subject, but that’s not going to stop us from offering our two cents. Seth is right. And we suspect that the mainstream media and analysts – collectively the Middle East “establishment” – tend to view the entire region completely backward. They see the Muslim world through the eyes of Edward Said, the Palestinian-American literary critic, whose MASSIVE contribution to the Western study of Islam was the concept of “Orientalism.” And Orientalism, in turn, is of the finest examples of cultural Marxism’s successful embrace of anti-realism (the deconstructionism and phenomenology of Jacques Derrida, the postmodernism of Michel Foucault, and the critical theory of Theodor Adorno) to fabricate a “new” political reality that is thoroughly at odds with physical and historical reality. Because of Said’s malign but pervasive influence in the field, contemporary mainstream American analysis tends to treat the Middle Eastern Muslims as just one more Western identity group, one more victim of white, European, Christian men.
Meanwhile, this same analysis tends to treat Israel as something foreign, something outside the conventional bounds of what is and is not “us.” Part of this is standard, historical anti-Semitism, and part of it is historical ignorance. Israel is every bit a Western nation as any of the others. Indeed, Judaism is the primary religious and cultural foundation of Western civilization itself. Without Israel (in its previous incarnation), there would be no “West” at all.
So anyway, the point here is that the conventional wisdom on the Middle East is almost always wrong. Remember how Trump was going to start World War III by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Remember when Trump was going to start World War III by removing American troops from Syria in a fit of pique? Remember when Trump was going to start World War III by having terrorist mastermind and murderer of American soldiers Qasem Soleimani assassinated? Heck, remember when there would never, ever be any sort of peace between the Israelis and the Arabs until Israel made huge concessions and enabled the creation of an independent Palestinian state?
This is the level of analysis you get from people who see the Middle East upside-down and who wallow in their hatred of anything and everything connected to Donald Trump – which is almost everybody who offers their thoughts on the subject. And that just sows confusion.
As you may or may not know, late last week, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian nuclear scientist – sometimes called “Iran’s Oppenheimer” – was killed just outside of Tehran. At first, the Mullahs said that Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a “military-style ambush.” Yesterday, the regime claimed that he was killed by remote-control machine guns and that “no individual was present at the site.” So, while the Iranian government couldn’t explain how Fakhrizadeh was killed, exactly, it nevertheless knew whom to blame: the Jews!
Although Iran has offered exactly ZERO evidence that this was an Israeli operation, the Western media have assumed that to be the case, and have offered their analysis accordingly, always backed up by the undeniable “fact” that, “it, well, kinda seems like something they’d do.”
Now, for the record, we have no reason to believe that Israel did NOT order Fakhrizadeh’s assassination. In the grand scheme of things, there are maybe only three countries in the world that would undertake such an operation. One is Iran itself, which is not above sacrificing a scientist who has long outlived his usefulness to the regime just to stir up hostilities in the region. Another is the United States, which is currently led by a man who, let’s face it, would have trouble not taking credit for the strike, if he deserved that credit. And the third is Israel. So…by process of elimination, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it’s probably safe to assume that Israel was responsible. But that’s still just an assumption based on circumstantial evidence. It doesn’t prove anything.
That hasn’t stopped the media from insisting that all sorts of terrible and nefarious things are about to occur. Consider, for example, the following CNN analysis:
The semi-official Fars News Agency claimed on Sunday that Fakhrizadeh was traveling with his wife in a bulletproof car, alongside three security personnel vehicles, when he heard what sounded like bullets hitting a vehicle and got out of his car to find out what happened….
It is also possible that Iranian authorities are trying to exaggerate the sophistication of the attack to play down the glaring weakness of its security apparatus exposed by the assassination in broad daylight of one of its top officials. The killing has left Iran feeling exposed and vulnerable….
The Iranians have vowed retribution, but it's unclear how, or whether, this will materialize. After Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in January, Tehran raised the specter of a cataclysmic retaliation. The Iranians responded quickly, but with restraint….
Iran's patience is wearing thin. Its economy has suffered under unrelenting sanctions and its top leadership was dealt repeated blows in recent years. Among lawmakers, calls for retaliation are growing louder, and Tehran's deterrent powers have been greatly diminished by expectations of restraint.
So…the smartest nuclear scientist in Iran was riding in a BULLET-PROOF car, heard something that SOUNDED LIKE BULLETS striking the car, and then got out of the BULLET-PROOF car? Why? To see if he could manage to get himself shot? Is that right? Do you suppose he knew the purpose of a “bullet-“proof” vehicle or what the definition of “bullet-proof” is? Either this is a very poorly concocted cover-story, or we will never, ever have to worry about Iran getting nuclear weapons, since their top scientists are, apparently, simpletons.
After Soleimani was assassinated, the Iranians reacted with restraint? Do, please, tell that to the families of the passengers on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which, on January 8, 2020, had just taken off from Tehran’s airport when the “restrained” Iranian military panicked, dropped a load in its shorts and then shot its own people out of the sky.
Iran is losing patience and, despite a dead economy and countless dead religious and political leaders (from COVID), the Mullahs are, only now, getting ready to go off on the rest of the Middle East? We wouldn’t bet on that. In fact, we’d take everything in this analysis (and countless others) with several large grains of salt.
Not to be outdone, the (Manchester) Guardian ran its own analysis of Fakhrizadeh’s death, suggesting that it’s all Donald Trump’s fault, since he is, after all, just about to start World War III. ….Aaaaaaaany minute now:
The assassination on Friday of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist has heightened suspicions that Donald Trump, in cahoots with hardline Israeli and Saudi allies, may be trying to lure the Tehran regime into an all-out confrontation in the dying days of his presidency. Trump’s four-year-long Iranian vendetta is approaching a climax – and he still has the power and the means to inflict lasting damage.
Speculation that Trump might soon initiate or support some kind of attack on Iran, overt or covert, kinetic or cyber, had swirled across the Middle East in the wake of last weekend’s unprecedented meeting in Saudi Arabia between Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
What the three men discussed remains a closely guarded secret, a fact that has only served to encourage conspiracy claims. In the absence of an official statement, it’s suggested they may have agreed to intensify efforts to provoke and weaken the Tehran regime. Any ensuing retaliation by Iran might then potentially be used to justify an attack on its nuclear facilities before Trump leaves office on 20 January.
Yes, it’s true! How did they ever figure it out? Trump has long been in cahoots to fulfill a vendetta. The really clever part, though, is that he was patient and has been biding his time, sacrificing the first three years and ten months of his presidency so that he could attack at just the right moment. As he is leaving office. Cuz that’s just what he would do, sneaky bastard.
Here’s the deal: IF the Israeli’s are, in fact, responsible for this targeted killing (and you’ll notice that that’s a BIF “if”), then they undertook the operation for a reason – a reason other than that there’s never really a bad time to assassinate monsters who would use their God-given gifts to develop weapons specifically to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Their reason isn’t that they want to start a war, and it isn’t that they want to cozy up to Donald Trump. It is far more likely, the exact OPPOSITE of both – naturally.
IF the Israelis did this, then they did it to show that a war is neither necessary nor winnable by Iran. Almost the entire Arab world has lined up with Israel to clarify for the Mullahs that their kind isn’t welcome in the twenty-first century Middle East. Moreover, the Israelis have demonstrated once again, that they will spare the Iranian people, as they hunt down the Iranian leaders one-by-one. Asymmetric warfare has more than one form, and the Israeli form is far more frightening to rulers who hate their people and already fear for their lives.
Additionally, this wasn’t a Trump-inspired event. It was, almost certainly, about Biden. It was a warning, a not-so-polite request that the Biden foreign policy team not try to resuscitate the Iran nuclear peace deal. The thing is dead. If the Biden guys try to push it, they will find themselves very frustrated. They will also find themselves on the opposite of the issue from ALL of their Middle East allies, including the two most important, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Our prediction? The Saudis will normalize relations with Israel before the year’s end, and the Biden team, in a bow to reality, will leave the Iran deal where it lies.
Or maybe it’ll be the start of World War III. Again.