Would Iran really risk war with US by killing an ambassador?
Members of the Iranian Army take part in the annual military drill, dubbed “Zolphaghar 99”, in the Gulf of Oman, Iran on September 7, 2020
(photo credit: WANA NEWS AGENCY/REUTERS)
Iran’s regime plotted against a US ambassador, Lana Marks, as it considered how to respond to the US killing of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, according to shocking reports on Sunday evening in an article at Politico.
These are serious accusations. Iran would risk not only conflict with the US over an attack on a US ambassador, but would also risk international isolation. While most countries tolerate with impunity the Iran regime's threats and actions, they generally believe there are some redlines to what Iran will do.
In the past Iran has shot down a civilian airliner, it has kidnapped and assassinated people in the Middle East and Europe, it has fired missiles at Iraq, used drones and cruise missiles to attack Saudi Arabia and incited genocide against Israel. It illegally sends weapons through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. It has mined boats and tankers in the Gulf of Oman and hijacked and taken at least one tanker, and has used tankers and ships to violate sanctions. It recently murdered an innocent wrestler.
However, all that being said, an attack on an ambassador is a major and unprecedented step. Governments just don’t plot assassinations of other government’s ambassadors in third countries.
Politico alleges that US officials were aware of these threats “since the spring” and that intelligence became more specific recently. In addition, the “Iranian embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot.” Iranian embassies have frequently been involved in plots to assassinate dissidents in the past, especially in Europe. Iran has also plotted attacks on SU forces in Iraq and perhaps elsewhere. Attacks on diplomats seem to be another realm in Iranian thinking.
SO WHAT'S going on? Iran would have known that the US ambassador to South Africa was relatively new and not a career diplomat, but rather linked to US President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. At this point the article argues that US intelligence made her aware of the threat.
Iran has a keen understanding of Trump, at least the regime seems to think it does. It has not tested the US too much, judging Trump to be the kind of person who will hit back if US soldiers are killed. It assesses that the president’s long-term goal is to leave the Middle East.
Tehran has also assessed that the US administration is divided between those who wanted harsher responses, like former National Security Advisor John Bolton, and those who are more isolationist. It also judged that former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was critical of Iran but did not want war. The Islamic Republic has used the threat of “war” to bluff the US.
But Iran never wanted war. That is why it sought to use proxy groups to fire rockets at US forces in Iraq, but generally did not try to kill anyone. After the US killed Soleimani, which came about because Iran did kill a US contractor and then sent proxies to attack the US embassy, Tehran allegedly put US CENTCOM commander Kenneth McKenzie on its “hit list.”
Iran views CENTCOM as America’s version of the IRGC. After Washington determined that the IRGC was a terrorist group, Iran’s media began referring to CENTCOM as “terrorists.” This decision by Iran was a bit bizarre, because CENTCOM is not the US equivalent of the IRGC: it is a regional command. But Tehran views CENTCOM as the US military because it always has to contend with the command since Iran is within its area of operations.
TEHRAN'S REGIME is quite sophisticated, so its bizarre decision to label Central Command as terrorists seemed to give its fighters a blank check to strike at US military assets in the region, but not elsewhere. In a way, Iran viewed this now as a war between the IRGC and CENTCOM, but since the Guard Corps abroad works through proxies, this became a kind of shadow conflict.
Iran can’t do real war with US Central Command because its army and navy are no match for the US. All Iran can do is use asymmetric warfare, such as missiles, drones, mines, IEDs and other weapons to harass America. And that is Iran’s model: not a real war. Iran has never wanted war, but it judges that the US is so afraid of more “endless wars” that it will always shrink from a confrontation.
Would Iran’s intelligence arm, which has plotted assassinations from Iranian embassies in the past, decide to go so far as to strike at a US diplomatic mission? Tehran has allegedly done this before in 2012 confrontations with Israel where it activated agents in three countries to strike at Israeli diplomatic targets. But Israel is not the US and it is not the Trump administration.
Iran might judge that the killing of US ambassador Chris Stephens in Benghazi in 2012 did not meet with a US response. But it likely knows that if Trump were in charge, then the killing of a US ambassador would have met with an immediate strike.
Trump has already said that he called off strikes on Iran in 2019 after Iran downed a US drone because he did not view them as proportionate. Iran knows this. Proportionate response to an attack on a US diplomat would be a harsh response. Washington would not view it as similar to the Soleimani assassination. The administration indicated what proportion looks like in March when Iran-backed proxies killed three members of the US-led coalition in Iraq. The US struck back immediately against Kataib Hezbollah.
Iran also knows how Trump thinks because it can read the recent accounts in Bob Woodward’s new book. It was Trump that pushed for the Soleimani hit while others urged caution. This leaves many questions about Iran’s logic and motivations.
Assuming the threat is accurate, some have suggested that this may be Iran purposely putting the US on the wrong track. Others have suggested on social media that this report might be designed to stoke tensions or create other controversies.
THIS LEAVES two questions. Was Iran’s threat serious? And why was the information about the threat revealed now? The first question is about Iran and revolves around how and why Iranian intelligence agents or others decided on this target. The second question is about why this information might be released. Is it to warn Iran off to reduce tensions? Or is it just a leak? And if it is a leak, what is the point of leaking this now?
There are no good answers to these questions. There are good questions about why Iran would embark on this unprecedented and incendiary path and how its agents even thought they would pull this off. Iran’s specialty in assassinations is not on hard to get targets. Its proxies have used car bombs in Lebanon.
Tehran's allies in Iraq have used pistols, kidnapping and other means. In Europe, its agents have used things like knives. In the bomb plot targeting the MEK, the agents had only a half a kilogram of explosives. In Turkey a dissident was shot dead. None of this points to Iran being capable of a major attack, as would likely be required against a high level US diplomat or an embassy. And it doesn’t account for the fallout that would occur after such an attack.
Iran thrives on making the US seem isolated. It has gotten Russia and China to end an arms embargo via the UN and has gotten the Europeans to side with it and Turkey. The Islamic Republic thrives on claiming it obeys international law even if it doesn’t, and skirting close to the lines on things like its nuclear program. It often has plausible deniability for attacks in Iraq or the Gulf of Oman. But striking at a US ambassador is not easy to deny.
It would be like the Al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in the 1990s. It would give the Trump administration the tools it wants to isolate Tehran. No intelligent person in the Iran regime apparatus would give the go-ahead on something so unprecedented so close to a US election. Unless, of course, Iran wants Trump to stay in office and judges that it can weather the fallout. Or unless its agents in South Africa and elsewhere have simply been told to put in place plots against any US target.
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AKANCopied from the book, Reality as Myth by Onyeji Nnaji. The influence of the
Akan on their content nations lies on their population and commonwealth of
their brother nations. The Akan are one of the largest ethnic groups in West
Africa. Their population is scattered across West Africa and beyond. Among this
huge population of the Akan, the Ghanaians are more popular, perhaps because of
the political influence of the Ashanti Empire in the area. Not much is heard or
known about other Akan settlements like the Akwamu, the Akyem , the Akuapem,
the Denkyira, the Abron, the Aowin, the Ahanta, the Anyi, the Baoule, the
Chokosi, the Fante, the Kwahu, the Sefwi, the Ahafo, the Assin, the Evalue, the
Wassa the Adjukru, the Akye, the Alladian, the Attie,the M'Bato, the Abidji,
the Avikam,the Avatime the Ebrie, the Ehotile, the Nzema, the Abbe, the Aboure,
the Coromantins, the Ndyuka people and other peoples of Côte d'Ivoire. Every Akan nation adopts the image…
from the Book; "Reality as Myth"
by Onyeji Nnaji
of the discovering of the Radar Rivers and their channels is that it disproves
the western hegemonic claim of the Euphrates valley being the position of the
birth of the great river, all the points that opposed their claims
notwithstanding. Even God himself was very perfect in His creation by placing
them in their positions, hierarchically, according to their birth. The first
river that flowed located the Havilah land where there are good quality gold,
bdellium and fine onyx stones. Pison was the oldest of the rivers and it flowed
through the land of the southern Africa. The second river flowed northward to
Ethiopia. It was when Africa had been overtaken by virtue of her proximity to
the Great Water that other parts of the world began to encounter the remaining
river; remarkable with Hiddekel.
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The major problem towards deciphering the original plac…
Copied from the book, Reality as Myths by Onyeji NnajiThe world of the Bantu travellers shows the walls of the
migration that recorded the highest population among the African settlement.
Originating from the largest population among the four races that settled in
the east before time, all Bantu travellers were pygmies; for that was the
nature of the Umudiala, the
generation that gave birth to them. Bantu migration was rated the third
earliest migration of the Negro race from the east. In this regard, all their
movement had involved great population of people compared to the number of
people involved in the two earlier populations that gave birth to Ethiopia,
Nubia and Egypt: the Walker Traveller, and the
Race of Anu. Bantu population as we have identified in the third chapter
above outweighs the rest of the population of the ancient fathers that founded
many of the nations of antiquity mentioned earlier. Discussing them in beat
will pose a little challenge since their migration condi…
The name Nkalaha is a
coinage which stands for a people occupying a geographical land and regional
setting in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is a coinage which attempts to
explain the direction of movement and adventure of the men who founded the
community in the 15th century AD. According to oral sources and some
documentation about this community, some of these men were believed to have
traveled from Ida, old Benue state of Nigeria to inhabit the land. These men
had traveled on different days to locate the place. Onojah who originally
founded the land was said to have been in a deep search for a place of safety
as he was besieged by a fate that appeared to make him somewhat incompatible
with his own people. Nkalaha
is one of the communities that make up Ishielu Local Government Area of Ebonyi
State. Nkalaha occupied the northern part of Ishielu Local Government Area. She
is located through the zip 135.031.000. The community sits on 923.768km2. She shares boundaries with neighbourin…
My neighbour had vowed never to let any girl
survive as a salesgirl in my shop. This thing has happened for over three
times. Each time we brought a new salesgirl, the girl would stay for two or
three months; and suddenly she would end her contract with us. In all these, my
husband did not know. So, being that the girls usually stole money and other
items, the reason for their departure became genuine, thus: they ran away to
avoid being punished for their actions. But behind this, the underling truth is
that the girls had been embarrassed by my neighbour who would warn them to leave
her loosed husband. Recently, the woman threatened to f…
The Mystery of
Number, “Five” in the Igbo Cosmology.From: Aspects
of the Ancient African Metaphysics;Chapter: Seven;Topic: Igbo
Geometries and the Metaphysics of Numbers.Author: Onyeji
Nnaji. In the Igbo
cosmology, the word Isee is a definite symbolic word as revealed through
the Igbo language and culture. A human being has five fingers, five toes. The
hands and feet are fundamentals to the survival in life as they are necessary
in ensuring that man moves to places where he gets food and grapples on the
food to sustain his life. To this view, the rhetoric that binds vocatives in
the form of incantation (anchoring on the heart-lock: four) and the
concomitant reprisal in the manner of affirmation that holds the human life
bind to his original spiritual person, therefore defining existence and
essences are unified by the corresponding echo: Isee!!!!! Therefore
it stands that anytime a prayer is said in the Igbo land, the attendants who would
want the fulfillment of the prayer unanimously …
INTRODUCTION One thing that made Udi remarkable is the indubitable
legacy adopted in commemoration of the legendry fighter, Uto at Nsude. It was one
of the greatest contributions of the descendants of Agbaja to the survival of
Nsukka civilization of memory. Uto held from Oshie. Uto dies of small pox after
a mercenary battle he was hired to fight in the ancient Benin. His body was buried
in the evil forest as the tradition demanded. Although he lived no longer, the
stepped pyramids above were adopted to commemorate the lasting peace he brought
to the entire Oshie and Udi nation of people. Another remarkable thing about Udi is the
fertility of the land. This has contributed widely in sustaining the
inhabitants and provided a name for the inhabitants in the manner of Abakaliki,
Umudike, Ogbaru, Igboariam, Ohaji, Uzouwani, etc., especially in Amofia-Agu,
Affa. Udi is a land of great rivers and springs: Adaada, Ajali, Oji, Aria,
Nvenu, Ngene Evu, Iyi Ububo, etc. as was the situation every…
There are four generations…, and the fourth generation, which is the most exalted, is kingless and perfect. These people will enter the holy place of their Father and they will reside in rest … They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal (The Nag Hammadi, 219)
Also read Nsukka Civilization: The Peopling of Ancient Nsukka One of the African homes that colonialism has completely deformed beyond certain level of recognition is Nsukka. Colonialism apart, the most affecting factor to the survival of the meaning which the rich cultural enclave, Nsukka, carries will best be blamed on postcolonial political structure. The biggest harm all these have against Nsukka as a people are that they rubbed her of the meaning of her name; their place of origin; how their fathers managed to come into their present abodes and who their ancestors are. A profound understanding of the excerpt above will open the door towards deciphering the meaning and origin of the people called Nsukka. Geographic…
ETHIOPIAHISTORY & ORIGIN (Extracted from the
book, Reality as Myth)BYONYEJI NNAJI
Those piles of ruins which you see in that narrow valley
watered by the Nile, are the remains of opulent cities, the pride of the
ancient kingdom of Ethiopia. ... There a people, now forgotten, discovered
while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race
of men now rejected from society for their sable skin and frizzled hair,
founded on the study of the laws of nature, those civil and religious systems
which still govern the universe(Count Volney). Because of the position of Ethiopia
in the Bible story as one remarkable black nation with ancient history, it
becomes almost impossible to see any other nation as being of more ancient than
Ethiopia. Ethiopia suddenly became the yardstick for the analysis of the Negro
race. And with the influence of Christianity in the inner part of Africa, the
adherents were provided with bold pictures of the cradle of the human race…