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Trump to Impose New Sanctions on Iran, Despite Tehran ‘Standing Down’

Trump appears ready to be done with the Iran armed conflict, and has taken his battle to their banks.

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This morning, all eyes were on the White House, as President Donald Trump was set to speak at 11am regarding a late night missile attack by Iran that targeted American troops in Iraq.

The President had not yet spoken by 11:20am, after a binder was removed from the lectern and then returned some time later, presumably after some edits.  When Trump finally took to the microphone just before 11:30am EST, he was flanked by top military officials, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and even Vice President Mike Pence.  It was a show of force, undoubtedly, and the President began with fireworks.

His first statement, before addressing the crowd and likely off-script, was to reiterate that Iran would not be allowed to possess nuclear weapons while he is President.

The President then said that it appears that Iran is standing down, likely referring to Tehran’s offer to end military conflict here and now, so long as the United States leaves them alone.

Trending: Mediaite Claims Trump Told ‘Dangerous Lie’ About Northam's Infanticide Comment, But Here’s Video Proof

But Trump then went on to announce harsh, new sanctions against Iran.

“As we continue to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression. The United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior. In recent months alone, Iran has seized ships in international waters fired an unprovoked strike on Saudi Arabia and shot down two U.S. drones. Iran’s hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given 150 billion dollars, not to mention one point eight billion dollars in cash. Instead of saying thank you to the United States, they chanted Death to America.”

This reeks of pure deescalation, (from assassination to failed missile attack to money troubles), and that might just be what the world needs right now.

 

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Military

American and Russian Troops Face Off in Surprise Middle Eastern Melee

While this particular incident ended peacefully, it serves as yet another reminder that no all is well between the White House and the Kremlin. 

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It would be foolish to deny that the United States and Russia are engaged in some form of New Cold War, yet still, some turn a blind eye to the geopolitical nightmare unfolding before our eyes.

No matter how you feel about the outcome of the 2016 election, the attempts of the Russian government to meddle in American democracy are undeniable.  Vladimir Putin wants only two things in this life – power and chaos – and he believes that one can manifest the other.

Now, with a strange story developing in Ukraine, Russia stands to insert themselves even further into the American political psyche.

This is why today’s news out of the Middle East is so alarming.

U.S. troops last weekend reportedly found themselves in a standoff with Russian forces trying to gain access to key oil fields in northeastern Syria.

The Saturday standoff — first reported by Turkish media outlets, citing unnamed local officials in the Turkey-Syria border region — seems to have ended without any shots being fired or any real risk of violence between the two sides. American military personnel reportedly stopped a Russian convoy near the town of Rmelan, and the Russian forces then apparently turned back and returned to their home base.

Still, the near-clash serves as a reminder of the high stakes in Syria, where the U.S. military’s mission involves guarding oil fields and preventing them from falling into the hands of the Islamic State, Russian forces and other actors.

While this particular incident ended peacefully, it serves as yet another reminder that no all is well between the White House and the Kremlin.

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Military

Iran Protesters Met with Live Gunfire, Tear Gas as Regime Begins Crackdown

Irans’ accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner sparked the unrest.

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The nation of Iran has found themselves in quite the pickle as of late, with pressure mounting on the nation’s leadership from both foreign and domestic sources.

The Iranian military, in lashing out against the United States for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, launched 15 ballistic missiles in the direction of Iraqi bases where sleeping American troops were stationed.  Thankfully, none of these projectiles claimed any lives, sparing Iran from the full and unrepentant wrath of the American military.

During the kerfuffle, however, a Ukrainian civilian airliner was shot down “unintentionally” after taking off from the Tehran airport.  Military leaders in Iran said that their heightened state of awareness contributed to the accidental downing of the plane and the untimely deaths of all 176 onboard.

The Iranian people themselves are furious over the mishap, and are largely blaming the regime in Tehran for the reckless mistake.  As they began to protest, Tehran cracked down hard, firing live rounds into the crowds after tear gas field to disperse them.

Iranian authorities fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in Tehran on Sunday night, wounding several people, according to witness accounts provided to the Guardian and footage circulating on social media.

Hundreds of protesters had defied a heavy security presence in the Iranian capital to hold vigils and demonstrations after the government belatedly admitted its own forces had shot down a Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet last Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

There were fresh protests on Monday in at least two universities in the country. Though campus protests are not unusual in Iran, they come during a period of extraordinary tumult in the Islamic Republic, with an economy suffocated by US sanctions, the largest protests in the regime’s history crushed by violent force in November, and popular revulsion that the country’s armed forces shot down a jet loaded with Iranian citizens – then denied doing so.

President Trump has tweeted his support for the Iranian people in both English and Farsi, encouraging them to topple their heavy-handed clerical regime.

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Military

Pompeo Under Fire After Failing to Identify ‘Imminent’ Threats from Soleimani

Pompeo’s Soleimani story is being torn to shreds in the media, but is there a reason for his reticence?

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Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani was an objectively bad hombre – No one in their right mind is going to deny that.  His reign of terror was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, with hundreds more certainly in his crosshairs at the time of his death by US drone strike.

But the question that many are asking is why now?  What was the reason for the urgent and seemingly retaliatory strike against a man who many radicals in Iran would see as a martyr?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has attempted to answer that question on several occasions, but none of his responses seem to satisfy lawmakers.

Secretary of StateMike Pompeo told Laura Ingraham in a sit-down interview Thursday night that while the U.S. did not know where or when Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was planning to attack, it was a “real” threat to U.S. assets in the Middle East. 

The U.S. killed Soleimani in a drone strike last week ordered by President Trump that has further inflamed U.S.-Iran tensions.

“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qassem Soleimani,” Pompeo told the Fox News host. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.”

The same vague “imminence” was on display during a Friday press conference featuring Pompeo, in which the head of the State Department again failed to illuminate the press on the specifics of these threats.

It is unclear as to why Pompeo hasn’t been able to answer these questions, with the possibilities ranging from the need for operational security to the outlandish theory that Soleimani’s assassination came on whim.

 

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Military

Polling Shows That Americans Feel ‘Less Safe’ After Soleimani Strike

Iran is cementing their status as America’s current boogeyman.

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There has been a great deal of consternation in our nation’s capital this week over the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

It’s not that there are many politicians or pundits defending Soleimani.  The man was a butcher by all measures, and he certainly won’t be missed by anyone in the United States.  Predictably, what is of concern is just how the President came to that decision, whether or not the timing was appropriate, and if the ends will justify the means.

For many Americans, the death of Soleimani at the hands of a US drone strike is a bit unnerving.

Though President Donald Trump and his advisers have contended taking out Iran’s top general made the US more safe, a majority of Americans do not feel that way, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.

The poll found 55% of Americans believe the US drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani has made the US less safe — this included nearly a third of Republicans. Only 24% of Americans believe the strike made the country more safe, the poll said, and a majority of Americans (52%) also said Trump’s behavior with Iran was “reckless.”

The poll also found that 52% of Americans believe the attack would make Iran more likely to develop nuclear weapons, 69% said Iran would be more likely to attack US interests in the Middle East, while 63% said there would be terrorist attacks on the American homeland, and 62% said the US and Iran would go to war.

In the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s death, Iran launched approximately 15 ballistic missiles into Iraq, roughly aimed at two military bases populated by both Iraqi and American troops.

Given Iran’s long history of employing terrorism, several US cities have ramped up their efforts to prevent a possible attack in behalf of the Persian nation.

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Military

In Near Perfect Metaphor, Ukraine Jetliner May Have Been Shot Down by Iran

Life is stranger than fiction.

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When we look at the headlines in Washington DC today, there are but two with the potential to rock the nation:  Impeachment and Iran.

In the impeachment scandal, the Senate will soon make a judgement as to whether or not Donald Trump improperly pressured Ukraine by holding up military aid in return for the announcement of an investigation into the Biden family’s business dealings in the tiny European nation.

Iran, on the other hand, has been an ongoing mess playing out very much in public.  President Trump, in retaliation for a siege on the US embassy in Baghdad by Iran-backed militias, ordered the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, one of Tehran’s top terror leaders.  Iran then launched 15 missiles in the general direction of US troops stationed in Iraq, but possibly missing on purpose as to avoid crossing a line in the sand against the most powerful military in the world.

On the same night as that missile attack, another stunning story came to light, as a Ukrainian civilian jetliner crashed in Iran.  At first, the tragedy was ruled an accident, possibly due to either pilot error or a mechanical failure.

Recent revelations have experts shedding doubt on that story, however, and suggesting that something far more sinister may have occurred.

Investigators in Iran claimed on Thursday the black boxes of a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight out of Tehran that crashed as Iran shot over a dozen missiles at Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops had their memories damaged.

Iranian officials had previously refused to hand the black boxes over to Boeing, the manufacturer of the airplane.

Ukrainian Airlines flight PS 752 crashed after taking flight en route to Kyiv. The crash killed 176 people on board, mostly Ukrainian, Iranian, and Canadian citizens.

That story doesn’t seem to be sticking.

Ukraine International Airlines later issued a statement calling the doomed plane “one of the best planes we had” and noting it had completed scheduled maintenance on Monday, suggesting something other than technical failure was involved. The airline also praised the crew, implying human failure was also unlikely.

The Internal Affairs Ministry of Ukraine announced Thursday that a national team had taken flight to Iran for investigations on the ground, including DNA sampling to confirm the identities of those on board. The Ukrainian team will also seek signs of any human error or violation of safety standards from the wreckage and compare results with the Iranian report.

The Ukrainian government has stated its suspicion that Iranians using Russian missiles shot down the plane, calling it a “main” theory.

“A strike by a missile, possibly a Tor missile system, is among the main (theories), as information has surfaced on the internet about elements of a missile being found near the site of the crash,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, told reporters, according to the Associated Press. Iran has boasted of possessing a Russian Tor missile system in government parades and did not address the potential use of missiles in its report on the crash. Danilov added, however, that he made “no claim” of proof that missiles were involved.

Video of the supposed crash that circulated on Twitter showed a plane already in flames as it careened toward the earth – a surefire sign that a simple mechanical failure seems unlikely.

The poetic irony is that this most recent Iran vs. USA conflict has metaphorically shot down a great deal of the talk about UkraineGate and impeachment, with some far left Democrats even suggesting that the Trump administration is purposefully using the Iran scandal to distract us from the domestic debacle.

Iran’s possible downing of this Ukrainian airliner is just far too strange a coincidence to ignore.

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Democrats

The Speaker and the Ayatollah: Kindred Spirits

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There are some stunning, but not surprising, similarities between two of Donald Trump’s (and America’s) greatest enemies – Iran and the Democratic Party.  Not only do they hate the President of the United States, they have both tried to take him down and both have failed miserably. (more…)

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Military

Iran’s Supreme Leader Pushes for Further Military Action Against America

This could all be a part of the show, however.

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The evidence surrounding Iran’s late night missile strikes, aimed at sleeping American service members in Iraq, seems to support the idea that this was all a show for Iran.

Not only did they miss their targets, causing zero casualties, but several reports have broken purporting that Iran clearly sent warnings to American and Iraqi commanders both foretelling the attacks and admitting that this was to be their only response to the assassination fo Qasem Soleimani.  Essentially, Iran wanted to give their people a show of force, and they’d provide the early-warning in exchange for a deescalation after-the-fact.

President Trump and his administration seemed to indicate that this message was received loud and clear, but the US would continue to utilize their economic pressure campaign to keep Iran in check.

Now, the Ayatollah in Iran is seemingly keeping up the charade, and calling for more military action against America.

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday warned that an attack by Tehran against military bases in Iraq housing American troops was “not enough” of a punishment for the United States.

“They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech in the holy city of Qom. “The corruptive presence of the U.S. in the West Asian region must be stopped.”

Hours earlier, Iran’s Islamist government launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting at least two Iraqi bases in Ain al-Asad and Irbil that were “hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel,” according to the Pentagon.

Khamenei could very well be bluffing in order to sell the near-miss attack to Iranians as a genuine attempt to harm American soldiers, however, and his saber-rattling rhetoric could very well be sharper than the saber itself.

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