Pompeo Doesn’t Know What Imminent Means

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Pompeo, asked to define “imminent” in the threat posed by Qasem Soleimani: “This was gonna happen. And American lives were at risk. And we would have been culpably negligent … had we not recommended to the President that he take this action” https://t.co/244aOKfGlH pic.twitter.com/6bTmV8SHGp — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 10, 2020 This is so Trumpian. “We don’t know precisely when … Read More

Breaking: US Claims Iranian Anti-Aircraft Missile Shot Down Ukrainian Aircraft Over Tehran

Ken AshfordIran, Iraq, Middle EastLeave a Comment

US officials are now confident Iran shot down a Ukrainian jetliner with 176 people on board. Sources say US intelligence picked detected infrared blips of two missile launches, followed by the blip of an explosion. The Ukrainian jetliner crashed during takeoff in Tehran early Wednesday, killing 176 people — mostly Iranian and Canadian. Somehow, I don’t think the Iranians or … Read More

Senate Gets Briefed By White House On Rationale For Soleimani Attack

Ken AshfordCongress, Constitution, Iran, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Well, the Democratic response is predictable…. Sen. Murphy: "I was deeply surprised at the lack of information presented by the administration regarding a specific imminent threat … I was, I think, both surprised and saddened to not have that information before us. I think it is likely because it doesn't exist." Via ABC pic.twitter.com/rnoEG1ZYc5 — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 8, … Read More

Iran Retaliates But Offers Trump An Off-Ramp (Which Trump Takes)

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Iran retaliated for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani by firing more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two Iraqi air bases housing U.S. forces on Wednesday local time. Washington and Tehran both confirmed that Iran was the source of the missiles. The extent the damage was unclear, but there were no casualties on either side. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the … Read More

Trump Tones It Down

Ken AshfordIran, Iraq, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

On Trump's meeting w/ the Saudi vice minister of defense that we only found out about because of the Saudis, @jonkarl says, "It is disturbing to see the government of Saudi Arabia have more transparency than the White House about a meeting with the President in the Oval Office." — Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 7, 2020 Remember Saudi Arabia and … Read More

Trump Steps Into War

Ken AshfordIran, Iraq, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

That held up well. So did this…. “Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate…So the only way he figures he’s going to get reelected, and as sure as you’re sitting there, is to start a war with Iran.” pic.twitter.com/CCKsY7SKoV — Tim O'Brien (@TimOBrien) January 3, 2020 It is hard to say … Read More

Baghdad Embassy Stormed

Ken AshfordIran, Iraq, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Trump’s penchant for embracing tyrants and stiff-arming allies and general bumbling idiocy on the international stage has calamitously degraded U.S. prestige and endangered and/or killed vulnerable populations in the regrettable position of depending on U.S. protection. That said, we’ve been lucky enough to avoid a major, organized and direct violent attack on the U.S. itself or its properties abroad. But … Read More

More Trump Crimey-ness

Ken AshfordIran, Political Scandals, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Having trouble keeping track: President Donald Trump pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to help persuade the Department of Justice to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader in a 2017 Oval Office meeting, Bloomberg reported Wednesday night.Tillerson reportedly refused, saying the move would constitute an interference in an active investigation. He repeated his objections to then-chief … Read More

Our Next Conflict In The Middle East?

Ken AshfordIran, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Two oil fields in Saudi Arabia were attacked on Saturday. In short, A drone strike was said to have knocked out half of the Saudis’ daily oil production. The Houthi rebel group in Yemen assumed responsibility, but many were doubtful. Trump, exhibiting an embarrassing toadie-ism, tweeted: Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know … Read More

Indecision As Foreign Policy

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Things have been ratcheting up with Iran for a few weeks, starting last week with a questionable attack by Iran on a US oil tanker, accompanied by weak, grainy photographic evidence. But it went into overdrive this week when Iran shot down a U.S. drone over… well, Iran or international waters, depending on who you listen to. Trump’s response was… … Read More

The Iran War Drumbeat

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

This morning, the State Department issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory for Americans considering going to Iraq, ordered nonessential personnel to leave the country, and warned of a “high risk for violence and kidnapping.” This action comes after the United States indicated that Iran was behind attacks on four oil tankers just outside the Persian Gulf. Iran has denied those accusations, but as tensions in the region increase, Republicans … Read More

Leaving The Deal

Ken AshfordIran, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Beinart writes: Read some of the most prominent critics of the Iran nuclear deal and you’ll notice something: They seem to be preparing their alibis in case Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it proves a catastrophic mistake. Trump, wrote Bret Stephens on Tuesday in The New York Times, “was absolutely right” to leave the agreement, “assuming, that is, serious thought has been … Read More