There was a plane in the way

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By Flávio Aguiar*

Although the establishment Democrat does not promise something better in terms of geopolitics, it is certain that Trump represents a serious threat to the entire world, in every sense.

I apologize to Drummond: in the wars between the United States and Iran, there was a plane in the middle of the road, there was a plane in the middle of the road. Wars: in the multi-complex board of the Middle East there is a “controlled” military confrontation, after the somewhat uncontrolled gesture of Trump, assassinating the most powerful general in Iran, Qassem Soleimani, the Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Murandir and a dozen more of militiamen, soldiers and bodyguards; beyond this, there is a “war of narratives” in the also multicomplex board of world geopolitics and geomedia.

The plane in question was shot down in the first war, showing that its “controlled” character is quite precarious; but it continues to fly in the second, motivating actions ranging from internal protests in Iran to media maneuvers, sometimes providing a quick and convenient “forgetting” of that multiple murder that is at the root of the catastrophe that killed 176 innocent people.

The hypotheses – all speculative – about the motivations for the bombing of the Ukrainian plane are multiple. By order, or increasing disorder: (a) pure and simple error by the unit that fired the missile, due to precipitation or misjudgment; (b) failure of the identification system radars involved; (c) communication failure between the identification system and the trip controller unit; (d) the conspiracy theory (but not therefore dismissible a priori) of sabotage or treason within the Revolutionary Guard destined to provoke the crisis it provoked. To see.

At the other end of speculation, the hypothesis is consistently growing that Trump's decision to assassinate Soleimani was precipitated and the result of a miscalculation of its effects. Recently published report in The New York Times recounts the steps leading up to the decision, plus some of the subsequent steps taken by the main parties involved, Washington and Tehran (see Seven Days in January: How Trump Pushed US and Iran to the Brink of War, published on January 11, 2020). Although the title mentions “Sete Dias”, the report goes back to months ago, surveying all the factors that led to the decision.

The reading provides elements for some conclusions, which I list below:

1. There was a marked influence of the “hawks” of the US government (in US political jargon, the “lovers of war”), notably the fundamentalist duo Mike Pence (Vice President) and Mike Pompeo (Secretary of State). The decision surprised other advisers, including those from the Pentagon, although they began to act, with the CIA and the Israeli secret service, in order to follow the steps of the Iranian general and to detect the best moment to execute him.

2. The influence centered on the allegation, otherwise unproven, that Soleimani was plotting “imminent” attacks on US embassies and facilities in the region. It was, then, in this line of reasoning, about “protecting American lives”, a motto that is not based on a love of life, but on the idea that they are worth more than that of others, a corollary not of some programmatic nationalism, but rather of the idea that the United States is a “chosen people” in the history of humanity, which, moreover, underlies the biblical appreciation of North American Pentecostals (Pence and Pompeo included) for Israel and particularly for its obsessive, opportunistic and fanatic, Benyamin Netanyahu, seen as a modern day Joshua tearing down the walls of Jericho.

In short, in the arguments to justify the murder, there was more conviction than evidence. Soleimani then entered the list of possible "selective assassinations" promoted by the "security" policy of the United States since the attack on the twin towers in 2001. a broader “dissuasion” policy, proving the inconsistency of the first allegation.

3. It is clear that Trump was motivated by the idea that with the assassination of Soleimani he would “accumulate” more points than Barack Obama. This “only” had assassinated Osama Bin Laden, while he, Trump, would add Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, caliph of the Islamic Army, and now Soleimani. 2 x 1. This is one of Trump's obsessive ideas: to outdo Barack Obama in everything. He was also motivated by the idea that he would be welcomed as a hero by his peers around the world.

4. It went wrong. Only geobassists like Bolsonaro and Ernesto Araujo were enthusiastic about the US president's decision, with the subservience that characterizes them. Of the others, only Netanyahu expressed some timid enthusiasm, probably because he was the only ruler to be warned of what was going to happen before it happened. It even seems that he boasted, giving “hints” that “something important was about to happen” in conversations with journalists. He continues to want to show intimacy with Trump, thinking about the March election in Israel and the November election in the United States, to strengthen the more reactionary side of the Israeli lobby in the US. In Europe no one chirped, and if they did, it was kind of against it. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Zavad Jarif, was invited to Brussels to discuss the situation, which demonstrates European caution.

5. The NYT report refers to the exchanges of messages between Tehran and Washington, in the wake of the assassination of Soleimani, as something true. The “go-between” was the Swiss Embassy. Washington urged restraint in Iranian retaliation. After the first wave of rockets against bases in Iraq, with the presence of US soldiers, Tehran warned, through the same channel, that this would be, for the time being, the level of its military response. With prior notice sent through Iraq, which provided protection for Iraqi and US military personnel who were there.

Iran is adding political points in the Middle East. Abandoned limits on uranium enrichment, but continued to admit UN oversight. Will Israel attack? It is not known. Netanyahu is in a fragile position internally. One misstep could be his ultimate doom. Saudi Arabia has even soaked the prophet's beard. It was taken by surprise by Trump's decision. Other actors are minors. And everyone – Tel Aviv, Riyadh, etc., is on the defensive.

An extra note. Soleimani had become a nuisance. With his resourcefulness, courage to the point of recklessness, attitudes considered “demagogic” by the West, such as going to fraternize with soldiers on the front line, to the point of eating his ration with them, his ability to concert common fronts on the extremely fragmented board of the East In the Middle East, his initiative to get closer to the Iraqi government (which is now seeking support from Russia), had become a “single player” of unique value in the region.

Its elimination gives more space and resourcefulness to all those interested in the heavy game in the region: Russia, Damascus (impossible to speak of “Syria”), Erdogan's Turkey, and even the Ayatollahs' Iran. With his independence, Soleimani was becoming a player outside the deck of the ayatollahs, predominant in Tehran. There might be some relief there too. As for the United States, the future will tell what all this will yield for Trump. despite the establishment Democrat does not promise something better in terms of geopolitics, it is certain that Trump represents a serious threat to the entire world, in every sense. His untimely attitude towards Soleimani's assassination is proof of this. It's unbalanced. Who leads millions of unbalanced people in his country.

* Flavio Aguiar is a journalist, writer and retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP.

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