Skousen: Setting a Trap for Trump on War with Iran — Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission initiated by the US • ‘Pompous’ Pompeo’s lies • Iran’s missiles’ precision worrisome for US planners

World Affairs Brief, January 10, 2020 Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.

Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted. Cite source as Joel Skousen’s World Affairs Brief (


Trump’s approval of the assassination attack on Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, was based on lies and half-truths fed to him by his advisors. They claimed Soleimani was coming to Baghdad to direct more terror against diplomats, when, in fact, Soleimani was there on a diplomatic mission initiated by the US. The US worked with Saudi Arabia to draft a peace plan and then asked Iraq to invite Iran to come to Baghdad for negotiations. Iran sent Soleimani. That is why he came on a commercial airliner, carrying a diplomatic passport and meeting with the PM.

He was tracked and killed along with a top Iraqi general, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, at the airport. This assassination set the Iraqi and Iranian world on fire, as it was intended to do, destroying what little goodwill the US had left in the region, and fomenting rioters who chant “death to America.” Advisors also fed Trump the 52 targets in Iran they were planning on hitting if Iran retaliated, which included “cultural sites” on the list. The advisors had to know that hitting cultural sites was a war crime, but did so on purpose in order to embarrass Trump. Trump stumbled deeper into the trap after he was criticized by the media, by tweeting rude justifications for striking cultural sites, but in the end had to recant and say he would obey international law. But in a sense, Deep State advisors went too far in embarrassing Trump, for when Iran limited its revenge strike—to make sure no Americans were killed, Trump saw a way out and took it, thus evading the trap —for now. But the globalists aren’t through manipulating Trump into war. …

First, let us go back to the beginning of the week and review events leading up to this Iranian retaliation on US bases in Iraq. I think Trump still does not realize the full extent of the deceptive intelligence he was given about Soleimani’s visit to Baghdad.

Secretary of State Mike (Pompous) Pompeo has denied twice that Soleimani was on a diplomatic mission to Iraq—trying to head off the once-suppressed story, to make sure it doesn’t get repeated, but the evidence for it is clear. Here is a good summary at by Ben Becker:

The acting Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi addressed Parliament today with a recommendation for U.S. troops to be removed from the country. That speech has been widely covered and quoted in the U.S. media but its most explosive revelations have been omitted or buried.

In the address, Abdul-Mahdi revealed that Soleimani had traveled to Baghdad to deliver a message back from Iran to Saudi Arabia about a proposal to lower tensions in the region, that Soleimani was to meet with the Prime Minister the very morning he was assassinated, and — most crucially — that days prior Trump had asked the Iraqi Prime Minister to “play the mediator’s role” between the U.S. and Iran.

Oddly, this information is not yet a major headline in any mainstream publication and those that have mentioned it in passing do not explain its full implications.

This revelation blows apart the Pentagon and White House’s claim that they took “decisive defensive action” to preempt an attack orchestrated by Soleimani. There can be no doubt that the Trump administration would have known in detail about Iran’s ongoing secret negotiations with Saudi Arabia, one of its closest allies, which were mediated by the Iraqi government, which was also operating closely and communicating frequently with Washington.

This means the Pentagon and the White House fully knew, when they ordered the airstrike to kill him, that Soleimani was traveling to Baghdad in a diplomatic capacity as an emissary of Iran, and that he had a meeting planned with the Prime Minister to discuss broader de-escalation.

The source of this revelation — Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi — was until very recently seen as a close ally, if not proxy, of Washington. Abdul-Mahdi says just a few days before the assassination Trump had personally called him to thank him for helping to end the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Abdul-Mahdi had denounced that protest encampment, called for it to end and threatened to resign to convince the PMU militias to back off.

But the airstrikes against Soleimani and Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units leader Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes changed the U.S.-Iraqi dynamic instantlyThe Prime Minister called the airstrike against his guest a “political assassination” that Iraq could not accept as an extreme violation of national sovereignty. In an official statement, he explained that “the two martyrs were huge symbols of the victory” over ISIS — a sentiment shared by a wide range of Iraqi politicians and religious figures, including many who had previously collaborated with U.S. occupation forces.

Until we receive further elaboration, the Prime Minister’s revelation to Parliament leaves in question whether the Trump White House actually helped schedule the meeting between Soleimani and Abdul-Mahdi under a pretense of peace talks and then executed Soleimani when he arrived for it — a mafia-style setup and assassination. Was the Saudi monarchy in on the plot, despite its claims that it did not know of the airstrike beforehand, or was Washington trying to sabotage a Saudi-Iranian peace initiative? …

Analysts the world over believe that an all-out U.S. war with Iran, a country with formidable defenses and 90 million people — larger than France and Germany — would result in incalculable death and destruction, and have enormous regional and global consequences.

The biggest fallout would be Iran’s attack on so many of the Deep State terrorist allies in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

Two Republican Senators were particularly outraged by the classified briefing they got by Pompeo and Defense Chiefs after the assassination: The Right Scoop has the story:

Mike Lee was not happy with the briefings he and other Senators received today on the recent conflicts with Iran and the need to kill Soleimani. In fact he was quite angry about it, telling the press that one of the big messages they received from their briefers were “un-American”, “unconstitutional”, and just “wrong”:

Lee says this was the worst briefing he’s ever seen on military matters in the nine years he’s been a Senator. He then noted what distressed him so much about the briefing:

“What I found so distressing about that briefing was that one of the messages we received from the briefers was, do not debate, do not discuss the issue of appropriateness of further military intervention against Iran. And that if you do you’ll be emboldening Iran. The implication being that we would somehow be making America less safe by having a debate or a discussion about the appropriateness of further military involvement against the government of Iran.”

Lee says this is both insulting and demeaning to the office that these Senators hold and to the Constitution. He said that “it is not acceptable for officials within the executive branch of government…to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”

Lee elaborates more when answering questions about it from the media, noting that the briefers wouldn’t even get into the sensitive areas of the intelligence even though they were in a SCIF (top-secret room where no electronic devices allowed).

Trump, ever defensive once he relies on something, swept aside Lee’s criticism by saying, “Senators told me it was the greatest presentation they’d ever heard.” —a typical exaggeration even though most yes-men Republicans weren’t looking to see through this entire charade.

The reason the briefers refused to reveal the actual intelligence on Soleimani’s claimed imminent attack on US soldiers and diplomats is that it was non-existent—manufactured out of thin air, or by a lackey informant paid to lie. Defense Secretary Esper proved his Deep State credentials by trying to repeat the false claims, as the Daily Mail reported:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday that Iranian General Qassem Solemani before his death was planning to wage an attack against American within ‘DAYS’: “I think it’s more fair to say days, for sure,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. He was ‘caught red-handed’ he told CNN… that the intelligence that led to the president ordering a drone strike that killed Soleimani was ‘more than razor thin and persuasive”

If so, then why not share this “persuasive” intelligence with the Senators cleared for top secret briefings? Their refusal to do so incensed both Senators Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

President Trump, reeling under pressure to find some justification for the assassination said yesterday that “Qassem Soleimani was plotting to BLOW UP the U.S. embassy in Iraq” after days of pressure to explain the ‘imminent threat’. [Daily Mail] But, once again, he was just repeating what his advisors told him. How would Iran “blow up” the huge embassy in Iraq. No single bomb placed by a human, even if he were able to penetrate the ring of concrete walls, barbed wire and Marine guards could take down but a small portion of the embassy. This is false on its face.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also tried to back up the claim saying “there was enough intelligence to prove Iran was planning an ‘imminent’ attack.” If so, give it to us. What he gave was laughable and insulting: “If you’re looking for imminence, you needn’t look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Soleimani,” he said. That could only be referring to the violent protests against the embassy—which barely penetrated one nearby building.

Trump’s National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien, told reporters gathered at the White House that, “[Soleimani was] planning to kill, to attack American facilities and diplomats. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who were located at those facilities.” He’s just repeating what the Deep State CIA has told everyone. This is still not evidence of the attack, although it does prove that O’Brien is a yes-man to the Deep State. Tuesday morning he said he was “taking a look at” whether intelligence that led to the president’s directive could be declassified. Don’t hold your breath on it ever happening. This reminds me of all the claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction leading up to the Iraq war—which turned out to be a complete lie.

The second part of the trap was to get Trump to say that Iranian cultural sites were being included in the 52 potential targets he would hit if Iran retaliated. Frankly, I can’t figure out how Trump fell into that trap, except by real ignorance. You would think that his good instincts would have raised red flags when advisors told him about targeting cultural sites. If he did protest, they obviously convinced him by feeding him the same excuse he unwisely used to defend his earlier comments:

“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way,” Trump told reporters while aboard Air Force One.

That led to administration officials contradicting the president, embarrassing him. Defense Secretary Esper said, “We follow the laws of armed conflict.” The next day, even Trump had to back down and say, he would follow international law. Trump hardly ever admits he is wrong, and though his words never hinted at “I was wrong”, everyone knew he was backtracking.

Then Mike Pompeo showed his Deep State credentials when he insisted that the US military may strike even more Iranian leaders if the Islamic Republic retaliates. That’s a no-no in military tactics because it invites other nations to assassinate our leaders. …

I believe there were two objectives for the Iran trap they set for Trump:

The main reason is to use the huge assassination/provocation to get Iran to retaliate, which in turn would justify the long awaited war with Iran. The globalist want to remove Iran because it is the only nation backing militia forces fighting US intervention in the Middle East (including backing terrorist organizations). The claim that “Iran is the largest terror sponsor in the world” is a lie. …

The second reason for war right now is so that Trump gets the blame for starting the war and not Israel, who for years has been tasked by the globalist leadership to start a war with Iran. …

Iran launched some 22 medium range ballistic missiles at US positions at the al-Assad airbase in Western Iraq and at the Irbil airbase in the Kurdish sector to the north. Only 10 of those hit al Assad and 2 hit irbil, causing no casualties. The US got a 5 hour warning via Iran to Iraq giving everyone ample time to get into shelters.

I have reviewed the satellite photos of strike damage, and agree with NPR’s expert who said:

At least five structures were damaged in the attack on the base in Anbar province, which apparently was precise enough to hit individual buildings. “Some of the locations struck look like the missiles hit dead center,” says David Schmerler, an analyst with the Middlebury Institute.

Iran’s attack targeted at least two military bases in Iraq. The extent of the damage to the second base, in Irbil, was unclear. Satellite images show damage to hangars and buildings in what appears to be a series of missile precision strikes launched by Iran.

Precision strikes by ballistic missiles takes highly advanced miniature gyroscopes. This level of precision has to be a big worry to US military planners. …

One of the big questions is why didn’t American Patriot missile batteries shoot down the incoming missiles? I have reported to readers recently how unreliable the Patriot ABM system is, but did the US even try to intercept Iran’s ballistic missiles? Here is Veterans Today on the situation:

Iranian guided missiles have so far hit al Assad Air Base in Iraq, home of the United States Air Force and largest base in Iraq. The US deployed multiple batteries of Patriot Missiles to the base in May in case of such an attack.

As of 6:20PM EST, the US acknowledged that 6 Iranian missiles have hit the base and none, thus far, have been successfully intercepted.

If the US didn’t try to intercept the ballistic missiles, it might mean that the Pentagon wanted casualties so as to justify an expanded war on Iran.

Even though the Ayatollah Khomeni said that the Iranian missile attack on Americans in Iraq was “not enough” I believe cooler military leaders will prevail and not do anything further unless the US attacks again. The Ayatollah said the US was given a “slap” but reiterated his call that US troops leave the region. Here are the totals of troops surrounding Iran, not counting those deploying now:

1700 in Turkey
1000 in Syria
5000 in Iraq
13000 in Kuwait
3000 in Jordan
4500 in Saudi Arabia
10000 in Qatar
7000 in Bahrain
5000 in UAE
12000 in Afghanistan

Total 61,300 (that we know about). It is this continual occupation of 60-80k US troops surrounding Iran that continues to bother that nation—as it should.

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