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IRGC: Iran Has Developed ‘Father Of All Bombs’

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran claims it possesses the “father of all bombs” (FOAB) which they say far outranks the US-made “mother of all bombs” (MOAB). 

A top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the 10-ton bomb outweighs it’s American counterpart – claiming the FOAB is much more powerful.

Following a proposal by the Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), [Iran’s] Defense Industries [Organization] manufactured a 10-ton bomb. These bombs are at our disposal,” the commander told Iranian state media.

“They can be launched from Ilyushin aircraft and they are highly destructive,” he added.

Rt.com reports: The commander called the device the “father of all bombs,” comparing it to the US GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), commonly known as the “mother of all bombs.” Since the American device weighs 9.8 tons and yields 11 tons in TNT equivalent, the IRGC commander presumably referred to the weight of the new Iranian ordnance rather than its destructive potential.

The MOAB was developed in 2003 and first used in combat this April, when the US dropped the device in Afghanistan on a mountain tunnel complex used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.

The new Iranian ordnance, however, might trigger a bomb paternity dispute, as Russia already possesses a non-nuclear ordnance known as the “daddy.”

The Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, known as the ‘father of all bombs’ (FOAB), was successfully tested by Russia in 2007, with impressive results for a non-nuclear device – a 44-ton yield when detonated. The bomb explodes midair, vaporizing its targets, collapsing structures, and leaving a moon-like scorched landscape.The bomb was developed under a special request of the IRGC, the corps’ Aerospace Force commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, said in an interview on Friday.

Iran Says It Has ‘Explosive’ Evidence CIA Created ISIS

September 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran says it has ‘explosive’ evidence that proves the CIA created ISIS and continues to support its existence today. 

The IRGC claim to have infiltrated the US military command and control centers,  and say they have obtained evidence of a CIA plot to use ISIS as a means to destabilize the Middle East.

Alalam.ir reports:  In remarks aired on television on Friday evening, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said if the high-ranking Iranian officials give permission, the IRGC would release evidence showing what scandals the US has been involved in inside Iraq and Syria.

The IRGC has infiltrated the US command and control centers over the past years and has obtained information on what the Americans have been monitoring, what they have been ignoring, and how they have been supporting Isis, the commander added.

Should the IRGC be given permission to disclose that evidence, the US will be mired in a big scandal, the general warned.

He further highlighted the great progress Iran has made in the military sphere, saying none of the armies in the world is comparable to the IRGC.

Commenting on the US move to drop a large bomb on Afghanistan back in April, Brigadier General Hajizadeh said while the US may have the mother of all bombs, the IRGC is in possession of the “father of all bombs.”

The IRGC Aerospace Force has ordered the Defense Ministry to produce 10-ton bombs, the commander added, saying such huge bombs are dropped from Ilyushin planes and have a great destructive power.

Iranian military officials maintain that the country does not favor a war, but it is fully prepared to respond to any hostile assault.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has on several occasions cautioned the adversaries that Iran’s response to any assault will not be confined to defense alone, but aggressors will face a crushing response.

Iran: US Seeking To Manage Not Destroy ISIS

September 15, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran’s Top Security Official has blasted the US over their claims that they fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said that Washington is only seeking to administer the terrorist group to meet its own interests in the region.

Fars News Agency reports:

“We have repeatedly received documented reports proving that the US-led coalition had been trying to manage the ISIL instead of fighting against it and in cases that the terrorist group’s suppression was possible, the US has shown no reaction and even helped it to flee the battlefield,” Shamkhani told the Arabic-language al-Vefagh newspaper on Tuesday.

He added that the US has today taken the gesture of fight against the ISIL to cover its supports for the terrorist group and prevent implementation of Hezbollah agreement to evacuate the families of the terrorists from Syria.

“What we have so far seen from the US and its allies is bombing the residential areas, massacre of women and children, targeting the positions of the Syrian army and Iraqi popular forces and some limited ineffective operations which have covered dispatch of logistical aid to the terrorists,” Shamkhani said.

In relevant remarks in July, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani blasted the US and its allies for supporting the terrorist groups, and said that Washington is only pretending to be combating the ISIL.

“At the time when Iraq was being overrun by the ISIL, did the United States make the slightest move in defense of it? Or was it the Iranian nation that rendered aid to the Iraqi nation and Iraqi government?” Larijani asked.

He reiterated that if Iran had not assisted the Iraqi government and nation, Baghdad would have been occupied by the ISIL by now, and said, “It is with the help of Iran that the ISIL is taking its last breath in Iraq and Syria.”

Also in the same month, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the US to stop supporting the terrorist groups in the region, and said that Washington’s recent approach in Syria will only make the ISIL stronger.

“Another dangerous US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS, precisely when it’s being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter page.

The Iranian foreign minister underlined that the US should join the real war against terrorist groups instead of pursuing policies that strengthen the terrorists.

Iran to IAEA: No, You May Not Visit Our Military Sites

September 15, 2017 Leave a comment

(CNSNews.com) – Iran on Tuesday rejected the notion that the U.N. nuclear watchdog has the right to request access to its military sites, calling into question again the Obama administration’s contention that it had negotiated with Tehran the “most robust and intrusive” regime of inspections ever.

Weeks after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley raised the issue during meetings with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials in Vienna, IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano said Monday that in carrying out its duties under what’s known as the Additional Protocol, “we do not distinguish [between] civilian locations – sites – and military.”

Speaking to reporters in Vienna, Amano stressed that that principle “applies to all countries, including Iran.”

But on Tuesday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s senior foreign affairs adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, directly disputed that.

“We have never agreed with anybody to let inspectors visit our military sites,” Iranian state media quoted him as saying.

“Mr. Amano, his agents and no other foreigners have the right to inspect our military sites, because these sites are among off-limit sites for any foreigner and those affiliated with them,” he said.

Velayati, a former foreign minister, added that no agreement endorsed by Iran had included permission for inspectors to visit Iranian military sites, adding that Iran would never have signed any agreement including that condition.

Going further, he said Amano’s claim that the agency has the right to request access to military sites was “a fabrication of his own.”

When it reached the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other countries in 2015, Iran also undertook to implement the “Additional Protocol” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows IAEA inspectors access to facilities that raise concerns.

In selling the JCPOA to the American people and Congress, the Obama White House frequently pointed to the Additional Protocol arrangement as a further defense against Iranian cheating on its obligations.

“[I]f IAEA inspectors become aware of a suspicious location, Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol  … which will allow inspectors to access and inspect any site they deem suspicious,” it said in one fact sheet.

In another, the White House elaborated.

“In an instance where the IAEA has a question about an undeclared location outside Iran’s declared nuclear program, the IAEA will be able to request access under the Additional Protocol (AP), which Iran will implement as part of the JCPOA,” it said.

“Access under the Additional Protocol will be used by the IAEA to verify at undeclared sites that no unapproved nuclear activity is occurring. Military and other sensitive sites are not exempt from the AP.”

Amano’s comments at a press briefing Monday came after a meeting of the IAEA’s board of governors.

He told that meeting that the agency “will continue to implement the Additional Protocol in Iran, including carrying out complementary accesses to sites and other locations, as we do in other countries with Additional Protocols.”

Amano declined to put a number to the so-called complementary access visits it has asked to carry out in Iran since the JCPOA’s implementation day in January 2016, but he said there had been “many.”

Citing confidentiality requirements, he also would not say, in response to a question, whether any of those “many” access visits had been to military sites.

‘Most robust and intrusive … ever’

Shortly before the JCPOA was finalized, President Obama in April 2015 said Iran had “agreed to the most robust and intrusive inspections and transparency regime ever negotiated for any nuclear program in history.”

The Trump administration is now reviewing U.S. policy towards Iran, including the national security implications of the lifting of sanctions under the JCPOA.

As part of that review, Haley visited the IAEA last month and raised questions about inspectors’ access to military sites, among other things.

For more than a decade before the JCPOA was concluded, Iran refused to allow the IAEA access to sites including one at Parchin, an installation near Tehran where the agency suspected the Iranians had tested high explosive components for a nuclear weapon.

Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to work with the IAEA to resolve questions about so-called “possible military dimension” (PMD) issues – that is, whether Iran at any time had carried out work with applications for developing an atomic bomb.

Iran’s negotiating partners agreed that the PMD questions could not be resolved without a visit to Parchin.

“Iran has committed, as a condition of the JCPOA, to provide the information and access the IAEA needs to complete its investigation of PMD and issue its independent assessment,” the White House said in its JCPOA factsheet.

“Appropriate access will be given to Parchin,” it added.

That “access,” when it came, was highly controversial: Under conditions agreed on between the IAEA and Iran in a confidential “side deal” to the JCPOA, Iranian officials were allowed to supply the agency with photos, video and samples from Parchin – with no IAEA physically present.

Shortly thereafter, Amano and his deputy paid a brief “courtesy” visit to Parchin. The Obama White House pointed to that visit as evidence that Iran had met its commitment to open up the military site to the IAEA.

Why Killing the Iran Deal Could Start the next War in the Middle East

August 4, 2017 Leave a comment

The JCPOA is not to blame for Iran’s success in the regional power game, and reversing it will not deprive Iran of its gains.

There are troubling signs that the Trump administration is itching for a fight with Iran. While the White House recently certified that Tehran was complying with the nuclear deal, fresh sanctions and thinly veiled references to regime change should raise serious concern that the administration will be searching for any excuse to avoid recertifying Iran’s compliance come the next review in October. In fact, President Donald Trump tasked a team in the White House with coming up with reasons to withhold certification at the next opportunity. And in a July 25 interview with the Wall Street Journal Trump prejudged the October outcome, saying he fully expected Iran to be declared noncompliant.

Breaking the nuclear deal, presumably to keep a campaign promise, could put Washington on a slippery slope towards a military confrontation with Iran. Sabotage of the accord that Iran negotiated, not only with the United States, but also with Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, would be received in Tehran as a message that Washington is preparing for military action, and that it must therefore prepare for the worst. This path towards confrontation would wreak havoc on an already unstable Middle East, undermine U.S. national security interests, and potentially put American lives at risk.

There are legitimate reasons for Washington to be alarmed about Iran’s behavior. Tehran has projected its influence deep into the Arab heartland using its al-Quds expeditionary force and through its patronage of militias like Hezbollah, the Iraqi popular mobilization units, the Houthis in Yemen and over 100,000 militiamen in Syria. Its game of tug-of-war with the United States in Iraq is intended to pull Baghdad more fully into Tehran’s political orbit and away from Washington. And provocatively it flexes it’s muscle by conducting missile tests and arresting U.S. visitors to Iran.

But distinguishing fact from fiction on Iran is necessary, particularly amidst the bluster from the White House and Congress. It is true that Tehran’s influence in the region has been growing steadily, particularly since Russia entered Syria in 2015 to buttress President Bashar al-Assad, a goal shared by Iran. But it is false that the nuclear deal is somehow to blame for Iran’s success in the regional power game, and that reversing it will deprive Iran of that capability. What has given Iran the capacity to meddle isn’t the nuclear deal, but rather the large political vacuum that now exists smack in the center of the Arab world. The wars in Syria and Iraq in particular, as well as the conflict in Yemen, have hollowed out the center of the Arab world, creating a gaping security hole that has lured in Iran, but also Saudi Arabia and Turkey, into a kind of conflict trap from which it is easier to enter than exit.

Iran has inflamed these conflicts and efforts by Washington to counterbalance Tehran’s regional power make sense. But it is important to understand that the real threat to American national security interests isn’t Iran per se, but rather the vacuum created by the civil wars that allows Tehran and other regional powers to step in. It is the collapse of the regional order, with all the security risks this entails, that is the real threat to U.S. interests. The Syrian civil war, for example, spawned a new Al Qaeda affiliate, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which could eventually take root elsewhere in the region. The conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya make Trump’s campaign promise of permanently eradicating ISIS unrealizable. The longer the wars continue, the greater is the risk that already weakened countries like Jordan and Lebanon will succumb to civil war, and the greater the threat of instability becomes for Saudi Arabia. Plus, ongoing wars give Russia the opportunity to cement its position as the indispensable actor in the Middle East, a sub-optimal scenario for both the region and the United States.

It is these corrosive effects of the civil wars that represent the real threat to U.S. interests. It should be this overarching challenge, and not a singular focus on Iran, that energizes Washington’s role in the region.

Backing out of the nuclear deal risks further inflaming these civil wars that represent the real threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East. Here are how events could unfold and the regional situation deteriorate should Washington breach the nuclear deal. Tehran will interpret any moves to undermine the nuclear accord as a shot across the bow on the road towards regime change, and it will use all means at its disposal, including its assets in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, to beef up its deterrence and retaliatory capabilities. Under threat, Iran could stir up Shia restiveness in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, increase support for the Houthis in Yemen, put Hezbollah on alert on Lebanon’s border with Israel, and sow more mischief in Syria and Iraq. Since these actions would take place not in Iran, but in the most volatile areas of the Middle East, they would likely lead to further escalation of the civil wars and greater instability in the region. They could also be sufficiently provocative to push the Trump administration towards military action and into the conflict trap.

Advocates of breaking the nuclear deal could argue that the United States has the capacity to contend with any negative contingencies that might arise using its superior military power. Yes, the United States could mitigate some of the effects of Iran’s actions by inflicting considerable damage on the country’s military infrastructure. But neutralizing the retaliatory and deterrent capabilities Tehran has at its disposal in the civil war zones of Syria, Iraq and Yemen—and Lebanon—won’t be as easy. What Iran lacks in conventional military might, it makes up for with its asymmetric capabilities. Tehran has militias planted right in the heart of the most vulnerable parts of the Arab world, partially as a hedge against U.S. and Israeli threats. Neutralizing these capabilities would require the United States or Israel to engage Iran directly on the ground in Syria, a perilous venture given that Russia operates in the same space and backs Iran. It would also likely require some fighting in neighboring Lebanon, which could throw this country into civil war.

Worse yet for the United States under a scenario where the nuclear deal is breached, the international community would likely give Iran a pass and assign blame to Washington. This would particularly be the case if Iran continues hewing to the terms of the nuclear deal despite a U.S. withdrawal, rendering Washington the pariah. In fact, backing away from the nuclear deal could further cement the relationship between Iran and Russia, turning ties that are today based on a tactical convergence of interests in Syria into something longer term and more strategic. And it is likely to strengthen Russia’s global standing, giving it greater capacity to challenge U.S. leadership of the international order.

But the biggest long-term risk to the security of the United States and the countries of the Middle East of trashing the nuclear accord would be lost opportunities. Iran, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey, must be part of any solution to end the civil wars that threaten the security, counterterrorism, and energy interests of the United States. Cooperation among the three major regional powers will be necessary to wind down the wars and prevent ISIS from morphing into a new type of threat after the campaigns to liberate Mosul and Raqqa are over. Undermining the nuclear deal would give Iran incentives to move even further away from cooperation than it is today, and would strengthen hardliners in the Iranian government who are predisposed to seeing any cooperation with the United States as a desecration of the principles of the Iranian revolution.

What then should the United States do? Using the threat of force to deter Iran from creating regional mischief might make some sense if it were part of a more comprehensive strategy that also included diplomacy. But breaking the nuclear agreement would kill the opportunity to try diplomatic means, it would give Iran further incentives to play the role of spoiler in a region already in turmoil, it would eliminate the possibility for cooperation in the war against ISIS, and it would likely be construed by Iran as an act of war. Only by a combination of pressure and diplomacy, that includes maintaining the nuclear agreement, can Washington claim a successful Iran policy and avert a crisis in a region so central to U.S. and global security.

Ross Harrison is on the faculty of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, is a scholar at The Middle East Institute, and is also on the faculty of the political science department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches Middle East politics. Harrison authored Strategic Thinking in 3D: A Guide for National Security, Foreign Policy and Business Professionals (Potomac Books, 2013) and co-edited with Paul Salem, From Chaos to Cooperation: Toward Regional Order in the Middle East (Middle East Institute, 2017).

Image: A ballistic missile is launched and tested in an undisclosed location, Iran, March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA.

Ron Paul: Here’s Why Trump Should Veto New Sanctions Bill

July 27, 2017 Leave a comment

(RPIThis week’s expected House vote to add more sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea is a prime example of how little thought goes into US foreign policy. Sanctions have become kind of an automatic action the US government takes when it simply doesn’t know what else to do.

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No matter what the problem, no matter where on earth it occurs, the answer from Washington is always sanctions. Sanctions are supposed to force governments to change policies and do what Washington tells them or face the wrath of their people. So the goal of sanctions is to make life as miserable as possible for civilians so they will try to overthrow their governments. Foreign leaders and the elites do not suffer under sanctions. This policy would be immoral even if it did work, but it does not.

Why is Congress so eager for more sanctions on Russia? The neocons and the media have designated Russia as the official enemy and the military industrial complex and other special interests want to continue getting rich terrifying Americans into believing the propaganda.

Why, just weeks after the White House affirmed that Iran is abiding by its obligations under the nuclear treaty, does Congress pass additional sanctions anyway? Washington blames Iran for “destabilizing” Syria and Iraq by helping them fight ISIS and al-Qaeda. Does this make any sense at all?

When is the last time Iran committed a terrorist act on our soil? It hasn’t. Yet we learned from the declassified 28 pages of the Congressional 9/11 report that Saudi Arabia was deeply involved in the 2001 attacks against Washington and New York. Who has funded al-Qaeda and ISIS in Syria for years? Saudi Arabia. Yet no one is talking about sanctions against that country. This is because sanctions are not about our security. They are about politics and special interests.

Why is Congress poised to add yet more sanctions on North Korea? Do they want the North Korean people to suffer more than they are already suffering? North Korea’s GDP is half that of Vermont – the US state with the lowest GDP! Does anyone believe they are about to invade us? There is much talk about North Korea’s ballistic missile program, but little talk about 30,000 US troops and weapons on North Korea’s border. For Washington, it’s never a threat if we do it to the other guy.

Here’s an alternative to doing the same thing over and over: Let’s take US troops out of North Korea after 70 years. The new South Korean president has proposed military talks with North Korea to try and reduce tensions. We should get out of the way and let them solve their own problems. If Iran and Russia want to fight ISIS and al-Qaeda at the invitation of their ally, Syria, why stand in the way? We can’t run the world. We are out of money.

President Trump was elected to pursue a new kind of foreign policy. If he means what he said on the campaign trail, he will veto this foolish sanctions bill and begin dismantling neocon control of his Administration.

US Stumbling into War with Iran

July 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Andrei AKULOV

There are signs that a US military operation against Iran is imminent. The administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new «temporary» facilities in Iraq and Syria. Its policy statement says the armed forces are hamstrung by legal restrictions on the ability to expand military infrastructure in Syria and Iraq. The Trump administration wants the existing authorities that only cover the «repair and renovation» of facilities extended to also encompass «temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and assembly areas that have adequate force protection».

According to a 2016 Defense Department of Defense (DoD) report, the Pentagon wastes money on maintaining 22 percent excess infrastructure unnecessary infrastructure. The House and Senate Committee versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) deny the military the right to spend money on a new round of Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC), making it pay for the real estate it does not need. Now new military bases in the Middle East may be added to the financial burden.

The added flexibility is supposed to boost the capabilities against the Islamic State (IS) but it does not sound credible. After all, the group is already retreating everywhere and the process is unstoppable. But boosting military infrastructure is the right thing to do if the enemy is a strong military power such as Iran. President Trump appears to have decidedly hardline leanings on that country.

After all, the first Donald Trump’s foreign trips to Saudi Arabia and Israel were specifically targeted at Iran. In Riyadh, the president called for unity against Tehran, singling it out for its support of terrorism. He even hinted at the need for regime change. The US Treasury Department has applied additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program while the administration is mulling of declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. The Congress is considering a bill to impose a set of sanctions on Tehran. The CIA has made moves toward more aggressive operations.

Visiting Saudi Arabia in April, US Defense Secretary James Mattis flatly stated: «Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran». The Washington Post reports that active or retired military officials hold at least 10 of the 25 senior policy and leadership spots on Trump’s National Security Council — five times more than under the previous administration. Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon and White House official, believes that being limited in their worldview those officials could overestimate their ability to control events and end up provoking more conflict.

President Trump granted US commanders the authority to order attacks in countries with American military presence on January 29 – shortly after taking office. The United States is already involved in places such as Syria and the Persian Gulf where confrontation with Iran is looming. It greatly increases the risk of sparking a conflict.

The US military has come a number of times recently into direct conflict with the Iran-supported Shiite militias and pro-Iranian Hezbollah. In the southeastern Syrian desert pro-US and pro-Iranian forces are facing off with one another. America’s military has bolstered its position in the area by deploying HIMARS mobile multiple launch rocket systems. The United States and Iran pursue different agendas in Syria to make them increasingly on a collision course. The US-supported coalition and pro-Iranian forces are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the retreat of IS militants.

As the IS – the common enemy – gets weaker, the evolving battlefield in Syria and Iraq is drawing the United States and Iran towards a collision. The British Guardian cites Ilan Goldenberg, a former state and defense official, who said that «the tolerance that Shia Iranian-supported groups and American-supported groups have shown for each other» may disappear as the IS disappears off the map. He believes that with the IS gone «You can see it all going haywire pretty quickly».

More and more sanctions, military exercises, huge arms deals with the countries hostile to Iran, and taking direct action against Iran’s militant proxies could escalate tensions and provoke a flare up. It would easily spill over into Iraq, where roughly 6,000 U.S. troops operate in close proximity to tens of thousands of Shia militia fighters aligned with Iran. The Persian Gulf is the place where the US and Iranian navies operate in close proximity. The incidents have already taken place. That’s where a spark can start a big fire.

President Trump’s standing with the American people has deteriorated since the spring, buffeted by perceptions of a decline in US leadership abroad, a stalled presidential agenda at home and an unpopular Republican health-care bill, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News pollAccording to The Washington Post, Approaching six months in office, Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58 percent. Overall, 48 percent say they «disapprove strongly» of Trump’s performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only in the second term of George W. Bush in Post-ABC polling.

With the administration hemmed in by investigations into its alleged Russia links and the failure to advance his policy, a short victorious war would be just the thing to make the president win flag-rally popular support with approval rating going up again. Besides, a war against Iran may be a warning to North Korea telling it unambiguously – you’re next! America is gradually sliding into another war with a distant country that poses no immediate threat to it. So far, it has won wars but failed to win peace. Wading into the Middle East mess, the US will become weaker not stronger. No intervention was a success but this lesson appears to be never learnt.

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