Scott Ritter, Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US, unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE

Scott Ritter
Iran has promised retaliation for the assassination of Qassem Suleimani. Donald Trump said this will lead to a disproportionate response from the US. One side can deliver on its threats, the other can’t, unless it goes nuclear.

Iran means business

“Our reaction,” Iranian general Hossein Dehghan said at the weekend, “will be wise, well considered and, in time, with decisive deterrent effect.”

Dehghan also noted that Iran was not seeking a wider confrontation with the US.

“It was America that has started the war. Therefore, they should accept appropriate reactions to their actions. The only thing that can end this period of war is for the Americans to receive a blow that is equal to the blow they have inflicted.”

Dehghan is no run-of-the-mill former Iranian general officer, but was one of the major decision makers within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) during the Iran-Iraq War, and later went on to command the IRGC Air Force, before eventually being appointed Iran’s minister of defense. After stepping down from that position, Dehghan became a special advisor to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic Ali Khamenei.

His words must be viewed as representing those of Khamenei himself.

Iran’s three likely targets

A closer assessment of Dehghan’s statement, when considered in the context of the vote by the Iraqi Parliament this Sunday to remove all foreign troops from Iraq, provides clarity as to what the US and the Middle East can expect from Tehran.

First and foremost, the response will not be carried out by proxy.

The attack will be military in nature. Assaults on the oil and gas infrastructure of America’s Gulf Arab allies, similar in nature to the drone attacks on Saudi oil production facilities last May, are not in the works. The same holds true for shipping transiting the strategic Strait of Hormuz, as well as US diplomatic facilities in the region.

Likewise, Iran must respect the will of the Iraqi Parliament regarding the operation of foreign troops on its soil, which means that the response will most probably not be conducted against US military forces currently stationed in Iraq.

This does not mean US troops and facilities in Iraq will be immune to attack; Khaitab Hezbollah, the Iraqi militia whose leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was killed in the same attack that took Qassem Suleimani’s life, have pledged their own retaliatory attacks separate from those promised by Iran.

There are a host of viable US military targets in the Persian Gulf region that are of high enough stature as to qualify as “an equal blow” in the eyes of Tehran.

RT

 

Three come to mind; the concentration of US forces based in Kuwait, the headquarters of the 5th Fleet in Bahrain, and the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Of these three, only one, Al Udeid Air Base, has a direct connection to the Suleimani assassination; the drones that fired the missiles that killed Suleimani were operated from there. Al Udeid is host to critical US command and control facilities, as well as the bulk of the American combat aircraft operating in the region. It is well within the range of Iranian ballistic missiles and armed drones, which could be expected to operate in concert with one another to defeat air defenses and then saturate the base with precision strikes which could destroy hundreds of millions of dollars of aircraft and equipment, and potentially kill and wound hundreds of US service members.

Trump’s all tweets, no capacity

President Trump has promised that the US will not tolerate any attack against its personnel or facilities. “If they do anything,” he told reporters, referring to Iran, “there will be major retaliation.”

Earlier, Trump had tweeted a very explicit warning, telling Iran that he had already designated some 52 sites inside Iran, “some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” for destruction. “[T]hose targets,” Trump declared, “and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!”

Trump’s threat, however, rings hollow. First, his tweet constitutes de facto evidence of a war crime (Section 5.16.2 of the US Department of Defense Law of War Manual prohibits threats to destroy cultural objects for the express purpose of deterring enemy operations), and as such would likely not be implemented by US military commanders for whom niceties such as the law of war, which forbids the execution of an unlawful order, are serious business.

Of more relevance, however, is the fact that Trump has been down this road before, when he threatened massive military retaliation against Iran for shooting down an unarmed drone over the Strait of Hormuz last May. At that time, he was informed by his military commanders that the US lacked the military wherewithal to counter what was expected to be a full-spectrum response by Iran if the US were to attack targets inside Iran.

In short, Iran was able to inflict massive harm on US and allied targets in the Middle East region, and there was nothing the US could do to prevent this outcome.

Little has changed since May that would alter the military balance of power between the US and Iran. If Iran were to strike a US facility such as the Al Udeid Air Base, and Trump were to order a response, then Iran would most likely unleash the totality of its military capability, and those of its regional proxies, to devastate the military and economic capabilities of those targeted. These strikes would most likely include oil production facilities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, in addition to US military facilities and diplomatic missions.

Seen in this light, Trump’s threats of retaliation appear to be little more than words that cannot be backed up by reality.

Pushing the red button for Fordow

However, there was a second significant development in the region on Sunday, in addition to the vote by the Iraqi Parliament to cut ties with the US military.

The Iranian government announced that it was ending all restrictions on the enrichment of uranium, in effect nullifying the Iran nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA), which the US withdrew from in May 2018. While Iran has stated that these measures were reversible if the US returned to the agreement, the newly unconstrained enrichment capability puts Iran well inside the one year “breakout” window (i.e. the time needed by Iran to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear device) of one year that underpinned the prime purpose of the JCPOA.

In doing so, Iran has inadvertently opened itself up to a preemptive nuclear attack by the US.

RT

The centrifuges that could be used by Iran to produce enriched uranium capable of being used in a fissile device are housed in a hardened underground facility located near the town of Fordow. No conventional munition currently in the US arsenal can destroy Fordow.

Only a modified B-61 nuclear bomb can do the job.

 

Trump has hinted that any future war with Iran would not be a drawn-out affair. And while the law of war might curtail his commanders from executing any retaliation that includes cultural sites, it does not prohibit the US from using a nuclear weapon against a known nuclear facility deemed to pose a threat to national security.

This is the worst-case scenario of any tit-for-tat retaliation between Iran and the US, and it is not as far-fetched as one might believe.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.
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22 thoughts on “Scott Ritter, Iran holds all the cards in coming Middle East conflict with US, unless Trump is ready to drop a tactical NUKE”

  1. Now, this is pretty wild….but in a strange way, understandable, the Iranians, despite the MSM presenting them as monsters, are actually an honorable nation. Would the US, INC , Israel or even the UK admit to an error of this magnitude?
    Are the kind of talks going on behind the scenes like took place between Khrushchev and JFK during the Cuban missile crisis? Could be, eh?

    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/stunning-reversal-iran-admits-accidentally-shooting-down-ukrainian-passenger-jet#comment_stream

  2. “No Agenda” have what I think is the real story. The leader of Iran and Trump did a deal. The arranged to kill that military guy. He was a rival for the Iran leader and a distraction from the leagl problems for Netanyahu and Trump. I emailed Fetzer, but he did not reply. Fetzer is normall correct eg. the NZ thing was fake, etc.

    1. Another thought. For years we were held in fear, a tatic to make us let the leaders rule, because we “need them” to protect us, usually from them, but we do not realise it. It was the cold war fear, now it is world war three fear. Fear not, there will not be WW3. or armageddon. Armageddon is bulldust.

        1. I couldn’t get onto the show today, so I rang Jim. I ran this stuff about Trump and Iran leader ganging up to kill the military guy. Jim said highly unlikely, I thought he would, he had ignored my emails. Anyhow, I think it is the case. I remember when that Ahmadinejad was always going to america.

  3. Will wrote:

    > BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME ISRAEL, and believe me, it’s gonna take a LOT MORE luck the next time around. Fool me once . . . . .and for a change, Iran is now the victim. Not so dear Israel: What’s it like having the tables turned? Forget about that false flag you have planned, whatever it is, we are onto it.

    Are we? I really hope so, these psychos value lies and delusion as a proof of intelligence, and do not realize that they are being manipulated into rowing towards Armageddon. They are “useless eaters” just as anybody else, to the few zio-banksters who want a permanent throne at the top of the pyramid. Future is written in pencil, I believe each single human must try to prevent Armageddon prophecies from actually becoming Humanity’s future (or lack of one).

    > for a change, Iran is now the victim

    Sorry, in your words I hear the effects of the gigantic Deep State controlled mainstream news apparatus.

    Iran hasn’t attacked any other countries for centuries, they had a defensive war against Iraq (Iraq was being armed by a few western powers). No need to remind that the US history is quite the opposite.

    Hezbollah is not in the UN list of terrorist groups, they are resistance. (If it is about human rights, Saudi Arabia is incomparably worse than Iran, they behead tenths of “opposition” members at a time. With such an ally, and with the Guantanamo prison still functioning as well as other illegal prisons worldwide, and with its past in support of bloody dictatorships worldwide, the US is not in condition to lecture any other country about human rights, anyway.)

    As for terrorism, we all know that Israel is very fond of making false flag attacks in order to blame them on the countries they want to destroy.
    Here are a couple of those attacks, Iran is still having to defend from accusations about them (as well as non sold out Argentinian politicians who refused to play Israel’s game): https://www.voltairenet.org/article162474.html

    The death of prosecutor Nisman is also ringing a loud “Mossad” alarm. The “K” government had actually lubricated and had accelerated the times for the hearing Nisman was requesting, and anticipated it despite the judiciary system holidays, because they wanted to proof as soon as possible what a bunch of BS it was. Nisman had already filed it and it was free to download from the Internet (and it _was_ BS). The government was actually insisting that Nisman accusation had to be shown on TV, he was refusing.

    A former Interpol officer is now again declaring that the “K” government had insisted that certain persons that Nisman wanted to interrogate had to remain on their top level “wanted” list. Nisman himself was being urged by the government to accompany the delegation that went to the Interpol offices in Brussels, to give more weight to his requests.

    Judge Bonadio and future Argentinian President Macri were veeery fast the following day to accuse Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. She was the single person on the planet who would have been damaged the most by Nisman’s death.

    In the hotel room aside, with communication through a little balcony, there was apparently a US citizen of Israeli origin, and “of course” he was free to fly home the day after.

    The Washington Post and New York Times where immediately full of Spanish-speaking trolls accusing CFK of being an “asesina”. (Actually in those days a campaign had started pretending to associate “Argentinian” with “terrorist”, they arrested an old US citizen of remote Argentinian origins, he had been working for the US nuclear industry until quite a few years before, ten I believe… They approached him offering money for “secrets”, probably stuff you could find on Wikipedia by that time, and voilà, the “Argentinian terrorist” arrested.)

    CFK defameted as “asesina” => loss of consensus => Macri, or Macrí as I’m told it should be pronounced because it is allegedly a Jewish family name, became the next President despite having zero chances in polls shortly before Nisman’s death.

    Macrí then turned out to be a troyan horse, see Argentina’s situation four years later (broke, but with more foreign military bases in South Argentina, the hidden “interests” in FMI’s loans, you still owe them the money but the hidden interests remain payed, with permanent effects).

    Peace! Zio-banksters please take a rocket and go dominate another planet, give the rest of the world a huge holiday.

    1. Michael…it makes it a bit less confusing if you use the reply button under the particular comment to which you are making a reply.
      That said, that comment was copy and paste from Jim Stone’s site..just to make that clear, as you seem to address your comment to myself and not Stone’s words.
      BUT, I disagree with little you have said (except for: “Sorry, in YOUR words I hear the effects of the gigantic Deep State controlled mainstream news apparatus.”. Again, these are not MY words, they are Stone’s.
      And for the life of me, I see no contradiction between what you have posted and what Stone has said. Could well be I am mis-reading something or not getting the gist of your post or how you came to compare his words with those of the MSM.
      Maybe you can clarify.

  4. Jim Stone’s most recent summation…see what you think:

    The Iran situation is going straight off the MSM front page as fast as they can vanish it
    Because it is a serious embarrassment to Israel. Here are a few parting comments on rumors, facts, and story lines:

    ******This incident hurt Israel badly. Rumor has it that Trump did the hit because of a story that was hatched, saying Iran was about to launch a nuclear attack god knows where and that Israel was the one that fed Trump the false intelligence that was used as a reason to do it. I find this not only possible, but highly probable. But with the choke hold the ziopress holds on everything, we won’t get anything solid on this.******

    Most definitely false: Soleimani was baited to peace talks and killed. I never focused on this because of what the original source of that story was, and because this was never stated by Iranian media, which would have been ALL OVER IT. If it did not even show up on Tasnim, it’s BUNK, pure and simple.

    There is another rumor that he was killed in cooperation with Iran and Trump because he was a loose cannon that was threatening Iran’s stability. That’s more plausible than the story about Trump’s bait and switch, but still probably somewhat off. That’s not all there was to this, I think fake Israeli intelligence was the primary factor in it all. And Trump’s NO DOUBT pissed. I believe Trump thinks he got snookered and I have little doubt he did.

    Another rumor is that all of this started as an attempt to kick start world war 3. Actually, that’s not a rumor at all. Think about it.

    Israel got so scared by the precision of Iran’s missile strikes that they started blathering stupidly about a pinky pie laser system that fires from a unicorn horn and magically renders Iranian missiles useless. I believe in magic, and you can too.

    Israel also no doubt launched a bunch of rather stupid psy ops (the one with the Kurdish girl angered me the most) saying Iranians wanted to be liberated. Just like in Iraq and every other war America has been snookered into and it has not been true even once. They all hated America during and after their “liberation”. Trust me, if Putin tried to liberate Americans from Pelosi, there would be a lot of dead Russians. Deer hunting season would be canceled due to lack of ammo. Don’t expect Iran or any other country to be different, people would rather solve their own problems.

    I’d say the Iranian situation is pretty much over. It died on the road to war like a destitute Yugo, BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME ISRAEL, and believe me, it’s gonna take a LOT MORE luck the next time around. Fool me once . . . . .and for a change, Iran is now the victim. Not so dear Israel: What’s it like having the tables turned? Forget about that false flag you have planned, whatever it is, we are onto it.

    1. I was wondering what you thought of the criticism of Stone. Do you think he’s credible in spite of it? You’ve read more of his stuff than anyone else I know. What do you think?

      1. That’s a hard call. He’s a smart guy, no doubt. His report on Fukushima is second to none. Some of his stuff is off the wall….but he’s one of the few who will admit it when he’s wrong. I guess you could say, ‘once NSA, always NSA.’..although from hints he has dropped, he was never in the covert part.. When it comes to computers and electronics, best I can say is he is a genius. He has an intense hatred of Zionists and ….”sees through their eyes and he sees through their brains ……like we see through the water that runs down our drains….”
        He lives in Mexico with his wife Claudia and is very open about asking for donations and stopping them when he gets enough. He’s also very open about his personal life….which is quite unusual. It’s not an open site, so there’s no feedback.
        All that said, I am still careful with some of his postings….but no place near as careful as with Fulford.
        Speaking of Masters of War…was disappointed Dylan did not come through Florida this year.
        No offense, but out of respect for the Dr.., maybe it’s best we keep these kind of comments to a minimum (as much as I love the conversation). Dr. Fetzer has permission to give you my email if you wish to ask him.

        1. Here’s an example of Stone correcting himself:

          PETER FROM AUSTRALIA WROTE AND SAID I MADE AN ERROR WITH REGARD TO THE FIRES IN AUSTRALIA
          Peter said the temperature has been at 49.5 and there has been very little rain, and that has fed the fires enormously. I had posted that the temperatures were normal (40) and that rains were normal. Evidently I got bad info, because he’s there, living through it. Obviously then, the situation is prime for arsonists, approximately 200 have been arrested so far. With a situation like that it would be a bad year for fires, even without the arsonists. Thanks for the correction!

          1. And another. The man should be given credit for keeping his info as correct as possible. I rarely read criticism of Stone, but that’s likely because I do not do much ‘surfing…keep pretty much to certain sites I have learned to trust.
            It could well be many do not like his frequent speculations, but that’s his style and I respect it and it’s a plus for his viability.
            IRAN DID SHOOT THE PLANE DOWN: I FOUND A VIDEO THAT PROVES A SAM TOOK DOWN THE UKRANIAN AIRLINER, AND IT IS NOT WHAT CNN IS USING. This one actually shows a missile nail the plane, which immediately bursts into flames. IT IS HERE

            https://twitter.com/IranianPatriot/status/1215389367356854280

            CNN and the rest of the MSM are posting a different missile strike than this. This is the one that caused the fireball.
            So now the discussion online is drifting towards “Iran was probably hacked, and/or someone else inside Iran did this. But if it really was a SAM that took out that jet, I’d be inclined to believe that despite how obvious it should have been as a commercial airliner, someone on the ground got their undies in a bundle and shot it down because it appears to have been flying without any lights on. That’s a stupid reason to make such a mistake, considering the plane had a transponder and communications, but I have a hunch that due to the panic, that’s exactly what happened. This still does not un-do the obviously hoaxed photo of a missile on the ground I mentioned earlier.

            An update on my assessment of Iran’s possible total explosives yield delivery
            In that assessment I stated that with a total of about 250 KT of explosives delivery capacity, Iran could probably deliver 1 megaton of equivalent TNT yield because newer explosives are so much more potent than TNT. The amount I stated would be 4X as powerful as TNT. That might have made some people call B.S. so I am going to link a report from 2007, which states that for Russia’s “father of all bombs” a special explosive was formulated that gives it 6.28 times the yield of an equal weight of TNT. Persians are not stupid, they likely have developed explosives with a substantial portion of that potency, especially over 10 years later. Here is that report
            I do everything I can to keep this site as accurate as possible. No one commented about the potential explosive yield Iran can probably deliver but I figured I’d link that anyway.

          2. Will, thanks for these examples. However, correcting factual errors in his reports is not what I meant about credibility.

            The criticism against Stone is that his professed bio cannot be confirmed (eg. the NSA, the wife), he lives in Mexico to avoid child support payments, he misuses donations which he doesn’t really need, he plagiarizes other people’s stuff including his most ‘famous’ work like Fukushima. I wasn’t just ‘surfing’ – there’s other stuff that I ran across when I researched this subject.

            I’d write a more complete run-down about this, but I will be In San Diego county all day and have to get on the road.

          3. Good info, Toni…thanks.
            ((The criticism against Stone is that his professed bio cannot be confirmed (eg. the NSA, the wife),))
            I doubt anyone formerly involved in alphabet agencies (of the intelligence type) has a publicly accessible bio. I could be wrong.
            ((he lives in Mexico to avoid child support payments,))
            That may relate to his character…or not…who really knows the circumstance, eh? BUT, it would not keep me from reading or putting validity in his site. Stones and glass houses and all that stuff.
            ((he misuses donations which he doesn’t really need, ))
            Any time he’s asked for donations for other than supporting the site, he has stated why (sometimes personal and sometimes for something extra needed for the site)..and stopped them when he had enough…at least this has been what I noticed.
            ((he plagiarizes other people’s stuff including his most ‘famous’ work like Fukushima))
            Truth is, we all plagiarize from the Internet….it’s the nature of the beast. We gather info and consolidate and present opinions. Now, if you mean his posts are word for word from someone else, I would need concrete proof of that to form a opinion.
            Now, all of this considered, my world does not fall or rise with Jim Stone’s site or posts.There is little doubt we all look for opinions that support our own agenda. That’s the nature of our beast and of the divide and conquer strategy that eventually gets to all of us.
            Always good conversing with you Toni!

          4. Will, thanks, but I don’t think you’re familiar with the depth of the criticism against Jim Stone from within the truth research community itself. Your last reply is your personal speculation dependent upon Stone’s own statements, which are the point of contention here.

            Here are a couple of links that background the arguments against Stone:

            https://fellowshipoftheminds.com/http-fellowshipoftheminds-com-2017-12-27-independent-investigative-journalist-jim-stone-is-a-fraud-not-former-nsa-no-insider-knowledge

            https://www.henrymakow.com/2017/11/who-is-jim-stone.html

            It’s imperative that in the search for truth to which we all subscribe, that journalists be vetted for honesty and integrity. Suspected infiltrators must be outed and invalidated. As some of his critics have pointed out, Jim Stone could clear all this up himself.

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