Gareth Porter

Pentagon's efforts to blame Iran for acts of sabotage went nowhere — but this feels like 2003 all over again

Last week a senior Pentagon official accused Iran of having sabotaged four oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on May 12 and of firing a rocket into Baghdad’s Green Zone on May 19. Iran executed these events, he said, either directly or through regional “proxies.”

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Israel Plans a New War in Syria - but Not for the Reasons It Claims

Israel is beating the drums of war again, this time over Syria. On February 10 the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out the most aggressive Israeli use of force in Syria thus far. After having bombed a drone base in retaliation for an alleged incursion by an Iranian drone, Israel retaliated for the shooting down of one of its fighter planes by hitting the main Syrian command-and-control bunker and five Iranian communications facilities.

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Exposing a Shoddy Sarin Attack Narrative and Responding to NATO-Backed Critics

Eliot Higgins is a “non-resident senior fellow” with the Atlantic Council whose functions appear to include seeking to discredit any reporting or analysis and documentation that conflicts with the DC-based think tank’s interventionist agenda. Higgins' agenda dovetails closely with his employer's funders in NATO as well as Atlantic Council backers like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey -- the states that have also bankrolled Syrian Salafi insurgents.

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Have We Been Deceived Over Syrian Sarin Attack? Scrutinizing the Evidence in an Incident Trump Used to Justify Bombing Syria

The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria issued a report this September that reinforced the official narrative that the Syrian air force dropped a bomb containing nerve gas sarin on the insurgent-controlled town of Khan Sheikhoun, Syria on April 4. That conclusion comes several weeks after the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) issued a report that supported sarin exposure as the cause of death and injuries.  

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How a Syrian White Helmets Leader Played Western Media

The White Helmets, founded to rescue victims trapped under the rubble of buildings destroyed by Syrian and Russian bombing, have become a favorite source for Western news media covering a story on Russian-Syrian bombing. Portrayed as humanitarian heroes for over the past year and even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last summer, the White Helmets have been accorded unquestioned credibility by journalists covering the Syrian crisis.

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Documents Reveal Obama Pushed for Mideast Regime Change in Spite of the Pentagon

Seymour Hersh’s recent revelations about an effort by the US military leadership in 2013 to bolster the Syrian army against jihadist forces in Syria shed important new light on the internal bureaucratic politics surrounding regime change in US Middle East policy. Hersh’s account makes it clear that the Obama administration’s policy of regime change in both Libya and Syria provoked pushback from the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). 

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The Real Politics Behind the US War on IS

The US war on the ‘Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant’ or ISIL, also known as Islamic State of IS - the single biggest development in US foreign policy during 2014 - continues to puzzle those looking for its strategic logic. But the solution to the puzzle lies in considerations that have nothing to do with a rational response to realities on the ground. 

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Is Washington About to Torpedo All the Progress It Made in Iran Negotiations?

The Barack Obama administration's insistence that Iran discuss its ballistic missile program in the negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement brings its position into line with that of Israel and senators who introduced legislation drafted by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC aimed at torpedoing the negotiations. 

But the history of the issue suggests that the Obama administration knows that Iran will not accept the demand and that it is not necessary to a final agreement guaranteeing that Iran's nuclear program is not used for a weapon. 

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Did Lebanese Militants Target Israelis in Bulgaria? Revelations Cast Doubt on Rush to Blame Hezbollah

When European Union foreign ministers discuss a proposal to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov will present his government’s case for linking two suspects in the Jul. 18, 2012 bombing of an Israeli tourist bus to Hezbollah.

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How the Israel Lobby is Making Diplomacy with Iran Impossible

Negotiations between Iran and the United States and other members of the P5+1 group in Baghdad ended in fundamental disagreement Thursday over the position of the P5+1 offering no relief from sanctions against Iran.

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Bin Laden Files Debunk Neocon Hysteria Over Iran

The U.S. Treasury Department's claim of a "secret deal" between Iran and Al-Qaeda, which had become a key argument by right-wing activists who support war against Iran, has been discredited by former intelligence officials in the wake of publication of documents from Osama bin Laden's files revealing a high level of antagonism between Al-Qaeda and Iran.

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US-Afghan Pact Won't End War or Hated Night Raids

The optics surrounding the Barack Obama administration's "Enduring Strategic Partnership" agreement with Afghanistan and the Memorandums of Understanding accompanying it emphasise transition to Afghan responsibility and an end to U.S. war.

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Details of Talks with IAEA Belie Charge Iran Refused Cooperation

The first detailed account of negotiations between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran last month belies earlier statements by unnamed Western officials portraying Iran as refusing to cooperate with the IAEA in allaying concerns about alleged nuclear weaponisation work.

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Are Crackpot Liars Being Used to Tie Iran to 9/11?

Behind a mysterious December 22 Associated Press story about "finding of fact" by a District judge in Manhattan Friday that Iran assisted al Qaeda in the planning of the 9/11 attacks is a tapestry of recycled fabrications and distortions of fact from a bizarre cast of characters.

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Former Weapons Inspector: Iran Does Not Have Nuclear Weapons Test Chamber

 The IAEA claim that a foreign scientist - identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko - had been involved in building the alleged containment chamber has now been denied firmly by Danilenko himself in an interview with Radio Free Europe published Friday. 

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Official Data Shows Night Raids Killed More Than 1,500 Afghan Civilians

 U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) killed well over 1,500 civilians in night raids in less than 10 months in 2010 and early 2011, analysis of official statistics on the raids released by the U.S.-NATO command reveals.

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New Study Says U.S. Night Raids Aimed at Afghan Civilians

U.S. Special Operations Forces have been increasingly aiming their night-time raids, which have been the primary cause of Afghan anger at the U.S. military presence, at civilian non-combatants in order to exploit their possible intelligence value, according to a new study published by the Open Society Foundation and The Liaison Office.

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U.N. Reported Only a Fraction of Civilian Deaths from U.S. Raids in Afghanistan

The number of civilians killed in U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) raids last year was probably several times higher than the figure of 80 people cited in the U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan published last week, an IPS investigation has revealed.

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Were Fake Documents Planted to Encourage an Attack on Iran?

Since 2007, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - with the support of the United States, Israel and European allies UK, France and Germany - has been demanding that Iran explain a set of purported internal documents portraying a covert Iranian military program of research and development of nuclear weapons. The "laptop documents," supposedly obtained from a stolen Iranian computer by an unknown source and given to US intelligence in 2004, include a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle that appears to be an effort to accommodate a nuclear weapon, as well as reports on high explosives testing for what appeared to be a detonator for a nuclear weapon.

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UN Report: American Citizen Executed By Israelis During Mavi Marmara Raid

The report of the fact-finding mission of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla released last week shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos.

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Obama Rebuffs Defense Establishment's Hunger for Conflict with Iran

WASHINGTON -- United States President Barack Obama's refusal in a White House briefing this month to announce a "red line" in regard to Iran's nuclear program represented another in a series of rebuffs of pressure from Defense Secretary Robert Gates for a statement that the US will not accept its existing stocks of low enriched uranium.

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McChrystal Faces Massive Failure in Afghanistan in Next Few Months

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal confronts the specter of a collapse of U.S. political support for the war in Afghanistan in coming months comparable to the one that occurred in the Iraq War in late 2006.

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Marjah: The Non-Existent City the Military Said We Conquered in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON - For weeks, the United States public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan war against what it was told was a "city of 80,000 people" as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marjah was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centers in Helmand.

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Obama's Afghan Surge Rationale Contradicts His Own Recent Position

Obama said the escalation was for a "vital national interest" and invoked the threat of attacks from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, asserting that such attacks "are now being planned as I speak".

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Veteran Army Officer Urges Afghan Troop Drawdown

WASHINGTON, Oct 15 (IPS) -- A veteran Army officer who has served in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars warns in an analysis now circulating in Washington that the counterinsurgency strategy urged by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal is likely to strengthen the Afghan insurgency, and calls for withdrawal of the bulk of U.S. combat forces from the country over 18 months.

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Fresh Doubts Emerge on Obama Administration Claims About Iran's Nuclear Intentions

An Iranian assertion that construction on its second uranium-enrichment facility began only last year and further analysis of satellite photos of the site have cast fresh doubts on the Barack Obama administration's charge that the construction of the plant near the holy city of Qom involved a covert decision to violate Iran's obligations to report immediately to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on any decision to build a new facility.

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Why Are U.S. Officials Protecting the Pakistan Military on Aid to Taliban?

WASHINGTON, Aug 4 (IPS) -- Despite evidence implicating the current Pakistani Army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, in a major military assistance program for the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan over the past few years, senior officials of the Barack Obama administration persuaded Congress to extend military assistance to Pakistan for five years without any assurance that the Pakistani assistance to the Taliban had ended.

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Child Rapist Police Return Behind U.S., UK Troops

WASHINGTON, Jul 29 (IPS) -- The strategy of the major U.S. and British military offensive in Afghanistan's Helmand province aimed at wresting it from the Taliban is based on bringing back Afghan army and police to maintain permanent control of the population, so the foreign forces can move on to another insurgent stronghold.

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Behind Detainee Release, a U.S.-Iraqi Conflict on Iran

WASHINGTON, Jul 12 (IPS) -- The release Friday of five Iranians held by the U.S. military in Iraq for two and a half years highlights the long-simmering conflict between the U.S. and Iraqi views of Iranian policy in Iraq and of the role of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) there.

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What's the Cost of America's Secret Drone War?

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's refusal to share with other agencies even the most basic data on the bombing attacks by remote-controlled unmanned predator drones in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region, combined with recent revelations that CIA operatives have been paying Pakistanis to identify the targets, suggests that managers of the drone attacks programmes have been using the total secrecy surrounding the programme to hide abuses and high civilian casualties.

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